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Alternative Medicine: A House/BtVS crossover

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  • Alternative Medicine: A House/BtVS crossover

    This story is set a few years after Chosen, towards the end of season 1 of House (forgive me if I’ve taken some liberties with what year it is…). Dawn is now studying medicine, and interning at the same hospital as a certain grouchy, cane-wielding diagnostician…

    House tapped the white board with his cane – a peremptory rap that reminded Dawn of a Victorian schoolmaster on masterpiece theatre. She was sitting in the front row, tapping notes into her ibook.

    “Differential diagnosis? Flesh necrosis? Anyone?” House wore the despairing scowl of a man who wants to be anywhere but here.

    She had never been formally introduced to the MD, but she had kind of a soft spot for him. Not a crush, ‘cause, eww - the guy was from the Giles-Ages - but she felt a deal of empathy with him. After all, she would’ve been cranky if she’d had to spend any extra time with the social retards and anally retentive alpha personalities that made up her year group. That was the main trouble with being a med student. Other med students.

    House sighed and surveyed the rows of blank-looking young faces and tapped the board again. “Nobody wants to give me a differential diagnosis for flesh necrosis ? Even though it kinda rhymes?”

    He pulled a sad puppy face. “Aww, shucks, don’t kids today have a sense of joy and wonder? Necrosis of the flesh. Lots of scabby dying flesh, peeling off the patient’s helpless body! Putrefying dead matter!” He gave a thumbs up sign and grinned manically. “Fun!”

    Dawn was tempted to put her hand in the air and suggest that one major cause of flesh necrosis was zombie-ism, but she decided against it. House was not one of those lecturers who thought bantering students were cute. He was one of those lecturers who impaled bantering students and ate them like kebabs. Not literally. Or at least… probably not.

    Dawn’s internal jury was still out on whether House was a demon or not. While she had a soft spot, she was also aware that he was a sociopathic sadist, and that Summers women were frequently drawn to the dark side of the y-chromosome. Not that she was drawn to him in a sex way. Nope. Just… he was a puzzle. With sexy stubble.

    Hello, cliché girl? No going all Grey’s Anatomy on the residents. Please? Dawn shook her head and grimaced. Think of hot, young studly men. The kind that come without ex wives. And grey chest hair, probably. Again, I emphasize the ewww factor.

    “You!” House’s cane was now pointing at a pretty busty blonde girl in the third row. “Girl with the unusually large chest. Do you have any suggestions?”

    The girl blushed beetroot.

    “Can you say sexual harassment suit?” muttered Dawn to the girl next to her. Her voice came out louder than she’d intended, and House looked directly at her with a glint in his eye that was pure evil.

    “Yes. And I can also say “Californians talk funny. Especially the chicks.””

    A5shole, thought Dawn. But just then, there was a loud beeping, coming from House’s belt. He looked down at his pager and grinned.

    “Is that a patient in my pocket, or am I just pleased to leave you?” he pondered, cheerily, and got up as nimbly as a mountain goat, hobbling off the stage and to the door as fast as he could.
    + + +

    As the room emptied, Dawn wandered down the hallway towards her locker. She glanced through the windows of one of the exam rooms and noticed that House was in there with Dr Wilson (the one Buffy had almost certainly snuggled when she’d come to visit, though she still wouldn’t admit it. Strumpet).

    The man lying in the bed was having some kind of seizure, plus his face was covered with angry-looking sores. That must be the beepy patient. Dawn sidled closer to the window, where she could hear snatches of their conversation. This was where the real education happened - overhearing stuff that they think you’re not ready for. Well, that’d been where she’d learned the most back in Sunny-D, and New Jersey didn’t seem so different. Almost as many vampires, for one thing, though it seemed that the mystical branch of the Mob controlled a lot of them – headed up by a powerful local Warlock known only as The Don.

    “…no explanation for the abdominal pain, and the scans show no tumours pressing on the brain…” Wilson was saying.

    “Could be any number of run of the mill explanations.” House frowned at the patient. “Why did you call on me?” He grinned. “It’s cause you want me real bad, isn’t it? But you’re gonna have to join the line, Wilson. It’s alphabetical, so you’re at the back.”

    “I think I’ll survive.” Wilson was half-smiling, obviously used to this kind of crap from House.

