Zack and Colleen, two fifth-graders, agree to a secret first kiss in the schoolyard after the class bell rings. "I'm ready," Colleen tells Zack. But they're caught out by Ms. Washburn and marched promptly to the principal's office. "Ms. Washburn, please!" Colleen, who's got a bruise under one eye, begs. "If I get one more referral, my mom will -" But Washburn has already filled out the slip to give the principal, who's due to arrive shortly. In the meantime, the two kids are told to sit on a bench outside her office . . . a bench already occupied by one Gregory House. Witness to the wrath of Washburn, House remarks to the kids, "Who put sand in her vagina?"
House and Foreman appear mysteriously - and dramatically - at the dorm room of three young men. Foreman immediately sets to searching the place while House, sporting a long black trench coat, addresses the bewildered men.
"You know what this is?" he asks one of them, handing him a laptop. "Uh, a laptop?" the man answers. It's a password-protected laptop, and House needs the "nerds" to hack it open.
Foreman hasn't found any insecticides or toxic cleaners, so House tells him to check the bathroom. The chief nerd wants to know who House is. "Your roommate's doctor. You remember your roommate, don't you?" One of the men, lounging on a couch, says the roommate supposedly only had bronchitis. "That's what the morons at the Rutgers Student Medical Center thought, which may be part of the reason he just coughed up a lung."
House spots a soft drink cup from World of Burgers and asks if he can have some. "You want my drink?" the man asks, as House picks up the cup, revealing a shiny gold watch on his left wrist. "You got a problem with that?" House asks, sipping. "Uh, yeah, actually I do. You barge into our room, start looking through our personal, private stuff, demand I hack into a computer I think I can safely assume doesn't belong -"
Before he can finish, House pulls a gun from his coat and shoots the boy on the couch. "Oh, I'm sorry," House says. "Did I break your concentration? Please continue." Of course the boy is scared speechless, so House aims the gun right at him . . .
Now House is in front of a classroom full of kids. It's Career Day at Brye Park, and he's been regaling the class with a slightly Pulp Fictionalized version of his job. But one boy doesn't buy it: "Doctors don't carry guns. They don't shoot people - and they definitely don't search patients' homes. Plus, I've seen 'Pulp Fiction,' the movie you're totally ripping off." House is caught ...
Back on the bench outside the principal's office, Zack asks House about the kid who called him out. "Was it Timmy Morgan? It had to be him. He's like, totally, obsessed with old movies." Colleen wants to know if House is going to rat Timmy out to the principal. No, House is no snitch. "Then why are you here?" Zack asks. "To dig myself out of a whole," House says. "Instead I dug a bigger one."
House asks what happened to Colleen's eye, and Zack quickly tells him it's none of his business - but if he really wants to know, then he first has to tell them why he's in trouble.
Back in the Career Day classroom, House admits that he's never killed anyone, but they do search peoples' homes all the time. They have to do it behind the patients' backs; otherwise, they'd hide things that might help the team diagnose them. Why would they do that? "Because, they are morons," House tells the class full of kids, plus their teacher, Ms. Corwin, and the other speakers. "They're all morons, and everybody lies." Another smarty pants speaks up: "Wait, if everybody lies then that means you're lying, right now." "I didn't say everybody ALWAYS lies, Aristotle," House tells him.
No one has any questions for him, so he's on his way out when the teacher calls him back, strangely addressing him as Dr. Hourani. "Before you finish, maybe you could describe what you actually do. You know, like if someone comes in for a routine physical." Reluctantly, he steps back in front of the class. "You want routine?" . . .
House is in a clinic room, checking out a blonde woman in stirrups:
"It just feels kind of numb," the woman says.
"You do a lot of bicycle riding?" he asks her. No, no bike riding.
"How long have you been married?"
"It's 12 years next month."
"You have six kids?"
"Well, you don't think it could have anything to do with that, do you?"
"Probably. How often do you use your vibrator?"
"Your battery-operated Brad Pitt. After giving the gift of life to six eight-pound-four-ounce wrecking balls, I think I can safely assume it's an industrial-strength model . . ."
Yep, that's just about enough "routine" for Ms. Corwin. "Dr. Hourani, please!" She wants him to move on to another patient. "I assume you see more than one patient," she says. Nope. Again, "Dr. Hourani" thinks he's escaped, until a kid asks him what he does for the rest of the day if he only sees one patient . . .
