Fandom: House MD
Genre: General/Romance/Baby arc
Pairing/Character: Cuddy, House/Cuddy.
Spoilers: Subtle reference to Both Sides Now
Summary: cuddy_fest prompt # 52: Cuddy, gen. Four times she thinks she's pregnant and one time that she is.
Notes: I revised it as best as I could, but I think some of the tenses are still confusing. I apologize! Thanks to archemicstar & vicodinaddict0o for beta'ing! The title and subtitles are taken from 'The Tower' by Vienna Teng.
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Here @ cuddy_fest
Here @ house_cuddy
1. Childhood; What Understanding Defies.
She is six-years-old. Her girlfriend’s mom has just become pregnant with her third child and Lisa is getting an earful. Nancy, her friend’s name is, is finally going to have a little sister to care for. Lisa listens patiently to Nancy’s enthusiastic jabber as she thinks about what it would be like if she were to have a baby sister. Being the youngest of three girls in her family, her sisters boss her around relentlessly. She swears to herself that if she had a younger sister, she would treat her like she was her own child. She imagines feeding the baby; she imagines holding the baby when her mother is preoccupied; she imagines singing the baby to sleep at night.
One month passes and the Cuddy family is sitting down for dinner one Wednesday night. Lisa clears her throat mid-conversation and stands up on the wobbly kitchen chair. Her face swells with glee as she sees her parents and sisters gazing up at her and she proudly declares that she is pregnant. Her mother and father just stare at her for a moment while her sisters exchange glances and try desperately to suppress their giggles. Her mother takes her hand and guides her back down to a sitting position. Lisa looks around, bewildered, as her sisters let out little chuckles and her father’s face displays a shy smile. Her mother explains to her that only grown-ups can have babies, but someday when she finds the right man she can have as many kids as she wants. Lisa pushes herself away from the table and stomps off to her bedroom.
2. College; Where Is Safety?
She’s never slept with anyone before. She’d had a boyfriend in high school - Jack, his name was. But it didn’t last more than a few months, and she never was able to gather up the courage to spend the night with him.
When she wakes up next to Greg House, a campus legend who seems to be quite fond of her, she almost can’t remember how she got there. He’s still asleep, snoring softly with his left elbow jabbing her lightly in the hip. She glances at the alarm clock beside the bed and realizes she’s going to be late for class. She quickly gathers her clothes and hurries out the door of Greg’s dorm, being careful not to wake him.
She arrives back in her own dorm, flustered and anxious, realizing that she hasn’t finished the paper Greg had been helping her with – a paper forgotten as he had moved to kiss her. She dashes into her tiny bathroom and strips off last night’s clothes, throwing them to the floor and jumping into her shower. She rinses herself off as rapidly as she can, turns the faucet off and rushes to her closet. She throws on a pair of fitted jeans and an over sized, gray sweater. She gathers her textbooks into her bag and scurries out her front door, almost forgetting to lock it.
One week later she starts to worry. Having lost themselves within each other, a condom had been forgotten; there is a possibility that she could be pregnant. She tells herself not to worry, to just focus on her classes, but she is beginning to find it harder and harder to concentrate with this growing concern in the back of her mind.
Two weeks later her breasts ache and she’s sure that the skin around her nipples is darker. Her stomach feels queasy all the time, although it could just be nerves, she thinks. A few days later, she’s running to the bathroom every couple of hours; positive she’s going to puke.
Three weeks later her period is late. She can’t rationalize anymore; she is undeniably pregnant. She considers telling Greg, but first buys a cheap drugstore pregnancy test just to be sure. She unwraps the white stick from its packaging, pees on it and sets it on the edge of the sink, waiting for her results. Five minutes later, the test displays a negative sign. She’s relieved for only a second, knowing it must just be a faulty test. She goes back to CVS and buys three more, all different brands. She uses them all, getting the same result every time: negative. She can finally breathe, after three weeks of sheer panic, and she settles into bed for a much-needed good night’s sleep. The next morning, she wakes up with a horrible headache and her panties are soaked with a few drops of crimson blood—her period has finally arrived.
3. Dean Of Medicine; Need Not To Need.
She has wanted a baby since she graduated from med school. Her best friend at the time had just discovered she was pregnant, and thus Lisa Cuddy’s obsession was born.
She becomes dean of Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital when she is thirty-two years old. She is scared shitless yet completely elated all at the same time. It becomes clear to her now that she is finally ready for a child in her life. One year later, she is searching through sperm donor registries for the perfect father and taking fertility meds. She doesn’t want anyone to know—much less anyone at work. But House finds out like he always does. She knew it was inevitable. He shows up in her office twice a day to give her hormone injections and she makes him swear to god that he’ll never tell a soul about her desire to have a baby.
Months go by, and hundreds of dollars are squandered on home pregnancy tests. She starts to get disheartened and considers giving up altogether. However, on the twenty-first of August, the tiny pink plus sign finally appears. She’s absolutely euphoric; she calls up her mom right away and can barely contain her exhilaration as she tells her the news. For almost an entire week, Lisa Cuddy experiences what she regards as bliss; a feeling she’s sure she’s never felt before and never thought she could feel.
