The Cost Of A Nephew On The House

Anya found the old spell book in Willow's locker, which she had broken into to find something to help her get her power center back.  She flipped through it, finding a curse laid in it.  She read it over but didn't cast it.  When she got to the end, she realized that the words had changed as she read it.  That meant the book was possessed and she was now in trouble.  Her former boss appeared beside her, giving her a dirty look.  "Oops?"

"You could have just cost all the worlds," he said quietly.

"Can I undo it?"

"No, it's too late.  The one who was important but unnoticed is now changed.  It'll be up to the others to do that."  He stared at her.  "Even though it was unknowing, that's clearly vengeance."

"So can I have my job back?" she asked.  She looked so pleased.

"Not until you've stood your place in the line to take his."  He disappeared.  "Then we'll see," his voice told her.

"Shoot."  She went to see if she could find one of her former coworkers.  It didn't sound like D'Hoffryn would do anything so she'd have to fix it herself.  She hated these things.  "Hallie?" she called.  Halfrek, over Lost Childhoods, appeared, giving her a pointed look.  She held up the open book.  "I read it."

Hallie read the first few words and winced.  "Oh, shit, Anya!"

"I'm sorry!  I was trying to find something to help me get my power center back!"

"Fine.  I'll fix it.  But you're now dateless for the prom."  She disappeared.  This was doing to take some subtle manipulating.  She checked on the new child first.  The mother was bad.  But... yes, he had family.  He was nearly three.  It'd go.  Yes, and an uncle that probably would be a good vengeance demon if he was offered a decent job too.  Yes, that would definitely work.  And hey, Anya couldn't screw this one up.  Now to erase some memories before that witch meddled and screwed up what Anya had screwed up further.


House tapped then walked into an office he hardly ever saw anyone from.  "Got ten minutes to answer a few questions that I'll gut you for if they get spread around?"

"I don't gossip, House.  What's wrong?  Something with a patient?"  He walked in and shut the door.  He sat down and he wasn't looking happy or gleeful.  This was a very bad sign for someone.

"Not a patient."  He stared at her.  "I need advice about a cross-state matter.  I tried to talk to one of your brethren but she was deluded about there being social workers everywhere who actually did their jobs."

"No, not everywhere," she agreed.  "Some are downright neglectful themselves."

He nodded.  "My nephew's town has one that doesn't seem to do a damn thing.  Even when he ends up in the ER."

She stared at him.  "I didn't know you had siblings."

"The rumors that I was raised by wolves are false," he said dryly.

She smiled.  "I always thought you were an only child with how you acted."

"There's some time between us."

"Large gaps can produce the same effect."

"We're siblings but we're....not."


"If you have to know, my mother decided she had some sort of genetic instability and had her adopted.  It turns out she may be right if current research into mental illness is correct."

"Okay, so your sister is having issues with her boy.  How old is he?"


"That's an adorable age.  What happened?  Since it sounds like a social worker finally stepped in."

"She went after him with a meat cleaver.  I have no idea why she had a child," he admitted, shifting in his seat.  "She didn't want kids.  When she got pregnant she said something about someone telling her him being born would make sure no one else had to suffer by the time he was a real adult.  I pointed out then that she needed lithium for talking to angels but she said he wasn't one, he just knew things and had come to her because her son was so important to be born."

"I'm taking it that this isn't the worst incident?" she asked, watching how he reacted.

"She's been neglectful but not more than for a few days at a time.  This was the first time she got violent about him.  I'm not real thrilled with her husband since he's a bastard too."

"What does she do?"

"They're both on checks for being drunks."

"Oh, okay.  That's something we can use if you want to get custody of him."  She gave him a pointed look.  "Or do you want her to send him into the system."

"I think it'd be better if anyone, even my supposed lupine ancestors, took care of him."

She smiled.  "Well, I can do one of three things.  I can talk to the social worker out there, get the process started for you to take custody.  That would take a court hearing and a lot of dirty laundry would need to be aired, plus she'd have to be found to be incompetent.  You can get a custody injunction while waiting on it but with you being single that might count against you."

He nodded.  "How long would that take?"

"The final hearing could be as long as a year but you'll have periodic checks.  Is she nearby?"

"By LA."

"Which would mean commuting for hearings," she decided.  "There is an easier way.  Get her to sign custody of him over to you.  Then you can decide to adopt him or not, keeping you as his guardian basically."

He considered it.  "She might fight me."

"House, you've outwitted idiots for years," she said bluntly.  "Don't tell me you can't work your sister around.  Especially when she's drunk."

He smirked.  "Yes, I can probably do that.  How easy would an adoption be?"

"Get his case file and any other records.  It'll help a lot and most times the judges won't be that fussy.  Even gay people use this method to adopt their kids."

"I can do that then."  He stood up.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome.  I look forward to meeting him and seeing you turn him into the next bastard, sarcastic doctor who terrorizes nurses for fun."

He smirked.  "It's no fun if they don't scream a little bit."  He walked out, heading to call a friend.  "Billy, Greg House.  I need some legal help.  No, nothing like being arrested or being sued.  Jessica's got a son.  They supposedly have social workers.  I need to get her to sign over custody.  Thank you.  Yeah, that'd be fine.  Thanks."  He hung up and went to think about it.  He ran into Wilson in the halls.  "I'll be out next week."

"I'll tell the nurses they can relax," he quipped back, watching him go.  House had looked too serious for this to be something minor.  So he turned around to talk to his oldest friend.  "What's going on?"

He looked at him.  "I can't hide this from you, can I?" he asked.

"Nope.  Otherwise you'll let it slip anyway at just the wrong moment so others will know."

"I'm going to get Alex from Jess."

Wilson hissed.  "I know you said she's been drinking."

"Alex ended up in the ER thanks to her going after him with a cleaver."

Wilson winced and hissed.  "Okay, if you need help let me know.  I know nothing about kids but he always liked me when he was out here before."

"Thanks.  Want to be the stepmommy if something happens to me?" he quipped.

He stared at the other man.  "You want me to be his guardian if you crash some night?"  House nodded.  "Is the vicodin fairy visiting you?" he asked bluntly.  "I'd ruin him, House."

House shrugged.  "I'm sure you won't."

"I'm sure I will."

House shook his head.  "I don't know anyone I'd trust more."

"I'll think about it.  You get him out here before he turns into her."

"I'm doing that.  That's why I'll be gone next week."

"That's fine.  Want me to tell Cuddy?  Without telling her the reason?"  House nodded, packing a few more things.  "Who's drawing up the paperwork?"

"Billy and his spawns of legal satans."

"If anyone can make a contract that screws her over, he can.  That's why I let him do my last divorce."  He smiled.  "It'll be fine and he'll be fine."

"I hope."

"You know.  Jess has her lucid moments.  Usually right after she acts out too far."

"She definitely did it this time.  Sunnydale actually found their lone social worker and made her do her job."

"Oooh.  I'll make dinner the night you guys get back."  House smirked and nodded.  "Go sooner.  He can fax the paperwork."  House left.  Wilson went to find their semi-friend and hospital administrator.  "House had to leave on a family matter.  It'll take him about a week."

"He has a family?  I thought he ate them all."

Wilson frowned at her.  "Yes, he does.  His sister needed him.  They're not close but she's having problems."

"That's fine.  Tell his fellows."

"I can do that."  He left to find one of them.  "Foreman."  He looked up from his charts.  "House is off on emergency leave for about a week."

"I'll tell the others we have a break and to hit the clinic instead."  He went back to it.  "Something that bad or is he in vicodin land too heavily?"

"No, not that sort of problem."  He went back to his trek for dinner.  This was going to get interesting.


House walked into the Sunnydale General Hospital.  It was the next best place to find his sister and nephew since they weren't home and the lights had all been left on, plus the door was open and the smoke detector was going off about a pot that had boiled dry.  He had fixed that no matter how much he didn't want to.  "Harris," he asked at the ER's desk.

"Back in bay three, sir.  Are you family?"

"Yes, unfortunately."  He held up his hospital ID, getting a nod and being let back there.  He limped back that way, his cane not making much sound on their floors.  He heard screaming and sighed, walking into the room.  "Shut up already."

"It's all his fault!" she screamed, pointing at the boy on the bed.

"No one said you had to have kids, Jess," House shot back.  "Besides that, he's three, nothing's his fault except messes around the house.  Get over it," he snapped.  She flinched back.  "Hey, Alex."

"Unclie Greggy," he said quietly, staring at him.  "Why you here?"

"I came to check on you."  He patted him on the head, watching him wince.  He checked him over.  "Concussion.  Any other pains?"  The boy gave him a long stare.  "Booboos, Alex?  Any of them?"  He pointed at his leg, letting him check it.  "Nurse?"  She came in.  He held up his ID.  "I'm his uncle.  His mother is not rational.  Has he been to x-ray yet?"

"No, sir.  We're waiting on it to be fixed."

He pulled her hand over, letting her feel the bone.  She nodded.  "Let's get an air cast for now and he's got a concussion."  She nodded, going to make that note.  He looked at his sister.  "Jess, why don't you let Alex come stay with me for a few weeks?"

"No!"  She stomped off.

He stared after her.  "Bitch," he said bluntly.  The local doctor came in.  "I'm his maternal uncle."  He held up his ID card.

"Always happy to meet other doctors, Doctor House.  There's someone here for him to bring him to a home for tonight."

House shook his head.  "I can take charge of him.  He's got a broken leg and a concussion."

The doctor looked at him.  "You'd have to argue about that with the social worker City Hall sent over."

House smirked.  "Let her come.  We're working on getting him away from her."

"Thank god."

"I need a copy of his records for my lawyer."  He handed over that form.  Billy had called in a favor to get a judge friend to sign it for him.  The doctor smiled and nodded, going to get those for him.  He looked at his nephew.  "We'll figure this out but Uncle James said he'd cook dinner when we got home."

"I like him.  He nice."  The social worker came in and he growled.  "Meany!  You made her mad at me!"

House smirked at her.  "I have an order to assign temporary custody over to me while my sister is in rehab."  He pulled that out.  "I can take him tonight."

"Who are you?"

"His maternal uncle, Doctor Gregory House."  She stared.  He held up his ID with a smug look.  "We'll be at the hotel in the next town once he's released."

"I can't just...."

"That's signed by a judge, lady.  You can't go against it."

"That's not a local judge, it could be forged."

"Then go call and check it out," he snapped back.  Jessica stomped back in.  "I have a judge's order assigning temporary custody," he said, staring her down.

"They won't let him out of town because some day he'll stop all suffering," she sneered.

He didn't want to go here but his sister clearly only understood the dirtbag approach her husband used.  He slapped her, knocking her down.  "You should be used to that by now since you married such a shitbag.  I also have papers for you to sign so he's not going to end up *here* again."  He stared her down.  "Or I'm bringing the rest of your family."  She flinched at that.  He handed it over.  "Take her pen and sign it, Jess."  She shook but did that.  He took it and the custody order back with a smile, letting the social worker see that one.  "Now, anything else?  I'd like him to be somewhere safer than a town that has such a high death rate."  The nurse came in with an air cast for him.  "Thank you.  Can we do discharge papers?  I can get him an x-ray at my own hospital early tomorrow."

"I can do that," she agreed, glancing at the other women.  "Sir, we should protest any violence."

"She's used to it.  That's why she married the drunk and became one herself."  He looked at her.  "I'm not going to put up with it near him.  I loathe bad parents worse than I do stupid people."

She smiled.  "I can tell.  Let me get those orders."  She left.

"The mayor...."

"Has nothing to do with any custody agreement outside of his own children," House overrode her.  "He has no legal standing, no precedent, nothing."

"I can have our judge put a hold on that," she said, calling someone.

He shrugged.  "You can try but you can't send him back to their house.  If you do, I'll sue your city and state.  Your precious mayor can swing."

Alex patted him.  "No yellies," he said quietly when his uncle looked at him.  "It's bad."

