Disclaimer: House isn't mine.

Summary: She'd been counting on forever, forever meant she didn't have to contemplate the now; but forever's gone and for all that she's still here, the now may as well be gone too.

Author's Notes: This got stuck in my head and even though I tried to ignore it, it wouldn't go away – believe me I tried because I have a list of fictions to write/update that fill an A4 sheet of paper but nevertheless here it is… be nice please :P It's probably a really stupid idea but I figured I had nothing to lose by posting it… it gets off to a slow start so bare with me lol. All the medical conditions are from researching on google... also note I'm new to this fandom and to top it off when I put it up it went wrong and I had to take it down again to sort it out title etc.. confusing, anyways, read on if you will, review if you please though it may be better for you to wait for later chapters before drawing a substantiated conclusion :P

Warning: If any of you have read my profile you'll know that the word 'warning' is as much of a warning as I'll give 'coz I hate spoiling the story by saying what happens. 'Warning' is just a little caution that something bad is likely to happen.

Chapter 1: A Sense of Normalcy

"Lupus," Cameron said for what must be the hundredth time since starting the case.

"It's not lupus," House dismissed her idea yet again without even looking at her, studying the whiteboard full of symptoms with critical blue eyes, he leant heavily on his cane, flexing his fingers as he shifted to face his team, "give me something else,"

"Lupus fits!" Foreman exclaimed disbelievingly, he pushed himself from his seat and strode over to the board; he could feel his boss' gaze burning into the back of his head as he pointed at each of the scrawled symptoms "chest pain, tachycardia, shortness of breath, fever, kidney failure… it's all there!"

House's eyes narrowed as he observed the neurologist and the whiteboard "it's not lupus!" he practically shouted to counter the other man.

"Then what is it?" Cameron asked, fed up with his constant expecting them to come up with an answer but not contributing himself.

His eyes flicked across the board but his usually quick mind could come up with nothing to explain the cause of their patient's symptoms. It wasn't lupus, they'd already tried treating that and it hadn't worked; something else was wrong but he'd hit a mental block and couldn't conjure up another cause and if they didn't come up with something soon then the woman would be lucky to see the end of the week "where's Chase?"

Foreman rolled his eyes and sighed, retaking his seat and looking thoroughly fed up as Cameron stuttered for a response.

"He's in the ER, there was a bus crash and-"

"He should be here," the caustic doctor stamped his cane onto the floor in a display that looked almost petulant but the two members of his team that were present were aware that it was in frustration that he couldn't solve the puzzle not that the fair-haired Australian was undertaking duties that he would not normally perform on a day-to-day basis.

"We could page him," Foreman was eager to get the attention back on their patient and if that meant drifting momentarily to get House back on track then so be it; her kidneys were about four hours from giving out and when they did, even if they got on her dialysis, her time after that would be limited.

House had already snatched the patient's file from the table and was leaving the conference room; going into his office, he disappeared from sight a moment later.

"Where's he going?" Cameron got to her feet.

Foreman shook his head in exasperation "I'm gonna go do another LP,"

James Wilson sighed as he glanced up and saw his friend standing out on the balcony, staring pointedly through the glass doors. He smiled gently at the leukaemia patient in front of him "excuse me," he said as he got to his feet and let himself out of his office, shutting the door behind him as he went on to the balcony.

"What do you want House?"

"I need a second opinion,"

He sighed, something he found himself doing frequently when in the presence of the diagnostician "I'm with a patient;" he pointed out "can't this wait?"

House frowned and peered into the room, the woman turned in her seat as she felt someone looking at her and his eyes darted away the moment she saw him "is she dying?"

Wilson felt a bizarre sense of déjà vu fly over him but he ignored it, it was still inappropriate, no matter whether he'd heard it before or not "yes," he answered, because most of his patients were; he was an oncologist, of course they were dying.

House's expression was mocking "and you just left her? Wilson I'm shocked,"

The other doctor put his hands on his hips and after a glance back inside his office to check on his patient he turned back to his friend and gave him a pointed look.

