Xander woke up in the morning with a moan, licking his lips.  "Eww, sedatives."

"You were in surgery last night," Chase told him.

Xander blinked at him.  "Can I apologize to Doctor House?"

"He said not to worry about it."  He handed over the note House had given him.  Xander read it and nodded.  "He did fix that therapist.  Walked up behind him and got him with the cane.  He's very sorry and you won't be drugged again."  He stood up to check him over.  "How are you feeling?"

"My stomach hurts."

"Not surprising."

"Mishap the last time?"

"No, no one left in a sponge or anything.  One of the healing spots created an ulcer.  That's what the bleeding you should have told us about was from.  Each time it got irritated it'd bleed and you'd see it."  Xander groaned.  "So you're on liquids for the next week and a  half.  Also, how much pain are you in?"  Xander shrugged.  "The truth?"  He stared him down until Xander looked at him.  "Usually people are trying to get more when they don't need it."

"I'm not like everyone else," he nearly whined.  "I'll be okay."

"You won't be.  The pain is a bad indicator and we need you able to tell us if the level changes."

"Only when the bones shift."

"They did do that.  The MRI and CT were both very clear.  Your left leg had three bones shift."  Xander nodded.  "You reported one."

"They should've caught the others on the last CT."

"They did.  One shifted an extra bit."  He got up and injected something into his side when Xander shifted at the sight of the needle.  Xander frowned, then blinked.  Chase smiled.  "Better?"

"Less pain."

"Hmm.  That's what it's for.  Now, how much remaining pain are you in?"

"I feel like the time Dad hit me with the car when I was five.  Sore.  Really sore."  Chase nodded.  "This stuff is better."

"It is but we'll be managing the pain.  You shouldn't be in that much pain.  We need to know when you are.  That means something's going on.  The same as the numb feeling in your right foot was a blood clot."

"How was I supposed to know?  It felt like it was asleep.  I told you it was asleep."

"You did."  He patted him, testing each side's foot.  Both warmer and more healthy looking.  "That's good.  Now, no getting up."

"I'm back on the line?"

"Yes and since you're going to be on liquids only for a while there's no need to go to the bathroom either."  He gave Xander a look.  "Okay?"  Xander nodded.  "Any other questions?"

"Is the wi-fi back on?"

"No.  They have to order the router from the telecommunications company.  They said it'll take about a week."  He patted his better foot again, getting a wince.  He checked him carefully.  "Looks like you have some bruising."  He paged House from the room phone, getting him a few minutes later.  "The clot buster is producing bleeding."

House checked, then nodded.  "Let's drop his dose down."

"That kinda hurts," Xander said when he poked it.

"That's good.  We want to hear that information," House said dryly.  "Growl again or something, kid."  He checked the other leg.  "It's swelling."  He had the nurse page the orthopedist to come check him over again.  This was not a good sign.

"Am I going to have to have it amputated?" Xander asked.  "Dawn would be grossed out.  She said so."

"Probably not."  The ortho from last night walked in.  "Bruising from the clot, swelling on the other side."

The doctor looked, shaking his head.  "This is not good.  Not an infection," he assured him, "but not great."  He went back to it.  "Did you get more shifting?"

"He was in surgery last night," Chase told him.  "Just woke up a half-hour ago."  That got a nod and Xander yelped at a gentle press.  House caught the other foot before Xander could kick either of them.  "I gave him the dosage you wanted, House."

"Let's up it another fifteen."  Chase nodded, going to write that order and get it for him.  Xander went into near bliss when it took effect, swimming happily on the lack of pain and the good feelings.  He was even mumbling.  He looked at the other doctor.  "Today?"

"Back to back?  That probably isn't good for his system."

"No but better to have it fixed."

"I have no idea how we're fixing it.  We need him to grow more bone growth."

"Skelegrow," Xander said in a sing-song manner.

"None of us are Madam Pomfrey, Xander," Chase said, making him giggle.  He shifted and hissed but ended up on his side with Chase arranging the pillows to properly prop him up.  "There you go.  You nap."  Xander nodded, falling asleep.  He looked at the amused older doctors.  "He claims he gets numb and he's going to get bedsores since he never gets to move except for bathroom breaks."

"Good point," the Orthopedist said.  He sighed.  "He's one hell of a stubborn patient, House.  Matches you pretty well."

"He keeps trying to see if I'm dating Wilson."

The orthopedist laughed.  "It's good he likes your relationship."  He patted him on the back.  "Let me check with the boss.  He's thinking about trying something experimental they use on horses."  He went to do that.

House looked at Chase.  "A bit attached?" he joked dryly.

Chase looked down at where Xander had gripped his hand.  "It's making him feel better.  Is it good for him to do the new surgery now?"

"They want more bone growth to occur before they go back in.  He's not very fast."

"I noticed that.  I saw the new x-rays and last night's CT.  Surgeries two days running is probably going to tax his system."

"We can drug him again.  If we have to, we will."  Chase nodded.  "You ready to get back to work?"  Xander growled.  House laughed.  "He's a protective puppy."  He walked out smirking at the nurses.  "Expect Ortho soon."

"Yes, Doctor House.  His next dosage give him the full one?"

"We'll see.  Four hours."

"Yes, sir.  We'll call in three in case you get new patients."  He waved a hand, getting onto the elevator.  "It's sad but Xander could be his younger clone if he was a doctor."

Chase looked out at them.  "He and House have traded barbs a few times.  He makes House laugh in a good way."

They all smirked at that.  That was good news for everyone who had to deal with Doctor House.

"And he keeps asking if he's seeing Wilson."

They laughed, they all knew they were hiding it for *some* reason.  Not like they cared.  House was happier when he was getting some regularly.


Xander woke up again, blinking at the lawyer.  "Hey," he said weakly.  He looked around then at him.  "Problems?"

"Are you aware?"

"Mostly.  Kinda hurts.  Why?" he asked, still sounding weak to his own ears.  "And why do I feel more like crap?"

"New pain killers you've been out on for two days.  I had them wake you up for this.  The judge needs you to be fully awake."  Xander nodded at that, putting up the head of the bed.  He looked at the two inflatable casts, pointing.  "No idea.  You can ask in a few minutes."  He handed over the small pile of papers. "Sign at the flags, Xander.  Those are the injunction and restraining orders.  The only agent presently allowed near you is Agent Finn.  I had a special exception made for him."

Xander nodded, signing where he needed to after reading what he could. "Does this one say the judge won't take any of my soul for the judgement?"  The lawyer nodded.  "You went to the demon courts?"

"I went to both, just in case.  Since some agents do know I thought it safer."

"That's fine.  Is it going to cost me extra?"

"It took only an hour more.  I can only charge you for the hours worked."  Xander nodded and finished signing, handing them back.  "Good.  Now, anything I should know?  Or that I can help you with?"

"No.  Not unless you've heard about the probate?"

"I've heard quite a lot," he admitted, shifting so he could get more comfortable.  "They called it while you were under.  The nurse talked to the judge so he knew why.  Your doctor gave her permission to be candid about your injuries."  Xander nodded once at that.  "The only probate left is Mr. Giles' things.  The judge formally turned that over to the British courts, who have made an appointment in two days hence for him.  It was noted to them that there's a number of dangerous artifacts so they were put into the same hearing your friends got about the former watchers' belongings."  Xander nodded once again.  "Miss Summers is, of course, the inheritor of her relatives' estates.  The judge agreed and upheld you'd be taking custody of her once you're out of here.  Dawn put forward the emergency plan and the judge agreed it would be prudent if something were to happen to her temporary guardians."  Xander frowned but nodded at that.  "Miss Emerson's estate was settled fairly quickly in your favor as there are no other living relatives.  The judge was not happy that you had Miss Rosenburg's phone and computer but it was offered in the will that you were getting it anyway and you needed some way to stay in touch with Miss Summers.  He thought it was usurping and assuming the authority of her estate before he ruled until the spirit came down to verbally slap him senseless.  Which Miss Summers did deal with."



"They okay?"

"She said to assure you she's happy and content.  All of them are."  Xander nodded.  "Since her parents cannot be found..."  Xander opened his mouth.  "We tried their emails and their webpage.  It hasn't been updated in over a year.  No one's sure where they are.  The lawyer thoughtfully put forward that they could be dead.  The judge said that was an assumption so he put forward why he thought that.  Including the lack of contact with FEMA or their insurance companies over their properties in Sunnydale and lack of contact with their daughter.  He asked her and she said she had no idea where they were either, but they could probably be dead since she hadn't heard from them in quite a while.  She mentioned an ugly staking incident."

"She was nearly burned at one by her parents and others thanks to the Hansel and Gretel demon."

"Ah.  That would explain that.  The judge decided to allow it since it would matter to Miss Rosenburg's estate.  He ruled in your favor there as well.  He ruled in your favor in the matter of your uncle's and your parent's estates, though there wasn't much there.  Mostly life insurance policies." Xander nodded and yawned.  "That left the estate of one Andrew Wells and the two estates he was trying to claim.  They found the boy's parents and they refused, said Andrew was not their son if he was involved in something like that.  They had the assumption that he had been in some way responsible.  I don't know why."

"His friends and he were an evil geek trio who wanted to rule the world.  One of them shot Buffy for interfering in their plans.  He was with Jonathan and Warren."

"Ah!  We've heard of them," he said with a smile.  "He came down to tell the judge what he wanted and glared at his parents.  He told them exactly what he had done to help and they stomped off crying.  He said since it was only you and Dawn, to either split it or not, but to give you his comics."  Xander smiled.  "Which is quite a collection."

"I know."  That got a nod.  "Dawnie?"

"She said to give it to you.  She'll never be the geek you are.  No matter how much Mr. Wyndham-Pryce tries."  Xander smiled.  "The judge said it was unusual but sighed and granted it with the other two since the other judge had allowed them to be consolidated as Mr. Wells had been the only one to step forward to claim their bodies or estates."  He cleared his throat.  "It also appeared the Chases had been back in town when the event happened.  Their daughter's estate was up for grabs.  The initial ruling the judge filed stated she did not believe the parents were worthy of it since they had abandoned her to flee to Mexico when the IRS came knocking.  Especially since there wasn't much money and they were still wanted felons.  They were in jail and the jail was not evacuated."  Xander shuddered.  "That one is still pending.  That judge had been transferred to the LA County courts to work and brought that case and the other pending ones with her.  I believe Angel was claiming that one.  You'll need to tell someone if you wanted something from it."

"Just a few pictures.  Angel already knows."

"Good.  That leaves Mr. Giles' estate and getting your bank accounts here.  He was able to get them free of Sunnydale but the local bank doesn't trust this situation.  You'll be visited by one of them tomorrow so you'll have to be aware and alert then as well."  Xander nodded at that.  "With the judge consolidating you fell into the higher estate tax bracket."  Xander winced and hissed.  "Which was technically an empty one.  The judge ordered this year's property taxes and those things paid so FEMA could pay off the value of the houses to you.  Miss Summers wanted you to know they had went into your storage areas and had them moved to a safe place in LA.  Some agents got a bit persnickety about the weapons but they told them why.  Captain Finn stepped in to confiscate most of the higher ones."

"Beat him later," Xander mumbled.

"If you wish.  He's local at the moment."

"Since I'm up can the bank people come today?"

"I can check."  He called him.  "Captain Finn, Mr. Waters from Wolfram and Hart.  I'm briefing Mr. Harris at the moment.  He wanted to know if he could do the bank paperwork today as well since he's not on pain killers at the moment but looks like he's ready to bite."  Xander nodded.  He smiled.  "That would be fine.  I can wait."  He hung up.  "He'll call and they said they can be here within a few minutes of hearing you're awake."

"That's cool."  He yawned.  "Any other good news?"

"Stay awake," he ordered.  Xander blinked at him.  "You have to."  Xander nodded.  "The lawyer and Miss Summers filed the FEMA paperwork for you.  You should get those checks relatively soon.  As well as their life insurance policies."

"No natural disaster or act of God clause?"

"There is one but evidence was presented about the power plant that fell into the hellmouth, thus creating the radiation we can measure, and that's why the town was drug in."

"There wasn't a power plant," he said with a frown.

"It's what they decided happened, young man."

Xander rolled his eyes.  "That makes about as much sense as a gas explosion during my graduation or all the PCP gangs."

"Indeed, it was made by the same people and the government went along with it to cover up the incident."  Xander nodded.  A woman got off the elevator and he waved her in.  "Here for Mr. Harris?"

"I am."

They looked, Xander was nearly asleep.  "Xander," he called.  He snapped awake.  "They had to remove his painkillers for a bit," he explained.

"I've heard."  She came in to shake is hand.  "Mr. Finn has applied for a simple checking account for you, young man.  That would let you have debit card access and we could put some on your account here at the hospital at your urging.  That way you could get the necessities you need."  Xander nodded at that, yawning a bit and shifting some.  "The only problem was we had to have you sign it, not him sign it in your name as you're not his dependent."

"His kids will be uptight," Xander said, earning a small smile.  "I can sign.  I'm off them totally, as proven by the need to eat someone from the pain."  She let him have the forms.  "How soon before I can have my debit card?"

"We usually advise under two weeks but since we've been dealing with this now for almost a week I've went ahead to order it for you."  Xander smiled and nodded, starting to drift off again.  She coughed and he snapped awake, signing.  "Thank you, sir.  The last form is to let Captain Finn or the list he gave us from your friends in LA to deposit things but not to withdraw."  Xander nodded, signing that one as well.  "There we go.  I'll have the necessary documents mailed to you.  Including your new checks and debit card.  Do you have a PO box set up?"

"No, I'm kinda stuck here."

"Then I'll have them mailed to us and I'll bring them up."  He smiled.  "We look forward to working with you for a very long time, sir."  She shook his hand.  "I'll leave you alone to finish the briefing."  She left, running into Cuddy outside.  "Are you Mr. Harris' physician?"

She smiled but shook her head.  "I'm the hospital administrator but I'm familiar with his case.  Is there a problem?  I can call his doctors down."

"No, not in the least.  I was setting up his bank account for him."

"I know he's fretted about it a few times," Cuddy agreed.  "Is it all set?"

"All set and I'll be dropping his debit card and new checks here."

"We have a vault for important documents for our patients."

"Excellent.  It should be in about a week."  They shook hands and she left.

Cuddy leaned in.  "Mr. Harris, are you all right?"

"Hurt really a lot," he admitted.  "But I'll be fine until he's done with me."

"That's fine.  It's time for your next shot anyway."  Xander smiled at that.  "Doctor House will check on you in a while."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Good boy."  He barked.  She walked off smiling.  She could like the kid.  What annoyed her about House looked cuter on him.

"I'm mainly done," the lawyer said, standing up with his briefcase.  "The lawyer over the probate will stop in here on his way back from England to brief you on the amounts of the estates.  By then you should know your account number so he can have things deposited."  Xander nodded and yawned.  "Do get better, Mr. Harris.  They think you're out of the game."

"Might be but I'll still be a research hub.  Can't exactly hop after the bad demons."

"Good point."  He shook his hand and left.  He saw the nurse go in there and stick him, making him smile.  The boy was very strong and stubborn.


Xander blinked up at House later that night.  "No more drugs."

"You get pain killers."

"Napping's bad."

"It cures boredom."

"Yay.  Still bad."  He shifted, wincing and hissing.  "That's more normal."

"It's about time for a new shot.  I'll cut it down by ten CC's, that'll leave you awake but happy."  Xander nodded at that.  "Get everything straightened out?"

"I probably need to make a will."

"Do it after you find out what you have.  FEMA checks are notoriously slow."  Xander shrugged a bit.  "How's the stomach?"

"I can't feel it with the throbbing in my legs."

"That can happen."  He checked him over.  "Not too bad."

"My legs?"

"The next surgery is next week."  He looked outside then at him.  "You have a substitute nurse tonight.  Brenda's off for the weekend."  Xander grimaced. "She's probably more scared of you than you are of her."

"Don't care."

"I know.  Anyway."  He amended the order when the nurse came in.  She nodded, going to change that for him.  He looked at the kid.  "Cuddy's amused at you.  What did you do this time?"

"She called me a good boy so I barked.  Willow made me during hypnosis."

"Maybe we can reverse that."  He looked at the inflatable casts then at him.  "They're going to hurt."

"They already hurt."

"Reopening them could make them hurt more."  Xander whimpered. "But it needs to be done."  Being honest with this one got him better results.  This one only lied about being in less pain because he didn't want to be a pain in the ass.  He could appreciate that in a patient.  He was starting to like the young, sarcastic one.

"I know.  Am I getting pins?"

"No.  They're going to try to do a mesh outline and then put the bone chips in and use bone cement to hold them in place."

"Like a form for when you're pouring concrete?"  House nodded, smirking some.  "I guess that's okay.  Will they have to remove the mesh?"

"Sometime.  Not anytime soon. Not until you're much closer to healing.  That should stop all the shifting pieces.  They are peeved that you're not healing that bone very fast."

"I don't know why.  My broken arm healed in under a month."

"We don't know why either."  The nurse came back with the needle so he took it.  "Xander, this is the substitute nurse.  Be nice to her."

"Is the wi-fi working so I can write Dawn?"

"Your girlfriend?"

"No."  He yelped, making House snicker behind the needle cap in his mouth.  "I have custody of Dawn since her sister died in the same incident that got my legs smashed.  We have a friend watching her."  He felt the drugs take hold and blinked  "What's that?"

House looked at the needle.  "The right drug."

"It's burning.  I don't feel sleepy."  He blinked again.  Then he scratched.  "Um..."

House looked.  "Get me some benadryl.  He's allergic."  She went to do that.  "You didn't do this for the last week.  Why now?"

"I kinda itched after my last shot but I was asleep pretty fast.  Maybe because I'm awake?"

"Could be.  You do react strangely."  He gave him the pink pill and Xander let him put a cream over the hives.  "Okay.  Let's change that for your next shot."

"Not like that one worked," Xander complained.

"None?" House asked.  Xander shook his head.  "Honestly?"

"Honestly.  I want to nibble on someone."  He looked at him then at the needle.  "Are you sure that's right?"

"I can have it checked," House decided.  The nurse scowled.  He glared back and she fled.  He looked at him.  "You're healing all right from the abdominal surgery.  You can have solid foods back next week."

"Yay me.  Can I have chocolate to celebrate?  Not the watery stuff they try to say is chocolate pudding but real chocolate?"

"We'll see."  He smirked.  "Let me hit the lab and I'll be back to check on you.  No getting up.  You're still on the line."  That reminded him to check on it later.  He took the needle to the lab, putting it into a test tube holder next to a station.  "Make sure that's what's on the label.  The patient developed a sudden allergy after getting it for a week."  She ran it and handed him the report.  "Hmm.  Pharmacy screw up."  He went to talk to them, holding up the form for the pharmacist  "What you sent my patient, Mr. Harris."

He groaned.  "I took it from the right bottle."

"I don't care.  Is it going to react with his painkiller?"  He looked it up and nodded.  "How long?"

"Six hours to be safe."

"I had to give him benadryll for the hives that popped up."  That note was made in his online chart.  "Good.  Send it up when he can.  At the lower level."  He went back up there and found the nurse badgering the boy to eat his dinner.  "He's on a liquid diet," House noted as he came in.  "He had intestinal surgery last week.  We don't want him to have to take a shit for at least another week."  She stomped off, going to call someone.  He waved at the security guards, handing him the tray.  "Here, have the dinner he's not allowed to have."

"Doctor House, sir, she said you're bothering her patient?"

"You know what, get her off this floor," he decided.  "I'll talk to the nursing supe in a minute."  One of the guards called her while the plate of food went onto the desk.  The nurse threw it.  House looked at Xander.  "I think she's a student nurse.  Usually the experienced ones don't act like toddlers."

"Do most student nurses?" he asked, looking confused.

"Not really.  Usually we have good ones."  He pointed at her when the supervisor showed up.  "Tried to feed my patient food he's not allowed to eat.  Threw it when I handed it back.  Was badgering him for following orders."

"Doctor House," she said with a wince.  "Is this your patient?"

"Yup.  This is Mr.  Harris."

"Ah!  No wonder.  They put the problem patients with you."

"I'm a nice guy unless you try to attack me," Xander complained.  He poked House.  "I don't suppose you can magically create less pain?"

"Nope.  Six hours according to the pharmacist, kid.  It'll interact with what that really was.  It's in your chart now."  He looked at the nursing supervisor.  "Replace her."

"I can do that."  She went to call in a different substitute.  She came back.  "She's an older lady, mostly retired.  She's fussy, cranky, and she'll follow the rules to the letter."

"That's fine as long as she doesn't try to countermand mine," House told her.  The nurse came back and tried to fluff his pillows so Xander bit her.  "You don't know where she's been."  He got him some water.  "Rinse and spit."  Xander did that, cowering under the blankets at the scowl.  "Stay."

"Yes, Doctor House."  He shifted and moaned, then yelped.  "Um, bleeding.  I can feel it."

House looked, frowning at it.  "Bone shard poked through."  He pressed gently.  It slid back down.  "Get me an ortho."  The supervisor went to do that.  Cuddy stomped in.  "I kicked her out and she came back.  He doesn't have any pain killers in his system.  Whatever the pharmacy sent up was wrong."  She moaned.  "Of course he bit her.  Come hold this closed."  The ortho on duty rushed in.  "One of the bone shards poked through."

