you're the only one who can

Wednesday 2 May - Friday 4 May
i am: in a hoodie
"House," the nurse announced as he walked into the common room. House craned his neck to look over his shoulder from where he was seated on the armchair in front of the TV. The nurse held up an envelope. "Mail for you."

He walked over to House and held it out for him to take. "Don't forget you're on cleaning duties tonight."

"Yeah, yeah," House replied dismissively. He took the envelope. His stomach did a small flip at recognising Cuddy's handwriting scrawled on the front. He looked back up to the nurse. "You can go away now."

The nurse rolled his eyes but walked off. House lay the letter on his lap and returned his attention to the television. He wasn't sure he wanted to open it. God only knew what Cuddy had written to him. She'd said in the therapy session the week before that if she wrote him a letter that detailed everything she wanted to say to him, it would be a novel, which hadn't made him feel the slightest bit positive. He tapped his feet in a fidgeting manner on the floor and drummed his fingers on the armrest, trying to ignore the letter on his lap. But with each passing second, he grew more and more curious until he couldn't stand wondering what it said anymore. He grabbed his cane, shifted off the armchair and headed out of the common briskly to go to his room.

Once he reached it, he shut the door behind him and leaned back against it. He hooked his cane over his forearm and dug his thumb under the envelope flap to tear it open. His heart sped up a little as he pried the letter out and opened it and the very first thing made him frown in surprise. Snugglebunny? She was still going on about that? "I am not a snugglebunny," he muttered under his breath, not that Cuddy would of course hear him.

The unexpectedly light-hearted manner in which Cuddy had started the letter, though, put him a little at ease. He started to read the rest of the letter, slowly limping further into the room until he was by his bed. He sat down, put his cane aside, and re-read the letter again. It was a lot shorter than he'd expected. He'd expected a letter several pages long, double-sided, crammed with all sorts of issues Cuddy had with him. Instead, she'd only truly addressed one major issue, the one that was hardest for either of them to negotiate around. After he read the letter a third time, he sat in silence for a little while.

He wished Cuddy was here with him right now, so he could talk to her about the letter. Well, argue with her about the letter, more accurately. The issue of Judaism never failed to get his hackles up. But being she wasn't here, he had no choice but to churn the letter over and over in his mind. Eventually, he folded the letter and tucked it back into the envelope and reached over to the nightstand to put it away in the drawer. His eyes landed on the ultrasound picture Cuddy had brought in for him and he plucked it up before scooting back onto the bed to lie down on his back. With an arm tucked under his head and his ankles crossed, he held the sonograph above him and stared at it.

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To: Gregory House, c/o Mayfield Hospital
Dear Snugglebunny,

Yeah, I knew that would get your attention. The problem is, now that I have it, I'm not sure what to do with it. Writing letters about us and relationships and the future is not as easy as it sounds. I feel like there should be some kind of dialogue. Instead I feel like I'm talking to myself instead of to you, and talking to you is the whole point. I'll do my best, though, so just bear with me. 

I guess the first thing I want to talk about is the baby. I'm sorry about the way it happened. Well, the 'way' it happened was fun but the circumstances weren't what either of us wanted. I know it's been difficult for you and I know it's been an added stress you really didn't need and I'm truly sorry for that. I'm not sorry about the baby, though. I'm not going to pretend I'm not thrilled, and if I tried to pretend, you'd know I was lying. Being a mother is important to me. I was prepared to do it alone. I'm not sure how well I would've done on my own but I would've done my best.

I'm glad Junior has a father, though, and I'm glad it's you. You will certainly be an unusual father but  there's nothing wrong with that. Your unique view of life will give Junior a very different perspective. You'll show her--or him--to be willing to be different, to be true to herself, to ignore the rules when they don't make sense. You'll be both role model and cautionary tale in one. Maybe we all are, though. There are things I hope Junior learns from me, and things I hope she doesn't. Ultimately, that's why I think we'll make a good team as parents. Your strengths are not my strengths. With any luck, this kid will learn the good stuff from each of us, and we'll cancel out on the bad stuff.

