A/N: This is just a little Epilogue/Ending to the story. It was written for Fox Board's Friday Night OC Challenge using the prompt Family Stories. Please read the important info at the end.
"Uncle George is spending Thanksgiving with us!" Bob excitedly told her husband.
"Why?" House asked.
"You don't like my uncle?"
"I like him fine. But he has three sons and a shitload of grandchildren in Delaware. Just wondering why he would come all the way to New Jersey to spend the holiday with his niece, who has no grand-nieces or nephews for him."
"Because my cousins arranged this cruise for the holiday and all their children are going with them. They thought they'd surprise Uncle George with it, but he refused to go. Said he's not stepping foot off of dry land at his age."
"Well, at ninety, he's certainly entitled to make that decision."
"So my cousins were worried. They didn't want him to spend the holiday all alone, so I called him and invited him here. Do you mind?"
House shrugged. Uncle George was a cool old guy. In the few times he had seen him since their marriage, they'd gotten along pretty well. George was happy that someone had finally married his niece, so House was okay with him.
"Remember, my mother will be here too."
"I know. We'll work it out. And they'll probably get along. Uncle George was in World War II. Your dad was in the military, he'll have things to talk to your mom about.
House shrugged again. As long as he didn't have to do any extra work, it was fine with him.
Thanksgiving dinner was nice, as expected. The group consisted of House and Bob, Cuddy, Devon and Rachel, Wilson and his little nurse, Blythe and Uncle George. Bob was right about the older people finding a lot in common. George was interested in the traveling Blythe had done with her husband to various military locations.
After dinner, they retired to the living room for coffee and after dinner drinks and once again started reminiscing about childhood and memories. No one could remember later how the discussion went to childhood trips, but somehow it did.
"It was funny that Robbie went to work for the Smithsonian." Uncle George said, "Because we almost lost her there once when she was a kid. Do you remember that, honey?"
"The Smithsonian? When was that?"
"You were about ten. Don't you remember?"
"Oh my God, I forgot all about that trip! Yeah, now I remember. It was quite an adventure. My dad was really upset and worried, but I felt very important."
Robbie Janorski was bored to tears in the Arts and Industries Building. The airplanes and all were cool, but she really wanted to see the old stuff. But her cousins were having too much fun with the airplanes and had no intention of leaving anytime soon. She sat on a bench in the corner, impatiently tapping her foot.
At ten years old, she already knew there was more to experience here than just airplanes. There were artifacts from all over the world. She had taken a book out of the library about the Smithsonian before they came on this trip. She knew exactly what she wanted to see. And it wasn't airplanes.
After ten more boring minutes waiting for her cousins to finish and seeing that they weren't even close, she'd had enough. She got up from the bench and walked to the door of the building. With one more glance back at her family, she walked outside.
The map in the brochure she held in her hand showed her exactly which building she wanted: the United States National Museum. That was where the natural history exhibits were housed. She made her way there and within a few minutes she was gazing at the skeleton of a dinosaur.
Before she was finished examing it, she heard a voice say, "Cool!"
She turned her head and saw a small boy gazing in wonder at the dinosaur. He was a little younger than her and shorter. She smiled at him.
"Yeah, it is cool."
He looked at her and she saw the bright blue eyes in the little face. "Do you like dinosaurs?"
"I like anything that's old."
"I like anything that's cool like that." He tilted his head as he looked at the skeleton. "Wonder how he died?"
Robbie shrugged. "Don't know. Does it matter?"
"No, but it would be cool to know."
Robbie looked around for an adult. He was really little to be here by himself. So was she, but she didn't want to consider that.
"Are you all alone?"
"My mom and the others are looking at the airplanes. I got bored."
She smiled. "I know. What's your name?"
He looked at her and thought about it. His parents had warned him about talking to strangers. "Uh, Bruce Wayne."
She gave him a look. "Like Batman?"
She rolled her eyes. "You don't look like Batman."
"Batman doesn't reveal himself to everyone. Only Alfred knows his true identity."
"Okay, Bruce, do your parents know you're here?"
He shrugged, which she took to mean no. "How old are you?" she asked him.
"Eight." He replied. "But I'll be nine next week."
Too little to be wandering by himself, she thought. At ten years old, she felt much more mature than this little boy.
He really needed someone to watch out for him. "Do you want to look at the stuff here together?"
He looked at her again. "What's your name?"
He knew he wasn't supposed to speak to strangers, but this kid wasn't much older than him. He was kind of pudgy and plain looking. She sure didn't look dangerous. His mom would probably be happy that he wasn't wandering around alone, even though he knew she was going to be mad that he'd gone off alone.
"Okay." He told Robbie.
They explored the building together, making childish observations about all of the animals and other things that they saw. Robbie couldn't believe how smart "Bruce" was for a little kid. If he stayed smart like that, he'd be a genius when he grew up.
