House looked at the screen once more, staring at it, but not seeing it anymore, feeling something tighten hard in his chest.

So this was it.

A done deal—Mr. 352332 had pulled it off, and his young, eager and mobile tadpoles had ambushed Cuddy’s fertile little ova. House could practically picture the microscopic orgy, with thousands of wrigglers slam dancing against her voluptuous egg, flailing away relentlessly in their lusty quest.

Damn it, it was turning him on, and it wasn’t supposed to. This positive result was supposed to leave him bitter and cynical; it should have reconfirmed his belief that the baser nature of all woman--and one in particular--was selfish and self-serving.

Cuddy had picked out a donor and used his sperm to give herself a baby—if that wasn’t the epitome of selfish then nothing was.

The problem though, was that House found himself thinking instead of her humming. When she was happy, contented even, Cuddy hummed to herself. He’d heard it a few times, a low musical sound, sometimes a melody he knew, sometimes some unknown personal tune, but they were always soft little reassuring sounds.

The sounds a mother would make.

She’d made them long enough for Princeton-Plainsboro, and now . . . now she’d make them for something much smaller and infinitely more precious to her.

He reached over and turned the computer off, then pulled himself to his feet, picking up his cane. House made his way out of his office and towards hers, realizing he didn’t have a damned clue what he was going to say when he got there.

His uneven steps slowed, and when he reached her door he looked through the glass panels at Cuddy. She was sorting papers on her desk, and one curly strand of dark hair had come free of the clip that held the rest back at the nape of her neck.

House listened.

She was silent.

Carefully he pushed open the door, amused and annoyed that she didn’t even look up, but aware that a small smile was on her lips. “House?” she murmured.

He waited until she looked up. “Mama Cuddy.”

She froze. She blinked, her lips parting; House gave a jerky nod and looked away, preparing himself for the lecture on hacking into private files and test results. He could take it, if it meant breaking the news himself, oh yes.

Three quick steps and she was in front of him, and unexpectedly her cool artistic hands were cupping his face, turning it. She kissed him, a good hard kiss of delight and gratitude.

House was dizzy for a moment, and blinked himself when she pulled away, her grey eyes bright and fierce. “Thank you.”

At a loss for a moment, he nodded, merely looking at her. Then with calm determination, he slipped one hand behind her head and pulled her in for another kiss, feeling for once that this was the sort of selfishness that could be shared.

She pulled away looking a little breathless and startled—the way House liked to see her. He turned away, feeling smug, and before he reached the door she was back at her desk, sorting once more—

--and humming.




House index