"Hi House," Buffy said cheerfully as she entered the examination room.
House scowled at her. "It's gloom-day. No smiling allowed."
Buffy's grin widened even more. "And I missed you too."
Rolling his eyes, but unable to hide his own smirk, he pointed towards the examination table. "Hop up."
"It's been over four weeks. Need to make sure the parasite is behaving," he said.
Buffy groaned. And whined. "He's sleeping. I don't wanna wake him and have to deal with grumpy baby all day."
Smirking, House pointed at the examination table again while getting the ultrasound machine into place. "I might just print you a nice picture."
Grumbling some more, Buffy threw the remainder of her lollipop away and went to lie down. It wasn't like she really was against the ultrasound - in fact, she loved the small black and white printouts she got afterwards - the grumbling was merely part of their game. And they both knew it.
Still, just to be sure, Buffy closed her eyes for a moment and listened for her baby. Smiling as she heard the familiar bum-bum-bum-bum, she opened her eyes again and exposed her belly – only to yelp when House squirted the cold gel onto it almost immediately. "Hey
Faith stopped and looked at the building in front of her. So this was the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Shrugging, she patted the small bag she'd tucked under her arm and entered, following the signs to the open clinic.
She stopped a moment to take everything in before stepping to the nurses' desk. "Hey."
Without looking up, the nurse pushed a form in front of her. "Fill this in and bring it back. Then you'll be seen as soon as possible."
Faith snorted. "Yeah, right."
The nurse, Brenda, stopped short and looked up – her eyes becoming as big as saucers when her senses caught up with her and she realised just who she was talking to. "The Dark Slayer!" she whispered awe-struck. "Uh, you know I'm … you know?"
Faith grinned but nodded. "Know where B is?"
Brenda frowned for the second it took her to work out who B was. Then she smiled shyly, pointing towards the doors behind Faith. "Examination room two. With Dr House."
The grin on Faith' face grew even further. "Sweet. Always wanted to meet him."
Brenda looked up in alarm. "Was that a cat
"Naw." Patting the bag at her side, grinning as another 'meow' followed this, Faith said, "Definitely not a cat." It was just a little kitten, after all.
Well, Brenda certainly wasn't mad enough to correct Faith so she chose to ignore the noise. "Okay. Otherwise I'd have to ask you to leave it outside."
"Naw, that's fine." Faith nodded towards the door with the number two on it. "In there, right?"
Brenda nodded. Faith smirked again before walking straight to the door. Stopping just short of it, she tilted her head slightly to listen. Chuckling at what she had heard, she quietly opened the door and slipped in.
"What?" House asked innocently before placing the wand onto her belly, spreading the cold gel even further.
Buffy grumbled and squinted her eyes at him. "Meanie."
House grinned and gave a tiny bow. "Thank you! I always try to give my best." Moving the wand some more, he added, "Now lets see if we can get the gender of the little bugger."
Buffy cupped her hands in front of her mouth and, leaning towards her belly, said, "Run! Hide from the big bad wo-… meanie!"
House snorted, eyes twinkling when they met Buffy's. "Nice try."
"Yep." Buffy grinned like the cat that inherited the creamery. "He just moved. Twenty bucks he's showing off his back!"
Faith couldn't stay quiet any longer and snorted.
"Faith!" Buffy said in surprise. "What are you doing here?"
"Was in the area." Faith pushed herself off the door and sauntered over to them, giving House a long, lingering look as she passed him. "Nice ass."
House leaned over theatrically, checking out Faith in return. Although, her tight leather pants, much to his delight, didn't leave any room for speculations anyway. "Likewise." His eyes wandering appreciatively over the rest of her body before he grinned boyishly. "Nice figure in general."
Chuckling, Faith looked down her own body. Her top matched the leather pants, both in its tightness and in revealing more than it covered. It was sleeveless and showed off her cleavage just nicely. "Can't complain."
"Hel-lo! I'm still here, you know," Buffy said with a pout. "And you still owe me 20 bucks."
Faith snickered. "Want me to collect them for you?"
House moaned, pressing his hands over his heart. "Yes, please
Faith moved next to House, pressing her body into his side. Tracing a finger along the side of his face, she waggled her eyebrows. "How's that for a start?"
Buffy groaned and covered her eyes with her arm while House and Faith laughed. Faith squeezed his butt before moving over to Buffy, taking her free hand in hers. "'Kay, let's see the kiddo."
Still grinning, House picked up the wand again and turned the monitor so everyone could see it. "By the way, I want cash."
House let his eyes wander suggestively over Faith' body again before meeting Buffy's eyes. "Love to."
Buffy only huffed and grumbled something unintelligible. Faith patted Buffy's shoulder. "Open your eyes or you won't know if he's cheating."
House looked at them in shock. "Cheating? Who, me
"Yep." Faith said with a grin as she pointed at the monitor. "Because that looks like a perfectly fine back to me."
