Title: Lies and Truth
Description: Repost, heavily changed ending
Taruia - December 31, 2005 06:58 AM (GMT)
Ok, so I know...I've been a a bad author, and almost let this story to die, but for some reason I went back and re-read the whole thing tonigt, and found that it really wasn't as bad as I remembered. lol. So, I have gone though and slightly edited the beginning, it will need a lot more before it's finished, but I did a lot of editing at the end. I got rid of Abby, I realized that she was there to help me make a point, and not for the story, so she's gone. Erin filled her spot nicely, and I think it wil be more fun having her working with House...who knows. I will actually be updaing this thing when I have time, so be on the lookout, I still want to see this thing finished, and I actually think that it's not too far from done. Hope you all don't hate me too much! Enjoy!
Taruia - December 31, 2005 06:58 AM (GMT)
Lies and Truth
House sat in the clinic administration area. A pile of red folders sat next to his head on the counter, and he was glaring at it. He knew that the charts wouldn’t do themselves. Still, he didn’t feel like making the effort of reaching up and grabbing one. He was planning on sitting there until his shift was over. He had 8 minutes left. He sighed and shifted slightly, stretching just a bit. Then he froze. The telltale sound of high heels was growing stronger. ‘Great, just what I need,’ he thought. He managed to put on a smile just as Cuddy rounded the corner. She glared as she spotted him.
“Dr. House. What about ‘get your charts done’ is so hard for your considerable intellect to comprehend?” Cuddy smirked as she saw his fake smile.
”Oh, nothing. I was seeing if my telekinetic powers would make the charts do themselves,” he replied with a wink.
”Oh, wonderful. Just what I need--a psychic doctor. Well, since you don’t want to finish the charts, go check out the patient in Exam Room 3.” At his groan she smirked again. “I warned you. If you don’t do charts, you pull clinic duty instead.”
”I’m off in 8 minutes,” he replied.
”Eight minutes isn’t now. It’s a kid with a cold. You’ll be done in two,” she said over her shoulder as she stalked off towards her office.
House sighed, got up, and limped off towards Exam Room 3. He grabbed the file on his way. ‘Kid with a cold. Right.’ He read the chart. ‘Fever of 103 for the past 24 hours. No other symptoms.’ He had to admit it did sound like the kid just had a cold. When he opened the door, the girl was already seated on the exam table. Her mother was standing next to the table with an impatient look on her face. The girl looked around 16 and was very thin. She did have the flushed cheeks that hinted of fever and her gaze was fixed on the floor about three feet to the right of the door.
” Your chart indicates you’ve had a high fever for ‘at least’ 24 hours. How long have you actually been ill and do you have any other symptoms?” House asked the girl. She didn’t respond, but the mother spoke up.
”She’s not gonna answer. She’s deaf. I’m sorry to bring her in with just a fever. But it’s been a few days now and it hasn’t gotten any better.”
”Your daughter has had a fever for a few days and you’re just bringing her in now?” House snapped in annoyance.
”She’s not really my daughter. She’s a foster child of mine. I’ve been working with special needs foster kids for six years now. The fever was going away at night and I thought it would get better by itself. I gave her Tylenol. She’s deaf and retarded. She doesn’t communicate well,” she replied, angrily.
”Ah. Just a retarded deaf kid. I guess that means that her health isn’t important, then.” House snapped. He looked at the girl. Her gaze had not left the floor tiles and she was twisting her hands nervously in her lap. House placed his cane against the wall and limped over to the table. He looked down at the girl. Something wasn’t right. He didn’t know what it was, but something about her was bothering him. He gently tapped her on the shoulder and was surprised when she violently jerked away from him. After the initial movement, she went back to her intense study of the floor tiles.
”She doesn’t like to be touched,” the foster mother commented.
”And how do you propose I examine her if I can’t touch her?” House sighed. He briefly considered reaching for a Vicodin pill just to quash the headache this woman was starting to give him.
”Just be gentle. She’ll listen after a minute,” the woman replied.
House gently took the girl’s face in his hand and tried to get her to remove her gaze from the floor. She tried to pull away again, but this time not as harshly. She raised her eyes to meet his for a second and then, just as quickly, moved them back to the floor. House sighed and tried to softly feel her glands. They were a little large, but not vastly so. He checked her breathing and heart rate. Both were a little fast, but that could be caused by nervousness. He lifted her shirt in the back and almost dropped his stethoscope. The girl’s back was a grotesque pattern of scars. They crisscrossed her entire back.
”What the HELL?” He turned angrily to the woman.
”It’s not what you think!” she stammered, “She had a bad placement. We got her after she was returned to the group home. I would never hurt her!”
”Bad placement?” House whispered. Bad placement didn’t apply to what he saw before him. House prided himself on being able to control his emotions. But when it came to children--especially sick children--he couldn’t hide how he felt. He took a few deep breaths and tried to calm his anger.
”Does she sign?” House asked after a moment.
”Sometimes. Never anything that makes sense. I don’t know sign, but my daughter does. She said Kelly just signs random words. The group home told me her IQ was under 90. I’m guessing that’s why she can’t,” the woman replied.
”Okay. I still want to get a translator in here.” He slowly made his way over to the phone. His leg was bothering him, so he reached into his pocket and grabbed the ever-present bottle of painkillers. He saw the woman’s look of disdain as he swallowed one, but ignored it. He sat on the wheeled stool and picked up the phone. “Yeah, could I get a line to Dr. Cuddy please?”
She picked up after the second ring.
”Dr. Cuddy, I’m going to need a sign language interpreter in Exam Room 3,” he said.
”God, House. What now? I’m not going to page Dr. Tellson for a fake consultation,” she snapped.
”It’s not fake. My patient is deaf, and I need a translator.” He hung up without waiting for her reply.
“Now, Mrs. …”
”Walton,” the woman supplied.
”Mrs. Walton. I need to know exactly what happened in Kelly’s last foster home. She seems to be suffering from a long term infection that may have been caused by the abuse she suffered there.” If House’s tone sounded clipped, it was because he was annoyed.
”I don’t know much. Just what the Department of Child and Family Services worker told me. She was placed in a home for ‘special needs’ kids. There was suspected abuse and she was removed. I had no idea it was that bad.” Her gaze drifted over to Kelly’s back and she winced.
”How could you miss something like that, unless your IQ is less then 90,” he snapped.
”She wouldn’t let anyone touch her. We thought it was because of the abuse and we just let her do her own thing. It kept her quiet and calm. She has a bad habit of throwing tantrums. We were just a transition home for her. DCFS was trying to place her in a facility that would be able to handle her better.”
” ‘Able to handle her better.’ You mean drug her?” House looked over at Kelly and saw that her gaze had still not left the floor. “Are you sure she’s deaf?”
”What? Yes! That’s what they told us.” Mrs. Walton replied.
House rolled over to the small metal table where he had left Kelly’s chart. He flipped it open and read the brief amount of information. “Is this all of her medical history?”
”No. She used to go to another doctor. But he was too far away,” the woman replied.
”Ok, I’ll need her complete medical history and the name of your contact at the DCFS.”
”Because unlike some people, I don’t think she’s deaf.”
They both jumped a little as the door to the exam room opened. Dr. Tellson walked in and gave the woman a smile and House a glare. He wasn’t a very remarkable man. His hair was short and graying, he was average height, but there was a softness in his face that led people to trust him.
”Dr. House. Cuddy said that you needed me?” He asked.
”Yes, this is Kelly, I don’t think she’s deaf, but she doesn’t talk. I need your help.” He replied. “Unless that’s too hard for you.”
The only response House got was a glare. Dr. Tellson looked at Kelly, and squatted down so that she could see him.
His hands moved in a kind of aerial ballet, and after a moment he stood up.
”She doesn’t sign.” He sighed.
House looked at the girl and then back to the other doctor. He shrugged his shoulders and sighed.
”Well it was work a shot.” He glanced over at Kelly once more and saw her hands moving in a repetitive pattern. “Wait, what’s that mean?” He asked the other doctor.
Dr. Tellson looked over and watched for a moment before sighing. “Nothing, it’s just the letters “k” and “h” over and over again. It doesn’t mean anything.” He turned to Mrs. Walton. “Sorry I couldn’t help.” He turned and exited the room.
House watched the other doctor leave and sighed again. He seemed to be doing a lot of that lately.
”Ok, I want to admit Kelly, at least for overnight observation. The fact that she has had a fever for over 24 hours worries me. A nurse will be in with the paperwork.” He turned and left the room without looking back. Walking though the reception area of the clinic he didn’t even spare a glance at the pile of files.
When House arrived in his office, he saw that Chase and Foreman were missing. Cameron was over on the computer typing and didn’t notice his entrance.
”Where are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum?” He asked, smiling slightly when he saw her jump. “I have a patient being admitted. Go check it out.”
Cameron gave him a scathing glare and left the office without a word, purposefully not answering his question. House smirked again as she left and then turned serious. He headed over to his desk and grabbed the ball off the right corner. He turned it in his hands a few times and then picked up the phone. “Yeah, I need a page for Chase and Foreman. Tell them they needed to be in my office five minutes ago.” Placing the receiver down he picked up the ball again and tossed it up into the air a few times. ‘What was it about that girl that just didn’t fit?’ He ran over her behavior in his head again. He didn’t think she was deaf, but was the abuse the only thing making her silent? ‘Of course!’ He placed the ball down with a loud thwack. ‘Deaf and retarded, right, whenever you hear those two things together you think autism.’
House was stirred out of his thoughts by the arrival of Foreman and Chase.
“Glad you two finally decided to show up.” House barked at the two doctors who now stood before him.
”We don’t have any cases right now, so we were just eating lunch.” Foreman rebuked.
“Well, we have a case now, so I guess it’s good you’re here huh?”
”Yeah, guess so.” Foreman sighed. “What’s the case?”
”16 year old female, suffering severe abuse and now has an infection of unknown origin.” House said quickly. Trying hard to keep any emotion from entering his voice.
”Symptoms?” Chase asked.
”Cameron will be back in a minute. You can wait.” Giving Foreman an evil smirk House stood up and went over to the larger area of the Diagnostic Medicine office. Foreman and Chase followed closely behind.
The duty nurse had directed Cameron to the fourth floor when she had asked about a patient that House had admitted. She glanced at the chart in her hand and noted the patient’s name. Unlike House she didn’t like having to ask over and over again for the patient’s name. ‘Kelly. Nice easy name. Maybe House will be able to remember this one.’ Entering room 413 she saw the thin form sitting in the bed. ‘She sure doesn’t look 16, she barely looks like she’s 12.’ Cameron thought with a bit of alarm. The girl was severely skinny, and her paleness didn’t help the air of sickness that pervaded the area around her. Turning to the wall of windows Cameron saw who she assumed to be the foster mother. With another glance down at the file in her hand Cameron softly cleared her throat to gain the attention of the woman, who was staring out the windows. The woman looked up. Kelly looked away. “Mrs. Walton?”
