I'm sorry tis is coming up so late but I forgot what day it was. Unbelievable I know. Some of you may have noticed that the rating for this story changed. There is a good reason for that. You have been warned.

House froze, icy blue eyes taking in the scene before him.

Hannah trembled, a whimper pushing past her bloodless lips as her eyes begged for help. The man barely gave her a glance before fixing his full attention on House, lifting both eyebrows questioningly and cocking his head as though to say 'what will you do now?'

House stepped forward to Hannah's bed but the man smiled, pressing the knife persistently against the girl's throat until a dark red line was visible beneath the cold silver. "Ah, ah, ah."

The man stared pointedly at the chair beside her bed before staring at House once more and, with a sigh, House sank into the seat, wary eyes tracking each subtle movement the other man made.

"I assume you're the idiot everyone's looking for? 'The Joker?'"House scoffed. "You know, if the police were looking for me, I wouldn't be out in public. Hospitals, schools, police stations; generally places you want to avoid."

The Joker turned his head, regarding House through squinted eyes as though he were an interesting puzzle before smiling. It was not a reassuring gesture.

"I have a thing about hospitals," he replied, dark eyes glittering with amusement and insanity. "Now, let's get down to business."

House cocked an eyebrow. "We have business?"

The Joker nodded seriously. "We have a scheduled appointment, Dr. House. It's a shame you were late but there's no help for that."

He reached into the pocket of his white coat and withdrew a manila folder, holding it up so it was plain to see. Hannah sniffed nervously and shrunk back into her pillows, looking for all the world as though she were trying to disappear.

"I've read your file. And you know, we're a lot alike," he said slowly, his voice strangely light.

"I don't think so. Clowns are just glorified drag queens as far as I'm concerned."

A frown marred the Joker's face for an instant, pulling the scars down and drawing attention to his brown eyes before he was smiling again, strangely cheerful.

"It says here," he continued, " that you don't play well with others. I'm a bit of a loner myself. And we are so. Very. Much. Alike. I've watched your little team, your so called 'colleagues' and 'boss'. And I've heard them snicker when your back is turned. Seen them disobey all your orders and shoot down your theories. Heard them talk about you as though you were an annoying puppy. 'What has he done this time?' they all ask."

He paused, licking one corner of his mouth. " Because they don't expect anything better from you. But they still expect you to follow all of their careful little rules. You see, to them you're just a freak. Like me. Someone they'll tolerate but throw under the bus as soon as they need to. It's human nature."

As the Joker continued to speak he didn't seem to notice House slowly slide his hand across his lap and into his pocket.

The nurse at the workstation snatched up the phone at it's first ring and held it to her ear, waiting for the usual questions about work hours and scheduling she had to deal with on a daily basis.

She realized immediately that this wasn't her usual phone call.

For a moment she could hear nothing save for the rustling of cloth and considered hanging up and writing it off as a prank phone call, which she'd been receiving with increasing regularity over the past few days, but then a voice came on, light and somehow serious at the same time and she strained to hear more of it.

"You wanna know how I got these scars?"

Another gruffer voice answered and she immediately recognized Doctor House.

"I really don't think you want to compare scar stories. Mine would kick yours in the ass."

A disjointed laugh sounded, chilling and dark.

"I was in med school, studying hard; dreaming of the doctor I would become some day. There was a guy in my class named Jim. Now Jim never liked the fact that I made better grades than him. Was one of those people that have to have everything perfect. Perfect grades, perfect girlfriend, perfect life. And I was getting better scores than him."

There was a small whimper and then, a moment later a muffled scream and and a small gasp, more like a swift intake of breath, could be heard.

"Now one day Jim snaps and kills his girlfriend. He doesn't show up to school the next day. He brakes into my apartment and waits for me. He'd decided that because I didn't fit into his perfect life he was going to cut me out of it. He held the knife to my mouth and started laughing. 'Why so serious?' he asked. I never laughed a lot before then. Oh no, was too 'serious' for that. But now I see the irony of it. Now I can laugh."

The nurse jumped when Cuddy leaned over to take a file from off the desk. Something on her face must have given away that something was wrong because Cuddy paused and asked, "Everything okay?"

She shook her head frantically, miming with one hand to keep silent.

But nothing more was heard except heavy breathing.

"Dr. House?" she whispered fearfully.

The line went so quiet that for a moment she thought the phone had gone dead but then that terrible laugh started again.

"You didn't tell me we had an audience. Whatever happened to patient/doctor confidentiality?"

The line went dead.

The nurse looked up and in a flat voice, probably due to shock, said, "It's House."

The Joker applied more pressure to Hannah's throat and a wet tearing pop was heard as a small hole appeared in her skin. Her eyes bulged and her torso bucked once before her eyes fluttered closed and her body slumped back to the bed. She had fainted.

The Joker stared pointedly at House's pocket where a tinny small voice had questioned 'Dr. House?' not a moment before. House reluctantly dug the phone out and put it in the Joker's waiting hand.

The phone hit the wall with a bang a second later.

"You put too much stock into normalcy, Doctor House. You hate it but you still live by it. All those restricting rules and falsities that society thrust upon us. Without chaos there is no perfect life, as Jim taught me."

The glass door slid open and Wilson walked in, his face tired and voice exasperated as he talked, 'House, you know Cuddy said we need you down stairs--"

His mouth snapped shut as his eyes fixed on Hannah's bed and the man sitting on it.

The Joker grinned, seemingly delighted at this turn of events.

He reached into his jacket and out came a handgun, which was pointed with deadly accuracy at Wilson's heart an instant later.

"Ah. Doctor...Wilson, was it? This is a private appointment."

Three things happened simultaneously then.

Hannah opened her eyes and gave a weak gasp as the Joker stared House straight in the eye and said "Upset the established order." and the knife sliced through skin and muscle. Hannah gave a gurgled scream as both hands flew to her sliced neck.

House lunged for the Joker and whether he was trying to wrestle either the knife or the gun away from the madman it was unclear because he never made it. The knife hovered just under his own throat now as Hannah took once last rattling breath and fell silent.

Wilson took a step back and the Joker pulled the trigger, the resounding shot echoing in the room.

Oh no poor Wilson! Is he gonna be okay? You'll find out :)

Review please

Song I was listening to: Her Diamonds by Rob Thomas