Characters: House/Cuddy/Rachel and mentions of Wilson
Summary: Another possible way House and Cuddy could reconcile, but told through the eyes of Rachel Cuddy. Set when Rachel is about 13, so like 10 years-ish into the future.
Author's Note: Well in the midst of some intense writing block for my fic What Happens in Vegas, I had a great idea for a one shot. Sound off below or review on FF. Much love to all J
Rachel Cuddy was upstairs in her room working on homework. She groaned when she reached the wrong answer for the third straight time on a math problem. It was frustrating. She was smart. She knew she could get the answer, but it wasn’t coming. She decided to ask her mom for help, but as she opened her door to call out for her mother, Rachel heard her mother’s familiar cell phone ringtone and closed her door again.
Rachel knew not to bother her mother when her cell phone rang. Cuddy had always been busy for as long as she could remember; after all, a Dean of Medicine at Boston General was a busy job. Rachel understood that, and she in most cases didn’t mind coming home to an empty townhome after school, or not having her there at a soccer game. Rachel was an independent person, just like her mother. She could get by on her own, and functioned better that way, rather than having someone micromanage her. This was exactly why Rachel and her mother had such a great relationship. Rachel sent her texts during the day and had usually finished her homework by the time she got home, so they could talk then too. It shouldn’t have worked the way it was, but it did. They were happy.
She heard her mom yelling on the phone to Wilson, who was like an uncle to Rachel and no doubt Cuddy’s best friend. Rachel never understood why the two didn’t get together. Neither dated anyone else. In fact, her mom hadn’t ever really had a romantic interest that Rachel could remember. There might have been a few first dates, even less seconds, and a rare third here and there, but she never seemed to bring anyone home. Whenever Rachel asked about it, Cuddy simply replied she hadn’t found the right person.
“What?” Cuddy yelled. “Wilson, we made this clear years ago. I’m not seeing him. How did he even find out?”
Rachel wandered out of her room to the top of the stairs where she looked down below and saw Cuddy in the foyer, pacing back and forth. Not seeing who? Rachel thought.
“Well when did he leave?” Cuddy asked. “Ugh…so that’s like three hours from now. Well don’t tell him that I’m going to leave for the next few nights then. Maybe he’ll think he got the address wrong or something.”
Leave for a few nights? So we are running away now? Who is this guy?
Rachel got up from the stairwell and went back to her room.
A few minutes later her mother came up to her room.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hey,” Rachel replied.
“Listen…we’re going to go to New York City for a few days for a conference. Wilson will be there. We’re leaving tonight though,” Cuddy said.
Based on what she’d heard a few minutes prior, Rachel knew her mom was lying.
“No you don’t,” Rachel said flatly. She could tell Cuddy was surprised. “Who are we running away from? Who’ve we been hiding from for ‘years’?”
“Rachel, it’s complicated,” Cuddy said. “Can we please just go?”
“Well, you are going to have to pack my bag for me unless you tell me about this guy. Why is he so horrible?”
Rachel was baffled about how closed off her mother was being.
“He’s not horrible.” Cuddy looked contemplative. “Well, he wasn’t horrible-- or maybe he was. Again, it’s complicated.”
“Why don’t you want to see him?” Rachel was not going to let this go.
“We knew each other for a long time.”
“Why don’t you anymore?”
“And again, I bring myself back to a familiar answer. It’s complicated.”
Rachel looked at her mother. She could tell that Cuddy was pretty frazzled, and clearly not ready to see this guy. So, Rachel got up and went into her closet and got a bag.
“So what am I bringing to the NYC?” Rachel asked.
“Thank you,” Cuddy said with a big sigh of relief.
Cuddy kissed her on the forehead, and walked downstairs.
About twenty minutes later, the doorbell rang. Rachel didn’t hear her mother walking towards the door to answer it so Rachel walked out of her room. As she was walking down the steps, she heard a loud, repetitive knocking on the door. It couldn’t have come from a hand on the door. As Rachel was about to walk into the foyer to answer the door, she was grabbed on the arm by her mother and pulled into the kitchen.
“Oh my God, Mom, what?” Rachel said loudly.
“Shh!” Cuddy said. “That’s him.”
“Already? I thought we had a few hours?”
“Yeah, me too. Go back upstairs and get your bag and we’ll go out the back.”
“Mom, nom” Rachel said. This had gone far enough. “Look at yourself. You’re hiding in the kitchen from a guy you have a ‘history’ with who obviously just has something to tell you. You are stronger than running out the back door. I’ll go upstairs, but I’m not getting my bag, and we’re not leaving. Just answer it.”
Cuddy nodded. Rachel could sense the shock in her eyes of the whole situation. Rachel looked up to her mother and didn’t want to see her so weak. She knew her mom was stronger than that.
Rachel walked up the stairs. But she did not go into her room. No way was she going to miss this. She wanted to know what all the fuss was about this guy so she sat at the top of the stairs where she could see the foyer.
She saw her mother inhale a large breath and open the door to cease the incessant knocking.