”Yes?” Cameron could feel the woman’s gaze sizing her up. She hated when people questioned her competence as a doctor simply because of her looks.
”I’m Dr. Cameron. Dr. House asked me to come see about Kelly.” She said shortly, giving the woman no chance to question her presence.
”Right. Fine. Look, I really hate to do this, but I have two other kids at home who need stuff. Would you mind if I left?” The woman looked around nervously as if she expected DCFS workers to come popping out of the glass at any second.
“No, that’s fine. There are three of us on the case now, not counting Dr. House, so she’ll be looked after.” Cameron replied with an obviously forced smile. She really didn’t like this woman.
”Great, I’ll be back tomorrow then,” with that said Mrs. Walton scampered out of the room and disappeared around a corner.
Cameron turned her attention back toward Kelly. The girl hadn’t moved since Cameron had entered. Kelly’s gaze was fixed on the large windows, and seemed to be looking though the sky itself.
”Hi Kelly,” Cameron said lightly “I’m Dr. Cameron, but you can call me Ally if you want.”
Kelly flinched a little at the sound of her words, but was otherwise motionless. Cameron saw the flinch and smiled a little ‘House was right, she isn’t deaf.’ Cameron finished her exam quickly. She jotted the stats down in the file and hurried back to the Diagnostic Medicine office. When she entered she saw Foreman and Chase were seated across from House, who had his legs propped up on the table.
”So what can you tell us?” House asked as she entered.
”Well, it’s not good. Her fever is not responding to normal antibiotics, and so far we’ve been unable to bring it down any. It’s stayed at 104 this whole time. Also, there’s a lot of tissue damage from the uh…abuse, and a lot of the area around the wounds is infected. I’m sure that the infection that she’s fighting now is from her injured back.” Cameron replied, laying the file down on the table so that Foreman and Chase could read it as well. Cameron then turned to House. “Also, I think that you were right, she’s not deaf.”
“I know.” He replied. “She’s autistic. Whoever diagnosed her as deaf was obviously lazy and didn’t feel like running tests.”
”Well, it is extremely hard to diagnose autism after the age of four…” Foreman began.
”No, it’s not. It just takes a little more work. Work that some doctor didn’t feel like taking the time to do. Foreman, run the standard tests for autism, Chase run another CBC and Chem-7 and take some blood cultures, I want to know what kind of infection we’re dealing with. Cameron, schedule her for an MRI. I want to be sure there are no other injuries that we aren’t aware of. Well, why are you still sitting there? Go!” With that said House limped off to his desk.
Three hours later found House still sitting at his desk.
”You find a good porn site?” Wilson asked as he walked into the room.
House looked up from the web page that had held his attention. “Yeah, you interested?” He smirked.
”No, not in the least. I heard you got a case.” Wilson smiled and sat down in the chair facing the desk.
”You have good spies, or did you force it out of one of my staff?” House replied, turning back to the computer screen.
”I ran into Cameron in the hall.” Wilson tried to look over House’s shoulders to see what was really on the computer but House maneuvered himself so that Wilson couldn’t see anything. “Ok, I know you’re not looking at porn, so what is it really?”
”I’m doing important research.” House replied offhandedly his eyes never leaving the computer screen. “And, you’re bothering me. Go away.”
”I just came to let you know what Cameron told me. They got the MRI done. The girl’s going to need surgery.” Wilson said, looking down at his hands, folded in his lap.
”What for?” House sighed.
”Some time in the last year or so somebody broke her kneecap. It was never repaired. I don’t know how she even managed to walk. It must have caused horrendous pain.” Wilson said with more then a little emotion slipping into his voice.
”Shit,” The reply was so quiet Wilson almost missed it. “It probably has something to do with her autism.”
”She’s autistic? I thought she was deaf.”
”Some idiot doctor who couldn’t care less decided that it would be easier if she were deaf. Autism fits. The lack of response, little to no eye contact, jerky random movements, unresponsive to pain and voices, it’s almost a textbook case of Autism.” House pulled himself up out of the chair and walked over to the board that was covered in scribbling.
”So what do you think she has?” Wilson asked after House had contemplated the board for a moment.
”Fever, nausea, she’s not eating. Her white blood count is normal though, that’s what’s weird.” House sighed and turned back towards Wilson.
”You don’t have any idea what it is?” Wilson asked surprised.
”I have a few ideas, but I need to have Foreman and Cameron to check a few things out first. I’m going to go see Kelly. If you see either of those two tell them to come find me.” With that said House limped out of the door and left a slightly stunned Wilson to watch him go.
House entered the quiet, softly lit room and glanced quickly around; making sure Mrs. Walton was gone. He saw one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs beside the bed, and slowly lowered himself into it. He watched as the small girl in the bed slept. Sighing, House leaned over his cane and closed his eyes.
”Who could do this to a child?” He asked the empty room. His words caused the slight form next to him to stir a little. ‘How could any doctor in his right mind miss the fact that she can HEAR?’ Another sigh escaped from him and he glanced at his watch. It had been a very long day and he really needed to get home. He knew that his leg would be bothering him soon, and decided that he didn’t care. Nothing in the world made him angrier then a doctor, who because it was faster, made the simple diagnosis without looking for all the possible causes. He flinched slightly as the glass door was slowly opened and Foreman and Cameron entered.
”Wilson said you needed us?” Cameron asked.
”It’s a little late, can it wait until tomorrow?” Foreman whined.
”Yeah, tomorrow, fine. Be sure to come see me first thing.” House said and turned back to the sleeping form in the bed.
”Are you ok?” Cameron asked with concern clearly written all over her face.
”I’m fine! Really. You can go.” He hadn’t meant to sound so harsh, but he was tired, and hurting and they were annoying him. Taking the hint both Cameron and Foreman hurried out of the room. When House looked back to Kelly he saw that she was awake and focused intently on the handle of his cane.
”You like this?” He asked softly, pushing the handle of the cane over to where her small hand lay on the bed. She traced the smooth curve of the handle, her fingers barely ghosting across the surface. A small smile made its way onto her lips. A loud crash down the hall made the smile disappear and she shoved the handle away, knocking the cane to the floor. She closed her eyes once again and feigned sleep.
”Great, “ House muttered as he contemplated reaching down for the cane. He knew the movement was going to cost him and was weighing his options when Wilson quietly entered the room.
”Need some help?” Wilson asked after surveying the scene in front of him.
”Would you pick it up for me if I said yes?” House snapped back.
”Maybe, it depends on if you say ‘please’” Wilson replied with a grin.
”Damn it, James,” House sighed. “Just help me out would you?”
”Well, since you asked so nicely.” Wilson walked over the chair and bent down to grab House’s errant cane. As soon as the cane was within House’s reach he grabbed it and levered himself out of the chair. He stood for a moment, trying to keep the sudden flare of pain from making him gasp. He limped carefully over to the door and shot Wilson what could be construed as a grateful glare. Wilson followed him as he made his way slowly down the hall.
The next morning found House sitting in his chair, again focused intently on the computer in front of him. Wilson walked in to see that the office was empty except for House.
”Where is everyone?” Wilson asked.
”I’ve got Foreman and Cameron checking out the old foster home for mice, and Chase is with the girl.” House replied quickly, never taking his eyes off of the computer.
”What is on there that has got you so interested?” Wilson asked again. He would never admit it, but his curiosity was making it hard to stand on the opposite side of the desk.
”Like I said, important research.” House clicked out of the site he was on and turned to his friend. “Why are you here?”
”No reason; just thought I’d check in.” Wilson replied with a small smile.
”Right, just checking in. When are you going to learn that you can’t avoid the questions with me?” House gave Wilson a smirk of his own.
”Fine, I’m interested. How could a doctor diagnose her as being deaf? Twenty years ago I could see that maybe, but less then ten years ago? No way.” Wilson looked at the white board that now had a different set of words on it. Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis was circled in black ink. “So that’s why you have Foreman and Cameron looking for mice. Have you started treatment?” After receiving a glare from House, Wilson smiled and replied, “Right, of course you have.”
”With the abuse, I thought that they probably didn’t keep her in a very nice place. Mice and rodents in general harbor the virus for life. If would have been easy for her to pick it up if she was in a room full of rats. They excrete it in their urine, feces, and when they sneeze. It fits, not perfectly, but tests can be wrong.”
”Right people lie, so do tests. Well I have real work that needs to be done, and you had better get down to the clinic if you don’t want Cuddy getting pissed with you again.” Wilson waved over his shoulder as he left the room.
Cameron and Foreman had stopped at the DCFS headquarters, located in downtown Princeton, to get the address of Kelly’s former foster parents. If the people working there had found the fact that two doctors were doing legwork odd they didn’t say anything about it. It had taken Cameron a good half an hour to finally get the information. She finally resorted to the “It could be contagious” line and that seemed to work. Now she and Foreman were driving up to a small farm. The field that they had passed was barren, even though it was spring, and Cameron had to wonder how this family was ever cleared as a foster family in the first place. The farmhouse was faded white and the paint was pealing from all the sides that Cameron could see. A screen door hung halfway off its hinges, and there were a few random animals wandering around the yard.
”What does House expect us to do here?” Foreman asked angrily as they pulled up the small dirt road that led to the house.
”He wants to see if there is a mouse infestation here to prove that she has Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis.” Cameron replied calmly.
”It’s a farm! Of course there’s gonna be mice!” Forman slouched further in his seat and Cameron couldn’t help but give him a small grin. “Besides this guy beat a kid who he thought was deaf and retarded. What do you think he’s going to do to us when we ask to see where he did it?”
”He’s not home.” Cameron replied coolly.
“And how do you know that?”
“No car in the driveway, besides I checked up on him. He works on a large corporate farm 50 miles from here Monday through Wednesday. He’s not home. I’m hoping his wife will be more accommodating then he would be.”
Foreman sighed and stepped out of the car as it pulled to a stop. Together they walked up to the dilapidated home and Cameron knocked tentatively on the doorframe, afraid if she did it too hard the whole door would fall off of its hinges onto her. After a moment of waiting, the sound of a person approaching the door could be heard.
Scared blue eyes looked out at them. The woman who the eyes belonged to looked as frail as the injured girl back at PPTH. “Can I help you?” Her voice was a frail as her body and Cameron immediately felt bad for this woman.
”Yes, Hi, I’m Dr. Alison Cameron, and this is Dr. Foreman. We are here because one of our patients used to live here. Kelly Shadore?” Cameron spoke up, trying her best to keep her tone light and friendly.
“Yeah, Kelly used to live here, she doesn’t any more. She’s been gone almost a week.” The woman replied.
