After a bit of deliberation, House decided it would be better if they paired up on shifts. The only fair way to do it would be for House to decide which pairs would be the most annoyed with each other. That way he was sure they would not fall asleep on him. The first shift went to Wilson and Chase. Wilson tried to protest, saying he wasn’t involved, but House refused to listen.
“I need you to keep Chase awake. It’s not fair to make Cameron stay up twice...”
“Why me? Why not Foreman?” She snotted.
“Because I don’t want Chase and Foreman getting into any hanky panky. With you around I’m certain that won’t happen.” House smiled at her. She thought he was joking so she laughed uneasily.
“Fine, then Foreman and I will come after midnight to relieve you.” Cameron turned her attention to Chase.
“Come?” House said with confusion. “You’re just going to be down the hall.”
“We’re sleeping here?” She protested questioningly.
“Yep. I already cleared it with Cuddy.” That was a lie, but Cuddy was locked in her office, and would head straight home when she finally came out, so she would never know.
“Great.” Cameron sounded less than thrilled.
“Well, night all.” House grabbed his bag and headed out the door.
Wilson looked at the three younger doctors and wondered why he always got himself involved in these things. He also wondered why Foreman got the shift with Cameron. “Well, you two should get some rest. “
“Yeah, come get us when our shift starts.” Foreman felt about as thrilled as Wilson felt.
Cameron and Foreman trudged down the hall and disappeared through a door. They were both relieved to see two beds in the room separated by a divider. Neither of them would have put it past House to leave them with one bed.
Chase led Wilson into Gerard’s room.
“So, we get to watch this kid sleep all night?” Wilson picked through a pile of magazines, none of which...oh, Playboy. Wilson grabbed it quickly then sat down and put his feet up on the bed.
“Do you think you should do that?” Chase looked at Wilson’s feet.
“Sure, the kids in a coma he won’t mind.” Wilson carefully opened the cover and sighed.
“Okay.” Chase shrugged and pulled up a chair.
Wilson didn’t speak until he’d poured over every page of the magazine. “House hasn’t figured out what’s wrong with him yet?”
Chase looked at him for a moment before speaking. “Yeah, he has.”
“Then what are we doing here?”
“He won’t tell us. I thought he would have told you.”
“He doesn’t tell me everything.” Wilson said sadly.
“Oh.” Chase had kind of worked up the idea in his head that House and Wilson were sort of an item. Sure Wilson was married, but Chase was enlightened enough to know what a Beard was.
“And he didn’t tell you what we’re looking for?” Wilson was concerned. It wasn’t like House to keep things from him.
“Nothing.” Chase realized this could be taken more than one way. “We’re not looking for anything. We’re just making sure he stays unconscious.” Chase snorted. “I almost think Foreman was right and House thinks this kid is going to turn into a werewolf at midnight.”
“That’s not when it happens.” Wilson chuckled. Kids really didn’t appreciate the classics. “He would have changed by now. The moon is up.”
“Hmph.” Chase didn’t believe in werewolves, so there was no point really debating it. “Whatever.”
Wilson thought back to a conversation he’d had with House, then he realized he’d stood his friend up. Funny, House hadn’t mentioned it. Usually he loved to torment Wilson about these things. “Has he...said anything to you?”
“Like what?” Chase was blissfully oblivious to the ominous tone in Wilson’s voice.
“Like about werewolves, or...evil. Saving the world from the forces of evil.”
Chase burst out with a laugh. “You’re serious.” He stopped as suddenly as he’d started. “Uh, not lately. Maybe his superhero costume is in the shop.”
“Right.” Wilson wasn’t laughing.
Brenda looked at the blacked out windows of the garage. Even though she couldn’t see it, she could feel the moon pulling at her. It was early yet, but she could feel it creeping over the horizon and calling to some dark, primal place inside her.
She willed herself to sleep but it wouldn’t come. As time past she could feel herself changing. The first thing to go was her mind, slipping into an ignorant fog. The only blessing in that was that it took the pain away. As her body began to contort and deform into something savage and monstrous, her only thoughts were of eating, of tearing flesh and shredding bone.
She no longer worried about her husband walking in and seeing her like this. She no longer feared the pain and death she could cause. She just wanted to feed.
She rattled at her restraints. Both arms and legs were chained to the floor. Douglas had broken his back making sure the cage was secure and to her exacting standards. Nothing was too good for his Brenda.
She could smell him, even though he was in the house, several yards away, she could smell him. He was an increasingly rotund man. Lots of tasty meat to devour.
The old Brenda, nurse, wife, wanna be mother, felt the anguish of helplessness deep inside the beast. She was still there, fighting to survive the night. She tried to think of Douglas. She focused on his smiling face, his sparkling eyes. She tried to stop thinking of him as food. He was her husband. She had to remember that.