"Sometimes people need yelled at, Alex."  Someone else stomped in.  "You are?" he demanded.

"Who are you!"

"His uncle."

"You have no right...."

"My judge said I do," he said bluntly.  "And my judge will top yours because mine's the nephew of a supreme court justice."  The man flinched and stepped back at that.  "Now, get out of my way before I have you arrested for trying to harm this child again!"  Someone else walked in, an officer.  He held up the papers.  "Unless you have one that countermands that, get out of my way and move them."

"Sir, that's not a local judge."

"Yes, because some of us live safer places," he said snidely.  "It's still legal.  Move them or I'm suing.  And yes, I can do that.  I'm not the average stupid person like around here.  The MD proves it."  The officer got out of the way.  He picked his nephew up and walked him off, signing the release papers one handed.  "Thank you.  We'll be in LA tonight," he said quietly.  She nodded.  He left, going to his rental car.  He got Alex settled into the back, smiling at him.  "Give me three hours and we'll be there.  I'll drive really fast to get away from the idiots."

"'Kay.  Can we have soda?  Jesse gets soda when he's been good."

"Sure, we can do that for dinner, Alex."  He locked and closed the door then walked around to drive.  "I'll be at the Hyatt in LA tonight.  If you should find a judge that believes a violent alcoholic is a fit parent, you can come argue then."  He got in and put his cane beside him, driving them off.  He turned on the radio to cover his muttering.  Alex didn't need to hear those sort of words yet.


House opened the hotel room door at the knock.  "Yes, Officer?" he asked the state trooper.  "Did they find some crooked judge who believes an alcoholic who's put her son in the ER twice in a week is better even after she signed over custody to me?"

He blinked at him.  "A hearing, sir.  So no, not yet."

"Where in Sunnydale?"

"No, sir, the county judge.  The ones in Sunnydale are presently all...missing.  The mayor was very upset from what we heard."  He looked at the boy then at him.  "It'll be tomorrow at eight."

"I can be there.  Address?"  The paperwork was handed over.  "Thank you for being a messenger."

"Just show up, sir, or they'll charge you with kidnaping.  That judge is fond of it."  He left with that warning.  The kid had on a cast, clearly something was wrong somewhere.

House shut the door, looking the papers over on his way to the in-room fax.  Then he sat down, pulling Alex up next to him.  "Let's watch some ET.  That way we can see all the sleazy actresses doing nasty things."

Alex stared at him.  "Nasty means bath."

"Yeah, but it'll be okay.  You're not that way.  You have brains."

The boy smiled but hid his face in his uncle's shoulder.  "Not have brains."

"Bullshit.  Your mother's stupid, you're not.  You got all the brains she should've had."  He got comfortable, letting the boy rest against him.


House looked at the judge.  "No, my lawyer is still in New Jersey, where he belongs.  I didn't have time to get a local one.  I did have time, with a court order, to get his hospital, pediatrician, and social services record, what little of one there is."  He handed it to the bailiff.  "Considering I got a call from her saying she had went after him with a meat cleaver the other night, I felt I had to act so strongly."

The judge looked over the information he had been given.  Then he looked at the doctor.  "You have no wife?"

"No, I'm single.  I do have some very good friends who can help me with him.  He already knows a few of the doctors I work with thanks to his mother dropping him off a few times."

"Are you gay?"


The judge stared at him.  "No wife at your age and not divorced, you have *special* friends, and you're not gay?"

"No, he's special but not in that way," he said sarcastically.  "He's an oncologist.  We've been friends since medical school."  The judge grimaced.  "He's been divorced a number of times.  I find renting attention to be more worthwhile than having to put up with a nagging bitch around the house when I've been hard at work saving lives for hours on end."

The judge stared at him.  "You do what?"

"Never caught, thank you," he said with a smug look.  "Like you were last month according to the newspapers."

The judge sneered.  "You're uppity."

"It's that MD," he said bluntly.  "And not being a violent drunk."

"How did you get that when she barely graduated?" he sneered.

"She got adopted out."

"I see."  He looked at the forms again then at her.  "I believe you can straighten yourself out if you want to."

She nodded.  "I can."  She was sober, had the shakes but she was fully sober.  "He's my boy.  My brother made me sign over custody."

"That made the third time in a week he'd been in the ER.  If not, he might die next time," House told him.  "Hell yes I want him away from you."

"I'm a good mother!" she shouted.

"You're mentally unstable, Jess.  You've been talking to people who aren't there.  You're having a lot of hallucinations.  You admitted it a minute ago when you said why you decided to have a son."  She sat down with a sigh.  "You need to be on heavier drugs, not liquor."

"There's no evidence of that," the judge said.

House pulled out something, handing it over.  "Signed statements from a few of the shrinks that she's seen.  The court order I had covered her records too.  And it says something when that's the other reason she gets a check, Your Honor."

He looked them over, frowning now.  If he didn't owe Wilkins so much....  He looked at the boy, who was looking very tired.  "Had him up all night?"

"His leg woke him a few times.  The break isn't as bad as it could be but it's still painful."

"He doesn't need a real cast?"

"It'd be too heavy for his leg and probably cause more damage," House told him.  "An aircast is keeping it immobile and him too some of the time.  It's lighter so it can't weigh on those muscles or his knee joint, which will cause more damage.  I got him actual x-rays this morning at three when he woke up the second time.  Sunnydale's machine was down."

"I see."  He looked at that report.  It did say that.  But he did owe Wilkins and he was the mayor of Sunnydale.  He was a powerful man when you pissed him off.  "I'm going to temporarily suspend the custody order, pending her entering a treatment program," he decided.

"You'd have to get her husband in one too," House pointed out dryly.  "He drinks more."

The judge sighed.  "I can see that."

"They'll stop my check," she complained.  "We need that to pay the rent."

The judge stared at her.  "You will have a month to show progress.  If you have not at that time, the child is going to his uncle's custody.  I have no idea why the social workers haven't removed him yet but I will give you that month."

"I want an order stating that should he be hurt again, he comes directly to me," House said firmly.  "That way I don't have to play footsie with idiots who couldn't act before.  Especially since she tried to tell me the mayor would stop me."  The judge flinched at that.  He looked at his nephew.  "How about..." he said, picking him up to sit on the table.  "You spend one last month with your mom then you come for a good, long visit, Alex?"

He smiled and nodded.  "I like that.  Unclie James do dinner?"

"Yup, I'm sure he will."  He smiled.  Then he glared at his sister.  "The first hint of problems and I'm going to be there and I will bring more backup," he vowed.  She nodded, reaching for her son.  Alex flinched away.  House made him look at him.  "You only have to go until her next check," he said quietly.  "That's all."

"Okay," he said quietly, staring at him.  "Then I see you?"

"Yup, then you'll see me."  He gave him a hug then handed him over.  She cuddled him like he was her life vest.  Sometimes she came out of it long enough to have some sense.  "One month," he said firmly.

"I'll do better."

House snorted.  "Sure you will.  While you're at it, you might talk to someone about the other medication you need, Jess."   He looked at the judge.  "I will be back then."

The judge looked at his calendar.  "I can see reopening this petition on the eighteenth.  That's one month and three days from now."  He looked up.  "Would that be suitable?"

"Yes.  As long as he comes directly to me if she snaps again."

"I can see that, yes.  It'll be noted.  No matter who steps in."

House nodded.  "Thank you."  He tweaked Alex's ear.  "I'll be back after her next check."  The boy beamed and nodded.  "You behave and call me every week," he told his sister.

"I can do that," she agreed.

"I'll make that an order as well," the judge agreed quickly.  She nodded and they left.  He winced when the doctor slammed the courtroom door.  "Burn those," he ordered, handing over the records.

"Sir, that's not allowed."

"Then bury them."

"Sir, you know we can't."

"Then I will."  An officer came in to get them and walked them off.  "How dare you."

"Sir, the state court said so," he ordered.  "Also, all your other records are being looked into."  The officer stared at him.  "You stepped on the wrong person."

The judge huffed but he knew why going against the mayor was the wrong thing to do.  And that doctor was just as hard.  He'd have to leave the bench before they fired him to keep his pension and things.  He went to draft that letter.  That doctor could find another judge.  Who'd probably like him more.  Without that debt, the child would have already been on a plane to New Jersey.


House woke up from his nap in his office a week later to answer the phone.  "Doctor House."  He listened.  "Ma'am, I didn't expect anyone to be coming in," he said at the caller telling him it was the head of security at the local airport and she was checking to see where he was.  He listened.  Then he sat up and glared.  "No, the social worker was supposed to bring him to me.  How did he arrive?"  He wanted to hit something so hard.  "I'm about two hours away.  No, no one told me," he said bluntly.  "If I had, I would've been there three hours ago."

He switched ears and pulled out his cellphone.  "Let me see if someone's closer than I am."  He called him.  "Where are you?"  His fellow grumbled something.  "I know you just got home after seventy-three here.  Where are you presently and tell me you're not drunk.  Because someone unexpectedly showed up at the airport and didn't warn me," he said bluntly.  "If you pick them up I'll give you three days off in a row with pay.  This week."  He nodded.  "That's closer than I am.  Please.  Security.  I'll fax them your ID."  He hung up and went back to the first conversation.  "My fellow is coming.  Doctor Robert Chase.  He's Australian, sandy blond.  I'll fax over a copy of his hospital ID.  No, she never told me.  If she had, I would've been there," he assured her.

"Please.  He's about an hour closer than I am.  I'm sure he will be.  Let me talk to him?"  He smiled at the timid voice.  "Alex, your mommy didn't call me to warn me to pick you up.  I'm having one of my doctors pick you up, okay?"  He grimaced.  "No, not Uncle James.  This one's name is Doctor Chase.  He's a nice guy and you can talk to him about sheep all you want, okay?"  He smiled.  "Good boy.  He'll be there soon.  About one soap's worth, kiddo.  He'll bring you right to me then we'll have dinner with Uncle James.  Okay?

"Can you be good for that long?  Yes, she'll take you to the bathroom if you tell her you need to go.  Thank you, Alex, and I'll see you real soon.  After I tell your mother off for not telling me when to pick you up.  You be a good boy and I'll see you soon."  He hung up and threw the phone, then the rest of the things on his desk that he could easily pick up.

Wilson saw the fit and stomped in.  "What the hell are you doing?" he demanded.

"She put him on a plane without warning me."

"Hell," James Wilson muttered.  "Okay, are you going to the airport?"

"Chase is closer."  He got up.  "I need to fax them his ID card so he can pick him up."

"I'll do that.  You...calm down."

"He wanted you over for dinner."

"Sure, the new girlfriend can wait," he promised.  He backed out.  House was still going to maim or kill someone.  He went to stop Cameron from bothering him.  "He's gotten some bad news," he said when he caught her looking.  "Stay out of his way until tomorrow."

"He can't do that to hospital property!"

"Cuddy will understand," he said bluntly. "Leave him alone unless you want him to use you as stress relief.  Not even *I* want to be around, Cameron."  She huffed off.  He went down to the hospital security office.  "House needs you guys to send a copy of Chase's ID to the airport's security office so he can pick up something."

"When is it due in?" one asked, turning to his computer.

"No one told him it was due in a while ago.  House is trashing his office."

"I'll send the new guy up to shoo people away from there," he said, adding that order over the radio while he printed out a copy of his ID and looked up the number.


Chase walked into the security office with a smile.  "Hi, I'm Robert Chase, I was told to come here to pick someone up?"  The receptionist called her boss, who waved him back to his office.  He walked in and paused at the sight of the child.  "I didn't know House had children."  He squatted down, smiling at him.  "Hi, I'm Robert.  What's your name, little guy?"

Alex tipped his head to look at him.  "Uncle Greggy said you were a 'roo but you don't look like the one on tv."

Chase smiled, patting him gently on the head.  "No, I'm not a kangaroo."

"Do you like sheep?  Uncle Greggy said you do.  That you could tell me about them."

