House, M.D.: Saying 'Yes'
Author's notes: Well, This wasn't exactly what I had planned. It started out as just a House/Cuddy fic, but apparently the story had a mind of its own. I'm planning on a story based on House's new corvette next.
Also, to ZombieToGo- Ara, Goddess of the Broken- and ScbyDoo489… I have to AOL email until further notice. But you can use the Yahoo email address on my website on my FF.N profile.
Dr. Greg House was not having a good day. Oh, sure it started out well. He got the all-access passes to the monster truck jam, but then his best—okay, only friend—Dr. James Wilson bailed for a cancer dinner. Surely public speaking wasn't anywhere near as important as gigantic trucks pounding and crunching smaller victims into bits of metal and gears.
Now he had to find someone else to take with him. But who? House was in a bit of a bind. He didn't have that many options. Sure he could ask one of the ducklings, but he doubted they'd want to go. Except Cameron. Allison Cameron was smart and compassionate with occasional bouts of a very strong will. She'd be fun to go with.
Or there was Chase. True he was Australian, but he was probably up for an evening of excitement. And Chase didn't hate him. That was a plus.
Lastly, there was Foreman. Not like House would actually consider him. The boy wasn't worthy of watching Gravedigger.
House sat down at his desk, lost in thought. There was one other person he considered, but he couldn't ask her. There was no way in Hell she'd say 'yes'. On the other hand, she had challenged him just the other day to ruin her day by finding something she could say 'yes' to.
Standing, House limped out of his office and headed off to find Cuddy.
Lisa Cuddy was working on paperwork when House knocked on her door before barging in. "Need a favor," he said, without preamble. He went right up to her desk and went on. "I need a…date…for an event I'm going to Friday night."
Cuddy was shocked that House would even imagine asking her to accompany him to any sort of function. There had to be a catch. "What kind of event is it?"
He'd been expecting her to say 'no' without even hearing him out. Perhaps she would be interested after all. "I have two passes to the monster truck rally Friday night."
Cuddy knew from Wilson that monster trucks were almost a sacred thing for House. A way to release without getting all emotional. And asking her to join him was… well… almost a gesture of friendship. Still, she was his boss. If she said 'yes' people would talk. She couldn't go with him. "I already have plans," Cuddy said, a touch of remorse in her voice. "Sorry."
House looked let down, but quickly shrugged. "Fine. No problem." He turned and started to limp out the door.
"House," Cuddy said, making him turn around. She smiled as she said, "Thanks for asking. And saying 'yes' wouldn't have completely ruined my day." House gave a curt nod in return and left the room.
When House got back to his office, he found Cameron waiting there, leaning against his desk. "Foreman says we have a problem with the transplant," she told him without waiting for him to greet her. House went to the bookcase and started to rummage around. One of the nurses gave him her number one time. Where had he put it?
Realizing that Cameron was waiting for some kind of response, House replied, "If she terminates the pregnancy, he's not going to let himself die on principle." No number. He stopped rummaging when Cameron asked, "Would you give up a baby for someone you love?"
He looked around, giving her a piercing look. Oh, didn't that sound ominous. He liked Cameron, no problem, but… She wasn't… She couldn't be… "Please, tell me I don't have to decide." Seeing that she had meant it only as a hypothetical question, he eased off the sarcasm a little bit. "Depends, how long would they live?"
"This is a pragmatic question for you?" House mentally grimaced at the slight edge to her voice. As a doctor, she should have been more objective.
But continuing on, House said, "Fifty years- no problem. Six months, I say let 'em die. Well, I've actually given this a lot of thought, and my personal tipping point is seven years, eight months, and 14 days." 7 years, 8 months, 14 days. The same amount of time a girl he'd really liked in high school had had before she died of cancer. 'Karen Olsen. The prickliest person on the planet. After me.'
Cameron's voice grew soft. "I couldn't do it."
Again with the emotion. While House thought Cameron was a good doctor, her emotions served a slight problem. His next comment came out almost without meaning to. "You found religion." Oh, he didn't mean it that way.
But since he had said it, Cameron felt obligated to reply. "Do you have to be religious to believe a fetus is a life?"
So now they were into a 'pro-life' conversation. This could get sticky very quickly, so he decided to get this thread of conversation changed around. "There seems to be a correlation." He watched her look away. Suddenly, he knew what he had to do. Funny… asking Cuddy had been no problem. Now, he felt like a 14-year-old asking an older girl to a dance. Biting the bullet, he said, "I'm, uh…" He fiddled with the some of the books for a moment, before just spitting the words out. "Do you like monster trucks?"
She looked surprised, then slightly embarrassed. "I don't know what they are."
"Right." He looked down for a second, trying to gather his courage. "I got two tickets." Cameron's eyes widened slightly, in puzzlement. House looked at her, a mix of apprehension and hopefulness in his eyes. "Friday night."
