House, open to Cameron[potentially a surprise visitor, if one is plotwise so inclined]
Middle-of-the-night, after his shouting match with Cuddy and his argument with Wilson. Before this thread.
Note: Some rather adult themes in this one.]
If you don't expect things to work out, if you always expect to have control, then one of two things will invariably happen: you'll either have a much easier life than the rest of the ant farm... or everything, sooner or later, is going to blow up in your face.
Gregory House understood the desire for control.
It made sense to him, made everything fall into neat little boxes, quantifiable data. Take everything that's scattered around your feet in pieces, and put it together into a pattern. Find the thing that's pushing your buttons, and strangle it into a harness, make it work for you.
Unfortunately, this time it wasn't that easy.
He'd spent the better part of the time brooding viciously about his argument with Cuddy in her office; every time he did think about it, the urge to find her wherever she happened to be at that particular time of day and smack her was deliciously tempting. He kept telling himself -- and it was the honest truth, actually -- that he was less worried about the slam to his ego than about the stupidity she was stupidly letting herself get carried away with.
And yeah, part of it might be selfish, too: she was the boss, after all. And no matter how much he pushed and provoked her, she'd kept him on the payroll: four other administrators had long ago decided that his snark wasn't worth his salary. And if he lost the job, he really had nothing to buffer him, to keep him going, nothing to keep his mind off the pain and to bolster his sense of usefulness, no puzzle to throw up between him and the world he hated so badly. No function for Dr. House.
Nothing to keep you alive, you mean. Let's be honest, here, Greg.
But that wasn't all of it, and he spent most of the afternoon and early evening fervently denying that to himself: bemused as he screwed around in his office for the last couple hours, swallowed two Vicodin with the last of the coffee, threw his crap into his knapsack and crutched his way to the parking lot; irritated as he kicked his bike up to sixty-five, then seventy, on the freeway, taking a much longer and dangerous route than he actually needed to take.
Frustrated and bitter, as he cane-paced his silent apartment, spent forty minutes pounding out his fury on the piano -- composing, scrapping, playing a random medley of notes fast and loud and carelessly -- and downed the first of many amber shots from a plastic drive-through cup. Irate, as he waited for the pain in his leg to ease, waited for the pain in his leg to ease, and finally sprawled himself out on the sofa to part pale skin with the tapered edge of a needle, dark red flowers blooming in the barrel and blessed, whitewashed relief... for a little less than an hour.
By the time he got to irate, he already had a hand on the phone.
By the time the door opened, exactly fifty-seven minutes later, he'd been drinking directly from the bottle and watching Steve McQueen sniff aimlessly at a few stale potato chips as House himself worked one fist, over and over: open, closed. Open. Closed. Open.
In the history of humankind, there have been many murderously bad ideas.
This... turned out to be one of them.
He hadn't expected it to take long; by the time the girl showed up at his door it was already late, he was already half out of his mind, and all he needed was a distraction. Simple. Easy. No complications. Besides, his mind was as rich and varied and intense as it ever was at a podium or in the Diagnostics office, and by the time they'd dispensed with the pseudo-small talk he was already, painfully hard.
What he hadn't counted on were the surprises.
Everything went fine, sure; there was the usual rote come-on, the usual rote answer, the usual rote promise of things to come... but House wasn't interested in foreplay. He'd gotten out of his sportcoat and sneakers, she was half-straddling him on the sofa, check -- his leg would have been a screaming agony by now if it hadn't been for the opiates and the bourbon: it was worth it, because he simply never let any of them see the ruin of his right leg. He'd learned his lesson in one sole encounter, that way: the resulting look of disgust that even a professional hadn't been able to completely conceal or turn into a faux-lustful look had ended that night REAL quick. He'd thrown a hundred-dollar bill at her and told her to Get the hell out, just get OUT, NOW, and shut the fucking door BEHIND you.
...with her one hand under his red T-shirt and the other at his belt, and everything was simple, was supposed to be simple, everything was fine until the world stopped, Hell froze over and Gregory House found himself -- alcohol, drugs, exhaustion, fury, stress -- almost outside himself... realizing that no, this was not what he wanted.
Or who he wanted, at any rate.
That realization left him cold, disgusted, wanting to laugh and scream and then laugh some more -- he was fairly convinced that that wasn't even true, what the fuck, how could it be? But this... this... girl, with her overdone makeup and her forced leer, wasn't it, any way you sliced it.
He'd shoved her off harder than he intended -- he might be a bastard, but he wasn't an abuser -- and she'd started in on him right away, what the fuck's wrong with you, you stupid son of a bitch, what's your damage, is it only your leg that doesn't work? and he'd grabbed her by the shoulders, and afterward he wasn't even ever sure if he'd managed to make peace with her and compromise, or what. He was pretty sure that he had, after all: he was good that way.
And it wasn't as if he didn't have experience.
Twenty minutes later, she'd gotten up, given him that long, oh-so-professional "smoldering look" that girls seemed to think horny men wanted[when House had, in fact, found that particular look to be more bizarrely bemusing than anything; he preferred realistic, thank you very much], straightened her vinyl skirt, and gone into his bathroom to... well. He assumed it was something involving his last quarter-inch of mouthwash, but he didn't like to ponder that too hard. And even now, the fury, the frustration, weren't even tamped down.
They had merely abated a little.
And now they had begun to move into maudlin.
It must have been only a few minutes after that when House, still clenching one fist with his head sprawled back against the sofa and gritting his teeth at the ceiling, had decided to get up -- the girl was putting the last pieces of her oh-so-stylish outfit back together, including this strange little black hat -- and take a shower, peeling off his shirt as he went. He wasn't particularly worried about his "companion" stealing anything from the house: he was a good customer, after all, and it wasn't as if he couldn't afford to replace it.
Plus, the Vicodin was safely stashed in his jacket, discarded carelessly in his bedroom.
He'd limp-dragged just to the hallway when someone pounded on the front door. What the hell? Maybe if I ignore them they'll just go away... but even as he stood there, the knock came again -- louder, more insistent this time.
"Just... see who it is on your way out," he told her, shrugging: right now, he was utterly beyond Giving A Shit and about five miles out from Pure Apathy. "If it's Wilson, send 'im in. I'll be in the shower."
He dropped a wad of bills from his wallet onto the counter, and headed for the bathroom.