Title: Gotta Run 6/6

Summary: Remember the days when Wilson and House were friends? So do I.

Word Count: 5378 total

Head Count: House, Wilson, OC. Cameo appearance by Foreman. Chase gets three lines, because it's in his contract. Cameron and Cuddy have the week off.

Directions: 2 C. fluff, 3 T. angst, 1 C. heavy drama. Beat ingredients well. Cook in hawt oven til a crisp golden brown. Season to taste (S1, S2, or S3).

Disclaimer: Don't own. Don't even rent. Just squatting illegally. (Hey, back off, Tritter. It was a joke, man! Can't you take a joke? No, really. Put those cuffs away. I--)

A/N: This is set in early fall, a few weeks post Cane and Able.

Chapter 6 Funeral Pyre

House signalled with a glance at Whitey that he was concluding the piano solo, and the saxaphonist bowed in his direction before chiming in with his own instrument. The audience burst into enthusiastic applause for the piano solo, several even shouting out House's name ("Yeah, Doc!"), but House never acknoweldged the applause, instead keeping eye contact with Whitey as the two of them drew the song to a close. Even Foreman put his hands together. "He's good, man," he muttered to Wilson. "Shoulda been a musician."

It was the final number in the set, and the musicians began packing up their instruments and clearing the stage. House sat unmoving at the piano, even after Whitey came over, said something in his ear and clapped him on the back.

Foreman was making leaving motions—probably wanted to get out of there before House spotted him--so Wilson told him he would take it from here. Foreman gave him a grateful look and escorted his date to the door as Wilson climbed onto the stage. House was busy trying blindly to retrieve the bottle of scotch at his feet. Wilson snatched it away and House rewarded him with an angry unfocussed look. He reached for the half-full glass of scotch on the top of the piano and sucked most of it down with a happy hiss before Wilson plucked that away too.

"House. What are you doing?" Wilson demanded.

House sighed and lowered his forehead to the piano. When he spoke it was as if he was talking to himself. "Just trying to get to the next telephone pole. You know?" He paused for a long moment and then opened one eye as if seeing Wilson for the first time. "Jimmy. What are you doing here?" He was enunciating carefully, a sure sign that he was very drunk. "Aren't you up past your bedtime? Don't you and Dr... Kovic have a…runathon to…run?"

"Cancelled it. So, do you come here a lot?"

"My god, can't you think of a better pick-up line than that?" sneered House.

"Okay." Wilson stuffed a dollar bill in the scotch glass and gave House an entreating look. "Do you know People? Play People," he whined. "Please, please."

House ignored him and rose to his feet, trying to maintain a dignified air, but failing miserably. As frequently happened when he was drunk enough to feel no pain, he forgot he needed a cane, and with his first step he collapsed against the keyboard in a loud cacophony of treble notes. He would have fallen even further if Wilson hadn't anticipated just such an event and snaked an arm under his elbow. Whitey retrieved the cane from under the piano bench, and Wilson thrust it into House's hand, sighing, "This is why they call it getting legless. Not a good idea for someone who's already down a leg."

He guided House off the stage and toward the exit. "Great to have you back, Doc," said the club manager cheerfully as Wilson paid his and House's bar bill at the door. "See you next week."

"You shouldn't cancel the runathon," said House as they made their slow, stumbling way down the street, Wilson now carrying the cane and practically carrying House as well. "You gotta run. Running's good for you. Anton's…good for you. Why'd you cancel?"

"Something more important came up, I guess."

"Shame. And a waste, too."

"It's not a waste. I can—"

"Not you. Orange juice."


"Bought a buttload of orange juice. Little Dixie cups. Was going to stand on street corners and keep you…hydrated."

"Sure you were," said Wilson fondly.

"Was too. Now what'm I gonna do with all that orange juice?"

Wilson thought for a few paces. "Mimosas?" he suggested. "We can get champagne and have them for breakfast."

"Excellent idea. Celebrate…whatever." He came to a stop and looked at Wilson. "But what about the Vaseline?"

"Excuse me?"

"Also got a big jar of Vaseline."


"Supposed to rub Valesine…Vaseline on your nipples. Before a runathon. Prevents chafing. Chafed nipples, very bad. Didn't Slobo tell you?"

"He did not."

"Pffft. Well, to hell with him then."

"That's right," said Wilson as they arrived at the Volvo. "No Valesine for him. Come on. Let's get you home."

House peered at Wilson closely. "Want me to drive? You've been drinking, you know." He wagged a finger in Wilson's face. "I can smell it on your breath."

Wilson just ignored this, opened the door and decanted House carefully into the front seat. He lifted his right leg in after him, as House seemed incapable of even that. By the time he climbed in the other side, House had lowered the seat back until he was completely horizontal. This made the shoulder strap ineffectual, but Wilson reached over and pulled the lap belt around him.

"Try not to throw up," he said as he put the car in gear. "I just had the car detailed."

"Not going to throw up," declared House. "Going to sing." And he started right in. "People! People who need people!--"

"Stop," Wilson interrupted, wincing. "Please."

"--Are the screwed-uppest people in the world!"

"If you stop singing People," implored Wilson--

"One person! One very special person!—"

"--I'll let you rub Vaseline on my nipples when we get home."




House lifted both hands and played the opening notes of a new tune on air piano, then launched into the lyrics. "The time to hesitate is through," he sang, at top volume. "No time to wallow in the mire. Try now, we can only lose. And our love become a funeral pyre. Come on baby, light my fire! Try to set the night on FIII-YAH…"

He was still singing when they got home.