amber_v: baby goes fast (stride)
amber_v ([personal profile] amber_v) wrote in [community profile] alwaysright2010-01-05 05:33 pm

November 5, 2007 - Morning

Lonely: that was Amber's first drowsy feeling to waking up alone. It was still dark and her alarm hadn't gone off. She'd woken up this way countless times, perhaps most of her life, and yet it felt wrong not having someone in here with her. Someone to make muffled but satisfied sounds as she climbed onto them, kissing and being held back. She missed Eric and it hadn't even been more than half a day since they'd parted.

Despite how keenly she felt his absence, Amber couldn't help smiling into her pillow. She'd become conditioned to having him in her bed. The space seemed pointlessly immense without him hogging half of it. Well, there was an easy solution: get him in here soon. Luring him back shouldn't be a problem; Amber could think of half a dozen ways to convince him and that was without trying.

The only reason he wasn't there as she stretched, working out the lasting soreness from their basketball game, was because they both had lives to get back to; Amber had house chores, as probably did Eric, and her reading wouldn't get done through sheer wishing. If it weren't for that, Amber would've been happy to spend another weekend afternoon with him, even after all the ups-and-downs on Saturday.

Still, she'd see him today at work. That was reason enough to make her spring out of bed earlier, so as to pretty herself up all the more. Eric would notice and appreciate her effort; it'd make up for how disgustingly casual she'd been around him this weekend.

The fact that she'd worn his Colombia hoodie to bed... what he didn't know wouldn't hurt her.

Her mom had called Sunday, pointedly asking if she should expect only Amber or plus one for Thanksgiving. "Just me, mom."

"Hmmm?" she'd intoned, judgment and curiosity rolled into a single package. Amber just hoped there wasn't a dash of hope mixed in there. "Broke up already?"

"No," Amber replied with more vehemence than necessary, thinking back on how instantly tense Eric had become at the mere mention of the visit. With his mother's disease, his brother's imprisonment, and his dad's who-knew-what, it might actually be because it was too hard for him to face anyone's family and not because he was scared to meet hers specifically. "It's barely been a week. We're still getting to know each other."

"A few days ago it sounded like you were about to marry him, has it cooled off already? Are you bored with the sex?"

It was the bit about marriage that made Amber sputter softly. Yeah, keeping Eric away was the wisest course of action. "Everything is fine, mom. We're still together and, no, not bored with the sex." There definitely was nothing wrong with their sex life-- in fact, the very opposite. For all that Amber fretted that they were drying up into a drought, Saturday night had been sweetly intimate, in an orgasm-filled way, and Sunday morning they'd tried out the lazy morning sex she'd been anticipating so much. Turned out it was every bit as delicious as she'd imagined.

Aside from that and having to hear her mom describe in minute detail her Thanksgiving plans (arranging rides to pick up her brothers at the airport, finding accommodation for non-immediate family members, shopping for the cheapest yet best food, and on and on and on), Amber's Sunday had been pretty quiet. Just her, her journals, and an endless supply of coffee.

Monday Amber took the time to blow-dry her hair and apply a more careful, if still absolutely professional, layer of makeup than she usually bothered to for work. It made her feel good all morning long, through breakfast and the drive. But as she stepped into the parking lot, the same way she'd started so many other days at PPTH, reluctance overcame her. Things were different here. It'd been so easy to forget once Friday rolled around and they'd fled the hospital, but she had bigger things to think about than "them." She had a career, a purpose. He had his. His partially consisted of keeping her under control; hers, stomping all over him as the occasion called.

It'd keep their sex lives interesting, Amber mused as she shut her car door.

It wasn't just how different their relationship had to be, though. There were other people to consider as well. House, who needed to keep his nose in his own business; her pathetic colleagues, who already looked at her askew for sleeping with the pseudo-boss; and who knew who else decided they had the right to an opinion about her personal life. Ignoring them all would have to do as a policy, Amber decided; that and hunt down anyone who dared try to make her miserable.

Despite the extra time she'd spent in the bathroom and her unhurried breakfast, Amber still arrived before anyone else. A nice change of pace, compared to the previous week. Content, Amber chose an aisle seat in one of the middle rows and settled down with a more recent edition of JNEN.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - smug (smug)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-06 07:16 pm (UTC)(link)
The difference between waking up with morning wood on Sunday, and in the same condition Monday, was that on Sunday Foreman's hard-on had already been nestled against the roundness of Amber's ass, his hand only had to slide up a few inches to cup her breast, and his soft breathing against her shoulder had turned into a gentle, open-mouthed kiss without so much as a thought. Today all he had was his own hand sneaking into his shorts before he'd fully woken up. When he blinked his eyes open, Foreman grunted, impatient with his own horniness. He was getting used to regular sex again, and it was as if his default state was turned on, probably from dreaming that he'd wake up next to her again. He didn't even want to indulge, without Amber; it just wasn't the same.

