Countess Von Fingerbang (madampresident) wrote,
Countess Von Fingerbang
madampresident

Measure of a Life
Author: Coco (madampresident)
Fandom: House
For... cuddy_fest
Prompt: 118. Cuddy/House - They weren't the kind of parents she thought they'd be.
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I make no money off of this, this was just fun for me.
Spoilers: Minor spoilers for House's Head (but doesn't give anything from Wilson's Heart)
Author's Note: This is for Cuddy Fest but Cuddy fest posting isn't for 25 more days but I want to post this... so I am posting it here to my journal friends only. I'm going to make it public when Cuddy Fest posting begins. :)




They weren’t the kind of parents she thought they’d be.

Her first surprise was House’s instance on involvement in the baby’s life. She expected that he’d hand her the donor cup, she’d go to her doctor’s office and he’d see the baby every now and then because she’d bring it to the hospital once in a while.

The last thing she expected was the conversation that occurred. “I’ve thought about it, Cuddy. And I’m not going to just give you the goods.”

“Is this. . . blackmail? What do you want? Fewer clinic hours?”

“No. Well, yes, I do want fewer clinic hours but this isn’t blackmail. I thought about your request. If you get my swimmers you get me too.”

“House. . .?”

“Lisa, my father was a jackass, he was emotionally and physically abusive and there were times when I just needed a dad. I always told myself that if I ever had the opportunity I was going to be a better dad than my father was. So if you want me to be the father of the baby you’re going to get me too.”

He’d said Lisa. . . she knew that he didn’t throw that around lightly. She was shocked to say the least.

“Greg. . . I don’t know what to say.”

“Well, you gave me time to think about it so I’ll give you time to think about it. And you probably don’t want me around the hospital while you think so I’ll make Taub do my clinic hours. Just to be considerate.”

After much hemming and hawing House finally moved into Cuddy’s house. They’d agreed almost immediately that they were going to live together but the real trial was in deciding who would move in with who. Cuddy had the obvious argument that her house was bigger and House argued how could he give up 221 B Baker St. when it was such an awesome Holmes reference. It was a battle he knew he wasn’t going to win, but managed to stave her off for nearly a month.

The second surprise was seeing him cry when the baby- a boy- was born prematurely and had lung problems. It was touch and go for the whole first night. He cried almost as hard when the doctor came into the room and told House and Cuddy that the baby was going to be just fine.

He sunk into the chair and watched in amazement as one of the nurses brought the baby in and over to Cuddy.

“Come meet your son,” Cuddy smiled at House.

“That little thing is half me.” House grinned, pushing himself out of the chair with his cane, his leg stiffening with the effort and stopping by the bedside.

“Which half, do you think?”

“The bottom half. Your half is the half that screams.”

Cuddy laughed, “that’s ok. I’ll get up when he screams and you can change his diapers.”

“Hi little baby.” House stared at him, he was so little and so fragile. “Well damn, he’s got your nose.” House teased.

House was surprised by how he felt about the baby. He felt an overwhelming amount of affection for him, like he wanted to protect him from everything bad. He felt relief that his health wasn’t compromised.

“So what’s his name?”

“I was thinking Alexander.”

“Alexander House. I like it.” He nodded his approval, stroking the smooth black hair on the baby’s head.

“Alexander Cuddy-House.” Cuddy smiled, “do you want to hold him?”

“I might drop him.”

“No, you won’t.”

House looked up at Cuddy. She trusted him. A baby was the only thing that she’d wanted for herself in decades, she’d gone through so much heart ache and money trying to conceive and here she was finally with her baby. She trusted him completely, she had no hesitation. If it hadn’t been for her certainty he would have declined.

House held Alexander in his arms, leaning his weight on the wall so he could let go of his cane. “He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” He whispered.

Cuddy’s mother spent the next month at their house helping Cuddy with the baby and cleaning and cooking. House spent the next month shuffling around and muttering. That wasn’t to say that House and Bella Cuddy didn’t get along, on the contrary, Bella was quite pleased with Cuddy’s choice.

