House caught the ball with his cane before throwing it back up to the wall, letting it bounce off, and catching it again. His brain went in rhythm with it, bouncing around the symptoms of his latest patient, trying to figure out what was going on with the case.
The glass door to his office swung open and Cuddy walked in, stopping just short of House's desk. House caught the ball and swiveled his desk chair to face her. "I'm meditating. Is this urgent?" he asked, ignoring the slightly confused and slightly annoyed look on her face.
"I was going through finances for the ER," Cuddy told him. "There was an appendectomy done last week for one…Sam Durham," she said, glancing to the papers in her hand. "Went through without insurance. Someone paid every penny of the $11,258.42. I thought that was a little strange. What's stranger is that Cameron was the one that paid it."
House stared at her, then realized that she wanted some sort of response or acknowledgement. "She tends to take on charity cases."
"Not to mention the fact that all this took place the evening I went home from food poisoning," Cuddy continued in a low, angry voice. "And that was the night that Foreman was knocked out and restrained by an unknown assailant. You know, the night that had me feeling like I had been given ten pieces to a hundred-piece puzzle? There anything you want to tell me?"
"House," she said, her tone strong with a warning.
Letting his ball fall to the ground and leaning on his cane, House took a breath and let it out before looking back to Cuddy. He stared at her for a few seconds, and she narrowed her eyes back, slightly unnerved by the serious gaze, as he knew she would be. "Cameron called in a favor with me. I kept you out to give you plausible deniability. Plus the fact that you would have exacerbated the situation."
Cuddy stared at him. "You did what?" she snapped. "What did you…? It was an appendectomy," she told him. "What could have been so complicated about that?"
"It's over and done with, no repercussions to speak of. Nobody died, nobody went to prison, nobody's being sued. Since I've gotten involved in situations dealing with all three of those, this was pretty minor. You're…quite intelligent. Put together the pieces. What do you come up with?" House asked, cocking his head slightly.
Cuddy glanced away and then back to House, almost nervous to come up with the answer. "No insurance. So either he was flat broke or he didn't want anyone knowing he was here. Or both." House stared at her, not confirming or denying her train of thought. "An appendectomy is cause for an emergency trip to the ER," Cuddy continued slowly, as if talking it out. "So he probably didn't have a choice and came to Cameron for help. You giving me plausible deniability means…." She stopped, letting out a sigh. "Means I really don't want to know what happened. Even though it pisses me off to no end not knowing what went on in my hospital," she muttered.
House continued to stare.
Cuddy let out a sigh. "As long as this doesn't come back to bite me in the ass…if Cameron called in a favor with you then I guess she was pretty desperate." She shook her head and let out another sigh, this one sounding as if she wished she had fired House long ago. "Continue your…meditation." At that, she left the office and House picked up his ball, putting it on the curved end of his cane, and resumed bouncing it off the wall.