The flabbergast-ness quickly vanished. Feet placed on his desk, House smirked at Dawn. "Nice."
Dawn bowed in an exaggerated way. "Why, thank you."
House pointed towards the small TV before him. "Now be quiet."
Shrugging her shoulders, Dawn locked the door again and had a look around the room. Picking up the oversized tennis ball – and giggling at the idea of it being compensation for something else – Dawn studied the various things on display. She checked on the other occupant of the room repeatedly, and was almost done reading the titles on the spines of his books when he finally switched the TV off.
"About time," Dawn grumbled good-naturedly, throwing the tennis ball at him.
Catching it without trouble, House raised his eyebrows. "If you were bored, then why didn't you interrupt me?"
"Nah." Dawn grinned, slouching comfortably in an empty chair. "Besides, keeping you wondering when I'd do something was quite fun."
Giving a chuckle, House watched her curiously. "Who taught you lock-picking?"
Dawn shrugged her shoulders in reply. Changing the topic, she said, "I'm bored. And Buffy told me to stay away from you."
"Ah, younger sibling syndrome." Leaning back in his chair, House threw the tennis ball back at Dawn. "Neat."
"Yep." Dawn nodded. "So, you've got anything planned? You know, making avoiding work more interesting?"
"Hide from Cuddy, avoid clinic duty, play with Marmine. The usual, you know."
Dawn's head bobbed up and down in anticipation. "Oh! Oh! I wanna play too! Any ideas?"
House thoughtfully looked her over. Dawn just rolled her eyes at him. "Come on, missing a chance to corrupt the innocent doesn't sound like you!"
The smirk returning slowly to his face, he tilted his head while his eyes never left hers. "Too late to do any damage?"
Dawn smiled sweetly, eyes twinkling with mischief. "Yep, wa-ay too late. Who do you think thought up the security system in Buffy's apartment, huh?"
Once again, the young woman in front of House rendered him speechless. Although, he recovered just as quickly as before. "Where've you been all my life?"
"Planning, scheming, escaping sisterly supervision. Why?" Dawn asked innocently.
Shaking his head in disbelieve, House got up and, grabbing his cane, walked over to Dawn. Holding out his hand, he helped her from the comfy chair. "Come on, kid. We've got lots to do."
Buffy's luck was finally running out. She had so far managed to avoid Dr Wilson, even though she knew from both Allison and her mom that he was looking for her. That he wanted to talk to her in order to apologise.
Of course, just because he wanted to talk, didn't mean Buffy wanted to do the same. So she'd been especially careful while walking through the hospital, slipping in and out of rooms whenever she thought him near. In fact, Wilson was the fourth person, after House, Lisa and Marmine, who she'd learned to identify by their footsteps alone.
But now, even though she could hear his distinctive footsteps coming closer and closer, she had no chance of avoiding him as she was walking with her friends from the physiotherapy department. Well, she could slip into a room to avoid Wilson, but that would raise far too many questions she wasn't willing to answer. The only possibility to escape those questions would have been to hide in a bathroom. Only, like it usually was, there was none near when you needed it the most.
So she went for the next best thing, engaging in a rather intense conversation with Kamil and Julian.
"Miss Summers," Wilson said questioningly as he came closer.
Buffy pretended to be still in deep conversation with her friends, unwilling to stop. Unfortunately, Kamil hadn't gotten her telepathic message – but had a friend currently being treated by Dr Wilson. Stopping mid-sentence, his eyes opened wide. "Dr Wilson!" Turning to Buffy, he studied her concerned. "You aren't ill or anything, right?"
Sighing, Buffy shook her head. "I'm fine."
"Do you have a minute?" Wilson asked.
Buffy had two choices. Denying his request would bring up lots of unwanted question from her friends that she wanted to avoid. They didn't know about the incident in the Diagnostic Department's conference room and she'd rather keep it that way. Agreeing to it would mean she could tell the guys it was private and they'd most likely leave it at that. But it also meant for her to go and actually face Wilson.
Finding herself in the middle of everyone's attention, Buffy closed her eyes for a moment and sighed. "Fine."
House slipped into a random room, reading the patient's information. "Boring." Coming out of the room again, he dragged Dawn along the corridor, repeating the process several times. Eventually, Dawn could hear his cry of triumph, followed by his request for her to come closer.
The patient was a young man in his late teens. And he was sulking. Smirking, House pointed towards him. "Dawn, meet Fred."
"Anyway, Freddie here is one of Wilson's patients and in serious need of some entertainment," House lectured, looking at Dawn. Turning back to Frank, he continued, "Dawn is doing a degree in prankology and asked for my advice. Nice as I am, I've agreed and have chosen you as my assistant." Looking around the room he asked, "Questions so far?"
Frank looked a bit confused but Dawn flashed him a big grin and squeezed his hand, immediately turning his frown into a smile.
