Sessions II: Nine months
A/N: Hello to all of my loyal fans and to you newbies to the Sessions Universe. I can' tell you how touched I am by your kind words and support throughout the whole time I was writing Sessions. I had no idea it would have garnered such an enthusiastic response. And yes, to all of you clamoring for more, I ended the first one with the intention of writing a sequel. I couldn't just leave it there hanging in the wind like that. That would be too cruel. Besides, I'm not ready to give up my version of House and the crew just yet. So buckle up kiddies… House is married and there's a little one on the way. And it's coinciding with Wilson and Cuddy's baby. How much more fun could that be? This I know promises to be a fun, angsty, hilarious thrill ride. Enjoy!!!
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to House, much to my dismay…
House and Cate sat in the bathroom and waited. He was perched solemnly on the edge of the tub holding his watch in his hand. She was sitting on the toilet seat cover with her hands nervously tucked in between her knees.
The test stick sat on the rim of the sink between them.
Sixty tiny seconds had taken an eternity to pass.
"It was purple as soon as I peed on it, " she blurted out.
"Fifteen more seconds, " he said looking at her out of the corner of his eye. His face was passive, non-expressive. The irony of his patience was not lost on her. Frankly, it was a little unsettling.
Cate rocked back and forth anxiously. She was terribly nervous. This was a huge step. Not that either one of them really had a choice anymore. This was really more of a perfunctory exercise than anything else. She was already about five days late. And the human pregnancy test was pretty confident that he was right. She let out a puff of air between her lips waiting for the remaining seconds to tick away into existence. What will be, will be. Right?
Finally, the last second passed and he stood up from the bathtub. She rose to stand next to him by the sink. They both stared blankly at the stick.
"Yep, it's purple alright, " he replied.
"Oh boy, " Cate muttered.
"Or girl, " he corrected flippantly.
She was numb and her stomach sort of did a flip flop. Braving a look at him, she pointed out to him breathlessly, "We're going to have a baby."
He took one, then two stumbling steps backward and sat down with a thud on the toilet seat. Dropping his head into his hands, he scrubbed at his face and let out a strangled sound. Oh no… Now, Cate was really nervous. Now that they knew for sure, Mr. Patience had just cracked.
"Greg, " she urged coming to her knees before him. "Greg, look at me." She laid her hands on his arms trying to get him to face her. He moved his hand slightly but only his eyes stuck out from behind his long fingers. They were big. Big and terrified.
Now she was just plain petrified.
Feeling dizzy, she sat back on the floor and leaned against the bathtub bringing her knees up to her chest. She accidentally bumped her breast on her thigh and it burned like hell. Automatically tears sprung to her eyes. Damn it, she could barely fit in the bra she was wearing anymore and her breasts felt like boulders on lava hot pins and needles.
And now he was scared stiff. This was just great.
What were they going to do? She thought he was okay with all of this. He seemed nonplussed and calm about it for the rest of their week in Jamaica. He had been so proud of his assumption that both she and Cuddy were pregnant that he had told everyone what he suspected on the day of their wedding. Cuddy had almost fallen over because she had finally become pregnant after three years of trying unsuccessfully at in vitro. What a fortunate windfall for her. Cate, however, was in denial. So much had happened that day that she and House got married. So much had changed, she just couldn't process any more. The thought of a baby on top of it all was just too much. Besides, she thought he couldn't possibly be right. She had had her period three weeks before. He said it was implantation. She didn't tell him, however, that she knew it had been much lighter than normal. After she thought about it, she knew it was implantation too.
So here they were, home from their vacation/wedding/honeymoon for less than a day. Pregnant. This was a hell of a way to start a marriage.
Cate had a horrible thought. What if he couldn't deal? What if he panicked and ran? Well, he couldn't literally run but he could certainly push her away. He was entirely capable of being emotionally unavailable for a very, very long time. That much she knew and she didn't think she could handle that. His immediate reaction wasn't sitting well with her. She was disappointed because he had been so completely open and positive before. He had seemed so cool and collected, but now… now he was freaking her out. She looked away from him to the corner of the bathroom and began to cry. There was no way she could do this alone, without him.
