posted by BeforeItWasCool
Disclaimer: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as satisfying as the last scene of season six when House finally got not only what he needed but what he wanted! Oh, sorry that’s a PROclaimer. Okay, I own nothing in the House universe except a deep, undying love for Dr. House and no court on earth can take that away!!
It’s About Time….
Her comments had washed away years of his doubt and sadness. Their shower had washed away the layers of grime and blood on their bodies. And now he was going to wash away the longing that had plagued him since that night after the campus party. Lowering each other onto the bed as the early morning light brightened the corners of his bedroom, House and Cuddy took the time to look at each other. Both of their faces showing amazement, love and an emotion neither of them ever thought they’d feel again: trust. House pushed a strand of Cuddy’s dark hair behind her ear and smile.
“Wow,” he whispered as he brushed his lips along her cheek.
“Wow,” Cuddy quietly replied. Reaching her hand to his neck, she pulled his lips to hers. The happiness and joy of the moment could barely be contained.
House opened his eyes as he kissed Cuddy. Cuddy pulled back and looked up at him.
“Damn,” House muttered.
“HOUSE!” came the call again.
“Do we answer him?” Cuddy asked.
“Well, he’ll find out sooner or later,” House grumbled. He looked at Cuddy. Concern tinged his voice as he asked, “Is sooner okay or should I hide you?” His eyes glinted mischievously but he was sincere in his protection of her and Cuddy was touched. She nodded and kissed him. “Guess it’s gonna be sooner.”
Just then the door burst open revealing Wilson, looking frantic. “House! Are you okay?!” His eyes were wild and he was holding the bottle of vicodin House had left on his bathroom floor. “Foreman called. He said you were despondent and I found this…” he stopped in midsentence. Wilson could see House lying in bed with a woman. The woman’s face was obscured and House was quickly pulling a sheet over the two of them. House stayed propped up on his elbow, blocking Wilson’s view of the woman’s face.
“He used that word?” House called over his shoulder. “Despondent?”
Wilson shook his head. “No, that was my interpretation of how he described you and your actions. He was clearly worried, however. I raced over when I couldn’t reach you on your phone.”
“Appreciate that,” House said. He looked down at Cuddy. She smiled up at him, sharing in the delight of the secret that would soon not be their own. “But as you can I’m doing pretty well and I’ll be doing even better here in a bit. So see ya!”
Wilson watched as House leaned over and began nuzzling the woman in bed with him. Wilson was appalled. “Seriously, House!” He stood in the doorway, his hands on his hips in disgust. “You think that getting drunk isn’t enough of a slide down the slippery slope? Now you’ve gone back to cheap prostitutes to forget your pain and loneliness?” Wilson heard both House and the woman snicker.
House stopped nuzzling and turned his head towards Wilson, continuing to block out his companion’s face. “Watch it, Jimmy,” he said, grinning. “The word ‘prostitute’ is politically incorrect now. They prefer to be called ‘love brokers’ now and this one is gonna cost me a fortune!”
A hand lashed out from under the sheet and slapped House’s bare shoulder. “Hey!”
Wilson’s eyes widened as he immediately recognized the throaty voice, but he nearly toppled over in disbelief when Lisa Cuddy peered out from behind House’s shoulder and smiled at him.
“Morning, Wilson,” she said softly.
Wilson did two full face wipes with his hand as he processed what he saw.
“Am I hallucinating?” Wilson stammered.
“Yes,” both Cuddy and House said quickly. They smiled at the thought that their brains came up with the same response.
“How? When?” Wilson asked.
“Can we fill you in later, Wilson?” House asked. He motioned to Cuddy lying naked in his bed. “Unrequited love to requite and all.”
“Love?!” Wilson blurted. The day was just getting more surreal.
House looked at Cuddy. “Absolutely,” he said. Cuddy simply nodded. Time stopped as they stared at each other, Wilson’s presence long forgotten.