"I don't have any myself but I have friends who do.  We can talk about sheep all you want on the way to your uncle's house."  The boy gave him a shy grin and he stood up.  He looked at him.  "Anything come with him like bags?"

"One small bag."  He handed it over.  "He had this in his pocket," he offered, handing over a ball of paper.

Chase looked at it then nodded once.  "That explains a lot."

"He said she never told him, Doctor Chase."

"Obviously.  I'm glad I got to miss him throwing a fit."  He smiled at the boy.  "Come on, I've got a nice enough car and we can talk about sheep on the way to your uncle's house."  He took the bag and shook his hand.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem.  If he hadn't been frantic, you'd be seeing a social worker."

"I'd expect that."  He smiled and took the boy's hand.  He saw how he was walking.  "Are you hurt?"

"Mommy took the casted off," he pouted.  "Said it was ugly and against big guy's orders."

Chase picked him up with a small groan.  "You're a bit heavy but I think I can make it to the car.  Then your uncle can get you a new one."  The boy nodded, resting against his shoulder.  "If you want to nap," he offered as he carried him off.  "You can nap in the car and we'll talk about sheep later on when you get up."


"It'll take a bit to get to his house.  He lives three towns over but I can stop and get you a cheeseburger," he said at the unhappy look.  The boy smiled and kissed him on the cheek.  "You're a good boy, Alex.  No matter what anyone says," he said quietly.

"Thank you.  Potty?"

"I can do that too."  He walked him into the bathroom and let him do that.  He had to help clean him up but he wasn't sure why a child so young was potty trained already anyway.  Though he had a good idea at the moment.  He picked him back up once he was cleaned up and redressed, taking him out to his car.  Alex yawned when he buckled him in.  "You should have a safety seat."  He got the little thing that moved his seatbelt off his neck, using it to make sure the seatbelt fit the baby correctly.  "There.  Now, you can nap if you want."  He put the bag down so he could use it as a pillow.  He got in to drive, turning on the radio quietly.  Alex yawned again and fell asleep before they hit the highway.  It was a long drive but the kid apparently needed it.


House was down to nearly calm by the time Chase found him at his house.  "Thank you," he said quietly.

Chase handed him the paper ball.  "Security found it in his pocket."

He looked it over and nodded once.  "Even better."

"He needs x-rays," Chase said quietly.

"It was broken when I went out there to try to get him.  She only had a month.  She lasted a whole week."

"It's still broken.  He said the big guy said it was ugly so she took the cast," he told him.

House sneered.  "I'll deal with my sister."

Chase smiled.  "He was good as gold for me.  Slept most of it.  I did get him some fries when he woke up about a half hour ago."

"Thank you."

"Not a problem.  I'll see you in three days?"  House nodded so he left him alone.

House carried his nephew upstairs, putting him down on the couch to look him over.  "We'll have to have more pictures taken of your leg tomorrow."

"It's ouchy."

"Want to do that now and then have dinner with Uncle James?"

"He not here?" he asked, looking around.

"He had one last patient to see, then he had to tell his girlfriend how cute you were before he could come over."  Alex beamed at him.  "Want pictures now or tomorrow?"


"Okay."  He went to call Wilson.  "It's us.  He's here."  He listened.  "Want me to talk to her?"  Wilson hung up on him.  So he called Cuddy.  She knew his newest girlfriend.  "Cuddy, it's House.  I need tomorrow off and to schedule my nephew an x-ray for a leg injury.  Also a CT for his concussion he got when I was gone.  Also, can you tell Wilson's girlfriend to bite herself since she's rabid and doesn't like my nephew?  Thank you."  He hung up before she could say anything.  "There, that way you can have pictures taken tomorrow in the big machine."  He came out to cuddle the boy since he was pouting.  "Want to take a bath?  You look tired."

"No, bedtime."

"That'll work too, kiddo.  Relax.  I don't drink."  The boy stared at him.  "At least not often and not around you."  He smiled when he heard someone stomping up the stairs.  "That sounds like my boss, who's mean.  But you might like her."  He got up to answer the door when she pounded on it.  "What?"

"Nephew?"  He pointed at the little boy.  She gaped in horror.  "How in the hell!"

"My sister has issues," he said bluntly.  "Including schizophrenia and alcoholism."

"Oh no."

"She didn't tell me he was coming either.  I'm taking tomorrow off."

"That's fine.  Pediatrics clinic is Thursday but I'll see if Peter or one of his people can work him in."

"I know a week ago he had a concussion and a broken leg."  He looked down at the feeling of little arms around his injured thigh.  "You shouldn't be standing on your bad leg, Alex."

"You do."

Cuddy smiled.  "I can see the resemblance."  She squatted down.  "Hi, Alex.  I'm Cuddy.  I work with your uncle."

"What's rabid mean?"

She smiled at him.  "Don't worry about it.  I'll be nice to you.  You're not mean like him, are you?"  He shook his head, staring at her.  "Good boy."  She stood up.  "We'll see you at the hospital tomorrow.  That way you can meet a lot of doctors he works with."  Alex beamed and nodded.  "Good boy.  Why don't you go sit down?  Your leg has got to hurt if your uncle is right."  He limped back that way.  She looked at him.  "Take the rest of the week off," she ordered quietly.  "You'll need it to sign him up in the daycare and things."

"I'm adopting him."

"Good.  He clearly needs it."  She strolled off down the hallway.  "I'll get his girlfriend off him tonight."

"Thank you.  She said that's not a good enough reason to cancel their date."

She snorted.  "It'll take James to help you not warp him into you, House."  She left, going to call her friend.  Then the head of pediatrics.

House closed the door and came back to sit down next to him.  "How much does your leg hurt?  I have some tylenol I can crush up and put in juice."  The boy hugged him around the arm.  "We can do that."  He went to cut a pill in half and crush it for him, handing over the laced juice.  The boy drank it then fell asleep against his side.  Wilson almost woke him when he came in but House waved at him.

"She just put him on a plane?" Wilson asked, closing the door gently.

"Yeah, apparently."  He pointed at the paperwork.  "The judge amended the custody when she asked.  I called out there.  His secretary said she called up sobbing that she was going to hurt him.  A social worker was supposed to deliver him."

"Another failure in the system."  He sat down, staring at the boy.  "He's adorable.  I don't know how he is when you weren't."

"I was adorable at that age.  I grew into my looks."  He smirked back.  "Dinner?"

"Pizza, chinese, or what?"

"Pizza.  He likes pizza."

"I'll order.  Who picked him up?"

"Chase.  I gave him the next three days off with pay for it."

"Excellent.  Cuddy said she gave you the rest of the week off anyway."

House smirked.  "The other two can do clinic duty."  Wilson laughed but got up to call the pizza place they both liked.  House looked down at his nephew.  There were going to have to be some changes made.  He didn't even have a guest room and this would bring some nosy official sorts to snoop he was sure.  So maybe he'd move across the hall.  That was a three bedroom and the owner was moving.  He called his landlord.  "It's Gregory House.  I need to move to somewhere bigger immediately.  No, not married.  Nephew."  He smiled.  "That's more than acceptable.  I thought they might be moving.  Thank you.  I can do that tomorrow while I'm out with him."  He hung up.  "The neighbors are moving."

"Wonderful.  They have the better view anyway."  He came back out with a glass of water for House and one for himself.  "He's got to be tired."

"Chase said he slept most of the trip too.  I'm guessing he didn't get too much for the last few days.  Oh, and she took his cast."

"X-rays tonight?"

"Tomorrow.  CT too since he had a head injury."  He sipped his water, watching his nephew sleep.  "I'm going to screw this up," he decided.

"I'll stop you screwing up too badly."


Wilson smiled.  "I like Alex.  He's a nice kid who hopefully won't grow into you."

"There's nothing wrong with being me."

"You could be nicer now and then, House."


Wilson smiled.  "Don't change.  You'd scare us."  He sipped his water, getting up to get the pizzas when someone knocked.  House even paid for it.  He'd have to help him a lot since his temper was still clearly high.  "You can vent later on outside.  I'll watch him."

House smiled.  "Thanks, James."  They dug in and he poked the baby gently, making him wake up.  "Pepperoni?"

"Ooooh!"  He leaned over to look then snatched a piece of pepperoni.  House cut one up and put it on a plate for him, letting him nibble all he wanted.  Then a second and third one when he inhaled that one.  Yes, he needed to beat his sister to death very shortly.  It would make him much more satisfied.

"Are you going to tell your mother?"


"Okay."  Wilson let it drop.  He knew better than to ask again.  He smiled at Alex.  "How do you feel?"

"Less ouchy."

"Good.  We'll handle that tomorrow."  Alex nodded, finishing up with a yawn.  "Want to take a bath?"


"Sure, kiddo.  Wilson, save me at least a slice."  He took him into the bathroom to help him take a bath.  He had bathed patients, it couldn't be much different.  Even if patients didn't want bubbles to play in and splashed him for fun.


House and his lawyer presented the right forms to the judge in his office.  "You needed those?" House asked.  He sat down.  It was a favor called in by his lawyer to get them in the same week Alex had shown up.

He looked them over.  "She did what?"

"She called later to tell me she had sent him," House told him bluntly.  "I kept myself from waking up the baby by screaming at her."

"Thank you.  I'm sure he didn't need that."  He looked everything over.  "It appears to be in order but there have been some questions raised, Doctor House.  How are you going to take care of him?"

"The hospital has an all-hours daycare.  So even if I get called in suddenly he can go sleep there or my office.  Also, I'm not in the ER.  I don't work that many hours anymore.  I have fairly standard ones unless we have a critical case."

"That's good.  I've asked around.  It's said that you have a habit of your own?"

House stood up and dropped his pants, making the judge flinch away.  "Yes, I do take vicodin for it. I'm in control however."  He pulled them back up and sat down again.  "Alex laughs.  He said we match because we're limping on the same side right now.  I also have friends in the hospital who would gladly watch over him if something minor happened to me and I had a bad day."

"That's good to know."  He made that note, looking at him.  "Most single men live in tiny places."

"I'm taking this week to move to a three bedroom that just opened in my building."

"Even better.  Anything else that someone would complain to me about?  Not that I'm not going to award you full and permanent custody but there's protocols that have to be watched over."

"All they can say is that I've got to take the pain killers for my leg," he told him.  "I'm not the nice fairy and I don't particularly like stupid people, but that's hopefully not going to bother them.  Even if one I talked to before I went out there the first time said that of course the local social workers will handle it.  That's what they're there for."

The judge coughed, shaking his head.  "Not always."  He looked at the lawyer.  "I have had no protests."

"The hospital has a social worker on staff.  If we have to have one look over things now and then, we can ask her," he suggested.

"That's more than reasonable."

"She's the one who advised me to get her to sign over custody," House told him.  "I can stand her."

"Good.  Then we'll let her handle it if something should need a look-over for official reasons."  He signed the order.  "There you are, Doctor House.  One son."  He smiled.  "I know you'll do better but I hope he's happy."

"I know he'll be happier.  Thank you."  He stood up and walked out with his friend.  "Thanks," he said quietly.

"Not a problem, House.  Alex is an adorable little scamp.  Some day he'll make a wonderful junior clone of you."  House smirked.  "Go play with him.  He could use some playing."

House nodded, going to get him from Wilson's office.  He was only doing paperwork and Alex hadn't liked the daycare at all.  He walked in a few minutes later, finding his nephew trying to color.  He sat down next to him and picked up a crayon to work beside him.

Alex looked at him but went back to coloring.  "Was judge mean like the big guy said last one was?" he asked quietly.

"Nope.  You never have to see your mommy again if you don't want to."  Alex smiled but stayed coloring.  House picked up another crayon, going inside the lines.  "Try it this way, Alex."



"He's too young for that," Wilson said, smiling at them and taking a picture.  House scowled at him.  "Kids need a lot of pictures."

House smirked.  "We should introduce you to people so some of them start to pray for mercy."

Alex gave him an awed look.  "Are you God, Uncle Greggy?"  Wilson burst out cackling, nearly falling out of his seat.  "If he makes people pray he God," he explained.