House has caught up with Cuddy in the clinic and wants to take her to lunch, but she's late for a conference call. Well, he didn't really want lunch anyway - he wanted sex. It turns out that wasn't going to happen either. "As of this morning," she tells him pointedly, "I'm on a diet." House follows her into her office to try and find out what she meant. "We obviously have something we need to discuss," House says.
"Now is not a good time," she tells him, picking up the phone.
"If you're mad because you don't feel you're getting the necessary amount of 'affection,' all you have to do is ask."
"Seriously, not now."
"Now, if memory serves, I enjoyed a healthy Sunday brunch, so your insinuation . . ."
Cuddy slams the receiver down on House's hand.
"Ouch! What is your problem?" he asks.
"You! You are my problem. You are the most selfish, self-centered son of a bitch on the face of the planet! And I'm sick of it! I'm just . . . done. I can't deal with you anymore." House is dumbstruck, as Cuddy tries to get back to work.
And back at Career Day, House tells the kids that's what a typical day is like for a typical doctor.
On the bench outside the principal's office, Colleen wants to know why Cuddy was so mad. House tells her it's not important to the story, but Colleen says that it's the most important part of all and she wants to know what the problem is.
"Excuse me," House addresses Ms. Washburn. "When exactly will the commandant be back?" She tells him it shouldn't be much longer, so it looks like he's stuck there. "Well?" Zack asks. House is silent. "So now you're not going to talk. That's real mature," Colleen says.
Zack tries a quick con: He tells House he and Colleen were caught kissing behind the school; that's why they're in trouble. So why's House there? But House reminds him the deal was about the origin of Colleen's black eye. And, Colleen tells Zack, they didn't actually kiss. "So, you're just making him beg, huh? I didn't have you pegged as a tease," House tells her, a charge she denies. Just two days ago she was calling Zack a "pathetic loser" in the school yard, so she can hardly be accused of leading him on. "So," she says, "why is your girlfriend mad at you?"
It's another typical day at the hospital - as House imagines it, at least - and Masters, Foreman, Chase, and Taub come to the room of a young man, Phillip, in a coughing fit: "What seems to be the problem, sir?" Masters asks, with prim professionalism.
"I'm having more difficulty breathing and some pain in my chest," Phillip says. Meanwhile, Chase and Taub quickly zero in on the pretty nurse.
"You're new, aren't you?" Chase asks.
Yes, it turns out she's from Chicago. Taub leans in closer. "Chicago's awesome!"
Meanwhile Phillip is spitting up chunks of blood. "We need to get a chest CT!" Masters says impatiently.
"Excuse me," Foreman interrupts, sternly. "I'm the senior team member, which means we don't need anything unless I say we need it."
"Do you want to have an affair?" Taub asks the nurse. Followed by, "Do you want to have a threesome?" from Chase, as Phillip is hacking away.
"You can't talk to her like that!" Masters admonishes them. "I'm telling Cuddy!" and she storms off.
"We need a chest CT," Foreman says.
"Get it yourself!" answer both Chase and Taub.
Back at Career Day, one of the kids asks if that's sexual harassment. "Not if you're good-looking," House tells her.
Shortly after, Ms. Corwin admits it might be time to move on to their next speaker, so House takes a seat. An advertising agent walks toward the front of the room, but the kids are clearly not enthused. "Boooring," one of the kids in the back says. Another wants to know what happened to House's patient. They all want House to keep talking. Ms. Corwin starts to give in, but House interrupts her to say that the patient is dead. Except bright little Timmy remembers that earlier House said the patient was still in the hospital. A mini-fight breaks out between the kids, broken up by Ms. Corwin: "Dr. Hourani, please. Can you just finish so we can move on?" House again reluctantly walks to the front of the class.
Back in Phillip's room, the team rushes in as he's crashing and coughing up blood. "O2 stats are plummeting," Chase says. Taub says they need to get him on a bronchodilator before he goes into respiratory arrest. Suddenly Phillip gags and coughs and starts to throw up something into his hands. He holds up a bloody object for the team to see, freaking out. "What is that?" Masters asks. "It's . . . his lung," Chase says.
In the classroom, House tells the kids that this one actually happened. "I take cases that other doctors fail to diagnose, which is why I only take one at a time. My current patient is a college student. He's actually in the hospital right now. And yes, he really did cough up a large portion of dead lung tissue." But how?
