She went to see House in jail, feeling conspicuous even in her conservative sweater and skirt, her high heels louder than usual on the flat cold tile. The guard had looked her over blatantly at the door, and the inmates were worse, hungry eyes following her as she made her way to the booth to wait for House to limp in. His eyes were hungry too, for her information instead of her breasts, she thought, because he was looking at her face for once. There was pain in his gaze along with the hunger, and loneliness, and a touch of fear.
"Hey, sweetcheeks," he said, easing into the chair and picking up the handset. "How are the kids?"
"Cranky," she said, because it was true that his team had been irritable with their semi-beloved despot temporarily overthrown. "They miss you." She hesitated. It was so tawdry and out-of-character, speaking to him with the barrier between them, and her ear hurt where she had the handset pressed hard against it, trying not to lose any nuance in his voice. He looked thinner, tired, lost in the oversized jumpsuit. She itched to touch his throat where the glands were, just to get her hands on him and reassure herself he wasn't deteriorating. "Is there any way we could talk privately?"
"You really are hard up," he said. "Not sure if all the trailers are rocking. You could ask Officer Grumpy there."
"Trailers...? Oh." He grinned at her and she rolled her eyes at him. She lowered her voice. "Really, that's the only way?"
"I'm in prison, Cuddy, in case you didn't notice the fashion statement. Sorry, didn't think to reserve the conference room."
She sighed and looked him over again. With anyone else, she wouldn't do it, but with anyone else, she wouldn't have this problem in the first place. She signaled the guard. House's eyes lit up and she ignored him.
"Is there any chance of a more...private meeting?" she asked, dropping her eyes and feigning embarrassment.
"I always knew the incarceration thing would get you all hot and bothered," House said, loud and obnoxious.
The guard hesitated. "I'll have to ask Detective Tritter. He's in charge of this inmate."
"Please do," said Cuddy, trying to sound lovelorn instead of like a woman used to getting what she wanted. The guard would do a pretty woman a favor, she suspected, but he wouldn't follow her commands. "You know, it just kills me to be without Greg..." She threw House a sideways look of longing and let her voice trail off. The guard was young and she wished her sweater didn't have such a high neck, but her figure was having an effect. The guard swallowed, eyes flicking between her breasts and House's lecherous expression.
Tritter came shambling in a few minutes later, jaws working over a piece of gum, hands in his pockets. "Dr. Cuddy," he said in that quiet voice, "I'm surprised to see you here with this kind of request. Had you figured for a lady with too much sense to be involved with a guy like House."
"Love is blind," she said easily. Tritter's calm was unsettling. "But that isn't what I was asking. I just wanted to know if there's a more private room for this conversation."
"Nope," Tritter said, his voice almost lazy. "We only have private rooms for," he looked her over slowly, "private deeds. And I'm not sure that's what you're looking for."
"Then you must be having difficulties with your ears," she said, to prove she couldn't be intimidated. She was already tired of this place, all these men with that look in their eyes. Tritter had an air of subtle violence that set her teeth on edge. "Perhaps you should see a doctor."
"What I meant was I'm not sure how your board of directors would feel knowing that you're seeking conjugal visiting rights with one of your doctors. Your doctor who's been incarcerated for illegal possession and intent to traffic, no less." His voice was still low, hands still in his pockets. Cuddy didn't look at House, but she could almost smell the hatred tinged with fear that rolled off him as he watched Tritter. She understood now why he'd left the detective in the clinic with that thermometer. Tritter was a bully, quietly vicious. Cuddy was suddenly furious. She wondered what Tritter had done to make House afraid and decided that House was an ass, but he didn't deserve to be reduced to this.
"It's no business of yours or the board's if I'm fucking," the word came out harsh and sharp and a couple of people turned to look at her, "any of my doctors."
"I don't think you are sleeping with Doctor House," Tritter said mildly.
"Tell that to our unborn child," Cuddy snapped, full of righteous anger, and Tritter blinked. "Now, about the visiting rights?"
"I can't deny you," said Tritter, but he sounded almost sorry about it. He jerked his chin at the guard. "Give them trailer three for an hour. I'm sure it won't take that long, but you have to make allowances for the disabled." He smiled and left.