Albeit Bella had never seen House at any of his major pain in the ass moments and Cuddy hadn’t minded withholding that information from her mother. Bella did, however, wonder why they didn’t just get married. She was never one to meddle in her daughters’ lives so she had only said it once and it was met with an eye roll from Cuddy so she’d dropped it immediately.

Eventually Francis Cuddy decided he wasn’t going to eat take-out anymore and he needed his wife back so Bella bade Cuddy, House and Alexander a fond farewell and departed for her Boston brownstone.

Cuddy officially went back to work 5 months later. She’d been keeping up with her paperwork and had spent one or two evenings a week in her office after House got home but she decided she was going back to work after 5 months and there wasn’t a damn thing anybody could do to stop her.

“Lisa give me the baby.”

Cuddy made a whining noise in her throat. “You can’t carry the baby and the diaper bag and your cane.”

“The diaper bag has a strap!” He flung it over his shoulder. “Hand over the kid. He and I have some diagnosing to do.”

She paused for another long moment before she handed Alexander off to House.

“Trust me, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

Even when she said it begrudgingly, she never hesitated, she always trusted him. That was a very good feeling.

“Go do dean of medicine stuff. Whatever it is you do.”

Cuddy opened her mouth to say something, “we’ll be fine. Go.”

“Fine.” Cuddy leaned up and kissed Alexander’s forehead, eliciting a soft coo.

“Where’s my kiss?”

Cuddy grinned despite herself and stood on her tiptoes to lean up far enough to kiss him. “You’re a pain in the ass.”

“And you love me. What does that say about you?”

“Oh, I’m clinically insane. Go do your job.” Cuddy turned to leave.

“Speaking of clinic…”

“No!” She cut him off immediately. “You’re doing your clinic duty. Just bring Alexander back to me at 3 so you don’t have to carry him around while you do clinic hours.”

House stuck his tongue out playfully at Cuddy.

The third time House surprised her was a late summer evening, she can’t quite recall anymore if it was August or September. Cuddy was reading with Alexander on her lap, who was studying his picture book thoughtfully while House finished the third level on his new PSP game.

He looked up at her and watched her for a few moments before speaking. “Let’s have another kid.”

It took a moment for her to realize he was speaking to her and then another moment for her to process what he’d said.

“Are you serious?”

“Yeah. Why not?”

“That’s kind of a dumb reason to have another kid. Because I’m fertile and you’re a fully functioning male.”

“That’s not how I meant it, Lisa...”

“How did you mean it?”

“I mean I want to have another kid but I said ‘let’s have another kid’ so that if you didn’t want one it would sound like a passing whim on my part and I could pretend I didn’t care if you said no.”

“You’re full of surprise, Greg House.”

“Thank you, Lisa Cuddy.”

She laughed and Alexander looked up at her. She kissed the top of his head and he decided that the conversation between his parents was boring.

“I’m serious, I want us to have another baby.”

“You want to carry this one?”

“Don’t you want more kids?”

“Well,” Cuddy was honestly dumbstruck. “I did always imagine myself having two children… but I didn’t think you would want another one.”

“You shouldn’t assume things, Lisa,” he teased. “You know what you are when you assume stuff?”

“Cow!” Alexander held up his picture book, triumphantly showing the picture of a cow to his on looking parents.

Unlike her brother their second child was two weeks late. Cuddy’s hormones were really raging with this one. House could have guessed that the baby was going to be a girl before the ultrasound because only an abundance of estrogen could wreak that much havoc on her system.

Cuddy came into the living room and sat on the couch. “Oh my god. I wish this baby would just come out already!”

“We could induce labor,” he leered, raising his eyebrows at her suggestively. He leaned in toward her.

“Touch me and I castrate you.” She snarled.

“Whatssat?” Alexander watched his dad curiously.

“It means you’d have two mommies.”

Cuddy hit him in the head with a pillow.

“Why?” Alexander’s blue eyes watching his father intently.

“Because sometimes a mommy and a daddy have a baby, but sometimes two mommies or two daddies also want to have a baby.”

Alexander nodded, listening to House go on.

