Title: Hate (to the power of 13)
Notes: Set after 'Guardian Angels'.
Amber really hates Thirteen.
So, naturally, she follows Thirteen to her hotel. It's kind of like stalking, sure, but it's also totally something that House would do, and Thirteen wants to work with House, so it's not like she could complain if she knew.
See, Amber's strategy worked. House did fire the women, and since she wasn't one of the women, she didn't get fired. Except he kept Thirteen and not only was that not part of the strategy, it didn't make any sense. Still doesn't.
She's pretty damn sure if she'd been the one who screwed up and killed their patient (and his dog) she would have been fired. So, so fired.
Which brings her back to Thirteen.
She really hates Thirteen.
She swallows down a touch of nerves in the elevator. She isn't any more used to stalking than she is to grave-digging. And obviously coffee and donuts aren't going to be helpful in this situation.
When she answers the door, Thirteen doesn't seem all that surprised to see her. Like her presence is just the perfect ending to a really crappy day.
She doesn't get that. Being here, playing House's game - she's having the time of her freaking life.
"Hey," she says, waltzing in as casually as she can with Thirteen blocking the door and leaving about six inches for her to squeeze through. But she's nothing if not determined, and she goes on, "I didn't know we were staying at the same place, but then I saw you in the lobby." Or in other words, found the room number on the key in Thirteen's purse, and then followed her here like it wasn't one of the creepier things she'd ever done. Whatever. "Small world."
Thirteen just looks at her evenly and then, with a small sigh, closes the door. "Not really. It's close to the hospital. Brennan's on three; I saw a few of the others, I think, before they left. So can I help you with something?"
"I was going to see if you wanted to go get a drink or something." She looks around - the sweats Thirteen has on, the take-out boxes on the small table. "But it looks like you're all settled in for the night. That's cool."
She sits and helps herself to an egg roll.
Thirteen doesn't like having her here, that's clear. But she's resigned, and doesn't seem willing to throw her out, either. That would be like conceding defeat, and Thirteen's not much of a player, but she doesn't want to lose, that much is clear.
She even goes and makes it easier for her - she wasn't going to suggest they hit the mini bar, too obvious. No, Thirteen does it for her, pulling out a little bottle of vodka and mixing it with her apple-cranberry juice that's already sitting open.
"That's okay," she says, getting up and going to the fridge. "I can help myself."
"You can leave the fifteen bucks it'll cost all by yourself, too, I bet."
It's like the first thing she's said, and Amber just smiles. "Sure." And grabs the first thing she finds and then sits back down to drink the most expensive bottle of Sam Adams in existence.
Avenues of conversation that completely fail to get a response from Thirteen:
"So I thought you come from around here. Don't you have any friends or relatives to stay with?"
"Seriously, who do you think is the weakest link? Easy money's on Mormon, but I think the plastics guy is about to snap."
"They say you're not a real doctor until you've killed someone."
All she gets is chewing noises and one trip to the bathroom too brief to give her proper snooping time.
She's starting to think Thirteen is holding a grudge for the whole dog collar thing.
"Two girls alone in a hotel room," she says next, because she's beyond bored and the subtle thing just isn't working. "A fully stocked mini-fridge. Whatever are we going to get up to?"
Thirteen just looks at her, then reaches for more rice.
God, she hates this girl.
"Okay." She puts her crappy beer down, folds her arms and leans over the table. "How drunk will you have to get before you let me kiss you?"
It gets a reaction. Thirteen laughs. She's got a pretty smile.
Amber hates that about her.
Smiling, Thirteen leans back - it's a defensive move, Amber notes, leaning forward another inch - and says, "I thought you hated me."
Of course she hates Thirteen. This isn't news. Shrugging, she says, "What, you think I'd waste time fucking someone I like?"
"Oh, we're fucking now. Might want to let me brush my teeth, first. I just ate a double order of garlic chicken."
"No one has to know." She gets up and walks the few steps around the table, leans a hip, picks up Thirteen's glass and drinks from it.
Thirteen blinks up at her. "Except House, when you run to him and tell him I'm a raging lesbian?"
"You think it'd help? He fired the porn twins."
"If it's not to impress House, then you're coming onto me because..."
She hangs her head a little. It might have worked better if she'd stayed sitting down, but she goes with it anyway. "I'm really attracted to you. I know I don't show it well, but -"
"Or if you're not lying to my face, again?"
Damn it. She really isn't good at sincerity. She's going to have to spend more time practising that one in the mirror.
"Think of it as a fact finding mission," she suggests instead.
"Because that's so sexy."
"It is if you like being the centre of attention. Or," she continues hurriedly, because Thirteen looks like she's about to start laughing again, "you could think of it as stress relief. Come on, we could both use a little of that, right?"
The thing Amber really hates about Thirteen is that when you don't know anything about a person, it's really hard to predict what they'll do next.
Thirteen, for instance, goes from amused indifference to standing to crowding her personal space before she knows what the hell is happening.
