TITLE: Dr Hannibal Lecher
DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with Universal Media Studios.
A/N: Written for gethouselaid prompt: House/Wilson -- Wilson talks in his sleep.
BETA: Enormous thanks firstly to radiobroadcast who beta'd in part, and then to imfreakinorange.
Dr Hannibal Lecher
House strode into the conference room, sat down and said, "Differential diagnosis for talking in your sleep."
His fellows looked up from their laptops and journals, bewildered.
"Er - our patient doesn't talk in his sleep," Foreman said, with the air of explaining something to an idiot.
House glared at him. "Did I say anything about our patient? Whom we diagnosed and cured yesterday anyway."
"Just somniloquy?" Chase asked obligingly, putting down his newspaper to play along with whatever House's game was. "No other forms of parasomnia - night terrors, somnambulism?"
"No. Not those, anyway," House said. He looked round at Cameron and Foreman and tapped his cane on the floor impatiently.
Cameron took her glasses off and moved her hands back from her laptop. "Sleep talking by itself isn't anything to worry about. But if it's dramatic, emotional, or profane, it could be a sign of another more serious sleep disorder."
"Rapid eye movement behaviour disorder, bruxism, sleep paralysis?" Chase suggested. House shook his head at each one.
Cameron took a sip from her cup of coffee and asked, "Is the patient a child?"
"No. Adult male," House was brusque.
Foreman looked pained, and asked, "Are we playing Twenty Questions?"
Chase twirled his pen and looked at the ceiling. "Sexsomnia?" he offered.
"I wish," House muttered.
The fellows exchanged glances.
"Exploding head syndrome?" Chase said, with an air of ingenuity.
This caught House's attention; he turned towards Chase and looked at him. "I like the sound of that one. Go on."
"Exploding head syndrome, or auditory sleep starts, happens when someone experiences a tremendously loud noise as if from inside their own head," Chase screwed up his forehead as he recited. "It usually happens at night but can happen during the day."
"Might have had some of that," House leaned forward and propped his chin on his elbow.
"It doesn't cause pain, but it can feel very loud, so can cause fear and anxiety." Foreman took over with authority. "It's not thought to be dangerous. There's a correlation with stress or extreme fatigue."
"Not fatigue," House said slowly.
"Stress, then." Chase shot Foreman a knowing look. "Perhaps the person's stressed at work - too many dying patients maybe. Interruptions from the office next door -"
"Or at home," Foreman joined in. "Difficult partner? Could have sexual problems."
"Oh God," Cameron groaned.
House stood up and rapped his cane on the floor. "For that Foreman, you can go and do my clinic duty, which should have started ten minutes ago. And Chase, you'll be doing my shift tomorrow."
He stalked into his office and shut the door firmly behind him.
When House got home, he was immediately overwhelmed by the distinct smell of Wilson's cooking. "Hey!" a voice called from the kitchen.
House limped into the kitchen to find Wilson chopping up vegetables for dinner. Heaps of onion, garlic, ginger and red peppers adorned the counter, and a wok stood waiting.
"I hope there's going to be some meat somewhere in this stir-fry for rabbits," House said, looking around.
"Prawns." Wilson nodded towards a bowl of large pink tiger prawns sitting on the side. House reached around Wilson to snag a prawn, and Wilson slapped his hand. House took a strawberry from a different bowl instead, put it in his mouth, then moved to kiss Wilson while holding it between his teeth. Wilson grinned, bit the strawberry in half and sucked it out of House's mouth.
House sat down at the kitchen table, munching, then rested his chin on his cane and fixed Wilson with a eagle eye.
"Wilson, you're stressed."
Wilson, who had turned back towards the chopping board, looked back towards House and raised his eyebrows. "I am? Thanks for letting me know. Any particular reason you say that?"
"You're showing signs of at least two parasomnias," House stated.
Wilson sighed, turned back to the board and sliced into a pepper. "I can't wait to hear what they are. So long as I'm not having sex with you when I'm asleep as well as when I'm awake."
"You're talking in your sleep," House began.
Wilson looked at House, surprised. "Really?" Then his face took on a look of worry. "What do I say?"
House opened his mouth to say I don't know, I can't make it out, then realized he might be able to startle something out of Wilson if he didn't admit that. House said, "Well I wouldn't want to embarrass you by repeating it all, but - "
"House, you're screwing with me." Wilson pointed a knife at House. "Stop it. At least 'til I've finished this chopping."