His dick wasn't listening to any comparisons, though. When Foreman knocked the covers off and made it into his shower, with the hot spray hitting his shoulders and the smell of soap in his nostrils, the memory of what Amber had done in the gym's shower came roaring back. A quick beat-off wouldn't make him late, and as long as he got to picture her on her knees, her knowing eyes meeting his while she closed her lips around his cock.

Foreman was nearly grinning when he got out of the shower. He shaved carefully, and tugged the cuffs of his suit jacket into place when he dressed, giving himself a satisfied look in the mirror as he did. Work or not, nothing was going to go wrong today. He ate quickly and poured his coffee into a travel mug for the drive to the hospital. House would be in late, of course. And the candidates would be assembling in the lecture theatre, like this was still med school. Last week, Foreman would have left them to it, content to get some work done until it seemed likely that House might actually show up. And yet today he found himself heading for the theatre, hardly remembering to go by the office and shuck his coat.

Outside the theatre's door, Foreman stopped and found himself smiling again. Amber was alone, early--well, so was he; they hadn't distracted each other this morning--and reading a journal, her legs crossed, lightly biting her lower lip as she concentrated. He opened the door, knowing the sound would catch her attention, and then jerked his head at the corridor, inviting her to sneak out into the hall for a minute, his smile still irrepressibly on his lips.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - thoughtful (amused)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-07 07:10 pm (UTC)(link)
The way Amber's face lit up when she saw him made Foreman sure that she'd sneak out into the hall, if only for a minute. He'd missed her this morning. Even something as casual as a kiss would hold him throughout the length of the workday, and the hall wasn't even the main entrance to the theatre--nobody was going to see. Amber got up, but she stopped before getting close.

Foreman raised his eyebrows, a surprised chuckle bubbling up. "There's nobody here," he said, as cajoling as possible, before he realized that she wasn't kidding. It wasn't like he'd wanted to get naked. A kiss was all he'd been after. Foreman glanced around the lecture theatre as if he might have missed the crowd rushing in, but no, it was still deserted, and likely to remain so for at least another twenty minutes. The others had pretty much learned that punctuality wasn't ever something House was going to demand of them, and it wasn't like the janitors or the nurses were going to butt in on House's territory. He'd pissed off too many support staff over the years for that to happen.

Maybe he had let his eagerness at seeing Amber overcome his sense of propriety. He pulled back his smile and tried to shrug it off. They'd still have after work, with no prying eyes. She was right. He was the one who wanted to keep their business their own. He'd lost his head for a minute. With a sigh, he nodded. Although he didn't think they'd manage much casual conversation, either. When was their conversation ever casual? He abandoned the door, letting it fall shut, and headed for the desk, where he ditched his briefcase. Leaning back against the corner of the desk, he crossed his arms and watched her, that damn smile still twitching at his lips. "How was your weekend?" he asked, trying to sound as ironic as possible.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - skeptical (skeptical)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-07 08:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Tilting his head as Amber went back to her journal as if he wasn't in the room, Foreman pressed his lips together in exasperation. She'd clearly said casual conversation was on the 'acceptable' list, but now it seemed like acknowledging his presence was a little too much to ask. The miffed look on her face when she looked up dissolved when he raised his eyebrows expectantly. Sure, had some fun, as well as a handful of wrenching conversations that he still wasn't sure he'd recovered from. "Oh, your reading," Foreman said. "Sounds important."

He wasn't going to drag out the conversation if her reading was that much more important than he was. Foreman let out his breath and went around to sit at the desk, opening his briefcase and pulling out his newspaper. He never came unprepared for long sessions of waiting anymore. Though it would still be nice if he could talk to his girlfriend instead of reading the headlines and forgetting them five seconds later. Around the edge of the paper, Foreman eyed Amber, letting his glance linger on the shape of her calf, letting his ogling wander up to the hem of her skirt. He wouldn't check her out when they were actually on a case, so he might as well get his fill now.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - exasperated (exasperated)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-08 01:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Not only did he get no response to his half-joking jab about Amber rating her journals as highly as she did everything they done together on Saturday, she went right back to it as if she really did feel that way. Not as a tease, not because she was trying to wind him up, but just because she was happy to immerse herself in--Foreman craned his head to see the title--the JNEN. Well, at least she had good taste in journals, even if she apparently preferred neurology to neurologists. He couldn't see well enough to check if it was an issue he'd read, or one he'd contributed to, so it wasn't like that would work for a conversational opener either. And in the next few minutes, they'd be interrupted, and there would go any chance to say something even remotely personal for the rest of the day.