Cameron put the whole thing together and her eyes got just a little wider. "You're asking me to go with you?"
Now why did it seem easier when she asked the question? "Sure. Sounds good."
An awkward silence fell between them as Cameron tried to work out what was happening. "Like a…date?"
"Exactly. Except for the 'date' part." House saw that she was still stunned, and turned away. Of course she wouldn't want to go with him. "Forget it." 'Please forget it', he added silently. 'Forget that I just embarrassed myself in front of you.' He started towards his computer as Cameron tried to backtrack.
"No, I-I was gonna go to the oncology dinner…" She had been planning to go to the dinner, but now… well, maybe this would be more fun. And she did like House, if only as her boss.
But House had taken her words as a rejection. "Of course; you have to hear Wilson's lecture."
'What?' Cameron looked perplexed. Wilson had canceled his speech, saying something urgent had come up. If he and House were so close, why hadn't House known? Unless Wilson was keeping the plans a secret from House. "No. I just found out he canceled like, two weeks ago."
House just leaned back in his chair. He couldn't believe WILSON of all people would lie to him. House had long ago believed that Wilson would never lie to him. Now, though… Through his thoughts, he heard Cameron's voice asking, "So… what do I wear?"
House looked up at her. "Jeans. Something comfortable. I'll meet you here at 7:30. We can take my car."
Cameron smiled. "Great. Sounds good. See you then." She left the room, and decided to head over to Hank Wiggen's room to see how he was doing.
House mood had just started perking as he thought of himself and Cameron sharing the violent joy of monster trucks when she hurried into his office. "Hank Wiggen's in trouble! Come on!" House grabbed his cane and limped after her.
"What's going on?" He asked, wanting to get the facts before he started working out what it was.
"His heart rate is 130 and rising, like a Randy Johnson line drive."
So she was trying to insert sports metaphors. Had to give her points for that. "A for effort," he said, giving her a minute smile.
But Cameron didn't return it. Right now, she was all business. "There's no point in doing the transplant. Even if he was stable enough, it's obvious that we have no idea what's wrong with him!"
That was true. They didn't know what was wrong, or why the ballplayer's heart rate suddenly started dropping. It didn't make any sense. House waited around for a while before heading back to his office to think on it. This case needed to start making sense. Because absolutely nothing about Hank Wiggen's symptoms added up. But there had to be a solution. There always was.
Part one of the solution presented itself that night. House decided to keep an eye on Hank and see if any other symptoms sprouted up. Sure enough, after a while, Hank started hallucinating- talking to his coach as if he were right there. House caught movement out of the corner of his eye, and looked to see it was Wilson. 'Great,' he thought. 'Just what I need.'
Deciding to stay professional, House briefed Wilson on Hank's status. "Three more symptoms. Heart rate up, heart rate down, now he's hallucinating."
"He's not just dreaming?"
"No REM. He's actually awake." 'And hallucinating. That's important. But why?'
Wilson looked at Hank as well. "Drugs?"
'Good guess, but no,' House thought. "Not psychedelics; not with the heart symptoms."
Wilson thought for a moment, before he had an idea. "Well, hallucinations would point to digitalis. It would also mess up his heart. But, he's not on it, and why would he take it?"
Succinct, and to the point. Just how Wilson's ideas usually were. "Yeah. Pithy analysis." He straightened up from where he was leaning on the table at the end of the bed. "I can see why they asked you to speak at the cancer dinner. I'm sorry I'm going to miss it." Maybe if he baited a little, Wilson would spill what he was up to. Just because Cameron was filling in, didn't mean that she was his first choice.
Wilson looked genuinely apologetic. "I'm sorry about the monster trucks." And he was sorry. It was the one thing that always kept House's mind off all problems. And he wouldn't be there because…
"No, I think it's great. You're…giving back." House started to leave the room.
Wilson knew he had to say something. "The only thing is…" he paused as House turned around, a slight glimmer of hope in his eye. 'The only thing is, I really want to go but I'm having dinner with…' No. he couldn't do that to House. He switched into 'doctor' mode. "The digitalis…it would only explain the later symptoms, not the original ones." Wilson looked at House who seemed to be considering this information. He gave a nod to Wilson and was out the door. Wilson sighed and waited until he no longer heard House's footsteps.
The next time Wilson saw House, he was heading to his office, and his pants were soaked with… Wilson's nose crinkled. 'Urine? How did that happen?' "What…?"
House looked irritable. "Hank Wiggen peed on me." He looked at the front of his pants. "What d'you think these pants are worth on eBay?"
Wilson tried to lighten the mood. "I've got some big-boy diapers in my office. The rep hands them out like candy."
House sighed. His day was not going to improve. He knew it. "Is it that bad?"
"No!" Wilson said, sarcasm evident in his tone. "Not if you like the smell of urine."
"'Course, why should I trust someone who lies about what he's doing Friday night?"
