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HOUSE M.D. FIC: Coin Toss (1/1)

Title: Coin Toss
Author:
Flywoman
Fandom:
House M.D.
Rating:
PG-13
Pairing:
Wilson/Thirteen
Summary:
“Are you okay?” “Obviously not.” House knows why Hadley needed to get away from PPTH for a while. Minor spoiler for 7X1, "Now what?"
Author’s Note:
I honestly don’t know what came over me. Thanks to cuddyclothes, menolly_au, and jezziejay for encouragement.

 

To think that this had all begun with a harmless game to while away the time.

As she pulled open her shirt to give Taub an unexpected eyeful on her way out of the hospital, Remy was already hatching a plan.

She called Wilson on her way back to her apartment. As she’d expected, he was in his office, catching up on paperwork no doubt. “Hey,” she greeted him. “Just wanted to let you know that I’ve followed through.”

“Huh? Who is this? Remy?”

“You can confirm it with Taub,” she went on, a little wickedly.

“Wha- oh. Really?

“Of course, to be absolutely sure,” she continued smoothly, “you’ll probably need to get a detailed description. And then compare with the evidence from your own eyes.”

“Are you-“ She thought she heard him swallow hard.

“I’ll meet you at my place in ten minutes,” Remy told him, and hung up.

He’d been unfailingly considerate, if unimaginative, and she hadn’t had to fake it, although she would have had no compunctions about doing so. But that wasn’t really the point.

***

The following month, when Wilson offered her a cool hundred to take House off his hands for the evening and ensure that he made it back to his own bed, she hesitated for a moment. She’d missed her previous period, and the OTC pregnancy test had come back positive. But recent meta-analyses had revealed no adverse effects to the fetus associated with one to two drinks per day during pregnancy. She accordingly restricted herself to two martinis despite the row that rapidly accumulated in front of her. House didn’t comment. She shouldn’t have taken that as a good sign.

***

“How long?”

She stifled her start, cursing herself for allowing House to come upon her alone in the conference room, and looked up at him with innocent eyes. “I think you’re going to have to give me more than that.”

“You know exactly what I mean. You’re pregnant.”

Of course he knew. House always knew. She raised an indignant eyebrow for only a second before she sighed and caved with a nod.

“One of my people?”

Depends on how you define that. “None of your business.”

She watched House perform some rapid mental calculations and come up with an answer he didn’t like. “Sometime around the lockdown.” His gaze narrowed to laser beam focus, as if that would be sufficient to pierce the shields protecting the secret that burned in her breast. “I seem to recall Cuddy complaining about an incident with the cash register in the cafeteria.”

Any attempt to deflect could betray her, so she only gazed back at him, face carefully schooled into the blank expression that had seen her through so much. “Dammit,” House swore under his breath, so quietly that she knew he was genuinely pained. “You’d think that he’d have been content with poaching one of my doctors.” Remy refrained from pointing out that Amber, technically, had never been his. “But pregnant? That must have been some bad luck. Wilson would have been careful.”

She didn’t say that she’d clandestinely saved the condom and kicked him out as quickly as decency permitted. House wasn’t really the type to need a road map, after all.

“So what’s your plan?”

“Invest in some new clothes. Thank God Empire style is back in.”

“You really intend to go through with this?”

“I want kids,” she said. “And I don’t know how long I’ll be around to enjoy them.”

“That, I believe, was my point,” House growled. “You really want them to watch you go through that? Look how well it worked out for you.”

She’d thought herself immune to his brutal honesty by now, but she found herself taking an involuntary step back.

“Who are you trying to punish here?” House asked softly. She only stared back defiantly, feeling sick to her stomach and trying to hide the trembling in her hands.

“Tell me this,” he said finally. “Are you going to have the fetus tested? Or are you just going to hope you get lucky and let your child grow up to decide whether or not to be diagnosed?”

She flashed back to that awful evening alone in the path lab, the red line of text marching relentlessly across the deathly pallor of the printout, and flinched.