“Well, it’s about damn time,” Wilson proclaimed. “I’ll just leave you two to ravish each other.” He smiled. “I’ll make excuses for you both at work.” He paused. “Separate excuses?”
House turned to Wilson and smiled sincerely. “Yeah, for now,” he said. “We’ll figure out details later….much later.” His voice trailed off as he turned back to Cuddy and wrapped his arms around her.
Wilson watched his two friends as he backed quietly out the door. He saw Cuddy reach for House and cover his mouth with hers just as the door clicked shut.
“It’s about damn time,” he muttered again as he left the apartment, locking the door behind him.
It’s About Time…
“So is this a good thing?”
“Yeah. I really think it is.”
Wilson walked through the front doors of the hospital. It was late morning, but nobody would comment on his arrival time. He had been in the emergency room until past midnight. And then just as he was settling in REM sleep Foreman had called him, concerned about House’s behavior. Foreman was upset enough to make Wilson’s Concern-o-Meter go straight to high and he had raced over to check on him. He was still amazed at what he had found. The only reason he was even in the hospital now was that he had a 10 am appointment with a patient. As soon as it was over he was heading back home. He knew he didn’t need to worry about getting flak from his boss either. He now had some serious blackmail material on her. He was approaching the front reception area when Foreman stepped out of the elevator.
“I told them it was about damn time,” Wilson said into his cell phone as he nodded to Foreman. Sam laughed on the other end. Wilson wasn’t very good at keeping secrets between close friends, but no one outside of his close circle would find out the big secret from him.
“I’m thrilled for them,” said Sam, sincerely. “From what you’ve told me they’ve been circling each other for years.”
Foreman walked up to Wilson but stood a discreet distance away from him so Wilson could finish his phone call. He was clearly anxious to hear if House was okay….or if he was even alive.
“That’s an understatement,” Wilson laughed. “Okay, gotta go. I’ll see you after lunch.”
He paused as he listened to Sam’s response. Smiling and slightly blushing he said goodbye.
“Did you find House?” Foreman asked. He still wore the scrubs he had put on for working in the ER. He looked beat. Obviously, he had not gone home yet.
Wilson ducked his head. “Yeah,” he said quietly.
“Is he alive?” Foreman was actually concerned. “I mean. I’d never seen him like that before. He was at the bottom.”
“Yeah,” Wilson responded. “He was. I found him at his apartment this morning. He was in bed.” He paused. “There was a bottle of vicodin but it was still full so I don’t know.” Wilson knew full well, but he knew he had to throw Foreman off the scent. House had trained Foreman well. If anyone could pick up the smell it would be him. Wilson’s cell phone began to ring. He looked down at the caller ID and nearly choked. Acting cool he continued, “I left him there. He’ll be okay.” Foreman shook his head and began to speak. “Hang on let me get this,” he said, stepping away.
“Did you miss me?” House cooed into Wilson’s ear from the phone.
“What are you doing?” Wilson hissed.
“Just checking to make sure ‘Operation:They Didn’t Hit That’ is still a go,” House replied. “Foreman is not on a need to know basis.” Wilson looked around the lobby. Once again his theory that House had hidden cameras all over the hospital deepened.
Wilson looked over at Foreman. He tried to mask any emotion but obviously failed.
“Is that House?” Foreman asked. “Is he okay?”
“Yes, he’s fine,” Wilson quickly responded.
“Oh, is Foreman worried about me? How flattering,” House said.
“House, shouldn’t you ….be in bed?” Wilson asked. “You had a rough night.” Foreman continued to look on.
“I’m just making sure the beans are not being spilt.”
Just then the nurse at the front desk held out the hospital phone to Wilson. “Dr. Wilson?” she said. “There’s a call for you on line 2. They say it’s an emergency.”
Wilson stepped over and took the phone receiver from the nurse. Keeping his cell phone to his left ear he put the other phone up to his right ear. “Hello, this is Dr. Wilson,” he said hesitantly.
“Don’t say anything! Be careful. Foreman’s sneaky.” Wilson blinked at the sound of his boss’ voice. He could hear Cuddy telling House she had him on the other line. House laughed good and loud.
