rtlemurs: (OldBlue)
[personal profile] rtlemurs
Title: Brief Encounters
Fandom: House MD
Characters or Pairing: House/Cuddy
Rating: PG
Word Count:1450 on the nose!
Summary: "Just take the damn shirt off."
Notes: Written for the "Comes As You're Not" party '08. Tremendous thanks to our hostess with the mostess [livejournal.com profile] karaokegal and the always wonderful hl_lover for their last minute beta work, concrit, and encouragement! I would not be here if not for them. Thank you ladies!
Why it's a costume: So many reasons. First of all this is my first fic in ages and it usually takes me months to even get a usable rough draft. This was completed in two weeks. Next it is almost fluffy slash and I don't normally write that, I'm a non-shipping angst monger. And finally, it is short, the shortest I have ever written. This is deep cover folks even though you may not know it!



Brief Encounters

“It’s ridiculous.”

“It’s a legitimate complaint.”

“It’s nowhere near legitimate.”

“You’re saying that,” she pointed at his shirt for emphasis, “is not offensive?”

“It’s the truth. Which I’ll admit can be offensive to some people… in fact most people, but I can’t be held responsible for the truth.”

“No, but you can be responsible for your attire.”

“She’s still upset about the parking space.”

“Which I could give back to her”

“You wouldn’t”

“Don’t test it.”

“Then where does it stop?”

“It’s a small concession…”

“I’m serious, where does it stop?”

“Just…”

“No. Really. Are the gays going to storm your office and threaten to sue because I’m wearing a pink shirt today? Oh no, my jacket’s made of wool! That’ll get the animal activists in a snit. And god forbid I wear a tight pair of pants some day, the nurses will threaten a sexual harassment suit. Maybe I should just come into work naked.”

She could feel the chill from the windows behind her as the amusing mental image of House stepping out of a blizzard, into the lobby, in nothing but sox and Shox, played across her mind.

“Oh no, wait, that would put someone else on the warpath. Maybe I should just stay at home, keep everyone happy. You think this is funny?”

“Yes. And no you will not stay home and remain an employee of this hospital. Only once have I ever tried to enforce the dress code with you.”

“And we know how that turned out.”

“Yes, it cost us $100 million.” He opened his mouth to protest but she raised a hand and stopped him. “I hardly think you have room to complain about this one simple request.”

“That’s not the point,”

“That is precisely the point. She’s threatening a lawsuit which could cost this hospital millions of dollars.”

“She’ll never win.”

“Why? Because you’re a cripple too? She’s in a wheelchair, which trumps your cane any day.”

“It shouldn’t…”

“But it does.”

“You’re setting a dangerous precedent.”

“Just take the damn shirt off.”

House tossed his cane onto the sofa, reached up and grabbed the collar of both shirts and pulled them over his head. Separating the two shirts he deposited the offending t-shirt on her desk and stood waiting for her response.

“Not what I was hoping for but it’ll do.” He continued to stare and she began to get flustered. She moved the t-shirt and tried to concentrate on what she had been working on before he had stormed into her office.

She found herself rereading the same five lines as her mind insisted on visiting the past. That party, “The Legend” making a rare appearance and her determination to be the one.

She had heard all the rumors. He was gay, too self-centered, an ass, celibate, freaky, kinky, juvenile, STD infested, you name it, it had been said about Greg House. But she had never talked to anyone who had actually been with him. It was always a friend of a friend or this girl I have a class with. She’d figured some of the rumors had a grain of truth to them but no one theory explained why he didn’t have a steady girlfriend. An extraordinary man needed an extraordinary woman and she was just the woman he needed.

He loomed over her now just as he had then.

“Was there something else?”

“No.”

“Then why are you still here?”

