HOUSE, M.D.: Inside Out
Author's note: I have gone over this and made a few changes. Stretching some of the information out. I am not changing Angela's character too much, but I have removed the Charmed/sorceress part of her personality as it isn't entirely crucial to this particular story.
I AM keeping Angela as a Mary Sue, but I am fine tuning her personality a little bit. So I hope that this version pleases fans old and new.
And as a final note, anyone who from GAFF (You know who you are.) who replies to my fic, please note that any reviews you send will be removed if possible. You are entitled to your opinion, just don't bombard me with it. Thank you.
Ch.1 Getting to Know You
The Trenton National Flower and Garden Show was immensely popular. The air was thick with the scents of flowers and fresh grown produce. Every stall had bouquets of flowers, miniature trees, or trays and baskets of fresh grown vegetables. The patrons wandered around, marveling at the different samples of plant life. Most popular of all was the stall run by Ms. Jen Wormwood. Her beautiful display of blue roses was stunning and seemed to attract everyone. People came over to look at the perfect color and smell the stunning blossoms.
Some of the patrons started feeling dizzy after smelling the roses, but no one paid any mind. Until one of the guests collapsed right in the middle of the show
Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital
The diagnostic team was collected in the small meeting room connected to the office of their boss, Dr. Gregory House. Currently, three quarters of the team were trying to figure out what had happened to the 8 fallen guests at the garden show. The board was covered in symptoms ranging from rashes, to tachycardia, to paralysis.
"Symptoms are whacked out, diagnoses are all over the scale, and no two patients have exactly the same thing… This is bad," Dr. Eric Foreman was saying to the other three members of the medical team. Dr. James Wilson was looking at the patients' charts.
"Two seem to have cancer that usually takes at least two years to develop, and from their histories, they were perfectly healthy the day before. It's like the disease just suddenly exploded in their systems."
Dr. Robert Chase, a transfer from a hospital in Sydney, Australia looked at Foreman.
"Forget bad. Impossible is more like it. And there's absolutely nothing that connects them, other than that they attended the garden show?" Foreman shook his head.
"Zip. The only person not presenting with a barrage of symptoms is…" He consulted a chart. "A Miss Angela McKeaten. She collapsed yesterday at an office building during some sort of audition. The office was half a block from the garden show, so maybe she came from there."
"If that's the case, then how come she stayed resistant for so long?" said a voice from the door way. Dr. House limped in, leaning, as always, on his cane. "She was admitted after the other patients. That means she either wasn't exposed, or there's something else at work. So… Forman, you're with me. Let's go see what Miss McKeaten has to say. The rest of you… medical histories." He waited for a moment, and then said, "Today, please. These people aren't going to live forever."
Angela McKeaten was sitting up in bed working on a crossword puzzle when House and Foreman walked in. "I need a 12 letter word for doctors who have no idea what's going on," she said, without looking at either of them. House paused for a moment and then said, "House Foreman." Angela nodded once. "Nice to meet you, Dr. House. Dr. Foreman. There is a simple explanation for what happened to the garden show victims which in normal circumstances I'd be happy to give you. After I'm done with my puzzle, of course." House pulled a chair over and sat down, looking at her.
"Well, I'm sure these people can wait while you finish the paper. I mean, so what if they die in numerous ways."
"They won't die. Well, not for a while anyway. When they do, it will be in various ways, but the same thing set all of them off," Angela said, smirking, her gaze never leaving the paper. Foreman looked at her.
"Ma'am, we really need your help with this." Angela finally set the puzzle down, and looked at each doctor. "Clue, the first. It's rare, it's beautiful, and it's mysterious." She lifted the puzzle again.
"And for the record, no, I'm not very concerned with the deaths of any of those affected. Less danger to me." Foreman looked shocked, but House looked pensive. After studying Angela for a moment, he stood up.
"Well, sorry to take up your time, we'll be going. Foreman." The two left the room, closing the door as they went. Foreman looked pissed. "Man, that was no help at all."