“Hello?” Wilson said again to both phones. He looked over at Foreman, whose own confusion was apparent. Wilson had to recover. If his friends wanted to gang up on him he was all for it as long as they were prepared to endure the payback.
“House,” Wilson said firmly. “You need to get back to bed. Foreman has everything covered here. I’ve got a patient, so if you need anything I’ll send Foreman or Chase or Taub over.” He paused for effect. “Understood?”
“As for you ma’am,” Wilson said sweetly into the hospital phone, “I don’t really think symptoms from a STD present themselves so soon after an encounter. If you are that concerned, you should have a doctor thoroughly exam the affected areas.” Wilson’s left ear was blasted by a loud “HOORAY!” from his cell phone. “Goodbye.” He hung up the hospital phone and his cell phone in one swift motion.
“You should go home, Foreman,” Wilson said sincerely. “Trust me, House will be okay.”
It’s About Time…
Foreman told Wilson that he intended to go home as soon as he had passed on the news to the Chase and Taub. Wilson shrugged and the two of them rode up in the elevator in silence. They parted ways on the fourth floor as Wilson headed to Oncology and Foreman continued on to the Diagnostics Department. Chase and Taub had been waiting to hear back from Foreman or Wilson and they were now gathered around the conference table. Chase and Taub looked up when Foreman entered. All three had been, for lack of a better word, worried about their boss. Normally, his ass-like behavior warranted nothing more than a dismissive shrug and a “When will I ever learn?” but they had never seen House so rattled. Foreman could still picture that look of utter despair and devastation he had seen on House’s face when he had opened the ambulance doors earlier that morning. Both Taub and Chase had been standing back around the corner when House had exploded in the lobby. All three had argued about whether or not to go after House, but they quickly and correctly concluded that there were only two people in the world that even had a chance at holding House back from the edge: Wilson and Cuddy. They assumed Cuddy was still at the accident site. They had also heard stories of Cuddy telling House off earlier that night over the care of the patient. Word had it she had been brutally honest with House. They had quickly called Wilson.
Wilson was at first upset that he was being asked to ride to House’s rescue…again, but after he spoke with Foreman he too grew worried. After Wilson’s assurance that he would tell him what he found out about House, Foreman hung up the phone and the three sat. They were all reliving the events of the year before. No one still had all the pieces to the puzzle but enough had been pieced together to know that House had broken down, hallucinated and been taken away. They had all received some time off but the whole summer had been like having the last chapter of a book ripped out before you had a chance to read it. They hadn’t liked that feeling. Seeing House behaving like he did worried them all. Not only could another breakdown be devastating for House, their lives would be upended again, perhaps even permanently. They all knew they’d never find a job as amazing as this one again.
“What did Wilson say?” Chase was the first to ask. He looked the most concerned of the two. He had always placed House in the substitute daddy category either consciously or subconsciously and the fear of losing House unexpectedly took his psyche to places it didn’t want to visit.
Foreman shrugged. “He said he’s fine.”
“Just like that?” Taub asked. “Seriously?”
A look of relief washed over Chase, but Taub’s forehead was still furrowed in confusion.
“Yeah,” Foreman said.
“But you saw him,” Taub said incredulously. “I heard him. He was not okay.”
“Wilson said that he was. “ Foreman paused. “He said that House was at his apartment. In bed.” Again Foreman paused. Chase caught the hesitation.
“What else did he say? There’s something else,” Chase stated.
“Well, Wilson said he found a bottle of Vicodin on the floor but that all the pills were accounted for.”
“He went home and got stoned,” Taub said, shaking his head disgustedly. “No wonder House is fine. He’s back on drugs.”
Foreman shook his head. “I don’t think so. And, more importantly, I don’t think Wilson thinks so. He honestly didn’t seem too concerned about finding the pills.”
“Did Wilson take the pills away?” asked Chase.
“Don’t know,” replied Foreman. “I would think so.”