Cate felt him come to sit by her side on the tile floor. He slid awkwardly down against the tub with his leg outstretched and his other one bent. Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her into his chest and planted a light kiss on her hair. The damn broke and she sobbed into his t-shirt holding fistfuls of the soft cotton like a tether to something, anything real.
"I'm so sorry, " he whispered to her when her cries tapered off to soft shudders of breath.
Thinking 'maybe she didn't have anything to worry about', she shook her head slightly. "This is a big deal, " she told him. "We're both scared."
"This is all my fault, " he continued. "I should have worn a condom. I never have sex without condoms. Ever. Until you."
She pulled back in his embrace to look at him. "No. It's my fault. I was on the pill. I didn't take it because I was sick and I just didn't think."
He laughed dryly, running his hand over her hair. "We're such idiots. We're two doctors, sitting here wondering how the hell we got pregnant. This poor kid is doomed."
Sitting up, she laughed self-deprecatingly and wiped at her nose. "I never wanted a baby."
His eyes veiled, he shrugged and rested his arm on his propped up knee. "Me either."
"What are we going to do, " she asked him seriously. He was quiet for a while, his face working through a series of expressions from confusion, to contemplation, to concern.
"You said you never wanted a baby. Does that mean you do now, " he asked cautiously.
"Do you?" she asked.
He gave her a reproachful look. "I asked you first."
She sighed running her hand over her face. That was the question that had circled aimlessly around her head for a week now since the possibility had been posed to her. But she had pushed it off until they were home and able to take a pregnancy test. Faced with the glaring positive answer, she wasn't sure. "I don't honestly know."
"Fair enough, " he murmured with a concise nod. He ran the backs of his knuckles under his scruff on his chin like he did when he was contemplating something. "You need to decide whether you want to terminate or not."
Cate stared at him. Terminate? This conversation just took a turn she wasn't quite sure she saw coming. Was he serious? "I have to decide?" she questioned. "This is just as much your baby too. I can't make that decision on my own."
"It's your body, " he said plainly. "It's your decision. I don't have to carry the fetus. You do."
She blinked at him in confusion. Fetus? Oh, that was rich. Now, all of a sudden he was all 'Dr. House'. Unemotional, detached. He was talking to her like she was one of his patients and he was giving her the list of options, except if that was the case, he wouldn't even be in the room with her. Taub would be the one telling her what to do. That very thought made her angry.
"I am not making this decision on my own, " she stated hotly. "You don't get to sit by like a spectator and wait to see which side of the fence the ball drops on."
His face turned hard and unreadable but his laser blue eyes bore into her. "I have no say in what you do to your body. I can't make you carry this pregnancy to term if you don't want to. I'm sitting here on the floor with you. This is about as much input as I get."
Staring back at him, she set her jaw firmly. She wasn't going to let him skate around this. Oh, no… he wasn't getting out of this that easily. "You are my husband. This is your child. I need to know how you feel about this, " she demanded. "I need to know if you want to have this baby, Greg." Hot tears prickled at her eyes again but she fought to keep them at bay. Her hands were shaking and she balled them up into fists against her thighs. She vowed she wasn't going to cry about this, not now.
He swallowed hard and a muscle worked in his jaw. "If you don't want this, then it doesn't matter how I feel about it."
God, he was being so difficult. "I think I do want this baby but I'm telling you right now, I won't do it alone."
For a split second, she could almost see the relief wash over his face but he recovered it fast. "Fine. If you're happy, then I'm…" He stopped and shrugged indifferently.
What the hell kind of declaration was that? She glared at him daring him to finish his sentence. Instead, he stubbornly stared back at her. She closed her eyes and counted to ten for patience. "Greg, " she warned. "I said that I won't do this alone."
He looked at her and shook his head. "We're married now. It's no that easy to get divorced. Just ask Wilson."
She rubbed her forehead with her hand in frustration. "Is that supposed to mean you're not going anywhere? That you aren't going to run the first sign this get's difficult?"
He swept his hand demonstratively over his leg. "Can't really run, now can I?"
