Chapter 1: Making the Announcement
I’m Your Baby’s Daddy: House
Summary: House learns the results of the paternity test and talks to Wilson about what it means. Then he talks to Buffy. Part of ‘Who's Your Baby's Daddy?’ series.
Challenge: #3064 ‘conception by conspiracy *non-stargate*’
Thanks to my betas: zigpal and AshDawnSoulmates. Special thanks to rutterla for the fanart. You rock!
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. NCIS characters belong to Donald Bellisario, Don McGill and CBS Paramount Television. If you recognize any other characters from other fandoms, I don’t own them either. Full disclaimer is listed in the series summary. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.Chapter 1: Making the AnnouncementPreviously…
“Hey, it’s Buffy! Just thought I’d let you know that I’m having amniocentesis done. The doctor told me that it can be used to determine paternity. Umm, just wondering if you wanted to have the results sent to you so you can match them against yourself or not.”
Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, New Jersey
One week later…
Wilson walked into House’s office, knowing that today was the
day. He saw the envelope in his friend’s hands and couldn’t help but ask, “Well, House, did you check the results yet?”
House’s reply was absent, “Umm, yeah.”
“And…?” Wilson prodded, not sure if the man’s look was good news or bad. Personally, he was hoping for House’s sake that he was the baby’s father. The man needed something in his life that was good.
House continued to sit there, looking stunned. “I’m going to be a dad,” he announced quietly.
Wilson smiled. “How do you feel about that?”
For the first time, House looked up from the envelope. “Excited, nervous, terrified. What if Buffy changed her mind about letting me be part of their lives?” he questioned, uncharacteristically insecure.
Which surprised Wilson in its intensity. He knew that his friend had concerns, but he didn’t think it was this
bad. “I doubt it. She told you her conditions, and you’re getting there. You’ve been doing your therapy and cutting down your reliance on the pain meds,” he encouraged House before smirking, “Which has the hospital freaked out, by the way. Since I’m the only one who knows why, everyone thinks the end of world is coming. It’s the only explanation they have for your behavior.”
Then Wilson sat down in a chair. “So, what happens now?”
“Now I call Buffy and see what she does with the information.” House’s head dropped in dejection. “I can’t believe she lives in California! Why not another country? It’s cruel to have a chance at being a dad, only to have them live thousands of miles away,” he complained.
“Would you move there?” Wilson inquired, wondering if he would lose his friend, but knowing that his child was more important than anything else to House. Once House had admitted that to him, they’d had many talks about what it would mean to him – and them. It was the only topic that House never snarked about. It was his Achilles’ heel.
House leaned back in his chair, contemplating the idea. “You think I should?”
Wilson shrugged, “That depends, how involved do you want to be in your kid’s life?”
“As much as she lets me,” House answered without hesitation. He wanted this child more than anything else in the world – even more than his job or the drugs.
“Then you might want to consider it. Or
, convince her to move here,” Wilson added, unsure of how likely that would be. They didn’t really know what her life was like and if she would want to pick up and move cross-country.
House shook his head, “I don’t know about that. Her life has already been turned upside-down enough by this.” It was too much to ask of her.
Wilson agreed, but pointed out anyway, “But maybe she wants to get away from the place where it happened.”
Remembering the small blonde, House shook his head again, “I think she’s tougher than that.” She was stronger than anyone he knew; he could tell.
“Call her. See how she reacts to the news, and take it from there,” Wilson suggested helpfully.
“Yeah.…Hey! Are you okay with how this turned out?” House asked belatedly. They had only ever talked about his reaction to the possibility, not Wilson’s.
“Sure.” He smiled as he added, “Not that I would mind having a kid with Buffy, but it means more to you. Let me know how it turns out.” Then he got up and made his way out of the office, knowing that House needed privacy for this conversation.
“Uh-huh,” House murmured, waving to his friend. Then he stared at the phone like it would strike him if he dared to reach for it. Would Buffy be disappointed that he was the father? He had no illusions that Wilson was prettier
than he was. Chances were that other guys on the list had more to offer her and the baby than he did.