"No? Good." House grinned before he explained his plan that involved some casual lying on Frank's side. With Dawn smiling at him throughout, he eagerly agreed to anything House said, going through House's instructions until he remembered every detail flawlessly. Well, technically, it wasn't very hard as House simply told him to pretend to having lost his voice. A little case of laryngitis could never hurt.
Dawn, while listening to House's instructions, looked around the room. Noticing a notepad on the bedside table, Dawn raised a questioning eyebrow at Frank who nodded. Opening it, she smiled at the sketches inside. They were really good.
Happy with Frank's progress, House grinned triumphantly at Dawn. "That, young padawan, was just a little warming-up exercise."
Grinning back, Dawn said, "Watch and learn." Handing the notepad back to Frank, she asked, "Could you sketch something if I'd describe it to you?"
"Sweet!" Dawn exclaimed, clapping her hands excitedly. Sitting down onto the bed – and probably making Frank's day with this simple gesture – Dawn gave him a description of The Gentlemen
. Even though she hadn't seen them in person, she remembered the creepy pictures from Giles' books. Or the, in retrospective, just as creepy silence in Sunnydale when nobody had been able to talk.
Once she was satisfied by the picture of the pale, bald figures wearing dark suits and a spine-chilling smile while they were floating just above the ground in the notepad – each of them holding a fresh heart – Dawn clapped her hands again. "Wow! That's great! And creepy. But great!"
House looked at the picture in amusement, rolling his eyes at Dawn's enthusiasm. Getting up from the bed, Dawn kissed Frank's cheek. "And remember, don't do anything before Sunday, right? Also, don't show them the picture right away. Just tell them you thought you dreamt it or something."
Still blushing heavily, Frank nodded.
Giving him a final wave, Dawn dragged House out of the room. "So, whereto now?"
House motioned along the corridor. "Care to explain?"
"Nope. Where would be the fun in that?"
"I … I wanted to apologise," Wilson said, his hands buried in the pockets of his white coat. He had led them to an empty room before he'd started talking.
Gee, Buffy thought, I'd never figured that with all the nervous glancing and twitching going on. "Okay," she said brusquely.
He looked at her in bewilderment. "Okay? That's all?"
"What?" Buffy snapped. "Do you want me to praise you for the apology or something?"
"No!" Taking a deep breath, he continued. "No. It's just … I feel awful. I don't know what had gotten into me. I'm usually not like this, you know. I didn't know. Really didn't know that he … that he hit them."
Buffy shrugged her shoulders. "Okay," she said again.
Wilson sighed. That wasn't going as he had hoped. Then again, he could also understand her. "Maybe, at some point in the future, you could tell me about Tara?" he asked hopefully.
Buffy just watched him for several minutes. It didn't take long for him to start squirming under her intensive gaze but he never looked away. In the end she gave him a tiny nod. "Maybe."
"Thank you." Wilson said relieved, giving her a lopsided smile. When Buffy didn't return the gesture, he walked towards the door, more than ready to go. "Thank you," he said again before leaving Buffy alone in the room.
Somewhere else in the hospital, Dawn was still trailing behind House, finding the cautious looks he received from several staff rather amusing.
"She's a demon," Dawn said casually, pointing at nurse Brenda as they passed her. "Well, part demon anyway."
House looked from her to Brenda and back. Then he started to grin. "Always thought so." Stopping Dawn, he moved so he would face her. His face dropping, he mock-whined, "I told Cuddles over and over again – but she just wouldn't believe me!"
Giggling, Dawn shoved passed him and – unseen by House – gave Brenda a small wave. Sometimes, telling the truth - if it happened to be unbelievable enough, that is - was the best way to keep a secret.
Less than a minute later, Dawn found herself shoved rather rudely into yet another room. She was about to protest when she heard her mother's annoyed voice, followed by a resigned sigh that reminded her a lot of Giles.
"Can I go and play with Marmine, Cuddles?" House asked, a mock-begging expression on his face. "Pretty please?"
Cuddy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. God, she really, really
wanted to say – no, scream
– yes! But she was still the Dean of Medicine and had to act appropriately. This, unfortunately, didn't include playing with her subordinates in the way House had in mind. Sighing, regretfully this time, she opened her eyes again and looked straight at him. "And bye, House."
Turning on the spot, she walked away as quickly as she could. She simply didn't trust herself enough to stay longer in case she would give in after all.
Just out of sight, Dawn was trying hard to keep her laughter muffled but gave up on it when House entered the room, a smug grin on his face. "Follow me."
House was looking through several bottles on the shelf, searching for the right one. "Ah!" Holding up a remarkably unremarkable brown bottle, he said, "This, young padawan, is indigo carmine. " Picking up another bottle, he added, "Or maybe we should use methylene blue?"
"Uh … okay."
