I don’t own House or BTVS. No infringement is intended. Sadly, no profit will be made from this either.
Before her first week was over, Buffy had learned who Grumpy Cane Guy was. Not that she had seen him again, but all the stories – combined with a good enough description of the culprit – where enough to assure her the Grumpy Cane Guy was none other than Dr. Gregory House, Head of Diagnostic Medicine.
His apparent love for puzzles, medical or not, set off some warning bells and Buffy decided to keep out of his way as best as she could. Hence her not meeting him again. True, usually a mere description of a person as a puzzle lover wouldn't bother her at all, but all the stories that came with that particular person – including his success rate – made the precautions necessary. Despite her having enjoyed the short encounter with him. However, as much as she hated to be Secret Identity Girl, it was still better than 'Medical Miracle Needs to be Investigated' Girl.
Unfortunately, House didn't read her mind. That one meeting alone had sparked an interest in him already. Well, he'd do anything he could do to avoid the whole 'get a new team' thing, really. Besides, hadn't he already diagnosed the odd patient since his old one left?
No, he didn't need new fellows.
He needed information.
He needed information on Olive Skin.
Putting his thinking ball back on his desk, House grabbed his cane and went to his first source of possible information.
Dr Lisa Cuddy, 'Sometimes pain in the backside, often source of entertainment, always Dean of Medicine' Cuddy.
Not even bothering with the secretary of the week – month, even – House strolled directly into the Dean of Medicine's office. True to herself, she only spared him a glance before continuing her phone call.
About to stomp his cane impatiently on the floor, just to annoy her, House remembered he actually wanted something from her. Sometimes the best way to get what he wanted was by surprising his opponent. In this case, he smirked and made himself comfortable on her couch, leg stretched out on the small table in front of it. Waiting quietly for her to end her call.
Judging by the increasing frequencies of Cuddy's looks towards him, his strategy was working. Kind of. She was definitely starting to wonder and, who was he kidding, worry about him. His grin getting even bigger at that thought, he casually waved at her when their eyes met and locked at her next glance.
Finally, she couldn't take it any longer. Quickly finishing her phone call to one of their long-term donors, Cuddy looked directly at her best, yet most annoying doctor.
"House." She all but sighed out his name.
"What is it this time." Rolling her eyes, she didn't even bother to move from behind her desk. Just as he was to say something, she held up her hand to stop him. "No. Wait. Please tell me you've decided on a new team?"
Nodding, he put on his sweetest smile. "I've decided on a new team."
Her mood perched up a bit on that. A tiny little bit. "Really?"
"Nope. But you said please," he quipped.
Sighing, she wondered why she had even bothered to ask. "You need fellows to work best."
"Tell that super-mommy I didn't heal last week." House was referring to a mother of five, who had become mysteriously ill. Lead poisoning through stupidity. She regularly drank from the old lead pipe in their garden while she made sure her kids only got tap water from their perfectly fine pipes in the house. What he hadn't told Cuddy – and wasn't go to either – was that he'd bounced back ideas with Steve McQueen.
"That was a one off. You still need a team."
"What about brainless fat guy the week before that?"
"Pure luck. Anyone could have diagnosed him."
"Yet anyone didn't do anything. Anyone would have killed him. I diagnosed him." This time he'd used his favourite hooker as a sounding board.
Frustrated, Lisa Cuddy threw her hands in the air. "Fine. You function without a team." Seeing his triumphant look, she couldn't help herself but add, "Barely."
Ignoring her last comment, knowing there was probably a tiny bit of big honking truth in it, House went back to his original reason for coming here. "Now that we've unanimous decided I don't need a team to function," which wasn't even a lie, "You can tell me all about this amazingly unnecessary physiotherapy program you decided you just have to have, you greedy little administrator you."
"What?" Blinking rapidly at the unexpected change of topic, or rather at the nature of the new topic, Cuddy didn't know what to say. It couldn't be that he suddenly thought about trying some physiotherapy for his leg again, could it?
