Title: By Any Other Name
Thirteen/House, Thirteen/Amber, Thirteen/Kutner, House/Cameron, Wilson/Amber, Kutner/?, everyone/everyone
Word Count: 3000-ish
Summary: It's Valentine's Day and a mysterious rose ends up on Thirteen's desk. Can she work out who her secret admirer is and help solve the new medical mystery in time?
Disclaimer: Don't own "House M.D." or any of the characters in this fic, not even from "Scrubs" who gets a little mention. So, yeah, just playing in the sandpit, don't sue me 'cause I have no money.
1) First of all, this hasn't been beta'd. All mistakes (and there will be) are therefore mine.
2) Second of all, I hate Valentine's Day. I wish it would die. This stupid Valentine's fic wrote itself and I had nothing to do with it.
3) MEDICAL INACCURACIES. There will be. Seriously. I attempted to write some serious medical stuff but got in a muddle, screwed it all up, and not bothered to fix it. I don't have all the time in the world to do hours of medical research for a bit of fun fanfic. If it's wrong, it's my fault.
4) "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" If you don't know your Shakespeare you should be ashamed of yourselves. Yeah, so the title's thanks to the Shakes:D
A single red rose and a bunch of questions.
Not quite what she expected first thing on a Thursday morning. But there it lay, quite innocently, on the communal table in diagnostics with a small card lazily attached.
She ignored it at first, almost positive that the lone rose was meant for someone else. But she was curious. And before long, she was fingering the edge of the card with mild anticipation. She opened it – blank, except for a single printed number '13'.
It was for her.
Kutner, her co-worker, walked into the office a moment later, a grin plastered on his face.
"Good morning?" She asked, enquiring as to his good mood as he practically skipped to the coffee machine.
"You could say that," he grinned, pouring himself a cup of coffee, "Looks like I'm not the only one having a good Valentine's Day though." He said with a wink in the direction of her and the mysterious rose.
A smile lined her lips as studied the flower with curiosity, "Yeah, I dunno who it's from though…"
He smirked. A thought occurred to her.
"Hey, it's not…"
"From me?" he asked with confusion, "You wish".
She missed his smirk as she turned to see her other co-workers walk in, deep in conversation.
"Hey, looks like you've got a secret admirer." Foreman joked, finding himself a medical journal and sitting down casually at the table.
"Do you know who it's from?" Taub asked, picking up the card, "13," he read, "…wow, that's personal." He said with sarcasm lacing his voice.
She snatched it back from him just as their boss sauntered into the room.
"A mysterious flower for a mysterious woman…it's almost poetic." House said with a smirk, throwing a medical file onto the main table. "I know you guys are far too busy saying "I love you" with over-priced chocolates and slutty lingerie, but when you've finished gossiping over who did or didn't buy Thirteen the ultimate icon of cheesy romance, maybe we could go about saving this kid's life."
"Have you been watching Scrubs again?" Foreman dared to ask as the rest of the team guiltily sat at the table and reviewed the file.
"Youhaven't?" House retorted, making his way to the whiteboard.
She saw Foreman whisper to Kutner as they both chuckled. Taub just looked thoroughly confused.
"Okay girlies, what could cause this kid multiple internal bleeding and how the hell do we stop it?" House asked, scrawling the various symptoms on the board.
Thirteen was about to make a suggestion when Kutner interrupted, "Hey, the card said '13', right?"
She turned to look at him with curiosity, "Yeah, so?"
"So it has to be from someone in the hospital. Most likely someone in this department."
"What about trauma?" Taub asked, "I meant the patient…"
"Umm…" Kutner flipped through the records, "file says there was none. But the majority of the hospital knows you as Thirteen so it could be a number of people."
"Could be autoimmune, we should check the blood. It's always possible that the person knows you as…you, but wanted to throw you off his scent?"
"Who says it's from a guy?"
They all turned to look at House who was now reclining in his chair, comically pretending to yawn at the tediousness of the conversation.
