House and Wilson in a small tribute to the California pilot and all the New York river captains who participated in saving the crew and passengers from yesterday's ditch landing.

Disclaimer: Don't own, never will.

Beta: Endless kudos to leakey_lover for excellent suggestions and editing skills.

Air throbbed as flames of hell shot alongside their window. The flight was no longer a walk in the park.

"We're fucked," sawed a raspy but levelheaded voice.

"Is that your professional opinion?" Wilson's rich brown eyes took a back seat to his pale white face. He appeared to be running dangerously low on deadpan.

"Life's a quiz show without a whole lot of prizes, and that's my final answer," House, declared, his own supply of black humor kicking in along with the adrenaline.

Ever since he saw Dr. Strangelove as a boy, it was his fantasy to be Slim Pickens, riding a freefalling bomb down to earth.

Nevertheless, it was hard to tell if it was God or the pilot who boomed over the P.A.: "BRACE FOR IMPACT."

Prayers lighter than air whispered around them, while the men searched their belief systems.

Out of humanity, friendship and love, each man's hand spontaneously locked on to the other's as they crouched in their seats.

The jet made impact against cement water, bounced and skipped as the hulk rocked and dragged to a halt. It took a few seconds for everyone to sort out whose heart belonged to whom.

The thrill ride was far from over.

House felt liquid running down the back of his hand – the temperature too icy to be blood so soon after landing.

Eyes bluer than the Hudson tracked the trickle to see where it originated while Wilson was inspecting and questioning neighbors for injuries.

Water was seeping through the windows.

The white haired pilot passed by, watching and counting the number of souls in his flock.

Instructions floated down the aisle from the attendants.

A firmer voice summarized what do. "Move forward and don't panic, people."

All the passengers thanked the quiet uniformed man as they filed past. House knew this was one officer worth listening to.

A spritzer of sunlight and freezing water greeted them outside the hull as warm hands sorted House onto a tugboat and Wilson onto a ferry. The citizens of New York City proved once again to have the instinct of heroes.

The separation proved temporary but traumatic. Eventually the two men eyed their disheveled selves and spirits, trading concern for relief.

"Another fine mess you've got us into, House. All to see Gravedigger in Charlotte?"

"I'm sorry, Jimmy…" the grizzled face replied.

Wilson was stunned at the quick capitulation until he realized House wasn't finished with what he had to say.

"… monster trucks will never be as exciting after flight 1549."


Thank you for reading. All comments always welcome.