Chapter 6

House limped into Cuddy's office on Monday morning without knocking. He laid his cane across her desk, blocking her view of the paperwork she was currently buried in.

"Where is my staff?" House demanded.

"Dr. Chase and Dr. Foreman called in sick this morning," Cuddy said, clearly annoyed. "Apparently, they were stranded in a muddy corn field yesterday morning for several hours and now they're both too sick to come to work. This has your named written all over it."

"Right, because I routinely spend my Sunday mornings in corn fields," House retorted, but none too vehemently. It was his fault, but Cuddy wasn't getting a confession.

"Well, Chase and Foreman were both on the clinic schedule today. You're going to have to cover some extra hours. Oh, and that reminds me, there was an absence at the school today, one of the immunology professors. Since you don't have any cases right now, the board asked if Dr. Cameron would fill in and she agreed," Cuddy informed him.

"How many hours were they scheduled for?" House asked, politely but with venom in his voice.

"Two," Cuddy advised. House gritted his teeth; he could stand two extra clinic hours. "Each."

"Four extra hours!" House shouted. "I've got two hours of my own. I can't possibly spend six hours in the clinic in one day."

"Eight, actually," Cuddy replied.

"Eight?" House squeaked.

"You'll need to cover Dr. Cameron's hours as well." Cuddy smiled. "Better get started. Be a real shame if you had stay past five." House grabbed his cane from Cuddy's desk and took two steps before her voice halted him. "You didn't really think you'd won, did you?"

House mumbled under his breath as he stormed, as effectively as one can while limping heavily, out of Cuddy's office and into the clinic. Once House was safely in an exam room with a patient, Nurse Brenda flashed Cuddy a thumbs-up. Cuddy walked to the door to her private bathroom and opened the door. Cameron and Wilson came out, wearing self-satisfied grins even House would have been proud of.

"And so The Great Corn Maze Caper is concluded," Wilson said.