This story is in response to an OC FanFic Challenge on the Fox message boards. The prompt was: House meets somebody online.


CHAPTER 1

Stealthily the figure moved through the shadows, head turning at the slightest noise, eyes wide with a very cunning plan. Soon their target was acquired, a secret, locked office penetrated, and the figure sat determinedly at the desk in the middle of the office, a laptop closed on the surface. "Oh Jimmy boy…" the husky voice whispered, its cadence uneven with a chuckle. "…I've got you now. You think you can hide this from me?" The man opened the laptop and began clicking a few buttons. "Jimmy-boy, you cain't hide anything from Dr. Gregory House. You know that."

And that was why Dr. Gregory House was sitting in that particular office in front of that particular laptop at that particular time: he suspected his best friend, Dr. James Wilson, was indulging in some cyber entertainment. It was the only thing that made sense. Not that House judged him wrongly for it; cyber entertainment was House's usual diversion of choice.

But it wasn't the Boy-Wonder Oncologist's usual diversion of choice. House suspected something was going on as, for the past week, a spring was back in the Oncologist's step; he was wearing neater clothes (even though the guy was a clotheshorse who always looked nice); and he was… Wilson-snarkier… than usual. Back when Amber slipped in under House's radar, those had been the first clues that Wilson was dating Amber. He knew the warning signs.

Suddenly House's pager went off. Pushing an expletive back down his throat, House pulled out the small mobile electronic device of terror and this time let the expletive leave his mouth as he read the screen… GET YOUR THUMB OUTTA YOUR BUTT AND GET THE HELL DOWN HERE. ES

"Damn repressed…" He grumbled and put the pager back on his hip. The new anesthesiologist, Eileen Simons, had been riding his butt ever since he interrupted the scary doctor as she prepped a patient for an emergency splenectomy. Oh sure, he did bounce the ball, and yes, it did roll into the operating room, and yes, it did interrupt a very important prep work but sh!t! It wasn't his fault that damn Aussie wombat with the great hair had left the door open. "I don't need the harpy on my butt right now. I've got too much going on."

With a few magic strokes of his long fingers, a few swipes of the mouse, and House quickly found what he was looking for. His eyes widened with intrigued humor. THE SHOE BOARD. "What in the name of…??" That certainly wasn't what he was expecting to find.

If he would've been truly honest with himself, House wasn't sure what he expected to find on this top-secret fishing expedition. There used to be little that his best friend could hide from him; it had always been the case.

Of course, that was before the whole Amber thing.

Now House was increasingly alarmed by how much his once-predictable best friend surprised him. That day was no exception. "The Shoe Board? Since when did he know anything about shoes? And why the hell is there a message board for shoes anyway?"

House was overcome with curiosity and a bit of revulsion as he clicked on the blue banner in the middle of the page. What he found was practically a subculture. The page was set up with topics ranging from 'Pumps' to 'Runners'; 'Cheap' to 'Expensive'; 'Practical' to 'Do Me'.

House grinned when he saw the greeting: WELCOME BACK REBEL IN HUSH PUPPIES. "Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy…" He tried very hard to keep his laughter down. "…and you are such the rebel my little coquettish hush puppy." He found the history of 'Rebel in Hush Puppies' and quickly identified his 'friends' which included 'Jimmy Choo Girl'; 'Stiletto Nun' ('hmmm…I might have to contact her…'), 'Randy Solesister' and 'Flaming Red Pradas'.

Suddenly an idea, a delicious, delectable idea, hit him like a Payless Shoe truck during rush hour and his smile turned from astonished amusement to determined deviousness. He shook his head and a grabbed a pen and paper. Copying down the address House stuffed it in his pocket and shut down the computer. "But not from here. Later." His grin widened as he grabbed his cane and carefully slipped out of Wilson's office…

…only to run into Cuddy as he turned the corner. Her eyebrow winged to the sky as she clenched her arms underneath her breasts. His baby blues took a quick peek down at the slideshow her low neckline was giving to everyone who ventured past then stepped back at her narrowed eyes. "Eileen Simons has been paging you."

"And I've been ignoring her. What's your point?"

"You will settle whatever this disagreement is between you two."

"Or what Mommy? You'll send me to my room without dinner?" House sidestepped her and limped for his office.

"Fine but you won't want to…" But she stopped talking and House continued on.

"I won't want to…what??" He stopped in front of his glass of his office. He narrowed his own eyes and opened the door. "What are you doing here?"

Eileen turned and marched to him. "How DARE you ignore my pages!"

House took a moment to study the woman who looked at least five years younger than her 44 years, if you could believe her personnel file anyway. The woman's long, thick, curling chestnut hair tumbled over her shoulders in waves; her large green eyes glared with a promise of murder; and her long, rounded, big-boned body was surprisingly more attractive than he would've thought. He usually went for dark-haired skinny-minnies but she was a nice, rounded, healthy woman. The full breasts that complimented the 5'10" frame made her look absolutely delectable, even in her pink scrubs and New Balance walking shoes.

If only the woman wasn't a complete b!tch.

"How DARE you waltz into my office and make sweeping accusations like that!!" House's mortification was an 11 on the bullsh!t scale.

Eileen gasped with anger. "My patient was having an emergency splenectomy. Because of his other medical conditions he was only allowed to have a certain amount of anesthesia. Because you and your bouncy ball…" House's eyebrow rose at the even remote chance of a sexual connotation; Eileen ignored him. "…we weren't able to put him completely under. I couldn't administer anymore anesthesia. If it hadn't been an emergency we would've stopped the surgery and waited but, since he would've died if we hadn't, we had to operate with him semi-conscious. If you didn't treat this hospital like it was your personal playground…"

House rolled his eyes. "We're having this discussion again? Honey, that happened three weeks ago. Get off it, will ya?" She shot him a glare as her nose flared. He rolled his eyes again. "Listen, you have no idea if my interruption hurt anything. You said so yourself, you were only able to give him a certain amount. My interruption…"

"The dose I gave him would've been enough."

He stepped closer, enough so she could feel his body warmth. "Obviously not. He woke up because of a damned bouncy ball."

Cuddy sighed and pried herself between them before Eileen could rip his head off. "Enough. This has got to stop. You…" She pulled Eileen even further away from House. "…stop paging House so you can argue. Three weeks is excessive. You…" She turned to House and pushed his chest. "…stop acting like a 7 year old just itching for a fight. House, she's right and you're lucky the hospital lawyer talked the family out of suing."

House looked at Cuddy in horror. "So you're agreeing with the judgment?"

"Hell yes! Making you a candy striper in the clinic for six months was only the tip of the iceberg. Just wait until you see what we come up with next." Cuddy turned to Eileen. "Now that you've had a chance to yell at him, please go back to work and don't bug him again. You won't accomplish anything if you keep bugging him. You'll just piss him off even more and it's bound to happen again."

Eileen saw the logic in that and, nodding slightly, turned a death glare on House before heading toward the door. As she passed him House leaned down. He let her see his eyes roam her figure as he whispered, "When you go home to cry tonight, remember: eat one chocolate cake at a time. A big girl like you…"

She didn't let him finish as she slapped him… hard… across the face. Eileen watched his head go to the side as she ground out, "Go to hell."

*****