A scream of pain filled the garage as she pulled at one of her arm restraints. The long chain rattled against itself as she bellowed with all her might. She could smell fear. Douglas had heard her, and he was terrified. The tiny place inside the monster that was still her willed him to stay away, begged him to lock the doors.
Another sharp tug and the chain flew away from the floor. She was a quarter of the way free. It took less than a half an hour to break out of the rest of her chains. Now she was free to pace the cage, rattling the close fit bars with all the strength her new body could give her.
“Rawr!!!!” She let out a sound that sent a chill through the neighborhood. Most people tried to convince themselves it was an alley cat or maybe two of them had gotten into a fight. Some people feared there were coyotes running around town and made sure their small dogs and cats were secured inside their houses. No one thought it was sweet Brenda Previn. Brenda, who had welcomed each of them to the neighborhood with a basket of fresh made muffins, or offered to watch their houses when they went on vacation. Brenda who’s sweet husband used to play golf with their husbands before he left it all to go back to school. No, Brenda was the last thing on any of their minds.
Brenda tightened her clawed fingers around the bars and shook them once again. This time she heard something pop and the bars went loose in her hands. She snarled. Freedom at last.
The corridors of Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital were much quieter than the streets of Brenda’s close knit neighborhood. The tranquilizer House had given to Gerard seemed to be keeping the beast at bay. Neither Chase nor Wilson suspected they were babysitting a monster.
A knock at the door sent both men shooting out of their seats. They’d both fallen asleep. Chase looked accusingly at Wilson who shot the accusation right back at him.
“Coming.” Chase got up and went to the door. It was Cameron and Foreman. He’d almost forgotten they were going to be there. “Great. I’m exhausted.” Chase hurried out of the room without another word.
“Anything to report?” Foreman felt like a child playing army prison guard. He felt like an idiot.
“Nope. All quiet on the Gerard front.” Wilson mused. He got no reaction so he left.
“How do you want to do this?” Cameron looked at Foreman who had locked the door behind his co-workers.
“This.” She pointed toward Gerard. “Stay awake, keep watch, whatever you want to call it.”
“We sit and we stay awake.”
“We could play a game?” She looked hopeful, like a child.
“You’re kidding right?” Foreman was not in the mood to placate her.
“I just thought...”
“I’m going to read a book. You do what you want.” Foreman sat down and opened a very large book.
Cameron sat down and looked around the room. She flipped through the pile of magazines, saw the obviously well read copy of Playboy and turned away in disgust. “I just don’t get it,” she said to no one.
Foreman sighed and tried to keep reading.
“What do guys find so fascinating with the female body?” She wasn’t one to give up just because she was being ignored.
“That game isn’t going to work on me,” Foreman warned. He’d seen her try to seduce Chase with her sex talk, but he wasn’t so easily led.
“I mean, we are all born naked. It’s not a big deal. People are naked all the time.” She went on.
“Not listening.” Foreman pulled his book higher up in front of his face hoping it would stop her talking.
“If I took all my clothes off right here, right now, would that turn you on?” She voice was so clinical that Foreman thought nothing could turn him on right now.
“Go ahead.” He shrugged. Might as well get a look if she’s offering.
“Foreman!” She blushed furiously. He’d called her bluff.
She sat down and folded her arms. She was pouting. Foreman turned a page in his book loudly.
Gerard stirred restlessly on the bed. Both doctors looked up.
“That’s not supposed to happen.” Cameron alarmed.
“No shit.” Foreman got up and put his book down. Gerard was supposed to be in a deep coma. He shouldn’t be tossing and turning.
“We need to check his vitals.” Cameron pulled down the sheet and let out a sharp exclamation. Gerard was tied down to the bed. “What is going on?”
“I’m calling House.” Foreman picked up the phone and began to dial House’s number, but the phone fell from his hand as he stood, staring gap mouthed at Gerard.
The boy’s body was contorting and twisting. It reminded him of Frank Fratelli. Suddenly the boy let out a howl. It wasn’t a human cry of pain. It was a howl, like a wolf baying at the moon.
Foreman felt Cameron’s hand clutch his forearm. She was squeezing it tightly.
“Get the tranquilizer.” Foreman pulled her hand off his arm and gave her a nudge toward the door.
Cameron rushed out of the room and came back with the needle, Wilson and Chase. They had heard the howling and rushed back to the room.
“Here.” Cameron handed Wilson the needle.
“I...” he looked at the bloodless faces of the others and realized he had to do it. He approached Gerard cautiously. When Gerard lashed out, trying to break free of his restraints, Wilson and the others all jumped back.
“Go on,” Cameron prodded. She gave Wilson a slight push in the right direction.
“I’m going.” Wilson said, not moving.
Chase quickly assessed the situation. He grabbed the needle and rushed at the boy. He plunged the needle into Gerard’s neck and sprang back with the others. “There. It’s done.”
“We need to call House.”