She just wanted to sleep. It didn't seem like a lot to ask for. She wanted to be able to close her eyes, and drift into a state of relaxation where didn't have to worry about anything. Of course her luck was never good, so she was stuck lying awake, House's arm draped over her stomach while she stared at the ceiling.

It'd been a week since the attack, but she still hadn't been able to get over it. It probably didn't help that she had talked House into moving their little deal back to her place in order to feel safer. She thought being in surroundings she was familiar with would make things better, but the fact that her attacker was also familiar with them made it seem more of a downfall than anything else.

Not a minute went by that she didn't wonder whether or not whoever had been screwing with her was done, or were just waiting for the right moment to strike again.

She turned her head to look at the man sleeping next to her. His face was smushed into the pillow, and his graying hair was ruffled from the night's events. She'd been ovulating, so of course they were having a lot of sex, but she wasn't enjoying it as much as she once had, her mind was on other things, and even though she tried hard to forget everything else and focus only on House it was becoming more than difficult.

A cool breeze blew through the open window, and she pulled her body closer to his, trying to draw heat from him. His grip tightened around her waist, and he gently kissed her shoulder; her signal to start pretending she was asleep.

Normally he wouldn't have fallen for it, but she had worn him out and some things just didn't matter. She kept her eyes shut until she was sure that she was in the clear, letting out a heavy sigh as she tried to think of a way to get out of his hold without waking him.

At least an hour passed before she even attempted to move from House, but she was quickly stilled as she heard a thump against the outside of her room. Her forehead wrinkled as she sat up, her fingers moving through her curly hair, gently shaking him awake.


She whispered as loudly as she possibly could without alerting whoever, or whatever had made the noise. He groaned, pulling the pillow over his head, and smacked her hand away from him.

"Damn it, House!"

The pillow was yanked from his head, and he shot her an annoyed look.

"I need to sleep, woman!"

"There's someone outside."

"Yeah, it's Santa Clause."

"It's the middle of July."

"…go to sleep."

"I can't! I told you; there's someone outside! Just go look. Please?"

He just lay there for a few seconds before letting out an annoyed groan, and struggled to get out of the bed. He snatched his boxers from the floor and slid them on before grabbing his cane, and standing up with a few cracks coming from his joints.

"Where did you hear it?"

"Outside the window."

He rolled his eyes as he hobbled over to it, poking his head out to glance around.

"There's nothing here."

"Are you sure?"

"I have a bum leg, I'm not blind."

She nodded slowly, her fingers running through her mussed hair as House plopped back down on his side of the bed, a loud groan echoing through the room while he yanked his leg onto it.

"Go back to sleep, Cuddy."

"I can't."

"You haven't tried."

"Because I know I won't be able to."

Cuddy kicked her legs over the edge of the bed, pulling the sheets from her nude body. Her hand instantly went to the foot of her bed for her robe, but she came up with nothing. Her forehead wrinkled as she turned to look for it, but it wasn't anywhere that she could see.

"Have you seen my robe?"

"It probably fell. You weren't exactly stationary last night."

She rolled her eyes a she stood up, searching the area for the light grey cover-up. It was nowhere on the floor that she could see so she got on her knees, peeking under the bed; still nothing.

"Maybe it's in the bathroom."

Her head poked up as she rested her hand on the bed, her eyebrow arched.

"When have you ever known me to take my robe anywhere but the bedroom?"

He shrugged, his hand moving over his face with a grumble.

"I don't know, Cuddy. Just get back in bed."

She made an annoyed sound as she moved to the dresser, pulling out a light tank top, and a matching pair of shorts.

"You don't think it's weird that my robe just suddenly went missing?"

"I think it's weird that you're being so paranoid about a robe. You probably just left it somewhere."

House folded his hands behind his head as Cuddy turned to look at him. How could he be so calm? Too many strange things had been happening to her to just ignore things like this; no matter how small. He thought she was overreacting (and maybe she was) but she wasn't taking any chances.

She walked to the bed, snatching her pillow up from her side of the bed, causing him to frown as he looked over at her.

"What are you doing?"

"I told you. I can't sleep."

He gently took hold of her arm, his thumb trailing over the smooth underside of it.

"This is really freaking you out, huh?"

She pulled her arm away, shaking her head. She didn't want him to care; didn't want him to give her those concerned looks, or to be so gentle with her. She needed him to be himself, and for him to tell her to suck it up and stop being so neurotic.

"I'm fine."

"You're obviously not or you wouldn't be laying awake every night, or having nightmares."

"I'm not having nightmares."

"That's why I wake up to you whimpering?"

Her lips pursed together as she looked down. She had been having nightmares, but she hadn't been aware that she had been showing any signs of it.

"Maybe you should go."


"Because…I want you to."

