SPOILERS for Season 5. If you're avoiding those, read no further.

Disclaimer: These characters belong to David Shore, FOX, and many others who aren't me. I'm making no money on them and will put them back when I'm done.

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He's Wilson, sitting here in his office, Busy with Important Stuff. There are whole stacks of rabid paperwork to be tamed; long lines of needy cancer-riddled souls are lining up outside that staid wooden door -- and right now, he's Wilson.

This isn't something House has ever imagined before, and momentarily it distracts him: there's a bizarre sense of power about being Wilson, a thing House has always suspected but never felt until now.

The power makes him feel free to play a little, to glance at his Hitchcock posters and imagine himself looking through the Rear Window, whilst doing that careful balancing act in his chair. He's Wilson right now, and this is how Wilson always does it: turn to the side, face outward, rock back, oh shit --

It's sort of an interesting view from down here. Someone (cancer kiddie?) has stuck a gob of pink gum beneath the edge of Wilson's desk.

He's not Wilson anymore; his leg, displeased with the sudden jarring as he hit the floor, has reminded him of that. House suspected it would, but he'd needed a trial run for his experiment.

If he could really be Wilson, even for a minute, he could predict what Wilson will do about this. He'd know if Wilson has truly forgiven him or is pretending things are better when they're not. Asking is no good, because Wilson doesn't tell the truth about himself unless he's caught off guard or too furious to lie, and now doesn't feel like a good time to pick a fight.

Scientific methods are safer. Introduce a stimulus, monitor the response, try not to get bitten in the process. Yeah. He'll need to do something about that, something to make sure Wilson -- who can be breathtakingly dense -- does not mistake the meaning of the prank.

House's stomach rumbles, and he has an idea.

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That House would be insecure for a while -- way more insecure than usual, which is really a frightening thought -- was a given.

The extent of the man's desperation is only now truly evident. It's sitting there on a plate, in the form of a custard-filled pastry, a little sugar-glazed I love you with a carton of nice fresh please don't kill me. Put it in the context of the wheel stolen from his chair, and Wilson can translate it easily enough: I've missed you; are you really still my friend? Come play with me.

"It's my way of saying 'welcome back'," says House, as if he's afraid that isn't obvious enough.

Wilson has a few minutes, so he stays on the floor, finishing the doughnut while he thinks about this. It's not a question of whether to retaliate. He has to, or House will go insane with worry and take everyone else on the trip to the Loony Bin with him. The only question is how to go about it. House will be on guard against a physical gag, expecting tit for tat. Weird expression. Tit. Tits, perhaps. And long blonde hair and a kid and -- oh, now there's something House will fall for. It's almost too cruel.

God, he wishes Amber could be here to see this.