But then, when she got a little bit closer, she realized. He had a small black ribbon pinned to his lab coat... and he was wearing a yarmulke. "Dr. Wilson?" she asked. "What are you doing?"
He stopped, and looked - well, somewhere between confused and embarrassed. "Listen, I know President Bartlet was Catholic... but none of his family is here... and it seems... well, it just seems appropriate that I should go and sit shiva with him until his family arrives."
Cameron shook her head. "Wait a second, back up. You - by your own admission, a non-practicing Jew - are going to go sit shiva with somebody who not only isn't part of your family, but is Catholic as well?"
"Like I said," Wilson replied, "I don't really understand it myself. It just seems like what I'm supposed to do."
With that, he proceeded down the hallway. Cameron looked after him, and then just shook her head slightly. Sixteen years, and she still didn't understand the staff here at times.
When she got to her office, she realized that there was an enormous stack of paperwork on her desk that she'd neglected for the last two days. Well, it was going to get neglected for one more night. She did what little she had to do regarding President Bartlet, then shut down her computer, and left her office, locking the door behind her.
As she was entering the lobby on her way out the door, the doors opened, bringing in a gust of wind, snow, and a man covered in snow. He wasn't very tall, he was bald except for a gray fringe and a practically white beard, and he looked almost like the abominable snowman.
Despite the fact that he must have been cold, he strode with purpose to the reception desk. "I need to know where the President is," he announced, a thick New York accent punctuating the statement.
"I'm sorry, I can't give out that information," the duty nurse replied.
"No, you don't understand. You need to tell me where he is," the man insisted. "I just spent the last six hours illegally driving down a closed turnpike from New York City so I could come and see him. Now, you can tell me where he is, or I can call some friends, they can talk to you, and THEN you can tell me where he is anyway!"
"Sir," the duty nurse replied, "you're going to need to leave now, or I'm going to have to call security."
He threw his hands up in the air. "This is unbelievable! What the hell is wrong with you?"
At this point, Cameron thought it would be wise to intervene, lest a former member of the President's senior staff find himself in custody. "Mr. Ziegler?" she said, crossing the lobby to him. "You're Toby Ziegler, right?"
"Yes. Are you an idiot too, or does that not apply to all the employees of this hospital?"
"Uh, why don't we go someplace we can talk privately," Cameron said, taking hold of Toby Ziegler's arm. Behind her, it seemed as though if you looked close enough, you would actually see steam coming out of the duty nurse's ears.
Cameron guided Toby into a hallway. "Mr. Ziegler, I'm Allison Cameron. I... was... President Bartlet's doctor."
"Was?" he replied. "Were you removed from the case for some reason?"
She realized that he either didn't understand, or was denying the truth. "No... the President... he passed away about an hour ago."
Toby's face fell. "I... I just missed him."
He turned toward the wall, and slowly rested his forehead against it. "Dammit... I wanted... I wanted to talk to him, just one last time. I wanted to know that it was all okay, that he had forgiven me."
His face began to crumple, but almost immediately, he turned back toward Cameron, a spark having lit his eyes. "You didn't - he isn't unattended, is he? I mean, he's not just lying in a morgue without anybody around, is he?" The urgency of his questions shocked Cameron.
"No, no..." she started. "Oddly enough, right before I ran into you, Dr. Wilson - the head of oncology - headed back toward President Bartlet's room. He said that even though he's not a practicing Jew, and even though President Bartlet wasn't family, and even though President Bartlet was Catholic, he felt like staying with him was the right thing to do."
As she watched, the tension visibly left Toby Ziegler, leaving him almost deflated. He was silent for a while.
When he finally spoke, he said, "Jed Bartlet WAS like family to me. Would it be alright if I were to go back there and stay with him?"
Cameron thought. It was against all the rules of the hospital, but this case was different. "Come with me," she said.
When they reached the President's room, the Secret Service agent standing outside recognized Toby. "Good evening, Mr. Ziegler," he said.
"Hello, Wesley," Toby replied.
Wesley opened the door, letting them in. As the door opened, Dr. Wilson looked up. He also recognized Toby, and stood. "Mr. Ziegler," he said, "Ha-Makom y'nachem et'khem b'tokh sh'ar avelei Tziyon viyrushalayim."
"I haven't heard that in years," Toby said softly. "But it definitely seems appropriate here. Thank you."
Toby dug a crumpled yarmulke out of a jacket pocket and affixed it to his head. "You know, I never thought I'd outlive him," he said. "In fact, he didn't either... he used to tease me about my blood pressure."
He sat down with Dr. Wilson. "There was this time... we were out on Pennsylvania Avenue, playing basketball. It was really late one night..."
Cameron slowly backed out of the room, shutting the door as she went. As she did, she noticed House standing by the room, looking in the window.
"It's funny," he said. "I've never seen Wilson practice a Jewish ritual quite so seriously as he is right now."
"President Bartlet was a great man," Cameron replied. "Sometimes that kind of greatness brings out hidden things in other people."
"Maybe so," House said. "In any event... it's time for you to go home and get some sleep. I need you here, fresh, at 8:00 AM."
"Alright," she acquiesced. "I'm going."
As she was leaving, his voice stopped her again. "Cameron."
She turned back to him.
"In the sixteen years I've worked with you, I've often given you a hard time about being too sympathetic for your patients, for growing too attached to them. And I have to be honest, with President Bartlet, you definitely grew too attached."
He paused, as if thinking about what to say. "And quite honestly, if I were dying... that's exactly what I would want. You gave your time to make a dying man's last few hours a little better. It didn't matter to you that he had been the President for eight years, you just recognized that he was somebody who needed somebody to talk to and to spend time with him.
"That's what makes the difference between a good doctor and a great doctor. You did well, Allison. Have a good night."
Cameron looked after him. She was speechless. Finally, she was able to find her voice.
"Good night, House."
"Good night, Cameron."