By Angelfirenze

Disclaimer: Not mine. The sorrow is no longer compounded with each passing Tuesday. 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), the Harold and Kumar-verse, 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 is 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.

WARNING: For all of you hoping otherwise, Kutner and Kumar are not the same person here. Just like John Cho's PoTW character from once upon a time is not Harold! Their appearances will be nothing like canon, I promise. After all, this is as AU as it is possible to be at this point. I'm going with it, hopefully you will, too.


He limps forward and slams his cane on his desk and hears his mother's surprised cry and her subsequent jump.

"Fuck you," he says, turning to follow America's -- his son's -- footsteps out of his office.

"You want to repeat that, son?" his father's voice rolls over him, making his ears burn.

But he doesn't say anything. He just goes forward, shoving the glass door open and surging down the hall. He realizes that his son is less than half his age, completely -- or mostly -- healthy, and doesn't know the New Jersey area like he does.

He almost wants to laugh when he finds America standing in the park across the street from the hospital, if only out of relief.

He leans heavily on the cane, gasping for air and smiling ironically as America wheels around. The smile falls off his face as he realizes that America is crying.

"You're crying," he says. Toneless. And -- rarely for him -- without derision or mockery.

"I'm not c-crying," America says, clogged with tears and anger.

"Yes, you are," House points out in a stating-the-obvious tone.

"I'm not fucking crying," America snaps like if he says it hard enough, it'll be true and House sighs, gritting his teeth momentarily. He decides to let it go, focusing instead on his father's more bastardly tendencies.

"You're my son, whatever the fuck my father says," he intones, quiet, matter of fact. "And I have to tell you, I'm…I am not the best role model. I don't have the best habits. I take shitty care of myself, personally. I drink, I lie, I cheat. I break and enter and teach others to do the same. I take far more than the recommended dose, then wash it all down with scotch, which means my liver is likely to fail anytime in the next x years/months."

"You're a doctor," America says quietly, like that's supposed to clear everything up. "You help people."

House snorts. "Like that makes me so fucking special. There are doctors who kill people -- hundreds. You'd have to ask them why. The point is, kid, that I'm not sure that finding me was the best thing for you. I..."

America watches him and House sees his father's eyes staring back at him, only these are minus the usual condemnation and disappointment and are filled instead with hurt -- so much of it -- and anger. He frowns, knowing that his own eyes most likely look the same way.

"I don't want to hurt you like they all did," House murmurs, his eyes falling down to the grass below their feet. "You have no idea what a violation of my Hippocratic Oath it would be to fuck up my own son."

He chuckles ironically again because it's not as though he pays his oath any attention on most days and rubs his arms to warm them up because he notices the chill lining his sleeves and thinks regretfully that he should have had the presence of mind to grab his jacket back from his mother because it's cold out now.

House looks up again and sees the broken blood vessels in America's still tear-filled and reddened eyes. He looks behind America's black Hi-Top Converse-clad feet to see a puddle of what is obviously vomit.

"You've been sick," he says, frowning. "If you continue in your present state, you'll get dehydrated. Come on, we've got to get you something."

But America doesn't move.

House sighs again. "We don't have to go to my office. We can go to Cuddy's. She used to be a pediatrician. She's got a whole freezer of Pedialyte popsicles, just in case. You can have the grape ones."

He never imagined he'd feel the relief he does when America starts walking with him.