A/N: This story picks up immediately after House and Cameron's conversation in A Calming Influence, so you should definitely read that first. You can find it in my profile. I'm not adding on as it was originally supposed to be a one shot and I don't want to ruin it for anyone who may prefer it that way. Thanks for reading!
Reset, Chapter 1
Cameron's initial pleasure at being wanted quickly faded as she and House walked back to the hospital. He would never accept her as an equal, she thought. It would just be more of the same old crap it had always been. And how would she ever explain it to Chase? When they parted ways at the elevator bank, she promised to talk to him later after she had thought things through. He just shrugged, seemingly having already lost interest in their conversation. While it wasn't unexpected for him to withdraw after having had a semi-emotional conversation with her, it did nothing to lessen her fears. She decided she would at least to go and hear what Cuddy had to say before making a final decision.
Cameron knocked as she entered the office of the Dean of Medicine. "Dr. Cuddy, do you have a minute?"
Cuddy looked up from the papers she had been flipping through. "Dr. Cameron, come in, sit down. I've been expecting you. You've spoken to House I assume."
Cameron walked over and sat down in one of the chairs in front of Cuddy's desk. "Yes. He made me an offer, but said to see you for particulars."
"Right, well here's how I envision this working, but of course parts of it are negotiable. You move back upstairs…"
"Why are you doing this?" Cameron broke in.
"Excuse me?" Cuddy asked, sounding a bit put out at being interrupted.
"Why are you catering to him? Am I missing something?"
"I'm not catering…" she stopped and then sighed. "Yes, I am. Fine, there are two reasons. One, as I told you before, the administrative functions in his department haven't been up to par since you left. House won't do them. Foreman resents even being there so he's certainly not gone the extra mile. None of the others know how and they seem to lack the initiative to learn. So having you there is certainly of benefit to me and to the hospital. It's not all about House's whims."
"But some of it is."
"Well that brings me to the second reason." Cuddy stopped and appeared to consider how best to phrase her thoughts. "He's headed for a fall, Cameron. You haven't been around him much this past year so maybe you haven't seen it, but he is. He's been even more…erratic…than usual. For him to even imply that maybe he needs you is huge. Huge! It says to me that even he is worried about his behavior."
Cameron nodded. He had essentially told her the same thing, but she wasn't going to betray his confidence to Cuddy.
"I can't fix him, Dr. Cuddy. I thought once that maybe I could, but I got over that delusion a long time ago."
"I know you can't. And more importantly, I know that you know you can't. I wouldn't have agreed to this otherwise. We may not always see eye to eye when it comes to House, but I'm not prepared to sacrifice you in some misguided attempt to save him from himself. But don't you see, Cameron? This isn't about you or me trying to save him. This is him…trying to save himself."
Cameron nodded again. She agreed with Cuddy's assessment and was glad to see that someone else was interpreting his actions in the same way. Maybe she wasn't just seeing what she wanted to see. Or maybe both of them were, but at least then she wasn't alone in her wishful thinking.
Cuddy leaned back in her chair and continued. "Anyway, as I was saying, here is how I see this working. You go back upstairs; you work a few cases with him just to get back into the swing of things. You work on getting your board certification, which shouldn't take you very long. Once you have that under your belt, I'll assign you a few classes to teach. I think you'd be good at that. You also handle all the cases House decides are too "boring" for him. You consult with each other as needed. Perhaps, in time, you take on your own fellows but in the meantime you'll have the authority to borrow his whenever he's not using them. I'm sure they won't mind escaping the madness for awhile. Your title will be Assistant Head of Diagnostics, but you are not his assistant; you report to me. Finally, you'll be in charge of all administrative functions for the department. That doesn't mean you do them yourself. Train one or more of the fellows to do anything that has to be done by a doctor. For the rest, hire a department secretary. We'll do some minor renovations…get you an office and somewhere for the secretary to sit. As far as money goes, I'm proposing a five percent raise effective immediately with more to come when you get your certification." Cuddy stopped speaking and took a deep breath. "Any questions?"
Cameron asked the one question that had been on her mind the entire time. "Do you really think he'll treat me as an equal?"
"Of course he won't; you're not his equal," Cuddy replied.
"But you said…"
"I said you're not his subordinate. And you're not. But you're not his equal. Hell, I'm not his equal and I'm his boss. House will always be miles ahead of the rest of us on some levels. Because of that, yes, he'll try to treat you the same as he always did, try to bulldoze over you, but you can't let him. Don't worry, if you're in the right, I'll back you up. It won't always help…I'm not a miracle worker…but I'll try. Anyway, the fact that he wants you there might be enough to convince him to go easier on you."
Cameron snorted. "I doubt that. If anything, it will make him harder on me."
Cuddy sighed. "Yes, you're probably right about that. But I have every confidence that you can handle it. Handle him. There are very few people in this world I would say that to, but you are definitely one of them. Go home, Cameron. Give it some thought, talk to Chase, talk to House, do whatever you need to do. If you have any more questions you know where I am."
"When do you need an answer?"
"Foreman is leaving at the end of the month. If you could let me know by the end of this week, that would give us two weeks to choose and train a replacement for you in the ER."
"Okay," Cameron said. "I'll be in touch. Thank you for your…honesty." Cameron stood up and headed for the door.
"Dr. Cameron." Cuddy's voice stopped her as she had her hand on the doorknob.
"Is this going to cause problems for you? In your personal life, I mean?"
Cameron thought for a moment about Chase's probable reaction. "Yes. Yes, it is." With a shrug she opened the door and departed, leaving Cuddy alone with her paperwork and her thoughts.