“You can get a definitive result from CVS as early as eight to ten weeks,” House told her. “In the meantime, I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

***

The clock was ticking. She knew from experience that even if House had been sensitive enough to make his initial inquiries in private, he would not hesitate to broadcast them to the rest of the team if it served some greater, or even petty, agenda. Besides, she was working with some of the finest diagnosticians in the country; it was only a matter of time before they took the trouble to really look at her and put two and two together. Her money was on Chase, who had a knack for patient observation concealed under a show of good-natured indifference, and who had also been eying her with an alarming intensity of late when he thought that her attention was elsewhere.

She kept a calendar in the kitchen next to the refrigerator, and slashed off the days with scrawled red X’s, one by one. 

***

When she made it to the eight-week mark, morning sickness was just starting to manifest itself, the metabolic demands of remodeling her body and sustaining the development of a greedy new creature making themselves known. House caught her eye with a meaningful nod as she hurried past him on the way to the restroom. Rinsing her mouth out afterwards, she knew that she had better just get it over with before he made it his business to light a fire under her ass.

Remy would have run this test herself too if she could, but she didn’t want to risk injuring the fetus, and she wasn’t about to alert any of House’s fellows to her condition just yet. She certainly couldn’t hope to keep any procedures performed at PPTH private, based on past experience. So she drove into New York to be admitted to an anonymous clinic, putting the chorionic villus sampling and genetic test on her credit card.

***

In House’s office three days later, the late afternoon light slanting through the blinds was too bright. She blamed that for the blur in her vision as she tonelessly reported the results of the prenatal test, holding herself ramrod straight against the swirling nausea.

“You’ll want to take some time off afterwards,” House said. It was not a question, but an intuition, for which she was grateful. “Leave a letter on my desk. Make it plausible.”

“What will you tell them?”

“Nothing. Or whatever you want.” The relief was well-hidden, but still hard to miss when she was looking for it.

And then she knew. House hadn’t just been keeping quiet for her sake. He’d been hoping that things would turn out this way, all the while probably hating himself for it. Now there would be no question of informing Wilson, of ruining his best friend’s current relationship, of letting him get dragged down by another dying woman. “Congratulations,” she said bitterly.

House just looked up at her, gaze transparent for once, and the open empathy on his lined face suddenly made her want to weep.

 

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
menolly_au
Oct. 15th, 2010 11:20 am (UTC)
Wow,um - thats an original idea for 13s absence! Great characterisation, House at his brutal best (or worst) but also with that compassion he has underneath it all. Good story.
flywoman
Oct. 15th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yeah, um, "original" is a kind way to put it ;). I'm fairly confident of my House by now, but this was my first time writing Thirteen, so I'm very glad to hear that you liked the characterization.
jezziejay
Oct. 15th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Love this - would say more but bloody computer will probably eat it.
flywoman
Oct. 15th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm so pleased! I think. Still consider it a crazy idea, but I liked how it turned out.
cuddyclothes
Oct. 16th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)
Wow! What a marvelous story, and so original. The ending could have been from an episode. You even made Thirteen interesting. All characters were completely IC. Congratulations!
flywoman
Oct. 16th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
"You even made Thirteen interesting." High praise indeed ;). Thanks very much for encouraging me to develop this idea, as well as for reading and commenting!
(Deleted comment)
flywoman
Oct. 24th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for commenting! I don't have high hopes for an interesting story behind Thirteen's absence either, and I'm quite confident that this isn't it, but I was intrigued by the idea and enjoyed the way it drew various threads together, and the ease of writing those conversations between Thirteen and House came as a pleasant surprise.
pgrabia
Jan. 13th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
Great story! The characters were very IC. A very original idea.
flywoman
Jan. 13th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I thought that it was kind of a wacky premise, but it insisted on being written, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out in the end.
pgrabia
Jan. 14th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
I've often wondered how Wilson has been as lucky about not fathering any offspring by now. After all, carelessness isn't impossible, nor is a breaking condom. Uncommon, perhaps, but not impossible.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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