Honestly, I think that's part of why it's important to me to raise Junior in the Jewish community. I can guess what you're thinking but hear me out, okay? You can teach our kid to be strong and independent, to march to a different beat even if that beat is out of sync with the rest of the world. You've certainly lived that life. I get the feeling, though, you've also been isolated for a lot of your life, alone, lonely. Maybe you wanted it that way, maybe it's what you had to adjust to. I'd like our kid to not have to feel alone like that.

I grew up having not just my family and friends but an entire community of people who shared the same history and culture. (In fact, if thinking of it as a culture and not a religion is easier for you, then call it a culture.) That's always been a source of strength for me and it's something I want our kid to have. I want Junior to know he's part of something bigger. I want him to have a solid foundation that will make it easier for him to go out and conquer the world. I know you feel as strongly about your position as I do about mine and we're going to have to hammer out some kind of compromise. I just wanted you to understand some of why it's important to me.

I suppose that's enough with the negatives for now. I guess I'll finish by saying how much I've missed you. I'm hopeful you'll be home soon. If you're not ready before the baby's born, then it'll still be okay. Disappointing but okay. Because what I've realized since you've been in the hospital is that I've been missing you for much longer than you've been in Mayfield. The PTSD and the depression have been taking you away from me for a while now. I don't know why I didn't see it before. Maybe stupidity, maybe it just snuck up on me so slowly I didn't realize what was happening. It happened, though. It was stealing your life from you and you away from me. So stay at Mayfield as long you need to, because when you come home, I want all of you home.


Letter to Cuddy
i am: in a hoodie
(OOC: Posting this here because it's too big to post in a comment. Click images to make larger. Links back to this thread.)

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Afternoon, Thursday, 26 April
at the door
Cuddy pulled into a parking space as close to the entrance of Mayfield Hospital as she could find. She'd made the drive by herself this time. Wilson had protested, of course--he really did take his white knight delusion seriously--but she'd insisted. She was perfectly fine. Junior was happily incubating away and showed no signs of popping out any time soon. She knew that could change in a heartbeat but she didn't intend to spend the remaining days until the baby's birth staying at home because she might go into labor at any moment. She'd be fine, and as long as Dr. Patil remained ignorant about all her 'traveling,' everyone would be happy.

She hadn't actually planned on being back at the hospital just yet. Between her obligations at work and the fact House had his own obligations as far as therapy sessions went, she hadn't planned on visiting on weekdays. However, House's doctor had called on Monday and asked if she'd be willing to join one of his one on one sessions with her. Well, what could she say to that? Of course she'd do it if his doctor thought it would be helpful. It's not like they were asking her to donate a vital organ or something. All she had to do was talk.

She couldn't help being a little nervous, though, because she didn't know what to expect. She hoped the doctor would be able to give her some guidance on how she should deal with House's issues. She'd really, really like to have some guidance on that because she clearly didn't know what to do. But she didn't have any experience with psychiatrists from the perspective of a patient, or loved one of a patient, so she was a bit in the dark as to what would happen in this session.

She pulled herself out of the car, which wasn't all that easy when she had to extricate herself from the seatbelt and squeeze Junior out from behind the steering wheel. She retrieved a small tote bag from the back seat before heading to the entrance. She'd gathered up the things House had asked for, thinking the sooner he got them, the sooner he might feel a little more at ease. Of course, once she got inside, she had to let them search the bag to make sure she wasn't bringing in anything he wasn't allowed to have. She'd been careful about her choices, though, so it didn't take too long before one of the orderlies was taking her into the ward.

She'd arrived a bit early because she wanted to make sure she'd have a few moments with House before the therapy session. She wanted to be able to give him his things and maybe steal a hug or a kiss. She still felt guilty remembering how despondant he'd looked when she'd left on Saturday. She knew this was the best place for him but boy, it was hard to think about him feeling so lonely and lost.

The orderly got all chivalrous on her and carried the bag down the hall to House's room. He gave a sharp rap on House's door. "Vistor for you, Greg." Then he handed the bag to her and smiled before he walked away. "Have a nice visit, ma'am."