    Dawn pretended to fiddle with something in her locker as a nurse walked past. Getting caught spying was probably not the best thing for her rep.
    “…but this isn’t the only case like this. Sudden onset of symptoms… no common background factors…”

    House and Wilson were walking towards the door now, so Dawn thought she should probably make her exit. She headed quickly back the way she’d come – the opposite direction to the one House and Wilson had taken - when she noticed a strange squiggly symbol on the wall. It was almost hidden behind a fire hose.

    Dawn peered closer at the symbol. It was an elaborate, curly thing, looking a little like Arabic writing crossed with a musical treble clef. She pulled out her phone and snapped a picture. Giles should probably see this. Cause, I’m betting, this baby’s mystical.

    + + +

    “So… we have eight identical cases now.” House was standing beside his trusty whiteboard in the diagnostics department. Chase, Foreman and Cameron were all variously slouching and leaning on chairs and surfaces around the room. “Symptoms?”

    “Abdominal pain,” said Cameron.

    “Seizures,” added Foreman.

    “Progressing to…?” House asked.

    “Respiratory distress, iris discolourment…” added Cameron. “Well, actually… one of the nurses described one patient’s eyes as…” She didn’t want to say it. It sounded too ridiculous, and she wasn’t eager to have House mock her more today.


    “Glowing. Glowing green."

    House let out a whistle. “They’ve been letting the nurses at the good drugs again? I thought that was reserved for us doctors.” He rolled his eyes. “But, entertaining the possibility for a moment that the naughty nursie might have a some kind of factual basis for her unearthly visions, what might cause the pigmentation of the iris to alter to a greenish tinge?” He looked directly at Cameron. “Other than the thought of me making love to a beautiful, experienced woman?”

    + + +

    “Really?” Dawn was on her cell in a quiet corner of the staff rec area. “So, the demon’s name’s Thrakor? The demon who uses that symbol?”

    “Yes. Thrakor of Quarzaqoz, to give him his full title.” Giles’s voice on the other end of the line was full of book geek enthusiasm.

    “That’d give you a nifty scrabble score.” Dawn glanced around to check there was definitely no one around. “So, what’s this Thrakor’s deal?”

    “It seems that he’s often had human followers, though I can’t find many recent references. However, similar symbols were found on the walls of an artist’s colony in late 18th century Vienna.”

    “Let me guess… the artists all went down with a bad case of mystical plague?”

    “Yes, exactly. So, I should expect more patients to become symptomatic shortly.”

    “What’s the cure?”

    “As an immediate palliative, you simply need to apply holy water to the temples and place a Kanderah leaf under the tongue – though you should crush that a little to release the sap. I imagine the local magic shop should…”

    “It’s ok Giles, I’ve already got one.” Dawn knew exactly where it was – stuffed into a baggie in the back of her locker.


    “I’m keeping up the healer training alongside my regular studies. So, also keeping up with the basic supplies.”

    “Goodness,” said Giles. “That’s resourceful.”

    “I’m quite the girl scout. Anyway…” Dawn started to pace, anxiously. “Anything else?”

    “Yes, there’s an incantation, which is quite simple…”

    “Text it to me.”

    “Ok, I'll do that in a tick.”

    Giles sounded less shocked than Dawn expected at the prospect of transmitting mystical information via cellphone. Dawn was a little disappointed. His luddite tendencies were reassuring somehow.

    “However, for a more final cure – and to prevent any more cases breaking out, you’ll need a shaman…I’ll send Willow with one of our freelancers…you’ll also need large quantities of both Kanderah leaves and Vorlok root.”

    Dawn whistled. That stuff was serious black market. “I’m guessing I’ll need to go to the Don for that?”

    “No, really, Dawn, I’d rather you didn’t. You should wait for backup. Buffy can send a unit of slayers immediately…”

    Dawn made a yawn-face. “Ok, ok, I’ll wait. I’ll just go to my next class and ignore the mystical plague sweeping through the hospital like a scythe through innocent, vulnerable man-butter.”

    “Dawn, please, I…”

    Dawn snapped her phone shut. She had work to do. And it was going to take all her energy and courage, to face what was to come: Doctor House.

    A minute later, she knocked on the glass door that led to his centre of operations. Her phone had already beeped with the texted incantation. She was a little nervous, but ready to kick mystical plague butt.

