Chapter 1: Teardrop
House's leg was always sore. That wasn't something abnormal. That day, however, it was just bugging him; even taking Vicodin only eased it slightly. So as he sat in his office with his team, he rubbed at his leg under the table while he did his best to concentrate. The only times it hurt that bad was- of course- if he didn't take Vicodin (which he would know if he did or not; he even confessed he was an addict). The other times would be when his mind would slip into a darker state; thinking back to when he was a little boy. Back when his father had abused him- in more ways than physical.
You've been a bad boy, Greg, he would say. And House really believed it- at the time, anyway.
I didn't do anything wrong.
"House?" Cameron's voice interrupted his thoughts.
Blue optics shifted their gaze from outside of the office toward the woman that spoke, then to Foreman and Chase, who were also looking at him. Quickly, House thought to himself, What were we… oh right, the woman. "Right, give her the treatment," he just said, remaining in his seat. But none of them moved. His gaze moved around the table again and his brow rose. "When I said 'give her the treatment'..."
He didn't need to finish. Foreman just shook his head and stood up, walking out with Chase following him. But Cameron just stood from her seat and looked at House. "Is everything…" she started. House looked at her, leaning back in his seat, "Peachy." The tone of sarcasm told Cameron to forget the question- or to even try prying anything out of House.
When she had left the office, House finally got up from his seat. While he was in thought, he had seen Wilson talking to one of the nurses. Being the man he was, House immediately caught interest and went to seek out his friend and taunt him about the encounter. Maybe it would help to get his mind off of the pain- and other thoughts.
Clinic duty- one of the many things that House hated. At least it meant he would be able to go home soon. He limped down to the clinic, grabbing the file given to him and then went into the exam room. He never took the time to look them over; there really was no point. House didn't want to get to know his patients but they seemed to want to believe they knew him. That bothered him sometimes, but he simply shrugged it off. Right when he stepped inside, something didn't seem right; it was all off. But he pushed that feeling away and looked toward the man standing in the room. He was probably a little older than House himself, looked in pretty good shape- it wouldn't take too long.
"I was waiting two hours out there," the patient said after he spat out the gum he was chewing and replacing it with a new piece.
House just furrowed his brow and replied in a listless tone, "Fascinating. Ever considered a career as a memoirist?" The doctor pulled up a chair and nodded toward the man. "Let's see it."
The patient started to undo his pants and House purposely kept his gaze on the file- even though he didn't bother reading it. Why was he getting so damn tense? It was just a normal check-up. But there was something about the guy that set something off in House's mind. However, he kept that to himself as the patient spoke up again. "How come you don't introduce yourself?"
Finally, House turned back, keeping his gaze somewhere near the man's face. He couldn't look at those cold icy blue eyes. "Oh sorry," he said, keeping calm and pointing a thumb toward the door, "I thought you said you were waiting two hours. I didn't know you wanted to chat." His tone then turned sarcastic again. "Hi, I'm Greg. How about that local sports team?"
Of course the patient wasn't amused- that didn't surprise the doctor in the slightest. Almost reluctantly, House lowered his gaze to the purpose that the patient was here in the first place. He could feel the man's eyes on him and that got him tense all over again. But House kept telling himself to stay calm and everything would be all right. "It's not an infection," he said, turning back toward the file to write something down.
Again, the patient didn't like his reply. "How can you tell it-"
Immediately House whipped back to face him. "Want me to touch you? It's your private place." House mentally cringed at the snappiness of his tone. But what could that guy do? It wasn't like he was going to hurt him… so House hoped. In a calmer tone- as if to make up for his reply, House added, "You're chewing nicotine gum which causes dehydration, which causes ware and tare. Try lubricant- or foreplay if you're cheap."
Another bad move. Damn it, knock it off! his mind warned himself again.
"Take a swab and get it tested," was the patient's simple reply as he pulled his pants up slightly. Well, it would have been simple if it didn't sound so much like a command. And no way was House going to touch him- not with the alarms that were sounding off in his head when he first walked in.
"Sorry- already met this month's useless quota of useless tests for stubborn idiots." SHUT UP! His mind cried again. And to help shut himself up- and his aching leg as well- House pulled out his bottle of Vicodin and popped a few pills in his mouth.
There was another pause. "You're rude," the stranger decided to point out.
House's brow rose again, sitting back up in his seat. As if surprised to hear the 'news'. "Wow, you're like, a detective or something!" And yet again, his tone was sarcastic.
