Before I head off to bed, here are two more chapters, including developments in several areas.

Thanks for all of the wonderful comments. Looks like we've got a few new readers of this story. Welcome!

Chapter 171. START SPREADING THE NEWS

Cameron had finally been able to isolate the Brazilian flu virus from

a sample from one of their flu patients. Now she was preparing to

pass it through one of the devices she'd gotten from Marty. The

device would compare the amino acid sequence of the virus protein

component to that of thousands of known viruses. In a few minutes

she'd know whether it matched any and, if so, which one.

She still needed to analyze viruses isolated from other patients but

her approach held promise.

Clair had spent a long sleepless night going over and over everything

Allison had said and all she knew, or thought she knew about Russell

Davidson. Now she really had to know if Allison was right. She had

to talk to Russell, so she headed for his office.

But as she passed the Infectious Disease Department lab, she saw

Allison hard at work. Should she talk to her before she saw Russell?

They'd been good friends for so long and she wouldn't want that

friendship damaged because of any man. Besides, they had their

daughters to consider. On impulse, she entered the lab.

"Hi, Clair." As usual, Allison's smile was warm and welcoming.

"I wanted to talk to you about the girls' sleepover. Is there any

way I can help?" Clair asked.

"I certainly could use another adult there. House probably won't offer!" Cameron said. "That is, unless you're busy Saturday night."

"I guess I'm free," Clair said. "Unless Russell asks me out again."

"Are you still going to go out with him?" Cameron asked. "After

everything I told you?"

"Allison, if I told you to stay away from House because he's rude and

crude, would you have?" Clair asked.

"It's not the same thing, Clair," Cameron protested. "I've known him

a long time, even longer than I've known you, but you've just met

Davidson." She grinned suddenly. "Besides, being rude and crude is

part of his charm. Look, in the end you'll have to make up your own

mind. I just don't want to see you get hurt."

"I know." Clair smiled and nodded. "And I don't want my relationship with Russell, whatever it is or becomes, to get in the way of our friendship."

"So, what are you doing at the end of December?" Cameron asked, very

nonchalantly.

"Huh?"

"How'd you like to come to a wedding?"

"Do you think your grandparents would let you spend the night at

my house on Saturday night?" Gretchen asked Audra as they waited for

class to start.

"My grandmother would probably let me, but I don't know about my

grandfather," Audra replied.

"I'm having a sleepover so my friend Em can meet you and my other

friends and I can meet hers."

Audra's eyes lit up. That sounded like fun. But the light faded as

she thought about what her grandfather thought of anything that was

fun.

"Should I have my mother call your grandmother?" Gretchen asked.

Audra nodded. "Who else are you inviting?" she asked.

"Elizabeth, of course, and Ruth I guess," Gretchen replied.

Audra groaned. "Do you have to invite Ruth?"

"I don't want her to feel left out," Gretchen explained. "You'll still

come if she's there, won't you?"

Audra didn't think long. If her grandparents let her, nothing would

keep her from being there. "Sure I will."

"Good! And guess what? My parents are finally getting married!" She

proceeded to tell Audra all about the plans so far, not realizing

how the things she told her almost always amazed Audra.

House knocked on Wilson's door, waited thirty seconds, and then

walked in.

"Did I say come in?" Wilson looked up from a patient file.

"But I knew you were thinking it," House countered.

Wilson sighed. He knew he'd never get any work done until House had

his say and left. "So, what's on that labyrinthine mind of yours?"

"What do you know about kid's sleepovers? Specifically pre-pubescent

girls' sleepovers?"

"Are you sure you weren't looking for my wife?" Wilson asked. "She's

the one who used to be a preteen girl." When House didn't answer,

he said. "Wait, you didn't really come in her to ask about that."

"What are you doing between Christmas and New Years?"

"The same thing I should be doing right now," Wilson replied.

"Treating my patients."

"Wouldn't you rather be sailing the deep blue seas in a tropical

clime?" was House next question.

"Is this a trick question?"

"Allie and I are planning a wedding cruise. Just thought you, Cuddles

and the kid might like to come along."

Chapter 172. MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER

After Clair left, Cameron checked the sequencing device readout. She

had a match! It was a virus that had been active fourteen years

before, causing a minor flu epidemic especially in the US. As she

checked the history of that virus online, she learned that most of

the unaffected population had been vaccinated against it. There

had been some controversy over whether children two years old or

younger should get the vaccine, so some infants had been inoculated

and some had not.

OK, so she'd matched one isolated virus. But to conclusively prove

their theory and develop further treatment and prevention protocols,

she had to test a much larger number of samples. And she couldn't

do it alone.

There were a few other doctors that she'd talked to online who were

looking into this, including one at the CDC and others at children's

hospitals across the country. She could ask them to collaborate. But

there was really only one person she wanted to do this with, one

doctor she trusted above all others. She documented her results and

then set off to find House.

Davidson was keying in some data on his computer, but stopped when he

saw Clair in his open doorway.

"Clair! Come in," he said.

"I don't want to take you away from your work," she apologized.

"No, I welcome the interruption. Please sit down."

Now that she was there, Clair wasn't sure what to say. Before she

could start, however, Davidson had a question for her.

"Are you free Saturday night?"

"Oh. I just promised Allison I'd help her with Emily and Gretchen's

slumber party," Clair had to respond.

"That's right. Your daughter and Dr. Cameron's are friends, aren't

they?" He had a speculative look on his handsome face.

"Oh, yes. They've been best friends all their lives." Clair smiled as she always did when she talked about Emily.

"Where did you say you saw Dr. Cameron?" Davidson asked, trying to

sound casual.

"I didn't." Clair wondered what that had to do with any-

thing. "She's in the lab, doing some tests."

"Tests?" She had his interest now, but he was still trying to hide

his curiosity.

Clair shrugged. "She got some sequencing devices from our inventory

yesterday so I imagine that's what she's doing."

"What do sequences have to do with the flu?" he wondered out loud.

"What do you care? I thought you told her you didn't want to work

on this with her, that you had your own line of research to do."

Clair was becoming annoyed. "Maybe she thinks there's a genetic

component to who gets the flu."

"Maybe," Davidson mused. He realized that Clair didn't know any more

than she'd said, so he let it go for the time being. "If you're busy

on Saturday night, how about Friday?" he asked smiling his most

appealing smile at her.

Clair welcomed his shift of attention. "I'd really like you to meet

Emily. Why don't we take her out for dinner on Friday?" Clair

suggested.

"Alright," Davidson said, but didn't sound enthusiastic about having the girl

along on a date with her mother.

"We can take her to Games and Grub."

"Isn't that a burger place?" Davidson scrunched up his nose.

"It's her favorite restaurant. All the kids love it. The food's

actually good and it's lots of fun."

Davidson sighed. "OK, it's a date."

"Greg, I got a match on the virus protein," Cameron told House as

she entered his office. "I'm going to have to isolate and match

more samples to prove the theory, and I'd like your help."

House could see her excitement, but he wasn't sure she really needed

him to do this. It was her chance to shine. "I'll review your results

and make sure you didn't miss anything," he offered.

Cameron knew she'd have to settle for that. She thought that she'd

only get him to do more if it interested him, and obviously it

didn't.

She left to do rounds, then returned to her office to email Chris

Monroe at the CDC to ask him to get additional information on the

matched virus, and Giullietta Sylvio at St. Jude's Children's

hospital to ask her to do additional virus isolation and sequence

matching.