Author: Coco (madampresident)
Disclaimer: I do not own House or its characters, I don't claim to own House, I make absolutely no money off of this.
Spoilers: Up to and including Wilson's Heart.
Prompt: 7. Cuddy/? or gen - The first (and last) PPTH charity softball game.
The colleges referenced in this wallpaper.... Cuddy & House: UMich, Wilson: McGill, Cameron: Mayo Clinic, Taub: Stanford, Kutner: Harvard. (Oh and I used Sandra Bullock for Nurse Brenda...)
Cuddy was sitting at her desk. She had paperwork in front of her but she was finding it difficult to concentrate on her work.
She looked up when she heard a knock on the glass pane of her office door. Cameron smiled at her and Cuddy ushered her in.
“What can I do for you?”
“I saw the sign about the softball game. It said to talk to you?”
Cuddy’s face lit up, “do you play?”
“Three years of high school and three years of undergrad.” She grinned, “you?”
“Four years of high school and three years of undergrad. Plus I played in a couple of charity games at my first job.” Cuddy was visibly pleased. “Are you officially signing up?”
“Definitely. How many people are on the team so far?”
“Just Wilson and me, and now you. Wilson already called second base. What’s your position?”
“I’ve always been catcher.”
“That’s perfect. I’m pitching.”
Cameron smiled hugely. She felt like she and the administrator had never seen eye-to-eye and had even gotten the impression more than once that she didn’t like her. She was happy to have something to relate to Cuddy about and was already getting excited about the game and making friends with Cuddy.
“Wilson and I are going to go to the batting cages after work if you’d like to come.”
“I’d love to. My shift ends at 5. I’ll just grab a bite to eat or something, you get out at 6, right?”
“Yeah, I’ll see you there.”
Four hours later Cuddy and Wilson arrived at the batting cages, Cameron was sitting on the hood of her car reading a book. The night was cool and a warm breeze was blowing.
“What are you reading?” Cuddy smiled.
Cameron looked up and took her glasses off, “I don’t know, some book my mother sent me. She goes to yard sales and secondhand bookstores all the time.”
Cuddy laughed, “sounds like my mom. I usually pick through all the stuff she gives me and whatever I don’t want I give to the salvation army. You didn’t happen to bring your glove, did you? I was thinking we could practice while Wilson was batting.”
“Um, no. Sorry, I didn’t go home yet.”
“I brought my glove,” Wilson said, “Cameron, you can borrow mine if you’d like.”
“Okay.” Cuddy said, deciding to take the initiative, “let’s get set up.”
Wilson and Cuddy had Cameron bat first.
“Cameron, huh?” Wilson asked, glancing over his shoulder at Cameron batting before throwing the ball to Cuddy.
She caught it and threw it back. “Yeah, I never particularly liked her, but she just went up about a million points in my book for being a softball player.”
Wilson laughed, “your competetive streak is showing.”
“Good.” Cuddy grinned indulgently, “I want every one to know that I’m serious about this.”
“Because you’re so unserious about everything else?”
“Shut-up.” She laughed, “you know what I mean. I’m putting together a good team. I am going to win this game.”
“Don’t go too overboard, okay?”
“Overboard like being over critical of people who are trying their best.”
Cuddy scoffed, “so far the team is you, me and Cameron. I’m not being critical of anyone. I think you’re jumping the gun a little.”
“All I’m saying is when you do get more people don’t alienate anyone by… mocking, over-correcting… bitching. Which I say with all the love and respect in the world.” He grinned.
She smirked, trying to hide a smile. “Yeah, yeah. If I was a man I’d be considered ambitious.”
“If you were a man I’d be giving you the same speech. I just know that you have a personal stake in this game and it is important to you but don’t let that get in the way of respecting the other members of the team and members of your staff.”
Cuddy nodded, rolling her eyes a little, but knowing he was right. “Okay. Point taken.”
Cuddy and Wilson carried on more conversation, discussing who was likely to sign up for the team and how to arrange the players on the field, while they threw the ball back and forth.
Wilson was very good at catching the ball, he had perfect reflexes and Cuddy couldn’t help but admire his form.
Cameron finished her turn at bat and took the helmet off. “How’d it go?” Cuddy asked as Wilson took the bat for his turn.
“Great. I mean, the pitches are all the same so really it wasn’t much challenge.” Cameron shrugged.
“Hold on.” Cuddy nodded subtly towards Wilson.
Cameron and Cuddy watched as Wilson swung hard and knocked himself backward, completely missing the ball and having to readjust his helmet.