After a couple of chomps on his gum, the man added, "and you're smart. And you're funny. But you are bitter." Brow narrowed, House looked back up at the man. Who does this guy think he is? "And you're lonely. So you treat everyone around like they're idiots and get away with it. Cause of your cane."
Blue hues shifted toward his cane, which was leaning against one of the cupboards and with a very soft scoff, House said in that resuming tone, "Please stop, it's hard to write through the bitter haze of tears." Eventually, his mind had quieted down; the guy wasn't doing anything other than lecturing- just like everyone else House knew. And talking back helped him relax more; his leg stopped aching so much, but there was that dull reminder every once in a while. He tried to resume writing, but the son of a bitch just kept talking.
"But you're not getting away with it. The last person you made fun of probably slipped something in your coffee."
"Mmm nah, I asked for a de-crapinated coffee." House got up, picking up his cane and walking toward the door. But as he moved, the patient kicked his cane out from under him, making House trip and fall into the door. His eyes became wide not only in surprise, but also a bit of fear. Honestly, he didn't expect that at all- and to have it be just the two of them in that room with the same fears that House was having when he walked in, it wasn't a good situation. Immediately he turned his head toward the patient, who seemed to be pretty satisfied with what he had just done. The gum-chewing stranger kept his gaze averted from House.
"Treat people like jerks," he said, "and you'll be treated like a jerk." Slowly, the man turned his gaze toward House, who got tense all over again. There was a certain look in the patient's eyes that brought him back to when he was a boy. You've been a bad boy, Greg, the voice of his father echoed again, and you deserve to be punished.
No- this isn't the same, House thought as he regained his footing instead of leaning against the door. This guy wouldn't do that- this is a hospital full of people; someone would find out. The crippled doctor had a sort of amused look on his face as he thought this. But he turned to face the other man and he slowly walked back toward his seat. Seeming to feel victorious, the man started to pull his pants back down again. But House was having other plans; he took out a thermometer, which apparently the idiot didn't notice.
"Thank you," the idiot spoke with a smirk on his face. House wanted to smack him with his cane. "Bend over," was his own simple reply.
Finally, the patient looked confused. "You're kidding-"
"If you didn't have an infection, you wouldn't have a fever. You're chewing nicotine gum which messes with the temperature in your mouth, so I have to vacation elsewhere." Even though I'm going to hate every second of it. Of course he didn't add that out loud as he looked at the gum-chewing idiot.
Seeming to be more uncomfortable now, the patient turned around and House did what he planned. But that was only the beginning of his plan. After the thermometer was in place, House picked up his cane again. The gum-chewing idiot noticed and started to move. "Ah ah ah, you break it, you bought it," House said and then moved toward the door to leave the man inside. Revenge is oh so sweet. He decided to be a little nice, however, and vaguely spoke to the nurse outside of the office about 'having the feeling he forgot something'.
"I'll let Wilson talk to him if you apologize to the clinic guy," Lisa Cuddy said to House. They had been arguing for a couple of minutes over the case that House and his team had been working on for most of the day. House needed to have a biopsy on the sick wife approved before he could get Wilson to talk to the husband, whom was also getting sick with his wife. But the husband wasn't as far along in his illness as his wife was.
And it ended in Cuddy's second attempt at making House apologize to the now angry patient. No way in hell am I apologizing to that idiot, House thought before voicing his thought in a more polite manner, "Nah, probably better to just let that couple die."
"I don't care if you mean it, just do it." and with that, Cuddy walked up the stairs.
House frowned and turned his gaze away from the stairs. He had already gotten rid of that guy, why did he have to apologize? The idiot tripped him! Sticking a thermometer up his ass and leaving him there wasn't bad- it was hilarious! But there he was, having to apologize to the idiot patient. House figured it could wait; he had two dying patients he had to help take care of.
However when he heard the news on Wilson's conversation with the husband, House was furious. "Great job," he said sarcastically, "why didn't you just shoot him in the head?" Now I have to apologize to that damned idiot for nothing. Thanks, Wilson.
"I gave him two options," Wilson defended himself after lecturing to his friend. House scoffed, "And you gave him a third- no treatment. And now I-"
"Remember when you used to bother me about my love life? Those were such good times." It sounded sarcastic, but House knew what it meant. Wilson waited for a response as he stood by his office door, but then finally sighed. "What's been with you today?"
The crippled doctor just shook his head. "Nothing; just decided to bug you about something else. After so many failed attempts, your love life gets a little boring." The younger man rolled his eyes and shook his head. Again, House's leg throbbed in pain and he tensed. Ever since the visit to the clinic, it had gotten worse. It wasn't a guilty conscience like some people would have suspected; it was a certain pain that House got with certain thoughts. But he didn't care if Wilson noticed the tension- he knew about House's past already. So no concerns were voiced out- at least until House took a handful of Vicodin.
