Author: travln1 PM
Written for the house het Wacky/Crazy ficathon, prompt #3: "Kutner agrees to dress up as a clown for the Pediatric Ward and 13 flirts with the clown, not knowing it's him." Thanks to my beta Wrytingtyme.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Friendship - Thirteen/R. Hadley & L. Kutner - Words: 2,342 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 2 - Published: 10-05-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4577895
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"So, where's Kutner?" Taub whined.
Thirteen shrugged her shoulders. "Haven't seen him."
Foreman took his lab coat off and donned a leather jacket. "House sent him down to the lab; he probably went home after that."
"So, we have to have help with the Pediatrics' annual fair, and he gets to go home?"
"Taub," Thirteen said with her brow furrowed, "Some of the kids are terminal cancer patients. Have a heart and spend an hour passing out candy; it won't kill you."
Taub muttered something under his breath as he grabbed the bucket of candy from the conference room table and walked out the door without saying another word.
Foreman looked at Thirteen as they trailed him. "So, I guess we know why he chose plastic surgery instead of pediatrics?"
She half chuckled, "Yeah, he has the same aversion to kids that House does."
"Have you seen House?"
"Not since lunch," she said as they entered the stairwell.
"Not surprised," he said with a wry smile, "I haven't seen him at the fair in all the years I've been here."
The fellows approached the brightly lit Pediatric corridor, and both Foreman and Thirteen found themselves smiling at the scene before them. Children of various ages, in various stages of treatment, played carnival type games, carried colorful balloons like a treasured prize, and generally seemed to be having a good time, which was the point of the sponsor funded event.
The staff at PPTH put on a great show; there was a clown, who in between performing silly antics, twisted all sorts of balloon animals for the children; circus type music filled the hall and there was a dunk-tank just outside the emergency exit at the end of the pediatric floor. Each adult, both staff and parents alike, sported broad smiles; it was clear that many staff and several parents smiled to hide the sadness that lingered just under the surface. It was a temporary respite from the rigors of chemo, or the pain of surgery, or any other dozens of reasons the children were in the hospital to begin with.
Cuddy approached the trio, looking genuinely happy to be there. An elaborate flowered balloon hat sat perched atop her head, a feathered boa circled her neck and one side of her face had been painted with an elaborate rainbow which disappeared into a pot of gold.
"Love the hat," Thirteen said with a smile.
Cuddy looked up and chuckled. "Me too, that clown can make anything out of a balloon."
"So, where do you want us?" Foreman asked.
Cuddy directed Taub to the dunk tank to act as the baseball collector. He didn't complain, instead simply walked out to his assigned station, the sight of so many ill children finally sinking in. Foreman was assigned to the face painting booth.
Foreman smiled at Cuddy, "How did you...?"
"Cameron told me that you hand stenciled the tattoo on your arm. Go on, they can use someone who can actually make something other than a happy face."
Thirteen was asked to help the clown pass out candy and to find out if he needed a break, since he'd been working for nearly two hours straight without so much as a sip of water.
Thirteen watched the comical clown dance around goofily, and she noted he seemed to genuinely enjoy what he was doing. The clown was dressed in a typical clown suit, with full face make-up, an outrageously big grin painted on his face, red billowing pants held up with suspenders, a multi-colored shirt and oversized, green plastic shoes. A fake flower stuck out of the top of a ridiculously small bowler hat, a red nose, a rainbow colored wig and a pair of huge, lenseless glasses completed the look. This clown happened to be wearing a pair of snug laytex gloves, which he changed frequently, given so many of the children were extremely ill. It made the balloon tying a bit more difficult, but it was a precaution required by Cuddy.
The clown pranced around, making the children laugh, miming actions he wanted the kids to do along with him; he pulled scarves out of seemingly no where, fake flowers out of a hidden pocket, and small candies from behind the children's ears. He was a joy to behold.