“He is the worst batter on the planet.” Cuddy whispered, “he is so bad. But he’s a gifted in-fielder. When I played in a charity game at my first job it was against the hospital Wilson worked at. It was embarrassing whenever he got up to bat, so no matter who else is on the team we’re going to have Wilson bat least often.”
Cameron smiled, “poor Wilson. How’s he doing? Since Amber…?”
“Oh he’s doing really well actually. I was really worried about him at first but he’s letting himself move on. He’s finally talking to House again, too.”
“Good.” Cameron nodded.
“Anyway.” Cuddy moved back to take her place and tossed Wilson’s glove to Cameron. “I’ll go easy on you.” She teased.
“Bring it.” Cameron bent down into position.
Cuddy wound up and pitched the ball. Cameron caught it and then shook her hand. “I definitely need to work the strength back up in my hand.” She laughed a little, “back up a little, maybe?” Cameron made it a question at the last minute, lest Cuddy take offense to the curt request.
Cuddy backed up a few more paces and wound up again and pitched just as hard as the first time. Cameron thought maybe if she backed up it would have more chance to slow down before it collided with her glove, however she was wrong.
After a few more pitches she was in the rhythm and her hand had stopped hurting.
“Hey Cuddy, you’re up.” Wilson announced after a while.
“Nah, you go another round, you should practice your form.” He opened his mouth to say something and she held up a finger to silence him, “that was not critical! Don’t even say it!”
He shook his head with a laugh and decided to take her advice.
“So how did your teams do?” Cameron asked, tossing the ball back to Cuddy for her to pitch again.
“My high school team won the championship two years in a row. We would have won the third year too if the ump hadn’t thrown me out of the game.” The pitch that followed that gritted response was harder than the previous ones and Cameron had to shake out her hand. “And my college team was good but they kept recruiting terrible in-fielders. But I got league mvp for two years in a row. You?”
“We won the championship a couple of times but we were really close the other years. Second a couple of times and third once.”
“Okay Cuddy, you’re up, show us weaklings how it’s done.” He tossed her the helmet.
She grinned, “my pleasure.” She put the helmet on her head and took off her glove, she handed it to Cameron, “you can play with my glove.”
“Thanks.” Cameron took it and turned it over to look at the back, she’d sewn on a patch proclaiming her mvp-ship from 1985.
Wilson was watching Cuddy as she entered the batting cage so Cameron turned to watch her too. Cuddy pulled on her batting glove and took her stance. It seemed to be a little awkward to Cameron but as soon as the first pitch was hurtled towards her from the chute Cuddy swung the bat with amazing grace and force and the ball collided with the bat with loud cracking sound. Cameron was impressed, to say the least.
“So, I figured I’d give you the back story about this game.” Wilson said, pulling Cameron away from her admiration.
“Oh there’s a back story, I didn’t realize.” She grinned despite herself, she hated to admit that she liked gossip.
“Dean Marshall, of the university, and Cuddy can’t stand each other. He hates that she’s younger than he is and a woman and more successful than he is. Every time they run into each other at a function the claws come out. So at the charity ball last week they end up in a pissing contest about who’s better and they decide they can’t compare what they do for a living because she runs a hospital and he runs a school- even though in Cuddy’s version, she is undisputably better because she’s a doctor- so he chooses a sport, apparently not realizing that she was a softball all-star, ran track, plays tennis, etc….”
Cameron took a moment to take in all the information and then nodded thoughtfully.“I thought this was a charity softball game.”
“The loser has to give $10,000 to the other’s charity. Cuddy’s is cancer research and Marshall’s is a literacy fund.”
“$10,000 out of pocket?” Cameron was stunned.
Wilson nodded, “well, out of pocket or they can fundraise the money. I think Cuddy got like… $1,000 but she’s so sure that she’s going to win she’s not actively looking for fundraising.”
“Wow.” Cameron nodded. She was finally feeling like she was out of House’s clutches. She was being accepted by Wilson and Cuddy which, she reasoned, was like confirmation that they took her seriously as a doctor and she didn’t feel like some green kid fresh out of med school.
Wilson’s pitch took her by surprise and she caught it in the side of the glove with a flinch.
“Don’t let Cuddy see you catch like that, she’s going to be a tyrant.”
“Hey!” Cameron protested with a smile, “you caught me off guard, give me a break.” She scolded playfully.
“Just saying…” He caught the ball when she threw it back.
The next day Cuddy and Cameron were actively looking for participants for the team. Cameron started with Chase. “No! I’m a surgeon, I have to protect my hands.”
