Prompt # 139-Foreman can read the thoughts of everyone
Summary: Foreman undergoes a strange trauma and is left with an odd ability. House and Cameron contemplate a solution to his condition.
Notes: This is only the first part of this fic. I'm sorry. It's already nine pages and I really would like to post it up in two parts. If this is a problem please let me know. I plan on finishing it out within the week. Hope you all enjoy it.
Foreman’s car broke down hard and it was now dead. He had taken the old reliable gold Saturn, one problem, she was still old. The engine wasn’t turning and after a half hour in the middle of a darkened suburban road the night air wasn’t getting any warmer. It reminded him that fall was fast on his heels and tomorrow would indeed make him one year older. After turning the key so many times, he just plain gave up. It had been a long day between losing a patient at his new job, which wasn’t helping reinforcing his confidence about leaving Princeton back in May, and arguing with his superior Hudson in the neurology department at Sloan Kettering about a leave of absence for personal reasons.
Hudson’s black face had been filled with passion and his hands animated as he talked through his white lab coat. He was on midnight call and he was unevenly shaven around his neck.
“Foreman, this is our job. We take the gamble every day. Not just sometimes, not just on rainy days, not on Fat Tuesday…every damn day! Now, you can run along home and feel bad about it. Or, you can realize, you have endless potential. As long as you are here you may make a difference. But when you’re at home, you can’t do a damn thing,” Hudson had said.
“But it was my call,” Foreman said, “We didn’t have to do the surgery.”
“You thought it would help! And you’re the doctor!” he exclaimed.
“But-“Foreman had tried to interject with a nod to his head.
Hudson was a brother, which Foreman not ever recognizing he was a bit of a bigot had assumed would make things easier. Interestingly enough, this had made things worse. Hudson was more insensitive than House about his dilemma, which really had thrown Foreman for a loop. But then he realized that he had taken House for granted in a sense. For all his rhetoric, esoteric thought provoking possibilities upon diagnostics as a revered art, House had been gentle with him after they had lost Lupe. Foreman’s held pain, the woman who had inserted doubt into his psyche about the responsibility of being a doctor. He still saw her face at nights like these when he was alone.
“They have faith in you Foreman! This isn’t the age of gods anymore!” Hudson cried after Foreman. Foreman had stomped out of the room, quickly picking up the things out of his locker. He didn’t bother putting in his request for a leave of absence form with HR. He hoped the drive would clear his head.
He dropped his head against the steering wheel and exhaled deeply. He was on his way to visit his sister in Albany for his thirty-fifth birthday. He didn’t talk to her much since she was mostly abroad selling industrial equipment in China, Singapore or God knows where. He scrunched up his face and then relaxed it while he thought of his cell phone in his jacket. As he flipped it open and the LCD screen lit up, strangely it blacked out with a static click. Damn it, he must have forgotten to charge the battery but he was sure he had while he was on shift.
That’s when he noticed the distant street light flicker. There was a loud hum and he heard wires snap back. They were going at the speed of sound. That’s what he thought when saw the power lines crackle with sparks ahead of him as their wooden strongholds tumbled down like dominoes toward his car. He kicked his car door open as he clicked its handle and thought if he headed to the road he might be more grounded.
He rolled out and landed on all fours and scurried to the cement of the road. He felt that strange buzzing sensation he hated feeling when he was near a lot of electricity. They had a Tesla coil in his chemistry lab during college once and he had been wearing a metal button. He had got too close and then had almost passed out from the shock as it zapped him accidentally. There had been that same numbing buzz then, too.
That’s when Foreman heard an eerie rush and then silence. Lights flickered above his head and then one bright strobe. He lifted his hand against his forehead for shade squinting to see. There was something above him. Was it a helicopter? No, it was something far more astounding. It was a hovering craft. He collapsed.
And the next thing he knew was blackness…
A few days later Foreman found himself in a white bed. He felt his head. It was bandaged. He imagined he might have a concussion and mentally started asking himself questions to see if his memory was intact. That’s when he started hearing the voices in his head. They were like mild chattering that wouldn’t go away. He hoped whoever his doctor was they were on call and he could speak with him or her.
