Title: Place Where You Are (The Not There Alone Remix)
Author: Jen (Ladybug218)
Summary: It was the last thing she expected to find in his bedroom.
Fandom: House, M.D.
Pairing: None - House and Cuddy
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1159
Disclaimer:I don't own the characters, I just play with them.
Original Story: Place Where You Are by hannahrorlove Notes: Set post 2x24 "No Reason." Thanks to the folks who beta-read and helped me get this in shape - timjr, absolutesnark and most especially savemoony, who was an absolute lifesaver.

"Why are you here again?" House asked as he fished for his keys to unlock his front door.

Cuddy bit back a sharp retort. She never should have expected the results of ketamine treatment to improve House’s attitude. Even before his infarction, he had been an ass. Now that he had regained use of his leg, of course, he would continue to be an ass. "House, you are not faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive. And despite the fact that you don't need a cane anymore, you still can't leap tall buildings in a single bound. You have to take it easy while you recuperate."

House rolled his eyes. "You should be wearing one of those naughty nurse outfits, Hot Lips, if you’re making house calls.” He said, waggling his eyebrows, “And I demand a sponge bath.”

"What if I just put your bags away and get out of your hair,” she said, “since you’re determined to act like stubborn ass who refuses my help.” She hefted his duffle bag on her shoulder. How much contraband from the pharmacy did he swipe? She had visited House's apartment before, but never ventured in his bedroom (for a variety of reasons). The prospect of seeing where a man like House slept intrigued her.

"Wait, I'll do that," he said. Cuddy thought she noted panic in his voice. It didn't surprise her; House didn't let anyone close to him, with the notable exception of Wilson. Even though she and Cameron (and who knew how many others) tried, he did his best to push them away. Too bad for him they were both were too stubborn (or too masochistic) to let him.

"You're not allowed to lift anything for the next two weeks," she said. House finally opened the door. Cuddy seized the chance to slip inside, and walk down the hall.

"Leave it out here," he said, slipping between Cuddy and the end of the hall, doing his best impression of the 38th Parallel..

Cuddy gave him a curious look. "Trying to keep me out of your bedroom, House? I would have thought that having me in there would be a dream come true for you." She knew she probably shouldn't encourage him and she would never admit it to anyone, but she had missed their banter while he was incapacitated.

"You're not man enough to handle it," he quipped.

It was a weak quip and there wasn't much force behind it, so Cuddy ignored it and made a move to get past him to open the bedroom door . He blocked her and she took a step back, noticing how clean the entire apartment was. Clearly someone (her money was on Cameron) had been in the apartment cleaning in anticipation of House's hospital discharge.

"Huh," she said, looking to the buffet table to her left. "Looks like someone left you a surprise. Is that a g-string?" She took a few steps toward the table and crouched down. There wasn't anything under there, but House would have to leave his sentry post to find that out for himself.

It worked; he followed her and bent forward, trying to spot whatever she was looking at. Taking advantage of his distraction, she managed to get past him to the bedroom door.

She smirked at him over her shoulder, her hand hovering over the door knob."This is it," she said,"I'm going to enter the den of sin." She pushed the door open and glanced back at House again, but he had straightened up and folded his arms over his chest, apparently deciding not to fight her determination any longer.

She took a few steps into the room, leaving his bag right inside the door. The predominant feature in the room was the king size bed, done up in blue sheets. There was a dresser off to one side, next to the open closet door. Cameron's cleaning hadn't extended to organizing the mess inside and she wondered how House managed to find anything. None of that surprised her though; the surprising thing was the tan teddy bear perched carefully on the pillows that her eye caught almost immediately.

It was so very un-House-like that Cuddy felt compelled to walk across the room and pick the bear up. Her fingers brushed over the soft mohair fur, examining the tiny tail and circling the red-ringed black eyes. Cuddy chuckled. So this was what he didn’t want her to see. She assumed the bear was a housekeeping token left by Cameron; yet, when Cuddy faced House again, and observed the sentiment in his eyes, she knew the bear had been no gift. Not from Cameron, at least.

"Now you know my deepest, darkest secrets," House said, his voice startling her. She never heard him enter the room. She realized that she had grown dependent on the thumping of his cane against the polished un-carpeted hospital floors to signal his impending arrival. Served as her own personal air-raid siren. Her brain had unconsciously expected the same of the hard wood floors in his apartment.

“I hardly think that a teddy bear is your darkest secret," she replied in a curious rather than accusatory tone.

"That just proves that you don't know me as well as you think you do," he said.

She glanced at the bear in her hands. "No, I don't," she said. Thousand of questions raced through her mind. Why did House own a teddy bear at all? Why did it warrant such a prominent spot in the room? From her years of dealing with House, Cuddy knew he wouldn't answer a direct question. He would force her to wonder and speculate on her own. Cameron could know (perhaps she found his secret dairy while cleaning the apartment). Wilson would know (yet pretend he didn’t).

She returned the bear to its place of honor, perched atop the mountain of pillows "Do you want me to unpack your bag?" She said, "You should go and sit down. You need to take it easy for the next few weeks."

"Leave it," he said. “I wouldn’t want you finding my collection of homoerotic, S&M midget porn. That would just be awkward. Or worse, you could find my copies of your AVN Award winning work. Talk about sending the wrong message.”

"All right," she said. "Got it. If you don't need anything else, I’ll leave."

House shrugged. "I planned on making coffee. You can stick around for a cup, or not.”

Despite the off-the-cuff nature of the invite, Cuddy knew House wanted her to stay. He just was too – proud? independent? antisocial? Rude? – to ask outright. None of those descriptions fit, though. She could not quite pin down House in a single word. Especially not now that she had seen the teddy bear on his bed. "Yeah, sure, I don't have to rush back to the hospital."