Cuddy could have easily killed him in that moment. She was shaking with anger, her hands clenched at her sides. Her cheeks blazed as she followed the guard out to a dinky little aluminum trailer.
"I'll come back in an hour, ma'am," the guard said, and leered at her once more before he left. Cuddy glared at his retreating back. She slammed open the door to the trailer and slammed it again behind her. It was a tiny room, decorated in a spartan fashion, if the Spartans had been into chintz. She paced the short length of the trailer as she waited for House, imagining the sharp click of each heel muted to a thud as she walked over Michael Tritter's face. The trailer rocked a little as she stomped along, swearing under her breath. The door opened and House shook off his guard and hauled himself up the couple of steps.
"An hour might not be enough!" he called after the guard. "Not with a woman as insatiable as this one!" He slammed the door and turned to her. "Terrible as an army with banners," he said admiringly as she stepped over and touched his throat. Glands were normal. "Now I understand how the hospital stays open," he told her, his vocal cords vibrating against her fingertips.
"How's your pain level?" she asked, putting her thumbs on his cheekbones so that she could check his pupils. Slightly dilated, probably because he was hurting, but at least they were giving him something.
"Miserable," he said. "Are we really pregnant? When I say we, I mean you. Wilson's careful."
"No," she said shortly. "Especially given we haven't had sex. Something of a prerequisite, they tell me."
"Not in our modern age. What grad student doesn't want to make a quick buck donating to a sperm bank? For that matter, what doctor? You could have my kid and not even know it." He stepped away from her and threw himself down on the narrow bed, stretching out with a sigh of relief. "More like it. Care to join me?" He patted the mattress and raised one eyebrow.
She reached for the hem of her sweater and began to tug it upwards until she could get a hand into her bra. House propped himself up on his elbows, watching her with interest. The muscles of her stomach tightened under his gaze. "I didn't really expect that line to work," he murmured, and she wondered how he made the transition from flippant to turned on sound so easy.
"Shut up," she told him, and extracted two slightly damp Vicodin from her bra. House's mouth quirked in amusement and his eyes were bright. The longing she saw in his face made her heart clench a bit. He was brilliant and independent and there were so many things he didn't know and so many things he didn't want to need. Maybe she was one of them for now.
"Why, Cuddy," he said, low and reverent. "I didn't know you cared. At least, not enough to take up a life of crime." She dropped the pills into his hand and he cradled them in his palm. "Little moist there. Doesn't it say keep in a cool dry place?"
"It's not a life of crime," she said. "I have a prescription in my bag. And I'm pretty sure you didn't want me smuggling them in any other way." She looked with distaste at the rickety chairs and pushed at his feet until he moved and she could sit gingerly on the edge of the bed.
"Stop fussing," he said. "Clean sheets. I had Wilson in here yesterday and they managed to get all the blood out. Virgins."
She rolled her eyes at him and cupped her cheek with one hand, propping her elbow on her knee. "Take the pills."
"You wouldn't happen to have a couple of fingers of Scotch in there?" he asked, eyeing her breasts.
"As you no doubt noticed, there's no room for fingers of any kind," she said tartly. "Take the damn pills. It's a temporary fix, but I figured you might appreciate a pain-free few hours. God, what my mother would say if she knew. No husband, no kids, and now I'm smuggling prescription narcotics into jail."
"Only selectively," he said, tipping the pills into his mouth and working them over with a look of relief before swallowing. "You've got a good cause. But you shouldn't tell your mother. She might stop sending me Hannukah cards."
"I can't believe she still does that," Cuddy muttered. "It's because she thinks you're the reason I got an A in biochemistry. I never should have told her that you were writing one of my references for med school. She thinks I have my MD because of you. And because the time you met was the only five minutes in the last twenty years that you haven't been a jackass."
"I know how to play the Jewish mothers," he said dreamily. "First time I've gotten rewards from someone who thought I was sleeping with their child."
She slapped his calf. "She did not think we were sleeping together!"
"Yes, she did. But it's fine. Biochem's tough." He looked her over. "You're more attractive now anyway. Especially when you're homicidal. Those snapping eyes, those flushed cheeks - very sexy."
"Incorrigible," she muttered, feeling the heat rise again in her face.
