A/N: Written for sickwilson_fest on LJ. Spoilers for 6.10 "Wilson".
Prompt: Just how much damage can a fruitcake cause when it falls on our favorite oncologist's foot? Bonus points if Wilson baked the fruitcake.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. *sigh*
"Are those fruity blocks of hell I smell?"
Wilson poked his head out of his kitchen to see House glaring from the front door. "Where have you been? You said you would help me!"
The older man closed the door behind him and waved a brown paper bag at his friend. "I had to get my contribution to this year's Christmas party."
Eyebrows quirked at him. "One bottle? Of something… I assume cheap? Who's the lucky person?"
"This is a gift that everyone can share and that will keep on giving."
The patented Wilson glare was leveled at him. "You are not spiking the punch. Besides, we agreed you would help me package these fruitcakes and we'd give them jointly as gifts."
"Friends don't let friends give fruitcakes as gifts."
The younger man sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Please stop cracking jokes and get in here. I did the first eight so all you have to do is package the last four cakes."
House set the bag on the couch and limped to the kitchen doorway. "Why can't you do it?"
Wilson looked down at his sugar-dusted apron and hands. "Oh, I don't know. I thought maybe I'd clean up a bit before we went tonight."
"We've got like two hours," House whined. "Even you with all your girly primping can't take that long to get ready."
"House! Shut up and get over here." As he turned back to his work area he just managed to restrain a triumphant smile at the overly-dramatic sigh he heard behind him. After a moment his friend appeared at his side and leaned on the counter. "This is really easy, okay? I've already cut the aluminum foil, cling wrap and ribbon into correctly sized pieces and laid them out in order. All you have to do is take a cake, sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar, wrap it in the foil, then the cling wrap, and then tie the ribbon around it in a nice – and I mean nice – bow. The name tags are already filled out so place one on each cake and you're done." He studied the other man's t-shirt and jeans. "Then you can go get dressed."
"What?" House feigned innocence. "I'm ready to go."
Wilson sighed but held back a face-palm. "Of course you are." Shaking his head, he went to grab the new sweater he'd bought from where he'd left it on the couch. That's when he noticed the brown bag was gone. "Where.."
"Hey, Wilson! How much of the 'cheap stuff' should I mix in with the powdered sugar to make a decent icing?"
"House!" He whirled around in a panic, slamming his big toe into the leg of the coffee table as he did. "Ow, ow, ow!"
The other man appeared in the doorway wearing a look of concern until he took in the way Wilson was hopping on his right foot and glaring at the offending piece of furniture. His features morphed into an amused grin.
Wilson quickly cut off whatever insult was about to be hurled his way. "I wouldn't have run into it if you weren't threatening to sabotage our gifts!" Letting out a long-suffering sigh, he buried his face in his hands. "Please, just finish in there and let me get ready in peace." Getting only silence in response, Wilson began hobbling to the bathroom, gritting his teeth every time he put weight on his left foot.
The last thing he heard before he entered the sanctuary of his bathroom was House's sing-song voice. "No stealing my cripple routine!"
The two men spotted Cuddy waving to them as they entered the lobby of PPTH. They worked their way through the crowd of people, a limping Wilson leading the way. "Merry Christmas, Cuddy."
"Happy Hanukkah, Wilson." She returned his hug before pulling back to look down at his foot. "Oh no, you're limping. Are you okay?"
"You never ask me that," House interrupted.
"I wonder why that is," she shot back with an impressive eye-roll. "Seriously Wilson, are you okay?"
"He hit the sauce a little early and ran into a table."
Wilson glared at House before giving Cuddy a reassuring smile. "I'm fine, really. Just stubbed my toe." He held up a large gift bag bearing his fruitcakes. "Where should I put these?"
"Where would any rational person tell you to put a fruitcake?"
"Shut up, House," Cuddy snapped. "I think it's nice of Wilson to spend so much time baking these."
"In that case, I helped."
She gave him a skeptical look. "I'm sure you did." Turning to Wilson she pointed to a table by the elevators. "People have been putting gifts over there." As the oncologist left, she turned her gaze to House. "I don't suppose you brought anything this year?"
