Foreman admitted Gerard Smith and gathered Chase and Cameron into the diagnostics office to discuss the case.
“Where’s House?” Cameron asked, not willing to participate without her hero...mentor.
“He’ll be here. He said to get started without him.” Foreman lied easily. He didn’t hold either Dr. Chase or Dr. Cameron in very high esteem.
“Well?” Chase looked expectantly at Foreman.
“Gerard Smith, nineteen, healthy his whole life, no surgeries, no medications, he never even had allergies. He’s now presenting with skin rashes, rapid hair growth, insatiable appetite, mood swings, his sleep patterns have changed...”
House, standing in the doorway swinging his cane cut Foreman’s speech short. “I’ll give a raise to whoever figures this one out.” He smiled at the three of them.
“You don’t think we can do this?” Cameron pouted.
“I know you can’t.” House smirked. He’d already solved the case, and he knew there was no way these three would figure it out.
“Really?” Foreman asked challengingly. “Is that a challenge?”
“Sure.” House set his cane back down on the floor and leaned on it. “But what do I get when you lose?”
“IF we lose,” Foreman replied pointedly, “we will each take a week of your clinic duty. If we win...”
“That doesn’t matter because you’re not going to solve the case.” House waved the idea away with his cane.
“When we win you will give us each a raise,” Cameron announced proudly.
“Fine, whatever, I’ll offer you anything you’d like.”
Cameron hesitated. There were so many things she could say right now. “Raises, for all of us.” She pushed all the other thoughts from her mind.
“You have three days.” The moon would be full by then, and he’d probably have to get Cuddy to come kill his patient at that point, but until then, it might keep them out of his hair.
“Three days?” Foreman protested.
“Good luck.” House waved them a goodbye then left.
“Why three days?” Chase finally spoke.
“Why does House do anything he does,” Foreman replied.
“Maybe the patient is sicker than we thought.” Cameron picked up the chart again and began pouring over it. “We’d better get started.”
“He’s not going to die in three days if that’s what you’re implying.” Foreman felt his expertise as a doctor were being challenged.
“I didn’t mean...”
“Are there any other symptoms that aren’t already on the board?” Chase hated it when they bickered, so he tried to refocus the group.
Foreman read off a few more symptoms and some details on patient history. The others listened intently and shot out ideas. Each idea was quickly shot down by one of the others. There seemed to be an unspoken competition going on between them. Not only did they each want to beat the three day deadline, but they wanted to be the first to get the answer. They each had reasons for wanting to impress House more than their colleagues.
“It has to be something very rare, if House thinks we can’t figure it out,” Cameron proclaimed.
“Or he thinks we’re idiots,” Chase added.
“He doesn’t think we’re idiots.” Cameron protested.
“It doesn’t matter why he is challenging us. All that matters is that we rise to the challenge and prove to him that we are capable of doing our job.” Foreman reasoned.
“You don’t think he’s still trying to get rid of one of us do you?” Cameron was paranoid after Vogler forced House to fire one of them.
“If he did want to get rid of one of us he’d just fire Chase.”
“What? Why?” Chase looked up quickly.
“You turned on him. Now that Vogler’s not around to protect you...”
“I’m going to go talk to the patient.” Chase picked up the chart and walked out.
Cameron watched silently until he was clear down the hall, then she turned on Foreman. “Why did you have to say that?”
“I don’t trust him.”
“Either do I but you don’t have to tell him to his face.”
“You’d rather I talk about him behind his back?”
Cameron stuttered for a moment. “No. That’s not what I’m saying.”
Foreman realized that Chase was off talking to their patient while they sat here and argued. “I’m going to check on the patient.” He quickly took off down the hall. Cameron, now that she’d got what was going on, was hot on his heals.
Gerard Smith was a small, dark, fragile looking kid. He had black hair that hung stingily into his face. His pale skin was a sharp contrast behind it. He wore a black tee shirt, and a long black jacket with far too many buckles hung on a chair near his bed. He was flipping through a gaming magazine. “Hey,” he nodded at Chase.
“Hey,” Chase nodded back. “Mind if I move this?” Chase pointed to the jacket.
“You can hang it up.” Gerard replied, not looking up.
Chase hung the coat behind the door and sat down. He opened the chart and began flipping though and asking Gerard such exciting questions as “Have you ever had your appendix out?”
“It says in my chart. Can’t you read?”
“Sorry for asking.” Chase sat and quietly read the chart before asking any more questions. “So, are you sexually active?”
Gerard looked at him for a moment. “What do you think?” He held out his hands so Chase could get a good look at him.
“That’s a no then?” Chase asked cautiously.
Gerard laughed. “Yeah, that’s a no, if you mean with other people.”
It was Chase’s turn to laugh. “Is your hair natural?”
“It’s my hair if that’s what you mean.”
“It’s not. I mean do you dye it?”
“What do you use?”
“Whatever’s on sale.” Gerard sounded bored. He was one of those disillusioned teenagers who thought they were very cool because they listened to depressing music and wore all black.
“Great.” Chase nodded helplessly.
The door opened and Foreman burst in, followed by Cameron. Gerard looked them over and then returned to his magazine. “They with you?” He asked Chase casually.
Foreman started to speak, but Gerard wasn’t listening. “What’s that mean?”
“We’re in a sort of competition to see who can diagnose you first.”
“Chase!” Cameron protested. She found it terribly tacky to let patients know they were a game.
“Cool.” Gerard nodded his approval. “Hope you win.”
“Thanks.” Chase handed the chart over to Foreman, or more accurately, Foreman snatched the chart out of Chase’s hands.
“You gonna let him get away with that?” Gerard drawled slowly.
“There’s nothing useful on there anyway. I think you told me all I need to know” Chase smiled at Gerard conspiratorially.
“Yeah, you want me to go mum for the square and the hotty?”
Chase cracked up while Foreman tripped over his protests and Cameron blushed. “Yeah, if you don’t mind.”
“Nah. Makes no difference to me.” Gerard shrugged. “Later.”
“Later.” Chase got up and left.
Cameron had recovered and quickly took the chair before Foreman could. “So, Gerard,” she leaned closer to the boy. “How are you feeling?”
“Hard at the moment,” Gerard deadpanned. Foreman nearly choked on a laugh. Cameron’s eyes grew the size of saucers. “You interested?”
“I...that’s...I’m your doctor.” Cameron stumbled over her words.
“I know. I’ve always wanted to play doctor.” Gerard’s delivery was jaded and flat. It was unnerving.
“I’m sorry Gerard, but I can’t get involved with a patient.”
Gerard started laughing. “I don’t want to get involved with you. I just wanted to bang you. But if you’re not interested, no prob.” He went back to reading. Foreman doubled over, clutching his stomach. Cameron gasped so loudly she nearly inhaled the room.
Without another word Cameron stormed out. First House and his stupid contest, now this. Why was everyone out to get her? What had she done to piss off fate? She slammed into Nurse Brenda and kept going. Brenda watched the young doctor walk away without an ‘excuse me’ and shot daggers at the girls back.
The door to Gerard’s room opened and Brenda walked in with a tray of medicine. “I...” she took one look at Gerard and dropped her tray. She ran out of the room.
“What is going on around here today?” Foreman picked up the tray and it’s now useless contents and put them on the table. “It’s not usually like this around here.” He turned to look at Gerard who seemed paler than usual. “Are you okay?”
“Who the hell was that?” He tried to hide his fear behind anger.
“She was a nurse. I don’t know what scared her off like that.” Foreman looked to the door for answers, but found none.
“It’s okay,” Gerard shook some strange feeling out of his head. It was like deja vue but much, much worse.