Black Cadillacs

Chapter 21

"Black Cadillac"

Chapters 1-18 by You're out of your vulcan mind

Chapters 19+ by Mara-DragonMaster

Chapter 21

House was impatient. As much as he loved the difficult cases sometimes he really hated them, especially when there were no clues of any sort to put together. Chase had been with the patient for quite some time, much longer than he should have been. That meant that either his blond Aussie doc had collapsed again, or he had stumbled upon their very first clue. House sincerely hoped it was the latter.

By the time Chase finally showed up, moving slowly on his crutch and looking weary, House had taken to throwing a ball against the wall of his office, making a loud and repetitive thumping noise that was slowly getting on the nerves of his other two employees.

Foreman looked up, relief on his face. "It's about time." He said, and turned. "House! He's back!"

The thumping noise stopped, and Cameron sighed, muttering something that sounded like "hallelujah" under her breath.

The door to the office swung open, and the man himself strode out, his blue eyes burning with intensity. "Well?"

"No drug use, no secrets, and no physical trauma." Chase announced, pulling out a chair and carefully lowering himself onto it.

House's brows pulled together. His interest was piqued. "No physical trauma?"

"Her husband died in a car crash last month."

"Ah," House drawled.

"Add to that a nice heaping pile of guilt and you've got a recipe for depression."

"Why would she feel guilty?" Cameron asked, her eyes widening with sympathy.

"She was working late, so he was bringing her dinner."

A pained expression crossed Cameron's face.

House clattered his cane on top of the table. "Alright! New theory: she's lying. Her previous seizures were real, caused by the carbon monoxide poisoning. Then we cured her and sent her home. No more attention. So she fakes a seizure and gets readmitted."

"Munchausen syndrome." Cameron said, remembering Anica, a patient they had who would use drugs to self-induce seizures.

Foreman didn't look convinced. "I don't know–"

Chase, who had been quiet, his brow furrowed as he thought, muttered to himself, "Emotional trauma." he looked up. "There's nothing wrong with her."

Everyone turned to him.

"Right." House mocked. "Because healthy people have seizures. In fact, I just had one in my office. It's relaxing. Like yoga."

Chase shook his head. "Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures."

Foreman raised an eyebrow. "Seizures caused by emotions?"

Raising his hand, Chase explained. "The facts fit. Other than the carbon monoxide poisoning, she was perfectly healthy. We took care of the poisoning. There's nothing else wrong, except for the fact that she just lost her husband."

Cameron nodded. "And one of the causes of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures is emotional trauma."

House thought about it for a moment, then tipped his chin. "I like it. It's rare, and it's crazy."

"Okay, so– how do we prove it?" Cameron asked.

Foreman tapped the table with his knuckles. "Easy enough. We monitor her brain during a seizure. If Chase is right, then her brain patterns will corroborate."

House nodded, and by his expression it was clear that his mood was much improved. "Great. Go test the sad lady."

Foreman and Cameron rose from the table and quickly left. Chase sat by himself, tracing invisible patterns on the table's surface. The coffee he had arrived with still sat before him, long cold. House turned toward his office; a handheld game with his name on it was waiting to be defeated.

Cameron and Foreman sat in the observation room, watching both Miranda and the monitors. "So what do you think?" Cameron asked. "Is Chase right?"

Foreman tipped his head. "Well– the indicators are there. And going back through the patient's file, it seems that she never experienced a seizure when she was alone; only with other people. And her recovery time once the seizure ended was almost instantaneous."

Cameron sighed, watching the woman lay in the room. Nothing was happening. She began to wonder if anything would happen. Turning on the intercom she asked: "How are you feeling, Miranda?"

"Fine." Came the reply. "A little strange– laying here, in a paper gown, with all of these wires–" there was a weak chuckle, and Miranda's foot twitched slightly. "Feel a little bit like I'm on display."

"As soon as we finish the test we'll take you back to your room." Cameron said, her voice kind and slightly amused.

Miranda nodded, then bit her lip. She looked scared.

Cameron paused, then turned on the intercom again. "I lost my husband too." She said quietly.

Miranda turned her head, her eyes searching the observation window. "I'm sorry." She said. Her shoulder jumped. "What– what happened?"

"Cancer." Cameron swallowed. "We were only married six months."

"Oh!" The older woman blinked rapidly. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sor- so- s–" Suddenly she began to twitch, her arms and leg spasming.

"Miranda?" Cameron called through the intercom. When Miranda barely acknowledged her, and the spasming got worse, Cameron jumped up. "Watch the monitors!" She told Foreman before running into the other room. Carefully she rolled the woman onto her side, but frowned as she watched the movements of the woman's body. First one side of Miranda's body would spasm, and then the other, and though her eyes were rolled up her face was not contracting in any way. Suddenly her mouth opened, and she shrieked.

Foreman's voice echoed through the room. "Cameron, the seizure's not epileptic. Chase was right."

Miranda lay back on the pillow of her hospital bed, frowning as she stared at the doctor. "The seizures– aren't real? I'm imagining them?"

Foreman shook his head. "No, they're real. But they're not caused by any physical disorder."

She still looked confused. Sighing, Foreman sat down on the edge of her bed and tried to explain. "Sometimes intense emotions can manifest themselves in physical symptoms. Like when someone is stressed, they get an ulcer. In your case, your grief and the trauma of your husband's death has manifested itself as these seizures."

Nodding, Miranda bit her lip, her gaze clearing as she understood. "So– is there anything we can do?"

