Cuddy was confused. And a little disturbed. A patient of Gregory House – THE Gregory flipping HOUSE- was kicking, screaming, crying and complaining. Which wasn't unusual. That man could make the Pope spout some creative four letter words out of the hole in his face, but this was different. This little girl was being escorted down the side walk by two social service women into a black sedan and she was fighting with all she had to see Dr. House. Most people would be trying threatening somebody just to get away from him, but not this patient. "I can't just leave without saying bye to him!" Elise was screaming now, crying gorgeous green eyes out. She was only seven, but could obviously have a pretty bad attitude when it was called for. Not that Cuddy blamed her.

These assholes had dumped her on them without a visit, without a call. Nothing. As if they didn't even care if she were alive and hoping she wasn't so there was no extra mouth to feed. Now they were man handling her as if the orphanage actually wanted her back? This was wrong, but there was nothing Cuddy could do without making things worse for little Elise. "I wanna see Mr. House!" She shouted, pulling away from the ugly, greasy woman. Elise then proceeded to elbow her handler in the ribs (probably harder that what was required- and was that a smirk on her face?) and the the woman grunted in pain. Cuddy didn't even try to stop her. Hell the bitch deserved it in her opinion! She watched the cute seven year old running across the grass. She was half tripping, half sprinting like some kind of possessed lawn mower. Elise's brown hair was getting tangled as she raced for the hospital doors where she'd been for 2 weeks.

"Wait here." Cuddy told the two. Racing after Elise wasn't fun. She ran into three different doctors and a couple of patients, one of which she knocked over. That poor little girl was probably just going back to House to get something and knowing House he wouldn't be pleased. After all, Cuddy had noticed that he was tired and grouchier than normal lately, he'd been staying at the hospital later than usual and was obviously lacking some serious beauty sleep. Damn, House is gonna be pissed, the brunette doctor thought as she reached the floor where his office was located.

Noticing the receptionist being useless as usual and reading a magazine, Cuddy asked her as nicely as she could if she had seen a little girl run this way. The woman quirked an eyebrow at Cuddy as if to say is that my job? "Ya mean the one ya just took outta here not a minute ago?" The receptionist said rudely. It wasn't a question, she was only being irritating. Note to self: Fire this chick later...and send her a truck filled with some mints or something. Damn! Cuddy nodded anyway, trying not blow.

The woman's eyebrow raised even higher in an annoying fashion which she could apparently create her magazine for and took her good old time to answer. If she didn't find that girl before House did-

"She's right her Cuddy, don't get your panties in a twist." Dr. House's grating voice cut in. From directly behind her. Most people probably would have jumped and maybe let out a small, embarrassing 'eep'. Yep, she'd seen it before and it was pretty funny unless it was you. But she was used to it, a little too used to it she realized. Blushing a little at being surprised by the man she turned on her heel to face him. He was leaning heavily on his cane and was carrying – yes, carrying- Elise bridal style.

The little girl looked sad and almost scared. Great, Cuddy thought, What kind of mentally scarring thing did House chose to say to a prepubescent girl this time? Cuddy just wanted to get back to work. She was already behind on her schedule and it was only 7 A.M.!

She held out her hands expectantly People passing them were staring in confusion and others were wondering what kind of a clinic this had to be for the little girl in a much older man's arms to whimper and and throw her arms around him. Cuddy was so surprised she let her arms hang down to her sides. She looked up nonchalantly. No meteors about to come crashing through the ceiling? Check. She looked down, but there were no earthquakes shaking the ground beneath her feet. Okay, so the apocalypse hadn't arrived. Looking at House she could tell he obviously felt the same way, but he was trying not to show it for fear it might scare Elise. He looked down at her cute face just as she looked up at his.

"Do I have to go Mr. House?" She said. This shocked Cuddy, but House didn't seem too freaked out by Elise's affections toward him. In fact, his eyes softened a bit. The rest of House's team was in the lobby by now, trying desperately to pick their jaws off the clinic floor. Then they heard the impossible. "Yes, sweety..." Sweety? The little girls eyes filled with tears and House added, "But don't you worry huh? I'll visit you as much as your tiny little immature heart desires." Even as the bitter sarcasm came out of his mouth it died. There was no feeling behind it. As if Elise had melted his shell away, he smiled at her.

Then, those who didn't yet feel like they should be checked into their own hospital were nearly given a heart attack when House tweaked Elise's nose playfully. What. The. Hell.

Elise hugged him on last time. And surprisingly enough, House hugged her back before setting her down. She headed for the exit, sniffling. She didn't wait for Cuddy, but shouted over her shoulder, "Remember, your promised Mr. House!" House blinked and rubbed a hand over his face. "I told you to call me Doctor you little twerp." He said, but he wasn't angry at all. Cuddy gathered her jumbled emotions, and thoughts and followed Elise out the double doors.

House turned and glanced up. His look of thoughtfulness changed into his usual irritation and he ordered them to get going. "What are you losers doing? I didn't think I hired idiots for important jobs anymore...In that case I suppose you janitors should get your asses in gear hmm?" He asked, raising his eyebrows exaggeratedly.

His teams scattered in opposite directions and watched as their boss stumped away to his office once more as if nothing happened. They were beginning to wonder if anything did.

As Cuddy watched Elise load into the car she asked what had been on her mind all morning. "Elise?" Cuddy asked in her nicest tone to get the child's attention. Elise buckled herself in and looked up at her expectantly. No reply. "Uh," Cuddy continued uncertainly, "Why did you want to visit Dr. House?"

Without any hesitation Elise spoke up, "He was the only person who was ever nice to me here. His parents bullied him too and since I never had anyone to visit me or say nice things Mr. House made sure I wasn't lonely." She beamed at the older woman. "And he read me bed time stories every night and stayed with me so I wouldn't have nightmares! He told me not to tell anyone while I was here because he could get in trouble, but you're a doctor too right?" She asked wide-eyed. Elise was probably afraid that by telling Cuddy this House would get into trouble. "Yes, Elise. I'm a doctor too, just like Mr. House and don't you worry he won't get in any trouble." Elise's smile widened and the car pulled away. So House wasn't heartless like he tried to make people think he was...Cuddy always knew.

She walked back to the clinic to see House. He was sleeping. The poor man was exhausted and now Cuddy knew why and a grin crept across her face. He was creating a lake of drool on his desk and his head was cradled in his arms. Grabbing a 'Do NOT Disturb' sign from a random door, Cuddy placed it on the door knob of House's office and walked away with a huge smile on her face. In his sleep, House was wearing one too.