Monkey's Paw Syndrome, Chapter One
Disclaimer: I don't own House, Wilson, or anybody else in this story. Just borrowing.
Author's Notes: Somewhat inspired by the X-Files Episode Je Souhaite. Due to the insanity of the situation, it's part of my ongoing AU House universe, The Diagnostic Files 'verse (My other House MD fic, 'Getting More Like Fiction Each Day', also falls under this 'verse). No pre-reading necessary.
"House, I'm not playing at your stupid poker night. Not after what you did last time."
"C'mon, my drycleaner canceled. I need a fourth."
"If you really loved me you'd do it."
"If I really loved you I wouldn't be an enabler."
Wilson paused as the two doctors made their way into House's office. House had the same bored look that he'd had since they'd arrived at work this morning, with a touch of pout after Wilson refused to participate in the game.
"I won't beg you." House said.
"I don't want you to beg. I want you to leave me alone!" Wilson finally lost his temper. House had been pestering him about this all morning.
"Don't you 'Jeeze Wilson' me!" Wilson growled. "I'm not the one being unreasonable. I just wish you could drop the subject after I've said no. For once."
"I wish you'd just shut up." House punctuated this by tapping Wilson in the chest with his cane.
Wilson rolled his eyes. 'I'd be willing to shut up if you'd quit bugging me!'
"What?" The annoyed expression dropped off House's face, to be replaced with confusion.
Only he didn't. No sound came out of the Oncologist's mouth. Wilson blinked in confusion and tried to clear his throat. 'I said…What the hell?'
There was still no sound.
House rolled his eyes. "That's lame Wilson, even for you. If you're that desperate not to talk to me I'll go hide out in Coma-Guy's room."
Wilson swallowed hard, his mouth suddenly very dry. 'I…'
House caught the panicked expression in Wilson's eyes. "You're not doing this on purpose."
Wilson shook his head frantically and began to massage his throat. The idea that his vocal cords had somehow become paralyzed in the last three seconds was ludicrous, but it was the only explanation he could think of.
"Stop that, you could make it worse." House grabbed his hands. "Hold still."
Wilson tried to stay calm as House gently probed his throat. He would figure it out. He always figured things like this out.
House stepped back after a moment. He frowned pensively at Wilson. Slowly, he raised his cane and pointed the rubber tip square at the younger man's chest.
"I wish," Prod prod "That Wilson could speak."
"How is that going to help?!" Wilson's hand flew to his mouth as the words tumbled out. He could talk again.
House grinned wickedly. "That's interesting."
"We don't know where this cane was before it got to the antique shop. Who's to say it didn't belong to a wizard?"
"Um, anyone with common sense?"
"Meh." House waved his hand dismissively. "Besides, I can test my theory right now. I wish," He tapped the flame-painted cane twice against his desktop. "That all my paperwork was finished."
Both men watched in amazement as the papers on the table disintegrated.
"My God…" Wilson gaped as the dust settled.
"Well, I guess that's one way it could be finished." House murmured. "I'd better be careful about how I word my requests."
"Your cane can't be magic." Wilson stammered. "There's no such thing!"
"The results beg to differ." House jabbed a finger at the tabletop.
"Then why hasn't anything happened before? You've hit numerous people and things with your cane."
"Hit, not tapped. And not proceeded with the words 'I wish'. That seems to be the key."
"This is insane."
"Do you need another demonstration?" House grinned again and lifted his cane slightly.
"Keep that thing away from me." Wilson took a few steps back.
"I thought there was no such thing as magic." House smirked.
"Magic or not, that is still a long hard piece of wood you can injure me with."
"That's what your Mom said. Snap."
"Mature." Wilson pinched the bridge of his nose, frustrated. "Okay, lets say by some insane chance you're right, and your cane does have certain…abilities."
"Powers." House corrected him.
"It's dangerous. You have no idea what it could be capable of."
"Well, lets see if the 'three per customer' thing is in effect. I wish-"
"That my thigh would heal. Quickly."
"Maybe the three…wishes…you already said were it." Wilson said tentatively after a moment.
"My cane is not a genie." House glared at the object. "It's a piece of--" The scream was one of pure pain. House clamped both hands onto his thigh, dropping the cane. "SHIT!"
Wilson was back at his side in an instant. "Oh God, I knew this wasn't going to work."
"No." House said shakily after a moment. "It…it's getting better."
After a few more shaky breaths House let go of his leg.
"Is it…?" Wilson lowered his voice to a whisper.
"The pain is gone."
House slowly stood up, testing his leg. It held his weight without the slightest tinge. He walked forward a few steps.
"Be careful. You were hurting even worse than normal a second ago." Wilson cautioned.
"It felt like when the infarction happened."
"That's the only way I can describe it." House took a few more steps.
"That doesn't sound like healing." Wilson frowned pensivly.
"I don't care what it was." House snapped. "The pain is gone."
Wilson gasped as House leapt towards the door and took off down the hall, running. He started after his lover a moment later, pausing only to grab the cane.
