Merry Go Round by Holde_Maid
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Author's Notes:
THANKS go to Kadri aka for doing beta-duty, to for the whole idea, and to Amand_r for initiating and organising her Christmas story exchange and to dswdiane for her challenge. :-) Hope you have fun with the result!

She was easy to see through — her animated face was pretty, the 'look how cute I am' kind of pretty. Something about her alluring smile... He couldn't pinpoint it, but it was fake. Blah. The woman was twittering at the bedside of one of his patients, some ten yards from here, across the corridor.

The comment that popped into House's mind was the least charming expression involving the word "kitten" that he knew. But for all the derision he felt, he wouldn't go out of his way to give voice to it. If her chatter made the patient happy, so be it. Happy patients recovered more quickly, and freed up the space they occupied sooner.

Dr. House quit watching and instead gave his attention to the problem at hand. Dreadful, this paperwork.

Not an interesting case, either. How the troublesome infection at the bottom of the heart problems could have been overlooked was beyond House. All it took to cure the man was an antibiotic, for crying out loud! Mistakes like that always turned his lousy temper into a murderous one. On the upside, the error had been rectified in time.

He looked up again. The twittering was still going on. According to the patient it was this kittenish creature who had insisted on his coming here. In other words, she had probably saved his life. Strange behaviour for a gold-digger.

Now she was reading something off the chart. They were both laughing. Never mind, back to the paperwork.

He was almost done with it when the door opened. He looked up into large serious eyes that didn't fit in with the impression he had gotten from her chattering at the patient's bedside. "I'm busy," he grumbled.

"It's not going to happen," she retorted enigmatically.

His face was a question mark, but he wasn't gonna ask.

He didn't have to, though. She elaborated of her own accord, "Patrick won't sue his GP. I read the chart, I told him, but no go."

She'd managed to read his handwriting?! Rare talent, that. "That guy's a danger to his patients." He shrugged, pretending not to care a fig.

"You don't know Patrick." She pronounced the name with a strong French accent, but her English was that of a native speaker. Was the guy Canadian? "He doesn't see it that way. From his point of view it's a matter of loyalty. His family has been with the same doctor for ages. He must be, like, 97. 'Course he makes mistakes!" She rolled her eyes, which somehow accentuated the perfection of their shape. "Look, you're famous for being blunt. Couldn't you talk to him?" She pouted in a way that most men would probably fall for. Not he, though. "Please?"

As he rose the usual infernal pain shot through his leg. "Why do you need me to tell him he's an idiot when you can do it yourself?"

She smiled sweetly. "There's a difference. I'm only frightened for Patrick. He wouldn't take that seriously. You're angry." He had expected devious intelligence, but not applied this way. She was right, he was angry. How did she know?

No. No, no, no. He wanted out of this. "Loyalty versus anger." House sneered. "As if that's gonna help."

She came over, placed her palms on the desk and leaned closer. Right now, there was nothing fake in her gaze. "Is that your leg talking? Trust me, I can be a worse pain than that if I put my mind to it." It wasn't a threat, exactly. No ill-will in the tone. What a confusing woman! Didn't even leave him a chance to be angry at her. That alone was irritating enough.
From the determined look in her eyes, there was only one way of getting rid of her. "Alright, alright, you win." Oh, how he hated himself for this!

-------------------


At last. Amanda sighed her relief. When Methos had recommended Dr. House, she had been pretty dubious. But grumpy surface aside, the man was actually quite attractive. Strangely, he didn't seem to react to her charm.

Well, thank goodness for Methos. And thank goodness for his returning to the medical profession every so often. She loved Patrick dearly, but he took his kindness to extremes that really drove her crazy sometimes.

Poor, dear Patrick. He was the first lover in a very long time who had really made her forget Duncan. Sure, she could not tell him about her Immortality, but otherwise they were the perfect couple. Patrick made her feel strong and protected at once. Only Rebecca had managed to do that before him, whereas Duncan was too much in need of being a hero to recognise her own strength readily.

She sighed once more, worried again. It had been close this time. Patrick had nearly died. If she hadn't seen people grow weaker and weaker in this very way before... Amanda thanked her stars for the advances medicine had made in the past few centuries.

Hmm, how much of a hand might Methos have had in those advances? Surely he had known things early on that no other could know? In the course of the game one did not always kill the opponent right away, and surely every time you cut into living flesh you learned something about anatomy. Methos' knowledge about anatomy must have been boundless long before scientists started cutting up the dead to learn how the body worked?

But then, who knew what Methos knew. He was about as happy to share any information about himself as a hungry crocodile was happy to go without food.

Hmmm, a croc handbag, yes, that was what she wanted. It would go perfectly with those new boots...

Anyway, she did have reason to be grateful.

Methos was a strange man, if you thought about it. He did have his charitable moments, but ... well, he didn't like being useful, did he? Whatever he did, it had to be on his own terms, and you just couldn't manipulate him. You could ask outright for you what you wanted and hope he was ready to comply, that was all. Except it wasn't that simple, either. After all, she'd badgered him into acting on her behalf a few times.

Things never were that simple with Methos, except in those rare moments when they were. Like right now.

-------------------


When Amanda called Methos to thank him for dispatching her current lover to a diagnostics specialist, he was actually quite speechless. Amanda, thanking someone who hadn't given her a piece of overpriced jewelry? What temperature was the netherworld right now?

He managed a "Welcome", but it sounded unenthusiastic to the point of incivility. He added "De rien" in a softer tone. The tone would get through to her, he knew.

Oddly enough, with Amanda it always seemed to be the tone that got through. Rational thought never seemed to reach her, unless it coincided with her own goals. Well, it certainly had, this time. She had been so worried...

Well, so House had obviously done it again. Good man.

Grinning, Methos wondered how he got on with Amanda. Probably kept the heck away from her. House shied away from her type, if not just because in his own shrewd way he sized them up correctly.

In fact, he shied away from anyone, after a fashion. Growled at anyone, for fear, like much-beaten dogs did. Once you had been through the same kind of phase a couple of times it became easy to recognise the symptoms in others. Instead of taking the snide remarks personally, Methos had shot back a couple of times during his internship in the neighbouring ward. It had earned him a measure of amused tolerance. Back then he had spent as much time as possible finding out what House's team was doing. He had learned more through that than from his actual job at the time. Oh well, you could expect that when you were watching a genius.

A gloomy, unhappy genius, but a genius alright. The current state of Amanda's boyfriend was much harder to trace back to an infection he had contracted months ago than House would ever concede.

Ah, well, House... So easy to see though! Always a sarcastic remark on his lips, the "look how bad I am" kind of sarcastic...