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House, M.D. - Greg House/Brittany House - seven virtues: fortitude

Title: House of Glass
Fandom: House
Pairing: Greg House/Brittany House
Prompt: #4 -- Fortitude
Word Count: 277
Rating: PG
Summary: It's not easy saying goodbye, but they can make it through.
Author's Notes: Takes place in March of 2005 and is canon.

Greg House doesn't need to be told what it's like to have your heart ripped out and smashed into thousands of unintelligible pieces. He's been there. But between his girlfriend crying her eyes out, and her ex-husband drinking himself into a coma, he thinks he ought to be smiling when he compares Stacy to what these two have done to each other without even meaning to.

Brittany seems about ready to crucify herself, since she's the one who initiated the divorce. Michael, on the other hand, takes it as a sign of his absolute failure as a husband. Neither of them are in particularly good shape. It's ironic and painful that House, the man who broke up their marriage, is the guy that's having to hold them together.

It's just a difficult time, they tell themselves. Just a transition period. Once we all get used to this, things will be okay.

Of course, they're never sure they'll get used to any of it. To the living in another state and the sleeping in an empty bed and the learning to let someone in again. It could blow up in all their faces, and there isn't one of them who isn't risking everything on this.

They all knew it wasn't going to be easy. But they're all fighters. Each of them has something horrible in their past that they made it through to get to here. If they can survive a Primary, a secret war, an infarction, they can survive this. It's just a matter of finding the will and the way.

They all know they're strong enough.

It's just a question of if they want to be.

Title: Stranded
Fandom: House
Pairing: Greg House/Brittany House
Prompt: #4 -- Fortitude
Word Count: 338
Rating: PG
Warnings: References to extreme violence and torture
Summary: The world gave a heavy burden; there was nothing left to do but carry it.
Author's Notes: Told through the eyes of Ryan Caldwell (Patrick Flueger), one of the junior agents at CTU Los Angeles. Takes place in June of 2005 and is canon.

Ryan Caldwell hasn't been a CTU agent nearly long enough to understand everything that's happening around him. He knows a former agent has been abducted and the office is in a state of controlled chaos. But there are some things that are just far too obvious to ignore.

There are the evidentiary signs. Everyone heard the tape of her being tortured. From the sounds of what was used, the cracking bone, the thuds of impact, everyone knows that she's probably looking something akin to ground beef at the moment. Nobody says that, because they all know her, because her fiancee's in the room. Nobody has time to, because there are two gunshots, and then nothing follows.

He listens to the sobbing of agents who served alongside her. The numb silence of failure. He doesn't know what to feel because he didn't even meet her. He hears her fiancee break down.

Maybe an hour or so later he hears the argument. Between Jordan Spencer, senior operative, and Julian Burroughs, the man that hired him. He listens to Julian say that he doesn't think she's dead and that he won't believe it until he sees a body, even if they're making him write the memo that says she's gone.

He sees the hope in her fiancee's eyes. The drive between the two men to bring her home alive. They refuse to give up, and why should they? This is the woman this guy loves. The one he's going to marry. It's the kind of adventurous romanticism Ryan can't help but admire, feeling it a throwback to the days of his youth, even if he's really not that old.

He knows how tough it must be to believe in the face of all the evidence. And when they're standing in the middle of the desert in Saugus, and he sees Julian carrying her barely conscious form in his arms, Ryan Caldwell knows she has to be one tough woman to survive. And this has to be one love worth fighting for.

Title: Hero's Dream
Fandom: House
Pairing: Greg House/Brittany House
Prompt: #4 -- Fortitude
Word Count: 308
Rating: PG
Summary: This is the last and the first.
Author's Notes: Futurefic, set in August of 2006.

At this point, Brittany House is screaming, crying, swearing and thinking about the John Hurt moment in Alien. Her son is coming out of her uterus and neither of them are particularly happy about it.

Not to say that they're not proud of this moment. Jackson is the miracle baby. She fought harder than hell to have this kid, even if she gave up hope there at the end. She was willing to do anything it took to have a child with a husband who's now having his finger sprained. Never mind her medical history. Never mind what the doctors had said. She wanted a baby and she wanted it to be their baby. She claimed victory on Greg's birthday, when the pregnancy test had two blue lines on it.