House smiled but shook his head.  "I don't make them pray that way, Alex.  You can ask Doctor Chase about that when you see him next time."

"Can we see him now?"

"Later on," Wilson gasped.  "He's working right now."  He wiped off his cheeks.  "I wish I had gotten that on film or something."

"I'm sure you can be there when he asks Chase.  He still has to ask him about sheep as well."

"Oooh," Alex said, grinning at him.  "Sheep?"

"Sheep," he agreed.

"He not look like 'roo on tv, Uncle Greggy.  You said he was when you came to visit."

"He is but he's hiding his ears and tail.  You have to get him to change back to see it and he's scared people like Cuddy will try to pet him."

Alex beamed.  "I can pet him, he likes it."

"Good.  We'll wait to see it together."  Alex wiggled a bit.  "Did the radiologist call yet?"

"Yes.  He had an air cast coming from the pharmacy in a few minutes, the CT said he did have a small concussion but it looks to be healing all right so far, and I gave him a kid's vitamin since he said he had toast for breakfast."

"I put jelly on it."

"Yay, House."

"Kid's vitamins aren't *too* bad," he decided, going back to his coloring.  "Are you hungry?"  Alex nodded.  "Then let's go eat.  We'll see if Chase can come down to talk to you about sheep."

"Oooh, lunchies and sheep."  He grinned and let his uncle pick him up to carry him down there.  He got put in a big boy seat with a booster, then they went to get food.  He saw someone and waved.  "Doctor 'Roo!" he called, waving frantically.

Chase looked over and smiled.  "Hi, Alex."  He came over to sit beside him.  "How are you this morning?"

"Had pictures."

"That's good.  It'll make you feel better sooner."  He smoothed down some of the hair sticking up.  "Is your uncle getting you lunch?"

"Lunchies."  He smiled and petted his head, earning a smile.  "You're nice.  We talk about sheep now?"

"Sure, we can talk about sheep now," he agreed, still smiling.

"Why sheep baa?"

"Well, because that's the sound they make," he said.

"Why not moo?"

"Oh!"  He grinned as he thought for a moment.  "You know your voice and my voice sound different?"  The boy nodded, still petting him.  "Well, that's the sound that their voice can make.  Like dogs growl and bark because that's all the sounds that their voice can make."

"I tried to explain that to him but he got confused with brains and vocal chords," Wilson admitted as he sat down across from the boy.

"He's probably too little for that," he agreed, looking at him.  "Our voices are wider, so we can make more sounds.  Theirs are more tiny so they can't.  They can only make a few sounds."

"Wow.  You're smart."  He grinned and kept petting him.  "Lunchies with us?"

"Of course I can eat lunch with you."  He smiled at Wilson.  "I think he got you something."

"Oooh," he said, looking at the tray.  "Ello!" he squealed, taking it to eat.

Wilson smiled.  "Yes, you can have the jell-o."  He watched the boy subtly pet Chase some more.  Chase was giving him an odd look.  Wilson pulled out his tape recorder for notes and turned it on.  "Tell him what you asked Uncle Greg earlier, Alex, about praying."

Alex wiggled in his seat, staring at him.  "Is Uncle Greggy God 'cause he make people pray?"

Chase burst out cackling.  "Not quite.  He makes them pray for different reasons."  He tweaked his ear, getting a happy wiggle.  "Why are you petting me?  It's very nice."

"Uncle Greggy said 'roo ears and tail will come out if you liked the petting, that no ears or tails when bad ladies pet you 'cause they scary."

Chase snickered, shaking his head.  "It has to be a special time once a year for them to come out, Alex.  Sorry but it's already gone by this year.  Next spring we'll see if we can bring them out.  Okay?  After it snows?"

"Snows?"  He looked confused.  "What's that?"

"You'll see in a few months, before Santa gets here," Greg said as he came back.  "I thought it was once a month the tail came out."  He put things down, handing his nephew the fried vegetables plate.  Alex looked at it then at him.  "It's veggies.  You like them."

"Sprinkle?" he asked, pouting.


"Cheese?" Wilson asked.  The boy beamed and nodded.  He went to get some from the salad bar, putting some on the vegetables.  The boy inhaled them with his fingers after that.  Then he went back to his jell-o.

"He's adorably smart," Chase told House.

"Yes he is.  Some day he'll take my place and have his own ducklings."

"I quack?" Alex asked.

"Only for a few years then you can have your own."

"Why I quack?"

"We'll talk about that later.  You won't really have to quack unless you're going as a duck for halloween."

"Candy?" he begged, his eyes lighting up.

"That's in a few months so we'll have to work on your costume," Wilson said.  Alex cackled.  For some reason, he decided that was a bad sound.  Oh, yeah, it was when his uncle made it.

Chase smirked at him.  "Any other revelations?"

"Not yet," House admitted.  He ate a bite of his lunch.  Alex finished inhaling his jell-o and looked around, swinging his feet against the chair, wincing each time he did that.  "Quit that before you make your leg ache worse, Alex."

"Is only ouchie."

"I don't care," he pointed out.  "Ouchies are bad for you."  Alex quit kicking his legs.  "Want me to get you more veggies?"

"Candy?" he asked.

"They don't have candy here," Chase said.  House gave him the oddest look.  "He seems to be a bit sugar reactive," he pointed out.  "Are you going to be able to chase him later?"

"He'll have a cast on," Wilson said.

"It never mattered to any of my cousins."

"Good point."  He went to get Alex some more jell-o.  It was usually harmless.  Alex followed.  "I'm getting you more jell-o."

"I help," he assured him.  "That way not get ugly ello."

"Okay."  He let him pick out his dish, getting it free because Alex flirted with the cashier.  He helped him back into his booster seat, letting him inhale those and made some of the cubes dance around the table.

"There's Cuddy," Chase said quietly with a small point.

House glanced then looked at him.  "She's seen him."

"Has anyone else?" Chase asked.

"Just you three and the pediatrician.  So it's probably all over the hospital by now."

Alex looked up then scowled and put his head down.  "Nasty thought, need bath," he said quietly, shaking his head.

Chase looked at him.  "What was that?"  House was staring at him too.

"Nasty thought, need bath," he said a bit more loudly.

"No you don't," House told him.  "I'm sure nothing you can think about is that bad, Alex."

Chase tipped the boy's chin up.  "I wouldn't talk to people who have those sort of thoughts and I talk to you so therefore you don't have them.  I know you don't."  Alex stared at him.  "Really.  All boys have thoughts that girls think are nasty but yours aren't.  You never have to worry about that, Alex."



"You sure?"

"I'm very sure."

Alex gave him a hug.  "I like you.  We have to pet you more so ears and tail come out sooner."

Chase smiled.  "This spring, remember, it only happens once a year, like easter."

"You sure?" he demanded, staring at him.

"I'm very sure."

"Fine."  He went back to his jell-o chorus line and song.  He was even humming as he danced them around.

House and Wilson shared a look.  "I'll have that looked into when he' s a bit older," he decided, stuffing his mouth.  Cuddy came over.  "We're having lunch."

"I can see that.  He didn't like the daycare?"

"Smelly nasty like home," Alex said, looking at her.  "Bad stink."

"It's probably a perfume remembrance," Wilson said quietly.

"That's reasonable.  I'll tell her that.  Where is he from?"

"Sunnydale, out by LA," House said.  "I have *no* idea why my sister moved there."

"I guess that happens in some families," she said quietly.  Alex beamed at her.  "You've been a good boy from what I heard."

"Fank you!"  He grinned.  "Are you still rabid?"  Chase choked and so did Wilson.  "Uncle Greggy said she was," he defended.

"No, not today.  I've had a good day and haven't had to bite anyone."

"Biting fun," he assured her.

"Now and then, yes it is," she agreed with a smile.  "You have a good time playing with your jell-o, Alex."

"'Kay, have fun biting."  He went back to it.  Every now and then he'd eat a piece then a second to even up his lines again.

Wilson was watching him.  "He's very cute."

"He is."  He watched as his nephew got tired of his game and ate the rest of the chorus line with tiny screams like they were in a horror movie.  The three adults snickered at that.

Alex was staring around them.  He kicked Wilson under the table and pointed.  "Is she going to pass out?"

Wilson looked then shook his head, looking at him.  "She's having a baby and the baby must be kicking her."


"Babies come from mommies," Greg reminded him.

"Oh, yeah."

"She's having a baby soon.  Babies kick mommies when they're inside to let the mommies know they're all right."

"Oh."  He slid down with a small wince and limped that way, looking at her.  "You have mean baby?" he asked her.  "Me talk to it, calm it down."

She smiled at him.  "You're adorable.  Yes, you can pet the baby but next time you have to ask, all right?"  He beamed and nodded, laying his head on the lump and humming to it.  The baby did calm down some.  "Thank you, dear.  That's very kind of you."

He grinned at her.  "He has to come out to play with me sometime."

"I'll see if we can do that.  Now, where are your parents?"  House waved his fork a bit.  "Really?"

"That Uncle Greggy."

"I know him.  I work in the ER so I've seen him sometimes."

"I've been to the ER."  He beamed at her and kissed the baby since it was kicking.  "Behave or the mommy will make you sleep on the lawn."

"No, I'd never do that.  Just make him go to bed sooner without any sweets."

"No ello?"

"No, no jell-o," she said.  "Mean babies get that."

"Hmm.  I'm good boy, I get ello," he said with a grin.

"You're a very good boy, dear.  Thank you for calming him down."  The baby beamed and went back to his seat, getting helped up by Chase.  She came over to look at him.  "House, is he yours?"

"Nephew.  I adopted him for my sister recently."

"Wonderful.  A lot of the nurses think a responsibility might civilize you."  She smirked at him.

"Not hardly," Wilson snorted.  "Did you say thank you for letting you pet the baby?"

"Fank you," he said with a happy smile.  "I have baby when I bigger?"

Wilson shook his head.  "Only mommies can have babies, Alex."

"Why can't I be mommy?"

"Boys are daddies, not mommies," Greg said.

The boy was pouting, it was so pitiful.  "When you become a doctor like your uncle, I'm sure you can figure out how to have one of your own," Chase soothed.  "But you'll have to learn a whole lot to figure out how to do it.  So far no one's been that smart."

Alex gave him an awed look.  "I do that," he said seriously.

"I'm sure you will."  He saw the three disbelieving looks.  "If anyone could figure it out, it'd be him.  He'll be just as stubborn as his uncle."

The nurse walked off shaking her head.  She had to share that story.

"Will I be God like Uncle Greggy and make people pray too?" Alex asked.  A few of the nearby people choked or laughed at that.  "He does.  He say he does," he told one who was giving him an unhappy look.

"In many ways but he's not God, young man."

"If he makes people pray, he's God.  God does that."

House smirked.  "He's my nephew."

"I can tell."  She got up to go cry in the bathroom.  Now there were two of them!

Wilson turned off the tape recorder, putting it into his pocket.  "That's being copied into the scrap book," he said quietly.  House smirked at him.

"Uncle Greggy, when is mommy coming to visit?"

"I don't know," he said.  "You can stay with me as long as you want, Alex."

The boy smiled.  "You not smell bad and piano nice."  He went back to petting Chase so the 'roo parts knew to come out and show him because he was nice.

Chase finished up.  "Should I tell the others you're back?"

"No, I'm not back until Monday.  I came in to get him checked over, do the daycare thing, all that."

Cuddy came back with a folder, handing it over.  "Insurance forms."  She looked at Alex.  "Why are you petting him?  He's not messy or a kitty."

Alex stuck his tongue out at her.  "He special 'roo that will have ears and tail if they like me."


"Women scary so they not come out near them.  Shoo, they not come out with you here."  He made shooing motions.

She smiled.  "You're sweet, Alex.  Clearly you're a lot like your uncle."  She walked off giggling at that.

"At least you're not a sheep," Wilson told Chase with an evil smirk.

"Sheep nice," Alex told him.  "Soft, fluffy, look cuddly."