    House glared at her through the glass, but made no indication that he was going to ask her in, just kept on talking to the other doctors. Dawn went in uninvited, striding as confidently as she could. “Hi, sorry to interrupt, but I’ve got the cure for the plague…thing.”

    House’s eyebrows went up. “Thing? I see. You have the cure, but you don’t know what you’re curing? Now that’s what I call science!”

    “Not like you’ve never done that,” said the blonde boy-doctor. The cute blonde boy doctor. Not that there were many doctors in the hospital that weren’t cute, mind.

    “Don’t interrupt the lady, Chase. She might be here to do a strip-o-gram.”

    Dawn scowled, but tried to keep it polite. She needed to get House to agree to let her treat the patients….Didn’t she? “There’s not a lot of time, so…”

    “You thought you’d come in here and waste it?” interrupted House. He made a ‘street’ hand gesture. “Good plan, sister! Stick it to the great white witch doctor. He’ll only go around curing people if you don’t stop him and his patriarchal ways!”

    “Er…House? What’s with the “great white…”. She’s white,” said the African-American guy.

    Also cute. In a slightly miserable-looking glowery sort of a way.

    House shrugged and squiggled his cane in the air. “Black…female…it’s all the same in the eyes of this evil oppressor!

    Dawn made a face. “I accused him of sexual harassment earlier,” she explained to the others. “He doesn’t seem to like that, huh?”

    The young woman doctor snorted. “He should be used to it by now.”

    “You cut me with your rapier wit,” said House. “But aren’t we forgetting something…dying patients? I know it’s just a little tiny thing, but maybe we could focus on it just for the hell?”

    Dawn weighed up her options. Did she really need House for this? She shook her head. “Screw this,” she said, and walked out of the room.

    “Women!” said House. Then, he rumpled his face, and qualified that. “Or perhaps I should say…barely legal Poontang!”

    Cameron exhaled a breath of despair. “If I said you shouldn’t, would it make a difference?”

    + + +

    Dawn glanced around to check there was no-one nearby, and rubbed the holy water on the patient’s forehead, then crumbled a little of the Kanderah leaf in her other hand, placing it under the patient’s tongue. The young woman moaned. She wasn’t aware of Dawn’s presence, but she was clearly in a lot of pain.

    “It’s going to be ok,” said Dawn. “I’ve just gotta…” She pulled out her cell and started to repeat the incantation. “Mafatchu akbar, alaramua bah’rok….” She took a breath, working out that she’d definitely got the next bit of pronunciation correct. One syllable off, and she could do something nasty and possibly fatal to the poor woman. “Terund al fikh, fikh al akbar!”

    Phew. Now all she had to do was wait and see…

    “Interesting bedside manner.“ House was standing in the doorway. Dawn cursed herself for not noticing. Years of experience with sneaky-silent vampires had given her a heightened sense of “he’s behind you”, but she’d been concentrating so hard on the spell that she hadn’t Jedi’d his presence.

    “I was just…” She tailed off.

    But out of the corner of her eye she noticed that the woman’s skin was starting to heal, and she was breathing more heavily. That gave her confidence. She walked closer to House and lifted her chin. “…curing her.”

    House craned his neck to look at the patient, then limped to her bedside. He checked her pulse, and twiddled some dials. He licked his lips in agitation, and a little excitement. “What did you do?”

    “Magic,” said Dawn. She didn’t see any point in lying – he’d be unlikely to buy any explanation she might give him.

    “Magic?” House’s eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open in a goldfish-oh of mock-shock. “Oh my god! Everything I have known until this moment has been a lie! Science is just a cover story for the arcane…”

    Dawn interrupted him. “Don’t have time for you to make fun of me. I need to get more ingredients…” she sighed in exasperation. “And why am I even bothering to tell you?”

    He shrugged. “That’s between you and your medication.” House narrowed his eyes, weighing up whether this was some kind of stunt, or whether he was truly dealing with a crazy person. Cause, those could be fun.

    “Like I said…no time,” said Dawn. With a glance at the patient – whose eyes were starting to open – she brushed past House and strode out of the room.

    “I’m so telling on you to Miss Cuddy!” he called. He was about to hobble after the girl, when he realized he could probably work out what she’d done more quickly by poking and prodding at the patient himself. Plus, it meant less human interaction, since the young woman in the bed was still only semi-conscious.

