1Author's Note: Okay, so the profoundly mentally retarded writers had Wilson betray House and now are going to send him to rehab. Does anyone really think he'll take all that higher power, arts and crafts, get-in-touch-with-your-inner-child crap seriously? Didn't think so. Here's my take on how our favorite doctor would pass the time.
Warning: When I was ten years old my cousin taught me how to bake Ex-Lax brownies. This makes me a very dangerous guest at potlucks.
January 22: Office of Dr. Frederick Gavin
House walked into the office of the psychiatrist assigned to his case without knocking. Might as well establish who was in charge from the get-go. One thing House knew about head-rapers is that you could never let them think they were in control or they would go all Karl Jung on your phat ass and next thing you knewyou were being fed through a straw and thinking that the ghost ofRudolph Valentino was sexually abusing you in your sleep.
Startled, Gavin looked up from the journal he'd been reading. It took House all of six microseconds to make the only diagnosis that mattered: this guy was a grade-A derfwad. For one thing, he was wearing a sweater-vest. Who the hell wore a sweater-vest anymore except Wilson? For another thing, he was wearing a bow tie that matched his pants. Hi, 1955 called, it wants its fashion sense back. For yet another thing, he bore a striking resemblance to Ward Cleaver.
Gavin pasted a smile on his face and stood to shake hands. House pre-empted the whole thing with a brisk, "You're wearing a sweater-vest."
Gavinnodded, only slightly knocked off-guard. "A gift from my wife on my birthday yesterday. Why do you mention it?"
Oh, this was going to be fun.
"My ex-best friend wears sweater-vests."
"I see." Gavin pursed his lips. "Does that make you feel uncomfortable?"
House considered. "Kinda."
"Would you feel more at ease if I removed it?"
House nodded. "I think I could relax more if you did."
Gavin gave a professional smile and took off the offending garment. "There. Better?"
"Well...a little, but," he leaned forward, lowering his voice to an insinuating tone, "he also wears thoseexact kind of pants. I think I'd feel even better of you took those off. Slowly. Tease me a little."
The shrink's tolerant smile faded. "Very amusing, Greg. Let's move past my clothing and talk about you. You've been here," he consulted a manila file folder, "a week now and we've had some less-than-encouraging reports regarding your outlook on the program. Would you like to talk about that?"
"Gee, Dad, they keep trying to make me do stuff I don't wanna do!" House whined.
Gavin tented his fingers and regarded the recalcitrant doctor over them. "Such as art therapy?"
"Oh, that, well..."
January 15: Art Therapy
The girl who was handing out the clay was a space alien. That was all House could figure, because no human was that bouncy at eight in the goddamn morning after a breakfast that would have gagged a maggot. Besides that, his leg was hurting; the pain management regimen here sucked.
The space alien, a chirpy young blonde whose name, predictably, was Christi with an i, bounced past his table and gave him a wad of clay and a big, toothy smile, neither of which he wanted to see at the buttcrack of dawn.
"Guys, I'm just super-excited about this next activity, but first let me introduce a new member of
Not me, God. Please not me.
She clapped an overly-friendly hand on House's shoulder and squeezed. "This is Greg. Everyone say hi Greg!"
"Hi Greg," the rest of the drooling idiots droned like the institutionalized pieces of meat they were.
Thanks a lot, God. Just because I don't believe in You and spend every moment breaking Your commandments doesn't mean You can't cut me a break now and then.
Christi leaned down, hands on her thighs and turned the full wattage of her smile directly into House's face. "If you'd just like to tell us just a teensy bit about yourself, Greg, that'd be just super!"
Flinching back from the sheer relentless cheer of the Martian princess's smile attack, he scowled. "Hi. My name is Greg. I'm a Gemini and I like long walks on the beach, Chinese food, and sexual relations with waterfowl."
Christi blinked once. Twice. Clearly, they hadn't covered this type of thing in Bouncy Art Girl 101. She decided to cut loose with a high, nervous laugh that did nothing to raise House's opinion of her intelligence or planet of origin. "Oh, you're a kidder! I just looove a sense of humor. Why don't you just go ahead and just tell us what you want to get out of this session?"
"Well, Christi, funny you should say that because I would just looove to 'get out of this session', after which I would just loooove to have a super-decent breakfast and go the fuck back to bed until, oh, eleven or so, at which time I would just looove to park my ass in front of the TV and eat Vicodin until bedtime." He leaned forward, put on his most sincere face, and blinked obnoxiously.
Isolated snickers sounded around the room and Christi backed up, as if repelled by the sound of sincerity.
