top1top2top2top3

The Tail of Lucy Addis


Chapter One





The rain annoyed him. It meant many things, all of them irritating to a man 
who walked with a cane. No riding the bike to work for one—aside from the 
added risk that wet pavement and puddles created there was the hassle of 
wet seats and poor visibility.

So no bike tomorrow.


Rain also meant more accidents, which in turn meant more stupid cases in 
the clinic. More falls, more head colds, more general whining on every level, 
from patients to nurses and staff. Rain meant everyone would be cooped up in 
the hospital, cranky and getting on each other’s nerves. Very frustrating.


Rain also left him feeling . . . melancholy. Rain was just depressing. It had 
ruined perfectly good days back when he could walk normally; ended 
Lacrosse games, cut into runs, given him chills. Now rain made his damaged 
leg ache more, adding an underlying grind to the ongoing throb, a shadow of 
extra hurt that the Vicodin never could touch.


Rain reminded him of the day Stacy left.


And the day she left again.


Rain was just in general, a pisser. The only good thing about it at the moment 
was that he wasn’t out IN it. Instead he was home warm and dry, about to 
suck down some chowder from a can of soup and scope out the naughtier Pay 
per View offerings while sprawled out on the couch. His kind of night.


Someone rang the bell; House looked at his front door suspiciously. If it was 
Wilson or any of the Brady Bunch they would have knocked—House had 
trained them well. No, a ringing bell meant someone else. Someone untrained 
in the secret signals. House yelled. “Who is it?”


No answer. After a few seconds, the bell rang again, an insistent chime 
demanding a reply. House hated the sound of his own doorbell, fighting the Pavlovian response welling up in him. He scowled more deeply now, 
reluctantly leaving his microwaved soup on the kitchen counter and limping 
forward.


“If you’re a Jehovah’s Witness I’m a devout Pagan, and if you’re a Girl Scout 
I’m a cannibal—“ he shouted more loudly now.


No reply. Feeling his annoyance rise, House made it to the door and checked 
the spy hole, seeing no one. Unfortunately, the door to the hallway was open, 
and rain was gusting into the building foyer. House gritted his teeth, his ire increasing exponentially. Clearly the asshole had left the outer door open, and 
now House would have to go close it. Normally he wouldn’t care, but the cold seeping in was annoying, and the danger posed by the water on the foyer hall 
was bad enough for folks with two good working legs, never mind a man with liabilities in that department.


House unlocked his door and cautiously stepped out, a low ongoing string of profanity leaking out of him as he did so. The chill gusting in did nothing to 
improve his temper, and he hastily reached for the knob of the door. Just as 
he began to pull it shut, a small streak of wet grey fur shot in and through his 
feet, startling the hell out of him. He wobbled a little, catching himself on the doorjamb and peered back in time to see the thing dart through the gap he’d 
left in the door to his place.


House growled.


He slammed the building door and turned, stalking back to his apartment and carefully looking around, but the little thing had scooted out of sight, and in 
any case the room was dim. House flicked the switches next to the wall, filling 
the living room with light. He winced a little at the brightness.


“Okay, home invader, let’s dance—“ he groused. Carefully he began a 
systematic search, moving left around the bookcases. Nothing. Under the 
writing table. Nothing. Over and under the piano and bench. Nothing. Feeling frustrated, House glanced along the sofa and towards the kitchen—


He froze. The kitten was on the table, front paws on the edge of his soup mug, daintily lapping at his chowder.


“Hey! Get away from my FOOD!” he yelled. The kitten shot him a wary look 
and turned back to the chowder. She managed three more quick licks before prudently skittering off the table as House wrathfully lumbered towards her. 
When he’d reached the kitchen and his defiled soup, he gritted his teeth and
picked it up.


“Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m some kind-hearted SOB, cat. This is 
MY soup and MY house. When I catch you, I’m going to throw your fuzzy little 
butt back out into the rain,” he announced loudly before slurping a mouthful of
soup.


No answer.


He didn’t really expect one, but part of him was amused at the kitten’s sheer audacity. Carrying the mug out to the living room, House dropped himself onto 
the sofa and picked up the remote. He was determined to ignore the kitten; lull 
her into a sense of false security. It had worked with every other female he’d 
ever known, and he had no reason to doubt it would work now. Carefully 
House clicked the television on and looked over the selections available for 
his viewing pleasure.