”Yes, we know, but we were wondering if we could possibly look at where she used to sleep. She’s very sick, and we’re trying to find out what caused it.” Cameron gave the woman a small smile and prayed that this was the right approach.
”I’m sorry, but my husband, he wouldn’t like it.” A nervous glance to the road that led to the house made Cameron clench her fingers into fists.
”I’m sure, but we’re afraid that it may be contagious. If Kelly has it, it could be that you could get it too.” Cameron tried to make her words sound less like a threat and more like a concerned plea. At this the woman looked nervously around and then glanced to Foreman with more then a little trepidation.
”Fine, but you’d best make it quick.” She let the screen door open enough to just have them squeeze in, and proceeded to lead them down a sparsely lit hallway to a small door in the back of the main stairway. The doorway opened to a set of rickety steps that led into a damp basement.
”She stayed in the basement?” Foreman asked incredulously.
”Kelly always tried to run away. George just kept her down here so it was harder for her to get away.” The woman replied. Cameron then realized that they hadn’t asked her name. All Cameron knew was that she was Mrs. Makel. She led them over to another small door and when it was opened Cameron saw that a small cot filled it.
”Thank you Mrs. Makel, we’ll just be a minute.” Cameron told her as Foreman started searching the small space.
”I’ve got definite mouse infestation. House was right it is Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis.” Forman said after a moment of searching.
”Is that bad?” Mrs. Makel asked.
”Well it’s not good, but as long as you get rid of the mice, you and your husband should be fine.” Cameron replied. “I’m sorry we had to take up your time, we’ll be going now.”
Cameron and Foreman beat a quick retreat to their car, and once on the road again Foreman made a quick call to House.
Chase looked at the monitors again and sighed. Things were not looking good. Kelly’s fever had not abated, if anything it seemed to be getting worse, and she now refused all food and water. If she didn’t start eating and drinking soon they were going to have to give her a feeding tube. Mrs. Walton had not reappeared, and while Chance expected it, it still angered him. People who fostered children like this should not be allowed to be arrogant asses. Chase looked up in surprise when he heard the telltale sound of House entering the room.
”How is she?” House asked gruffly.
”Not so good, her fever hasn’t gone down and she’s not eating.” Chase replied, wondering why it was the crazy ones that always interested House.
”I just got a call from Foreman, it’s Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis, they found a huge mouse infestation at her last home.” House looked at the frail figure lying in the bed and then back to Chase. “You can go, I’ll sit with her for a bit.”
The sensation that was as familiar as breathing to her. She slowly came to awareness but kept her eyes closed. Opening up her senses she listened to the room move around her. There was a rumbling noise off to her left that was soothing and colored her vision with a soft teal. Colors one thing that she knew well. Her whole world was a color. Pulling her consciousness towards the sound, her brain filtered the other sounds out, and she recognized that the noise was a voice.
The thought entered her head before she could stop it. She fought down the idea that something nice might be near her. She never had anything nice. The sound suddenly stopped and she involuntarily opened her eyes. She wanted to know where it went.
“I see you’re awake.” The noise said. Teal filled her vision again and a small sigh escaped her lips. Teal was a good color. It was nothing like the angry blood red that caused her so much pain. That was a bad noise. She allowed the noise to enter her brain slowly and the words became meaning. The noise, no the voice, was talking to her. Should she respond?
Her body reminded her of what responding caused.
Thoughts and feelings filtered in one by one, and she tried to make meaning of all of them. She slowly rolled her head towards the voice. It was Him. The one with the smooth. Smooth what, her brain asked. She reached for the side of the bed, and her fingers met the smooth. She liked the hardness and smoothness all combined. The width was perfect for her fingers to wrap slowly around.
She gave a small smile. It was nice, and there was no pain, well at least not the fire that she had come to know whenever she was fine.
”You like my cane, huh?” the voice entered her brain again and she smiled again at the teal that filled her vision. Should she respond? So far the nice hadn’t gone away. She carefully pulled her fingers into her palm and made a small fist. Lifting her arm just a little she brought her fist down in a quick, smooth motion. ‘Yes.’ The sign was an easy one, she knew it was right, but there was no response from the voice. She frowned a little, missing the nice teal that she was growing more and more fond of. ‘Yes’ she signed again.
”Wait, that’s a sign! Um, it’s yes, right?” Filtering the words, and trying hard to not get lost in the teal she signed it again. ‘yes.’
It entered her thoughts again, and this time she could not ignore the fact that it was growing. The pain in her knee and her back was growing into a white-hot agony. She considered signing for help, but didn’t know if she would be punished for it.
She retreated back into her gray world where these things would not be felt. As she drifted away the teal faded to gray and she felt a great sense of loss.
House had been sitting and talking to Kelly for almost an hour. He told her about his issues with Cuddy and the Clinic and how she was getting him out of Clinic Duty. He also told her about some of the strange cases he had seen over the years, and he found that when you didn’t know if the person was listening or not, it was a lot easier to talk. When he paused for a minute he saw that Kelly was awake. And looking at him.
“I see you’re awake.” He said softly trying to keep her attention on him. He was really worried about her. So far their treatment hadn’t worked. Her fever was still lingering around 103 and they had been unable to get her to eat anything. House watched as wandering fingers found his cane that was again propped against the edge of the bed. When they softly closed around it he saw a smile ghost across her face and he had to smile a little himself.
”You like my cane, huh?” For some reason talking to her didn’t seem like a waste of time. A look of deep concentration on her face made him look more closely at her. When she brought up one frail arm and folded her fingers into a fist he almost jumped out of his chair. She was trying to communicate, or at least she was trying to do something. When she brought the fist down in a “nod” he thought quickly to the web pages he had been researching for the past few days. A fist that was used to “nod” was the sign for yes.
“Wait, that’s a sign! Um, it’s yes, right?” he asked quickly when he was granted another “nod” from her fist. He almost cheered when he received the sign a third time. He was about to ask her another question when he saw a wave of pain flow across her face. Her eyes glazed over and the tension in her body could almost be felt.
“Kelly? Kelly! What’s wrong?” He turned to the monitors over her bed and his heart hell. Her blood pressure was dropping and when he reached a hand over to feel her forehead, the heat that he felt told him that her fever was spiking. “Shit!”
House sat, somewhat slumped in his chair. He looked up briefly as Wilson entered the room.
”I heard.” Was all he offered. House nodded and looked back up.
”It’s not Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis, it can’t be. She’s still getting worse. It fit. It was perfect.” House sighed and thought to all the times he had had this conversation with the man standing before him.
”It looked viral. Everything fit. I have Cameron and Foreman testing for bacterial infection, and Chase looking for anything else. They’ll be back soon. You want to hang around? At this point I don’t want to rule anything out.” He sighed again and turned to the computer. Wilson took this as his sign to leave. He walked over to the conference room and poured himself a cup of coffee. This case was really getting to House. He knew why, but it still made him feel bad. House had a soft spot for kids, even if he didn’t want to admit it to himself. The fact that this girl had not only been severely abused, but misdiagnosed as well was a perfect combination for House’s intense desire to see her cured.
A few minutes passed in relative silence, and then the three younger doctors came back. House entered the room only moments after they had seated themselves with mugs of coffee.
”What do you have?” He asked.
”Well, it’s not a common bacteria if it is a bacteria,” Cameron offered.
”I couldn’t find any other physical cause, and I looked over the MRI again, there’s nothing there to indicate a physical problem.” Chase said.
”Ok, so it’s not viral, and it’s not another systemic cause, so what kinds of bacteria can cause this?” House asked.
”It could be Typhoid Fever.” Chase offered.
“No cough, and no other signs, and her blood tested negative.” Cameron replied.
“Tests can be wrong,” House offered “But I don’t think it’s Typhoid.”
“What about that weird infection, the one caused by drinking un-pasteurized cow’s milk?” Foreman asked.
“Gibraltar fever?” Chase asked.
”Right, Brucellosis.” House said. “That’s got to be it. Cameron you said that she used to live on a farm right?”
“Yeah, she was locked in the basement.”
“I don’t care about that part. I think that they were just feeding her the milk straight from the cows, it’s cheep, easy, and lets them spend the money that the state gives for her food for something more important to them. Start her on Doxycycline 100mg po bid, and Streptomycin 1 g IM.” House looked around the table once more and then limped back into his office.
Kelly’s mind tried to work around the loss of the two things that had been constants for so long. With a tentative touch on consciousness she wiled the gray away. Allowing herself to drift up from the foggy safe world that she inhabited more often then not. She kept her eyes closed and just listened to the colors in the room. There was a deep gold and a brilliant cerulean blue that filled the room. They were shortly joined by a powerful plum that mixed happily with the other two colors. Kelly could tell that these three colors worked well together and sighed happily at the interplay of light and color that flashed before a screen of black. She liked these colors, but missed the calm smoothness of the teal that she had come to like. Cautiously inching her hand over to the edge of the bed she felt for the smooth object that seemed to be a part of the teal. When her fingers met air she had to keep herself from making a noise of disappointment. She had learned early on that making noises was not a good thing. All they brought was more pain.
She carefully took stock of her body. Her knee was still painful, but only in an annoying way. To her pain was life, and without it she would be lost. Her head no longer pounded, but her whole body ached. The heat that she had noticed was missing wasn’t really missing, but it was much reduced. She continued her internal investigation until she found the wounds on her back. They felt different somehow, scratchy and not as hot as they had been before. She shifted slightly to test this new feeling, and decided that it wasn’t at all bad. She pushed her mind closer to awareness and tried to listen to the three people she knew were in the room, but they were either speaking a language she didn’t understand, or speaking in rhymes.
She liked riddles. One of the places she remembered had riddles, a little book full of words that when put together made wonderful puzzles that diverted her mind for hours. She would figure them out quickly, and then analyze every aspect of the puzzle. She liked puzzles. The Bad Place didn’t have books, and she found that she missed the small marks on a page that she had learned to decipher by watching the other foster children struggle through homework, and essays. To her words were almost sacred. A secret to never let on that she knew. There must be a reason they never taught her to read. It must be bad for her to do it. She tried very hard to not be bad; being bad only brought pain. That was an easy lesson to learn. The harder one was why not being bad also brought pain. The Bad Place had taught her that. She pulled herself out of her mental ramblings and listened to the three voices in the room. They still were muffled and funny sounding. She sighed and slipped back into the gray place, but kept her ears open for any signs of teal.
Foreman and Chase had been checking on Kelly when Cameron had entered the room.
“Hey guys, how is she?” she asked as Foreman and Chase looked up.
“Getting better. Her temp’s down to 101 and her heart rate and B.P. seem to indicate that she’s much calmer. I’m hoping that means that she’s not in as much pain.” Chase replied. Cameron cut him short as he made to tell her more.