"Hell," he muttered in his strong Indian accent.  He checked.  "Want to stitch it?"

"This is the one they're going to be doing the mesh operation on," House said.  "Your call."

"Let me call the boss."  He went to do that from the desk.

"Student doc," he told Xander.  "Last year resident."  Xander shrugged, giving him an odd look.  "Need something to bite?"

"Yeah but she's out of range."  He gave him a look.  "Do I have to stitch it myself?"

"Can you?" Cuddy asked, looking confused.

"Not like we went to our local ER.  It was horrible!  I can stitch but I don't do it well."

"Let us then."  The ortho came back, kicking open the wheels on the bed.  "Taking him down now?"

"He'll come back and we'll do that tonight."  He smiled.  "Which means more traction."

"Is it going to hurt some more?  Last time it did and a bone shifted during it."

"We'll try not to let it."  He got the bed moving and the nursing supervisor helped by getting the elevator.  "You'll be back soon."

"Bye," Xander called with a wave.  "I'll be back later."

House smirked, waving at him.  "Behave.  No biting them.  Check with the pharmacy, he can't have pain killers yet," House called after him.  The doctor waved and nodded.  He looked at Cuddy.  "I want her off this floor."

"Of course.  Any other orders, highness?"

"Not yet.  Let's see how well this one goes."

"Hopefully it'll fix it."  She got with the supervisor and the new nurse.  She even got to call for a cleanup of the food the nurse had thrown.  Cuddy had her drug tested for a start and then they'd talk about her behavior.  It was odd how he had gotten a nurse that wanted to mother and keep him, her words, without knowing who she was.  Most of the nurses were very nice.  Let's hope this one didn't have a car accident in the parking lot too.

House went to make notes on the chart, shaking his head.  The boy did bring life to their lives.  Maybe a bit too much.


Xander was woozy when he woke up the next morning, frowning at Chase.  "Are you sure you're not a Hell Goddess in disguise?  I knew one of those."

"You told me."

"You could be hiding House.  That's why I never see you two together."

"That's a truly scary thought.  Enough to give me nightmares," he said with a smile.  "How do you feel?"

"Sick to my stomach and my head's spinning.  Make the world stop?"


"Worse.  I don't get hangovers."

"Sometimes the anesthesia will do that to you, Xander."  He patted his hair, watching as he turned green.  He gave him a bucket, letting him get sick.  "There you go."  He helped him lay back down.  "They fixed both legs.  One's got pins. The other looks like a construction site in miniature."  Xander smiled weakly at that.  "For now, you've got to stay in traction."

"Can't eat solid food yet anyway."

"Good point."

"Then why do I feel like I need the potty?"

Chase shrugged.  "I don't know.   Let's get you a bedpan."  Xander groaned.  "Just this one time.  I'll make sure you don't miss and it's bed change day anyway."  Xander grimaced but let him.  He grimaced at the bloody mess.  "That's not good.  Did you sneak and eat?"

"No.  Not even when the meany nurse tried to make me."

"Janice, can you please page House for me?" he called.  He put it aside and got him cleaned up, weathering the blushes.  "It's no worse than I'd do for my child, Xander."  He got him covered up again after checking his catheter.  "I'm going to make sure you're back on the antibiotic for that.  It's starting to look red."

"I guess that means I'll never play with the little rods like in that one story," he said.  Chase blushed at that.  "Sorry, on her computer.  Found the gay boy smut section."

"Ah."  He shook his head, handing the pan to Foreman when he came in.  "He hasn't eaten."

"He has to have."

"That's tissue," Chase said.  Foreman grimaced.  "Take it to House?"

"Fine."  He walked off, going to present it to the boss.  "Chase sent you a present."

House grimaced.  "That's not a nice one.  Did he eat?"

"Chase said no."

"Wonderful."  He found some gloves and a tongue depressor to shift it around.  "That's tissue."  He took it to the surgeon who had done the intestinal surgery, presenting it to him. "From Harris this morning."

He looked then at him.  "Food?"

"No.  We made sure.  Looks like lining."

"Hell," he muttered, taking it to be analyzed.  He walked in an hour later.  "Somehow he got sesame seeds.  The nurse said it was in his tea for lunch the other day.  I changed his meds and agreed with the antibiotic your boy put him on.  I took off the clot buster."

"He developed one in his leg," Foreman said.

"I saw.  It's been fixed now.  No reason for it. I put him on a dose of liquid aspirin instead."  House nodded that was fine.  "Good.  He's back on his pain killer too.  He's humming to the ceiling lights about how nice they are."

House smirked.  "It's a bit strong but he bit a nurse last night."

"Good!  We all heard.  I'd have bitten her too."  He walked off, going to go home.

House looked at his current chart.  Then at Chase.  "No food?"

"He said no food, not even snuck and eaten."

"Why was it in his tea?" Cameron asked.

"Yesterday's warm tea of the day was Orange Ginger and mine had some too," Chase said, realizing that.  "Had to brush my teeth afterward."

House shook his head quickly.  "They need to quit trying new things."  He pointed at the white board. "What do those symptoms have in common?"

"Lupus?" Foreman asked.

"No," House said, giving him a disgusted look.  "How do you get trembling in the lower extremities and vomiting blood to get Lupus?"

"Could be early stage but it's unlikely," Chase agreed.  "What about an ulcer and her feet are going numb from her diabetes?"

"She is?" Cameron asked.

"Blood sugar this morning was one-thirty-seven."

"Oh.  So probably lower level.  She's not a classic type two look."

"She's only fourteen. It's entirely possible she's got Type One and no one realized," House reminded her.  He suddenly had a headache.  Wilson walked in.  "Bored?"

"Extremely.  No patients today and a meeting with Cuddy in two hours.  All section heads."  House grimaced.  "Maybe we can make fun of her."

"I've got something to liven up the meeting."  He'd get it later.  "We can do a test for neuropathy."

"I ordered one, just in case.  They're doing it tonight," Chase told him.  House gave him an amused look.  "After I saw her blood sugar.  I figured it's better safe and a baseline if it wasn't it."

"No, that's not a bad idea."

"If she is diabetic then the vomiting could be normal or even some sort of strange food allergy."

"It's possible her diabetes is caused by a higher problem, like her digestive system is shutting down," Wilson offered.  "Not the first one we've seen."

"She's fourteen," Cameron told him.

"There's no age limit on organ failure," he reminded her.  "Did her past doctors test her blood sugar?"

"No," House said.  "Not that I've seen."

"I'll go ask," Cameron said, going to do that with Foreman.

Chase looked at House.  "Should we watch for more shedding?"

"If you want to stare up his ass, go ahead," House said dryly.  "Get me his crossbow."  Chase got it from the office and handed it over.  "Anticipating?" he taunted.

"No, I didn't want shot with it when he needed more pain killers.  He managed more tension the last time he snuck into the closet and found a small cable.  It sent a pencil into the desk by about an inch when he showed me."  He smirked before going to check on the lab work they had ordered an hour ago.

Wilson leaned over to get the crossbow, looking at it.  "He's good."

"Harris built it from the junk equipment closet."

"Then he's very good.  It clearly works."  House cocked it with the cocking lever, then loaded in a pen to shoot it at the wall.  The pen went into the wallboard and hung there. "Very good."

House smirked.  "I need targets."

"Don't get his toy taken for using it too openly."  Cameron jogged back in.  "Problems?"

"She had a seizure."

"What's her blood sugar?" Wilson asked.

"Two-ninety-four."  They went to check on her, leaving the toy with Wilson.   He could appreciate the toy for now.


Cuddy got yet another report of a sudden attack of a pencil and went to find Harris, who was confined to bed again, and then decided to find Chase.  He wouldn't lie.  Usually.  "Where's the crossbow?"

"How should I know?  I confiscated it when he got the tension up higher."

"So House has it?"  He shrugged but smiled.  "Fine."  She went to find him and had to duck a pencil.  "You're destroying hospital property and people.  Stop it!" she snapped.

He gave her an innocent look.  "I have targets set up."

"The nurses aren't targets."

"Did he build another one?"

"Not unless he was pediatrics," she said dryly.

He smirked.  "I'll set up another target up there for the kids.  They'll love it and it'll keep their hand-eye coordination sharp for video games."

She groaned, stomping off until she had to yelp at the triangle clip that hit her on the butt.  She confiscated the crossbow and stomped off again.  She stopped on three.  "No more weapons."

"He's got another one but he said House can't take his toy this time," Brenda said, giving her a look.

"Try to confiscate it.  We don't need more complaints about being fired on."  She stomped off, putting the crossbow on a shelf in her office.  She put a 'do not touch, House, or you're fired' sign on it as well.


Xander frowned.  "What?" House asked as he came in.

"Router's down again.  Bored again."

"Take another nap."

"If it comes down to less drugs or more sleep, let me have less drugs?  Dawn said the drugs I had must've been good because my last email read like a stream of a warped mind."

"We don't want you in a lot of pain."

"Let me be in pain.  That way I can do things."

"Fine.  I'll cut it back by another five CC's."  Xander grinned.  "Why don't you check into classes?"

"I suck at learning stuff.  I'm lucky I managed to understand how to hammer in a nail."

House frowned.  "Yet you built a crossbow from spare parts."

"I had to learn."

"You can learn other things.  Take an accounting class so you can handle your checkbook better."

"Eww, numbers."

House rolled his eyes.  "I know you're not stupid."

"The high school said differently and nearly put me on the short bus."

"Didn't you tell Chase your school was run by a troll?"

"He seemed a lot like it.  We all thought he was.  He was short, tried to cover up his stench with too much cologne, had power issues.  He gave me detention once for having a shoe tied too loosely."

House shook his head.  "Try it, you might like it, Mikey."

Xander smirked. "I did.  I had a solid D average.  I had to beg to make it to graduation."

"Uh-huh."  He walked out to the desk, getting something and bringing it back.  "There, read, figure out what you're doing about your leg rehab."

Xander frowned at the medical journal. "These are for really smart people who did inhuman amounts of college."

"Can you read?" House demanded.

"Yes!  It took me a while but I did manage to learn that."  He gave him a hurt look and opened it to the index.  "Can I have a dictionary too?"

"No.  Sound out the words," House said impatiently.  Xander glared at him.  "I'm sure you can."

"Doesn't mean I know what they mean."

"You can read Latin, Xander.  You can probably figure most of them out."

"How do you know I read Latin?"

House gave him his most smug look.  "The substitute nurse told you to quit babbling at the lights in Norse.  You switched."

"Anya taught me Norse.  Latin I had to learn because all the books were in Latin."

"Yay you.  Probably a good thing.  If you can be multi-lingual, you can read that."

"Fine."  He opened it and stared, sighing a bit and trying to read it again.  He saw his doctor's frown.  "What?  I'm trying."


Xander stared at him.  "Why?"

"Because you look like you have eye strain."

"No."  He pouted and went back to it, trying to figure out a few of the words.  "Am I getting better?"

"Not sure yet.  Are you?"

Xander shrugged.  "Feel the same as yesterday only my stomach incision itches again."

House checked and spread some ant-itch cream on it then left him alone.  He watched him try to read and then throw the journal a few minutes later in frustration.  A clue hit him.  He walked in and picked it up, tossing it back.  "Try it out loud."

"Must I?" he whined.

"Yes.  Just try.  It'll show me you don't need glasses."

Xander sulked but tried it again.  "This article is pathogenesis and it's effect on liver function."

House came over to look.  "Liver function?"  Xander pointed.  "Living organ functions.  You missed a word."  He went to find a light and came back to look in his eyes.  "Do you see letters as whole line, unbroken and easy to understand or are they broken or atypical looking?"


"Just answer the question."

"Mostly broken.  A few appear as squiggles.  The strain from nearly losing an eye gives me a headache when I try to read.  That's why comics are nicer.  They're shorter and more fun to read than that."

House stared at him.  "Were you ever diagnosed with a learning disorder?"  Xander frowned, shaking his head.  "Why did they nearly put you on the short bus?"

"I couldn't keep up.  Especially in math and science."

House sighed, rubbing his own eyes.  "A learning disorder means all that and most of them have pretty easy ways to cure them."  He stared at him.  Xander looked pissed.  "It's like translating a language for some and for others it's to help them learn how to use what they have and can do."  Xander nodded slowly.  "We have people here who can help you so you don't have to worry about reading being too hard.  Then you can read more things and be less bored.  Plus I'm having someone check your eyes."  He went to make those orders for the boy.  "His school system should've been bombed."

"Did that for high school graduation," Xander called.

"Good!  You should've put the teachers in there first."  He came back in.  "Some great minds had learning disabilities.  Including Einstein and Buckminster Fuller."


"Father of modern engineering."

"I don't get engineering beyond the trains."

"Not that sort.   Like buildings and that sort."

"That's carpentry."

"The design is based on engineering principles, Xander."

"It is?"

"Yes, it is," he told him.  Xander nodded at that.  "We'll see if they can help you.  Since you're bored and not doing anything anyway."  He walked off.  His word was law, he was the doctor.

Xander pouted.  "That's not nice.  It'll make me feel more stupid."

Brenda came in to give him a hug.  "It's to make you feel less stupid.  Not more."  She left, going to get him his chicken broth for dinner, handing it over before going to check on the other patients.  Sometimes she wanted to adopt the boy and sometimes she wanted to swat him.


Chase checked on Xander a few days later and found Cameron in there.  "Problems?" he asked.

"Doing a chart check."  She looked at him.  "You?"

"I do most of his daily checks."

"No wonder I keep seeing your name.  The antibiotic?"

"Catheters give him a UTI."

"Oh.  We're keeping him on that one?"

"It works and House liked it."

"I bite," Xander reminded them, sounding half asleep.  "I enjoy the fuck out of it too."    He glared at Cameron.  "Quit picking on Chase.  He's been nicer to me than he has to be.  You I never see."  She stomped off.  He looked at Chase.  "Please have better taste than I ever did and don't date that?"

"I don't plan on it," he promised.  "How are you feeling?"

"Sleepy.  The sub nurse last night fed me a crushed up sedative in my juice at midnight."  He yawned and stretched then yelped.  "Ow, cramp!  Cramp cramp cramp!"  Chase helped him rub it out.  "No more traction?" he begged.

"We'll see later.  The first?"

"No," he said, looking miserable.  "The nurses said it's normal."

"It is but it hurts," he agreed with a small smile.  Janice leaned in.  "Cramps."

"They happen to most patients.  Quit stretching."

"Have to," Xander said with a frown.

"Fine."  She came in to help.  "I told his physical therapist, he said it was normal and taught him how to rub them out."

"It still hurts to bend," Xander complained.  "Plus, back in casts, can't reach some of it."  He flopped backward.  "Thank you, Doctor Chase and Nurse Janice."

"You're welcome."  House came strolling in.  "Have a good night?"

"Yes I did and so did she.  Cramps?"  Xander nodded, looking miserable.  "They happen."

"Can I take down the traction?"


"I can have solid food starting tomorrow."

"No," House said, shaking his head.  "You need to stay in it this time, kid."

"No way am I crapping in this bed."

"Not this argument again," Janice muttered, going back to the desk to let them fight the stubborn nature.  She wasn't about to.

Chase looked at him.  "It's not so bad."

"Yes it is!"

"No he's right, it is," House assured him.  "Speaking as having been there a few years back, Xander, it's going to suck for a few more weeks."

"I can take the stuff down."

"You can be spanked too since you're whining like a little kid," House assured him.  "How is he otherwise?"

"Abdomen's tender again.  He's had some cramps.  I found Cameron in here going over his chart."


"No idea.  She said she was doing a chart check."

House shook his head.  "I'll straighten that out."  They watched as Xander slowly sat up, grimacing and holding his stomach the whole way, and then undid the main link on one side of his traction equipment.  "What did I tell you?"

"Bite me."  He groaned and did it again, getting the other down with a sigh.  Then he stretched and hey, no cramps.  He gave them smug looks.  "No cramps."

"You still need the traction," Chase told him.

"I don't care if I need a wheelchair for life.  I'm not going back in it and I'm not crapping in this bed."

"It's very possible you might need one if your legs never heal," House said.  "That would require you staying still and in that bed."

Xander pointed at them.  "They aren't healing anyway!  If a broken arm can heal in a month, why can't the simpler breaks in my right leg be healed in four?"

"We don't know," House told him.

"You're the doctor."

"I know that," he said, scowling at him.  "You're not growing the new bone very fast.  It's easier when you're younger."

"I broke it at graduation.  Only a few years ago.  I'm not that much older."

"We're looking into why, Xander.  There's no specific problem that causes slow bone growth."

"I should go back to my ho-ho diet.  I healed on it."

"No," House ordered.  "Cuddy would steal it on you."  He watched the boy wiggle. "What?"

"Tube shifted again."  He got comfortable.  "Now what?  More torture sessions with the LD people?"

"LD people?"

"Xander is apparently dyslexic and no one told him," House told his protege.  "I called them down to help him."

"Oh.  That's good though."

"She sneered."

"She's an idiot.  It's not like anything you did caused that problem," Chase said firmly.  "Most likely it was where your mother drank."  Xander slumped but nodded.  "Good!  And no moving."

"Yes, Chase.  Can I curl up on my side instead?"

"That would be moving," House told him.

"I'd be comfy."

"It's a hospital bed, Xander.  You're not going to be comfortable," House said.

"I can be.  I'm getting sores."

"Pimples where you sit is called folliculitis," Chase told him patiently.  "It's where you're sitting all the time."  Xander shifted to let him see his butt cheek.  "No, that's a bed sore."   He and House shared a look then they got Xander onto his side, making him sigh in pleasure.  "Let me get something to put on that."  He went to find a nurse.  "Janice, did we not think to report the bed sore?"

"Bed sore?"  He nodded.  "No."

"Yes."  He let her see while he got gauze pads and the antibiotic cream.  She frowned at Xander.  "He's been on it constantly for months."

"We'll keep him on his side when we can.  What do we tell Orthopedics when they come down?"

"Show them the sore," House told her.

"I'll let his other doctor know," Chase promised.  He finished cleaning it up and covering it, checking for others.  "There, that should help.  Every four."

"I know."  She went to make notes for that.  The two doctors left her a miserable patient so she snuck him a few lifesavers, earning a weak smile.  "It'll get better, Xander.  I promise."

"It's still going to be months."

"Well, yes," she agreed.  "It's still not your fault."

He nodded.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  She went to make a note on his mental state.  He was a bit depressed but damned if she was going to call that therapist back down.


Chase found the orthopedist in his office, tapping before walking in.  "Slight problem."



"Oh, him.  What?"

"We took down his traction."

"He needs that," he said impatiently.

"He's got a bed sore."

The other doctor sighed.  "He's been here how long?"

"Just about four months now.  We have him laying on his side with pillows propping up the bottom and one between them to cushion it, plus one between his thighs."

"I guess that'll work.  He's not likely to get up and move around."

"No, that'll start tomorrow."  The doctor glared.  "He refuses to use a bedpan.  He fought to get up last time and use the bathroom.  He will this time too.  He gets to start solid foods tomorrow."

"Can we wait a few more days?"

"We can try.  Keep him on very thin mush and things."

"The longer he's still the better."

"He usually goes then comes back to lay back down.  He doesn't get pushy to go visit the sun or anything."

"That might help him."

"It could.  He's having a lot of pain right now too.  House cut down his pain medicine at his request."

"I saw.  Do we think the intestinal problem is done with?"

"We hope so.  If not it's a third surgery in that area."

"Fun for him.  Not."  He rubbed his face.  "All right, we'll do what we can without the traction and leave a wheelchair in there.  That'll keep him from walking and putting so much pressure on his legs.  How was he making it to the bathroom?"

"Holding onto the furniture except the two steps between the footboard and the dresser."

"Even better.  I'll put walking boots in there too."  That got a nod and Chase left.  He called up there. "Janice, Todd with Ortho.  When he wants to start getting up, show him how to transfer into a chair.  I'd rather have him roll in there than walk.  That'll put the least pressure on his legs.  I heard from Chase.  That's fine.  Keep him as immobile as possible.  Put in a pair of walking boots too.  Those, yes.  They could help when he's up.  Thank you."  He hung up and put his head down for a few minutes.  That patient was even driving House nuts.  Him too now.


Riley came to see Xander a few days later and quickly left the room again since someone was looking at his naked backside.  "I can come back in a few."

"Thanks," Xander called.  He looked back at Chase.  "Is it healing?"

"It is," he said with a smile.  "It's almost gone.  A few more days.  It wasn't that far gone to begin with but we'll have to be careful."  Xander nodded.  "Good.  Want to flip in the other direction?"

"Then I can't see the tv."

"It turns," Chase told him.

"I can't reach it."

"So ask."  He helped him flip over onto his other side and covered him.  Then he turned the tv for him.  "How's that?"  Xander waved over so he shifted it more.  Then back.  Xander smiled.  "Welcome."

"Thank you, Chase."

"You're not a big imposition, Xander."  He gave him a pat on the arm.  "Pain?"