"Well," she said uncertainly, "that's-that's just super-honest, Greg." She backed across the room and tried another smile on for size. Somehow, it didn't seem to fit well. "Okay, guys, let's just take our clay and go ahead and sculpt a feeling. Put how you're feeling right now into the clay and just go ahead and share that."
Feelings and Greg House didn't often get along, but there was one preying on his mind right now that he felt he could just go ahead and express. Brow furrowed in concentration, he leaned over the lump of clay and began to sculpt.
Twenty minutes later he sat back and examined his creation. Not perfect, maybe, but it was a good replica, if he did say so himself. He crossed his arms and waited.
"Looks like Greg's done. Super!" Christi's voice had regained some of its chirp, but she still refused to come within ten feet of her newest patient. Instead, she gestured to the front of the room. "Greg, would you like to just go ahead and share with us?"
House smiled. "Gladly."
He climbed to his feet and limped to the front of the room. He held out his creation: a very recognizable representation of a hard penis and scrotum. The snickers started again, this time bolder and with more participation.
"This," he said, waving the wiener, "is a big, throbbing cock and balls. It represents the fact that I'm being very seriously fucked in the ass every day I waste away here sculpting things out of play dough and losing brain cells. Well," he amended, "I didn't have enough clay to make a rectum, but you get the picture."
The snickers turned to active, raucous laughter and even some applause. He inclined his head toward his appreciative audience and sat down again.
Christi's bouncy mask had fallen away. She was glaring at House with poorly-disguised resentment. House smiled back.
"M'kay," she said sullenly. "Jeff, show us what you made."
"What happened to 'just go ahead and'?" House wondered just loudly enough to carry across the room. He looked down at his sculpture. "You turned out pretty good. Just might save you and give you to Cuddy. God knows she'd put you to good use."
January 22: Office of Dr. Frederick Gavin
"A perfectly honest expression of my feelings." House said to the sweater-vest-wearing shrink.
"You disrupted the therapy environment," Gavin replied. "Was that important to you?"
House leaned his chin on his cane and regarded him. "I wouldn't have been able to disrupt if Christi with an i had been competent enough to keep their attention."
Gavin apparently didn't like where that was going, so he glanced down at the file again. "That was only the first example. There was the incident in music therapy."
"Oh, sure, it sounds bad taken out of context, but..."
January 17: Music Therapy
Her name was Mrs. Smith and if she made one more mistake with her left hand, House was going to leap up and strangle her. Normally, he supported hiring the handicapped, but a tone-deaf music therapist was far worse than, say, a crippled diagnostician.
"Mary Had a Little Lamb is very easy and enjoyable piano piece to play. Of course," she regarded the small group over the top of her bifocals with superiority, "we're not quite there yet, are we? We still have to practice our fingering a bit, don't we?"
House gritted his teeth. Bet you wish someone would practice his fingering on you, you old bat.
"Bill, would you like to come up here and show us how you've improved since last time?"
A small, nervous man cleared his throat and ducked his head. "I'd rather not, Mrs. Smith. Not today."
Mrs. Smith smiled mirthlessly, revealing a maddening lipstick stain on one yellow incisor. "Oh now, Bill, that's not the kind of attitude we're looking for, is it? We're supposed to be expressing ourselves in more creative ways than we did in the outside world, now aren't we?"
"Guess so," Bill muttered.
"Ego is one of the reasons we're in here, now, isn't it?"
Far be it for House to defend an obvious dink like Bill, but he'd had enough. "Who's this 'we' you keep talking about? Are you royalty, or are you just hiding a rat in your girdle?" On second glance, he noticed with real regret that the old babe wasn't wearing one. Good for the rat, not so good for those who had to look at her.
Mrs. Smith turned her reptilian smile on him. "You must be Greg. We're new, aren't we?"
"We are," House agreed.
"And we're not quite familiar with music room conduct, are we?"
"We must not be."
"Well, we don't talk out of turn, for one thing. That doesn't get us anywhere, does it?"
"It sure doesn't."
They stared at each other with mutual dislike. Finally, she gave him a savage grin. "Why don't you come up here and I'll start you off on a little something simple."
House limped up and positioned himself on the bench next to Mrs. Smith. "Gee, there sure are a lot of keys," he said, plunking at one or two of them.
"Now, we're not intimidated, are we?"
