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The Answer to Your Why - Chapter One

The title will probably be reworded cause it kinda sounds cheesy, but here's the first chapter of my new Kutner/Taub fic, written cause Kutner died. That's right, even though it doesn't make much sense, I'm going to ignore canon and finally do something about this ship that I have been ignoring for a while now. Out of all the House ships I will ever contribute to, this will probably be the only one cause House/Wilson is too hard for me to write, seeing as their characters are so complicated sometimes. Sure, Taub and Kutner are as well, but, well, I don't really care right now. KUTNER DIED AND THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS NOW damn bitch why'd he have to go work for Obama?

The Answer to Your Why

Chapter One - If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix it

"Even though we don't hang out much outside of work, I still consider you to be a close friend."

He sighed, gritting his teeth as he tried not to lash out. "I wasn't arguing with him."

Taub glanced back at his coworker before turning back to the counter he was inspecting. The anger roused in his system transformed into satisfaction as he sighted a large bottle of pills that he knew would prove his theory correct.

"I was right," he stated, holding up the bottle and shaking it in front of Kutner's face. "Let's head back to the hospital."

Grinning, Kutner slipped into the hallway in front of House's office, rather proud of himself for the whole "cat pee on chair" thing.

Man, Thirteen's face was priceless. Paying for dry cleaning is so worth messing with House.

He took on a slow, smug saunter as he walked down the hall, his boss just ahead of him. Distantly, he heard the ding of the elevator as Taub walked out into the hall. The shorter doctor was holding a box of donuts, walking very stiffly and swiftly to the conference room as he passed by House, seeming to ignore the snide remark that he gave him as he headed to the elevator himself.

Kutner took this moment to stop and get a look at the ex-plastic surgeon's angry expression, following him through glass doors.

"Man, what happened?" he asked, one foot in the room and the other in the hall. He was uncertain whether or not he was making the right decision, standing there in the doorway, but Taub looked like he could blow some steam.

Setting down the box with a thud, Taub refused to look at him as he replied, "It's none of your business."

"Come on," he coaxed, stepping in and letting the door shut on its own. "Remember what I said earlier? Maybe now could be the time that we, you know, hung out... or something...."

Taub's shoulders loosened up a bit as the corners of his mouth twitched, threatening to smile at Kutner's kindness. His face remained relatively stoic as he said, "I appreciate the offer, but I think I'd rather go home after all this."

Frowning, Kutner stayed behind him to catch him in case he turned to leave, but Taub stood in place. He noted that his hands were braced on the table as if he wanted to turn on his heel and get out as quickly as possible. He can probably sense that I'm not going to leave anytime soon... Maybe I can break him.

"Can't you just let me treat you to drinks or something? You look like you need it, and I'm sure your wife would disapprove of something like that," he suggested, taking another step forward.

The shorter doctor lifted an eyebrow, despite the fact that his coworker could not see it. "Don't just assume that my wife doesn't let me drink, Kutner." He finally turned to face him, leaning back on the glass table as he crossed his ankles. "But I suppose that a drink wouldn't hurt. I'll have to tell her that I'm out, though..."

A wide grin spread out across Kutner's face when Taub accepted his invitation, his eyes radiating the same joy that he felt earlier regarding House's chair. His expression melted into a smirk as he added, "You should probably mention that you'll be out with a guy, else she'd think you were out cheating again."

"Just because I'm out with a man doesn't mean that I can't be cheating," Taub replied with the same complacent tone that the younger doctor used against him. The way his mouth was twisted into a lopsided scowl told Kutner that he had meant to retaliate with the same smart-alec attitude that he had spoken with, but the words that came out of his mouth sounded odd to his ears.

The smirk dropped from his mouth as he adopted a confused look. His eyebrows dipped as he gave Taub a puzzled look, before rising into his hairline as he absorbed the words.

Blinking, Taub's face mirrored Kutner's as he realized what he had just implied. "Uh, I-I mean that, well, I don't really..."

The younger doctor let out a bark of laughter as Taub's face lit up with an embarrassed blush, though he felt a small rush of blood rise to his face as well. "Okaaaay. Note to self: watch out for Taub when his wife's not around, he could jump anyone."

