[identity profile] hilandmum.livejournal.com
I can’t promise when I’ll be able to post the next chapter, since I’ll be away for the Thanksgiving week and beyond. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving if you’re here in the States.

The icon used to do an LJ cut seems to be gone, and I've forgotten the HTML coding to do it, so please forgive the long post.

Chapter 53

House had answered his own phone, but kept his voice to a whisper. Meanwhile, Cameron paid more attention to Bart’s side of his conversation.

“Heather, slow down. What happened?” He listened intently. “Where are you? I’ll be there as fast as possible.” He was out of his seat before he put his phone in his pocket. “They had an accident, or rather they were caught in a multi-car pile-up. Rocco’s hurt. They’re taking him to Snow Hill.”

House ended his conversation and nodded. “Let’s go.” He slid out of the booth.

“I’m coming with you two,” Cameron insisted.

“Hope he’s okay.” Pete let her out.

“We’ll let you know.” She followed House and Simpson out to the parking lot. The three of them piled into House’s car and took off south.

“I just knew something happened.” Simpson’s shoulders hunched. “At least Heather’s all right.”

“Sounded like it was a really big crash.” House drove even faster than he usually did.

“Slow down or we’ll have an accident, too. Who called you?” Cameron asked.

“The ambulance dispatch person from the hospital. He seemed to know that Magnani worked for me.” He drove slower past a point where debris from the accident still littered the road. “Guess they figured I’d care about one of my team.”

Cameron smirked. “Yeah, you’re rushing down there ‘cause you don’t care at all.”

House ignored her and continued driving. They reached the hospital in record time, parking in House’s spot in the garage and walking directly to the ER.

Heather was pacing a groove in the waiting room floor. “He’s in surgery. His shoulder is dislocated and his knees are pretty banged up.” She touched the tiny bandages on her forehead.

“What happened to you?” Simpson asked.

“Just some glass. Superficial. I more worried about Rocco.”

Cameron looked around the crowded room and spotted two empty plastic chairs. She pulled Jacobs toward them. “Tell me what happened.”

Jacobs took a deep breath then let it out before beginning her tale. Meanwhile, House made his way to one of the orderlies who had just come through the doors from a treatment area. “Perkins, what’s happening with Magnani?”

“Dr. House. I’m glad you’re here. Monroe is working on his shoulder. We’ve been inundated with injured from the accident, but Magnani is one of our own. We worked on him first. He should recover completely, but he’ll need therapy for that shoulder and some rest for the knees.”

“Were they broken?”

Simpson stood at House’s shoulder, listening.

Perkins shook his head. “No, but there are torn tendons in both legs and one’s detached from the right knee.”

“Ouch.” Simpson winced.

“Guess you’ll be covering much of his work the next few weeks.”

“Luckily we don’t have a patient,” Simpson countered.

“How many were injured?” House asked.

“About a dozen.”

Simpson whistled. “Heather said it was bad but that’s a lot.”

Perkins shrugged. “We’ve had more. Well, I have to get back to processing some of them.” He walked off.

“We should tell Heather what he said.” Simpson started for the chairs where she sat with Cameron.

House followed. “Trying to make her feel sympathetic to Magnani AND you? Hoping she’ll take some of the burden from your shoulders?”

“Why shouldn’t she?”

“No reason.”

Both of the women looked up as they approached. “Any news?” Jacobs asked and started to rise.

“Dislocated shoulder and torn tendons in his legs are the official diagnosis,” Simpson reported. “We’ll have to help him during his recovery.”

“What Simpson means is that he’s volunteered to handle Magnani’s part of the workload.”

“Volunteered?” Simpson shot daggers House’s way with his eyes.

Jacobs chuckled. “Boss, you know you don’t have to saddle Bart with all of Rocco’s duties. I’ll handle some.”

“Thanks, Heather. I knew you’d understand.” Simpson beamed.

“Can I get anyone some coffee?” Cameron asked. “Besides House, that is.”

“I’d like a diet Coke,” Jacobs said. “Wait, I’ll go with you. Should I bring you one, too, Bart?”

He nodded.

After a glance toward the treatment cubicles, Jacobs joined Cameron.

“You played that right.” House took the seat Cameron vacated. He rested his hands on his cane.

“Dr. House, you don’t like me very much, do you?”

“What makes you say that?”

The young man’s shoulders hunched. “You’re always assigning the grunt work to me.”

“Ever think it’s cause I know you can handle it?”

“No.”

“You’re smarter than you look. See, Jacobs would do whatever I tell her without a squawk. Maybe she’d put on a long-suffering look, but she’d never complain. Now, Magnani would do it to impress her.” He watched Simpson’s face to confirm he realized where this was going. “But you? You’ll balk every time. That’s way more fun.”

“And you’re all about having fun.”

“I try.”

Simpson let out a slow breath.

“The point is, in any case, the three of you will get done what has to be done.” House tapped his cane once.

“But you have to play with us first.”

“I just said you were smart.”

The women returned with the drinks. Simpson got up so Jacobs could sit, but House remained where he was.

The minutes ticked by. Murmurs of others waiting to hear about their loved ones filled the room. More than an hour after House and Cameron arrived, Perkins returned to tell them Magnani was out of surgery and would soon be in the recovery room.

“Heather, why don’t you and Bart go,” Cameron said. “Rocco doesn’t need to see House or me when he wakes up.”

House grimaced, but didn’t object. The two young doctors walked off together.

“I know you told Bart to take on Rocco’s share of the load, but can he and Heather manage?” Cameron asked.

“As he said earlier, we don’t even have a patient at the moment.” He shrugged. “Guess we’ll play it by ear.”

About thirty minutes later, Simpson and Jacobs returned.