"House!" He followed him up the stairwell, unable to match the long-legged strides.
House just continued to run up the steps, unaware of anything but the fact that he could run. He felt energetic, untouchable. Certainly better than he'd felt just moments before. He raced up the nearest flight of stairs, toward the roof. He felt good.
Wilson couldn't believe the speed House was managing. He wasn't running our of breath or slowing in the slightest.
'This isn't right.' He swallowed a desperate gulp of air. 'That stupid cane did something besides fix his leg!'
House felt like he could run forever. He wasn't tired, not even close. He might have gone right to the roof if he hadn't tripped. The Diagnostician went sprawling, landing badly and banging his knee.
"OW! Shit, shit…" House grabbed at his left knee, which was oozing blood. The shock of the new pain startled him into tears. He drew a hand across his eyes, trying to eradicate the liquid.
"H…House. Oh, God." Wilson panted, finally catching sight of him.
'"I'm okay." His voice hitched strangely. "I tripped. Just a scrape."
"Are you crying?" Wilson slowly climbed the last steps.
"No!" The hitch hadn't gotten better as the pain faded. Weird.
"You are." Wilson insisted. He dropped to one knee and tilted House's face up. In an instant his expression changed from worry into horror. "Oh shit!"
"Your face…" Wilson gulped.
"What?" House growled. Or tried to, anyway. He still didn't sound right.
"You're…younger." Wilson managed.
"What are you talking about?"
"Your stubble is gone." Wilson traced a finger down the now smooth skin of House's cheek. "And you're smaller."
House leapt to his feet, nearly knocking Wilson over in the process. There was a window in the stairwell that looked out onto the courtyard--not the best mirror, but it would do.
The face staring back at him was indeed stubble-free. His hair was curlier than normal, and a few shades lighter as well. For a moment he thought his eyes had grown; in actuality the rest of his skull had shrunk. He looked to be about sixteen years old.
"Oh." His voice wasn't gravelly anymore.
"It's the cane, it healed you by reversing the aging process!" Wilson gaped.
"Um…actually no." House's voice cracked on the last word. "It's healing me by reversing the aging process. I'm still losing years."
He turned back to Wilson, surly no older than fourteen, and still shrinking.
"No." Wilson felt the blood draining out of his face.
"We've gotta do something. Quick!" House eyed the cane in Wilson's hand. "Wish me back to adulthood!"
"House, I can't-"
"I don't know if it'll work for me while I'm shrinking! Do it!" House watched in horror as everything around him seemed to grow bigger.
"Um, I uh…" Wilson stammered. "I um…I wish House would stop getting younger!"
"Tap the cane!" House's intended bellow came out as a shriek.
"I wish this would stop!" Wilson yelled, banging the cane on the ground.
House watched as his surroundings stopped growing. He tried to estimate his own height. No more than three feet, several inches at the most. That put him at what…three? A young four?
"I guess that works." He mumbled. He sounded very young.
"Why did you do that?!" Wilson turned away from him and paced, unable to take in the sight. "That was the stupidest thing I've ever seen you do House. You could have vanished down to nothing if I hadn't caught up with you in time! What were you thinking?"
There was a non-committal sound that might have been a whimper.
Wilson dragged a hand across his face. "You're going to give me a heat attack before I hit forty! You…"
He trailed off as he turned back to face House.
House pressed himself against the wall while Wilson ranted. He knew that tone of voice--it meant pain. The logical knowledge that Wilson was just scared and would never hurt him was overruled by the instinctive nature of the thoughts. Large, angry grownups meant pain. His father had taught that lesson well.
He tried to curl in on himself. Smaller targets were harder to hit.
Wilson slowly lowered himself to the floor. House was curled up in his own shirt, trembling, arms over his head. He was sobbing softly.
'He's protecting himself from blows.' Wilson realized, horrified. House had thought…
"Shh, it's okay. I'm not going to…It's okay." Wilson gently reached out to him. House flinched when Wilson touched his shoulders. Slowly, the Oncologist drew him into his arms.
"It's alright." Wilson murmured as House wept. "It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you."
Slowly, the sobs tapered off. Shame rolled over House. Of course Wilson wasn't going to hurt him. He'd had an extremely embarrassing reaction to getting lectured, something Wilson subjected him to all the time.
"I'm sorry." He lifted his head, but didn't look Wilson in the eyes. "You shouldn't have seen that."
"Don't be sorry. I shouldn't have yelled." Wilson tilted House's head up, forcing him to look into his eyes. "I wouldn't-"
"I know." House snapped. "It was just stress. You try being relaxed when you've just lost over forty years."
"I better try and get you back to normal." Wilson picked up the forgotten cane. He tapped it against the floor timidly. "Um…I wish House and I were the same age."
House gave him an incredulous look. "What are you doing?"
"If I just tell this thing to make you grow up it might make you much older than you actually are." Wilson replied. "My age is specific, before the infarction-"
"And still stupid." House growled.
"Because it wasn't specific enough. Now you're shrinking."
To be continued...