House looked pained that Wilson didn't believe him. "No, it's true. You're talking in your sleep. Two nights in a row now, you've woken me up talking at four in the morning."
Wilson frowned. "Why didn't you mention this before?"
"I was trying to figure out why, of course," House said patiently. "Then I found out there's a second parasomnia. You've got exploding head syndrome."
Now Wilson looked taken aback. He put the knife down, and said carefully, "Why do you say that?"
"Because last night around midnight you were going to sleep but then you jumped awake like you'd been shot. I thought it was just a hypnic jerk, but thinking about it today I realized it wasn't a muscle movement, it was something in your head. And I think the same thing happened to you again later, at six in the morning."
"I didn't think I'd woken you then," Wilson muttered.
"You did, but I wasn't about to get up or do anything at six!" House leaned forward across the table. "Exploding head syndrome sounds really cool, and it's harmless. But it can't be good, and you've never had it before, so there must be a reason why it's come on now. And why you've suddenly started talking, too. I know it's because you're stressed... but you need to tell me why you're stressed."
Until this moment House hadn't actually been sure if he was right or not but now he saw Wilson glance away, looking uncomfortable, and saw he was right. There was something the matter here. Encouraged, House plowed on. "There's something you're worrying about."
"No there isn't," Wilson said shortly. He turned towards the board, picked the knife up again, and continued chopping the pepper. His shoulders were tense and he was focusing much too hard on what he was doing.
"If you're not gonna tell me, I'm just going to guess," House warned. He hesitated and decided to go for the big guns. "Physical manifestation of a guilty conscience, perhaps. Maybe you've been sneaking around behind my back getting your dick out. You were never able to keep it in your pants with your wives, why should it be any different now? You're having an affair, aren't you?"
As House had hoped, that got a rise out of Wilson. Wilson threw the knife down, swung round to face House and glowered at him.
"For Christ's sake House, don't be ridiculous. This is your paranoia, and you have to get over this or you'll drive us both mad."
"Okay, you're not having an affair," House conceded. "But something's wrong."
"House, the only thing that's stressing me out right now is you, telling me I'm stressed," Wilson said firmly, and turned back to the chopping board. "Now go watch TV and leave me alone."
It was two in the morning, and House was playing the piano, Chopin nocturnes, softly, so as to try not to disturb Wilson.
Then to House's surprise, Wilson appeared in the doorway of the living room. He was wearing a t-shirt and boxer shorts, and looked tired but awake. He walked across the room and sat next to House on the piano stool. House moved to the left slightly to make room. He felt Wilson's hip nestling comfortably against his own. House continued to play, and looked at Wilson enquiringly.
"Can't sleep," Wilson said quietly. "Keep thinking I'm going to start talking if I do. And it's pretty damn scary, having those big bangs go off in your head. First time, I really thought it was a gunshot."
House was silent, though his fingers kept moving over the piano keys.
"There is something bothering me," Wilson said eventually. "It's just such a pathetic stupid little thing. And I didn't think you'd react... very well."
"Try me," House murmured.
Wilson sighed. "There's someone at the hospital who keeps... flirting with me. It's creeping me out. And I don't think I'm handling it as well as I could."
House's eyes narrowed. He hadn't anticipated this at all. "Who?"
"Dr Hasselback," Wilson said reluctantly.
House stopped playing the piano and turned to look at Wilson. "Ronald Hasselback? Dr Hannibal Lecher?"
Wilson winced. "That's him."
"That no-good sleazy obnoxious old bastard?" House's voice rose, and he felt anger welling inside him at the thought of that man being anywhere near Wilson.
"This is why I didn't want to tell you," Wilson said in exasperation. "Calm down, all right? It's nothing, really."
"It's got you stressed enough that you're talking in your sleep and you've got explosions going off in your head," House snapped. "What's he done?"
Wilson sighed. "Look... you know I seem to have had lots of people flirting with me in the last few weeks." House rolled his eyes; he did know this. It had been an unexpected side effect of coming out; the women hadn't stopped and the men had started.
Wilson continued, "Well, he's one of them. I've never exchanged more than a few words with him before, now he's suddenly popping up everywhere. Making small talk, suggestive remarks, that kind of thing. You know."