Vaguely annoyed, Foreman checked his watch. Yeah, quarter to nine. And with House not likely to come in until ten, he was probably going to end up sitting here with all of the candidates like he had on Friday. Plus, he and Amber studiously ignoring each other wasn't going to stop gossip. Everyone would be quick to assume that they'd come in to work together. Even if they weren't actively making out, the assumption would be that they had been mere moments before the doors had opened. Foreman didn't like the implication; if he'd actually gotten a good-morning kiss, he wouldn't feel nearly so grumpy about the fact that people were going to assume he had.

Sitting here was only irritating him further; so was the fact that they hadn't had a case since the middle of last week, and the boredom was beginning to tell on all of them. There was no reason they needed to wait on House's convenience. Foreman might only have lip-service authority, but if somebody found an interesting case that had cropped up over the weekend, he could at least force House to listen as the fellows presented them. And--

He grinned quickly. Gifts weren't easy to give to Amber; she didn't appreciate the more traditional sort and not showing himself to be a pompous ass was always a consideration. But this, he thought she'd like. "Hey," he said, slapping the paper down on the desk. "Have you had a chance to check around for interesting patients?" Seemed like she hadn't; she was pretty well ensconced with her reading. "I'm gonna send everybody out to bring back something to present. The best you can find. You get a head start for being here first."
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - skeptical (skeptical)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-08 06:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Baffled, Foreman slumped back in his chair, when Amber only threw a cold look at him. He knew she'd just gotten here. Her reading couldn't possibly be more important than finding an actual case, even if Foreman himself didn't rate. Wasn't that why she was here? For the fun of finding something unusual and getting brownie points from House for proving she knew what she was doing? He tipped his head and watched her askance as she came down the stairs towards him. Instead of the happiness she'd shown when she walked in, he was pretty sure that her expression now meant that he was in the doghouse. For what, he had no clue.

"Aren't you tired of sitting around waiting for something to turn up?" he asked. A good case wasn't just going to drop into their laps. There had been times when he was working with Chase and Cameron when they'd circled Admitting like sharks, so bored out of their minds that anything out of the ordinary would've made them jump on it.

Maybe he should have kept his mouth shut. Usually that was the way he handled it when his girlfriend was pissed at him for no reason he could see. And it usually blew over when he handled it like that. But Amber looked at him like he'd just insulted her instead of given her a chance to look good and get them all a patient to work on.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - thoughtful (thoughtful)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-08 10:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Seeing Amber get in such a snit over a simple offer, Foreman thought about taking it back, telling her fine, go read instead, but before he could, she'd already swept out of the room. Her parting shot wasn't much of a suggestion. In House's absence, he really was in charge, and somebody should be directing the candidates to get some work done. They might be sharing two people's salaries between them, but that didn't give them license to sit around all day and pretend that they were the best of the best just because they worked for House.

He sat down at the desk again and flattened out his newspaper. Without the distraction of Amber's legs (or Amber's indifference), he retained far more of what he read. Brennan was the next candidate to get in, then Taub and Kutner on his heels, then Thirteen, and finally Cole, excusing his lateness because of his kid. Foreman sent them all off, not quite phrasing his request as an order, and letting them assume that he was acting in House's place if they wanted to. Brennan and Cole both looked unimpressed, Taub was clearly skeptical, but Thirteen accepted the task with equanimity, and Kutner looked like Foreman had just given him a birthday present shaped like a bike in wrapping paper.

The tolerable side of it was, once they were all dispatched, Foreman could sit back and feel like he was accomplishing something, even without moving from his seat. Maybe House had the right idea about "minions" after all. Foreman ducked out just long enough to get some coffee from upstairs, and then came back down to turn from the front section to business, hoping that at least one of them would find something House would find tolerable.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - smug (smug)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-09 04:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreman sat up straight when Amber came back in. Having had a chance to relax with the newspaper and a coffee, he was feeling better about the prospect of the whole work week ahead of them, and he smiled when she held up a chart. "Great," he said, taking the folder and opening it up. He raised his eyebrows, impressed, and glanced up to Amber to let her know it, before he went back to reading in more depth. The kid was in the ER, and Cameron wouldn't have passed the case on if there wasn't something worth looking for. He nodded, checking off in his mind all the common causes of the symptoms and seeing that they'd already been accounted for. Fevers in children that young could be idiopathic, of course, but Amber had been right to bring this in. "This could definitely be something."