She's fighting now, pushing and breathing and doing everything the doctors tell her to do. She has a high pain tolerance, and she's been tortured twice, but still it seems there's nothing more painful than trying to shove a newborn out. She sets her jaw and screams and pushes harder because be damned if she's going to give up after nine months of morning sickness and toppling over and being wrapped in bubble wrap.

Their son is going to be a fighter. His father's a fighter, having struggled back from an infarction and come back crankier and more antisocial than ever. His mother's a fighter, rolling with the punches and helping to defend the world against terrorism, or at least she used to. This kid is going to be no exception, or maybe that's just the way he's refusing to come out.

But their kid is a fighter. He's strong already, she can tell. And that makes her proud, because that kind of thing just runs in the family. She'd just really like him to come out already.

Title: Different Place, Same War
Fandom: House
Pairing: Greg House/Brittany House
Prompt: #4 -- Fortitude
Word Count: 344
Rating: PG
Summary: He's fighting to stay alive and she's fighting to find him.
Author's Notes: Takes place in November of 2005 and is canon.

She's listening to the rain outside the bedroom window, and it pisses her off because she knows Greg hates the rain. It drives his leg nuts, and he's going to be out there, cold, tired, and alone, somewhere she doesn't know but which she's sure is far from pleasant, and it's all her fault.

If she hadn't asked him to come with her to Langley, he wouldn't have been there when she'd found the mole, and she wouldn't have had to send him away, and they wouldn't have found him and taken him...It could go on and on like that for hours. Never mind that she hadn't actually done anything wrong. She blames herself because otherwise, Greg would have been in New Jersey. She blames herself because that's a force of habit, to blame herself when things go wrong.

And holy hell, have they gone wrong.

Her husband and her ex-husband are somewhere in New York, being interrogated and tortured. She's seen the video. It's going to haunt her for the rest of her life.

He can hear it raining, and he's muttering curses under his breath as he curls up and tries to get comfortable. Though she doesn't know it, he's trapped in an abandoned subway station, uncomfortable and in pain, and he would give anything to be home with her right now. Warm and safe and with her body wrapped around his. He knows how upset she must be.

He wants to tell her it's not her fault. He also wants to tell her exactly where they are and could she bring about two dozen nice armed men, a blanket, and some cheesecake?

But it's not that easy. They have to find them, and soon, and get them the hell out of here. He believes that she will come for him, so he'll do whatever it takes to be waiting for her. And because she knows he'll hold on, it makes her all the more determined to go and bring him back.

For months, they'll both hate the sound of the rain.

Title: Rules of the Game
Fandom: House
Pairing: Greg House/Brittany House
Prompt: #4 -- Fortitude
Word Count: 271
Rating: PG
Summary: It's a state of embracing the unknown.
Author's Notes: Takes place in early 2005 and is canon.

One of the first things House learns is that there are two separate worlds when it comes to CTU. There's the world in front of your face, and then there's a whole other world. Full of things that are never seen, never spoken about, simply understood and taken to heart. The most important things are the ones that are never even acknowledged.

Nobody sees the cane and the limp. But everyone knows what he's doing there. And everyone has a stake in it. He picked the wrong woman to be dating if he wanted to conduct his relationship in secret. They all want to make sure he knows what those unspoken rules are. They're all watching him.

And when 'they' are a handful of smart, tough, physically fit men in their twenties and thirties, all capable of using and with access to loaded firearms, led by his girlfriend's father, House has every reason to be intimidated.

Especially when her father hauls him into the privacy of the unit office to interrogate him about his intentions.

His answers are carefully evaluated. His moves are carefully observed. He doesn't dare lay a hand on her when there are two dozen people who will lay a hand on him if he goes about it the wrong way. All he can do is hope for some semblance of their approval. Silently, simply, day by day, he gets it, until he knows their names and they know his. It simply happens one day.

He learns very quickly that CTU agents don't see black and white. They don't even see red. They just see shades of grey.