Sure, he was cleaning up his problem, but did the others even have
problems to clean up?
House’s home, that evening
House finally drummed up the courage to call her when he got home. Okay, it took several aborted efforts to dial and wait until she answered, but he did. “Hello, Buffy?” he said as the phone connected.
Even though she knew who it was and why he was calling, Buffy played it cool. “Yes?”
“This is Gregory House,” he introduced himself, trying to keep a grip on his nerves.
Buffy let the smile be heard in her voice. No need to make him feel uncomfortable. “Oh hey! How ya doin’?”
He let out the breath he was holding before answering, “Fine. And you?”
“Peachy with a side of keen! Morning sickness seems to be over with so I’m happy,” she explained. “What’s the what?”
“Huh?” was his only response.
Knowing that she confused him, Buffy laughed and then clarified, “Why are you calling me?”
Still thrown, House shook himself to tell her, “Oh! I just got the results of the paternity test and thought I should tell you.”
“Good news or bad?” she asked, letting him be in control here.
“My opinion…good. Yours, I’m not sure,” his voice gave away his anxiety.
Buffy let it go for a few seconds, then prompted when he remained quiet, “Well…can you tell
“Oh, right! I’m the dad,” he declared cautiously. Alright, the ball was in her court now.
“Okay,” was her less than helpful reply.
House felt like hitting something. “Good news or bad?” he threw her own words back at her.
“Are you getting off the drugs?” Buffy wasn’t willing to say until she knew the answer to this. She didn’t want her kid around a druggie – even if he was a functioning doctor.
“Slowly, but surely. The therapy is helping the pain level. I’ve switched to a milder medication and take it much less,” House told her honestly. He was even willing to let her talk to the therapists and Wilson if she wanted. Whatever it took to allay her concerns.
Buffy smiled and announced, “Then it’s of the good.”
House let out a sigh of relief again before asking the dreaded question about the future, “Umm, what do we do now?”
Weighing her options, Buffy decided on honesty – or at least the version she could share with him right now. Eventually, she’d have to tell him everything
and hope he didn’t freak out. “Well, would it bother you out too much if I moved there? I mean, it doesn’t have to be right
where you live, but I was thinking the East Coast would be good. Some of the guys that I met were pretty cool, and not that there aren’t cool guys here or anything, but-- Okay, shutting up now. I’m starting to sound too much like Willow.”
Laughing for the first time during their talk, House guessed, “She babbles a lot?”
“She’d win an Olympic medal for it,” Buffy confided, glad he wasn’t teasing her too much about this.
“You really would be willing to move?” House asked, hoping the answer was yes.
Even though he couldn’t see it, Buffy nodded, “Yeah. I’ll miss my friends, but this place just has too many bad memories for me. This is just the final straw. Seriously though, if it makes you feel uncomfortable, I can live in New York or Washington, DC or a couple other places,” she quickly added.
House wasn’t about to tell her that he’d be happy if she lived with
him. He’d get a house that they could share if she wanted. “What about your college?” he inquired instead.
“I should be able to find a place to transfer to. My grades weren’t that
bad last year, and hopefully my SATs will make any college overlook my high school grades. Northwestern was willing to,” she told him casually.
That bit of news impressed him. “Chicago’s
Northwestern? What were your SATs?” he asked.
Buffy bit her lip, not wanting to sound boastful, “Uh, 1430.”
House decided to push his luck a little and questioned, “What was your GPA last year?”
“A little over 3.0 combined,” she replied easily. Even Walsh’s class turned out okay. Her replacement had nothing to do with the Initiative, and so didn’t hold the Professor’s death against her.
“Then you shouldn’t have a problem – even at one of the more prestigious colleges here,” House pointed out.
“Does that mean you wouldn’t mind me coming there?” Buffy checked. She wouldn’t mind living anywhere on the East Coast, but it would certainly make things easier if she lived in the same area as her baby’s dad.
“I was actually hoping you would. That, or you wouldn’t mind if I moved there,” he added.
