“So, what could cause an otherwise-healthy octogenarian to collapse on her driveway?” Dr. House wheels on his minions and locks each of them with a scrutinizing stare. He waits for their hypotheses with very little hope for any inspired responses.
“The patient was recently put on Warfarin to reduce her risk of heart attack. She could have had a negative reaction to the medication. She’s covered in bruises and she has swelling in her right arm,” Thirteen offered.
“Old people bruise easy; she doesn’t have any bruises that couldn’t be explained by the fall. Try again.”
“She might have overdosed on the blood thinners; taken a double dose to make up for one she missed, taken a dose twice because she forgot that she’d already had her daily fix.”
“Damn it, Taub, I just told Thirteen that this wasn’t a drug-related fall! I didn’t hire the three of you to get the same idea three times!”
“The patient is too cognizant to have dementia-related forgetfulness, and her tox screen showed normal levels of Warfarin in her system. I’m thinking syncope; she’s old, probably anemic, and when she got up from the porch swing, she got lightheaded and passed out,” Kutner said with his usual stoner’s drawl.
House turned and wrote “Syncope” on the board. “Finally, a plausible theory. The fainting was caused by fainting, lovely. What makes you think it’s syncope?” House asked, still facing away.
Densely truthful, as always, Kutner replied, “It’s the first thing I could think of that wasn’t related to her pills.”
House hit his head on the easel a few times before turning to face his assembled team. “Taub, go prove just how wrong your drug-theory is; re-run the tox panel, include illegal substances and commonly abused prescription meds. Thirteen, run an EKG and measure blood pressure and heart rate. Check for hypotension and long Q-T syndrome.”
“If she is anemic, she could have a history of fainting like this. She could have sustained a concussion in an earlier fall.” Foreman interjected.
“Fine, Foreman, check for that concussion, then put her on a stress test, then have Taub recheck her heart rate and blood pressure.”
The Dream Team quickly rushed off to fulfill their designated tasks. Which left Kutner alone with one Gregory House.
“Why do you insist on making me regret hiring you?” House still hadn’t looked at Kutner since issuing his orders, and the lack of face-to-face acknowledgement was making the young fellow uneasy.
“I. don’t know what you mean…?“
“See? That, right there, is what I’m talking about. Why are you always so slow on the uptake? Why do your best ideas and insight always seem to surprise you more than anyone else?”
Kutner’s eyes and mouth are wide, surprised and hurt. “I-“ he gulps “I don’t know? But if I’m so pathetic, why do you keep me around? Why didn’t you fire me during the game?”
“I did fire you. You flipped your card and came back, as I recall.” A small, secret smile has begun to tug at House’s lips. “It was such a cocky, unexpected thing to do; I had to keep you around to see what you’d come up with next. That, and your idea was genius.”
“So.. then.. You do want me?” A sort of puzzled bewilderment has taken over Kutner’s features.
“Dead on.” House limps closer to his new recruit and sits leaning against the board room table. “I keep you around because you think differently. You see things that no one else sees; you think up possibilities that no one on the team would’ve come up with! And, more to the point,” For the first time since the rest of the team left, House’s glacial eyes focus squarely and intensely on Kutner’s earth-brown pair. “I do want you. But not particularly for your mind.”
“Which is, apparently, a good thing.” House leans closer. “Because it’s just frozen up.” An inch or less away. “Hasn’t it?” And, suddenly, Kutner’s trying to make sense of House’s smirking mouth crushed against his own.
Author’s Ramblings; turn back if you want to avoid my useless talking, basically, to myself.
Ok, so I had this bit written a long time ago, even posted it to fanfiction.net, and still neglected to post it here. Don't know why. Moving right along. I don't like where my patient's headed, since House would never in a million years, on a dare from Cuddy and Wilson, for all the vicodin in the hospital, diagnose something as boring as this case. She's obviously anemic from her blood thinners, thus she fainted. Whatever, I'm going to try to salvage it and move on.
In tragically political news, yes I'm aware that Kal Penn left. However, I don't care and my 'verse says I don't have to. Kutner's alive, and I guess that makes this story AU now. It's my own fault for taking so long to get it out, anyway. Mmm.. What else? Oh, yes, Kutner is hard for me to write, and I'm not entirely sure how to progress this fic from their little kiss-thing, so it could still be a little while before I know where this train of thought's headed. I'll be trying to catch it at the next station it stops at.
Wish me luck!