Author's Note: Rated mostly for language and it might be a little violent later on. Has House/Cuddy. Takes place sometime in Season 6.

I don't own House or I wouldn't be posting this on .

Chapter 1

The soft padding of tennis shoes and the rubber stamp preceded the surprisingly graceful figure of Dr. House. It was a rare morning to see him whistle as he walked, but his repeated mashing of the 'up' button in the elevator did the trick of allowing him to escape Cuddy. The woman had the instincts of a submarine's radar and she seemed to almost inevitably catch the blip of Dr. House just as he walked in. Thankfully the clinic had been busy with worried mothers who were all convinced their child had swine flu. Still, he cheerfully awaited Cuddy's imminent arrival to his office.

He pushed through the glass door where his oldest of fellows were seated at the main table. Two of them doing such routine tasks that he briefly wondered if it still wasn't three years ago.

"Good morning, my little ducklings."

"It's noon," Cameron replied as she stared over Chase's shoulder at the Crossword puzzle he was doing.

"Is it really? Wasn't the time meant to be set back sometime last weekend?"

"One hour, not two," she replied with an unperturbed smile.

"I can't believe you still play his games," Chase said to her while House threw his jacket on the back of his ergonomic chair. "Cuddy's looking for you by the way."

"Apparently I didn't squish her mitten enough last night," House replied when he came back in, and snatched a marker up from the tray. "So what do we have today?"

"We don't have a case yet," Foreman said, who still hadn't looked up from the medical journal he was reading.

"Then go find us one," Hosue snapped and pointed the marker at Chase. "You, go do my clinic hours. And you," he glared at Cameron, "I'm surprised you're not already applying band-aids and wiping snot from the little puppies and kittens that come through our doors."

"I've already done my two hours of clinic," Cameron replied, taking a sip of her coffee.

"Then head up the E.R. or have you finally realized that the satisfaction of that job is nothing compared to your old job as my minion?"

She said nothing as she walked after Chase and Foreman, but kept that annoyingly superior smile she liked to wear now that she'd successfully made it through the obstacle course of a fellowship with him. She had certainly smartened up and lost that unbelievable naiveté that hung so thickly around her he was surprised no one had yet choked on the fluffy cotton balls of her personality. He also sincerely hoped she had truly left behind that ridiculous crush she had for him and stayed with Chase. He didn't need the resident Care Bear hanging on his every word with the intent of fixing him.

He didn't stay in his office for long and head down the hall to his next predictable stop and barged into it in his usual fashion.

"It's noon. Feed me."

Wilson didn't even look up from the form he was filling out and said, "You only just got in, didn't you?"

"Trifling details. Feed me." He pushed a ceramic mug at the edge of Wilson's desk until a hand shot out to halt its path over the edge of the desk.

"All right! Just let me finish up this report and I'll pay!"

"You always pay. Also, how are the twins today? You're a girl, I'm sure you've been to see them recently on your routine gossip rounds."

Scarlet flushed Wilson's cheeks, "Why would you ask me that? I don't look."

"You're supposed to be male, but as I may have hinted at earlier, I don't think you've been taking your testosterone lately."

Wilson rolled his eyes and then he said, "Why don't you ask Cuddy that yourself." His eyes were fixated on the door.

House turned and he had to fight to keep his smirk from growing into a delighted grin. "Oh, it's the She-Devil herself. Cuddles! How wonderful to grace us with your presence and the twins are looking especially perky today. A big donor or two to impress, I bet. Do you hand out complimentary blowjobs as well?"

She was in a particularly low cut mauve top with a single button black business jacket just barely keeping the twins at bay. A matching black skirt wrapped around her rotund ass completed the outfit. Now with that spark in her cloudy gray eyes and the faint tug of a smile on her lips as she closed the distance between them, he was certain the room temperature had gone up a few degrees.

Ever since he'd finally returned from Mayfield, he'd been eying Cuddy from a distance, but he was making his intentions toward her far less subtle from the last five years. She seemed far less susceptible to his cues now compared to over the years, but he figured that was only the imagined distance she was keeping between them until she was certain he was fully recovered from the ordeal last spring.

"I'll let you go to lunch," she said as Wilson got up and pulled the wallet from his jacket. "But your ass is in the clinic from the end of lunch to five."