Taub stood up. “Well, he’s fine. We’re gonna be fine. I’m going home.”
Both Foreman and Chase stared at him.
“That’s it?” Chase asked.
“Wilson, who I trust much more than you two on all things House, said that House was okay,” Taub shrugged. “I’m going with that. Good bye.”
He grabbed his bag and nodded at both before walking out the door and to the elevator. Chase and Foreman stood there for a moment before Chase spoke.
“You think House got high?”
“It would be his pattern,” said Foreman without conviction. “But he’s been messing with his pattern recently.” Chase nodded in agreement. “It’s been much harder to read him these days.”
“So what do you want to do?” Chase said, already grabbing his coat.
“I want to go check on him myself,” Foreman said.
“I’ll drive,” Chase said, reaching for his keys in his pocket. Foreman followed him out the door.
“Ouch, dammit woman, when was the last time you took a patient care class?”
“Shut up, you baby. I’m almost done.”
“Hope so,” House said, unphased. “The food’ll be here any minute and I’m famished.” He smiled remembering the events of the past few hours. “I worked up an appetite.”
House sat on the edge of his bed stripped to the waist. And even then he only had on a set of boxer briefs. Cuddy had insisted that before any more fun happened she had to clean his wound. House only let her because she was now standing dangerously close to him as she wiped off the wound.
“You must have nine lives, House,” Cuddy said as she tenderly probed the wound. “I think I screamed out loud when the garage began to collapse. It was awful. The whole thing just shifted and crumbled so quickly.” She ran a hand over House’s other shoulder, almost absentmindedly. “I thought for sure we’d be pulling out a House Pancake.”
“You nearly did,” House said, his mind reliving that moment. “I woke up with the ceiling only three inches from my face. I’m telling you, I didn’t have clausterphobia before that whole experience but I wouldn’t be surprised if I do now.”
Cuddy just nodded. She looked at him for a second then continued to examine his shoulder. House knew she wanted to say more but let it go. There was time for everything now.
“The stitches are still intact,” she said. “Which is pretty amazing….all things considered.” Cuddy smiled down at House who leered back at her. He began to run his hand up her bare leg. She had found a Journey t-shirt in his dresser and put it on that morning. House had laughed and said that normally he wouldn’t allow her to wear it but since Perry had left the band anyway it didn’t matter if they broke up. Cuddy had looked confused but the sight of her in his t-shirt had distracted him and stopped his explanation. She had used the distraction to finally clean and bandage his wound. Cuddy didn’t even react to House’s hand creeping up and under the t-shirt. She merely took a second to squeeze extra antiseptic into his open wound. He yelped in pain and withdrew his hand. She dabbed the wound again and then rebandaged it. “It should heal well. The edges are already closing together.”
House still winced at the sting from the antiseptic. “Not all of the edges. Obviously.”
“Don’t worry. The scar should be minimal,” Cuddy commented.
“Dang. Chicks dig scars,” House said. This time his hand found her hip and rested there. No groping. No leering. It felt very comfortable.
Cuddy got a new gauze pad and put some antiseptic on it for House’s face wounds. Bending over, she softly wiped off his cheek and then gently cleaned off his nose. She looked into his clear blue eyes, which had been watching her grey eyes since she began cleaning his face cuts. Nothing was said. They just both stared. The fact that they could do this without either wanting to or needing to look away amazed and thrilled them both. Cuddy leaned in and kissed House on his nose and then his cheek. House took his free hand and put it on Cuddy’s other hip, pulling her down onto his lap. His arms went around her waist as she trailed kisses down his cheek, along his neck to his bandaged shoulder. She placed gentle kisses around it before working her mouth back up to his cheek. She pulled back and then covered his mouth with her own. His grip tightened around her waist and their kiss deepened. House began to maneuver Cuddy around in order to lean her back on the bed when she pulled back. House sat back up, but Cuddy remained on his lap.