"Thanks." Cuddy turned the doorknob and opened the door just a little. She didn't want to intrude if he wasn't quite ready for a visitor. "House, are you decent?" she asked just as she poked her head in.

Earlier in the week: House's first official full day at Mayfield
i am: cynically agreeing with you
ooc: I am going to write a few ficlets dealing with House in therapy. This is the first of them.

"Rise and shine, Greg," a voice announced loudly and cheerfully in the room.

House stirred and cracked his eyes open with a squint. Immediately, he was disoriented: a foreign room, a foreign bed, someone completely foreign standing over him. But in the next instant, it all came rushing back. He was in Mayfield. He'd been confined to his room all night, barely managing to get much sleep. In the early hours of the morning, he'd finally drifted off and had dreamless, restless sleep. And now, he felt like he'd hardly slept at all.

"Survive your first night alright?" the cheerful nurse asked. "I'm Tony, by the way."

House closed his eyes again and turned his head towards the wall. "Go away."

Tony chuckled. "Afraid not. It's 7.30. Rules are all patients have to be up by this time."

"Go. Away."

House startled as the bed covers were suddenly ripped off him. "Up you get, or you'll be late for your first community meeting."

House glared at him. "Do I look like I'm interested in attending your stupid community meeting?"

"It's not my community meeting, Greg. It's yours. I'm not the one who's here to get better."

With a great deal of reluctance, House sat up and scrubbed his hands through his hair and over his face. He waited for the nurse to leave him alone so he could huddle straight back under the bed covers again but it soon became apparent that the nurse wasn't going anywhere. He'd taken a seat on the chair by the desk, watching House expectantly. "What, you're gonna sit there and watch me get dressed?"

"No, I'm going to sit here and make sure you don't return to bed. Have a shower, get dressed and then I'll leave you alone so you can attend the community meeting."

House was beginning to feel like he was in prison. "Perfect," he muttered. But then he collected his cane and got to his feet. He fetched a towel from the linen rack out in the hall and went to the bathroom, where he had a hot shower. No more than seven minutes into the shower, however, a loud knocking rudely interrupted him and the nurse who'd been in his room called out for House to be done in four minutes or someone would be sent in to check up on him. Chagrined, House finished off his shower and got dressed as quickly as he could, if only to avoid the humiliation of someone catching him naked. He wasn't the slightest bit pleased to be greeted with the nurse's cheerful smile when he stepped out of the bathroom, dressed in sweatpants, a t-shirt and a hoodie, his pyjamas clutched to his chest.

"If you want to do laundry," the nurse said, "you can help yourself to the washing machines down the hall at any time."

"You mean this place doesn't come with hotel service? I demand a refund."

The nurse chuckled again. "The Mayfield is hardly the Hilton, Greg. I'll see you at the community meeting in twenty minutes."

He watched the nurse head down the hall and House sighed quietly in attempt to keep his temper under control.

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Saturday, 21 April
Cuddy turned off the light in the kitchen and headed for the front door. She grabbed her purse and a light jacket, then stopped, looking around and feeling as if she'd forgotten something.

The past week had been very long and very hard and very lonely. The only reason she'd been able to cope with it was because she knew House was where he needed to be to get the help he needed to have. Whenever she got down thinking about him confined to a psychiatric hospital and worried about what their future really held, she reminded herself that this was for the best. It didn't make her feel any less lonely but at least the loneliness had a purpose and she could live with that.

She gave herself a shake to clear the cobwebs collecting in her mind and strode to the door. She pulled the door open, and nearly got a fist in the face.

"Oh, God." Wilson jerked back, pulling his hand away just before he hit her instead of the door. "I.... Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Cuddy said, puzzled but amused. "You missed. The question is--why were you about to knock on my door?"

"I think you should let me drive." Wilson put his hand up before she argue with him, again, that she was perfectly capable of driving herself to Mayfield. "I know what you said but what if something happened? What if you go into labor?"

"For heaven's sake, Wilson," Cuddy said, stepping out onto the porch and locking her front door behind her. She turned to face him. "I'm not hiking off into the wilderness. And I have my cell phone," she added, waving phone at him before tucking it away in her purse.

