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The Twisted Road Home

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This story is No. 2 in the series "The Twisted Road". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Xander’s tired. Faith’s wounded. Willow has PTSD and Wesley’s a mess. It’s their job to rebuild the council. House may be Cordy and Giles’ only hope. What could possibly go wrong? (SEQUEL to Xander's New House) *COMPLETE*

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > House, M.D. > Multiple Pairings
Television > Criminal Minds
Television > Quincy, M.E.
(Recent Donor)DeepBlueJoyFR1549209,0571539060,2629 May 1114 May 14Yes

One part House. One part Cordelia. Shake. Stir.

House was bored. Well, not bored exactly, but at a loose end. He hadn’t solved his latest medical mysteries, but right now, his brain had nothing. The house was empty. Xander was out. Probably at that swanky hotel. Xander and his friends had come to visit his two patients today, asking polite questions, being appropriate. No one had screamed, “Get on with it!” House wouldn’t have blamed any of them if they had. If he was frustrated, he couldn’t imagine how they felt.

Most of them were focused on Giles. Only Wesley and Xander seemed particularly focused on Cordelia’s condition, though at this point, her situation should have been considered significantly more grave, at least for the moment. Regardless, it was clear none of them were prepared to give up on the treatment of either patient. Both had sat with her, even when House wasn’t present to ‘translate’ as Dawn called his actions as intermediary.

Since Dawn was the language major, House hadn’t bothered to remind her that it should be ‘interpret’. Both she and Buffy were masters of a particularly evil version of ‘the dirty look’ when they thought he’d said something stupid or inappropriate. After seeing the kinds of things they fought on a regular basis, he knew they would be hard to impress. Even Gregory House thought it might be better not to upset the most powerful force in the universe.

Of course, Dawn didn’t act like the most powerful force anywhere… She acted like a very bright, but immensely silly teenager. Having caught just a few moments of her big show, he didn’t buy the silly, ditzy kid act for a second. Added to that was the fact that she asked the most medically informed questions of all of them – and none of them were asking dumb questions.

Actually, they discussed the cases like his team, though they included mystical and non-medical as well as medical possibilities, possibilities that might well be more plausible than anything he’d come up with so far. It was that was what had inspired him to invite them in on the conference the second night so they could explore both cases from every angle, both medical and mystical.

It was clear that both Willow and Wesley had the most hard science education, but apparently, during her mother’s illness, Dawn had inhaled several neurology textbooks, because she was the one who actually offered suggestions that involved actual neurological conditions. She used the technical medical terminology and she used it correctly and without either self-consciousness or affectation. Since Buffy didn’t seem surprised, or confused by the questions, House suspected she understood some, if not all of what her sister was communicating.

The only people who were truly surprised by their questions were his team. House thought there might be a medical school out there in need of a Summers, but he suspected neither of them was interested in a career change. His son, probably predictably, didn’t know the terminology quite as well.

Considering Xander’s mother hadn’t had a brain tumor, his interest had probably not been quite as focused, however, considering the poor grades Xander had claimed, he didn’t seem to be at a disadvantage, another thing that confirmed that Xander’s mental capacity was in no way limited to administrating small wars during apocalypses. House doubted that he or his team could have managed it. He certainly would never have had that much patience. Most normal people would have been in a complete panic though Cuddy probably had felt right at home.

Cuddy. Since he’d returned, House had hardly seen her. He certainly hadn’t come up with a reason to annoy or prank her. He hadn’t had the time, and if he were honest with himself, for the moment at any rate, he really didn’t have the inclination, either. His cases were amongst his most challenging, and he had two of them. The two cases, getting to know his son, and interacting with the small collection of brilliant oddballs that made up the council board, the people who Xander probably viewed as his real family made for very full days. Full, fascinating days. Except right now, he wasn’t at work, and his son was out with Faith and another young woman who had just hit puberty, and thereby come into the full slayer package. Wilson was off at an oncology conference.