They went to the Hall of Human Origins and looked at human skeletons. 'Batman' was really fascinated with them, but Robbie was happier when they went to Western Cultures and checked out ancient civilizations.
About an hour or so after they started their trek, Robbie noticed a security guard staring at them. He had a walkie-talkie in his hand and he spoke into it, then walked up to them.
"Hi, kids." He said in a friendly voice. 'Where are your parents?"
Robbie spoke up. "My mom went to the bathroom and left my little brother here with me."
'Bruce' looked up at her, admiration in his eyes.
"Well, I'll just stay here with you until she comes back."
"You don't hafta." The little boy said. "She doesn't want us hanging out with strangers."
The man smiled at the children and pointed to the patch on his uniform. "Do you see this? It means I'm a security guard. I work for the museum and I'm like a policeman. I won't hurt you, I'm here to protect you."
"We don't need anyone to protect us. We're fine." Robbie told him.
"Well, how about if I don't try to be too close to you? I'll just stay nearby until your mom comes back."
They looked at each other, knowing the man would quickly figure out that they were lying.
They wandered around a little more, but they both knew that their little adventure was about over.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, Robbie watched as a dark-haired woman came running up to them. She pulled the little boy into her arms.
"Oh, my God, where have you been? We were so worried!"
"Sorry, mommy." He said in a small voice.
"You can't just wander off alone. Anything could have happened to you."
"I wasn't alone. My friend was with me." He pointed to Robbie.
The woman looked up and saw the child standing there.
Robbie said nervously, "I watched out for him."
The woman smiled at her. "Thank you."
"He's really smart."
"I know and he thinks he can do much more than he can at his age. But I really appreciate that he had someone to take care of him."
Robbie nodded and smiled.
The woman stood up and took her son's hand. "Come on, dear, we need to get back to the others. Let's just hope your father doesn't find out about this."
"'Kay." He turned to look at Robbie. "Bye."
"Bye 'Bruce'. Watch out for the Joker."
He smiled at her and the blue eyes sparkled, before he turned and walked away with his mother.
At that moment, Walter Janorski came running up to her.
"Robbie! What the hell did you do? Why'd you go off?"
"Sorry, Dad. I didn't want to see any more airplanes."
"Aw, honey, you can't just do that. Do you know how worried I was?"
"Come on, let's go find your uncle and cousins. We'll go see something everyone wants to see."
She smiled and took his hand as they left the building.
Robbie smiled as she finished the story. "I felt very grown up and important taking care of that little kid. Even though my dad was really upset."
Everyone was smiling over the story, except for House and Blythe. They were staring at her in amazement.
When she saw her husband's face, she asked, "What's wrong?"
"You made that story up." He told her.
"Well, of course I didn't. Why would I do something like that?"
He turned to his mother. "You told her."
"No, Greg, I didn't. I hadn't thought about that in years."
"Told me what?" Bob asked. "What are you talking about?"
House and his mother stared at each other for a bit, then he finally said, "That was me."
"What was you?"
"The kid. Bruce Wayne. That was me."
"No, it couldn't have been."
Blythe cut in. "John had a week long meeting in Washington. Greg and I went along and while John was in his meeting, some of the other wives and I decided to take the children to the Smithsonian. The other boys were enjoying the airplanes. Greg did too, for a while, but then I turned and he'd disappeared. He always got bored so quickly. I should have known not to stay in one building for too long."
House continued the story. "I was tired of the airplanes and started wandering down the mall. When I saw the picture of the dinosaurs, I knew I wanted to go in there. While I was looking at one, there was this fat kid looking at it too and he started talking to me. He was a little older than me. We hung out together and went through the museum together until my mom found me."
"But it couldn't have been you, Roberta." Blythe added. "I saw the child. It was a boy and he was …chubby, as Greg said."
Bob smiled. "Don't you remember, Blythe, that I was fat? And I always looked like a boy when I was a kid. I grew up with guys and never dressed or acted like a girl. Most people thought I was a boy."
House looked at her in amazement. "So it was you. You were there and you took care of me."
"Guess you were always destined to take care of me." He said, pulling her close to him.
She kissed him on the cheek. "And I always will."
Author's Note: For your information, the Air and Space Museum building that currently exists at the Smithsonian wasn't built until 1976. Before that, the airplanes and later the spaceships were housed indoors at the Arts and Industries Building or outside at Rocket Row. I figure there probably weren't a lot of spaceships there in 1968, since we hadn't landed on the moon yet. And the airplanes would be interesting to little boys anyway.
The Natural History Museum was known as the United States National Museum until 1969 when it was renamed the National Museum of Natural History. Since the artifacts are old anyway, most of them were probably there in 1968. The building was the same at any rate.
It wasn't hard to get history of the Smithsonian, but I had to piece together what might have been there in 1968. Hopefully, it makes sense.
That's it for this story. I have another one in the wings that, with luck, will begin posting in about a week. Thank you so much for reading.