"So who picked Kansas?" Wilson closed the door between House's office and the conference room. Thirteen glanced over as the door shut, but then went back to her notes.
House took a file from his backpack and put it on his desk, then took out his iPod and put it next to the docking station. "You stalking me, or is it just a coincidence that you show up ninety seconds after I get here?"
"I just ..." Wilson put his hands in his pockets, "I just happened to be on the balcony and saw you drive up."
House sat down. "It's thirty-eight degrees," he pointed out.
"So, if you were that curious, you could have come by and watched the game and found out then, rather than risking hypothermia this morning."
"I told you," Wilson said. "I was tied up last night."
"I don't want to hear about your sex life."
"I told you," Wilson repeated, taking a seat across from House. "Amber's parents were only going to be in town for a day."
"And you wanted to make a good impression.
"And you're avoiding the question. Who picked Kansas?"
House leaned back in his chair, drummed his fingers on his desk. "Apparently, Kushma did."
"Kushma? Kushma the hand surgeon Kushma?"
"Know any other Kushmas around here?"
"Not Foreman or Taub or Cuddy or ..."
"Not even Coma Guy?"
"You expected good picks from a guy in a coma?"
"No, from you." Wilson put his hands over his eyes. "You forged entries from eight people."
"You put nearly twenty bucks into the pot for each one of those forged entries."
"And not one of them picked Kansas?"
"What's your point?"
Wilson just shook his head.
"Thirteen picked Kansas to lose to UNLV in the second round in an upset," House said. "Foreman had them losing to Georgetown in the Sweet Sixteen. Cuddy and Cameron both had them losing to Vanderbilt. You, Taub and Coma Guy all thought they'd lose to North Carolina in the Final Four. Is it my fault North Carolina choked?"
"Eight entries and not one of them picked Kansas," Wilson said.
"I didn't hear you complaining about my picks earlier, when you were winning."
"Besides, winning wasn't the point."
Wilson blinked. "Since when have you not cared about winning?"
"The point," House said, "was to beat ortho at its stupid ban. They thought they could kick me out of their pool. They didnÕt.Ó
"Yeah, and all it cost you was a hundred and sixty bucks."
"A hundred and fifty, with your ten bucks."
"Fine, a hundred and fifty. Great way to prove a point. And best of all," Wilson leaned forward, "best of all, they don't even know that you pulled one over on them. So what does that prove?"
"The fact that they don't even know I outsmarted them is the best part," House said. "It's not a perfect murder if you don't get away with it."
"So it doesn't bother you that no one knows -- that you can't brag about it to a soul."
House shrugged. "Except for you."
"Except for ..." Wilson stopped, thought about the call he'd gotten back when the tournament began. It had come from Williams, one of the few guys in ortho who managed to get along with House. "Did you tell Williams to call me?"
"I might have run into him in the cafeteria and asked how the pool was going," House said. "I might have even said something about how you'd love hearing that you were winning."
"You set me up." Wilson stood, walked across the room and then back to House's desk. "You made sure I'd figure out something was going on just so you could have someone in on your scheme."
"You're insane." Wilson shook his head, paced in front of House's desk.
"You loved it."
"It was ..." Wilson stopped, shrugged, "fun." He sat again. "And next year, I'm picking my own teams."
"You'll lose," House said.
Wilson smiled. "Want to bet?"