Buffy was horrified at the idea and blurted out before she could help herself, “No, no. No coming here! Here is a bad place to come!”
House was shocked by her yell. “Wow, you really do
have bad memories!”
“You’d better believe it.” Buffy hesitated, then dropped another one of her bombshells, “One other thing you should know: I wouldn’t be coming alone. My mom and Giles would be joining me.”
“Are they involved?” House wondered. He couldn’t really pinpoint her relationship with the guy that traveled with her, and to be honest, it sort of bugged him.
Her face screwing up in disgust – remembering the band candy incident – Buffy let her opinion be known, “Eww! A world of no! But they are the two most important people in my life. They would never let me go off alone,” she told him, not caring that it might seem weird.
Which it did to House. “They forget that you’re an adult?” he questioned, wondering if they were all co-dependent or something.
It didn’t really bother her that he said that; he didn’t know the whole story. “They know that. They also know that being an unwed mother is a difficult position to be in, so they’ll be my support system. It isn’t as if they have any better memories here. In spite of the circumstances, this is the best thing for all of us.”
House suddenly realized that he was passing judgment on something he only had the smallest amount of information about. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you,” he said sincerely.
Buffy kept explaining, “Mom doesn’t want to miss out on her grandchild, and Giles is my best friend.”
Again, her relationship with the man reared its ugly head, and House couldn’t stop the question from coming out, “Just
Surprisingly, Buffy’s reply wasn’t as vehement as her denial about him and her mother, “We aren’t romantically involved, if that’s what you mean. But we’re closer than regular friends. We’ve been through a lot together – this pregnancy just being the latest.”
House’s shoulders slumped. It seemed as if he had to fight for Buffy’s – and by extension the baby’s – affection? Not the right word, but now he was even less sure of his place in their lives. “Sounds like a good friend to have – especially if he’s willing to move across the country for you,” he told her.
Buffy missed the wistful note in House’s voice. Instead, she confided, “Between you and me, I think he just likes the idea of being closer to the musty old museums out there. He practically drooled when we visited the Smithsonian.”
Not wanting to talk about the man, House changed the subject, “When do you think that you would be moving?”
Mentally calculating how long everything would take, Buffy answered, “We have a few things to take care of here, but probably not much longer than a month.”
“So, you’d be here for the last trimester of your pregnancy?” he checked, starting to make plans. He wanted to pamper her so much that she forgot about anyone else.
“Should be.” Buffy’s next words shot his hopes to hell, “By the way, I figured I should warn you that our kid is going to have a lot
of honorary uncles. Some of the other dad candidates will be kinda bummed that you won the baby lottery. They are decent, caring guys, and I’m not about to shut them out now. If they were assholes, I wouldn’t care, but they were worried about me and the baby from the second they found out.”
House sat there, fighting his jealousy. He not only had to deal with the guy already
in her life, but all the other dad candidates? “I understand,” he bit out carefully. He really did; if he wasn’t the dad, he would ask for some part in the baby’s life.
This time she did catch the hurt tone. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound inconsiderate. You are the baby’s dad. They just want to be a part of this however they can. And since most of them are law enforcement types, this kid is going to be the safest baby in the country!” she tried to cheer him up a little.
Knowing that it was a lost cause to fight it, House promised, “I’ll try not to get all territorial.”
“That’s all I can ask. By the way, how did Dr. Wilson take the news?” she asked. She hadn’t considered the other guy’s reaction much – beyond figuring that he would take financial responsibility, even though it wasn’t his fault.
“He’s okay with it. He knows that it means more to me than it does to him,” he admitted.
Buffy smiled. “Sounds like a good friend.”
House chuckled. “And another honorary uncle for the parasite.”
Suddenly Buffy giggled. “Sorry, it’s just that I called it that once to some friends of one of the candidates.” Then she looked at the clock in alarm; it was time to head to LA again to help Wes pack up. Oh joy! “Well, I’d better get going. Lots of packing and stuff to do.”
Reluctant to let her go, House made one final plea, “Okay. Just let me know if you need anything, alright?”
A/N: Next…Coming to New Jersey.