Disclaimer: Totally not mine. Would give anything if they were, but it's not to be...
Author's note: I shall tip my slightly worn paramedic cap to ScoobyWannabe for the inspiration. Please review! Pretty please?
James Wilson barely looked up from his files as he heard the door pop open and the scrape of his best friend's cane as he entered. He wasn't in the mood for this today. Never taking his eyes off the folder, he said, "I'm not hungry, I'm not buying you lunch, and I don't want to do a consult on your breast implant patient!"
House was a little shocked at the forcefulness in Wilson's voice. He didn't think he had done anything wrong this time. Hell, he had just gotten back from the conference on pandemics three days ago. Come to think of it, Wilson had been acting strange ever since. What was wrong with him? "Didn't come to make you buy me lunch. Brought you some though." He tossed a paper-wrapped turkey sandwich with mayo on rye on the overcrowded desk and turned to walk out.
A wave of guilt hit Wilson. There was no reason to take his frustrations out on House, although the older man often took his out on him. He sighed. He was the good guy though, always wore the white hat. Saint Jimmy, House had called him mockingly a few times. "House, wait." The older man froze in the door, and turned around. "Come on back. I'm sorry."
House considered it, then made his way to the empty chair. "Usually when you're pissed, I know what I've done, but this time I'm totally clueless," he admitted.
Wilson shook his head. "You haven't done anything," he said, then felt the need to amend that. "That I know of anyway." He knew his friend would laugh at what he was feeling, but also that since he had started, House would never let him back down. If House wasn't to blame for his bad mood, he wouldn't rest until he knew what was. "I'm just bored."
House looked at Wilson, sure he had heard him wrong. "Bored? What's that mean? The little bald kiddies just not as entertaining as they used to be?"
Wilson bit back an angry growl, knowing he wouldn't ordinarily react that way. It was just the stuff rattling away in his mind that made him feel like this. "No, they're not. Nothing here is. Not my job, not the people, not even your job. I'm bored with this place, but moreover I'm bored with me!"
Confused, House looked at him. "Maybe you should start at the beginning."
Ten minutes later, Wilson had finished giving House the recap of the case he had covered for him in his absence. "Here was this old woman, talking about all this stuff she did, and I just want to do something. I get up in the morning, come here, tell half a dozen people a day that they won't see their next birthday, either go home and watch TV or go home with you get drunk and watch TV, get up, do it all again. I'm thirty-eight years old, and here was this woman about to turn sixty telling me about how she snorted cocaine off a homosexual man's stomach!"
House looked at him for a second. "You want to snort cocaine off a gay guy's stomach?"
"Maybe!" Wilson dropped his head. "I knew you wouldn't understand."
"Then make me understand."
"Not out loud."
Wilson smiled. He did need to talk. And maybe their friendship needed this. He held too much back lately. "I'm tired of being me. I'm tired of being the Boy Wonder oncologist who has a smile for everybody and has to do the right thing and has to keep the peace and behave. I'm tired of my hair always being perfectly done and my clothes being ironed and having to smile at everyone when I just want to slap them. I want to have an adventure, a story to tell in five years, something that doesn't involve tumors and radiation. I'm tired of having to live up to everyone's expectations. I'm tired of being the good guy. I don't want to be Saint Jimmy anymore!" He practically shouted the last sentence, winced, and quieted a little. "I don't want to be me right now."
"Who do you want to be?"
Wilson thought for a moment. "You."
House sat silently for a moment, then stood up. "How long 'til you're ready to go?"
He looked at the pile of papers around him. "At least an hour, why?"
"Give me your keys. And don't move from here until I get back."
Wilson felt a quiver in his stomach, but ignored it. "Sure, why not?" He tossed House the keys. What did he have to lose?
He strode into Cuddy's office, and she braced herself for the hurricane. Whenever he seemed this sure of something, it couldn't be good. "What is it, House?"
"Wilson and I need a week off. We'll be back next Monday."
She smiled sweetly. "Sure. Why didn't you say so? Not a chance in Hell. Have a nice day."
She glanced back at the computer screen, trying to pretend that she thought it was over. Of course, she knew it wasn't. House never let anything go this easily. Sure enough, he plopped into the empty chair facing her. His demeanor was the same as always, but his voice surprised her. "I'm serious. Wilson needs a vacation. He's about to completely burn out."
"And you, being so close to the edge yourself, felt the need to drag him back from the abyss?"
House nodded. "He's in trouble. I can help him. You complain that I'm not the kind of friend he deserves, and now I'm trying and you won't let me!"
"What's in this for you, House?" she asked bluntly, giving up hope of getting out of this easily or without a fight.
House swallowed. "I've screwed up. A lot. He's always been there to help me. Now he's facing a midlife crisis, and there is actually something I can do to help him. Usually when he's in trouble, I just make it worse-"
Cuddy straightened slightly. "Therein lies the problem. When you help, things get worse. Like when you tried to 'help' the Vogler situation with the little speech."
House winced, and would have given her the point had it not actually hurt that he had gotten Wilson fired, however indirectly, by failing to swallow his pride. "This is different…"
Cuddy sighed. She knew she wasn't going to win, so she decided to get what she could out of him. "What's it worth to you?"
He quickly hid his grin, and tried to look shocked. "I try to do a good deed, and I have to pay for it?" Off her look, he shrugged. "That's not the question, is it? What's it going to cost me?"
"Four hours extra clinic duty a week for a year."
House frowned. "Two hours for three months."
"Four for six months, or Wilson has his midlife crisis in his office."
"That's pretty low, even for you. Threatening Wilson to keep me in line? You would really hurt him just to punish me?"
"First off, I don't really believe Wilson is in any danger. Second, it's the only thing that works! Last chance!"
House grumbled, then nodded. "Yeah, okay. You're going to Hell, you know that?"
She smiled. "Yeah, well, sometimes I think it would have to be an upgrade."
He limped out of her office. He had a lot of work to do.