"They're only theories," said Chase, rather doubtfully as he looked over the information he'd collected.
"But they're worth a shot." Foreman added, also looking over the information he had collected. Cameron also had a file of papers on what she had found out.
Both House and Wilson had a horrible, sinking feeling that any of the possible theories would somehow sound next to impossible. They waited for each member of the team to read aloud their findings with baited breath. Cameron left Wilson's side and went first.
"The obvious cure could be as simple as a kiss," said Cameron, raising her eyebrows and peering carefully over her file folder. There was a long pause before anyone said anything.
"Well then, get on with it!" House blurted, approaching Cameron for a kiss he thought would fix this.
Cameron took a few steps back.
"No, House, not from me," she said, shaking her head. "It says the two switched parties have to kiss one another."
Silence thicker than fog filled the room. House and Wilson looked at one another, but didn't make a move.
"That is ridiculous!" Wilson exclaimed, standing up and leaning on his cane. "You don't actually expect us to…"
Without warning, House grabbed Wilson's face with both hands and planted a huge, wet kiss right on his friend's lips. Then he pushed Wilson back into the chair. Everyone stood there in total surprise. Wilson could only blink in confusion, then finally rubbed a fist across his lips and scowled at House.
"Nope, that didn't work." House declared, simply.
Wilson suddenly made a pitiful spitting sound.
"Don't ever do that to me again!" he shouted at House.
House ignored Wilson and turned to Chase.
"What have you got for us?" he asked and Wilson prayed that it didn't involve kissing or some sort of kinky sex.
"Well, there's a few things here," Chase said. "You could go see a clairvoyant or a psychic."
"What could they do?" asked Wilson.
"They could perform Aurasomatherapy, which is a holistic soul therapy in which the vibrational powers of color, crystals and natural aromas combine with light in order to harmonise the body, mind and spirit." Chase explained. "Clairvoyants are supposed to be able to see people's auras. It may give them a clue as to why you switched and how to switch you back." he declared, sounding as though he actually believed all this. To House and Wilson, it sounded like a lot of nonsense.
"There's no scientific proof that any of that crap even works." said Wilson, negatively.
"There's no scientific reason for your switch, either, Dr. Wilson," Cameron pointed out. "If I were you, I'd be willing to try anything."
House rolled his eyes.
"I know you would." he said and Cameron cocked her head and frowned at him. "So, fine. We'll consider the psychos."
"Psychics!" Chase hastily corrected his boss.
"Whatever." House waved a hand in the air.
"What else?" Wilson pressed Chase for more solutions.
"You could just change back spontaneously," Chase continued, leafing through his papers. "Which means you may want to stick together. It can't happen that way if you are in separate places."
This sounded like good news to House and Wilson. And much simpler, too.
"Are you saying that we could just be sitting around somewhere together and we'd suddenly switch back?" Wilson asked in amazement.
"Well, not exactly," Chase replied. "There is another factor to be considered."
"Which is?" House demanded.
"I'm not exactly sure how to explain it," said Chase, looking over at Cameron for help. She took the paper from Chase's hand, read over the notes quickly, then looked at House and Wilson.
"You need to find common ground," she explained. "And something in yourselves that is still truly you."
"We still have our thoughts," said Wilson. "I'm still me. I mean, I still feel like myself inside."
"There's more," said Cameron. "Once you find that, you have to find a connection. Between the two of you. Something that you two share alone. Not something you share with everyone else in your life. Just something only yours."
"We're best friends," House pointed out. "Is that not obvious? Aren't we connected that way?"
"It's deeper than that, House," Cameron told him, gently. "Why are you best friends? What do you have in common? What connected you?"
House and Wilson thought for a long time. They really didn't know. And they really had nothing in common. At least nothing they could think of. They were practically complete opposites. House was cold, miserable and sarcastic. Wilson was kind, happy-go-lucky and charming. The only similarity was that they were both doctors at the same hospital.
"Well?" Chase broke the silence.
"Well what?" House shot back.
"Can't you think of anything?" Chase asked.
House started to pace, hands clasped behind his back.
"Look, I don't know, okay?" he said. "I don't know how or why we became friends. It just sort of… happened."
Wilson nodded in agreement.
"Yea, we just… tolerate each other, really," he declared. House and Wilson exchanged a sad smile. They knew that wasn't completely true. It wasn't just about tolerance. They truly cared for one another. But what was the deeper meaning in their friendship? What was it they had that nobody else had?