Oh my god. Was she insane? Having a child with him would be like having two infantile regression patients in the same room. It would be sheer lunacy. She must be a crazy person to even consider this as a viable possibility. She shook her head vehemently. "Why can't you just tell me how you feel about this? What is so fucking hard about that?"
Sighing heavily, he picked at the bathmat under his thigh. His eyes changed to a deep azure color as he stared fixedly at the tan and brown fibers and he frowned. He was silent for a long time and her heart sank. When he did look back at her, the emotion on his face was palpable. Cate swallowed afraid to breathe thinking that if she made a sound she'd scare him back into hiding. "I want this baby. And that scares the shit out of me."
Cate's heart squeezed in her chest and she thought she might stop breathing. He wanted the baby… She placed her hand gently on his thigh coming close to him. "I know this isn't how you envisioned your life to be. We've been through so many changes so fast but, if we promise to do this together we might come out ok."
He laced his fingers with hers and searched her eyes. "What about you? Do you really want this baby?"
"I'm scared, but… I do, " she said bringing her lips together in a small smile as she remembered saying those two little words to him just ten days ago. For as terrifying as this was, she really did want this baby because it was a piece of him growing inside her. And that was pretty special. "I do want this baby."
"Okay then, " he nodded.
Cate wanted to press him for more detail about how he felt but she knew he was done talking; he had said enough. If she had gone any further, they'd end up fighting for real. It was enough that he said that he wanted to have the baby. That was really all she needed to know right now. Leaning forward, she laid herself against his chest again and he closed his arms around her squeezing her tightly as if he could send all of his feelings to her nonverbally so he didn't have to share them out loud. She could hear his heart beating wildly in his chest. He was definitely not comfortable with the idea just yet. Neither was she for that matter. This was going to take some time getting used to.
House rubbed soothing circles over her back and shoulders as they sat together on the floor. He looked around the bathroom and then down at her face. "How come we always seem to have these major discussions on the bathroom floor?"
Cate laughed and then nuzzled into the pillow of his shoulder. "Maybe because once you're down, you're stuck. You can't hide from me."
"Oh, that's just wrong, " he griped. "Mock the crippled guy."
Cate chuckled and placed a kiss on his jaw. "We should call our parents and tell them."
"Happy grandparents…" he muttered. "My mother will be beside herself. If I didn't know better, she worked some sort of Grandma mojo to make this happen."
"Yeah, she baked it into her Thanksgiving apple pie, " Cate joked. "She got Cuddy too. Oh my God, we should warn Thirteen."
House laughed. "Foreman and his lesbian Baby Mama, wouldn't that make them Fifteen?"
"She's not a lesbian, " Cate laughed. All of a sudden, Cate remembered something. She sat up and covered her mouth. "Oh no, I took Xanax." She grimaced and lowered her voice to a whisper. "And we smoked pot that night…"
He laughed and took hold of her hand. "And you're afraid that the baby will hear? It doesn't have ears yet."
"Those drugs, Greg, that's not good for the baby, " she insisted. She wouldn't tell Thirteen that she'd associated her with taking drugs. That, she'd just keep under her hat.
"Don't worry, I'll explain to the kid that Mommy was a big crack head when he comes out looking like a Picasso, " he quipped.
"Shut up, " she smacked his arm and then bit her thumbnail apprehensively. "You don't think that anything I took will…"
"Please, if anything, the baby's gonna look like a little Vicodin pill with big blue eyes, " he said. "Nothing you did would harm the baby. You'd have to do drugs repeatedly for it to be a problem. A couple of Xanax and one joint in Jamaica isn't anything but a good time."
Of course he was right. He always was. "I did have a good time in Jamaica, " she said. "I left with a boyfriend and came back with a husband. Who knew?"
"Usually works the other way around, I think, " he pondered and ran his thumb over the back of her hand playing with her wedding rings.
She smiled and ran her finger over his shiny new band. "I like this on you, " she said coyly.
He smiled shyly. "Yeah, with this, a baby and the cane, I'll be so sexy I'll have to beat them off with, well…with my cane, " he joked.
"You know that they're going to notice tomorrow when we go back to work," she mentioned casually. "Are you planning on telling them?"
"Yep, "He nodded. "After I fuck with them a bit."
"What are you going to do, " she asked.
