A/N: As stated in the summary, this story is based on spoilers for the 'alleged' start of Season 4. If you don't like spoilers, you will probably not like this story. If, however, you are a spoiler (ahem) hound, like myself, then perhaps you'll appreciate it. No ships. No angst. Just some good old-fashioned fun. So, how does House plan to narrow down the 40 fellowship applications? Perhaps, like this?

Disclaimer: If they were mine, the show would have been yanked by the censors long, long ago.

And Then There Were Five

Chapter 1 – Two Months

Her arms laden with files, Cuddy marched toward House's office, determined to put a stop his ridiculous pig-headedness. Two months of torturing nurses, orderlies, lab techs and anyone else who was unfortunate enough to cross his path. Two months of diagnosing patients with his Magic Eight Ball, by tossing a coin or on the janitor's advice. Two months of brooding, moping and generally being a bigger pain in the ass than Cuddy could ever remember. And all because he refused to interview for a new team.

"House," she barked as she stiff-armed his office door. "This latest stunt is the end. You cannot diagnose a patient by having them draw straws with diseases written on them!"

"So, this is the straw that broke the camel's back?" House queried, as he laid down the over-sized tennis ball he'd been rolling between his palms. "Personally I've always thought of you as more of a cow, but I suppose it's really your call."

"House," Cuddy seethed through clenched teeth, "you will begin working on hiring a new team. You will not take any new patients until you've hired new fellows."

"Darn, no patients," House exclaimed in mock disappointment. "What ever will I do to amuse myself?"

"You didn't let me finish," Cuddy said, smiling her sweet, false, administrator-from-hell smile. "As incentive, I'm tripling your clinic hours. You'll be working four hours in the clinic, daily, until that conference room is filled with doctors that you employ."

House didn't reply, just turned in his chair until his back was to her. Cuddy sighed, but decided his refusal to continue arguing meant he understood.

"There are forty fellowship applications here. Get started," she said as she dropped the files she'd been carrying on his desk with a resounding thud and left.


Three and a half minutes later, the files landed on Wilson's desk with less of thud and more a scattering. Wilson barely managed to grab his coffee cup before it was knocked over by the files slowly sliding across his desk.

"CVs," House said.

"Gazundheit," Wilson replied.

"Fellowship applications," House said, rubbing his jaw with one hand while tapping his cane on Wilson's carpet with the other. He limped to the glass door overlooking the balcony and grimaced.

"Cuddy finally cornered you," Wilson stated. He began piling the files in neat stacks as he spoke. "I'm surprised she let you go as long as she did."

"I don't need new fellows," House argued. "I'm managing just fine."

"Somehow I doubt your last few patients would agree," Wilson said, mostly under his breath.

"They lived, didn't they?"

"Barely. And believe it or not, most patients don't come to see a doctor so they can draw their own blood and research symptoms," Wilson said dryly. Cuddy couldn't have known about that; House would have been suspended for sure. Again.

"Just call them in," House said tiredly. He had heard the oncoming lecture from Wilson exactly twenty-six times since the last three idiots left. He was not going to let him get to thirty.

"I'm going to need a little time to shuffle some patients around for the interviews," Wilson said, pulling out his calendar and flipping pages.

"Don't need you," House said quickly as he turned away from the balcony and began limping toward the door.

"Didn't human resources and the legal department bar you from performing interviews after last time?" Wilson said cautiously. He was in no mood to try explaining any more cane-shaped bruises on fellowship applicants to Cuddy. Or a judge.

"Not interviewing, just call them in," House said. He opened the door and was half-way out when Wilson's voice slowed his pace.

"Wait, which ones?" Wilson called.

"All of them," House shouted back.