    + + +

    “I’m here to see the Don. I’ve got some business needs taking care of.” Dawn was standing face to face with a massive demon hoodlum, who was guarding the door to the disused warehouse where the lord of the Jersey supernatural underworld had his hideout. The demon had several large horns sticking out of his face – one out of each cheek, then another from his chin. Dawn wasn’t sure what breed he was, but the bulging arm muscles and long talons were enough to tell her what he was capable of.

    “Yeah? You and whose army, girlie?”

    “Buffy Summers’ army, actually. “ She stood up straighter. “ I’ve got a team of slayers on their way. So…unless you want some trouble of the fatal kind, I think you should let me in.” She had no idea if the threat would work, but it was worth a try.

    Miraculously, the demon stepped aside, opening the door for her. “Ok, kid,” he said. “But, only cos we’ve got an understanding with the Ripper.”

    Dawn walked through the door, into a dark passageway. The Ripper? Ok, so Giles has clearly been doing some work behind the scenes here… She knew he’d been using demon sources for various missions, but she had no idea he was in cahoots with the mafia. Maybe he hadn’t wanted her to go cause it was something he wanted to keep under wraps? Watchers! Always with the cloak and dagger… Well, she could cloak and dagger with the best of 'em.

    + + +


    The clack clack clack of Cuddy’s heels was catching up with him. He limped faster, but it was no good. The woman was as inevitable as death… no. House could cheat death. Cuddy was worse.

    He turned, giving her the full psychic weight of his impatience and scorn.

    “What?” He looked down at her blouse. “Did you need help doing up those top buttons? Cause, really, you’re a big girl, you should be able to do them on your own.”

    Cuddy didn’t even bother sighing, launching straight into business. Shame. He did so enjoy causing her casual humiliation, but it was getting harder to get a rise out of her.

    “I just looked in on patient zero,” she said. “And she’s…apparently completely cured. Just after you left. So, I’m assuming you did something.” Suspicion glinted in her eyes. “But what I don’t understand is why you’re not bragging about it?”

    “Because I didn’t do anything. The intern did.” Usually, he would’ve taken credit, but he liked the look of shock on Cuddy’s face, that one where her eyeballs bulged out like they were being squeezed in a vice.

    “What? Which intern?” Bulge, bulge.

    “Oh, I don’t know. They all look the same to me.” He gestured with his hands in front of his chest to indicate a nice rack. “But she was certifiably insane. Tut tut. You should really watch out for that in the selection process. She claimed that she used magic to cure the patient.” He raised his finger to his lips and made a “bibblebibblebibble” noise.

    Cuddy looked at him in surprise. “Was it Dawn Summers. Tall. Long hair?”

    “ knew she was delusional? Really Cuddy, this is taking affirmative action way too far. Next you’ll be accepting applications from …”

    “Shut up, House.” She nodded down the hallway, toward her office. “There’s something we need to discuss. In private.”

    “Seriously, Cuddy, can’t you wait to get laid til you’re off duty? We do have an epidemic breaking out here.”

    “It’s about the epidemic.” She started to walk, and he hobbled along, curiosity piqued. “And,” she added, glancing sideways at him. “About magic.”

    + + +

    The Don was sitting on a throne-type chair, made out of bones, in a vast underground chamber lit by flaming torches.Heh, thought Dawn. A bone throne!

    But she kept her amusement to herself. Demon mafia bosses probably didn’t take it too well if you laughed in their faces. Nor did their enormous demon lackeys – three on each side of the throne, plus a few sitting at tables and lounging against the walls, carrying machine guns and other, more mystical looking weapons.

    The Don himself appeared human, although that didn’t necessarily mean much. Maybe a vampire? Dawn had heard various rumours about him, but she was beginning to kick herself for not researching him properly before now. He was youngish, maybe 35, and better looking than she expected. Jet-black hair with a slight cowlick, intense Johnny Depp eyes, and a fist full of gold rings. All the better for punching people’s teeth out with, grandmamma.

    He beckoned for her to approach with a single, ringed finger. When she was just a few feet away, and the light from a torch fell on his face, she saw he was incredibly pale. Yup. Vampire. Don’t need a slayer sense to know this guy hasn’t seen sunlight in the last thirty years. Plus, the kipper tie…

    “Hey kid,” he said. He leaned forward on one arm of the throne. It creaked under his shifting weight. “Bruno tells me you got some business?”
    Dawn nodded. She explained what she needed, and the Don appeared to consider it for a moment.

