"Nice of you to join us, Scarlett." House snarked at her as she stook a seat next to Kutner. "I was just telling the people who bothered to get here on time that we have a new case."
Dixie's blush darkened, but she held her head high. "I'm here now and I'd like to hear."
"A priest is attacked for being a pedophile," House tossed the case file on the desk, which meant he hadn't been very far in presenting the case to the others. "He is innocent of the crime, but guilty of something far worse.."
"What's worse then pedophilia?" Kutner interuppted House.
"Nothing." Dixie replied immediately.
"Well, someone didn't pay attention in Catechism." House scoffed slightly.
"That's because I didn't go." She bristled slightly.
"The Vatican would say leaving the Church is far worse." Taub interjected. "Look at the whole Priest abuse scandal. It's obvious pedophilia doesn't rank too high on the list of grievious sins."
"Oh you did not just go there....." Dixie began, feeling anger rising within her. She'd been raised Catholic by her father, but after his death her mother's new husband had insisted they attend the Baptist Church his father was the Minister of, but when she'd arrived in Chicago fifteen years later, she'd turned back to her faith. And after the death of her first husband, it had become very important to her. Now she felt a defensive anger towards the constant attacks on the Church sex scandal, especially when it compared to her own experiences in other churches.
"Why are we going anywhere on this?" Kutner cut in to avoid an argument. "He didn't do it, so it doesn't matter..."
Underneath the table, she felt him lightly touch the back of her hand. Dixie allowed herself to relax and stop glaring at Taub across the table.
"Unless it has to do with why he's sick." Thirteen pointed out democratically, then turned to House. "Which someone hasn't told us yet."
"I don't know...does it?" House replied as he started to write out the symptons on the whiteboard.
"You're quite the fiesty redhead this morning," Taub commented to her as the fellows spilled out of the confrence room after the differential.
Dixie stopped in her tracks and glared at Taub. "You know, I leave my opinions on Israel's politics at the door. You didn't have to bring up the whole sex scandal business."
"Why shouldn't I?" Taub stopped as well and turned to face her. "You can honestly say that it doesn't upset you, as a Catholic, to see how the Church has handled the sex scandal? I don't believe that, Dixie, you're much too good hearted of a person."
"Of course it upsets me!" She sighed heavily. "But it also upsets me when people seem to think that the only place it happens is the Catholic Church. It happens in all Churches, you just don't hear about it as much."
Taub considered this for a moment. "Do you have evidence to back this up? Or are you repeating the Church party line?"
Kutner came up to them, hoping to dash another fight before it could get started. He saw the way Dixie's flashed with anger, but there was also something else. It almost seemed like fear. He worried that this was going to get nasty very fast, since he'd never really seen that look on her face before.
"Guys...let's play cruesades later...we've got a patient..."
Dixie swallowed hard and glared at Taub. "You know, Taub, sometimes you can be an even bigger jerk then House."
And with that the redhead turned on her heel and stormed off for the MRI lab, her high heels clicking angrily on the tile floor.
"What's her problem?" Taub asked, a little bit in disbelief that the normally amiable redhead was suddenly turned into a shrieking harpy.
"I don't know." Kutner shook his head slowly. "But I'll find out."
After the day's work had been done Dixie went back to the confrence room to get her coat and purse. So far they weren't any closer to finding out the Priest's illness then they had been that morning, but his condition was worsening and time was running out. She would've stayed all night if need be, but there really was nothing more to be done until more test results came in and they saw if he was responding to their preliminary treatment.
"Hey," A voice said behind her, as she felt two hands rest on her shoulders. "You've been pretty quiet all day."
"There hasn't been much to say." Dixie sighed in returned. "I'm sure Taub thinks I'm a bitch now, but I'll apologize in the morning."
"If he calls you that, I'll punch him right in the face," Kutner gently turned her around to face him, though there was a height difference of at least six inches between the two of them. "Talk to me, Dixie. Something's bothering you. I want to help."
"Not here..." She said quietly, carefully moving out of his grip to leave the confrence room.
He followed behind her as they rode the elevator down to the lobby and walked out of the building together. There was tension obvious in her jaw and once they were in the parking garage, he slipped his arm around her waist. That made her feel a little better and she put her arm around him in return now that they were away from the prying eyes of House and the other fellows.
"It's something to do with the nightmares, isn't it?" Kutner was the first to speak.
"Yeah," Dixie nodded slowly, taking one sidestep in to press against his body. They'd been dating for three months but it hadn't been until the past two weeks that he'd seen the nightmares that she had at least once or twice a week. Sometimes they were dreams about her brother's murder, which she had witnessed, and other times about her first husband's death in a helicopter crash, which she thankfully had not witnessed. And other times, not as often but too often for her liking, they were darker things from her past.
"You were abused..." He spoke gently, carefully picking his words. "By clergy?"
She didn't answer, but instead she ducked into her car and sat down behind the steering wheel. Kutner followed her right into the car, sitting on the passenger side. He watched her look down at her hands, and reached over to take one between both of his. Her hands were tiny, and he was amazed sometimes to think that she used to boss around cows and ride horses in fox hunts in her earlier years.
"It wasn't a Priest." Her voice was tiny and she couldn't bear to look at him. "It was a Baptist Minister. My stepfather's father."
"I'm so sorry..." Kutner moved across the Mustang's bench seat and wrapped his arms around her gently. He didn't know what else to say, and in a way it seemed that silence was alot better.
"I've only ever told two people," Tears pricked her eyes but she managed a smile before she rested her cheek against his chest. "Three now. And the very first one was a Catholic Priest back in Chicago..."
"And he helped you feel better about yourself. Less like a horrible person."
Dixie was so asthonished by his reply that she lifted her head to look him in the eye. He gave her one of his adorable Kutner brand smiles and a little warmth crept back into her heart, reminding her why she'd started going out with him in the first place.
"How did you know?" She asked.
"I know everyone thinks I'm a nice guy," Kutner seemed to flush slightly. "But I wasn't when I was a kid. I was a bully. And when I decided not to be anymore, I was sick of myself for being that way. I felt horrible. But then I went and talked to the school's Priest....even if I'm not really Catholic...and he helped me."
"So you know why I got mad at Taub did?" Dixie smiled a little more.
"I do." He smiled back at her. "And if he upsets you again, well, my offer to punch him in the face still stands."