Sighing, and dropping his collection of papers and files onto the DDX table, Chase takes a seat and regards his colleague moodily.
"Well, either way, I have a really bad feeling about it..."
"Come on, not you too now, she was just spooked!"
"What if she's right though, and we really can't use a reference from House?"
"So what? Chances are he'd screw you over anyway! We just ask for one from Vogler."
"What the hell's she so worried about then!?"
"Like you said, it's Cameron. She probably just doesn't like the idea of her gold stars coming from anyone else but House... That guy could beat her to the ground and she'd probably still thank him for the experience!"
"Oh, I wouldn't go that far, Dr Foreman. A gentle spanking sounds much more fun."
Foreman twists round in surprise to find the graying doctor leaning casually within the doorway between the inner and outer office, before turning to Chase and glaring at the blond for negating to warn him of their boss's presence. Chase widens his eyes and mouths back 'I didn't see him there'.
"Your powers of observation are shocking, Dr Chase."
House growls as he limps over to the whiteboard, having read his employee's burlesque attempt at silent communication with ease. Eyeing the two younger doctors shrewdly, he takes a seat perched up on the desk, spinning his cane idly.
"Where is Cameron, anyhow?"
"Not sure, she said she needed to go do something."
"Well, she's not with the patient, she's evidently not still in the labs, and I doubt she's in the clinic... That pretty much covers all possible basses on what she would 'need' to go do."
"Fine, so she's somewhere else. What do you want, for us to babysit her?"
House scowls irritably and shakes his head. He has been plagued with his knowledge of what his upcoming conversation with the young brunette is to entail, and now silently accuses her as he is doomed to stew in his discomfort a little while longer. Glaring at the two fellows that have had the good manners to show up, he grumbles angrily.
"So, what were you ladies gossiping about?"
Foreman and Chase exchange glances before the blond sighs and regards House levelly.
"Look... You have one more day to make a decision about which one of us you plan to fire, and so far you haven't even hinted at a real decision. What happens if you don't pick one of us? We all get screwed over? And what about references? Can we rely on you for those? Because Cameron sure as hell seems worried we can't... Have you told her something we don't know?"
"Really? Because she seems pretty damn freaked out!"
"...Cameron told you she's worried she won't be able to get a reference?"
"She thinks none of us are going to get a reference if you piss Vogler off so bad he decides to ruin you!"
"... Well, then, I would propose, Dr Chase, you desist from listening to the worries of our jumped up little immunologist and get on with your job so that-"
"-If it's just Cameron being Cameron, you should talk to her!"
"Your sense of camaraderie is truly touching. Tell me, did the young doctor by any chance make it worth your while after you helped her out last night?"
"That's- I mean- what are you talking about?!"
Chase stammers in red faced confusion; not sure how best to cope with having been called out on the previous night's adventures. A glance in Foreman's direction does little to help him out as the young neurologist stares back at him with raised eyebrows; evidently having taken House's suggestion into abrupt consideration.
"No! We never... House... Foreman... We... You knew about what happened?!"
"I'm afraid so. Noble you two may be, stealthy, not so much... So-"
"- You knew! You knew the state she'd gotten herself into and you're still not going to go tell her she doesn't need to worry about this!? That's... That's fucked up!"
Foreman glares at the blond warningly, but the young surgeon pays his colleague no mind as he rants on; his anger as much a merciful release of the stress caused to his own system as it is directed against the unease being bestowed upon the absent brunette.
"-It is! You saw her! You said the same thing after you talked to her! I mean, the girl looked like she was five minutes away from having a nervous breakdown! Tell him!"
Foreman frowns, before regarding his boss seriously; brow furrowed low as he cautiously choses his words.
"She... She's been in a pretty bad state the past couple of days, House. I'm with Chase... I mean, if this is what it takes to keep my job then okay, but if you're just messing with us... You need to stop it before she does something stupid... And by that I mean even more stupid than what she did last night."
"How touching; now that you've all decided you're no longer a threat to one another, Cameron's suddenly gained two concerned older brothers... It would be so much more convincing if you two hadn't spent most of Monday trying to prove she'd fucked everything up!"
House growls, only a few decibels away from shouting, but his mouth feels suddenly dry and his knuckles are blanched white as he grips his cane tightly.