He hadn't been expecting Amber to admit it had been a good idea, not after how brusquely she'd stalked out and let the door close before he'd finished asking what her problem with the assignment was. Now that she had, he wasn't sure how to respond, so he settled for handing her the folder back. "I hope so," he said, offering her a warm look. He did want her to succeed, even if he wouldn't be able to give her more than a headstart or an occasional hint if he didn't want to compromise his own position.

That had to be the moment when Kutner barged in. Exasperated, Foreman let his eye contact with Amber drop. All his effort not to get caught alone with her and that's exactly what happened, even when it was innocent. "Give me your chart," he said, holding out his hand and waiting for Kutner to bound down the steps and slap it into his palm.

"Sorry," Kutner said, his grin showing that he wasn't sorry at all. "I figured first one back might win the race. Should've known better."

"It's not a race. We're actually looking for patients to treat," Foreman said. The point of going looking wasn't so that they could show off, it was so that they could identify patients that might actually need their help. He gave the case notes a superficial look, enough to see that there were at least a few anomalies. "Fine, you can present this when House gets here."
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - skeptical (skeptical)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-09 08:04 pm (UTC)(link)
It wasn't as if Foreman was trying to judge, but from what he could see, Amber's case really was the best of a dull lot. None of the candidates had NICU or pediatric specialties, so House--if he could be convinced to see reason--might actually wanting them treating an infant, where abnormal test results could be a function of age as much as condition. Brennan, when he finally came in with the last one, leaned over and muttered, "She's a drag racer. And she came here because of House."

"Doesn't mean he'll take it," Foreman said. By the time House showed up, the girl would probably be hydrated, and her symptoms would've disappeared just as quickly. Brennan's pick was the worst one, but of course House would take the car into account, Foreman had no doubt of that.

Mulling over the various cases, Foreman was just about to get out his cell and find out where in hell House had gotten to, when Amber piped up suggesting the exact damn thing. Foreman shot her an annoyed look. If he called House on her suggestion, everyone in the room would think it was because she'd asked, not because it was a good idea. Another twenty seconds and he'd have had House answering his phone, entirely on Foreman's initiative and authority. If he did the exact same thing now, he'd look like Amber had him even more whipped than he already knew he was. In the bedroom, he didn't care. On the job, it mattered. "And give him a chance to ignore us all morning?" he said. House coming in on his own initiative might be hard to predict, but it was more likely than him showing his face when Foreman asked him to.

He took his phone out, though, and let out an irked breath. Despite what he'd said, he'd rather do this the straightforward way, but Amber had tied his hands into playing this like one of House's games. He dialed Wilson's office, and when he answered, Foreman said briefly, "Tell him we've got a girl race car driver who asked for him specifically."

"Dragster," Brennan corrected.

Foreman glared at him--the kind of car didn't really matter, as long as it was shiny enough to catch House's magpie interest.

"He's already stolen my lunch, so he's around somewhere," Wilson said, with a certain bland resignation. "I'll pass on the message."

"Okay, thanks," Foreman said. He flipped his phone closed, tucked it into his pocket, and pointedly went back to his newspaper.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - skeptical (skeptical)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-10 02:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreman could feel their eyes on him. Probably Amber's more than the rest of them. They were all judging him--his ability to get shit done, to make a difference in their daily routine now that he was here. He concentrated on the paper, projecting an air of unconcern. If he looked weak, or hesitant, they'd all pin him with not only a largely imaginary authority, they'd also expect him to be useless whenever he had to make a decision.

He looked up skeptically when Amber questioned him again. Christ, this was first-rate hypocrisy. She didn't want him to judge her methods at work, even when it involved torturing her colleagues as much as she could, but she wanted to undermine his methods in front of everybody? If she had a problem, she could bring it to him privately. In fact, she had more room and reason to do that than any of them. If she wanted to see a change, she could tell him, it wasn't like he wouldn't consider her suggestion if it was reasonable. This public attack just looked bad, for both of them, as if it was a quarrel they'd brought in from their personal life.