“Oh give me a break.” Cameron rolled her eyes. “We’ll put you in the outfield, in an amateur game do you realize how much the ball goes into the outfield? Like once or twice, maybe. Come on. You’re a good runner and I bet you’re a good batter, come on…”
He sighed, “okay.” He nodded, “fine. I’ll take center field.”
Cameron grinned, “you’re the best!” She leaned up and kissed him.
“Yeah, yeah,” he grinned, “save your admirations for when see me play.”
She grinned then pulled out her pager and paged Cuddy ‘Chase Center.’ Cuddy looked at her pager and grinned then went back to trying to convince Thirteen to join the team.
“Cuddy no…” Thirteen scowled.
“Why not?” Cuddy sat down in front of Thirteen, “you’re athletic.”
“I’m not really athletic. I can run, I do track. I got kicked off of tee-ball in kindergarten. Believe me, you do not want me on this team.”
“Remy, we need another woman.”
“Oh an ulterior motive,” Thirteen grinned, “but look Lisa, I’m not kidding, I’m not playing on this softball team, I have no desire to make a complete ass out of myself.”
“Remy, you’re killing me.”
“Ask Kutner. He’s a girl.” Thirteen motioned to him as he and Taub entered the room.
“Ask me what?” Kutner asked, his interest piqued, completely ignoring the fact that his gender had been called into question.
“Cuddy needs another girl to play on the softball team.”
“You have a softball team? Sweet! Can I play?”
“I don’t know. Can you play?” Cuddy asked coyly, then chastised herself, thinking of the conversation she’d had with Wilson.
“Yeah totally, I played in a lot of intervarsity teams all through college and med school.”
“Intervarsity? Like not good enough for the team?”
“Um… I don’t know, intervarsity like I couldn’t give that much time to a team so I didn’t try…” Kutner watched Cuddy expectantly.
“What’s your position?”
“Um, well, I guess left field. I’m really good at batting.”
Cuddy resisted the urge to scoff. She was really good at batting. “We’re going to all go to the batting cages after work.”
“Am I on?”
“Yes, unless you suck.” Cuddy said and Kutner watched her worriedly, then she laughed and so did he. She turned serious, “I’m not kidding.”
“Oh…yeah, no, don’t worry. I don’t suck.”
“I play right field.” Taub announced.
“Can you bat?”
“Better than Wilson.”
“Fine. You’re coming to the batting cages tonight too.”
“Are you sure you won’t be there?” Cuddy turned to Thirteen once again.
“I’ll tell you what. If hell freezes over before six o’clock, yes, I will be there.”
Cuddy rolled her eyes good-naturedly and left the room. She almost ran into House in the hall. “Oh great.” She mumbled under her breath.
“Cuddy. I want on the team.”
“Forget it. You’re going to cost me $9,000.”
“I won’t. I’m an athlete, Cuddy.” He protested.
“You can’t run!” She snarled.
“Get Kutner to run for me.”
“No, I’m not putting you on the team.”
House pulled out a book and held it up too close to her face. Cuddy pushed his hand away and grabbed the book from his hand, “what? What is this?” She held it out where she could read it, “Americans with Disabilities Act? Goddamnit, House.”
“You can’t exclude me from the game because of my injury.”
“You…” she was trying very hard to keep her temper in-check, as was often the case with matters concerning House. “Oh no, I give you liberties all the time! Do not throw this ADA crap in my face because, as a matter of fact, Julie Whitner is playing.”
“Julie Whitner? You’re bullshitting me. How could she play? How would you let her play? You’re the softball nazi.”
“No, she’s playing.” Cuddy said stubbornly. “So you can’t say that you’re not playing because of your handicap.”
He scrutinized her closely, “I can see right through you, Lisa Cuddy.”
“Bite me.” She growled and he lurched towards her, making her jump.
“Don’t make empty promises, Cuddy.” He whispered.
“Are you kidding me?” Julie Whitner’s eyes widened at Cuddy. “Do I look like I could play softball?”
“Please Julie, if you don’t play I have to let House play and if House plays I’m going to kill him and then I’m going to jail.”
“No jury would convict you.” Whitner bit her lip on a grin.
“No. Final answer, beautiful. I’ve done a lot of crazy things for pretty women but I have to draw the line.”
Cuddy pouted. Not wholly because of Whitner’s disinclination to participate in the softball game, but because she was putting off the inevitable; she had to let House on the team.
It’s not like he wasn’t a gifted athlete, he was… a god on the lacrosse field in college. But since then he’d suffered an infarction in his leg and if he cost her $9,000 he was going to pay for it one way or another.
