Breaking the Dam
I wrote this after last week's episode. This is what I would have liked to have seen happen after Kutner's death. It picks up right where the episode ends.
He didn't want to see anybody. He didn't want to talk to anybody. But he knew he couldn't be alone. His mind would go and go and go. Like a hamster running on its wheel. He would run over the same things over and over until he went insane.
The bike basically drove itself to Cuddy's. Cuddy of all people. She would try to help. Screw it. He was on autopilot. Pulling up in front of her house that late, pulling his helmet off and sitting there, eyes shut against the darkness. The slow painful steps to the front door. His hand basically knocking on its own.
He stood in the dark for only moments until the door swung open. Lisa Cuddy stood before him, pulling a silky bathrobe tightly across the front of her Teddy. Her eyes red and puffy, her hair slightly mussed.
"Greg" she said reaching for his forearm, gently grasping him and pulling him in. "Come in, I've been worried about you. You weren't at the memorial and…"
His head hung down as he stepped inside but when he raised those deep blue eyes to look at her, she stopped talking. House was cold. What emotions he did have he kept bottled deep inside, and as much as she cared about him, she did not want to be the one to pull the lid off tonight. He was wrecked. That much she could tell.
"Come in," she simply repeated and shut the door behind him. "Come on, come sit down." She headed into the living room, and he followed stopping in the doorway.
She looked at him, for a moment, thankful that his head still hung low. She was scared to make eye contact. Scared of what she might see. "House, "she whispered causing his eyes to flick up momentarily, "let me get you a drink." She went to the kitchen and came back with a glass, in the corner on the far end of the room was a liqueur cabinet; she went and pored him some scotch. When she turned around he was sitting on the ottoman, his bad leg stretched out in front of him, his cane leaning up against it.
She walked up and sat on the arm of the chair besides him, and held out the scotch.
"Thanks," he said, reaching for it and taking a long slow sip. Those were the first words he had spoken so far. "I needed that"
They sat in silence for a while, then he closed his eyes and said "I was at Kutners. During the service, I was at his house." She pressed her lips together into a firm line and nodded silently. "I just sat on his couch and…" he trailed off and stared at the glass of scotch before taking a small sip.
She wanted to touch him, to hold him, to tell him that everyone had their own way to grieve; instead she tapped him lightly on the forearm again and said simply, "the service was lovely."
He nodded once silently. He was glad after all that he hadn't gone home to his quiet apartment. He needed the distraction. That's all this was, a temporary distraction.
"House" she said leaving her hand lingering on is arm, "I think you should stay here tonight." She wanted to convince him. Was sure she had to. He couldn't go home to an empty apartment by himself, not tonight. "It's late, you seem tired and upset and…"
He nodded, "Thanks, "he said again cutting her off.
"Okay" she said, getting up "let me get you some sheets and blankets to make up the couch."
She headed down the hall contemplating how lousy he must feel. It surprised her that he had agreed so readily to stay. She had expected him to put up some sort of fight, but was glad when he didn't. She went into the linen closet and pulled out sheets, a blanket, a pillow and a towel. Carrying those in a stack she returned to the living room. He was still in the same spot, but he had taken his coat off, and rested his glass on the coffee table, in his hand was a short stack of pictures.
She set the stack on the arm chair near him and started pulling the pillows off the couch. "Let me get the couch set up for you." She said.
"Don't" House said looking up at her. "I'll do it." He held the pictures out towards her "I took these from his house." He said.
Cuddy sat beside him and leaned forward, "can I see them?" she asked.
He didn't hand her the pictures but instead flipped slowly through them, it was a random selection. He dint even know what made him chose those particular ones. But now that he had them, he wished he had never seen them. Kutner looked so happy. So alive. Why the fuck had he ..?
So, he flipped slowly. Two of Kutner at the beach with a friend. One standing in front of his parent's house with them on either side. One of graduation from college. A couple with is dog. A few goofy ones in a lab coat. Two extreme close ups. The last one his face smiling, but half of it obscured by shadows.
"Greg," Cuddy placed a hand on his knee and rubbed it slowly. "Those are a really nice memory."
He nodded silently and kept staring straight ahead. She could tell he was working hard to keep everything deep down inside.
From the hallway they heard rustling and a slight squeaky sigh. Cuddy stood up and placed a hand on Houses shoulder. "I'm going to go check on Rachel. Do you need anything? Another drink? Help with the couch?"
"I'm all set" he replied, then looking down, "Cuddy…thanks."
Cuddy smiled softly at him before heading down the hallway towards the baby's room. Good for her he though. She has someone to keep her going. Someone to rely on her. Something in her life, other than work, to make her happy.