Buffy took a closer look as well and smiled. No matter which way House was going to move the wand, there was no way they'd get a clear picture of her baby's gender today. "Twenty bucks, House. Cash only."
House looked between the monitor and the two women. True, the parasite was showing them its back, but he had still hoped he could convince them otherwise if need be. He wondered how-
"Huh?" The sound had caught him completely off-guard, hence the 'huh'-ing.
Unfortunately, Buffy picked up on it as well and snickered. "First you lose 20 bucks and now you're lost for words? You must be getting old or something!"
"Hey!" House protested – and someone else seemed to agree. "Meow!"
"First 'huh', then 'hey'," Faith pondered while she patted her bag, "Can't say you're improving."
"Meow." This time the sound was followed by the side of Faith' bag moving until a small head popped out at the top. "Mee-ouw!"
Buffy tilted her head, then stroke the chin of Faith's passenger. "She looks pretty pleased with herself."
Faith put her hand in the bag and carefully lifted the kitten out, settling it in the crook of her arm. The kitten purred, causing Faith to chuckle. "And sounds it too. Right Ante?"
"Mrooww." The kitten licked Faith's arm once before snuggling in closer.
"Ante!?" Buffy looked at Faith in shock. "You didn't!"
Grinning, Faith shrugged her shoulders. "Thought it fit. And Ante likes her name."
"No she doesn't," Buffy said sternly as she cleaned the ultrasound gel off her stomach. "We'll call her … Kitty."
The kitten lifted her head and actually hissed at her. House laughed. "I don't think she agrees. So, Ante? As in poker?"
"Kitten poker," Faith said as if it was your standard everyday game while she nuzzled the kitten's head.
House raised his eyebrows. "Kitten poker?"
Ante agreed. Loudly.
"I think she's got a thing for you," Faith said to House.
House threw his head back, brushing his hair with his fingers. "What can I say, I'm simply irresistible."
There was a snort coming from the direction of the door. "Keep dreaming," Lisa Cuddy said mockingly.
House scratched Ante behind her ears, chuckling as her purring became even louder. "She's just jealous," he told the kitten in a conspiring voice.
Lisa crossed her arms and tapped one foot on the floor while she looked between House and Faith.
Faith grinned and, despite the little kitten's protests, carefully put Ante back into her bag. "Well, we'll be off again. Seeing the sights, finding us some guys to buy us lunch, having some fun." Faith waved to Buffy, then brushed passed House, stroking his chin again as she did so. "See you later!" One last wink at Lisa and Faith was gone.
Lisa just rolled her eyes - after all, she had met Faith before and liked her – before she walked over to House. She pushed the folder she'd been holding into his hands and glared at him. "Care to explain?"
House looked at the plain, unlabelled file for a moment before grinning at her. "Well, Cuddles, that looks like a remarkable unmarked folder to me."
House raised an eyebrow but followed the request. Even though he recognised the papers inside immediately, he pretended to carefully read through everything. Scratching his chin, he said, "Congratulation, it's a girl … Jane Smith's girl, apparently. Gotta love maternity tests, don't you?"
"Uh, hello?" Buffy said from the background. "Confused person in the room!?"
Both Lisa and House ignored her. Buffy put her arms on her hips and stuck her bottom lip out – yet nobody took notice. Huffing, she sat down on the examination table again and sulked.
Meanwhile, Lisa and House were staring at each other intensely - House with a little smirk on his face while Lisa's lips were pressed together tightly and her eyes were squinted. Eventually, Lisa grabbed the file from him again and shut it forcefully.
"You've got a new patient."
"I've just diagnosed the last one this morning!" House protested immediately.
"Exactly," Lisa gave him a sweet smile. "Which means you can concentrate on the new one straight away. Your fellows are talking to him and going over his previous test results as we speak."
House rubbed his hands together in glee. "That leaves just enough time for the second half of General Hospital!" He turned around to switch his portable TV on – only to find it missing.
"Nuh huh," Buffy said cheerfully, holding up the TV for House to see. This was so much more fun than sulking in the corner. Or on the examination table. "It's just enough time for pampering your leg."
"Nope. You got to play already, twice, now it's my turn." Buffy jumped off the examination table and patted it. "Lose your jeans and hop up. And if you're nice and tell me what the whole 'folder reading followed by staring match with a side dish of Buffy ignoring'
was about, you might even get your telly back."
"Well, keep the telly for all I care," Lisa said before House could interrupt again. "Take him straight to his conference room afterwards." Lisa went for the door but, with her hand already on the handle, turned around again. "Oh, and he knows."
Buffy frowned and looked at House, who was once again looking rather smug. "Knows?"
Lisa nodded, holding up the file in her hand. "Yes. The thing Willow could have added to Jenna's visit?"
