Author: In Hiding PM
COMPLETE. HOUSE/OTHER. A forced encounter, an accidental patient, an unexpected friend, a summer fling. And never the same again. A canonical story taking place the summer between S4 and S5. with the understanding of things left unsaid.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - G. House - Chapters: 61 - Words: 72,688 - Reviews: 130 - Favs: 52 - Follows: 48 - Updated: 11-26-12 - Published: 07-28-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4430244
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There's was a forced entry into each other's lives, not forced BY them but ON them by Cuddy's edict that he "get in that exam room and do your damn job, or I swear to you that I'll find someone who will." Kelly Janes was the unwitting occupant of said exam room. Greg House was the unwilling doctor who after a crass comment under his breath and a loud retort for the whole waiting area to hear actually DID do his "damn job", and did it so well that what should have been a 5 minute routine encounter turned into a whole summer of meetings and partings --- and refusals to part --- that left him broken and whole and altogether different than he was before.
Kelly had heard the whole exchange as it had happened right outside the open exam room door. She was grateful her reason for being there was mundane enough to keep his annoyance level to a minimum. "I just a need new prescription for Synthroid," she supplied before he had a chance to ask. ".025. I have my old prescription here."
"You've had regular blood work done to check dosage?" he asked, entirely disinterested.
"It was monitored by my family doctor. Quarterly checkups. I'm not from here, and I just realized I was out of refills. Can you give me the script, or do you need to take blood first?"
He was already reaching for his pad...which he realized he'd left in his office, having expected to avoid the clinic that day. "I can write it. I'll be right back."
Cuddy was still at the desk looking through a chart. "Finished already? Good; you can take the rectal parasites in 6."
House barely missed a beat before smiling beautifically at her and lying through his teeth. "Sorry, Dr. Cuddy, but my patient needs a full exam; I'm going to be awhile."
His patient heard that, too. She'd been standing in the doorway of the exam room, hoping for a grab-and-go exit. She debated on whether to foil him then and there, but was too late --- before she could even open her mouth he was already ushering her back in the room.
"When was the last time you had a full physical?"
"Not that long ag -"
"Well, you can never be too careful," he cut in. "Let me get you a gown..."
"If it's all the same to you, I'd just take my prescription and go."
He surprised her putting a hand on her shoulder and holding her at arm's length. "Look, I don't like you and you don't like me."
"I don't even KNOW you."
"And I assure you that if you did, you wouldn't like me. But, it would mean a LOT to me if you'd let me give you a physical."
Amusement finally surfaced in her, and she relaxed and played along, matching his mock intensity. "Doctor...are you coming on to me?"
He released her shoulder but not his demeanour. "Would it make a difference in your answer if I was?" he asked her, straight faced.
She chuckled then. "Well, I guess I should be flattered that you've chosen me over rectal parasites. But can we agree to skip the PAP test until at least the second date?"
He handed her a gown and drew the curtain. "Why don't you go get undressed and then we'll discuss it?"
He started taking her history while she changed, sensing that if he didn't at least make a good show of it she was going to bail and he'd be up to his elbows (well, maybe only knuckles) in someone's... misfortune, and when he pulled back the curtain found her sitting cross legged on the exam table with her jacket draped backwards over her gown, looking at least 10 years younger than the age she'd just reported. It was then that it first occurred to him that she'd arrived ridiculously overdressed for the weather. "What's with the jacket? It's got to be 100 degrees outside."
"I keep it with me for those times when I'm stuck sitting for hours in an air conditioned waiting room until a doctor can be cajoled into seeing me."
He didn't smile, but his eyes revealed he appreciated her wit. "Did your doctor ever talk to you about cold sensitivity or circulatory problems? Maybe something related to your thyroid?"
"Not that I can remember." She recoiled from him slightly when he touched her arm, took her hand in his to examine her nail beds, which she could see were blue. "You're really warm."
"That's because you're freezing." He took her pulse and checked the circulation in her feet. "Hmmm... Have you been sick recently? Have any infections? Flu-like symptoms?"