    And what do I get in return?” he asked.

    “I can pay,” said Dawn. “The slayer council has…”

    “Yeah, see…cash don’t cut it. I was hoping you had something more interesting to offer…say, a few slayers for us to turn, maybe some mystical protection. So, sorry kid, but…” The Don got up from his throne and, before she could scream, grabbed her around the throat and picked her up. “No deal.”

    + + +

    “Magic is real?” said House. He was sitting opposite Cuddy in her office.

    “You’re telling me that magic is real?”
    Cuddy nodded. “Yes.”

    House whistled. “And you’re the one who’s always worried about me being stoned.”

    “I didn’t expect you to take my word for it,” said Cuddy.

    “Impressive deductive reasoning. Say, you’re smart, I bet you went to college.”

    “I didn’t think you’d believe me…” Cuddy went on. “That’s why I thought you’d need some proof.” She glanced down at her watch. “Which you should be getting in about…”

    There was a flash and a sound like lightening. House felt his skin tingle like pins and needles and…


    In the middle of the room stood a red-haired young woman and a robed figure – tall, with glinting yellow eyes under a hood. The girl wore a shirt that said “my girlfriend went to hell and all she got me was this lousy t-shirt”. She gave Cuddy a little wave and a “Hi!” then turned to House. “Are you Gregory House?”

    He nodded, aware that his mouth had fallen so far open that his jaw almost knocked into his chest as he did so.

    “Right. I’m Willow. I’m supposed to convince you that magic exists. How’m I doing?”

    “This is a trick,” said House, pulling himself together. “Very funny, Cuddy. But, really…oh my GOD!”

    He was floating about a foot above the ground. Willow was holding up her hands towards him. She flicked her palms upwards, and he rose further.
    Fu’ck me, he thought. Either this is real, or they’ve been putting an extra kick in Vicodin lately.

    Willow lowered her hands and he sank back to the floor. “Now,” she said. “I want you to get all the patients with the plague into one room, so Sarla here,” she nodded towards the robed figure. “…can work her mojo, soon as Dawn’s back with the ingredients. I’m afraid I can’t stick around. There’s an apocalypse a brewin’ in Cardiff…some kind of rift in the fabric of space and time. I’ve gotter go deal.”

    “Apocalypse…?” said House, weakly. He fumbled in his pocket, pulled out a vial of vicodin and swallowed a pill. Even if it was the pills that were doing this to him, he needed one more than ever right now. And yes, I do see the irony.

    “You know, end of the world… only, it never really is, so don’t worry,” said Willow. She patted him on the head, which made him almost growl with displeasure.

    “You’re right,” Willow said to Cuddy, with a cheeky wink. “He really IS like a big grouchy teddy bear.”

    Cuddy smiled, making House scowl more. But then worry lines gathered on Cuddy’s face – “Dawn Summers, the intern… she went off somewhere… I’m not sure what she’s doing, but… I think she’s trying to cure this plague…”

    “Oh crap,” said Willow. “Then she’s probably gone to see the Don. Darn, why can’t she just call me? Why does no one ever just call when they need help?”
    She shook her head and, with another little wave at Cuddy, Willow disappeared in another puff of smoke.

    “Where shall I prepare the ritual?” said the robed figure. Sarla. Her voice was low and gravelly.

    “Ward ten. A nurse will show you the way,” said Cuddy. “Only…I think you should probably put on some scrubs. Otherwise, you might…people might…”

    “I understand.” The shaman nodded. She bowed her head, and her robes turned green and changed shape. Then she walked out of the room, hardly seeming to move her feet at all…as if she was gliding rather than walking.

    If I wasn’t already sitting, I think I might fall, thought House.

    Cuddy turned to him. “Now do you believe me?”

    “Yeah,” said House. He swallowed, hard, shaking his head. “I think I do…given that the alternative is I’ve completely lost my mind…” He cleared his throat and stood up. He coc’ked his head to one side and gave her a vicious glare. “But use this as something to mock me with in future, and I’ll tell the Media you’ve been putting your hands in the coma patients’ panties again.”