“I’m sorry about what happened at the accident site,” Cuddy said. She tried to look him in his eyes, but they were so penetrating she had to look away. “I’m sorry for what I said to you.”
The memory of Cuddy’s harsh words caused a flash of pain in House’s eyes, which made Cuddy feel worse than any words could have. House’s eyes darkened. He didn’t want to deal with that right now. “I think I’ve already forgiven you,” he said lightly, trying to kiss her. She put a hand on his chest.
“I need to explain,” she said. She wasn’t going to let him deflect this. If they were going to make this work he needed to learn to address problems and talk about them. She shook her head. “Look, when the second collapse happened I seriously thought you were dead. The way the whole building just caved in….” her voice trailed off. She looked away. “When you walked out I felt such a wave of relief it almost toppled me over. I had been so scared, terrified that you were dead, and then you were so flippant about it all. I tried not to be angry, but when we argued about Hannah’s care I lost it.” House turned away but Cuddy grabbed his chin with her hand and pulled his face back to look at her. “I couldn’t tell you how scared I was.”
“So instead you screamed at me and stripped me of any hope that you had feelings for me,” House said coolly.
Cuddy didn’t let his tone deter her. “Yes.”
“You did a really good job,” House softly responded. “As usual.” They sat in silence for a minute, neither knowing exactly what to do but both knowing they didn’t want to ruin what was happening. House spoke first. “Was it true?”
Cuddy hesitated. “Well, except for the ‘I don’t love you’ thing it basically was, but not really because of anything you did.” She shook her head as she tried to figure out how to explain. “I was done. I was tired of tiptoeing around you. I was tired of the tension. But all of that tension was only there because I kept refusing to admit my feelings for you and just be with you.”
House nodded. He swallowed and Cuddy could literally see him building up the courage to express his feelings. “I’ve tried for a long time to be what you needed. When I found out about you and Lucas I almost decided it was too hard,” he paused. “But I realized it was worth it. So I kept trying.”
“But when I heard you two were buying a house and moving in together I decided to let it all go. You had given me too many chances already and I didn’t deserve another one. I just then tried to be a grown-up. With you. With Wilson and Sam. Sorta.” House’s voice shook as he continued. “And then that didn’t work either.” This was hard from him, but he knew he needed to do this; to make this connection and be open if he wanted this to work. And he wanted, he needed it to work. “So I concluded I just wasn’t any good at personal relationships so I quit therapy, called my buddy Jack Daniels up and started back down the path toward Jerkdom. Now that’s what I know how to do really well.” He smiled sheepishly.
“I saw you giving up or maybe giving in,” Cuddy responded. “I don’t know. That admission to Hannah both opened my eyes and scared the hell out of me.”
“Me too,” House chuckled self-consciously.
“Seeing your eyes as you closed the ambulance doors,” Cuddy’s voice hitched. “Seeing your sadness; your hopelessness.” She put his arms around his neck as a physical evidence of support. “I was miserable. I went home and talked with Lucas. Told him everything.”
House smiled at the thought; a real smile that reached his eyes. He wished he could rub this all in Lucas’ face but if he never saw Lucas ever again that would be fine, too.
“Well, I gotta say you showing up this morning actually saved me this time,” House said, quietly. “I was done. In more ways than one.” Cuddy saw the sadness flicker in his eyes then dissipate. It was more sadness than what Cuddy ever wanted to see again. She closed the distance between the two of them and kissed House passionately. It deepened and House turned Cuddy around and laid them down on the bed. This time she didn’t protest. He kissed her before pulling back to look deeply into her eyes. “Thanks for giving me another chance,” he whispered, his lips brushing hers.
“Thanks for giving me another chance, too,” she responded. Their lips crushed each other again. House ran his hand along her bare back and skillfully pulled the old t-shirt off of Cuddy. He pulled her closer to him until her bare chest was pressing against his.
He laughed. “You keep dressing like this and kissing me like this and I’ll give you all the chances you want, lady.” House captured her laughter with his mouth as he kissed her deeply again. Everything else was long forgotten. Then the doorbell rang.