"I hadn't noticed him," House muttered.
"Probably because he doesn't have a death wish," Wilson said dryly. "Anyway, day before yesterday he came up to me in the cafeteria. Made some conversation about the weather. I was trying to get away tactfully. Eventually I said I had to go, and as I walked past him, he, uh, slapped me on the ass."
House's jaw dropped.
"I was completely grossed out," Wilson shuddered at the recollection. "I've been trying to avoid him ever since."
House shook his head in exasperation. "Wilson, your problem is that you're too nice to know when to tell someone to fuck off and die. That man is the biggest asshole in the whole of Princeton-Plainsboro. You know that. For God's sake, next time you see him, tell him to go fuck himself."
"I will. I'll try." Wilson rubbed his nose. "House, you're not going to do anything about this, are you?" House didn't reply. Wilson looked at him intently. "House, promise me you're not going to confront him yourself, it won't do any good. I can handle it. Promise me."
House scowled. "I won't confront him. But you better damn well had." He paused, and muttered, "Thanks for telling me."
Wilson smiled. "I figured it was better that than risk me telling you in my sleep." He put a hand on House's knee. "Also, I was fed up waiting for you to come to bed."
"Ah." House pulled the piano lid shut, as Wilson moved towards him.
They kissed deeply, then Wilson stood up and moved between House's legs. House pushed the piano stool back slightly to give Wilson more space. House growled deep in the back of his throat as Wilson dropped to his knees and unknotted House's bathrobe. House was wearing boxer shorts underneath, and Wilson reached in, pulled out House's cock and took it straight in his mouth. House groaned and put his hands on the piano lid, pushing down, blocking out everything around him except the feel of the polished wood under his palms and the sensation of Wilson's lips on his cock.
Wilson pulled away, and House growled, "Keep going, damnit."
"Uh uh." Wilson pulled himself into a standing position, and said, his voice husky, "I want you to fuck me up against your piano."
"No fucking way," House said immediately.
"Oh come on, you're having it tuned next week anyway," Wilson coaxed. He reached into the pocket of House's bathrobe and took out a condom, tore it open and rolled it expertly onto House's cock.
House hesitated, then said, "You are not coming all over my piano."
In answer Wilson reached into House's pocket again and took out another condom. He stripped off his own boxers and rolled it on to himself.
"You'd better be damn careful," House warned. Wilson nodded, and House felt in his pocket himself for the lube.
As House slicked it on, Wilson turned around to face the piano, and House felt his already hard cock move and strain under his hand at the sight of Wilson's naked back and ass against the gleaming mahogany. Hell, that was awesome.
Staying sitting for the moment, House leaned as close to Wilson as he could, placing one hand on Wilson's ass and reaching round with the other for Wilson's cock. Wilson groaned and twitched under House's touch, gasping as House probed his ass, sliding his fingers in, stretching, soothing. Then House stood up and put a hand on the top of the piano, and taking all his weight on that hand and his good leg, put his other hand on Wilson's hip. He felt Wilson breathing heavily, then Wilson rested his right hand on the top of the piano and braced himself.
House thrust, gently, but firmly to keep his balance; Wilson gasped in pain, then breathed again, relaxing; House put his other hand on the piano top to steady himself, then thrust again, and this time Wilson took him in readily, and moved with him. House could see Wilson's reflection dimly in the polished surface of the piano lid; eyes closed, panting, sweat glistening on his forehead. Wilson's left hand was underneath the keyboard, rubbing his own cock, which was just as well as House needed both his own hands to keep his weight. House knew he couldn't last long standing - but that was okay because he wasn't going to last long like this anyway.
They moved together in unison, to the same beat, the same tempo, the piano making tiny sounds under each of their strokes. With a final fevered grunt, House came, and for an instant Wilson was caught splayed between House and the piano; then House sank back onto the stool, trembling. Wilson sank back on top of him, pulling frantically on his own cock. House reached around and wrapped Wilson's hands in his own; a couple of tugs later, Wilson gasped, "House," and came.
The next morning, House strode into his office, stuck his head into the conference room and snapped, "Chase. My office. Now."
Chase went in apprehensively. House sat at his desk and Chase sat opposite.
"What do you know about Dr Ronald Hasselback?" House asked, without preamble.