    + + +

    Dawn couldn’t breathe. She felt her windpipe, crushed by powerful fingers. All…going black. She clenched her fists with the pain. Just enough strength to…pull…cord…

    Suddenly, everything was painfully bright as a ball of manufactured sunshine appeared in the air. Dawn felt herself being dropped to the ground. Heard the sound of a vampire collapsing into dust. She was on her hands and knees, choking. Shouts around her. She coughed and looked up at the place where the Don had been. She smiled. “Y’should always have something up your sleeve,” she said.

    But it wasn’t over. The demon henchmen had recovered from their shock and were coming towards her. “Don’t come any closer!” she cried. She tried to cry, at least. It came out as a hoarse squeak.

    “Or, what? You gonna throw some sunlight at us? Not vampires, honey,” growled the nearest.

    “Then why were you working for one?” said Dawn. Buy time, keep them talking until…what? She didn’t have a second spell, and the gun she had tucked into the back of her pants would hardly slow down these massive creatures.

    “The Don was so much more than a vampire,” growled henchdemon number two – three eyes, nostrils big and black as craters.

    “He was family,” said another. They’d closed round her in a circle, seven of them.

    Dawn was trapped. But, noticing something, she smiled. “Much as I’d like to stick around and try and understand this particularly bizarre corner of the criminal Patriarchy, maybe you could hurry up and give me what I came here for…” She folded her arms and gave the circling demons a pitying look. “Cause I have family of my own in town, and I don’t want to keep them waiting. They get testy.”

    At that point, Willow, Kennedy, and a team of heavily-armed slayers made their presence felt.

    + + +

    Dawn now had more Vorlok root and Kanderah leaves than she knew what to do with. The demons had decided, after some “persuasion”, that, after all, vengeance for their dead boss was kinda petty, and, really, live and let live was really the best policy. Especially if the individuals being let to live – in the same shape they started off in – were them.

    “That was some speedy RICO-ing,” said Dawn, as they walked along the corridor through the now-empty demon lair. They’d left the other slayers - Sarah, Monique and Terri – to check they’d flushed out the whole place.

    “We’ve got it a little easier than the FBI,” said Willow. “You know, with us being able to just kill the gangsters, stead of,” she made a complex gesture in the air, “…with the bugging…and the narks…and the flipping.”

    “Have you been watching the Wire again, honey?” said Kennedy. “You know that makes you talk funny.”

    “She’s just jealous of my love for Kima,” said Willow, addressing Dawn while batting at Kennedy’s arm.

    “Hey…you guys have time to watch TV, and you still don’t come see me?” she complained - but, smiling. It was good to see those two back to bickering rather than… well, there’d been some SERIOUS angst the year before. The hell shirt had been a peace offering after the thing Kennedy’d had with the hell goddess while she was (kinda, technically, whatever) dead. Geez. Can our lives get any more soap opera?

    But now, it was time to return to more of a hospital drama. They’d reached the exit to the demon lair. “Can you take me back the quick way?” Dawn asked Willow.

    “No can do, Dawnie. Welsh Apocalypse to deal with, and I’ve only got the juice for one more trip today.”

    “It’s ok,” said Kennedy. “I can take you on my bike.”

    The witch and the dark haired slayer exchanged a complex look – Dawn could never figure where those two were at. She wondered if Willow was speaking to her girlfriend inside her brain. After a moment, Kennedy’s eyes opened wide with shock, then she leaned forward and whispered – Dawn could just make it out. “Careful. I’m gonna take that shirt back if you keep up that kind of talk.”

    “Have to wait,” said Willow, pecking her on the cheek, waving to Dawn with a “don’t forget to text Giles and tell him you’re not dead”, then poofing like a skinny fairy godmother.

    + + +

    Kennedy’s bike roared into the hospital parking lot and they rushed inside. Willow’d explained the sitch, and they found the shaman ready and waiting in the ward. Cuddy and House were there too – House’s motive seemed, primarily, to avoid doing any actual work, rather than to help. He was looking at the shaman curiously. “Is she human?” he asked. He poked her.

    “She is none of your business, unless you wish for a world of pain,” said the shaman.

    “Maybe later,” said House.

    “I’ve got the herbs,” said Dawn, holding them out to the shaman.
    Sarla nodded in thanks. “But you must leave me,” she said, addressing all of them. “I’m sorry, but I require total isolation. The slayer can remain to guard the door.”