“Waiting for further instructions.” She looked at him, trying to figure out what the game was this time. He was still in fine shape, not bulging, but nicely toned. Sometimes she forgot that it was only his leg that was crippled. “After all, if I can’t be trusted to dress myself -”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” She noticed the gray hairs on his chest were threatening to outnumber the dark ones. She found that and the graying at his temples appealing.

“I’m not being –“

“Yes you are. Now go play your games elsewhere. I’m busy.” It came out harsher than she had intended but the memories had her struggling to keep her mask in place. If she smiled now he’d never leave.

Still shirtless he limped out of her office. Nurses stopped staring and tried to look busy while the people in the waiting room stared at the half naked man leaving the administrator’s office. Her thoughts were already in the past.

She had watched him enter the party but pretended to ignore him. Only watching out of the corner of her eye, to make sure she stayed in his orbit. Eventually a friend pointed out that he was watching her. She turned, looked him over casually and returned to the conversation she had been having. Eventually curiosity must have gotten the best of him and he approached her.

“So you’re Lisa Cuddy, the great Jewish hope?”

“And you are?”

“Just a horny undergrad looking to get into your pants,” he ogled her, playing his chosen role down to the last leer.

“Sorry, no room at the inn.”

“I can see that.”

“Does this technique generally work for you?”

“You’d be surprised what drunken sorority girls will go for.”

“Well it doesn’t work on me.”

“Because you are neither drunk nor a sorority girl and I’m surprised you consider your pants an inn. From what I hear they’re more like room number thirteen at the Travelodge in the backwaters of the upper peninsula.”

“Wow, you really are as big an ass as I’ve heard.”

“So you do know who I am.”

“There’s only one ego that big around here.”

“That’s not the only thing about me that’s big.” He tilted his head towards the stairs and raised his eyebrows. Before she could reply he turned and headed up the stairs.

Now that she’d met him she wasn’t so sure this conquest would be worth the notch in her bra strap. As his feet disappeared beyond the ceiling she made the decision to follow. He did not turn at the second floor landing and go to one of the bedrooms as she had expected but continued up five flights to the ladder that led to the roof. Only then did he turn to see if she was with him.

Sudden movement in the clinic brought her focus back to the present. House had tossed his shirt to one of the nurses behind the desk and continued towards the clinic door. She didn’t need anymore threatened lawsuits so she went after him. On her way she grabbed his cane from the couch, removing his planted reason for coming back later and harassing her.

She was able to catch him before he reached the door to the lobby. Not wanting the waiting patients to realize this crazy man was staff she discreetly grabbed his elbow.

“You forgot your cane,” she said politely then added in a low voice “Put your shirt on. Now.”

“Why thank you Dr. Cuddy. Some of those positions are going to have me walking funny for a week, this’ll come in handy. Next week page sixty-seven right?”

Her grip on his elbow tightened as she steered him to the nearest exam room. Smiling over her shoulder to reassure the waiting patients she made hands gestures indicating that the man she was with was not right in the head.

“Kama Sutra. She can’t get enough of it,” he said to the girl closest to the exam room.

Shoving him into the room first she entered and slammed the door.

“What the hell –“

He cut her off with a kiss. She resisted and he backed off.

“House!” His look so neutral she wasn’t sure what was happening or what she should do next. “If that was an apology –“

“I have nothing to apologize for.” Nothing changed yet she knew he was waiting on her to make the next move.

It had been the same on the roof that long ago night. He never made a move, just talked, waiting for her to decide what she wanted. The little boy in him taking the lead, trying to impress her with his knowledge and yet he made fun of her with a cutting adult wit. In the end they parted with no more than a conversation between them and she had been relieved. It was like he knew what she wanted even before she did.

“I have work to do.”

“Go do it.”

That was her cue to walk away. But she couldn't. He leaned in once again and kissed her. She didn't resist. She closed her eyes imagining that first time and realized that once again he had led her right to where she wanted to be.

Date: 2008-10-31 06:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karaokegal.livejournal.com
I'm glad you could make it to the party. Lovely costume. I think working quickly may have paid off in this case. You're House and Cuddy feel very real together.