For the first time since he’d returned from LA, House was on his own. Unless either Cordelia or Dr. Giles took a turn for the worse, he had nothing to do. He should have taken Xander up on his offer to come patrolling earlier, but with his leg, the thought of traipsing through a dark cemetery behind two slayers didn’t strike him as either a smart or pain free way to spend an evening. That should have scared him. When had he become one for the smart, pain free choice? Maybe it had something to do all the ground beef he’d tried to put back together in LA. The idea that his gimpy leg could cause a situation that might cost a young woman her life horrified him.

“Deep thoughts?”

House started. Then he glared.

“Miss Chase.”

“It’s my name. Don’t wear it out!"

“What do you want?”

“Is that the way to act grateful?”

“Grateful?”

“You’re all alone. Staring at a blank TV screen,” said Cordelia.

“And?” House said, impatient.

“I got tired wandering around the hospital. Too many sick people.”

“Because you’re oh so healthy,” said House.

“At least I’m attractive,” said Cordelia.

“That you are,” said Greg, leering inappropriately at the apparition before him.

Cordelia plopped herself down next to him, but of course, it didn’t make a sound.

“So, what do you do for entertainment around here?”

“You don’t wanna know,” said House.

“Well, I’m bored and I can’t touch anything, so you’re my entertainment.”

“Lovely,” he said, pretending dismay.

“I can go haunt the coma patients,” said Cordelia.

“Can you talk to them?”

“No, mostly I can only talk to the ghosts,” said Cordelia.

“Does that make you a ghost?” asked House.

“I don’t know. I hope not,” said Cordelia. “None of them can interact with their environment, though.”

“You can interact with the environment?”

“If I go through the electrical equipment it starts beeping,” said Cordelia. “Gotta be careful. I don’t want to kill some poor dumb bastard because I’m not watching where I’m going.”

“What about when the nurses take your vitals?”

“I usually stand by the door,” said Cordelia. “If they’re too rough with coma me, I make faces or give them the finger. I’m considering mooning Gretel.”

“You are bored,” said House.

“Gretel’s evil. Nurses shouldn’t be evil,” said Cordelia.

“Must be some trauma in her past,” said House. “Maybe daddy didn’t give her candy when she was little.”

“Don’t care. If I wake up with bruises, I’m suing!”

“First you have to wake up,” said House.

“About that,” said Cordelia. “When you gonna get off your bony ass and fix me?”

“You figure out what’s wrong and tell me, and I’ll fix you right up,” said House. “Otherwise, we’re just gonna have to kept coming up with theories and trying stuff.”

“So, I’m a chemistry experiment now?”

“Pretty much,” said House. “Sue me.”

“I’ll just haunt you,” said Cordelia.

“I think you like me,” said House.

Cordelia didn’t answer right away, which made House smirk at her.

“Don’t you go getting any dirty ideas,” said Cordelia.

“I don’t have to go get them. They’re already right here,” House tapped his head, and wriggling his tongue meaningfully.

“Behave or I’ll go away,” said Cordelia, crossing her arms.

“We can’t have that,” said House. “I can’t even hire a decent hooker with you here.”

“Don’t like voyeurs?” said Cordelia.

“Didn’t think you were kinky that way,” said House.

“Eh. You live in L.A. for a while, your definitions change,” said Cordelia. “You’re not kinky. You’re just kinda naughty.”

“Damn,” said House. “I must be losing my touch!”

“Don’t know,” said Cordelia, licking her very attractive lips, inches from House’s face. “Haven’t tried it yet, have I?”

“Is that a promise?” asked House, instinctively leaning toward her. Of course, he couldn’t touch her.

“Wake me up, we’ll talk,” said Cordelia, leaning back and grinning at him.

“So you’re flirting with me so I can wake you up?”

“Am I flirting with you?” asked Cordelia, grinning at him as she wandered around the room, sweeping her hands through various objects.

“You’re flirting. I know these things,” said House.

“You keep tellin’ yourself that,” said Cordelia. “Do you have any juice?”

“Juice?”

“Orange juice? Apple juice?”

“Apple, why?”

Cordelia moved so she was inside his body, a sensation that made House gasp. As he’d gotten more used to it, he’d found he liked it in small doses. Especially since he could feel her emotional reactions to the thoughts he was having.