"Still there."


"Still there too.  Letting me know now and then."

"Have we had to eliminate yet?"


Chase frowned and pushed gently around his stomach, getting a hiss at one sore spot.  "Sorry."

"Not your fault my insides went bad."

Chase smiled as he found the problem.  "Let me give you something for tonight."  He went to write the order for the single pill then nodded Riley could go in.  He finished making the notes on the chart and handed it back.  "That should help with him getting out of bed."

"Will it block him up?" the substitute nurse asked.

"No, it'll loosen it so he's not blocked up.  We don't want him blocked up.  He's recently had intestinal surgery and we don't want anything too solid in the tract yet."  She frowned. "Why?"

"The dayshift person wrote orders for a constipative two days ago."  She showed him.

"I'll beat her myself," he said.  "No, and when he needs to get up, he will even if we don't like it.  Get him a wheelchair and leave it in there.  Help him learn how to shift over and back.  Put a pillow down for the bedsore."  She nodded, but she was frowning.  "He's determined not to do that in a bedpan.  We'll be yanking his catheter tomorrow as well."  She nodded, going to get him a wheelchair to put in there.  Chase left, going up to the office.  He smiled at House since he was sitting down. "Can I borrow this?" he asked, grabbing his cane and heading out to smack Cameron on the head with it.  "You don't give patients with recent abdominal surgery something to constipate them!"  He hit her again, making her try to duck.  "Nor do we keep it going for days!"  He hit her a third time and went to hand the cane back with a smile.  "Very stress relieving.  I can see why you do that now."  He left again.  Xander always got upset whenever Riley Finn showed up.  He wanted to make sure the boy didn't want to talk.

House wiped his amused look.  "What did you do?" he called.

Foreman leaned in.  "She gave Harris something to constipate him."

"And the fact he's still healing from recent surgery to close an open ulcer in it?"

"I don't know.  Is he back on solid food?"

"For three days now.  I'm sure he wrote a laxative."  He got up and walked out there, leaning on his cane.  "He was nicer than I would have been if we had to take Harris back to surgery a fourth time."  She shuddered.  "I don't care why you don't like the kid.  Stop it.  You're acting like a toddler who won't share a toy and I expect you to be a fully grown doctor."

"You're having Chase hover over him!  He's a normal case now!" she defended.

"Who is still carrying around two long dead infectious diseases that could pop up any day if his body is too stressed," Foreman reminded her.  "Could they be why his bones are healing so slowly?"

"We think it could be.  Or the radiation he picked up leaking out slowly.  We're not sure."

"Ask Wilson if any of his radiation patients have that," Foreman suggested.

"I have.  He said it's not unheard of."

"So how much longer?"

"Five they think until he's healed enough for therapy."  House gave him a look.  "I don't mind being a normal doctor and taking normal cases now and then.  Besides, he gives me neat toys."  He smirked and glared at Cameron when she moved. Then he walked off to check on him.  He found Wilson first.  "How would you distract someone that's like a younger me but is having problem with dyslexia and is having problems with overcoming it so he won't read?"

"I've watched Harris a few times when he was out and about with the nurses.  He's got very low self esteem, House.  Personally I'd work on that first because that's probably what's holding his progress back on the other problems."

"When was he out?"

"His birthday was two days ago so the nurses took him down to get ice cream."  He smiled.  "How's his bed sore?"

"Chase was just changing it.  He didn't mention it so I'm guessing it's getting better.  He did come in and borrow my cane to beat Cameron a few times."


"She gave him a constipative."

"Why?" he asked, looking confused.  "Though it's good he's picking up bad habits from you.  I guess."

"I don't know why she did it.  He pointed out how wrong it was when he beat her."  He shrugged.  "I'll work on him."

"Work gently.  Work like you'd want someone to work on you.  Remember, being blunt won't work on you so it won't work on the kid who's like your younger clone."

"How do you get around me?"

"I manipulate you by making you want to do it yourself," he said walking off happier.

"That's not a bad idea," House decided, going back to his office to make a few plans.  The kid had a laptop....  Now he needed Chase's innocent puppy eyes to help him convince the kid.


Chase saw the first signs of a bored Xander so he got onto the plan.  "Bored?"  Xander grimaced but nodded.  "The LD teacher said you did very good and you leaned what you needed to."

"Yup.  Still bored."

Chase smiled and logged onto a site, letting Xander have the laptop back.  "Then practice."

"It's a chat room."

"That goes with a class on science fiction literature.  You've have to read about three books.  They're other fantasy geeks."

"But it's a class."

"Yes, but it's a fun class and it's a free one as well," Chase admitted.  House had somehow arranged that for the kid.  Who knows who House had blackmailed at Princeton.

"Wouldn't I need to register?"

"No. You're in under a user name of a friend of mine."

Xander smiled.  "Will she mind?"

"No he won't.  He's taken the class."

"Oh."  Xander considered it.  "Which three books?"  Chase helped him find that and he knew two of them already.  "I made myself read the Tolkein one."

"Good!  Less reading now but there's a few auxiliary books for extra credit."  He showed him that list.  Xander grinned.  "See?"

"I do."  He frowned. "You sure he won't mind?"

"No, he won't mind.  The teacher's used to it and when I asked he said he'd tell the teacher that you're stuck here and bored if he asked."  Xander nodded, grinning at him.  "Good boy."  He patted him on the head.  "Any change?"

"The bed sore doesn't itch as much."

"That's a good sign usually."  Xander beamed.  "They have construction classes in the Community and Technical portion as well.  You might check on those.  Keep your hand in as it were."

"Yes, Chase."

"Good."  He smiled.  "Let us know if you need anything."

"The bank sent me my stuff and the probates are finally done so now all I have to do is sign off on inventory stuff."

Chase gave him another pet over the hair.  "You'll be fine with it, Xander.  Find a place locally once you move to physical therapy, all that."  Xander smiled and nodded. "Go ahead.  There's nothing good on tv tonight, even if you had regular cable."  He left, leaving the boy to realize there were other geeks out there that enjoyed the same things.

Xander got into the chat room and read one comment.  He snorted.  "You're over- thinking it.  A lot.  It was meant to be fun."  He wrote that response.  The teacher came on and asked him which one he was.  So he told him.  He got back a 'nice to meet you' and a 'we do like to think about deeper meanings' and explained how Tolkein had been a theologist.  Xander had to look that term up online but he wrote back that even with that, CS Lewis had written a better version of God in the magic mushroom trip that was Wonderland.  Then he justified his views as that particular book being muse spew that dribbled off his fingers.  Including how he violated his own cannon while writing.  This was kinda fun.  The teacher said he had good points a few minutes later.  If he could have, he would've gotten up and snoopy danced!  They wanted to hear what he thought!


House walked in two days later.  "From your teacher."  Xander looked at the packet in confusion.  "He wanted to know where you test at, kid.  Like how good you are with parts of speech and all that."

"He said it was a test."

"It is.  It's like the SATs.  To see how far up you managed to climb thanks to the shitty school you grew up in.  They do it a lot to kids who came from bad schools to see how much they actually know."

"An A in a class where you learn what third graders know in your senior year is meaningless?" Xander suggested.

"Basically."  He sat down.  "Go ahead.  I'm sure you took at least one bubble form test sometime.  There's no time limit on this one."  Xander frowned at him.  "Really.  No cheating by looking words up either."

"Yes, House."  He got to it.  It wasn't that hard.  "The SAT was harder."

"Probably."  House gave himself a mental pat on the back.  The kid was moving through the test okay.  He was muttering to himself.  He clearly wasn't stupid.  This plus his credit for working and the credit Finn had arranged for what he used to do could mean he was near a degree.  Which could help him when he got out of here.  Xander moved over to the next sheet, using his scratch paper to make sure he was on the right row of bubbles.  Not a bad idea really.  The nurse came in and gave him some ice water then left.  House smiled and she grinned back.  She came back a minute later and handed him something.  "Hmm."

"He needs them if he's reading."  She left.

House tossed them at Xander, who instinctively caught them.  "Your reading specs, Grandpa."

Xander blushed but put them.  "I look like a dork."

"Not fully.  Then again, you're a geek so who cares?"

"Good point.  Not like the nurses will."  He went back to it.  Even if the glasses were giving him a headache.  He finally took them off.  "They hurt."

"They will until your eyes adjust.  Maybe two or three days.  Wear them."  Xander put them back on and went back to it.  House wrote down how long it took him to complete each section.  For LD cases they had more time and the kid was well into it but still okay.  He had moved to math because he was using the paper.  Though he was getting frustrated.

"No, that's not right."

House looked and pointed.  "Forgot a negative."

"I can't do it with the negative."

House sighed, letting him cheat this once.  "This is how you do that."  He went over the problem with him.  Xander gave him an awed look.  "Really."  He handed back the pencil and Xander found the answer since House had worked it out to within a step.  The rest went easier.  House sat back down and timed how long that one took, writing it down.  The kid caught him.  "The LD trainer wanted to know."  Xander grimaced but kept going.  Science apparently.  Still some diagrams but not as many.  "Skipped one," House warned.  Xander looked and went back to fix that.  He only had to fix five answers.  Then he got back to it.  He finally finished and House wrote down that time, taking the packet and pencil back.  "Good job.  Well within the usual time on most of them."  Xander beamed.  "How did you do on your SATs?"

"Eleven hundred."

"That proves you're not dumb, kid."

"No, that proves I test well in some cases.  That skill kept me off the short bus."

"Uh-huh."  He walked out, going to send the packet back through interoffice mail to the guy's wife in the administrative offices.  They'd have it graded and figure out where the kid placed.  Hopefully he only had a few classes left to take.  Though, he did pick back up the envelope and add a note that the kid at least read Latin and spoke ancient Norse thanks to a girlfriend who recently died.  Maybe that would help.


Xander got an envelope a few days later, frowning at it.  "What're you?"  He opened it and read the results.  "Wow.  If I go to college, I get to skip some classes," he said, waving it.  Chase strolled in.  "If I were taking classes for real I get to skip sixty hours.  More if I want to claim any language credits."

Chase smiled at the results.  Not too great in math.  Not too bad though.  The rest were pretty decent scores in the B range.  The essay was a bit lower.  He gave the boy a hug.  "Good work."  Xander beamed at him, bouncing some, then he stopped with a wince of pain.  "No doing that," he teased.

"I know.  But I'm excited.  Think I should write him back?  Would he understand?"

"There's a teacher at the same college who knows about the Watcher's Council.  We could tell him to tell the guy about the languages you commonly used.  Maybe even provide samples."

"He got missed by the Bringers?"

"From what I understand he wrote a classified research paper on them.  Secret societies."

"Oh."  He nodded.  "I'll think about it."

"You know, we could enroll you," Chase offered.  "That's a third of the way to a degree."  Xander shook his head.  "You sure?  It'd give you something to do until you're out of here and a way to work afterward since you probably won't be able to do more than desk work for a few months."

"I'll think about it."

"Good."  He smiled.  "I know the literature teacher is very pleased with you."  Xander beamed.  "He said that you have some very good insights, mostly into the military mindset and how he screwed up the story lines."  He ruffled the boy's hair.  "Now, what's on your plate this week?"

"Um....   I need to start making plans.  I can't be in here by the spring.  Spring is apocalypse season and I need to get Dawn out of LA by then."

"Okay.  Do you have the FEMA checks?"

"No.  They said six more weeks but I do have some money."

"Hmm.  So start looking online at apartments and things."

"I'd need room for Dawn and all Giles' books.  He had a house full of books and the shop."

"Add an extra bedroom."

"I hadn't thought about that."

Chase smiled.  "We can tell you if places are in a bad part of town or not.  Unless you don't want to stay around here?"

"No, I kinda do," he admitted, grinning shyly.

"Good!"  He smiled.  "We'd miss seeing you fuss at your legs every day."  Xander laughed, bopping him on the arm.  "Look online.  There's a few nice places.  It's a college town so we'll have to see."  Xander nodded, finding the local real estate listings using the zip code on the letter.  "One-five," he corrected.  "One-one is nearer to the college."  Xander corrected that.  Not a lot of listings but some.  He gave Xander another pet and checked him over while he looked.  "Not there.  House lives near there.  It's a noisy street."  Xander nodded, marking that one off.  The next few were nice, but bland.  Chase reached over to click a button.  "Look on that side as well.  You can use the FEMA check for that and it should cover something small."  He got back to work listening to his lungs.  He frowned.  "Xander, have you been coughing?"

"Dry air up here."

"Hmm."  He checked the other side and made a note about what he heard in case it became pertinent.  He checked the usual spots for pustules but nothing.  He also drew some blood, getting a grimace.  "We need to check the levels."

"Yes, Chase."

"Good boy."  Xander barked then blushed, shaking his head.  "Hypnosis?"

"Willow did it to me.  I should yell at her ghost for that."

"It's adorable," Chase teased, leaving with the blood and a blushing boy behind him.


Xander looked outside later that night and whimpered, checking himself.  Brenda walked in.  "You can still see me, right?"

"Um, yes," she said, looking confused.

He sighed.  "Then the snow's not bad and evil snow."

She finally caught the clue.  She had heard about that!  "No, snow in New Jersey is only evil to drive on, Xander.  It won't turn you invisible unless you're buried in it."  Xander relaxed at that.  "You know what?  I think you could go outside tomorrow if you wanted."  He gave her an awed look.  "It's your real first snow.  You should go play.  Even if you're in a wheelchair.  Some of the kids on pediatrics will be I'm sure.  I'll have you go with them."  She left, not letting him protest being with the kids.

Xander gave her a shy smile later but was good all night.  He didn't want to lose his treat.


House walked up behind where Wilson was staring outside.  He had been beeped to find him here.  "What?"  He got out of the way and pointed.  House smiled.  The boy was taking part in a wheelchair snowball fight.  The kid was using tactics the younger kids couldn't know about but they were all having fun.  Xander whistled and all the kids hit the attendant, making her shriek and them laugh.  "It's good he's having some fun."  Cuddy came out to watch, smiling at the silliness of it.  "They're having fun."

"I can see that.  How's his college going?"

"Xander sent a list of what languages he reads and a sample of the few demon ones he knows.  If he goes for a general ancient languages or a Latin degree, he's got it sewn up in two more classes."  He smirked.  "Engineering will take some math and he's math challenged but I think we can work around that."  He leaned out the door and one of the younger kids threw one at him.  He scooped up some snow and tossed it back.  "Make sure any casts aren't being soaked," he ordered then withdrew.  Xander turned and waved, but got hit by a snowball for it.  The boy laughed and tossed one back at the younger girl.  She was laughing and tried him again so Xander got sneakier and got her better.  She shrieked at the snow that he had break above her to shower her and go down the back of her robe but he just grinned and threw a usual one at her.  Then Xander pulled out his newest crossbow with a wink at the girl and loaded a snowball, sending it at the cars.  She oohed and asked to try it.  He showed her and she cackled insanely until the tolerant attendant took it from her and Xander snatched it back.  House laughed.  "Even better than the one I took from him."

"It had better still be on my shelves," Cuddy warned.

"I didn't touch it."

"Having Cameron fetch it for you isn't any better," she said.  She walked off shaking her head.  The kids would go nuts for hours if they let them.  She saw Xander coming back in.  "Cold?"  He went to the bathroom.  She paused.  A few minutes later he went back out to play.  The good nurses would have cocoa waiting on the snowball warriors.

House and Wilson continued to watch.  "Is he teaching them how to phalanx with snowballs?"

House tipped his head.  "Yeah, I think he is."  Sure enough, the kids followed along and got the attendant again with a lot of cackling.  She huffed but got a few back and then the special few who had moved onto the edges completed a pincher move to hem her into a barrage of snowballs.  The adults watching all laughed at that.  So did the kids.  She made them come in ten minutes later, having to stay outside to dust herself off.  "Nice planning," House called at Xander, getting an evil smirk back.  "Go write Dawn."

"Wi-fi's out again."

"C'mon, you can use my office," Wilson said.

"I don't want to intrude."

"So don't.  I'm bored."  He shrugged and let the kid go with him.  He saw the odd looks from Foreman and Cameron but Chase just smiled and waved at the boy, who waved back.  "You're getting good with the wheelchair."

"I figured I'd probably end up in one for at least a little while, if not longer."

"Half the secret to getting back to walking is to want it more than anything else, Xander," Wilson told him.  "The same as it is for some of my cancer patients."  Xander gaped at him.  "If you don't want it enough, you don't want it enough to fight for it.  Then you're really stuck."

"I'll keep that in mind.  Thank you."

"You're welcome."  He got him into his computer, watching the boy type out an email.  The boy paused to sniff then shook his head.  "Some of my patients do use it medically."

"I have no right to say anything to anyone unless they're in the same sort of pain I'm in or have the same injury," Xander said, giving him a look.  He got a smile back and grinned, going back to his email writing.  "Can you really make a bong out of nearly anything?"

"I did back in college," Wilson admitted with a smirk.  "House probably did too.  Ask him."

"Okay.  Didn't mean to pry."

"You're not.  House pries.  He's a nosy guy really.  You're not."  Xander finished up and moved away from the desk.  "Going back to your room?"

"I should before the orthopedists howl at me for being out of bed."

"Sometimes you have to.  Or else you get bed sores."

"Oh, I know that one all too well," Xander sighed, shaking his head as he rolled out.  "Thank you.  You make a good super secret boyfriend for Doctor House, Doctor Wilson."  Behind him the doctor howled with laughter.  Really, everyone else said he was right and they were.  He rolled past, waving again on his way past the glass walls.  "I don't know why they put glass in exam rooms.  Seems kinda pointless."  He shrugged off the thought and went back to his room.  He smiled at the lawyer in there.  "Hi."

"Hi.  Playing in the snow?"

"It's my first one that didn't turn me invisible."

"Then it's good you got to play.  I have paperwork from the probate lawyer."  Xander nodded, taking them to read over and sign.  A few of the numbers made him hiss in excitement.  "Yes, Mr. Giles was a bit wealthy.  As were Miss Rosenburg's grandparents.  That's where she got her trust fund from."  He pointed at a line.  "That's what the insurance people are paying for the properties they owned."


"Yes.  Including the house you lived in."

"My parents?"  The lawyer nodded.  "Will that bother the FEMA stuff?"

"We checked, they said no.  We did tell them you did not know.  We had only found it on the inventory of the estates."  Xander nodded.  "So if they ask, play dumb."

"I can do that.  I guess."  He turned the page.  "Who owned this second estate?"

"Wesley's people."  Xander gave him a horrified look.  "She's fine."

"She can't be."

"She can be.  She's with Fred, and the judge agreed for now.  You still have months left.  If you were getting out soon it might work but the judge wanted her there for now."  Xander slumped but nodded.  "So get better faster."

"If I knew why my legs wouldn't heal at a normal rate I would."  He kept going.  "Why am I getting his stuff?"

"Because he didn't want it going to Finn's new version of the Council."  Xander shuddered.  "Exactly.  Though he's about to be overthrown by Miller.  He's gotten a bit power hungry.  The girl is going to throw him out a window."  He smirked.  "It'll work out fine, Xander."  Xander grimaced but nodded.  He kept going.  "As you can see, Wesley was the only son.  His father died in the explosion.  So you have all their things as well.  To be frank, the judge over there wanted to give Wesley the remains of the other watchers' things instead of the new government version of the Council."

"Find their kids," Xander said.

"Most didn't have anyone step forward."

Xander looked at him.  "They're taught from an early age that the Council is all and they do not argue with them.  End of discussion.  No room for other thoughts."

"Total obedience.  So by looking in a few places we might find some."

"Colleges.  Wesley got drunk once and said they had a few different places with specific programs they were allowed to go to for things like languages."

He smirked. "I think that can be done.  That would be more suitable anyway."  He made a note of that.  "All right.  Go ahead on with it."  Xander kept going, frowning and pointing at one.  "Wesley's mother."

"Ah."  He frowned but kept going.  It was still a lot.  "I need a big library."

"You'll find one.  Are you looking for a residence?"  Xander nodded.  "May I suggest a few good realtors?"

"I've got my eye on one.  How many books?"

"Over seven thousand estimated between all the estates.  Plus you'll need a secure area for the artifacts."  Xander nodded.  "Of course you could sell some of them."  Xander gave him a  dirty look.  "We didn't think you would."

"No."  He kept going.  He suddenly burst out laughing.  "Who had the dildo collection?"

"Your ex."

"Oh, gods, Anya!"

"She had collected through the ages.  Some were quite ancient."  Xander moaned, but kept reading.  He finally got to the end and signed, handing it back.  The rest was pretty easy to understand.  He handed back one unsigned.  "Hmm.  I don't know who put that in there."  He tucked it back into his bag.  "I'll take that out and have it sent over."

"Thank you for bringing me that.  I'll try to have a house set up soon."

"That's fine.  It can go into storage."

"That means someone could steal from it.  I'm realistic, not dumb."

"Good point.  I look forward to any future needs you might have, Mr. Harris."

"Thank you."  He shook his hand and the lawyer left.  Xander grimaced and checked.  The wi-fi was still down.  He settled in to read the book Chase had left him.  It was on engineering for earthquake zones.  He decided to roll out.  "Paper?"

