part 6

As Jason entered the department the next day, for a moment he thought he was seeing double and then noted that one white board said mother and the other said daughter on it followed by a list of symptoms for each.

"Didn't we cover this in class yesterday?" he asked with a smirk, to which House declared, "I'm sorry but traitors don't get the first word."

"I thought you considered me the threat," Vale remarked dryly as she stirred her coffee. "Did you hear something?" House asked, pretending to look about the room for the source of the noise.

"I think what they're both trying to say is why is this case back on the board?" North commented to which his boss answered, "The floor recognizes Doctor North."

"Basically, the penicillin wasn't the underlining condition. Some infection is causing adverse throat problems, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe headaches and who knows what else to both the mother and the daughter. Daughter is more severe, so we should treat her first," Scott stated.

"With what? We've got nothing!" Vale declared.

"There's that buzzing sound again," Doctor House muttered, this time glancing under a chair. "Her latest symptom was in her throat right? We need to run a scope down it to see if we can find any signs of infection, maybe some lesions if we're lucky," Gabe remarked.

"I highly doubt Kaley is going to agree to letting us do that, her daughter is already deathly afraid of needles," Natasha argued.

"Then get her to be the test subject again, she wasn't adverse to the idea last time," North replied, to which House nodded and said, "See to it she signs the proper paperwork then get it done. As for tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, in my office now."

North gathered his papers, glancing at his colleagues and then leaving as the two of them followed House into his office. Sitting down, their boss began to squeeze a tennis ball and remarked, "I know that one of you was hired by Wilson and the other is a member of the Cuddy cabol, the only problem is I'm not sure which is which."

"Sir?" Gabe asked in surprise. "Your attempts at nonchalance are quite pleasant to watch, but unconvincing. Wilson didn't train you well," House remarked. "Doctor Cuddy promised me a chance to progress in my field, nothing more; nothing less," Natasha answered, to which he nodded and remarked, "The Force seems strong in this one."

Crossing her arms, Vale said, "So now that you know, what happens next?" "Nothing," House said as he stood up and added, "Why should I spoil the fun when we're just getting started?"

Surprisingly, Miss Westing didn't argue with the idea of a scope going down her throat.

North knew that personally he never liked the idea, but thankfully he rarely ever got sick. Checking his watch he thought about calling his wife once this test was done. Kaley lay still as he slowly slid the tube lower into her esophagus and commented softly, "Comfortable?"

The young woman looked back at him and he said, "Sorry, I get kind of talkative when I get nervous…"

North paused, rechoosing his words and remarking, "I know if I was here without my wife I would…" Miss Westing paused, glared and he nodded softly stating, "Sorry never mind." He then turned back to the screen, and commented, "Hello? What have we here?" Small, soft bumps on the inside of her throat, clearly showing she was suffering from some severe case of strep. But the question was… was this the answer?

"It's looking a lot like a bacterial infection, maybe something they ate?" Vale asked as she looked at the images, and North said, "I'm not so sure. This is the classic signs of severe rheumatic fever, or pneumonia."

"You're both right," House said sourly.

"Wait, what?" Gabe wondered, glancing at the grumpy doctor and muttering, "What are you saying?"

"It's no wonder I didn't see it before. Both presented with the same symptoms, and now they've both reached the same stage. Start steroids on the daughter," he declared. "Before we do anything, you should share your insight with the rest of us," Vale advised. "Why so we can debate as to whether it's considered moral?" House countered, and then turned to North and remarked, "Just get it done. I'll talk to the mother myself."

"I'll go with him," Gabe decided. "Good idea," North said, and then glanced at the chart again and asked, "What did he just figure out?" "You're the one who's read up on him, figure it out," Vale said, sighing loudly.

"Scarlet fever? I'm sorry to disagree with you but this is not the 1800's," Kaley Westing said as Doctor House gave her the diagnosis and he nodded slightly before answering, "The problem came a year ago, when your daughter got vaccinations for her measles. Ordinarily, the antibiotics would cause the usual suspects to be disposed of, but in this case it just suppressed them for a while; most likely she's had it for awhile."

"So now you can treat her right?" she asked, crossing her arms in concern.

"Yes… once the steroids are administered we can clear up her strep throat and she should be back to being a brat in no time," House answered reluctantly, glancing at Gabe. "You don't sound too happy about that," she noted.

"We need to check your heart, make sure there hasn't been any damage to you. It's quite likely it may have spread more rapidly in your body, and we need to check for blood clots before one clogs up a valve. The seizure we caused using the penicillin may have inadvertently opened up the chance for damage to your brain as well," House answered.

"Oh my word," she said softly, to which he remarked, "I've arranged for an MRI, check for any brain damage yet. But you may have complications down the road."

Vale entered the room, escorting her out as House turned to the little girl staring as her mother is taken off and then asking innocently, "What's going to happen?" Glancing at the girl, he considered saying something snide but then nodded slightly and remarked, "Hopefully a happy ending."

Entering Cuddy's office once more, Doctor Vale declared, "I'm sorry to have to say this but I'm leaving…"

"I'm sorry," Cuddy said, shutting off her computer and then muttering, "But I don't understand. What happened?" "You didn't let me finish," she stated, and then explained, "I'm not going to be your guard dog, watching House to make sure he doesn't make a mistake. That's your job, you're accountable. But I am going to stay here at PPTH, I have a feeling there's a few things I could learn. Who knows? Maybe House will screw up and the department could be mine."

"Don't aim too high," Cuddy said dryly, to which she remarked, "I don't believe in glass ceilings. You taught me that, at least."

A soft knock on the door alerted her to the fact that Doctor House was waiting outside and as he entered he remarked, "Did I miss the invite? Are we shooting a Nurses Gone Wild video in here cause if that's the case, I can come back later."

"I was just leaving," Natasha answered, walking out without looking at him.

"How's your patient?" Cuddy asked. "Daughter fine, mommy dearest so-so. She had a minor stroke, might need a little bit more treatment so the kid is staying at grandma's house. No big bad wolves to worry about though," he answered.

"Good, file a report and I'll send it to the board so they can review it," Cuddy declared. "See, here's the thing. I get calluses when I write," House began to which she said, "I don't care what you leave out, because honestly you'll have to do just so I can save face. Just make sure you don't try anything stupid again, while I'm administrator you need to learn to play by the rules."

"Do we need to pinky swear?" he countered. "So I take it you've decided to keep the three candidates I've chosen for you?" she wondered, changing the subject as she shut off her lights for the night. "Is there any reason why I shouldn't?" he replied, walking out with her. "No, but I just didn't want you to feel like I manipulated you," Cuddy said with a smile.

"I guess only time will tell," he countered, giving her a sly grin and grabbing his coat as he headed toward the door.