"Yes." Foreman said, and offered her a small smile. "We'll be putting you on an anti-depressant for a little while to help with your depression, and we'll set you up with a grief counselor."

"Okay." Pushing her dark hair from her face, Miranda visibly relaxed. For the first time, her eyes seemed to clear. "So I'm not going crazy or going to die."

Chuckling, Foreman shook his head.

After Eloise picked Chase up at one they stopped by the park. She had made a picnic lunch, complete with dessert, and had even brought a loaf of bread so they could feed the geese. As they sat eating Chase told her about the case, and the startling yet simple conclusion. All in all it was still one of the fastest cases they had worked on. Eloise listened with sympathetic ears, her head tilted, her hazel eyes bright in the afternoon sun. "The poor woman." She said when the story was done.

Chase nodded. "Wilson is putting together a list of some grief counselors for House."

Eloise raised her eyebrows.

Chase noticed her look, and shook his head. "No," he said, tossing a balled-up napkin at her. "For House to refer Miranda to."

Chuckling, Eloise turned her head to avoid the paper-ball. "Too bad. Sometimes I think a little counseling would do him good."

"Nah." Chase shook his head. "He likes playing games too much. He'd make every session a game of Balderdash."

"He'd win it every time." Eloise grinned, leaning her elbows against the table and crossing her arms.

Chase smiled, then his gaze upon her became soft and thoughtful. "Do you really have to go?" he said.

Suddenly uncomfortable, Eloise looked down. "Well, it's a little hard to work at the hospital in New York if I'm still here in New Jersey."

"That's not what I mean."

She looked up. "I know." She said quietly. "Chase, you'll do fine. In twelve days you won't need me to stay with you."

"Yeah, and just who am I going to talk to?" Chase looked back at her, his expression tight, his brows pulled together in a frown.

"We've been over this." Sighing, Eloise pushed a piece of brown hair behind her ear. "What about Dr. Cameron?"

Chase didn't answer.

"Robert, if you're going to have any kind of a relationship with her you have to open up and let her in." Eloise set her hand in the center of the table, and was rewarded with the feel of his hand closing over hers. "You're the one who made me realize that the best things in life always come with risk. That's why I quit my job at Princeton General, why I finally had the courage to stand up to my boss and get away from Michael." There was a twinge in her expression as she said Michael's name, but it was quickly gone. Then she took a deep breath. "If you really love her, Robert, then go for her."

For a moment it was silent. Then Chase swallowed. "What if she only wants to be with me because– of IT?"

"If she's worth anything, she'll want to be with you no matter what." Eloise stated firmly, and then she leaned forward. "Even if you're well and healthy."

Despite the nervous weight that seemed to settle in his chest at the thought of him and Cameron together, Chase chuckled.

The next week seemed to fly by. Eloise spent the mornings at her apartment getting everything packed and organized for the moving company. The afternoons were mostly spent the same way, since Chase insisted that he could help with the little things. His injuries were healing nicely, and his strength was coming back– another reason he insisted on helping her pack. The movement was good for him. He spent most of his time sitting at her kitchen table putting the stacks of items she gave him into boxes.

While Eloise worked on the bigger things, Chase found himself packing the smaller things– nick-knacks, pictures, books, and the like. Eloise carried the boxes once they were full. She hummed while she worked, and as she moved to a familiar tune Chase found himself singing along, albeit quietly and for his own ears. It wasn't until he saw her out of the corner of his eye, as he carefully packed photos into a box, that he realized she was watching him. She was leaning against the door frame, her arms crossed as she listened.

"Oh, don't stop." She begged, and smiled. "You have a wonderful voice."

He felt his cheeks warm slightly. "Thanks."

"Do you sing?"

"No," he shook his head, laughing at the idea. "But I play– or, played the violin, though."

"Really?" Her eyes sparkled. "And you never shared this talent with me?"

"Well…" he put the photo in his hand into the box. "To be honest, I don't play much. Not for a long time."

"Why not?" Eloise went to the counter and began making some coffee.

"I don't know." Chase frowned as he wondered, why had he stopped?

There was a tsk from the counter. "You keep frowning so hard and your face will freeze like that."

Chase rolled his eyes, then went back to packing the photos. "So that's what happened to House."

Eloise laughed.

The coffee pot gurgled and hissed and sputtered, and finally a rich, heavy aroma filled the room. Chase lifted his chin and sniffed appreciatively. Smiling, Eloise poured them each a cup, omitting cream or sugar in either. As she sat down and handed him his cup, Chase accepted it and then squinted one eye at her. "So– I'm thinking about asking Cameron to dinner." He ventured slowly.

Her expression did not change. "Really?" She raised an eyebrow, taking a sip of coffee.

He nodded. "I know she likes classy things, like high-end restaurants and flowers, but she also likes things that are more– rough?"

Eloise frowned in confusion.

"Like monster truck rallies."


"What should I do?"

She blinked at him, and then cocked her head to one side. "Why Doctor Chase, are you asking me for dating advice?"

He shrugged. "Well, I figured you are a girl,"

"Thank you for noticing!"

"And I figured who better to ask advice from on how to date a girl than another girl?"

"Hm. Well." Eloise pursed her lips as she thought. "If it were me on a first date, I would want someplace nice but cozy, maybe intimate, where we would feel free to talk about anything. Dressy, but not formally-constricting."

Chase nodded, making a mental note. "Anything else?"

She smiled at him. "Compliment her choice of jewelry, or her dress. Make small talk, get to know her. You're smart, Robert, you know how to act around a lady. You'll be fine."

Drinking his coffee, Chase sincerely hoped she was right.

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