"Not up here, Xander," the nurse said.

"Can I go get one?"

"Sure."  Xander found his debit card and activated it from the room phone.  He checked his balance too, frowning at the small number.  He called the customer service number.  "Hi, I have a new account and less than I think I should."  He read off his account number, listening to her read off his last three transactions.  "Where were those?  I'm in a hospital in New Jersey, ma'am.  I need to see if that was in LA with the child I have custody of or not."  She read off the locations and he sighed.  "Thank you.  No, I know who did that."  He hung up and actively cast his mind at the magic he knew he now had.  He sent it after Riley for spending his money on him.  He went to get his paper.  He had some of it left.


In DC, Riley Finn tripped as he walked into his office and knocked himself senseless on his desk's edge.  He moaned, laying there for over an hour, wetting himself because the concussion meant he lost control of his bladder and bowels.

Graham Miller finally found him.  "What did you do?"

"Pissed off Xander," Riley muttered.  "Sorry.  Fix it."

"I'm sure you will."  He helped him up and down to the medics they had in another office.  "He fell and hit his head on the desk."

The EMT checked him over, nodding.  "He should probably get head x-rays."  Graham nodded, taking him off to the local ER. The EMT, also an agent, was no fool.  He knew that sudden accidents happened when you dealt with what Finn dealt with but you were a smug bastard like he was.  Something had gotten him back for it.


Xander looked up as Chase stomped in.  "What's wrong?"

"House is being an arse."

"I thought that was normal."

"It is.  He's playing staffing games."

"Uh-huh.  Is this the I just got fired snit?"  Chase grimaced but nodded.  "Want a hug?"

"No, I'm fine, Xander.  I'm still going to be here, just checking on you for my own friendship reasons instead."

Xander smiled.  "Good.  I like that."  He gave him a hug anyway.  "You're the bestest friend.  You don't tell me I dress funny or hate my shirts or my girlfriends."  Chase smiled at that.  "They did."

"Uh-hmm.  Some of your shirts are a bit...atrocious," he pointed out gently.

"Well, yeah, but don't pick up their bad habits."

"I won't."  He smiled.  "Here he comes now."

"Fuck him."

"No thank you."  Xander burst out laughing.  "I can visit a friend," he defended at  House's stare.

"Of course you can."  Xander glared at him.  "Do not give me that look or I'll take your painkillers away."

"So?  Not like I took any today."  House gaped.  "I'm like that."  He looked at Chase.  "You'll be okay.  You can even help me house hunt because I've got about seven thousand books  I've got to get out of storage."

"That's a lot," Chase said.

"Yes it is."

He nodded.  "I'll ask around."  Xander beamed.  "Be a good boy."

"I try so damn hard but then I turn into this pranking bastard who gives others fits."

Chase smirked.  "Behave."  He gave him a pat.  "I'll see you in a bit."

"Sure.  I'll be here."  He waved a hand around.  Chase was smiling and happier as he walked out.  Xander pulled a pillow around and threw it at House.  "Just because he's nicer than you doesn't mean you had to prove you were a bastard, House.  He's a good doctor and he could be a great one with the right influences.  I don't know *why* he picked you but it was clear he thought you could get him there.  Or did you need more asskissing like Cameron?"

"He needs to fledge."

"INS can take his visa for this."  House moaned.  "Do not make me start thinking up pranks."  House walked off shaking his head.  Xander sighed and found his online bank account.  He could do that.  It had a lot in it.  He found the listing for his trust account too. One was enough...  He called Wesley's lawyer just to make sure.  It was and he could do that.  It was considered a charitable deduction and would look good to the IRS.  Which thankfully he wouldn't have to pay this year, but next he was screwed.  He had someone come talk to him about financial matters once the lawyer out there had faxed the information on his bank accounts.  The local bank was more than happy to help him with that.  By three that afternoon he had things set up and the bank knew that one account was going to somewhere special.  Xander found his wheelchair where he had left it and slid into it with a hiss of pain in his worse leg.  This was going to be a trip, especially if she wasn't in.  He took the paperwork with him, rolling down there.  The nurses all smiled.  "Going for a drive, moms.  Be back soon."

"Okay," one agreed.  He needed to get out of his room more often.

Xander rolled to the elevator and to the right floor, finding the office easily enough.  He tapped since he heard voices, finding Chase in there.  "Needed her to read something if you're not busy?"

"No, we're finding him a new department."

Xander looked at him then at her.  "Then I'm in time."  He rolled in and shut the door behind himself, turning to look at her.  "Is it budgetary?"

"Somewhat," she admitted.

He tossed over the papers.  "The third page."  She looked then gasped.  "Chase has taken better care of me than he had to.  Both of them actually have but I now have a deep seated need to make House apologize.  That will be moved into my care in five days.  At which time I'll be giving that one to you."  He rolled closer.  "This one here."  She smiled at that amount.  "With it, could you make sure Immigration doesn't do something tragic and send him where he doesn't need to be?"

She smiled.  "I think I can do that.  Doctor Chase?"

"It's not necessary, Xander."

"It is so!  After all, you tricked me into taking a class.  You held me when I cried.  You've been a lot nicer to me than you had to be.  I'll be damned if I'm going to see a promising career tossed out for a bitch like Cameron who can only look pretty and primp."

"She's not a bad doctor," Chase told him.

"Can't prove it by me.  Foreman might be one but he's got a stick up his ass.  If it was him I wouldn't bend over to help.  You've been great to me.  You're a friend and I appreciate that.  I have it to burn at the moment.  At least until I have to take Dawn shopping," he cleared up that frown quickly, "so I can do this."

"I'm actually naturalized, not on a Visa," Chase told him.

"So?  Unless you want me to hire you as my personal house finder and decorator?"

Chase smiled.  "No, that's a job that would drive me insane."

"Then take it.  It's payback for all the nagging you withheld."


"It's a goodly amount.  It'll pay for the rest of the year's salary."  She smiled.  "We can do that."  Xander beamed and hugged her.  "Take a few days off, Chase, at least until we can get the money here?"

"I could use it."  He looked at Xander.  "You didn't have to."

"It's this or I'd have to kiss you and you'd turn evil.  Even more evil than the bitch queen," he said with a nod at Cuddy, who giggled.  Xander smirked at him.  "Besides, my friends would be proud of me doing this.  Buffy would drool but she was like that."

"Fine, I'll accept it," Chase promised.  He held out a hand and Xander shook it.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  You didn't deserve it but you'll get to laugh."  He looked at her, taking the papers back.  "The bank knows.  I had her up to arrange things with the lawyer."  She nodded.  He wrote down a name.  "That's who I deal with at the bank."  He handed her back the pen.  "I'm off to plan a prank so evil the whole hospital will laugh and Giles will go 'dear lord, Xander' from heaven and clean his glasses once again."  He rolled off to their happier moods.  He knew where security was.  He leaned into the office.  "Can I have a huge favor?"  The guard gave him an odd look.  He rolled in and told him what he wanted and who was going to be the recipient.  The guard warned him he'd get vindictive, but oh well.


Wilson looked at the box House had found on his desk.  It wasn't dangerous.  It wasn't mailed.  Security had said they dropped it off.  That it had been an early christmas present from a patient.  Wilson had a good idea who it was from though.  If it wasn't Chase, he knew who it had come from.  House slowly opened it, standing back.  Inside was a small child's medical kit.  House frowned, opening it.  The things were cute.  They were bright pink.  As he removed the bottom 'pill bottle' it went off.  Wilson winced at the color explosion, trying hard not to laugh.  He backed up and walked off shaking his head.

"I am going to get that kid," House decided.  He started to move but felt something off.  He shook his head and walked off anyway.  Ten steps down the hall his clothes fell off him.  In front of a few nurses and other doctors.  The security cameras.  A few patients.  House looked down then huffed in irritation.  "I'm definitely going to take his painkillers."

Wilson coughed and handed him his spare white coat.  "Here.  Doesn't go with the dye or your boxers, but oh well."  He walked off snickering.  House stomped off, heading for the locker room to shower and change.  Once he was out of hearing range Wilson burst out cackling, leaning against a wall to hit it.

Foreman walked off the elevator.  "What happened?" he demanded.

One of the nurses giggled.  "You wouldn't think Doctor House would be that well built."

Foreman gave her a disgusted look.  "Mind out of the gutter, woman."

"It's not my fault!  His clothes fell off him!"  Wilson nodded, bursting out in new laughs.  House stomped past them, shoving the jacket at Wilson as he kicked his clothes up the hall.  She looked at his butt.  "It is definitely better than I thought.  No wonder Doctor Cameron pants like a bitch in heat."  She walked off happier.  Foreman was gaping in horror.  Wilson was still giggling.  The others were still giggling too.

Wilson calmed himself down and went to hug the boy.  "Thank you, I needed that laugh."

Xander just grinned.  "I didn't do anything."  He smiled sweetly.  "Even if you check the fingerprints."

Wilson beamed.  "Even better."   He walked off, going to security to get a copy of the tape for later blackmail.  House *so* deserved that.

Xander was working on something when House stomped in.  "Good morning," he said, not looking up.  "How are you today?"

"Cut the crap, I know it was you, kid."

Xander looked up, frowning at the dye still on his face.  "Painting accident?"

"Ha ha," he said with a scowl, staring the boy down.  Xander just beamed back, looking sweet and innocent.  "Don't try it."

Xander smirked.  "I must stick with my friends.  But I didn't send you a dye pack."


"I didn't.  Check the fingerprints."

"I'm sure you got someone else to pack it."

"Who said I was the only one who wanted to get you back for hurting their friend?"

"They wouldn't."

"Selfish Girl and Uptight Man?  No.  Doesn't mean he doesn't have other friends."  House growled.  Xander handed over his roll of tums.  "Antacid?"

"Not cute."

"You have upset tummy rumblings.  Worse than Pooh."

House stomped off, shaking his head.  The kid was going to get it for this.  And whoever else had helped.  Wilson had seemed to know something was up.  He walked into his office and slammed the door.  "You knew?"

"No.  You got a mysterious present the day after you fired Chase.  I figured it was a live snake or something."  He gave him a look.  "He does have friends."

"Uh-huh.  He needs to go home.  That was my lucky shirt."

"You've only had it for two weeks and you haven't gotten laid in it yet," Wilson countered dryly, going back to what he was doing.  "Beyond that, Chase is still here.  He's a naturalized citizen, House."  He looked up at him.  "You need to quit that.  Before someone gets you back in a permanent manner.  You know a few of the other student docs are unstable people and they all seem to like Chase because he's nice and he's competent.  You're lucky one didn't shoot you."

"Fine.  Whatever.  I'll take him back."

"From what I heard, one of our patron saints of donations has given a special donation so Doctor Chase can complete his studies in his area."

"Said who?" he demanded.

"Said Cuddy last night.  He's off for a few days until the money comes in then he'll be back in his primary speciality as an intensive care specialist.  Though he might be helping Harris find a house.  The boy was looking at real estate listings."

House stomped out, slamming the door behind him.  Cameron gave him a horrified look.  "It was a prank gone wrong," he snarled.

"Um, I'm sure it is.  Why are you still funny colored?"

"Because dye packs don't wear off for between one and two weeks," Chase said from behind her, making her jump.  "He is sorry, House.  He didn't send the dyepack though.  I  asked.  The stripping magic... that was him."  He smirked and walked off.  "Going to help Xander find a home for his thousands of books."

House glared at his back.  "I will get you back, Chase."

"I didn't send the present.  I was drunk last night," he said with a glare back.  "Do have fun."  He walked off because the best revenge was leaving him being miserable with himself.

Cameron made squeaky noises and pointed.  "What did you do?" she demanded finally.  "I've never seen him that angry!"

"Stay out of it."  He walked off, going to erase the security tape even if he had to do it himself.  Cuddy had already requested a copy, she was carrying it off.  "All you had to do was ask," he called after her.

"I'll remember that the next time I need a giggle.  Need your office repainted?"  She smiled at the growl.  It was childish but effective.  House was now sorry for something.  She got a call an hour later and went to House's consultation room.  "What?"   He tossed her the fuzzy animal.  "Who sent you a teddy bear?"

"One of the people who saw me earlier and wants to see more."  He flung the card at her.  "Stop them or I will."

"Just growl at them, House.  They'll be disappointed, like the other women you dated."  She walked off with the stuffed animal, handing it to Foreman.  "Here, someone sent it for House.  I forgot to give it back."  She kept the card so she could have a talk with the person.  The handwriting looked familiar.

Foreman handed House the teddybear.  "Cuddy said she forgot to give it back."  He ran from the growl.

House glared at the thing then went to get his crossbow back.  He gave the bear a blindfold and put it onto his balcony railing.  Then he unloaded a whole box of sharpened pencils into it, imagining it was Chase the whole time.  Smug little bastard.  The alliance had to be broken up.  He put the bear on the consultation table, in clear view of the windows, and went to lurk near his patient.  They were talking.  The boy was actually laughing.

Wilson walked up behind him.  "It's nice to see him in a happy mood," he said quietly.  "Both of them."  House shot a glare at him.  "Look at them, House.  Look at the look on Chase's face and the boy's."

"They can't hope to make it work."

"If they stick with a friendship they could.  After all, we did."  House moaned at that.  Wilson smiled at him.  "Just watch, House.  You nearly destroyed Chases's career when you did that.  If whatever older woman that want into his pants hadn't stepped in, he'd be hurting with a year left on his residency.  You know how hard it'd be to find another one, even if he said it was because you were a bastard.  This isn't like tv where offers fall from the ceiling."

House shook his head.  "That's not friendship."

"It is.  The boy thinks he's straight.  He thinks Chase is too.  He won't make a move and Chase won't make a move while he's a patient.  He's not you or me."   He patted his friend on the back, watching him walk in there and shut the door.  For the first time in his life, Greg House might have to apologize or explain himself.  The boy made House worry, fuss, fidget, and act like a normal human.  The kid must be a saint.  He walked off, happier now that his good work of the day was done.   House would see him later to complain.  Or whine.  Something like that.


Xander looked up as Chase came in a few days later looking very excited.  "Good news, like I can start therapy sooner?"

"Better news.  I found you a great house."  Xander beamed at that, giving him a hug.  "It's four bedrooms.  It's got a library/study area already.  It's got a living room, a kitchen, and three bathrooms.  It's about a mile from here so you can be close for therapy time."  Xander squealed.  "It's not that much since it's a repossession and supposedly haunted."  Xander laughed.  "I figured you could deal with that."

"Probably.  How much?"

"Rest of the loan.  Seventy."

Xander looked at him.  Then at the computer.  He sent a 'brb' message and went to look in the bank.  More money was missing.  He logged on to see where.  "I have fees?"  He shrugged.  "I'll talk to her later."  He found what he wanted.  "I can do that out of some of Giles' money.  Translating it to American brought down some of it."

Chase leaned over to look then gasped.  "You can afford six or seven of them, Xander."

"But I have to take care of Dawn and she's fifteen.  She's got to go to college.   She's got the prom and a later wedding maybe.  Plus there's never been a Summers woman who hated to shop."  Chase smiled and shook his head, rolling his eyes.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome.  The bank might be able to handle that for you."

"I'll call her in a few.  Where is it?"  Chase handed over the information sheet.  He beamed.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  We need you settled and not in a hotel when you get out."  He ruffled his hair and left.  He was very happy with his good deed of the year.  Wilson gave him an odd look.  "Found him a house.  It's even haunted."  Wilson laughed.  "I'll be in NICU."  He headed that way, going back to the work that had first drawn him.

Xander called the bank lady.  "Hi, it's Xander Harris.  Well, two things.  I pay fees?"  He listened to her look up the account and what the fee was for.  "Why am I paying that sort of fee?"  He blinked.  "But I'm not making withdrawals except with my debit card now and then to get a new book."  He nodded.  "Oh, okay.  Did I sign forms...  Oh, that was Dawn.  That's fine.  I have custody of Dawn.  The other thing actually relates to Dawn.  My friend here found me a house that's on bank repo."  He read off the number so she could look it up.  What she said amused him.  "Haunted is fine.  I don't mind haunted and neither will she."  He smiled.

"Can you put a bid down for me for the full price?"  He listened to her.  "Why a thousand extra?  Oh, auction.  No buy it now option like on e-bay?"  He laughed.  "Well, you did get the funds from England, right?  It's showing up when I check my accounts."  He sighed.  "I know it's tax deferred.  I wish the rest was.  Can we use some of that?  Yeah, I'll put the money down as soon as you can transfer it over.  I need a place to put their books and Dawn.  Thanks, dear.  Of course.  Let me know.  I'm here, still."  He smiled and found his calling card to call Dawn.  "Good news, and next time warn me you're using my debit card.  Good news?  I found a house out here.  A good house, it's haunted.  A friend found it for me.  Four bedroom so you can have your own to fill with shoes."  Dawn laughed at that.  A tired sound.

"Do I need to hear new news?"  He listened.  "You know what?  I'll see what I can do.  It should be a few more days, Dawn.  It's on bank repo.  I should have the keys by the end of the month.  Then you're moving out here to cheerlead me back to walking.  You can meet the new friend who found the house for me and all that.  Plus arrange Giles' books to your heart's content."  He smiled.  "It's about a mile away from the hospital.  I'll hire a housekeeper.  Yeah, Giles had money.  Real money. Thanks, Dawn."  He blew a kiss. "Give yourself a hug for me and no more shoe shopping without warning.  Or just go one place and buy it all there."

She laughed and hung up, going to tell the others.  He got back to his discussion, announcing the good news that a friend had found him a house so he was putting a bid on it.  The teacher and a few others congratulated him.  He got back to the discussion of daily life back then.  He knew Ren Faire stuff and most of those guys thought hoop skirts looked cute.  They were wrong because they were a pain to get under and he said so.  The teacher laughed and agreed.  That's really why none of the characters in any Tolkein book ever hit up a bar maid, they couldn't get under their clothes.  Too many layers and too much material to fight.


Xander reached over with a moan to answer the room's phone.  "Yup?"  He listened.  "Hi, Your Honor.  I expected the call sooner."  He looked at the nurse fussing at him.  "Give me a second, Brenda?  The judge over Dawn's custody."  She nodded, finishing up drawing the blood and leaving for a few minutes.  "Sorry. The nurse was pulling blood."  He listened.  "Your Honor, I've known Dawn since the first day she appeared in Sunnydale.  With Wesley dead and Fred missing, she needs her family around her.  I know I'm in a hospital.  I just bought a house out here.  Dawn is more than welcome to come live in it with me.  I know she'd need supervision and I can hire a nanny or a housekeeper until I can get out.  I'm due out by the spring.  I'll have outpatient rehab for my legs then.  One's shattered and one's broken.  They're not healing very well.  I was in traction until it caused a bedsore."  He listened to his arguments.

"That's great and all, but is Angel a good guardian for her?  He's in the same business I was when I got injured, her sister was when she got killed with most of the rest of our friends, and that Wesley and Fred were in before they died or vanished.  I'm pretty well out of the life.  I can't roll after them in a wheelchair."  He smiled at the assertion he couldn't.  "The most I'd be is a research point, which Dawn actually excels at.  It'd help both of us if she came here and it would give Angel a chance to solve things without worrying about Dawn.  I want her with everything in me.  She's like my little sister.  Always has been.  Even though I was her first crush."  He made a funny face.  "Oh, please!  Not happening. I don't do jailbait girls.  Dawn's family, not in that category.  Eww."  He shuddered then yelped and rubbed his leg.  "Sorry, moved wrong when I shuddered at the thought."

He listened to him.  "No, I want and need her out here.  She needs family and I'm the last she has.  Angel was her sister's ex.  The other's she's learned about.  I won't keep her from writing to them.  I respect those guys.  They do the same job I used to.  And if Dawn wants to continue that sort of education that's up to her.  I'm not going to tell her she can't.  I'll tell her she can't hunt,  at least until she's fully trained and over eighteen, but I'm not going to tell her she can't continue the education her mother allowed her to start learning.  Exactly.  And I'm still the one Joyce wanted her with if Buffy died, Your Honor.  Even in the hospital, I'm family.  I'm near Princeton.  I'm pretty sure we have some good schools out here," he said dryly.

The judge relaxed at that.  "I want her to do good and have the things I never did.  Including the opportunity for a good school that'll get her into college.  I want her at Princeton and you can't get much higher than that on the west coast either."  He smiled.  "I bought a house.  It's mine as of next week.  I get the keys then.  Exactly.  And what happens if they come back or Angel gets attacked, Your Honor?  I want Dawn to live and make me a great uncle or something.  Exactly.  Please?"  He smiled.  "Thank you.  I'm here.  That'd be fine.  She can come decorate, shelve the libraries, cheerlead me onto better health and quicker healing, all that."  He smirked.  "Excellent.  I'll call her myself."

He laughed.  "I should anyway.  I haven't emailed her yet today.  Thank you, Your Honor."  He hung up and called her.  "It's me.  Pack."  He laughed at her whoop.  "I'm getting the house next week.  Once I have the keys, I'm to hire a nanny or find a responsible person until I can live there with you.  I'll start to hire a nanny this week.  Okay?  So think next weekend and you get to decorate it and banish the ghosts if they're mean."  He smiled.  "Great job, Dawn.  Love you.  See you soon for real hugs."  He let her hang up to go talk to the judge.  Xander looked out at the nurses chatting.  "I've got Dawn."

