There were donors everywhere. Wilson wished he knew where they had all come from. There wasn't supposed to be a fund raiser this week, there were no new wings or labs opening, no shiny, expensive medical equipment to dedicate… They were just there. In the hospital. In droves. And they all knew him and liked him and felt obligated to stop by since they were in the neighborhood and make ingratiating small talk and ask after his wife… He wished he were House so that he could get away with snarking at them that he was divorced and fucking his best friend instead, and that he thought they were all shallow, simpering idiots.

"Wow. You look positively murderous," House said. He limped up and leaned his hip against the reception counter, closer to Wilson than friendship allowed, but still within normal boundaries for House's normal lack of sense of personal space. No one would find it odd.

Wilson turned from his death glare at the nurse's station, where they were all loosely congregated, busy slapping each others' backs and hob-knobbing about their golf clubs while children died twenty feet away. "Have you noticed these idiots?"

"Pediatric oncology," House said unnecessarily. "That'll get them all kinds of face time. Look at that – they're taking pictures." He frowned and sucked on the straw in his massive Slurpee cup. "Might help if they had some baldies in the shot. They could be anywhere. Why not just stand in front of some poster board and call it the peeds cancer ward? Save themselves all kinds of travel expenses, green house emissions… We're in a global crisis here, people!"

"Harpies," Wilson complained. "They're blocking the hallway. What if somebody codes?"

"I'm sure they'll get a picture of themselves holding up the crash cart," House replied with an infuriating lack of concern.

Wilson chose to ignore him. When faced with the choice to be mad at either House or someone else, he inevitably chose someone else. House would give him other reasons once there was no one else around, so why waste his energy? "Look at them." He flung his hands in the donors' direction and pranced for a second, setting his feet to better argue with thin air. "Just strut around the corridors shaking hands with doctors, throw some money around, smile for the cameras and you think you can call yourself a humanitarian." He raised his voice and House actually moved to stand in front of him, perhaps to make it seem as if Wilson were yelling at him, and not lambasting the deep-pockets on the other side of the nurse's station. "Try getting puked on by a six year old who's gonna be dead in a month, and then see if you come back and gossip with those stupid fake smiles on your – "

"They're gonna hear you," House pointed out, his voice level and as close to reasonable as it ever got. "I know I don't care if a few Mister Moneypennies get their panties in a bunch because some mean, nasty doctor yanked off their rosy glasses. But you care."

"Sometimes, House…" Wilson sighed and stepped away to calm himself, his hand automatically moving to soothe the back of his neck. "Sometimes, I wish I didn't."

House hid his sympathetic smile by chewing on his straw, and Wilson's face softened as House looked away. Every now and then, he remembered why he was friends with this man. "You actually seem pleasant today," Wilson commented.

House balked. "No I'm not. Quit spreading rumors before Cuddy hears you and decides to risk foisting me on the clinic patients."

Wilson chuckled. House was definitely in good mood. It happened too infrequently anymore. "Think I'd get fired if I tripped one of them?"

"Not you." House feigned disbelief. "You wouldn't hurt a puppy." He waved his Slurpee cup in the donors direction. "Besides, even if you did trip one of them, they'd all blame me. And they can't fire me cuz I'm a cripple, and they have a quota to fill. So don't worry about it."

Wilson's brow crinkled and he dipped his head, his eyes narrowed. "Did you just encourage me to trip one of them and blame it on you? That's almost…sweet."

"Again with the rumors." House pushed himself off the nurse's counter and planted his cane. "Quit reading into things." He frowned and bounced the rubber tip of his cane a few times, his eyes averted and his face neutral. "I don't like it when you mope. It means I hafta cheer you up."

Wilson smiled fondly at him. "Sap."





"Sorry. Green slurpee syrup on the brain."

"You don't get to take it back just because it was dumb."

House pouted. "Fine. I win, then."

"Wait, what? How do you figure?"

"You had no comeback, ergo, I out-insulted you, ergo, I win."

"Fine. You win."

"Geez, you're a lousy looser."

"Bite me."

"Later. The donors are watching."