“He’s still mostly out of it. They’ve taken him to a room to sleep,” Jacobs said.

“Guess we may as well drive back to Shelby.”

“What happened to your car?” Cameron wondered aloud.

“It was towed to a body shop.” Jacobs rubbed her eyes. “I’ll worry about it tomorrow. Guess I’ll bum a ride with you.”

“We’ll drive down in the morning in my jeep,” Simpson said. “It’s Sunday, but we’ll visit with Rocco and see what we can find out about Heather’s car.”

They walked back to the garage and piled into House’s car. The drive to Shelby was uneventful.

“Did any of you ever have dinner?” Jacobs asked when they reached the house she shared with Simpson and Magnani.

“Nope.”

“Well, don’t expect me to cook, but there should be some leftovers in the fridge you can nuke. You’ll have to excuse me. I’m off for a shower and I may or may not return.” She looked exhausted.

Simpson walked directly to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. “There’s got to be lasagna. There’s always lasagna.”

“Don’t bother for us, Bart. We can go back to the diner and get some food there,” Cameron said.

“Nonsense.” House sat down at the table and waited for Simpson to heat up some food for them.”

Cameron rolled her eyes, but helped Simpson get out plates and forks before joining House at the table.

Simpson uncovered a pan, sniffed it, recovered it and put it in the microwave. He punched in a few numbers. “I didn’t want to say anything with Heather in the car, but Magnani didn’t look well.”

“He just underwent an operation. He has multiple injuries. How’d you expect him to look?” House tapped his cane.

The microwave soon dinged and Simpson took out the pan, cutting portions of lasagna for each of them and transferring them to the plates. “All I meant was it’ll be a while before he’ll be able to do much.”

“So, we’ll hold off on selecting our next patient. Or better yet, pick one you and Jacobs can handle with one hand tied behind your backs.”

“Ha, ha. Very funny.” But Simpson wasn’t laughing. He took a forkful of food and chewed without any indication he tasted anything.

“Bart, if you need help, I’ll make sure you get it, even if House doesn’t.”

House grimaced. He dug into his own food, but after a few minutes put his fork down. “Who did you have in mind?” he asked Cameron.

She shrugged. “The doctors from PPTH are filling in at Princeton General, but I’m sure we can lure at least one of them down here for a while.”

The cloud over Simpson’s face seemed to lift. “That would be great!”

“Don’t count your chickens.” House shook his head. “No telling what they’ll say.”

“But at least it’s a possibility. I’m just hoping Rocco recovers fast.”

“The three of you work well together.” Cameron smiled.

“I guess we’ve gotten into a routine.”

They finished their food, and House and Cameron stood to go. “Let us know how Rocco’s doing tomorrow.” Cameron brought the plates to the counter.

Simpson nodded. “We’ll also have to check on Heather’s car. She didn’t say much about how damaged it was.” He walked them to the door. “Thanks for the ride tonight.”

As House and Cameron drove home, he asked, “Are you going to do the honors, or did you expect me to?”

She looked at him a minute, deciding what he meant. “I’ll make some calls, but not tonight. I have too many things to think about besides coming up with a substitute for your team.”

“You were the one who brought it up.”

She pressed her lips together. “That’s true. Maybe I’ll start with Remy.” She watched to see his reaction to the suggestion.

“And here I thought your first choice would be your ex.”

“Nope. And definitely not Foreman.”

“Why not?”

“Why yes?”

He pulled into the driveway, turned off the engine, but didn’t get out. “What are the other things on your mind, besides a temp to replace Magnani? And besides Hannah? And besides Lucas’ killer? Yeah, I guess there are a few things on your mind.”

“You’re forgetting the talk I have to give to two women’s groups this week and the rest of my campaign.”

“I wasn’t forgetting. So, I guess you’ll be busy again tomorrow.” He gave her a ‘you’re neglecting me again’ pout.

“Never too busy for you. Have anything specific in mind?”

“When do you see Hannah again?”

“She’s actually not scheduled until Wednesday, but I told her before she left early yesterday that she could come back on Monday.”

He nodded. “And those meetings?”

“Wednesday and Friday evenings.” At least that’s what Pamela told her.

“Simpson and Jacobs will visit Magnani tomorrow.”

“Yeesss.” She drew the word out to prompt him to get to the point already.

“Whaddya say we do a little digging on Preacher Briggs, and then we can call Wilson, give him the latest from Cullen and also ask who he recommends we tap to cover for Magnani?”

“Sounds good.” She finally got out of the car. “The sooner we do something about Hannah, the better I’ll feel. I almost wish we’d stayed in Princeton, though. I wouldn’t be surprised if the investigation came to a head this week.”

He got out and locked the car. “I’m kinda glad we came back here.”

They entered the house, stopped to talk to Edna for a few minutes, then descended to the apartment.

“In some ways I’ll miss this place,” House said, tossing his keys on the counter.

“We’ve made a few good memories here. But we’ll make many more in our own home.”

“We already have.”

She grinned.

House’s phone played. He didn’t have to look at the caller ID to answer with, “What’s up Wilson? Were you’re ears ringing?” He put the phone on speaker.

“Why were you talking about me?”

“We were toying with calling you tomorrow.”

“What’s up?”

“You called me. What’s up with you?”

“Did you hear about your old pal Lucas?”

“Technically, he wasn’t my pal, but yes. Cameron talked to Cullen earlier.”

“That was it.” Wilson sounded disappointed that he hadn’t been the one to tell them.

Cameron quickly said, “But you’re there, so we wanted to ask you to let us know of any developments. How’d Cuddy take the news?”

“From what I heard, not well. Not that she cared about him anymore. Just that he might have caused the explosion. Fact is, his death has the cops looking at her again as being involved.”

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