“That’s good, but look I just came from a meeting with a woman from DCFS, Cuddy and House. The DCFS lady wanted to know if the surgery for Kelly’s knee is really necessary. House is throwing a fit. I can see where he is coming from, but DCFS doesn’t want to pay for it, and Cuddy can’t promise that the hospital will pay for it. It seems like they think she’s just a waste of time.”
“What?! If she doesn’t have the surgery then she’ll be in pain, terrible pain, whenever she has to walk!” Foreman blurted incredulously.
“I know that, House knows that, but their plan is to lock her up in some institution where she’ll be kept ‘calm,’ which I take to mean drugged and tied up.” Cameron replied sadly.
“Are you joking? We can’t let this happen! She’s autistic, not retarded. She’ll be aware of all that is happening to her!” Chase was becoming more and more annoyed the more he heard.
“We all know that, but with her being completely unresponsive it’s really hard to prove. There’s not definitive test for autism, and I get the feeling that unless she’s a savant, the people at DCFS aren’t going to find any reason to change their minds.” Cameron spat. Like Chase this whole issue was bothering her greatly. Just because Kelly didn’t respond to people didn’t mean that she deserved to be dumped into an institution and kept drugged.
“She was severely abused! Even in non-autistic children that can cause psychological withdraw. She was traumatized and extremely sick!” Foreman had to admit that there was something about the girl in the bed in front of them that made everyone who knew her, even a little bit, to want to protect her. He knew that somehow, this silent frail girl had managed to get to House. That impressed him.
At that moment House entered the room. He looked at the three younger doctors, and quickly assessed the situation. He saw Cameron and Chase’s postures, and took in the surly pissed off look on Foreman’s face. He nodded to them, and then made his way to the chair at the side of the bed.
“So, Cameron filled you both in.” It was not a question. House propped his cane against the side of the bed with the handle facing inwards.
“We have to do something! This is no better then the abuse she suffered under that bastard who kept her locked up!” Chase snapped.
“I know.” His voice was resigned. He’d just gotten finished having this discussion with Cuddy and some bitch named Wyett from DCFS. He remembered her vaguely from the case with the schizophrenic mother and the kid. “Cuddy is willing to cover the costs, but DCFS won’t sign unless we can prove that she really needs it. According to them she didn’t act as if she was in pain when she walked. Those morons don’t understand the first thing about autism. So. How are we going to get her to come out of her shell long enough to tell us where it hurts?”
Foreman looked around, and when no one else offered any solutions he spoke up. “There are some experimental treatments, supplements that can help. A few drugs that have shown promising results, but I’m not totally convinced that this is all because of her autism. She lost her mother at a very young age. She was shipped from foster home to foster home, and I’m sure this last one wasn’t the only bad one she got put in. Everyone thought she was a deaf retard and then she was abused. A normal child would be severely traumatized from something like that, add autism and you’ve got what we see here.”
“So you’re saying we should just give up?!” Cameron asked, more then a hint of annoyance in her voice.
“No, not at all. This is just going to be a lot harder then you think. What we really need is a person she likes…” Foreman trailed off as he looked over at the bed. Kelly was awake and looking right at House. Her left hand had wrapped itself around the head of his cane, and her thumb was tracing patterns on the smooth wood. “House.”
House looked over and saw what Foreman did. He gave her a flash of a smile, and covered Kelly’s hand with his own. She looked down at the touch and then glanced around the room before closing her eyes again.
“Looks, like I was wrong.” Foreman smirked. “Seems as if she likes at least one of us.”
House shot him a glare that should have dropped him dead on the spot.
“Get out of here and page Wilson. I need to talk to him.”
Kelly’s eyes opened the second the others left. As the colors faded, only teal was left. A small smile drifted onto her lips. House saw it and sighed.
“Why’d you pick me?” He asked her softly, “I’m just a cranky, old, crippled, bastard.” He watched as a look of concentration covered her face. She then gave a gentle tug and pulled her hand out from under his. She placed her left palm up and ran her right hand over it twice. When House didn’t reply, she tried again.
“I know, I know. Give me a minute. I’m new at this signing thing.” House growled at her, but it wasn’t his usual condescending tone. It instead held a note of playfulness. She looked up at him and repeated the sign a third time.
“Good?” He asked and got a small shake of the head in reply. “Yes it is, that’s the sign for good.”
“Actually, no, it’s not.” House jumped a little as Wilson made his presence known.
“Ok then Mr. Smarty-Pants, what does it mean?” House snarked at his friend.
“Riiight.” He looked over at Kelly. “You think I’m ‘nice?’”
“So, she does talk.” Wilson said.
“Yeah, too bad I don’t speak her language.” House watched her for another moment and then turned to Wilson. “How the heck did you know what she was signing?”
“I watch TV.” Wilson offered.
“I’m the smart-ass here Wilson.”
“No really, there’s this show that Julie made me watch called Sue Thomas F.B.Eye. It’s about a deaf FBI agent. I learned a few signs from it.”
“It sounds like Julie isn’t the only one who likes the show.” House said with a smirk.
“What can I say? The lead actress is a hot blonde.”
Taruia - December 31, 2005 06:59 AM (GMT)
House sat with Kelly for another 45 minutes until she finally dropped off into sleep. Getting up out of the chair proved difficult, and House grimaced as his leg told him what it though about sitting for so long in the horrible plastic chair. During the 45 minutes House had been able to get Kelly to sign three words to him. “Yes,” “Nice,” and “No.” It was a start, but she had been unwilling to talk about herself at all. She would answer any number of questions about him, or the nurses who visited frequently, but if he even approached a question about her, she clammed up. She also seemed unwilling to talk to anyone but him. When Wilson had asked her a few questions, it was as if he wasn’t even in the room. As frustrating as it was, House had to admit it was mildly funny that out of all the people who had visited her, Kelly had chosen him.
When he arrived back in his office, Cuddy and the annoying woman from DCFS were there waiting for him.
”Ah, Doctor Cuddy, come to tell me you won’t let me treat my patients again?” He asked acidly.
”Actually Dr. House, Mrs. Wyett has signed the consent for Kelly to have the surgery.” Cuddy replied with a smirk.
“But…?” House asked
“But, you have to agree to continue working with her after the surgery. So far you’re the only person who can get through to her, and Mrs. Wyett would like to see if Kelly can testify against her foster parents.” Cuddy seemed positively gleeful at the idea of him having to work with a patient.
“Ummm…no. I’m not a shrink or a babysitter. I don’t even know Sign Language.” He replied.
“The DCFS would be willing to have you go to classes in order to learn Sign, and as far as not being a psychiatrist, Kelly has been to 3 of them, and she didn’t respond at all.” The annoying Mrs. Wyett found it important to speak up. House gave her a glare before turning back to Cuddy.
“If you do this, I’ll let you off clinic hours while you’re helping.” She said after a moment of thought.
House signed and limped over to his desk. Lowering himself into the chair, he looked up at the two women before him. Would it really be so bad to try and help this girl? He knew that learning ASL wouldn’t be too much of a problem. How hard could waving your hands around be? He drummed his fingers against the edge of the desk and finally looked back up at Cuddy.
“Fine.” He said, “Now, let me get back to work.”
“I’ll set up some lessons with an ASL interpreter,” Mrs. Wyett added as she walked out the door. Cuddy remained behind for a moment and gave him a glare.
“You aren’t just doing this to get out of clinic duty are you?” She asked after a moment.
“Of course I am,” he waved his hand dismissively at her and she sighed and took off after the DCFS lady. He waited a few moments and then turned to his computer. He opened a page on the Internet and picked a site from his bookmarks. The heading of the page read “Cure Autism Now” House shifted slightly and began reading.
2 days later and House found himself standing in front of a high school. “Never thought I’d ever go in one of these again,” he thought ruefully. He saw 3 other people entering through a side door and decided to follow. After entering the building he found himself in a large lobby. He took a quick glance around and spotted a sign that read, “SEE Classes” and had an arrow pointing down a long hallway. House followed the signs, past a computer lab and the library. Then he ran into a problem. Steps. Only 8, but that was just enough to make him balk at the idea of climbing them. As he stood there contemplating the options a very young looking girl came up next to him. She gave him a small smile and pointed back the way he had come.
“There’s a ramp over there. Just make a left when you hit the dead end.” With that, she hopped down the steps and headed into a classroom near the end of the hall. House sighed and went to look for the ramp. Reaching the T junction at the bottom, he made a left and found himself standing at a classroom that had a big red sign on the door that read “DHH Classroom.” Next to that was a smaller sign that read “SEE Class in Here.” Pulling the door open, House saw that there were only four other people in the room. He carefully lowered himself into a desk and was mildly surprised to see that the young girl was in fact the instructor of the class. A few moments passed in awkward silence as House and the three other students eyed each other up.
“OK, looks like everyone is here, so introductions. I’m Erin Cale. I’m a student here, and I have a slight hearing impairment. I’ve been signing since I was 6, and I’m fluent in both SEE and ASL. Because of my hearing issues I just ask that you look at me whenever you talk. I’m a decent lip reader, so even if I can’t hear you, I’ll usually get what you’re saying. So how about you? Tell us your name and why you’re here.” She looked over to the youngest member of the class, a boy that looked no older than 12.
“I’m John, and my sister is deaf, so I thought I’d learn.” Erin then pointed to the only other woman in the class.
“I’m Natalie, and I teach special education, and this year I have two deaf students.” Next was the older man on House’s left.
“I’m Mike, and I’ve always wanted to learn how to sign.” Then it was his turn. Unlike the other three, House didn’t stand.
“My name is Greg House and I have an autistic patient who is non verbal.”
“Great. So, the basics. SEE is just like what it says, 'Signed Exact English.' It’s not American Sign Language, which is a language all to itself. SEE is a lot easier for people who are not deaf to learn, because it all comes from spoken English.” Erin paused for a moment and then began searching through her backpack. Removing a few papers, she passed them out.
“What I just gave you is the manual alphabet. You need to learn this first, simply because any sign you don’t know you will have to spell out. Also, the manual alphabet is used for creating name signs. All a name-sign is is a quick sign that can replace spelling out your whole name. Mine is...” She raised her right hand and brought her thumb to her palm and pulled her fingers into a bent position. Using her hand that was bent, she brought it up to her right shoulder and tapped it twice. “That’s my name sign. It’s the letter ‘e’ tapped twice. So now whenever you want to address me, you can use that sign.” She paused again.
House looked down at the paper. Some of the letters made sense, like “a”, “c”, and “d.” Others, however, were very strange, like “q” and “g.”
“Why don’t you all go through the alphabet and then work on your name-sign. Remember it should be a quick, easy to remember sign.”
House looked at the paper and tried to get his fingers to form into the foreign shapes. When he reached the letter “K”, he paused. The picture wasn’t very helpful. Erin bounced over and gave him a smile. He scowled back.
“Here, this is ‘K’.” She brought her hand up and left only her index and middle fingers straight. She then shifted the middle finger to be slightly in fount of her index finger and placed her thumb in the space between them.