That’s when he thought at first someone was talking to him, a female voice, very familiar, but there was no in the room with him. He was alone.
Why does he always do this? Every time I ask him for something it’s like I owe him something in return. Does he think I want to jump Foreman now? Chase was right about everything. I shouldn’t have even bothered him. Chase…ohh, God, what time is it? I need to get some sleep.
“Cameron?” Foreman asked. He could tell it was her voice. “Cameron?” he asked a little louder again, looking around the room, but the hospital room was empty. A television was braying a small claims court drama.
You get off at 5:30 Stanley. I told you that the first time, why does he keep asking the same question? I swear I need new people working in this damn office.
“Hello?” Foreman asked, again. Maybe it was some weird acoustic issue with the hospital where he could hear through the walls or…
Abruptio placentae, abscess, acapnia, aceruloplasminemia...I wonder what Kathy Ireland would look like naked? Oh well, that was an old magazine I mean, she probably doesn’t look like that anymore, but she has the same build as…what the hell is her problem? She’s pouting like Foreman’s going to die. I should leave before things get…get…just do the terminology. Achondroplasia…I bet I am the only person on the planet who chants medical terms for relaxation. God, I am brilliant.
“House?” Foreman asked. That sounded like the curmudgeon, tooting his own horn so loud you couldn’t help but hear it.
Balanitis, barotitis, this isn’t working. I’m not relaxing. I’m just wound up more from sitting next to him in a waiting room. House is impatient and I’m attracted to it. Maybe if I got coffee or a sandwich. But I’m not hungry, Allison. I want to sit and get on top of him and…yeah, right, right, you want to sleep with that. It wouldn’t work in a million years, then again, why does it have to work? We could just…
Foreman’s brow raised slowly in realization of what was going on, though he really couldn’t believe it. He could hear Cameron’s thoughts, every single private thought. House’s thoughts, too and it seemed even other people. They were in a waiting room somewhere. Foreman pressed a button for a nurse. For a few moments, he thought he might be able to shut off the voices so they would stop. But they wouldn’t, they were still continuing.
Someone’s abuzzing ya Salome. Don’t you see the light?
Ohhh…I so want a new motorcycle after I get my ankle fixed. Ahh…Dad will buy it.
Did Cameron glance at my crotch?
Oh, he saw me look at his crotch.
Is he okay?
Foreman looked at the nurse and realized she was asking him if he was okay.
“I’m fine,” Foreman said to the nurse. She gave him a puzzled look.
“I didn’t ask,” she said with a huff. “But, are you alright?” the nurse asked with a crane of her head. Foreman shut his mouth and compressed his lips.
“Fine, just fine, I think there are some people waiting for me.”
“I’ll let them know.”
Foreman wondered why his father and sister weren’t around. On his end table he noticed there were flowers and candies left saying happy birthday and get well soon.
“Hey,” Cameron said, as she walked into the room. She was wearing knee high black boots, a brown velvet skirt, a crème turtleneck and her hair was up in a honey blonde bun. She sat on Foreman’s bed and gave him a friendly hug. House trailed behind in the background like some shadow. He glanced paranoid around the room looking like he might be spotted by a hunter and then shot.
He walked up to Foreman and took out his little examination light from his business jacket. Foreman noticed his jacket was navy blue and made House look solemn and somber.
“We really need to stop meeting this way,” House said, turning on the little light.
“Where’s my doctor?” Foreman asked confused.
Cameron swallowed a little and glanced at House. He glared at Cameron annoyed.
Are you going to tell him the truth? That you just wanted an excuse to see me again and this was the perfect opportunity. I wish.
“Your father called me and he wanted me to call House,” Cameron said. House looked at Cameron and then snapped his head up in surprise.
“Why didn’t the old man show?” House asked Cameron. The look on his face was one of challenge. He examined Foreman’s fingers superficially for nerve damage and then checked both his eyes.
It’s always about him.
Foreman hearing the fight around him escalate now on another deeper level looked to quickly diffuse it. “It’s alright. I’m glad you both came. But Cameron, is my father well?” He didn’t know what was going on with his head. He hoped it was just the after effects of his pain meds. Should I tell Foreman?