Twirling the cane between his fingers, House rolled his eyes. And started talking very, very
slowly. "Physiotherapy. New program. New idiots. New money? Here."
Okay, so she hadn't misunderstood him. But it looked like her reasoning behind it was completely off. Then again, she wasn't really surprised by it. Ignoring the belittling tone he had used, she answered rather bluntly, "Well, in case you haven't noticed, this is a teaching
"No way!" House exclaimed rather theatrically. And just because he felt like it, he gave her his best fish-on-dry-land expression.
"So, why do we bother with more idiots than we already have again?"
"They aren't idiots. Besides, it's only a group of four and all of them have successfully finished a degree in physiotherapy abroad. But they also want the certificate from the American Physical Therapy Association and we are helping with that," Cuddy explained rather patiently.
"Idiots, like I said. Why else would they study abroad only to realise later they actually want to practise here and need another license?"
"Because they lived abroad?" Cuddy suggested exasperated.
"Because they didn't get into a program in this country?" House challenged, matching her tone of voice rather well.
Not wanting to get into another argument with House, one per meeting was more than enough, Cuddy continued, "They are all qualified in their own way. They work full-time, albeit under some sort of supervision and get additional theoretical education to pass the APTA exam."
"How much do you pay them?"
"They get a full salary, of which tuition and other fees are taken off immediately."
Knowing when she was beat, she admitted, "40 percent."
"Ho ho. You little vixen you!" Smirking, House shook his finger at her.
Despite her best efforts, she couldn't prevent the small blush that crept up her face. "Well, someone needs to bring in all the money you're going to spent on unnecessary and dangerous treatments!"
Face crestfallen, House pressed both his hands over his heart. "Ouch. That hurt."
Rolling her eyes at him, Cuddy just shook her head.
"In fact, I don't think I can do anymore work today."
"Nice try. Now, go back to work. And to save you some unnecessary walking to your office, why don't you go and actually do some of your clinic hours?" Smiling sweetly at him, Cuddy pointed towards her door.
Lifting his leg a little, House immediately put it back onto the couch table, spotting a pained expression on his face. "I don't think I can manage even that far." Waggling his eyebrows, he added, "How about I do your work while you do mine?"
Huffing, a gesture that had a rather nice effect on her chest, she pointed towards her door again. "Out. Now. Clinic. Now."
"Spoilsport." Pouting, House crossed his arms in front of him.
Rubbing her temples, trying to stop the threatening headache from manifesting, Cuddy almost pleaded, "Please."
"Okay. Just one more question," House relented. He did want something from her after all.
"Come on. What do you know about Olive Skin, I mean the Italian girl in the program?"
Raising her eyebrows, she immediately caught onto the most interesting part of his question. "Olive Skin?"
"Short. Blond. Bit of a Californian accent. Very short, actually."
"And I repeat, Olive Skin?"
"Your point being, Cuddles?"
"Mature. Very mature."
"Thanks. Now, what do you know about her?"
"Nothing. While I approved of the program, I had no hand in the application process. Ask Human Resources, ask the program coordinator, Dr. Marmine."
Seeing the wheels turning in his head, she quickly added, "After you've done two hours in the clinic. And I mean two hours of seeing and treating patients, not two hours of watching TV or playing games."
"You're an evil woman."
"Thanks. Now I'm sure you know where the door is."
Once outside, House was tempted to ignore her request of putting some clinic hours in, but quickly decided against it. It would be too predictable. It was much better to do exactly what she'd asked now and then. Although he had to admit, today was one of the days that contained a lot of actually doing what he was asked to do.
Hopefully he wasn't becoming soft in his old days.
Now that would be a major disaster!A/N: I'm still flabbergasted by the great responses. I'm glad you like it and the voices seem to be alright. Next chapter, House and Buffy will run into each other *cough* literally *cough* again. *snickers*