A/N: There are spoilers for the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes D.A.W. and See Me.
"Is this Dr. House?"
"Who wants to know?"
"This is Detective Robert Goren. Do you remember me?"
"Of course. We don't get many New York City detectives with sprained ankles in these parts" House switched the phone to his other ear. "Wait a second...you didn't go jogging on that bad ankle, did you? Are you calling for cane advice?"
Goren chuckled and said, "No, the ankle is just fine, thank you."
"Am I a suspect in a murder investigation? You're trying to lure me outside so you and your backup can take me down. It's not going to work. You'll never take me alive, copper."
"You're a hoot, Doctor." The line crackled. The detective must have called on a cell phone.
"Was I overdoing it?" The doctor spun his cane like a baton.
"A little bit."
"I don't remember giving you my office number," House said as the line crackled again. "You must have put your amazing detective skills to use in order to find me."
"I looked up the hospital on the internet," Goren said languidly. "Then I found your name in the directory. It took about a minute."
"Hmph. So your ankle is fine and you're not going to arrest me. So what can I do for you, Detective?"
"I'm in town again and was wondering if I could buy you lunch."
House smiled. "I'm hardly the type to turn down a free meal. You're on, Detective."
"Great. Meet you at Michaelangelo's Deli at one o'clock?"
"Yummy. The best deli in town. See you there." The doctor almost hung up, but then quickly added, "Oh, Detective Goren?"
"Don't look for the guy with the cane. Look for the guy with the kick-ass motorcycle."
When House pulled into the deli parking lot, he could see Goren sitting at a table by the window. The detective was dressed just as casually as before except he was wearing a denim jacket instead of a leather one.
"Sweet bike," the big detective said with a trace of envy in his voice as House limped to the table.
"You got that right. You are a detective," The doctor watched him laugh, revealing a mouthful a capped white teeth. "It's good to see your ankle healed up right, Detective Goren."
"Please, call me Bobby." He gestured for House to take a seat. "Your name is Gregory, right?"
"That's right. You can call me Dr. House."
Goren snorted. "Whatever you say, Doctor."
The new friends ordered lunch. The doctor got a reuben sandwich and soda while the detective ordered pastrami and iced tea. Each sandwich was the size of a shoe box and three inches thick.
"Where's your partner?" House asked as he studied the sandwich, trying to figure out how to take a bite without dislocating his jaw.
"Back in New York," Goren replied, stirring sugar into his drink.
"Chasing bad guys by yourself?"
"Technically I'm on vacation. I had some vacation time I needed to use or lose."
"You're wasting vacation time by coming all this way just to buy me lunch? Maybe I should arrange for you to have a CAT Scan."
"What can I say, Doctor, you made an impression on me. When you came into the examination room you deliberately slammed the door open just to see our reaction. You have a limp and use a cane. You don't wear the white coat. You have an unusual surname. And you made damned sure I wouldn't kill my ankle by reading me my rights, so to speak. I couldn't help but remember all that."
House raised his eyebrows. "Geez Bobby, I didn't realize I meant that much to you."
"Just being observant. It's my job to be observant."
"Mine too. And I observed that Detective Eames was cute. Tell her I said hi." House said, squishing the reuben down to a more bite friendly level.
Detective Goren snickered and picked up the other half of his sandwich. "Consider it done."
"You ever arrest any doctors?" House asked, honestly curious.
"Sure," Goren said, as if arresting doctors was a ho-hum thing. His brown eyes gave away nothing. "Not too long ago Eames and I arrested a drug-addicted doctor who had been murdering his patients for decades."
His own drug habit flickered across Dr. House's mind for a second before he remembered he didn't have to murder anyone to support it. "I read about that. They think the doctor killed over two hundred people. Dr. Edwin Lindgard, right? My God, that was your case?"
The detective nodded and swallowed a mouthful of pastrami on rye. "People will do anything for love or money. Even doctors."
"But he killed for drugs, didn't he? How does love and money fit into that?"
"His ex-wife, a pharmacist, was supplying his morphine in exchange for a tax break on alimony. There's the money. Love was more or less his downfall. He stole a ring from one of his dead patients and had it made into a brooch for his girlfriend. He liked to steal their jewelry, too. Anyway, a relative made a fuss over the stolen ring and asked Dr. Lingard about it, then went to the police. Dr. Lindgard killed her with a drug overdose. Eames and I investigated that murder and traced it back to Lindgard, along with several hundred other suspicious deaths. If it wasn't for that ring he'd still be out there."
"Jesus Christ," the doctor shook his head in disbelief. "That's absolutely incredible."
"The truth is stranger than fiction, Doctor," Goren said, brushing crumbs off his sweater.
"I can see that," House agreed. Finishing his sandwich, he asked, "Is it always love or money?"
"Ninety-nine percent of the time," the detective replied. "There was another doctor, an opthamologist, who believed he could cure schizophrenia by cleaning the cornea. He wound up ruining peoples eyes instead. No interest in love or money with him."
"You get all the interesting cases, don't you, Bobby?"
"I guess so," said Goren, as if he saw that sort of thing everyday and probably did.
"You love your job."
"Damn right I do," the detective smiled. "What about you, Doctor? I'm sure you have more than a few stories to tell."
House smirked and said, "Nothing involving weirdo eye doctors. There was the kid who shoved an MP3 player up his ass."
Goren choked on his tea. "Are you serious?"
"Unfortunately yes. Then there was the nice young lady who thought contraceptive jelly came from the grocery store and was strawberry flavored."
The detective nearly fell out his chair laughing.
Half an hour later, after the drinks were finished and stories swapped, House announced he had to get back to the hospital.
"See you around, Doctor." Goren shook the hand of his new friend. "If you're ever in New York, give me a call."
"Will do, Bobby. Have fun in New Jersey. Just watch out for those pesky rabbit holes."