A/N: This randomly came to me. It's just a one shot and a bit AU, since we've been given hints that House and Wilson met each other as adults... But whatever.

Please read and review. Thanks.

Red Plastic

On the first day of kindergarten, Mrs. Caulfield's class had a generally good recess – except for one, skinny little boy, who spent the first fifteen minutes of their half-hour break crying in the abandoned sandbox that only the preschoolers and daycare kids used. Although he had been generally liked last year in preschool, today had not been a good social day. No one had made any move to sit with him at snack time, no one had spoken to him unless he had said something first, and whenever Mrs. Caulfield complimented him on his crayon drawings, they're eyes narrowed. He had liked his young teacher telling him he was the best at coloring she had ever seen, but after a while, he had begun to notice that no one seemed to like him. He didn't remember most of his classmates from last year, and the ones he did remember didn't seem to remember him. Or maybe they just didn't want to.

No one had asked him to play. They had rushed passed him, giggling and shrieking with delight, and he had slowed down without anyone to pull him along. He didn't want to intrude where he wasn't wanted, and he definitely didn't want to be dragged into some miserable game, where everyone else gave him the worst part. He had wandered forlornly to the sandbox and didn't spend but five minutes watching the other kids play, when the tears had come. No one had noticed him all this time, and he didn't care if any of them saw him cry. He would turn away to stare down at the bright red plastic of half-buried pails in the sand, but for some reason, he couldn't take his eyes away from the blurry figures moving all about the monkey bars, the slides, and the swings.

He decided, as he sat there sobbing, that he would go home and tell his mother that he didn't want to go back to school, that he'd much rather stay home with her and watch her bake and play doctor with his stuffed animals. He told himself he'd be happy at home, piecing together his puzzles and pushing his marbles along the tables and shelves. His mom could teach him how to read and how numbers worked; he didn't have to come back to school. He could tell her that he loved her and missed her and just couldn't stand to be away for so long. And she could be his friend.

Only somehow, he didn't think his mom could ever quite be the same as another kid that knew just what it was like to be too short to reach the top shelf in the refrigerator.

"Why – why are you crying?"

He looked up suddenly, startled from his tears by a soft voice. He rubbed at his eyes until he could see the face of another little boy, who had eyes that made him feel very warm – like the sun did on his back. The other boy stood patiently, waiting for an answer.

"I'm not," said the lonely one, rubbing again at his eyes.

"Yes, you are," said his visitor. "Why?"

The lonely one hesitated, sniffling and rubbing and peering back up at the warm, brown eyes as he tried to decide whether this was safe or not. It didn't take him long, considering how desperate he was for someone to talk to.

"No one likes me," he confessed, another tear leaking out and his lip quivering, as he rubbed and rubbed until his eyes might've been raw. "No one wants to play with me."

"Why not?" said the other little boy, sounding sorry.

"I don't know."

The lonely one cried for a few minutes more, as recess dwindled away, and his visitor stood unmoving and patient, waiting for the right time to speak again. He chewed on his lip and rubbed the back of his neck, looking again and again at this skinny, sad child without anyone to be the Indian to his cowboy or the cop to his robber.

"I just want a friend," whimpered the lonely one, his face soaked no matter how many times he rubbed at it. At this, his visitor smiled.

"I'll be your friend," he said, as if it was the simplest thing in the world. The other looked at him now, really looked at him, and sniffled again.


"Sure," the brown-eyes smiled. "I'm James Wilson. You can call me Jimmy, like my mom."

The other tried to smile, as he took away the tears from the corners of his eyes. "I'm Gregory House. You can call me Greg, I guess."

Jimmy didn't stop smiling, and Greg still didn't know why it made him feel warm like the sun – but in a different way.

"What about your other friends?" he asked fearfully. Surely, he wasn't worth all of Jimmy's other playmates. But his new acquaintance smiled again and shrugged.

"It's only the first day. I don't have any friends. You can be my first one."

And when Jimmy pulled Greg up from that sandbox, he had now idea how much he had just saved Greg's life. Greg smiled for the first time since Mrs. Caulfield had complimented him on his coloring, and Jimmy got that same warm feeling when Greg's blue eyes twinkled at him. They walked away from the sandbox and the red plastic, taking their time when everyone else had to run constantly.

That afternoon, they eagerly introduced each other to their revered mothers, who seemed pleased that their sons had gotten off on a good social start. They exchanged addresses and phone numbers, while the boys smiled at each other for no reason, other than they had nothing else to say. They looked fearfully at each other, as Greg's mom started the car, each hoping the other would come back tomorrow and still want to be friends. After a week of having Jimmy share his graham crackers with him, Greg decided to trust that his new friend wasn't going anywhere.

Neither noticed the way the other kids stared at them dubiously, wondering what on earth had gone wrong in Jimmy Wilson's head or why anyone would want to be friends with that know-it-all teacher's pet, Greg House, and neither would have cared. All Greg knew was that Jimmy never left him, and the first time Jimmy came over to his house, he'd actually helped Greg perform the heart surgery on Bob the Frog with a plastic knife and enjoyed it. Jimmy wasn't too sure why he liked Greg, but he suspected it had something to do with the way the other boy needed him. He also couldn't help but smile when Greg got that serious look on his face, trying to find the next piece to his puzzle, or when he insisted he should be the one to stick on the band-aid when Jimmy fell down and scraped his knee.

They would have to wait a few more years before Greg wore his first, real suit to Jimmy's bar mitzvah or before Jimmy discovered he had a great left punch one, hot afternoon when the middle school bullies tried to beat on Greg, but for now, life wasn't so complicated. Happiness was the equivalent of someone to share lunch with, and friendship only required a co-surgeon when Mr. Alien hurt himself on his crash-landing to earth.