Chapter 2

I was asked to continue with the story. This is it.

Cuddy woke up early. As usual 10 minutes before her alarm went off, and plenty of time before Rachel woke up. This morning things were different and she knew it instantly, the minute her eyes opened. In fact, all through the night as she had drifted in and out of sleep, she had never lost sight of the fact that Dr House was lying in her bed with his arms wrapped around her.

Sure, it had been a platonic night. But seeing House breakdown like that would call for a much more awkward awakening than a night of sex would have. She was lying on her back, on her side of the bed, and House had sprawled over the remainder of the bed with his head on her stomach and his arms wrapped around her lower waist. They had just fallen asleep last night. Her hand in his hair, and on his back. He exhausted probably from a full night of fighting back a surge of emotions. Emotions that he was not now, nor probably ever going to be willing to deal with.

She reached over and shut the alarm before it went off. Then she lay there quietly breathing wondering how on earth she was going to extricate herself from his grasp. And just how they would manage to face each other. Of course she would have no problem facing him. In fact, last night had somehow managed to open her heart a little bit more when it came to House. Obiously she hadn't enjoyed seeing him in so much pain, but she had been glad to have been the one he seeked out for comfort.

Slowly she pulled one arm out from around her waist, and slid herself from his grasp and out of the bed.

She pulled on her robe, then went about the room to quietly gather the clothing that she would need for the day. She shut the door behind her feeling sure that House would want to sleep in, or at least pretend to do so.

Quickly she took a shower, and then putting on her bathrobe went in to get Rachel whom she could hear had started gurgling quietly in her crib.

"Good morning beautiful girl" she smiled, reaching into the crib. She picked her up and held the soft warm body against her chest momentarily before heading towards the changing table. Her baby. Her beautiful little girl. She had come into her life due to someone else's tragic circumstances. A death, abandonment, someone's refusal to accept her. This was her legacy. Had Kutner held onto his past and let it obliterate his future?

She pushed those thoughts out of her head and quickly changed and dressed her daughter. By the time the nanny arrived Rachel had been fed and packed up. With a quick explanation of a sleeping guest, Cuddy arranged for the Nanny to take Rachel out first thing.

She let out a sigh of relief. Now House could take his time getting up and out. She went into the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee, then headed back towards the bathroom to get dressed.

Within twenty minutes Cuddy was dressed, blow-dried and made up. The only task left to conquer, was that of waking up House. As worried and apprehensive as she felt, she took a deep breath and headed down the hall to her room. She stood for a moment with her hand on the door. Her memories returned to the previous night. His anger, his grief. The way he had felt in her arms, succumbing to all of those emotions. Yes, it would be hard. But she could face him.

She quietly opened the door to her bedroom. House had shifted since she had gone. Rolled over onto his side, on the opposite side of the bed, facing away from her. She walked over and glanced down, he seemed to still be sleeping. She placed the glass of fresh water on a napkin on the nightstand beside him, and then walked over to the chair where he had strewn his clothes the night before. She picked up his dress shirt and ran her fingers over it trying to smooth out the wrinkles, then hung it over the back of the chair. She found his jeans and picked them up, feeling the pockets for his bottle of vicodin so that she could place it within his reach on the nightstand. She then folded the jeans and placed them on the chair as well.

Silently, House watched her. His blue eyes open against the pillow, watching as she neatened his clothes. Wondering at first why she was searching his pants then filled with a fresh wave of emotion as he saw her take his vicodin and reach towards the night stand, knowing he would need it upon wakening. He quickly closed his eyes, feigning sleep as she turned around, then felt the weight and warmth of her body as she sat beside him on the edge of the bed.

Cuddy sat down on the edge of the bed besides House's sleeping form. She looked down at him and felt a surge of sadness. She lifted a hand and tentatively touched his hair. Running her fingers gently along his graying temples before resting her hand on his back. She rubbed his back slowly and whispered "House….Greg, it's morning."

