He has always hated babysitting.
Ever since that first time with the dime fiasco, he has pathologically avoided babysitting at all costs. Inventing patient problems or creating arguments, just so Cuddy would never think to ask him.
But now she has to work late because some moron decided that it would be a good idea to put a man with an iron jaw into a MRI machine - and House was powerless to stop Cuddy from waltzing into his office and asking nicely, then telling him sternly that she needed someone to watch Rachel for a few hours.
Cut to him reading an old surgical journal from Cuddy's antique cabinet and praying that Cuddy would get home soon.
Don't get him wrong, he was fond of the kid. She didn't cry too much and had great taste in cartoons, and whenever Cuddy was in the house too House was okay with seeing pottering around.
But when he was alone with her, he felt panicked. The two sexless weeks he'd spent after his other babysitting endeavour were too terrifying a memory to be okay with it happening again.
And to add insult to injury, it was the hottest night of the year, and Rachel was boiling. She'd started off the evening in one of her adorable fluffy onesie pajamas, and had transferred (with House's assistance) to a vest, and was now just down to her nappy.
She was now potty trained enough to wear proper underwear during the day, but at night - especially when House was in charge - he felt safer putting her in a nappy.
He flicked to the next page of the journal and glanced at the clock. It would be so easy to call Wilson and have him come over, but he wasn't sure that Wilson would go for that.
House had spent weeks blackmailing him, telling him that Cuddy knew that the dime was equally Wilson's fault and that she was biding her time before exacting her revenge. Actually, House hadn't told her but it was fun to watch Wilson squirm.
Sighing, he ruled out calling Wilson. He didn't want to turn on the TV in case it woke the kid, and he was getting bored with the text. Fanning himself, he could feel beads of sweat gathering between his shoulder blades. It really was hot.
He leaned back and closed his eyes, trying to relax. That of course didn't last long as he felt a little hand pulling on trouser leg.
He opened one eye and saw Rachel standing there, hair mussed around her hooded eyes. She was obviously still half-asleep, and yet she still kept tugging.
"Go back to bed," he instructed, but unlike last time she didn't comply.
Instead, she wrapped her arms around his knee and latched on, looking up with a cloudy gaze.
He rolled his eyes and scooped her up, so she was next to him. He saw her beloved blanket clutched in her hand, and rubbed her face with it as she snuggled into his side.
"Hey - " He started, but her eyes were closed and her breathing levelled out before he could do anything.
Great. The kid was asleep on him.
Cuddy gently placed the key in the lock and stepped into the house, having had to work later than she'd planned.
Not wanting to disturb the quiet, she picked her way into the living room, and stopped when she saw her lover and her daughter asleep together on the couch.
Slowly, House opened one eye.
"Trust me," he said, "this is not as cute as it looks."