"Primary squamous carcinoma could cause lung tissue to basically disintegrate," Taub tells the team in House's office. But Foreman says it's not cancer because the FOB test was normal. And it's not infection, according to Chase, because broad-spectrum antibiotics haven't had any effect.
House, on the other hand, is more concerned with trying to break into Cuddy's laptop. "Who password-protects a computer they keep in a locked desk in a locked office?" Masters has an unwelcome but obvious answer: "Someone who works with someone who thinks it's OK to break into other people's homes?" Foreman suggests Phillip could have an amoebic liver abscess that ruptured through the diaphragm into the thorax, but Chase says the liver function tests were normal.
Masters says that Phillip's dorm mates are Computer Science majors - which gets House's attention - and if they're fabricating computer chips, there could be any number of toxic solvents around them. House is convinced it's sarcoidosis and wants them to treat for it . . . but he's still going to Phillip's dorm.
In the classroom, the kids can't believe that he really forced Phillip's roommate to hack Cuddy's laptop like in his story. "So, that's why she's so mad - you looked through her computer?" one student asks. But no, that part happened after she got mad. "First she got mad. Then I stole her computer to fix things. And then we got the case." But wait - how did he get Cuddy's laptop?
It's a seemingly normal day in the clinic, busy with patients and nurses. Suddenly, a strange smell wafts through the room, and one by one people fall over, unconscious. House has spilled hydrogen sulfide and ammonia in the clinic in a bid to lure Cuddy from her office. He thought the awful smell would clear everyone out. "But instead of breathing through his nose, some idiot decided to hold breath. He passes out. Before I know it the place is a perfect storm of mass hysteria."
On the bench, Colleen says the kids in the classroom were morons. "It doesn't matter how you stole it, what matters is why." House looks her over. "You know, you're starting to remind me of someone . . ."
"I didn't ask how you stole it. I asked why." It's Wilson, and they're in his office. "You think you can tell why she's mad by reading budget spreadsheets and per diems?" But House says he knows why she's mad - he wants into the laptop to find out how to make it better. "And step one is gaining access to the journal on her laptop where she records her innermost thoughts. Instead of just watching porn with me."
House says that Cuddy's mad because he acted like himself. "Which, by the way, she's supposed to love unconditionally." But he says he didn't do anything wrong; in fact, they had a great weekend. "We went to a blues club, we watched 'Cinderfella' on DVD . . ." And? House says it doesn't matter. Cuddy's being unreasonable, and he needs to fix it by finding something really important to her. He's trying to guess her password when Foreman comes in with Phillip's case. But House shoos him away and tells him to take care of it himself. "I'm busy," he tells Foreman, barely looking up from Cuddy's laptop. Too busy for a dying patient?
In the classroom, one of the kids says that story can't be true: he's a doctor, so he'd have to help the patient first. "Patients die everyday," he tells her. "Not all of them are interesting."
On the bench, Colleen reminds House still hasn't answered her questions. "She was mad because she's genetically programmed to make a big deal out of every little thing," House says. Colleen rejects the idea that Cuddy was mad just because she's a woman, but House says Colleen is the same way. Zack jumps to her defense - and he should know, because he knows how she thinks.
Their aborted kiss was the result of a bet Colleen lost to Zack during a jump rope contest, but Zack maintains that she wanted to kiss him anyway, so this gave her a way to do it without taking any flak from her friends. "Not even close to true," Colleen says.
But more importantly, House still won't spill it. "You tell us you don't want to do your job because you're too busy trying to break into your girlfriend's laptop to figure out a way to make her not mad at you, but you don't tell us why she was mad at you!" House tells her it's stupid. "Talk!" Colleen says.
Cuddy's laying out a yoga mat in her living room, while House is putting his shoes on to leave in the morning. "I'm outta here. Unless . . ." But Cuddy says Rachel will be up soon. "Can you take the garbage out before you go?" she asks him. House begs off, telling her his leg pain is always worse first thing in the morning, so he can't do it.
He leaves, slamming the door, which wakes Rachel up. When she picks up Rachel to go to the bathroom, she sees House has left the toilet seat up, and not only has he left globs of toothpaste in the sink - he used her toothbrush!
Both Zack and Colleen are disgusted. "What's the big deal?" House asks. "It's not like she had a problem swapping spit the night before." Colleen tells him it might not be the swapping spit, but the not listening that's the problem. "I listen to her," he says. "OK? Believe me, I listen."