"On the contrary. If you listened, she gave us some good clues," House said as he tried to rid his mind of the woman who, with one visit, had derailed his cynical, sarcastic train.
"She said that the patrons all were affected by the same thing. First keyword: affected, not infected. That suggests contact with something. Second, she said it's rare and beautiful. So we're not looking for an ugly, common fern. The patients had a reaction to something at that show." Foreman nodded.
"I'll ask for a list of the plants at the show. See what makes the cut, but it's going to be a pretty big list." House nodded, his mind still on Angela McKeaten.
"You do that," House said, distractedly. "I'll be in my office." Foreman watched House limp off. Shaking his head, he went to go call the garden show coordinators.
It was about 1 in the morning when House decided to leave the hospital. He had wanted to leave earlier, but the cases kept rattling around in his brain, and he knew it would be a while before his mind would calm down enough to make sleep possible. Walking out of his office, House was lost in thought, and as a result, his feet led him back to Angela's room.
"Wow. Two visits in one day. Either I'm really sick or I must be blessed," Angela said when she saw House in the doorway to her room. "What are you doing awake?" She asked, sitting up.
"I have 8 patients with unidentifiable illnesses," House replied, his voice thick with irritability. "That wouldn't keep you awake?"
Angela looked at him for a while. "Come see me tomorrow morning. I'll tell you how to break your case. And why I don't care. Just you. Deal?"
House watched her carefully. "Okay. I'll be back in the morning. Oh, wait. Technically, it is morning. Well, since I'm already here…"
"10 o'clock," Angela said. "I'll be waiting. And don't worry. You shouldn't lose anyone in the meantime." House realized that whatever secrets she possessed, she would clearly tell them on her terms. Acknowledging this, though really wishing that the woman would just spill everything now, he turned and left.
The next morning, Angela was wide awake when House came in. "Close the door and sit down."
"Gee, thanks," House said, mockingly. Angela's eyes narrowed.
"This may take a while. So you might as well make yourself comfortable. Sit." House did so and waited for her to start. Angela said, "First off, you have to be willing to believe anything and everything I tell you. It's all a bit hard to comprehend. Second, I'm not human. Not really, anyway."
"Then what are you? I mean you look human. Are you a vampire?" Angela smirked. "No, that's my brother."
"That would be my friend, Remus Lupin." House looked slightly perplexed. "Then what are you?"
"Immortal. Well, mostly. Frankly, I prefer the phrase, 'eternally screwed'. Much more accurate." House could think of nothing to say. This woman was crazy. Had to be. Anyone claiming to be Immortal and knowing a werewolf and a vampire… And yet she seemed normal. She looked like any normal woman. But there was something about her. Something that certainly seemed off. And despite his usual skeptical nature, he found himself realizing that she just might be telling him the truth. House decided that if the woman was really crazy, he'd just call Psych and leave. If not… well, then, that was a different matter.
"So when you say 'immortal'…"
"I mean, 'Immortal'. Most Immortals are actually foundlings. But due to… mystical interference-" House cut her off.
"'Mystical interference'? And exactly what does that mean?" Angela sighed and said, "It means that someone made a prophesy about my birth. Me and my twin brother, Liam Sean Angelus McKeaten. We were born about 250 years ago in Ireland. I died the first time when I was 26. That was after my brother was turned into a demon and drained my blood. After that, I became an Immortal. I won't age or get sick. I can't be injured. Well, I can, but I heal almost instantly. That's the basics of what I am."
House said nothing. It was hard to think of anything to say to all of this. If this were all true—and a small part of House's brain suspected it was—then she was risking a good bit of exposure to make him understand. And it seemed as if she wanted to talk, and was now more than willing to share all. Unlike the day before, when she had clammed up. He gave her a quick little eye signal indicating she should continue, which she did.