Chase blinked at the unexpected question, but quickly came up with an answer. "Uh, he smacked Dr Wilson on the behind in the cafeteria a few days ago."
House was most displeased to hear this was common knowledge. "Apart from that."
"He's a senior doctor in geriatrics." Chase shrugged helplessly. "I know one of the geriatrics guys, I could buy him a coffee and ask him to spill the beans."
"Do that," House was decisive. "I want background - not the stuff I'd find in a personnel file - but his daily routine, what his staff make of him, what his boss thinks of him, who he's fucking, does he take milk and sugar in his coffee. And I want it now. Today if possible."
"I might have better luck getting that sort of info if I bought my guy a few beers and a pizza," Chase suggested.
"So do it," House said flatly.
Chase spread his hands. "I would... but I'm broke. Nearly the end of the month and I've got no money now 'til we get paid."
House glared at him. "I am not paying for you to go on a date."
Chase shrugged. "Fine, coffee it is. Might be tough, no alcohol to loosen his tongue, but I'll do my best. Might be hard finding the time for it too, as I've gotta do your clinic duty this afternoon too."
"You manipulative so-and-so." House didn't let up in his glare, but added, "You've really come on."
Chase dared to grin. House fished in his jacket pocket for his wallet, pulled out a bill and tossed it across the table. "That had better be enough. And I want a full report first thing tomorrow, or my money back with interest."
Chase grabbed the bill and stood up to go. As he left the room, House added, "And get Cameron to do that clinic duty this afternoon. I'm sure you can make it worth her while."
House was home several hours that evening before Wilson got home. House had left the instant he'd managed to get hold of Ronald Hasselback's personnel file. That hadn't been straightforward, either. First House had discovered that the code for the combination lock on the Record Room had been changed - fortunately Weird Night Janitor had left it written down for him in the usual place. Then he'd found that Hasselback's personnel file ran to three bulging folders - larger than anyone's House had ever come across, apart from his own (which he was proud to know was twice that size). This made it impossible to either swiftly photocopy or stick under his jacket and walk out with easily - he'd had to leave and return with his rucksack. It also meant that the file's absence on the shelf was very noticeable, and in the end House had stuffed three new blank files with paper to leave on the shelf in their place.
But it was all worth it. House perused the file slowly, more and more intrigued and horrified with every page. He was on the third folder when Wilson arrived home.
"Hey, House." Wilson shut the door behind him. "You must've left early today? I came looking for you for coffee around four and you'd already gone."
"Stuff to do," House mumbled, mid-page.
Wilson looked down at the coffee table strewn with paper. He picked up the folder closest to him and read the cover. "Oh for God's sake, House. You promised me."
"I said I wouldn't confront him," House said hastily. "And I haven't. This is just background research. Know your enemy."
Wilson dropped the folder on the table and shook his head. "I don't want to know. I haven't come home from work to talk about him, I really haven't."
House looked up, interest aroused. "You've had another run-in with him, haven't you? Tell me you managed to tell him to fuck off this time."
Wilson sat down on the edge of the couch. "Uh, not as such." He saw House's face and went on hastily, "It wasn't like last time. It was difficult. It was a consult. I was doing my rounds and he came up to me when I was in the kids' cancer ward."
"Clever," House said darkly.
"He's got a patient, senile, might have cancer. He's sent her for tests but wanted my opinion. I looked at the file. I told him I thought she didn't have cancer, but it was worth running the tests." Wilson made a helpless gesture. "He took the file back, said thanks, and then he said, We should go out for a drink sometime. And - he reached up and brushed the hair off my forehead."
"He what!" House was suddenly furious. "Standing there in the ward?"
Wilson nodded, a revolted look on his face. "The kid in the bed opposite asked me afterwards if he was my boyfriend."
House made a gagging sound and Wilson nodded in sympathy, and went on solemnly, "I assured him that no, that was still the tall guy with the limp and the cane."
"Take my advice. Never go out for a drink with Dr Hassle-a-lot." House waved a finger in the air. "On past form, he'll spike your drink with Roofies, and you'll wake up butt naked, face down in his bed, with a sore ass."
Wilson looked down at the file in House's hands, and gulped. "Date rape? Is that in that file?"
"A formal complaint, but never proven. Like everything else he's ever done." House slammed the folder shut. "He goes for young men. Never anyone connected to the hospital before though, so he must really like you."