“’K’ is actually one of the hardest letters,” she said with a smile. “Have you
thought up a name-sign yet?”
“No,” he stated. She was far too cheerful for his liking.
“You’re a doctor, right?”
“Great! Then I have the perfect sign.” She took her right hand and made the letter “g.” It looked a lot like pointing to the left. She then brought her right hand into her left wrist.
“That’s the sign for doctor, except signed with a ‘g’ instead of a ‘d’!” She bounced away and House tried the sign. 'It’s a lot like taking a pulse,' he thought, 'maybe that’s where the sign came from.'
The rest of the class was spent practicing the alphabet. While it was slightly harder than he had expected, House had the letters memorized much more quickly than the other 3 in the class. As the class came to an end, Erin spoke up in her far too happy voice.
“OK! Good work! Practice the alphabet for next week and then we’ll work on simple signs.” The three other students stood quickly and left. House gathered himself more slowly. Sitting for an hour did not make his leg happy. Hauling himself to his feet and pulled. He reached into his pocket and dry-swallowed a pill. He looked up to see Erin watching him.
“Why are you taking this class?” She asked after a moment, “And don’t tell me it’s because you’re a nice guy, I can tell you aren’t.” House did a slight double take. Was he that obvious?
“Maybe it’s because I care about my patients,” he snapped.
“Maybe you do, but why go to all the trouble of learning sign?” she asked, “I’m not asking this to pry. I’m asking because I’m interested. Not many people like you take SEE classes from a high school student.”
“My boss is letting me out of a duty that I really hate to come here.” He admitted after a moment, “But that’s not the only reason.”
“Right, well, you seem to be picking things up faster than the other 3, so if you’re interested, I can teach you privately. Don’t think is is all for you either. I can see that it would not be a good idea to let you get bored.” She smirked at him, she loved messing with adults, and he was making it way too easy.
“Could you come to PPTH? If it’s at all possible, I’d like someone to work with my patient as well.”
“Ah, so you do care.” She said with an ear-to-ear grin.
“Yeah, well don’t tell anyone. I have to keep up the cranky bastard role.”
“Right, well your secret’s safe with me. I’ll see if I can work something out. Can you come back tomorrow, I have a free period where we can work out a schedule.”
House agreed, and left a smiling Erin standing in the doorway. As he headed back to his car he had to wonder what he had just gotten himself into.
Kelly woke slowly. It was harder then normal to brush back the gray. As awareness came again, all the colors in her view were muted and a gray haze lingered at the edges of her vision. She tried to call up the events that had occurred after the teal had left, but all that she could find was a dark hole in her memory. A slight panic overtook her. Never before had she lost time like this. Yes, hours were spent in the gray world, but those hours could be counted and if she tried she could find the events that had occurred around her during her time in the safe place. Seeing a spot of color approaching, she closed her eyes and slowed her breathing. The spot came, made some noise, touched her gently in a few places, and receded. When all traces of the color had faded from the room Kelly re-opened her eyes and took in her surroundings. This was a different room then the last one. The windows were at a different place, and she was pretty sure that she was now farther up in the building. There were more monitors now, and her left leg was suspended in a sling. She was enthralled by the contraption that held her leg in place, and for a moment she just stared at it. She tried to piece together what should have caused this strange thing to be put there. Then surprise hit her. She didn’t have any pain! Where was it? Why had it left her? Again she was gripped by a panic and this time one of the monitors picked up on it. Another person flitted into the room and Kelly couldn’t hide the fact that she was awake.
“Oh, so you are awake. Good thing, we were beginning to worry. I think Dr. House just got back. I’ll go call him.” The person fluttered back out, and Kelly was left to make sense of her words.
‘House.’ She though. The color teal flashed through her mind. House was the name of the teal. A small smile slipped onto her lips and she sighed, content. If he was coming everything would be alright.
After a wait that seemed to take forever, Kelly saw a hint of teal, and heard the uneven steps that told her that the...House was there. It was going to be hard to think of him by that name. It was such a funny name. That thought filled her mind until she heard him enter the room, he was alone. That was good. Kelly was still a little confused and the gray had not gone away yet, she didn’t want to sort through the different colors and voices that came along with a group of people.
She heard a chair being pulled across the floor and then a soft sigh as House sat.
*You House* she signed spelling out the letters to his name. Her hands felt slow and clumsy as she tried to mold them into the letters. It had been a long time since she had felt safe enough to talk to someone. She still couldn’t totally understand why she felt safe with House. Yes, he had a good color, and he had a nice smooth...something...but why was that enough?
“Can you say that again?” House asked her. While she has been pondering her slow fingers and him, House had been trying to translate what she had signed to him. She gave him another tentative smile and House couldn’t help but feel as if it was like the same smile that he gave to people who just didn’t get it.
She nodded. *H...o...u...s...e*
“H...o...u...s...e, I’m House?”
“Where did you hear that? He asked with a hint of surprise in his voice.
“O...r...s...n...g...e that isn’t a word.”
“OrAnge. Orange, what’s orange?”
*Talk me House*
“Orange told you my name was House?”
“You talk to fruit?”
“C...o...l...o...r, the color orange told you?”
“I don’t understand.”
*House...t...e...a...l. Talk me House Orange*
“Wait. You associate people with colors?”
*Yes, you no? *
“No, most people don’t, but that’s ok, if anything it makes life more interesting. You said I’m teal?” He tried to reassure her. He had been told by the annoying DCFS lady that if Kelly suspected that she was doing anything wrong she would tend to withdraw back into her private world, and House didn’t want that to happen.
“Huh. I would have thought I’d be a nice black, or maybe gray.” He said with a small twitch of his lips that could have been a smile.
*No, gray no good...gray BAD* Kelly had to smile a little. It was fun trying to talk with House. For the first time in a long time, she was fully aware of what was going on around her, and there was no pain to dull the nice feeling of being fully awake.
“Oh, gray’s bad. Ok.” House looked at Kelly’s elevated leg. “Does your leg hurt
“Are you sure?”
“So hurt...gone? It hurt before?”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Ok, something hurt. I didn’t understand that first word.” House was annoyed. He needed to be able to talk to her, and here he was stumbling over any word that wasn’t yes or no. He realized then what a good idea the private lessons would be.
“More? More hurt if you said it hurt?”
*More hurt a...l...w...a...y...s*
“Always” he whispered the word, anger threatening again. “Who Kelly? Who hurt
“Red. Ok. You don’t know their name?”
*Red...bad...no red? *
“No, you don’t have to worry. He can’t hurt you anymore.” Kelly have him a wan smile that suddenly turned to a grimace. “Kelly? You ok?”
“Ok, hold on.” House pushed himself up and checked over the IV. It was then that he noticed the problem. Kelly hadn’t used the pump for morphine. ‘Of course! She wouldn’t understand.’ House mentally kicked himself and pressed the button that released the drug into Kelly’s bloodstream.
“It’s ok now, I’m sorry Kelly.” He sat down at her side again and placed his cane’s handle where so she could grip it. Within moments her fingers had wrapped around it and her eyes closed as she drifted off with the drug.
The next day found House once again staring at the front of a high school. Somehow Wilson had found out where he was going, and had given him a hard time about it earlier that morning. House had to grin a little as he remembered the conversation. Wilson certainly could hold his own when it came to smart ass remarks. Today it had been “What, back in High School and still not getting any?” After receiving a glare that could melt steel, Wilson had retreated, leaving House to come up with some excuse to give to Cameron, Foreman, and Chase. He didn’t think they bought it, but he also didn’t really care.
Looking at the school he had to note what a difference a few days could make. When he had entered the building on Saturday it has seemed almost spooky with the loneliness it exuded. Now it was anything but spooky. It was bustling with students hurrying to get to homeroom on time, and House felt even more out of place among all the active bodies. He found the office easily enough, and approached the desk slowly, wanting to prolong the inevitable. He knew that he would have to enter the mass of students filling the halls sooner or later, but if it was all the same he preferred later. A tall read head was standing behind the desk and gave him a small smile as he approached.
“Can I help you?” She asked.
“Um, yeah, I’m Dr. House. I’m here to see…” he had to think a second before “perky’s” name came to mind, “Erin Cale.”
“Oh, sure, just fill out this sheet, and grab a visitor’s sticker. Do you know where to go?” The red head asked.
“Is it the same place that the SEE lessons are held?”
“Yep. Do you want someone to escort you?” she asked looking around, presumably for a student aid.
“No, I think I can manage thinks.” With that he took one of the annoyingly red stickers, and placed it on his bag. As he entered the large open area in front of the office he could see that this part of the building was much newer then the part where he had been the other day. He saw one of the SEE signs hanging halfway off the wall, and quickly oriented himself. As he limped down the hall he saw all the strange looks that kids were giving him, but surprisingly they weren’t of pity, and most kids weren’t looking at his limp or cane, but the fact that he was a strange adult entering their domain. He pondered this until he almost ran into a dark haired girl in a power wheelchair.
”Oh, I’m sorry.” He stuttered, and moved aside.
”It’s ok.” She replied. Her speech was slow, and a little hard to understand, and as House made a cursory glance at her hands and her jerky motions he assumed that she suffered from cerebral palsy. She smiled at him and continued on her way.
In the short time that it took him to find the hallway that led by the library he saw two other students in wheelchairs, and another group wildly signing to each other. ‘What is this place? A special education school?’ He thought, but while there were a lot of special students, they were still a minority. He stopped at the large doors leading to the library. He was 30 minutes early, and he hadn’t been in a high school library in many years. ‘It could be interesting.’ He thought. He went to enter the library but was met with a fairly large set of steps. Counting them quickly and coming up with 14, he decided that it wasn’t worth it. He was about to turn away when a short lady with blond hair waved at him.
“There is another door down further, if you don’t want to deal with the stairs,” she said. He was about to politely decline when she hurried up the stairs. “Here, I’ll show you.”
She led the way to a door about halfway down the ramp that he had used the time he was here before. There was a classroom that led to another door, which in turn led into the library. He had to admit, it was a fairly large library, and a huge collection of computers filled the middle area.
“Thanks.” He said after a moment.
“Sure thing, and if you need anything else feel free to ask.” She said with a smile, and House couldn’t help but get the feeling that she was flirting just a little. He turned to the non-fiction section and browsed the science section, pleased to find a large number of advanced texts. ‘At least schools are teaching something good now.’ He thought. He then took a tour of the fiction section, seeing if there was anything good there. ‘Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, The Stranger…’ They were mostly books in the curriculum. Getting a little bored, he took another glance at his watch and decided that 15 minutes wasn’t too early. Finding the door to the hallway he made his way to the classroom. ‘God, I hated high school the first time,’ He thought again as he knocked once before opening the door.