They smiled and came back to finish their chores with him then went to the next patient.  Xander relaxed and looked online to find things.  The bank had sent over pictures of the house.  "I have hardwood floors," he said.  "My mother would shit bricks and try to cover it with linoleum."  He found a few decorating sites he liked and made note of what he liked.  He emailed the bank to make sure there wasn't going to be a hold up, telling her that he had custody of Dawn finally and she was coming out the weekend after next.  He got back an 'you'll have the keys Monday' and smiled.  That was good news.  Then maybe she could come sooner.  She needed to get out of LA and away from the demons.  The same as he had.  Xander looked up a local nanny agency and found one.

"Hi, my name is Xander Harris, and I have need of a caretaker for a fifteen-year-old young woman while I'm in the hospital until this spring."  He listened.  "I'm in PPH.  Up on the third floor, three west."  He smiled.  "No, I have custody of her.  Her family's dead.  The same incident that broke both my legs and why I'm in the hospital until this spring.  She's coming in sometime next week or the weekend after.  Actually I just bought a house and it's Dawn's job to decorate since she has better taste than I do."  He smiled.  "That would be excellent.  Harris, yes.  I'm here, almost always.  They don't like me out of bed.  Thank you, ma'am.  I'll see you then."   He hung up and found a group picture, smiling at Dawn's cheery face.  It would be good for both of them.


Xander looked up at the squeal, opening his arms.  Dawn flew into them and squeezed, climbing up beside him to cuddle him.   "Dawnster."  He typed in a brb, or something like that, blindly and went back to hugging her.  "I missed you."

"I missed you too, goofball."  She pulled back to look at him.  "How bad are you hurt?"  He moved his t-shirt.  "That looks like what we saw on vamps after an autopsy."

"They had to do it to fix the internal bleeding.  Apparently I fell from the ceiling, went directly into seven hours of surgery, and then stayed unconscious for a month."

"You worried us sick too.  No one knew where you were."  She gave him another cuddle.  She looked at the beeping computer and typed in a message saying she had just shown up and was hugging him.  It'd be about ten minutes.  Then she went back to hugging him.

A female voice coughed from the doorway.  "No conjugal visits," the nurse called.

"She's like my sister," Xander complained, frowning at her.  "I'm not groping; I'm getting hugs and hugs help heal."

"She can stand and hug.  It took her eight hours to get here; I'm sure she wants to stand for a while after that flight."  Dawn laughed and got off the bed, having to move a cord out of her way.  "Thank you.  Watch his feet."  She left and called NICU to tell Doctor Chase she was in.  He had wanted to meet her.

"Wow, they're all mom over you," Dawn said with a grin.

"They should be, I need it," Xander said dryly.  He pointed at his legs.  "The bones won't do the melding things."

She frowned, looking at them.  She looked around then laid a hand on his better one, chanting a swift healing spell.  Xander moaned but she smiled and stopped when she felt someone watching.  "That should help.  We'll do the other one soon and maybe you'll be out by Christmas."

"If not, we'll have turkey here," Xander assured her, making her giggle and hug him again.  "Hey, Chase.  Dawn, this is Chase.  Chase is a very good friend and one of the docs who was over my case.  He's a great guy and he found the house."

"Wow, you're a saint," she said, smiling at him.

"Not hardly."

She nearly swooned.  "Ooh, hotty accent.  Thank you!" she said, looking up.  She grinned at him again.  "I'm fifteen, I have to have a crush on someone.  It's in the teenager's handbook."

He laughed.  "So I've heard."  He came in.  "Nice to meet you, Dawn.  What were you doing?"  She glanced at Xander, who nodded and shrugged a bit.  "I heard what he and your sister used to do."

"It was a quick healing spell.  To help knit those bones back together."  He gaped.  She smiled. "It can't fix it all but it's a really handy one."  She held out a hand.  He shook it.  "Good.  You read as a good person.  Xander could use more friends."  She looked at the grumpy person walking in.  "Aww, did you come to see me too?" she asked with a grin.

"I'd say yes but you're too young for me.  I'd hate prison sex."

She cackled and hugged him.  "I like that one."  She wiggled up to sit beside Xander's head.  "Now what?"

"This is Dawn, Doctor House.  Dawn, this is Doctor Greg House, he's over my case and used to be over Chase too."

She looked at Chase then at him.  "Not literally," he assured her.  "He's not my type."

"Pity.  It's a hot mental image."

"Dawn," Xander complained.

"Well it is."

"Don't turn into Anya," he complained.

She sniffled.  "I'm trying not to."  He gave her a hug and she wiggled down to rest on his shoulder.  "Did you need to be mean and poke the Xander?"

"We poked him earlier this week.  This is the general questioning section of the exam."

"True-false or multiple choice?" she asked with a grin.

"Only when he lies and says he's not in pain," Chase told her.

She swatted him.  "Don't do that; you won't heal as fast."

"Yes, Dawn."

She beamed.  "Good."  She smiled at them.  "Yes he's in pain.  He's actually very grumpy but it's this side of biting.  So you're okay.  I've got him if you need to move closer."

"I need to check his feet and you're wrapped around one," he told her.  She moved her legs.  "Thank you.   You probably shouldn't be on the bed."

"I'll hiss and claw anyone who tries to take me away from Xander," she said seriously, staring him down.  "Or who tries to hurt Xander."  He gave her a squeeze.  "I will.  You need protected."

"Not really.  The nurses are very nice.  They even let me have treats and roll outside now and then."

"That's cool."  She watched as House checked under the inflatable casts, turning a bit green.  "Is that supposed to be that color?"

"No, it means he's got a slight infection and we've been fighting it," House told her.  "Wiggle."  Xander wiggled both sets of toes.  "Thank you."  He checked the pulse then rehitched the cast.  "Not too bad.  Not a lot of seeping."

"No gangrene?"

"No.  Not even close."  Xander let out a sigh of relief.  He looked at Chase.  "Visiting hours?"

"I wanted to meet Dawn."

"Uh-huh."  He walked off shaking his head.  "I'm upping your antibiotic, Xander."

"Okay."  He looked at Chase.  "He's mellowed."

"He's getting some," Chase said sotto voice, cracking them both up.  "I worked with the man for three years."  He glanced back out there then at him.  "Did we find the nanny?"

"We did," Xander agreed.  He gave Dawn a squeeze.  "It's not ideal but it'll do?"

"It'll do," she agreed.  "As long as she's not mean."

"Not mean," Xander told her.  "That I saw."

"Did she hit on you?"  Chase laughed.  "Only evil women like him."

"So I've heard.  He told a doctor I worked with that and she had to stomp off before she got hit on.  A nurse who wanted him tried to go evil too."

She smiled.  "It'd be bad for his healing.  They'd try to kill him."

"Possibly."  House came back.  "I'll let you two catch up and I'll see you soon, Dawn."

"Okay.  It was nice meeting you too, Chase."  He smiled and left.  "He's a nice guy," Dawn told Xander.  "You should date him."  Xander gave her an odd look.  "You should."

"Plenty of people think they are," House said dryly, sticking Xander with the needle in his hand.  "There you go."


"Yes, stubborn."

"You took it."

House glared at him.  "Let's let that argument lay dead, Xander."

"Yes, Momma House."

House rolled his eyes.  He walked out shaking his head.  He couldn't find a comeback yet.  He'd find one later.

Xander grinned at Dawn.  "Let me call her?"

"Okay.  Do I have furniture?"


"I'll go shopping then."

"Good thing you have the debit card, huh?"

She smirked.  "The new girls needed stuff.  Most of the time Riley's guys didn't let them pack."

"Riley's about to be taken out," he told her.  He finished inputting the number. "Hi, Mrs. Clears.  It's Xander.  Dawn's in.  In my hospital room.  Please.  Thank you."  He hung up and looked at her.  "She'll be right over."


"They said nine months originally and we've had four surgeries since then."


"Very.  Some nice drugs though."  She smiled at that.  "They had to go in and do what we do when we pour concrete forms for that shattered bone."  Cuddy walked in, giving him an odd look.  "This is Dawn.  I told you about her."

"Pleasure to meet you, Dawn."

"You too."  She shook her hand.  "Another doc?"

"Technically but I also run this place.  Xander's a special case thanks to the agents who kept having accidents in our parking lot after coming to see him."

"Yeah, we've seen that before," she admitted.  "It happens when people piss off Xander.  Always has."  Xander gave her a funny look.  "You did it to Riley's guys more than once."

"No I didn't."

"Maybe not consciously but yeah, you did.  Giles used to mutter about that whenever you and the girls had a fight and they ended up miserable from uber PMS and bad hair weeks."  Cuddy snickered.  "He did.  We don't know how but he did."

"That's okay, while I was out I ended up floating."

"Charming.  We can work on that."

"Already started."  Another woman walked in.  "Hi, Mrs. Clears.  This is Dawn.  My super special little sister."  Dawn smiled at that.  He looked at her.  "It's her job to decorate the house.  Because she has taste."

"That's fine.  Does she have your debit card and permission to use it?"

"I have my own copy," she said happily.  "Oh, Xander, call Angel?"

"I will later tonight.  When he's up."  She nodded, giving him a last hug.  "Be a good girl for me.  Come see me every day after school."

"Yes, Xander."  She smiled at Cuddy.  "Is that okay?"

"It'll help him get better faster.  He already looks better."  Dawn beamed and got off the bed, giving him another hug before walking off with the nanny, talking to her about the local town and schools.  "She seems very nice, Xander."

"She is, until you piss her off.  Then she's got the mouth and the attitude to back it up."

"Maybe we'll see her taunting House then.  No more on the bed."

"Yes, ma'am.  She needed a hug."

"I understand."  She left, going to talk to House.  "She seemed very nice."

"She was.  She's also fifteen.  Held her own against me, which was good.  He'll make sure she stays a good girl and not one that Wilson would date."  She walked off laughing.  "Or Chase."  He went back to his reading.  He hated this journal.


Xander looked up when Dawn walked in two days later.  "What happened?"

"She went off on Buffy and why she probably died doing stupid college stuff.  So I told her she died trying to protect people from someone evil trying to kill them.  She laughed and said I needed drugs.  I handed her the report, the official, seal on it, report and she sneered.  Pity."

"Dawn," he sighed.

"I'm sorry."

"No.  It's a good thing."  He sighed, looking at her.  "We'll figure it out.  Even if you do have to camp here tonight."

"At least I've gotten the major furniture in and started on the library books.  She really didn't like them being in other languages.  I called the agency we got her from to give a long complaint.  She's fired from them and they said they'd check to see if there was someone else available."  She sat on the foot of the bed, looking up at him.  "Unless you think Chase would?"

"Don't know."  He looked at her.  "I'd ask but he's in surgery with someone."  Foreman walked in with his chart.  "Dawn, this is Doctor Foreman, he's studying to be Doctor House."

"Hi.  Is he getting better yet?"

"Slightly.  The infection in his leg made his white count shoot up but also increased the amount of the viruses in his system."

"Viruses?" Dawn asked him.

"Thanksgiving.  Chumash Native Americans?"

"Oh, them.  Eww."

"Basically.  We had to stop Feds from trying to claim me to chop me into parts to make more."

"We did stop them?"

"I let one of the lawyers deal with it."

"Even better."  She beamed at Foreman.  "You don't know any good nannies, do you?  The last one hated me, our things, and my sister.  I had to get mean and she stomped off crying."

Foreman thought about it.  "I only know one nanny but I know someone I can ask for advice."  She beamed and gave him a short hug.  "Thank you.  Xander, x-rays."

"Tonight, tomorrow?"


"Okay."  Dawn smiled.  "It's about weekly now."

"Hmm."  She looked at his other leg.  "I'll chant over it later."

"Sure."  Foreman gave her an odd look.  "She's Wiccan."

"Oh, okay.  We don't mind as long as you don't set off the smoke detectors."

"No, I'm not that much of a flaming bitch.  That's Xan's ex Cordy who died last year."

Foreman gaped.  Xander nodded.  "She could be.  Buffy could be now and then too."

"Well, yeah, especially when she got told she went out in a hideous outfit."  She shrugged.  "Pity but loved my sister anyway most of the time."

Foreman swallowed.  "Now I see what you meant by only dating evil women."  He checked the chart.  "Infection?"

"Itches and seeping.  They changed the gauze over it a bit ago.  Could probably use it again by now."

Foreman came over to look.  "Yeah, it's still going.   You're taking the antibiotics?"

"If I'm being given it, I'm taking it."

"Good."  He taped back down the corner he had lifted and rehitched the cast.  "There we go.  I've got you scheduled at nine tonight for x-rays and another CT."  Xander nodded.  "Good.  Let me tell House we need to check that infection and maybe lance it."

"I can do that," Dawn said.  "Not like I didn't used to do Buffy's back zits with a sewing needle," she said at his odd look.

"We usually suck it out instead of just popping it."  She nodded so he left.  She shifted and did the quick healing spell on that leg too.

"Thank you."

"Welcome.  I want you home for Christmas."  They smiled at each other and she went into detail about the furniture she had found.  Including the nice big, comfy bed he had waiting at home.  A mid-thirties guy came in.  "Another doctor?  How many does he have?"

"House and his ducklings and the orthopedist," he told her.  He looked at Xander.  "I heard a rumor you were renting a room."

"I am but you'd have to play responsible adult to Dawn," Xander said.  "The nanny kinda went mental about the books being in other languages and her sister."

"That doesn't bother me as long as she won't hit on me."  Dawn shook her head quickly so he smiled.  "You sure?"

"Very.  My sister was into older guys.  I like guys my own age.  Your chastity is safe with me."

"Then I think we can work it out."


"This is Doctor Wilson.  He does cancer stuff."

"Wow.  That's gotta be a hard job."

"It can be but I've helped a lot of people heal."

She sniffled and Xander sat up to give her a hug.  "Her mom had a suddenly appearing brain tumor that knocked her down one day without warning."

Wilson frowned.  "What?"

"Size of a walnut to an egg.  She passed out one day and they found it."

"No headaches?"  Xander shook his head.  "How?"

"We're not sure," he admitted.  He got her calmed down.  "Shhh."

She pulled back to wipe her cheeks.  "You're not a hell goddess in disguise or hiding a  possession by one, right?"

"No.  Though I heard Xander asked Chase that when he woke up."

She cracked a smile.  "We can deal.  Are you being kicked out for fumigating?"

"No, the ex-wife won the house in the divorce so I'm at a hotel."

"Poor man.  My mother would've fried her for that.  Greedy heathen bitch."  She looked at Xander.  "Do you approve, big brother?"

"I do but you might get to see a lot of Doctor House."

"I don't care if he's having butt sex, Xander," she said dryly.  "As long as it's not with me."  Wilson blushed.  "Yes, Summers women are blunt and wise.  I'm slowly growing into wise from the wiseass side."

He patted her on the shoulder.  "We'll get along fine.  I'm used to House's snark.  Though we're not dating, Xander."

"Everyone says you are."

"Everyone says the same thing about you and Doctor Chase too."  Xander blushed but shook his head.

Dawn looked at him.  "Maybe we should consider it?"

Xander shrugged.  "He likes girls."

"Fine.  We'll work on that after you're out of here."  She hopped off the bed.  "I've got to go pick out lamps."

"I'm off at six."

"That'll work.  Let me go find dinner."  Xander gave her a look.  "She didn't grocery shop and she was a salad nazi.  That's all I've had since I got in.  Do you like chicken?"

"I'm not a picky eater as long as it's good," he promised.  She beamed and bounced off.  "She's very lively."

"She is," Xander agreed.  "I'll be out soon."

Wilson smiled.  "Some month soon."

"Hopefully by Christmas.  That's what she wants."

"Maybe you can go home for the last month of healing then."  He gave him a pat and left.

Xander relaxed because Dawn was in good hands.  At least for a while.  Until he could get out of here.  He concentrated on his legs, willing whatever magic he had to make them heal faster.  He slumped.  "The slow healing has to be punishment for not falling in her place," he muttered.

Chase leaned in.  "Stop that.  You do not think those thoughts or you never get better."   He walked in, staring down at him.  "Self will is an important part of getting well."

"I should've died, not her.  She was the special one."

"Someone thought you were special enough to send you away before they died.  You owe it to them to get better faster so you can help Dawn."

"I know."

Chase tipped Xander's face back up to look at him.  "You're not to blame.  They probably would have died with you there.  Then she'd be all alone.  They saved you because you're very special and because you'll do great things once you're out of here.  You've got a very special destiny in raising Dawn to be a woman her mother and sister would be proud of. They wanted you to live or else whoever sent you would've sent themselves instead."

"I guess."

"No, don't guess.  Hold that belief firm, Xander.  Whoever sent you to us, wanted you to live because you are special and you do deserve to live.   You have to believe that or else you may never heal."  Xander looked confused.  "Is it possible you're healing so slowly because you're feeling survivor's guilt?"  Xander slumped, staring at him.  "The way you explained magic to me, it's based on emotions and guilt's a hard one to shake but if it's the cause of you healing so slowly you're going to be hear until next year's Christmas.  Dawn needs you to get better.  You are special or else no one would've let you help or saved you.  You're not Joxer."  Xander cracked a smile.  "Good."  He grinned back.  "She here?"

"Went with Wilson.  He needed a place to stay and the nanny fragged over the book collection and her sister."

Chase grimaced.  "I hate people like that."  He smiled again.  "Can you think yourself healing?"

"I'll try."

"Good.  I like that attitude better."  He grinned again.  "That way you can show me how Dawn decorated when you finally get out of this bed."   His pager went off and he looked.  "I've got to go.  Be safe and rest.  You still need rest to heal."  He winked and left.

Xander relaxed, thinking about that.  Was whatever magic talent that had been awakened by sending him here preventing him from healing?  If so, it made a lot of sense.  He concentrated, willing himself to believe Chase was right.  He was special, there was a reason he had been saved instead of Buffy or Willow, and they had good plans for him.  He felt someone come in and looked at her.  "I'm trying to think positively," he told Cameron.  "What's up?"

"Foreman said we have to lance the infection?"

"If you think you have to.  It's draining okay."

"Let me check."  She looked at it then nodded.  "We might have to.  Let me get a needle."  She came back.

"What's in it?"

"Saline solution."

He grimaced.  "Must you do that now?"

"Don't trust me?" she asked.

"No."  She gaped.  "Sorry but I have a real trust issue with women sometimes.  If you had met my exes, you'd know why."  Cuddy came in.  "She knows that."

"Your trust issues?  I have seen them.  Was that Dawn Wilson was talking to?"

"He needs a place to stay so I'm letting him play reasonable adult for her."

"That's a good thing."  She came in to look, grimacing.  "Eww."

"A bone shard popped back through," Xander told her.

"I can tell.  Are we squirting and then sucking up?" she asked.

"He doesn't trust me."

"Xander, how about if I stay in here?" Cuddy asked.  Xander nodded slowly at that. "Thank you."  She smiled at Cameron.  "One of the agents said every single woman in his life had tried to kill him."  Xander nodded harder at that.  "He doesn't usually trust women unless it's Dawn."

"I guess I can understand that."  She squirted the infected spot then used the tip to lance the main point of infection, sucking it out.  He was gripping the bed rails and squeezing as hard as he could.  "Sorry."  She finished up.  "There we go." She capped the needle and let Cuddy bandage it.  "All done, Xander.  Sorry it had to hurt."  She fled at the simple nod and him not letting go of the bed.

"Don't make her have an accident either, okay?" Cuddy asked.

"I don't know how I did that."

"You'll figure it out."  She left, going to make notes on the chart.  She saw House limping her way.  "Cameron just drained the main area of infection."

"Good.  She running?"

"He has trust issues with women.  I stayed in there during it."

"Even better.  Have you seen Wilson?"

"He might be moving to Xander's new house.  Xander said he was going to play reasonable adult for Dawn.  The nanny apparently had a meltdown."

"Wonderful."  He walked in to look at it.  "That still looks bad."

"It feels it now too," he admitted.

"I know.  Classwork?"  Xander blushed and got into it to work on that.  House smiled and left him alone to do that.  She met him at the elevator, giving him an odd look  "He's only got eight credits after work experience, his languages, and all that from the placement tests to get a BA in languages."


"Another ten credit hours to get a AS in engineering technology."  He smirked.  They got onto the elevator together and went to find lab work and her to find a problem to fix.

Xander got back to his lit assignments.  It wasn't as fun but it was something to do.  He guessed.


House came over that night, looking around.  "It's nice," he told Dawn.

"I'm trying.  I'll let Xander have a lava lamp later," she quipped back.  "James, it's Doctor House."

"Kitchen," he called back.

"I made real food for dinner," Dawn offered.

"Sure, I could stand that."  He followed her back there, seeing the glance at the cane.  "It's permanent."

She stopped to look at him.  "I'm getting myself used to the sight because I figured Xander would end up having one.  With as long as he's been in there, I'm guessing someone's telling him he'll be lucky to walk."