"Ever made out with a criminal?" he asked. "We're here for another fifty minutes and we've run out of interesting topics of conversation, unless the kids have been getting up to hijinks in my absence."
"They just bicker a lot," she said. "Foreman's pro tem head and Cameron's bitchy about it. When did she get a spine?"
"Powell," he said, "but some days I wish she'd give it back. Wilson?"
"Thought you saw him yesterday," she teased. "He mopes a lot. He's stopped defending his lunches, though. He'll be easy prey by the time you get back."
"Presuming Nurse Previn continues with her reign of terror," he said, "we have now officially run out of interesting topics, since none of you are astute or unethical enough to do the kind of gossip-gathering I need. I've been training Chase up, but he's just not ready yet. He's scared of the big house, too. No visits at all. On the plus side, that leaves you and me a good forty-five minutes for conjugating. Excellent. Never let anyone tell you you're inefficient, Cuddy." He grinned at her, showing that dimple she almost never remembered he had. He looked more relaxed, mischievous again. He didn't usually hit on her quite this blatantly, she thought, and remembered the narcotics.
"I forgot that since you've been mostly off the Vicodin, two pills would make you high," she said, leaning forward to check his pupils again. It was a long reach; she shifted her hips closer to his but still had to lean. His eyes were very blue and the pupils were very large. "Shit. They're definitely going to be able to tell if you're acting this way."
"I'm not high," he said. "There are other causes for dialated pupils. I just want to kiss you."
She frowned at him. He was watching her intently. At least the fear was gone, and some of the exhaustion, but his behavior was erratic. "Greg, be serious."
"You haven't called me that since Stacy left the first time," he said, and pushed up on his elbows again and kissed her. Instinctively she leaned into the heat of his mouth, her lips parting against his. God, it had been a long time since she kissed anyone. House pulled gently at her lower lip and she sighed, then tasted the pills on his lips and felt the rough sheets under her palm and remembered why she shouldn't be doing this. She pulled back.
"Greg," he said firmly.
"Greg," she said, but it was too intimate; she couldn't make his name snap anymore and it came out tender and breathy. "House, we can't do this."
"Do what, kiss? Of course we can. We're consenting adults. And I'm pretty sure that's why we're in this trailer."
"You're my employee," she said. "I can't sleep with you. And in case it escaped your notice, you're in jail. Life is complicated enough already."
"You just significantly compromised your reputation in order to get me alone," he pointed out. "Tritter's going to use that kind of information to his advantage."
"It was a lie," she said.
"People will believe it," he said. "People always have. The way I see it, you might as well get some benefit out of it."
"Like kissing you is such a benefit compared to the utter destruction of my credibility," she muttered.
"Gratitude is hard for me," he said, and pushed her hair away from her face with one warm hand. "This is all I've got. You can go back to plausible deniability when you leave. Wilson will back you up, at least. He'd never believe you'd sleep with me. Tritter's got no proof, since you're not actually pregnant."
"I can't believe he would do this to you," she said. House, so subdued he was talking gratitude. "Humility is one thing. Humiliation is another." She was getting angry all over again, the heat building under her breastbone. If it was anyone's right to break House, it was hers or Wilson's, not some cranky detective's. They were the ones who had put up with House, cared for him, wanted him, fought with him, fought for him.
"You were pretty magnificent toe-to-toe with the fuzz," he said, and kissed her again, and she was so distracted by fury and a sense of inevitability that she went with it, kissing him hard. Maybe there wasn't justice, but at least there was this. She kissed him for all the frustration of the past few weeks. It was too much effort to keep leaning over him, so she just settled onto his body, breasts pressed up against his chest. He had too many bones and so did she, the two of them a matched pair, but they fit together fine. His tongue pushed against hers and she let him feel the edges of her teeth delicately against his lips. She hadn't done anything this reckless since college.
"Cuddy," he said against her mouth.
"Shut up," she said, and wriggled so that she was lying more comfortably on him, careful about his thigh but possessive, spread over him as much as the limits of her small frame would allow. "Kiss me," she said, but he already was, his head lifted off the thin pillow and the muscles of his neck standing out under her fingers. Make it real, she thought, make it true.