“IT’S ABOUT TIME…”
“Ignore it,” House whispered as he continued to cover Cuddy’s beautiful long neck with fervent kisses. The doorbell rang again.
“House,” she said, laughing. “We ordered the food. They know we’re here.”
“Don’t care,” he replied between kisses. “And in about 30 seconds you’re not going to care either.”
Cuddy softly put her finger on his mouth. “I’m starving,” she stated. “I’ll have much more energy with some food in me.”
House smiled down at her. “That’s pretty much the only thing you could have said to get me to answer that door right now.” Cuddy just nodded. “Fine. Stay here.” He took a long look over her body. “I’ll bring the food in here.” Cuddy nodded again.
House got himself off the bed and found a pair of jeans wadded up on the chair. He slipped them on and was limping to the door when the doorbell rang again. “I’m coming!” He yelled out. “Give a cripple a break!” He took one last lingering look at Cuddy through the bedroom doorway and limped down the hallway. He grabbed his wallet off the buffet by the door and turned the doorknob, opening the door wide.
“Good afternoon,” said a young boy. “I have a delivery from Red Dragon Chinese Resturant for Greg House. The total is $28.79.”
“That’s me,” House grumbled. He looked through his wallet. “You don’t take rubles I’m assuming…..Oh, here you go.” House grabbed out two $20 bills and handed them to him. “Keep the change,” he said as he reached for the two sacks of take-out boxes.
“Gee, thanks,” the boy said sarcastically as he pocketed the money and handed out the food. “Thanks for your order.”
“Sure, no problem,” House said. “Okay, gotta go now. Naked woman waiting for me in bed and all.”
The boy just stared at him. He’d seen quite a bit in his previous delivery jobs, but the other delivery kids for the restaurant had warned him about House. “Good for you. Have a great one,” he said in disbelief. He nodded and turned away from the door.
House had both bags in one hand and was closing the door to his apartment when a voice called out, “You have an appetite. That’s a good sign.”
House looked back out into the hallway and was shocked to see Foreman entering the building. He could see Chase holding the door open for the delivery boy. Wilson, House thought, as a list of ways to gain revenge automatically popped into House’s brain. Then he remembered what he had said about the woman in his bed. How long had they been standing there? Damn Wilson. A few more revenge ideas were added to his mental list.
House just stood there and waited for the two to approach. “Tell Wilson I’m fine and to keep his babysitters away,” he said gruffly.
Foreman and Chase were unfazed by House’s attitude. They hadn’t expected any less and were actually glad to see him back to “normal.” They were surprised at House’s lack of attire, but figured they were probably lucky he hadn’t answered the door stark naked. They stood in the doorway, obviously waiting for the invitation to enter.
“Wilson didn’t send us,” Foreman said. “In fact, he told us to go home.”
“I’m pretty sure you’re smart enough to know this isn’t your house,” House grumbled. “So I’m going to go eat my food while it’s hot.” He tried to close the door but Chase had taken a step inside. House guessed the home welfare visit wasn’t over. He stepped back into the apartment but not before hollering out, “Doctors Foreman and Chase, you should go home. You both look exhausted.” He hoped it was loud enough to warn Cuddy. They walked back into the living room and House stole a quick look down the hall. He couldn’t see Cuddy anywhere. Personally, House didn’t see the need to hide anything, but he knew Cuddy would be mortified to be discovered like this and now he had someone else to think about besides himself. He had to get Chase and Foreman out. He decided to lead the boys into the kitchen. He limped in there and placed the bags on the counter. Fortunately, Chase followed him, but Foreman lingered out in the living room.
“What happened to your cane?” Chase asked, concerned.
“Don’t know actually,” House replied honestly. “I think it’s back at the accident site.” He paused. “Why don’t you run and get it for me?”
Foreman smiled. “I know you don’t want us here, but believe it or not we were worried about you.”