There was no easy answer. Foreman wasn't interested in getting caught up in a petty power struggle when he was clearly in charge. Fortunately, he didn't have to. In what felt like the first bit of perfect timing Foreman had ever gotten out of House's dramatics, the door at the bottom of the lecture theatre crashed open under the shove of House's cane-tip.

"Yeah," Foreman said, raising his eyebrows as if he'd orchestrated that entire event, "I'd say he is."

House walked in, glaring around at all of them as if he suspected them of covertly plotting his death (not far off in some cases, Foreman assumed). "Wilson said you might have something interesting," he said. "First person to be boring after he raised my hopes is fired. Go."
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - exasperated (exasperated)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-10 09:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreman settled back with a sigh once House took over the meeting. He liked being in charge, sure, but not when House was ready to squelch any original idea he had. Which he probably would, out of spite if nothing else. It took a good bit of resignation to stop caring about which case House would pick after Foreman had managed to gather the possibilities and present them on a silver platter. Besides, he assumed that if he looked liked he favoured Amber's patient, House wouldn't just say no, he'd taunt them and then say no.

He hardly expected House to follow through on his threat. The only thing that made sense would be for House to fire the ones who messed up in terms of the medicine--not medicine the way responsible doctors practiced it, but in House's terms. Not being gung-ho enough, or not sticking to an idea long enough to see it through. Unless, of course, that was the moment when House required flexibility. The requirements would change as quickly as House's moods. It would be the ones who learned to read him best who'd survive the cut.

When Amber spoke up, Foreman stared at her before cutting his eyes back at House, trying not to be obvious. Didn't she get that? Challenging House when there was no reason to was pointless. Did she really think he'd abide by something he'd probably said as a joke? Kutner had certainly acted like it hadn't been serious, and the others were jumping in with their cases too. Foreman didn't know if Amber would look over at him, but he shook his head minutely, encouraging her not to ask questions that would piss House off. Her patient was the best one--that should be all she needed. When House shot her down without even hearing a single symptom, Foreman glared at him.

"I lured you here to listen to your candidates present their cases. Something you haven't done. You can have the race car driver when you've listened to the others." Foreman sent Brennan a meaningful glance. House would already like his case the best. Foreman just wanted him to shut up until everybody had a chance to catch House's interest. Amber had had her chance; he couldn't jump in--yet--to try and save her. She probably wouldn't appreciate it if he did. It was a level playing field or nothing.

Like he'd figured, House pouted and flapped his mouth in a silent blah-blah-blah, but his only objection was to make a lewd gesture with the sausage he'd forked out of Wilson's stolen lunch.

Thirteen took the hint. "Sixty-eight year old male non-smoker--"

"Can't you let the man die in peace?" House said. "He's done with this world and you want to drag him back among the living."

"Female college student," Cole started.

"Did she ever get top billing on Girls Gone Wild?" House asked. Cole shook his head, eyes wide. "Then I don't care."

Now was Foreman's moment to try and salvage this mess. "You don't care because you haven't listened to a single symptom. You want to treat speed racer because she has a fast car, not because you're interested in her case. When we discharge her because she's not that sick, you're going to want one of the others again." That was the best reassurance he could manage, and in the end, it was for all of them, not just Amber.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - skeptical (skeptical)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-11 12:12 pm (UTC)(link)
"She's dehydrated," Foreman said. He didn't care if it sounded like he was dismissing Brennan's case. He was. "She overheated during the race. After she's been on fluids for a few hours, she'll be fine."

"Foreman, are you trying to convince me that a drag racer is boring? I should fire you."

Foreman rolled his eyes. "You can't. And if you want to run a dozen pointless tests on the girl who needs a few glasses of juice, you can. If you're interested in actual medicine--"

"Right! I pick the first one." House was about to needle him even further when the doors opened and a guy in a suit appeared, asking to speak with him privately.

Unimpressed, Foreman watched, eyebrows raised, as House got dragged out of the room by the guy in a suit. Frankly, Foreman didn't give a shit who he was or what he wanted with House. It suited him just fine to have House out of the way, even for a few minutes. "All right, if any of you have theories that are more interesting than dehydration, now's the time to come up with them," he said, ignoring their questions. He didn't have the answers, and they didn't matter. Speaking to House 'privately' meant private for the two minutes they'd be out of the room, and then House would come back in and shoot off his mouth just to prove he could. The candidates could have their curiosity satisfied then.

Ignoring their questions, he stood up and wrote the symptoms on the blackboard. Textbook heatstroke. "Come on, people, a few theories." Even if their ideas were completely untenable, it might help convince House to take on a real case.