"I'll do it," she says, pushing with her body so the table presses into the back of Amber's thighs.
Success, Amber thinks. And at the same time... Shit.
"If," Thirteen continues, "you tell me the real reason."
She nods, and they're so close now Thirteen's hair touches her face. "Okay."
Because the one thing Amber's got going for her - more than her ambition, and being a damn good doctor - is that she's shameless. Completely, and utterly. She'll do what it takes and if Thirteen wants to make her beg, she'll beg.
It's not this game she's looking to win.
"He likes you," she says through gritted teeth. Her shirt is off and that bed three feet away sure came in handy when Thirteen pushed her down and crawled on top of her.
Thirteen, who runs a fingernail down her chest, lips wet and shiny from where she was just sucking on Amber's right nipple, says, "He's interested in me, I think. That's different."
She shakes her head, hair splayed out around her ears - she's going to have the worst sex-hair when she leaves. "No, with House, that's the same thing. If you're boring, you're nobody."
"Is that why you're being such a - what is it? 'Cutthroat Bitch'?"
"That, and it's who I am."
"But deep down," Thirteen pauses, dips her head and licks a slow line down between her breasts, "you have feelings, and dreams - a gooey-soft centre, just like a real girl, right?"
She bunches her hands in the bedspread. Thirteen is a tease. She files the information away - score one for the fact-finding mission, which is what this totally is and that's all. If Thirteen wants some psychobabble bullshit, however, she's more than happy to give it to her.
"I guess I am boring," she says, with Thirteen's lips low on her belly. "I mean, I work and I sleep, and when I'm not working or sleeping I'm figuring out how to be better at working. And I'm not - I'm not unattractive but I'm not amazingly beautiful, either." She pushes onto her elbows so she can look down at Thirteen. "Every woman he's ever hired has been model material, you know."
Thirteen rests her chin on her hand. "You think I'm amazingly beautiful?"
"If that's his criteria, you win."
"How is any of this my problem?"
"It's not. You asked, and some of us don't have a problem with sharing."
She slides down the bed so that they're face to face. She's starting to get bored again. But she tastes cranberries and garlic on Thirteen's tongue when she kisses her, and all she's had to eat since leaving the hospital is one freaking egg roll and she's starving and this isn't a bad substitute.
She wouldn't be a size four if she stuffed her face every time she got hungry. Not with food, anyway.
Amber is not a tease. She's got three fingers in Thirteen, and contemplating a fourth, wondering how she'll take it. Wondering if she'll make that same sound she made when Amber dragged a nail over her clit.
"So what is your name, anyway?" she asks. Thirteen huffs out a laugh. "What? It'd just be nice to know who I'm about to go down on. I won't tell House, swear."
"Well, you are about to go down on me. I guess I should believe every word you say."
"Tell me," she says. "Tell me, tell me, tell me." She breathes the words out over Thirteen's shiny pink flesh, breathes in the smell of a girl about to come. "Tell me."
"No way," Thirteen says.
Amber shrugs and starts licking.
"And then I rode Thirteen's face while she fingered my asshole."
She tries to picture House's reaction if she said that. If he'd be shocked. If he'd lean in for more. If it would, in any way, improve her chances of making the final cut.
Knowing him, and she's starting to get a pretty good handle on the guy, he'd love it, he'd love her, and it wouldn't change the game one bit.
She pictures it anyway, cupping her breasts, thanking all those damn spinning classes she killed herself making time for as she balances on her knees. She rolls her nipples a little, just the way she likes it. Thirteen's good with her tongue and she likes this, closing her eyes, letting her head fall back. She likes sex. She just doesn't have the chance to do it often.
She figures she'll have plenty of chances once she's established - her own practice, one of her top ten hospitals, preferably somewhere the weather doesn't suck.
For now, she'll take what she can get. And since that involves coming, hard, gripping the headboard, pushing down into Thirteen's tongue and the hands bracing her ass, the strategy? Totally working.
"So I'll see you tomorrow."
She's not staying longer than it takes to use the bathroom and get her clothes back on. And Thirteen's not asking, which is good, because that would be weird.
"Yeah," Thirteen says.
Amber rounds on her, still sitting there in bed. She's pulled her sweatshirt back on and looks all artfully tousled and sexy. "So, are you going to tell?"
"Me? We've established that I don't share. What about you?"
"We've established that I do." She shrugs. "Whatever, I haven't decided yet."
"Whatever," Thirteen echoes as she makes for the door. "Do you want me to call you a cab?"
"No, my rental's parked around the..." Damn it. "Block."
And now Thirteen is laughing again. And she's remembering why she hates this girl, and maybe, sort of, laughing a little herself.
"Shut up," she says, and pauses to check her hair in the big showy mirror on the wall before she leaves.
Sex-hair. Even worse than she thought, and not in an artfully tousled kind of way, either. She rakes her fingers through it a few times to flatten it out.
Because no, she doesn't care what people think.
But she's not going to be stupid about it.