A/N: Hey guys. I'm back! Did you miss me? I missed you! My NaNo story this year was a disaster. I hit 50K on time but it was 50K of total nonsense. Suffice to say that it won't be published. And since it's not fanfic I won't be posting it here. But don't be sad. You're not missing anything. Really.
This here is a story that popped into my head a long time ago. It starts off with House/Cameron but I might make it OC later. I'll see where it goes. I've always wanted to write a fic where House gets amnesia and wakes up in a strange city with no idea who or where he is. That's about as far as my thoughts have taken me. So, sit back, buckle up and get ready for a bumpy ride. Oh, and there will be smex in this fic. I miss writing it and I know you guys miss reading it.
Disclaimer: I don't own House or any of the characters. Those are property of David Shore and FOX. There, I've done my part. This is the only disclaimer you'll see from now on. Oh, and I borrowed a line or two from past episodes.
"What are you? Five?"
"I can throw a tantrum like a five-year-old if you make me go."
"What will it take to get you to Chicago?"
"A lot more than a suite at the Hyatt and room charges being paid for by PPTH."
Cuddy sighed and sat down behind her desk. Her little stand-off with House was giving her a headache. If he had just agreed to the consult that Cameron had presented him with, they wouldn't be having this conversation.
"Why won't you help her out?"
"She's a big girl. She can figure it out on her own eventually."
"Well, obviously she can't if she called you of all people."
"Why doesn't she call her ex-husband?"
"Are you dense? Would you be calling Stacy for legal advice?"
House lowered his head and Cuddy knew she had him there. "You just have to stay a few days. Her patient doesn't have a lot of time. Would it really kill you to see her?"
Yes, it would, he thought to himself. If he was really honest with himself, it would be harder than he cared to think about. Seeing Cameron leave his office so sad a year ago was heartbreaking enough as it was. And knowing that she'd probably only call him for a consult because she was truly desperate didn't help matters any.
"Whatever. Set it up. I'll go. If I don't solve it in three nights, I'm coming back regardless."
"Fine. Go home and get packing. Your flight leaves tomorrow morning at ten."
He gave her a look. "You know I was going to agree."
"Of course I knew, House. This is Cameron we're talking about. I knew you'd give in. You've always had a soft spot for her."
"Until she married the wombat."
"Yes well, there's no accounting for taste. Now go finish your clinic hours for the week and then if you don't have a patient you can go home early."
X X X
The plane landed in Chicago and it was a sunny but cold day. House limped out into the terminal, collected his bag and spotted someone standing there with his name written on a white board. "I'm House," he said to the man.
"I'm Mike, from Northwestern. Dr. Cameron regrets not being able to meet you herself but she got detained so she sent me to pick you up. I hope you don't mind."
House shoved his duffle bag at him. "What am I going to say? No, I want to pay fifty bucks for a cab? I don't think so. Let's roll."
"She said you were...quick witted."
"Is that all she said about me?"
"I'm not at liberty to say."
House snickered. "Wimp." Then he made the sound of a cracking whip as they approached a BMW SUV. "Nice ride."
"It's Dr. Cameron's car."
"I'll bet she gave you gas money to fill it up."
"As a matter of fact she did. How did you..."
"Listen kid, Cameron and I go way back. Don't bother trying to analyze it. Who are you, anyway?"
"Great. A male secretary."
"I'm not a secretary. I went to Stanford."
House looked confused. "Huh. I didn't know they had a secretary school. Oh well. Let's get going. The sooner I help her diagnose this case the sooner I can get back."
"She put you up at the Hyatt. That's in Rosemont, near the airport. The L train goes right past the hospital."
X X X
"You seem very...nervous."
Cameron glanced up from her paperwork and regarded one of her fellows, Dr. Jennifer Damien, who stood before her.
"I do? What makes you think that?"
"Just...you've been very on edge since yesterday when you told us you were bringing in an expert in for a consult."
"I called him because he's the best in what he does. Even if he is an ass."
"Who is it?"
Jennifer's eyes widened. "The Dr. House?"
"None other," Cameron muttered, then glanced at her watch for the fifth time in three minutes.
"My ears were burning," a deep, familiar voice rang out from the doorway and both women turned to look at the older, gruff-looking doctor.
Cameron was taken aback by his appearance. He'd aged a hell of a lot since she'd last seen him over a year ago, and not necessarily in a bad way. He had a lot more grey, his hair was just about completely grey and thinning and he sported his usual three day scruff, but his blue eyes were still bright and alive with wisdom and curiosity as he stared intently at her.
He read the name on the door of her office. "Dr. Allison Cameron, Head of Immunology." Then he wiped away an invisible tear from his eye. "It's a proud moment."
Cameron got up from the desk and made her way over to him. "Hi, House. Thanks for coming out. I really appreciate it."
He held his hand up to interrupt. "Yeah yeah, you need me, I get that. So let's get to it. I have a plane to catch in three days whether the guy lives or dies. I'm only here because Cuddy promised I wouldn't have to stay longer than that. I do have a life."
