Cameron's alarm clock bleeped annoyingly, shocking her awake. She groaned, seeing the angry red numbers; 6.30 it blinked at her. It felt like she had only had a few minutes worth of sleep, though actually that was probably an accurate estimation. Cameron rolled over, reaching out to snap the alarm onto snooze, and then ran a finger through her hair. She hadn't bothered to brush it out the night before – she was too exhausted to do anything except crawl into bed, and as a consequence her hair was tangled with hairspray. She closed her eyes tightly, trying to shut out the world. All too soon the familiar bleeping resumed and she dragged herself out of bed, pressing the 'off' button on the alarm. She wandered aimlessly through the darkness of her apartment towards the bathroom. Moments later she was standing under the comforting stream of water, shampooing her hair and trying not to remember what day it was.
"Hayley; I've called you three times already. Get up." Penny strode purposefully through her daughter's bedroom, shoving the curtains open and shivering as a blast of cold air came through the window. She snapped it shut angrily; "How many times have I told you not to leave your window open overnight?" No reply came from the sleeping teenager in the bed, and Penny turned. She glanced at her watch. "Hayley. It's almost ten thirty; you were supposed to be up and dressed by nine." The sleeping figure didn't stir. Hayley could barely be seen underneath her thick duvet, it was pulled up so only the top of her head was visible.
Penny reached over and shook Hayley's shoulder, then pulled the cover down slightly, sighing with exasperation when she saw that her daughter was curled up on her side, sleeping heavily. She jogged Hayley's shoulder more firmly, and Hayley rolled slightly onto her back. Penny gasped as she saw the small pool of blood that had collected where Hayley's head had been resting. She reached out and felt Hayley's neck for a pulse; weak but barely there. Blood was smeared over the side of Hayley's face, and in her light brown hair.
"Oh God." She breathed, snatching Hayley's cell-phone from the bedside cabinet. She dialled 911, barking orders to the operator. Once the call was ended she walked out of the room, down the hallway to the front door, waiting for the paramedics. Thirteen minutes later Hayley lay unconscious in an ambulance, oblivious to everything around her.
"I found you a new case." Cameron said, dropping a file onto House's desk.
"So did Chase. So did Foreman. If you'd come into work yesterday instead of skipping for no reason, you might know that." He replied, not taking his eyes off his PSP.
"This case is better." Cameron snapped, ignoring House's comment and shoving the folder fiercely at him. He paused his game and looked at her, making a wounded face. He was shocked at what he saw; rather than her usual work attire, Cameron was wearing a ratty pair of jeans and an old t-shirt. Her hair was damp, and pulled into a loose ponytail. She barely looked like the Cameron he knew. He glanced down at the file she had handed him, confused to see that the patient's full name had not been recorded; she was listed just as Hayley.
"17 year old comatose female, post brain haemorrhage? Tell me, why is this case better than the guy with unexplained seizures, blindness and paralysis?" House questioned almost flippantly, trying to ignore the pained look on Cameron's face.
"This is her ninth hospital visit in two years, the fourth time that she's been hospitalised. Multiple recurrent infections; dehydration; extreme fatigue; sudden unexplained weight-loss. There's gotta be an underlying cause to all this."
"She isn't even in this hospital. Why am I looking at this file when the patient is already being treated in New York?" Cameron avoided his studious gaze. "Cameron? Ok fine. Give me three reasons as to why I'm supposed to treat this kid." At this, Cameron's eyes snapped up to meet his. He could have sworn he saw anger flash across her face. She crossed her arms resolutely.
"One - Because cases like this are what you live for, there's no reason behind her illness and yet she's lying in a coma, two – because you'll enjoy stealing her from New York, where her doctor is an old college rival of yours-" House made a movement to interrupt, and she held a hand up to stop him. "Dr. Williamson, I checked. He graduated third to your second your first year of Hopkins. And the third reason, because you're the best diagnostician there is." She exhaled deeply, flexing her fingers to try and stop her hands shaking. House raised his eyebrows, leaning back in his chair.
"And the real reason?"
"She's my sister."
"I need authorisation for a patient transfer. New York Presbyterian to here." House said, ambling into Cuddy's office and holding out all the necessary paperwork. She frowned apologetically at the couple sitting in front of her.
"Can't it wait?" She sighed at him and he flapped the sheaf of papers.
"Cameron's sister. She's in a coma in New York, and Cameron wants me to be the attending." Cuddy looked shocked, and then took the offered papers. She scanned over them briefly, noting that Hayley Cameron was 17, and had been found unconscious in her bed after a brain haemorrhage. She was gradually responding to treatment, but wasn't waking up. She grabbed her pen and scratched her signature in all the required places.
"Tell Cameron she's on compassionate leave. No clinic duty, but she can help on her sister's diagnosis if you authorise it." House took the papers back, and left the room. As the door closed behind him he heard Cuddy apologising to the couple. Cameron, who had been waiting for him, leaning anxiously against the nurses' station, jumped up as he approached.
"Did she approve the transfer?" House didn't answer, but reached over the counter and picked up the phone handset, dialling with one finger. "House…?" Cameron said, biting nervously at her fingernails.
"Shh." He replied, holding up a hand to quieten her. She looked affronted, but stayed quiet. "Yeah, this is Doctor Greg House, Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Can you put me through to a Doctor Williamson, Diagnostics?" He rolled his eyes at Cameron, who had sighed in relief when she realised what House was doing.
"I'm on hold…yeah, Doctor Williamson. Thanks…Alex! Greg House." He laughed sarcastically at whatever Doctor Williamson said. "You have a patient…Hayley Cameron…Yeah, that's her. Listen, I'm gonna have to take her off your hands…What d'you mean, why? Because her sister wants me to be the attending on the case. I can fax you the paperwork but an ambulance will be there in a couple of hours. She better be ready." House put the phone down, ignoring the angry complaints of Dr. Williamson. Cameron looked at him expectantly and he shrugged.
"Thank you." She said.