Back at Cuddy's, they're watching "Cinderfella" on the couch. "It's my toothbrush," she says. "And it's not just once. And it's not like I even care, but you totally destroy it. You're supposed to brush with it, not gnaw on it like a rawhide bone." "I think Miss Four Cavities' time would be better spent copying Mr. No Cavities than complaining about him," he says. "Would you please just use the toothbrush I bought you?" Cuddy asks. "Would you please just shut up and watch the movie," he says, barely registering his annoyance. "I said, 'please,' " he tells her.
Colleen tells House that he's gross and dumb. "You listen to what she says just so you can tell her how wrong she is." But House says he's got to tell Cuddy that - she's the boss, and no one else will. "I respect her enough not to treat her like some tender blossom who needs to be coddled." Zack says that makes sense, but Colleen can't believe it. "THAT's what you think you did?" she asks Zack.
Zack and Colleen were on opposing sides during a game of floor hockey in gym. Zack headed toward goalie Colleen and they smiled at each other . . . and then he slammed the puck as hard as he could toward her face. So now House knows how she got her black eye. "Your turn," Colleen says. "The laptop."
House is sitting in the office of the real Dr. Hourani, poring over Cuddy's laptop, when the doctor arrives. "I must be in the middle of a complex partial seizure, because I know you are not sitting at my desk," he tells House. "Sorry. Ran out of lotion in mine," House says. This is the only place left that Cuddy won't look for him. Just then, he unlocks Cuddy's journal.
As he gets up to leave, he says, "You know, I gotta give you one thing, Hourani: your wife is beautiful. I mean, wow." Hourani looks at the picture of his wife on his desk and smiles . . . and then remembers another picture he has in a desk drawer. It's gone. "House!" he screams. But House has taped the sexy negligee shot of Mrs. Hourani to the elevator door.
"Wait" - one of the kids at Career Day stops him. "I thought YOU were Dr. Hourani?" Hmm . . .
"So that's why you're here? Well, that was stupid." Zack and Colleen now know why House is waiting with them to see the principal, but just then House's phone rings. It's Foreman: the PET scan was negative for sarcoidosis.
"Great, means the treatment's already working," House says. "It would if we'd actually started the treatment, but we didn't." Foreman insists that it's not sarcoidosis. "If you were here you would know that! He's dying. What's left of his lung is collapsing." House says he doesn't care - just do the treatment, he tells Foreman.
Zack wants to know why House lied about his name, but Colleen is more interested in what Cuddy wrote in her journal. It must be something more than a toothbrush and some garbage. "Actually, it was exactly that," House says.
"I just need some time alone." Cuddy is talking to House in the doorway of her apartment. "Because I used your toothbrush?" House can't believe it. "And you wouldn't take out the garbage," she says.
"That's insane," he tells her. "You know that, right?" Cuddy says he always does whatever he wants. "I said I was sorry! I was still half-asleep. I wasn't paying attention," he says.
"And you're always right. And I don't mean you always think you're right, but you are actually always right. Because that's all that matters," Cuddy says.
House tells her that doesn't make any sense. "What - you want me to be wrong?"
"I want you to care about more than just what you want. What you think. You need me, House. And you may even love me. But you don't care about me. And I deserve someone who does," Cuddy says, shutting her door.
"But you found a way to fix things, right?" Zack asks. "That's why you were happy when you read her laptop." House says he thought he had fixed things.
House catches up to Sanford Wells, the chairman of the hospital board, in the hallway. He says the school Cuddy previously tried (and failed) to get Rachel into was her "fake" first choice. She didn't even bother with her real first choice because she assumed she'd need a big donation . . . or an inside connection.
"If it's Brye Park, I'm afraid she's right," Wells says. "You obviously know this," House says, "because you're on the school board, which puts you on the inside, and being the CEO here obviously connects you to Cuddy."
But Wells asks if he's so connected to Cuddy then why is he the one asking and not her? "Because she thinks it's wrong to use connections to cut in line. I don't," House says. Wells says he might be able to help, but he could use a favor as well . . .
Earlier, on the way to Career Day, Foreman calls House in the car. "It's not a foreign body." House says they must have missed it. "If we do any more imaging we're going to have to add radiation poisoning to the DDx," Foreman says.