"As far as particulars… I'm also a witch." House's eyebrows lifted. "You're not going to curse me or anything, are you?" Angela smiled, an act which served to throw off House even more. There was something wrong with this woman. He couldn't tell what it was, but there was definitely something amiss.
"No, I'm not going to curse you. I… kind of left my wand at home. It's very pretty, though. It's a thin willow wand with a leaf pattern on the handle. I've had it for years."
"Any spells you can do without a wand?" House asked, trying to see if she was for real, or if he should call for security. Angela pointed at House's cane.
"Wingardium Leviosa," she said, and the cane started floating up. House looked totally shocked. Never before had something or someone unsettled him so completely. Angela muttered a counter charm, and the cane floated back into House's hand. It took a moment before he found his voice.
"And were your parents… witches, or wizards…"
"Were they magic?" House nodded. "Yes, exactly. I meant to say… that."
"My mother, yes. My father was a muggle. Non magic. That's… all you need to know about me at this point. Now, let's move on to why you're really here, shall we? Your 8 mystery patients. What have you figured out so far?" House straightened up and the familiar investigative glint settled into his gaze.
"We're looking for rare, beautiful plants. Of course, we won't know what exactly we're looking for, will we?" Angela's eyes flashed with praise and a slight enjoyment at the guessing game.
"Tell me, what triggers an enzyme into action?" House looked pensive then said, "Either another enzyme or chemical-" Angela shook her head. "Think more basic. What is DNA made of?"
"The patients' illnesses are because of their DNA? 8 people do not suddenly collapse from genetic disease all at once." Angela nodded. "Very good. You're close. But answer my question." House was staring at her so intently it made the hairs on the back of Angela's neck stand on end.
"Proteins." Angela nodded, her eyes smiling.
"Very good. Proteins can set off enzymes. The enzymes effect changes in the body… even slowing down the body's immunity rate, making them exhibit illnesses they are genetically susceptible to."
"What kind of plant can do that?" Angela reached over to where a satchel was sitting on a table. She pulled out a file and handed it over. "Genetic alterations change how pollens affect people. The mutated proteins increase the production of an enzyme in the body. This enzyme makes people heal slower. Most people are unaffected. But those who have a born sensitivity- i.e. future or present Immortals- will very quickly succumb to illnesses they are prone to." House looked at the file. His doubts had long since ceased nagging him, but he wanted to find out more. "And the reason you didn't want to tell us this before?"
"Immortals battle each other, trying to take the other's heads. The victim's power and knowledge is absorbed into the victor. The fewer Immortals there are, the less danger to me. I've lived 250 years by keeping under the radar of other Immortals." Angela looked at House who had glanced at the file before setting it on the bed. "So, now you know. As far as treatment, just boost their immune levels, and eventually the problem will correct itself. Now it's your turn." House looked at her intently, not knowing what she was talking about.
"My turn for what?" Angela's smile had the feeling of a smile a cat might give a mouse when the rodent was in the feline's grasp.
"Your turn to spill some secrets. Of course if it will make you feel better, you can ask me the question I know you want to ask." Once again, House was thrown off. What was it about this woman that kept throwing him off balance? But Angela again helped his scattered brain along. "You want to know what I'm doing here, don't you?" House nodded. "You're not presenting any visible symptoms of any kind, you seem perfectly fit and healthy, and to be honest, I am wondering what you're doing here." Angela smirked. "Well, first of all, I wasn't near the flower show. Someone always tries to bring blue roses, so I avoid those kinds of shows. As far as what brought me to the hospital…Arthritis." House looked astonished. "You're kidding."
"Hey, you try rough living for 250 years and see how well your joints hold up. It's a common ailment for immortals, strangely enough. Mostly it's those who are 800-years-old or more. But I'm an active person, and I'm kind of prone to ankle injuries. It's been a problem since I was little." House still had more questions, so he asked, "But why are you here in New Jersey?" Angela sighed.
