"Well-" House drawled out in glee.
Slapping his arm, Lisa scowled at him. "Not how. But how
Ignoring House's chuckles, Lisa squinted her eyes as she tried to remember. But, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't remember having sex at the time of conception. And she sure as hell didn't have any more IVF treatments. This left only the one occasion she'd told Buffy about earlier this evening. Which also meant…
Groaning, Lisa closed her eyes. If only she could remember
. At least then she could be sure.
But … opening one eye, she gave House, who was still looking far too smug, a calculating look. Opening the other one, she started to scrutinise the ultrasound picture in earnest.
"And twins too," Lisa suddenly said in astonishment.
?" House squealed almost immediately. Coughing to cover-up his girlish squeak, House snatched the picture from Lisa's hand and had another close look. His frown deepened even more before he finally looked back at Lisa. "There's only one."
"I know," Lisa said, waggling her eyebrows.
"You!" House shook his finger at her. "You … damn, that was good."
"Yeah." Lisa rubbed her tummy while sporting a rather smug expression. At least she now knew how she ended up pregnant. Even if the details – all the details – were still missing from her memory. And then the smugness was replaced by uncertainty. Biting her lips, she looked away from House. "How long have you known?"
House looked at his watch pointedly. "About ten minutes."
He just looked at her. Of course, with Lisa still not meeting his eyes, she didn't really know what was going on.
In the end she had no choice but to actually look up – only to find her own feelings written all over House's face. "It's yours."
"How do you know?" he snapped. "You can't even remember! You could have gone off with anyone for some fun in the back alley!"
Lisa shook her head. "No. Not with you there." House snorted as he put the ultrasound away again. "No, House," Lisa continued in exasperation. "You'd have barked and snarked if I'd shown any intentions of leaving without you."
"I'm not that nice."
"No, you're not." Lisa nodded in agreement. "But you're overly possessive. You've followed me on my dates before, for crying out loud!"
"Because your dates were idiots!"
"As were those lawyers in the bar!" Lisa shot back. Taking a deep breath, Lisa grabbed his wrist. "House. I might not remember everything, but there's only one possible father for my baby."
Grunting, House tried to free his hand from Lisa's grip but she only held onto it tighter. "House," she said gently. "We'll work it out."
"Why?" he said. "You wanted a parasite. Now you've got one. Congrats."
Sighing, Lisa closed her eyes. "I'm too tired, too emotional for this now. But we'll work something out. One way or another."
House was ready to snark back when he noticed just how tired Lisa really looked. And how that bothered him. He squeezed her hand once even if it was barely noticeable. As her eyes opened again and locked onto his, he gave a curt nod in understanding. Then he gave a half-smirk. "Call me when you actually remember the how
Smiling weakly, Lisa nodded. "Okay."
The following Monday, House was standing on the hospital roof, his cane leaning against the banister next to him, and stared unseeingly in the distance. Apparently, assuming – and somehow knowing he was right – was one thing while actually having the proof was completely different. He'd thought he had everything worked out already. But seeing the ultrasound of Cuddy's, of his
, baby had changed everything once again.
Before Saturday night, he'd figured he'd see their spawn on the odd weekend and even use him as an excuse to annoy Cuddy during the week.
But seeing the little parasite on the ultrasound had moved him more than he'd ever thought possible. This didn't mean he was head over heals in love with him now. No, it was more like it felt wrong to treat him like he would treat any random person. House suddenly had the urge to not screw this up. The problem was that he hadn't quite figured out what that would involve.
Should he leave the kid alone? But that would also mean restricted access to Cuddy and that … that was just wrong
. How was he going to stay sane if he couldn't play Cuddy? More importantly, would he even be able to leave her alone?
Snorting, he shook his head in answer to his own question. Limiting his contact with Cuddy just so he wouldn't screw up Cuddy's kid's life would never work. If anything, it would make all three of them miserable.
No, he had to find another way – without losing his own way.
Or his reputation.
"Miss Summers, can I have a word, please?"
Buffy groaned silently as she recognised Dr Marmine's voice. She really wasn't in the mood for him now. Or ever. Unfortunately, she wasn't alone right now and Kamil had heard their supervisor too. So she only had one choice, really. Turning around, she gave Dr Marmine a curt nod and went into his office as he held the door open for her.
"Have a seat, please."
She didn't want to. But, Slayer or not, her pregnant body very much liked the idea of having a seat. So she sat down.
"I … ah." Dr Marmine looked at his hands nervously. Buffy raised one eyebrow but didn't offer any help. "I, well, I assume you know who Heather, my fiancée, is?"
Buffy only gave the faintest sign of acknowledgement. So that's where this was going. The day just got better and better. Not.