The rest of the team filled out with Foreman and Brenda. Cuddy assigned House short stop so that if a need arose for him to be helped out, it would be easy enough for Brenda and Wilson to cover him.
Cuddy arranged for a scrimmage. She wanted to see how everyone worked together and bat when someone actually pitched the ball, how they ran the bases, how they caught the ball when it wasn't thrown directly to them.
But her phone rang and it was her secretary telling her she had a meeting with some donors and if she wasn't there in 15 or less they were going to walk away and take their million dollars to a hospital that took it more seriously.
She bit her lip but said, "no, of course, I'll be there in five." She looked up at the team of misfits assembled in front of her and sighed.
Wilson spoke up, "go. We'll be fine. I can hold down the fort here."
"Don't be too easy on them." A couple of people chuckled. Cuddy wasn't kidding.
Cuddy ran back into the hospital and threw on her presentable clothes in a split second, a skill she had picked up in college when she had a roommate who didn't like to knock.
She burst into the meeting. "I am so sorry I kept you waiting." She apologized vehemently. "I got tied up at my previous appointment."
The appointment went long. This woman would not stop talking, she was nice enough but Cuddy had other places she wanted to be.
It was 7 before she got out of her meeting. Her hospital was also $1,000,000 richer but somehow it didn't make her as happy as it ought to have...
She picked up the phone and called Wilson. "Hey, are you still playing?" She asked as soon as he answered the phone, completely cutting off his greeting.
“No we wrapped up and went out for dinner.
“Jesus, are you kidding?”
“Cuddy calm down.” Wilson urged gently. “You’re going to get your blood pressure up.”
“My blood pressure is up, you know why?”
He was afraid to ask.
“This game is tomorrow and I just got a card from Dean Marshall. It’s a sympathy card and he writes loser in big capital letters.”
“That’s kind of juvenile and… it’s really stupid.”
“Yeah well, his intelligence isn’t going to matter one bit if his team is better than mine tomorrow. Does my team suck, Wilson?”
He hesitated. “…I wouldn’t say they suck…”
She groaned and hung up on him. He tried to call her back twice before sending her a text message that she never read and driving home.
Cuddy pocketed her cell phone and went home. She went through her old boxes until she found her old softball shirt from college emblazoned with a vicious wolverine on the front and Cuddy along with the number 9 on the back. She coupled it with her tennis shorts and pulled out a sports bra and a thong and a pair of blue socks that matched her Michigan shirt and dug out her cleets.
She was as ready as she was ever going to be.
She ate a small supper and went to bed and slept very fitfully.
The next morning she stepped out of her car and shielded her eyes from the sun. She put on her sunglasses and scouted the field.
Dean Marshall was on the other end of the field walking around his team which appeared to be similarly ragtag to hers and she felt herself relax a tiny bit. She retrieved her cleets and her glove.
Cuddy turned around and saw Thirteen. She smiled, “you came.”
“I said I would.” Thirteen smiled back, “and even if I didn’t come to give you moral support I’d definitely show up to see House play.”
“Speaking of the bastard, he better show up.”
Wilson came up to the two women, “hey, I’ve got all the equipment in my trunk, I need a hand.”
Thirteen gave Cuddy a little smile and then turned to Wilson, “I’ll help you with it. I think Cuddy wants to stretch.”
Cuddy watched Thirteen and Wilson walk away and she turned to see Cameron coming up to her.
“How did the scrimmage go yesterday? Be honest, Wilson was dodgy.”
“No, I mean… it was alright. But I did get a little information on Marshall’s team.”
Cuddy brightened, “oh, do tell.”
“The first baseman just broke up with his wife and the center fielder and the short stop are having an affair and the catcher has a history of abusing alcohol. The only player that might be a real threat is the second baseman because he was a designated hitter on a minor league team.”
“How did you find this all out?”
Cameron grinned, “last year Dean Marshall skimmed a whole bunch of money off his secretary’s Christmas bonus and she was more than happy to tell me anything I wanted to know.”
“Clever girl.” Cuddy was impressed. “Is Dean Marshall going to play in the game today?”
Cameron shook her head, “no, he hurt his back so he picked another player and took on a coaching role.”
“What a jerk. This is supposed to be a competition between us and he’s not even playing. I am such the superior player here.”
“Oh definitely. And we’re going to whoop ass here today even if we have to do it ourselves. Right? I mean, who cares how the rest of the players are because you are the pitcher, there will be very few pitches that get hits. You can do this, Cuddy.”
