Title: Agua Mala
Summary: Foreman is doing some illegal investigation with Cameron when the situation takes a turn for the worse. His secret is revealed; will he ever live it down?
Notes: SO MUCH THANKS to LilAni for the beta!! You're awesome. Written for foremanfest on LJ, prompt #184: "Foreman is a terrible swimmer. Shit."
"Okay, I think I've got a large enough sample." Cameron said, capping the vial in her hand. "These scrapings should give us the information we need."
Foreman looked at her briefly, eyes returning back to the exit. Hopefully, no one would interrupt their highly illegal search. "I still think this is another meningitis outbreak, just like last time."
Cameron straightened up with a wobble, clutching the vial tightly. "Well, we'll never know unless we do the tests. Let's get out of here before anyone shows up and ask us what we're doing breaking into a public recreation center."
Foreman nodded, turning and heading towards the pool exit when he heard a sudden shriek. He looked behind him just in time to see Cameron's legs flying out from underneath her, eyes wide with the knowledge of impending pain. Foreman lurched backwards and tried to catch her from falling, but she was too far from him and he didn't reach her in time. She landed on the slick tiled floor with a resounding thump, the vials falling from her hand and rolling away from her prone form.
Cameron squeezed her eyes closed in pain, hair askew from the fall. "Dammit. That hurt like hell."
Foreman crouched next to her, watching her carefully. "It sounded like it hurt. You okay?"
She exhaled determinedly, propping herself up on her elbows with a wince. "I think so. Nothing broken or anything. But my ass is going to be so bruised tomorrow."
"Well, that's what you get for wearing impractical heels to a municipal swimming pool."
Cameron glared at him briefly before pushing herself off the floor. She looked around the floor before grimacing. "Uh-oh."
"What's wrong now?"
Cameron pointed to the blue water. "The vials. They must have rolled into the pool when I fell. You have to get them for me."
Foreman frowned. "Me? Why do I have to get them?"
"Uh, hello?" Cameron pointed to her thin, white blouse as if the reason were obvious. "Contrary to House's lewd jokes, I am not up for giving anyone who walks by a free peep show if I happen to fall in."
Foreman rolled his eyes, trying to stall for time. "Whatever. I'll just find a lifeguard or instructor to get it for us instead."
She tilted her head at him with a puzzled look. "We just spent a good hour making sure there was no one else in here before we broke in; what makes you think we'll find someone now?"
"I guess you're right." Foreman answered with a sigh, staring at the gently undulating waters before walking to the lip of the pool and crouching on his knees. "Gimme a second, I'll see if I can get them."
Fortunately for Foreman, the vials were a mere arms-length away, sitting at the bottom of the shallow end. Rolling back the right sleeve of his shirt, he dipped his hand into the warm water, reaching down to the black-capped vial. But it was just barely out of reach. He squared his jaw and leaned forward just a little further-
"I'm sorry, I think I need to repeat the incredulity of the situation for my own sake; Foreman almost drowned in a kiddie pool?"
Foreman stared daggers at House, sitting up straighter. There was no way was he going to let the man see any weakness on his account. "It wasn't a kiddie pool, it was a 'gradual depth toddler pool'."
"That really doesn't make the situation sound any less embarrassing." Cameron interjected, covering her grin with innocent sympathy.
"Or any less funny." House proclaimed, turning to Cameron with grand disappointment. "And you! You didn't even take pictures. MySpace has no idea what it missed out on."
"Gee, Foreman. I had no idea you were such a terrible swimmer." Chase remarked, leaning next to the coffee maker with a highly amused grin. "Care to tell us why four feet of water sent you flailing like a panicked cat?"
Foreman sipped at his coffee. "I'd rather not."
He decided to rethink his decision when House started squawking like a chicken.
"Fine, I'll tell you!" Foreman blurted out, shaking his head with resignation. He took a deep breath before speaking. "When I was a kid, my parents took me and my brother to Myrtle Beach one summer. I was showing off, trying to swim out further than my brother, when I got caught in the undertow. I went under, nearly drowned." Foreman paused, realizing that the room had gone eerily quiet. "Luckily, the lifeguards got to me in time and they revived me before I got to the hospital. I was stuck in that hospital for months with severe pneumonia and an painful ear infection. My mom... I don't think I'd ever seen her so scared." Foreman drained the last of his coffee, looking at House dead seriously. "And that's why I don't like water."
"Wow, that was pretty good. Better than Chase's story about the shark, even." House quipped.
An annoyed look crossed Chase's face, as Cameron sighed. "If you had just told me, we could have found another way to retrieve the samples."
"Or he could have, you know, just not fallen in." House smirked, before moving to the whiteboard. "Tests came back negative on the samples that were collected, meaning one thing."
"That I was right; it's got to be meningitis." Foreman sat up, feeling slightly prouder than he had been for the last few minutes.
House nodded grudgingly. "Which means to the winner goes the spoils of victory; tell the patient the good news and get her started on antibiotics and dexamethasone."
Foreman nodded curtly and walked out of Diagnostics, Cameron and Chase watching him go with respective expressions of sympathy and amusement. Only after a moment did they both realize that House was staring off into space with what could only be a devious expression.
He motioned for Cameron and Chase to follow him. "So. You guys in?"
"In for what, exactly?" Chase asked with some trepidation as he and Cameron followed House into his office.
House picked up the phone and grinned. "I have this friend of a friend of a guy I know who specializes in industrial sized fish tanks. Think I can get one installed in Foreman's place before he gets home tonight?"