Thirteen approached the crowd, filled the near empty candy bin and said, "We have water in the staff room. Would you like a break?" The clown shook his head, not wanting to let the children down.
"Don't you speak?"
One of the children looked up at her, "His name is Whisper, the Clown. He doesn't talk."
Thirteen lifted her chin in over-exaggerated understanding. "Ah, I see. Well, Whisper, can I bring you a bottle of water?"
The clown held up one finger, asking her to wait a moment. She agreed and flinched as the clown seemed to measure the circumference of her head with his hands. He nodded in a clown sort of way, the children laughed, and he set to work on several balloons. Minutes later, a deftly crafted swan hat was placed on Thirteen's head with an ostentatious flair. She blushed, finding the gesture extremely sweet, endearing even.
"Thank you," she said, "Water?"
The clown nodded as he again turned his attention towards the children, dancing in a silly way. Thirteen watched him for several minutes before retrieving the bottle of water.
She found House sitting in the staff room. "I thought you went home."
"Nope. Cuddy and I have a bet to settle."
Thirteen raised an eyebrow. "And I'm guessing it has something to do with the dunk tank?"
With a smirk, he said, "Yep."
Thirteen grabbed a bottle of water and headed towards the door, when she heard him say, "Clown seems to like you."
"What?" She asked, a bit confused, "No. He's just sweet with the kids."
"He gave you a hat."
"Half the people out there have hats, Dr. Cuddy included."
"I bet he asks you out on a date."
"Sure you wanna make that bet?"
"And if you lose?"
"I'll take a dip in the dunk tank."
"You sound pretty confident."
"So, what do I get when I win?"
"If you win, and you won't, I'll actually go on that date with the clown."
With a glint in his eye, House chuckled. "Deal."
Thirteen returned to the corner where the clown was performing. She held out the bottle and unexpectedly, he lunged at her, grasping the hand that held the bottle in between his two gloved hands. He sank to one knee, and thanked her silently for the water. The children burst out laughing at his antics and with a silly wave of his hand, he stood and took a bow. Thirteen laughed out loud at his over-the-top and completely-adorable display.
The clown took a quick swig of water, holding his big red nose as he did so. He then quickly took Thirteen by the hand and pulled her over to his small table of clownish supplies. With the sole purpose of making the children laugh, Whisper took a long balloon, filled it with air, and with a big wave of his hands, he indicated silently that she should hold the balloon so that he could inflate a second. Thirteen took the balloon, and not realizing that he hadn't tied it off, the balloon shot out of her hand and fizzled about the air, finally landing in front of the laughing children.
Blushing slightly but enjoying every minute of it, Thirteen played along. Whisper again handed her another balloon and she held on it to it tightly. By this point, a larger crowd had gathered, including House and Cuddy. The clown blew up three more balloons and she managed to hold on too all four, but with the addition of a fifth balloon, her fingers slipped and all five zoomed out of her grasp and deflated in every direction. The crowd erupted into laughter and Whisper shook his head, feigning disappointment.
Waving his arms to calm the audience, Whisper pointed towards Thirteen and nodded vigorously. She looked at him, unsure of what he planned to do next. He pointed towards the dunk tank, nodding excessively. She looked at him with wide eyes and shook her head with equal excessiveness as she wagged her finger at him.
The clown gave an exaggerated shrug, conceded and then held both hands out, palms up in her direction. He smiled at the audience and turning to them, he laced his fingers together and pumped his hands above his heart several times before pointing at Thirteen. She raised an eyebrow at him.
Folding his hands and pleading with her by extending his arms out in front of himself, Whisper then pointed towards his cheek and again nodded, hopefully.
She gave him an incredulous look saying, "I don't know, Whisper."
The clown turned to the audience and using his hands, he encouraged them to support him in his quest. The children clapped as House shouted, "Kiss the clown!"
