A/N: This story includes the 5 words I am prouder to have strung together than anything I have every written – "Post Joe Penny drunken orgasm". The story, and my future, is downhill from there.
I wrote this awhile back and didn't like the ending so I've never posted it. I stumbled across it and decided to rework it and post it. I'm still not thrilled with the ending. I'll post a chapter every day or so and we'll see if I come up with a better ending by the time we get to it!
This takes place after Amber's death, but before Kutner popped his cork.
Warning: This story involves an original character. It also involves House having sex with people (male and female) other than Wilson. There is also some violence in later chapters.
Chapter 1 – The Loki of Medicine
It was said Dr. House had the power to make anyone in the hospital's life miserable. It was one of the first things a new employee was told. Don't get on House's bad side and don't try to get on his good side. It didn't exist. The best you could do was to avoid him.
In theory, avoidance was easy. He had almost no patients. He didn't trust nurses to do their jobs. He ignored orderlies, candy stripers, and anybody else wearing a name badge. You could work at PPTH for years without ever seeing him. In theory. In actuality, avoiding House was more like crossing a mine field blind. He would pop up without warning in places he had no obvious reason to be. He seemed to know things he had no possible way of knowing and delighting in petty, unfolding dramas that he had no direct relation to.
To Curt Freeling there was something unworldly about him, extraterrestrial. House was like Loki with a medical degree. Curt had been intrigued by the stories and tantalized by the scandalous descriptions of House's antics. It wasn't until he saw him in person that he became obsessed.
As a respiratory therapist he had no chance of working with the legend. What he did have was the same random chance other people had of suddenly having House drop into his life.
Curt was walking down the hall when he heard the bellow.
"A little help in here! Need a crash cart!" Curt looked to the nurse's station where three nurses were arguing about who would go.
"Now damn it!" Curt grabbed the cart and wheeled it into the patient's room. The yeller turned and Curt realized who he was in the presence of THE Dr. House.
"Charge the paddles." Curt found himself flipping the switches before he even realized what House had said. He didn't even know if he was flipping the right ones. He would have to add mind controller and puppeteer to the list of House's magic abilities.
"Keep them ready."
"Ready? But…" Curt looked at the patient. "She isn't in arrest." Curt had a measure of pride in being able to speak at all. House groaned. It sounded like something primal. House reached over and moved a dial.
"She will be in about 20 seconds." House finally looked at Curt. Their eyes barely met, but it mesmerized Curt. Seconds later the patient coded. House took the paddles and controlled, Curt could think of no better word, him to assist. He brought her back. Curt had seen the wizardry first hand. Time itself was helpless before the power of Gregory House.
House's team came in and Curt was jostled away from the patient towards the door.
"I told you not to leave the patient alone. You generally need to be in the same room as the patient to make that happen." They started to make excuses, but House cut them off. "How does it feel to know the respiratory therapist can do your job better than you?" Curt was startled and scared and excited that somehow House knew who he was.
House left the room giving Curt a final look. It was only a moment, but he stood face to face with House. Their eyes met again. Curt felt like he was standing in front of his very own Rasputin. In all the warnings nobody had mentioned Dr. House was uniquely handsome, tall and majestic. House looked down and away and left the room. By the time Curt caught his breath and tried to follow, House was nowhere to be seen.
It wasn't by random chance he had been in that hallway. And the Great House knew him! Wasn't that a sign? His stomach fluttered with a collection of butterflies that would make the most enthusiastic of lepidopterist jealous.
And that was how Curt's obsession began.
Curt did his due diligence. He found his father's obituary, a picture of Stacy, and bought a cane like the one House lost during the bus accident. He learned what he drove, where he lived, how he liked his coffee. Getting close to House was impossible. He also learned that Wilson was much more accessible.
* * *
Wilson breezed into House's office looking entirely too happy. He had a bounce in his step. Perhaps even a song in his heart. House didn't want to speculate. Well, he did want to speculate, but he wanted more data first.
"Do you want to go out for lunch today? It's a really nice day," Wilson asked and qualified.
"It's your dime." House hoped he didn't sound too relieved. They had agreed that everything was fine and neither needed to apologize any more for anything that happened prior to Wilson's return to PPTH. They told each other that nothing had changed. House felt like everything had changed. He was worried Wilson was going to ditch him for lunch. A Monday lunch was a rarity. It seemed like Friday was the only day Wilson could consistently give him.
House stood up too quickly. He grabbed at his thigh instinctively and grimaced at the sudden jolt of pain before he could hide it. Wilson waited to see if he needed assistance.
"You really need to try physical therapy again. Standing up shouldn't hurt that much," Wilson lectured.
But it fucking does, House thought but, because he was walking, well limping, on egg shells around Wilson and there wasn't an audience to shock, didn't say. All he did say was a suggestion that the cafeteria would probably be a better choice. Wilson shrugged disappointedly, but quickly rebounded. House immediately wished he hadn't said anything. Wilson visibly struggled to walk at House's slowed pace.
House got his next piece of data from Wilson's humming in the cafeteria line.
"Is that … Asia," he asked incredulously. Wilson seemed startled out of his reverie.
"Um, I don't know. Is this North America?" Wilson paid the cashier smiling even broader than usual. House noted the cashier smiled as usual.
"Apparently you're on the moon. Earth to Wilson. Come in Wilson!" Wilson squinted disapprovingly at House, but his smile made it clear he was still amused. "The song you were humming. I asked if it was that Asia song."
Wilson sat down and placed his plate close to the center of the table – the unspoken acquiescent offer for House to take anything off the plate. House knew Wilson only did this when he was trying to be nice to House or when he was in a ridiculously good mood. With Wilson he knew a ridiculously good mood involved proving himself superior to someone else particularly if somebody doubted him or that person was House, he had successfully pulled one over on House, or he was getting laid (not by House).
