Payback (Post-Eppie for Safe)

DJ Dubois

May 2006

Notes: The characters from House belong to their copyright holders.

Rating: T (language, some romance)

Pairings: House/Cuddy, House + Wilson (friendship), Wilson +Cuddy (friendship), Cameron/Chase

Summary: When House gets sent to a conference, Cuddy uncorks a massive cleaning of his apartment. (Takes place right after Safe.)

Chapter 1 [Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital—the morning after "Safe"]

Wilson rushed through the front doors of the hospital, anxiously seeking his office. Somehow he had overslept…again.

All because House had shut his alarm off….

I have to move out. I really have to move out. While he was grateful for a place to stay, he knew he couldn't keep dealing with this situation. While he and House were friends, Wilson couldn't stand the dorm-level living, pranks and frankly, the gross stuff going on. He never does dishes, or laundry or takes out the garbage! He peered down the hall and saw that the coast was clear. He tried to walk quickly.

Once he reached the door, it was still clear….

He put the key in the lock.

"Ahem," a dreaded voice called out.

He rolled his eyes, knowing that sound. He turned to find his boss, Dr. Lisa Cuddy, the Dean of Medicine, standing behind him. "Dr. Cuddy, good morning."

She glanced at her watch and then at him pointedly. "Wilson, you're late again."

"I know," he sighed, unlocking his door. "Mind if we talk in my office or can we go up to your suite?"

"In here's fine," she agreed rather tersely. Once the door was closed, she asked, "What's going on? This is the third time in the last two weeks it's happened."

He nodded, feeling like a kid in the principal's office. "I know. I'm sorry. It's just that my alarm clock keeps getting mysteriously shut off in the middle of the night."

She rolled her eyes, getting the picture. "I'll talk to him. Meantime, I won't write you up."

"No?" His eyes went wide with astonishment and then relief.

"No but I'll need two favors from you in return," she indicated.

"All right," he agreed warily.

"One, you do three extra clinic hours for me but none of them are House's."

"Okay."

"Two, you have the key to House's apartment, right?"

"That is how I get in there to sleep," he responded. "What are you thinking?"

She shrugged. "Remember when we were dealing with the whole TB situation with Manny? House broke into my house and did some rummaging around." She smirked wickedly.

"I'm not going to help you steal anything. He'll kill me," he disagreed, imagining all of the ways that his housemate could inflict agony on him.

She shook her head. "Not if his staff and I are involved too. Relax, James, I'm not talking about stealing anything. Well, maybe a pair of his boxers in exchange for the panties he took from my bedroom."

"Good luck getting in there though," he commented.

"Leave that to me. I have a plan," she assured him confidently. "Get those clinic hours done, all right? Have a good day."

Cuddy has a plan. Why am I suddenly scared? He scratched his head while checking over his first chart of the day.

[House's office suite]

Even as Wilson and Cuddy talked, Cameron and Chase had waited for their boss to return from a 'potty break'.

That had been an hour before.

Chase checked his watch for the fourth time. "Where did he go?"

Cameron frowned. "Who knows?" She opened their boss' desk drawer.

"Hey! You shouldn't be doing that. He'll kill you if he finds you in there."

She rolled her eyes at him. "Relax. It's not here. Just as I figured." She closed it again. "He's hiding and playing on the Game Boy again. Wish he'd grow up." She sighed, glancing through the folder. "We have the Nicholls case, no clue of what's going on and House decides it's time for his soap!"

"It's okay," he noted, smiling at her. "At least we're together, right?"

"Chase, you know what we agreed." She glanced through the glass door and front wall to make sure nobody was watching. "Not at work."

"I know." He rubbed her shoulder. "But I can say it's okay that you're here, right?"

She smiled back at him. "Sure." She kissed him quickly on the cheek. For the past two months, they'd been dating secretly so as not to cause complications at work. And especially to prevent giving House any more material for his gibe-file.

"Now as for the case," he noted, forcing himself back to the matter at hand. He uncapped a marker.

"Now you're getting daring," she teased.

He considered the marker and grinned. "Yeah. I guess I am. You're a bad influence."

She chuckled, letting her eyes sparkle at him. Then she opened the folder. "Okay. Symptoms….High fever, rash, dilated pupils, erratic heartbeat. What do you think?"

He shrugged. "Could be a thousand things. What do you think?"

She nodded. "We should do a full blood work up. Wish we could ask House for permission to do a LP."

"Yeah but we can still start with the blood tests," he pointed out.

"What did you need the LP for?" Cuddy asked while knocking at the door. "Sorry, I didn't mean to eavesdrop but where's House?"

The two junior doctors looked at each other anxiously before Cameron answered, "Bathroom break at 9:05."

The Dean checked her watch and arched her brow. "Uh huh." She considered the whiteboard. "Meantime, I see you two have been carrying on with the case. If you don't mind me saying, yes, start that blood work immediately. And get the LP."

"But House needs to…." Cameron started to protest.

Cuddy looked pointedly at her. "I can also authorize a LP on a patient, Cameron. How high's that fever?"

He looked at the chart again. "102 according to this and that was at 9:00."

She took a deep breath. "Did somebody at least try to cool the patient down?" Seeing their looks, she shook her head. "All right. Do that. Oh by the way, I have a project for you two to help me with this weekend."

"Project?" they asked.

Cuddy smirked. "Ever been to House's apartment?"

They nodded, recalling the disorganized clutter.

"Why?" Cameron asked.

"I think we're going to do a good turn for House. Wilson, you two and I are going to even the score a bit. You'll see what I'm getting at this weekend. I'm sending him to a conference on diagnostic advancements in Seattle. That'll keep him far enough away for a couple of days," the administrator mentioned. "Now get Mr. Nicholls' temperature down. Thanks. Not a word to House." With that, Cuddy left, heading for the elevator.

"What do you think she's up to?" he asked pensively.

Cameron shrugged. "Whatever it is, she'd best be careful. This is House she proposing to mess with."