Blushing, Thirteen closed her eyes briefly not quite believing she was about to kiss a clown, albeit on the cheek, in front of an audience. Leaning in, she placed a quick peck on his cheek and the crowd roared.
The clown quickly put his hands up again, quieting the crowd and in a comical half-charade/half-dance, he held up his arm and pretended to walk as if he were a gentleman with his lady strolling by his side.
Thirteen shook her head, "I don't understand." Though she acted like she didn't know, she knew exactly what he was asking.
A cheeky ten year old in the front row yelled out, "He wants you to go on a date!"
She sighed, fearing the worst and the worst was confirmed when the clown nodded vigorously. Thirteen caught House's glare and she knew he'd hold her to her bet.
Rolling her eyes she said, "Okay," secretly thinking she would tell the clown she was only joking or some such nonsense out of the audience's earshot. She couldn't justify agreeing blindly to a date with a man she didn't know.
The clown did a funky little happy dance, made several gracious bows towards the audience and as Thirteen stepped out of the spotlight, he went back to making silly balloon animals and hats for the children.
Once the fair came to an end, Thirteen found herself back in the staff lounge gathering her coat. The clown walked in, sat on the bench and proceeded to pull his wig and red nose off, tired from the long afternoon.
"So, are you really going on our date?" He asked.
Thirteen inhaled sharply, "Kutner?"
"You're the clown?"
Not quite understanding where her questioning was coming from, he stopped removing the various pieces to his costume to look at her. "You didn't know?"
She shook her head, "No. I thought you had gone home."
"Cuddy asked if I'd like to fill in. The usual clown, Branson from obstectics, is at a conference. I thought you knew it was me when you agreed to kiss me."
Slightly dazed, she chuckled at the situation. "No, I didn't know."
"Oh, well, still up for that date?"
Silently cursing House, she debated the idea fofr a moment. House wouldn't give easily give up his winnings and she had to admit, Kutner had been very sweet with the children. Thirteen sighed, "Friday okay?"
Kutner smiled genuinely, "Sounds great."
As she exited the staff room, Thirteen found House waiting for her, sporting a huge grin. "So, I believe you have a date to go on?"
She eyed him. "You knew it was Kutner," she said as she squinted her eyes a bit.
House smirked, "Who do you think taught him how to make those balloon animals?"
Before she had a chance to say anything more, House turned and walked towards the exit doors. "Where are you going?"
House stopped walking briefly, hung his head and muttered, "Dunk tank."
Unable to repress her smile, Thirteen followed him outside and found Taub holding a bucket of baseballs,sporting a smug smile on his face.
Confused, she asked, "What's going on?"
Kutner walked up behind her, "House bet Cuddy would never willingly take a shot at the dunk tank. Cuddy bet House wouldn't either. They're both too stubborn to lose."
Thirteen's eyes brightened as she watched Taub hand the first baseball to Wilson. Foreman had a camera ready as House sat next to Cuddy on the wooden platform inside the dunk tank.
"Last chance to bow out," House said hopefully.
"Not on your life," she replied with a smile. "There's no way I'm going to miss this."
House squinted in her direction, "Too bad you're not wearing a white t-shirt."
Wilson pulled his arm back, entirely too happy to pitch the fated baseball. He threw it and everyone held their collective breaths with anticipation, only to sigh when the ball missed.
"Couldn't find the target if someone handed it to him," House called out.
Wilson raised an eyebrow, "Ever wonder what what you'd do if you found the spare set of clothes you planned to change into had suddenly disappeared?"
House tilted his head to the side and shot Wilson an evil eye, "You wouldn't."
With a wry smile, Wilson held the next baseball aloft, poised to strike true. "Oh wouldn't I?" And before House could respond, the baseball left Wilson's finger tips and hit the center of the target, sending House and Cuddy into the chilly tank of water amidst cheers and clapping from the onlookers.
Thirteen looked to Kutner, "Remind me never to make a bet with House again."
Slightly confused, Kutner said, "Uh, okay."