As House entered the room it was as if he had stepped into another world. A world where sound no longer had a place and hands were dancing through the air. He felt horribly out of place. He glanced around quickly and didn’t see Erin, and he almost jumped as a voice broke the spell of the room.
"Are you Greg House?" The woman who belonged to the voice asked.
"Yes, I'm here to see, um, Erin," he had to keep himself from stuttering. He hadn't felt this strange since the first day he had walked back into work with his new limp and cane.
"Well Erin is finishing up with an essay, so you can just find a seat and she will be with you in a minute." With that said the woman turned back to the student she had been talking with and once more the room was silent. House made his way over to one of the uncomfortable desks and carefully lowered himself into the seat.
A more careful observation of the room revealed three sections. One was obviously a reading area. Tall book shelves lines three sides and a huge table was lined with soft looking chairs. Six elementary students and a tall, thin, older girl currently occupied this area. The older girl was reading to the young kids, and even though House didn’t understand the signs he found himself watching with rapt attention. The way that the girl signed, it was almost possible to understand what was going on. After another moment she seemed to change. No longer was she the storyteller. She was just another teen chatting with a group of kids. The younger students stood with a loud scraping of chairs. Fingers and hands once again started flying through the air as they lined up to leave. Putting the fist section aside for a moment, House surveyed the second part, and spotted Erin. She was hunched over a keyboard, quickly flicking through a book and typing at breakneck speed. She sat at one of the many computers that lined the wall. House was sitting in the third part of the room, and the only part that looked like a classroom. Erin interrupted his observation of the room.
“Dr. House! Glad you made it,” once again her far too happy demeanor began to grate on his nerves. He gave her a small nod, and gave the room a final glance.
“Yeah. So, you said something about a schedule? I do have to get back to work.” He replied shortly. He wasn’t going to give anything to this kid. He noticed that today Erin was wearing hearing aids, and she smiled at him as he noticed.
“With school, it’s just easier,” she said as an explanation. “There are too many people talking all the time.”
House was about to say something scathing when a loud bell interrupted him. The teacher he had spoken to went over to the door, and flicked the lights. Heads went up all around the room, and after glances at the clock, more then half of the students headed for the door. All the elementary kids lined up inside the room, and within moments they were collected and led off to…wherever.
“Don’t worry, I’m here for the next period,” Erin said with another smile. “I also talked to my teachers and they said I can leave for 7th period, that’s the last period, as long as I can get a note from you. So, whenever works for you works for me.”
House thought for a moment about the best way to miss the least amount of interesting TV, and agreed that “7th period” would be a good time for Erin to come and help Kelly. With that figured out, House wanted to get a quick lesson before heading back to the hospital.
“Oh, before I go, can you teach me how to sign colors?” he asked it in a way that made it seem almost unimportant, but Erin was too smart for her own good.
“Colors?” That’s not something that is usually taught first.” She gave him a look that clearly said that she wanted to know more.
“Kelly, she sees people in colors, it’s called synesthesia, I figured it would be a good thing to know.”
“Sure, it’s not a problem, colors are fairly simple if you know your alphabet,” she proceeded to show him the various colors.
The signs for blue, green, purple, and yellow made sense. Red was less obvious, a pointer finger on the chin, and gray was even more complicated, hands with fingers splayed were passes over in front of each other.
“Is there a sign for teal?” he asked after he was fairly confidant with the others.
“No, not really, more specific colors are just spelled out,” Erin explained.
“Fine, I can do that.” He glanced up at the clock, and saw that more time had passed then he realized. “I have to be going. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Sure thing! I’ll be there at 2:20 at the latest.” She smiled and waved as he stalked out of the room. She sighed only after she was sure he was gone. ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ she wondered as she found her way to her next class.
Magdala - December 31, 2005 01:28 PM (GMT)
It is wonderful. I started reading it in 2005 and, stopping for a coffee a moment ago, discovered it was 2006 and I had forgotten to watch the fireworks on Sydney Harbour. That gives you an indication of the power of this story. I have not yet finished and will get back to you when I have.
A very Happy New Year in 2006 you write superbly.
Magdala - December 31, 2005 10:32 PM (GMT)
Righto. I like the story and I am delighted to discover there is plenty more to come. I loved the revelation of House's kindness in the SOCRATIC episode and I love it here.
You give so much insight into his intellect which I honestly think is the most interesting part of him. I love the way he opens up to his patient, how he reaches the colour association. Their mutual understanding of pain and suppression of their reaction to pain adds to our knowledge of House.
You have incorporated a complex diagnosis in a completely believable way. You have obviously done a heap of research but seed in the material with such care that it is never preachy and serves to drive the story onward. No actor would be screaming "this is all exposition" because you interpret it into the drama with stelth and elegance.
I love the way you have opened up the mind of a shut-in soul to us. The patient is lovable, fascinating and brave. I think you are doing something very important for those who read this story because you are giving them a way of understanding people who are considered unworthy of understanding of unable to be understood.
Taru this is beautiful work. May we see more of your writing please.
Taruia - January 1, 2006 04:20 PM (GMT)
I'm glad that you like this fic. I too love to see the softer side of House, and even though I love reading hurt/comfort, I'm horrible at writing it...don't know why. This is the standard piece for me, original character who ends up having a big role, making the real characters of the show a little out of character, but in a good way, and not perfectly happy endings...just warning you. I don't think anyone will die in this one, but I'm not going to have it be really sappy...lol.
I have a fairly good idea of where I want to take this thing, but it's getting there that's going to be interesting. I want to incorporate certain elements, and right now they aren't playing well together...lol. The next scene is giving me a lot of trouble, because I'm not sure where I want to go with it, because it's an important scene.
About Kelly, I have a firend who is autistic, and well he is the model for her, he's VERY high functioning, but even that isn't saying much, I also see Kelly as very hugh functioning, but because of all the abuse, and other issues, she's withdrawn into herself. That's another point I don't know much about, because it's kinda hard to do research on autistic abuse cases, so I kinda have to play it by ear...lol.
There are also a lot of places in this fic that I have to go back and make more clear, or add too, or other things, this is a very rough draft, but that's why it's in the WIP thread!
Auditrix - January 1, 2006 06:10 PM (GMT)
I'm so glad you've picked this back up!
Taruia - January 2, 2006 12:34 AM (GMT)
Another part for you all to enjoy. First real new stuff on this fic for forever! LOL!
House had returned to the hospital to find that Kelly had been taken to the fifth floor for physical therapy. That presented a small problem, namely that House refused to go anywhere near the fifth floor, and that section in particular. So, he was sitting on the edge of Kelly’s bed trying to figure out how to find out what was going on without getting too close to that restricted part of the hospital. He thought about asking one of his minions to go check, but that plan was quickly dismissed. They would ask far too many questions, and they weren’t worth the time or effort that would be involved. Wilson was another option, but he was dismissed because House knew that Wilson would just laugh at him, and tell him to do it himself. Trying to think up a plausible reason not to go there himself was giving him a headache.
“Damn it all!” he stood angrily, and regretted it instantly. Pain shot up his leg, and he hissed softly, hoping not to draw the attention of the seemingly ever-present nurse. He reached for his pills, took one, and set off for the elevators. Just because he said he would help with Kelly didn’t mean that he had to devote his life to her. He would just go back to his office, and if anyone needed him, they could very well find him there. He was just about to push the button to go down, when he heard a anxious, “Dr. House wait!” coming from behind him.
He actually considered ignoring the person, because the elevator had just arrived, but instead walked into the car, and held the door open. If she wanted to talk to him that badly she could afford to take an elevator ride with him. She entered, and without asking, pressed the button for the fifth floor.
“What do you think you’re doing?” If the nurse had more of a clue she would have been running for her life, but as it was, she took the question at face value and answered with another little smile.
“Dr. Cuddy told me to find you and bring you to the fifth floor as soon as you got back. Something to do with a patient of yours.”
House figured there was no was to get out of it without looking desperate, so he decided to sulk against the back wall. This day was becoming even more of a pain by the minute. He figured that he could find out what was going on without getting too close to the PT wing. The elevator lurched to a stop, and the doors opened to reveal Cuddy. She had her arms crossed and was looking decidedly pissed off.
“House, you need to come.” It wasn’t a request, but when House made no move to get off of the elevator, she added an order that couldn’t be ignored. “Now.”
‘Shit,’ House thought. He really didn’t want to go this. He had made himself a promise that he would never again enter this portion of the hospital, and until now it had held. House could one simple girl mess up his world so quickly; first with going back to high school, and now with this? ‘Well at least she’s getting me out of clinic duty,’ he thought somewhat morosely. That was another self-promise that has been ripped to shreds by a patient. Stepping off of the elevator, he lagged behind Cuddy. If he was going to have to do this, he didn’t have to b happy about it.
House hated physical therapists. All they were good for was nagging and causing pain. He had enough of both to last him several lifetimes. Wilson had made a valiant effort to make him go to PT regularly after he was discharged from the hospital, but even he didn’t have a chance of succeeding after an argument of proper cane usage. Now, here he was again, back within their grasps all because of a silly girl.
He was jerked from his internal ramblings by the sight that greeted him from the doorway of the small private therapy room at the end of the hall. Kelly, now dressed in scrubs and a robe, with her leg incased in a large black brace, was slumped between two parallel bars. Her eyes were closed and she was rocking slowly back and forth. House could tell that she was in pain, her back was ramrod straight and if here eyes were squeezed any tighter he was worried they may pop out. Looking quickly at the therapist he had to take a deep breath before he said anything. These people were morons.
“Whose bright idea was it to give her a male therapist?” House demanded after a moment.
Cuddy turned sharply toward him, “What does that have to do with what is happening here?”
House gave her a look of disbelief. “She was abused for months by a man, and no one is sure if that was the only time. You then take her, giver her to another man and again she’s in pain. How did you think she would react?” It was said much harsher then he intended, but how could they all be so dense?
“We thought, well, we thought, that because she responded to you so well, that this would be for the best,” Cuddy was clearly upset, and seeming to realize her mistake.
“Yes, well, unlike the people in here, I’m not in the business of torturing people.” He turned back to the still rocking girl, “Get everyone out of here for a while. I’ll see what I can do, but like I said before I’m not a babysitter or a shrink.”
“Fine,” Cuddy said after a moment. Giving the few remaining people a pointed stare, she left the room and the others trailed out after her. House waited until the door clicked shut before moving towards Kelly.
“Well, I can see you like this place about as much as I do,” he said softly when eh got closer. Using one of the bars as support, he carefully lowered himself towards the floor. Once settled in a semi-comfortable position, he gently slid his cane into Kelly’s twisting hands. At its touch, the frantic movement slowed, and she started stroking the smooth wood. They sat like that for what felt like a year. House talked the whole time, telling her about his visit to the school, and the annoyingly perky Erin. When he paused to give his voice a break, he saw that Kelly was looking at him, and her rocking had stopped.
