Couples Collide...

Springing one sided denial separates couples, and so Greg Douglas and Lisa Cuddy take matters into their own hands.

Crossover fic between House M.D and Holby City. For those who don't watch one of them but the other, the storyline is easy enough to follow.

Chapter 1: This Is Not A Negotiation

He had been loitering in the doorway of her office for what seemed like an eternity, trying to pluck up the courage to dive in at the deep end and tell Connie how he felt. It had felt as if they'd both been denying it for so long, especially her.

Greg, not seeming to be the sort of person to feel this way, to get attached this way, felt as if he'd changed. Everyone saw him as a ladies man, eternal flirt and serial monogamist. To a certain extent he was, but he felt as if he'd found the right woman. And her name was Connie Rosa Beauchamp.

She had mid length raven hair that frizzed a little in curls around her face. Her face, although capable of a steely expression, he had seen at its softest. Her personality was of a fiery nature, but there was something underneath that exterior that was gentler, but that sassiness still remained. He knew that she'd fight to the death for the people she loved, he knew that things affected her more than she'd let on. He'd witnessed that, the day she let him in. Steadily his feelings of lust and attraction progressed and he'd found himself falling in love with her.

But could he ever mount up the courage to say it? Even though he felt this way, he still feared her when she was in 'work mode', and he feared rejection. He'd gathered from the general ward gossip that he'd heard that Connie Beauchamp was not one for serious relationships, just casual sex.

He wanted to be the one to change that.

Taking a deep breath, he took the plunge by knocking confidently on her office door, even though he was shivering inside.

'Come in,' she said briskly.

'Connie, can I talk to you for a moment?' asked Greg Douglas silently, fidgeting slightly with his hands in his pockets, taking them out to run a hand through his hair.

'What Greg?' she asked, her tone full of irritation. 'What do you want?'

Mentally wincing, he retreated slightly and said, 'Mark Williams is looking for you.' He knew this to be true because Mark had been wandering around the hospital trying to find her, but she was always on the move. Greg actually wondered if she had picked up on the fact that this wasn't at all close to what he was dying to say.

Huffing slightly, Connie said, 'I wonder what he wants. Anything else?'

She shot him a quick, steely stare, as if looking into his soul.

'No, no, nothing,' he stuttered, mentally scolding himself for acting like a prepubescent boy.

'Good, get back to work then,' she said, practically barking at him.

'Okay,' he replied, leaving the room and clenching his fists, all ready to punch himself for acting like such an idiot.

Connie left her office soon after and took the lift to the floor where the CEO's office was, her mind still full of possible scenarios for being called into her bosses office.

It could be:

1. She'd done something wrong. This could be a variety of things, she figured. At least she knew that she hadn't slept with this bosses partner, mainly because Mark was a man and a typical straight guy of his age. At least she could resist that temptation, not repeating her lapses of judgement after her affair with John, Jayne's husband. A patient could have made a complaint about her, that would make a nice change, in her sarcastic mindset. Nobody really appreciated her uniquely sharp bedside manner.

2. He could want a favour. Scoffing, she knew that she wouldn't grant him one, unless it benefitted her.

3. If it wasn't a favour, then it was probably an order. She scoffed once more, not being to hold back her laughter. A glorified nurse giving her orders? If it was that, she'd have to teach him a thing or do, the primary thing being: You don't tell Connie Beauchamp what to do.

Reaching his office, she knocked on the door.

'Come in,' was the response from Mark.

Opening the door, she slipped inside.

'Connie, you heard I was looking for you then?' he asked. 'Have a seat.'

'Thank you,' she replied, sitting down in the chair opposite his desk. 'So, to what do I owe the pleasure of a royal summoning?'

Giving her a hearty laugh, Mark said, 'I know you resent any authority above your own Connie, but I'll promise to play fair if you do.'

'Right,' she said curtly, resenting the fact that he didn't answer her question. 'So, what do you want me to do?'

'Have you ever been to Princeton, New Jersey?' asked Mark.

'Can't say I have,' she replied, leaning back in the chair. 'What's so special about it?'

'Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital,' he said. 'We've been loose partners with them for a while now, and I received an email from their Dean of Medicine, Lisa Cuddy yesterday, proposing an exchange between Cardiologists for a month.'

'And what would this entail?' she asked, not interested, but wanting to know more.

'A CT consultant and a CT registrar from Holby would integrate into Princeton's Cardiology unit, and they would send a senior and junior cardiologist to work on Darwin,' explained Mark.

'So why can't you send Elliot?' asked Connie. 'I'm sure he'd love it there, all those fast food chains.'

'Princeton would be sending their head of department, Jenna McIntyre and Isaac James, her junior. I want to match that, sending our Clinical Lead,' he replied.

'I can't do it, I won't do it!' said Connie. 'I can't do it because I have Grace, my daughter to think about. I can't just drag her to the States for a month! And I won't because it's below my rank. What will it do for my career? Nothing whatsoever! No groundbreaking surgery, no revolutionising methods, just a simple exchange? Forget it Mark!'

As she got up to leave, she turned around, expecting some sort of reaction from Mark, instead finding a bemused smile.

'What?' she asked confrontationally.

'I thought you'd react this way,' he said. 'There are ways around your problems. There is an award winning crèche at the hospital, which Miss Cuddy herself sends her daughter to, and I think that the experience would humble you a little.'

'Humble me?' she asked in shock. 'Humble me? I did not make so many sacrifices for my career to get this far to be humbled!'

'This is not a negotiation Connie,' said Mark. 'You might enjoy it. From what I've seen and heard, Miss Cuddy is a very friendly woman, and whilst I was on the phone with her this morning making the arrangements, some loud guy called House interrupted. Apparently he's a doctor there. From what she described of him, he has a temperament like you.'

'Charming,' she replied.

'He really isn't,' retorted Mark with a chuckle. 'Anyway, it isn't a negotiation, and you are booked for the first flight tomorrow, at 5am. Elliot's covering for you so you can go home and pack.'

'Right,' she replied. 'What are the arrangements?'

'An apartment has been rented for you to share with the registrar you'll be visiting Princeton with, your flights have been booked, business class, and the Dean of Medicine will come and meet you at the airport,' he replied.

'Great,' she replied, rolling her eyes. 'Do you want me to let Joseph know?'

'Why Joseph?' asked Mark in curiosity.

'I gather he's the registrar chosen,' she replied.

'Nope,' replied Mark. 'Greg Douglas will be attending with you.'

'Greg Douglas?' she spat. 'Joseph is my registrar, therefore Joseph will be attending with me.'

'Sorry Connie, my hands are tied,' said Mark, holding his hands up. 'I spoke with the board, and they wish for Joseph to stay here and support Ms McIntyre and Mr James in their work, adjusting to English methods and so on...'

'And why can't Greg do that?' she retorted.

'Because he's a ladies man, a player, whatever you want to call him. I don't want him to be leading Ms McIntyre astray. And from what I've seen, you and Greg make a charming team. Happy packing,' he replied. 'Don't forget to tell Greg.'

Huffing, Connie left the room, shutting the door a little more forcibly than required to send a clear message to Mark that she was extremely annoyed. Now she had to go and tell Greg that they'd be living together for a month, in Princeton, as of tomorrow morning. Just great!

Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, Cuddy's Office...

'Jenna, Isaac,' said Lisa Cuddy from her desk to the two doctors that stood in her doorway. 'Are you looking forward to visiting England?'

'Very much so,' said Jenna.

'I did a little research,' said Isaac, straightening his tie. 'This hospital, Holby General, it's really shot up with modern technology. I heard that they have Robotics facilities and a new laser!'

'Don't get so excited Isaac,' said Jenna. 'We'll be there to work, not tinker with their toys.'

'It's good that he's getting excited,' said Cuddy. 'Your flight flies out at 8am tomorrow morning, and the CEO from Holby will collect you from the airport. An apartment's been rented for you close to the hospital, and I hope you have a great time.'

'I think we will,' said Jenna.