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. Chapter Two
Dr. Lisa Cuddy looked at the young woman in the lobby, wondering what she wanted with House’s team. She didn’t look sick. “Dr. Chase?” she repeated.
The woman nodded impatiently. “Yes. Dr. Robert Chase. He does work here, doesn’t he?”
“Yes,” Cuddy replied. “He’s part of our diagnostic team.”
“Great. Where’s that?”
“Uh, I’ll take you there.”
The woman smiled. “Perfect.” She extended a hand. “I’m Cordelia. I’m Dr. Chase’s cousin.”
Cuddy shook Cordelia’s hand. “Cousin?” she repeated. “Really? You don’t sound Australian.”
Cordelia laughed. “Our fathers were brothers. Daddy moved to California before I was born. The rest of his family stayed in Australia.”
“I see.” Cuddy led Cordelia to the elevator. “You know, Chase – uh, Dr. Chase has never really talked about his family.”
A frosty look settled over Cordelia’s face and Cuddy realized that she had hit a sore spot. “There isn’t much to talk about.”
The ride to the floor on which House’s office was located was an awkward one. Once the elevator doors opened, Cuddy pointed down the hallway. “Dr. House’s office is just down there on the right. Dr. Chase is part of his team.”
“Thanks.” Cordelia headed down the hallway and immediately spotted her cousin through the large windows. He was at a long conference table by himself, bent over an open file. Her heart broke when she got close enough to see the look on his face. It was one that she recognized from when they were little. He was upset.
She paused at the door for a moment, then knocked on the doorframe. Her cousin looked up and a surprised grin lit up his face. “Cordy!”
Chase jumped up from the table and hugged his cousin. “Hi Robbie,” she said with a smile. “Been a long time, huh?”
“Too long!” Chase ushered her over to the table and sat her down. “What are you doing all the way here in New Jersey? I thought you were living in California.”
Cordelia shrugged. “I, uh, I left California. I’ve actually been living in New York City for the past four years.”
“And you never came to see me?” Chase shook his head in mock pain. “That hurts.”
Cordelia grinned. “I didn’t know you were here. When did you come to the States anyway?”
“Few years ago. When I got the opportunity to work with House, I couldn’t turn it down.”
Cordelia frowned. “House?”
“Dr. House. He’s my boss.” Chase paused. “Was my boss. He’s sort of on probation right now.”
There was a look that passed over Chase’s face. Cordelia frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Chase said quickly. “So how long are you in town?”
“Just a few days.” Cordelia looked sympathetic and put her hand over his. “Daddy told me about Uncle Rowan. I’m so sorry, Robbie.”
Chase squeezed her hand. “Thanks.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t go to the funeral. Daddy didn’t even tell me until this past week.”
Chase laughed humorlessly. “Sounds like Uncle Callum. I couldn’t go either, if it makes you feel any better. It was back home. I couldn’t get away.”
Cordelia frowned. “That sucks.”
Laughing for real, Chase smiled. “I know. But I haven’t seen you in years – I don’t want to talk about these depressing things. How have you been? Why did you come east? I thought you loved California.”
“I did,” Cordelia said slowly. “But there was some bad stuff that happened there. Some of my close friends, uh, they passed away. There was too much pain for me there.”
“Cordy, I’m so sorry.”
She shrugged. “It’s okay. It was many years ago.”
“Well, how’s New York? Any better?”
She nodded. “I have a really good job there. I’m a casting director for a soap opera.”
Chase laughed. “That sounds perfect for you!”
“Don’t make fun of me!” Cordelia protested. “I like it! And I’m good at it.”
“Well that’s good,” Chase said with a smirk. “Any boyfriends I should know about?”
Cordelia smirked back. “Yeah right. Like I’d tell you after what you did to that boy in Melbourne!”
Chase grinned. “He wasn’t good enough for you. It’s my job to protect you, what with no brothers to keep an eye on you.”
Cordelia patted his hand. “Well thanks, but I’ve got nothing for you. There hasn’t been anyone actually, not for years. Not since Groo.”
Frowning, Chase repeated, “Groo? What kind of name is that?”
“Uh, nickname,” Cordelia replied quickly. “What about you?”
Chase fidgeted. “Uh, nothing…serious.”
Cocking an eyebrow, Cordelia asked, “And just what does that mean?”
Chase hesitated. “That means that there’s nothing serious.”
“Hmph.” Cordelia crossed her arms across her chest. “Fine. Don’t tell me.”
“There’s nothing to tell!” Chase insisted.
