Summary: Angst, Relationships, solving a case, a tropical Island. Episodic
Pairing: House/Wilson, PRE-SLASH & SLASH. PLUS: Chase/Cameron, Thirteen and Cuddy (NOT paired)
Rating: ADULT MATURE Some swearing.
Disclaimer: The man with the delectable a$$, magnificent legs and cane doesn't belong to me...yadda, yadda...
House stared at the small flight folder on Cuddy's desk. "Going somewhere?" He said.
Cuddy, Plainsboro's raven-haired Dean of Medicine and House's long-suffering, long-time friend and boss, crossed her arms. "You are. There's a special case-"
"- and you want me to am-scray. Big, rich contributor - I get it. We'll fly to Jamaica for a week, I can entertain myself by jacking-off to Wilson in his Smiley apron."
Cuddy frowned with distaste. "I can do without the stomach-churning visuals. This case I have assigned to you. He hasn't been off his island in fifteen years."
"His island? Would this man by any chance be single?"
"He's not gay, and neither are you, unless you and Wilson have been sharing more than a bed."
"No, but you gotta' admit, Wilson does have nice buns, but he's three-times divorced, and that means three-times broke."
Cuddy waved away her employee's silliness. "They guy won't travel. He's paranoid; afraid to fly and afraid to be in or on the water. But he's agreed to pay a ridiculous amount of money to get you to come out and treat him on the spot."
"Afraid of water? How'd he get on the island? And what Island?"
"House, the guy begged me."
"Wish I'd caught that show. Another rich contributor. What's my cut?"
"Three all-expenses-paid tickets. Thirteen, you and Wilson."
"Foreman might object to the three-some idea, although I'm sure Thirteen would go for it at the end of her second light beer."
"Foreman has to stay here and run things. Thirteen goes as your assistant. Wilson goes because the poor man needs a vacation. From you would probably be healthier for him, but with you is the best I can do. And you go as the insane doctor. It's Chile."
"I love chili. Suppose I don't solve it? Thirteen - the Thirteen - is hardly a "team"."
"Unless I have Chase and Cameron, I won't do it." House took a deep, dramatic breath and held it, ballooning his whiskered cheeks.
Cuddy chuckled. She could always count on House for some mild amusement. "You think I'm going to cave just because you're holding your breath?"
House nodded, but his face was beginning to turn beet-red.
Cuddy rested her chin in her hand, waiting for the inevitable.
The strain to breath finally broke him, and House expelled in a great rush of air, swaying a little, dizzy with lack of oxygen.
"Good try." She commended.
House sat down in her visitor's chair.
Cuddy closed her eyes to her number one human irritant. "Now what are you doing?"
"Isn't it obvious? I'm holding a one-soldier protest." House thrust his left index finger toward the floor. "I am going to sit in this chair and not move until you let me take Chase and Cameron, too. The advantage of this threat is, my dorsal and ventral respiratory groups aren't going to make me leave if I don't want to. Peristalsis of the colon might make me want to go to the bathroom but even then - who knows? This could be my Tiananmen Square; my fight against tyranny. My - "
Cuddy stared over her hand at him, cutting him off with " - I'll wear a bikini."
House's mouth fell open. "You're going, too? How am I going to goof-off with you around?"
"You're goofing off right now. It's a French-cut."
"Sold." House thrust his cane under him, preparing to stand, leave his boss's office and get busy not getting busy. "So is this guy a rich spoiled contributor who's gong to make my life miserable the whole time I'm there?"
"Rich? Yes. Contributor since his check cleared. And you miserable? What's new." Cuddy sat back in her chair. She got what she wanted, and planned on leaving her bikini at home. Maybe. "Look, I don't care if you accidentally sew a second head onto his shoulders, as long as we can say you tried your best."
House tilted his head, considering it. It might be fun. A week in a nice resort. All the alcohol you can drink. Thirteen in a bikini. Cuddy in a tiny bikini. Cameron in ...he decided not to speculate. He would save that vision for a surprise.
Wilson in a thong-Speedo. House was only mildly surprised how much that vision turned him on. Life was good.
"Why are we switching planes? Again?" Wilson rolled House along in the folding wheelchair, his cane, considered a potential weapon, packed in the cargo hold along with the rest of their luggage.