“Wondering if I’d cracked up, more like it,” House turned to Foreman. “Hoping you might get to run the department again?” House could feel a bit of anger building up. These people were just worried about their jobs. Not him.
Foreman ignored the accusation. Chase looked at House. “Wilson said he’d found a bottle of vicodin when he came over here this morning,” Chase said seriously.
House shook his head, looking away. There it was. “You thought I had OD’d again.” He opened up the bags and started taking the boxes out. “Didn’t think House could handle the pressure again, huh?” He refused to look at either man.
Chase was the first to respond. “We didn’t know,” he said softly. “House.” He waited until House looked at him. “We were worried. Foreman and I haven’t seen you get so upset over a patient before.”
House’s eyes darkened at the mention of Hannah. Hannah, the innocent victim, who he had done everything he could and had done it well, but who had died anyway. And again, he, the bitter former addict, had been left alive. House looked away from Chase and backed up against the kitchen counter. The emotion of the morning threatened to erupt again, but he pushed it back down. He straightened back up and decided to try the almost sincere approach to get them to leave.
“Okay, I appreciate your concern, but I’m fine. Honestly.” He looked from man to man. “Last night I was…drained. Now, I’m not.” Foreman cocked his head. “Seriously. Come on, you don’t think I spent two months in a looney bin and not learn one or two coping methods. Really.”
Foreman nodded. “We just wanted to check on you.”
House returned the nod. “Appreciate it.” And it stunned House to realize he actually meant it. There was a brief moment of silence. “All righty then,” House finally said. “I’ll walk you to the door.” Leaving the food in the kitchen House hobbled over to the door. Foreman and Chase did follow him this time. As House opened the door, Foreman stopped.
“How’s the shoulder? It was bleeding pretty bad last night,” he said. “At least let me take a look at it.”
House turned to Foreman and smiled, remembering the gentle care and soft kisses Cuddy had given his wounds earlier. “Ah, it’s been well taken care of. I’m good,” he assured him. Foreman shrugged and followed Chase out the door. “Thanks guys for the well-care visit. I’ll let social services know you’re doing a good job.” He waved jauntily at them as they opened the door to the street, but the doorway was blocked by someone walking in.
“Oh, what the…” House muttered as he saw Taub standing there.
Taub looked up like a deer caught in the headlights when he saw Chase and Foreman. They too, looked a bit embarrassed to be caught checking up on the boss.
“Seriously, Taub?” House said.
“I thought you two were going home,” Taub said to Chase and Foreman.
“We thought you were going home,” they replied.
Taub held up House’s cane. “An EMT brought this into the ER. Said he found it at the accident site.”
House limped out from his doorframe and over to Taub, who had stepped into the hallway. “Thanks,” he said, taking the cane from Taub and genuinely grateful to be able to lean on it again. “Okay, as I told Chase and Foreman that although it’s awfully sweet you all came by to check on me, I’m fine.” He went back to his apartment, turning to look at them. “Make sure you tell 13 not to come by. That would be too much caring for any one person to deal with.” He raised his cane in a salute and slammed the door closed, leaving the three men standing out in the hallway to stare at each other.
“He seems fine,” Taub finally said lamely.
“Yes, he does,” Chase responded. He hesitated and looked at Foreman.
Foreman nodded. “Yeah, something’s up. I looked down the hallway at his bathroom while you were talking to him in the kitchen. There was another open medicine bottle on the floor and a couple of pills scattered around.”
“Vicodin?” Chase asked.
Foreman just shrugged but it was apparent that’s what he had concluded as well.
“So he was high?” Taub asked, feeling vindicated.
Chase and Foreman looked at each other again. Both men had seen all the different moods of House: angry; high; hurt; confused; worried; arrogant. The House they had just spoken too didn’t fit into any of those categories. Sure, he’d been brisk and rude, but they had come to expect that sort of behavior. No, they couldn’t guarantee he was high, but something had happened between now and when they had last seen him.
“I don’t know,” Foreman said, looking back at House’s closed door. “But something’s up.”
Stay tuned for Chapter Five!