Cameron pursed her lips and bit her tongue slightly. She stood up, folded her arms and exhaled. “His kidneys are failing. He’s begun dialysis. He didn’t want you to know. In fact, I’m not supposed to know or tell you.”
That little secret monger…she wanted me to think she was calling just to see me. Telling me it was “time” we met halfway.
“That sounds like him,” Foreman said with a scratch to his head. He rolled his eyes away from House hoping he could somehow evade listening in to his internal battle.
“How’s your head feel?” Cameron asked.
“Well, honestly, I’m afraid a little damage has been done.”
“Why is that?” House asked with a curious tilt of his head. His nostrils stirred with a slight flare.
“I-I just feel different. My hearing is more sensitive.”
“Might be temporary damage to your nerves or shock,” Cameron said with a frown.
“Doubtful. What are you hearing Foreman?” House asked.
“I-uhh-can’t tell you that. It’s just a real heightened sensitivity, like I heard part of your conversation in the waiting room.”
Cameron and House looked at each other in confusion.
“Foreman, we weren’t talking in the waiting room,” Cameron said.
Foreman looked at House and swallowed a sappy smile. “My mistake, I must have imagined it. Maybe it’s a concussion.”
“What did you hear us say in the waiting room?” House asked Foreman.
“I think you were talking about medical terminology,” he responded uncertainly. House and Cameron both gave Foreman a curious glance.
“It was probably a dream,” Cameron said, “and you probably heard our voices from when we were in here earlier.”
“Rational and logical conclusion,” House said. He smirked and chuckled to himself. “Although it is interesting I was thinking about medical terminology in the waiting room.”
“Well, so was I,” Cameron offered with a dismissive wave of her hand, “we’re doctors we all probably think about medical jargon all day long.”
Why was she thinking about medical terminology?
Foreman couldn’t help but test his own theory. “Is it relaxing for you Cameron?” Foreman asked her. Cameron gave a self-conscious shrug. House pinched Foreman’s toes. He responded with a reflexive jab of his foot. House nodded his head in approval.
“Sometimes it’s relaxing.” Cameron admitted with an awkward smile. House rolled his eyes.
Why does she do that? Just own up to the fact you’re a complete loser like me. She’s pretty so she hides behind her smile for protection. Annoying.
House came around to Cameron’s side.
“Now, that you’re done showing off to Foreman, do you mind if I continue my examination?” House asked Cameron. Cameron moved aside and smirked coldly. Foreman stretched his arms out and smiled. He could have some real fun with this new ability he thought he had…or well, he did have, but was he even sure of anything yet?
“So what about you House, you enjoy listing off medical terminology when you’re stressed? I would think you would have the encyclopedia memorized,” Foreman said.
House held Foreman’s head a little straighter after that comment and continued to direct his light into his eye.
“Your left eye looks shifty and sitting in a waiting room doesn’t stress me out.”
Cameron smiled and pressed a warm hand on Foreman’s shoulder. “I’ll be back,” she said.
“Unless Cameron is in the waiting room and you haven’t spoken to her or seen her for two months,” Foreman said under his breath.
“Put your head back,” House said with a glower.
“You thought she wanted to see you,” Foreman said quietly.
“Definitely shifty,” House said, sticking out his tongue and flashing the light on an angle to Foreman’s head. “I think,” he clicked off the light and returned it to his pocket, “I’m going to recommend an MRI.”
Something was done to his eye, but what the hell could do that kind of pinpoint accurate damage? An idle fiber glass shard impacting from the car accident?
Foreman grabbed House’s arm. “What damage? What’s been done to my eye?”
House pulled his arm away and looked at Foreman in shock.
“You are reading my mind,” House said, “But…” House shook his head. “This isn’t possible.”
“Why? Because some medical book says so?” Foreman cried. “Look, you were disappointed she didn’t just want to see you again, but she’s still interested. Isn’t that enough?”
House turned away and rubbed his hands through his hair. He blew out some air and thought to pop some vicodin but then thought better of it and replaced his bottle back in his pocket.
“Here, I know, in the waiting room, she was looking at your crotch and she noticed that you noticed.” House walked away from Foreman and headed toward the doorway. “You’re not well,” House said his eyes darting around the room in a panic. “This isn’t normal.”