“And as men, we are genetically programmed to find the idea of two women together incredibly attractive. They’re called Lesbians.”

“Greg…”

“What? The kid is like 3, he’s not going to remember this conversation.”

“No, no… uh… my water just broke.”

“And we just got that couch reupholstered.” He teased. She screamed. “Kidding, kidding!” He jumped up and picked helped Cuddy to her feet, “come on little man, let’s get mom to the hospital. Grab her stuff that’s in a bag in the closet.”

“Kay!” He jumped up and ran to the closet.

“No more. Never again. This is the last time ever.” Cuddy groaned after 7 hours of labor. She turned her head to House, her eyes closing.

“You should sleep.”

“No more, okay? Promise me. Promise me to never get me pregnant again.”

“Okay, I promise. Get some sleep now.”

But his words were lost on a thoroughly exhausted and now passed out Cuddy. Wilson walked into the room.

“Is she asleep?”

“Yeah. Anesthetic wasn’t quite strong enough. . . I think she dislocated my wrist.”

“So. . . why is Alexander sitting in the waiting room with Cuddy’s mom repeating lesbian over and over?”

House grinned. “Because that’s my boy.”

“Does the new baby have a name yet?” Wilson asked.

House nodded, “Lisa named her Molly.”

They finally got married a month after Molly’s second birthday. They had the ceremony at city hall. Cuddy didn’t want a big wedding, she’d honestly given up on the idea of getting married long before and even after the beautiful blossoming of her relationship with House she had settled into the idea of theirs being a stable lifelong relationship, to which no name would be given.

But there it was. In black and white. The marriage certificate.

She kept her name. It was easier that way and her name was thoroughly unimportant to House. Besides which she’d always be Cuddy to him.

Alexander was very much like House with one very major exception. Where one withering look from Cuddy would be lost on House it could stop Alexander dead in his tracks. His hair was improbably dirty blonde and he inherited House’s athleticism and, luckily, Cuddy’s determination and work ethic.

Molly was a little more flighty. She was a B- student when she tried and C- average when she decided she didn’t really care all that much. House started to teach her piano and guitar very early on and she developed a keen ear for music. Her hair was unruly and black, like Cuddy’s, she ate like a horse and had the waist of a pencil.

John House died of a heart attack when Molly was 15. House couldn’t honestly say he was sorry. Blythe House, however, was devastated and moved in with House and Cuddy. Much to the dismay of Cuddy and Molly.

“I don’t want to share a room with grandma anymore!” Molly whined dramatically, “do you know what she did? She rearranged all my drawers and threw out my thongs! She said ‘respectable ladies don’t wear thongs.’ And I said ‘mom wears them’ and she said ‘case in point.’ What are you planning to do about this?”

Cuddy scoffed, “sweetheart… we have to be a little bit sensitive to grandma, she lost her husband and she’s emotionally vulnerable.”

“But she’s an insufferable cow!”

“…be that as it may, your father loves her and we have to pretend to be able to stand her…” Cuddy explained, cutting up carrots, trying to whip up a modest dinner after a long day at work.

“Lisa, dear.” Blythe called from the hallway.

“And that’s my cue to go. If anyone needs me I’ll be in the tree house. Only place I can get any privacy in this house.”

“What are you doing there?”

“I’m cutting carrots, I picked up a baked chicken at the store and I’m cooking some carrots to go with it.” She said, dropping the carrot slices into a pot of water.

Blythe scowled. “You should make dinner for your family. The whole dinner.”

“I worked all day, Blythe, I don’t have time to make the whole dinner. It’s not exactly like Greg works that hard, he could make dinner once in a while.”

“Cooking is woman’s work, men have much more important things to worry about.”

“Such as General Hospital and the new psp game, yes, Greg’s day is fraught with challenges. I don’t know how he copes.”

“Sarcasm is unbecoming to a woman, Lisa.”

“Greg!” Cuddy called.

House came in the front door. “Where’s Alexander?”

“Lacrosse practice.”

“Where’s Molly?”

“Band practice.”

“Where’s my mom?”