He passed up Bareback Mountain and V for Vagina for the more promising
18 Blondes
. As the action began to build on the screen, House surreptitiously checked out of the corner of his eye to see if his little squatter would make an appearance.


It took a while; nearly three orgies before she wandered into view, circling 
around one of the piano bench legs. House let his attention flick back and 
forth between the screen and the kitten for a while, trying not to alert her to 
the fact he was studying her. After several minutes she moved towards the 
fireplace and sat down, giving her front paw a wash.


Her fur had dried out now, and House noted she was a short-haired grey 
striped tabby. Since she was roughly the size of two peanut butter sandwiches 
laid end to end, House assumed she couldn’t be very old—maybe seven or 
eight weeks at most. Just over weaning and still small enough to have some 
rough textured kitten fur on her. As for her sex---House managed a sardonic 
smirk, knowing he had an instinct about such things. Any animal brazen 
enough to scoot into HIS home and eat HIS food could only BE female.


The kitten looked up at him in a coolly appraising way, all big ears and eyes; unafraid, but wary. House snorted at her.


“Don’t give ME the eye, Mooch. Looking for a handout, are you? Well too bad. 
I had the entire can of soup and I feel JUST fine about it.”


The kitten returned to washing her paw, supremely unimpressed, and House overlaid a memory of Cuddy just that morning, returning to writing a report, 
equally bland. He glared at the little cat.


“Just like . . . never mind. You’ll be hungry soon enough, and then I’ll have 
you. So go ahead and work on your tongue bath while I get back to the 
blondes—“ But looking up he noticed the movie was over, the credits rolling. Annoyed afresh, House clicked the TV off and tossed the remote down. The 
kitten looked up at him and ventured a little bit closer, padding over until she 
was only a foot or so from his left sneaker. House eyed her again.


“So. Somebody dumped you out in the rain. Somebody who thought I’d be 
sucker enough to take you in. But it didn’t quite work out, did it? I’m not 
interested in a pet. I have no TIME for a pet—Steve’s been released to the 
wild, you know. And I hate cats—“ House bent down slowly and untied his 
shoelace, tugging it through the eyelets until it was free of the sneaker. 
Temptingly he dangled it; the kitten watched the white cotton string sway with 
big, interested eyes. House gave it a twitch and the little cat dropped into a 
wiggly crouch, eyes locked on the shoelace.


“That’s right, go with your scatterbrained instincts. Chase a stupid piece of 
string you can’t eat—“ he taunted her, and she pounced, little needle claws 
pinning the shoelace onto the hardwood floor. House slowly reeled it in, 
tugging it free of her grip only to toss the end out again. The kitten pounced 
once more, her entire concentration on the moving dancing elusive shoelace. 
House toyed with her for several minutes, noting how quick she was, how 
nimble despite some clutzy moves.


The kitten was closer now, and the gray of her fur reminded him of the slate 
blue of Cuddy’s eyes. Carefully House reached out a finger and the kitten 
batted it, her paw soft, claws retracted.


Against his will he smiled, and realizing it, House scowled once more. He sat 
up again and leaned back against his couch, thinking hard about what exactly 
to do.


He couldn’t leave his door open in hopes she’d wander out; it would take too 
long and the cold would leak in. He wouldn’t call anyone to help; not even
Wilson
. Especially not Wilson, who would try and talk him into keeping the 
annoying little furball. No, the best bet was to lure her into a small space, like 
the bathroom, and trap her there. Once caught, he could drop her off at the 
SPCA or give her away to someone. Cameron maybe, or Cuddy—


The thought of handing a kitten to Cuddy left House feeling a pang deep in his stomach. He could picture Cuddy’s graceful hands cradling the kitten, her 
fingers stroking the little head, could easily visualize her cooing into the tiny 
face.


The damned kitten reminded him of Cuddy. Independent. Focused. Feminine--
Sudden sharp pain made House yelp; the kitten had leaped to hang on the 
shin of his jeans and was industriously clawing her way up his good leg. 
House tensed, moving to bat the cat away.


“Bitch! Yeah thanks! Like the other one’s not shredded enough as it IS!” he 
yelled at her. The kitten blinked at him, and twisted away to land next to him 
on the sofa. Her tail twitched and she glared at him with bland resentment for 
his tone of voice. House sneered back at her, feeling the sting of her claw 
holes along his shin.