"You can't cuddle a living sheep but they are soft and fluffy," Chase told him.  "Twice a year you cut all the fluffy stuff off to make things like sweaters.  It's like a haircut."

Alex made an awed sound.  "Wow.  That makes sweaters fluffy?"

"Yup."  He smiled at his boss.  "You should check his sweaters to make sure they're still fluffy.  Or else he'll have to buy some more.  That way sheep can have haircuts and feel better."

"Wow.  You're real smart Uncle 'roo."

Chase smiled, leaning down.  "Call me Uncle Chase.  That way not everyone knows the secret about me having a tail," he said quietly.

"I can do that."  He bounced some but stopped to wince.

"We'll get you something for the leg pain in a few minutes," Greg promised, earning a happy boy again.  "Is that why I call you a wombat?" House taunted with an evil look.

"Probably," Chase smarted back.  House cackled.

Wilson shook his head when Alex joined in.  "You're all insane.  I should run away to save my sanity."

"If stay, I help you make cookies," Alex offered with a grin.

"Because the dark side always has cookies," House agreed.

"What is that?" a female voice asked.

Alex looked around, spotting her.  "I'm not a that.  I'm an Alex.  Stupid."  He looked at Chase again.  "I know you're scared of her.  It's all right.  Uncle Greggy will protect us from scary women."  Wilson burst out laughing, having to run to the bathroom.

"I can definitely do that," House agreed, glaring at his duckling.  "Alex is my nephew and I took him from my sister if you have to know."  She flinched back.  "Don't come near him again unless it's an emergency, Cameron."

"What is he doing here?"

"We're having lunch," he said facetiously.  "What are you doing in the cafeteria in the middle of lunchtime?"

"Did that mommy's baby kick her to make sure she wouldn't turn scary like her?" Alex asked Chase.

"It's possible," he said.  "But I'm sure she's a nice mommy."

"She not give baby ello."

"She will when he's a good boy."

"I a good boy?"  He wiggled closer.  "Please?"

"Want a candy bar instead?" he offered.  "I can get you one."  The look of unholy glee told him all he wanted to know.  He went to get a chocolate covered granola bar, handing it to House.  "For when you're at home so you don't have to share with anyone."

"Aww, thanks," House said sarcastically.  "For that, why don't you have some clinic hours?"

"Because I'm off today.  I came in to pick up my paycheck," Chase said smugly.  He cleaned up his mess.  "I will see you soon, Alex.  You be a good boy for your uncle."

"'Kay.  You make cookies and I help?"

"I don't know how to make cookies.  I'll have to learn.  Then you can help me."  The boy squealed, hugging him around the chest.  "That's a good boy.  Be good for your uncle."  Alex beamed and nodded.  "Let me head home.  It's time for my nap."

"Naps for babies."

"No, adults take naps too," he assured him.  "Even big kids do sometimes."  The boy shook his head.  "If you say so."  He got up and headed off after one last hug.

Foreman came over.  "What's up, House?"  He stared at the baby.  "When did you spawn?"

"He's his nephew.  He has custody," Cameron said.

Foreman nodded.  "Congratulations.  I hope he's good for you."  He smiled.  "You're off until Monday?"

"Yes," he sighed.

"Then maybe we'll see if we can find him something to do in the office if he has to come in some afternoon when we're not working."

House smirked.  "No sucking up to the mini-me there."

"I'm trying to make sure he doesn't turn into you, House.  That way he becomes a nice guy."  He walked off with Cameron.

"Unclie James is taking long time in potty.  Is he okay?  Need 'cine?"

"No, I don't think he needs medicine.  One of the nurses probably stopped to talk to him so he'll date her."  Alex beamed and wiggled some.  "Let's clean up and we'll go up to my office for a few minutes.  Then we'll go home."  He cleaned everything up.  Alex managed to save his 'candy bar' but that was to be expected.

"Not forget candy," he chided.  He put it into his uncle's pocket.  "There, you keep candy safe and I share."

"I'm sure you will because you're a good boy," House assured him.  Alex took his hand and they walked off together.  House found the cast had been delivered so he put it on him, making the boy pout at it.  "Two weeks and you can take it off."


"I can get you a pink one," he offered.

"Eww!  Girls are bad!"

"I know they are."  He gave him a hug.  "Let me pick up three things and we'll go home.  You go talk to the nurse at the desk," he said with a point.  Alex beamed and went to meet someone new while House picked up a few things for them to do at home. All his games were here.

Alex walked out and stared up at her.  "Unclie Greggy said you nice nursey."

"I'm a very nice nurse," she agreed with a smile.  "Your Uncle is Doctor House?"  Alex beamed and nodded.  "Are you nice or mean like him?"

"He not mean.  He good boy who likes 'roos and all sorts of stuff.  He 'splain things too."

"I'm sure he does," she agreed.  Though that did explain some things about House and Chase they had noticed.  "What are you doing out here?"

"Unclie said to come talk to you.  If he not God, why he make people pray?  Nasty man say he not God even though he make people pray."

She snickered, shaking her head.  "No, he's not that sort of God, little one.  Not like the ones that you go to talk about in church.  He's a different sort."

"Is that why he say dark side have cookies?  We make cookies."

"I'm sure you're a good cookie maker but yes it is.  Have him watch Star Wars with you.  You'll like jedi."

Alex beamed.  "I ask!  You very nice even if you are so big."  He limped off at a run.

She watched him go then burst out laughing once he was sealed back into the office.  One of the nurses came to check on her, getting swatted and waved off.  "I met House's nephew.  He's adorable!"

"I saw him in the cafeteria," she said.  "He said he wanted to be a mommy some day.  Chase told him he could figure it out when he was a doctor."

"He'll be my clone," House called as they walked out together.

"I'll be retired by then," both nurses called back.  House shot them a mean smirk.

"Watch Star Wars with him, House.  He'll like jedi."

"He's into muppets.  We'll find Muppet Treasure Island or something."  He walked his nephew out to the car, letting him get into his booster seat and be hitched in.  House got in to drive them home via the video rental place.  Alex kept trying to get into the porno room and wanted half of the anime movies.  He had to refine his nephew's taste in movies.


The next challenge showed up subtly.  Alex's maternal adoptive grandparents showed up.  House stared at them.  Alex was up for lunch from the daycare and hadn't seen them yet.  "What do you two want?" he asked calmly.

"We wanted to see our grandchild."

"You haven't seen him since he was born," he pointed out.  "Why now?"

"Our daughter said you were mean and unfair to her."

"She's having hallucinations and went after him with a cleaver.  Did you want to attend a funeral?" he asked.

"How about we go get lunch," Foreman said, taking the baby with them.  Just in case House had to beat them to death.

House smiled at their backs.  "Good, now that he's gone, I can say something without him hearing.  It's clear you adopted Jess to have something to complain about.  You knew she might have problems and you didn't seem to care at the time, but when it started it finally gave you something to complain about.  That's why you never got her treated.  If you had, she might not have been told by some higher power to have a child," he sneered.  "If you had been better parents, I wouldn't have to have Alex."

"How dare...." the father started.

"I don't care," he overrode.  "I'm not the one who started her drinking, that was you.  She told me how you gave her the first beer at ten," he said coldly.  "The same as she told me she'd been having hallucinations and other problems on and off for decades.  You refused to get her treated because it gave you something to complain about.  Well, congratulations, she's now so far gone that she nearly killed her own child because one of them told her to.  The same as he had a broken leg because he had to know suffering to end it."  The mother gasped, backing up a few steps.  "So, no, you won't get visitation.  I don't want to have to unkink what you created this time.  You already ruined one child.  I think that's enough."

"A judge will give us visitation.  We're his grandparents," the father said.

"Not when it comes out that you're an alcoholic and you beat your wife and daughter, that you like to go molesting now and then at the high school freshman gym class, and that you made sure your daughter married someone just like you.  Beyond that, that'll take a lot of money, which you don't have.  Are you really willing to mortgage your place to have the chance of seeing him to screw him up like you did his mother?  Because I won't have to and I will keep petitioning and tying this up in the courts until long after you're both broke and begging for mercy."

"He has to come with us," the mother said.  "The one who had her have him said so."

House snorted, shaking his head, crossing his arms over his chest while he leaned on the table.  "No, I don't believe in any higher authority who said that a mere child will end all suffering.  Be a doctor and end some suffering, yes.  All of it no.  People make their own hells, they suffer greatly because of it.  You should know that; you've done it to yourself."

"He's not a myth!" she shouted.

"Yes, he is."

"We talked to him," the father said coldly.

"Then you need drugs too," he shot back.  He waved at a nurse and pointed, mouthing something.  He looked at them.  "You're not getting near Alex.  Ever.  He has no idea who you are because you've never seen him before now.  Caring now is out of character and even if you did get visitation, the judge said Jess can't have him back, ever, and can't be in the same room with him without legal supervision.  Which you're not.  So whatever crackhead plot this is, drop it before I have to start proving that I can be like the son of Satan when you threaten what's mine.  You can ask the security guards about the last time I had to do that.  Take them and keep them away from my nephew."

"Yes, Doctor House.  Did they threaten you?"  The guard stepped behind the couple.

"Threatened him."  He stared them down.  "Try to have a better life.  I hope you all find therapy and she finds medical help."  They stomped out with the guard following them.  Gregory seethed.  He wanted to do something to them.  He really wanted to handle it his way but that would look bad.  Alex ran back in and stared at him.  "No jell-o?" he asked.

Alex gave him a hug.  "Scary people go 'way 'cause you're so smart," he said, smiling at him.

He picked him up to hold.  "You're right, they did.  We'll make sure they leave you alone too, kiddo.  Did they get you lunch?"

"Unclie Chase did."

"That's nice of him.  I'll pay him back later."

Cameron walked in.  "He ran away from us."

"He came back in here."

"With a stop at the nurse's station to try to talk her into candy," she shot back.

He looked at his nephew.  "She won't even give me candy.  She's mean that way, Alex.  We'll have to figure out how to make her give us some because we're good boys."

Alex beamed and wiggled so he put him down, watching as he went out there to pout at her.  It always seemed to work on Uncle James.  House came up behind him and he turned up the miserable.  "Please?" he begged pathetically.

She groaned, handing him one.  "That's the only one you can have, Alex."  He gave her a hug and a cheek nuzzle against the stomach then walked off with his uncle.  He smiled once they were back in the office.

"I taught you well," House said with a grin.  He patted him on the head.  "You can have it after you eat lunch."  Chase and Foreman came in carrying trays.  "Thank you for getting his, Chase."

"Not a problem.  I'm sure you'll pay me back for the two bowls of jell-o and the stir fry."

"Of course I will.  Cameron, take his clinic hours today."  She whined but he ignored her.  His nephew was happily eating his sprinkle cheese laden vegetables and then his jell-o.  Then he ate the piece of candy and danced around for the next three hours.  Three hours of Foreman and Chase trying to calm him down.  It was such sweet payback.

Alex found the windows and looked outside.  "What's that?" he asked his uncle.

"A balcony."

Alex went to look under Foreman's careful watch.  He smiled at the one next to him.  "Where does that go?"

"Doctor Wilson's office."

"Can we go visit?" he asked.

"I think he's busy," Foreman said.  Alex pouted.  Foreman caved within five minutes.  He helped the baby across the small divide.  Then he went back inside to confess.  "He's going to ruin people with that pout," he complained, flopping down.

Chase looked at him.  "Tell me you didn't let him run off."

"He's at Wilson's office."

House groaned, going to climb over there and get his nephew before he got into trouble.  Wilson wasn't in but his door was open.  He waved at the nurse, who had been staring at Alex dancing with the skeleton in there.  House had to take a few pictures with Wilson's camera.  It was adorable.

James came in.  "Are you already teaching him to break locks?"

"He pouted Foreman into tossing him over from the balcony."