Deciding that engaging in a staring contest would be a pointless waste of his time, House limped over to the wall and looked vaguely down onto the sidewalk below, waiting just long enough for Wilson to take a step back towards his office and the terminally ill girl waiting in there, he turned and tossed the file at his friend "Cameron thinks it's lupus,"

Wilson gave him a critical look but sighed and shook his head as if to clear it "it fits the symptoms,"

"It's not lupus,"

He sighed "then what is it?"

There was no reply.

"Fine," he continued "could be… myocarditis; you've run blood cultures?"

House gave him a potent look, that said – in more ways than one – of course you moron.

"What about pneumonia, kidney failure brought on by a secondary infection she contracted in the hospital…" his eyes darted over the page "seizures could be a reaction to the meds-"

"Chase isn't working the differential,"

The oncologist was growing rapidly more impatient "where is he?" he asked, pretending to be interested as he folded his arms across his chest. He caught sight of the girl in his office; she was glancing intermittently at the duo on the balcony and when she wasn't she was checking her watch, he opened the door "I'm really sorry Linda, I'll be with you as soon as I can,"

Linda nodded and smiled at her doctor as he closed the door again.

"He's in the ER," House was back to observing the people wandering along the sidewalk with his usual air of cool indifference.

"There was a bus crash this morning – they're short staffed," his hands dropped to his sides "what's this about?"

House said nothing.

Then it dawned on him "you're pissed because he didn't tell you first!" he exclaimed "House, he's an intensivist, it's his job!" so the fact that Chase was an intensivist generally meant he would work in the ICU when he wasn't in diagnostics, but that wasn't the point; House still had no need to get so righteous over the whole thing.

"He works for me,"

"He works for the hospital," Wilson scoffed "are you really that annoyed that he's working in the ER that you decided to come bother me? You have two more, brilliant doctors, in your office; ask them," he gestured with the file to House's office "if you're that desperate that Chase help, page him," he all but threw the patient file back at his friend before going back into his office.

House observed the smooth transition from overly exaggerated, annoyed friend to caring doctor as the oncologist stepped over the threshold with a cool eye. It wasn't so much that it was Chase in particular who was missing but the fact that any one of his team was absent – without telling him – from the running of the differential. Although, he pondered as he limped back to his office, chances are the Australian would have just made puppy dog eyes at Cameron the whole time and agreed with everything she'd said if he'd been there, so instead of having two annoying voices saying precisely what the patient didn't have, House would have had three.

"Hug your knees to your chest for me," Foreman said as gently as he could, smiling minutely at the patient; he really was getting as bad as House… what was her name? Paula? Phillipa? Patricia? "That's it," he tried for encouragement as he caught sight of the little girl sat on the chair in the corner, she couldn't have been more than five, he thought, as she hugged an over-sized stuffed rabbit to her chest.

"Hey," the woman said, reaching out for her daughter and the girl came scampering across the floor.

Foreman took a calming breath as he pulled the needle back just millimetres away from piercing the patient's spinal cord; if he'd already withdrawing the fluid when she'd moved "you need to stay still for me," he said, glancing pointedly at the nurse who was helping the woman keep herself steady.

"Sorry," the woman answered, then to her daughter "its okay Amber," she coaxed "mommy's just fine,"

"This might hurt a little," he warned her.

"Haven't we already done this?" she sounded somewhat impatient and her voice was laced with the unforgettable notes of pain.

"The results last time weren't conclusive," he said, as he pierced the skin of the lower back, the needle sliding between the vertebrae and spinal fluid slowing dribbling into the canister.

"Is mommy gonna be okay?" Amber said, fixing big, wide eyes on the black man.

Momentarily taken aback by the question Foreman nodded as he withdrew the needle, immediately placing a cotton bud on the lightly bleeding wound to… whatever her name was' back, "you're mom's very sick,"

"I'll be fine sweetie," she assured her, reaching for the girl's face and stroking back some of the red curls that framed her round little face "mommy's going to be fine… why don't you go down the hall with the nurse and get some candy from the machine?" she glanced at the nurse to check that it was okay before she gestured for her bag and the child passed it.

Amber took the money she was given and looked at Foreman for confirmation that her mother really was going to be 'fine'.

Foreman nodded, almost biting his tongue to correct that statement as he and the nurse helped the woman get comfortable again.

"You need to take it easy for a few hours Mrs Bishop," the nurse advised before leading Amber from the room.

