A/N: There aren't enough House crossovers out there (not that there could ever be enough House ANYTHING), so I'm attempting to help remedy the problem. This is way less serious than the other stuff I've written (especially my recent angst-binge). There's also a good chance it'll end up less than 20,000 words, a real rarity for me. Of course, then there'll be the sequel I've already got planned out, but we'll stick with this for now :)
Oh, and for the record, researching medical crap is a real pain in the ass. Medical terms have WAY too many letters.
Disclaimer: I don't own Dr. House or his buddies, nor can I lay any claim to any characters from the Buffyverse.
“Honestly, you know how much I hate driving in weather,” she grumbled to her husband as she pushed a lock of graying brown hair behind her ear, where it refused to stay. “Look at this; barely even afternoon and yet we need headlights!”
“Easy, Linda,” he urged, wincing when it came out sounding more whiney and less soothing than he’d planned. “For God’s sake, it’s a bit of rain.”
She shook her head and peered through the windshield anxiously, knuckles white around the steering wheel. “I know, I know. I just wish I didn’t have to drive in it. You know how nervous it makes me.”
Phil rubbed his left shoulder with a grimace, silently admitting to himself that it was raining pretty hard. “I told you I’m perfectly capable of-“
“You most certainly are not,” she interrupted harshly. “I’ll not have you getting behind the wheel with liquor in your system.”
“’M more relaxed than you, anyways,” he grumbled quietly as he massaged the left side of his chest with his knuckles, but he didn’t bother pressing the argument he’d already lost several times before. She ignored him, choosing wisely to concentrate on the road instead.
“See that?” he said after several long minutes of silence. “Almost home. You did good.”
She sighed and rolled her eyes, but he noticed she also blushed a little at the compliment as she turned on to their street. “Should I bother with the back lot?” she asked.
“Nah, there’s an open space on the curb up ahead,” he said dismissively before smothering a loud burp with a clammy hand.
Taking note of the space he indicated and mentally lining up the parallel parking job ahead of her, she shook her head. “I told you not to get the ribs,” she scolded. “You always get the worst heartburn-“
“Linda, look out!” he shouted as a large figure shot out of the alleyway next to their building and rolled into the street just ahead of them. With a strangled shout, Linda managed to stomp down on the brakes just in time to avoid running over the tumbling figure, who had managed to land in an awkward crouch in the opposite lane.
“Oh, thank goodness,” Linda breathed the second it became clear she hadn’t hit the man. The words had barely even left her lips when an oncoming SUV slammed into the man she’d narrowly avoided.
“Call 911,” she gasped needlessly, her husband already punching the numbers into his cell phone.
Brow knotted in concentration, his fingers steady in a way only a medical professional’s could be, he carefully lowered another card into place. His eyes never left the structure before him as he took three more cards from the pile, aware that even the slightest tremble of breath upon the half-built wall would mean certain disaster. He’d considered using double-sided tape as a means to avert said catastrophe, but he didn’t actually have any cases to work on at the moment, so he had more than enough time to hunker down and be meticulous enough to accomplish his task sans cheating.
The rush of air as his door was thrown open had him catching his breath, his hand frozen mere centimeters from the structure as the threat thankfully passed without collapsing his fragile card wall. Given time he’d have an actual house of cards on his desk, please appreciate the play on words here, but thus far it was little more than a partition.
“Oh, good,” the business-mannered brunette announced as she breezed into his office, “I was hoping you were bored.”
“Dr. Cuddy, always a pleasure, though admittedly more so when you show a little cleavage. And who said I was bored?” House asked, still not looking away from his cards as he dropped a Queen of spades onto the horizontal bridge.
“Call it intuition,” she answered, rolling her eyes. Not that he actually saw her roll her eyes, as he was very preoccupied, but he was familiar with the tone of voice. She was probably glaring at his cards, too, he thought smugly.
“And whether or not I’m currently entertained is important to you because…” he trailed off, sounding disinterested enough that the statement couldn’t be confused for a question. Not that she wouldn’t answer, but she’d at least know that he didn’t particularly care.
She waved a manila file in front of his face, dangerously close to the card structure. “This,” she said smugly. “And I happen to know you don’t have any cases right now, so don’t even bother with excuses. I want you on it.”
House finally looked up at her, making sure to raise an eyebrow as he did so. He wordlessly took the file and leaned back in his seat to open it, all the while leveling a gaze on Dr. Cuddy that made it clear he was not expecting to be impressed. Scanning the papers inside, he found no reason to change his opinion. “You recall that I’m a diagnostician,” he stated dryly, knowing he’d have to lead her to the point if he wanted to get anything out of her.
“I do,” she responded, the shadow of a smirk letting House know she’d anticipated this line of questioning.
“And therefore I would have no interest in someone who was hit by a car,” he continued.
“Look at his BP,” she suggested.
Leaning forward over his desk, he did just that. Twice, actually, mentally cursing himself for doing an outright double-take in front of Cuddy. He hated letting on when she actually managed to surprise him.
“You’re assigning me to a corpse?” he asked, confused.
The hint of smirk remained. “He was pronounced dead at the scene. They were about to black bag him when he temporarily regained consciousness. The paramedics performed CPR on him while they rushed him here, but despite the fact that he regained consciousness several times during the trip, they never actually managed to get so much as a blip from his heart.”
House raised his eyebrow again, taking a few moment to flip through the file some more. “It still doesn’t exactly fall within my realm of expertise,” he reminded her.
“Nor does it fall into anybody else’s field,” she countered. “Quite frankly, we don’t have a clue what to do with him. I was hoping you’d at least get started on his case. Maybe as a favor?”
After one more cursory glance at the chart, House leaned back in his chair and grinned, tossing the file onto his desk and completely decimating the stacked cards in the process. He steepled his hands and looked Dr. Cuddy in the eye.
“I’ll bite,” he said finally, “but you know these little favors I do for you come with a price.”
She rolled her eyes again. “I’ll take of six of your clinic hours.”
“Ooh, that’s quite the high starting offer from you,” House said cheekily. “Twelve.”
“Don’t push it,” Cuddy snapped. “Eight.”
“Ten, and you pretend to be my girlfriend for a week,” House suggested with a grin.
“You’re an ass,” she said evenly. “Eight.”
“Well aren’t we exceptionally humorless today. Fine- eight hours, but I’ll have you know I expect sexual compensation for this at a later date,” House agreed and started paging his staff. It was going to be a very interesting day.