Cuddy cracked a smile, “you’re right.” She nodded, “you’re absolutely right. I’ve got you behind the plate and Brenda on first and Wilson and second… including me those are our best players. This suddenly doesn’t seem so hopeless. Thanks Cameron, I really needed that.”
“So are you hens going to stand there and cluck all day or are you going to play some softball?” Dean Marshall called across the field.
Cuddy rolled her eyes and yelled back, “keep your panties on Marshall!” And then turned to Wilson, “where the hell is House?”
“Your star player has arrived.” House announced, limping over to them. Cuddy looked thoroughly unimpressed. Although she couldn’t help but admire the sight of his bulging biceps underneath his Michigan lacrosse jersey. “I figured you’d wear yours.” She crossed her arms across her chest.
“Although the tennis shorts… wow. Is our strategy to distract the other team with your perfect ass?”
“Let’s get one thing straight,” Cuddy warned in a low growl, “fuck this up for me and I will make your life a living hell.”
House did her a courtesy and shut up.
“You go first.” Cuddy said to Marshall.
“No arguments here.”
Cuddy turned to Cameron, "I think it'll be better on us in the long run to get up to bat second."
Cameron nodded her agreement.
Cuddy watched Cameron, Taub, House, Wilson, Brenda and Chase take their places on the field looking as ready as they'd ever be before she took her place on the mound.
The first person up to bat for Marshall was a tall slender man who was wearing glasses underneath his helmet. He took his stance and she fired off one, two, three pitches, all of them missed. He scowled and handed off the bat to the person on deck.
The person on deck happened to be a pretty blonde woman that Cuddy had seen at a few functions. She was built similarly to Cuddy, but was definitely older. She adjusted the helmet on her head, it was a little big. Cuddy pitched and the woman managed to tip it but the hit only resulted in a foul. In retaliation Cuddy's next two pitches were curve balls that she was unable to anticipate and she soon became the second out.
The third person up to bat was a muscular man who looked like he couldn't have been any more than 25. She frowned and looked at Cameron who held three fingers for Cuddy to see. She shook her head and Cameron held up two fingers. Cuddy, again, vetoed the option and nodded when Cameron just held up one. She was going to try the fastball first. Cameron looked unsure. Cuddy wound up and pitched her fastball. It went zooming past the hunk and he flexed his hands on the bat, narrowing his eyes at Cuddy as he prepared for the next pitch. She blew out a breath and pitched another one. This time the man got a solid hit and it whirred over Cuddy's head towards center field where Chase ran after it. He grabbed it up and threw it immediately to Brenda on first but he'd already arrived there and stayed.
Marshall grinned. But Cuddy wasn't worried, she was pretty sure he'd just shown her his best player. All she had to do was strike out the next player and it wouldn't matter that his pretty boy had managed to make it to first.
The fourth batter, another man, did strike out.
Cuddy pulled off her glove, unable to suppress a grin as she filed into the dugout. "Ok, Kutner and Cameron are batting first and then.... Brenda." She had to pause, "sorry, I had the order all worked out in my head before... then me, then Chase, then Taub, then House and lastly Wilson."
She clapped Kutner on the shoulder. "Don't fuck up."
He gave her an unsure half-grin. Truth be told, he was a little scared of Cuddy right now. He put on the batting helmet and picked up the bat. Cameron followed her out of the dugout. "You'll be fine." Cameron said, "you did great in the scrimmage, don't let her psych you out."
He nodded, "thanks."
And Cameron was right. He got two strikes but then managed a solid hit and made it all the way to second.
Cameron walked to first as the pitcher had a hard time pitching the ball within her strike zone. She figured that he'd be replaced sooner rather than later if he couldn't even deliver one ball out of four into her strike zone.
Brenda caught the first pitch off the side but the ball managed to stay in-bounds, sending the third baseman scrambling to retrieve it before Kutner made it to third (unsuccessfully).
Cuddy pulled on her batting glove and tugged on the helmet. She strode confidently up to the plate, tapped it twice with her bat before taking her stance. The pitcher looked at her with uncertainty for a moment like he'd never seen a left handed batter. The first ball he threw to her was a ball and she was worried for a moment that he'd walk her and wouldn't give her a chance to actually hit the ball. She regripped the bat and watched him expectantly. The next pitch was a straight pitch right down the center and she swung with all her might and with just enough angle to send the ball hurtling out of the field.
Marshall's jaw dropped and she grinned at him and she jogged by leisurely.
The first inning ended with PPTH 6, PU 0.
