Title: Under Cover of Night
Muse: Lisa Cuddy
Fandom: House M.D.
Word Count: 1,051
Prompt: We didn't plan this!
Notes: for katernater; our roleplay threads are used as backstory.
Also posted here for muse writing purposes.
The babysitter had called three times, not with the urgency that other twentysomethings would have used, but then again it was a Monday night. If it had been Friday and there was a date with another twentysomething on the horizon, the chances were high that Cuddy would have been bombarded with relentless messages about overtime payments and time off, prior commitments and other excuses that all came with the want for companionship, nearness, the desperate desire to connect not only on an emotional level but on the physical, primal basis of need to be touched, held, made to feel as if they were, for those few moments, the focus of the world. It wasn't anything that could last and be healthy, but that didn't mean it was any less sought after, any less precious.
It was dark when she opened her eyes and cold air was licking across her spine where there was no cover to be found, no shelter to be had. But in contrast the part of her that was cold was small, because most of the world around her was warm. The heavy, pounding beat of his heart hadn't pulled her from sleep, in fact it had lulled her in the comfortable embrace of satiation and contentment she hadn't known in years.
The events of the past hours didn't have to come back to her because they had never left.
It had been her kiss that initiated it but he was the one who closed the door, barring off any means of escape (if she had been wanting to take it) and descending his mouth to hers with the same insistent force he'd shown when Joy had been lost. He had kissed her then in the hallway outside a painted yellow room (canary yellow, she could still remember picking out the shade) and there had been a moment where she had been certain he would kiss her again and her resolve would crumble, the shapeless gray sweater she had pulled on would be pulled away with far less ceremony, and he would take her into the cool, isolated bedroom where she would have gone to cry and given her back the feeling she had thought lost forever.
But this time had been different. It had been twenty years in coming, since the last time they had been together this way. He had been sneaking glances at her in endocrinology class and she had feigned the guise of a student (auditing was similar but not the same, a slight variation of the truth well worth the deception) and they had come together - at the on campus bar in the shadow of the dance floor, outside in the fluffy drifts of winter snow, his apartment's bedroom and couch, and other places still – come together and found each other before he left for Chicago in search of his future.
Years had passed, and they had come together again.
He breathed again and his chest rose to meet hers, the inhale of air too deep to be one that came from the comfortabe pattern of sleep. It was enough to tell her that he was awake and she stirred in the half embrace of his body warmth, the fringe of her eyelashes dusting across his chest as she blinked into a greater state of awareness. It would be daylight soon, and in daylight there was no room to hide. The shadows were chased away into the corners of the room where they could wait for another fall of night, but there was the cool, bright light of reason to contend with and in that light nothing could be denied.
This wasn't supposed to happen. She was supposed to be at home with Rachel, listening to her young, even breathing and wait for the quiet whimper of wanting for her morning bottle, padding across the cool floorboards in either her stocking feet or slippers. But it had taken so little – and yet so much, so very much – to sway her plans, to send her into the familiar interior of his apartment to collide head first with the demons that would arise from within. Detox was never pretty or pleasant no matter who went through it, and in the end he hadn't asked for Wilson.
He had asked for her, and she had gone to him.
But this, this part, this wasn't supposed to happen.
And yet it had.
“Don't move.” His voice was a dark, heavy murmur in the room's dimness, and its origin would have been invisible to anyone else looking in and onward. But she could feel his breathing pattern and the rumbling tremor of his speech as well as the bristling tickle of his cheek against hers. Somewhere in the middle of her thoughts he had come awake, quietly and without announcement the way she had always thought he would.
“It's almost morning,” she said by way of response, because morning meant daylight and daylight meant facing reality again. It was a good, plausible argument, reasonable and built upon the building blocks of a strong mind while laced with the slight fear of the unknown. By all trades and means, it would have been the right answer.
But it wasn't, and admittedly she had never been so glad to have him disprove her.
“I need you.”
The words moved around in the walls of the room again and Cuddy knew they would remain in her mind long after the sun had come up the rest of the way and tried to make her believe something other than what had been screaming itself in the center of her chest. She would carry it with her long after, and disregard the consequences entirely.
Some things were worth the consequences. And the sitter would stay with Rachel, she wouldn't leave her, and Cuddy would make it up to her. To both of them. But it wasn't daylight yet, and as long as they were under the cover of night they didn't have to yet face the truth.
With her eyes closed again she murmured her consent against his chest, and House passed a hand through her hair in what might have been an unthinking gesture before releasing a slow breath and giving back in to sleep.