Author's Notes: Okay. I have AOL email again, but for quicker responses, please use the email on my website—address is located on my profile.

I know I've said this before—even mentioned it in my updated profile—Inside Out is still ongoing. It's just taking a little longer.

Ch. 3 Shocks and Surprises

The next morning, Dulcie woke up to the smells of breakfast. She got up and stretched before throwing on a sweatshirt and heading to the small kitchen.

House already had eggs and toast up when Dulcie sat at the table. He put a couple slices of bacon on each plate and brought them out. "I thought you were the sleeping-in type," House said, off-handedly.

"Only on the weekends. Weekdays, I'm up early." Dulcie picked up her fork and started eating as House sat down. "I didn't think of you as the cooking type," she said, smirking. House gave her a look. "What?"

"You didn't think I could cook?"

"Um, actually… I saw you as the dine out/take-out type."

"What about you?" Dulcie laughed as she had a bite of toast. "I can toast PopTarts and waffles. And I can make macaroni and cheese from a box. Anything else is over my head. Back home, every take out place in a 10 mile radius knows me by the sound of my voice. Last year I got flowers and thank you cards from 2 pizza delivery guys and 3 waitresses I ended up helping put through college. The nicer restaurants keep a table open every night for me."

"So… I take that to mean you won't be making dinner tonight?" House asked, only a thin stream of sarcasm evident.

Dulcie rolled her eyes. "Mac and cheese with hot dogs okay with you?"

House smirked. "Sounds good." After a moment, House asked, "Why didn't you pull your sister out of the hospital when Vogler wouldn't help treat her?"

Dulcie's eyes narrowed. "Wow. Just kill that romantic mood, why don't ya? Vogler prevented her transfer as well." Dulcie's gaze softened. "Look, this is what went down. Vogler came in and made a $20 million donation. Then he wanted on the board. Then he wanted to be chief of the hospital. Well, that didn't sit well with me. I was willing to let him be on the board, but he said that I was soft. Short while later, my sister Celeste took a turn for the worst. Vogler stayed until she died, then he packed up and moved on. I've never heard anything from other people who have been under his thumb. We're Vogler's dirty laundry. That's why no one knows about what happened."

House watched her face change from introspective to angry. Dulcie took a long, slow breath. "It was like… like my hospital was raped. Violated. And after he was done, Vogler just walked away. Swept everything under a rug and paid people to keep it quiet." Dulcie stood up and took her plate to the dishwasher. After a moment, she sighed. "Look, I don't want to talk about this. Let's just… get ready for work." Dulcie went to her room where House heard her sobbing a few moments later. Sighing, he got up and started to get himself ready for the day.

Foreman and Cameron were already seated when Dulcie and House came in. Dulcie looked worn as she sat down and House seemed even more quiet than usual. Foreman looked from House to Dulcie. "What's going on with you two this morning?"

Dulcie sighed. "Nothing. Just… stuff. Ahem. So… what do we have this morning?"

Cameron pulled out a file. "25-year-old female and 14-year-old male. Both have a red rash on their face, upper body and arms; dizziness; and headaches. The older one is a law student; the other is a high school sophomore. No obvious relationship."

House went to the writing board and started jotting down the symptoms. "Rash, dizziness, headaches. Anything else?"

Foreman pulled the file towards him. "No known allergies that would explain it. Not measles or chicken pox."

Cameron picked up the dialog. "Neither have any family history of migraines, cancer, or any auto-immune disorders."

Dulcie looked at Cameron with a slightly uninterested look. "So basically we have nothing, nothing… and oh, yeah: Nothing."

Cameron looked disapproving. "Even if you are having a bad morning, you should still try to be pleasant instead of adopting House's cheerful demeanor."

"Dr. Cameron, I am pleasant. You should see what I'm like when I'm miserable. We have nothing. Is there anything that even remotely looks indicative?"

Foreman shrugged and passed the files to Dulcie. "Not really. Have fun, though."

Dulcie flipped through them and saw something slightly odd. "Huh. I thought you said it wasn't an allergic reaction." House's eyebrows arched in interest as he went to look over Dulcie's shoulder.

"They both live near the same open market," House said as he looked at the histories.

Cameron looked defensive. "No allergies! Histamine levels aren't high enough to indicate an allergic reaction."

"Wait, what about chemicals?" Foreman asked, thinking.

House nodded. "Sounds good. Get a tox screen. See if anything pops up." He started walking to the door and Dulcie followed. The two walked in silence until they came to the clinic. House stopped and looked at her. "Is there a reason you're following me?"

"Beats hanging around waiting for test results. So, clinic duty. Sounds fun."

House rolled his eyes at her words, but pushed the door open. Cuddy was waiting there with a file in her hand and a smile on her face. "Good morning," House said, more than a touch of sarcasm in his voice. "What wonderful patient do you have for me this morning?"