"Oh."  He came in to explain the skeleton to Alex, who soaked up knowledge when it didn't come in a book.  He seemed to hate books.  By the time the kid ran out of questions about things in his office, it was time to go home.  Thankfully!  He went to collapse on his couch and tell his girlfriend about Alex.  She hated it when he did that but oh well.


The next day, House walked around to a few people and smacked them on the forehead, leaving a post-it note behind.  'Breath mints have sugar.  Feed him sugar and YOU watch him' was blatant but necessary.  He got a few of the nurses too.

The nurse he had pouted candy from giggled.  "Is he bad on sugar?" she asked him.

"You should ask Wilson's nurse about him dancing with the skeleton."  He walked off.

"That's why we don't feed you sugar either," she called after him.  He waved the one-finger salute, making her cackle.  Now she had a plan for the next time House annoyed her.  Cuddy came by to look at the note, giving her a look.  "I let him pout me out of a piece of candy.  Apparently he's very sugar reactive."

"I heard about him dancing with Wilson's skeleton."  She walked off shaking his head, heading toward the daycare.  She heard fussing and fighting so she stepped in.  "Alex?" she called.

"Auntie Rabid, make her go 'way!" he wailed, pointing at the daycare worker.

She walked over to calm him down.  "What's wrong with her, Alex?"  She got him straightened out since his shirt was scrunched up.

"She stinky like home!"

Cuddy looked up.  "House thought it might be a scent memory since he *had* to take custody from his sister," she said quietly.  "I know he's from near LA.  Any idea which one it is?"

She grimaced.  "I think I do know.  Alex, where are you from?" she asked.  "That way I can make sure the scent doesn't come back."


"Yes, I know of that town.  I can make sure you don't smell anything like it in the daycare again."  She smiled.  "I'm sorry I scared you."

He shook his head.  "Mean stinky."

"I know.  I'll take care of that this afternoon.  Why don't you go see your uncle with Aunt Cuddy?  That gives me time to remove the scent."  He nodded, sniffling as Cuddy picked him up to carry him off.  She called someone.  "Help me remove the scent markings I have in the daycare," she said quietly.  "Our newest playmate is from the Dale."  She hung up and got to work removing all of them.  It had kept some of the kids safe but the rest of the clan could mark them more subtly for her.  "That must be who the mayor threw a fit about," she decided.

Cuddy walked Alex into House's office, finding him not there.  "Hmm."  She walked out.  "Where is he?"

"Three."  She saw Alex.  "Daycare have a problem?  One of my nurses has a kid down there."

"Scent memory brought up a bad one," she said.

"Yeah, that can be the strongest memory trigger they say.  Maybe one of the psychologists can hypnotize it from him or something."  She shrugged.  "I'll page one of them."  She tried House's getting an answer when the only thing that came up with her extension and 'Alex'.  "Doctor House, Cuddy has him in your office.  She said something about a bad scent memory."  She hung up after he did.  House came off the next elevator.  "Have you thought about maybe some hypnotism?  At his age it might be effective to push some of those memories back," she offered as he walked past the desk.

"I'm going to ask someone about that.  Thank you."  He walked in and took him to cuddle.  "Thanks, Cuddy."

"Not a problem.  You could hear him up the hall.  She's removing all traces of that scent today."

"That's fine."  He sat down to cuddle him, letting him fall asleep on his shoulder.  He looked down then at her.  "I can work from here for a bit."

"Whatever works for you, House.  Not like you've got the most strenuous job in the hospital."  She smiled and patted him on the head.  "I think he's had an accident."

"I can feel that.  Bag's there."  She got it for him, letting him move the baby to the couch to change him.  She left them alone.  Alex sniffled, half waking up.  "Hey, squirt, it's just an accident.  We'll get you all cleaned up pretty quickly.  They happen even to big people so don't worry about it.  Even Doctor Foreman's had an accident."  Alex gave him a weak smile and curled up once he was redressed to sleep there.  House sent the clothes down to the hospital laundry then pulled down a book to look up therapy options for someone his nephew's age.  He got a few good options and called the therapy office upstairs.  "It's Greg House, have someone call me in my office?"  He hung up.  Foreman leaned in.  "Scent memory triggered an issue in the daycare."

"They happen," he agreed.  "He okay?"

"Had a small accident while asleep.  I had to tell him about your last one so he wouldn't freak out."

Foreman rolled his eyes.  "Her bloodwork came back.  Kidney functions are down."

House grimaced.  "Talk to her about a spinal tap."

"It's not necessary.  I think we should start the antibiotic.  The others agree with me."

"You're all stupid too.  It's not an infection.  Check her A1c."  Foreman groaned, going to have that test run too.  House put his feet up, answering the phone when it rang.  "House."  He nodded.  "Thank you.  Yes, about my nephew.  Cuddy said the fit he threw earlier from a bad scent triggering something could be heard up the hall.  The nurse suggested hypnotism, I'm not sure.  That's what I was hoping you'd say.  Please.  With me.  Thank you.  Yeah, we're in the office.  He's having a rest."  He smiled.

"No, no sugar.  Please no sugar.  Jell-o if you have to have food to get him to talk.  Thanks."  He hung up and went back to watching his nephew sleep.  He didn't seem to have nightmares.  He stared at him then called the daycare.  "It's House.  Where's his cast?"  She groaned as she hung up, going to find it for him and send it up to him.  He took it with a nod of thanks.  He put it on the table.  Alex was more stubborn than he was.  It was a bad sign in a three-year-old.  The shrink came in with a small bowl and House pointed.  "He's still sleeping.  No nightmares though."

"Sometimes the mind doesn't need them," he offered.  He sat down.  "I got this record from pediatrics."  House nodded he had expected that.  "Is she in jail?"

"I have permanent custody and she needs to be interred by your sort, not that sort."

"I've seen it before."

"He still has a slight fracture of his leg but he's been going without his cast whenever I don't duct tape it on him.  The day he got x-rayed he was banging it on the chair while swinging his feet but only winced.  Plus he's more stubborn than I am."

The shrink laughed.  "That can happen with toddlers, House."  He looked over at the groan.  "Want to hide in the office?"

"I can do that.  Hey, Alex?" he called, making him wake up.  "This is another doctor friend like the one who had pictures taken of your leg.  He wants to talk to you while I do some paperwork.  Think you can behave?"  He nodded.  "Good boy."  He got up and went in to his desk to listen subtly.

Alex looked at this new person.  "You have ello."

"I do have jell-o.  Would you like to share it with me, Alex?"  Alex gave him a long look.  "Doctor Chase said that you share very well with him."

"I like Unclie Chase."  He came over to help him eat his jell-o.  "What you do?"

"I'm the sort of doctor who talks to people to help them."  Alex looked confused.  "It's not important.  I'm here to talk to you about some things.  Want to talk about your mom?"

"Mommy not visit yet."

"I know that.  Are you worried that she will?"

The baby frowned at him.  "Mommy visit sometime."

"I'm glad she will."  Alex relaxed again.  "Have you been having bad dreams?"


"Because the sort of doctor I am handles bad dreams.  Your uncle thought you might be having some recently so he wanted me to ask you about them to see if I can make them go away."  Alex shrugged, eating another jell-o cube.  This was going to be tough.  "Do you like to draw?"

"Like to color."

"Good!"  He smiled and got some pencils and things from the stuff laying around.  Why House had crayons and colored pencils that looked well used he didn't want to know.  He wasn't here to fix the grumpy doctor, just the future grumpy doctor.  "Can you color me some pictures about some things?"  Alex nodded.  "Can you color me a picture about home?"


House looked at the shrink once Wilson had picked up Alex for lunch.  "Well?"

"Therapy isn't going to be easy."


"More likely.  Who's the big guy he talked about?  Any idea?"

"When I was getting custody for some reason the town's mayor kept trying to butt in.  I nearly had him eaten by something."

"Was he a pedophile?"

"No clue.  He tried to have the custody reversed for her.  His lackeys at the hospital said that he wouldn't let things happen.  His social services record is very bare and his ER records state that the social worker wasn't called on the mayor's orders."

"Hellfire, House."

"Yeah.  With his meltdown in the daycare from a scent...."

"Hypnotism will help with some of that.  Definitely."  House relaxed and nodded.  "I think some talking will help him but he's got a child's love for his mother.  He expects her to show up."

"I'm hoping she's on thorazine and lithium," House said bluntly.

"I saw those records as well.  I can tell you I'm not seeing him starting toward anything too drastic.  Some kids his age are showing some early bipolar moments.  Now, I do think he's got a learning disability.  I think he's got ADHD and could use a bit of help there, but probably not medicine.  His pediatrician can help you get those diagnosed and treated."  House smiled.  "You saw that?"

"The hyperactivity.  More than once."

"The learning disability is closer to a likely case of dyslexia from what I saw.  That'll be diagnosed easier when he's a bit older and trying to read.  Why is he potty trained?"

"Less messy for my sister.  Less care for him to need probably."

"Which isn't unreasonable," he agreed.  He smiled.  "He's an adorable little scamp who'll turn into a hellion at the drop of sugar.  But it can be helped."

"So when can we push those things back?"

"Probably within a week.  For right now, help him stay a bit calm.  Let him talk about things if he wants to.  The less uptight he is about things, the easier it'll be."

"I've told him his mother can visit sometime but I'm not sure when."

"That's a good answer.  It means he won't be expecting it but he won't be too disappointed."

"Thank you."

"Not a problem.  Though to be honest I'd like to kick your sister a few times."

"I did slug her," he said dryly.

"I figured you did, House."  He walked out happier to make some notes.  He was a good kid with some odd ideas but all kids had those.

House went down to lunch, smiling when he heard his nephew babbling at someone.  "Did we feed him sugar?"  He sat down once he had a tray.

"Nope, milk," Wilson said.

House looked then at him.  "Chocolate milk?"  Wilson moaned, shaking his head.  Wilson gave him a look a few minutes later.  "It can be gold-watch treated."

"Good.  I'd love to see him finish healing."

"Me too but I'm worried about that asshole mayor."

"What big guy want now?" Alex asked with a pout.

"Nothing, Alex.  Not the one from your town, the one from here who doesn't like parades.  He's trying to cancel one."  It was a lie but it made the kid feel better.

"Meany.  'Rades nice!  Get candy."

"You have to be really close to get the good candy," House told him.  "But we'll see during the next one."  Alex beamed at him for that and finished his lunch.  "Good job.  Help Uncle James finish off his salad too?"  Alex took the stuff he wasn't eating fast enough.

"I think it's cute he's nearly a vegetarian," Wilson said with a grin.

"He loves meat.  He inhales it for dinner."

"Cluckies for dinner?" Alex asked.

"Sure, we can do chicken for dinner."  The boy beamed.  "He's easy to please too."  Wilson smiled and nodded.  He got some of the rest of his salad but apparently Alex was very hungry so he got most of it.  "Good job.  Let's clean up and go back to the office?"  Alex nodded, going to the potty like a big boy for him.  No more accidents for him!


House stomped into Cuddy's office six days later.  "I've been checking into this dirtbag mayor that kept butting in.  Do you have anyone who might have investigative powers under your thumb?"

"That bad?  Drugs?  Something worse?" she guessed with the anger he was showing.

He put down some printed pages from some statistics sites.  She looked at them, giving him a bad look.  He put down another one.  "Their hospital is doing what?" she demanded.

"Yeah."  He started to pace.  "The town's a black hole for disappearances.  And get this, their paper is online.  There's never been an election for mayor."

"How is that possible?"

"No clue."  He stopped to look at her.  "Something's seriously wrong out there and it seems to want my nephew.  If the man has enough friends to bribe the judge to screw up the custody hearing in her favor, even by a little bit, has enough power to stop social workers from working, then what else can he do?"

"Has he tried to get near Alex?"

"Someone sent my lawyer a notice that they're filing a petition on *his* behalf to return him to his mother.  Who, I checked, is in a hospital.  She has no idea because she's nearly stoned on her psych drugs."

"Why would a mayor want your nephew?"

"I don't know but he's the big guy Alex talks about.  The one who said he'd end all suffering?  Same guy."

