Chapter 4

House walked into his office and flung his backpack under his desk. There was a wrapped package waiting for him on his chair. No tag or bow – just plain paper and his name on the front written in Cuddy's handwriting. He opened it.

Inside there was a plain wooden frame with a note taped to it. House read the note and pulled it off to reveal a photo of him and Rachel. They were sitting on the piano bench in Cuddy's living room and House wasn't even looking at the camera, but was staring at the keys with concentration. Rachel had one tiny hand on the keys, next to House's large weathered hands. She looked up at the camera grinning broadly, almost laughing, with her head leaning against House's arm. He remembered Cuddy taking the photo just days earlier.

House reread Cuddy's note: "Life does go on, House. And on and on..."

He stuck the note to the back of the frame and set the photo next to his ball – baptizing his desk with its first framed photograph. He walked into the next room to meet his team. "Okay, clowns," he called, limping to a chair. "What's next?"