"What happened?" Wilson asked in a lower voice. Confused, House narrowed his brow and looked at his friend. "My leg hurt, so I take these pills called 'Vicodin'. See, back when-"
"I mean earlier. Ever since you left the clinic you've been tense and… maybe paranoid?" The look of concern in his eyes made House roll his eyes. But on the inside, he wanted to tell him what he was thinking. Nothing happened in that room; nothing that would- or even should be- bothering me, his mind reassured himself. And the offer to spill everything was cast aside. Sometimes, House hated how his mind worked. "When did you become my shrink?" House fired back in his usual way.
"House." His voice was very serious. The other man sighed and looked off to the side a moment. It was just the two of them by that door; the only other hallway was the one behind them, where nurses and other doctors were heading toward the elevator or going to their own offices. They didn't even bother to look toward the two men that were standing there, one with a very serious expression while the other seemed… nervous. A look that was very out of character for House.
Before anything could be said, Wilson's pager went off. The doctor looked at it and then returned his gaze to his friend. "I have to go. We're not done, all right?" House didn't even have time to respond; he was left to stand in the hall alone with all of those thoughts on his mind. But after years of experience, House knew how to shut them off- at least for a little while.
Cuddy lead House back toward her office once he returned to the clinic. There was a sort of amused smile on her face that House didn't like; he hated when she got like that. And he would hate it even more when he would go in her office. Because it meant she was going to lecture him about how big of an idiot he was and how he was wrong about doing all these things. House knew how to shut her out, though, and at times it got to be amusing. However once he got to the office, House froze and rolled his eyes. Standing by her desk was the gum-chewing patient apparently named Michael Tritter. House remained by the door, which was glass so he felt a little safer. But to be in that room alone with Tritter again- with that same damn look from House's childhood on that idiot's face- he just wanted out of that room.
"I don't want to sue you," Tritter started, facing House now.
"Good," he replied simply, but then started getting tense when the other man started walking toward him.
"But I want to kick your ass."
House's gaze shifted to the side, hiding the nervous look that threatened to show in his eyes. "Less good."
While Tritter went on to lecture him about how House was 'a bully' and all that, the man kept walking toward House, his eyes scanning over him. The doctor did his best to try and stay calm and collected- stay himself. Even when Tritter got very close to him. For once, House was glad he had a bad leg; his cane stayed in his hand and he even adjusted his grip incase if the guy was planning on doing anything. But he wouldn't; there were people outside of Cuddy's office that could see if anything were to go on.
"I'm looking for humiliation," Tritter continued, standing awfully close to House now. The man lifted his hand up toward House's face, who immediately swatted it away. Tritter only looked more amused at the motion as he added, "something that will make you think twice before you treat the next patient like crap."
The touch to his face shook him up. But House kept reciting over and over in his mind that Tritter couldn't do anything- not while they were in the hospital. I'm done with this crap, he thought before speaking. "Here's what's going to happen," House started, feeling a little more confident, "you go off to your friends and tell them how you made the big mean doctor poop his pants. I get Cuddy off my back by telling her I humiliated myself. Here's the catch: we're both going to be lying."
That same amused smirk crossed Tritter's face as he watched House and the doctor knew exactly why: House had been looking right at the guy and could see the expression on his face. Even though he was acting himself, House still was nervous. And Tritter saw that. But the guy didn't say anything; his eyes just scanned over House again and it made House so close to whipping his cane at the guy's face.
"I'm not apologizing," House said instead, finally turning and limping out of Cuddy's office. The whole walk out of the clinic, House could feel the bastard's eyes still on his back.
How could he lose that bet? How did he so easily fall for that trick? Foreman had been dating the nurse that Wilson was talking to, while at the same time making a bet with House that Wilson wasn't. House should have known that was coming. Well, there went the two hundred dollars he almost won. House put his motorcycle helmet on and revved the engine before taking off from his parking spot. The streets were pretty empty that night, so he decided to drive a little faster, speeding down the road. While he rode down the street of a small neighborhood, House caught the faint sound of sirens behind him.
Damn, he thought as he glanced back to catch the red and blue lights out of the corner of his eye.
Pulling to the side of the road, House stopped the motorcycle and kicked the kickstand down. All right, time to play the sympathy act, he thought, gathering his thoughts about how to gain the cop's sympathy by acting like a poor cripple. But once his helmet was off and he turned around, House froze. The gum-chewing patient was walking toward him from his police car, his ice blue hues focused on the crippled doctor. Fuck.