Wilson tried to close his ears to his friend's complaining. "Because we need to get to the guy's island, remember?"
House frowned. "Cuddy is such a liar. Southern Chile is hardly tropical. More like semi-sub antarctic boreal. So? Helicopter? Cessna?"
"Um...neither." Wilson said.
House craned his neck around to try and see if his friend was hiding something. "What island are we going to - exactly?"
"The Falkland's in a passenger boat."
House clamped his hands onto the wheel's of his chair, bringing it and himself to an abrupt halt. "I can't travel by boat and you know it."
"Yes, you can." Wilson shook his head. "You were just a little kid the last time you puked on the water. You told me all about it."
"I was twelve, and I didn't just puke on the water, I puked on the boat and in my parents cabin and on my bed."
"You'll be fine. It's only a few hours." Wilson reached down and unhooked House's fingers from the wheelchair. "I brought Gravol with me just in case."
"Great. So I'll feel good while I'm puking."
Wilson wheeled House to the small airport exit and to their waiting taxi, opening the door for House, who was using both hands to lever himself out of the chair and into the taxi with as much grace as feasible. "You're such a baby." Wilson muttered.
"I am not!"
Cuddy sipped her less than passable coffee in the boat's tiny kitchen. The whole vessel wasn't longer than forty feet, and the staff consisted of the captain, a boats man, one "deck-hand" and a dog who hadn't seen a bath in years, and liked to rub up against any passing human. Cuddy made a mental note to speak to her secretary about the travel arrangements he had made. This was a little more "economical" than she had expected.
The "kitchen", where they were being served "lunch" was a cubby-hole beneath a canvas canopy right next the Head. There was barely enough room for herself and the rest of House's team. All were present sipping beverages ranging from coffee to fruity cocktails, or eating the euphemistically labeled "Lunch". Two long, thin loaves of sliced up bread, three types of spread, one vegetable, one made of what their server said was a processed lamb and rice spread, and one made of what looked like dark chocolate and crushed peanuts. A bowl of sliced fruit that looked like it had come from cans bought from the shelves of a Piggly-Wiggly, and barely palatable coffee.
Wilson had to duck to descend the narrow stairs. He joined them at the table, wedging his long legs beneath it.
"How's House?" Cameron asked.
Wilson recalled House's face turning from fair to white to ocean green as the boat left the fairer waters near the coast and entered the choppy, twenty foot swells twenty miles out. House had taken to the "infirmary", a tiny closet with a single cot, a box of aspirin, a brown bottle of ethyl alcohol of questionable age, and a box of plastic bandages that had seen better, and drier, days. "Well, by now there's probably nothing left in his stomach to throw up."
Chase cringed at the image. "Do you mind, I'm trying to eat." Chase was chewing on a piece of white doughy bread piled high with one of the two available "spreads". This one looked like a green tomato and chili concoction. By the smell of it, it was also heavily flavored with garlic.
Wilson grimaced. To him, it looked about as appetizing as the last contents of House's sick-pail. "I gave him a mild sedative. He's sleeping."
Chase shook his head. He found it all amusing. "Can't wait to get back and tell Foreman that Mister Tough-Guy has a tender tummy."
Wilson frowned a little. Motion sickness tales could be funny when hearing about them in someone's vacation anecdote, but it was a miserable condition for the sufferer if prolonged, even resulting in severe dehydration if the patient couldn't keep anything down, especially if not even water. House, thankfully, had managed a tepid glass of that. Wilson felt a little guilty for assuming House's queasy stomach was a childhood malady long done with. "He's feeling terrible." He said, looking only at Cuddy. "On the trip back, we should take a Cessna. I'll pay for it if the hospital isn't willing."
Cuddy nodded. "I'll arrange it." She hadn't thought to even ask if anyone needed special travel arrangements, except for a wheelchair for House; a standard requirement on most airlines if a passenger had to use a cane or had other mobility problems.
Wilson nodded. House had looked really awful. It would take him a couple of days just to recuperate, and they were only going to be on the island, if all went well diagnostically, five days. So House was going to enjoy maybe three days of this travel vacation, and then only if the weather cooperated. "House thought this was going to be a warm week on the beach." Wilson commented. "He doesn't do well with cool, wet weather." It made his leg ache that much more.
