This series in entitled "Altogether Different: Home for the Holidays" and is a sequel to the canonical "Altogether Different", which took place between seasons 4 and 5. "Home for the Holidays" takes place after "Joy to the World", and will part ways with the canon for obvious reasons (i.e. Wilson would not be able to keep his mouth shut about House's relationship upon their return to Plainsboro).
While some things will be discovered anew through Wilson's eyes, I will not be purposely revisiting our heroes' history, so it is highly recommended you read the original series first. Visit my profile to find the link. Some reviews for the original "Altogether Different":
riordan123 said: "This is just what House really needs. I really wish someone like Kelly would come on the show."
Buffy Sparrow said: "You are so amazing in the way you're slowly developing their relationship. I don't think I've ever read any other story as good as yours. Other stories try, and by the time they get to chapter 40 I'm usually yelling at my computer screen for them to just hurry up and end it. Not yours, though."
Amaranthine24 said: "I adore this story. I read it all the way through until I reached the most recent chapter and I couldn't believe how much I wanted to keep reading. Kelly is so believable as a character and House is well... House. Their relationship is wonderful to read about and you find yourself wondering what will become of them? A wonderful story and definite fav."
Thanks so all my readers and reviewers. I hope that you enjoy this sequel as much as the original... and perhaps more!
"You're really not going to carry on with this, are you? You're going to have to tell me SOMETHING about these people."
"What do you want to know?"
"Their names, for a start."
Wilson was finding it hard to muster believable annoyance with this much leg room to enjoy. The first class ticket (that House HADN'T found a way to charge to him) was as much a mystery as everything else about this holiday trip. But if the alternative was a Christmas home alone, alone with his memories and his loneliness, being kept in the dark and forced to play House's little games wasn't the end of the world.
"Philip and Colleen Campbell."
"They have three children," House added vaguely.
"Do the children have names?"
"Andrew, Kelly and Evan."
It was no secret that House didn't care much for children, so Wilson was surprised he'd bothered to learn or remember their names.
Considering he'd refused all the alcohol he'd been offered (it WAS early to be drinking, even for him), House was awfully quiet and mellow. Wilson figured it couldn't hurt to press for more. "Have you been to their house before?"
"And they actually invited you back. For Christmas."
"Which means you're probably related. Your father's side or your mother's?"
Hmm. Wilson would have put money on that one.
"But you're sure they won't mind me being there over the holidays."
Okay, this wasn't mellow. This was downright distracted.
It was Christmas Eve day. Up until he'd received the call last night he'd been expecting quiet days filled with much pizza and beer to be the amount of holiday cheer he and House would experience this year. But after he'd left the hospital's Christmas festivities and eaten a late dinner alone, he'd realized he was wishing for something more meaningful. So when the phone rang at 1 a.m. and House had told him to pack a bag for a family-style Christmas out west, Wilson agreed... once he'd taken the time to determine that House was reasonably sober and completely serious. Still, when he arrived at the airport just a few hours later he half-expected that House wouldn't be there.
He was. The plane took off at just after 6.
Wilson pushed further but got nowhere, and eventually House put on his headphones and went to sleep, or at least feigned sleep believably enough that Wilson was willing to let him be.
Eight hours, three in-flight movies, one plane change and almost no additional relevant information later, they arrived in a new state and a new time zone (local time: 11 a.m.).
By the time they reached the baggage claim area, House's condition had deteriorated from "distracted" to "sullen", and Wilson was dying to figure out why.
"So, is someone coming to pick us up, or what?"
And then their ride arrived.
There were several moments of shocked silence which Wilson could not have been expected to understand. And then the young woman spoke. "You're not my uncle Malcolm," she said to Wilson. "And you are DEFINITELY not my aunt Edith."
"Yeah, they didn't want to see you," House told her in an approximation of his usual snide tone that Wilson didn't quite buy. "Philip told me they're visiting Edie's sister back in the "old country", wherever the hell that is." A pause. "Surprise."
The woman shook her head as though to physically banish her remaining disbelief before evaluating and addressing him. "You must be the famous Dr. James Wilson; I can't imagine anyone else putting up with Greg for that long on a plane."
"Guilty as charged." He held out his hand and received a firm handshake. "But I'm afraid I'm at a disadvantage."
Her eyes narrowed and she looked suspiciously at House for a moment. "He hasn't told you a thing, has he?"
"I got some names and a general location."
She chuckled and appeared unsurprised. "My name is Kelly. It's very nice to finally meet you." Another meaningful look at House and then she was all business. "Is this all your luggage?"
Wilson's mind was in high gear, assimilating the new fact that had presented itself: Kelly was not a child. Still possibly young enough to fit his "House's love child" theory which had sprung up in his wonderings on the plane. Or perhaps one of her brothers was an illegitimate offspring. One thing was for sure --- Kelly didn't seem to know how to react to House's presence there. And House seemed to feel even more awkward.
Kelly's car was parked in a "permit only" spot near the terminal doors. "Does someone in your family work for the airline?" Wilson asked conversationally.
"Something like that," she replied, popping the trunk and hefting House's large suitcase, politely refusing Wilson's help. "We'll need to go back to the shelter for a bit; I have a few things I need to finish up. We'll be taking my work van to my parents so all our stuff will fit."
Wilson looked at her helplessly.
"How about you sit up front with me and we'll get acquainted," Kelly offered with a friendly grin.
So while House sat silently in the back, Wilson and Kelly got to know one another. She offered nothing about her connection with House --- Wilson sensed that she either enjoyed playing along or wasn't sure exactly what to say about it --- but talked animatedly about her work at the shelter. At his prompting, she explained that the girls were placed with families from a local church over Christmas.
"Usually my mom and dad have one or two girls with them at Christmas --- it's kind of the coveted placement, actually, because they've all heard stories about how my parents spoil their holiday guests. But this year they all got placed elsewhere, so I guess the two of you are the ones who are going to get spoiled."
Kelly's joy and enthusiasm were infectious and endearing. Wilson liked her already.
But where could House fit in to all this? He examined Kelly's profile carefully. She didn't look like House, but that didn't necessarily mean his theory was wrong. Although he wondered if it was possible for someone like House to spawn such a decent and compassionate human being.
Wilson asked for a tour of the shelter when they arrived, while House volunteered to transfer luggage from the car to the van. Choosing manual labour over casual interaction. Interesting.
Finally, they were about ready to go. "I should run to the bathroom before we hit the road," Wilson said, eyeing House who had found his way to the kitchen and was apparently rummaging for a snack. And when he disappeared up the stairs he moved slowly, both to give them some extra time together and in the hopes that he might overhear something on his way.
What Wilson DIDN'T hear would have been telling:
"I can't believe you're here. And I can't believe you didn't tell me you were coming!"
"Your dad and I have been planning this for ages. Though I almost chickened out. Many times."
"I'm glad you didn't. I've missed you."
"We talk almost every day."
"I know. But it's not the same."
"No, it isn't."
What Wilson didn't SEE might have given it away:
House opened his arms and she sank into him, overcome by unexpected tears.
What Wilson didn't KNOW was anything at all. But that was soon going to change. And it was going to be plenty more than just "interesting".