House entered the conference room, inhaling the scent of fresh brewed coffee. Why couldn't he get coffee to turn out smelling that good? As he dropped his bag, he overheard Foreman asking Cameron whether she'd closed on the new house yet, and Cameron's affirmative reply, and a request to help her move boxes this weekend. He dropped his file on the table, and, unsurprisingly, a mug of the aforementioned coffee appeared near his right hand as Cameron took her seat. As she sat, his eyes not so subtly slid down the front of her shirt. "Emulating Dr. Cuddy today, Dr. Cameron?"
Cameron blushed, quickly looked down and adjusted her red silk blouse to cover a bit more of her cleavage, pulling her lab coat more tightly around her, as if it would protect her somehow from House's eyes.
House snorted. "Well, don't change it on my account." After all, he certainly wasn't the type to turn down a glance at a nice pair of tits, and Cameron did have particularly nice tits, if a bit small. Her face turned a slightly deeper shade of pink, and she squirmed in her chair. He didn't miss the glare Foreman sent his way, nor Chase's slightly disgusted expression as he picked up the file, avoiding House's gaze.
"Okay, people, back to our patient." House turned toward the white board. "We've got a new symptom." He added "Retinal Detachment" to the list.
Chase sighed. "Okay. So we've got a sunken chest, which may or may not have anything to do with anything, a heart murmur, spontaneous pneumothorax, and radiating leg pain."
Cameron chewed her lip, looking away. "He's taller than his dad. Do we know what his mom's height was?"
Foreman looked at her, curious. "What's height got to do with it?"
House sighed. "Put it together, people. Symptoms. We've got a retinal detachment, collapsed lung, a heart murmur, a sunken chest, and now, probably height."
"I think he might have Marfan's." Cameron blurted.
"Thank you, Doctor Cameron, for finally stating the obvious." House snapped. "Cameron, get an echo, Foreman, find out about mom." He glanced over at Chase. "You. Clinic. Go be me."
Chase dropped the file and sulked his way out of the room, and Foreman followed, scooping up the file on his way. House turned toward his office, and looked back a moment later when he realized Cameron hadn't moved. She was resting her elbow on the table, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "Cameron?"
She shook her head. "Sorry. Headache. Going now." She made for the door.
"Cameron!" She turned at his sharp tone. "This is a hospital. Find some ibuprofen."
She smiled, nodded, and ducked out the door.
Hours later, Cameron poked her head into his office. "I have the results of the echo."
House looked up at her expectantly. "And…"
"Abdominal aortic aneurysm." She stepped all the way in and sat down, shoulders slightly slumped.
"Okay. So the kid's got a time bomb in his chest." He gave her a sharp look. "Don't tell me you still have a headache. Didn't you get that ibuprofen?"
"Yes, you got the ibuprofen, or yes, you still have a headache?"
"Fine. Go tell the kid he's got Marfan's, schedule him for surgery on the aorta for first thing tomorrow morning, and go home."
She looked up at him in surprise. "But it's only three o'clock."
He glared back. "You heard me. Scram."
She didn't wait for him to tell her a third time.
House limped painfully out the doors of the hospital. His eyes closed tightly for a moment, teeth digging into his lower lip, shoulders taught. All he could think of was the bottle of vicodin he'd left on his kitchen counter this morning. He meant to pocket it on the way out the door, but it had slipped his mind, and despite begging both Cuddy and Wilson, neither would write him a new script. It was dark, almost six o'clock, and that would make it around ten hours since he last had a pill.
He had brought the vette today. Even House wasn't crazy enough to be riding a motorcycle in ice and snow and bone-chilling temperatures. The cold made his leg throb, and someone had used the handicapped space today, forcing him to park at the far end of the lot. It was probably better that way, though. Less of a chance of door dings in his precious corvette.
He slowly gimped his way through the snow, watching the ground carefully for any hidden patches of ice. The last thing he needed was to land on his ass out here.
As he made his way toward the end of the lot, he caught sight of something bright red on the ground between the cars. Probably some kid dropped his jacket. He shrugged and walked on, turning sharply when he saw the red thing move.
Sighing, he made his way over to the object. As he got closer, he saw bits of black and white, along with the bright red. He shaded his eyes against the glare of the snow, and saw a human form. It's surprising how fast a man with a cane can move with the proper incentive.
Long brown hair fanned out over the snow. He bent down next to the form, gently touching the shoulder. "Cameron?"
She blinked, directing an unfocused gaze his way. Purple bruises marred her cheek and temple.
He grabbed her hand, finding it cold as ice. "Cameron. What happened? How long have you been out here?"
She blinked again and shook her head slightly. "H-House?"
He held up three fingers. "How many fingers?"
Her brow furrowed as she tried to focus. "Dunno. Stop moving."
He waived his keychain light in her eyes, relieved to find her pupils reactive. He reached into his pocket for his cell phone, cursing when he found it empty and belatedly realizing that in his hurry to get home to his vicodin, he'd left it on his desk.
"Wha? Sleepy. Hurts." She responded slowly.
"What hurts? Where?" He snapped.
The sharp tone prompted a response, albeit a not very helpful one of "'vrywhere."
"Cameron, we have to go inside. It's cold and you're hurt." He felt stupid stating the obvious, but maybe it would get her to react.
"Cold." She repeated.
"Yes, I know it's cold. Can you walk?"
She looked at him blankly. "Took shoes."
"Took shoes?" He looked around, seeing no one there. "Who took your shoes?"
"He did." She replied, focusing a little better.
"Who's he?" House grabbed both her shoulders.
"The man who took my shoes." She pressed her hand against the snow, trying to push herself to a sitting position.
"Cameron. You're not making any sense. We need to get you inside. I need you to stand up. Can you do that if I help you?" He was trying to be gentle, but panic undercut his tone, sharpening it. She cringed. "Cameron." He took a breath, trying to calm himself. Panic wouldn't help her. "Allison." He touched her chin, turning her head to look at him, and inwardly, yet again, cursing his leg. "We need to get you inside, right now. I'd carry you, but I can't. You need to help me help you." He stripped off his coat and held out his left hand. "Take my hand. I'm right here. Grab my hand. Hold on."
She slowly extended her hand to him, and he closed his hand tightly around her wrist. He inched back, resting his weight on a car bumper, and braced his cane securely on an iceless patch of asphalt. "Okay. Just hold on to me, and we'll stand up, okay?" Slowly, he helped her to her feet, wrapping the coat around her shoulders and an arm securely around her waist.
As they took a tentative step forward, his eyes landed on the spot where she had been lying. The snow beneath had been stained a deep crimson.