“Uh-huh.” Cordelia raised a single eyebrow – a talent that she knew Chase had always envied. “You can’t hide anything from me, Robbie. Didn’t you learn that a long time ago?”
Chase laughed. “I’ll tell you some other time.”
Suddenly, the door banged open and two other doctors followed a man leaning heavily on a cane into the room. The man with the cane looked at Chase and said, “Chase, haven’t you learned anything? You don’t entertain these girls during business hours!”
Cordelia bristled. Chase saw the outburst that was coming and quickly said, “House, this is Cordelia Chase. She’s my cousin.”
House frowned. “Cousin?”
Sending him her best icy stare, Cordelia said, “That’s right. Who are you?”
“I’m Dr. House. Your cousin’s boss.”
One of the doctors behind him raised a hand. “Actually, that would be me, remember? Cuddy put me in charge.”
House rolled his eyes. “How could I possibly forget?”
The other two pushed past him and approached Cordelia. The woman held out her hand. “Hi. I’m Allison Cameron. I work with your cousin.”
Cordelia shook Cameron’s hand. “Nice to meet you.”
“Eric Foreman,” the other said. They shook hands as well. “Chase never mentioned he had such a beautiful cousin,” Foreman added.
Cordelia laughed. “I’m willing to bet that he never mentioned that he had a cousin at all.” A glance at the sheepish look on Chase’s face confirmed her comment. Foreman and Cameron laughed.
“Not to break up the family reunion,” House said, “but is there a reason that you’re here?”
She felt her patented Sunnydale attitude bubbling up inside of her. “You and I aren’t going to get along, are we?” she asked him. “I’m here to visit my cousin. Anything wrong with that?”
House shrugged. “Just don’t get in the way of him doing his job.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
“Good.” House spun his cane around in his hand. “Then you and I will get along great.”
Cordelia was about to give him a biting retort when blinding pain suddenly shot through her head. She cried out in pain, clutching at her temples, and fell to the ground.
As usual, there were no images, but the pain was nearly as bad as it had been back in Los Angeles. The edges of her vision turned black as the phantom vision ripped through her. She curled into the fetal position, trying to shy away from the pain, but she could not escape it. Finally, it slowly began to recede.
She opened her eyes and blinked, causing the spots in her eyes to disappear. Her cousin and the three other doctors were clustered around her. “Cordy, are you okay?” Chase asked. “Can you hear me?”
“Yeah,” she mumbled. Gratefully, she accepted Chase’s hand and climbed off the floor. “Stupid Powers,” she grumbled under her breath.
“What?” asked Foreman.
“Nothing,” she replied quickly.
“You still look shaky,” Cameron said worriedly.
Cordelia waved her off. “I’m always shaky after those.”
Chase stared at her. “What, you’ve had episodes like that more than once?”
“Not as often as I used to,” Cordelia admitted bregrudingly.
“And how often is that?” Dr. Foreman pressed.
“It’s really no big deal!” she protested. “A few pain killers and the pounding goes away just like that!” Suddenly she smiled sadly. “Doyle used to drink Scotch to make it go away.”
“Who’s Doyle?” Chase asked sternly.
“An old friend,” Cordelia snapped back. She realized how worried the doctors were and turned on her dazzling smile. “Look, it’s nothing to worry about. See? I’m fine now!”
Foreman looked at House and raised an eyebrow. “I’m not so sure. I’ve never seen an episode like that before.”
“You expect to see episodes like that a lot?” Cordelia asked.
Chase glanced at Foreman, then said, “Cordy, he’s a neurologist.”
They were all quiet for a minute. Finally, House said, “Cameron, process her.”
“What?” Cordelia said. “What do you mean ‘process’ me?”
“I think we should admit you for a few days, just for observation,” Foreman said gently. “I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just a precaution.”
Cordelia sighed in frustration. “You can’t be serious! One little vi-episode and you want to commit me to the hospital?”
Chase put a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry, Cordy. I’m sure you’re fine. And we’re all very good doctors. House is one of the best there is.”
“Aww, Chase, I didn’t know you felt that way!” House said, his hand over his heart and a sickly sweet smile on his face.
Chase rolled his eyes. “I’m sure we’ll figure out what’s causing this.” But I know what’s causing it,
Cordelia thought. I just can’t explain that to you
. Instead, she glared at Chase and muttered, “Fine.”
“I’ll walk with you to Admitting,” he said and helped her up from her chair. As they left the conference room, he sent a worried glance back at House, who simply shrugged and shook his head.