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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
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