Rolling his eyes, House continued, "Commonly referred to as blue pee among the uninitiated."
Dawn stared at him, wondering if he was serious or not. "This is blue pee?" she finally squeaked.
"Did I miss something and you got dumbed down along the way?" House shook his head sadly at her. "And I had so much hope for you."
Dawn squinted her eyes, poking his chest with her finger. "It's your fault, Mr I'm-crap-at-explaining! Now stop making fun of me and start with the explaining!"
Smirking, he replied, "I guess there's still hope. This isn't blue pee but causes it. Actually, it's more of a side-effect to its actual, but very boring, use."
"Nope," House said smugly.
Grinning evilly, he explained, "I happen to know that it tastes quite bitter, not sweet."
"Ack!" Dawn slapped House's arm. Hard. "No making fun of me, remember? Or a bit of an itch will be the least of your problems!"
House waggled his eyebrows. "Any chance you'll tell me how you did it?"
"Right before I kill you." Dawn said easily. "Now, how do we get Marmine to take this stuff without noticing?" Pondering the general idea of blue pee for a while, she added mischievously, "Oh! And can I keep some? Pretty please with a cherry on top?"
House looked at her sceptically. "You don't tell me how you made me itch all over and want some of this in return?"
"Yep," Dawn said, her head bobbing up and down in excitement. "You see, I've got this new brownie recipe to test out. I promised my friends, you know."
Eyes lighting up in mischief, he said, "If you put it this way … I might give you some in return for the recipe."
Smirking, House pocketed the little bottle for now and left the room, leaving Dawn no choice but to follow him.
Buffy looked at her sister in suspicion. She was way too cheerful – and that wasn't necessarily a good thing. "What have you done?"
"Nothing," Dawn said with eyes wide open, her voice dripping with innocence.
"Then why don't I believe you?"
"Older sibling syndrome," Dawn said seriously, reusing the comment House had made the previous day. "I think there's a current outbreak or something."
Buffy huffed when Dawn didn't lose her façade of innocence even after being at the receiving end of Buffy's glare for several minutes. "Fine."
"Told you so," Dawn said, punching the air in triumph.
Rolling her eyes, Buffy couldn't help herself but point out, "You do know that the punch was a bit much, right?"
Shaking her head, knowing her sister wouldn't tell her anything, she asked, "So, what are your plans for today?"
Dawn shrugged her shoulders. "Giles asked me to check on your replacements, see how they're getting on."
Buffy frowned. "Faith and I just sent him a report on Eve and Sondra."
"You know how he is, better check everything a million times. Anyway, he also mumbled something about me being closer to their age or something – which is ridiculous, considering you're only a few years older than me. Then again, it's not like I've got anything else to do. And he paid my flights in return." Of course, she somehow forgot to mention that their meeting wasn't until later this afternoon. Or that she had other plans for the morning she didn't want her sister to know about.
Buffy walked into the open clinic and straight over to Brenda who was manning the nurses' desk. "Which one is House in?" she asked, pointing at the examination rooms behind her.
"Two. Alone, of course. I was going to see if you two had another session before sending a patient in."
"Yep, physiotherapy session it is," Buffy said, holding up her bag.
Brenda shook her head in disbelieve. "Never thought I'd see him having one of those. Never mind continue with them over a longer period of time."
Buffy shrugged her shoulders. "We've simply come to an understanding."
Snorting, Brenda motioned to the room. "Yeah, I guess nobody else had let him watch TV during the sessions before."
"Whatever makes him cooperate," Buffy said with a grin. "Give me an hour, okay?"
Brenda nodded before watching the Slayer enter examination room two. She had feared her at first, despite the rumours of her going only after the bad demons, but had soon come to understand that this was exactly Buffy's philosophy. Add to that her ability to cope with her own nemesis – House – and Brenda had quickly learned to like Buffy. She had even gone as far and asked her if House was a demon – which, surprisingly, he wasn't.
Raising her eyebrows, Buffy put her bag down and walked over to House. He was sitting on the little stool thingy, watching General Hospital. Stepping in his line of view, she asked, "Haven't you forgotten something?"
Rolling passed her, so he could continue watching his transportable TV, he shook his head. "Nope. Now be quiet."
"As long as you lose your jeans and hop onto the examination table."
House shook his head and pointed towards the door. At the very same moment, someone knocked and entered without waiting for a reply. Grinning smugly, House continued to watch his show.
Buffy, however, just stared open-mouthed at the new arrival. "What are you
--A/N: A bit of fun … and we moved another day forward! Ha! I just realised it took me ten chapters to cover one single week… Oops. But I'll use all the reveals and stuff as an excuse. And Dawn turning up unexpectedly. But it's going to move a bit further ahead in the next chapters. I promise!
Anyway, thanks for all the reviews again (especially atz who made me google 'coloured pee' :P)!