As Cameron had expected the pitcher was swapped out to the muscular younger man. Much to her dismay, he was a much better pitcher. At the end of the fifth inning the score was PPTH 8, PU 4.
House batted in the second inning and Kutner ran for him. The hit was impressive for his disability and Kutner had made it to second.
Cuddy got another home run in the sixth inning. This time it had landed in left field and the left fielder ran after it clumsily and barely threw it hard enough to reach second. Cuddy recognized the man as the one Cameron pointed out as an alcoholic and only managed to bring home herself and Brenda.
House hadn't said much or done much other than some decent hits and catching a pop fly once or twice. He wasn't the most remarkable player, but he certainly wasn't the worst. Chase was pretty average and Wilson was a terrible batter. Kutner was pretty good and Taub surprised everyone by being better than average.
Cuddy's arm was getting a little tired and she let a few hits get past her that probably wouldn't have if she practiced for longer before the actual game.
Princeton University's second baseman was on first as Cuddy wound up to pitch.
"Cuddy!" House hissed.
Cuddy faltered and didn't throw the pitch.
Cuddy wound up to pitch again, she didn't feel like dealing with the second baseman stealing second because the person up to bat had never once hit the ball and striking this guy out would be the third out and it wouldn't matter where the second baseman was.
"Cuuuddyy!" House called again, distracting her once more.
She took a deep breath and wound up to pitch.
Cuddy whipped around and threw the ball as hard as she could at House. He gasped as it hit him in the chest and he stared at her in disbelief.
"Oops." She said with faux innocence.
"Ump!" Dean Marshall cried leaping out of his seat.
The umpire shrugged, "what do you want me to do about it? She hit her own guy!"
Dean Marshall sat back down in his seat with a grumble.
Cuddy finally wound up and pitched, and, just as she predicted, struck the batter out.
Both teams decided to take a ten minute break before the seventh inning started. The score was now PPTH 10, PU 8. Cuddy was a little nervous.
Cuddy pulled herself out of the dugout and went up into the stands. There was a surprising amount of people there to watch. She was surprised by the turnout. But she wasn't concerned with the crowd, just one person.
She sat down next to Thirteen. "You're doing great." She offered her a smile.
"You're just saying that."
Thirteen shook her head, "I'm not. You're doing really great. You got two homeruns!"
"The pitcher sucked and the left fielder was drunk."
"You're right." Thirteen shrugged, "it has nothing to do with you being a good player or anything. That's all it was, just dumb luck."
Cuddy harumphed. "Maybe not all dumb luck."
"Here." Thirteen offered Cuddy her coffee. "It's still warm and I didn't drink much of it. Maybe you need a caffeine boost. Or maybe Wilson could pitch one inning, rest your arm a little bit."
Cuddy nodded, "thanks for the coffee." She sipped it. "Maybe I will let Wilson take an inning... I'll give him the eighth though, I want to pitch the next one and definitely the last one. I wish I’d brought a protein bar or something…”
“Everything will be okay.”
But Cuddy had scarcely heard Thirteen’s reassurances because she saw Kutner lifting an energy drink to his lips and leapt up. “Don’t you dare! Do you have any idea how much crap is in one of those drinks? You’ll crash before the end of the game!”
Thirteen shook her head with a little smile.
The end of the seventh inning ended with PPTH 11, PU 10.
Letting Wilson substitute her in the eigth turned out to not be the brilliant idea she’d expected it to be. Five runs got past him and Cuddy was trying to stay calm. The only reason Cuddy didn’t murder him for it was that she batted Brenda in from third and scored a run herself. Chase also managed to score his first run of the game in the eighth inning.
“Are you alright?” Kutner asked Cuddy who was rubbing her temples. He hadn’t learned yet when to talk to her and when to shut up.
“No, I’m not alright!” Cuddy hissed.
“Cuddy, if I may offer a suggestion.” House said, stepping forward. She folded her arms across her chest, regarding him with annoyance. He leaned his cane against the bench and reached over to her little tennis shorts and pulled them up a little.
“Wha-” She scowled.
“It’s time to play dirty, Cuddy. The muscular guy has stared at your ass every single time he’s passed you and he’s third up to bat in the ninth inning. Get it?”
He rolled his eyes, “god, Cuddy… you flash some cheek and he won’t be able to concentrate.”
“That’ll never work.” Cuddy narrowed her eyes at him.
“Works on me every time.” House stated confidently.
Wilson shrugged and nodded, “me too.”
“Me too.” Chase admitted shyly.