"Um... I'm not sure. I guess, maybe." She hadn't been sleeping well, hadn't been eating well, and with the stress of her move and her husband, she'd just attributed her fatigue and fogginess to that. It hadn't really occurred to her that something might actually be wrong.
His eyes practically lit up when he took her temperature, something that she neither understood or liked. "Do you happen to know your normal body temperature?"
"I've always run a little cold - 97.5 or .6."
He returned a moment later with a wheel chair and Dr. Cuddy in tow. "I'm afraid you'll have to take care of those pesky rectal parasites on your own. My patient needs to be admitted."
"What??" The exclamation came in stereo, followed up immediately by Cuddy. "Dr. House, may I speak to you for a moment?"
"No time to talk. This woman is in stage 2 hypothermia and we need to get her temperature up right away before her organs start to fail."
Kelly spoke up, confused by his obvious glee and not sure if this was a ploy or a real cause for alarm. "I just came in for a prescription!"
Cuddy apparently wasn't sure either. "House, what is this about? She not even shivering."
"I know... Kinda neat, isn't it?" And he wheeled her out of the room.
It was Dr. Cameron that met them in the emergency room. "What have you got?"
"31 year old in stage 2 hypothermia. We need warming blankets right away, and push some warm saline while you're at it."
Cameron wasn't sure what to make of things either, but helped Kelly onto a gurney and signaled to a nurse to do what House had said, even as she questioned him: "Hypothermia? Caused by what?"
"Apparently caused by the air conditioning."
House was grinning, as much as he ever grinned, and that was what convinced Cameron that he was telling the truth. She felt her adrenaline surge; though she was no longer part of his team, she wasn't immune to the excitement of this kind of anomaly, nor was she immune to his own excitement.
"Ma'am, my name is Dr. Cameron. Do you know where you are?"
Kelly was terrified and feeling very strange, but still had the presence of mind to respond in a way that entertained House. "Apparently I'm at home in bed, but I have to say that on the nightmare scale this is pretty lame. The "ma'am" part was scary, though."
Cameron smiled though kept working, hooking up monitors and starting an IV. "Sorry about that." She took the blankets from the nurse and ordered blood to be drawn. "Don't worry; we're going to get you warmed up."
House was on the phone ordering Thirteen to gather the team. He hung up and approached the gurney, watching Kelly recoiling from the heat. He didn't pull away when she grabbed for the closest thing she could reach and found his hand. "Nurse, can you remove her make-up? I want to be able to monitor her colour."
Cameron helped her roll onto her side. "Sorry, this is going to be a bit uncomfortable, but I need to take your core temperature and this is the most accurate way."
Kelly's face, which grimaced at the violation, was tinged blue around her mouth as House had expected. When both the nurse and Cameron had finished their tasks, House released her hand and was about to dismiss himself to order her admission and meet with his team when he noticed her eyes losing focus. "Ma'am? Ma'am?" Little had changed on the monitors, though the readings had not been fantastic to begin with. "Cameron..."
"We need to get her submerged, but I worry about the water temperature; I don't want to hurt her."
The nurse suggested calling the physiotherapy department and having them prepare one of their whirlpool tubs, which would have temperature control functions. Cuddy, who had been hovering and watching with interest, volunteered to make the preparations and was on the phone before she left the room.
House was shining a flashlight in Kelly's eyes. "Ma'am? You still with us?"
"Please stop calling me "ma'am"," were the last words she managed before she passed out.
Cameron and House debated the significance of her symptoms in the elevator, her gurney between them. Her apparent inability to shiver was as fascinating as her temperature, which had dropped another degree. House had already told his team to meet them for a "pool-side differential", but he quickly made another call requesting a crash cart, just in case.
The water temperature was reading 97 degrees when they arrived, and Cameron was concerned. "It's too warm. We need to start it lower and work it back up while she's in it."
The physiotherapist who had awaited their arrival informed them there was no cooling mechanism --- they would have to wait or add ice.