    Dawn, Kennedy and Cuddy made to leave, but House hung back.

    “House!” scolded Cuddy.

    He rolled his eyes and followed them out. Kennedy took up a post outside the ward, while the others strolled on down the hallway.

    “First you tell me chicks can do magic,” House muttered. “Then you won’t let me watch!”

    “It’s not just…women…you know,” said Dawn. “Men can do magic too…ow!”

    Cuddy had elbowed her, hard.

    “But…only if they cut their penises off and sell them to Beelzebub,” Dawn added, getting why it might not be the best idea to encourage House to dabble in the black arts. Coupla spells, and he’d probably be ready to end the universe in a deluge of fire and snarky comments. He already had the evil laugh, after all.

    House gave a nasty smirk. “So, Chase really IS a eunuch, then?”


    House pointed to where Chase was kneeling, painting a symbol on the wall behind a pot plant.

    + + +

    “You know, I’ve always wanted to do this,” said House. Chase was tied up in a chair in Cuddy’s office and they – House, Cuddy and Dawn - were all crowded around him. He leaned over and bellowed in the young doctor’s ear. “Who are you working for?”

    “And I probably don’t need to say, it’s not this hospital,” added Cuddy. “What with you being incrediblyfired.”

    “So?” said House. “To quote, once more, the immortal words of Jack Bauer…who are you working for?”

    Chase gave a nervous swallow. “Myself. I’m…the demon promised me…wealth. Success.”

    “Lame,” commented Dawn.

    “I don’t buy it,” said House. He hobbled closer. “I know you, Chasey-wasey. You haven’t got the initiative to make a pact with the devil. Or a devil. Whatever…ooh, it’s so exciting, isn’t it? A whole new world!” House made a manic, giddy face.

    “What makes you think I haven’t got initiative?” Chase scowled.

    House leaned on Chase’s shoulder, which made the man wince. “Oh, sorry, did that hurt? You just wait til we get to the thumbscrews.” But he straightened up and took a step back, looking at the captive. “See, you’re a yes-man. You never had a hope in hell of discovering anything new as a doctor…certainly not getting a disease named after you.”

    “Yeah, that’s always been my dream,” spat Chase.

    “So…little puppy dawg… what we have to discover, is…whose bitch are you, exactly?” He turned to Cuddy and gave two thumbs up. "How's my intimidation?"

    Chase shook his head.

    “Tell the nice doctor, or I’ll rip out your lungs and use them as water wings,” said Dawn.

    “You’re just an intern,” said Chase. He pursed his lips, and Dawn wondered how she could ever have thought someone that prim and mean-looking was hot. “You can’t hurt me.”

    “Oh, I won’t do it personally,” said Dawn. She hooked a strand of hair behind her ear. “But my sister – Buffy Summers – will probably be coming to visit soon, and I’m sure she’d oblige.”

    “Buffy…s…summers?” said Chase, going pale.

    “Buffy Summers?” said House, looking puzzled.

    “Heard of her, huh?” said Dawn, stepping closer to Chase and grinning.

    “Yeah,” Chase nodded.

    “Yeah!” said House. “She’s the piece of ass that Wilson got his freak on with…” he turned to Dawn. “And I mean “piece of ass” in the most respectful of senses.”

    “I’ll pass on the compliment. I’m sure Buffy will be happy to come discuss the semantics some time,” said Dawn. “But she’s also a slayer. The slayer.”

    “Huh?” said House.

    “I’ll explain later,” said Cuddy. “I could use flashcards if you’re finding the
    concepts too challenging.”

    “Witch,” said House. “And perhaps that’s literally true?”

    “Nope,” said Cuddy. “I just went to med school with a guy who knows a coven.”

    “So…” said Dawn, turning back to Chase. “If you don’t answer to me, you can answer to Buffy.”

    Chase hung his head. He exhaled, clearly beat. “It’s Vogler. I was doing it for Vogler.”

    “Ha!” said House. He banged his cane on the ground. “Let me guess…Vogler wanted to make sure the hospital failed, proving that we can’t survive without him? Aww, did we hurt the huge gaping as’shole’s pride, did we, diddums?”

    “…so he decided to mystically off the patients?” suggested Dawn. “Leaving no trace for the police to find that would link it back to him or his accomplices.”
    Chase nodded again.

