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A fic/prompt, because this is what happens before my work days.

For [livejournal.com profile] katernater and [livejournal.com profile] cryptictac.

Fic And The Rain Continued to Fall
Show House M.D.
Characters House, Cuddy, Wilson, mention of Amber.
Words 728

The slope of his shoulders was a downward signal of admitted defeat, not yet recognized but on the cusp of happening, with fine tremors in the back of his neck the last dying throes of resistance. Anyone could voice their unwillingness to give up, the vehement desire to oppose adversity and overcome the trials and tribulations that came with a day's breath or a life's opening of eyes, from great to small or significant to not. He was the kind of man who cared about the great and small and the significant and not, weighed out separately and all wrapped together, about the impacts they had on the people around him. It was in his nature to fix and repair and heal, by conversation or touch, and when he couldn't, he carried the weight of those times on his shoulders. Now, he looked as if the world were there, carving an indentation at the base of his neck. She was struck with the memory of a story of mythology from her school days, of Icarus rolling a great ball up a hill only to have it melt in the heat of the sun as it became closer. There was no reprieve, no melting of tension or weight from him, in fact it seemed to increase and solidify, double its mass.

Cuddy moved to stand behind him, to look over his shoulder by means of her peripheral vision. The rain hadn't stopped for hours, leaving the world in a crowd of pale, granite clouds that showed no break, instead covered the sky like a heavy winter's blanket. Her hand lifted, fingers outstretched in the means of touching his shoulder but she was moving uncharacteristically slow as if she were a weary swimmer treading water.

Wilson didn't look at her and at first she was grateful, because telling a grieving man their loved one was hovering at death's edge was easier done without eye contact. Later, Cuddy wouldn't remember what exact words she had used to tell him to say good-bye to Amber, only that it was a gentle deviation from the professional condolences she had been taught to give when she was a medical student with sprung curls and the rest of her life ahead of her. She wouldn't remember how long they stood there, her arms around his shaking shoulders and his tears soaking the shoulder of her blouse, or the confidences he gave up to her in choked whispers about Amber, admittances never made and now given to the open air, time and infinity itself.

What Cuddy would remember most would be the rain.

- - - - -


It was still raining hours later, invisible in the hospital room because the curtains and blinds were closed, the room darker inside than out. The monitors whirred and hummed quietly, a consistent cadence to mark time by, the in and out of his breath keeping a strange upbeat. Her breathing had fallen to mimic the same pattern as his, an unthinking alteration she hadn't realized she had taken. House was still, his face a shade near to ashen, his hands laying flat against the blanket, the rise and fall of his chest barely visible. Cuddy had shifted from sitting upright to a curled position, her feet tucked to hide them from the air conditioned chill.

Some time later she reached across the metal railing and took his hand in hers, working her small fingers around his heavier, unresponsive ones. The pads of her fingers yielded small indentations to accommodate the bumps of his knuckles, a grounding reminder of reality's weight. His pulse was still beating, and that pattern of thrumming was a greater reassurance to her than anything the machines could offer in all of their technological advancements.

Amber was dead, Wilson was gone, and House's guilt was impossible to misplace. The world was turning itself madly onward without hesitation, uprooting lives and taking emotions into its upheaval to be tossed about in the wind from the storm. There was no way to know when it would stop or what would be left in its wake when it did, what would be left to salvage if there was any want to search through the debris in hope of a better future.

The world was changing, life was ending and going on, and still, outside, it continued to rain.

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February 2011

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