"I know. And I don't care," he said with vaguely apologetic shrug. "You alone and being this pregnant makes me nervous. Please--let me drive."

She stared at him for a moment. She hadn't been looking forward to making the drive alone with nothing to distract her from her thoughts. In some ways, she wasn't looking forward to seeing House because she was worried about what she might see. If he was having a bad time of it, she would have a hard time staying optimistic. And then she'd have the long drive home again, alone.

"Okay, you win," she said finally. "But you have to let me buy you lunch."

Wilson gave a relieved nod of his head. Then he gave her a quirky little grin. "Well, this will be different. Normally on a road trip, I have to pay for all the food."


Cuddy was actually glad she'd let Wilson drive. He was, as always, enjoyable company. More than that, though, he knew the situation. She didn't have to pretend with him. He understood some of what she was feeling--he was probably the only other person who could--so she didn't have to explain herself. They took turns reassuring each other that everything was going to be just fine. Even if neither of them was completely convinced, it was still nice to hear it.

She found herself getting almost unbearably nervous as they went through the visiting procedure in the reception area. After signing in, her bag was searched and they had to turn over anything that could potentially be used to cause injury. It was a horrible feeling to have to look at ordinary, everyday things like nail clippers and calculate how much damage it could do. And she was only visiting. House must feel like he was in prison.

"It's okay," Wilson said quietly, placing his hand on her back as an orderly led them to House's room. She answered him with a terse nod, then stopped in her tracks when the orderly went to knock on one of the doors.

"Do you...?" Wilson stepped back and nodded down the hall. "I'll just wait over here. Yell when--if--House is ready to see me."

"Thank you." Cuddy walked to the door just as the orderly called through the door to announce House had a visitor. He opened the door for Cuddy then, and headed back down the hall. Cuddy took a deep breath and stepped through the door. That first moment of seeing House churned up a whole bunch of emotions but she pushed them down and smiled at him. "Hi. Okay if I come in?"

Saturday, 14th April
i am: the man in the mirror
"Well, I have to admit," Wilson said, standing by the door of House's bedroom, "going from a romantic weekend away to an indefinite amount of time at a psychiatric hospital is a new one, even for you."

House looked up at him as he placed another folded up shirt into his suitcase, which was lying open on his bed. When he'd arrived home after dropping Cuddy off at her place, Wilson had been waiting for him on the steps of his apartment. Wilson had been able to see that House wasn't kidding around and wasn't being funny - the sullen look on House's face and the way he held himself had said it all. "I take it Cuddy knows about what you're doing," Wilson had asked.

House had simply nodded. When Cuddy had awoken the following morning and breakfast had arrived at their room, House had sat on the edge of the bed and told Cuddy what was happening, that Wilson was going to meet him at his apartment and that Wilson was handling the arrangements to have House officially committed. The drive home was quiet and he'd offered her just a small kiss and told her he'd call her once he was settled. And now he was in his bedroom, slowly packing his things for what could end up being a long stay at Mayfield psychiatric hospital.

Wilson put his hands on his hips. "You sure you want to do this?"

House looked back down to his suitcase with a humourless snort. "I have to do this."

"There are other, less drastic ways of getting help."

"Did I just hear you trying to talk me out of getting help?" House asked incredulously.

Wilson held his hands up. "No. That is not what I just said. I said less drastic. I mean, Cuddy's eight month's pregnant. You're going to be a father. You don't think it's important to be around for her during the last stages?"

House looked back up to him. "I need to do this for me. Being around for Cuddy isn't going to mean anything if I can't actually be there for her. Or for our kid. Besides. You know me. You know what I'm like." He picked up a pair of folded up pants and put it into his suitcase. "I'll cheat, I'll lie, I'll do everything I can to get out of getting help. Drastic is the only option."

Wilson sighed. "I have to say, I never thought the day would come where I'd actually hear you admit any of that."

"Yeah, well." He placed another shirt into his suitcase. "Things change."

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Thursday 12 April, 2007 thru to Friday 13 April, 2007
i am: cynically agreeing with you
"So, how did meeting the Fockers go?"

