And now, on to Part Two:
By R.J. Anderson 2006
"You can't be serious," said Foreman. "You were in there for half an hour last night and you didn't get anything?"
"I'm completely serious, thank you very much," Chase retorted. "And if you think you can do any better, be my guest. That's not a woman, that's a force of nature."
House tossed his ball up in the air, caught it with one hand and launched it at Foreman. "Well," he said, leaning back in his chair as the other man caught the ball automatically, "seems like our Hurricane Trisha--"
"Tirzah," said Cameron.
"Whatever -- has blown herself home for the time being, so we'll have to defer the pleasure of getting her travel history. Did you at least get the serum sample while she was talking?"
"Got it, ran a whole battery of tests, didn't find anything out of the ordinary," said Chase. "Of course, it would have helped if I knew what we were supposed to be looking for." He glanced back at Cameron, who shook her head and said, "It doesn't matter. I didn't find anything, either."
House deftly fielded Foreman's return pass and threw the ball up into the air again. "Well, the patient's out of our lives now. If we're lucky, Foreman was right and all she needed was a dose of heparin." He whipped the ball at Chase, who ducked. "Except, of course, he's wrong, so I give it forty-eight hours before she comes back for another round of show-and-tell. And tell. And tell."
"If she's really that bad," said Cameron, picking up the ball from the floor, "I'm amazed you didn't just yell 'shut up' at her."
"You think I didn't? You have so little faith in me. Unfortunately, all she did was turn up the treble and raise the volume a few notches. I would have tried again, but Cuddy got this strange idea that the patient and I were shouting at each other and sent Wilson in to break it up."
Foreman smirked. Cameron walked over and put the ball back on House's desk. "So what now?" she asked.
"New case, dug up by our very own Foreman. All I can say is, this had better be good."
"Twenty-year-old male," said Foreman resolutely. "Non-smoker, physically fit, suffering from increasing fatigue and breathing difficulties over the past two months. Now he's coughing up blood--"
"I am waiting for the detail that makes this case even slightly interesting," said House to the ceiling.
"--and there's protein in his urine."
"Oh, you just threw that in for me, didn't you? You knew I couldn't resist a good kidney failure in the morning." House swiveled his chair around, grabbed his bad leg and lifted it off the desk. "To the whiteboard, Robin!"
Fifteen minutes later the board was covered with House's scribbling, and the team had tossed around possible diagnoses of lupus and Wegener's granulomatosis before settling on an interim treatment with intravenous corticosteroids for the bleeding, followed by dialysis if the kidneys continued to fail. Foreman suggested a kidney biopsy, and House promptly sent him off to do it.
"Chase," he said, and the younger man looked up at him inquiringly.
"Take some chest x-rays, and bring the film back to me. Cameron, do the blood work -- run an ANA and an ANCA. I want to know if it's really autoimmune."
"Right," said Chase, getting to his feet. He looked back at Cameron, who was still sitting in her chair, reading the patient's file. "You coming?"
"Yeah," said Cameron absently. She continued reading a moment, then shut the file and followed Chase out. As the door began to swing shut, House heard him say to her, "So, we still on for tonight?"
"If House lets us out of here in time, sure. Did you make a reservation, or--"
The door closed, cutting off the rest of her words. House limped to the door and watched the two young doctors go, his eyes narrowed.
"Interesting," he said into the silence, but his voice was flat.
* * *
"What's the differential diagnosis for jealousy?" asked Wilson.
House snorted. "It's not jealousy, it's suspicion. I want to know what's in it for Chase."
"Presumably the same thing that'd be in it for you. Pretty girl, good company, someone to talk to..."
"It can't just be that he wants to nail her," said House, staring past his shoulder. "Because he did that two years ago." He took another bite of his sandwich, chewed it thoughtfully. "Unless she's just that good."
"You know what I appreciate most about you," said Wilson, "is your delicacy."
"You still haven't answered my question. How long have they been going out?"
"How should I know? First I heard of it was when you told me."
"No gossip yet, so it can't have been going on long. Might even be their first date. Question is, why now?"
"Don't you have better things to think about?"
"Nope. Unless you've started making goo-goo eyes at Nurse Brenda or something. That would be fun."
"Her husband would kill me." Wilson paused. "Actually, she'd kill me. Besides, not my type."