"Shut up, Kutner," he hissed, his fingers gripping the table harder as his frustration returned with his embarrassment.

Kutner grinned again, taking another step forward to grab a donut out of the box behind his coworker. He leaned over Taub's shoulder to take a pastry, drawing back only an inch to wave it in front of his face. "Don't worry about it, man, I know that everyone wants a piece of this."

The taller man laughed at his own joke, spinning on his heel to head out. "Come on. You can drive up to your house, drop off your car and tell your wife that you'll be out and I'll take you to this great bar that Foreman told me about last Christmas."

Kutner didn't even wait for him to reply as he shot him one last look, taking a bite out of his donut and ducking out of the room. Taub gaped at the door as it slowly shut behind him, that blush still burning his cheeks.

Adjusting his rear-view mirror, Kutner fussed silently as he waited for Taub to return from his driveway. In the corner of his eye, he could see the ex-plastic surgeon step out of the doorway, only to poke his head back in to add another word. The door slamming shut made him wince.

As Taub headed down the paved driveway, Kutner averted his eyes to the wheel, searching for something to look at to hide the fact that he had been staring at him. He settled on the radio, busying his right hand with the knob as he switched it from his CD to a random radio station. The passenger door opened with a click, making his shoulders twitch as he resisted the urge to look up.

"Ready to go?" the younger doctor asked, trying to ignore the scene that he had just witnessed. He glanced down at himself to make sure that he had his seatbelt on and that his clothes weren't out of place; anything to avoid Taub's angry gaze.

"Yeah," he replied gruffly, sinking into the leather seat. Taub leaned on the door and put his chin in his hand, looking out the window.

Feeling that his coworker had cooled down a bit, Kutner chanced a look at him. A tired, defeated expression was painted across his face, making him curious as to what had he had done to appear so miserable. Seeing his coworker so vulnerable after watching him talk back to their controlling bastard of a boss the past few days set a rush of sympathy through his mind.

"Chris," he murmured under his breath, his gaze lingering a little bit longer than he had intended to. As Taub's head began to move in response to his slip, Kutner snapped his head forward just as the light switched from red to green, eliciting a raised eyebrow from the man beside him.

Sitting up, the shorter man opened his mouth to question Kutner's actions, but decided against it, figuring that he would learn more by observing him than by asking about it. If he hid the fact that he hadn't seen it, then maybe he would think that he hadn't noticed, so he wouldn't bother to cover up anything he could be expressing.

He looked like he was... Staring at me, Taub mused, slumping back into the seat before cupping his chin again. His lips pulled into a lopsided frown as he examined the younger doctor's tense shoulders and white-knuckled grip on the wheel. He's probably just curious about what happened.

Kutner took this moment to shoot him a quick glance, his shoulders jumping when he saw that he was staring back.

A smile quirked at the corners of his lips as Kutner gulped and brought up his shoulders in an attempt to hide his embarrassed flush.

Eh, there's no reason not to tell him, I guess. After going through all that trouble to bring me out here, I might as well humor him.

"I got conned," Taub stated firmly, breaking the thick silence that seemed to be eating at Kutner's mind. "Well, almost."

The driver lifted his eyebrows, his gaze still fixed on the road ahead of them. "Really? What happened?"

Taub inhaled slowly, reluctant to share the experience with someone that could use the information against him. "This man, he... Saw me when I was about to go back to check the patient's house and told me that we used to go to high school together. I believed him, and he invited me to his office to have some drinks. I fixed one of his prototypes and decided that I wanted to work with someone less... condescending, so when I went to give him the money to join his "company", I found out that, well, he went to high school with a lot of people."

The car stopped at a red light, allowing Kutner to look over and give Taub a smile. "Well, at least you didn't get fired by your "condescending" boss... Hmm, I don't think that "condescending" quite fits House."

Taub scoffed, shaking his head. "Whatever. Call him whatever you want, all I know is that working with him is intolerable sometimes."

Kutner felt his chest tighten at the look of pure misery in Taub's eyes as he continued to drive.

"She's the only thing that makes my day worthwhile, yet I don't know why I do... what I do..." Taub burst out after his sixth bottle of beer, picked out by Kutner of course. If he had to stay sober to drive the shorter man back, he might as well give him something that he could afford by the dozens.