It felt true, the way his mouth pressed against hers, the way his hips rose a little, the way his body tightened as she touched him. She shifted her pelvis against his and it was startling to realize how much she wanted to fuck him, to redeem some of the anger. She was hot for him, an ache building between her legs. Maybe her frustration with him had always been part desire.
"Really?" he said, as if they were continuing a conversation. Maybe they were.
"Yes," she said, and it was a relief to finally say yes to him. He had a hand up her sweater and one caressing her back and she was unknotting in places she had forgotten she had knots. She laughed against his mouth. It was ridiculous to get to this point now, here, this damned if she did, damned if she didn't way. She put her palm against his bare hip where the jumpsuit had slid away and thought between kisses about how many people over the years had accused her of sleeping with House, and how it had never been true until now. Might as well have fun with it. She grinned and broke away from his mouth, dappling the rest of his face with smaller kisses as he let his head drop to the pillow.
"I didn't really think you'd be into the incarceration thing," he said, one hand sliding down to cup her ass as she knelt carefully over him.
"Mmmm, well. It's too bad they didn't leave the handcuffs on you, but I guess we have to save something for later." She said it trying to be dangerous, suited to the moment. She didn't really think there'd be an next time for them, back in the sane, stable world where the windows didn't come with handsome bars, but then again she had seen the way that Stacy always listed toward House when he came into a room, regardless of whether she wanted to or not.
"I knew there was a reason I loved you," he said, smirking as he proved there was room for fingers inside her bra. Her heart caught like a struck match: first the scrape of his words, then the endless suspended moment of wondering hope, then the sudden flare into light and heat. Her last doubt went up in flames. For this moment, for this last tawdry half hour in this stupid humiliating trailer, she was going to make something of it, because by God, she sure as hell wasn't ashamed of House or of wanting to fuck him, no matter what Tritter said about her common sense. Everybody wanted. Not everybody did, but she was going to.
"We're going to have sex now," she murmured to House, who was biting her ear.
"I had suspected," he mumbled around her earlobe. "About the time you threw your leg over me." She ran the tip of her nose down his neck and he released her ear, shivering, and shifted against her so she could feel his erection against her thigh. "No objections here." He reached down under to push at the waistband of his pants, letting his wrist rub against her tender skin. "Good thing these are slip-off." He wriggled and the pants rumpled down his thighs as she helped him tug.
"Hmm," she said. "Get the shirt off too."
"Taking advantage of my diminished liberties?" he asked. "I should report you to the authorities." She sat back, carefully moving her hips so as not to crush him, and drank him in with her eyes as he struggled out of the loose ugly top.
"No," she said, with a grin she knew he'd enjoy, feral hunger glinting in her eyes. "I'm just controlling in bed. As you suspected." His cock twitched against the inside of her thigh. "But I'm willing to respond in kind." She skinned out of her sweater and folded it before tossing it onto the little table. Her heart was still alight; she wondered if he could see the glow of it under her skin. Her bra had shifted uncomfortably where his fingers had moved the band, so she just took it off. He made a little noise in his throat.
"Worth doing time for?" she asked.
"Absolutely," he said, and put one hand on the back of her bare shoulder, drawing her down so that he could get his mouth on her breasts. She moaned a little as his lips closed over her nipple. His other hand pushed between her legs, his fingers pushing aside the thin fabric of her panties, his thumb against her clit as he pushed just his fingertips into her, testing.
"Fuck," she said helplessly.
"Is that a question or a command?" he murmured around a mouthful of her breast, his teeth grazing her and the vibrations of his voice running electric through her skin.
"Now," she said. "Damn, they took my bag. No condom."
"No pockets," he said, releasing her breast. "Fuck." She weighed the disappointment in his eyes, the ache between her legs, the "neg" in the little window the other week, and the heat of desire and love evaporated the negatives.
"You clean?" she asked, and watched his eyes light up again.
"You still looking for donations?" he asked, and she nodded, tightly.
"Risk you're willing to take?"
"Anything to wipe that smug look of Tritter's face," he said flippantly, twisting the detective's name with loathing, but there were a lot of unsaid words in the way he looked at her, a moment of indecision that crystallized into a tentative certainty.
"Okay," she said, and he twisted his fingers up into her, and her back arched. His thumb made quick circles and his fingertips rubbed oh God just the right spot inside her, and his other hand pressed her closer so that he can drag his mouth across her breasts again. A strange high choking moan came out of her mouth and he pulled at her breasts with that amazing, cynical mouth.