"Hereditary brain disorder," Brennan suggested. At least he was involved in the damn case, and that would encourage the others to top him.

Foreman had dragged three (stupid) suggestions out of them by the time House came back in. House looked at the list Foreman had drawn on the board and sniffed. Foreman could feel the boredom radiating off him. Despite Foreman's best efforts, House knew it was heatstroke. He was about as intrigued as when Cuddy told him there were patients waiting for him in the clinic. "Right, I'll leave those tests to you guys then. Since I don't think even you could kill a patient with IV fluids." He started up the stairs. "See you after my secret invitation-only poker tournament. Foreman, you're in charge until I get back."

Foreman stared at House's back. It sounded like a backhanded compliment at best, but at least House was following the chain of command. Which, in this case, meant dumping him with a case that wasn't a case, while he ditched work again. With perfect confidence, he said, "I know," before House left the room, for the satisfaction of seeing House's annoyed look over his shoulder as the door closed behind him.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - smug (smug)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-11 06:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreman immediately felt more settled, easier in his skin, once House was gone. If he was going to delegate his responsibilities, then Foreman could actually run this case, stupid as it was, with his own style. Give the candidates a taste of what a real department functioned like. He didn't doubt that they knew, but a refresher after a month of House's insanity could only be helpful. House's world might be a nice place to visit, but in the end, they all had to live with a few realities.

"I'll do the history with Brennan," he said. He wasn't about to have them run any tests if further investigation only showed that heatstroke was the right answer. An MRI to stay on the safe side would be a good plan, though. "The rest of you, follow up on the cases you brought. Even if we're not directly involved, we can offer a consult if necessary. We'll meet--" He glanced around the lecture theatre, which had always smelled vaguely like feet, and was way too much like a classroom for any truly professional work to get done. "In forty-five minutes, in the Diagnostics conference room." It wouldn't be the first time they'd worked there, but the change in atmosphere might help his authority, too. Foreman wasn't above trying any technique that had a chance of making him look good.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - smug (smug)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-01-12 03:05 pm (UTC)(link)
The patient stared at him suspiciously when he arrived. Practically the first thing out of her mouth was, "Where's Dr. House?" After three years, though, Foreman was used to dealing with that, so he smiled tightly. "I'm Dr. Foreman, I work with Dr. House. He's not in today, but we'll be keeping in contact with him about your symptoms." From there, he ran through the standard history questions and watched Brennan carefully as he did the physical exam. Nothing was turning up, which was what he expected, but Foreman did know better than to leave things at what was expected. He'd already set up an appointment with the MRI, even if it did make him look cautious. Better to be cautious than to have another dead patient on his conscience.

The minute they left the room, Brennan was on him about the girl's deep tendon reflex. Foreman suppressed the desire to roll his eyes--a good supervisor doesn't show what he thinks of his subordinates' stupid suggestions--but he also shouldn't have to repeat himself that the reflex looked fine to him, and he was the one who counted. Brennan had a smarmy look on his face as if he knew better. He was going to run over Foreman's head the minute he could, Foreman could tell. They were all like that. They knew they didn't have to impress him, and so they didn't care about his opinion. Well, they'd just have to learn differently today. Foreman would treat them with as much respect as possible, but not when they were doing their best to get ahead at the expense of the medicine.

By the time they got back to Diagnostics, the others had already taken up their spots around the table. Foreman took the dry-erase marker from the tray under the whiteboard and stood at the head of the table. Brennan lurked in the background, doing his best impression of a pouty kid. "Our patient had a normal history and exam, and she's gone for a CT and MRI now. When we get the results back, I'll get in touch with House and let him know where we're at." They could trust him to follow the chain of command, but also, Foreman wanted them to know that there was no point in going behind his back; he was going to report in as soon as there was anything to report. He wasn't about to let himself get scooped. "In the meantime, is there anything we can do for the other patients?" If there was anything immediate they could offer, Foreman didn't mind farming out the complete excess of doctors he had around to those causes. As long as the departments the patients were in didn't mind the help, he had no problem providing it.

"Oncology is doing fine with my guy," Kutner said, apparently not perturbed by the fact that his case hadn't turned out as interestingly as he'd hoped. "They did another set of labs, and they think they have it under control."

Cole grimaced, but he was the next to come clean. "Tox screen came back on my patient," he said. "Looks like it was drug interactions. Ecstasy and alcohol."

"Great." Foreman turned to the others. He wanted them to feel like they could bring interesting cases to the table, but that it wasn't the end of the world if a patient could actually be cured.

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