Date: 2008-10-31 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rtlemurs.livejournal.com
Hey there, sorry about falling asleep on your couch during the party. I'm not as young as I used to be. Do I still have my eyebrows?

Thank you, it feels good to finally finish something again. and to get compliments for a master is icing on the cake.

Now off to mingle with the other guest.

Date: 2008-10-31 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mer-duff.livejournal.com
I love how you tied past and present together with the parallel roads ending at different points. Great costume!

Date: 2008-11-01 02:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rtlemurs.livejournal.com
Thank you! I felt these two have been doing this dance for a long time. As I said, I'm not a shipper of any sort, House is too screwed up to accept a relationship no matter how badly he may want it. But if forced to choose it would be House/Cuddy for just this reason. I think House does understands her better than she understands herself.

I've always been hesitant to write Cuddy because I don't feel I've ever gotten a good idea of what goes on in her head. So writing this from her POV was very interesting and I was very nervous about it would go over. But I am learning to trust what my beta says and it has paid off in praise from other writers I respect.

Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-31 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pwcorgigirl.livejournal.com
I love the humor in this, and you write a pitch-perfect House voice. His remark -- I’m surprised you consider your pants an inn. From what I hear they’re more like room number thirteen at the Travelodge in the backwaters of the upper peninsula. -- is just hilarious.

And that's such lovely insight that he has waited for her to decide what she wants both then and now.

Date: 2008-11-01 03:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rtlemurs.livejournal.com
*blushes*

Thank you. I am neither as smart or as witty as House and it is that combination that makes House special in my mind. I always worry that I may get the cutting sarcasm but not the wit that makes it special. So to have someone like you compliment me on that makes me absolutely giddy!

Well, he does tend to prod her along with a sharp stick more than quiet understanding but that element is in there too. Since I normally write angst I thought something a little more tender would fit the challenge. I'm glad it worked and you like it.

Thank you.

Date: 2008-11-02 11:57 am (UTC)
daphnie_1: Sherlock with his magnifying glass against a blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] daphnie_1
Not normally a House/Cuddy person but you're dialogue is fantastic. I really liked this - great work.

Date: 2008-11-02 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rtlemurs.livejournal.com
Thank you, I'm glad you gave it a try and liked it.

That is what I am finding is so great about this party. Not only are the writers writing outside their norm but readers are reading outside their norm too.

And not that they all don't write great stuff normally but I think the level of care in crafting that stories for this is jacked up a notch because you can't do it on autopilot. At least that is the way it worked for me.

Thanks again for reading, I appreciate the effort and the compliments.

Date: 2008-11-02 10:30 pm (UTC)
daphnie_1: Sherlock with his magnifying glass against a blue sky. (Guardian)
From: [personal profile] daphnie_1
That's very true! I hadn't thought about the readers moveing out of their comfort zones. Intresting.

Yeah that's true, I know my story took me way longer than it normally would.

Date: 2008-11-03 04:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hl-fan.livejournal.com
hl_lover here. (Yes, someone claimed 'hl_lover' on lj before I could. ;) )

I appreciate the opportunity to look at your story ahead of time, and it was well-worth it. :)
Love the way the story ends so tantalizingly, leaving an image of what might come and a smile on the reader's face.

Excellent take on Cuddy's thoughts here. She is a bit of an enigma on the show, with little canon-based back story to guide us, so you did a great job! Could see this as a scene on the show, definitely. Kudos!

Date: 2008-11-04 03:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rtlemurs.livejournal.com
Yes, someone claimed 'hl_lover' on lj before I could.

How dare they! I'll send one of my ring-tailed minions over to swipe it in the middle of the night. :D

And I appreciate you taking on the task of beta at the last second. It wasn't really the last second but I felt like if I didn't get it done for the first night of the party I'd let it slide and never get it posted. So not only did you provide excellent beta services but unknowingly took away my excuses. Thank you!

