Hi, everyone. So sorry it's taken me this long to get an update out to you. I do hope this makes up for it. There should be another in a few days. The next chapter is already written and I'm just editing it. As I've promised you all before, this story WILL be finished.
The following weeks passed in a haze of pre-trial hearings and motions and things House didn't really understand and Allison appeared not to care about as long as she wasn't required to show up. The district attorney did a good job of keeping Allison updated on the status of things without being overly pushy, which House could appreciate. Allison threw herself back into her work and House had to frequently remind her to eat or rest, and as far as he knew, still hadn't told Chase or Foreman about the baby. House didn't bring it up except to remind her to take care of her health, and Allison never mentioned it.
House turned to his Allison and Foreman, who were sitting at the conference table. Chase was notably absent. "So… we have a four-year-old who is underweight, has bloodshot eyes, fever, and swelling in the extremities."
Cameron shrugged "Lupus?"
Chase chose that moment to enter, munching on a half-eaten breakfast burrito. "Sorry I'm late. Traffic was abysmal. What did I miss?"
Allison turned to him and said "Four year old boy with- excuse me!" She bolted out of her chair and headed for the bathroom off the conference room, where the sound of retching immediately followed.
Chase looked around the room. "Was it something I said?"
House turned to him, eyeing the burrito. "I don't blame Cameron for wanting to spew. That thing stinks."
Chase shrugged. "Sorry. I had to hit a drive through. Didn't have time for breakfast." He polished off the burrito in two bites and sat down at the table.
Cameron came out of the bathroom and House wordlessly handed her a cup of water and some crackers from the cafeteria salad bar. She looked down at the table, blushing. "Sorry. I think breakfast didn't sit too well with me today."
House moved the medical discussion onward, and after the group concluded that the patient probably had Kawasaki disease, sent Chase and Foreman off to run tests, cornering Allison at the table. "You're not going to be able to hide this from them forever, you know."
She nodded. "I know. I just want my life to be as normal as possible for as long as possible, I guess. If I tell them, they're going to freak, get weird, maybe try to pressure me…" her voice trailed off.
"If they pressure you, let me know. I'll make sure it's handled." He smirked. This would be one human resources situation he'd happily handle. He figured Foreman would probably be okay after the initial shock, but he wasn't so sure about Chase. The wombat had been following Cameron around like a lost puppy. He had no idea how Chase would handle her being knocked up, especially under the circumstances. "What you do is your decision, and they don't have to like it. Hell, I don't have to like it. You're the only one who has to live with it."
She nodded. "I know. Thank you. I'm going to try to give it at least a couple more weeks. I'm only just barely at three months."
He rested a hand on her shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. "You're going to be fine."
Shrugging, Allison looked up at him. "I'm not sure I even know what fine is anymore."
House suddenly found he was in a mental argument with himself, half of him wanting to run for the nearest door and the other half wanting to hold her and protect her and never let go. He had no idea what the hell he was thinking, why he was thinking of Allison that way. She certainly couldn't handle it if he said anything. Hell, House himself couldn't handle it under the circumstances.
She nibbled at her crackers and gave him a slight smile. "Thank you for these."
"Stole them from the cafeteria. Better to keep your stomach with something in it."
She nodded, gripping the cup of water so tightly her knuckles turned white. "Dry heaves are the worst."
"Agreed." He dropped his other hand to her shoulder and began to work the tension out of her neck, trying very hard not to think about exactly what he was doing.
"House, I don't know if I can do this."
His hands stopped, wondering if she was uncomfortable with his touch. "Do what?"
She made a sweeping gesture. "This. Everything. Work. Single parenthood…" Her voice broke on the last symbol, her hand shaking so much he reached out and took he water glass from her, setting it on the table before she spilled it. "I don't think I can be some kind of 'super-mom'."
He pulled out the chair next to her and sat, taking her hand in his. "You're going to be a great mom. You don't have to be super-mom. Kids are resilient. You're not going to screw it up that bad."
"And then I keep looking at those kids we're treating, wondering if my kid's going to have some genetic disease. I mean, it's not like I know anything about…him. What if the baby has Rhett Syndrome, Progeria, Down's syndrome…" She kept naming diseases, tears on her cheeks, until he silenced her with a finger on her lips and pulled her in to rest her head on his shoulder.
"Your baby is going to be fine. And beautiful, just like its mother." He froze. There went that lack of brain to mouth censor again. What the hell was he thinking, telling Allison she was beautiful under these circumstances?
"You think my baby will be beautiful?" She murmured against his chest.
He let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. "Of course it will be. And it will grow up smart and brave."
She closed her eyes and just let him hold her. "You really think my baby's going to be fine? With everything…"
"Yes. I think your baby's going to be fine. You can ask your OB to order an amnio if you're that worried."
Allison shook her head. "No. It's a bit risky, and the results wouldn't change my decision anyway, so there's no point to that."
"No. I mean, I'm a doctor. I see people living with medical conditions that most of us consider horrible, and they do well. Thrive even. I couldn't deny my child the same chance."
He ran his hand through her hair. "It's your choice."
"Thank you. Thank you for saying that. I mean, I haven't even told my parents yet…about anything. They're going to freak. I just don't know what to say."
"Not terribly. I mean, I go home for Christmas and stuff, but we don't really live in the same world anymore."
"You know you have nothing to hide. None of this was your fault." He thought for a moment. "You could even send a letter if that would make it easier. Sooner or later, they're going to need to know they have a grandkid, ideally before the kid's high school graduation."
Allison smiled at that thought. "I know. I'll tell them. The letter is a good idea."
He stroked her back gently and handed her the handkerchief he'd taken to keeping in his pocket, given Allison's somewhat frequent bouts with waterworks. She took it gratefully and wiped her eyes and nose, tucking it away in her pocket. He knew he'd find it sitting on his desk freshly laundered in the next day or so.
A child's cry of "No! No needle! No shot!" Echoed down the hall.
House looked at Allison "Up to helping Chase and Foreman get that blood?" She nodded and stood slowly, walking out of the room. House leaned back in his chair and stared up at the ceiling. What the fuck was he thinking, getting this close to her, letting her get this close to him? Noting the throbbing ache in his leg, he popped a couple of vicodin, looked up and tried not to think.
Thanks for reading! Do drop me a line and let me know what you think! I love reading your reviews, positive or not. -KM-