A/N: This may or may not be the final chapter. I'm quite happy to leave it here but I'll add more if anyone is interested. Whichever way it goes, thank you all for reading. I hope you like it! ;)
"Fine. I was going to tell her," he says, "to watch out for Cameron. She'll smother her with love and puppies."
"She's lucky to have such a great mother."
"Really?" Her tone is disbelieving to say the least. House's opinion of her ability to be a mother had been nothing less that varied. He'd cut her down (you'd suck as a mother!) and he'd quietly told her before kissing her the opposite (you'd have been a great mother).
He'd been short with her (jealous) when she'd expressed her desire for a child and had done everything in his power to persuade her that she was making a stupid choice and that parenting was not for her.
Well, he had lost that battle. She had won.
The baby girl in her arms is proof of that. Rachel is proof of that.
And though House will never admit it, the smile on his face suggests that she's won in more ways than just getting a baby.
So why does she feel so helpless? In this very moment, she feels like everything is falling into place. She has Rachel, she has House by her side, not yelling at her or inflicting painful words upon her and she has a job that she loves.
Still, there's an aching in her, a fear, that things will go awry and that she will fail. Perhaps Wilson was right. Perhaps she has been setting far too high expectations on herself.
"Yes," House drawls, biting into her thoughts. "But I can see there's something else on your mind."
She glances at him more fully again though the smile she'd been wearing has dimmed and faded into a cautiously blank canvas. Slowly, she moves her head from side to side. "Nope," she lies.
By the look on his face, she didn't sell it.
"Spit it out then," he prompts her. "We're all adults here. Well, except for the little one here. Probably best not to say anything that'll scar her mind for later on in life."
She rolls her eyes and offers him a shrug. "This is all," she explains, "too perfect. And I'm just waiting, holding my breath for – "
"Something to go wrong."
Her eyes widen. She didn't think he'd have guessed. Then again, this was House and he apparently had her all figured out. "Yes."
More uncertainty latches onto her thoughts and she blindly grasps at straws as to what he's referring to even as she asks, "don't what?"
"Don't wait. Live. Make the most of it while it's there." He avoids her eyes as he says it and she feels the start of a smile pull once more at her lips. He shifts his grip on Rachel ever so slightly and the movement reminds them both that she is there and she is real. This is reality.
She smiles fully and reaches out a finger, allowing Rachel to grasp it in her tiny fist. House forgets his unease and stares mutely at the gesture. This baby he's holding relies on her. And him. She's so tiny and innocent and beautiful. Beautiful? Where did that come from?
"Dinnertime yet?" he asks gruffly, tilting his head upwards slightly to consider her.
She nods. "Not for another hour. She ate before we came here."
"I meant for me," he replies quick-fire. He raises an eyebrow at her in challenge.
She smirks back. "Grandpa."
He abruptly settles on squinting at her. "Now that's just mean."
"Dinner this early? Come on! Were you expecting any less?"
Knowing it's useless to bait him any further – all it will result in is more rapidly exchanged words – she smiles at him, a true, bright smile. "Well it just so happens that I am, too. Let's go find something to eat."
To her surprise, he nods. "Let's."