"Thanks, that makes me feel so much better." Wilson stood up. "I'm gonna take a shower."
That night, House was woken abruptly by Wilson saying the word "No," several times. It wasn't especially loud, but it didn't take much to wake House, ever the insomniac. He listened intently but couldn't make out anything else Wilson was saying, it was words, sentences, but nothing intelligible.
On previous nights, House had simply got up and come back to bed later when Wilson had settled down; but this time, knowing Wilson's sub consciousness was worrying away, House felt moved to try and do something. He shifted onto his side and put a hand on Wilson's shoulder, tentatively, trying to offer comfort, but not wanting to wake him. Wilson muttered again, and House moved closer this time, pressing his chest against Wilson's back.
"House," Wilson murmured, quite distinctly. House paused; was Wilson awake now? Wilson shifted backwards so his ass was pressing against House's crotch; House felt an involuntary stirring. He pressed back, and Wilson said very clearly, "House", and arched his neck to butt the back of his head against House's face. House breathed into Wilson's hair, inhaling the scent of Wilson's shampoo, and felt his erection grow.
Perhaps talking wasn't the only thing Wilson was capable of doing in his sleep at the moment. House wondered for a few seconds about the morality of taking advantage of a sleeping but sexually aroused Wilson, and thought fuck it; I know he's thinking about me.
House put a hand on Wilson's hip, then reached around cautiously, feeling for Wilson's cock. It was already semi-hard, and hardened again when House grasped it. Whoa Jimmy. House started to stroke Wilson's cock, first softly, then more firmly, and then as Wilson started to writhe and gasp into his pillow, House pressed his own cock hard against Wilson's tailbone and started to grind. Wilson panted "House," again; House felt all his other senses vanish as he became aware only of touch, of feeling, of Wilson's cock in his hand, and his own cock up against Wilson's ass; the stimulation heightened by the darkness, and from the knowledge that Wilson could only be semi-aware of what was happening.
The two of them came together within a couple of minutes, House gasping and overcome by sensuality, Wilson panting and almost immediately still. Afterwards, Wilson lapsed back into silence, and after a few more moments, House joined him in sleep.
Next morning House arrived at work to find Chase waiting in his office, with a report from the beer and pizza evening with his friend in geriatrics. House listened intently. He absorbed the details about Hasselback's routines and habits, though there wasn't much in terms of facts that that he hadn't already read in the personnel file. The geriatrics staff was actually pretty well clued up on the various complaints there had been over the years, although they didn't know the details. Hasselback wasn't particularly liked as a person, but was respected as a doctor; apparently his patients didn't have a bad word to say about him. Of course, House reflected, as geriatrics they didn't actually have anything to fear from him.
Chase left. House sat ruminating for a while, then got up and went straight to Cuddy's office.
"Dr House, to what do I owe the honor?" Cuddy, sitting at her desk, looked at the clock. "I've got Management Board in a minute. Shouldn't my assistant have kept you out? Oh no - I don't have an assistant right now, she resigned last week after you shouted at her." She glared at House. "And don't think I didn't see Cameron in the clinic when you should have been there yesterday – Brenda can't always shield you. You'll make that up tomorrow."
House plonked himself down in front of Cuddy's desk and said without preamble, "You should fire Dr Hasselback."
Cuddy looked at him, taken aback. "Right. Any particular reason?"
"He's a dangerous sexual predator," House stated boldly. "It's only a matter of time before he goes too far and really gets into trouble, and brings your hospital into disrepute."
Cuddy rolled her eyes. "And of course you have actual proof of this which you can give me."
"He's been accused of sexual harassment three times and assault twice since he's been working here," House said. "The cases getting progressively more and more serious."
"Dr House, it sounds suspiciously to me like you have some privileged personnel information." Cuddy frowned at him. House looked back innocently. "If that's the case, you're in serious trouble yourself. And I can't possibly discuss this sort of thing about another member of staff."
"Assume I'm just going by hospital gossip here," House suggested.
"Well, on that generous assumption, since Dr Hasselback was hired here fifteen years ago - by my predecessor," Cuddy said this deliberately - "I think the hospital grapevine is well aware that there hasn't been one accusation that's managed to get beyond an initial complaint. He's never faced a board, never been reported to the police. Which is more than can be said about you, frankly."
