Title: The Touch - Chapter One - V.I.P.
Author: Linda/Brynna/Brynnamorgan
Rating: M for Graphic Language
Categories: Romance/Supernatural/Spiritual/AU
Characters: H/OC
Spoilers: None
Archive: foreverfandom dot net, wylfwt dot com and this place. Take away the spaces and replace the dots. :-)

AU because it strays from canon after "Honeymoon," omits occurrences in some Season 2 episodes and takes place in the days prior to and including Labor Day, 2006.

Disclaimers: I do not own, possess, or claim the characters presented herein, House, the Ducklings, Cuddy, Wilson et al. That stroke of luck belongs to David Shore and the Fox Network. Does anyone seriously think I could be making money from this drivel?

The OFC (Other Female Character) of Sabrina Wallace, her band Whistle Stop, her son Michael, housekeeper Elaine and other fictional folks do belong to me. Steal 'em and I'll beat you over the head with my cane. ;-)

I cannot, can NOT go without thanking my beta-reader, TrinityWildcat. She's become my right hand woman in the past few months and I really appreciate all she's done for me. Go check out her fiction when you've finished with mine. I guarantee that even if you're not into CSI or Law and Order: Criminal Intent you won't be disappointed.

The spiritual beliefs expressed in this fic are not necessarily mine, although I relate to them and thought many of my readers would as well.

Summary: "Get that damned guitar out of my way and take your need to salvage your soul by doing good deeds with you."

Lyrics Credit: "My Poor Old Heart" as sung by Alison Krauss and Union Station, 2004

"Don't expect too much from my poor old heart
You can blame the unforgiven for my scars
You might just be the best that I can find
But I can't seem to forget the tears I've cried

I don't know that I will ever trust again
It's a price that I must pay for all my sins
Time has changed me and left me full of doubt
And my heart may be lost never to be found"

Prologue - Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, August 2006

The children always drew her.

Slowly she walked down the dimmed hospital corridor, taking advantage of the evening hours to slip away from the sick, the sleeping, the ones who cried themselves to sleep, or worse yet displayed no emotions at all. The slight sag in her shoulders revealed her own exhaustion, the guitar case just barely not dragging.

Yet she walked, her head held high, her hazel eyes taking in her surroundings with a combination of certainty and determination. The gypsy skirt that swished around her calves along with the crocheted poncho, the fringed scarf around her waist, the dark curls framing her expressive features, all lent an odd, unearthly appearance to her that he found at once attractive and disconcerting.

Easy, Greg, my boy, you haven't even said so much as boo to the woman. Keep it down.

He barked a low sardonic laugh and reached into his pocket for the Vicodin. Like some big-time whatever-kind-of-singer she was would even look twice at him, he thought ruefully as he popped two pills and placed the bottle back in his pocket. It didn't matter. It never mattered.

Suddenly he turned to give her one last long look as she got onto the elevator, his blue eyes blinking with surprise to find the look reciprocated. What the fuck? he thought, his eyebrows shooting up in spite of himself. She lifted a brow and smiled ever so slightly as the elevator doors shut, leaving him leaning on his cane and totally perplexed.

Then again, there were the children.

He spun on his heels and limped his way back to his office.

Chapter One - V.I.P.

"Please, sing another one!"

"On one condition."

"Anything, Sabrina!"

"I get an extra hug when I'm done."

"You betcha!"

Sabrina laughed softly, winked at the young girl who was sitting cross-legged on the hospital bed, and went through a tuning riff on her guitar before settling on an old Irish love song. The girl's eyes lit up with delight as did her parents, both of whom were acting as though they were in awe of her. It had taken every bit of persuasion she had in her to get them to sit back and relax.

At the song's end she sat on the edge of the bed and extended her arms to the girl, who immediately went into the embrace with complete trust. Sabrina sighed and enfolded the child to her, rocking her gently side-to-side, shutting her eyes as her palm caressed the girl's spine. Just a little to the left, then… right there… a long easy breath escaped her as she pressed her lips to the top of the girl's head. May God go with you.

Once out in the hall she allowed her shoulders to slump. Wilson was right, she thought tiredly. If only she could clone herself. She barked a humorless laugh and pushed herself away from the wall, intent on finding the break room or a soda machine. Caffeine and sugar, that would do the trick, she decided as she moved forward, only to slam straight into a rock wall.

Only rock walls didn't swear and nearly topple onto her. She let out a squeak of surprise and stepped back, only to come straight into the line of fire with blazing blue eyes. Nose-to-nose they stood, his hand leaning heavily onto her shoulder as his cane slid to the floor. Helluva way to meet a handsome man, her brain muttered at her. On the other hand, there were better ways to meet hunks, a more perverse part of her replied as she let her eyes drift over him. Long legs encased in jeans led up to... no, don't stop there, she thought, her eyes taking in the fact he had no problem in the equipment department. Damn. Trim waistline, layered clothing consisting of a tee shirt, oxford with the tails hanging out, and a blazer finished the overall overly-casual, I-don't-give-a-damn look to him. Finally she reached his face, the soft brown curls tinged with gray, scruffy shadow, and those gorgeous blue eyes that at present were giving her a scowl.

"Dr. House, are you okay?" Voices rose around the two; she barely took in the nervous group of young doctors surrounding him, the flutter as they knelt to retrieve the folder and contents that had gone flying from his hands. He swore again and bent to pick up his cane, his forehead colliding with hers.

"Fuck!" he growled out. "Somebody, tell this… this…"

"Person?" she finished sweetly for him. He glared at her and nodded.

"Right. Person. V.I.P. As in Very Important Pain-In-The-Ass."

"Or Very Immature Prick."

Was that Wilson she heard snickering in the background? Jimmy, get me out of this or you're dead.

"I can assure you that my prick is plenty mature," he countered softly, grinning slightly at the flush that crossed her cheeks.

"Too bad there's not enough blood in the male body to supply both heads at the same time," she shot back. His brows drew together and the smile vanished.

"Whatever. Get that damned guitar out of my way and take your need to salvage your soul by doing good deeds with you."

How many times had she been accused of that? she thought with a shake of her head as she retrieved the last scattered sheaf of papers and handed it to the young female doctor who was eyeing the entire scene with trepidation. Slowly she stood up, dusting off her knees as House rose to his full height, leaning on his cane heavily.

"So I see that you have the utter advantage of me," she replied as Jimmy moved forward quickly. "No, Jimmy, I'll handle this," she added archly to her old neighborhood buddy. "Obviously Dr. House has me diagnosed and in treatment, all without benefit of a full examination. Funny, I always thought doctors were more thorough when making their initial diagnosis." She curled her lip in a sneer that caused those surrounding House to suck in their breaths. Slowly Sabrina stepped forward until she was within inches of his face, holding the gaze that had changed from sardonic to puzzled. His eyes were so old, so beautiful. "Okay, Doctor, try examining this." She closed her eyes and concentrated.

"Brina, wait…" She ignored Jimmy and slipped into a place more astral.

Pain. Loneliness. Bitterness. It came off the man in waves bordering on agony. Deep breath, hand outstretched to lay on one firm, biceped arm, one tiny surge, pull the hand back. Act like nothing happened. Wait. Too much for her. Not enough energy for what he needed. His soul blanketed over hers, reaching back with longing…

Oblivion overtook her as she sank to the floor.