"Maybe you're just... not satisfied by just her, you know? Like, maybe you knowthat you love her, but there's just something... missing," Kutner replied, leaning on his elbow. He rested his weight on the bar beside them, turned to face his coworker as they sat slumped on two bar stools.

Taking another swig of his beer, Taub nodded, exhaling loudly. "Yeah, that's probably it." He stared at the mouth of the bottle, swishing around the amber contents in the glass container. "It's just... I don't know anymore. I've had to own up to our relationship problems a lot more because of House's badgering nagging at my conscience... I really don't think I deserve her, and that she shouldn't have to deal with a pathetic man like me, which makes me depressed, which provokes me to do things like this... And bad things happen."

The younger man gave Taub a questioning look. "Things like this...?"

Taub hummed in response before gulping down another mouthful of beer. "Yeah. You know, drinking with someone who's not her. It may have been a client before, but old habits die hard, I guess, and since I've been at Princeton, it's been more than just one client... God, I should just die right now, shouldn't I?"

Eyes widening with panic, Kutner reached out to grab the other's shoulders as he slumped over, face hidden by shadows. He looked as if he were ready to cry. "No! No, man, you'll be fine, you're going to be just fine... Things'll work out. You're a good guy, Chris. Sure, you've made a few mistakes, but you're only human. And yeah, maybe House likes to point out every single thing you do wrong, but that's like, the only thing that keeps him together. That, and his job. You, on the other hand, have a wife, a job, and friends that care for you... I'm here for you, Chris, I'm here for you..."

Taub seemed to stir at the use of his first name, lifting his head to stare straight into Kutner's eyes. Kutner flushed at the intensity of the gaze focused on him, and he forgot that he was gripping Taub's shoulders with a strength that strained his hands. The shorter man's eyes softened after a moment, a thankful smile gracing his normally stoic face.

"Thanks, Kutner..." He reached up to touch the hand on his right shoulder, following the path it took with his eyes. "This... This was nice, actually. I'm glad to have gone. I haven't talked to someone about things since... Well, my wife would be one person I talk to, but I still don't tell her everything, so... Ugh, god, I..." He shook his head, shifting to lean his weight on Kutner's arms.

The younger doctor ran a soothing hand down his back as he reached for the half-empty bottle of beer left on the counter, downing the rest in a single gulp. "Let's get you home."

Taub simply nodded weakly as he let Kutner help him off the bar stool and out the door, heading out into the cool, spring night. It was late and it was dark, the moon hidden behind thick clouds. They moved silently under the guiding light of the streetlamps above them, Taub leaning heavily on Kutner's shoulder as the latter held him up with an arm around his back.

"You have no idea how much I appreciate this, Kutner," Taub slurred, leaning so close that he was almost resting his head on the other's shoulders. "I mean, even though I've been an ass this whole week, you still took time to be concerned about my well-being, reminding me of a friend that I never really knew I had..."

The taller man nodded briskly, the blush persisting to remain on his face as they found Kutner's car. He took a moment to stare at the car, trying to figure out how he could juggle the man in his grasp to open the door and let him inside. Frowning in thought, he shifted Taub over to lean on the car, but kept his hand on his back to keep him upright so that he could reach over and wrench the door open, despite the fact that he was aware that the ex-plastic surgeon was able to stand with the support of the car. He ignored that, pressing dangerously close to his coworker as he pulled the door open.

This is just like the moment when I took that donut earlier, Kutner thought, pressing his thumb into the door next to the handle as he tried to pull it apart just enough to hear it click. He didn't move then and he's not moving now... Why the hell am I doing this, anyway?

He chanced a glance down at Taub's face, only to see that he was staring at him with glazed eyes. The look caused him to pause his struggling, his hand stilling on the handle of his car. "Taub...?"

Taub blinked slowly as he craned his neck up to connect their lips in a soft, quick kiss. Although he had tensed in anticipation for the action, Kutner couldn't help but be surprised at the movement that caused a tingle to run down his spine, his eyes widening for a second time that night. He looked down again and saw that Taub's bottom lip was trembling as he felt his hands run slowly up his chest to tangle themselves in the front of his shirt. The shorter doctor looked like he was about to cry, just like before, but instead he pulled him down to kiss him harder.