"Am I ever going to meet Doctor House?"

The question every patient asked, Foreman nearly smiled at the regularity of it.

"Doctor House is… he's a very busy man," and still, he lies for him, Foreman wanted to kick himself, House wasn't that busy, he was probably lounging in the chair behind his desk watching the latest episode of General Hospital and bouncing that infernal ball on the handle of his cane; certainly not too busy – by anyone's standards, save for maybe his own – to visit a dying patient.

The woman snorted derisively, the motion causing her to cough and as a result, her chest to hurt.

"Look, Penny-"

"Judy," the woman glared at him and even though she was pale and sweating, her eyes sunken and hovering over the shadows that marred the delicate skin beneath them she still looked suitable angry "my name is Judy,"

"Judy, sorry," damn, he used to be good at this, remembering names, he never used to forget or – and he really hoped that this wasn't the case – not bother to find out what they were, "Judy, you're very sick; is there anyone who could look after Amber if…"

"If what?" Judy glared at him "if I don't make it? Is that what you're saying?"

Foreman shifted uncomfortably.

"Listen to me, that little girl has no one but me left. Her father died in a car accident three years ago, I'm a single mom…" she trailed off and her breathing grew heavier, measured but she bats his hand away when he goes to listen to her chest "you need to find out what's wrong with me," she stared at him for a moment, determined to get her point across. "I don't care how busy Doctor House is; he'll be the one who has to look my little girl in the eye and tell her that her mom's not coming back if I don't male it,"

She sounded obnoxious but the years he had spent working in the medical industry told him that it was fear that made her sound so direct and wasn't necessarily an indicator of who she felt in regards to him personally that she was being so… well rude wasn't the word…

"What did Wilson say?" Cameron said without even looking up from her microscope.

He raised his eyebrows, he wasn't taken aback that she knew him so well, it just irked him that she did it with more finesse than any one else had every shown. He paused in the doorway to the lab, saying nothing until she finally raised her head, casually tossing her hair back over her shoulder, the dark curls cascading from the ponytail and spilling down her back; contrasting sharply with the white of her lab coat.

House stepped into the room fully, taking the bottle from his pocket and popping a couple of Vicodin with one hand, he went to swallow them dry like he normally did but caught sight of Cameron's mug of coffee and helped himself to a mouthful, smirking when she gave him an affronted look, "he thinks its cancer," he deadpanned.

Cameron rolled her eyes because he hadn't even made the effort to sound genuine and if it was meant to be a joke it wasn't funny, she went back to looking through her microscope, changing the resolution and shifting the slide slightly as she did so.

A moment later the silence was broken when House announced loudly "Lupus,"

She straightened up again "you said it wasn't-"

"That was Wilson's first thought, and yours and Foreman's" he sat on her desk, looking down at her and smirking at the semi-patient expression that was flickering across her face "we may as well add wombat-boy to the list as well because if he'd actually decided to show up today then he'd have agreed with you,"

"Chase is working in the ER!" she found herself defending her co-worker.

House twirled his cane between his hands, watching the movement with a strange sort of curiosity "which leaves us with two choices," he stopped fidgeting and looked at her intensely "either you're all inexplicably right and it is lupus," he half-jumped from the desk, landing mostly on his good leg as he shifted his weight to accommodate his cane "or I'm right and it's not," he finished, limping out of the labs again.

"It's not lupus," Foreman put his hands in his pockets as he stood next to the table House and Wilson were eating at.

"Told you," House remarked childishly, pointing at Wilson with his fork before digging back into his lunch.

"Second LP came back negative,"

"She has myocarditis," Cameron said breathlessly as she joined them "blood cultures were positive for coxsackievirus B,"

"I said that," Wilson pointed out despite the fact his mouth was full.

House ignored him "start her on a course of antibiotics," he instructed and as both Foreman and Cameron went for their bleeping pagers he added; "and get her on ACE inhibitors,"

Both doctors looked at each other quizzically before rushing back to their patient.

Author's Notes: This is getting off to a really slow start – maybe I'm just getting used to the characters - but I hope it hasn't bored you too much :D review if you liked it, don't if you didn't (I don't appreciate flames, I don't think there's anything more pointless :P)