Realisation dawning, Buffy narrowed her eyes as she turned back towards House. "How long?"
"No, I'm talking to House," Buffy said, effectively interrupting her mother. Giving her a weak yet apologetic smile, she said, "Go back to work, I'll handle it."
Lisa watched her daughter for a moment, then she nodded. "Just remember I need him alive."
"Mo-om!" Buffy whined while she winked at Lisa. She'd said it just loud enough for House to hear but quiet enough to keep it inside the room. "You're spoiling all the fun!"
In the middle of the room House could only stare at the two women in front of him. Pondering about it, even getting a maternity test done, couldn't have prepared him for actually hearing that one little word from Buffy – directed at none other than Dr Lisa Cuddy.
Rolling her eyes, Lisa opened the door and left the room. Then again, the memory of House's flabbergasted face would stay with her for a long time.
Inside, Buffy casually walked up to House, closing his mouth with her finger. "Jeans off and up on the table."
Slowly, very slowly, the expression on House's face changed. He even took off his jeans and did as Buffy had told him. Once he'd made himself comfortable, he looked rather pleased with himself again. "So, spawn of Cuddy, get to work. I've got fellows to torture and a patient to diagnose."
Buffy snorted then got the second lollipop from her pocket. She unwrapped it slowly before she put it into her mouth.
"Hey! You just had one. Watch out or you're getting fat," House said with raised eyebrows. "And where is my lollipop anyway?"
"This is yours," Buffy said casually as she started to massage the remaining muscles in his leg, slowly but surely loosening them up. "Shouldn't have poked around things that aren't of your concern."
"I didn't even tell anyone," House grumbled. "Least I could get for that is a lollipop."
"Just make sure it stays in this room." Buffy stopped massaging him and looked him straight in the eye. "This isn't a game. For neither of us."
House studied her for a moment. "Cuddy didn't know you were her daughter when you came here," he eventually stated.
"No, she didn't," Buffy agreed then went back to work on his leg.
"Because Cuddy was too young?" House asked curiously.
Buffy's head snapped up and House thought he'd glimpsed something like anger and betrayal before Buffy quickly looked away again. "No, a small sacrifice for the greater good for all of us," she said bitterly.
House remained quiet after that, watching Buffy's hands, though he could tell her thoughts were somewhere else. As he'd done a bit of research, he knew Buffy's mom – who turned out to be her adoptive mother – had died several years ago. Nothing he had found had indicated that Buffy had been adopted. But he had also watched Buffy and Cuddy long enough to know there was no resentment between them.
So the bitterness in Buffy's voice wasn't directed at Cuddy but rather those responsible for her adoption. Yes, Cuddy had been young, very young, when she'd gotten herself pregnant. But he also knew her long enough to know it would be almost impossible to make her do something against her will. And judging by Buffy's reaction, the adoption hadn't been Cuddy's idea. He was sure she'd have found a way to juggle both motherhood and her education. Cuddy might not have ended up as Dean of Medicine as early as she had, but she wouldn't be that far behind either.
"It wasn't her choice," he finally stated.
"Bastards." The reply came so fast, it even surprised House. Then his eyes met Buffy's and both knew he meant it.
"They are dead," Buffy said casually. "Already were by the time I found out." She looked up again and straight into his eyes. "A shame, really."
House understood. He also knew - though he didn't quite understand his reasoning - that this would be one of the very few things he would keep to himself. Or rather between those who knew already. Maybe he was getting soft or something. Then again, there'd still be teasing and suggestive comments. But he'd keep it at that.
He was about to tell Buffy when he felt an odd sensation against his leg. "Hey!"
Buffy looked up and House was glad to see the earlier seriousness replaced by mirth. Even if it was directed against him. "Yeah?" she asked innocently.
There it was again. Right where Buffy's small bump was touching his leg as she leaned over him. "Your parasite kicked me! Twice
!" he said accusingly.
"Yep," Buffy replied, grinning at him. "Told you you'd have to pay for waking him." Handing him a small towel, she added, "There you go. We're all done for today. But that also means you've got to do more exercises next time."
House narrowed his eyes at her while cleaning the remaining oil off his tight. "You're enjoying this way too much."
"Uh huh. Now hurry up, you've got a patient to diagnose."
"Hey, I'm Cuddy's daughter, remember? Annoying you is in my genes!"
House grinned. "It works both ways, you know."
"That a challenge?"
"You bet!" House grabbed his cane and went for the door. Waggling his eyebrows, he added, "Let the games begin."
Buffy could only roll her eyes as she followed him out of the room.
--A/N: Thanks to RevDorothyL for suggesting the kitten name. There were several ideas I liked (loved justapiranha's idea 'Muse' too!), but I've recently got caught up in playing poker so I couldn't resist. LOL. Anyway, thanks for all the reviews and suggestions!