"Yeah, I figured."
"Have you considered that it might not even be a date?" asked Wilson, reaching for the ketchup.
"If you think that will make your macaroni and cheese better," House said, "you're wrong."
"I'll take my chances."
"I don't really care if it's a date or not. Point is, they're playing outside the sandbox, and I like things the way they are."
"Were," said Wilson. "Sounds to me like you're already too late."
* * *
"ANCA was negative," said Cameron. She sounded a little breathless, as though she'd been running stairs. "We'll have to wait on the biopsy to be sure, but I don't think it's Wegener's."
"Anything else?" asked House, flipping the switch on the lightbox and squinting once more at the chest x-rays Chase had brought. The lower halves of both lungs were clouded and patchy-looking, evidence of pulmonary hemorrhage.
"ANA and anti-GBM were both high. Anything unusual on the x-rays?" Cameron stepped up beside him to look.
"Aside from the fact that the patient lied about being a non-smoker, you mean?"
"Well, technically he is a non-smoker, now. He quit cold-turkey two years ago."
"Let me guess. You went down and held his hand and he told you his life story. He's lonely, you're hot, it was inevitable. Oh, and now you're engaged."
A little smile curled at the corners of Cameron's mouth. "Something like that."
"So what do you think?" House jerked his head toward the lightbox.
"Well, I'm not seeing any tumors or abscesses, there's no arteriovenous malformation -- just the generalized clouding. Put that together with the glomerulonephritis and the blood test results, and I'd say it's definitely autoimmune. Goodpasture's Syndrome, maybe?"
"Funny, Chase said the same thing. Did you discuss it?"
She brushed a stray tendril of hair back from her face, and House realized with a flash of irritation that he'd been studying her instead of the x-rays. "No," she said. "But I'm not surprised. The symptoms fit, and he's the right age."
"Hm," said House noncommittally. "Foreman done with that biopsy?"
"He took it to the lab."
"Fine. We'll see what he comes up with." House rubbed at his aching leg, then reached for his Vicodin. "Chase went down to the cafeteria, if you're looking for him."
Cameron looked bemused. "Why would I be?"
"I thought you two had started hanging out together."
She breathed an incredulous laugh. "You just can't keep your nose out of anything, can you?"
"It's my curse. So what, are you seeing him now?"
Cameron didn't answer. Her eyes were fixed on the x-rays, her forehead wrinkled in a frown as though she'd just noticed something, but House wasn't buying it. He persisted: "Sleeping with him?"
"Last time that happened," she said with a hint of asperity, "you didn't need to ask."
"You aren't. Yet."
She sighed, and switched off the lightbox. "We're just going to dinner. Foreman might join us, later."
He ignored the latter, knowing its irrelevance: her averted eyes told the real story. "If you think Chase'll unburden his tortured soul to you," he said, "you're wasting your time."
"Really." Her mouth tightened. "What makes you think you know him any better than I do?"
"I'll always know him better than you do. Trust me, you're never going to get below the surface with Chase. He makes it a policy not to have feelings: too much effort, too little reward."
"That's ridiculous," she protested. "He shows his feelings all the time."
House snorted. "Sure, he responds to stimuli. So do bacteria. But the kind of deep, sensitive emotions you're looking for? Not any he'd be prepared to admit to, let alone share." He let his voice drawl sarcastically on the final word.
"And you do?"
He ignored the bait. "If all you want is a good-looking date, Chase's your man. Though somehow I don't think you're going to be satisfied with a hollow chocolate bunny, but hey, if you want to waste a few months figuring that out, be my guest."
"You're forgetting something," Cameron told him flatly. "You're not in charge of my personal life. If I want to have dinner with Chase -- if I want to move in with Chase, for that matter -- that's my business. Not yours."
"If it affects your ability to work together, it is my business."
There was a pause, while they stared each other down. At last House said simply, "Fine."
"Thank you," said Cameron, and turned to leave.
"You're too good for him," muttered House from behind her.
"But not for you?"
"I didn't say that."
One hand on the door, Cameron looked back at him, and now her eyes were sad. "No," she said. "You wouldn't."
* * *
Continued in Part Three
Thanks again to logastellus, and also to lizbee, for early comments. Feedback is my friend.