Fate or Folly 2/5

Fate or Folly
Written June 2006
Rated PG-13
Synopsis: House interferes when Cuddy meets a man on a dating website.

Disclaimer: The characters within are property of Heel & Toe, Shore Z. Productions, Bad Hat Harry Productions, and other corporations. No infringement is intended.


Week One

“You think it’s drugs?”

“You’re the only one on drugs around here.”

“You haven’t noticed anything different?”

“No. You gonna eat your chips?” When there was no response, James Wilson reached across the table and took the bag of Ruffles. “Why do you care anyway?”

“I didn’t say I care. I said something was different.” Gregory House squinted at the woman on the other side of the outdoor seating area. “So if it’s not drugs … why is she happy?”

Wilson laughed. “Okay, okay, wait. She can’t be happy for any reason other than drugs?”

“We’re talking about Cuddy. She thrives on misery.”

“You’re confusing her personality with your own.”

“Whatever.”

“So it couldn’t be that the sun is shining after nearly two weeks of rain? I mean, she is sitting outside.”

“She has windows in her office. No, this is something different.” His attention was diverted to Wilson standing up. “Where are you going?”

“I’m going to ask her if she’s taking any illicit substances.”

“No, I searched her office. It’s not drugs, illicit or otherwise. Sit down.”

Wilson ignored him and maneuvered between tables until he reached Cuddy. She smiled at him, and they exchanged a few words. Her eyes never once turned in House’s direction which meant that Wilson chickened out. Ha.

He smirked at Wilson as he sat back down. “I knew you couldn’t–”

“She says it’s none of your business and since you obviously have nothing better to do, you can spend the rest of the day in the clinic.”

He frowned. “But she didn’t even glare at me.” He stood up and hobbled over to her table, nearly tripping someone with his cane. “What do you mean, I can spend the rest of the day in the clinic? Today’s not my day.”

“It is now,” she replied. Her gaze was focused on a book, and he was annoyed by the fact that she wouldn’t look at him. It wasn’t worth the argument if he couldn’t see the storm clouds form over her blue eyes.

“What are you reading? The Idiot’s Guide to Hospital Administration?”

This time, she glanced at her watch. “You’ve got seven minutes to check in with Brenda.”

He took the tip of his cane and lifted up the edge of her long skirt. “You look like a peasant woman in these clothes. You should take them off or, alternatively, go milk cows.”

“Six minutes now.”

“I can almost see your thong and you’re not even resisting! Why aren’t you glaring at me with demon eyes and, like, trying to make my head explode or something? There’s something wrong with you.”

“No, House, there’s something wrong with you.” She stood up and collected her tray, still not making eye contact.

He craned his neck until he caught sight of her book which further enforced his belief that she was acting strangely. It was one of those cheesy romance novels with a shirtless man on the cover embracing a busty female who was about to pop out of her dress. He couldn’t quite read the name on the jacket because it was in an unnecessarily curly font, but he figured it contained either the word ‘lust’ or ‘desire’. “Wow, Oprah’s book club has gotten kind of racy.”

She finally looked at him, but instead of shooting poison-tipped arrows from her eyes, she smiled brightly, rewarding his look of confusion with a wink. “Five minutes now.” She headed back into the hospital, hair and hips swishing in tandem. He watched her go, frowning.

Wilson appeared in time to see Cuddy open the door and walk inside the hospital. “You don’t look smug, so I take it she denied drugs and alcohol.”

“Mystery is afoot. Our dear Cuddy has a secret … and I’m going to figure out what it is.”

***

McSteve: Good morning.

LisaMD: Hi! I was just replying to your email. I don’t have much time to talk. One of our patients is having a rough course.

McSteve: Anything serious?

LisaMD: He’s stable for now.

McSteve: Symptoms?

She smiled as she responded to his inquiry. They’d been chatting almost every night for a week, usually until late, and she’d taken to drinking loads of coffee in order to make it to work at her usual time. Still, there was something about this guy that put her in a good mood. It turned out they had a lot in common: music, food, collegiate sports. But there were still enough differences — while she rarely watched television, he got full use of his TiVo’s recording system — that made him interesting. Wonderful and interesting, she thought with a silly grin.

Their conversations were never dull. Even when they talked about work, particular cases they had or problems they’d solved, it was nice. Her mystery man liked the puzzle, as did she.

McSteve: Sounds like this guy could have Q fever.

LisaMD: Q fever? God, I hope I don’t have an epidemic on my hands.

McSteve: Transmittal between humans is extremely rare.

LisaMD: I know, but trouble seems to find my hospital. I’m going to hunt down our diagnostician and pass along the idea. Thank you.

McSteve: Talk to you tonight?

LisaMD: Definitely.

***

“Oh, look, it’s Dr. Cuddy! Say hello, children, but be careful: if she tries to give you an apple, politely decline.”

House’s team mumbled a greeting before looking back at him. He wasn’t paying attention to them; he was glaring at Cuddy.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“I assume the symptoms on the white board are in regards to Tom Hopkins.”

“Hey, good guess, considering he’s my only patient.”

“What’s your diagnosis?”

House turned to his staff. “You heard the woman. Impress her with your vast medical knowledge.” There were a few suggestions, each of which House insulted or ignored. “Come on, people, what are you missing? There is one thing that works with each of these symptoms.” He dropped his voice to a stage whisper. “Look at her face. She’s thinking budget cuts.”

Allison Cameron threw up her hands. “He came in with the flu. It’s progressed to pneumonia. I still don’t know why we even took this case.”

“His immune system isn’t responding as it should,” Robert Chase pointed out. “Probably not from the pneumonia. There’s got to be something else.”

“Glad to hear you saying something intelligent for once,” House said, which netted him a glare.

“His fever is still high,” Eric Foreman said. “We should get him in an ice bath.”

House waved the marker in the air. “Yes, yes, we know that. But we need to cure his illness, not his symptoms. Now what causes the flu, a high grade fever, pneumonia, and a compromised immune system?” House sighed with disappointment when there were no replies. “Okay, let me give you a hint.”

“Q fever.”

Everyone looked at Cuddy, even House. “She’s right,” Foreman said with a chuckle. “Guy works at a dairy farm. He probably–”

“Oh, shut up.” House continued to glare at Cuddy. “How did you know that?”

“I went to medical school too.”

“Yeah, but you don’t practice medicine; you practice politics. So I ask again: how did you know?”

“I didn’t.” She smiled slightly. “Give Mr. Hopkins doxycycline. He’ll feel better soon. I’ll arrange for a consultation with Dr. Sarma in infectious diseases.” She walked out with the rest of the team, leaving House alone to scowl.

End of Part 2

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