In case anyone was curious, I’m thinking of Phantom Dennis as being attached to Cordelia as the one who freed him from his prison behind the wall as opposed to being attached to the apartment. It can be interpreted either way, but in this story at least, I liked the idea of that one part of her old life being with her. DISCLAIMER
I own nothing from Buffy
. Chapter Three
House picked up the whiteboard marker and wrote Chase’s cousin’s name on the board. “Differential diagnosis,” he said.
Chase frowned. “For Cordy?”
House turned around. “No. For Santa Claus.”
“So far her only symptom was that episode in here earlier,” Cameron pointed out. “We don’t have anything else to go on.”
House wrote “EPISODE” in block letters on the whiteboard, then turned and stared at his team. After a moment, he asked, “Well? Is that all we know? Episode? Or do we know what the episode consisted of? Come on, people!”
“Well, it looked like severe neurological pain,” Cameron said. “And she collapsed.”
House wrote “head pain,” “collapsing,” and “seizure” on the board. “Okay, what else?”
“Wait,” Chase said. “Cordy didn’t have a seizure.”
“Are you sure?” House asked.
“Well, no. But it didn’t look like any seizure I’ve ever seen.”
House rolled his eyes. “Well if Chase has never seen it, then it obviously must not exist.”
Foreman sighed. “Well, okay, it could be a seizure. But caused by what?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be the boss?” House asked. “I seem to remember us being doctors or something. Maybe we should try to figure out what’s causing her seizures!”
“Episodes,” Chase said.
“Episodes, seizures, whatever
!” House said. “Cameron, get a medical history. See if there’s anything weird in her life.”
Cameron looked uncomfortable and glanced at Foreman. House watched them, then put his hand up to his mouth. “Oh! I’m so sorry, I forgot. I don’t rule this kingdom anymore. What should we do, oh mighty King?”
Foreman crossed his arms and sighed. “Cameron, medical history.”
House put his palms together and bowed. “Thank you, oh wise one.”
Cameron got up to leave the office, Chase behind her. House put his end of his cane up against the wall, barring Chase’s path to the door. “Uh-uh. You stay here.”
“She’s my cousin!” Chase protested.
“And that’s my point. Cordelia’s not going to tell Cameron about her naughty nights in New York with her favorite childhood playmate in the room.”
Chase glared at House, but sat back down. Cameron stood and waited. House gave her a look. “What are you waiting for? Go!”
Chase sat glowering at House as Cameron left. “I’m Cordelia’s admitting physician. I should be a part of this case!”
“You can be,” House said. “The second she needs someone kind and understanding, I’ll call you. Cameron gets this one off.”
Chase threw House an angry look, then stalked out of the room. “Foreman, follow him,” House said. “Make sure he doesn’t go anywhere near that room.”
Foreman glared, but did not argue as he went after Chase. House was left by himself, staring at the white board and saying nothing.
Cordelia sat against the stiff and scratchy hospital pillows and groaned. She couldn’t believe that she was stuck there until her cousin and his colleagues gave her a clean bill of health. If she had another vision headache while she was under their supervision, she was sure that she’d never get out of there.
She hated hospitals. Ever since Buffy fought that Freddy Kruger wannabe when she had the flu back in high school, Cordelia had avoided hospitals. When she was forced to be there, she found herself seeing things lurking in dark corners and in shadowy rooms. And although she did not remember being in the ICU when she was under Vocah’s spell, she knew what Angel and Wesley had told her. Every once and a while, she had nightmares about it.
With sudden tears in her eyes, she leaned her head back against the headboard. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried not to cry. “Dammit!” she cried, pounding her fist on the bed. Tears started falling as she thought about Buffy and Angel and Wesley and the life that she left behind.
She groped for the box of tissues on the bedside table, but it was just out of her reach. When she went to shift her position, the box suddenly slid across the table into her reach. Cordelia’s eyes lit up. “Dennis?” she whispered.
Phantom Dennis replied by floating a glass of water to her side and tucking the blanket around her side. More tears came to her eyes. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she said. “Thank you so much!”
There was something almost like an imperceptible caress against her cheek. She smiled and wiped her eyes and nose on a tissue. It was not a moment too soon. She looked up as Dr. Cameron knocked on the doorframe and smiled, hoping her eyes were not puffy or red. “Hi. Come in.”
Cameron smiled warmly. “How are you doing?” she asked.
Cordelia shifted into a better sitting position. “This isn’t the first time I’ve been in the hospital. I’m fine.”
Cameron frowned. “It isn’t? When were you in the hospital before?” Oops
. “Oh, it was years and years ago. I actually don’t even remember it,” Cordelia said with a false laugh.
Cameron’s brow was still knitted with worry. “Alright, well, I have a couple of questions for you and then I just need to draw blood for a couple of tests.”
Cordelia nodded. “Fire away.”
“Have you ever been pregnant?”
Cordelia froze. Yes, but it was only for a day and a half and it was with demon spawn. Yeah, that will go over well.
“No miscarriages? No abortions?”
“No. Why is this important?”
“We’re trying to determine the cause of your collapse. It could be a hormonal response to something. Pregnancy’s just one possibility.”
Cordelia had to stifle the roll of her eyes. She knew what had caused her episode; she just didn’t know why it happened. “Well I’m not pregnant.”
Cordelia found it interesting that Dr. Cameron never looked at her. She kept her eyes focused intently on Cordelia’s medical chart, making notes. “Any prescription medication?” Cameron asked.
“Family history of cancer or seizure disorders?”
Cordelia cocked an eyebrow. “Why don’t you just ask my cousin? He probably knows better than I do.”
Cameron’s face turned a light red. Cordelia shelved the observation for confronting Robbie later. “Uh,” Cameron stammered. “Can you tell me what you were in the hospital for before?” Demon-induced visions?
“Just a mild case of anemia,” Cordelia lied smoothly.
“Anemia? Caused by what?”
“Work was really stressful.” Cordelia inwardly laughed. That part at least was true. “I didn’t have the greatest eating or sleeping habits and I just burned out.”
Cameron looked at her suspiciously. “Eating disorder?”
“No!” Cordelia snapped. “What, you think I’m just some LA anorexic bimbo?”
Cameron did not answer the question. “Is that where you were in the hospital?” she asked. “LA?”
Reluctantly, Cordelia nodded. “St. Matthews.”
Cameron stood up. “All right. I’ll just bring this information back to House and hopefully you’ll be out of here in no time!” She smiled and put her hand over Cordelia’s. “Don’t worry. I’m sure we’ll figure out what’s wrong with you.”
Cordelia smiled sarcastically and said, “Great.”
Cameron left her alone and she leaned her head back again, this time in frustration. “Phantom Dennis,” she said, “get me out of here!”
Cameron dropped the file on the table in the conference room. House, Foreman, and Chase were all waiting for her. “She was in the hospital once before,” she said. “In LA, for anemia.”
“Or so she says,” House said.
“Cordy wouldn’t lie about something like that,” Chase said.
“Really?” House raised his eyebrows. “Because – ”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Chase said. “Everybody lies.”
“You said it, not me.” House turned to Foreman. “If you agree, oh great one, maybe you could call that other hospital and have Miss Chase’s medical records sent to us.”
Foreman shared a look with Cameron, but went to the phone anyway. He dialed the operator. “Yeah, this is Dr. Foreman. Could you connect me to St. Matthew’s in LA, Records? Yeah, I’ll hold.”
When the line transferred, he listened to the phone ring twice before someone picked up. “Medical Records, this is Suzy.”
“Hello, this is Dr. Eric Foreman, I’m calling from Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. I have a patient here by the name of Cordelia Chase and I was wondering if you could fax over her records?”
“Of course Dr. Foreman, if you’ll just give me one minute.”
Foreman waited as the woman muttered to herself on the other end of the line. “Oh, here we are. Cordelia Chase, admitted May of 2000…”
He listened, his heart growing heavier and heavier as he watched the fax roll in on the desk next to him. House, Chase, and Cameron watched him expectantly as he hung up the phone. Reluctantly, he turned to them and handed the fax over to House. “We’ve got a problem.”
House angrily burst into Cordelia’s hospital room, Foreman and Cameron apologetically in his wake. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
She glared at him, staring him down. “And you would be talking about…?” she asked.
Chase ran in behind him. “I’m sorry Cordy, I couldn’t stop him!”
House threw the faxed records down on Cordelia’s bed. “Anemia my ass. Admitted five years ago to the neuropsychiatric ward at St. Matthews in Los Angeles for an uncontrollable psychotic episode! Why the hell would you keep something like this a secret?”
Chase tried to break in. “House, let – ”
Vehemently, House turned on Chase. “Not a word out of you. We don’t want another patient to die.”
“Hey!” shouted Cordelia. “Say what you want about me, but if you say anything like that to my cousin again, I will kick your sorry, crippled ass from here back
to St. Matthews!”
House narrowed his eyes at her. “Why were you in the neuropsychiatric ward?”
She snorted. “You read my file, you tell me!” Chase met her eyes, pleading with her just to answer the question. Cordelia sighed. “It was an…episode. No explanation. Lots of screaming. They pumped me full of drugs and then it just went away. Anything else?”
“Just like that?” House pressed. No, Angel broke the spell with the Scrolls of Aberjian.
“Yeah. Just like that.”
House glared at her, speaking slowly as though she were a child. “And did this episode feel like that episode?”
Cordelia laughed. “No Vocah. No way.”
The doctors frowned. “Vocah?” Cameron asked. “What’s that?”
“Probably the name of her favorite shoot-up needle,” House muttered.
Furiously, Chase turned on House. “Get out!” he ordered.
“Uh-uh,” House said. “Last I checked, Foreman was the one that Cuddy made my boss. Not you.”
Chase grabbed House by the shoulder and stared at him hard. “Cordelia is a patient in this hospital and as a doctor, I am ordering you to get the hell out of her room!”
A slow smile spread across House’s face. “Very well,” he said patronizingly. “Doctor.” He turned and started for the door, Chase glaring after him. But just as he was about to leave, he turned again and said with a smirk, “You may turn out to be a good doctor yet.”
“OUT!” screamed Cordelia.
House nodded to her and ushered Foreman and Cameron out ahead of him, leaving Cordelia and Chase alone, both angry at House and at themselves for different reasons.