"No, if his legs heal straight and they will even if I have to go in there and superglue each bone into place, he'll walk.  He will limp," he agreed.

"Will I need to pick out a cane for him?"

"He'll have to move up from a chair or a walker."

"Good thing I put his bedroom down here then."  House nodded.  "Thank you."  She let him into the kitchen.  "Here he is.  I was asking nosy questions about Xander."

"You're entitled," James reminded her.  He handed over a plate.  "She made good meatballs for subs."

"That's a good talent.  Your mom?"  Dawn nodded, digging in again.  "You can talk about her."

"Why would I want to talk about my mother with you two?  You never knew her."

"Sometimes telling someone makes you feel better," Wilson offered.  "Xander let go on Chase and House a few times."

"Especially when the therapist we assigned him to gave him goofy drugs that day.  That's how we found out the painkillers didn't work."

"He took them?  He never did at home.  Even when he broke his arm."  They gaped.  She nodded, eating a bite.

"Has he always been like that?" House asked.

"Yup.   Tough, strong, macho.  Kinda sexy.  Anya said he's great in bed but not my thing.  I got over my crush on him."

Wilson smiled.  "Girls often crush on someone close to them the first time.  It's how you figure things out."  She nodded.

House looked at her.  "So, I heard the abbreviated Sunnydale story but he never mentioned you before that Glory thing showed up."  She blushed.  "Custody switch?"

"Something like that."

"Do you still have a father?" Wilson asked.  "Just in case some guy shows up and wants to hit me."

"He's hitting on cheap women in Spain.  We wrote him when Mommy died and he never responded.  Pity the fucker but damned if I won't hit him if he shows up."

"Good," he said with a smile.  "I'll let you protect me all you want."  She smiled and swatted him, digging in again.  He looked at House.  "I heard he's got x-rays tonight?"

"At nine.  I'm supposed to be paged with the results."

"I hope he's getting better again," Dawn said.  "He needs to be out of there.  Though, if you two want to help me nudge him into dating someone nice I wouldn't mind."  They gaped.  "I've got to have two parents sometime."  House choked.  She smiled.  "He'll make a wonderful stepmom."

"I'm sure he will some year.  As long as Xander doesn't get fixated enough to make himself sick so he has to come back."

"Xander hates hospitals.  He used to set patrol routes so he was *far* away from the one in Sunnydale.  Oops, do you guys know...."  They both nodded.  "Okay then."  She smiled and dug in again.  House smirked, shaking his head.  "I'm a good girl, most of the time."  Something floated over and she smiled, taking the salt shaker. "Thank you, Helga."  The ghost disappeared again.  "So far she's been very nice and confined in here.  If not, we'll help her move on."  She added some salt and put it down on the table.  "Sorry they're a bit dry."

"They're better than mine and my ex's," Wilson said, earning another blinding smile from the young girl.  Someone out there needed to put up infusions of self esteem into the air apparently.  "Did you look at schools?"

"I'm starting the public school on Monday.  They faxed paperwork to Xander at the hospital and he signed it.  They understood how bad him being sick is and I'm not the first student who transferred in because a parent was in the local hospital getting treated."

"I guess they would be used to that," Wilson agreed.  House's pager went off.  "Results?"

He looked then nodded.  "They worked him in early."  He paged down.  "Huh.  I got a what the crap code.  Foreman quit using that one after the first month when he finally realized we didn't deal in normal cases."  He looked at Wilson then finished his dinner.  "Let me see what the ducklings screwed up this time.  I'll see you soon, Dawn.  You too, Wilson."  He left.


"Maybe the healing thing is going well again," Dawn told him.

"Could be."  He dug in, smiling at her.  "Is the local school a uniform one?"

"Nope," she said happily.  "Thankfully not."  He smiled. "I hate uniforms.  Everyone looks dorky."  She went back to eating, then went to clean up.

"I've got it since you cooked."

"Okay, I'm going to shelve more books."  She went to do that.

Wilson smiled at her energy.  "Ah, I remember being bouncy.  I wish I could be now," he muttered, doing the few dishes by hand.


House limped into the consultation room, finding Chase in there.  "Could've sworn you were off his case."

"I'm wondering if whatever Dawn chanted over his legs created the healing."  He looked back at him.

"Excuse me?" House asked.  They moved so he could see the x-rays.  He looked.  He compared them to the last time's hanging beside them.  "He did two months of his rate of healing in a week?" he demanded.  They all nodded.  He looked at Chase.  "And you have an answer?"

"Not particularly but I did catch Dawn doing arcane things over his legs.  She's Pagan, maybe the strength of belief?   We had to have a talk about him not having survivor's guilt."

"That could slow down his natural healing.  You've seen it before," Foreman agreed.

"Could but he's not," House said.

"He is," Chase said, nodding a bit.  "A lot of it actually.  I had to snap to get him out of the last bout and make him realize someone thought he was more special than his friends had been."

"So we have pagan voodoo healing spells or we have psychological blockage of healing.  Any realistic options?"  No one said anything.  "Anything at all?"  Everyone stared at him.  "I don't believe this."  He walked off, taking the new x-rays with him.  He walked into Xander's room, seeing him tense up.  He held up the x-ray.  "How?"

"Dawn did a healing spell," he said quietly.

"Now she's a doctor too?"

"A pretty powerful witch," Xander said, glancing outside then at him.  "Still in training though.  She wants me better faster too."

"I can understand that."  He put that one down and held up the other one.  Xander blinked at it.  "Everything but the infection is getting better.  That's either you, as Chase thinks, or something's still making your body slowly heal."

Xander frowned.  Then he called Angel.  "It's me.  I have a technical question and I think you might know.  Takes ten minutes and it'll relax you for the battle later.  Would me being off the hellmouth and not exposed to the energy constantly, which means it's bleeding off, stall my healing process?  Because it's been nearly six months and I'm still healing both broken legs.  Dawn did a healing spell and I did about two months of healing in a week.  Yeah.  That's what I was wondering.  Because otherwise I'm blocking myself and I worked on that I thought."  He listened, nodding and making a note on his laptop.  Then he hung up with a quiet 'bye'.  "It's possible.  There's a way to test that to see if the lack of it is influencing me.  Dawn has something with her that's infected I'm sure."  House gaped.  "It's a thing to think about.  I was born near it, lived near it all my life, studied overtop of it.  Fought its minions, all that.  I was next to it when it the building shielding it exploded.  I was in it when I was sent away and they thought I was supercharged from it.  It's entirely possible that's it."  He called Dawn.  "Look up energy bleaching?  See if it has healing effects or lack of healing effects?  A lot of it apparently.  Thanks, Dawnie."  He hung up.  "She'll look.  I didn't even think about that."

"Why not?"

"I was grunt support.  Weapons, tactics, backup, that stuff.  Not magic; I wasn't allowed because it screwed up around me so often.  Research I did but it was the problem of the week not the esoteric stuff like Giles and Willow.  Or even Wes.  If it is that I'm not sure why Wes didn't mention it because I complained plenty about lacking in bone growth."

"Is it possible this is blocking you?  The survivor's guilt, any of that?"

Xander sighed.  "It's possible but I worked on that.  I have been working on that.  Every time it comes up I deal with it and then go back to pushing it away.  It's more likely it's someone else who thinks I should suffer for it.  Someone like Riley."

A rat ran in and up the bed, making Xander yelp and shift but she turned into a woman, staring at him.  "Hush."  He calmed himself.  "He can't see me."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm not allowed.  It's partially you but you realize now.  It's partially him because he's guilty he wasn't there even though he was in the country.  He thinks you should have died to spare her."

"I thought the same."

She bopped him on the forehead with the palm of her hand.  "Stupid.  If they had wanted to save Buffy, they could have sent her."

"Which is what I realized, Tana."  She smirked.  "And?  Any ideas?  Magical poisoning maybe?"

"Definitely.  They supercharged you and Willow saw what Anya was doing so she sent all of her knowledge and skills into you too to save it."  He snorted.  "It's not manifesting and we don't know why.  We do know that you're getting sicker.  Weaker.  It's got to be fixed."


"No idea.  We've never seen a witch do that.  D'Hoffryn even said so."  Xander nodded once.  "So yeah, that's the main thing keeping you from healing."

"Draining, adding?"

"Draining helped some.  Not totally.  Dawn's spell will backfire if she tries it again.  You will get sick if you get exposed to more hellmouth energy.  It's possible it'll even bring up the smallpox.  Or the syphilis.  We're not sure.  Riley's taken care of as of tomorrow.  So's that wish.  Let us handle that.  You remember it's not your choice, it was Anya's."  He nodded, swallowing.  "And that this is magical poisoning.  Have her look, baby, it's the best we can do."  She kissed him then turned back into a rat and disappeared.


"One of my ex's coworkers.  She said the rules said she couldn't appear to you."  He wrote down exactly what she said.  "Give that to Dawn.  She can find it."  House gave him an odd look.  "If she's right, and it came from a higher up so it is right, I'm getting worse, not better."

"Crap."  He read it over.  "So, draining it off?"

"Helped a bit but not fully.  She said she'd never seen this before.  None of them had.  Since she's over six hundred...."  He sighed. "Then again, there's been no witches like Willow ever before."

House looked at him.  "We're going to keep checking the levels of those."


House smirked.  "No more healing spells."

"Give that to Dawn, please."

"Make out a will?" he suggested.

"Have.  It's on the computer."  House nodded, walking out to go back to the house and talk to Dawn.  Xander settled in to think.  Magical poisoning?  Shouldn't weeding it all out of his body help then?  It would make sense to him.


House came in the next morning looking exhausted.  "We have found the problem with the Harris case."  Cuddy sat up straighter.  "The radiation he got exposed to is poisoning him.  It's also leeching out which is making him sicker.  If we expose him to more, he'll die from it.  If he gets sicker, there's every chance the viruses will reignite."

Cuddy nodded slowly.  "Quarantine?"

"Not yet."  He looked at the others.  "So we need a fast, effective, safer than most ways way of getting the radiation out of him.  Today.  Because the bone growth won't happen again until he's getting better.  The source that told me so was quite firm on it."

"There's a source?" Foreman asked.

"Many.  I spent last night leaning over books in Latin."  He moaned.  Wilson walked in.  "They have any new ideas?"

"Two.  Drain him of it, which could make him sicker.  Dawn said it's very possible from what she's been told.  Basically like a full body blood change only with the energy.  Or, you could leech it out through the blood.  She's not sure that will be fast enough.  Also, if we do, and it doesn't contain the same antigens his does, it can make him hellishly sick.  I talked to a transfusion and transplant specialist, giving the particulars of what was in his blood.  The organs can reject it if it's not what they're used to.  Like it nearly did after surgery and the blood he got during it."

"What about something like how they strip plasma out?" Cameron asked.

"It'd be better to do a full dialysis treatment," Foreman offered.  "Can this cause renal failure?"

"It can cause total body failure," Chase said as he walked in.  "Bleeding him is out.  Changing it won't work.  His body will reject it."  They groaned.  "She called a source in England this morning from his room to talk to him.  Just now actually.  She needed the country code so I stayed to listen.  They said changing all his blood would not work.  They did say draining it might but it's dangerous to do it in the hospital and it's certain that at least one of the viruses will erupt.  It's also fairly certain he'll start to growl again to protect himself or he'll go the other way and nearly go comatose during it."

House nodded.  "So possible death or certain death.  Which does he prefer?"

"We'd have to move him outside for the draining, in an area we're wiling to sacrifice and dig up."

"Can we wait three days?" Cuddy asked.  "We're doing the ground breaking of that new wing.  It'll be dug up anyway.  I think it's being put into a dump."

"We'll have to make sure the dirt is purified.  Their words, not mine.  It will have biological contaminants."

"Then we can put it into a drum and put it into toxic waste," House said with a small shrug.  "What's the procedure?"

"Long.  Involved."  He looked at the two skeptical people.  "Dawn's pagan and it's her people but they know Xander.  Have for years."

"We're counting on voodoo?" Foreman asked.

"It was her healing spell that helped his legs."

Cameron gaped.  "That much?"

"She's in training, it's an iffy gift she can't always turn on.  She can only do it once a month or so.  If then, if she can get it turned on."  They nodded at that.  "She has to feel connected or at least some sort of desire to help them."

"That leaves her out of the miracle causing network," Cuddy agreed.  She knew the lie but she agreed with the reason.  "We can do that."

"We can," House agreed.  "Set it up, Chase.  Will you be there?"

"Yup.  Xander said so.  That way if he crashes, I can help.  He trusts me."  House nodded at that.  "And you."  He left, going to gather what they needed that Dawn wouldn't be able to get.

"Sometimes faith is the only way," Foreman sighed.  "My father pushes his."

"He's not pushing his but if it works it'll bleed all the excess energy that's poisoning him off."

"The exhaustion?" Cameron asked.

"That, the radiation, the slow bone growth, all the infections.  All caused by the power that got him here and by the damn place he used to live and its radiation."

"Then maybe he'll make it home for Christmas," Foreman offered.  "Dawn said she wanted him home by then."

"It's possible," House agreed.  "If the smallpox doesn't kill him."  They nodded and went to find the drugs they'd need in case the smallpox came back.  The pharmacy had a small box with that listed and they went to check it plus the quarantine procedures on that ward.  If he came down with it and he was in his room, they'd have to bubble him to move him or else others might catch it too.  House flopped down, looking at Cuddy.  "Thank you."

"I don't want her endangered either.  She's not God or a faith healer."  He nodded.  "Are you okay with this?"

"If I have to chant over the boy to make him better, I will.  I'm not losing him after six months of this.  If he tries to die, I get to smack him around."  She smiled, leaving him alone.  He went to do some other research on what was needing to happen.  Maybe someone else had studied energy poisoning?  He hadn't.  He found a few spots of research on energy going into the body.  More on radiation.  That was helpful.


Chase watched over Xander the night after the ritual.  He was weak, exhausted again.  He was back on an IV drip with nutrients.  He was in a lot of pain so they had given him back his painkillers, even if he did protest.  House came in to check on him.  "No change," he said quietly.

"We sure?"

"I check his temperature every half hour.  Fever should start before pustules."

"Should," House agreed.  He checked him anyway.  Xander was too drugged to know they were there.  They had to let him be in contact with the earth during it.  That meant sitting on it and letting his legs get cold and achy.  He'd pay for that later but for right now he was nicely warm and not too warm.  He checked the usual spots for spots to appear but nothing.  He stepped back and looked at him.  "We'll do another x-ray Saturday.  It's nearly on schedule."  That got a nod.  "Page me if something happens."

"Of course."  House left and Chase went back to sitting vigil.  He had done it with other patients.  He had done it for House before.  This time.  Well, this time it was a bit more personal.  He liked the boy.  They were good friends.  Having him out of his daily life would hurt but Chase could still drop by to see him.  Though he had heard the rumors and they made him blush heavily.  He wasn't like that!  He'd never seduce a patient.  Even though Xander wasn't his patient anymore.  The boy moaned and he shifted closer. "I'm here, Xander.  Sleep."  He drifted off again and Chase leaned back.  Still watching.  Waiting.  Making sure they didn't pop out and kill his friend.


It was a long two days later when everyone started to relax.  Xander was still exhausted.  The x-rays were showing more progress.  The blood work was okay, but they were optimistic it would get better.  So everyone quit hovering and went back to their normal activities.  Chase fell back to visiting once a day.  It was good for them.  Dawn was settled in and busy teasing Wilson into loosening up, which he didn't mind.  House was a bit pissed that all his friends seemed to be gathering around the younger smartass.  He had even made a bad joke about Wilson trading him in for a  younger model that got him glared at by his friend.  They worked that out and House was satisfied he had at least Wilson .  As a matter of fact they were out at a bar that night since Wilson was missing women again.

Chase came down after his shift, finding Xander thrashing on his bed.  He walked in to wake him up, finding him with a fever.  "Shit," he muttered.  He checked.  "Brenda?"  She came jogging in.  "Did we do his bloodwork today or yesterday?"


"Was anything raised?"  She went to get it, coming back with it.  "No, that's not good," he decided.  "Didn't House see this?"

"He hasn't been in today.  Today's his day off."

"Crap," he muttered.  He checked the rest of Xander.  The infection in his leg was back.  "His antibiotic?"

"You're not on his case now."

"Then get his orthopedist."

"I paged him an hour ago.  Doctor House too."

He looked at her.  Then he paged House.  He checked his watch.  "He has ten minutes."  She made horrified noises.  "His usual doctors aren't here.  If they don't show up I'm taking charge.  At least I'm familiar with his case!" he snapped.

"Yes, Doctor Chase."  She checked the clock.  Eleven minutes later Chase wrote an order for a strong antibiotic and them to start the anti-syphilis portion of the special box of medicines waiting.  "Not both?"

"We're pulling more blood in six hours.  So far his smallpox antigen count is low.  If it goes up we'll start that to deter it."  She nodded, calling down to the pharmacy.  Chase stroked over Xander's forehead then went to wet down a wash cloth for a cool compress.  He came back to find Dawn.  "Sorry, Dawn.  His disease count is going up.  If you stay you could get infected."

She stared at him.  "You'll be here?"

"If I can."  She nodded and gave him a hug then left.  Chase put the cool washcloth over Xander's forehead.  The pharmacist brought up the medicines for him.  The entire box.  "We're not sure yet."

"Better to have it close by," he told him.  "We have some strong medicines for him.  Are you sure?"  Chase showed him the disease count.  "That's up?"

"That's up and he just spiked a good fever."

"Then it's yours or Doctor House's call."

"He's off somewhere."  That got a nod.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Should I warn quarantine?"

"No.   We'll move him if that goes up."  He got a nod and injected the first set of antibiotics and other anti-virus into his IV.  "There, we'll make sure you're good."  Xander started to thrash.  "That's not a seizure."

"No but he's reacting to one."  He pointed at the hives.  "He reacted to something last time."  He went to look at the chart, then called up the  online chart.   "Here it is.  I need to replace the lesser antibiotic."

"Do it," Chase agreed.  "Thank you."

"Which do you want?"


"That'll work."  He went to get that and put it into the box the nurses had up there.  Then he went back to make notes.  Hopefully the boy wouldn't pop back up both.

Chase went back to his sponging down and watching over him.  When it was time to draw blood he did it and handed it off to the nurse outside the door.  "I don't think he'll pop with the small pox."

"Neither do we but we have to be careful," Brenda said.  She took it to the lab and went to brief her fellow nurses then go home for the day.


House walked into his office and found his phone.  He hadn't been on call so he wasn't worried about forgetting it in his desk.  Of course, he had two pages on it.  He groaned, going to the third floor.  He walked off and saw the worried looks.  "Which one popped?"

"Syphilis.  Where were you?" Janice asked, swatting him on the arm.  He gave her an odd look.  "You didn't answer.  Chase had to take over."

"Chase isn't on his case."

"Then next time answer your damn phone," Chase told him.  He checked Xander's vitals and gave him his next dose of medicines.  "We had to replace his lesser antibiotic with interferon due to his allergy.  So far his middle of the night antigen check was still low.  Not as low but still low.  The syphilis one only raised slightly."  He yawned and rubbed his eyes.  "The massive antibiotics are also helping finish off the infection in his leg.  So, have fun?"

"I forgot my phone.  I was off call."  He looked at the chart.  "Are we not starting the anti- smallpox part?"

"Not yet.  If it goes up I am.  I don't think his body can take the massive dual dose right now."

House looked at him.  "Are we thinking objectively?"  Chase nodded.  "He should be able to.  We had him on it before."

"And that whole week he was too weak and even unconscious you were worried he was going to die from it," he reminded him.  House tipped his head to acknowledge that.  "If it's necessary.  Right now, let's worry about the lesser disease he's actually showing."  He checked his temperature again.  "Tylenol's counter-indicated," he said when House gave him an odd look.

"Aspirin isn't."  He went to get him some and crushed it up to make the boy drink it.  He could use the fluid anyway.  "Did we lower his pain killer?"

"I only gave him a half dose.  He's not awake and he's not reaching for his legs in pain.  Just thrashing with the fever."  He helped Xander drink it.  He was still half out of it but it was fine.  They got it down him and he put the cup aside, looking at House.  "Can you watch him today or should I stay here?"

"Go shower and change."  Chase nodded, leaving him to it.  House watched him go then shook his head.  That was so wrong on so many levels.  He looked out there.  "Did we try the ducklings?"  Janice nodded. "They didn't answer?"

"Nope.  Neither one.  Someone saw Cameron and she looked like she was still high a few minutes ago."

"Charming."  He looked at the boy.  "Let's do another antigen test."  They handed him the equipment and he drew the blood, handing it over and putting on gauze.  He rewet the compress.  "We're hands off?"

"Totally unless no one's here.  Can you reinsert his line?"

"Probably not."  He checked then shook his head.  "No, he's swollen there."  He put the sheet back down.  "We'll deal with it."  They got him the little stick on bags they used on children.  "That'll probably catch some."  He applied it and the nurses left.  "You can as long as you have gloves, mask, and gown on," he ordered.

"Cuddy said quarantine."