Cameron shot him an amused look, “we’ll talk about that later.” Chase blushed deep crimson.
They begun the ninth inning at PPTH 14, PU 15.
The first batter made it to first. Cuddy struck out the second one. Then the muscular guy stepped up to bat. He tapped the plate with the bat and scuffed his feet in the dirt. Cuddy narrowed her eyes at him and he grinned and winked. She wound up and hurled the ball towards the plate. He swung hard and missed.
Cameron threw the ball back to Cuddy who exhaled slowly and pitched the ball again. The hit was impressive, it went flying out to left field where it bounced once before it was picked up by Kutner. The batter on first ran to second and then third. Cuddy thought about it for a split second before leaning over and flashing “a little cheek” in the general direction of second base. Wilson caught the ball the second before muscle-guy made it to second and might not have been able to get him out had he not been distracted by Cuddy’s ass. He skidded and stared and slammed into Wilson.
The ump immediately yelled “out!”
“What?!” Dean Marshall leapt up in disgust, “you have to be kidding me!”
“Second baseman had one foot on the base and the ball in his glove and your man ran into him, clearly he’s out!”
“Meanwhile Heidi Fleiss out there is half naked!”
“Marshall, I do believe you are the only one complaining.” The umpire all but grinned. “Your man is out.”
Dean Marshall slumped down; grumbling.
The runner on base scored a run and the next batter made it to first and the fourth batter hit a pop fly which was caught easily by House. He tossed the ball to the pitcher for Princeton University and smiled smugly at Cuddy.
“How much drugs are you actually on right now to walk on that leg?” She asked him in a hushed whisper, walking next to him to the dugout. “And are they legal?
“Do you really want to know?”
“…no.” She shook her head, “no, I guess I really don’t.” She stopped at the entrance of the dugout as House descended into its depths.
“Hey ump,” Cuddy waved to him. “I need five.”
“No way, doc.” Marhsall protested.
“I need to pee!”
“Take five, Dr. Cuddy.” The umpire said to her and turned to shoot Marshall a withering look.
Marshall rolled his eyes and then turned to muscle-guy. “Hey Dean, I’m sorry about getting distracted in that last inning.”
He sighed and put a hand on the younger man’s shoulder, “kid, greater men than you have fallen harder for that ass.”
“Still… I could have scored another run and we’d be further ahead. And she’s up fourth, they’ll load the bases and then we’re finished. I wish I could make this right.”
“Actually… there is something you can do. She has a temper, you saw how she took out her own guy when he annoyed her. We have to get her kicked out of the game.”
“How do we do that?”
Cuddy left the small bathroom, it was small but at least it had plumbing and wasn’t a port-a-potty (which she loathed and would have rather peed herself than use). She stopped short when muscle-guy blocked her path.
She furrowed her brow in confusion. “What do you want?”
“I want to get to know you better. I think we had a connection out there.”
Cuddy rolled her eyes in annoyance and tried to push past him, “pfft.”
“Hard to get, I can dig it.” He reached behind her and grabbed a palm full of ass.
She flared and pulled back a fist which collided with his nose and he yelped in pain, “oh my nose!”
The umpire ran over, “what happened here?!” He demanded.
“She slugged me!” Muscle-guy whimpred. “Am I bleeding?”
“Is this true, Dr. Cuddy?”
“He was making highly unwanted sexual advances on me and wouldn’t let me go and then he grabbed my ass. He’s lucky I’m not going to file sexual harrassment charges.”
“Just like you’ll be lucky if he doesn’t file assault charges.” The umpire shook his head. “I’m going to have to kick you both out of the game.”
Muscle-guy grinned at her behind the umpire. Her jaw dropped open in horror as she realized the trap she’d just walked into. “That’s not fair! They set me up! That was all Marshall! This is fucking unfair!”
“No one made you punch him. I’m sorry, that’s my final decision. But you can stay and watch the game.”
She huffed and walked off to the dugout, once inside she threw her glove against the wall. “Damnit.” She growled.
“What happened?” Cameron asked gently.
“I got kicked out of the game.”
“That jackass Marshall had his boy wonder provoke me and I punched him.” She sighed. “Okay, Cameron’s going to bat first.”
“I was next.” Kutner protested.
“I don’t care.” She snarled, “Cameron’s batting and then Brenda, they’re both really strong batters, then there’s room for two strikes and then House who’s also a strong batter. Three runs will put us over.”
“If Kutner goes first you’ve got a good batter and two great batters.” Wilson tried to reason with her.
“No. I’ve thought about this.”