"Exam room 2. It's a surprise," Cuddy said handing over the file.

Dulcie took it and looked for only a second before giving a snort of laugh. House looked at it, then at Cuddy, incredulous. "You're kidding," he said, his eyes glinting.

"Afraid not. Have fun."

Dulcie and House went to Exam 2 and opened the door to see Robert Chase lying on the exam table, covered in his lab coat, snoring gently. Dulcie leaned against the wall, her arms crossed. "Should we wake him?"

House grinned as he limped right next to Chase and shouted his name. The doctor leaped up, and looked around wildly. Seeing House standing there grinning like a madman and Dulcie doubled over laughing, he glared at the two of them. Though the look made House start laughing.

Chase's cheeks were puffed like a chipmunk with too much food in its mouth. "Stop laughing, House! It hurts like bloody Hell!"

House was still smiling as he said, "Wisdom teeth?"

"No, some idiot took a swing at both cheeks and didn't leave a bruise," Chase said, angrily. "Yes, I had my wisdom teeth out! A few days ago. But I think there's something stuck in there." House grabbed a pair of tweezers and told Chase to lay back. After a second, he pulled out one of the stitches.

"Piece of cake," House said, holding up his prize. "One of the stitches was starting to come out. Go home, relax, and I'll see you bright and early on Monday."

"Right," Chase muttered as he got up and left the room. Dulcie looked at House. "Are all of your cases this much fun?"

"No. Most of them are idiots."

Dulcie opened the door. "Well, let's find one that isn't an idiot."

House's expression faded from amusement to slight annoyance. "You're seriously going to follow me around all day?"

"Uh… yeah," Dulcie said, a slightly insane grin on her face. "I'll be like… the Watson to your Holmes."

House didn't look amused as he said, "I already have a Watson."

"Yes, the enigmatic James Wilson. But he's not here. I am. Take it or leave it."

It wasn't that House minded Dulcie hanging around, but he figured that her time would be better spent trying to take care of Vogler. Still, the idea of someone to commiserate with about clinic patients was interesting. "Come on, then." House said finally as he headed out the door. Dulcie followed, still smiling.

Around 1:12, House, Dulcie, Cameron and Foreman gathered in the meeting room. Foreman held out the files on their two patients. "Reaction to fertilizers. Got them on treatment."

"They should be fine in a few days," Cameron added.

Foreman looked at House, then at Dulcie. "So what's the deal on Vogler? How much longer till we can get rid of him?"

"Be patient. I mean… it's not like we can just challenge Vogler to a game of miniature golf. Who ever scores higher wins."

"Why not?" House asked, looking mildly amused. "It'll be fun. Have a friendly game, and if that goes down hill, we beat Vogler to death with the clubs. Sounds like a good idea to me. We could do Chase too, if he'll stand still long enough. I mean, he is the ugly, turncoat rat who's siding with Vogler after all."

Foreman looked slightly disapproving. Sure, he didn't like Chase much anymore either but… beating him with a putter hardly seemed a reasonable response. "Is that a stab at Chase when he's not here to defend himself?"

"Absolutely," House replied. "You should hear what we say regarding you when you're not here."

"No thanks."

House looked like an 8-year-old who just heard a friend say that he didn't want to go play. "Oh, come on! It's fun! We have a club. The… Foreman Fan Club."

"House, I think you've had a few too many vicodin," Foreman said, starting to worry about his boss's mental state.

House gave him a doubtful look. "I don't think so. I'm fine. For instance…" Cameron's eyes widened as House got up and went to the other side of the table and stood next to her. "Dr. Cameron. You asked me if I liked you and I said no. I lied. I like you very much. I love you in fact. But with Vogler lurking about, I was afraid to say anything."

Cameron was speechless, whereas Dulcie was smirking at Foreman. "50 bucks. Pay up, Dr."

Foreman glared at her. "You manipulated this."

"You can't prove it. Cough it up."

"No way. You cheated."

"Again… prove it. If you can't, then you owe me."

"Foreman, just give her the money," Cameron said, a sigh of exasperation. Foreman grumbled to himself as he dug out the money and slapped it on the table. Dulcie collected it gleefully.

Meanwhile, House had motioned for Cameron to get to her feet. Foreman and Dulcie looked at each other, exchanging confused looks, then at House and Cameron. House looked ready to bolt, but at the same time, he looked somewhat calm. Cameron looked hesitant. "House, maybe we shouldn't do this."

"Why not?"

"Well, like you said… with Vogler… And I'm sure Cuddy wouldn't like-"

"Since when do I care about what Cuddy thinks?" Cameron was drawn closer to House. Without warning, she grabbed him and pulled him close to her and kissed him.

"What the hell is going on here?" Shouted a voice behind them. They all looked to see Cuddy standing in the doorway with Vogler standing just behind her, looking like a cat that had caught a canary.