Title: What Folly Reason, What Folly Hope (1/5)
Rating: PG-13
Characters: everyone, but emphasis on House and Wilson's best-buddy status with Cuddy and Cameron in supporting roles
Spoilers: "No Reason"
Summary: Yep, another post-"No Reason". Takes us from the last scene to the inevitable 'so, House, how's the ---'.

Chapter 1

The first time it happened, he was indignant.

He marched into Cuddy's office, threw the article at her and snarled, "I'm fine."

Cuddy glanced at the article—something from a British medical journal on a "very promising" combination of drugs and hypnosis to treat chronic pain—and stared blankly at him for a moment. She folded her hands and smiled sweetly.

"Then you can start working in the clinic again," she said. "You've over four years behind. Peevy called in sick today. Check with Brenda."

House narrowed his eyes and, deciding that the passive aggressive act of leaving the article on his desk was really more Wilson's style, glowered at her and stormed out.

The next day, after purloining half of Wilson's lunch, House swallowed the last French fry and looked aggressively at Wilson.

"I can do my own research," he said, pushing himself up. "I don't need you doing it for me."

Wilson also acted confused. "And I can eat my own lunch," he said slowly. "I don't need you eating it for me."

House narrowed his eyes again, growled to himself and stalked off.

A few months later, after two more articles on potential breakthroughs for chronic pain suffers appeared on his desk, he decided that they were in cahoots and that he would ignore them. Of course, he couldn't stop himself from stealing more food from Wilson or nettling Cuddy more often when a new article appeared, but he never said anything about it again and in his mind, that constituted ignoring them. He didn't think at all about the rush of adrenaline-fueled hope that overtook him every time he saw a new article waiting on his desk, or about the dozen times he poured over each one, no matter how faulty it seemed.

So when an article on the use of ketamine-induced dissociative comas greeted him a month before he and Stacy went to Baltimore, he absorbed it with his usual fervor until he found the flaws in the study too overwhelming and took his anger out on Wilson's sandwich.

But, possessed as he was of an excellent memory, he didn't forget.