Kutner let out a muffled groan at the sudden contact, pulling the car door open as he placed his weight on his coworker and his car below him. His hands were caught in midair, uncertain as to where he should put them, his body stiff as a board.

Oh god, oh god, oh god... I don't want to let him cheat againbut I... Nngh, I-I... Finally kissing back, Kutner placed his hands on the small of Taub's back and tilted his head, giving the other doctor access to the inside of his mouth.

Their tongues met for a moment before Kutner pulled back to catch his breath. On the edge of his vision, he saw Taub's eyes widen before he rested his head on Kutner's chest, shoulders sagging as realization dawned on him.

"Kutner, I..." taub began, staring at the space behind Kutner's back, "I... don't know what to say right now."

"Me neither," Kutner admitted softly, his hands moving to rest on Taub's hips. "Man, this is pretty crazy right now, huh?"

The shorter doctor clicked his tongue and rolled his eyes, a moment of sobriety bringing him back to his usual dry attitude. "You know what, I hadn't noticed that. Thank you for pointing that out, Kutner."

Something in the back of his mind told Kutner that he should be annoyed by that answer, but he smiled instead and said, "Since you seem to be thinking clearly enough to be sarcastic, I guess I don't need to help you into the car, do I?"

He dropped his arm abruptly, causing Taub to stumble on the spot. Straightening his legs, the shorter doctor shot Kutner a heavy glare before clambering into his car.

Kutner opened the driver's door with a click, feeling rather self-satisfied. He slid fluidly into the car, closing the door before turning to face Taub again. "Look, Taub, what you did out there was... Well, it was seriously unexpected, but I think I'll let it go. If any of the others found out about it, I think we'd have to deal with a lot of smart remarks from our "condescending" boss."

Starting up the engine, Kutner expected some sort of dry reply from his coworker, but he was strangely silent. Unnerved, the younger man gave Taub a quick glance as he backed out of his parking space. "You okay?"

"You're just going to let it go?" Taub asked, incredulous. "You're not going to tell me how disgusted you are, or how I should just get out and walk home on my own?"

Kutner scoffed at his ridiculousness, turning onto the road. "After that little remark at the hospital, I figured that I shouldn't really be surprised at anything you do now." As he paused, he gripped the wheel a little harder, muttering, "'Sides, did it look like I had any objections back there?" There's this thing called self-control, and I don't think I have any within arms reach.

Taub gaped at him, genuinely surprised at his co-worker's calm response. He had a right mind to be a little embarrassed at the memory, though, snapping, "Well, it's good to see that you have such a great memory, Kutner--" The rest of Kutner's words registered in his sluggish mind, silencing him effectively.

Swallowing thickly, Kutner replied quietly, "If this is gonna make things weird, maybe we should just stop talking about it."

Seeing the logic of his words, Taub nodded slowly in agreement. The rest of the ride back was quiet.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
Very nice. :)
Even though I'm a Kutner/Thirteen shipper, I have this very special place for Kutner/Taub. It's my secret indulgence, and there is NOT enough of it out there. I hope you continue this since it's a fic where Kutner lives.
May. 9th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
There is definitely not enough Taub/Kutner out there D8
Thanks for reading. :]
May. 16th, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
Ah, gotta love writing on a whim. xD It's a great start, actually. Lots of emotional shifts, yes, but somehow it's still fairly light throughout - or rather, the mood switches don't seem jarring, and the scenes overall blend into each other nicely. I'll admit I laughed out loud at "Just because I'm out with a man doesn't mean that I can't be cheating." So true, so true. And considering the awkwardness afterward, I figured he meant it like it wouldn't stop Rachel being suspicious, but as we see, there was a little more to it. xD Lastly, I'm pretty sure Kutner melted my heart about a handful of times throughout. (No wonder Taub opened up to him, though to be fair the alcohol helped. xD)
May. 17th, 2009 12:00 am (UTC)
Kutner is just a heart-melting kinda guy, you know? x] It just makes it that much worse that he's dead...
Always good to hear that I make people laugh out loud. When I write, I usually try to include snark and romance, my two favorite things evar lol, so I feel especially accomplished when I get responses like this. Though this is you, it's not very surprising lmao

Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting 8D Always appreciate the thoughtful feedback x]
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )