Life was completely, utterly different. Cuddy was tired, sore, out of shape, and short-tempered. No one slept and House's Vicodin intake had at least doubled. The babies slept for about an hour at a time but it was rarely at the same time. House felt bad leaving her every morning to go to work but once he got there, he would kick one of the residents out of the break room and take a nap for an hour until Cameron came and nagged him awake.
House was tired of the snow and tired of sick people and tired of Wilson being in charge and making him go to the clinic to help people. He hated helping people, he just liked solving puzzles. He was sitting in his office, sleeping with his eyes open, when Wilson came in.
"Just looking at you makes me never want children," Wilson said.
"I'm busy," House said.
"You're actually not," Wilson said. "I'm busy. But still, I come down to speak with the common people."
"You hate her job, don't you?" he asked.
"With every fiber of my being," Wilson said, sitting on House's sofa. "Who would take this hateful position?"
"She's a good politician," House said. "She asks for things and people just want to give them to her."
"Like sperm?" Wilson asked.
"Oh, you," House said, mockingly.
"Like love and marriage?" Wilson prodded.
"Maybe when the twins graduate from college," he scoffed.
"Whoa," Wilson said. "You said 'maybe.'"
"Go away now," House pleaded. "I'm tired and very liable to kill someone and I'm not feeling very particular about who."
"Cuddy said her mom left yesterday," Wilson ignored him.
"Yeah, Cuddy was kind of bummed. I think we're going to hire a nanny when she comes back to work."
"She's got a while, still," Wilson mourned.
"Shouldn't you be telling me to go to the clinic or something?" House asked, rubbing his face and pulling his legs off the desk.
"What do I care?" Wilson asked.
"God bless maternity leave."
House closed his eyes for a nap.
House knew to enter the house very quietly. If the babies were asleep and he woke them, it was not ever going to be good. The house was quiet and he closed the door softly. He could hear the repetitive squeak that betrayed the elliptical machine and so he walked past the open door of the nursery to see both babies asleep. In the bedroom, Cuddy had pulled the exercise machine out from beneath the bed and was already covered in sweat.
"Hi," she said, seeing him, breathing hard.
"Aren't you still all… puffy down there?" he asked.
"Nah, it's all just fat now," she said. "Are they still asleep?"
"Yeah," he said, pulling off his coat and tossing it on the bed, a habit he knew she hated. He liked to bait her.
"How was work?"
"Wilson is miserable, so pretty good," he said. "How much longer on that thing?"
"Ten minutes," she said. "Or until I hear crying."
"I have a surprise for you," he said.
"For me?" she asked, pushing the off button of the machine. "Ten minutes was a pipe dream."
"Tonight a team of highly trained baby specialists are coming to watch the twins for two hours so we can go out and get a fancy meal in a nice restaurant," he said proudly.
"No," she said.
"It's only been a few weeks and I'm not sure I'm ready to leave them yet."
"It's just a few hours, and they'll be in the finest care."
"And by highly trained baby specialists you mean?"
"And by team you mean?"
"Cameron. Maybe Chase," he conceded.
"They offered and I merely accepted. Come on, Lisa, you know you'd like to see the world again for a bit."
"I don't know,"
"Please?" he asked. "I don't say that often."
"I reserve the right to call every fifteen minutes," she said. "And if Cameron tries to steal my babies because she's psychotically in love with you, I get to kill her with my bare hands."
"That is more than fair," House agreed. "They're going to be here in half an hour, so get ready."
"Okay," she said and went to take a shower. House went into the nursery and sat tiredly in the rocking chair. Jack was still asleep but Marianne had her eyes open and when he leaned over the crib, her little hands waved in the air.
"Hi Princess," he said, hefting her into his arms. He picked up a bottle that Cuddy had left on the changing table and guided it into her hungry mouth. When he heard the knocking on the door, he stood up with the now drowsy, full baby and hobbled to the door. Cameron and Chase both stood on the porch and they looked strangely out of place without their lab coats.
"You're early," he said, ushering them in.
"Sorry," Cameron said, looking around. "Where's Dr. Cuddy?"
"In the shower," House said.
"Nice," said Chase and House smacked his shin with his cane. "Ow!" Cameron smirked.
"That's somebody's mother you're talking about," he scolded.
"Is that Marianne?" Cameron said, looking like she wanted to take the girl straight from his arms but knew better.
"She just ate," House said. "Jack will be hungry when he wakes up and they are both shit machines so don't be squeamish about the diaper changing. They'll sleep, mostly, and if Cuddy calls every twenty seconds, I want you to act like you love it. If you screw up, I'll kill each of you slowly and painfully. Got it?"
"I used to baby sit all the time," Cameron said.
"I'm sure you were the best and prettiest on the block, but these are my children. They're obviously better than all others before," House snapped.
"We'll be fine," Chase assured him.
"If you two have sex in my house on the clock, it will get ugly fast," House warned.
"You know, we're doing you the favor…"
"Chase, just… no," Cameron said. "Don't worry. We'll be fine."
"Sit quietly on the couch until we're ready for you," House said and left them to go down the hall. Cuddy was in her robe in the nursery, pulling Jack out of his crib.
"He was crying," she cooed. "Where's that bottle?"
"Your piggy daughter ate it all," he said. "Let the lackey's feed him and you go get ready," he said, putting Marianne back into the crib.
"Did you lay down the law?" she asked.
"You know it."
"That's my man," she said, kissing him lightly, Jack between them. "There's another bottle in the fridge."
Cameron was more than happy to take the baby into her arms and press the warmed bottle to his blistered lips. House and Cuddy left and Chase watched Cameron feed the baby with ease.
"Is it odd?" he asked.
"Feeding a baby? It's pretty easy," she said.
"No, holding House's baby."
"Oh," she said, looking down. "Go get Marianne and try it out." Chase rolled his eyes and went to get the girl. When he sat next to Cameron, Marianne went back to sleep in his arms.
"I never had a thing for House," Chase said. "I never thought this might be me someday."
"I knew what you meant," Cameron said. "Maybe it is strange, but I mean, you know how House has been lately."
"Happy?" said Chase.
"I would have never made him like that," Cameron said.
"No," Chase said.
Two hours later, House and Cuddy were standing on the front porch, necking. They'd been home for about ten minutes and Cuddy had been about to slide the key into the lock when House slid his hand around her waist and coaxed her back against the wall. His lips were insistent and warm against hers. Her hands were flat against his lapels and then wound up around his neck. He let his good leg worm between hers and he pressed his thigh against her center so she gasped into his mouth.
He was thinking about taking her right there for the neighbors to see when the porch light started flashing.
"Five more minutes!" House yelled and Cuddy giggled. But the door opened and Chase stood there looking stern.
"Get a room," he said. Cameron appeared behind him with a kind of shell shocked expression.
"Watching the whole time, were you?" House asked, waggling his eyebrows.
Cuddy elbowed him and they walked in the house. Cuddy went straight to the nursery to check on her sleeping twins and House watched Chase help Cameron on with her coat. Cuddy, satisfied the babies were unharmed, came out smiling.
"Thanks again, guys," she said. "It was so kind of you to offer to watch them."
"Well, we had a deal," Cameron reminded him.
"Oh?" Cuddy asked.
"It's still on. Monday for the rest of the month is torment Foreman day," House promised gleefully.
"You know, I don't think this sort of thing happens at other hospitals," Cuddy grumbled.
"Ha," House said.
"Goodnight," Chase said, ushering Cameron away toward his car.
"Night," Cuddy called and closed the door, turning the deadbolt. "Alone at last."
"Yes," House said, pulling her toward him. The baby monitor on the coffee table started to crackle and then the wails came out clear as day. "Well, kind of," he said. But Cuddy was already out of his arms, going to tend to their children. But he wasn't disappointed.
He knew he would never be alone again.