    House looked disappointed. “Does that mean we can’t throw this little puppy in jail with a cohort of lonely, burly men?”

    “Fraid so,” said Cuddy.


    Dawn saw that Chase was starting to look relieved, even happy. “No, we can’t get you arrested,” she said. “But, thing is…we’ve kinda prepared for this sort of thing.”

    “We?” Chase swallowed.

    “The organization I’m part of,” said Dawn. “The slayer council.”

    “Should interns really be moonlighting like that?” House clucked his tongue and looked pointedly at Cuddy. “That’s eating valuable hours they could be in the clinic!”

    “Hey, I’m not qualified to do clinic duty,” said Dawn. “I’m only a first year student. And, anyway, I only do council stuff in my spare time.”

    “Yeah, valuable time when you could be sleeping your way to the top,” said House. He shook his head in despair. “Really. No ambition.”

    “I’m telling Buffy about that, too,” said Dawn.

    “Go ahead. I’m getting kinda curious to meet this chick. She into older men?”

    Dawn snorted, but didn’t answer.

    “Can we get back to what’s going to happen to me?” said Chase.

    “Mystical prison,” said Dawn. “The council set one up in Scotland a while back. We can make you nice and comfy for a good long time.”
    That put a happy smile on House’s face. “Mystical prison? I don’t know what that is, but I like the sound of it.”

    “House, you’ve got to help me,” said Chase. “They can’t just lock me up, it’s not…”

    House held up a hand to stop him. “You tried to kill an entire hospital full of people. Now, I may not really give a rat’s ass about patients, but – and feel free to call me a big homo - there’s something about attempted mass murder that brings out my soppy side.”

    “And, don’t worry, you’ll get a fair trial,” said Dawn.

    “Awww, now you’ve gone and spoiled my happy mood,” said House.

    Dawn and Cuddy gave him a look.

    “So…what now?” he said. “This the part where I wake up in the shower and discover it was all just a disappointingly PG dream?”

    “No,” said Cuddy. “This is the part where I start the slow and painful interview process to replace Dr Evil here…and you two…leave me to do that.”

    “What about Chase?” House said.

    “Kennedy’ll take care of him,” said Dawn.

    “The hot motorbike chick? Lucky boy!”

    “She’s gay. And taken,” said Dawn.

    “Go!” said Cuddy.

    They went.

    + + +

    The next day, things at the hospital had returned to normal. All the patients who’d been affected by the curse plague were stable – some even cured of their original ailments, though the shaman had left alone the serious diseases, unwilling to undo what nature had done. Chase had been carted off by Kennedy, House had hounded Cuddy for more of the ins and outs, the whats and whys of the mystical underworld… and Dawn had gone back to her dorm, exhausted, and slept for ten delicious hours.

    In the hospital, things had returned to normal. But when House woke up, the world felt…Other. Not a rubiks cube puzzle to turn over and over in his nimble hands, not any more. He felt blind. Yesterday, things had happened so fast, he’d not really absorbed them, or what the implications were.


    He hobbled to the mirror and inspected his face, his body… The lines around his eyes, around his mouth…the hair on his chest…This used to be it. Just meat. But this isn’t all there is, is there?, he thought. We’re cells and blood and bone… but out there, there’s something else. Why the hell did I only find this out now? He rubbed the stubble on his chin, then bent down to splash water on his face. Doubt was flooding into him. How can I be certain of anything. How can I know…anything? He made a face. Stupid, blind old man.

    + + +

    When Dawn woke up, she stayed snuggled under her eiderdown for a few moments. She peeked out at the alarm clock, which hadn’t gone off yet. 8am. She didn’t have a lecture til 9, and she could probably run there in ten minutes. Mmmm, bed.
    As she lay there, warm and cosy, she turned over the events of the previous day in her mind. It was funny, really. Til now, she’d felt like life at the hospital was a new start – a very different kind of life to the one she’d had back in Sunnydale, or in Scotland (after the unfortunate Kenny incident). She’d liked that idea. A normal life. But now that she was getting to know a different side of New Jersey, one that was more mysterious, spooky, and altogether ooky than she’d first assumed…she realized she was cool with that. Weirdness? It was part of her.
    Last edited by Wolfie Gilmore; 18-06-08, 03:53 PM.

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