He stared at her for a few moments, looking more than a bit irritated. He simply shook his head, kicking his legs over the edge of the bed and started getting dressed. He didn't quite understand what she wanted from him, and he was getting tired of trying to figure out what it was. She obviously didn't want him for anything than to help her get pregnant, so there was really no reason for him to stick around.

It took him less than ten minutes to finish getting ready, and then he left without so much as a good bye. She let out a sigh as she heard the door shut behind him, and plopped down on the bed.

She felt horrible for treating him like this, but she'd rather hurt him before he had the chance to hurt her. It was a bad tactic but it was working for her, at least it was until she decided to stop being so stubborn and admitted to herself that like or not she needed him.

Being scared wasn't something she was used to, but after all the weird things that had been happening she couldn't seem to shake the anxious feeling the burned deep in her belly.

Her eyes trailed to the open window where the curtains were blowing freely, and she felt a cold fear move up her body, leaving her almost paralyzed. There was no one there, so why was she freaking out so much? She pushed herself to her feet and walked to the window, shutting it quickly, and threw the latch.

This whole being paranoid thing was getting on her last nerve, and the sooner it was done with, the better.

The signature sound of Cuddy's heels sounded through the room as she entered the clinic, making a beeline for her office. She was tired of all the awkward glances from her employees, because she could just imagine what they were thinking.

She was a woman that had to be in control of everything, and her attack had definitely been something that she had had no control over. It really was a wonder how she'd been able to keep herself so composed thus far.

Her hand came into contact with the first glass down with her name etched onto the front, and she was greeted with the cheery voice of her assistant.

"Good morning, Dr. Cuddy!"

"Good morning…"

She purposely skipped over her name as she hadn't taken the time to learn it. It was probably a bitchy thing to do, but she went through more assistants than she did shoes (and that was saying something).

"Your mail and coffee are on your desk along with some messages. Oh! And you got a package."


Cuddy stepped forward to move into her office, but was stopped by the young woman's voice.

"It's Vanessa, by the way."


"My name; it's Vanessa."

"Right…I know that."

She forced a smile before pushing her way through the familiar doors, her eyes instantly falling on the white box lying across her desk. Her forehead creased as she saw that there was an unusual ribbon tied around it. It wasn't even a ribbon at all, just cloth, a light grey cloth.

She drew in a sharp breath as she stepped closer, her fingers gingerly reaching out to take hold of it. It was the belt that went to her robe. Maybe she wasn't being so paranoid after all. After swallowing the hard lump in her throat she tugged at the belt, watching it come undone, and quickly moved to pull the lid off.

"Oh my god!"

Her hand instantly flew to her mouth as she felt bile rising up her throat. Inside was a rotting fish, maggots crawling over the dead carcass. The stench instantly filled her office, burning her nose as she breathed in.

Definitely not paranoid.

She slammed the lid back onto the box before hurrying to the door. She yanked it open, looking more frightened than anything else.

"Who delivered that?!"

Vanessa looked up with a bit of confusion on her face, pulling her hands down from the keyboard. Her lips turned down into a frown and she shook her head.

"Who…brought…that package?!"

She spread out her words in order to put emphasis on the importance of her question.

"I… was just some guy; from UPS I think."

"Call the cops."


"Just do it. Ask for Detective Moore…"

She pushed her way back into the office, quickly searching out a cane of Lysol and sprayed down the entire room in hopes to get rid of the nauseating stench.

Her heart was hammering in her chest by the time she was satisfied with the smell of her office, and she took a seat on the sofa along the far wall. Her robe hadn't been missing when she'd finally gotten the nerve to go home; it had been there before she'd fallen asleep the night before with House. That meant that whoever had taken it had come in while they were sleeping. There had been a stranger in her bedroom and she hadn't known it.

The realization of how simple it would have been for this person to kill her was slowly sinking in. She'd locked the doors, and all the windows, and they had still been able to get in. She suddenly regretted being so neurotic. It was probably her own fault that it had been so simple for someone to get in. She had at least five spare keys hidden somewhere around her house, but apparently not hidden well enough.

She took a deep breath as she tried to calm her nerves; it would do no good to let herself get sick over this. It had already happened, there wasn't much she could do about it now but make sure it didn't happen again. She'd purposely been avoiding the fact that she'd been delivered a dead fish because she really didn't want to know what that meant. It could have just been something to scare her, at least that's what she was hoping for.

Her thought process was interrupted when her office door slammed open, and she nearly jumped out of her skin. She wasn't surprised to see House standing there, but she had still been caught off guard.

"House! What the hell?!"

He held up a stack of glossy 8x10 photographs and tossed them at her, looking angry ( at least that was how she took it).

"What are these?"

She asked as she picked them up, her eyes studying the figures in them. It took her a few seconds to register what she was seeing, but once she had her mouth fell open, and she stammered. The look on House's face hadn't been anger, it had been fear.

"Still think I'm being paranoid?"

She lifted her head to look at him, and he simply shook his no. Something was going on, and it didn't look like it was stopping any time soon.