The doctor scoffed softly. "If you've come to return the thermometer don't bother, I've moved on."
"If you actually took the time to look at my record," Tritter started, flashing his badge to House, "you would know I'm a cop."
Damn, House cursed in his mind, lowering his gaze from Tritter since once again he was giving him that same look. "You were going forty in a twenty-five zone," the cop added, looking at House like a father disciplining his son.
"Oh come on," House said, then added sarcastically, "you're only doing this because I'm Latino." He flinched mentally after the comment. Then again, they were in a neighborhood. House seemed to relax more after that reminder came to him.
"License, registration, proof of insurance."
Again, House scoffed and then shrugged, extending his arms for a moment before letting them flop back at his sides. "Sorry, cool jacket. Only pockets for important stuff."
Tritter was not amused. At that point, though, the doctor didn't care; he just wanted to get away from Tritter and go home. Instead, Tritter started to pull out his pad and pen. "Well, that's a shame."
"A fifty dollar ticket?" House asked. "Is that your way of beating me up?" He almost hesitated when he added the last part. "Or is that the price for sticking something in you?"
That was the comment that House was going to regret making. The cop just looked up at him from where he stood, staying very still but keeping his eyes over House. Instead of making his move right away, Tritter walked over toward him. "You took a pill while treating a patient. That's serious… addictive behavior."
Is this seriously happening? "I bet," Tritter continued, "that you're holding right now." House knew exactly what that meant for him. His body went rigid, yet he still tried to keep calm. When he spoke, however, his voice sounded weak. "I wasn't weaving, I'm not drunk, you have no reason-"
"Pupils dilated- appear to be under the influence of a narcotic." Tritter paused, seeming to be basking in the moment that was taking place. Oh how House wished he had his cane right now. "Would you mind… turning around and putting your hands behind your head?"
His heart was pounding heavily against his chest. No- no chance in hell. His mind was going a mile a minute, thinking that reply over and over. However he scoffed, "Is that polite crap that'll work on people-"
He was cut off when he felt Tritter's strong grip on his arms, spinning him around and whipping his hands up behind his head. House trembled then, his breathing quiet but also rushed. One hand stayed gripped around both of his wrists while the other started to search, Tritter taking his sweet time sliding his hand down the side of House's torso. He didn't move; his body stayed tense and his gaze averted uncomfortably to the side. Tritter's hands switched when he found nothing other than House's skin under his hand.
Someone has to drive by, House thought and hoped in vain, or someone's got to be awake in one of these- damn it stop touching me! Tritter's hand slid over House's stomach, making him flinch. The hand stayed there for a while before he moved to grab at House's pocket, where he pulled out a handful of Vicodin.
"Got a prescription?" Tritter asked in a low voice in House's ear. Someone… please… his mind begged, but to no avail. House swallowed hard, even then his voice trembled. "I'm a cripple who works in a hospital. You don't think I could get a valid prescript-"
Again, House jumped when he felt the hand on his body. The sound of Tritter's smirk made his stomach clench. At that point, everything about the guy made him sick. "Arrogant son of a bitch like you? I bet you didn't even bother." The had slid very slowly from House's skin and to the handcuffs on his belt. Once again, House swallowed hard. Tritter said nothing as he handcuffed House's wrists. Not even trying to look back at Tritter, House spoke up. He didn't bother with the sarcastic remarks; either way he was in trouble. "What're you going to do to me?"
The cop paused only a moment, holding House's arms. "Like I said before- you're a bully. And bullies… deserve to be punished."
The crippled doctor's brow narrowed with a look of fear in his eyes. It didn't take him a second to realize what was going to happen. I didn't do anything wrong, House repeated in his mind, Tritter gripping his arms tightly as he pushed him toward the back of the cop car. I didn't… it's not my fault. He gave up hope on someone driving by then; because it would just look like some guy getting arrested. House was pushed into the back of the cop car. Tritter couldn't do anything there; one, they were in a neighborhood- someone would hear if House called for help. And two, they were in a cop car- Tritter's DNA would be there. The cop moved toward the driver's seat, chewing on his nicotine gum as he got in. House wasn't looking at him; how could he? Instead he looked out the window, hoping that by some chance that they would go to the station. Because there, Tritter couldn't do anything.
House had been to the station before but never was he that scared. The last time he was that scared was… well, he couldn't remember himself. However as they were driving, House realized that they weren't going to the station. He had a good idea where they were going and on the whole way there, House slowly started to shut off his mind.