“For what? Two seconds?”
“Damnit, Wilson! You’re not the coach!” Cuddy yelled, “Cameron get out there and bat, Brenda take a bat and get on deck.”
Cameron and Brenda jumped up and scrambled out of the dugout.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” House asked her when she sat down next to him.
She turned and looked at him for a moment before nodding, “yes.”
House patted her knee comfortingly. The faintest hint of a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Thanks.” She whispered.
As it turned out Cuddy did know what she was talking about. Cameron and Brenda both got base hits. Chase and Taub both struck out. But as House got up to bat it was obvious that whatever drugs he’d taken to make softball possible was wearing off and he stumbled.
Cuddy leapt up, “House!”
“I’m fine, I can bat.” He looked at Wilson, “this is why she didn’t let Kutner bat, he has to run for me.”
“House, you’re not batting.” Cuddy shook her head.
“Cuddy, if I don’t bat, Wilson’s batting.” House winced.
“No, you’re in pain. I’d rather lose $9,000 than push you too far.” She protested, hanging onto his arm. “Get back in the dugout and take a vicodin.”
House wanted to protest but she caught his eyes. “I know what I’m doing.”
House sighed and handed Wilson the batter’s helmet and limped pathetically back into the dugout.
Cuddy took Wilson’s hands and stepped close. She whispered to him, “you can do this, Jimmy. I’m sorry I yelled at you before. I was upset but now I’m seeing things more clearly. This game is not the most important thing to me. My friends and colleagues are. You and House are. You step up to that plate and you do your best. It doesn’t matter if I lose the money, it’s a worthy cause, so I’ll just have to not buy the next couple of designer outfits I want. Just do your best.”
He smiled at her, “Lisa Cuddy, you’re an amazing woman.”
She gave his hands a gentle squeeze and let them go. She hung back by the dugout, biting her fingenail nervously, before realizing that her nail polish tasted horrible and abandoned the idea.
Wilson stepped up to the plate. His heart was pounding in his ears. He hadn’t taken the game as seriously as he did now. Perhaps it was Cuddy’s tyrannical ruling of the team or the low-pressure feeling of the scrimmage that made the game seem less important to him. But as he stood in front of homeplate and looked out at the pitcher he exhaled slowly in nervousness.
Wilson’s hands flexed on the bat.
The pitcher wound up and threw the ball. Wilson swung and missed and Cuddy went back to biting her fingernails. Wilson took a deep breath and got ready to bat again. The pitcher wound up and threw the ball towards Wilson. His first instinct was to swing and swing hard, to panic like he always did but he held back for a moment and waited. He swung at the ball when it was right in front of him and it collided with the bat with a crack.
Cuddy leapt up from her relaxed position against the dugout wall. Her mouth fell open in shock.
As did Wilson’s. He stared after the ball.
“Run!” Cuddy yelled.
Wilson ran to first and then second as Cameron ran home, he ran to third as Brenda ran home. He glanced behind him as the left fielder threw the ball as hard as he could towards the catcher. Wilson took a running leap at home plate instead of sliding. He reached out with his palm and slammed it down on the dusty white surface before the catcher caught the ball and the umpire yelled, “safe!”
Wilson got up and dusted himself off, a goofy look of pride and disbelief plastered on his face. Cuddy screamed again, grinning from ear to ear and ran to him, leaping at him and wrapping her legs around his waist.
“That was amazing!” She gushed kissing his lips. “You did it! You did it! You actually hit the ball! Wilson, 2 RBI, you son of a bitch, that was amazing!”
The rest of the team piled out to congratulate Wilson and join the jews in rejoicing in their victory. Cuddy got down off of Wilson and turned and hugged everyone, “you all played so well, thanks for being such a great team.” She leaned up and kissed House on the lips.
“Calm down, hotpants,” he teased, “this isn’t the world series.”
Cuddy laughed and broke free from her team and turned her attentions towards a steaming Dean Marshall, “yo Marshall!” She called. “You can make that $10,000 check out to Lisa Annabelle Cuddy! Need me to spell that for you?”
“Fuck you.” He grumbled as he pulled out his checkbook.
“Let’s have a celebratory dinner at my place.” House suggested to her, trying to hide a suggestive grin.
“If you’d asked me a couple of months ago I might’ve said yes. But I’m seeing someone.”
“Off by two months, huh? Can’t I get a grace period?”
“Sorry, I really like this one.” She smiled. House shrugged. Cuddy looked up at the bleachers and saw that Thirteen had already left. “I guess I’ll thank her for coming later.”