Thirteen turned a ferocious shade of red; this was not how she wanted her co-workers to find out about her bi-sexuality. She felt everyone staring at her and wanted nothing more for the ground to open up and swallow her. House, however, looked irritatingly comfortable. The awkward silence was too much to taken, and she was about to excuse herself when Foreman spoke up:
"What about a Vitamin K deficiency?"
"Possible. But it's much more likely to be autoimmune." House reasoned, "Foreman run a CBC. Kutner, get a better patient history, I want to know exactly how many nosebleeds this kid has had and when. Taub, go find Cameron and tell her the symptoms, she's an immunologist with nothing better to do. Plus, it's fun annoying her."
As soon as they were out of earshot, Thirteen rounded on House. "I literally don't know what to say to you."
"Well, that makes two of us."
She folded her arms in frustration and stared him down. "Why are you so intent on humiliating the only people who can put up with you? There was no reason for you…how do you even know?"
"Well, you weren't exactly being subtle…and, just so you know, next time I want to humiliate you, I'm going with the whole Cutthroat Bitch thing." He smirked.
She stood, quite literally, in shock. How did he know about that?
She shook her head to clear her thoughts and quickly made an excuse about having work to do before stalking out the room. To think today started well.
She was still storming down the halls (her anger mostly directed at her boss) when she bumped into Kutner.
"Hey, you okay?" He asked kindly.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just…House."
"Ah. With that single word you have managed to sum up the problems of the entire western world." He joked.
She smiled in response, thankful for his comic relief after a day that was already proving to be very stressful.
"The blood work for our patient is going to take a while and there's not much we can do before we get the results through… you wanna grab a coffee or something?"
"Umm, okay, that sounds good actually." She replied distractedly, her mind still focused on how the hell House found out.
"You sure you're okay? I mean that whole…thing was quite…intense." Kutner asked concerned as he led her down to the cafeteria.
"I don't think 'intense' would be the word of my choice."
"No. I think 'awkward' and 'embarrassing' and 'completely and utterly mortifying' would be the words I'd choose." She replied with a sad smile.
"Nice choice, but you're missing my personal favourite 'thwarting', see that word is definitely not used enough. You know what else isn't used enough? 'Spiffing'."
"It's a bit…British."
"You can Americanise it, trust me." He assured her as they entered the lift.
"Uh-huh." She said doubtfully.
"Seriously! But don't make me do it because that would utterly thwarting." He said, putting on his best British accent for the last few words.
She laughed; with a boss like House you needed a friend like Kutner to pick up the pieces after a bad day.
Taub and Foreman joined them soon after in the cafeteria, each nursing their cups of coffee while waiting for the test results to come back.
"So, where's the mysterious rose?" Taub asked.
She had completely forgotten about the flower that she had found that morning thanks to the following argument with House.
"I guess I must have left it back up in the conference room." She shrugged, not wanting to get into the details.
"You worked out who it's from yet?" Foreman asked, casually flipping through the patient's file to check they hadn't missed anything.
"Well, it's definitely not from House, I can tell you that much." She laughed, finishing off her drink and placing the empty coffee cup back on the table.
"Speak of the devil, and he doth appear." House snarked, appearing in front of them with test results in hand. "What did Cameron say?"
"Does it matter? You've got the results." Taub reasoned.
"Yeah, but I wanna know." He threw back with the maturity of an 8-year-old.
He sighed, "Well, it took her about ten minutes to even get her to listen to me, and then there was the long rant about House not doing the dirty work for himself, and then when I finally asked her about it, she said how immature it was that you're just doing it to annoy her because the answer was plain simple." He explained apathetically.
"And the answer was…?" Foreman asked.
"It's not autoimmune." Taub and House answered simultaneously.
She took the test results from House (with a little more force than was necessary) and read the results herself. Blood count was normal.
"Definitely not autoimmune thrombocytopenia, the platelets are fine…so why is he still bleeding?" She asked intrigued.
"Maybe it's not a problem with his blood." Kutner said, taking the results from her.