"Well," House said with mock uncertainty, "maybe just a little." He used two fingers to bonk and plink his way across the keyboard for a few seconds, making horrid sounds like an etude from hell. Then, mentally cracking his knuckles, he launched effortlessly into Chopin's Opus 10 Etude in C, one of the most difficult piano pieces in the known universe. Why, House could never figure; he'd never had any trouble with it.
His long fingers danced nimbly across the keys and he finished the piece with a flourish. The room erupted in applause.
Mrs. Smith stared at him dumbly. House widened his blue eyes innocently. "First time. I swear to God. Never had a lesson in my life. It's a miracle."
He savored a few seconds of we-free silence from Mrs. Smith. "Take five, Smithy," he said, slapping her on the wide, flower-print-clad behind with his cane. "I'll field this one today." He gestured to the rest of the awe-struck patients. "Scoot in. Let me show you an easier, more listener-friendly way to start on the-the-" he shot a glance toward the deposed teacher. "What's this instrument called again?" But she had stomped out of the room.
The patients moved their chairs closer, vying for position close to House.
"We'll be Mary Had a Little Lambing in no time, now won't we?" he said contentedly.
January 22: Office of Dr. Frederick Gavin
"By the end of that session, everyone could play a simple tune, something Agent Smith hadn't been able to teach them in a month."
The wise therapist facade was starting to wear around the edges. "Is it important to you that you're in control of every situation, Greg?"
House twirled his cane. "It's important to me that someone competent is in control of every situation, Freddy. And so far this place is zip for two on my scorecard."
Gavin tried once again to gain lost ground. "And what does competence mean to you?"
"Well, I'll tell you what it doesn't mean..."
January 19: Group Therapy
The fetus who was leading House's group therapy session told the group to call him Dr. Bob. He had been a psychiatrist for all of ten seconds and was so nervous he dropped his clipboard twice and lost his pen four times before the session even started. House made a mental bet with himself as to how long it would take to make the boy wet himself.
"Okay. Wow. So welcome to our first group session. I'm Dr. Bob, like I said, and I thought we could start by learning a little about each of you and why you're here." He tried a paternal smile that just ended up looking like a deer facing a speeding semi on the backroads of some southern state. "Why don't we start with you?" He gestured to the young man sitting to his left.
This young man did not look good, in House's opinion. It was not an aesthetic judgement-well, not entirely. The boy did have one of those really stupid spiked haircuts and it was dyed an awful shade of pink, not to mention the sleeveless t-shirt that bore the name of a really third-rate punk band, but that wasn't what drew House's attention. The kid was pale, thin as a stick, and barely able to stay on the chair. His hands weren't shaking and there were no sweats, so not detox. Interesting.
"Okay," the kid said. "I'm Craig and I'm here because, uh, my parents think I'm anorexic or bulimic or whatever."
Dr. Bob nodded. "And you don't think you have a problem?" He dropped his pen once more and had to retrieve it.
Craig shrugged. "Nope. I mean, I know what eating disorders are and I don't deliberately not eat, right? I just don't feel good all the time. It's not like I barf on purpose, either. So no, I don't have a problem." He stretched his arms up over his head.
House leaned forward, sharp blue eyes narrowed.
Dr. Bob fumbled with his clipboard. "Well, uh, Craig, thank you for sharing with us. I'm a little concerned about your denial. It's okay to need some help and you have a right as a human being to receive that help. That's what-"
"How about some help from a real doctor?" House could stay silent no longer.
Dr. Bob looked offended. "Well, I am a real doctor, Mr., uh-"
House favored him with a predatory smile. "You can call me Dr. Greg. Are they still considering psychiatrists to be medical doctors?" He shook his head, bewildered. "I've complained to the AMA about that." He turned his attention to Craig. "Lift your arms."
Confused, Craig complied.
"Do you shave your pits, Craig?" House asked.
"Mmm hmmm, and do you have pubic hair?"
Dr. Bob sputtered. "Greg, this is inappropriate. It's Craig's turn. You'll get yours when-"
"Yeah yeah yeah," he waved a hand impatiently. "Forgive me for speaking out in class, teacher. Never did learn those tricky rules of kindergarten etiquette. I sat in the corner a lot in school. Craig-"
Poor Dr. Bob circled up the wagons and made a final stand. "Really, Greg, I have to insist-"
House turned his full attention to the hapless therapist, withering him with his signature mixture of scorn and vague threat. "Insist in one hand and shit in the other. See which fills up faster. Now watch a real doctor save a life."
Dr. Bob opened his mouth once more, maybe to insist again, but closed it quickly under the full force of House's electric blue glare.
House turned back to Craig. "So, do you have grass on the lower forty or not, Craig?"
