Categories > TV > House > The Ducklings, 1002 Reviews
100 drabbles centre around Cameron, Foreman and Chase for the fanfic100 challenge
TITLE: Because He Can't be Lucky Forever.
AUTHOR: How many guesses do you want?
WARNINGS: A death, but not of a canon character.
SUMMARY: In which House makes a mistake, and the Ducklings deal with the consequences.
DISCLAIMER: One, two, better not sue.
NOTES: I refuse to call this angst, because I can't write angst. It's um... Not!angst. flaps arms
For the fanfic100 prompt, Death. Gosh darn, Toastie, at this rate you'll have them all finished by only... what is it now? 2010? 2012?
I have a cold, btw. I don't know what that has to do with anything, least of all this fic, but it's causing me considerable grief, and was probably what made me finally finish this off. ;)
It had been another case, just like any other. The typical web of puzzles and problems- tantalizing clues, and more twists than a mountain road.
Another case; just like any other.
But this time, they hadn't solved it.
It wasn't anyone's fault. They'd simply come to a dead end in the case. There were no more tests they could do, no more clues. Just two options. The right diagnosis; the wrong one. Medicine; poison.
Life or death.
House had made a guess. It had been the more likely solution- the symptoms pointed to it just a shade more than the other option.
But it had still been wrong.
Chase brought her a cup of coffee. She accepted it without a word.
"We can't save everyone. You know that."
"Of course I know," she snapped. "Doesn't make it any better."
It wasn't the fact that the girl had died, so much. It was the fact that House had been wrong.
She almost felt guilty for feeling that. But he was /House/, and he was always right in the end. It was one bit of certainty in a very mad world.
"Where's Doctor House?" she asked.
"In his office," he said, and, after a pause, added, "Sulking."
It was a joke, she realised belatedly. Chase was famous for his woefully inappropriate jokes. When House made inappropriate jokes there would be indignation or- from those who knew him better- resigned acceptance. When Chase made them there were only awkward pauses while everyone tried to find something else to look at.
There was the distant squeaking of a trolley wheel. Cameron looked up, and there was indeed a janitor pushing a cleaning cart. He disappeared around the corner before she could see him properly, but it took a minute for the noise to fade.
The corridor was dark, apart from a few beams of yellow light that were reflected in the linoleum. It smelt like a hospital was supposed to- like disinfectant and sick people.
Although she'd never quite got over the irony of the fact, Cameron had always hated that smell.
She shifted around on the uncomfortable sofa, glancing at her reflection in the large glass window next to them.
"How's he taking it?" she asked suddenly, taking too big a sip of scalding hot coffee and burning her throat. She spluttered.
Chase snorted. "House? I don't know. I'm staying out of his way. You should do the same. At least, don't go looking for him offering counselling and a hug."
She was too tired to think of how to explain, or protest. "I'm sick of House," she said simply.
She was sick of him. Of his sullen fits and bad jokes. His rudeness, his immaturity...
Chase gave a tired sigh. Cameron looked at him. Up close, she could see that he looked tired; worn at the edges somehow, like an old, threadbare coat.
"He's never wrong," said Chase, almost angrily, staring out over the city.
"He sometimes is," she said. "He has been before."
"But he'll realise it, and fix his mistake! Before the end, he always figures it out!"
"He's still human, Robert, despite what he'd have everyone believe."
Chase rubbed his face. Suddenly, Cameron realised that he wasn't angry- he was scared. So was she. He was /House/, and he just didn't get things wrong.
"Do you think this has happened before?" she asked.
"He'd have to be a pretty damn good doctor to get to forty-seven without a single misdiagnosis."
"He is a 'pretty damn good' doctor."
"Not that good. There are some cases that you just... stop being difficult."
"Mmph," she mumbled, shuffling around a bit. "Would have happened before us, though." She pause. "Where's Foreman?"
"With the parents, I think."
Cameron sighed, closing her eyes briefly. "She was such a nice girl."
Chase hissed. "Don't start. Just do not start." Some people got angry when they didn't get enough sleep. Chase was one of them- that, and his appalling jokes got worse.
Cameron didn't get angry- she became apathetic: too tired to argue. "Sorry," she said meekly. She took another sip of coffee and grimaced. "Chase, this coffee is terrible."
He grunted rudely in reply. She raised her eyebrows.
"I'm a tea-man!" he protested tiredly. "I don't do
coffee. I don't know how you can drink the damn stuff."
She gave a small chuckle. "Caffeine?"
He grunted again in reply. "How long do you think it'll be till we can escape?"
Schedules got muddled when people died- well, Cameron mused, they didn't really, but you didn't just leave
after it happened. They would have to ask House first anyway, and they were hiding from House- or at least, not actively seeking him out.
They sat in the dark, silent.
"I thought," said Cameron slowly, "I really thought that he had
figured it out. That he knew something we didn't."
There was a long pause.
"Me too," said Chase quietly.
There was a cough to their left.
Foreman was like House in the way that he could walk almost without making a sound. The feat was obviously more impressive with House, what with the limp and the cane, but it surprised Cameron sometimes in how graceful her co-worker could be.
He looked tired and sad. "Found you," he said.
"Did you...?" said Chase, letting the question trail off. Foreman shook his head.
"What?" asked Cameron. "You mean they don't know-"
"House told the parents," he said simply.
There was silence.
"Oh," was all Cameron said. There wasn't much else you could say to something like that.
Foreman bowed his head. "We can leave for the night, as well." He paused. "House is doing the autopsy. He wants to figure it out."
"Solve his puzzle," said Cameron quietly. She stood up, wincing slightly.
They made their way through the silent hospital, Cameron slightly ahead of the other two.
As they entered the large, foyer-like room that contained the elevators, reception, and, over the other side, something of a lounge, Cameron slowed.
Out of the dark, came a soft, hollow sobbing. Her heart stopped for a second, her insides feeling like they'd been drenched in iced water. She stumbled the last few step to the elevator, hand reaching out to press the down button.
She shut her eyes, body tensing up, trying to block out the noise.
Someone- she wasn't sure if it was Foreman or Chase, although she suspected the former- put a hand on her shoulder. It was such a simple gesture of comfort, yet it did help.
The doors slid open, bathing the space around them in yellow light. In it's harsh luminescence, Cameron realised it was Chase
holding her arm.
She hurried into the lift, not turning around until the doors had shut, cutting off the sound of a mother grieving for her lost child.
You couldn't stop feeling for people, Cameron knew, even though House tried as hard as he could not to and Chase pretended not to care and Foreman acted as if he was above it all.
Mistakes happened. This hadn't been so much a mistake as pure bad luck, but that sometimes happened too. You couldn't let it get to you, because you'd done everything you could.
So she assured Foreman that yes, she would be fine, and even gave Chase the ghost of a smile as they parted ways in the car park.
But later that night- when she was safe and hidden in her own home, behind walls and under blankets- Cameron cried for the sixteen year old girl whose life was over before it had begun.