"Right," she chuckled, then pointed to Jennifer. "Greg House, Dr. Jennifer Damien. She's..."
"One of the peons." He looked Jennifer up and down like he would eye a specimen under a microscope, which made her take a step back. "Still green. No wonder you had to call me."
"House," Cameron snapped, "Dr. Damien is one of our finest new fellows. She's just moved here from West Virginia."
"Good for you. So, what've we got?"
"Hang on. Just so we're in agreement, you will treat the staff and my fellows with the same respect you show me or this is over now."
House shrugged. "You called me. You don't want my help, fine. But you know me better than anyone here. You know that's not going to happen. So either put up or shut up. What's it gonna be?"
"Jesus," Jennifer muttered under her breath, and House whirled around to face her.
"I've been called God many times, sometimes I've been known to play him, but Jesus? Not so much. Thanks for coming out."
"House, we need to talk," Cameron hissed as she grabbed his arm and led him out into the hallway. "Now!"
He let her drag him outside and waited until she closed the office door. "What the hell is wrong with you? Why are you being such an..."
"Since you offered, yes."
"I don't want to be here. But I thought I'd do you a favour. I'm the good guy in all this."
She placed her hands on her hips and glared at him. "By belittling my fellow and treating me like crap in front of her? You undermine my authority, House!"
"Oh whatever! You could do anything and she'd be awed by you so don't pull that crap and try to make me feel guilty."
"You need a conscience to feel guilty, House."
He arched an eyebrow at her. "Well meeeow! Look, I don't want to be here anymore than you want me to be here so let's just get going and cure the sick guy before I fly back to Princeton, and I'll try not to be so much of an ass when you're in the room. Deal?"
Cameron realized that was about as good as she was going to get. "You still have to meet Dr. Richards. He's on his way to being one hell of a cardiologist."
"Good for him. Is that going to help us in this case?"
"I don't know. I've got the patient's file in my office. Behave."
"I could be...persuaded."
She turned around to face him again. "What else do you want? You got your suite at the Hyatt. What? You want a hooker waiting for you when you get there?"
"Well, that's certainly an intriguing offer, and I might just take you up on that. But I was thinking more along the lines of you and I having dinner tonight."
She cocked her head to one side. "You've gotta be kidding me."
Cameron folded her arms across her chest. "I've been out to dinner with you before, House. It's not something I care to repeat."
"Oh come on. That was years ago. Are you still upset about that?"
"Not upset so much as...I dunno, saddened by what you said."
"It was the truth, wasn't it? And it was your own fault for backing me into a corner and expecting me to put my feelings out in the open like that."
"So how does six-thirty sound? I made reservations at Morton's just in case you surprised me by saying yes. But if not, I'll be eating alone."
"I'm not having dinner with you, House."
"Okay well...how about this? I diagnose something about the patient before the end of the day, then you join me. If not, then fine."
She looked like she was seriously considering it. "Behave yourself all day, don't be rude to my fellows or my patient and I'll think about it."
"Good enough. Let's go see the patient."
Now she was skeptical. "You want to meet the patient?"
"Maybe if he sees that you phoned in for reinforcements he'll be more forthcoming."
"He's already told us plenty..."
"Exactly. He told you plenty. Wait till he gets a load o' me."
They entered the patient's room to find Dr. Richards discussing something with him in hushed voices while the patient's wife snoozed in the corner.
"What's the skinny?" House inquired as he grabbed the chart at the end of the bed and began flipping through it.
"Excuse me, who're you?" the patient demanded as he took in House's disheveled appearance with disdain.
"I'm the jerk who's going to save your life today."
"This is Dr. House. He needs no further introduction," Cameron chuckled.
Dr. Richards' eyes widened. "You're Dr. Gregory House? Of Princeton Plainsboro?"
"Yup," he said without looking up as he continued to look over the latest lab results. "And you need to do a full workup. TSH, T3, T4. Why weren't these done?"
"No history of thyroid issues. No..."
"Everyone tests for TSH nowadays. Unless you're from the old school, which you're obviously not. Judging from the looks of you, I'd say you were maybe three, maybe four years out of med school. Am I right?"
"Yeah, way to kiss up. You wanna impress me, do the labs. Lemme know how it turns out." He shoved the chart into Richard's hands and limped out of the room with Cameron and her fellows in tow.
"You suspect a thyroid issue?" Cameron inquired.
"It's a start. If nothing shows up, we try something else. I would think you of all people would've checked for that right out of the gate considering..."
"House," she snapped in a warning tone. Her stare was ice cold.
"Whatever. Where can a guy get a decent rueben around here? I'm starving."
"The cafeteria sucks," Richards chuckled. "But there's a decent deli across the street."
"Good." House reached into his wallet and pulled out a five dollar bill. "Go get me one."
Richards looked confused. "But...I thought you wanted me to run labs..."
"You're right. Hey, new girl," he said as he slapped the bill into her hand. "Make yourself useful. And no pickles!" he called after her. "Well, in the meantime, how about a three hour tour?" Then he cocked his head to one side. "Actually, it would probably be more like a three minute tour."
