Title: The Colour of a Kiss
Muse: Lisa Cuddy
Word Count: 808
Notes: For katernater and a realmof_themuse prompt response.
(ooc: I started writing this when the episode started and decided to finish it even after the ending.)
The room wasn't warm when she opened her eyes, but her skin was. He didn't sleep beneath several heavy blankets the way other men chose to, wanting to shift and rustle around beneath layers to find the perfect nesting opsition of comfort, instead there was only a comforter and sheets, the way that she slept at night, too. It had been strangely easy to fall asleep here, afterwards, and later she would wonder as to the reason why – whether it had been from exertion or from comfort and as to which one was the more frightening prospect.
But now the sun wasn't up yet, and she didn't want to think too closely, too critically just yet.
He didn't snore but he breathed a deep, heavy inhale that shifted his shoulders and filled his chest, and she knew the latter because she could feel it. Somewhere in the middle of the night (or the little part of it that had been devoted to actual slumber) she had nested herself against his chest, her head against his shoulder. Her hair was hopelessly mussed, her shoulder was aching whenever she tried to move it and the tips of her toes were cold from where the blanket wasn't quite covering her.
None of that mattered. At least, not right now.
She'd have to get up at some point, have to find her blazer and blouse, and find her way home because if she came to work wearing the same thing two days in a row, someone would notice and there would be no denial plausible enough for her to actually follow through on. No, she couldn't stay, and if she was there when he woke up, he might never let her leave -
- or she might never want to leave.
He inhaled again and shifted, and this time she let him turn onto his side into the position familiar to his sleeping habits, something comfortable that she'd seen him curl up in over times before. From this angle he looked vulnerable, innocent in a way, and she would have given herself up to thinking that way a bit more if a smile hadn't twitched at the corner of her lips and let her know just how insane that thought might be.
So after all of it, there it is. Gregory House, being tender.
And he had been tender with her. Not the way that came from paperback romance novels, but with a different kind of gentleness that was unique only to him, that came from better, more gentle places inside of him that he hid away from the world, as if they were harsh wounds that couldn't be exposed to air. Cuddy knew she would carry that tenderness with her, in her hair and against her skin, even after she showered and tried to hide any evidence of what happened from the hospital's prying eyes.
It took some careful movement but Cuddy managed to detach herself from the sheets without disturbing him. He shifted again and the movement caught her attention from the corner of her eye.
Will he ignore this ever happened? Look the other way? No, that would be too easy. This will probably be the fodder for merciless torment for the next ten or fifteen – or twenty – years.
But then again..
Then again it might not be. Then again, there was the possibility catastrophe wasn't the only outcome, that there was a chance something good, something surprising and unthought of, that would change things but in a way that didn't have to be adverse. The possibility was remote (maybe not so remote if she was honest with herself) but it was still there, and its presence was enough to bring a smile back to her face.
Her shoes were beside his end of the bed, somehow having fallen there when he'd swept her up and halfway across his bed, and when she bent to retrieve them she caught a view of his face she hadn't expected to have. The same tender, resting expression that matched his posture. It caught hold of her heart and rattled it loose in her chest, tugging away the capability to inhale a full breath, and in that moment caught in time's clutches, Cuddy brought her lips to his cheek. It wasn't the kind of kiss that hurried, instead it gave her a chance to be close to him again, and the parts of her mind that had lain quiet before now popped up and roared to life, telling her just how much she had wanted that very thing.
When she finally had to leave, her perfume hung in the air and her lipstick was against his cheek, and somehow, despite the worried fear gnawing at her lower stomach, there was still a smile tucked into the corner of her mouth.
Title: The Colour of a Kiss