"Yeah, he's got multiple internal bleeding but it's got nothing to do with his blood." House retorted sarcastically.
"I didn't say it had 'nothing' to do with it, I'm just saying it might not be the main cause."
"Okay, smartass, got a better idea you'd like to share with the class?"
"Hepatoma. His mother says he's barely been eating and if you take the fever and tiredness into account too…"
"They could all be explained by the drugs we're giving him; the blood thickeners and the pain meds are bound to have side-effects on this kid, we can't count them as symptoms unless we know they're not caused by any external factors." Taub reasoned.
"But we can't exclude them either." Foreman interrupted.
She hated it when they all had valid points, had they caused him those illnesses or were they all symptoms of a much larger problem?
"Take him off all the drugs." House said seriously.
"What?" Sounded from the majority of his co-workers.
"He's been getting worse since we started treatment. When the paramedics took him in, he only had stomach pain, they gave him anesthesia…" House explained.
"You think it's malignant hyperthermia?" Thirteen interrupts, "That's extremely rare, and even if it is, we haven't had any of the other usual symptoms like tachycardia, or muscle…"
"His breathing was irregular." Kutner said solemnly, "He got into difficulties when I was getting the full patient history. I gave him something for it about half an hour ago…"
And with almost perfect timing, all of their pagers went off. He was coding.
She was the first to arrive; she thought it was rather ironic that the first time she saw the patient was an emergency. Cardiac arrhythmia.
They performed the procedure as quickly as possible, and soon his heart rate was under control. She sighed in relief, and took to consoling the mother who was sent outside the room in the chaos.
She ran up to the diagnosis room as soon as she was finished.
"How nice of you to join us." House said as soon as she walked in the room. "Oh, and we decided we're blaming you for not noticing the high potassium and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Okay, I decided to blame you. Same principle."
"Lay off her." Kutner interjected quietly.
House raised an eyebrow in his direction but let it slide. "Okay, Mr.Chivalrous, mind telling me why you forgot to mention the breathing difficulties? I know it's a hard concept to grasp for you aliens, but breathing oxygen is kind of essential to us humans."
"Calling yourself human, that's rash." Thirteen remarked.
"Well, I'm sure Cutthroat…" House started angrily.
All four heads turned towards Foreman.
"In case you've forgotten, this kid is going to die unless we can confirm the diagnosis and start treating." He explained in a calmer voice.
He was right, and he also had inexplicable timing; if House had told them about Amber, she wouldn't know what to do. She collected herself, and was reaching for the file when her hand fell across the flower that was left for her that morning. It seemed insignificant now.
"It has to be a complication of malignant hyperthermia, what else would explain his rapid deterioration and his reaction to the anesthetics?" Taub asked.
"We've got no better ideas. Kutner, replace his IV and monitor him." House instructed, and watched him go.
"Ever if we did cause all of his other symptoms with the anesthetic, we still need to find out what caused the internal bleed in the first place." Foreman suggested, "How unlikely is it for a kid to have two rare genetic disorders?"
"Why? What are you thinking?" House enquired, while crossing off the symptoms on the board that should be linked to the malignant hyperthermia.
"It would have to have been inherited from the mother and she's never had any problems." Thirteen rationalised.
"She could be a carrier. Talk to the mother, find out if either of her parents had haemophilia of either type."
"But she said…"
"Everybody lies. Tell her that her son is going to die unless we can find the underlying cause." He said, dismissing them with a casual wave of his cane.
Foreman was right. The patient's grandfather had haemophilia A and had died from complications when he bled into his brain twenty years previously. The mother had lied to protect his dignity; he didn't want his family to know about his problem.
Thirteen administered the right treatment for both disorders and Taub pulled the short straw of having to monitor him overnight.
She was exhausted to say the least when she went back up to the diagnosis department to collect her belongings. She was surprised to see two more flowers had joined the first one, and someone was thoughtful enough to put them in a glass of water. Another small florist card stood beside them and she cautiously opened it.