"I work for a film casting company. I'm helping an on location audition. And I'm in the hospital because my managers got worried when my ankles gave out." House's eyes narrowed. "Really?" Angela nodded. "Yeah. Don't know why they were worried. It's not like it's the first time it's happened. Anyway, I'm out of here late tomorrow afternoon." Angela sighed. "So what about you? What happened to you?"
House averted his eyes. Why didn't he want to tell her? It was like… like he didn't want to be weak all of a sudden. Angela's gaze bore into him. "Well, if you won't tell me, I can always guess. Let's see. I don't think it's a joint problem, and I don't think it's an old injury. Blood clot? If I'm getting close let me know."
"Do you work on being this annoying or is it a natural talent?" House said irritably. This woman! Why did she get under his skin? Angela's smile was even more grating. "Ooh, I got it, didn't I? Well?" House looked at her. "I had an infarction in my leg." Angela leaned forward. "Well, that would do it, wouldn't it? One other little question." House looked at her, wary of her next query. What more could this woman throw at him? Angela's smile was wide, and her eyes were searching.
"Are you attracted to me?" House was dumbstruck. How the hell did she know that he…? Wait, that was it. That was why she had seemed so… off. She wasn't put off by his behavior and that, what? Made him attracted to her? "Well?" she asked, watching his face intently. House looked at her.
"You are an infuriating woman, you have no sense of tact, and I have a good mind to leave right now." Angela waited for a few moments, noting that House didn't move from his chair.
"And yet you're still here. There must be a reason. So answer my question."
"Yes. I don't know what it is about you, but you seem to be constantly able to throw me off." Angela smiled as she lay back.
"It's the Immortal thing. We all seem to have this uncanny ability to get people unnerved. Don't worry. You'll get used to it. Or it'll drive you insane. Which for you would be a short trip, I'd wager."
House was silent for a moment and then said, "I have to take care of my other patients and then I'm going to get you discharged today." Angela sat up again.
"Ooh. That eager to get rid of me, are you?" House stood up. "Doctors are not allowed to date patients. Now, if you'll excuse me…" As he left, Angela lay back down. The man was crotchety, overly sensitive and irritable. But she loved a fixer-upper.
House had been true to his word. It was just after 1 in the afternoon when one of the nurses came by to tell Angela that she was ready to go. Angela changed and started to walk back to her apartment. Once inside, she proceeded to take some aspirin and get ready for that evening. She was going out to dinner with Dr. Gregory House, and she knew it would be an enlightening experience.
As far as picking a location, she decided on an Irish pub she knew, which would be a nice chance for him to get to know her in a comfortable, casual setting. And if things went right, the two would probably end up back at her place. Angela went to her closet and selected a blue tunic top with a pair of blue jeans and a pair of calf-high boots. But after looking at the outfit in the full length mirror, she decided on a scoop-neck long-sleeved red shirt. If she was going to seduce, she might as well do it right.
At 5:30, she headed to her car and drove down to the pub and ordered a Guinness while she waited for House to show up. Sure enough, at 6 sharp, she saw the doctor come over to the table and sat down. Angela signaled the waitress over and said, "My friend here will have a scotch neat, please." The girl nodded and headed off. House looked at her.
"Is there anything you don't know about me?" Angela chuckled.
"You have a… clean, sort of mossy smell. It happens when you drink scotch for a lot of years. It's nice. I like it."
"Why did you pick this place?" Angela sipped her beer.
"It's something I've taken from my youth. I always find pubs a nice, comfy place to talk. It's safe." House looked at her and Angela's eyes slightly narrowed. She smiled warmly.
"Is there ever going to be time when you'll be comfortable with me?"
"If I have enough scotch, maybe." Angela laughed.
"You know what your problem is?" House got his drink and sipped before saying, "I'll bite. What is my problem?" Angela sipped her beer and leaned back.
"You have a good mind, good senses, but you're afraid of failure. That's professionally speaking. Personally speaking, I think you're more afraid of relationships. That's why the sarcasm and cynicism. Most people are turned off by that. They can respect the man, but they hate the personality." She sipped again.