Craig blushed. "Dude, that's harsh. Um, not much, no."
"Recently fell out or never had much?"
"Um, never had much."
"How old are you?"
"Eighteen." Craig shifted in his seat nervously. "You said you were saving my life or something. Do I have, like, cancer or something wicked like that?"
"No cancer. Wicked, but no cancer. You have Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Deficiency. ACTH, to its friends." House sat back, relishing the feeling of solving a puzzle in the most unexpected place. "See, your pituitary gland is like a switchboard, directing activity to the rest of the glands. It secrets hormones-messages- that tell your body when to grow, when to mature, all that good stuff. Now, say a fuse burns out on the switchboard. The message doesn't get through. In your case, your adrenal glands are missing their messages, hence the weakness, vomiting, lack of appetite, and lack of hair to where big boys should have hair."
Craig gulped. "Am I gonna die or something?"
"The bad news is that it's gone untreated for years while idiots like your parents and Doogie Howser over there were saying it was all in your head. The good news is that it's treatable with hydrocortisone treatments." He stood up and gestured to Craig. "Come on. We're going to call your parents to come pick you up. You'll need to see your doctor for ACTH and insulin tolerance tests, but you'll be okay."
"That was cool, like CSI!" one of the other group patients enthused. The room started buzzing.
Craig looked up at him with something close to hero-worship. "You fucking rock. I mean it sincerely. I've been sick for years, but all they ever do is tell me it's psychological. You're the first one who's ever believed me." He ducked his head to hide the tears. "You don't know what it means to just have someone believe that I really hurt."
House's eyes softened. "Yeah," he said. "I do."
January 22: Office of Dr. Frederick Gavin
"Damn, I hate being right all the time, but it's something I've learned to live with." House pulled his chin off his cane and leaned back in the chair.
Gavin was now compulsively shredding paper into a neat little pile. House decided to poke him some more, just to pass the time.
"I only hope I also cured Craig of that stupid pink Mohawk and crappy taste in music. He told me he only did it to get back at his parents for not believing him all those years, so maybe there's hope."
Gavin stared at him resentfully.
"He also promised me he'd check out some decent blues CDs," House added.
"Dr. House," Gavin said tightly, "you have another three weeks to complete this program. The court demands that you either pass this program or face jail time and possible suspension of your medical license. If you don't start showing some cooperation I will have no choice but to inform the court that you failed to comply."
"That would be a shame," House agreed. "Of course, it would also be a shame if the ethics committee and board of directors heard about your affair with the night nurse. What's her name? Glenda?"
The color drained from the shrink's face. "What? You're-that's ridiculous. You're delusional!"
"You treat the rest of the staff with that cool politeness that you probably practice in the mirror every night," House continued, "but not Glenda. You go out of your way to ignore her. Problem is, when you think no one's looking you shoot her these nauseating longing glances. There's nothing more disgusting than a middle-aged love affair."
"That's what you intend to tell the board?" Gavin looked like he was regaining ground.
"Nope. I don't intend to tell them anything. I intend to show them these." He plucked his cell phone out of his pocket and handed it over to Gavin. "I'm an insomniac. Something about my leg hurting keeps me from sleeping well, so I'm up and about at weird hours. Two nights ago, I happened to notice your car still parked in the lot at midnight, so I went to investigate. I found you and Nurse Glenda getting frisky in the pavilion."
"My favorite is that third picture. How the hell can two people get into that position? I'd like to do some research later, so I sent those pics to my personal email." House reclaimed his cell and watched the other man expectantly.
It seemed like Gavin had permanently lost the power of speech, so House went on. "It isn't even the board you should be worried about. Your wife doesn't know about the affair yet. You said at the beginning of the session that she bought you that sweater-vest for your birthday. If she celebrated your birthday and gave you a gift it means she's not pissed, which means she doesn't know about the affair. New Jersey isn't a community property state, but I think those pictures would go a long way toward getting her a good chunk of change." House held out his open hand, palm up. "Imagine your balls sitting right there." He closed his strong fingers with a snap.
Gavin made a sound somewhere between a squawk and a moan.
"I only mention that because we were on the subject of courts," House said helpfully.
Gavin opened and closed his mouth several times before managing, "I-um, suppose that my final report to the court will be in your favor, Dr. House. Quite favorable, indeed."
"That's settled, then." House stood up, leaning heavily on his cane. He got as far as the door and turned around. "Oh, and while you're in the giving mood, up my pain medication. If I'm going to be stuck in here cleaning up after you people, I'll need some fortifications."