Disclaimer: Not mine. The sorrow is compounded with each passing week. Quotes utilized from America by E.R. Frank, various television shows (Without a Trace, the Discovery Health Channel, and Nip/Tuck, for instance), and movies (like American Beauty and Finding Forrester).
Summary: "Who are you?" He asks, and I stare at those bright blue glaciers in that angry, hard face. "I don't know," I say, my throat tight and my palms slick.
Rating: M just to be on the safe side.
Timeline: Early S2, slightly AU for 'Daddy's Boy.'
Spoilers: 'Daddy's Boy' and everything before.
Universe(s): House (Steam series-verse, in a way), E.R. Frank's books, Law & Order and its' subsidiaries (particularly CI) and—by extension, X-Files, Cheaper By the Dozen (2003), Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, because I'm weird like that. Heh.
ANs: I decided to add the Bakers into the mix on a whim. I thought it'd be interesting, given what happens in the movie. Besides, it amuses me to think of House having lots of far younger cousins. He'd be the Baker dozen's king. It's also ironic, given the fact that Blythe House was played by Diane Baker. And I've decided that House's parents don't come to visit until a few hours later; after Chase has already informed Carnell's dad that he's going to die.
AMERICA - ONE
He's got these blue eyes. Bright, like the glaciers in a movie about Antarctica or some damned where. His coat's all rumpled and not white like most of the other guys around here. Not like Dr. B. It's just regular, like it goes to a suit, but he's got on jeans instead. I look at the paper in my hand, just to make sure I'm at the right spot and not about to walk up on some crazy old man. But the building we're in is stark and shiny. White. Like Everest, almost, except for all the people. It's like Ridgeway, all the nurses in their scrubs and the doctors in their coats and the patients in their gowns. But this one's different. He's got on his jeans and sneakers--bright and shiny Nikes that I can see from over here, reflecting the light from the fluorescents in the ceiling like tiny little mirrors. He frowns, bites something at one of the nurses--who bites right the fuck back--and looks at the chart she's given him.
"You," he goes, looking at me and I can see those eyes that don't look like mine except they do because they're full of hurt and I don't think he even knows how much and it's like a jolt from my head down to the bottoms of my feet but I ignore it and glance at the big sign over the desk that goes CLINIC in these big letters. White. Almost everything in here is white, except for the walls. They're either painted or glass, burnished and so clear you could see through the whole damned building in some parts, I bet.
"Hey! Space cadet!" He goes and I fall back down to where he's glaring at me. Looking at me like I'm stomping all over those feet of his, messing up his shoes. Making the shine dull. He's got a cane, I see, and I stand and walk, watching as his scowl gets so deep and the anger in his eyes gets them a whole shade darker. Now they're like the sky outside when the sun goes behind a cloud.
He limps in behind me and shuts the door and it clicks loud while I sit on the table and he eases his skinny ass down on the stool in the corner, like it hurts just to think.
"America Harper," he reads, glancing at my chart. "Sore throat."
He stares at me, flat, like I'm wasting his fucking time.
I shrug and he rolls his eyes, taking out a set of those latex gloves and snapping them on and pulling one of those big wooden popsicle sticks from a glass container on the counter. "Say 'ah,'" he goes and I do. He looks for a second before backing away and pulling the stethoscope from around his neck.
"Get out," he goes and I grip the table, a weird kind of shiver ripping through me and it's kind of nice because it's cold in this place and the cold is good and clear and clean.
"I can't," I go, clearing my throat, my eyes on my shoes. I think about the paper Dr. B. gave me, crumpled in the front pocket of my hooded sweatshirt that Liza got me for Christmas and I want to run and want to stay all at the same time.
"Well, I guess you have a problem, then, kid, because there's nothing wrong with you--"
He's somewhere in the middle and the same way so he can't really talk, but it's stupid to think about because right now it doesn't fucking matter.
So I say the only thing I can think of that might make him listen. Dr. B. told me all he could find and that's all I can use. I can't go and he can't leave.
"New York. The Bowery. 1985."
He was up, halfway to the door, his right hand gripping that cane like it was all that was keeping him from falling away. He limps real hard so that might be true.
He turns around, real slow, in shifts, with those Nikes making little squeaks on the linoleum and his breath getting slower and deeper and quieter every second.
"Who are you?" He asks, and I stare at those bright blue glaciers in that angry, hard face.
"I don't know," I say, my throat tight and my palms slick. I wipe them on my pants, thinking of my light brown skin and green eyes. My not-quite straight hair and my skinny nose and wide lips and his not-quite straight hair and the bright blue eyes and the dark circles I can see under those eyes and the tightness in the skin around his mouth. Like he's real close to saying to hell with it and falling into a dark heaviness that's been calling to him for a real long, long time.
"You don't know," he goes, quiet. Soft. Those eyes aren't so hard anymore. They're sleepy and softer but still angrier than anything.
I sigh and run my hand through my hair, wishing for the first time in forever that I had my matches and my shoelaces, but I smash it down and take a breath.
"America," I say, real calm, like I'm not falling apart inside. "And you're Dr. Gregory House. You met...my biological mother...when you were in New York in 1985. You didn't stick around, but that's okay because you didn't know and, anyway, she didn't stick around either. She--"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Dr. House goes, putting up a hand. "Look, kid--" He glances at his watch and mutters something about lunch and Wilson and General Hospital. "Just...wait a minute. Just shut up for a second. I'll be right back."
"You're going to run an errand?" I ask and my voice is dark and bitter, but I don't mean it. I don't want to mean it.
Dr. House stares. "Is that what she used to tell you?" And he's frowning again. He sighs and reaches into his pocket, pulling out a white pad with black lines and his name's at the top. Dr. Gregory House, small, black, and neat. He scribbles some nonsense on it before ripping off the sheet and giving it to me. "Come with me. My shift is over in..." he stares at his watch, counting off the seconds. "Three, two--let's go, kid."
So we go.