Warning: this fic should probably be rated PG-13 because it contains House and I couldn't keep him from making a few inappropriate remarks.
OVERHEARD IN THE ICU
Daniel woke out of a fevered delirium to a truly incredible headache, a hangover that felt drug-induced, and the sound of a gravelly, unfamiliar voice saying "I should start requisitioning medical records from the military more often if you're going to show up with a hot blond Airperson in tow every time I do."
"Nice to see you again, Doctor House" another voice, this one blessedly familiar, replied crisply. Daniel made an attempt to lift his eyelids enough to confirm that it was Janet's voice he was hearing, but at the first hint of light his headache went nova. Meanwhile, Janet was saying "I'm afraid I don't have time to exchange barbs at the moment. If I could ask you to step outside, I believe Doctor Cuddy would like to see you downstairs."
"You can ask, Doctor Frasier," the gravelly voice--Doctor House?--gave the salutation an ironic twist that was almost a sneer, "But I'm afraid my patient's time is running out and if I'm going to keep him from dying I'm going to need his medical records five minutes ago."
"I am aware of the time frame involved." Janet was using the implacable tone of voice that Jack referred to as the Janet Frasier I-Will-Crush-You-Like-A-Bug Special. "And unfortunately, Doctor Jackson's medical records are currently unavailable, so if you'll please step outside--"
"Unavailable as in 'misfiled and never seen again,'" Doctor House cut in, sounding either annoyed or amused, it was hard to tell, "or unavailable as in 'the President himself would have to hire ninja assassins to find out who gave this kid his appendectomy'?"
"The latter." Daniel was reasonably certain that this was not strictly true, but Janet sounded disinclined to indulge her interlocutor any more than absolutely necessary. "Which is why I'll be taking over Doctor Jackson's case effective immediately."
"You're kidding, right?" Doctor House snapped, and now he was definitely not amused. "The guy's got an infectious inflammation of the meninges, not embedded shrapnel. If he needed a barber surgeon I would've called you."
"This barber surgeon has all the relevant paperwork needed to have you forcibly removed from this level of the hospital, if you do not clear out and let me get to work here immediately." Daniel could hear the urgency slowly overtaking the professionalism in Janet's voice, and it struck him distantly as cause for concern. He tried to remember where he was and why he was--apparently--in the hospital, but following a clear train of thought through the pain in his head was almost impossible.
There was a moment during which a staring contest must have taken place because Doctor House's voice got even more gravelly as he said "Well if you're going to be like that about it, I guess I'd better make my exit while I can still do so with some dignity." He ground out the last word with more irony in his voice than should have been possible, then Daniel heard an uneven pattern of footsteps leaving the room.
Janet called for Sam, and then Daniel felt her cool hand on his face. "You're going to be fine, Daniel," she said. "Hang on just another minute." Then she went away and the last thing he heard before falling into another delirious half-sleep was the sound of vertical blinds clattering shut and the low hum of a Goa'uld healing device.
The next time he woke, the headache from Hell was gone, replaced by a more manageable soreness in his back and neck. He still felt like he'd been hit by a sedative-laced brick, but when he cracked an eye open experimentally the light from the window across from him didn't threaten to split his head in two, which was an improvement. Through his lashes, he could see Janet pacing slowly across his frame of vision, gazing out the window. He was still debating whether he wanted to let her know he was awake or just succumb to the drug haze and go back to sleep when she turned to look past the foot of his bed and smiled tiredly at someone he couldn't see.
"Come to check my work?" she asked, sounding amused despite herself.
"I thought I'd come back and see if I could still take you up on that offer of a forcible removal since I realized it would probably be that leggy blond doing the forcible removing." The gravelly-voiced doctor again.
Janet dismissed the remark with an eyeroll and then said "I'm afraid there's not much to see. I'm just waiting to hear back on some test results to be sure he's clear before I get him ready to leave."
"Speaking of which," the man--House, that was the name--stepped into view, leaning on a cane and waving a handful of papers with his free hand, "I thought you'd be interested to know that the second lumbar puncture you bullied out of the technicians came back clean as a preacher's sheets."
"Evidently I didn't bully them enough." Janet plucked the pages out of House's hand. "I'm fairly sure I made it clear that these results were strictly confidential."
"You're not the only one who can put the fear of god into lab techs, Bonapart." House smirked at her and began limping purposefully toward Daniel's bedside. "So what's the story on your little lost manchild, here?"
Daniel quickly decided that a) he really didn't want to deal with this person while he was still stoned out of his mind on painkillers, and b) pretending to be asleep and letting Janet handle the rude physician's questions was the better part of valor. He accordingly let his eyes fall completely shut again.
"Doctor Jackson contracted an infection while he was out of the country recently," Janet replied tersely.
"Yes, Honduras, wasn't it? At least that's the most recent stamp in his passport." House sounded wry, as though he knew perfectly well that Daniel's current condition had as much to do with Honduras as it did with the current price of Microsoft shares. "So you want to tell me how a healthy adult male with no immune disorders contracts fungal meningitis in South America, experiences no symptoms for three weeks, and then suddenly collapses in the basement of a museum?"
"Not especially, no." Janet's voice was cool, but she sounded amused again.
"How about why the infection looks like mutant superyeast on evil steroids and doesn't respond to anti-fungals?"
Stoic silence from Janet. Daniel was slowly piecing together a memory of the artifact he had been scanning for traces of naquada when it inexplicably opened and now he was pretty sure he knew how he'd ended up in the hospital.
"And no doubt you'll confiscate all the samples we took from the first lumbar puncture before I can get another look at them, too." House gave an elaborately resigned sigh and said "The least you could do is satisfy my curiosity as to why the US Air Force is employing a crank archaeologist who, despite having three doctorates, believes that aliens built the pyramids?"
"Not built by aliens, built as landing platforms for aliens," came Janet's glib reply. "And the answer is no."
"I suppose the recent gunshot in his leg is a souvenir of Honduras, as well," said House.
"As a matter of fact, it is," Janet replied cheerfully.
"No doubt his recent run-in with a bullet is his reason for keeping a 9 mil in his suitcase when visiting the perilous territories of suburban Jersey."
"House, you tossed his hotel room?" Janet sounded less outraged than Daniel had expected.
"Oh please, Frasier, of course I didn't toss his hotel room. I have minions who do that kind of thing for me." At Janet's scandalized sniff, House added "What was I supposed to do? The guy was completely out of it, I couldn't ask him anything about himself, and even his delirious ravings were in some Egyptian dialect so obscure that I couldn't get any good dirt out of it."
Janet sniffed at him again, but let it go without further comment. After a moment she said "I'm surprised you're not trying to harangue me into revealing the methods I used to affect such a quick recovery from near-fatal meningitis."
"That's not nearly so interesting as how he got the near-fatal meningitis to begin with," House said dismissively. "Besides, when you called that hot Air Force major into the room and she came out five minutes later looking exhausted and calling for a tech to run a second lumbar puncture, I concluded that you were employing the latest government research on the healing power of quickies." Janet emitted a small, horrified cough at this. House gave a self-satisfied chuckle and said "What, don't tell me I'm wrong! I was feeling so reassured that my tax dollars were finally being put to good use!"
"Out!" Daniel could tell that Janet was pointing imperiously at the door, but he could also tell that she was trying not to laugh.
Merciless criticism is always useful. Everybody have a lovely weekend!