House was already taking off his shoes and socks and emptying his pockets. "There's no time. Get her off the monitors. Now." His team started to arrive, with Cuddy close behind, as he was lowering himself into the water. "Foreman, Kutner, get her in here. Thirteen, get lots of towels in case we need to resuscitate. Cuddy, can you get her a room?"
"Already done. I'll deal with the admitting paperwork."
"Kutner, rig up the IV stand over here, then go get her stuff from the emergency room and look through it; see what you can find."
As Foreman and Taub lowered Kelly into the water and into House's arms, Cameron dismissed the orderlies who had brought her there, telling them to leave the equipment. Then after receiving a 911 page she followed them from the room. Cuddy, kneeling beside the tub, helped rest Kelly's head on House's shoulder.
"I'll have someone send up some dry clothes for you both. Is there anything else you need?"
"You just take good care of those rectal parasites and don't worry about a thing."
Kelly laughed, having regained consciousness in time to hear his comment. And they all breathed a sigh of relief, right before she started seizing.
45 minutes later, the relief had returned. Three soggy doctors and one soggy administrator went to schedule scans and tests and find dry clothes. Kutner, who had remained dry during his errands, was in conversation with the physiotherapist in his office. And Kelly, exhausted but conscious and aware, remained in House's arms as they waited for her temperature to rise.
"I'm Kelly Janes, by the way. I don't think we've been formally introduced."
It was the first time she'd spoken since her time in the ER. "Greg House," he responded, matching the irony of her tone. "Nice to meet you." He helped her as she shifted her position and reclined further to support her frame, instinctively protecting his leg. His hands were on her hips, keeping her from floating.
She turned her face toward his, her forehead coming to rest against his chin. "Can I ask you a question, Greg House?"
"What's wrong with me?" Unexpectedly, her voice caught. As her mind was awakening, so was her fear.
Kutner, returning to the room, had heard her question and was about to interject an answer before House, with his trademarked lack of compassion, could say something insensitive. He was surprised when House answered.
"I'm not sure. But we'll figure it out; we always do."
That seemed to settle her for the moment, and she closed her eyes.
Kutner kneeled by them and moved her hair aside. "I need to check your temperature," he explained, waiting a moment for the "beep". "That'll do. I'll get some nurses to come and help you get dressed."
"That's okay; I think I can manage."
Kutner looked at House, who nodded. "Okay. There are scrubs and extra towels for both of you in the shower room just over there. Just let me get Dr. Connor to help me get you out of the water."
The physiotherapist joined him and gently they moved her from the tub to a wheel chair, immediately covering her with towels to keep her warm and to afford her some modesty. They then turned their attention to House, who after having his bad leg soak in the hot water for so long managed pretty well on his own. Ignoring the offer of his cane, he took the handles of the wheelchair. "Kutner..."
"I'll be right out here if either of you need anything."
In the shower room House helped her move from the chair to a bench. He grabbed the clothes and towels that had been left for him and excused himself, stripping down and changing as fast as he could. When he returned he found her where he left her, leaning back against the wall with her eyes closed. "Uh... You okay?" he ventured.
"I'm not dead, don't worry," she assured him with a thin but brave smile. "I just may have been a little ambitious."
The next thing she knew he was beside her, leaning her forward and untying her gown, drying her skin as he uncovered it, averting his gaze at all the right times. Not a word passed between them. And then she was dressed and on her feet, his arm around her waist supporting her weight as best he could.
Kutner had moved the gurney to just outside the door and was quick to take over, laying her down, discretely reattaching the monitors under her shirt, rebandaging her arm where her IV had ripped out mid-seizure. "They're waiting for her in radiology," he told House, who hadn't left her side. He paused. "Do you want to take her down?"
House's eyes narrowed. Kutner assumed it was at the strangeness of the question, but actually it reflected House's surprised recognition of its odd appropriateness. "Of course not. Get everyone to my office when you have some answers." His terse response was offset by his soft expression meeting Kelly's nervous one.
Kutner didn't notice. But House did. And as he limped barefoot to collect his belongings and put on his shoes, he wondered what on earth had come over him.