Title: Force
Fandom: House
Pairing: Greg House/Brittany House
Prompt: #4 -- Fortitude
Word Count: 275
Rating: PG
Summary: There's no limit she won't try to break.

Almost everyone knows that when Brittany House utters the infamous words 'I'm okay,' she's lying.

She's said that with a bullet in her arm. After being up four days straight. While bleeding all over everything. Looking like she's been hit by a bus. Everyone knows not to listen to her, because she will always say that she's okay. Even with a stab wound in her stomach or three bullets in her abdonmen.

She doesn't want to let anyone down. It may hurt like hell, but she doesn't want them to worry. Doesn't want to be a distraction from the mission. You name it, but she doesn't like to be the center of attention, even if it saves her life.

She'll shift her jaw and bear it, no matter what. After all, she's just doing her job. She doesn't understand what the big deal is, other than the blood getting everywhere.

House knows she's tough. She's the toughest woman he's ever known. He knows she wants to prove that she's tough. But he's not about to let her get away with it. First, because sometimes it's just plain stupid, and second, because he'd like the woman he loves in one piece, rather than as a walking jigsaw puzzle.

He's the one to grab her and tug her away from the chaos. To dote on her and tell her what she can't do. To patch up her wounds and wash the blood out of her hair. And she grumbles and pouts and whines, but she always gives in.

Because though she won't admit it, having someone who likes to take care of her is more than okay.

Title: Fighting Unfair
Fandom: House
Pairing: Greg House/Brittany House
Prompt: #4 -- Fortitude
Word Count: 256
Rating: PG
Warnings: Sexual content.
Summary: They don't play fair, but that's the fun of it.

"So, sweetheart," she purrs, "how long do you think you can hold out?"

The fact that she's saying this while she's got him handcuffed to the bed and is currently straddling him wearing nothing bigger than a cocktail napkin doesn't really help. His eyes rake over her body, and he tries not to drool. She is one good-looking woman and he knows she wants this just as bad as he does.

They play this game once or twice a week, sometimes like this, sometimes with the roles reversed. The general principle being both of them are horrible teases, like to think they're tougher than they are, and like to see how long each other can wait for gratification before they start begging for mercy.

Greg House doesn't ever beg. Much. That he'll admit to.

"Of course I can," he replies. "But you don't want me to."


"No. You want this. You want it bad." He's smirking now, like the cat that ate the canary.

And she's just laughing. "Only as bad as you want it, love. And I'm not the one handcuffed."

"Oh, you know I can get out of these if I want to. That's why I bought the restraints. Escape-capable." The smirk hasn't left his face, and he bucks his hips up into her. "You picked the wrong game to play, sweetheart."

She just smiles. "Are you kidding? This is more fun than sudoku."

"I'll take that as a compliment," he says and just kisses her. Defeat is just as sweet as victory.

Title: Necessity
Fandom: House
Pairing: Greg House/Brittany House
Prompt: #4 -- Fortitude
Word Count: 201
Rating: PG
Summary: They invented that expression.

"You know those people who said 'come hell or high water'?" she says, chewing on the end of her pen. "We invented that expression."

"I don't doubt it," he replies, smiling at her.

She leans back in her chair and puts her feet up on her desk, nodding slightly. "I mean, seriously. How much crap have we been through in the last year?"

He starts counting off on his fingers. "Abduction, abduction, torture, torture, near-death experience, you got shot, I got shot, you got pregnant, one foreign terrorism bombing, two epidemics..." He eyed her. "Do we get some sort of 'frequent trauma points'? After so many instances, we get a trip to Hawaii?"

"Talk to some airline."

"We'd probably just get stuck in coach anyway."

"Yeah." She chuckles. "But we're still here."

"We're still here," he replies, then grins at her. "Still here, and doin' even better than before. We got a house, a cat, and a boy on the way. I don't think they can do anything that's gonna stop us. Life is good."

"Life is." She paused. "Not that I'm inviting them to try or anything," she said, knocking the wood surface of her desk.

"Yeah, of course not."

Tags: greg house/brittany house, house m.d., seven virtues: fortitude
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