I'm glad it left you imagining what might come. I remember hearing somewhere (Stephen King maybe?) that the reader can paint a much more vivid picture in his/her mind than you could ever write. For each reader it will be different but each will be satisfied with their vision of what happened because it is what fits best in their mind. I'm glad it worked for you and you walked away with a smile. That makes me smile so we're even. ;)

She is a bit of an enigma on the show,

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. Strangely, for House being such a mystery he is the one we know the most about and probably why I tend to write from his POV. The rest of the crew are pretty mysterious too but we have not really been given much revealing information on Cuddy's past. And what little we have doesn't really add anything. We know she is driven but I don't think that motivates her every move anymore. I think she has grown and matured but I still do not know what has filled in where drive has left off. I do think that this baby quest is a sign that she doesn't know either. And this just adds to the difficulty I have getting into her head.

I am so happy to be getting a positive response to how I wrote her. I will definitely have to explore her in future stories.

Thank you for the everything! I truly appreciate it.

Date: 2008-11-03 04:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wanderlonely.livejournal.com
You just write these two well, very House/Cuddy!

Date: 2008-11-04 04:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rtlemurs.livejournal.com
Thank you! I am both happy and relieved that people are enjoying this. It felt great to be writing again after such a long dry spell. I missed the angst and anticipation of revealing my little darling to the public and waiting for judgment to be passed.

Yeah, I'm weird like that! LOL!

Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you liked it.

Date: 2008-11-04 03:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blackmare-9.livejournal.com
Hey! I had missed this, and just found it via rec on HHOW, and yeah. This works. Nothing extraneous, everything weaving together tightly and well -- and how very like House to take Cuddy's direction, but in such a way as to totally subvert her intent.

This really reads as something that would happen between the two of them.

Only one nitpick, which is that if I'm correct, "led" is the word you want, not "lead," in that last sentence.

This is funny and touching and oh yes, many thanks for the mental image of a shirtless House stalking the hospital hallways. :-)

Date: 2008-11-04 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rtlemurs.livejournal.com
Wow, it's being rec'ed?! Talk about icing on the cake! I thought getting praise from writers I admire was the cat's pajamas but this is a whole 'nother level. ;) LOL! Seriously though, it is nice that someone thought enough of it to rec it.

Thank you. I know I've said this before but I don't think it can be said enough, to get words of praise from writers I admire is just the best. Not that other's praise is worth any less but it's the differing angle that makes it special.

Nothing extraneous, everything weaving together tightly and well

When I started writing this I wandered off course and had so much filler that did not need to be there. But thanks to your wonderful teaching, a few discussions with karaokegal and all the wonderful advice and guidance over at House Fanfic Recs and Hall of Fame (http://community.livejournal.com/housefic_meta/) I recognized it, cut it, and tightened it up before sending it off to beta. And they still caught some things. So I still have a way to go but I'm glad I am finally "getting it" and it really is because of you wonderful folks. Thank you again!

Only one nitpick, which is that if I'm correct, "led" is the word you want, not "lead," in that last sentence.

Eep! =( Missed that one! Thanks. I've been picking those little boo-boos off as I come across them but I'm not sure I'd have gotten that one.

many thanks for the mental image of a shirtless House stalking the hospital hallways. :-)

You're welcome, it's the least I could do. LOL!

Date: 2008-11-04 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blackmare-9.livejournal.com
You were recced on House's House of Whining by none other than [livejournal.com profile] pwcorgigirl.

:-)

Got to run now; work to do today, argh.

Date: 2008-11-05 01:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rtlemurs.livejournal.com
*faints*

*wakes several minutes later*

*runs off to hug pwcorgigirl*

It just doesn't get any better! You are all so wonderful!

Now to get back to work on another fic while I'm all pumped up.

Thank you ladies!

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