"Of course I've dealt with my friend Duncan Macleod who's a broody, moody 400-year-old Immortal. Then there's my brother who's twice as broody despite the fact he's my age. I'm used to grating personalities, Dr. House. You're not going to drive me off easily."
"So my cheerful demeanor and sunny temperament has no effect on you whatsoever?" Angela shrugged and smiled. "None at all. You can try, though. Good luck." She took a longer swig of the Guinness and picked up a menu. "I'm feeling like a steak. How about you?"
"So he hit you."
"Yes. Of course I can't exactly blame him. I lied to him, and could have killed his son." Angela's face showed hints of concern. "Yeah, but come on. First off, you had very little to go on. Plus nothing about the boy's condition added up. And then there's the fact that you'd been… what? Four or more days without painkillers? Personally, I'm impressed. I mean, first of all, not many people could work through that kind of pain. And then there's- you know, the addiction. Dealing with all that… it's impressive on a sort of strange level."
House popped a bite of steak in his mouth and gave a hollow sort of chuckle. "Well, I'm glad my ability to cope with withdrawal and pain impresses you." Angela let out a bark of laughter.
"Hey, you want withstanding pain? When my godson was 5 months old, he was over at my house and somehow got one of my swords flying around the room. I was impaled sideways. Of course then Sirius asked me how I was. God I loved him." Angela's sense of joy seemed to shrink. House felt slightly uncomfortable, but tried to be comforting.
"How did he die?" Angela blinked. Was House actually being nice? Hmm…
"I don't know. He… fell through this veil to- I don't know, to 'Beyond' or… well, something. But you know, as much as I loved him… something just never felt right. I think it was my age or something. I don't know. All my relationships seem off. Just another wonderful part of my screwed up life."
House said nothing, but instead cut another bite of steak. Angela's eyes narrowed slightly as she looked at his steak.
"How can you eat that?" House's left eyebrow rose.
"I put it in my mouth and chew. How do you do it?" Angela shook her head.
"It's well done. There's no… juice. No flavor in it. What about like a tenderloin? Would you get that well done too?" House looked at her with an amused look.
"Probably, why?" Angela shook her head and cut a bite of her own medium rare steak.
"You're going to make some chef cry, I swear to God."
"So you like your steak still moving?" Angela smirked. "Hell, no. Just as long as it's dark pink, I'm good." House watched as she cut another bite. "That kind of thing can kill you, you know." Angela paused mid-chew. She finished quickly and gave him a look. "Read my lips: I'm. An. Immortal. There are very few ways I HAVEN'T died. Mainly decapitation or cremation. And that's because those would kill me for good."
"You know, talk like that can ruin someone's appetite." Angela gave a snort of laughter.
"Oh, please. Look what you do for a living. Pretty much any medical or related career will result in gross, as you said, appetite-suppressing stories. Frankly, though, I find stuff like that perfect dinner conversation." Angela gestured with her fork.
"If you're going to date an Immortal, you better toughen up." House looked at the fork she had pointed in his direction.
"I'd appreciate you not waving sharp, pointy objects in my face." Angela's mouth tweaked in a smirk.
"Or what?" House swiftly caught her own fork with his and pinned it on the table before quickly leaning forward and kissing Angela full on the lips. The kiss lasted for about a minute and a half, and when House pulled back, Angela's face was full of happy surprise. House smirked and said, "You know, as cute as you are when you're talking, you're even more beautiful when you're quiet. Maybe I should kiss you more often."
"Yeah," Angela said breathily. "Yeah, that… that was… some kiss." He let her fork go and looked into those blue-green eyes.
"Well, I thought worked well." Angela just nodded. "Yeah. It- it did." She shook her head slightly to clear her mind. Suddenly, she felt lightheaded and giddy. This was love. Not like any sort of crush or romance she'd ever had before. This was lighter than air, 'sweep me off my feet' happy love. And it was as new to Angela as it was to House.