He had been surprised at first to feel her fingers in his hair, then on his back. He knew that sooner or later he had to open his eyes and face her. He didn't want to face her. To see her. To anything. Last night had been a huge mistake. He had come here for what, comfort ? He was a grown man, and he had ended up sobbing into her arms. Cuddy's arms of all people. Cuddy. Cuddy. Now he would have to face her. The kindness, and understanding nods, the wanting to reach out to him. Augh ! Why hadn't he just gone to Wilson's house?

Last night had been her fault after all. Her kindness. Her quiet concern. Her warm , soothing body. How long had it been since he had lain in bed with a woman like that.

"Greg," she called out again now moving her hand to rest on his bare forearm, slowly rubbing back and forth, enjoying the warmth of his skin.

He knew he had to open his eyes. He couldn't lie like this forever. He hated having to face her. Having to face anyone, in fact.

"I'm up ." he said keeping his eyes closed. She lifted her hand immediately. He knew she would. She didn't want to deal with this as much as he didn't , he thought.

"I put a glass of water and your pills on the nightstand." She said. "There's coffee made in the kitchen." Then she paused and placing a hand on his shoulder continued. "Rachel is out with her nanny, so…you can rest a little more…or….come in to work…or…anyway, you'll be alone."She didn't know what to say. Well, she knew what to say, it should be something like "are you okay, let me stay with you a while, I'm here for you, " but of course with House those things were better left unsaid. She could tell by the silence that he would want to forget last night. She, however, was sure she could not.

"Thanks" was all he said, as he opened up his eyes to face her.

Cuddy gazed down at him, making it a point to not seem embarrassed, or heavy hearted, of which she was both, and said "Okay then, I'm headed off to work."

She lifted her hand and placed it on his arm again, wanting to give an awkward parting squeeze. But, before she could remove it House placed his hand on top of hers and held it there. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Then opened them and squeezed her hand, before opening his eyes again. "Can I shower here ?" he asked

"Of course" she replied, "anything" surprised that he still held firmly to her hand.

"Okay" he grumbled, releasing her hand and sitting up. "I'll be in today." He rubbed a hand through his hair, then reached for his pills.

Cuddy sat up quickly, and rubbed her hands over her skirt smoothing it. She reached over and took the water handing it to him.

"Thanks." He nodded as he tossed two pills down his throat and took a swig of the water.

She took the glass back, and turned to leave as she saw him flip the blankets back and carefully move his leg to the edge of the bed.

"Let me get your cane." She said and hurried out of the room to the living room where she had left it the night before. She felt oddly embarrassed at the prospect of seeing him in her bed, in his boxers. It was like the morning after, but of course the only intimacy they had shared had been emotional.

She headed into the hallway to find him standing there, outside of her bedroom. He had a hand against the wall for support, and was placing all of his weight on his good leg. His good leg. Muscular and toned, long and well defined. She tried to avoid looking at the scar. The chunk missing from his thigh, the thick disfigured skin stretched over the empty flesh.

He looked up and caught her staring at his leg. As if he hadn't been humiliated enough. "Like what you see ?" he asked flippantly.

"Actually I do." She answered meeting his steady blue gaze with an unwavering one of her own. She handed him his cane, and he grabbed it tapping it twice on the ground, befor looking away.

What am I doing ? What am I saying? "I do like what I see." , she repeated. Deep down inside, she knew, under the antagonism, and bitterness they often shared, she knew that she probably loved what she saw. Especially after last night. House was human after all, she smiled to herself.

He stared at her, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. "Don't do this." He said simply. "Last night, I…"

"Don't explain away last night." She said cutting him off, "Greif can often make people act in a peculiar way Greg, you know that." She stated simply as she took a step forward closing the gap between them.

His eyes never left hers as she placed her hand on his cheek, then leaned forward and up to kiss him gently, but fully on the lips.

"I'll see you at work." She whispered as she pulled away, her hand still on his cheek. His fiercely blue eyes still locked on hers, his breath held tightly in his lungs. Then she dropped her hand turned away, and headed down the hall.

House watched her, frozen, in his boxers and t-shirt, his hand grasping his cane, as she gathered her things and headed out the door.

Please review. Worth continuing ?