"He preys on young men!" House said loudly.
"He's a good doctor!" Cuddy snapped back. "He gets excellent patient reviews. He's well regarded in the geriatrics field."
"He's just got more sense than to piss in his own backyard," House shot back.
"Dr House, there's nothing I can do," Cuddy said decisively. "And don't think I don't know what this is about. I heard how Dr Hasselback pinched Dr Wilson's ass in the cafeteria."
"For Christ's sake, is there anyone in this place who doesn't know that?" House thumped his cane on the floor in frustration.
"House," Cuddy said gently. "Dr Wilson's a big boy. He can take care of himself."
"He's not... used to this sort of attention," House muttered.
"He'll get used to it. And you, get over it," Cuddy said with finality. "Now go away, I have to go to Management Board."
House spent the rest of the morning mooching around his office, coming up with various exotic plans to blow Dr Hasselback out of the water, none of which seemed viable.
Eventually one o'clock came, and House realized that the Management Board meeting would have finished. Wilson should therefore be back in his office shortly, and they could go to lunch. He went along to Wilson's office, let himself in, and sat down on the couch to wait.
Fifteen minutes later, and House wondered what the hold-up was. Management Board neverran late - not when it was held in its pre-lunch slot. Fifteen minutes after that, and House had just decided that Wilson must have inconsiderately gone straight to lunch from the meeting, when the door opened, and in came Wilson.
House immediately knew something was wrong; Wilson's eyes were glazed and he seemed to be walking on autopilot. He started across the room, and stumbled slightly. House was on his feet in a flash, and grabbed Wilson's arm. He guided Wilson to the couch, then crossed the room to snap the lock on the office door. He came and sat down next to Wilson.
"Wilson, look at me," House said urgently. Wilson looked at House, first vacantly, then with increasing focus. House grabbed Wilson's chin and stared into his eyes. "Wilson, what's happened? Are you okay?"
"Yes - yes, I'm fine." Wilson blinked, and House didn't believe him for a second.
"It's Hasselback again, isn't it?" House demanded, unable to imagine what might have happened. Hasselback wasn't on Management Board, he wasn't that senior.
"Yes." Suddenly color flooded into Wilson's cheeks. He dropped his head into his hands. "Christ, I've been stupid. You were right, House, I should have told him to fuck off weeks ago."
"Wilson, whatever's happened, it was not your fault," House said firmly, staying outwardly strong while inwardly quaking. "Tell me about it."
Wilson hesitated, then it all came spilling out.
"The Management Board meeting had just finished, we were all packing up to go," Wilson spoke in a low voice, and House bent closer to hear. "People were leaving the room... and he came in, holding a file, saying Dr Wilson, the tests have come back on that patient of mine, have you got a minute to take a look? So I stayed... and everyone else left..."
House bit his lip in frustration. The boardroom was small and private, with none of the hospital's famed glass walls. Once the door had shut behind the last person, it would have been utterly quiet, and nobody would have been likely to interrupt.
"Cuddy did linger," Wilson added, "She said Didn't you want to talk to me about something, Dr Wilson? But I couldn't think that there was anything, so I said no, you go."
"Wilson, you're an idiot." House couldn't help himself. Cuddy had listened, she'd tried to give Wilson an out, and he hadn't taken it.
"He showed me the file," Wilson carried on, ignoring House's comment. "I had a look... he was standing too close, pointing things out. I tried to move away but the table was right behind me... I gave him the file back and then he - he - "
House waited, not daring to say anything.
"He grabbed my hand and put it on his crotch," Wilson muttered, and buried his face in his hands.
House felt as if a small bomb had off in the middle of his chest. He tried not to react - Wilson was still talking. "And then he put his hand on my crotch. It can only have been for a few seconds, but it seemed like forever."
"And then you told him to fuck off?" House demanded.
"House, I froze. I couldn't move. I couldn't say anything." Wilson pressed a hand over his eyes. "Eventually he - leered at me, and left. I had to sit down for a bit before I could go."
House felt rage explode inside himself, and he would have stormed out there and then to find Ronald Hasselback and kick him into the middle of next week, except that Wilson suddenly said, "House, I think I'm gonna be sick."