"I, ah, she told me she contacted you through one of her cousins."
Again, Buffy only gave a small nod and didn't offer anything else.
"It's just that she's really nervous about it. She's … the things her cousin told her about her brother and what she thought had happened just don't match up and it really bothers her."
"So?" Buffy asked brusquely.
"I…" Dr Marmine sighed and rubbed his face tiredly. "She doesn't know anything about you. I haven't told her."
"Then why did you hire me?" Buffy tilted her head while her voice was laced with the faintest sign of curiosity.
"For Heather," he said simply.
Recognising the honesty in his voice, Buffy nodded. "Why?"
Marmine continued to knead his hands while he contemplated on how to best answer the question. In the end he decided to stick to the truth. "She often spoke of her little brother, never quite understanding why he had stopped all contact with his family. Then you came for your job interview and your boyfriend seemed somehow familiar. It took me a few days to figure it out – he might have been older, but he was undoubtedly the lost brother Heather had shown me pictures off. I figured he'd move back to the States as well if you were offered a job. I could have arranged an accidental meeting between Heather and Mark and, well, she'd be happy to have another chance with him."
Buffy stared at him, her eyes filled with anger. "And be forever grateful to you for bringing him back?"
He smiled lopsidedly before looking down at his hands. "I guess there was a lot of egoism involved as well."
"You think?" Buffy wasn't impressed. At all.
"I might be a bastard – but I really love Heather. I just hate to see her unhappy. And Mark, well, he was a sore spot." Marmine rubbed his face tiredly. "Look, for all it's worth, the decision to offer you a place in the program was an unanimous one."
Buffy snorted. "Great. I presume that's supposed to make me feel all fuzzy inside now, huh?"
Marmine took a sip from his water bottle, taking his time to put it back down again. "I know I'm not in a position to make a request, but all I'm asking you is not to judge Heather by my
Buffy lifted her chin slightly, raising her left eyebrow questioningly.
Swearing under his breath, Marmine pushed himself out of his chair and started pacing between his desk and the chair Buffy was sitting in. If it weren't for Heather, he would never have started this whole exercise in humility. He hated every second of it. "Look, Heather is the sweetest and most honest person I've ever met. What she sees in me – I don't know. But I'm not going to question her feelings. However, her parents and older brother are neither sweet nor innocent. I guess you'd say they're my kind of people.
"Maybe that's why I wasn't too surprised to hear that Mark's and Heather's stories didn't add up. Heather told me the rest of the family had given Mark a hard time for staying in Italy, especially as he did something below their expectations. I mean, once their parents had told her they would disown him, but Heather didn't quite believe them. The thing is, I did and still do. And I'm pretty sure that they had meant it when they said they didn't want any more contact with him."
Buffy's eyes opened wide as the implications of the last statement hit home. "So you think they've never shown any of his letters to Heather? And because Heather still lived at home when Mark left, all his letters went there."
Marmine shrugged his shoulders. "I wouldn't put it beyond them."
Buffy slowly nodded. It would also explain why they never reached Mark's parents to tell them about his death. Or, rather, why they never got past the secretary at their law firm or past the housemaid at their home. And it would also fit with Mark's own accounts of his parents – and his siblings.
Closing her eyes, she brought Mark's beloved face in front of her inner eye, asking him what she should do now. Sighing, she looked back at Marmine. "I'll have to think about it and I'll contact Heather in the next few days. But I won't make any promises."
"Marmine was actually nice?" Lisa asked after Buffy told her about the earlier conversation.
"Yeah. And he meant it. I guess Heather is his weak spot," Buffy said thoughtfully. "I've called Linda."
"And? Does she agree with Marmine's description of Mark's family?"
"Wholeheartedly." Sighing, Buffy took a long sip from the mug in front of her. "So did Mark. He didn't much care about his brother or his parents' ignorance of him. But Heather not answering his letters really hurt him."
Lisa leaned over and stroked her daughter's shoulder.
"I'm going to send her an email. I … I don't know if I want to meet her straight away. And with Marmine in the picture as well…"
"It doesn't make it any easier, does it?" Lisa asked gently. "Take it one step at a time. If she's indeed the sister Mark remembers from his childhood, then she'll understand."
"Thanks." Buffy smiled and tilted her head as she watched the far-away look enter her mom's eyes again. "So … got any news for me?"
"Huh?" Lisa looked up sharply and blushed brightly. "No?"
"Uh huh," Buffy said with a knowing grin. "So there's no spare room conversion in sight?"
Eyes opening comically wide, Lisa stared at her daughter. She had yet to tell her the news about her baby, but she simply didn't know how to approach it. Especially as she still couldn't remember the details on how she ended up pregnant in the first place. But judging by the knowing grin Buffy was giving her, she already knew anyway!