“I feel great,” Foreman said.
“Don’t go anywhere,” House said. “I’ve got to find Cameron.”
Four months later…
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Dr. Eric Foreman, our new head of Neurology at Princetion Plainsboro Teaching Hospital,” the small squat trustee said, clapping his hands as Dr. Foreman arrived at the podium. The trustee adjusted his wire rimmed spectacles smiling at the tall black man in a suit of lilac silk. In the chairs behind him, Dr. Cuddy sat in a black evening dress with her legs crossed and scratched the large golden laced choker around her neck.
The audience applauded. Foreman took notice that House and Cameron were nowhere to be seen, although Chase and Wilson were sitting at their table.
“Thank you. This has been my dream for a very long time. I only wish my father could be here to share it with me.” Foreman smiled warmly glancing at his mother and sister at the table in the front. His sister dressed in a conservative dress of beige nodded her head and egged Eric onward.
“And I promised myself that when I got into this position, right at this moment, that I would thank one man, other than my father. Ironically, that man is nowhere to be seen at the moment,” Foreman said smiling and letting out a small polite chuckle. The audience took a brief respite into chatter and let out some audible clearing of throats and laughter over the brassy chink of cutlery and teapots at the round banquet tables. Foreman focused his mind, the voices were coming through slightly, but still buffered. They had been growing stronger and stronger as the weeks went by and although he felt like it was all coming to a head, he wouldn’t believe Cameron and House’s worries.
“But regardless, Dr House, wherever you are right now, I couldn’t have done it without your support.”
The room sobered into silence. No one thought to make a sound. Everyone knew who House was and for him to receive any accolade in any form was slightly confusing. After the pause, Cuddy raised her eyebrows at Wilson in the crowd in worry and he politely began clapping. A few others followed suit.
Feeling the pressure of the moment, Foreman massaged his neck and smiled. His eyes wandered around the room. He felt his equilibrium shift and then he was struggling to keep himself up. He heard a few shouts of shock from his mother when he slumped into the podium. There it was again that pain at the back of his left eye. Cuddy ran up the stairs to catch him from falling. Wilson and Chase got out of their seats and ran up to the stage while onlookers stood up in their chairs to get a better look.
“I’ll call the medics and get a cart down here,” Cuddy said, while Chase and Wilson dragged him out of Cuddy’s weak grasp on his shoulders.
Meanwhile in the hospital…
Cameron sat in her red dress her glasses delicately pursed on her nose. She hadn’t taken this old thing out of the closet since the casino night at the hospital a few years back. She had thought House and her might have a relaxing evening for once considering all they had done for the last four months since Foreman’s condition, as House called it, was diagnosed they had been working relentlessly to undo the supposed “damage” to his brain, specifically his frontal lobe. House was dressed in a tuxedo and promised they would make their grand entrance after the boring self-congratulatory speeches, namely when the food was passed out in another hour.
Cameron looked down at her notes and gave a small yawn while House stared at the white board from where he sat. As House rocked back and forth with his shoulders, he clucked his tongue and glanced at her. The evening made the office seem still.
“So?” he asked.
“So?” Cameron asked right back. She didn’t look at him.
“You have to get him to agree to another exploratory,” House said. He pulled his lower lip with two fingers and raised his eyebrows. Cameron sighed.
“Me? Remember how that worked out last time?” she asked, taking off her glasses.
“Yes, we ended up in bed together,” House said, standing up and erasing the board. Cameron rolled her eyes.
“You’re saying the only way we can sleep together again is if I ask Foreman to go through an unnecessary surgical procedure?”
“It worked last time,” House said.
“I didn’t sleep with you out of a sense of gratitude to Foreman.”
“Prove it!” House said, with a plucky dash of his head. He leaned his body askew to where he pointed his cane. He limped slightly forward and rubbed its end against her ankle. She glanced down at his cane advances as if she was looking at a bug for squashing. She ignored him.
“You know there is such a thing as sexual harassment in the work place,” she said, folding up her notes and putting them in her bag.
House compressed his lips.
“He won’t listen to me,” House said finally. Cameron glanced up at him miffed.
“Foreman doesn’t listen to anyone. He thinks he’s as cold as you,” she said.