House hastened to grab the waste paper basket, and Wilson sat for a few minutes with his head between his knees before deciding he wasn't going to be sick after all. He had gone terribly pale though, and House decided that looking after Wilson was a more immediate priority than wreaking revenge.
Lunch was now long overdue and House discovered he was starving, so he paged Foreman and told him to buy two sandwiches and bring them along to Wilson's office. He knew that Foreman would be so disgusted at doing such an errand that he wouldn't stop and ask any questions at the door. House ate one and a half sandwiches himself and forced Wilson to eat the other half, after which Wilson started to look a little brighter.
"You should go home," House said presently. "I'll drive you."
Wilson shook his head. "No, I'm not leaving. I would like to take a shower though."
That sounded like a good idea. House mentally consulted the timetable Chase had given him of Hasselback's routine, and recalled that he should be doing rounds on the geriatric wards right now, and therefore nowhere near the showers. House insisted on accompanying Wilson down to the locker rooms, ignoring Wilson's protests, and then prowled around the corridors nearby in case anyone unexpected turned up. Nobody did, although people passing by were alarmed at the sight of House wearing his most menacing glare.
"Now what?" House asked, as Wilson emerged after his shower, looking fresh and almost back to normal.
"I've got clinic duty in a minute," Wilson said, toweling his hair dry. "And I am going to do it."
House considered this, and decided that clinic was probably the safest place for Wilson to be; in public, lots of other people milling around, keeping busy. "Okay." He walked down to the clinic with Wilson, who didn't protest this time. Once there, House scanned the clinic duty roster quickly to make sure nobody was there who shouldn't have been, then said, "Right, have fun with those vomiting children, I'll see you later."
"House." Wilson hesitated. "Don't do anything - that would get you into trouble."
"Don't you worry about me," House said breezily, and was gone.
The geriatrics floor was in a completely different wing of the hospital to the Department of Diagnostics, and House wandered round for a bit getting his bearings. He identified the route that Hasselback would most logically walk to get from the wards to his office, and then found what he wanted; a small, bare consulting room along the corridor. He then went away to await Hasselback's return from his rounds.
Right on time, Hasselback came along the corridor. House was lurking down a side passage, and stepped out neatly right behind Hasselback as he walked past. Hasselback turned to look at House in surprise; House placed a hand firmly in the small of Hasselback's back, turned sideways, and propelled him into the consulting room.
"What the - " Hasselback began, as House popped the lock on the door.
House stepped up to Hasselback, put a hand against his chest and slammed him back against the wall. Winded, Hasselback started to say, "House –" but then House stepped forward, propped his cane against the wall, and gripped Hasselback's neck tightly with one hand, leaning against the wall with the other. Hasselback's eyes immediately shot skywards and he started to choke. House increased the pressure; Hasselback gasped and struggled, but couldn't get free. House was using his cane hand, which was tough, wiry and calloused; and the arm that bore his weight all day was given additional strength from cold, determined, rage.
"Now you listen to me," House said quietly but threateningly, as Hasselback gagged. "You are going to stay the hell away from James Wilson. You are never going to touch him again, you are never going to speak to him again, you are not going anywhere near him. Consider this a fifty foot restraining order. I don't want to see you in the same room as him. If you walk in the cafeteria and he's there, you turn right round and walk out again. If he walks in the cafeteria and you're there, you get the hell out. And don't stop to finish your food. Understood?"
Hasselback tried to speak, but could only manage a gasp. House shook him a little and snapped, "Understood?" Hasselback turned purple and just about managed to jerk his chin downwards a fraction. House released his grip and Hasselback fell to the floor, wheezing badly. House picked up his cane, and stood over Hasselback as Hasselback struggled for air. House noted with pleasure that Hasselback now had large red welts on either side of his neck.
"Jesus fucking Christ," Hasselback eventually managed to pant. "You psycho. I thought you were going to kill me."
"Don't tempt me," House barked.
"You're a nutcase, House. Who the hell do you think you are?" Hasselback's lungs heaved with the effort of speech.
"I'm a bad enemy to have," House said evenly. "Take my advice, you should start looking for a new job, while Cuddy can still give you an unblemished reference."
"You're a sick bastard." Hasselback lifted a hand and felt gingerly at his neck, wincing. "This because of Wilson? It was just a bit of fun."
"Your idea of fun is not mine. You're the sick bastard here," House said flatly.