“You are definitely OUT of here, “ he snapped, “Cattus non gratus. Shoo—“ 
He waved his hand at the kitten. She promptly lay down on the sofa cushion, 
tail flicking once more, her small side rising with each breath. House picked 
up the shoelace and threw it at her; she snagged it and jumped down, 
carrying it away proudly, her back end swaying a little.


Just like Cuddy’s ass---although fuzzier and smaller, House amended. He 
rose up and headed for the kitchen, looking for bait.


*** *** ***



The first victory was hers, House sourly conceded as he hung up his phone; 
the conversation with his grocery delivery service had NOT gone well.


“Okay, so you want three cans of cat food, a litter box and cat litter delivered 
tonight. Get a cat, Doctor House?”


“No, I’m trying to get rid of one.”


“Uh, okay. You’re ditching a cat, but you still need food and a litter box?”


“I don’t want her to crap under my bed or on my bathroom rug while I’m 
getting rid of her okay? And I need the food for bait so the sooner you get it 
here the happier we’ll all be, Roy. Can we get with the program?”


“Yeah, okay. Do you need any cat toys?”


“What would I need cat toys for? I’m getting RID of her!”


“Maybe they could be going away presents?”


At that point House had been tempted to throw the phone at the kitten and let 
HER finish the call, but he’d fought the urge and managed to get through the 
rest of the order, which now included a few six packs, just for the extra 
aggravation.


He headed for the bathroom with the last beer in the fridge, figuring he had 
just enough time for a soak before Roy showed up.


For the first time in a long time, House was acutely self-conscious of his every action; aware that he was being watched. He reached the bathroom and 
dropped the plug into the tub then ran the water, adjusting it to a nice level of 
heat. He looked around, and spotted the kitten peering around the doorsill, 
her ears flicking forward in curiosity. House took a step towards her and she retreated. He began unbuttoning his shirt.


“Hence the name ‘fraidy’, eh?” came his mocking tone. “Fear me, I am the 
alpha male of this domain.”


The kitten plonked her little butt down to watch, and suddenly House fought 
the urge to smile once again; she had chutzpah, he’d give her that. With exaggeratedly blatant maneuvers, he stripped down, dropping his clothes on 
the bathroom rug. “Normally I get a few twenties for these sorts of moves, but 
I can see you’ve left your wallet at home—“ he told her.


She yawned.


“Lesbian.” House accused, and grabbed the safety bar along the wall, 
stepping into the scalding water with a wince. He settled himself in, popped 
open the beer and gave a gusty sigh, resting his arms along the sides of the 
tub. The heat felt blissfully good, countering the strain in his thigh. He sipped 
his beer and scratched under his chin, wondering if it was time to shave yet. 
The steam rose up, and he closed his eyes for a moment.


House liked baths. Showers were fine, but there was something far more 
primitive about a bath. The combination of weightlessness and heat did a lot 
to take the stress out of a day, and lazily he wondered if Cuddy took long 
bubble baths. The imagery intrigued him and House indulged his libido-driven imagination for a moment, picturing her sliding her naked self into a foam-filled 
tub.


Oh yeah. His grin widened a bit in appreciation.


Cuddy would be sleek and curvy, most assuredly lickable--


Something rasped against his wrist.


House opened one eye; the kitten was on the edge of the tub, her tongue 
scraping across the edge of his hand. He glared at her. She turned to present 
her minute ass to him and licked again. Sorely tempted as he was to sweep 
her into the water, House thought better of it and instead slowly withdrew his 
hand, still clutching his beer. The kitten followed his move with big golden 
eyes, keeping perfect balance on the narrow ledge of the tub edge.


“You are getting on my nerves.”


The kitten paced forward, and stared down at the water. House sighed, 
draping a washcloth over himself. “You HAD your chance to see the python. 
Too late now.”


But the kitten was far more interested in dabbing a paw at a patch of beaded 
water on the tub edge, poking it playfully. House sipped more beer, fascinated 
by her concentration. She circled the water carefully, jabbing, finally sticking 
her nose into it and wetting her whiskers. Annoyed, she shook her face, trying 
to clean the drops off, and House finally brushed her off the tub edge and 
down onto the fluffy bath rug. She stalked off in a huff and he laughed.


God she was so like Cuddy.


