Disclaimer: I don't own House…I wish I did.

This is my first story for House. It was an idea I had after watching Frozen…wouldn't it be cool if she came back and was able to hold her own with our cranky doc? Since they seem to want to go in a totally opposite direction with Cameron *sadface*… he deserves someone who could handle him.

"You're late."

"And you're annoying, "

"You were supposed to report for clinic duty two hours ago."

"More important things to do."

"Catching up on the latest episode of Manswers is not more important than patients."

"Oh but there's where you are soooo wrong…did you know that you could resuscitate someone with flatulence?"

Cuddy made a face. "No you can't. That's disgusting."

"Oh yes butt … you can, " he laughed out loud at his own joke. "I saw it on Manswers."

She shook her head as if to say whatever. "We have over twenty patients in the waiting room and you're two hours late, you owe me two hours tomorrow."

He stops at the nurses' desk to sign in. "Aren't there any other doctors in this hospital you could go annoy into doing clinic duty. Why does it always have to be me?"

"I do have other doctors. But, right now, I'm short one, " she said uneasily. In the mood he was in, she dared not mention Wilson's name.

He glared in her direction and picked up the chart. "Here, why don't you have Dr…. " he paused to decipher the scrawled signature, "Milton… pick up the slack?"

"She is picking up the slack, " Cuddy said with rising irritation as she brought her finger to pinch the headache between her eyes. In the last two month since Wilson had left, House had become increasingly more difficult to deal with. She was either going to kill House or kill Wilson for packing up and leaving her to deal with him alone.

House leaned on his cane and held the chart turning his head quizzically. "Dr. Milton? Who the fuck is Dr. Milton?"

"How soon they forget, " a sarcastic yet sultry voice came up from behind him, "figures you wouldn't even remember my name."

House turned around to examine his accuser; his gaze froze on her dark smirking eyes as recognition slowly began to sink in. Dr. Milton. Dr. Cate Milton, formerly of the South Pole.

"Dr. House, " she said by way of greeting.

"Oh, that Dr. Milton, " he said with exaggerated reminiscence. "Last I heard you were stuck on the ice planet Hoth with a tauntaun as the only means of egress."

The beautiful doctor smiled. "Yeah, they were able to fly the Millennium Falcon in once the winds died down."

"Dr. Milton thank you for covering for Dr. House, he has no excuse for being late, " Cuddy interrupted.

House shifted his weight on his cane and pointed at Cate. "You know she's not a real doctor, right?" He was alluding to her specialty of psychiatry as a misappropriation of the word doctor.

"You know you're not a real human being, right?" Cuddy said slamming a chart against his chest. "Patient with genital blistering, room three, now."

House made a disgusted face at Cuddy before she strutted off in the direction of her office. He admired the sway of her rounded hips encased in their tight little skirt as she click-clacked away from him. He shook his head appreciatively; that was always the best part about pissing her off, the huffy retreat. Tearing his eyes away from the disappearing feast he, noticed that Dr. Milton had moved to the other side of the nurses station and was making notes in a chart, presumably the one for the patient she'd just seen. It was a rare view for him, since he never wrote diagnostic notes in his own charts, that's what he had the ducklings for.

Hobbling up along side her, he leaned casually against the counter, just close enough that he crowded out her open folder forcing her to stop writing. "So, what are you doing here?"

Nonplussed by his rudeness, she slid the chart over without looking at him and continued to write. "Last I heard, I was still employed by this hospital."

"But what happened with the South Pole, the climate here in New Jersey's a little warm for you this time of year."

"I was there for research. The research is done. Now I'm home." She closed her file and looked at him.

"Right," he said his eyes searching. "What about the boy wonder? He home too?"

She paused a beat. "No. He's still there."

"Curious, " he said staring at her for a moment. "Still there because he wants to be or because you want him to be?"

"He's just still there." She leveled her gaze at him revealing nothing. He continued his inspection, looking for some kind of tell, a facial tic or involuntary sigh. Nothing.

"Come on Cate, after all we've been through, you can tell me the truth?" he prodded.

"Yeah, we've been through some much together it made you forget my name, " she said sarcastically with a small laugh.

He waved his free hand in the air dismissively. "You were my patient; I never know my patient's names."

"You knew mine, " she reminded pointedly, bring up Wilson's drawing attention to that ironic statistical anomaly during her lymph node biopsy.

He chose to ignore that point. "So Hero Boy's still in the frozen tundra and you're here, home alone; that sounds like an interesting story, do tell…"

She clutched a new chart to her chest. "Uh, uh. You know I don't get naked without getting something in return," she said receiving a weird look from the nurse behind the desk. House didn't miss the exchange.

"She's such a dirty whore, tit for tat, I like that, " he said waggling his eyebrows for emphasis. He received a disgusted eye roll from the nurse who promptly moved to the opposite side of the desk to get away from him. It was a typical reaction; he was used to it. Cate on the other hand, shook her head and moved in the direction of her next patient in exam room two. "There's nothing to tell, House."

"By your clipped and non-descript answers, I'll bet there's a whole lot to tell," he said limping after her.

She stopped with the exam door partially open, "You have genital blistering you need to see to. I'm sure a cream and some Valtrex will do the job."

House smiled a sardonic grin at the patient whose eyes were as wide as saucers at the assumption that he was the one who was the owner of the STD. "Cute. She's not a real doctor you know. She's from the psyche ward." He made a circling motion with his finger by his head. "I would get a second opinion on anything she says."

"Dr. House was just leaving, " Cate said pushing him out of the door. "You really are a doctor, right?" He heard the patient ask as the door shut in his face. House smiled to himself. This was certainly the most interesting thing to have crossed his radar in the last two months. Cate from the South Pole was back. The guy who loved her enough to drill a hole in her head was still in the South Pole and the lovely doctor was unwilling to talk about it. That meant that something didn't go well. Which meant that they were no longer together. Which meant that she was a free agent. Interesting, indeed. He'd have to get Lucas, his private dick, on the case. He needed more information.