"I don't know yet, " he said. "I'm working on it."
"Please don't tell them about the baby yet, " she begged. "I don't want everyone to know until we're sure everything's ok."
He nodded. "I think it'll be enough of a shock finding out that we're married. Be careful in the psyche ward, they might actually lock you in."
"Stop, " she chided.
"It's true, " he remarked. "You have to be a stone cold lunatic to marry me."
"The thought has crossed my mind, " she teased. "However, I get a little perverse sense of triumph knowing that I'm the one that finally nailed you down."
He laughed. "Oh, there ain't nothing that's nailed down about me."
"No, you're a little unhinged, but that's what I love about you, " she assured him.
He smirked. "Happy to oblige."
She smiled at him and leaned into kiss him. "We're really going to have a baby."
He touched his knuckles to her cheek softly. "Yes, we are." He smiled and cast his eyes downward. "You know what the best part of that is?"
"What?" she asked.
"Your breasts are huge, " he remarked with a lecherous grin.
Disgusted, she smacked his arm and he laughed at her. She picked herself off the floor and left him on the bathroom tile as he called after her, "See I told you your ass wasn't getting big because of the Drake's Funnybones…" She sauntered barefoot into the living room, ignoring him and picking up the phone. "Hey… you gonna leave me here… on the cold tile floor? I'm stuck. Man with one leg, down… Can't get up…The father of your child? I love your big ass… Cate?"
The phone rang in her ear as she smirked to herself sitting in his spot on the sofa. He could get off the damn floor himself. "Hi Dad…"
House lay in bed that night with Cate tucked up against his front, his feet curled around hers and his face buried in her hair by her neck. He inhaled the sweet scent of her coconut shampoo and left over traces of her exotic perfume loving how just one whiff of her could calm him. However, he needed more than one breath tonight. He needed her glued to his side to anchor him to the reality that they were facing together. He flattened his palm against the soft skin of her belly where their baby grew and smiled to himself in the darkness. Never in his life did he think that he'd be in this place. Married for one to a beautiful intelligent woman, who complemented his abrasive personality at every jagged turn. And with child for another. That was a shock, even though it really shouldn't have been.
Cate was everything to him and now she was going to be the mother of his child. He still couldn't believe that it was real.
They had calculated when she had conceived and they figured it had to be the first night they had made love. Irony of ironies, the very same night his mother told him to marry her and make her some grandbabies. Her Grandma mojo… He knew then, that he was throwing caution to the wind, but he had ignored it because he was caught up in the moment of being with her. Maybe he was secretly ready and didn't know it himself then. He loved her like he had loved no other woman. And it just felt right. He didn't believe in Fate or Destiny, or Happily Ever After. But damn it, if it sure didn't feel like it. Everything about her just felt like it was meant to be.
The logical, analytic side of him questioned everything. Would he be a good father? Would he have the capacity to love a child, be patient with a child, give them room to grow and experience? Or, would he be like his father, harsh and unyielding? He never wanted to be like his father, not as a man and certainly not as a parent. He would never willingly subject a child to that kind of anguish, but he knew that there was that same characteristic inside of him, as loath as he was to admit it to himself. He treated his team like that. Failure was never an option and he was harsh when they disappointed him. He wondered if he would treat his child that way too.
But then, he could see Cate's face and hear her voice telling him that he could never be that way. When he looked in her eyes, he knew in his soul that she believed in him. That she truly believed he had the capacity for love. He must have or he wouldn't be blessed with her love and compassion. What he ever did to deserve her, he'd never know but damned if he wasn't going to try and not fuck this up. He didn't think he could live with himself if he hurt her… or their baby.
Nuzzling into her, he closed his eyes against her hair on the pillow wrapped in the comfort of her scent and her warmth. In his dreams on the bus with Amber, he had felt no pain and he had wanted to stay. Here in reality, the pain in leg remained ever-present but the pain in his soul had diminished to be replaced with true love and deep affection. Was he a different man? No. He was just better for it.
Sleepily, Cate placed her hand over his, protectively holding their baby silently telling him that everything would be alright. He couldn't totally say that he believed that was true, but he sure hoped it would be.