"He's not showing small pox and syphilis isn't contagious that way."  They nodded and sent it off.  If it came back okay they'd follow that order.  "I'll be back in twenty minutes.  I have my phone this time.  Why not call me at home?"

"He tried.  Twice."

"Fuck," he muttered.  He limped off, going back to his office.  Where he smacked Foreman on the head with his cane and glared at Cameron.  "You, out of this hospital until you're down," he snapped.  She gave him a horrified look.  "Do it or I'm turning you in for a drug test."  She stomped off.  He glared at Foreman.  "Who had on-call last night?"

"We were all off, House."

"Unless Harris' diseases came out."  Foreman moaned.  "He's spiked a fever and the syphilis count is starting to grow.  Fortunately Chase was there."  He walked off again, going back to his patient.  He found the door draped.  "It is?"  The bloodwork was handed over. The smallpox was going up.  Not enough to move him.  "All right.  We're doing it every two hours.  Warn quarantine we might be moving him and us.  Get Chase back here."  They nodded.  He stepped through the makeshift airlock and in to take care of the boy.  The poor guy, trapped in a confined space with him.  Xander was blinking.  "Your antigen count went up.  Your fever too."

"Which?" he croaked.

"Get me some ice chips," Chase yelled as he came back since the nurses were away from the desk.  "And some bottles of juice."  They got that for him and he came in.  "Hey."

"Which one?" he croaked.

"The syphilis."  He fed him some ice chips.  "We've started the medicines, Xander."  He nodded.  "If your smallpox starts to go up we'll have to move you for a bit."

"'Kay."  He curled on his side, letting them help him with his stupid casts.  "Sleep?"

"Go ahead," House agreed.  He looked at Chase.  "You don't have to."

"Bugger off.  Where's the terror twins?"

"Foreman's covering for me today.  She's off today because she looks drugged."

"Ah."  He kept it inside and cleaned up the small mess that Xander kept around his bed.  He logged onto the educational server to write his teachers a message.  They knew this could happen.  Then he put it aside.  Everything was put up and Chase went back to his cool compress duty.

"So, you sleeping with the mysterious donor?"


"Who was it?"  Chase looked at him.  "Won't tell me?"

"No."  He checked his vitals and wrote them down.  Someone tapped on the plastic.  "He's still not contagious."  Cuddy walked in but stayed over there. "He's not that high yet.  We started it as soon as it went up.  I caught his fever."

"That's fine.  How often are we doing antigen tests?"

"Two hours," House told her.  "Cameron?"

"I spotted her and got her a cab.  I didn't want her to drive."

"I about slapped her."

"Chase, aren't you off this case?" she asked.

He snorted.  "Then next time, someone else should answer pages.  I came in to check on him and caught it.  Bugger off."

"Fine.  I understand you two are close.  As long as you stay objective."

"If not, I'm already in here.  Might as well."

She rolled her eyes.  "Fine.  Whatever."  She looked at House.  "Why didn't you answer yours?"

"I was off call and forgot my phone."

"We tried your house around one," Chase said.

"I was driving Wilson home then.  He got a bit lit at the bar.  Took me until about two.  Did my answering machine not work?"  Chase shook his head.  "I'll be replacing that."

"Good.  Want to replace Chase or take him back?" she asked.

He looked at her.  "He's happy where he is."

Chase looked at him.  "Your bastard tendencies are getting close to Grinch levels again."  Cuddy laughed at that.  "Don't worry, I won't stab him."

"Good.  That's a good thing."  She looked at House.  "Call me if you have to move him."

"We will, after them."  She nodded and left them alone.  House looked at Chase.  "So he did?"

"He donated to the hospital so I wouldn't get sent home.  I told him it wasn't necessary.  He said it was because I had given him a lot of help I didn't have to give.  The same as you did but you were being a bastard again."  He gave him a dirty look.  Then he went back to checking him over.  A report was sild in.  He went to get it.  House never would.  "Smallpox is still down.  Syphilis is still steady."  He handed it over.  He got one of the juices and made Xander drink it, then the boy went back to sleep.  He pointed.  "Chair?" he asked.  The nurse got him one.  They did what they could then sat down to wait.  Chase called his new desk.  "Gloria, it's Chase.  I'm down with Xander.  We've got his room bubbled.  One did.  Thanks.  Trapped with House right now."  She gave him a poor baby.  "If I have to I'll give him something to play with."  He smiled.  "Thank you.  Let me know about any changes."  He hung up.  "Two of my ICU patients are being moved back to regular rooms."

"Congrats.  He has more toys?"  Chase sighed and gave him the laptop.  "That's not a toy."

"The former owner was a hacker."

"Really?"  He got into it o see what he could play with.  "She's got one that all she has to do is put in a person's name to do a background."  He did one on the boy.  Chase rolled his eyes.  "On him."

"Uh-huh."  He checked him and got a new cool compress.


Two long days later the plastic came down and Xander was mostly back to normal.  His leg infection was gone.  The syphilis was lower than it had been.  The smallpox antigen too.  His legs were showing some benefit too.  Still healing but not much faster than before.  Though it was close to normal, human speed.  Both doctors went to change into their own clothes instead of the scrubs the nurses had sent in for them when Xander had vomited on them.  House walked into his treatment room, finding Foreman looking at folders.  "Bored?"

"Not hardly.  We've been in the clinic for the last two days.  Is he better?"

"Much.  Down below his previous levels."  He sat down with a groan.  "I learned how to hack."  Foreman gave him an odd look.  "The laptop used to belong to a hacker."

"Oh.  So you figured out how to use her programs?"  House nodded.  "Congratulations.  Give yourself a raise?"

"No, I earn one of those every year," he said dryly.  Wilson leaned in.  "I'm back."

"I can see that.  How's the kid?  Dawn's been pacing."

"He'll be calling soon.  He's back below previous levels."

"Excellent.  She'll be pouncing later.  I let her skip school."  He grimaced but grinned again.  "Are you really back?"


"Good.  You've got an odd case in the clinic."  He grinned and disappeared.

House got up with a groan.  "It never ends.  If women wanted me as much as the other doctors...."

"You'd still never get laid," Foreman joked.

House glared.  "I don't have that problem."

"Paid for it?" he asked.   "Or did Chase help?"

"No.  I'm not Chase's type."  He went to look at her.  "Which one?"  The nurse pointed.  He went in to look at her.  "Beriberi?"

"Could be," Cameron agreed.  "But with that rash?"

House looked at her.  "That's standard."  He looked then nodded.  "Any recent trips to the tropics?"

"A missionary group trip to Africa to escort some nurses giving vaccines and handing out seeds and food."

"Looks like it bit you back.  So much for Karma."  He checked her over.  "Let's start her on the standard course of antibiotics.  Get the names of the others on the trip so we can check for other cases and other tropical diseases."

"Done and done.  No need to put her into a room?"

"Anyone at home with you?"

She shook her head.  "Only my dog."

"Good, stay there.  If you start to feel faint, have a seizure, or a reaction to the drugs, get EMS to bring you in.  It can make you dizzy."  She nodded.  "Cabbed in?"  She nodded.  "Get his name too."  He walked off.  That was simple.  The head of the clinic gave him an odd look.  "Beriberi."

"Tropical diseases?"  He looked confused.

"Missionary trip."

"Oh.  That's fine, we can alert the health department.  Quarantining her at home?"  He nodded, walking off.  "Cuddy was looking for her."

"She has a bastard radar.  She proves it with how often she finds me," he shot back, waving as he walked off.  He ran into Wilson.  "Morning."

"Morning.  You okay?"

"Tired but I'm fine otherwise."  He shrugged.  "The kid needed it.  Though I'm going to make them miserable for not answering calls."

"Good.  Cuddy is drug testing Cameron today."

"Looked like E.  It's probably already out of her system."

"It's more to scare her," he admitted.

"Hopefully it will."  He went to nap in his office for a bit.  He was woken at lunch by a delivery guy.  He frowned.  "Who ordered?"

"It was ordered for you, Doctor House."  He handed it over and left.

"Not even a tip," he said, looking happy.  He opened the box and sniffed, then looked at the hand-written card on top, smirking some.  "I'll see you later, kid."  He settled in to eat the really good lunch.  Wilson came in with two cafeteria trays so he let him have some of his really good food.  Then they'd finish off the cafeteria food.  His two ducklings were clearly hiding but that was probably a good idea in this case.

"The kid?" Wilson asked.  House nodded.  "Chase got ribs."

House smirked.  "The kid wants to make him messy."

"Dawn agrees."

House laughed.  "What're you going to do when he comes home?"

"Go back to the hotel."

House shook his head.  "You can have the couch again."

"I might be able to find a place.  I'm not paying him so I can afford to move."  That got a nod.  "How long before he can go home and Chase can pounce?"

"At least five weeks.  Once his worse leg is nearly healed.  When he's down to crutches."

"Good.  What about his classes?"

"He's slacked a few times but Chase has prompted it.  He finished his first trimester with good grades.  Has a B average.  This one might be lower because of this.  Don't know.  He'll be finishing about the same time he gets out.  As long as he passes that math class, he'll do fine."

"Are we giving him he tests?"

"Chase is," he said smugly.  He waved his fork and got a nod back from the young doctor in question.  Chase walked in.  "Liked the ribs?"

"He got them from the good place.  The math teacher hates him and this."

"Yay her."

"She did grade his last test and he did okay but she claims he's missing things."

"He's not."

"No, he's not.  I made sure of it.  Do you have her number?  I only get emails from her."

"How's his grade in there?"

"Decent enough but she's complaining he isn't getting what he needs to learn.  She's not giving quizzes, homework, things like that.  Plus she claims she's missing a test."

"It's on my desk."

Chase went to get it.  "Thank you.  Have a good lunch."  He went to call her.  He had learned how to chew on someone politely.  House had taught him part and his mother had taught him manners.

House smirked.  "Puppy love is so cute."

"They might make it," Wilson offered.  "We made friendship work, even if I'm nice and  you can't spell it."  House gave him a dirty look so he grinned back.  "Are you going to hire to fill his spot?"

"I'm about to fire the other two and replace everyone," he admitted.   He put his feet up, looking comfortable when Foreman stomped in.  "New case?"

"You're encouraging Chase to do *that*?"

"Chase and Harris are friends.  Chase is helping him get a good education.  Yes I'm supporting that because the boy thinks he's worthless half the time thanks to horrible parents and friends who discounted him.  It's better than therapy and I get to laugh at my evil genius plans."  Wilson snickered at that part.  "Anything else that might be going on is between them.  Beyond that, I don't care where someone sticks their dick unless I have to treat them for it or it's a kid.  Now, anything else?"

"It's bad enough I have to work with the gay bastard," he complained.

"At least we don't want you," Wilson quipped.  "Though, I'm not gay or sleeping with House.  The ex-wives should prove that."  Foreman tossed down his ID and stomped off.  "Okay then," he said quietly.

"Yup," House agreed, grabbing it to look at.  "Looks like I've got to hire some new ducklings."

"Hire Chase back?"

"No."  He shook his head.  "He's happier there."

"If you're sure."

"He said so."  Wilson gave him a look.  "Without going into gleeful 'look how good I'm doing without you' plans."

"I guess that's fine.  What are you going to do about her?"

"So far she's kept it off shift.  If she doesn't, I'm not putting up with it."  That got a nod and Wilson got up.  "Have fun."

"You too.  I remember how nuts hiring those three drove you."  He left, going to warn Cuddy on the way back to the caf.  Though she had both boys in there.  "Cuddy, he quit," he said with a smile.

"That's good because he's also suspended for trying to take a swing at another doctor."

"I'm still not sleeping with Xander," Chase told her.  He got up.  "We're friends.  I am allowed to have friends."  He walked out, going back to work.  He shook his head at the worried nurses.  "He decided I'm gay and doing my friend.  I have no idea what business it if of his."

"Watching you and Xander is like seeing a younger House and Wilson," one nurse said with a smile.  "In nearly the same situation when House got injured."  He gave her an odd look.  "Really."

Chase shook his head. "That's almost a scary thought.  Xander as House in twenty years."  He frowned, then cleared it up.  "Though he does have medic skills for emergencies."  They all smiled at that.  "I guess we could move him that way."  He smirked and went to suggest that to House.  He leaned in.  "You do remember that Xander was one of the people who bandaged and stitched out there, right?"  House gave him an odd look.  "Think he could?"

"Don't know.  It'd be interesting to find out."

"He'd have to take biology and we might get busted when he figures it out."

"Not if you teach it to him."

"He's only got two months left."

"You can do it."

Chase shrugged.  "We'll see then.  Could we?"

"Once he finishes this trimester."  Chase nodded, heading to figure out if he could convince Xander to subtly take a biology class.  Without having to carve up frogs.  House smirked.  "Yes, the young one did learn something from me."  He went to email the person over Xander's education to suggest that.  They'd send Chase the materials.  Xander had already done a few of the classes while stuck in bed.  Giving him homework was the hardest part.  Since someone was using him as a senior project it was good.


Chase sat on the foot of Xander's bed.  "The teacher you were working with on the lit class wanted to know if you'd do biology.  He thinks you could."


"Without the frog dissection.  Just learning it from the book."

"I got a D in high school."

"You also had three teachers.  Make a bet with me?  I can get you through the book in under a month or I have to help Dawn banish your ghost."

Xander looked at him.  "Why?"

"Because you already know half of it and you're bored again."

Xander grimaced.  "Science is hard."

"You know a lot of it; you don't realize that what you know and have been through is applicable to what you have."  He leaned down.  "Like all the disease theory you sucked up in here.  Plus all the medic stuff you did at home is applicable."


"C'mon.  It'll help me anyway.  I have to take a new licensing test next month.  Have to study it anyway.  Might as well have a study buddy."

Xander shrugged.  "Maybe."

"Good."  He grinned.  "Teaching it to you will help me learn it better.  That way I have a great score and I get a wonderful salary once I'm not a resident."  Xander smiled at that.  "Then I can afford to buy you a Christmas present."

"I don't need one," he said, plucking at the blankets.

"I do buy presents for friends, Xander."  Xander beamed at him.  He winked.  "Now, think you could stand to start tonight?"

"Sure.  I can do that.  Will I need the laptop?"

"Not unless you want to make notes on it."  Xander looked confused.  "Instead of writing them."

"I guess.  Do we have it?"

"I do."  He settled in to help him learn the basic levels of biology.  The boy knew a lot of it already.  Whatever Willow had put into his body when she helped send him away had given him some extra knowledge so they got through the first few lessons in an hour.  When they got to the human body, Chase subtly added in his lessons for his next licensing test.  Which he had cold but Xander was soaking it up.  House caught them at it and added another textbook.  For reference of course.


House looked at the teacher across from him.  "Well?"

"He passed three first year medical classes and nearly flunked math."

"That happens," he agreed. "He's a hands-on learner."

"When does he get out?"

"Next week, then he's got seven months of physical therapy coming we think.  It was nice; he was tooling around and found someone bleeding, so he handled it."  The teacher moaned.  "We're going to keep pushing him."

"He's been accepted.  He got the other ones and all that."  He handed over that paperwork.  "The school is very amused and that one student's senior project went very well."

"Good."  He smirked.  "Anything you want him to know?"

"What were you teaching him before?"

"Chase was going over his study guides for the next licensing exam."


"We have added in disease theory and virology.  Since he wanted to know more about how his worked."  That got a smirk.  "We're tricking him into it.  He doesn't know."  Chase walked past so he waved him in.  He came in.  "He's passed everything but math with a high enough grade."

"I'm doing pharm one with him," Chase admitted.  "He likes the various drugs.  Grouped them into special mental groups."

"His mind does work in mysterious ways," House agreed.

"We've seen that in some of his essays," the teacher said, looking at Chase.  "Pharmacology 1 is a second year class, Doctor Chase."

"So?"  He shrugged.  "I sent you the practice test from the last one last night."  The teacher moaned.  "Sorry, didn't get it?"

"Let me see."  He walked into the hall to call his TA, who had run it through the machine.  He smirked.  "Thank you."  He hung up and came back.  "He passed with a B."

"Wonderful," Chase agreed happily.

"Are we planning on having him practice?  If so, he needs practical experience."

"Don't know," Chase admitted.  "Though some of the nurses are calling him the Mini- House."  House laughed, shaking his head.  "He's still thinking his old area first and then this new one but it happens."

The teacher shook his head.  "Fine.  If he wanted to do it for real he'd still have to take the hands-on classes.  If not, then he's gotten this far and might be convinced to go on once he can walk again."  He left, going back to have a headache.

"I added Virology two too.  He's fascinated in how each thing works."

"He'll do fine.  When are we telling him?"

"I'm not."  He walked off, leaving that to House.  Xander would pout at him but he could convince him it was good for him.  Dawn would help definitely.  She was happy he was doing college stuff, her words.


House waited until the boy's last day in the hospital to go down there.  "Hey."  Xander grinned at him.  "I know, you get sprung soon.  Got a few last forms for you."  He handed them over and sat down.  The kid was going home on crutches but he was going home.

"What's this?"   He looked it over, frowning at it then at him.

House decided to make it easier on Chase to woo his love.  He was a bastard but not a complete one.  Most of the time.  "I took what Chase has been teaching you and all the practice tests he's been using, and I submitted them for you to the same teacher you did the lit class through.  That with the placement tests someone used as part of their senior project and we figured up where you had already gotten credits from work, your languages, all that."  He stared at him.  "That's where we placed you after what Chase has taught you."  He shifted, staring him down.  "The next time your self esteem starts to dip, look at those, kid.  You've passed medical school classes.  You've got an AS in engineering technology.  You've got a BA in two languages based on the skills you already had, and you've gotten into medical school."  Xander gaped, shaking his head slowly.  "Yeah, you have."  He stood up.  "Chase didn't know more than the first one, which I suggested.  So if you want to yell, yell at me."

"How?  Or why?"

"Because you needed to know you could do it."

"But, Willow gave me all this knowledge when she sent me...."

House shook his head.  "That might've helped you but no.  Chase taught you all that."  He stared him down, watching him slump.  "That's all you and him teaching you.  I talked to the teacher and he said that if you wanted to continue in the medical degree you need to do the hands-on classes.  That's three classes of anatomy with cadavers."


"Well, yeah, but a rite of passage."  He smirked.  "So congrats.  Some day you could be a duckling too."

"I'm not a doctor."

"You're a third of the way there.  That's up to you."  He walked off whistling.  "Have a good homecoming, kid."

"Yes, Doctor House.  Thank you."  He looked at the forms, frowning at it.  It laid out what he had gotten from his placement tests, what he had gotten credit for doing in his life, and what he had passed with what grades.  He saw Chase up the hall and grabbed his crutches, going to talk to him.  "You let him submit those for grades!"

"Some education major was doing a paper on self-paced learning and if you got the same sort of knowledge when you did it that way as opposed to doing it the traditional way.  It was her senior project and she needed it to graduate."  Xander slumped.  "Why?"

"I'm in medical school?"

Chase smiled, nodding.  "Yeah."

"You knew?"

"Figured it out.  House isn't that great at hiding things now and then."  The boy frowned but he gave him a nudge.  "Could you have done this in high school?"

"No," he snorted.  "I'm not sure how I did it now.  It must've been you."

"I didn't take your tests.  You did."

"I guess," he muttered.  "What do I do with that now?"

"Keep going?" he suggested.

"Can you honestly see me being a doc?" he demanded.

"Yeah I can.  I can see you'd have a good touch with the patients.  You listen, you give a damn.  All that."  He walked him back to his room.

"I'd hurt any abusive parent I saw," he admitted as he hopped, watching the floor.

"So don't be a pediatrician."  Xander frowned at him. "There's lots of specialities.  With some of the odd things you've seen you could go into infectious diseases or virology.  Some of the nurses are calling you the Mini-House."  Xander shook his head quickly.  "It's not that hard.  It's basically a lot of esoteric knowledge and putting puzzles together.  For him it's like a chart and a sudden bit of inspiration.  And he hates patients.  You're the only patient he's seen more than once in years."  Xander gaped.  "Really.  Even when his team gets cases the ducklings go see the patients.  House hates people and only does clinic hours when he absolutely gets forced to by Cuddy.  If he was more inclined to hurt than heal he'd probably be a serial killer he hates people so much."  Xander stared.  "You're not that bad yet, right?"

"No," he said weakly.

"Good."  Chase smiled.  "Now, let's look at some things?"  He helped Xander back into his bed to go over his grades.  "I was worried whether or not you had gotten that math.  That was a real class.  The teacher sent over things."  Xander moaned.  "House talked her into it."


"Because he hates to see talent wasted," Wilson said as he walked in.  "Plus it hopefully finished off the low self esteem you have."  He smiled.  "Need me to move tonight, Xander?"

"Um...  Soon but if you don't have one I'm okay with it."

"Sure.  House is helping me look."

"Ask Chase, he found me mine."

"I heard.  He did a good job.  Even if he and Dawn did wake me up on a Sunday morning to banish the ghost that kept throwing books."  Xander smirked a bit and nodded.  "How did we do?"  Chase let him see, even though Xander tried to get them back.  "Well, not the best grades but you're not competing against the other students.  So it'll do.  I know kids who got worse ones who're practicing."  He handed it back.  "Now the real question is are you going to go on?"