House sloshed back into the bath and thought for a while. By the time he got 
out and had climbed into a teeshirt and drawstring pants, he’d decided.


“Lucy Addis,” he called out, moving cheerfully into the living room. “A perfectly recombined name for a stuck-up, pushy, self-centered bit of pussy. What do 
you think?”


She wasn’t anywhere in sight. House glanced around his living room, gaze 
moving from low to high, and finally he spotted her on the very top of the 
bookcase, tail flicking in agitation.


“Lucy, Lucy, Lucy—“ he chided, not moving any closer. “Brilliant maneuver, 
fuzzball. Now what are you going to do?”


Lucy glanced down at him, then paced along the top of the case, carefully 
eyeing the picture frames on the other side. House wondered for a moment 
how she’d managed to get up in the first place, then realized she’d climbed the 
coat rack and he was impressed against his will. As he reached for her, the 
doorbell rang; House left her and went to open it.


Roy stood in a poncho, holding two huge plastic bags, knotted against the 
rain. “Doctor House?”


“You ask that every time, and the answer is still the same,” House snapped, 
but absently. He shuffled to let the boy in. Roy set the wet bags on the carpet 
and waited as House counted out the money. He spotted the kitten and 
grinned.


“That’s the one you’re trying to get rid of?”


“Yes, so far she’s avoided all the more obvious deathtraps. I’m hoping to goad 
her into jumping.”


“I heard cats always land on their feet,” Roy murmured, taking the money and tucking it away in a zippered bag. House glanced up at Lucy and shook his 
head.


“They might land on their feet, but they still end up bloody little coasters if the 
drop is high enough.”


After Roy left, House ignored the kitten and began unpacking the bags, 
zeroing in on the six packs first.


“Ah, my aggravation medicine—“ he announced, setting it down before getting 
to the job of the litter box. It took only a few minutes, and as he poured the 
last trickles in, he heard a rustling and thudding behind him. House grinned knowingly.


“When all else fails, the call of nature succeeds—“


He carried the box into the bathroom, setting it off to the side of the toilet, and 
Lucy darted to it, definitely interested. She dug, squatted and buried in dainty 
little actions that House watched with no shame whatsoever. Finished, she sauntered up to him and circled one leg, brushing against his sweats. House 
arched an eyebrow.


“Aha. Ignoring me hasn’t worked, so now you’re resorting to feline feminine 
wiles in hopes that I’ll spring for dinner.” He limped out towards the kitchen. 
“Let’s see what Roy has delivered.”


House fished through the remaining bag, pulling out the three cans, and 
examining them closely. His expression soured. “Good GOD what sort of slop 
are they dredging up for pets these days? Liver Lumps? Sounds like a biopsy, 
not a dinner—“ House checked another can. “Tuna Toes? Okay, that’s just wrong—any tuna that has toes has been swimming too close to Bikini Atoll, if 
you get my drift. What monstrosity of alliteration is on this last one—Chicken Chunks. Okay, some semblance of normality. Chicken Chunks it is—“


He opened the can and found a bowl to dump the contents into, then moved 
to set it on the floor. Lucy skittered over to it, sniffed, looked at him and then 
settled into eating. House stepped around her and went back to his sofa, 
thinking hard again.


He couldn’t keep her; he knew that. It simply wasn’t practical for him to keep a 
pet. House had enough trouble remembering to do his laundry and fill his gas 
tank; the added nuisance of cleaning a littler box and opening cans left him 
wary. At the same time, he barely wanted to admit it, but she’d made the 
evening interesting—more so than the movie had—and he was curious as to 
what she would choose to do next.


House stretched out, reached for the latest copy of the CDC bulletin and 
opened it. He was halfway through a report on Lyme disease when he felt 
small feet walking across his chest. He lifted the report to see Lucy standing 
on his sternum. She seemed to be over her wariness, and stared down at him. House noted the delicacy of her long white whiskers; the pinkness of the 
insides of her big ears. She circled around and settled down onto his chest.


“Just like you own the place—“ he grumbled, but softly. House lowered his 
journal went back to reading, very aware of a small patch of warmth that 
hadn’t been there before.


                                                                                                                                                                                              The Tail of Lucy Addis 2       

 


                        
                                                                                                                                                                                       


House index



GuestbookGuestbook





bottom1bottom2bottom3