Chapter 14: Cuddy in Control.

Lisa Cuddy walked into Princeton Plainsboro unusually late, for her, on the day after the disaster. She walked with a purpose, all of her confidence returned to her as she walked through those sliding front doors. She had brought her child home, changed into a business suit, and made sure that House had everything he needed to keep Rachel occupied and calm before she left them alone at her place and hurried off to deal with what she had waiting for her. Even before she had made it out the door she could hear House snoring and Rachel's head rested on his chest as they had fallen asleep together in front of the TV, a jolly little cartoon playing happy music while they dozed. She smiled to herself knowing that they were safe and sound, and completely comfortable where they were, and she knew that House would do everything to keep little Rachel's mind off of the horrible disaster that had happened. Rachel had not yet learned of all of the little friends she had lost, she wasn't yet old enough to understand that they were never coming back, that the doctors couldn't save them, and Cuddy knew that soon she would have to try to explain to Rachel what death really was and why it was ok to be sad for the friends that she had lost. But, for now, Rachel was content and oblivious to the struggle that lay ahead of her. For now she slept soundly in House's arms, and Cuddy could tell that if there was ever going to be anyone in her life that would make Rachel feel safe it was going to be him.

Cuddy walked into her office to find Doctor James Wilson with his head down in the middle of her desk and the phone beside him ringing non-stop.

"Doctor Lisa Cuddy speaking," she said as she walked up beside him and answered the phone.

Wilson jumped at the sound of her voice and looked up at the well dressed professional beside him. She raised and eyebrow to him as she looked down on him, and Wilson smiled sheepishly.

"No we are not making any statements as to the number of casualties at this time," Cuddy stated into the phone and hung up. "James have you been here all night?" she asked, turning her attention to Wilson.

"Yes," he stated, "and the phone won't stop ringing," he sighed, as it began to ring again, and he lowered his head to the cool surface of her desk. Cuddy reached into the top left hand draw of her desk and put a bottle of ibuprofen beside Wilson's head.

"Doctor Lisa Cuddy speaking," Cuddy answered again. "No, we are not running clinic hours today due to the disaster and continued overflow. Clinic will be opened again on Monday morning at 9am," she stated and hung up the phone. "I think you should go home, James, I can handle it from here," she said turning her attention to him again.

"Are you sure? I could go back to the ER and deal with some of the overflow," he stated with a yawn as the phone started to ring again. Wilson reached out for the bottle of pills and popped two of them into his mouth.

"Doctor Lisa Cuddy speaking," she answered a third time, "I'm sorry I can't give out any information like that. If your loved one is found and identified in our hospital we will contact you, but we are still dealing with an influx of arrivals," she said softly into the phone, "I'm very sorry that you have to deal with this, we are doing our best, I assure you," she added and hung up. "No James, I want you to go home, I want you to rest and I want you back in the hospital tomorrow morning to do whatever I need you to do," she added as, once again, she turned to Wilson.

"You got it boss," Wilson stated, and stood from her seat and moved aside as the phone started to ring again. "How's Rachel?" he asked before leaving.

"She's doing just fine," Cuddy smiled, "she's at home sleeping on the couch with House."

"I'll stop by later to see her, if that's ok," Wilson said and smiled weakly.

"That would be great, I'm sure both of them would love to see you," Cuddy said, "but please no more gifts. The teams brought her enough stuff."

"I'm not promising anything," Wilson stated and turned to leave.

Cuddy smiled at Wilson as she watched him walk out of her office. He had been so helpful and the best of friends for stepping up and helping her out. She wished there was something she could do to make it up to him, but she knew he wouldn't let her. James Wilson was just that good of a friend.

Cuddy was back where she needed to be, and her mind was clear enough now to deal with the disaster head on. Soon she would do her own rounds, observing the hospital and the state of her staff. She would send people home, move people around, and attempt to make sense of the disaster. In the days to come, she would go over her disaster plan and see how it worked out when it really mattered. It was one thing to write up a disaster procedure, it was a completely different thing to put it into motion and the only thing that Cuddy could do was learn from the mistakes that had been made. The hospital was still standing, and eventually things would fall back into a familiar rhythm, but nothing would ever really be the same.

Lisa Cuddy had been very lucky in the grand scheme of things- she knew it, and she was happy to know that her little life, though it had seemed to fall apart in a second, was going to continue on in a happy direction. House had proved that he was in this for the long haul. He had stood by her side in her darkest hour and when things really mattered House was always there to take care of her and her little girl. These thoughts and many other hopes for the future gave Cuddy all the strength she needed to face the day and she got right down to the business of running the hospital.

The phone range again, "Doctor Lisa Cuddy speaking," she said answering, "yes, if you need to move people into the clinic the rooms are free. Fill them if you have to," she said into the phone and hung up.

Cuddy watched the phone for a moment; she knew it was just about to ring once again.