"But mom! I already have Chase catching up on my hours. Besides, I'll miss my soaps."

"I'll be sure they get attributed to him. Brenda's on orders to call me if you spend more than fifteen minutes in a single exam room," she replied, her smile turned into a smug smirk.

"What if I get a case?"

"Foreman can handle it," Cuddy said, turning to leave. House could swear she put an extra wiggle in her step just for him.

"He's still green! Well, blackish-green."

"He at least does his paperwork," she called back as the door closed behind her.

"If you keep calling her mom, you're going to develop an Oedipus Complex," Wilson suddenly said, jolting House from watching the last sliver of her delectable ass disappear from around the corner.

"What are you, my mom?"

Two hours later, House was dutifully sitting in an exam room pretending to take notes on a clipboard as the third mother in a row droned on about her son might have swine flu. There was no denying this kid at the very least had a fever, slightly flushed from the heat and dull-eyed from drowsiness and sickness combined. After two minutes, House finally said, "What makes you think this is any different from just the regular flu? Is he vomiting piglets to make you instantly think that's what it is?" He glanced up from the clipboard (which was decorated in his typical exasperation with the ignorant: "Another overanxious mother worried over her gremlin about swine flu, meanwhile exposing all the rest of us with the virulent bug as she worries. The irony!")

She swept her hair back in a confused gesture and her eyes were narrowed accusingly at Dr. House. "What do you mean, doctor?"

"He has the flu! Not avian flu, swine flu, or crocodilian flu – on second thought that sounds pretty cool. Just follow the regular routine," he said, getting up from the chair and opening the door to the full waiting room.

His eyes met with Nurse Brenda and she smirked at him knowingly and tapped the side of her cheek with her pointer finger, her other handing resting on the phone ready to call for Cuddy if he even so much as thinks about skipping out on the rest of clinic duty. He inwardly groaned and limped up to the counter to drop the file he had and grab the next one.

"House, we have a case," Foreman suddenly appeared by his side and held out another file in front of him.

Never a religious person, House was just about ready to thank God himself for his divine intervention – until he was reminded that God himself also made those overanxious mothers fret so much about their whelps, the bastard – but instead he simply took the file and began limping once more toward the elevators. Brenda had reached for the telephone but she seemed hesitant, knowing perfectly well the typical urgency and clinic-skipping House was allowed out of on such cases. He gave her a smirk and just before the doors closed she scowled back at him.

"Symptoms are abdominal pain, decreased eyesight, and bloody vomit. Boring. Send him home with a couple of aspirin and a reference to a good Optometrist. I have to run over Peach in Mario Kart."

Foreman continued to give him that familiar smug smile and he said, "The patient's been to four doctors and all the rest of them thought that way. It's not a stomach ache."

"Fine. It'll at least get me out of clinic duty," House replied, glowering into his reflection. An uneasiness had suddenly washed over him that he could not quite find a rational reason for and spent the rest of the trip to the office wondering what could have possibly caused his hands to start sweating. His fear had died with his childhood innocence and the last time he had felt the least bit of fear was that day way back in May, when he had been suddenly come to the realization of the delusion he had been living.

That was fear of the unknown. This – this fear prickled at the back of his mind like a long forgotten memory. To hell with it! He had learned already that the mind could be a dangerous thing as well as a helpful tool and it was nothing more than his nerves firing into reaction of something. He'd find out later what. Might be that damned flu all the kiddies are bringing in, he thought. Well, at least that would get him out of clinic duty for a couple of days.

Cameron and Chase were already sitting at the glass table and House immediately went to the white board as Foreman handed out copies of the man's file.

"Symptoms: abdominal pain, decreased eyesight, and bloody vomit. Go! And Cameron, if you even think of saying Lupus, you'll be doing clinic duty for the rest of the day." He heard Chase chuckle.

"It's still a perfectly viable option!"

"It's never Lupus! Clinic now," House jabbed the market at the door with a glare at her, but she remained seated, equally stubborn to sit this out.

He ignored her and was just about ready to nudge the other two with more suggestions when his mind suddenly called upon the reason for his peculiar uneasiness. "Wait – what was the name on that file again?"

All three of the ducklings stared at him.

"Anthony Marcino. Why do you want to know?" Foreman replied.


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