A Holiday Album

A House, MD fan-fic by entercreativename.

Summary: Brief snapshots of everyone's holidays.

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, I just admire what Fox and its affiliates have created.

Chapter 8 - I Wonder as I Wander

Christmas. He hated Christmas. It was just a time for people to go out shopping and get angry with each other for taking the best parking spots at the mall. That's why he was glad that this year, just as in all of the other years, he could celebrate alone with his cane in his car.

The night started out normal enough. Steve McQueen ran around his little exercise wheel, happy to be alive and well taken care of. He had thought of releasing the rat back into the wild after he made a full recovery, but realized how much he enjoyed caring for an animal that could not talk back to him. He took his cane and used it to reach the game controller just out of his reach. A good evening at home was him in a Vicodin-trance, sitting on the couch playing on his old Nintendo (old-school was back in his mind). He was just getting into the game (Super Mario Brothers) when the phone rang. He knew he didn't want to be bothered, so he let the machine get it. Nothing. He went back to the game, and there were still several more calls similar to the first. Cowardly idiot, just leave a message!

He had just settled back into the game when the phone rang again. Just like the other times, he let the machine answer. However, this time a woman left a message.

"Um, hi, um, a, it's, a, me," there was a pause before the woman's voice rushed through, "Wanted to say Merry Christmas." And with that the familiar voice of the young naïve woman he worked with hung up the phone leaving the man with the rat and the cane noticeably shaken and alone. He didn't want to hear from anyone tonight, let alone the woman who just called. Although it could have been one of three women he didn't want to hear from, it was the most annoying of them. He would sit all day at the office and see her hurt eyes ogling him from across the room and through his glass walls. Why wouldn't she leave him alone? She knew he wasn't interested.

There was someone else though that he wanted to see - her, his soul mate, the woman he still loved and wanted to take back with open arms but couldn't, as he was still punishing her for her mistake of loyalty to him. Stacy. How he missed her. He would give anything to hear her voice tonight, even if she was one of the three women he did not wish to see or hear.

He could no longer stand to sit alone in his apartment, he needed to get out and see her. He had called Wilson earlier, but he and Julie were apparently still out (together or separate - it didn't matter anymore). As he was putting on his jacket, he received a call from yet another woman on his answering machine.

"Hi, it's me. Just calling to wish you happy holidays and happy Hanukkah. Wish you could be in New York with the Cuddy Clan, but you probably have something else planned instead. See you in a couple of days." And with that the second of three women hung up the phone.

He needed to see Stacy and make her forget about Mark! He found his keys and wondered what she was thinking at the moment, wondered if she wanted him as much as he wanted her.

He got in his sports car and drove until he saw the sublet home of his former lover. He drove around the block several times, contemplating knocking on the door to say hello. He wanted to say hello, but for once in his life he hesitated, not knowing what her reaction would be. He imagined her welcoming him into her home for the holiday; deep down he just wanted to celebrate Christmas with the woman he would always love. He called her too, but was never brave enough to leave a message or speak when she answered the phone.

He wanted to hear her voice and see her face.

He circled the block a few more times when suddenly, he was pulled over, and right in front of her house!

The officer came and took his license and registration information. He hoped that this was just about a broken taillight or something, but when the officer mentioned reports of suspicious activity in the area, he began to think otherwise. Instead, he decided to think fast and make up a story. He was on his way from a party back to the Princeton campus when he got lost in this neighborhood. He claimed that he had never been there before. He was looking for a house to stop at to ask directions that didn't have ice-covered stairs. He showed the handicapped parking tag to the officer and then his cane (and gently, as the last thing he needed was to be arrested again). The officer, taking pity on the crippled gentleman (even if he did know he had a record) let him go his own way thankfully. The officer gave him directions to campus and then pulled away, thankfully before seeing Stacy fuming out of the curtains of her home. His gig was up. He put the car in first and drove back home.

When he got back, he noticed a familiar Volvo parked outside his apartment. Wilson. He pulled up behind him, parked, and went inside. Asleep on his couch lay his best friend. He opened the cupboard, took out some cookies and a glass of milk (probably gone bad, but it 's the thought that counts) and left it near Steve's cage for his friend. After giving his new pet a quick treat, he pulled an extra blanked over James before heading to bed, the only person he knew left unchanged by this evening.

He limped into his bedroom, took a Vicodin, and slowly, Gregory House fell into a deep sleep to awake on Christmas morn; his life, unlike the lives of those around him, left unchanged yet again.