"I don't think I could practice medicine," Xander said weakly.

"So don't.  Go into research once you have it.  That's better paying and more steady hours."

Xander blinked. "In a lab?"

"Yeah, it usually is," Wilson agreed, smiling some.  "Or you could get it to say you got it and to treat others who do what you did.  That would mean getting all your licenses and all that, which would mean internship hours."  He smirked.  "You'll figure it out.  Let me see if House found anything for me.  Good luck, Xander.  We need more people with common sense in the business.  Lots and lots of geniuses lack sense."  He left, leaving him to think about that.

"See?" Chase said with a grin.  Xander bopped him on the arm, making him rub it.  "What did I do to deserve that?"

"Entering into the mass conspiracy."

Chase smiled.  "You still did all your own work."

"I guess."  He looked at the papers again then pouted at him. "Are you coming over tonight?"

"I don't get off until nine."


"I'm coming over tomorrow night.  Dawn's making dinner."  Xander smiled and nodded.  "She figured you were going to grump around the house today and then sleep a lot."  He ruffled his hair.  "I'll see you then?"

"Sure.  Thank you, Chase."  He gave him a hug.  "You're a good friend and buddy."

"You are too, Xander.  If it hadn't been for teaching you I'd have passed with a lower grade."  He winked and went back to work.

Xander tucked the papers into his briefcase and sighed, looking around.  "I love you guys but when do I get to leave?" he called.

"Twenty more minutes, Xander," the nurse called.  "Cuddy has your discharge forms.  She's on her way up."

"Okay."  He made sure he had everything packed.  All the clothes.  The laptop and mouse.  All the books he had gotten.  It was all cleaned up.  One dufflebag and one soft side briefcase.  Cuddy finally came in and he smiled.  "I'm finally getting to go home and then come back for pain and misery sessions."

"I know."  She sat beside him.  "Your discharge orders."  He signed them, scanning them over.  She gave him one last one.  "This is what Captain Finn's people are paying for your medical bill."  He gasped, all his muscles tightening.  "Weekly x-rays, being in here, all the antibiotics."  She smiled.  "Plus your college fees."


"Because you did what it's now taken and wiped out a whole military unit to do, Xander.  They reformed in Cleveland, I don't know why."

"That's where the new hellmouth is."

"That makes more sense.  Anyway, they reformed there. Around the new slayer.  Captain Finn's people ended up trying to take on something huge and mostly harmless until they attacked."  Xander groaned, shaking his head.  "The new council, from the remains of the old one, are doing much better with the girls.  They said to assure you that you are going to be a research person, nothing else.  They said they're not going to do the stupid things of the past but they don't need you there.  Especially not fully able to handle things.  If they do, you're close enough to consult with and to handle some things in this area.  Or if you get fully healed then you can apply to work with them.  From what I heard, you could end up their doctor."  He blushed.  "Captain Finn's people said they were going to be paying for your care because they should've been the ones handling that situation with the girls, not you.  Not your friends, them and the girls."

"That's still a lot."

"It is, but you've been here for eight months."

"I know.  I'm sorry."

"Not your fault and you've taught House a few things.  It's nice, he turned into a human being again around you."

"He's invited over too."

"Good."  She smiled and let him sign that and then she stood up.  "Let's call you a cab and get you down there."  He nodded, letting the wheelchair come back.  "One last ride."

"Yippee!" he said.  The nurses and Cuddy all cracked up.  He sniffled a bit, but held it in.  "I'll expect to see you guys around town."

"You will," Janice assured him.  She rolled him downstairs, his bags on his lap.  The cab was waiting on him and so was Chase.

"You're coming to dinner?"

"All the time.  I don't dump my friends, Xander."  Xander beamed and gave him a hug.  "Go rest and complain about her tastes.  She put down flowered pillows."  Xander laughed, getting into he cab.  Everything got set into the trunk.  Chase gave the driver the address and Xander paid him so they were off.  He stepped back, looking at the nurses.  "We'll be fine."

"I'll still miss him," Janice sniffled.

"We'll see him all the time," Chase reminded her.  "He's still got PT and all that."  He walked back inside, going to mope on his own ward.

Cuddy shook her head.  "Totally hopeless," she muttered.  "Maybe I'll step in and play cupid."

"They've got it," Janice promised.  Because that was a scary thought.  That was a worse thought than House playing matchmaker between those two.


Xander looked at the house as the cabby got his crutches out of the trunk and slowly slid over to get out.  He smiled at the driver, standing up and catching his balance.  The driver helped him up to the door and left.  "Do I need to pay more?"

"No, sir, you already gave me a tip," he promised with a smile.  He closed the trunk and got in to drive off again.

Xander tried the door and of course with the way his luck went it was locked.  He knocked and rang the bell.  The left side neighbor gave him an odd look.  "Hi, I'm Xander.  Technically I have custody of Dawn."

"That nice doctor lives there, sir."

"No, he's renting space while I was in the hospital."  He showed his crutches, getting an odd look.  Xander grabbed the briefcase and called Dawn.  "Keys?"  He found the mailbox and the keys, smiling.  "Thanks, Dawnie.  I'm home."  He had to pull the phone away from his ear at the squeal.  "Hey, need that ear."  He smiled.  "See you soon.  Sure, we can have that for dinner."  He unlocked the door and used his better leg to kick the bags inside.  He shut the door and hung up, putting the phone down in the charger next to the door.  He heard a knock and turned, finding a cop on the other side.  He  opened the door.  "I actually do live here.  I have custody of the young woman.  I was in the hospital, that's why Wilson was living here for me."

"I see.  Do you have any ID, sir?"

"Somewhere."  He hopped over to his duffle bag and sat down with a groan.  "I'll need help up."

"Sure," he agreed.  Xander found the bag of stuff that had been on him when he had appeared in the hospital, tossing his wallet over.  He looked at it and called it in.  He nodded a minute later.  "We do have you listed as the property owner."

"I've spent the last eight months up in PPTH, Officer."  He shuddered.  "Exactly."  The officer helped him up and they were both nearly run over by Dawn.  "Easy!"  He gave her a cuddle.  "You'd think you never saw me."

"Quit," she ordered, swatting him.  "Let me get the groceries."  She bounced out to do that, giving the officer an odd look.  She came back with it, handing Xander back his wallet.  "Is there a problem, Officer?  I didn't think he was the loud one."

"The neighbor called when he showed up and she didn't know him."

"Nice to know the neighbors watch us so closely," she said dryly, giving him a look.  "Yes, he's my legal guardian after everyone else I know died."

"That's fine, ma'am.  Sorry to disturb you, sir."  He nodded and left.

Dawn gave him an odd look.  "You can't stay out of trouble, can you?"

"Nope," he said dryly.  "So I hear I get a welcome home dinner tomorrow?"

"Yup, because today the probate lawyer has to come back."  She smiled sweetly, making him groan.  "Let me put this up and I'll help carry stuff to the bedroom.  Go look around."  He nodded, going to do that while she put up things.  She looked up at the ceiling.  "I'll be good around him, Mommy, I promise."

"Is Joyce haunting us?"


"If she does, I don't care."  Dawn laughed and came to hug him then went back to putting up frozen stuff.  She dragged his bag into his room and put it up efficiently.  Though the books got stuffed into the library.  He patted the seat beside him and she cuddled.  "How are you?"

"I'm kinda pissed at Buffy for dying."

"Do we need to find you a therapist?"

"No, I'm fine."

He looked down at her.  "I've got mine on a locked livejournal.  You can do the same."  She gaped at him.  He nodded.  "If it helps go for it.  If not, we'll find a decent enough therapist."

"That's cool.  Can I go to a better school?"

"Is there one?"


"Would I have to drive?"

"Um, yeah.  So soon?"

"Next year?"

"Next year's good," she decided, swallowing.  "Only a few more months left on this year anyway."  She gave him a squeeze. "I'm glad your insides finally healed."

"Me too.  Crapping blood was not fun.  Or even the lining of part of my small intestine."


He smirked.  "Sorry.  Did you know what House was doing?"

"Yup."  She gave him a smug look.  "I know you're not dumb."  She put her head back down.  "How long are you hopping?"

"Until the therapist is done with me probably.  Definitely until the cast comes off."

"How many pieces is it in?"

"Six.  Down from the billions of my first month."  She gave him another squeeze.  "We'll figure it out and you'll grow into a woman who'll make your mother proud."

"Yes, Xander."

"You're going to college by the way."

"I have a college fund."

"Good.  You know, we're right near Princeton.  You can get instate tuition and all that so it's cheaper."  She laughed.  "Good.  You can be the first legitimate doctor in the family."  She gave him another squeeze.  "I'm still thinking."

"Uh-huh."  She looked outside at the sound of a truck.  "Sounds like rest of the stuff that was in storage."  Xander looked out there and moaned.  "I know but your stuff, our stuff, Giles' stuff, all that."

"Why did we buy furniture?"

"We rented except for your bedroom.  I asked the lawyer before I bought anything bigger than a throw pillow."  She beamed and called the rental place.  They came back to get their things while the other movers moved in the things they owned.  There were way too many pieces of furniture but Dawn had made a bedroom a storage area for now.  It was packed full by the time they were done.  The house was done in ancient wood and leather, with some chintz and tapestry pieces.  And a few odd tapestries.  "Wes's," she said when Xander pointed at one with a confused look.  He just nodded. "From his teenage years."

"Which explains why the maiden's having sex with the unicorn.  I wonder if his father bought it for him for sex ed purposes."  He took it down and put it away, making her giggle.  "You'll embarrass Wilson."

"Fine."  She gave him a kiss on the cheek and finished things up.  The movers handed Xander a lot of papers.  He sat down to read and sign.  Dawn handed over a check.  Xander gave her an odd look.  "Mileage.  The lawyer sent it."

"Oh, okay."

"Which is why he's coming later.  Sign the spot on the check?"  Xander took it and did that, handing it back.  They smiled and left.  "Now all we have left is the artifacts."  Xander moaned.  "Those are going to Cleveland."

"Good!  The stuff in the Magic Box?" he asked.

"It's in the basement."  She smirked.  "I don't have to buy candles for a long time."  He shook his head at that, moaning slightly.  "Let me finish arranging things.  You sit there."  She handed him his crutches and got to work shifting things magically.  She started to sweat so he poked her with the end of a crutch.  "Hey!  You'll mess up my clothes.  There's no telling what you hopped through."

"Rest.  We can help you later."

"Fine."  She shifted one last lamp by hand and then collapsed to cuddle him again.  Xander wouldn't mind, he knew she needed it.  He stroked her back and it was comfortable.  "I liked the other couch better."

He laughed.  "It was more comfortable.  But I think that's because you forgot the cushions on this one."  She moaned, going to find them.  He got up to help her finish arranging things.  Then they both collapsed and napped on the more comfortable couch.

Wilson came home, looking around.  "Wow, the English Traditional decorating fairy showed up," House said from behind him.  "And it waved way too hard.  Maybe even sneezed up some of those things."

Dawn woke up with a jump, holding her chest.  "Don't scare us!"

"Sorry, kid," House said, looking around.  "Your taste or his?"

"Giles and Wes's.  I'll add pillows and throws to hide all the grossly manly attributes before I turn into a butch lesbian."  Wilson snickered.  She poked Xander, who woke up.  "Docs."

"Hey," he said, shifting so he was laying down.  "Night."

"Night," she said with a smile.  "C'mon, guys.  I bought groceries."

"I'm helping him move to my spare room," House told her.

"He can stay for a while."

"I had to whine and threaten him to move back in," House said dryly.  "He's coming home like the lost puppy dog he is."

Wilson looked at him.  "If you try to put a collar on me I'm going to have to beat you to death with your cane."

"Xander will protect me."  He smiled smugly.  "C'mon."  They went to pack Wilson's clothes up and take it out to the car.  Dawn helped.  "Haven't you arranged stuff today already?"

"Well, yeah, but I'll miss having a calmer influence."

"He'll be plenty calm until the cast comes off," Wilson assured her.

"Not always."  She carried down a box and checked on Xander, covering him up with a tartan throw that had been Wesley's.  Then she went back to helping.  She decided to slip that tapestry into his stuff to make him blush and be amused.  It was more a guy's thing than hers.  The lawyer showed up and she waved.  "He's napping on Giles' old couch."

"That's fine."  He waited until they were outside to poke Xander, getting glared at.  "Mr. Harris."

"Hey."  He sat up, wincing some.  "What's up now?"

"Wesley's final probate."

"Oh.  Yeah."

"The discussion about my fee?"

"I thought Wes paid that already."  The demon stared then shook his head.  Xander went to get the papers from his room then hopped back in, handing him the one that said Wesley had already paid him and he would not be asking Xander for more fees.  "I should only have to pay you for Wesley's probate."  He sat down and got comfortable, propping his cast up on the coffee table.

"Who drew this up?"

"Wesley had the lawyer on this coast do it."

"Oh.  Well..."

"I can check with Angel.  He would've seen it.  Might even have a copy."

"They're having issues today."  He handed it back.

Xander smirked and called the phone over with the magic he had been working on, making the demon gasp and back away in horror.  "Willow and Anya's final gift when they sent me off."  He dialed out there.  "Gunn, Xander.  I am out.  Do we have a fax machine?"  He smiled.  "The probate lawyer's here about fees Wesley owned him?"  He nodded.  "That's what I thought.  Dawn, do we have a fax machine?"

"Yeah.  The printer I bought is a multipurpose machine."  She took the phone.  "Need the number?"  She smiled.  "Hi, Gunn.  Sure, that'll work.  Please."  She hung up.  "He'll be right out."  She went back to helping Wilson move.  At least until Gunn appearing made House gasp and grab his chest.  "Oops, sorry.  The witch working with them was sending him," she said with a grin.

"That explains how Xander got to the ER," Wilson said.  "Hi, James Wilson."

"I heard.  She mentioned you."  He shook his hand.  He looked at the other guy.  "You're too old to be Chase so you must be House."  He shook his hand.  "David Gunn.  I work with Angel and was watching over Dawn."  He walked into the living room, looking around.  "Your house looks like Wes's people puked up their old stuff."

"I know," Xander said.  "But it kept me from buying furniture."

He smirked.  "Might have to anyway."

"Could be.  This couch still isn't that comfy.  I don't think we have any up in the new storage room either."  He took the papers to look over.  He was getting good in interpreting them.  He pointed at one.  "A receipt for payment of fees."  He handed it over.  "So I only owe you for Wes's probate."

"No, that covered his," Gunn said, finding that receipt.  "That was expected but I've been keeping track of his hours worked too and damned if he isn't trying to exaggerate."   He sat down, taking the other papers to look over, ripping one up.  "That's the wrong copy.  The other's in the stuff I handed you, Xander."  Xander looked.  "Minus what went to Cleveland's dangerous artifact vault."

"That's cool.  I know Giles had plenty.  Need candles or incense?"

"No, we're good on both," Gunn promised with a smirk.

"Damn.  I have the feeling we have boxes of them in the basement.  Then the house would look like ancient Britains puked."  Dawn swatted him before sitting on his other side.  He pointed at something.  "Isn't that a soul clause?"

"Yup, and they signed an agreement saying they would not ask you or Dawn for yours."

"Interesting."  He stared at the lawyer, who looked nervous.  Xander pulled out the crossbow from behind him and pointed it at him.  The lawyer started to sweat and stutter. "Are we going to have a problem?"

"No," he squeaked.

"Good," Dawn said cheerfully.  "Anyone want cocoa?"

"He's threatening and you're making cocoa?" House asked her.  Maybe she was stranger than the kid.  Fortunately she wasn't his patient too.

She looked then at him. "Yeah.  Mommy made cocoa, even had it with vampires to let them talk about their love lives.   It's the Scooby way."  She went to make some cocoa, bringing out a tray of cups and boiling water a few minutes later.

"Microwave?" Gunn asked.  She gave him a look so he swatted her.  "You know better."


"I agree, you're in training, Dawn, and we've done a lot of it today with the shifting."

"Yes, Xander."  She served and smiled at the lawyer.  "So, what's left that we have to discuss and sign off on?"

Gunn took the forms to look over, letting Xander sign two more.  "Here you go."  Xander handed them back.  "Now, all assets, including the last of the bank accounts, should be here in New Jersey within how long?"

"Forty-eight hours," he said, swallowing hard.  Dawn took the crossbow.   "Um, thank you."

"Buffy wouldn't consider it fair."

"True," Xander agreed.  "Can't hop after them though.  Anything from the Bruehella?"

"No, sir.  You know the demon courts?"

"Some.  I also know that they had some of Anya's in probate."

"Oh, that.  It's being handed over to you as well."

"I made sure of it," Gunn promised.  He looked at the lawyer, who shuddered.  "Anything else we need to know?"  He shook his head and disappeared with the forms.  "They had to try.  They're evil."

"Good point.  Apocalypse?  Will you need the books?"

"Nah, we kept the ones we need, Xander.  We didn't think you'd mind."

"Nope.  I'm not going to hinder it."

"Good.  Then we'll send them to you if something happens to us."  He patted him on the arm.  "Thanks for the cocoa, Dawn."

"You're welcome," she said cheerfully, reaching across Xander to give him a hug.  "Be safe.  We don't want to do this again."

"Yes, little one."  He looked at Xander.  "You know she fusses right?"

"She gets it from her mom."

"You're about to be fussed to death, white boy."

Xander grinned.  "Joyce would too probably."  Gunn smirked and disappeared after rubbing the necklace he wore.  He looked at her.  "How many more bookshelves do we need?"

"We've got another ten thousand books in storage."  He winced at that.  "Yeah."


"Basically.  We could have someone put on a library floor."

"I'm thinking it might be necessary."  He cuddled her again.  "Guys, we can order pizzas if you want to stay and talk.  We don't mind.  I like you two.  You're nice guys."

House shook his head. "We're going to watch movies.  Thanks anyway.  It's been an experience tonight."

"I'm doing a welcome home dinner tomorrow night.  You're more than welcome at it, both of you," Dawn said with a grin.  "You both helped us a lot."

"We'll see," Wilson said.  "House doesn't usually associate with normal people.  He said they give him hives."

"Well, if you need me, yell," Xander told him.  "With the new hellmouth being in Cleveland you might get called on something.  Or if you need new furniture, James."

"I will," he promised with a smile.  "See you guys tomorrow or in a few days."  He left with House.  "He's a really nice guy."

"He is.  What's the library like?"

"Every topic under the sun, with an emphasis in history and strange things."

"Hmm."  He got into the car and drove him back to his house.  It was best to get Wilson away from the strange things before he got warped.  Chase could save himself.

Dawn looked at Xander.  "You still had it.  He was scared."

"He should be.  I haven't had pain killers since I left."

"Do we have a 'scrip?"

"Yup.  In the briefcase."  She went to find it.  "Bank?"

"Works.  Did at the supermarket.  We can stop by the ATM and I've got your insurance card."  He nodded, standing up and hopping out with her.  They needed to pick up some touches to lessen the dark wood and leather.  And yes, Xander could have his woman shaped lava lamp for the study.  It was good for meditating to.


Chase walked in and looked around.  "This is definitely Old English."

"Wes and Giles' stuff," Dawn said, giving him a hug.  "I'm grilling under Xander's careful watch.  Go look around and we're in the kitchen."  She went back to it while he looked around.

"I thought the library was unpacked," he said as he walked into the kitchen.

"Those were in storage.  They came with the second truck.  The rest are still in the storage area we hired here."  He gave her an odd look.  "Wes's father's library was over five thousand books.  Giles had a library of about the same."  Chase whimpered. "Plus all Wes's books that we now have.  His mom's books.  We need to add onto the house."

"I can tell."  He washed his hands and moved to help.  "Xander hiding?"

"In the potty.  He's not being shy but he's shaving."

"I've seen him being scruffy," he promised.  "Did he get a trim?"

"Yup.  Last night when we were waiting on drugs to be filled."  She flipped the burgers and let Chase help her with the other stuff.  Xander hopped in.  "There you are."

"Sorry.  Had to clean up."  Chase smiled at him.  "Hi."  He gave him a hug.  "Welcome to the house of books and leather.  Some of the books are even in leather."  Dawn giggled.  "There's even one I found on being a leather daddy."  Chase blushed at that.  "Probably Wesley's.  He had a motorcycle and went rogue demon hunter."  He sat down.  "So, what can I do to help, Dawn?"

"Not a thing.  Sit and talk to him."

Chase smiled.  "Can I help?"

"What did I just tell him?"  Chase laughed and sat down to talk to Xander about his first day back and what Wilson had told him about the probate lawyer.  It was going to be an interesting night.  Later on, once they were alone, Dawn hugged Xander.  "I like him.  Date him," she said bluntly, heading up to her room.

Xander frowned at her back.  "I'm not ready for that yet."

"Yes you are.  Snuggles are nice.  Anya would yell if you waited to get another snuggly one."  She shut her room door and smiled.  She liked the new boyfriend.  He was pretty cool even with Xander outside of the hospital.

Xander hopped to his bed, shaking his head the whole way.  Dawn was insane.  Truly insane.

The End.

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