"Maybe. I wasn't really paying attention. I like Asia." Wilson took a big bite of his veggie burger.
"Forget Earth to Wilson. 21st century to Wilson!" House was disappointed at Wilson's lack of reaction and annoyed with his lack of attention. He wondered if Wilson was following the age old "ignore someone making fun of you and he'll go away" advice. House was too principled to stop mocking even if it wasn't as entertaining without the mockee listening. He tried not to read too much into it, but since Amber, House was more insecure. He tried to steel himself for the day Wilson left again, but he knew it would still be devastating. The expectation tainted every conversation for House.
"Did you get the new Toto record? I hear it's super awesome!" Wilson looked at House confused.
"What," Wilson asked trying to catch up. "Toto's last album was like 2 years ago. Why are we talking about it?"
House hesitated trying to decide which path to go. "Seriously? Toto is still making albums?" Wilson shrugged.
"No, they broke up last year."
"It is so sad you know that." Wilson shrugged again, but continued slightly smiling. House was officially aggravated.
"What's up with you? Smiling like a moron, ignoring my witty banter. Oh god. Please don't tell me you're in love," House jibbed with his eyes bulging dramatically. Wilson blushed. House was suddenly not in a joking mood.
"No, nothing like that. It's just…" Wilson contorted his mouth like he was literally chewing over his words. "Somebody hit on me and it's flattering to know I'm still attractive." House snorted.
"Women flirt with you all the time. As the Princeton Panty Peeler, your reputation precedes you! You could have, and probably have had, anyone in the hospital. You even had to branch out to patients to mix things up." Wilson glared at House. That particular indiscretion was verboten in conversation. House looked down at the table, then at the wall, anywhere but at Wilson. After a long moment of uneasy silence, Wilson decided House had done enough penance.
"So this was different. First of all, it was a he." House smirked.
"You get hit on by guys all the time. You just don't notice it as much." Wilson shook his head.
"Not in a long time."
"I flirt with you all the time, you hot, cancer curing hussy." House stole a french fry to punctuate his statement.
"No, this guy was serious."
"I'm serious. I'd fuck you long time." Wilson closed his eyes in silent prayer that the candy striper walking by their table at that exact moment hadn't heard House. When he opened his eyes and saw her looking over her shoulder at them as she walked away, he knew House was right. There was no god. It was uncanny how House could time his outbursts so perfectly.
"House, that's not funny." Wilson said quirking an eyebrow and nodding his head in the direction of the retreated striper.
"Wasn't trying to be," House dead panned.
"Well, we all know you'd stick your dick in a hole in a fence if it got you off." That made House smile. "Getting back to me, I noticed this guy yesterday staring at me. Today, he seemed to be everywhere I went until I went to the clinic."
"You didn't have clinic duty today," House interrupted.
"I was filling in for Donaldson. Anyways, my first two patients were lucky they got me instead of you. Complete wastes of time. So I go into my third exam room and there's no patient, but there is this guy."
"That's kind of creepy. He knows your schedule better than I do."
"And it isn't at all creepy how well you know my schedule. Anyways, I asked him if he was okay and he said he was great, fantastic now that he finally had a chance to talk to me."
"That line hasn't caught a fish in 20 years!" Wilson ignored him.
"He tells me he hopes he didn't come across as all stalkery, but he wanted to tell me that I looked nice today."
"You look nice every day. That's more a statement than a come on." Wilson didn't try to hide his smile at House's unintentional flattery.
"I ask him if I look nice today why was he staring at me yesterday. He says, without missing a beat, 'You look nice every day', sound familiar, 'but yesterday I noticed how good you look. I'm just curious if you're as good as you look.' I had no idea what to say – completely tongue tied. He stood up, got way into my personal space and, almost touching cheek to cheek, says 'I bet you're even better' and puts a piece of paper with his phone number in my hand."
House ground his teeth. He wondered if Wilson was telling him this story, if it even happened, to piss him off. House tried not to sound jealous.
"I thought we had an understood agreement that if you ever decided to go from "no way" to "kinda gay" I'd get first crack at your cr…" Wilson cut him off.
"I didn't say I was interested and I don't recall ever agreeing to an understanding. Can I finish my story?"
"It goes on." House asked skeptically.
"Yes. So he steps back and gives me this look that was, I don't know, lusty. Then he walked out like he owned the place."
"A little cock-y? Does loverboy have a name to go with his number?" Wilson pulled a piece of paper out of his shirt pocket.
"Curt Freeling. I looked him up he's …"
"A respiratory therapist. We all know they're notorious sluts."
"You know him?" Wilson sounded surprised that House would know a lowly respiratory therapist.
"Sure. Good jaw line, nice hair – not Chase nice, but good." Wilson seemed to be thinking that over before silently agreeing. "He's cute, but you can do better."
"And how do you know him," Wilson asked, worried House had already received a similar invitation making his invitation less special.
"He helped with a patient a while back. By helped I mean he knew which button to hit and dial to turn. That doesn't mean he isn't an idiot."
"Like I said, I'm not interested. It was just nice to have the attention."
"You don't want to date somebody prettier than you. It'll never work out." Wilson started to say something, but stopped to consider what House said.
"You think he's prettier than me?" Danger ahead, Greg, a little voice in House's head said. He decided this wasn't the time to start listening to that voice.
"Prettier, yes. More attractive? No. You're the store. He's just the window dressing."
"This is really my day for unexpected compliments." Wilson smiled and House smiled back. House quietly contemplated how long he should wait before smiting Curt.