"Alright already. I get the message. I'll stay the hell away from Wilson." Hasselback's voice was returning to normal. He looked up at House, and Hasselback didn't look afraid, he looked enraged and spiteful. Hasselback went on, "You're punching way above your weight with him, you know."
House stiffened. "Shut the fuck up."
"Way above your station," Hasselback said, with malice. "He's far too pretty for a freak like you. He could fuck any man in this hospital if he wanted to. And just you wait, he probably will. Because let's face it, he's got form."
House raised his cane and then brought the tip of it down on Hasselback's foot. House put every ounce of force he could behind it, and ground down with his full weight. There was a very satisfactory crunch as bones splintered, and Hasselback screamed. House continued to push down mercilessly for a few seconds. When he stopped, Hasselback rolled on the floor in pain.
"You're out of your mind, House, you lunatic!" he shrieked.
House stepped over him and walked out of the door without a backwards glance.
An hour later, House was brooding at his desk when Cuddy appeared at the door.
"I thought you'd be interested to know, after our conversation this morning, that Dr Hasselback has broken his foot," she said evenly.
House looked at her, wide-eyed. "How about that. How'd he do that?"
"He says," - Cuddy's voice made it quite clear she didn't believe a word of it - "a paperweight fell on his foot."
House shrugged. "Well, if that's what he says, I guess that's what happened. What bad luck, eh."
"He has also developed some extensive bruising on his neck," Cuddy went on. "Which he doesn't seem to be able to explain."
"He probably did that himself," House said brightly. "Hospital gossip says he's into autoerotic asphyxiation."
The look on Cuddy's face said she didn't buy this as a reason, but thought it just plausible enough as an excuse. "I see. Well, thanks for that, House." She turned to go, and said over her shoulder, "I might delicately suggest to Dr Hasselback that he consider his future here."
House sat back in his chair, pleased. Attagirl, Cuddy.
The working day was over, and House had been sitting at his desk, hardly moving, for two hours now. His TV was on, but he barely saw or heard it. Hasselback's words ran repeatedly through House's head. Somehow Hasselback seemed to have had the last word.
"Hey, House." House looked up, and his heart lifted, as Wilson was standing at the door. Wilson came in, walked across and sat down opposite House.
"So I just ran into Hasselback in the cafeteria," Wilson said conversationally.
House froze, not at all sure what was coming next.
"He's got a huge plaster cast on his foot and he's walking on crutches," Wilson carried on. "So I went over to ask what had happened, but when he saw me he ran away. At least, he turned and started limping away as quickly as he could."
House smiled grimly.
"Course he wasn't going very fast," Wilson continued. "I caught up with him just outside. And then he looked at me and he said, Go away, Wilson, your psycho boyfriend just broke my foot and I'm not giving him an excuse to come back and break the other one."
House looked at Wilson, but Wilson's expression was unreadable. Wilson leaned on the chair arm and went on, "And then he smirked at me, and said, Actually maybe he did me a favor, as you clearly have a thing for men with only one good leg. So how about it, wanna fuck sometime?"
House's face contorted with agony.
Wilson raised his palms. "So I punched him in the nose, and told him to go fuck himself. He's now got a broken nose to go with his broken foot."
"Wilson!" House was surprised into speech. "While he was on crutches, too? Well done!"
"I should have done it days ago." Wilson hesitated, and added, "You shouldn't have done it, but I'm glad you did."
House nodded. Wilson stared at House, then leaned forward. "House, you're very quiet, are you okay?"
House hadn't been going to say anything, but somehow it just came out, and he muttered, "That twisted fucker got to me."
"What did he say?" Wilson asked quietly.
"He told me I was punching above my weight with you... you were way too pretty for me, that you could fuck anyone you wanted, and you would, because you've got form." The words came pouring out. House felt bad for polluting Wilson's head with this stuff, but also better for getting it off his own chest.
Wilson rolled his eyes and shook his head. "You do know he's full of shit. That there's not one word of truth in any of that crap."
House couldn't help but start to say, "You could - "
"No, I wouldn't," Wilson said firmly, and looked straight into House's eyes, then reached over the desk and touched House's hand. "C'mon, let's go get some dinner. My treat."
House stood up and walked round the desk. He and Wilson bumped shoulders casually and set off out the room and down the corridor.