“Hey there, lady,” Hugh’s voice brought her up short and Lisa turned to see him striding in her direction. “You ready?”
    “Oh please, I’m always ready to have my picture taken,” she said, grinning at him and waiting for him to catch up so they could enter the studio together. ET had called about doing a photobooth session, and it had been ‘strongly encouraged’ by the producers that Hugh and Lisa make themselves available. Lisa shivered a bit as an unseasonably cool March breeze began to stir, and Hugh reached out to drape his arm over her shoulders as they walked.
    “Didn’t your mother ever teach you to wear a jacket in the springtime?”
    “Didn’t you ever realize that I don’t listen to my mother?”
    “Shame on you, Lisa,” Hugh chuckled as they walked through the door. “I thought I knew you better than that.”
    Lisa stopped and stared at him as he kept walking. When Hugh turned to see where she’d gone, she looked at the floor before catching up with him. “You do know me better than that…”
    “Ok guys, this should be pretty quick,” the photographer called as they settled themselves into the booth. “We want a total of three shots, something playful, something serious, and we’re going to introduce what we like to call… the Staredown.”
    “Ooooooooh…” Lisa and Hugh chorused.
    “Well. Yeah. I guess I don’t have to tell you guys to have fun with it… ok, let’s get started!”
    Lisa wriggled closer to Hugh on the bench, playing with the buttons on the front of the booth. “So how do you want to start, then, sir?”
    “Madame.” Hugh said, putting on a French accent, “I feel that the prudent course of action would be to begin with the… how you say… ‘serious’ shot, because once Madame starts giggling…” Lisa covered her mouth with her hand, closing her eyes. “Madame cannot stop.”
    “I hate you,” she said, her shoulders shaking with the effort of not bursting out laughing. “You know how hard it is for me to keep a straight face when you do that!”
    “Madame must accept my apologies,” Hugh said, turning his back to her a little. “Come along. Let us be serious.”
    “Wait wait wait, I want to cheat, here.” Lisa put her hand on his shoulder and straightened her back, bringing her feet up onto the bench and bringing herself up on her knees. “I want to pretend I’m taller than you for once in my life.”
    “But you’re not taller than me.”
    “I can dream, can’t I?” She asked, swatting his shoulder, and Hugh turned to grin at her. “Ok. Come on, you’re right, we should do the serious stuff first.”
    “Right-o. So we switch this on here…” he reached for the button so they could see themselves in the monitor before taking the picture. “Oh—Lis, come on, you’re too far away, the top half of your head isn’t even in the frame.”
    “Geez…” Lisa cradled his shoulder in her hand and rested her chin there, bringing their heads level. “Is that better?”
    “Much. Now don’t—”
    “Oh my God, Hugh, just take the picture before you crack me up again…”
    The photographer looked at his screen across the room. “That one looks good, guys, thank you!” Hugh and Lisa did not respond.
    “You did that on purpose,” she muttered, elbowing him in the gut as she moved away from his shoulder.
    “I did not!”
    “You were trying to make me laugh! I swear, you know how hard it is for me—”
    “Well it’s not my fault you find weird things funny—”
    “First you do it on set at House, now you’re doing it here—”
    “I’m trying to help! We’re supposed to be playful!”
    “You know I don’t need help being playful,” Lisa said, lunging for him again and trying to tickle him between the ribs.
    “Lisa! God almighty…” Hugh grabbed her hands and held them to his chest, twisting his body so they were facing. “What are you doing?”
    “I’m trying to get you to smile,” she said, leaning in toward him. “See, the corners of the mouth curve upwards, thusly…”
    Hugh quirked his mouth upward slightly as she leaned in, and then reached out with one hand and punched the photo button again.
    “Hugh!” Lisa stared at the photo that was appearing on the screen. “Oh good, it’s not that bad, I just—hate it when people take pictures when I’m not ready!”
    “Oh please, you’re gorgeous no matter what you do, what do you care? Look at my forehead, would you? It’s atrocious.”
