Disclaimer: Joss and ME own Buffy and company. David Shore, etc., own House and PPTH. I own nothing but the words.
Cameron tried to concentrate on the file in front of her, but not even a sigh and a roll of her eyes had stopped Chase and Foreman from loudly discussing something that was completely irrelevant to the case. She hated employing such tactics, but they did sometimes work. Not this time, though.
"It's the same girl," Foreman said. "There's no way it's not."
"Except that she's older than Melinda was, she's acting completely differently, and her mother is nowhere in sight," Chase said. He also seemed to be trying to read the patient's file, but he kept answering Foreman.
"She looks exactly the same," Foreman said.
"She's got a different name," Chase said.
Cameron took off her glasses and put them down on her file. Sometimes that worked, too. She could have said some things about how good-looking the patient was, even in his current state, but she didn't, because she was professional. "She's not the patient," she said. "The patient's name is Alexander Harris. Why don't we focus on him?"
"We have a patient?" House said, swinging the door wide as he entered and tossing his backpack onto the desk. Their desk, not his. "I don't remember taking a patient. Do you think I have amnesia? I'm asking, because, y'know, amnesia."
"Twenty-four-year-old male, has been asleep for two days straight, no one can wake him up," Foreman said.
"Asleep?" House said. "You mean in a coma."
"No coma," Chase said. "He cycles through REM and NREM normally, and flinches in response to both pain and light. He just won't wake up."
"Then you're not trying hard enough."
"It's not just us," Chase said. "The ER tried -"
"I was joking," House said. "I'm sure you did your best. Did Cameron whisper sweet nothings in his ear?"
Cameron rolled her eyes again. "Yes, because I'm sure that would work better than the standard protocol. Or playing a GameBoy in his ear."
"Besides, if his nubile young girlfriend couldn't wake him up, I don't think Cameron could," Foreman said.
"Nubile? This case is sounding a bit more interesting," House said.
"She's not his girlfriend," Cameron said. "She said that quite distinctly."
"The lady doth protest too much?" House said.
"Nah," Chase said. "She's acting more like a sister."
"Girlfriend," Foreman said. "They're not related, and no twenty-four-year-old male visits a girl at college just because she's like a sister to him."
"And you would know," House said. Cameron and Chase both looked at Foreman, but he just shrugged, genuinely not knowing what House was getting at. After all this time, Cameron could always tell. "Still don't see why I should take this case."
Cameron stared at him. "We can't wake him up, and he's not in a coma."
"Didn't we have this one last year?" House said. "Has he been sleeping with someone who's been in Africa lately?"
"Actually, he's just come back from Africa," Chase said.
"See? Boring," House said. "African sleeping sickness. Good, I can go home."
"It's not African trypanosomiasis," Chase said. "That's the first thing we tested for. The ER even tested for it. And it was negative both times."
"Huh," House said. He looked like he might pick up the file, but then he didn't. "You sure he's not in a coma?"
"We're sure," Cameron said.
"Oh," Chase said, "and the not-girlfriend is a dead ringer for Melinda."
"Who?" House said.
"Tick girl," Foreman said.
"Oh ho," House said, picking up the file. "And she's in college, so this time she's legal."
Cameron tried to look shocked, but she didn't think she succeeded. At least he took the case.