"Cuddy," he said into her cleavage, coaxing, sexy, almost a growl. She came so fast it startled her, another squeaky moan and a long breath blown out into his hair.
"It does get better with age," she said shakily, resting against his palm and his mouth.
"Maybe for you," he said. "Little more difficult for those of us of the male persuasion."
"I suspect you can still be persuaded," she said, even though it was clear that he wasn't going to be having many problems today. She moved down his body, kissing his chest and stomach, thinking about how kind age had been to him despite everything. She let her lips graze the heat of his erection, but kissed the angry scar on his thigh, just barely brushing his skin with her mouth, before moving back to taste his cock. He sighed and tangled a hand in her hair. She wrapped her tongue around his head, swallowing the salty moisture she found, licking at his satiny skin.
He groaned as his hips jerked a little. "Someday you're going to tell me where you learned that."
"Only if you're good," she said, pulling back for a moment.
"I'll be gooooooood," he said, as she took him into her mouth again. "Fuck, Cuddy. I can't...god." He tugged gently at her hair. She let him slide out of her mouth as House drew her up his body, and she hooked a thumb through her panties and maneuvered out of them. He slid his hands up her thighs under her skirt, which she wasn't sure why she was still wearing, but it didn't seem worth it to take it off at this point, though it got in the way a bit as she wrapped a hand around him to guide him into her.
"Oooh," she said as she settled so that her hips were flush against his. She was sensitive, maybe too sensitive, and his pubic bone was solid against her clit, and she ground helplessly against him, rocking a little. He held her thighs, hissing under his breath, urging her on. She bent forward and he leaned up to kiss her. They were breathless before their mouths met, a shapeless desire that resulted in sloppy, formless kisses that were good anyway. But it was too much strain on his back and hers, and he fell back with a grunt and she let her back arch.
"Later," he said, with an intense look in his eyes. "Good to know," he puffed, "you've got...other uses...for that pretty mouth...than shouting."
"Lots," she said simply, moving faster against him. "Ooh." The tilt of her hips meant that he was thrusting against that place inside of her again, and she ground her clit against him, and when had the trailer filled up with stars? It was hot, so hot, and everything was bright, and House had one hand gripping her thigh and the other cradling her breast, and his thumb rubbed over her nipple and oh, it was enough, it was too much, and she was shouting again, but in a way she suspected he liked better than the usual reprimands. The arches of her feet were all pins and needles and her legs tingled.
"Hold on," he panted, but her knees wouldn't hold her. She melted, sliding sideways, and he laid her on her side, pulling her knee over his hip, kissing her face, pushing into her until his back arched and his hips jerked.
"God," he said, and "Cuddy" and then he didn't say anything for a good five minutes, which she thought must be a record for him. She kissed him, lips roaming over his face without purpose, and he kissed her back automatically whenever her skin rested against his mouth. Someone hammered discreetly at the door. Cuddy groaned and checked her watch.
"Shit. Time's up." She searched for her panties and bra, dragged them on, pushed her tingling arms into the sweater and pulled it over her head. He struggled back into his jumpsuit and she thought about how much he would need a shower.
"I could always use yours," he said, and she realized she'd said it out loud.
"I think that would be too little, too late," she said, adjusting her skirt as the guard knocked again
"They're releasing me in a couple of hours," he said mildly. "Thought you knew? I gave Wilson a note for you."
She put her hands on her hips, looking him over. He had that smirk back, the one that made her want to slap him. She settled for punching him in the shoulder. "Oh, fuck you, House." She saw the shards of her professionalism scattered around his feet, her authority compromised. Not that he ever listened anyway. And it had been worth it: his eyes were fierce again, no fear in them, less exhaustion.
"If you were serious about that shower, I could come by tonight."
She thought about saying no. She thought about it for a long two minutes while he fidgeted and she rubbed her thighs together under the skirt just to feel the slickness. The guard knocked on the door again and she threw it open, giving the uniformed lackey a look of complete disdain. She wanted her bag, she wanted her shower, and she wanted to go to the store to buy something to feed to House before she took him back to bed.
"See you later," she said to House. "Sweetcheeks."