A/N: Sometimes I wish I could say no to a challenge. During the June Saturday Night Smut-a-thon at the Fox Forum, there was some discussion about writing a story for Steve McQueen, Hector & Alvin (a chipmunk in a related story, not canon). People scoffed (a rat, a dog & a chipmunk, can you blame them?) I wrote it.
Before you run in fear, there isn't anything weird in here. It's just a story about how three 'PPTH pets' might encourage two certain doctors to find love.
House sat up suddenly on his couch in the middle of a muted L-Word episode. It was unusually quiet in the apartment. House normally saved his L-Word viewing for late at night, when it was most suitable and least likely to be interrupted. His late night viewing meant that Steve should be running like crazy on his little wheel, or gnawing at his wood chips but the corner of the living room where his cage was kept was inexplicably silent.
House assumed that if Steve had died there would be a smell and leaned back on the couch. The realization that there was no smell yet was enough to get House off the couch and across the room to check on Steve.
Prepared to see a stiff and lifeless body half hidden in the shavings, House was shocked to find the cage door ajar and Steve nowhere in sight. House couldn't recall having left the cage door open, and while pets may sometimes take on the traits of their owners House doubted that Steve had become a genius and figured his way out of the cage. The possibility that House might have left the cage open in a drunken or Vicodin hazed stupor was unthinkable, so House did what he usually did. He blamed Wilson.
House didn't really want to crawl around the apartment looking for a rat, bum leg you know, but he didn't want to wait for the swarm of flies to point him in Steve's direction either. House decided to start in the kitchen, where there was at least a possibility Steve had found food.
On his hands and knees, well mostly one knee, House heard squeaking noises from the cupboard under his sink. He opened it gingerly.
"I can't believe my rat is having more sex than I am," House moaned to Wilson on the balcony outside his office the following morning.
"Yes, hard to believe more women aren't flocking to you," Wilson said disdainfully as he watched House dribble milk down the front of his shirt as he slurped up the cereal Wilson had provided.
"I'll be staying with you tonight," House said through his mouthful of bran flakes. "Exterminator's coming."
"You called an exterminator for Steve?" Wilson asked in shock.
"Wilson!" House rebuked him. "He'll hear you." House nodded his head back toward his office and there Wilson saw the rat's cage. "Steve, the little missus and their progeny are going to vet's until the apartment is safe."
"If you have all of them, why call an exterminator?" Wilson asked.
House rolled his eyes. "Mrs. McQueen obviously got in somehow. Who knows how many of her friends she brought with her? She and the babies only got out because of their man. Nepotism is a beautiful thing."
"Fine. Why are you staying with me? Can't you get a hotel room?" Wilson questioned.
"Obviously you're the one who left Steve's cage open. Ergo it's your fault he got that little lady in the 'family way'. Ergo your fault I can't stay at home tonight. Ergo ..."
"Ergo you are insane," Wilson cut him off. "I have never touched Steve's cage. You know I hate rats."
"Exactly. You had it in for him. Probably left the door open hoping he'd get out and be killed. Shame on you Jimmy. Rats are people too." With that, House placed his empty cereal bowl on the ledge between their balconies and limped back toward his office.
"House!" Wilson rumbled.
"I'm too handsome to do dishes," House called back over his shoulder.
Later that afternoon Wilson came outside to find Cameron on the balcony. That was unusual it and of itself, but she seemed to be talking to someone. Who, Wilson couldn't say, as there was no one else out there.
"You're a really good listener, Alvin," Cameron said. She knew it was silly, but she'd grown very attached to the speckled little chipmunk who hung around on House's balcony.
She had seen House feeding him once or twice, and even heard the gruff diagnostician talking to him. Alvin wasn't her choice, but he seemed to respond to the name so Cameron stuck with it.
"I can't believe it's been so long," Cameron said to the wall. Wilson very quietly stepped a little closer and realized that Cameron was talking to House's chipmunk. Wilson shook his head at how ridiculous that sounded. House's chipmunk. As if House had some sort of connection with him.
"I don't really want to say," Cameron continued talking as she tossed little bits of toast to the creature. "Well, if you promise you won't tell anyone. Six months."
Wilson blinked. Did she mean what he thought she meant? Six months? That had to be a mistake. Men must be falling all over themselves trying to get to her. Six months? Was she trying to get into a record book?
"That's sweet," Cameron said. "I don't know how it could have been so long either. I haven't even had an offer in … ugh, way too long. It's like … I don't know … the only men I ever meet anymore are here at the hospital and for some reason I get the impression they're all afraid to ask me out."
Wilson couldn't stifle the snort that bubbled up from his gut. He had a pretty good idea who had been scaring men away from asking Cameron out. Moron.
"Dr. Wilson!" Cameron exclaimed as she jumped from the chair she had been perched on. "I didn't hear you come outside. Did you … uh, were you … how long have you been standing there?"