“You back now?” he asked, trying to keep from smiling.
*Yes* she answered, but her gaze dropped to the floor.
“Do you want to go back to your room now?”
“Ok, well, I can’t get you back there by myself, so I’m going to get some help. You going to be ok with that?” There was a long pause, and House wondered if she had retreated again.
*No, h…u…r…t?* it was a question, but House didn’t know how she had made it one. Something to find out later.
“I can’t promise it won’t hurt at all, but they won’t hurt you on purpose.”
*Yes* It was hesitant, but it was there, and House took that as an okay to get someone to get her back to her room. Getting up was more of an effort then getting down, but after a lot of work, and more then a few curses he was again vertical. It was then that he realized his problem. Kelly was still in possession of his cane. He didn’t want to take it from her for fear that would be all she needed to withdraw again. ‘Oh you idiot,’ he berated himself. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his cell phone.
Benj - January 5, 2006 01:19 AM (GMT)
Ooh nice- love the your House voice, so right for his his thinking and confronting a tough situation. Great balance between and disdain and empathy- love it.
|House figured there was no was to get out of it without looking desperate, so he decided to sulk against the back wall. This day was becoming even more of a pain by the minute. He figured that he could find out what was going on without getting too close to the PT wing. The elevator lurched to a stop, and the doors opened to reveal Cuddy. She had her arms crossed and was looking decidedly pissed off.|
“House, you need to come.” It wasn’t a request, but when House made no move to get off of the elevator, she added an order that couldn’t be ignored. “Now.”
That's such a great image and the 'due sense of exhaustion and dread' comes through so well.
More. Now. No pressure or anything :)
boredincorpfin - January 8, 2006 01:41 PM (GMT)
I was so excited to see that you have decided to finish this story. I love how you have a more sensitive house that doesn't make me want to chuck up, a big achievement. Look forward to next update, whenever it may be.
Armchair Elvis - January 23, 2006 09:07 AM (GMT)
Love this story... And a very nice cliffhanger at the end of the last installment, too. I like the almost-but-not-quite cynical tone you've used, while showing us the 'softer', if that's the right word, of House.
Keep on writin', taru.
Taruia - January 23, 2006 04:26 PM (GMT)
Kelly’s day had started well. Waking without pain was something new, and very good. To her change was something that couldn’t be trusted, but she decided it wasn’t all bad. After letting all the gray slip away she listened carefully, trying to see if any good colors were around. Finding lots of non-threatening colors, but none like the teal, or the bold plum, gold, and blue, she let her mind wander. It was a game she had devised while still in the bad place. She would map her body mentally. Finding all the places that didn’t hurt. Back then the game didn’t take very long, but this morning the only places she couldn’t add to her mental list were her knee, which throbbed but didn’t hurt as bad as before, and her back. The latter itched like crazy and if she wasn’t careful about how she moved, it pulled and burned. Overall, she decided that this was the best she had felt in a long time.
It wasn’t long after finishing her self-survey that two colors got much brighter, and Kelly felt the awkward tingling that meant she was no longer alone in a room. The one color she recognized from earlier, and with it came the memory of good feelings, and the relief of pain. It was a soft sky blue, but with it was a color that worried Kelly. It was a deep maroon, and that was far too close to red for her liking. The two colors swirled and blended together, and soon she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was gentle, but insistent. They wanted her awake. Deciding that going along was the safest route; she opened her eyes to see a young woman standing over her. This must be the sky blue. She tried to give a half smile in thanks for before, but Kelly didn’t know if the woman got it. Shifting her gaze to the other person, she was immediately worried. The man that stood there was HUGE. His face was twisted into a smile, but she didn’t trust it. After a moment, Kelly realized that the woman was talking to her.
“…get you started,” the nurse finished.
Kelly looked at her blankly, but obviously the other woman was not looking for a reply, because she just smiled again and nodded to the man. He pushed a strange contraption towards her. She remembered this thing vaguely; metal and hard plastic, with large wheels. She searched her memory for a name, but fear and worry made it hard to think. She could feel the gray pushing at her, trying to draw her back into safety, but she pushed back, and moment and won.
“Ok kiddo, we’ve got to get you dressed a little more, and then we can head out.” The man’s voice was deep, but Kelly couldn’t decide if it was friendly or not. When the woman handed her a light blue top, she at first looked at it blankly, and then realized what was wanted. They wanted her to get dressed. After struggling with the stiff top, and a sore back, the woman smiled, and the man stepped forward. He took her leg out of the sling and pulled out another odd looking thing. It was a bunch f black lines and circles; all arranged in a seemingly random pattern. She focused on the object, and slid into the gray. This happened sometimes when she focused too hard on one object or thought. Too tired to fight, she stayed in her world until a jot of pain snapped her out of it.
She looked around and found herself in a strange place, alone with the maroon man, and he was moving her leg in a painful way.
*No* she signed, hoping this was all just an accident. She thought she was free of the bad place, and the pain that went with it. When he didn’t stop moving her leg she tried again.
“Ok, you’re all stretched out now, how about we get you standing?” she knew the words had meaning, but concentrating on them enough to understand was too hard at this point. When he moved to pick her up, she struggled a little, knowing that any resistance would most likely be met with more pain.
“Come on, I know it’s not fun, but the sooner we get you up and around, the easier it will be later. You only have to stand, no walking today. Come on try?” he spoke again, but while the words did not seem threatening, she couldn’t help but be afraid. He then lifted her from the table where she had found herself sitting, and placed her hands on two wooden poles. Pain flared as she found herself vertical, and her legs turned to jello. She sank to the floor, and into her gray world.
Another indeterminate amount of time passed, when she found her attention drawn outwards. Something familiar was in her hands. She gently felt the object, and its identification immediately calmed her. It was the smooth thing that belonged to the te…House. Slowly opening herself up, she could hear the soft sounds that produced the soothing teal color, and she finally looked at him. He was on the ground next to her, talking without really thinking, she could see his gaze was set on the far wall, and his eyes were slightly unfocused. He finally noticed her gaze and spoke to her. She concentrated carefully, and answered with what she thought was right. She was still fighting the gray and communication was not an easy task. After a few more questions, her mind cleared a little and she was able to ask a question.
*No…h…u…r…t?* The answer was not what she was looking for, but she made up her mind to trust House.
*Yes* she watched as House struggled slightly to get up. Watching him move, it was obvious he was acquainted with pain, just like she was. He stood for a moment, seemingly lost, and then pulled out…she again had to search her memory for the name of the small object. Phone, that was the name. He spoke into it for a moment, and then turned back to her.
“Ok, we’ll be out of here soon, and then you’ll have to give me my cane back,” he spoke softly, but Kelly could sense an underlying tension. Something about needing his ‘cane’ back bothered him. Kelly would have tried to figure it out, but her pain was returning, and the effect involved was beyond her at the moment. She let herself drift off, and her hands went limp on the smooth.
House saw Kelly go limp, and for a moment panicked. He then realized that she had simply fallen asleep. He tried only once to rouse her, and then resigned himself to waiting for Foreman and the orderlies to get there. They arrived quickly, and had Kelly on a gurney in a matter of minutes. House was finally about to retrieve his cane, and hated the immense feeling of relief that came with its return. He gave Foreman a quick nod, and followed Kelly back to her room.
Benj - January 23, 2006 11:21 PM (GMT)
Ooh cliffhanger! Kelly's 'observations' work really well and the whole colour/obect thing was easy to visualise. House watching over her and thinking through the puzzle works really well and this is a well worked scene. Looking forward to another update already :D !
mt83 - January 24, 2006 01:47 AM (GMT)
I must say that you capture the fatigue of PT very well. It is very possible that Kelly could fall asleep.
Armchair Elvis - January 24, 2006 08:51 AM (GMT)
Very good installment. I especially like
|He was on the ground next to her, talking without really thinking, she could see his gaze was set on the far wall, and his eyes were slightly unfocused.|
I like how you've done kelly's POV as well as House's, they both show different awarenesses of the same story - I also like the coherent way that you've show Kelly's discomfort and disorientation.
NEXT TIME, on Lies and Truth ... dee dee do dee dee do dum de dum
Armchair Elvis - January 30, 2006 02:32 AM (GMT)
oh. Great. Scared y'all off, did ah?
Taruia - April 10, 2006 03:59 PM (GMT)
Ok, well I know it's been a LOOOOOOOOONG time...but IT'S DONE! Yes it is! Hah! Now all I have to do is actually edit the thing...oh God... :blink: Well here ya go!
House saw Kelly go limp, and for a moment panicked. He then realized that she had simply fallen asleep. He tried only once to rouse her, and then resigned himself to waiting for Foreman and the orderlies to get there. They arrived quickly, and had Kelly on a gurney in a matter of minutes. House was finally about to retrieve his cane, and hated the immense feeling of relief that came with its return. He gave Foreman a quick nod, and followed Kelly back to her room. She stayed asleep through the transfer, and House decided that some quality time with his TV was in order.
He was startled out of his half-trance when the glass doors to his office snapped open, and Cuddy, along with another woman, strode purposefully into his office.
“Dr. House, this is, Melinda Hartford, and she works for DCFS, specifically with special needs children, she wanted to talk to you about Kelly.” Cuddy gave him a look that said that he had no choice but to have this talk, and House was pretty sure that he wasn’t going to like it. There was something about the other woman that annoyed him, but he didn’t know what, she was dressed similarly to Cuddy, if a bit more conservatively, and her straight bond hair was pulled back sharply. He gave her a nod, and went back to his program. He would listen, and answer, but he didn’t have to act like he was paying attention. He heard Cuddy sigh, and she left the room.
“Dr. House, what can you tell me of Kelly’s progress in the past few weeks?” Mary… Meghan… Melanie…whatever asked.
“Progress, and by progress do you mean the fact that we now know that she’s autistic not deaf, and that she is no longer in horrible pain due to abuse suffered while under the “careful” supervision of your department?” he spoke without removing his eyes from the TV.
“Actually, Kelly was never sent to my department, and that was an oversight that has been of great concern for all involved. We have been trying to fix that ever since we discovered it. Now, about the pain, you have done a surgery to fix the problem with her knee, and she is no longer suffering from the illness that she was brought here for?” Again she asked in short clipped tones, but she had obviously done her homework.
“Yes, and for some reason, she seems to like me, God knows why, and I’ve been able to umm…talk with her, to an extent. She signs, but not very well. I’ve arranged a private tutor to come and work with her.”
“I’m afraid that will not be necessary. We have found a proper placement for her, it’s a school for autistic children, and we’ve worked it out with them that Kelly will be able to live there year round. It’s really for the best. They will be able to get her to talk, and interact in a normal way.” The way she said normal made House want to rip her throat out.