"Hardly, it's not that small of a hospital. By the time we're done, Dr. Damien will be back with your sandwich."
Jennifer returned with his reuben twenty minutes later and House glared at her. "Where's my change?"
Without a word, she dumped the remaining coins onto his open palm. "Good. Now shoo. The grownups have work to do."
Cameron gave the girl a sympathetic smile and sent her off to check on the lab results for the patient. "Go easy on her, House. She has the potential to be a great doctor. She's had some great ideas. Insightful ideas."
"You've taken her under your wing. Possibly Richards too, and that's commendable. But Richards wants to sleep with you. So I hope you're keeping him at arm's length."
"The man wants to get into your pants. Not that I can blame him. Hell, I suspect anyone who's ever met you wants a piece."
House stopped eating and looked at her. "That was then."
"Oh so now you're interested? You just want what you can't have. Then once you have it, you don't want it anymore. I'm better than that."
"I know," he nodded and continued eating. "But could dinner with a colleague be such a bad thing?"
"Dinner and what else?"
"Just dinner. I'm only going to be here for three days. What would be the point in trying to pursue something? I'm not going to stay here and you won't come back to Princeton because of Chase so really, the only thing we could have is a potential fling. Which, may I add, I'm not opposed to."
"You're certainly no stranger to flings."
"It doesn't make me a bad person. Nor you."
"I never said it did. It's just not my scene."
"Oh, and drunk-dialing Chase when you were stoned on meth was?"
"You're not going to let me live that down, are you?"
"Nope," he said with a cheeky grin before he stuffed his face with more sandwich. "So how about tonight? Morton's. My treat."
Her eyes widened. "Has hell frozen over? And how convenient that Morton's happens to be in the lobby of your hotel."
He shrugged. "It's convenient and I want a steak. I hate eating alone."
"You're not going to leave me alone until I say yes, are you?"
"Nope," he replied with his mouth full. "I'll need a ride though. I haven't even checked in yet. My bag is with security in the lobby."
Cameron laughed. "I knew there was a catch. Fine! We'll have dinner. But that's it."
X X X
House sat next to Cameron in a corner booth at Morton's Steakhouse where she looked at him in wonder. "Where the hell did you pull that diagnosis out of?"
"It just made sense. I'm surprised you didn't think of it sooner. That goiter was huge. I noticed it right away."
"So did I, but that didn't mean anything. My Great-Grandma had one for years and it never bothered her so I guess that's why I overlooked it. It had been ages since he'd had any kind of thyroid tests done and they were fine back then."
"That just goes to show why you shouldn't overlook anything."
She put her hands together and bowed her head. "Well, thank you, oh Master of Medicine."
"You're welcome," he said softly as he picked up his wine glass. She picked up hers as well and they clinked them together. "Truce?"
"Were we ever at war?" she giggled.
"Why did you marry Chase?"
Cameron groaned. "Why do you do this, House? We were having a perfectly good moment."
"It's been bothering me."
"Can't you just drop it?"
"No. Why did you leave Princeton?"
"I didn't feel I belonged there anymore. It's hard to explain."
"Try," he said as he took another sip of wine.
"Things with Chase just fell apart after the whole Dibala issue and then it hurt to see you every day."
She glanced over at him. "Are you going to try and psychoanalyze me now?"
"Not at all," he shrugged. "I'm just trying to understand what you meant when you said I ruined Chase and that there was no way back for either of us."
"You know what I meant. And I know you were following after me when I walked out of your office that day."
He looked down and pretended to be interested in the crumbs on his bread plate. "I would have fired Chase. All you had to do was ask and I would've done it in a heartbeat. I wanted you to stay that badly. Chase was dispensable, you weren't."
"Why didn't you tell me this before?"
"I tried. But I don't think you would have heard me. Or believed me."
"No, you're probably right."
The server came with their steaks and they ate in relative silence, making small talk about the city and what he had planned to do, if anything.
"I'm thinking of going home early. My work is done here," he said as they shared a very large piece of chocolate mousse.
"Long way to go for just one day."
"Well what else is there?"
Cameron shrugged. "I have tomorrow off. I could take you to the Willis Tower. If you don't want to do anything else, that's one place you have to visit. That, and the John Hancock Signature Lounge."
"Mmm, drinks on the 86th floor."
"Oh, you know it?"
"I did some research before I arrived."
"If we go first thing in the morning, the line at the Willis Tower won't be as long. Then we can go have lunch at the lounge."
They finished dessert, House paid the cheque without a word, and then they walked out into the hotel lobby.
"It's not very late. How about a drink?"
"In the hotel bar?" she inquired.
He nodded. "Sure. Although not the one down here. I believe my suite has a fully stocked mini-bar."
Cameron narrowed her eyes in suspicion. "I thought you said it would just be dinner."
"I did. And we had dinner, so the next logical step is a drink. I don't know about you but I'd love some Scotch."
"One drink. Then I'm going home."
"Fine," House said as they limped to the elevators and pressed the call button. The only thing that kept playing in his mind was the famous quote: "Step into my parlor," said the spider to the fly.