“So, why did you sleep with me?” House asked suddenly changing the subject again.
“I don’t know, just curious,” she said with a shrug.
House plopped down in a seat near her and swiveled around and held up his head with two folded hands. Cameron frowned. Her eyes searched him for a response.
House rubbed his hands through his hair and sighed deeply. He was going to need to swallow his pride in front of her and she never made it easy.
“There’s no cure for what is wrong with him. Hell, we don’t even know if it is wrong. You’ve known that for two months now and yet you’ve stayed with me and listened to my endless diatribes on how if I figure this out we earn the Nobel Peace Prize in medicine. Why not give up?”
“I wouldn’t expect you to understand,” she said.
“I’ll get all the glory,” he said.
“You always do.” Cameron stood up. House stood up to match her movement. He grabbed her by the wrists and held her still. He didn’t want to let her go somehow he finally realized that he didn’t know a damn thing about her and he might never if he let go. He didn’t want to kiss her, but he couldn’t cure Foreman and somehow his madness had consumed House inside and out. He asked Foreman to follow her all the time at first just as a game and then somehow it became the only thing he looked forward to at the end of the day. Hell, tolerating Wilson even became possible. Foreman’s disease had changed him and…he didn’t want to go back.
Cameron saw the pain in House’s eyes and smiled at the touch of his hands grasped around her wrists.
“He would tell me what you thought all the time and I felt more for you. It made me feel, not so alone.”
“But then the drug worked,” House said, letting his grip go. Cameron didn’t respond.
Right at that moment a cart came tearing by. He didn’t catch the patient but House assumed the worst. The stress of the new position, losing his father so recently and the recent headaches, it was safe to assume it was Foreman. Cuddy following the medic enclosed cart was in a huff walking like a broken chicken in her high heels, Wilson trudging along behind her in concern and Chase looking around the hallway almost lost. Cameron and House’s foreheads cringed simultaneously at one another and without a word they headed out to the hall to catch up.
“What happened?” House called out to Wilson. Wilson kept moving forward and yelled out of the corner of his mouth.
“He was giving his speech and collapsed. I tried smelling salts but then he went into mild cardiac arrest,” Wilson said.
“The medics revived him but then," Cuddy said trailing off.
“If he’s suffering from ischemia you may want to induce hypothermia now,” House said, calling after the group.
“He’s being resuscitated House! Give it a chance for Christ sakes!” Cuddy cried. Cameron’s face lit up in panic she tried speaking but House waved a hand at her.
“I’ve prescribed anti-coagulates for him recently,” House started, Cameron interrupted, “And since he’s had a brain biopsy in the past there’s risk of a hemorrhage,” she said.
“Why would you prescribe blood thinners? There’s nothing on his history of heart troubles and you had to know the risks after his brain biopsy,” Cuddy said.
“It’s complicated,” House said. Wilson and Cuddy looked at each other in disgust. Chase looked back at the pair like they were idiots. They all made it into the elevator at the same time. House watched while in vain the young black woman tried resuscitating him with the oxygen pump on his face. Wilson nodded his head at the other medic and injected some epi. The last dose was smaller and hadn’t worked.
“And you condoned this treatment Dr. Cameron?” Cuddy asked Cameron.
“It was his choice. He’s been suffering from—
“It doesn’t matter!” House exclaimed. He glowered at Cameron with a stiff chin.
“Everyone calm the hell down!” Chase yelled. “The epi has worked.”
Sure enough the readings on the cardiogram were slowly coming up and leaning toward stability. Cameron and Wilson relaxed a little. Cuddy glanced up and sighed.
“Yeah and there is no chance of reperfusion injury!” House cried. “If his heart fails again, get some damn chilled saline and ice and inject it into him. Then get some tubes and fill them with cold water. That should minimize the brain damage.”
“Stats are failing!” the black medic cried. Chase, Cameron and Wilson moved to the elevator as it opened on their floor. Cuddy helped bring out the cart. Foreman was gurgling something incoherent.
Suddenly, as House stepped out of the elevator he heard a ringing in his ears and a very familiar voice.
House, I’m here. Don’t worry, I won’t die! House clutched his chest as his breathing became labored. It was Foreman. He was speaking in House's head.