Forgive whom for what? Why did her secret admirer have to be so…secretive? She sighed, and placed the card back down on the table. She was flattered, no matter who they were from.
She heard a cough behind her, and turned to see House clearing his throat significantly in the door between his office and the conference room.
"Gay? No. A terrorist? No. A egotistical, arrogant jerk who likes to screw with their duckling's heads? Well, sometimes."
She smiled at his joke and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear nervously. So, it was House all along. She didn't peg him for the romantic type.
"I thought you hated Valentine's Day."
"I do." His forehead crinkled in confusion. "Look, I'm just going to come out and say it…okay? I'm sorry. I'm a jackass. I shouldn't have told the team about you going both ways – which is hot, by the way – and I guess I was out of line with the whole Amber thing. Get used to it."
Okay, not the declaration of love she was expecting. If it wasn't House and if it wasn't Kutner…then who gave her the roses?
"You did a good job today." He said with a slight wince, almost like he was foreign to the idea of showing gratitude to employees. "See you tomorrow."
And with that he turned back towards his office.
He turned round.
"So, it wasn't you who…gave me the roses?"
"Wait a minute, was that meant to be a joke or an insult?" He asked in shock, "You think I…?"
"Well, who else?"
"You look like Thirteen, sound like Thirteen, but you have the brain cells of Chase…interesting. Did you two girls swap brains?" House joked with fake interest, "Fine. I'll spell it out. It's not me. It's not Kutner. It's not any of us. It's not anyone else at the hospital."
"But it has to be, you guys are the only ones who call me 13."
"You may be one of the talented doctors I've ever met but, my God, you have the common sense of a 5-year-old with severe brain malfunction. You. Slept. With. Her."
"Amber." She whispered quietly, before realisation set in, "That makes no sense. It was a drunken mistake, she hates me for it…"
"But…why?" She asked, more to herself than to him.
"Ask her yourself." He said, looking up to see the door open.
She turned around to see Amber standing awkwardly in the doorway, a hopeful smile on her face. She watched as she took a deep breath, her stomach turning in anticipation for what was about to happen. Somewhere she heard a door slam and knew they were alone.
"I hate emotional speeches and crap, and I know you do too, so I'll make this short for both our sakes." Amber began, stepping into the room completely, "I want you to know that…I'm sorry. That night was amazing, and I…I was scared. I mean, I'm straight for one thing, and I was with James…I guess I was afraid because you changed all that. It was one night but I couldn't stop thinking about it…about you. God, this is getting soppy."
She had tears in her eyes at hearing her speak so openly; Cutthroat Bitch was bearing her soul, she wouldn't be surprised if House had called the press already.
"Anyway, I'm sorry I blamed you for ruining everything. 'Cause you didn't. Well, you did, James is now crying in a dark room somewhere but I don't really care about that."
"Why don't I find that surprising?" She can't help but joke.
"Shut up." Amber smirked back in response, "I'm trying to be serious here. Look, I'm sorry, and I don't know what else to say. And, for the record, I hate Valentine's Day as much as you do, it just happened to be the day after I realised that I'm an idiot."
"You've changed." Was the only thing she could think to say. Wilson had somehow mellowed Amber out; she was more laidback, less ambitious, but still feisty and enthusiastic. Different, but completely the same.
"Is that a good thing?" She asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yeah…I guess so."
"Would you two just start making out already?" Came a voice from next-door.
They both look at each other in complete embarrassment and amusement. It was comforting to know that some people at least, never change.
"You wanna get out of here?" Amber asked.
"I thought you'd never ask." She replied with a grin, grabbing her bags (and the roses) before following her out the door.
The day had just been a stressful and surreal blur. First the roses, then House, then the patient, then House again, and then the woman she'd thought she'd never see again practically declaring her love for her? Quite possibly the most eventful Valentine's Day she'd ever had.
Concrit would be loved as I'm not happy with this piece and if you folks can identify why then I can try and go about fixing it. Comments of all kinds are welcome though, I like to know what you think. :-)