"Look, fine, I'll talk to her. What exactly did she say she was going off to go do?"
"She didn't, I just bumped into her as she was leaving the lab after talking to Foreman. I asked her if she was ok because she looked pretty pale, and she said she was fine and that she just had to go... That's all, she didn't say why... She just seemed pretty upset."
Chase looks to Foreman for any further information but the neurologist simply shrugs and shakes his head.
"Same to me, she excused herself and left... Pretty much ran out... I don't know. To be honest, she seemed pretty shaken up when I told her we had to look out for each other, and I guess I can see why; she was never keen on the whole dog-eat-dog game in the first place, and now, after all the shit she dealt with after the interferon screw up, I'm surprised she's not gracing the halls with screams of Judas... She's hardly the best with confrontation at the best of times... Us telling her we're now finally prepared to play this as a team game probably just wiped her out... She's exhausted... We all are... I wouldn't be surprised if you found her in the girl's locker rooms trying to clean herself up, she-"
"-You told her you wanted to play this as a team game?"
"Well, yeah. I mean, we all love your little gold stars, House, but things were getting pretty damn tiring, and you obviously-"
"-No, I'm asking you what you said. Exactly. The exact words."
"What? I don't know! Something about how we needed to watch each other's backs..."
"Something like? Or was that what you said?"
"House, what are you-"
"What did you tell her!?"
"That we helped her last night because she would have done the same thing... That we'd watch each other's backs, that we'd-... I don't know... What do you-"
"-Find her. Now."
Foreman opens his mouth to argue as Chase comes up beside him- brow creased in confusion- but the graying doctor is already on his way out the door, limping purposefully down the hall.
When he reaches the bathrooms at the end of the corridoor, House smacks open the door with excesive force; the thin wood shuddering as it reverberates off the tile wall. Glancing around intently, he is sure the bathroom is empty.
Making his way down the length of ugly mint green cublicles, he proceeds to slam open the narrow doors with his cane, thus deducing them all to be damningly empty.
Nothing but the disturbing whine of the leaky faucet in the far corner.
Limping quickly back down the main hallway to the elevator, he pokes his head into his friend's office without invitation and barks loudly that Wilson should follow him; ignoring the aging woman that sits on the oncologist's threadbare sofa with a hankerchief to her eyes.
"House, what the hell! I'm with a patient! I-"
"-Is she dying?"
"In the next five minutes?"
"-Tell her to come back! Tell a nurse to console her! Whatever the fuck it is you do! We need to find Cameron!"
"We? Why do we- wait, where's Cameron?"
"And that, Boy Wonder, is our first conundrum."
"House, what's going on?"
"Hopefully nothing! But I'd still rather we find Little Miss More-Trouble-Than-She's-Worth before forming a concise conclusion on that! You have two working legs; humor me!"
"... Have you lost your mind?!"
"I really, truly hope so..."
Throwing his friend a look that lets on more than his tone and- although peculiar, hardly unheard of- behavior, House proceeds to make his way to the elevator. Wilson throws one last glance towards his office before grabbing a passing nurse by the hand and stammering at her to go comfort the woman he has left alone to dwell on her fatal news. Stepping aside to let House enter the elevator first, he swiftly presses for both the first and second floor; muttering to his friend that he'll search the Clinic if House will go ask someone to go search the female locker room.
"Page me if you find her. If not..."
Wilson shrugs awkwardly, not wanting to bring up the possibilty that the young brunette may well have been on her way to the Chairman's office, and deciding it may be safer if he takes the job of sniffing out that particular hiding place.
"If not, try to call her, check her car- if she's upset, she may have gone there, it's more private than the bathrooms- and I'll check with Cuddy... And Vogler... To see if they've seen her about..."
Closing her eyes and counting to thirteen, the young brunette attempts to regulate her breathing before stepping warily into the grand outer office to that used by the Chairman. A severe looking receptionist eyes her with cool disinterest, and she hides her hands neatly within the pockets of her lab coat, dimly aware that they're shaking.
"I... I'd like to make an appointment to see the Chairman?"
"I see. And who may I ask is making the request?"
"Cameron... Dr Allison Cameron... Diagnostics."
"Fine. And will the Chairman know what this is in reference to?"
"... I believe he will... Yes."
"Fine. I'll place a request. Wait one second please..."