"Look, I have- I've got this company apartment I'm using. And, um… Well, it's not that far, and I was… well, I was wondering if you wanted to come over. I've got this special liquor and… well, I was wondering if you'd want to have a little. With me. So what do you say?"
House looked faintly surprised but recovered quickly. "How old is it? 10 years old? 20?" Angela chuckled slightly. "Just, oh… About 700 years old. It was a gift from a 2000-year-old Immortal. Well? You want a taste?" House looked at Angela for a long moment and then said, "You're on." Angela grinned widely and paid for their dinners. Once at their respective cars, Angela let the way back to her apartment.
When Dr. House entered the apartment, he saw that, again, Angela's stripes had changed. He'd been expecting a messy place, with clothes and items strewn around. Instead, the place was neat, and organized, and decorated with soft, yet bright colors. "Not what I expected," was all he could say, looking around. Angela hung up her coat and went to a liquor cabinet and pulled out a worn, dusty bottle. She poured only about 2 tablespoons of liquid into each glass and corked the bottle.
"This is a honey liquor an old family friend gave me for my 50th birthday. Sadly, he died about 8 years ago." House took the offered glass and sniffed the liquor. Then he took a bare taste.
"How old is this? It tastes…" Angela sipped hers, and watched him. The way his nose would crinkle as he thought. She could almost see the brain work to describe the liquor.
"It tastes old," House said, finally, pulling another taste onto his tongue. "Yet… fresh. The honey is sweet, yet… flowery. Almost tropical." Angela nodded. "The honey came from what is now Hawaii. You have good taste. Most people don't get that. Listen, sit down. I'll be back in a moment" Angela said, motioning for House to sit down on the couch while she went to change clothes. 10 minutes later, she came out of the bedroom with a pair of warn jeans and a sleeveless top. Her feet were bare and her hair was pulled up in a hair clip.
"So how long has it been since you've been with a woman?" Angela asked as she sat down, tucking her feet underneath her. House looked only slightly put off. "Well, as you said, no one wants to be with a cranky, cynic, misanthrope." Angela smiled softly. "I know what I said… but that doesn't answer my question. You have a problem with that, don't you?"
"Problem with what?" Angela rolled her eyes. "Do I have to spell it out for you? You seem to have a problem with direct answers to my questions. So let's try again." House was quiet. Thinking quickly, he realized she was right. But he'd never had that problem before. Angela grinned and repeated her question. "How long has it been since you've been alone with a woman? In a romantic sense, I mean."
"Quite a few years. I don't remember actually." Angela just kept smiling, making House drain the last of his drink, an act that made Angela smile even more. She really had him on edge now. A few more gentle nudges, and he'd fall right into her waiting hands.
Angela was patient as she and House sat in silence. House, on the other hand, looked nervous. Angela was willing to spend time with him. Most women just looked at him with pity, an expression he hated. With Angela, though, her face had more of a… casual, commiserating look.
"Are you sure you want to be with… I mean, you're limber, flexible. Immortal. I'm a crippled short-lived sarcastic doctor." Angela paused for a moment, then unfolded herself from her position and leaned over and kissed him on the mouth.
"I'm a pretty good judge of character, DR. House. And when I see something I want, I go for. Your demons and problems don't bother me. I can deal with it. How about you?" She kissed him again, which caused the last of House's reservations to collapse. Angela gracefully stood up off the couch and beckoned House to her bedroom.
Angela pulled back the sheets on the bed, and House shed his jacket and shirt. Angela stepped into the connecting bathroom and again changed into a pair of pajama shorts and a camisole top. She stared at House as he sat down on the bed. "Any hesitations or comments?" She asked as she came right in front of him. House looked over her body and said, "Absolutely not." Angela kissed him softly, but the building passion in House caused him to overtake her with a deeper, more aggressive kiss. Soon, the two were making love in the soft, quiet night.