Disclaimer: Don't own 'em
Characters: House, Chase, Cameron
Summary: How House, Chase, and Cameron pulled off the prank in "Let Them Eat Cake." Canon Chase/Cameron, friendship fic.
It was lunch, and it was enjoyable. Until the paper football hit his temple and bounced off at a weird angle, and the projectile landed on his limp Caesar salad.
"What's this?" Cameron asked, reaching over her chicken wrap to grab it. He looks around, unsure even of the direction the thing came from. His thoughts immediately went to House, but he couldn't spot his favorite (and also least-favorite) crippled ex-boss anywhere. Cameron spun the paper so the writing faced him, her eyebrow raised, half-skeptical and half-pissed.
In a scrawl that was unmistakably House's, the note read Ditch the moll. Morgue 10 mins
He laughed nervously and took the paper from her. "Think I should go?"
"Yes," she said, her voice surprisingly adamant. "But I'm coming with."
"I'm supposed to ditch the moll," he pointed out.
"Since when have you cared what House wanted?" she volleyed back. She'd been pissed with him since he 'ditched her' during the hostage thing last week, and he knew better than to argue right now. "I'm going to clear my tray. We really should try and schedule longer lunches; I hate this food."
"Where is he?" he said, getting up to follow her to the conveyor belt. "Seriously, do you see him?"
She searches too, but fails, and shrugs. "Nope. No Wilson, either."
"You sure you want to make an uninvited trip to meet House down in the morgue?" he asked. "He might throw a body at you or something."
"Please, he couldn't throw a body. Not without enough Vicodin to screw up his aim," she said, rolling down her sleeves. "Do you know what this is about?"
"No idea," he answered, opening the door to the stairwell for her. They jogged down the steps in silence until they reached the cold basement hallway. As they punched in the code to enter the morgue, Chase noticed that the morgue tech had mysteriously disappeared. He pushed the door open and prepared for the onslaught of cool air. "House?" he called tentatively. Cameron stood slightly behind him, rubbing her arms.
"I should have brought my sweater," she muttered. "House! No playing freaky games in the morgue." She looked cautiously at Chase.
"Yeah, that'll stop him from throwing a body," he muttered. She sent him a slightly cross Look ad continued to search for House among the stainless steel dissection tables.
Suddenly House, spinning on a stool and clutching an anatomy-class skeleton, shot out of a door. His trajectory was completely out of control, and he spun wildly toward them before using his heels as brakes. Still, the skeleton hit a corner of a table and flew out of his hands, (predictably) narrowly missing Cameron, who glared. He shrugged.
"I told you to ditch the moll," House whined. "If I needed a moral spine, I'd bring Wilson down here." Cameron glared.
"Yeah, because hitting me in the head with a football while we're eating isn't going to pique some interest," Chase said sarcastically, crossing his arms.
"Well, I'm going to need you, too, so you're allowed to stay," House said.
"Need?" Cameron scoffed. "House, you don't need people."
House raised his eyebrow and pulled a laptop from a sink well at the end of a table. "Ew. I'm not touching that," Cameron said.
"Just watch, Nurse Priss," House said, lifting the screen of his laptop. "Look at this." He motioned them over. He cackled as they peered at the screen.
Somehow, House had gotten wireless to work in the morgue, and on the screen there was a large five-line drawing of a house, like what a kid would draw, and a digital bobble-head of House waved from a lower-floor window. Dr. Gregory House's Second-Opinion Clinic arced over the house, and With Medical Advice Direct from Dr. Gregory House flashed intermittently under the house. House hovered the arrow icon over the door and clicked. "House, what is this?" Chase asked. "Ambition isn't exactly your strong suit."
"Not to mention this is clearly detrimental to the patient," Cameron said. "There is no value in practicing medicine over the Internet!"
"Keep your panties on—for now," House said, shooting her an appraising look. Although he knew the reaction House wanted was for Chase to shove him, he simply took a deep breath instead. Cameron rolled her eyes.
A new page had opened, reading The Doctor Is In! followed by a laundry list of instructions. Chase scanned them. "You're getting people to email you symptoms and you tell them their original doctor was right, and they pay you $500 for your 'advice?'" Chase said incredulously. "House, is this even you?"
"Bingo." House said. "That only took you five minutes."
"Who's running this? You can shut them down if they're using your name. Although I'm sure this is illegal," Cameron stood up.
"Only in nine states," House said. "None of which are named New Jersey. And who do you think is running this? I'll give you a hint: They work here."
"Gotta be Kutner," Chase finally said. "You obviously know it wasn't us, only a doctor who's worked with you is brave enough—or stupid enough—to do this, Taub wouldn't waste his time, Foreman wouldn't say that you're a better name to use than his own, and Thirteen isn't that creative. Plus she's too busy hooking up with chicks," Chase said. "Kutner's crazy enough to come up with this and stupid enough to think you wouldn't find it."
House looked at him with near-admiration, and Cameron asked, "How did you even find this?"