"You just need time to think about it," Cameron assured them, kindly. "What else have you got? You'll figure it out." She gave them an encouraging smile.
"If you're so smart, why don't you just tell us?" House snapped.
"How am I supposed to know?" Cameron responded, hands on her hips. "Half the hospital has been trying to figure that out for years. They don't understand how you and Dr. Wilson could possibly be friends."
"Everyone has their theories about that, though," Foreman added.
"Oh yea?" Wilson challenged. "Like what? What do they think?"
"That you're a couple…"
"Yea, a couple of freaks in the wrong body!" House exclaimed.
"Or that you are at least sleeping together." Chase finished.
"That's really sick." Wilson said, making a face. "Why does everything boil down to someone being a homosexual?"
"Well, look at it this way," said Foreman. "If that were the case, at least it would be easy to see what your connection could be." He laughed.
House and Wilson were not amused. They didn't want to be looked at as gay.
"We don't think you're a couple, of course." Chase told them, sincerely. "Nor that you're sleeping together."
Kiss-ass, thought Wilson, now bitter towards the entire hospital for having such morbid thoughts about him and House.
House stopped pacing and took a sip of his coffee.
"Alright, so I guess we have something to think about then," He looked at Foreman. "What have you got for us, Milton Fine?"
Foreman rolled his eyes at House's new nickname for him.
"Not a whole lot," he said, sighing. "Well, nothing as favorable as what Chase and Cameron have suggested. From my point of view, you're looking at head or brain transplants or electroshock treatment."
Foreman was right. Neither of those sounded great, plus there was no record of a successful brain transplant.
"Are you suggesting that we cut off our heads?" demanded House.
"Of course not," Foreman replied. "Don't be an ass, House. It would never work. Besides, you would just have Wilson's head on your body and vice versa. The whole point is to get you completely back to normal." He looked thoughtful for a moment. "You know, in 1973, actually, a doctor did it with two monkeys."
"What, switched their heads?" asked Wilson.
"Yes," Foreman nodded. "And it worked, too. The animal could still smell, taste, see, and hear. However, it only lived for eight days after that."
The room fell silent again as everyone thought about brain transplants and monkeys with switched heads.
"Tell me about the electroshock treatment." House ordered.
"It's too dangerous!" Wilson protested, but his friend ignored him.
"Tell me." House persisted.
"Dr. Wilson's right, House, it's too dangerous," said Foreman.
"What, and decapitating us isn't?" House quipped, even though he knew that would never happen. "How does it work? Spit it out, Foreman. Let's have it."
"We wire you up together; link your brain waves and shock you at the exact same time," he explained. "You'll either switch brains or get complete and total amnesia. Then we lose you both. Or it'll be a partial switch. In other words, you may find yourselves having thoughts that are not your own."
Wilson noticed House considering this.
"House, no way!" Wilson protested again. "It's way too risky. Didn't you hear what Foreman just said?"
"Well what other option do we have, Wilson?" House retorted. "It's already impossible to try and figure out what two complete opposites have in common. I kissed you and that didn't work. It probably only confirmed anyone's guess that we're gay, if anything!"
"Nobody saw us…"
"And I really hate the idea of a trial brain transplant or having my head lopped off." House declared defiantly. "Then there's the whole psychics thing…"
"Or you could just wait for the rocks." added Chase.
"Besides," Wilson said. "You'd have to convince Cuddy to let us try that. And you know how well that would go." he stated, sarcastically.
Wilson was right, of course. Cuddy would never allow such a risky experiment, even if there was the possibility of fixing the switch. And Wilson wasn't exactly keen on the idea of having electrical currents sent through his brain. He knew of the damage that could follow.
Again, they all sat in silence as House and Wilson weighed their options. Wilson was getting a massive headache, trying to decide what their next course of action should be. Cameron's suggestion of trying to find the deeper meaning of their friendship was really the only thing they could do for the time being. Then again, if they did manage to figure it out, who's to say it would even work? And sticking together meant that Wilson would have to stay with House. (Which had already been confirmed). Wilson tried to imagine cooking, cleaning and putting up with pranks with one bad leg. And sleeping on a lumpy couch was not going to help either.
"Whatever decision you make, whatever you decide to do, we'll support you one hundred percent." Chase declared, smiling and the others nodded.
