"No." You glare down at the little girl at your feet. She's got her arms wrapped around the neck of a stuffed giraffe that's taller than she is. Her blue eyes are wide and a pout plays across her lips.
"Pwease?" she asks, suppressing her pout for a smile. You smirk, wondering where she's learned to manipulate people. You don't do the cute thing, so it obviously wasn't from you. You just taught her a few new words to land herself in time out. Using her looks to her advantage, that she's learned from her mom. And with her blonde curls and cherubic features she's got it going pretty well for herself. But unfortunately, you don't give in that easily.
"No. Uncle Jimmy already got you a unicorn at the mythical creatures gift shop." You remind her. It's true, Wilson caved earlier after you took her the exhibit with all the mythical creatures. There had been a gift shop just outside the exhibit and as soon as she locked eyes on that unicorn she had to have it. But Cuddy wouldn't buy it for her, she already had enough presents at home apparently. So she had turned that innocent look on her favorite uncle and, ignoring Cuddy's protest, he had gotten it for her. She had carried it around for about five minutes then, distracted by something, had shoved it at her mother and forgotten about it. Now she's trying to pull the same thing on you.
"Giraffe." She points out, apparently trying to make you realize that a giraffe and a unicorn are two vastly different creatures. You understand, you just don't care.
She doesn't say anything for a moment, then she changes tactics. Her eyes begin to glisten, and her lips quiver. You sigh.
"Don't do that, I'm not buying you the giraffe." You try to drag her away, but she's still got one arm locked around the damn stuffed animal's neck. She lets out a high pitched squeak noise and you sigh, getting down as best you can to her level.
"Come on, you've been good all day, if you freak out the one time you're left alone with me, Mommy's going to give me more clinic hours." You try to reason with her. She has been good all day, not like most of the ankle biters running around crazy. You still don't know what made Cuddy think the science museum was a good place for a two year old's birthday, but the kid seems to have enjoyed herself. True, you had to skip around to all the kid friendly exhibits and missed the only cool part of the museum, the lightning show, but unlike most of the former parasites you've seen, she hasn't run away or thrown a fit.
Now she's dangerously close to crying, that annoying squeak turning into a whimper as she clutches the giraffe's neck.
"Rachel's Birthday." She tells you matter of factly. You roll your eyes,
"Yeah, it's your birthday, but no I'm not getting it for you." You regret telling her that her birthday is an excuse to make people get her whatever she wants. She's smart for an ankle-biter. She obviously doesn't take after her biological parents.
Suddenly, she seems to have gone over the edge. She opens her mouth to let out a shriek, but you're faster. You clap your hand over her face and she tries to bite you. You ignore her, pulling a lollipop out of your pocket and, managing to unwrap it with one hand, shove it into her mouth. She stares at you in surprise for a second, sucking the lollipop. You stand up, satisfied that she'll leave with you now, and grab her hand. But as you try to lead her out of the gift shop she shrieks, the lollipop falling from her mouth and shattering on the ground. You look around, but no one has even looked up from their shopping, not even Wilson in the back with all the books. You kneel down again, putting your face just inches from hers.
"Stop." You command, and she obliges, sniffling. You stare at her for a moment and just as you think you've won her tiny voice emerges again.
You bow your head, not bothering to answer right away. She watches you with those big blue eyes and you remember the first time you held her. She puked on you. It seems like just yesterday, everything involving her seems like just yesterday. The first time you held her and she didn't puke on you, the first time you took her out of daycare because you were bored and wanted to annoy Cuddy, the first time she told you she had to go potty (leave it to Cuddy to start potty training early) and you shoved her at Thirteen (figuring all women had maternal instinct somewhere in them) before locking yourself in a clinic room, the first time Cuddy broke into the clinic room you were hiding in to yell at you for taking her daughter out of daycare and then leaving her with Thirteen. Wait, you think for a moment and smirk, those last two were just yesterday. Luckily Thirteen took Child Study in High School and was able to deal with the ankle-biter until Cuddy was out of a meeting. You look back up at the ankle-biter and sigh, how does she break you down like this?
"You want the giraffe?"
She nods vigorously. You survey the stuffed animal with distaste, wondering if you can convince her to get a dinosaur instead. But you know there's no way she's changing her mind. You sigh, standing up and grabbing the giraffe. You don't look at the price, you know it will just depress you.
"Fine, you win this time." You tell her, pulling the giraffe out of her grasp. She looks hurt for a moment, then watches curiously as you limp towards the checkout desk with it tucked under your arm. Soon she's buzzing around your feet.