"How?" she whispered.
"We-ell," Buffy said, her eyes twinkling with mischief, "It all starts with the birds and the bees. And then-"
Groaning, Lisa covered her face with her hands. "I mean, how do you know?"
"Faith spilled the beans yesterday. She thought you'd told me already."
"You're not mad at me for not telling you?" Lisa asked fearfully.
Buffy shook her head. "Mom, I don't expect you to tell me everything immediately! I mean, sometimes you need time to think things through. And at other times you might not want to share at all. And that's fine with me. Really."
Lisa gave Buffy a lopsided smile. "And what do you think about it?"
"I'm happy, doofus! I mean, you just told me a few days ago how much you wanted another baby!" Buffy said with a laugh. "So, daddy House?"
Groaning, Lisa nodded her head. "I think so. I'm still drawing a blank on that stupid night!"
Giggling, patted her mom's shoulder. "I'm sure House's a bit miffed about your missing memory. Doesn't speak for his abilities, does it?"
"Not about the baby itself?" Lisa asked sceptically. "I've honestly no idea what he's thinking. Or what he wants from me, from the baby."
Buffy shrugged her shoulders. "I wouldn't worry. I mean he's House. He'll tell you exactly what he thinks eventually. Probably in the most inappropriate moment too."
"Thanks!" Lisa grumbled and hid her face in one of the sofa pillow. "That's very reassuring."
"Yep, that's what I'm here for," Buffy said with a straight face. Grinning, she added, "Though I wouldn't mind some details on the baby-making part either!"
"Ack!" Lisa took the pillow from her face and hit Buffy with it. "Stop it!"
After a playful pillow fight, both women slumped back into the couch. "Now," Buffy said, "Thanksgiving…"
Later that night, when Lisa was already fast asleep, her subconscious decided it was time for a little movie. And Lisa started to dream.
She was still blushing when she walked into her office.
Of course, House was already waiting.
Rolling her eyes, Lisa pushed the door open and looked pointedly at her watch. "Something wrong with your alarm?"
"Why, Dr Cuddy!" House said in mock-shock. "Now I'm hurt. Getting mocked for being on time!"
Walking passed him, Lisa put her coat away and switched on her computer. "What do you want?"
"Well, you see, I've got this bum leg and clinic duty always aggravates it further so I wondered-"
"No? But Cuddles!" House whined, stomping his cane onto the floor for good measure.
"Judging by your-" Lisa stopped for a second and started to blush furiously. "-extracurricular night-time activities, your leg is doing just fine!"
House stopped for a moment, then he started to grin. Widely. Waggling his eyebrows suggestively, he said, "I guess the blackout isn't so black anymore."
Lisa fought hard to keep the corner of her mouth from lifting and almost succeeded. Quickly looking down before he could see her smile, she shrugged her shoulders. "It was bound to happen sometime."
"Want to refresh that memory even more?" House asked nonchalantly. "I've got a bit of time … right about now."
"You've got a bit of clinic … right about now," Lisa deadpanned.
"I don't care." Eyeing him cautiously, she asked, "Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"And spoil all the fun?" he asked even though he knew she wasn't talking about their night together but her pregnancy in general.
"House." He shrugged his shoulders, playing with his cane as he watched her. Sighing, she said, "Dammit, I thought I was becoming menopausal! I couldn't remember having sex and you didn't talk to my belly either, how the hell was I supposed to know I was pregnant!?"
House stared at her – and started laughing. Hard.
Lisa leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms in front of her. "It's not funny."
House grinned. He got up without uttering a word and walked towards the office door.
"Clinic," Lisa reminded him darkly.
"Need to set up a college fund for the spawn first," House said seriously.
"Letting Wilson pay for your breakfast doesn't equal setting up a college fund," Lisa said unblinkingly.
"Duh! I obviously can't tell him what the money is really for, can I?" House challenged, knowing Lisa had yet to tell anyone but Buffy about her baby.
Rolling her eyes, Lisa shooed him out. At least with him gone she'd get some work done. Considering it was Thanksgiving in a couple of days, she had more than enough to do if she wanted to have the long weekend off.
And maybe the days off would help her sort through all the conflicting emotions running through her right now.
--A/N: I'm back! Well, I'm back for a week but I figured it might be helpful to write this chapter first before uploading it ;). Yeah, I know. It's a novel concept and all … Anyway. I'm not quite sure if I picked up that hot, male Muse or not – but ever since I'm back there's continues giggling in my Muse-space. And new stories start to emerge as well… Does that mean they are reproducing already?? I've no idea! Does anyone have experience with Muse-lationships and such things?