"I meant the sarcoidosis," House says. Masters tells him the tests were negative for sarcoidosis. Foreman wants to do a pneumonectomy. "There's no sign of drug or alcohol abuse. He's not a smoker, coal miner, or a potter. It's sarcoidosis. Start him on corticosteroids and methotrexate," House says. If it's a drug-resistant bug and they give him steroids, he could die, but House says that sounds like it wouldn't be much worse than the condition he's in now.
Just then House slams on his brakes - he's rear-ended the car in front of him. Out of the car comes the advertising agent who he'll meet again later at Career Day. Not wanting to be on the hook for the accident he caused, House gives him Dr. Hourani's name. And he'd have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for the kids at Career Day.
"I AM Dr. Hourani," House tries. So why did he call the other doctor "Hourani?" "It's a common name, like Smith . . . in Lebanon." Now the advertising agent is wising up. He wants to see House's ID. House tries to tell him it's in his other pants, but they soon begin to scuffle in front of the kids. It turns into a brawl in no time, until Ms. Washburn walks in. Silence in the room. "Is there a problem in here, Ms. Corwin?"
Zack says that House should just take off, since it's not like the principal can call his parents. "No," Colleen says, "but she can call the police, or the guy he's doing the favor for." Zack still says that he'd leave, but Colleen thinks he'd do the right thing in House's position. "How do you know?" House asks.
Because after their bet on the playground, as he was about to kiss Colleen, Zack backed off. "I don't want to do it like this. Sorry for shooting the puck so hard and tricking you into the bet." But Colleen says that she he didn't trick her. "Yeah, I did. I gave Madison the Red Dead Revolver cheat codes so she'd hit your foot with the rope."
Colleen smiles. "I knew you couldn't beat me." Zack says she's right. "I really like you, and I'm pretty sure you like me too, but I don't want to play any more games. When you want, I mean, if you ever want, just tell me you're ready. And, I'm sorry."
"Well done," House commends Zack. Colleen says that he's not always a jerk. "And neither are you. She obviously likes you. Just stop using her toothbrush and stop playing games. She'll still like you." And then the principal, Ms. Fields, appears, and calls for House.
She looks over his ID card, which clearly does not say Dr. Hourani. "Dr. House, can I ask you a question: are you insane or just stupid?" He apologizes. "I wasn't thinking. I mean, I was, but only about myself. Which is apparently the way I am. Usually. Not always. I need to convince someone of that."
Fields knows all about it; she's spoken with Wells. "You can call the police. You can turn me in for lying at the accident. Let her daughter in. She's a great kid, and Dr. Cuddy is a great mom. They'll fit in perfectly here." Fields wants to know how admitting Rachel to the school proves that House is unselfish. "Seems like you're still doing it to help yourself, not anyone else."
But House doesn't have an answer: "I just know that I need to do something. I need her in my life. You know what it's like to actually need someone?"
"Yes," Fields says. "I do. But I also know what it's like to have responsibilities. Maybe it's time you grew up." House takes it all in, then notices a poster on Fields' wall of the book "The Princess and the Pea." "Can I be excused?"
At the hospital, House tells Foreman that the problem with Phillip is food. "Something small enough to go down the wrong pipe, too big to get washed down by the bronchial lavage." It wouldn't show up on a CT, but it could cause the COPD and would be unresponsive to steroids or antibiotics. "Prep him for exploratory surgery, and start the betting. I got a hundred bucks says it's a pea."
House goes to see Cuddy in her office. "I just want to say that I'm sorry," he tells her. "Shouldn't you be saying that to Sanford Wells? A fifth-grade Career Day? You really thought you could pull that off?" He says he just wanted to prove to her that he cares about her needs. "Is that also why you stole my computer?" she asks. "Yes it is," House says. "And then threw it in the trash?"
But House quibbles with the verbiage. "I 'placed' it. Knowing that the janitor would find it and know it was yours and return it to you unharmed. I'm a moron. But that doesn't mean that I don't care about you, that I don't think about you, that I don't want you to be happy. I was wrong, you were right. I can do better. Just give me a chance."
Cuddy thinks about it for a minute. "So what were you? An astronaut or a bullfighter?" But House says he was basically himself. "I know you're upset, so I'll leave you to deal with that however you want," and he heads toward the door. "House - do you want to come over for dinner tonight?"
He turns around and says, "I'd love to," and from out of his coat pulls a brand new toothbrush.