House was leaning up against the upper balcony railing that overlooked the hospital lobby, gazing down at the hubbub below while he idly toyed with an elastic band between his fingers. He glanced over his shoulder at the sound of Wilson's voice. "How'd you know I was here?"

"Vultures are pretty hard to miss, especially when they're perched up high, looking like they're staking out their prey." Wilson joined his side, resting his elbows on the railing. He silently observed the lobby with House for a few moments before he looked at him. "You've been up here for over an hour."

"I'm a picky eater."

"Watching Cuddy's office," Wilson added.

"She's eating for two. Which means I have to be extra quick at swooping down for my prey before she snatches it first."

Wilson squinted. "Did you just compare your girlfriend to a vulture?"

"Term of endearment."

"Of course. Only you would think of calling someone you love a 'vulture' as term of endearment."

"Cuddy's always been a vulture."

"She hasn't always been your girlfriend," Wilson pointed out.

"Just because someone changes what they mean to you, doesn't mean they stop being annoying."

"Wow, we're really hitting all the sentimental buttons today," Wilson said dryly. "Terms of endearment and declarations of love. Next you'll be tugging on her hair and spiking her coffee with laxatives as a sign of affection."

He tried to ignore Wilson. He'd been up here for over an hour, like Wilson had said, keeping watch on Cuddy's office. He hadn't actually wanted company, though, and he sighed in annoyance as Wilson continued to talk.

"There are only two reasons you're standing up here. One: you're lovesick and waiting for the moment she comes out of her office so you can declare your love for her like something out of a Shakespearean play. Or, two: you're feeling guilty about something and want to keep tabs on Cuddy because you're pathetic at apologising."

House rolled his eyes. "Why are your observations of me always so dramatic?"

Wilson ignored him. "Seeing you're about as romantic as a sledgehammer to the head, I'm going to go with the latter." Wilson looked at him. "What did you do?"

"None of your business."

"Which is House speak for 'I screwed it up big time'."

"And sometimes, a shovel is just a shovel."

"You're deflecting," Wilson said.

"And you're annoying."

"Only because you did something last night to piss Cuddy off and you're refusing to talk about it."

"Again, with the shovel thing."

Wilson heaved a mildly exasperated sigh. "Fine. Don't tell me how last night went. Just continue to stand on the balcony like an idiot and brood."

House looked back down to the doors that led into Cuddy's office. "Last night went about as well as can be expected," he decided to answer after several moments of silence.

Wilson glanced at him. "So, in other words, you did screw it up big time."

House didn't answer. He wasn't proud of how he'd ended up hurting Cuddy and he didn't want to discuss it any more than he wanted to discuss her mom. He'd had a bad night sleep, too, tossing and turning while thoughts of trying to work out how to make it up to Cuddy tossed and turned in his head. Cuddy's mom's words had rolled around a lot in his mind, too. It had been driven home a couple of times during dinner the fact that Cuddy deserved to be treated well, that her mom hoped he was treating her well. And, well, he was lucky he didn't cop a slap across the face for how he ended up turning the dinner into a nosedive. Making Cuddy out to be a sex-crazed slut, as Cuddy had phrased it, left him feeling irked by his own ability to be disrespect her. Not that disrespect was something he hadn't shown to her before, but being with her, being in love with her, made those less than civilised moments of his stand out so much more to him, in hindsight.

"Look, I don't know what you did," Wilson continued. "I don't think I want to know. But I do know a thing or two about women and I know that making a fuss of them, making them feel special, will grant you almost instant access back into the green. Of course... this is you we're talking about. You'd probably prefer to play with your toys than take Cuddy out for a weekend away somewhere, or..."

House immediately tuned out. Not because he wasn't interested in what Wilson had to say (though, he wasn't really interested, as it happened), but because something Wilson said suddenly reminded him of something. Leaving Wilson in mid-sentence, House suddenly stepped back from the railing and walked briskly around Wilson. "Where you going?" he heard Wilson ask.

"Swooping for prey," was all House absently offered as he approached the elevators and hit the button to summon it to his floor.