"Oh, hell."  She called someone.  "Come up here.  I think we need a sideways approach.  And get your brother-in-law if you can too please."  She hung up.  "Our social worker.  They're a state agency.  No *mayor* can stop them from working."

"Apparently he can."  Their social worker tapped then walked in.  "That town struck again."

"Since we talked, I did some searching.  They don't have an office listed for that town."

"They barely have a social worker who bluntly told me the mayor wouldn't let me take custody of my nephew," House told her.  "We keep hearing things about this mayor, Richard Wilkins."  He held up the crime statistics.  She groaned at that.  "I have no idea what's taking out so many teenagers and young adults.  I don't really care because I'm sure someone will fix it sometime.  I care that they have a listing for people killed by PCP biting, wild animals, and utility/utensil misuse."

She took it to look at that.  "Half of their deaths are reported as being caused by PCP induced hallucinations?" she asked him.  He nodded.  Cuddy snatched them to look over.  "There's no way."

"That's what I was thinking."  Someone else knocked.  "Yours?"

"Hopefully.  He was in town at the garage."  She opened the door, letting her brother-in-law inside.  "Bob, this is Doctor Greg House.  He's been doing some checking into a town out west after having to rescue his nephew from there."

"It's the only town I've ever seen where the mayor can tell social workers not to let someone take custody of a boy that should've been taken years ago," House told him bluntly.

"That is bad.  What have you found so far?"  He handed him that information and the last form he hadn't shown them.  He sat down to go over them.  "How did they have a ten percent death rate by tools?"

"I looked them up more specifically on their federal breakdown.  Most of those are barbeque forks, chainsaws, axes, and other things like that."

The brother-in-law gave him an odd look.  "Huh?"  House pointed at the second sheet of that set.  He looked.  "It is."  He scowled at it.  "There's no way that's normal."

"This mayor keeps trying to butt into the custody of my nephew," House told him.  "If you guys can't figure this out, I'll do my best to do it on my own."

The agent nodded, standing up.  "Sure, I'll look into this," he promised.  "Is the kid okay?"

"Now.  The mayor actually bribed a judge so much that he almost had to decide custody in my sister's favor with enough reports to back up him being taken within six months of his birth."

"Oh, dear."

"And he convinced my sister to have Alex because he's supposed to end all suffering."

"That doesn't sound good.  Let me look into it.  See what's going on with their other mandated reports.  How long has he been in office?"

"According to their newspaper there's never been an election in nearly a hundred years."

"That's wrong on many levels," he said.  "Thank you, Doctor House.  Let's see what the government can find."  He walked out to go back to his office.  He sat down to dig some more before going to his boss to officially start an investigation.  Sometimes higher ups got fussy about those sort of things.


House looked up as the social worker came in a few days later looking blotchy.  "Allergic reaction?  I can get you some benadryl."

"They took out Bob's boss," she told him quietly.

House glared.  "How?"

"Got one of his agents to shoot him.  I don't know who this man is but he's in deeper now."  House smirked.  "The higher ups are looking."

"I hope they can do something about him."

"Me too."  She sat down across from him.  "The judge wanted me to do a check.  How is he doing?"

"I went to one of our hospital shrinks for some advice.  He hypnotized some of the memories from him.  That plus the scent clearing in the daycare helped a lot."

"Good."  She blew her nose.  "Bob was in his office when his boss was shot but the higher ups are not amused."  House dug out something to hand to her.  She looked it over then stared at him.  "How did you get this?"

"Hacker friend of Wilson's first ex-wife."  He gave her a smug look.

She smiled back.  "I'll make sure Bob's new supervisor has it too.  That way he won't come after Bob."  She stood up.  "Invite me for dinner sometime soon, House."

"You can come tonight but his room's a wreck.  The closet fairies ate his shoes again.  It took him two hours to find them."

"All kids do that."  She left, going to her brother-in-law's office to check in with him.  "Hi."  He smiled at her.  "House had a friend of a friend's ex-wife do some digging."

"Really?  Hey, Supervising Agent Phil?" he called.  He came over.  "This is my sister-in-law.  She works at the same hospital Doctor  House does.  He's the one who tipped us off because the same mayor is trying to get custody of his nephew."

"Trying very hard to the point of making judges try to screw up," she told him.  "And making other social workers not do their job."  She handed that information to him.  "Another doctor's ex-wife has a friend who's a hacker."

He looked it over then smirked at her.  "This is very good."

"He's very pissed.  This guy keeps coming after his nephew.  Had him be born too."

"Ooooh.  Yes, that'll not be pleasant."  He walked off to send that information to the right sources.  They clearly needed something huge to happen.  Bob and his sister-in-law shared a hug then she went back to work.  "That social worker?"

"Patsy to him," Bob said.

"Then I think she's a new way to get information."  He went to find out who it was.  She was already dead but the state had to have her files, right?


House looked up as the alarms started to go off all over the hospital.  He headed for the daycare.  Chase was following him.  "What are you doing?"

"I'm going to get Alex.  This has to be about him.  He was nervous about halloween when we talked earlier."  He went down the stairs.  House couldn't get there as fast.  Chase walked into the nursery door, finding someone in there.  "Freeze," he said hotly, raising a hand.  Not many knew about him locally but hey, it was a good time and no one would believe a wannabe kidnaper about flashing lights that sent him flying across a room anyway.

Two more rushed in and he took them out the same way.  It was a pretty simple spell.

Alex looked at him, then grinned.  "You Willow'd it!" he said proudly.  "Good job!"

Chase gave him a hug.  "Don't tell anyone, even your uncle," he whispered.  Alex nodded, giving him a hug.  He picked him up, handing him to House.  Officers came in so he pointed.  "They're out."  The daycare worker was also out but she was bleeding from the head.  Her illusion was dropping too.  He moved to take care of her.  His skills would enhance that until she was better.  She started to wake up.  "Shh, it's Doctor Chase," he soothed.  "You've been knocked silly and have a small bleeding spot.  Let me finish covering it."  She nodded, refirming her own illusion.

House looked over.  "Why is she orange?"

Alex kissed him.  "She like that."  A woman came rushing in and looked at Alex.   "Oooh!  Hi!"

"Alex," she said, touching him on the head.  The spells around him ended.  "Sorry about that.  Some chaos idiot on this coast.  And you don't need to know that either."

"Won't work on me anyway," he said dryly.  Chase got the daycare worker up.  "Who else were they after?" he asked one of the officers.

"The nursery, sir."

"So he wanted my nephew and some babies why?" House asked.

"I'll let you know once he confesses."  He hauled the last one out to the cars.

House looked at them.  "Spill," he told the strange woman.  "Now."

She huffed.  "He's still your nephew."

"Which is why I remember him being older?"

"That's the chaos idiot's fault," she assured him. "I'm going to gut him in a minute."

"He's under a deaging curse?" Chase asked her.

"Yup, Anyanka did it by accident to him.  So we made sure his mother let his uncle know the first time she snapped again.  All the others were from his actual life," she told him.  House growled.  "She had to let you know as soon as it happened.  I made her, Gregory House.  Am I clear?"

He shook his head.  "No.  Why now?"

"The mayor needs so many babies as a sacrifice for his ascension plans.  Alex being like this is a value added sacrifice if he does it at the same time because your nephew was going to be instrumental to stopping him when he destroys humanity.  Now you are.  In twenty years, if he feels like it, he can go back to saving the world."  She shrugged and faded out before they could stop her.

House stared at his duckling.  "I want what you know."

"This was news to me."

"You knew about the curse."

"I knew what the curse was," he corrected.  "Not about his."


"Past research."  He stood up, helping the worker up.  "I can about light candles with it, House.  Nothing further."  He took Alex to hold, getting cuddled.  "You're a good boy."

"He was coloring on a wall earlier but he was very calm when they burst in," the worker told him, rubbing her head.  "Thank you, Doctor Chase.  Doctor House, we've all been protecting Alex.  Even if he wasn't a sweet little boy, we'd still protect him."  She looked at the mess then at the kids.  "They're in the safe room?"  Chase nodded.  "Thank God."  She looked at Alex.  "You should've run too."  He spit.  She stared at him.  "You know better."

"Fine."  He went back to cuddling Chase, petting him.

House snarled.  "I want to know what's going on."

"Halfrek told you," Chase told him.

"That's who that was?"

"Halfrek, vengeance over Lost Childhoods," Chase said quietly.  House shuddered.  "She stepped in so she didn't get a call from him in a few years apparently."

"Good.  I like that part.  The rest?"

"Since someone on this coast is making it so all other spells don't work," the daycare worker said dryly, "you could probably find out more today."

Wilson stomped in.  "Is Alex all right?"

"I fine," he called with a wave, going back to petting his buddy.

House took his nephew back.  "Did you know anything about any of this, Wilson?"

"You mean like remembering Alex being this age the first time?  Yes, I have all along.  Those things don't work on me."  He shrugged.  "I figured there was a reason, it was important, and until I needed to let you know I shouldn't."

Chase nodded.  "Halfrek told him Anyanka did it by accident.  This is how she fixed it.  Instead of Alex being part of the method of stopping the mayor's problems, House is."

Wilson nodded once.  "Huh."  He looked at House.  "Interesting."  He took Alex for his own hug.  "Good boy."  Alex beamed at him.  "Come on, we'll have jell-o while your uncle beats on a wall."  He walked off with him.

Chase stopped House from moving.  "Go find his last life if you wanted to remember for good, House.  If not, it probably won't stay for more than a few hours."  He left him to seethe in peace.  There was nothing he could do about it that would make House happier and he wanted out of range as a target.  The important thing was to protect Alex.  He sat down across from Wilson.  "He said I Willow'd it."

"She was his best friend," he said quietly.  "Starting to get into magic a bit.  Somehow he knew before that I knew so he leveled with me about what was going on.  I could almost wish House had gotten him the first go-round."

Chase nodded.  "I can see why."

"You know?"

"I'm very minimally skilled.  Medical school didn't leave time for other studies when I could've increased it easier."

"That's fine.  I dabbled back in my undergrad too, Chase."  They shared a smirk and watched Alex dance his jell-o around.  With an occasional 'oh no, it's going to eat me' before he did eat one.  "Did she say why?"

"Chaos twerp."

"Interesting."  He stole a cube, earning a huffy look from the baby.  "What?  That one needed eaten by something bigger."  Alex swatted him but went back to playing.  "What do we do about this?"

"We let the right people know if they don't already."  House stomped in.  "Find anything?"

"My old journal that had suspiciously disappeared to Wilson's locked drawer."

"I figured there was a reason you didn't remember," he said bluntly.

"How do we know any of this stuff?"

"Dabbled in our undergrads," Wilson told him.

"Oh, that crap."  He sat down.  Alex held up a jell-o cube, getting a smirk back.  "Oh, do I need to eat that one?"

"Yuppers, she mean.  You like to eat mean peoples."

"I do."  He ate that one, making his nephew happy.  He sat down to read it.  Wilson handed over his palm pilot once he had gotten into a file on there.  House read it too.  Then he stared at him.  "This sucks."

"He was being important, even if they didn't realize."

"Clearly."  He went back to reading.  "Can it be undone?"

"No," Chase said.  "Almost none of them can unless they're done by someone like who came to visit earlier."

"Hmm."  He reread Wilson's since it had more information.  "He never told me."

"He didn't want to worry you and he didn't think you'd understand since you didn't already know," Wilson said quietly.  "That's not something you bust out with on your christmas card, House."  He rescued his PDA before House could throw it.

Alex poked his uncle.  "He mad?" he asked quietly.

"Not at you, Alex.  He's mad at the people who nearly hurt you earlier," James assured him, giving him a hug.  The baby beamed at him for that then stood in his seat so he could pounce his uncle, snuggling into his lap instead.

House cuddled the most precious thing.  "You're safer now, kiddo.  I'm not letting you go back there.  No matter what some asshole says."  Cuddy stomped in.  "He's all right."