“Shopping. Stop talking.” Cuddy grabbed him by the collar and pulled him to her, chest to chest she leaned up and kissed him fiercely.

“Oh god, Lisa.” He moaned pushing her against the wall, bucking his hips against hers. He grabbed her leg and pulled it up his hip and she moaned.

The front door opened and Blythe House stood there staring at them.

“I want to kill your mother…” Cuddy whispered to House who let her leg down.

“Really you two? In the living room?”

“Whoa whoa whoa.” House stuck his cane against the doorframe stopping Molly.

“Dad, what?” She rolled her eyes.

“That shirt. Go change it. Too much cleavage.”

“Mom thinks it’s fine.” She planted her fists on her hips and settled in for a screaming match.

“Greg, that shirt’s not that low cut.”

“Of course you’d say that, owner of the most accessible melons in the tri-county area.”

“Greg!” Cuddy scowled.

Molly saw her opportunity for escape and left out the back door.

Cuddy knocked on Alexander’s door, “who is it?” He called from the depths.

“It’s your mom, can I come in?”

“Sure.”

She opened the door and went in. “Hi baby.” She kissed the top of his head. “You seem a little sulky tonight.” She sat down on the bed in front of him.

He shrugged.

“I know Molly hogs a lot of attention because she makes a lot of trouble and you get a little left out. But I want you to know that I appreciate you and I’m so proud of you and I love you with all my heart.”

Alexander smiled, a little reluctantly at first, albeit genuinely. “You always know what to say.”

“That’s what moms are for.” She grinned, “let’s do something this weekend, just you and me, hm?”

“Okay.” He smiled, “I’d like that.”

Two weeks after Molly’s 18th birthday Blythe House suffered a stroke. Alexander drove home from college and Molly and Cuddy paced nervously while House harassed the orderlies and nurses.

March 5th at 2:11 in the morning Blythe House died in her sleep and Cuddy surprised everybody by crying harder than anyone.

Alexander had two graduations one for his first four years of university and one for his completion of medical school. House was floored when he’d heard Alexander was going to medical school and only a little hurt that he chose endocrinology over diagnostics.

Molly completed an associate’s degree in music from community college. At the behest of her parents she applied to Julliard, she was accepted but declined the offer because she didn’t want to learn to play the violin. At the age of 24 she went back for another two years to get a degree in business management.

As Cuddy sat by the bedside of the man she’d spent the better part of her life with it was hard not to recall everything that had happened between, all the good and the bad. The children and the in-laws. The fights and the sex. She remembered it all.

She was holding his hand as she was listening to the monitors keeping time with his heartbeat. She remembered how nearly 30 years before she’d sat with him after he’d had a seizure after the bus crash. She had a sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach that fortune was not going to smile on them again and that this would be the last time she looked into his deep blue eyes and told him she loved him.

“We weren’t the sort of parents I thought we’d be.”

“What did you think we’d be like?” He asked, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

Her eyes were wet and wiped at them with her free hand, “well, I’m a workaholic and you’re lazy . To be honest I almost expected us to fail.”

“You didn’t fail.”

“You didn’t either.”

She nodded, looking down as she felt her eyes well up. “I feel like there was so much more I could have… I don’t know… I just feel like I didn’t do everything I could. I should have spent more time with you… I should have made more time for us.”

“Lisa, I’m the one who’s supposed to be making deathbed pleas, try not to steal all my glory, okay?”

“I wish we’d gotten married sooner.”

“I wish I’d never have let you get away from me in college.”

“You barely knew me in college.”

“I wish I’d known you better.”

She smiled and looked down.

“Lisa, look at me.” She looked up, “I love you. You and those two brats of ours were my whole world, I want you to know.”

She nodded, tears threatening to fall. “You three are my world, too.”

“If I was wrong… and there is an afterlife…. I’ll meet you there.”

A few minutes later she walked out of his room, her eyes were red and she was trying to hold her emotions in check as her two adult children stood up, staring at her expectantly and with twin expressions of dread.

“Mom?” One of them said, too softly for the voice to be distinguishable.

“He’s gone.” Cuddy said tearfully.






♥ Coco
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