Sharing his apartment with House had reminded Wilson just how difficult day-to-day living still was for his friend. House's leg, without the Vicodin, was a shade worse for pain, and hadn't responded to the ibuprofen and muscle relaxants as well as Nolan had hoped. House still spent many mornings massaging the thigh and rhythmically hobbling around in circles, trying to numb the injured limb enough to make it into work.
The boat took a deep dive into a watery trough, then rose dramatically again. Everyone present had to grab onto their cups and plates in order to prevent them from sliding off the table and shattering all over the floor. He hoped House was still asleep, so he could miss what remained of the roller coaster boat-ride.
Wilson looked at Cuddy out of the corner of his eye and noticed that she looked a little guilty. It was some small satisfaction, and he poured a cup of coffee for himself.
"Hey." Wilson touched House's shoulder. House had shed his jacket and shoes, and was curled up on his left side on the narrow cot, still asleep from the sedative. Wilson hated to wake him, but their boat had docked. "We're here."
House stirred, opening his eyes. He looked better, but Wilson noticed that he made a point of not attempting to sit up yet, or even move much.
House nodded his head and then made a face, regretting even that movement.
"Need another shot?"
House took a deep breath, trying to settle the left-over rages of his delicate digestive system. "No. I need to go home." House reached out his right hand, and Wilson took it, helping him into a sitting position. Then his hand went immediately to his thigh and he rubbed it. "I can't believe Cuddy talked me into this."
Wilson seemed to remember it as more of a bribe. "Can you walk?"
House answered by suddenly draining of all color, grabbing his sick bucket and burying his face in it. After retching twice, all that came up was a small amount of bile. Wilson handed him a paper towel and House wiped his mouth. "Got a stretcher?"
"Sorry." Wilson tried to be encouraging. "Was that the stomach or the leg?" When House didn't answer, Wilson said "Come on, let's get you on dry, un-moving land. That should help."
House nodded, though very little and struggled to his feet, leaning on the thin wall for support. "Hand me my shoes."
The ride up to the hotel-like mansion was uneventful, the group of doctors climbing into two limousines. Depositing them off at the main entrance, two servants greeted them, and their luggage was piled on a wheeled cart and taken around to a side entrance.
A pleasantly smiling, pretty maid dressed in a simple frock of form-cut cotton, introduced herself as Marguerite, waved them in and handed each of her employer's special guests a bottle of wine to take to their assigned rooms. Those rooms apparently already decided upon according to Cuddy's negotiated arrangements with her hospital's rich client.
Chase and Cameron began the long climb to the top of the ornate wood stair-case that split into two half way up, curving off to the left and right, leading the guests to either the right or left wing of the mansion. According to the maid's instructions, Chase and Cameron took the left.
Cuddy was handed a bottle of wine and sent to the right wing, as was Thirteen.
Lastly Wilson was handed two bottles and, with House, once again on his cane, were steered toward the left wing.
House looked at the long flight of stairs, and asked the maid. "How am I supposed to...?"
The maid's smile fell a little. Evidently, she had not been warned of House's handi-capped status. "Oh, um," She said in a Chilean accent lightly seasoned with British. "Well, I will call Eduardo. He can help you."
The attendant who showed up was a barge-like man of six feet, his olive-skinned head sitting on a foundation of thick rolls of shoulder muscles, and arms like a bear. Marguerite introduced him around, and Eduardo with a simple, short bow of greeting to the group, moved toward House, making like to sweep him up off his feet and carry him upstairs honey-moon style.
House, still nimble with his feet despite his cane and still-churning stomach, deftly side-stepped the massive man. "Only when I'm dead." House warned him, fending him off by holding his cane out and sideways like a quarter-staff. He was not going to be carried around! House glared at Wilson. "Was this Cuddy's idea or yours?"
"Neither." Wilson answered. He turned to speak to Marguerite. "Look, can Eduardo just somehow roll Doctor House up the stairs in the wheelchair?"
Marguerite smiled and nodded her head several times rapidly, grateful for the solution. "Si. Yes." Eduardo fetched the wheelchair and soon Wilson and House were standing in a wide thickly carpeted hallway, the walls of both sides hung with portraits of what they assumed were family members.