"Ever Google yourself, Cameron?"
"No," she said, in her patent I'm-either-talking-to-House-or-a-stupid-child voice.
"You should. You'd be surprised what it turns up," House said. "You too, Chase. Anyways, he's been running this gambit for about three weeks now."
"And you haven't shut it down?" Cameron said edgily.
"Working on it, it's time for my Master Evil Plan to Take Over the Universe. Or at least get back at Kutner." He released a mirthful, vampire-movie cackle, which—Chase had to admit—sounded damned creepy in the morgue, echoing off all the metal.
"Got that out of your system?" Cameron asked dryly. "And did we have to meet in the morgue, of all places?"
"Yes," House said. "I need you people."
"For a scheme?" Chase raised his eyebrows. "You couldn't use … Cuddy and Wilson?" Chase liked House, really, but he wasn't going to get caught up doing his damned bidding.
"I. Need. You," House repeated. "There's a cut for you involved."
"A cut?" Chase asked. "You're … posing as a patient?"
"Ding-ding-ding again!" House clapped. "Getting laid on a regular basis is really helping your mad diagnostic skillz."
Cameron and Chase stared at him, the only appropriate response. "What did you need us for, House?" Cameron asked. "Hurry it up, it's freezing and we both are actually held accountable for our tardiness."
"I've been posing as a patient, like Golden Boy said," House started. "Recent boob-job recipient who is positive leaks are causing muscle fatigue, hair loss, a school of other symptoms. Starting tomorrow I've hired a, ahem, lovely young lady to provide certain services, including posing as this patient."
"Cuddy's going to be thrilled at the Hooker Parade," Chase said.
"Cuddy's not important here," House said. "I'm sure that either by now, or at least by tomorrow, Kutner's going to call in Boob Boy to help him out. I've got them working together as Foreman tries to save Thirteen's life OR convince her that she has something she really, really wants to live for. BB is going to demand a cut to keep it hush-hush. My friend is going to be waiting for them in the lobby, get on an elevator with them. She's going to tell them she's going to see Dr. House, they'll figure out then—where's the easiest place to admit a patient?"
"The ER," Cameron said, and Chase could see this plan forming.
"Which is where you'll be."
"They could take her to the clinic. People aren't that predictable," she argued.
"These two are. Even more predictable than you two Blondsie Twins. Of course they won't take her to the clinic, because Cuddy or Wilson or any number of other doctors who wouldn't hesitate to tell on them would be there. They see solidarity with you, Kutner knows you're the most likely to sympathize with a random patient that's walked in," House said. "Anyways. You will then keep her there for a while. Give her something to eat. Set her up with some sort of scary symptom that looks like it'll lead to neuro damage—I recommend blood from the ear but you can be as creative as you want. I'll page you when I'm starting a differential with them, then you page them. She knows what to do. You just keep your pretty little face straight and tell them to call me. If they know anything, they will. But since they don't, keep her in a bed. They'll ask the two of you for help, and run whatever test they want. Bring Chase in if they don't ask. Keep telling them just to tell me, but just go with it."
"And then what?" Chase asked. "You want me to cut her open?" He raised an eyebrow.
"No, you idiot. After a few hours, page them that she died. That you checked and she's dead. At this point I want you doing the talking, they'll think something's up if the longer-haired one isn't crying and calling in Cuddy," House said. "She'll be in the morgue, and tell them she's there and to see for themselves. I'll be waiting to freak the shit out of them."
"And where's our cut?" Chase asked.
"I'm not shutting down the clinic," House said. "I'm forcing them to remain open and split the pot with me. You'll get thirty percent of my cut."
"What's your cut?" Chase asked.
"I'm taking half."
"Then I want forty percent of your cut."
House looked slightly taken aback, then shrugged. "It's my name. Deal."
"You can't keep the site up," Cameron argued. "It's unsafe and unethical."
"Relax, I hacked his email months ago. There's been no inaccurate diagnoses from the original doctor. We're ripping off hypochondriacs."
"Still not okay," Cameron said resolutely.
Chase shot a long look at his girlfriend—it was a lot of money up for grabs—and then back at House. "She's not going to budge."
He rolled his eyes. "And there goes Chase's new backbone. Fine," he looked at Cameron and waved his cane in defeated disgust. "I'll keep it up for a month, just to screw with Kutner. Chances are he'll stop being ambitious, won't take too many cases. After a month—which is just to make him miserable for doing this damned thing—I'll make him shut it down."
"And if anyone has a conflicting diagnosis you will call them personally," Cameron added.
"Fine," House snarked, rolling his eyes. "Doesn't the moral-compass schtick ever get old? Just a teensy bit?"
Cameron glared at him in response.
"Don't let your face freeze like that in here," House said, striding (okay, limping) out. Chase turned to Cameron, and shrugged.
"You can't be serious," she said.
"Easy couple thousand," he said. "Come on, Ally. We'll … take a vacation. And it's House. He won't screw up a diagnosis."