Down the hall Cuddy entered Rachel's room. The baby was not awake, just rustling around in her crib. She had flipped over onto her stomached and Cuddy reached a hand in rubbing her back slowly trying to make sure that she was completely asleep before turning her onto her back again. Why had he done it, she thought. So much life, so much potential. Why had he done it? What was there hidden deep inside that made him pull that trigger? Slowly she turned Rachel onto her back, and rested a hand on her tiny chest feeling it rise, hearing the tiny rapid heartbeat underneath her finger tips. His poor parents she thought. Who could stand to lose a child?
Satisfied that Rachel was asleep again she headed out of the room, pulling the door slightly shut behind her. She was headed towards her room, but seeing the light still on in the living room made her want to detour to check on House.
She was glad that she did. When she walked in she found him still sitting in the exact spot, still holding the pictures in his hand. Still gazing down at them.
"Greg" she said softly walking up to him. "Come on, you need to rest a little." Slowly she reached out for the pictures and gently pried them from his hand before placing the on the coffee table. "These will be right here tomorrow." She said.
He looked up at her, his eyes meeting hers for a minute before quickly looking away. The Blue so intense, but his eyes were strained tired, fighting back any semblance of emotion. Slowly He stood up and reached down for the pillow at the top of the stack.
Cuddy reached out and took the pillow out of his hand. Slowly she placed it back on top of the stack. She didn't know how to say it; how to do it, what would happen, but she did know that she did not want to turn her back on him. Not when he was like this. For House, this was reaching out. Agreeing to spend the night was maybe even a cry for help. She was nervous, even scared, as she reached out and took his hand turning to guide him down the hallway. "Come on" she said "Come lay down with me."
A hundred quips, a hundred smart remarks. A million nasty thoughts should have raced through his head. But all he did was let her pull him down the hallway into her room. He felt awful. Really awful. A huge lead weight in his chest that he fought to keep down there. Kutner was an ass. He couldn't even pretend to think that way. He had actually liked the guy.
Her room was dark. Lit only by the hallway nightlight. And Lord knows he had wanted to be in this position, dreamt of being in this position so many times. Cuddy pulling him into her room. But not now. Not like this.
He let go of her hand and headed into the bathroom. He peed, washed his hands and face, then ran his hands absentmindedly through his hair and stared in the mirror. Shit, he thought I look like hell. His scruff needed trimming; his eyes had been open for too long, they were red rimmed and exhausted looking. He had to go to sleep. More importantly, he had to make it through this night. No bullshit. No crack in the foundation. He reached in his jeans pocket and pulled out his pills. He popped two and swallowed them down. Pain killer's right? Maybe they would help. At the very least settle him down a bit.
House took a step into Cuddy's room and then froze on the doorway. He knew she had invited him. But he almost couldn't grasp it. She lay in the bed on her side facing him. Her lips pressed together in a grim smile. Her brow furrowed. She was worried about him. He knew it, and wanted to avoid it at all costs. No conversation, no prying, absolutely no trying to get his emotions out.
He limped across the room to the other side of the bed and sat on the edge. She had turned down the blankets for him. She did want him there after all.
He sat with his back to her and slowly undid the buttons on his shirt. He took it off and threw it on a nearby chair. He toed off his shoes one by one while he reached down to undue his belt buckle, and unsnap his pants. He stripped down his jeans and socks and threw them onto the chair with his shirt. Then, taking a deep breath he got into the bed.
He lay in the bed silently looking out into the dark. His back to Cuddy. Her back to him. He was tired thank God. Exhausted. Maybe this would keep his mind from going over and over the same details as he had all day. There was no puzzle to solve really. The solving should have been done weeks ago, months ago. It was too late now. He felt that solid lump that he had been choking down for the past couple of days coming slowly undone in his stomach, and he clenched his jaw together and shut his eyes trying to force it back down.
On the other side of the bed Cuddy lay motionless. Paralyzed really. She was sad of course. Stunned and shocked. But now she was afraid, afraid of what House would do. And how she would deal with it. Clearly he would try to hold everything in. That was the way he operated. But he had come here tonight. If not looking for help, at least in search of some company.
Then she heard it. The sound that made her freeze. She closed her eyes and held her breath. She heard it again, a long deep breath with a hitch in the middle. Then another, and another. Beneath her the bed trembled lightly. Without even thinking, without even speaking she turned to face him. His back was to her and he was curled onto his side. She reached a hand out and pulled him to her. "Come here." She whispered softly, pulling him into her arms.
House went willingly. She pulled his head onto her chest and held it there. One hand found its way into his hair, the other gently rubbed his back. He held onto her with both arms wrapped around her waist, and squeezed so hard he thought he would break her. With every hitched breath he held her tighter, hoping to push everything down. Force everything back where it belonged. But that warm body, those soft breasts and the feel of her hands gently holding him, coaxing him. He lay in her arms and let out soft silent sobs. Really it was no more than strained breathing, and some soft shaking. But they both knew what it was, and how hard it was for him to get there.
Cuddy didn't know how long it lasted. But she held him like that silently until they both fell asleep.
Thanks for reading. All reviews welcome !