Wilson's room was behind a beautifully carved white painted door trimmed in gold. Wilson leaned in. "This looks like real gold-leaf."
House didn't care about the door. "Where's my room?" He asked Marguerite who had accompanied them upstairs to ensure the crippled doctor arrived without mishap.
She gestured a delicate hand toward the door. "Oh, this is it. It is the Master's largest double-room."
House looked back in horror. "You mean attached? With a shared bathroom?"
She nodded, her shining caps never wavering as she and Eduardo made their discreet departure.
Wilson looked down at House in disapproval. "You're complaining already?"
House stood on shaky legs. The sedative Wilson had given him combined with his illness, had left him feeling light-headed and unsteady on his feet. "I've been doing nothing but sharing a bed and bathroom with you for months."
Wilson hadn't minded. Having someone in his bed again every night, the proximity of another warm body, had given him back a kind of...physical comfort he hadn't had in a good while. "I didn't hear you complaining when I suggested it."
House said. "I didn't have anywhere else to go."
Wilson glanced sharply at him. House hadn't sounded sad, exactly, more like resigned to his fate. "Are you unhappy staying with me?" He opened the door and they were greeted by un-abashed opulence. They both entered, taking a moment to survey the grand room before them.
Everything that had been placed in the room was meant for serenity and comfort. There were fresh cut flowers on every table. A king-sized bed with satin sheets and down-quilts as thick and two white layer cakes piled on top of one another. There was a fireplace of aqua-colored marble with two leather easy chairs pushed in front of it. Between the chairs was a small hand-carved table that looked about a thousand years old and priceless. Here it was being used to hold drinks. On its waxed surface sat three bottles easily recognizable as nothing but the very best; one of Sherry, one of imported single-malt Scotch, and another bottle of a possibly orange flavor of liqueur, it's aged golden depths getting tastier minute by minute.
On a side-table to the right of the fireplace sat a large silver tray holding a dozen different drinking glasses of every description, and a large decanter of Whiskey. The furnishings were all rich, well padded and shined to a perfect gloss. And both men knew that through the bathroom door, was another bedroom that was just as grand as this one. The bathroom itself was probably the size of a great-room and no doubt decorated just as richly.
"Wow." House looked with approval on the selection of booze. "I guess a shared bathroom isn't so bad."
House wandered around the room, picking up objects, looking at them, then setting them down again. He shook his head without hesitation, answering Wilson's last question. "No, you've been great but,..."
Wilson felt a tiny leap from his heart. "But what?"
"I'm a fifty-year old bachelor" House said it as though being alone at that age constituted him as some sort of failure. "Who isn't even a bachelor." House shrugged with one hand. "Not your fault I went nuts, but now you're stuck with me."
Wilson could not believe his ears. House thought he was being nothing but a drag on his friend; a hardship. "House, I like having you there." He didn't go into all the reasons why. Long-time friendship of course, and just congenial companionship, a warm body in his bed at night, and ...other reasons he didn't want to think much about just yet. If ever.
House gave Wilson a small, barely there look of gratitude. "For ten years, I've been tired of being in pain. Now I'm tired of being crazy."
A confession all the more heart-rending for it's simple truth. House meant he was dependant on others now, and it was scaring the hell out of him. House, a professional man, a world-famous diagnostic physician who had lived independently for almost all of his adult life now, at fifty years old, was forced to rely on other people for almost everything. For his living space, his job, his safety, and to an extent his self-respect because he could no longer be on his own, and on top of that also had to have someone watch his every move with regards to medication, sleep, diet, and stress level, for fear the hallucinations returned. Or perhaps something worse.
Wilson had no idea what to say to that. All he could think of was "Well, you helped me once, now I'm helping you. For me, it hasn't..." Wilson wanted to say that he was loving having House near him, but finished with "been bad at all."
House nodded, making no further comment about it. "I suppose I ought to see this client of Cuddy's."
Wilson heard a soft, irregular tap-tap-tap on the large windows behind them. He walked over and drew aside the fold of thick blue silk to look out, and was greeted by dark clouds had formed, settling over the island with all the appearances of staying for a while. The origin of the tap-tap-tap was revealed. It had begun to rain.
House looked crestfallen. Dejectedly - "There goes the French bikini's and thong Speedo's".
Part II asap