She makes an appointment with her gynecologist to get a blood test that will confirm the pregnancy. She sits smiling giddily in the waiting room of Dr. Larson’s office; the possibility of a false positive doesn’t even cross her mind. She is called into an exam room and excitedly tells Dr Larson results of her home pregnancy test. Dr Larson is thrilled, and gives her a friendly hug. She draws Cuddy’s blood, and assures her that the chances of a false positive are quite slim.
Less than a week later, the blood test results are in. Cuddy is back in the waiting room, still living out her blissful fantasy. Dr Larson meets her in another exam room with an unnerving look on her pale face that tells Lisa Cuddy all she needs to know. She goes home that night and cries until her eyes are raw and her wild hair is soaked with wistful tears.
4. In His Head; April 2007; Where Is The One Who Can Change Me?
He is thinking about her all the time. It’s almost like college again—sort of. They had tried so hard to make their relationship work then, and failed. But they’re older now, and they could make it happen if they tried hard enough, he thinks.
He wakes up from a rather odd dream that he had, a dream in which Cuddy becomes pregnant and he is the father. He knows he doesn’t want this now that he is awake, but in the dream they’d both been ecstatic. He’s holding her and she’s crying tears of joy for finally getting what she has so desperately wanted for the past ten years but had given up on since the in-vitro hadn’t worked. You know what they say—if you want to find something, you have to stop looking.
They’re talking about whose place they will move in to; most likely Cuddy’s because it has the most space. She lists off all her favorite baby names – for a boy, for a girl - and he is in this state of beautiful bliss; a feeling he’s sure he’s never felt before and never thought he could feel.
A part of him wants to go back to that, to feel like that again. It reminds him of when he is composing a song on his piano - his fingers instinctively gliding over the perfect sequence of notes, transforming a merely pretty song into a breathtaking one. He wants her to feel like that. He owes that to her.
5. One Time; Someone Who Reaches Out To My Weakness.
She has been living with House for the past two years, ever since he arrived home from Mayfield and she decided there was no use pretending anymore. She had ended up selling her over sized home to live in House’s small, yet cozy apartment. She never thought it would work, and it didn’t at first, but they worked things out in their way, just like they had before.
In a way, their complex relationship hasn’t even changed. There is still tension, there is still pain, there is still that unavoidable awkwardness. They love each other, that’s understood, and whatever happens despite that doesn’t really matter.
She is in the shower one day when she realizes that her period hasn’t yet come this month. She counts the days in her head and it has been far too many. She’s not that old; she can’t be menopausal yet. She’s barely forty-one.
She considers the situation for a moment, puzzled, and then it all starts to make sense; the nausea, the pain in her breasts, her strange cravings for watermelon. She’s pregnant with House’s baby.
She gets out of the shower and dries herself off as fast as possible. She throws on a towel and shuffles into the kitchen where House is eating breakfast with Rachel. He yawns as he tells her good morning, and he stands up to give her a quick kiss on the cheek. She sits down at the table and pours herself a glass of orange juice as House kisses Rachel’s head before limping down the hall to take his own shower.
Rachel finishes eating and Cuddy leads her to her bedroom to get dressed. Cuddy can’t imagine having another child in this all too small apartment. Rachel doesn’t even have her own bedroom as it is, and she’s getting to an age where she needs one.
Rachel is dressed and for once Cuddy lets her watch cartoons before preschool. Cuddy walks back into their bathroom to find House just getting out of the steamy shower. Still in only a towel, she closes the door behind her and House grins. She just stares back.
House gives her a confused look, like he somehow thinks she’s joking, but he realizes she is serious and the smile on his aging face disappears. He brings his hand to his forehead, stressed. She saunters toward him and pulls him into an apprehensive embrace. He kisses her dark curls and she convinces him that they will be okay. They talk it through; they’ll buy a bigger house, she’ll take some time off from the hospital, he’ll have a talk with Rachel. They’ll make it work, one way or another, like they have with everything else.
She is born on a chilly mid-October evening; the moon is huge and almost golden, and the stars are visible in little patches between big, fluffy clouds. Wilson has Rachel; he takes her to her favorite restaurant, and they go walking downtown. She starts to get sleepy and dozes off in Wilson’s arms as he carries her back to his car.
Six months later they are standing in the kitchen shrieking at each other about something House didn’t do well enough, or Cuddy did too much of, or how this whole relationship had been a huge mistake.
Three months after that House manages to get his old apartment back. He sees the kids on weekends, or when Cuddy’s not too furious with him. His life almost goes back to the way it was before Mayfield; bourbon, depression, loneliness, late night piano-playing. He finds his sorrow strangely comforting. If he tries hard enough he can almost make himself believe that the past three years never happened.
Two months after that, House quits his job at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. He walks into Lisa Cuddy’s office one afternoon and says the words he’s said a thousand times before without ever meaning them. This time is different though, she knows that. She lets him leave and doesn’t say a word. She saw this coming, but none the less feels that hole in the pit of her stomach.
One week later she shows up on his doorstep. She hates herself for everything she’s ever done to him and he knows it. She pulls him into her arms and apologizes until she has tears running down her face and onto his t-shirt. "I love you" is all he can manage and she just cries harder. After what could have been hours, she breaks away from their embrace and looks him in the eye.