    “Well you and your forehead need to lighten up a bit so we can get this shoot done, yes?” Lisa snatched her hands back and started to reach toward him again, and Hugh leaned away to avoid being tickled again. “Come on, we just need a playful shot—”
    “Actually the staredown should probably get re-done, considering—”
    “And I happen to know, don’t ask me how, that this is a particularly effective way to get you relaxed, buddy—” Lisa said, leaning over and taking his earlobe between her teeth, squeezing gently.
    “Whoa!” Hugh let out a breath, regained his bearings, and turned on his goofiest smile for the camera. Just—Lisa, please, just don’t do—that… Lisa giggled and shifted slightly, and Hugh felt her breasts against the back of his arm as she readjusted her weight on her knees. “Ok—I guess that could be considered playful…”
    “I guess so,” she said, and Hugh shook himself sternly as he felt her breath against his neck. “I’ll let you decide when to take it—I’m kind of occupied at the moment—” Hugh’s smile went even more lopsided as he looked at the monitor and met Lisa’s eyes in the screen. All of a sudden, as he reached for the button, he realized that the tickling feeling he was getting in his ear was—Oh, God help me—Lisa’s tongue playfully tickling at the very bottom of his earlobe between her teeth. Hugh hit the button before anything else could happen. Any more, and he wouldn’t be able to hide what she was doing to him.
    Lisa released his ear immediately and put her forehead on his shoulder. Hugh didn’t move for a moment, but she could feel his breathing in the rise and fall of his back. Suddenly they heard footsteps approaching and Lisa’s head shot up, and she tried to untangle her legs enough to sit normally on the bench. Hugh didn’t move.
    “Hey, guys?” The photographer stuck his head around the corner of the booth. There was a video cameraman standing behind him. “Those are great, seriously. Can we just get some video footage, maybe of the staredown, just for the ET segment on the show itself?”
    Hugh cleared his throat. “Yeah, sure. No problem.”
    “Ok, let me just—” The photographer grasped the edge of the photobooth and pulled the front wall away on its hinges to allow for the video camera to move closer. Lisa watched the process, not meeting Hugh’s eyes. When everyone was in place, Hugh nudged her with his elbow, having turned slightly to better face her.
    “Hey. You ready?”
    “Yeah.” Lisa turned and started to give him a half-smile, but froze when she saw her friend’s eyes. His pupils were dilated, his breath was shallow, and he looked—she wasn’t sure what he looked like. This was a new one. Dimly she realized that the camera had started rolling, but after all, that’s what she was here for: to stare into Hugh’s eyes. Twist my arm…
    Hugh tried to stabilize his breathing, but knew he was doing rather a bad job of it. Lisa’s eyes were just as they always had been, weren’t they? Had they always been this… intense? Well, the staredown was an old drama exercise, one that he had excelled at, and if it came down to it he would win a no-blink contest against anyone. And the way to do it was through intimidation.
    Hugh leaned in.
    Lisa narrowed her eyes a little. She was no stranger to this kind of contest, and she was particularly proud of her own capabilities in this game.
    Lisa leaned in.
Only an inch of space between them, and they both refused to blink. Hugh’s gaze drifted to the left to see the monitor before he realized that the monitor had been moved away for the cameras that were now over his left shoulder. A very tiny smile began to form on Lisa’s face as Hugh realized there was nothing for it but to look back at her. Very slowly he turned his eyes back in her direction, and realized that Lisa’s focus had shifted as well—down in the direction of his lips. Suddenly Hugh flashed back to the filming on House and Cuddy’s first kiss, that one day on set when he had known what those lips felt like against his own, the day that Lisa had taken control of the situation, just like she always did, and spontaneously kissed him before they had even started filming the scene, just to prove that they could do it without injuring themselves. And Hugh remembered, against his better judgment, that for one brief, fleeting moment, he had kissed her back.
    “That’s beautiful. Seriously, you guys rock.”
    Hugh and Lisa both blinked. Game over.