"Giraffe?" she asks, tugging on your pant leg as you stand in line.
"Yes, I'm getting you the giraffe now shut up before Uncle Jimmy hears you." You hiss, looking over at Wilson. But you don't need to worry; he's got his head buried in some book. He doesn't notice you lugging around a giant giraffe.
Finally when the idiot in front of you is gone, you put the giraffe on the counter, looking down at the little girl standing by your feet while he rings it up. She's looking up at you with the three middle fingers of one hand stuffed in her mouth, her blue eyes wide with gratitude.
"That'll be $129.99."
You cringe, looking up at the cashier and throwing down your credit card. Did he really have to tell you? You wait a moment until he hands you back the card and tells you to "have a nice day". Then you grab the animal off the counter and walk away so more parents can be scammed into paying $100 for a stuffed giraffe. Meanwhile the ankle-biter is running around your feet, reaching up for her stuffed animal.
"Giraffe!" She cries, jumping up in an attempt to grad its hoof.
"Wait!" You hold the giraffe high out of her reach, limping out of the overly bright gift shop and into the hallway, sitting down on a bench.
"Here." You set it down on the ground next to her. You expect her to throw her arms around it again, or start playing with it, but she is silent staring up at you. Finally, she reaches her arms up to you and whines.
"What? I got you your giraffe."
Still she whines and starts to stomp her feet. You roll your eyes, grabbing her under her armpits and holding her up so she's looking directly at you.
"What?" You demand. She doesn't answer right away, but leans over and kisses you on the nose. You hold her farther away from you and she giggles,
"Tank you." She says, and you roll your eyes.
"Did mommy teach you to say that?"
"Well do you know what you're really supposed to say when someone does something nice for you?"
She shakes her head and you grin, leaning over and whispering something in her ear. She giggles, even though you're certain she doesn't have any idea what it means.
"There, now play like a good ankle-biter while Uncle Greg has some candy." You mumble, setting her down. She immediately grabs her giraffe and begins to play quietly while you pop a few Vicodin.
After a little while of watching her play you start to wonder where Cuddy and Wilson are. Just as you wonder though, you hear their voices coming closer.
"Is everything going alright at the hospital?" Wilson asks Cuddy. They're walking out of the gift shop, probably to come find you.
"Cameron said everything's going fine, although she did catch Kutner and Thirteen in one of the janitor's closets…Rachel is with House, right?"
You roll your eyes at that, where else would the kid be? You look down at her. She must have heard her mother say her name because she's perked up, her eyes emerging from behind the giraffe as Cuddy and Wilson exit the gift shop.
"Mommy!" She yells happily, jumping up. Cuddy and Wilson look over, noticing you for the first time. You see Cuddy's eyes go big as she catches sight of the giant giraffe and shoots you a subtle glare.
"Hi sweetie!" Cuddy says pleasantly, crouching down at the two-year old's level, "Did Uncle Greg buy this giraffe for you?"
The ankle biter nods happily, but you can tell she's getting tired. Cuddy must notice too, because she picks her up and turns to look at you.
"You bought that for her?" Cuddy hisses under her breath as you stand up. You shrug,
"It's her birthday Cuddles, and since you won't let me take her to get a tattoo, I figured this was the next best thing." You explain as you Cuddy and Wilson start towards the exit. Cuddy's juggling the giraffe in one arm and her half asleep daughter in the other, looking angry at you.
"She already has enough stuffed animals."
You shrug again, not bothering with any other answer. Suddenly Wilson looks up at you with an annoyed face.
"You were just trying to out do me weren't you!"
You don't answer.
"You saw me buy her that unicorn; you just had to get her something better." He accuses angrily. You smirk,
"Me turning a child's birthday into an excuse to out-do you? Why Jimmy, I would never."
Wilson just shakes his head as you leave the museum, navigating the parking garage until you find where you've parked your car right next to Cuddy's. By this time the ankle-biter is struggling to stay awake, her head on Cuddy's shoulder as Cuddy tries to get the giraffe in the backseat and get her in her car seat. Wilson steps in to help, and you watch as he carefully buckles the seatbelt on the carseat.
"There you go Rachel." He says with a smile. Cuddy shoots a look at her daughter from where she stands,
"Rachel, what do you say?"
You see the grin on the ankle-biter's face and you can't help but grin too as she looks up at Wilson innocently,
Cuddy has her back to you, but you see her go still, her hands clenching into fists. You brace yourself.
A/N: Yay! Haha, so this was kind of inspired by my trip to the museum of science over the weekend and the really expensive giraffe my mom refused to buy me. Review?