The door opened and Rachel saw an older man, late 50s or early 60s, certainly older than her mother, with ragged facial appearances. His facial hair was thicker than average, his salt and pepper hair was thinning, but still covered his head. His face, specifically his eyes looked tired, like he had had a long trip, or maybe just a long life. The knock, she noticed, had come from the cane in his hand.
Even though she didn’t even know his name, he gave Rachel a feeling of familiarity. As if, because he had been such a large part of her mother’s life, that maybe he had somehow been a part of hers as well. Rachel’s life was affected by the obvious dent that had been left in her mom’s life by this man, so it felt like he had left something missing from hers as well.
Rachel was a bit surprised by the matter of fact tone he had when conversing with Cuddy.
“Long time no see,” the man said brightly. He walked into the house without invitation and leaned against a wall, holding his cane with both hands in front of him.
“House, what the hell?” Rachel heard her mother ask.
His name is House? House….why does that sound so familiar?
“Well, I was in the neighborhood, so I thought I’d say hello,” House said.
What was this guy’s deal? He shows up late at night unwanted and unexpected and decides to be casual? No wonder Mom wanted to avoid him.
“Oh knock it off. You’re here for a reason. Tell me or get out now.”
Rachel noticed a change in her mother’s body language as she conversed with this guy. She stood taller, like there was something to show or prove to him. She stood like she wanted him to know she was in control of their conversation and their current relationship. But, somehow Rachel thought maybe House was the one who had controlled their past.
House’s hardy exterior expression changed to something more sentimental. He took a few steps closer and Cuddy looked taken back.
“I just…missed you,” House said. “More than usual.”
Awww that was nice. I bet that was hard for him to say.
Still Cuddy remained closed off, like she was fighting to relinquish control.
Okay jeeze, Mom. Robot much? The poor guy drove four hours to say he missed you. You could at least smile.
Cuddy turned to walk away from him, but House stopped her when he said “I’ve cleaned up since we last saw each other.”
Cuddy turned around slowly.
Mom looks pissed.
“Oh, let’s see that would be when you ran a car into my house, threatening the lives of innocent people, and prompting me to take my daughter 4 hours away, right?”
He ran the car into the house? Guess that’s why she hates him. Must’ve been when we lived in Princeton.
Rachel had only slight memories of that house. She remembered little things, like yellow walls and lots of books.
“Yeah, that’d be the last time I saw you,” House said. He remained heartfelt despite the cold delivery of Cuddy’s remark. He limped closer to her. “I’m off the vicodin. For real this time, I think. Been 9 years and not a single pill.”
He was a druggy too? This guy has got problems. But Mom feeds off needy…just like Wilson. I wonder if Wilson knows this guy.
“You think saying you’re drug free will erase everything?” Cuddy asked.
“No,” House replied, stepping closer.
Could they get any closer to each other? He might as well be standing on her toes.
“But, I thought that in combination with the fact that it’s been like 10 years, we might be able to turn a small corner towards some sort of relationship. Not sexual of course, just something involving communication.”
Cuddy’s strong exterior melted away. Her face turned more sympathetic.
“You want to work on communication? Well, I guess you have cleaned up a bit,” Cuddy replied.
And for the first time, since House had walked through the door, Cuddy smiled, and Rachel knew.
Oh. My. God. They were in love. They are in love, still. I know this guy! I remember this guy!
It was from that one smile Rachel remembered House. She realized why he seemed familiar. He had been with her mother for a short time. He played with her and when they were together, Cuddy smiled, just like she was now.
Rachel had not seen her mother ever smile like this since they had been in Boston. She understood why there had been no other men in her life since.
Somehow, Rachel knew that this man was supposed to be in both of their lives. He played an important role in some way or another. Her mother’s true happiness centered around him, which indirectly affected her own happiness.
House returned the smile. “So is that a yes?”
“Yes,” Cuddy said softly.
Then he gave her a small kiss. Not so much romantic, but almost as a way to show he was serious about being here.
“So is she here?” House asked.
Who? Is who here?
“Yes,” Cuddy said reluctantly. “I’m not sure if I’m ready for you to see her yet.”
Me? Mom, who cares if you’re ready! I want to see this guy!
House looked disappointed.
“Did she turn out okay? Is she the star pupil you wanted her to be?” House asked.
“She’s perfect,” Cuddy said. “And one day you will get to see her. But tonight, it’s too much.”
No it’s not too much. That’s it! I’m going down there!
Rachel marched down the stairs, and House and Cuddy turned around to see her.
“No, Mom. Let’s just get it all out in the open tonight,” Rachel chimed in.
Cuddy looked shocked. House smiled though.
Rachel turned to House. He was much taller up close.
“So you’re in love with my mom?”
“Rachel!” Cuddy scolded.
“Oh, I was only being polite. It’s painfully obvious, but I’d thought I’d ask anyway.”
“She’s definitely a Cuddy,” House said.
Rachel was slightly unsure of what to say or do next, so she did what she thought her mother might do.
She extended her hand to House and simply said “Nice to see you again.”
House looked at her mother, then shook her hand and replied genuinely “Likewise.”The End.