"I hope so," said House. "Now would you mind taking your lips off of my ass so I can get out of here? I'm ready to call it a day." He looked at Wilson and Wilson nodded.
"That was uncalled for," said Chase, insulted, after House and Wilson had left the room. "We're only trying to help."
Foreman was shaking his head. "Those two are beyond help." He sighed. "They can't even figure out why they are best friends. That can't be good."
"But they have to figure it out," Cameron isisted. "If they don't…"
"We know." said Foreman, quickly.
"Don't you think we should have told them?" Chase questioned, worried.
Cameron shook her head. "Absolutely not, Chase. They have other things to think about," she replied. "We can't have the risk factor weighing down on them. They'll never be able to think straight then."
They all looked down at that one piece of paper that they had purposely neglected to read. The one that stated the fact that the longer they remained switched, the more they would eventually and completely become each other. Permanently. Irreversible. The fact that they could truly lose them both over time, frightened Chase, Cameron and Foreman more than words could say.
In the hospital parking lot, House and Wilson were having an argument over their vehicles. House was insisting that Wilson leave his car behind and ride with him instead.
"There's no way you're going to get me on that devilish thing," Wilson said, firmly.
"Don't be such a baby, Wilson," House teased. "I mean, you are basically on it already, aren't you?"
House had a point. Wilson was looking at himself sitting on the motorcycle. But that didn't matter. Only how he felt mattered.
"Look, I just prefer to take my own car," Wilson said, unlocking the door. "I have to stop by the hotel and pick up my things for you. By the way, can I have my wallet back? The key card for the room is in there."
House reached into his back pocket and tossed Wilson's wallet to him. Wilson caught it and got into his car with great difficulty, while House watched him with a smirk.
"You better come with me," Wilson suggested, before closing the door. He looked at his reflection in the rearview mirror as he adjusted it. "It'll look suspicious if they see you leaving with my suitcase."
"Do they really know you that well?" House asked, half-laughing. "That is bad, Wilson. Really bad. Tell me, are you on a first name basis with the maids?"
Wilson rolled his eyes and shook his head. House put on his helmet.
"Don't you think it'll be suspicious enough to see their bestest customer, Jimmy Wilson drive up on a motorcycle?" House teased him, mercilessly.
"It's none of their business how I choose to get there," said Wilson. "I pay them rent. I'll meet you there."
House sped off, leaving Wilson with another dilemma. How was he supposed to drive his car properly? He realized, shocked, that he'd have to use his left leg, since he had a non-functional right one. He suddenly wished House hadn't already left. He found himself contemplating which was more dangerous – driving his car with the wrong leg or riding behind his friend on a maniacal motorcycle.
Fuck, thought Wilson. He gingerly moved his right leg over to the passenger side and adjusted his left leg to work the pedals. He knew where the gas and brake pedals were, but because he had to use his left leg, everything was backwards. He was afraid that if he needed to slam on the brakes suddenly, for some reason, he would instead hit the gas. The only thing he could do was to drive slowly and carefully, concentrating.
"Gas right, brake left," Wilson muttered to himself as he made his way slowly out of the hospital parking lot and on to the road that would take him to the hotel. No doubt, House was probably already there, waiting impatiently for Wilson to arrive.
He wasn't even halfway there, when red, blinking lights appeared in the rearview mirror, almost blinding him, followed by the wailing of a siren.
"Fuck me!" Wilson cursed. He couldn't believe his rotten luck. He was probably going to get ticketed for driving too slowly and failing to merge. Wilson could just imagine what House would do or say when he found about this. He already knew that Wilson had never received a ticket in his life. Not for speeding, not for parking. Now, for driving too damn slow. Go figure.
Wilson pulled over to the side of the road, suddenly jolting forward when he accidentally hit the gas and not the brakes. He slammed on the brakes at the last minute, narrowly missing a parallel parked car directly in front of him.
Let's not add a hit to the list, thought Wilson, cursing again. He rolled down his window and pulled his wallet out of his shirt pocket, quite forgetting that the picture did not match what he now looked like.
Thankfully, the officer didn't even ask to see his license and registration. She was more interested to find out why he had been driving so slowly.
"You were driving kind of slow back there," the officer commented. "Didn't you see the merge sign?"
"Uh, yes," Wilson answered.
"Well, what's the problem then?" she inquired.
Wilson wasn't sure what to say. But he knew he couldn't very well lie. He had a legitimate reason.