'Oh, Hell.' Thought Wilson. 'I was afraid of that.' But House wasn't done.
He turned to face Wilson, looking his right in the eye. "Question is, what are you really doing Friday night? Or more to the point, what could possibly be better than monster trucks?" House still looked at him, but there was a bare glimmer of a twinkle in his eye. "Or are we breaking up?"
House entered his office and Wilson leaned against the doorframe. House went to his duffle bag and started looking through it. 'Might as well get it over with,' he sighed. "Stacy's coming into town this weekend, we're having dinner. Just…catching up."
There was a moment when Wilson wasn't sure House had heard him. "I definitely had pants here," he said, looking in the bag. Looking at Wilson, he said, "Wait a second, is that Stacy the Stripper? I heard she's playing Atlantic City."
"No, Stacy the Constitutional Lawyer." 'Stacy, the woman who left you after the leg infarction. The woman you begged to stay before she left and you turned into a shriveled shell.'
House looked mildly surprised. He thought maybe Wilson had a date with a nurse or something. He couldn't believe Wilson would keep this from him. Unless… "You thought I couldn't handle this news."
Wilson's eyes fell to the floor, and he nodded. House looked away, turning back to his bag. "You talk to her a lot?"
"No," Wilson said, quietly. "It's been a long time." He tried to see some form of emotion, but there was none. Taking House's silence for disapproval, he said, "If you don't want me to see her…"
"What is this, eighth grade?" he looked at Wilson. "I'm fine."
"It's fine if you're upset-"
"No! It's…" House's sudden burst was more at himself. He wanted to be upset. He wanted to accuse Wilson of stealing his girlfriend. But she wasn't his girlfriend. She was his ex. He couldn't be upset. "I have no right to be upset. You two are friends." He stressed the last word, hoping Wilson would get the message that even with the lie, House still counted Wilson as his friend. He calmed down and looked at Wilson. "You should see her. Say hi for me."
Wilson looked hesitant. "So…you're okay." It was a question, and it wasn't. House decided that he'd had enough. He tossed the bag under his desk. His locker in the staff room downstairs had an old pair of pants in it. He'd go there and change.
Wilson stood waiting for an answer. House stood up and decided to give him one. "I'm not the cancer doctor who's lying about the cancer dinner." He took his cane off the desk sighed. "And I'm not the one who's betraying all those…bald-headed dying kids.' He headed out the door, passing Wilson and said, "I'm gonna go get some pants; I stink."
Wilson sighed. All in all, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Looking around the office, Wilson decided to get back to work.
2 days later
There are all kinds of pleasure in the world. Monetary, physical, culinary… but the pleasure of introducing a beautiful woman to the violent joys of monster trucks was indescribable. Cameron had been a wonderful companion, laughing, gasping, and cheering right along with House as the trucks tore up the stadium. He'd even bought her cotton candy, after she had made a subtle comment about not having had the stuff in years. Well, Hell, why not? After all, House was letting his hair down tonight. He was in jeans and a t-shirt, a ball cap on his head. And a beautiful woman at his side. Nothing could be better than this.
"That was amazing!" Cameron, exclaimed, pulling a piece of cotton candy off her stick. She couldn't remember the last time she had this much fun. And with House, no less.
His eyes lit up as the passed by Gravedigger, parked in the lot. "I'm telling you, Gravedigger never disappoints." Cameron smiled warmly. They passed a couple, their arms around each other. Cameron's question was out before she could stop herself. "You ever been married?"
House's eyes dimmed slightly. He and Stacy had been engaged when he'd had the clot in his leg. Afterwards… things were never the same. She'd left one night, and that had been the end of things. But these last few days… House had started wondering about why he put himself in a self-imposed isolation. "Well now, let's not ruin a lovely night out by getting personal." Cameron looked away.
House sighed. 'Getting personal'. He was sharing his love of monster trucks, and that was plenty personal. Maybe he could divulge a little. "I lived with someone for a while." Cameron looked like she wanted to inquire further, but didn't. And that was fine with House. Trying to fill the silence, he noticed that his cotton candy cone was empty. Looking at Cameron's, he asked, "You gonna finish that?" Cameron handed her cone to House as he shifted his empty cone to his cane hand. His leg ached a bit as he relinquished his support temporarily but as he tore off a piece of Cameron's cotton candy and watched her snatch it back, a playful smile on her face, the pain seemed to recede. It was strange what a look from a gorgeous woman could do. "I didn't want the whole thing," he mumbled, as she laughed.
As they walked to the gate, Cameron grinned mischievously. "I'll race you to the car!" She took off a little bit, and was surprised to see House hurriedly limping after her. When they reached the car, Cameron waited while House opened the door for her. As she got in, she said, "Have you ever thought about getting a different car? Something a little more… sporty?"
House got in and turned the car on. Smiling he said, "Well, I've always been fond of the '65 corvette…"