Later that afternoon, House gathered the courage together to leave a message on Cuddy's answering machine at home for when she got home from work:

"Hey, it's me. I'm, uh... I'm probably the last person you're interested in hearing from right now. But tomorrow's Friday, which means we're free to see each other. Assuming you want to see me. Assuming you do, I made reservations at a bed and breakfast in Stockton, about forty minutes out of Princeton. Friday night through to Sunday morning. Assuming you don't want to see me..."

He trailed off at that, phone pressed to his ear for a couple of seconds, before he ended the call.

Wednesday, 11 April, evening
"Are you sure your Dr. House will like this?"

"Don't worry, Mom," Cuddy said. She checked the rice dish simmering on the stove, inhaling the rich aroma of wild rice, mushrooms and a heady mix of herbs and seasonings. She replaced the lid on the pot and turned to face her mother. "As long as there are no pickles in it, he'll eat it."

Carol Cuddy gave her daughter a puzzled and somewhat suspicious look but she seemed willing to drop the subject when she turned to the counter to finish tearing the lettuce for a salad. Cuddy had been busy deflecting questions ever since her mother had arrived on Sunday. She understood her mother's curiosity but there simply was no way to explain House. He had to be experienced to be believed. She simply hoped her mother's experience of House would less...colorful than most of his social interactions.

"Are you sure he's coming?"

"Mom," Cuddy said, exasperated. Really, she'd had a good visit with her mother. They'd shopped, gossiped, put some finishing touches on the baby's room and generally done the usual mother-daughter things. It was only Mom's relentless questions about House that made Cuddy want to pack her mother back on the plane home.

She pulled the steaks, which had been marinating, out of the fridge and set the platter on the counter. She'd just been outside to check on the grill and the coals were just right. As soon as House arrived, she'd toss the steaks on the grill. Until he arrived, though, her mother's fascination with Cuddy's 'invisible' boyfriend was running white hot.

"He'll be here," Cuddy said. "He won't like it, but he'll be here."

"Why wouldn't he like it?" Mom asked as she rinsed her hands under the faucet. She dried her hands on the dishtowel and turned to face Cuddy, shoulders back and a determined look on her face. "What did you tell him about me?"

"I told him you're evil and you'll turn him into a toad if you don't like him." Cuddy relented with a little shrug when her mother merely rolled her eyes at her daughter. "It has nothing to do with you specifically. He's just.... House doesn't do well in social situations. He's awkward and he knows he's awkward and it makes him defensive."

There was a lot more to House's lack of social graces, of course, but Cuddy wasn't about to go into a long discourse on the nature of his emotional pathology. Hell, she didn't understand it completely herself so she could hardly explain it to someone else. Mostly, though, she wanted her mother to get to know House on her own terms. Cuddy was only trying to ease the way a bit.

"For heaven's sake--I'm not going to attack him," Mom said.

"Not by your definition, maybe," Cuddy said under her breath. House was likely to see her mother's questions in a completely different light. Knowing House, he was likely to see everything about this dinner in a different and unflattering light. There was nothing more she could do about that, though. She'd tried to prepare House, she'd tried to prepare her mom. Now she could only throw them together and hope she wasn't bringing on the apocalypse.

And speak of the devil.... "That's probably him," Cuddy said when she heard a faint knock from the front door. Her heart was suddenly fluttering rapidly in her chest as she headed for the door. She wanted so badly for this to go well. Or at least, to not go badly. She wanted her mother to see what she loved about House and she wanted House to accept that family was not a bad word. As with so many things with him, though, she had very little control over how it turned out.

She stopped in front of the door and took a few deeps breaths to calm herself, then she reached for the doorknob and opened the door.

i am: cynically agreeing with you
Hi there! I made a cuddys_house inspired vid that I figured I'd share here, as there might be some readers of the game who are interested in watching it.

title: Hurt
pairing: House/Cuddy
song: Hurt by Christina Aguilera
duration: 5;25
summary: House and Cuddy are in a relationship that started out passionate and loving. But as the months drew on, their issues and their baggage started to become what their relationship is rather than what they feel for each other. They want to work out their issues and they want to be together, but their relationship has reached such a point of destruction that neither of them know how to fix it.

Information, links and video → [ H E R E ] @ bold_as_brass!


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