Wilson took pity on Cameron, who was now blushing with embarrassment.
"Just came out," Wilson said. "Who's your friend?"
Cameron turned and saw that Alvin had retreated from the balcony into one of the tree branches that grew near it. She had apparently startled him when she shouted.
"Oh," Cameron said, blushing an ever deeper shade of pink, "that's Alvin."
"He's cute," Wilson commented. As he glanced into the tree, he noticed Alvin's attention seemed to have been diverted away from Cameron. Cameron turned too, and the pair of doctors watched as another chipmunk inched its way down the branch toward Alvin.
In a shot, Alvin and the other chipmunk had scampered higher into the tree, until they could no longer be seen from the balcony. Ticking claws and muffled clicks and squeaks sounded from above.
"Oh, do you think they're fighting?" Cameron asked in concern.
"I … don't think so," Wilson said slowly.
"Oh," Cameron said softly. She blushed prettily. "Geez, even the chipmunk is getting laid."
Wilson pretended not to hear that comment. "So I guess Alvin found his Brittany."
"Sorry?" Cameron said.
"Brittany, from The Chipettes?" Wilson replied. "They were the female chipmunk band. Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor," Wilson's voice dropped as he took in the look on Cameron's face.
"Right. The Chipettes," she said.
"I watched a lot of TV when I was little," Wilson said abashedly.
"Wasn't that version of the show from the late eighties?" Cameron asked. Now it was Wilson's turn to blush.
Early that evening, House was sitting grumpily on a park bench outside a doggy run at the local park. Apparently all the years of ragging on Wilson had taught the oncologist a thing or two. In return for a place to sleep, Wilson insisted that House walk Hector, who was staying with him while Bonnie was on vacation.
House roughly shoved Hector's leash into the pocket of his leather coat. The dog area was fenced, so there was no need to watch Hector go about his business. House contented himself with a half hour of people watching until it was time to bring the little fur bag home.
House perked up when he saw a slim brunette bending over to unclasp her dog's leash. She had a fantastic behind, stunning one might call it. It was just rounded enough to be interesting and still perky. When its owner stood up and turned around House grinned. It was Cameron. This would be interesting.
"Dr. Cameron!" House shouted. If he was going to have to sit at the doggy park, he might as well have some fun. What could be more fun than torturing his immunologist? Cameron rolled her eyes but came and sat beside House anyway. "I didn't know you had a dog."
"Just got her a few days ago," Cameron said.
"This isn't exactly your neighborhood," House commented. "Stalking me again?"
"You don't live near here," Cameron pointed out.
"No, but Wilson does," House replied.
"Then wouldn't that mean I was stalking Wilson?" Cameron asked smartly.
"Unless you knew I was staying at Wilson's place tonight."
"Well, I didn't." The two sat in silence for a moment. "Wait, why are you staying with Wilson?"
"Of course," Cameron said, as if that answer made sense.
"Steve escaped from his cage and found love. They set up house under my sink. I had to call an exterminator."
"Wilson let Steve and a bunch of rat babies stay at his place?" Cameron asked in surprise.
"The rats are at the vet's office," House said. He turned to Cameron and looked at her intently. "How did you know Steve and the brood weren't still at my place?"
"If you wouldn't kill Steve while he was living at Stacey's, I doubt you'd kill him for getting laid," Cameron said dryly. House smirked. Smart girl.
"No," House agreed. "Lucky bastard."
"Humph," Cameron said in agreement. House quirked a questioning eyebrow at her. "You know Alvin? He found love too."
"How do you know Alvin?" House questioned.
"We talk sometimes," Cameron said lightly. House made a mental note to start eavesdropping.
House's eyes drifted away from Cameron and over to the doggy park. He started laughing and it drew Cameron's attention. She looked to see what was so funny and shrieked.
"Gigi, no!" Cameron jumped up from the bench and into the fenced area where Gigi and another white-haired dog were getting extremely friendly.
"Oh crap," House said when he realized who the dogs were. "Hector!"
Cameron snapped the leash onto Gigi's collar and looked at House in disbelief.
"Wilson's," House corrected. "This is Hector." Cameron took the leash from House's hand and clipped it onto Hector's collar. She stood up and handed it back to House.
Their fingers grazed over each other lightly, causing ripples of goose bumps to race up Cameron's arm and waves of heat to flush throughout her body. House drew his hand back slowly, intrigued by the shocks of lightning that had coursed over him.
"I think maybe all these animals have the right idea," he said in a low voice.
"My car is right over there," Cameron said uncertainly.
House didn't say anything, just leaned down and pressed his lips against Cameron's.
"Oh yeah, they've definitely got the right idea," he said when they broke apart. Cameron smiled. Taking love life advice from a rat, a chipmunk and a dog was a little crazy, but this was HOUSE. And six months was a long time.