"My leg," he said at last. "I have a bum right leg, so I have to drive with my left. It's a lot harder than I thought." He laughed, nervously.
The officer stuck her head inside and observed his right leg, hanging partially over on the passenger side.
"Are you trying to tell me that this infarction just happened to you today?" she asked, skeptically.
"Actually, yes," Wilson replied, matter-of-factly. "It did."
The officer was taken aback.
"Well, alright then," she said, pulling her head back out from inside the car. "I'll let you off with a warning. But if you ask me, that cane looks pretty worn for someone who claims to have only injured his leg recently." she declared, frankly and walked back to her car.
Wilson was beyond relieved as he drove away from the curb, faster this time.
"That was a narrow escape." he said, thankfully.
Once he arrived at the hotel, Wilson had pretty much gotten the hang of left-leg driving. It was a good thing, too, because he still had to drive to House's place afterwards.
"What the hell took you so long?" House demanded, when Wilson found him waiting in the lobby. "Everyone keeps asking me why I'm just sitting here and not going up to my – or rather, your – room." he told Wilson, annoyed.
"Why do they care?" Wilson scoffed.
House shrugged. "Don't know. But every time I look at that receptionist, she gets all starry-eyed." He smirked, because he knew Wilson could charm just about anyone of the opposite sex. It wasn't unusual for women to get all flustered and dreamy-eyed when Wilson was around. House had to admit that he kind of liked it, now that it was him.
"That's Dana," Wilson said, looking at the pretty brunette at the front desk. "Isn't she something?" He sighed. They headed for the elevator and rode it up to Wilson's floor.
"Yea, she's something all right," House said. "Did you see her…"
"House!" Wilson expressed, cutting his friend off.
"Well, she seems to like you," House commented as they got off the elevator and arrived at Wilson's door. He smirked, smugly. "Maybe I should ask her out. Isn't that what you usually do before sleeping with them?"
Wilson glared at House and swiped the key card to unlock the door.
"You need to learn when to leave well enough alone." Wilson lectured him. "You may look like me, but you sure don't act like me."
"What, you mean all whiny and miserable about your leg?" House forced a laugh. "I don't need to be you to act like that."
"You're admitting to that?" Wilson asked, in total surprise. It was so not like him.
"Yea," House responded, scratching his head in confusion. "Though I don't have a clue why. Where did that come from?" He wandered off to use the washroom, while Wilson finished packing his suitcase as neatly as possible. He wanted to get his clothes to House's place quickly so he could hang them up before they got wrinkled. He was sure House didn't own an iron. Not that it mattered. Wilson wasn't the one who'd be wearing the clothes.
When House was done in the washroom, Wilson packed up his hair and facial products, toothbrush and blow dryer into a smaller, overnight bag.
"Is that it?" asked House, picking up the overnight bag and heading for the door. Wilson was left to handle the large suitcase. He pulled it behind him, relieved that it had wheels because there was no way he'd have been able to lift or carry it.
"That's all she wrote," Wilson 'mused and they left, taking the elevator back downstairs.
"Dr. Wilson, are you leaving?" Dana called from the front desk.
Wilson looked at House, reminding him that he had to answer, since he looked like Wilson and Dana was looking directly at him.
"What does it look like?" House snapped and Dana looked hurt. House tossed the key card on to the counter, then he and Wilson left the building.
"You didn't have to be so mean to her," Wilson told him. "She probably hates me now."
"Good!" House retorted. "That's one less woman for you to wine and dine and then bang later."
Wilson sighed, annoyed. House was obviously in a bad mood again. The sooner they got to his place and went to bed, the better. House would be easier to deal with once there were a few beers in him.
Wilson wanted nothing more than to soak in a hot bath. It would relax him and his leg. He was not, however looking forward to a night on a lumpy couch. That wouldn't do his leg any good at all.
That's when a thought occurred to Wilson. If he was House, with the bad leg, he should get the bed! House should be the one sleeping on the couch. He knew what his friend would think of that, but he didn't care. And he wasn't about to ask, either. Wilson decided that, after his bath, he would just help himself to House's bed.
To be continued….
A/N: Sorry for another long wait, but something about this story wants me to make it perfect and cover every possible detail that could happen to our guys while they are switched. I've already started the fourth chapter, so that one shouldn't take too long to get posted. Thanks to all for your wonderful reviews… they make me teary-eyed! They really do!
Oh yea, and sorry about so much dialogue… LOL… it's my strong suit.