"Good!"  She stared at him.  "The agents trying to get the mayor came to check on him.  Why do they want him?"

"Because he's due to be part of his plans," Wilson said.  "Apparently he wanted all those kids as a sacrifice, Cuddy."

She glared at him.  "I don't believe in that stuff."

"Yes, but some do and he's doing on his own plan of action," Chase reminded her.

"So he's like a cult leader?" she asked.

"Maybe," Wilson agreed.  "Or a serial killer with mystical thinking."  She huffed off again after petting the baby on the back.

"Oooooh, she's going to bite someone," Alex said.  "She really rabid now."  The others laughed but gave him the cuddles he needed.  Alex gave it back because the silly adults needed cuddles to feel better.


House sneered at the man who stomped into his office, not getting out of the man's chair.  "How pathetic are you that you came after a three-year-old boy and it's bringing you down."  He watched the man splutter.  "Yes, I am Doctor House.  How unpleasant it is to meet you, you idiot.  You came after my nephew.  You could have hidden your plans better.  Pity about that."  He stood up, staring at him.  "Don't come near my family again.  This is my only *polite* warning about it.  You already fucked up beyond repair.  Coming after him again will mean I get to be creative.  I haven't had to destroy anyone down to the soul level for *years*."  He walked off smirking.  "By the way, spluttering sends germs into the air to land on things.  Might want to lysol as well since I *do* work with sick people all day long."

"How dare he!" the mayor fumed.  "Who let him in here!" he bellowed but no one answered.  Someone should have. He shouldn't be alone in the building.  He went to check.  No one and nothing.  He came back and found someone else in his office.  "What are you doing here and what do you think you're doing?" he demanded.

The man looked at him.  "I'm enacting a federal warrant."  He held it up.  "For the contents of your office.  If you get in my way, the four agents coming in with more boxes are going to arrest you now.  If not, you'll have enough free time to get your affairs in order I suppose."  He went back to loading the things on the desk into a box.

"You can't do that!"

"I can do that.  The judge said I could and no, the ones you have paid off can't countermand that, Wilkins.  It's a *federal* warrant.  Yours can only overrule local judges."  The other agents came in with more boxes.  "Start on his filing cabinets.  Terry, take the safe.  It's supposed to be there according to the one we made the deal with earlier."  He pointed.

"One of my staff turned on me?" he demanded.

"We let him go with a minimal sentence instead of the multiple life sentences he deserved," the head agent said smugly.  "It's wonderful how quickly some people turn when they're facing six consecutive life sentences."

"You still can't do that," he ordered, pulling up magic.  Something was stopping him though.  He glared at one agent, who smirked.

"Yes, we can.  The government said we can and you're only a local mayor.  They overrule you too."  He got back to work.  The mayor huffed off.  "Don't think about skipping the country either.  We will find you."  He looked at the lead agent.  "Doctor House seemed happier."

"He got in his warning and made sure the man would be miserable somehow."  He checked the desk, finding something.  "Hmm.  Flu virus 1990," he read off a vial, picking it up.  "Isn't Wilkins germphobic?"  They all nodded.  He showed it to them.  "House left it probably."

"Ninety wasn't a bad flu year," Terry said.  "More annoying than bad."

"Wonderful."  He tossed that into the box as well.  He was sure they wouldn't catch House's fingerprints on it.  If so, they'd handle him too.  Even if his nephew did pout them to death.  That kid was very stubborn and strong.  He pitied House when he got to be a teenager.


A few months later Alex was staring at the tv his uncle had on in his office.  He was only doing paperwork so he was with him instead of in the daycare.  "Unclie Greggy, why is big snake being shot at?" he asked.

House looked, turning up the volume to hear the reporter's comments.  "Huh," he said, staring at it oddly.  "Chase!" he bellowed.  He came jogging in with Foreman and Wilson behind him.  "Not for you, Foreman."

He stared at the tv.  "What's that?  New movie?"

"No, it's live tv," Wilson said, staring at it in horror.  "Chase?  Any idea?"

"Not a clue," he admitted.

"Ooh!  Agents!" Alex squealed and pointed.  "Agents, Unclie Greggy!"

"Those are the agents from LA.  Hmm."  They all watched as they killed the demon with something that had to be gotten from the local military reserve base.

"Jesus," Wilson decided.

"That's one big rainforest snake," Foreman said.  He walked off shaking his head.

Chase and Wilson stared at Foreman's back then looked at House.  "The mayor?"

"The report said that it had been a graduation ceremony where he was speaking and then suddenly people started to run screaming from it.  Some people tried to stop them but didn't manage it.  Agents were watching him and called in for backup when the running and screaming started.  Then this giant worm seemed to show up," House told him.  "Out of nowhere according to the agents."

"Meany," Alex said, spitting at the tv.

"Spit again, no jell-o," Wilson warned.

Alex settled down at that.  He looked at Chase.  "Roo parts?" he asked.  "You said spring."

House smirked at Chase.  "Yes, where are the tail and ears?"

"I'm not strong enough to hold a shape changing spell," he complained quietly.

"I can help with that," Wilson sighed, shaking his head.  He gave Alex a hug.  "What are you coloring on?"

"Cuddy's latest memo of stupidity," House told him.  "I'll let him present it to her now that it looks better."

Chase groaned, walking out shaking his head.  House clearly hadn't read the memo.  It was about vacation time and them having to use some of it.

"Not the vacation one," Wilson called after him.  "The TP one."  Chase shuddered but continued back to do something better for his brain.




"Absolutely not," House yelled.

"But, Uncle Greg, I can date a good girl," he complained.

"She's not one."

"How do you know?" he complained.  "Beyond that, you haven't dated in *years*!"

Greg looked at him.  "Because she's Cuddy's age, nephew.  She can't be good if she's dating a sixteen-year-old and she's forty something."

"She seems nice and all the stories you have say younger men and older women work well because we're hitting our sexual strides at the same time.  The same as girls want older men because they're more steady."

"Quit reading my porn, Alex.  You have your own."

"Yay!  It's nothing I haven't seen in forever and she only wanted laid."

"I don't care!"

"Fine."  He huffed and pouted.

"That doesn't work as well now.  It hasn't since you were five and pouted your way into nearly getting the measles."

"I still say it's mean.  Why can't I go have sex?"

"Because you're sixteen and you nearly forgot condoms."

"I have condoms.  She has condoms.  We even bought a ten pack together," he said with a proud look.

House stared at him.  "No!  And now you're grounded for a week.  And no sneaking out either or I'll have Chase make you celibate."

"Chase can't do that," he said smugly.

"I'm sure he can.  If not, I can do it chemically."

Alex huffed off, heading back to his room to call her.  "He's mean," he complained.

"I'm turning her in for hitting on a sixteen-year-old," House called.

"No you're not or they'd have to do it to you for hitting on the perky breasts of doom at the club last week," he called back.

House walked into his room.  "She was eighteen.  I checked her ID.  That means she's legal.  You're not."  He took the phone.  "I've already called a cop over you trying to take on a sixteen-year-old boy, lady."  He hung up and stared at his nephew.  "Behave?  Please?"

"All I wanted was sex.  Not like you and Wilson and Chase are going to let me go screw half the college's frats."

"Again?" he asked dryly, walking off.  "Dinner's soon."

"Fine."  He came out after changing back into casual clothes.  Chase walked in.  "Tell Momma Greggy that I can go have sex?"

"Hell no, not with the demonic whore who wanted you to spawn with her," Chase told him.  Alex slumped.  "Tough."


"No.  No demons."

"She was?" House asked.

"Yes," he complained.  "James spotted her and made her go for a run just now."  He gave the boy a hug.  "I loved you even when you had measles.  So stop pouting at me."  He went in to fix dinner.  It was his night.

Alex sighed, looking at his other uncle when he came in.  "Tell them I can go pick up someone else at the club?" he asked pitifully.

"No, because the demon might still want you, Alex.  Sorry."  He gave him a hug.  "No pouting or I'm spanking.  Not in the way your dates do but I will spank."

"Yes, Uncle James.  Uncle Robert, can I go to the club?"


"Before you ask, I could've sworn I said you were grounded," House said dryly.  "I'll be damned if I'm going to be a grandfather to your half-demon spawn, Alex."

"I didn't know she was a demon."

"Yay."  He stared his nephew down.  "Go jack off but do it quietly this time."  Alex huffed off to his room.  "I wasn't that bad," he groaned.

"He's got your libido," Chase teased.

"Clearly.  Well, maybe we can find him two slightly evil girls to wear that out on since I have you two."

Wilson smirked at him for that comment.  "Rob, I do believe he called us evil girls."

"I think he only compared them to us," he shot back with a smirk.  "Clearly his comparisons need work."

"Quit or I'm finding that shape changing spell and giving you a tail at work," House warned, staring him down.  Chase snickered at that.

"Can't be any worse than Alex nearly changing a nurse into a dog by accident when he had the flu last time," Wilson said dryly.

"True.  Cuddy only groaned and walked the other way."  He went back to his frying of meat.  Alex's room started to get loud so they turned on some music, House changing the station on them once it was on.  They were used to it.  When it got really loud, House found his air horn and blew it in time with the groans coming out.

"I'll find a silencing spell tomorrow," Alex shouted.  "Go away!"

House listened at the door, glaring at it.  He walked back to the kitchen.  "Where's the lock picking kit?"

"He's got that hook and eye now," Chase reminded him, going to magically open the door for him.  He walked in and saw something that was going to rot his brain.  "Alex, why do you have three succuba helping you?" he asked.

"They offered," he said with a cute grin.  "They're very good at it."

House stomped in but they tried to snare him too.  Alex stopped that by shuddering and losing his erection.  So they went back to playing with him.  Chase got House out of the way so he could start a banishing.  Alex pouted but it took a while to do.  So he still got to get off but not as much as the demonic whores wanted.

Wilson leaned in.  "Alex, must you traumatize us?" he asked patiently.

"They offered!"

"Yay, son.  Come eat.  You clearly need to eat."

"I only got one," he pouted.  Chase hauled him up and shoved him into a bathroom, going to set the table since House was cooking.

"I remember having that sort of stamina," House sighed.

"Last week?" Wilson joked.

"He did show it then," Chase agreed.

"If you want to make it to work tomorrow, I'd quit," House said with an evil smirk.  His nephew came out, earning a long look.  "How did they get in here?"

"One climbed in my window while I was sulking.  She said I was too cute to sulk."

"Only to evil girls," House shot back.  "I thought Robert's little witch friend that wants graphic pictures of us taking him fixed that."

"Not if the window was open," Chase said, not blushing.  His friend was very appreciative and had begged for naked pictures of them many times.  "That leaves a hole in the wards."  He put food onto plates, handing Alex one.  "Restore the energy they took."

"They can't feed off me for some reason," Alex said with a shrug.  "So they're only there for fun."  He grinned.

"Yeah, not happening again," House assured him.  "Or I'll beat your ass."

"Fine."  Someone knocked on the door.  He looked then got up to get it, staring at the older man on the other side.  "Who're you?" he asked.

"Mr. Harris, I'm here to talk to you about your future training," he said, trying to get inside.

"It's House and I'm not going military.  Sorry."  He slammed the door in his face.  "Uncle Greggy, the Watchers finally showed up."

"Bugger 'em," Chase said bluntly.  He went to open the window, waving down at him.  "Leave the boy alone," he called.  "Permanently.  We do know who and what you are."  He closed the window so he could eat.  "There, that should piss them off so you can destroy them," he told House.

"I haven't had to destroy anyone in years," he said smugly.  He looked at his nephew.  He always knew where he had come from.  He had always known about the supernatural, which was more than he could say for himself.  His nephew had always know about magic and all that.  He had been training to deal with it when it inevitably came for him.  Because every bad thing seemed to.  Every stray animal too for some reason.  They would not be losing Alex to the watchers, the dark side, or any battle for a very long time.

Until then, the boy could be a boy who trained.  Because he'd be the next House in medicine too.

The End.