“Normal? Really? So, because she chooses to speak in a way that makes her feel safer, and more comfortable, you’re going to label her as abnormal, and send her off to a school to fix that problem? This girl has been severely abused; any type of discipline could send her into a near catatonic state, just like she was when she got here! She doesn’t need to be “normal”! She’s fine, she communicates, she’s very high functioning, or she would be if she wasn’t an abuse victim.” House realized that he was ranting, and cut himself off quickly. Taking a breath, he continued again.
“What would it take for her to be placed in a more normal home?”
The woman…M-something glared at him and gave him a small fake smile. “Well she can’t read, she can’t write, if she had even any basic skills at all, she could be sent to a more normal school and they could work with her there, but as she can’t even do that…”
“So you’re saying that if she could read and write, that she would be laced in a more normal home…ok. Then I’ll teach her to read.”
“You could try, but she’s being transferred in two days, I don’t think even you could teach someone to read in two days. But as I think this will be humorous to observe, if you can get her to write her name, and read from a first grade level book, I will get her a placement with a family.”
Erin showed up right at the agreed upon time, and met House slumped over a pile of books in his office.
“Dr. House?” His head jerked up, and he looked relieved that it was her on the other end of his name.
“Erin. Change of plans, we have to get Kelly to read. I need your help, she’s in room 236 now. I had her moved so that M can’t find her. She’ll either like you or hate you from the beginning so go there and say hi.” He went back to his pile of books. Erin shrugged, and wandered back to the elevators. Finding room 236 was easy enough, and when she got there the girl in the bed didn’t even react to her coming into the room. Her gaze remained fixed on the windows that showed the nice day outside.
“Hi, I’m Erin. Dr. House wanted me to come down here and meet you. I guess I’m supposed to be your teacher, but you look like the same age as me.” Erin signed and spoke at the same time, hoping that one or the other got through to Kelly. At House’s name Kelly had looked at her for a second, but her gaze was once again fixed on the windows. Erin sighed, and began rambling about school and her classes, and the problem she was having with this one boy in her science class. Kelly didn’t respond to anything, but when Erin stopped talking for a minute and looked over at her, she was rewarded with a small smile on Kelly’s face.
“What you like my boring drama-less life?” Erin asked.
*More* Kelly signed
“Ah, so you do know sign. I was wondering about that.”
“That’s ok, you have to start somewhere. House was saying that he had to teach you how to read, you don’t know how to read?”
“Yeah, read a book, no one ever taught you?”
*Stupid Kelly deaf no book say bad. Kelly yes book r…i…d…d…l…e*
“Sorry, I didn’t get all of that. They said because you were deaf that you couldn’t read?”
*No…stupid. No book Kelly stupid. No s…c…h…o…o…l*
“Oh, they didn’t let you go to school because they thought you were deaf and stupid. Ok. Wow…people are really…wow. But you said Kelly yes book riddle? What did you mean by that?”
*Like book r…i…d…d…l…e good. Kelly yes book*
“Wait, so you can read?”
“And you taught yourself?”
“I’ve got to go find House…I’ll be right back!” Erin raced out of the room and right into House. She heard a sharp grunt of pain, and he took a hopping step back.
“Oh, geez, I’m so sorry, are you ok?” She looked him over, his face was pinched, and he quickly reached into his pocked for a bottle of pills.
“Fine. Any reason for the rush?” He asked after a moment.
“Kelly can read. She taught herself!”
“Are you sure?” He looked at her as if suddenly she had sprouted another head.
“Positive, go ask her!”
A half an hour later, and both Erin and House completely stunned, Kelly had proven that not only could she read, but she could also devour books. Once House put a book in her hands she didn’t put it down until it was finished, and that didn’t take long. They gave her a book on ASL, and after she had finished that one, Erin said that Kelly didn’t need her help any more. The next two days were spent trying to keep reading material in Kelly’s hands, and trying to keep it a secret. House REALLY wanted to see the look on M-bitch’s face when she realized that Kelly was not going to have to go to that school. Writing her name was still giving her a few problems, but the shakiness was due mostly to the remnants of her long illness and abuse.
House explained to her about what was going to happen, and how she needed to stay with the here and how on the day of the test. If she slipped off into the gray she would be sent off to the school, and there was nothing he could do about it. Kelly nodded her understanding. She had found it easier to keep herself from sliding into her safe world lately, and knew that if House needed her to be “here” on the day of the test, she could manage. What she didn’t know if she could manage was talking to people she didn’t like, and she told him as much.
“Just pretend that you’re reading to me, or talking to me.” He said. “Or to Erin, you like her right?”
“OK, then this should be easy right?”
*Yes* she signed it with a confidence she didn’t feel.
M-Day, as House was calling it, finally came, and House led her into the room. She had with her a book, an interpreter, and a paper. House kept himself as calm as possible,
“Hello Kelly, I’m Mrs. Hartford, and this is Rebecca, do you mind if we talk for a while?”
*No.* the interpreter dutifully chirped the English.
“Good,” she then turned to House. “If you wouldn’t min Dr. House, this should be a private talk.” House was about to eave when Kelly motioned to the interpreter.
*No, House stays, if he isn’t here I don’t do anything.*
“She says that she wants House to stay, if that’s alright.” Rebecca edited. House smirked, as he had understood most of what Kelly had signed. Kelly also glared at the woman.
“Well if you’re more comfortable this way.”
“Ok Kelly, I have this book here, I want you to read it to me ok?”
Kelly looked at the title “Kitty Wants A Box,” looked at House, and back at the book. Smirking she slowly began to sign the lines, it was one of the shortest books she had ever seen.
*This box is too big. This box is too tall. This box is too short. This box is too small. This box is too wide. This box is p…u…r…r…f…e…c…t inside*
As Rebecca spoke the words Melinda could only look on in shock.
“Ok, very good, now, Kelly do you think you could write your name for me?”
*Yes* A short moment later, and a very untidy, but legible KELLY was scrawled on the paper.
“Well House, it looks like you’ll have your way after all. I’ll be in touch.”
House looked over at Kelly, and was disheartened to find her eyes vacant and her gaze locked on the sheet covering her legs. She had been so with it during the test, it was almost possible to forget that she was far from being all right. He sat with her for a while, and then headed back to his office. A new patient had come in, and he had his fellows scrambling to fill his orders for tests. He also needed time alone to think.
Three days later found House’s new patient cured, Kelly gone, and House sitting alone in his office. Wilson wandered in without knocking, and earned a glare.
“Nothing to do?” he asked carefully, knowing that House had been in a dark mood since Kelly had left. He would never admit it to anyone, but the kid had gotten to him. She had trusted him, and never looked on him strangely. He was just House, not Dr. House the famous diagnostician, not Poor House the cripple, just plain House who liked to talk, and had a nice cane. Wilson plopped into the chair opposite House’s desk.
“She’ll be fine. They are great people. Hell you even checked them out yourself.”
“What are you sad you didn’t get to teach her the art of snark before she left?” Wilson asked hoping to draw House out of the dour mood he was in.
“Yeah something like that. She’ll never walk right again.”
“Is that what’s bugging you?”
“Partly, if people had only looked at her, just looked they would have seen what I saw, it was THERE! For YEARS she was just ignored and pushed aside, and abused because no doctor took the time to spend FIVE minutes examining her. They just assumed on what they saw, and they saw wrong.”
“And now we’re back to you,” Wilson said quietly.
“What?!” House hissed
“You’re not just angry because of what happened to her, you’re angry because it also happened to you. House, you’re allowed to be pissed about this, you were misdiagnosed, and it left you handicapped, that’s a reasonable reason to be angry. You’re worried that it’ll happen again to Kelly, but she’s safe now. She has a good family, one that has helped autistic kids in the past, and you have to let it go.”
House’s shoulders slumped a bit, and when he finally looked up at Wilson there was less darkness then there had been in a while.
“So Chinese and beer at my place?” House asked after a moment, trying to bring life back to normal.
“Sure.” Wilson replied with a small smile, everything was going to be ok.
Magdala - April 11, 2006 12:41 AM (GMT)
This story is sensitive, compelling and uplifting. I love it'soriginality and understanding.
|“Normal? Really? So, because she chooses to speak in a way that makes her feel safer, and more comfortable, you’re going to label her as abnormal, and send her off to a school to fix that problem? This girl has been severely abused; any type of discipline could send her into a near catatonic state, just like she was when she got here! She doesn’t need to be “normal”! She’s fine, she communicates, she’s very high functioning, or she would be if she wasn’t an abuse victim.” House realized that he was ranting, and cut himself off quickly. Taking a breath, he continued again. |
“What would it take for her to be placed in a more normal home?”
Oh the grandiose mediocrity of the 'normal' with their cruel and brutal judgements.
However genius often needs to be offered a very simple method to understand their own emotions and reflections.
“You’re not just angry because of what happened to her, you’re angry because it also happened to you. House, you’re allowed to be pissed about this, you were misdiagnosed, and it left you handicapped, that’s a reasonable reason to be angry. You’re worried that it’ll happen again to Kelly, but she’s safe now. She has a good family, one that has helped autistic kids in the past, and you have to let it go.”
House’s shoulders slumped a bit, and when he finally looked up at Wilson there was less darkness then there had been in a while.
Both plot and character driven, this story works on so many levels and is written with style and authority.
prplchknz - April 11, 2006 04:43 AM (GMT)
That is soo good. I wish it wasn't over. I'm not constructive so i can't give good critism except to say when i got to the end i felt sad. end=no more to read.
mt83 - April 11, 2006 02:58 PM (GMT)
Taru, I have to say this is one of my favorite fics because it shows House advocating for his patients, but not too sappy, and not too mean either. It shows a resoloution to Kelly's life of pain, and then when House is finished, truly to character, he exits her life. Great job!
Armchair Elvis - April 12, 2006 08:28 AM (GMT)
That was great. Just replying really quickly to say I really liked this story. I like the way you brought it to an end, as Mt said it's true to character without being - le sap.
Having said that, I was surprised that it came to an end so soon... but it fits well, and it's a great story, I think I just wanted to read more of your great fic...
Well done... sorry I can't say anything useful at the moment, but Well Done.
Benj - April 15, 2006 11:07 PM (GMT)
|House’s shoulders slumped a bit, and when he finally looked up at Wilson there was less darkness then there had been in a while.|
“So Chinese and beer at my place?” House asked after a moment, trying to bring life back to normal.
“Sure.” Wilson replied with a small smile, everything was going to be ok.
Love the ending and this whole fic! Not going too far over the excellent points made upthread but the pace, plot and style are awesome. Kelly was just right and you managed the handy knack (as with Isander) of making the orginal characters compelling and as interesting as the regualr faces- no mean feat. The insight into disability is beautifully portrayed and you manage to keep House in character whilst caring. Top drawer, although a sad it's over!
Congrats and cheers :D