Kutner would have been lying to himself if he had thought it would have turned out any different. He had asked Amber out and she had turned him down, no big surprise. He'd pick himself up, dust himself off and find someone else. There was always someone else.
What he didn't realize was that things were never obvious with Amber. Nothing could ever be that simple.
"It's just that Wilson and I have started seeing each other…"
Wilson? Really? Kutner would have expected someone, anyone, but Wilson. Even Taub, and he was married. But Kutner had seen the way Taub looked at her sometimes, and anyway –
"Oh. Okay." His reply was nonchalant. She wouldn't get to him. Nothing ever did. He couldn't let her.
Amber leaned in, kissing him softly on the lips. It was short and sweet and he didn't even have time to think, time to kiss her back. All he could do was taste the danger.
"Bye." She flashed a quick smile at him and was off.
Kutner stared at the spot where she had stood and felt the pang of loss.
Danger. That was all he had ever wanted.
Cuddy turned around hastily, frustrated yet amused. Invigorated.
"If you're dissatisfied with your life, changing it is a symptom of mental health." She smiled in spite of herself, feeling the warmth of his body as she neared him.
House stared back at her. As if there was no one else in the room.
But there was someone else. There always was.
He leaned in, their faces merely inches apart and so she reached out. Cuddy's hand on House's shoulder; an unfamiliar sign of compassion.
She always touched him, with no consequence. As if it was something he should be used to, something that he should enjoy. And he never seemed to mind. When it was her.
"I get why that concept is strange to you…" Cuddy continued. If only there was a way to get through to him. She could almost see it there, in the glassy look of his eyes.
They were cut off by the sound of beeping.
The sound of reality.
Roz strained to hear over the buzz of the machinery. Whatever they were talking about, it was definitely interesting. She may have been deathly ill, but she still loved gossip.
"…simplify people. That's how the human mind works. Everything's got a category." Thirteen's voice travelled through the air.
"…don't want to be oversimplified…" Roz could hear Foreman's voice reply without hesitation. "I'm sure you have many reasons to keep yourself a mystery. Besides the fact you're bisexual."
Roz held her breath as she felt the tension of the moment. "Denial would have worked before the long, vacant stare."
* * *
"Thirteen's bisexual." Kutner blurted out excitedly as Chase turned to give him a confused look.
"Sorry." Kutner looked away for a moment. "Just something I heard Roz say. She heard Thirteen and Foreman talking."
Chase rolled his eyes. "Is that really pertinent information for me to have before I explain this surgery to the patient?"
Chase smiled at Kutner reproachfully. "Just don't tell House. He'll have a field day."
* * *
"Chase." House called after his ex-employee in the hospital halls.
"Are you sleeping with Thirteen?"
Chase eyes widened and his face flushed. "No!" He scanned the halls, hoping no one had heard them.
"I saw the way you were looking at her in the conference room. So who gets to break the news to Cameron? Please say it's me." House grinned like a cat about to pounce.
"Listen, I know you love to make my life a living hell, but I'm not involved with anyone but Cameron right now, alright?"
House continued to press the point. "Well, you've sure never looked at Thirteen quite so hard before. What's up with that?"
Chase rubbed the back of his neck warily before sighing. "Kutner told me that she's bisexual. Can you blame me if I look at her a little differently now?"
"Word does get around fast." Chase gave House a curious look. "Just heard Roz saying the same thing. You were my confirmation." House grinned proudly at his own ingenuity.
Chase turned in exasperation and walked away. "Whatever, try to leave the poor girl alone."
"But mommy!" House whined before smiling to himself. He did always enjoy hearing good news.
Wilson was happy. Happier than he had been in months, maybe years. A certain confident assurance grazed his lips when he thought no one was looking.
Cuddy couldn't stand the sight.
"I'm happy. Can't I just enjoy what that feels like for a while?" Wilson asked.
Happiness, such a foreign concept. It had been years since Cuddy had seen true happiness cross any of their faces. House was miserable, she was resigned and Wilson was somewhere in between.
She had thought it would always stay that way.
Cynical, manipulative and resentful; Cuddy decided to tell it like it was.
"Your needs are going to feed her needs until all that's left is a Wilson chalk outline on the floor."
Wilson stared at the woman before him. He blinked twice, unable to recognize her in the shade of defeat.
"Sorry." Cuddy added quickly. Smoothing over the edges, but it was too late. As she retreated, he watched her intently.
Wilson had never realized how much they cared. Not until he had seen how hard they would fight to get him back.
"House, you're right." House knew he should be thrilled to hear those three words, but instead he felt an ominous churning in the pit of his stomach.
This would not turn out right.
"Why not date you?" Wilson continued. "We're a couple."
But House could almost smell the persistent alcohol on Wilson's breath when he said the words. The frailty of their doubt.
He could smell Amber's perfume on Wilson's collar, a deep flowery scent. Distinctive, repulsive. House had always hated lavenders.
So he had to push away. "Are we still speaking metaphorically?"
House could only stand outside his door, afraid and alone.
Wilson could smell the fear.
"Why are you doing this? Every time I agree with you, you find a new argument."
All Wilson wanted was the truth. He deserved it after all of the years.
"What are you trying to avoid?"
Wilson let the moment linger, let the words remain unsaid. House refused to look away from his eyes.
They were too oblivious to recognize the essence of their own propensity.
Change has no scent.