I own nothing from House
or Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The door banged open and House walked in, determined not to look at any of his team. “Out,” he said.
Cameron and Foreman shared a look before getting up and fleeing for the door. Chase started to follow them, but House sat heavily in a chair before saying, “You stay.”
He turned around and slowly walked back to the table. “What’s up?” he asked. “Did you find out what’s wrong with Cordelia?” His tone was light, for he had decided when she was first admitted that he would stay positive until there was absolutely no way to avoid the inevitable.
Unfortunately his time had run out.
“Your cousin is dying,” House pronounced.
Chase looked down at the tabletop in front of him, unable to look House in the eye. “How do you know?”
“I’m a doctor, Chase, remember?”
It was hard to keep his voice from shaking. “Did you find out what’s wrong with her?”
“Degenerative brain damage, caused initially by that episode she had at St. Matthews. Probably a drug overdose. It’s been getting worse and worse without her knowing it.”
“No!” Chase said emphatically, looking up. “I told you before, Cordy would never do drugs. I know her.”
House looked surprised. “Well then would you like to explain to me why this girl’s brain is turning to mush, Dr. Chase?”
“It must be something else.”
“Look,” House said, hobbling around the table to sit beside the younger doctor. “Believe it or not, I do somewhat
care that you’re unfortunately attached to this dying patient. But when I tell you that she’s dying, I’m not saying it for my good health.” He sighed. “There’s nothing I can do.” He got up, took his cane, and headed for the door. “I…I’m sorry.”
Chase stood up angrily just as House was at the door. “I don’t accept that.”
House turned around. “Excuse me?”
“Cordelia would never do drugs. I’ve known her my entire life. You just aren’t looking hard enough.”
House sighed and closed the door again. “What do you want me to say?” he asked, turning around. “That I can just blink my eyes and make her better?”
“You deal with this stuff every day!” Chase shouted. “Every single day we bring some kind of weird new case to you that no one else can solve and you figure out what’s wrong with them! What is so different about my cousin?”
“The difference is that your cousin is dying! I don’t need to figure out what’s wrong with her; I already know! She. Is. Going. To. Die! And there’s nothing I or you or anyone else in the world can do about it,” House finished sadly.
Chase stood up and threw his hands in the air. “I don’t accept that. I can’t!”
“I don’t have anything else to say,” House said.
“Why don’t you say that you can figure out what’s wrong with her?” Chase asked.
House rolled his eyes. “I know what you want to hear. I can’t tell you that.”
Chase angrily threw the door open. “I’m going to sit with my cousin. Leave me alone.” He stalked off down the hall.
Chase spent hours by Cordelia’s bedside, talking to her and holding her hand as she slept. It was the only time he allowed himself to cry, as Foreman, Cameron, House, and even Cuddy and Wilson left him and his cousin alone.
“Cordy, listen to me,” he said on the week anniversary of her coma. “I know you can do this. You’re stronger than this! You have to wake up!”
He pressed her hand to his lips and fell asleep leaning against the wall. The clock read 2:00 am when a faint whisper woke him.
“Cordy?” he asked hesitantly. Then louder, “Cordelia, can you hear me?”
But there was no change in her condition. The monitors of her vitals were all stable but unwavering. She was still as deep in the coma as she had been before.
He frowned. “Angel,” he repeated. Abruptly, he got up and ran for the telephone at the nurses’ station.
House was the last to come into the conference room. “I thought only I got to call midnight meetings,” he said through a yawn.
“You aren’t in charge anymore,” Foreman grumbled. “I am. And I didn’t call this meeting either!”
“I did,” Chase said. “We need to talk.”
House gestured at the sleepy people in the room with his cane. “Yeah. We got that.”
Chase stood up and started to pace around the room. Cameron, Foreman, and House watched him groggily. Finally, Cameron sighed. “Chase, just tell us what’s going on so I can go back to bed!”
“Can someone in a coma whisper?” he blurted out.
He was met with stares. House raised an eyebrow. “Raise your hand if your specialty is intensive care. Oh right! It’s you, Chase! Care to answer your own question?”
Chase glared at him. “I’m serious.”
Foreman shook his head. “Chase, you know the answer. People in comas do not whisper. Or talk or sing or laugh.”
“Are you sure?”
Cameron yawned and sighed. “Yes, we’re sure! You know as well as we do that people in comas are in comas! They don’t even make baby noises. No noises at all.”
Chase just shook his head. “Is it possible?”
“No!” House cried. “It is not possible for a comatose patient to whisper. Now can we go back to bed?”
Nervously, Chase sat down at the table. “I think Cordelia whispered something.”
House threw his head back and groaned. “You have got to be kidding me!” He looked at Chase. “You dragged us all out of bed because you’re having nightmares?”
“This wasn’t a dream!” Chase insisted. “I was in Cordelia’s room and I heard someone whisper the word Angel.”
“You’re losing it,” House said.
Foreman rubbed at his temples. “What were you doing when you heard the whispering?”
Shifting uncomfortably, Chase said, “I was resting my eyes.”
“Sleeping,” Foreman supplied.
“Look, I didn’t imagine this!”
Cameron stood up and sat beside Chase. “I think you need to go home. We can watch over Cordelia for the rest of the night.”
House raised an eyebrow. “We?”
She rolled her eyes. “I will watch over her. Go home, Chase.”
It took nearly half an hour of pushing before Chase agreed to go home. Cameron yawned as she walked into Cordelia’s room at four in the morning. Foreman and House were happy to go home and leave her to care for Cordelia until the start of the workday.
Cordelia was lying on her back, her eyes closed and her breathing even. Cameron stood in the doorway for a moment, her heart slowly breaking as she thought of how desperate Chase must be to do something. If only there was some way that she could help Cordelia to get better.
Out of the corner of her eye, Cameron saw Cordelia’s handbag on the floor half under the bed. It occurred to her that if Cordelia had been hiding anything that would be causing the episodes, it would have to be something that she kept with her. A sarcastic smirk crossed her lips. She had been working with House too long.
Against all of her better moral judgment, Cameron found herself picking up Cordelia’s purse and rifling through its contents. Outside of lip-gloss, car keys, a hotel key card, and the wallet, there was nothing in the small bag. Cameron was about to put it back down when she saw the corner of a white card in a half-closed pocket.
She pulled out the business card and squinted, trying to make sense of the squiggly drawing on the front. Beside it was printed, “Angel Investigations: We Help the Hopeless.”