Synopsis: Continuation of Hang(over). My version of the aftermath of 5.23.
A/N: So if you haven't read this first part, I pretty much went in the other direction from canon in 5.24, but it's still angsty. They did make love, however, the hallucinations never stopped. House was admitted to the loony bin and was treated with electroshock therapy. The side affect: he lost memory of the events preceding the treatment.
They rode in awkward silence to Cuddy's house, glancing at each other periodically, waiting for the other to speak, to make their sudden union make sense. Something was different about her, but House couldn't figure out what. His eyes roamed over her body—everything seemed in place, breasts taunt, muscles firm, hips perfectly curvaceous.
No, her anatomy seemed more than intact.
She caught him staring.
"You want something from me. Otherwise, you would have let Wilson pick me up."
"Yes," was all she said.
House labored the distance to her doorstep. Cuddy turned around, unable to take his pain anymore. "Let me take your bag," she offered.
"I got it." His pride wouldn't let her help him, although he wanted nothing more than to throw his things down and let her carry him the rest of the way.
Cuddy opened the door to her house. House stepped inside, immediately noticing how much it had changed since the last time he had been there. It was completely domestic. Cuddy was really a mom now, as much as he loathed the idea. She had done it. She had her own fabricated family of two plus nanny.
"You can put it in the guest room," Cuddy instructed. House took in the distance to the back rooms verses the short few steps to her fru-fru girly sofa.
"I can just sleep on the couch."
"House, you'd be more comfortable—"
"No, you'd be more comfortable. Stop it, mommy." House plopped down on her sofa and shut her and the world out as he closed his eyes, his body sore and confused from the day's events.
"Fine. Be miserable on my couch. I don't care. I'm gonna go check on Rachel." Cuddy escaped to the back of the house. She shut the nursery door and finally let herself exhale.
"Is everything alright?" Her nanny Anna asked innocently.
Cuddy turned around and plastered a fake smile on her face. "It's fine. You're free to go now."
Not ten minutes later, House found himself standing at the nursery door, watching Cuddy play with the baby on the floor. He tapped his cane on the wood almost shyly. She looked up at him and smiled slowly.
"What's for dinner?" He said the first thing that came to mind. At least it was better than 'I don't want to be alone.'
She narrowed her eyes at him, and for a moment, he thought she saw through him. "You're a bottomless pit. We just ate an hour ago."
He shrugged and smiled sheepishly. "My endocrine system demands it."
Suddenly, her face went ashen. "What?"
House shook his head, his mind clouded and aching. "Side affect of the brain zappage. Random verbiage flies out at will."
"Oh," she recovered quickly, replacing her disappointment with a cheeky grin. "So…you have no control over your mouth. How is that any different than before?"
"Touché." House grinned just as Rachel squealed, demanding to be picked up. He locked eyes with the little girl, no longer a blob of flesh, but a little person with bright, aware eyes taking in everything around her. He had been able to ignore her existence for months, but that didn't seem possible anymore. Cuddy lifted the little girl and the child nestled against her shoulder. House had waited long enough. It was his turn now. "So are you gonna tell me?"
"What?" Cuddy frowned as she swayed and rubbed Rachel's back.
"Why are you doing this?" He pointed awkwardly between the two of them.
She held the baby closer, letting her be a natural barrier. "You're my friend, House."
He stared at her, analyzing every flinch, blink, swallow, and dilating pupil. Her reasoning was completely unscientific. "Friend," he said skeptically.
"Yes, friend." Rachel laughed, calling her mother out on her lie.
"You're blushing." House took a step closer to her.
"I need to put her down." However, Cuddy didn't move. House came closer to the two of them. The baby was wide awake. He could feel the energy coming off of Cuddy in waves.
He didn't know what to do now that he was here. He looked at Rachel for help.
"She's gotten big. Like a little Chihuahua with hair."
Rachel pointed her finger at him accusingly. "Bug."
House rolled his eyes. "Oh, great. It speaks."
"Boo boo!" Rachel stuck her short finger in his chest.
"Perceptive kid." House scoffed and quickly left them alone.
It took an hour to put Rachel to sleep. Cuddy didn't mind. She needed time to think, and she couldn't do that with House looking over her shoulder. She closed the nursery door and stepped into the hallway. It was quiet, except for the buzz of the t.v. from the living room.
"House?" She called out. He didn't answer, so she peeked inside the living room. Bea Arthur was singing "What'll I Do?" on The Golden Girls.
When I'm alone
With only dreams of you
That won't come true
What'll I do?
"House?" She whispered again. He was asleep on the couch. He look exhausted, but almost, almost peaceful. At least, that's what she wanted to believe.
"House," she said again, to hear his name out loud, to make sure he was really here with her. Tears came fast as she sat next to him. She had to cover her mouth to hide her sobs and suppress her voice. "House," she said again and again, until she was exhausted, until she had convinced herself that he wasn't a dream or a hallucination, until she lay her head down on his chest and faded into real dreams. "House."