“I want to try something,” she said moving him toward the fridge.

House didn’t fight her. His curiosity was aroused and that wasn’t the only thing. He knew she could tell, but she didn’t say anything. He found he was fighting hard not to laugh and realized she was laughing at him.

She poured them a glass of juice and drank it slowly, savoring the sensation. When she was finished, she rinsed the glass. Then she released his body.

“Well?”

“That tasted good,” she said.

“You can taste things through my body?”

“Yup,” said Cordelia.

“Cool,” he said. “Wanna see what else you can feel?”

“I don’t know you well enough for that,” said Cordelia. “Besides, you’ve got the wrong bits.”

“No I don’t,” said House, stepping toward her.

She didn’t expect him to initiate it, and she was startled as she found herself sliding easily into his body. House reached up and slowly ran his hand along his own cheek. Just that simple gesture created a feedback loop of sensation for them both. House couldn’t tell which were his feelings and which were hers.

“She likes it,” he said.

She stepped out of him, ending the sensation for them both. She stood in front of him staring at him in shock.

“Yes, she does,” said Cordelia, finally. “Maybe a little too much.”

“Trust me?” he said, his tone almost begging.

“What?” she actually looked a little scared.

“I’m not going to grope you,” said House. “I just want to try something else. I’ll behave.”

She stared.

He took a step forward. She didn’t move. As they touched, they flowed together so easily they both gasped.

“Wow,” she said.

“It’s getting…”

“Easier.”

“Yeah.”

“Is that weird?” she asked.

“No, it’s perfectly normal. I do this every Saturday night,” said House.

Cordelia chuckled. House decided he liked the sensation.

“So what’s our next experiment?” she asked.

“Just… this,” he said, licking his lips, slowly and deliberately, as if he were tracing the lips of a lover.

He felt her moan. He did it again. He felt hands come up to stroke his face gently. He took control of one hand, and stroked back. House felt his whole body warming with pleasure in a way that was immediately familiar, yet different from the way his own arousal felt. He felt his own tongue moving in his mouth and as strange as the whole sensation was, it was intense and intimate in a way that left him fiercely aroused. Cordelia slid ‘her’ hand over the planes of his chest and he did this same with ‘his’.

“You’re cruel, you know that?” she said, stepping out of him abruptly, mostly because the sensation was so overwhelming. Even though her ‘ghost’ didn’t need to breathe, she was breathing heavily. She looked as if she’d been thoroughly kissed.

“How do you figure?” he said, his voice hoarse with arousal.

“You’re a tease,” said Cordelia.

“You’re the one who didn’t want me to go too far,” said House.

“What if I…”

“What if you what?”

“I can’t do this,” said Cordelia.

Cordelia vanished.

“Well, crap,” said House, sitting heavily on the couch.

She reappeared next to him a moment later.

“I’m sorry,” said Cordelia. “I’m just… scared…”

“Scared? Why?”

“I know you like puzzles. What happens when I’m not a puzzle any more?”

“I don’t know,” said House, honestly.

“Right now, you’re the only person I can talk to. Maybe I’m just…”

“You’re afraid you like me because I’m the only person who can see you?”

“Well, yeah,” said Cordelia. “And I don’t want to be just another way to get your rocks off.”

“Yet, you’re winding me up,” said House, moving closer to her, without even realizing it.

“Who’s winding who up?” asked Cordelia.

House studied her for a moment; then he sighed.

“Maybe we should just watch a movie, Cordelia,” said House. “I’m sure they have chick flicks on pay per view.”

“Way to go with the seduction,” said Cordelia.

“If you want Skinimax, that can be arranged,’ said House, his voice immediately taking on that slightly ragged quality that made Cordelia want to grab his body and take them both into his bedroom.

“Greg!” she sounded outraged, but she grinned at him.

“Chick flick it is,” said House.

He gave her a sidelong look.

“For now,” he said. The leer was mostly implied.

She gave him a dirty look but spoiled it by smiling.

Fittingly, they ended up watching The Matrix.
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