"I was going to but Wilson said spiking the punch was in poor taste. I told him spiking the punch was fine, it's the pictures I'd get of everyone after that would be in poor taste. Of course, I could have made lots of money off those photos later…"
Cuddy shook her head again. "Merry Christmas anyway, House."
He opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by a loud shout.
House and Cuddy turned in the direction of the voice and saw Wilson on the floor holding his left foot while his assistant Sandy knelt beside him. They rushed across the lobby, having to dodge fruitcakes as they neared the pair on the floor.
"What happened?" Cuddy asked as she knelt across from Sandy.
"The bag broke open," Wilson replied as he held up his hands. "Thus the carnage around us."
Sandy looked at Cuddy. "He left out the part where they all landed on his foot first."
"All of them?" House asked in disbelief. His brows knitted together. "That's right around twelve pounds. We need to take a look at your foot."
"I'm fine," Wilson insisted. "Despite your hatred of them, they are just cakes."
"Don't be an idiot," House snapped back. "Twelve pounds of anything landing on your foot can cause problems." He looked at Cuddy for support, relieved when she nodded.
"House is right." As her head of oncology began to protest she shook her head. "I insist. It won't take more than a few minutes and then you can come back to the party."
"Fine," Wilson muttered as he pushed himself to his feet. The wave of pain that emanated from his foot had him listing toward House, stopping just short of taking them both down when Cuddy grabbed his arm.
"Come with," House ordered Cuddy as he turned and headed for the closest exam room without waiting for her response.
It took them both to maneuver Wilson onto the exam table and Cuddy gently removed his sock and shoe while House interrogated him.
"What part of your foot did they land on?"
"All of it, but my big toe hurts the most."
"Did you feel it pop or crack?"
"No, although I don't think I could have heard anything over the noise out there."
Wilson shrugged, his face flushing a little. "Uh, maybe a seven?"
"Ouch," Cuddy whispered as she finished working the sock off Wilson's foot. "That's an impressive bruise."
House rolled a stool in front of his patient and sat down. His skilled fingers palpated the area around the bruise, not missing the way his friend flinched each time he got close to the joint of his big toe. "Ecchymosis, swelling, point tenderness at the first interphalangeal joint…" He quieted and nimbly removed Wilson's other shoe and sock. "Move both big toes up and down." His patient obeyed, wincing as pain shot up from his injured big toe. "Decreased ROM," House observed. He looked up at Cuddy. "I want x-rays."
"House," Wilson protested. "It's just a bruise."
"That amount of bruising and pain makes me think otherwise."
The oncologist remained stubborn, looking to his boss for support. "They were fruitcakes, Cuddy. How much damage can a fruitcake do?"
She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Let's do the x-rays."
"Just to be on the safe side," she soothed. "And to put House's mind at ease. You know he worries so." She smiled as Wilson snorted and House huffed. "I'll go get a wheelchair."
After she'd left the room, House studied his friend. "I'm not worried. I just want to make sure you're not lying about the amount of pain to get sympathy. If I have to listen to you act like a big baby all night, I at least want to know you have something to whine about."
"Aw, I'm touched."
"Have been since I've known you. I keep hoping they'll find a cure." He nodded to the doorway. "Ride's here." He watched impassively as Cuddy helped a nurse settle him into the chair before whisking him away to x-ray. Cuddy stayed behind, leaning in the doorway and thoughtfully studying her diagnostician's face. "What?" he snapped.
"It's okay to let him know you care. I mean God forbid the rest of the world think you have any compassion or empathy at all, but Wilson is your best friend."
"He's my meal ticket."
"Yeah, I would have sat by my landlord's bedside while he was recovering from an LDLT."
"I wanted to make sure no one guilted him out of anything else, like his heart or corneas."
Cuddy shook her head in defeat. "You're impossible. I don't know how he puts up with you." She wearily leaned against the doorjamb and rubbed at her temples. Neither spoke again until they heard Wilson's voice from the hallway, regaling the nurse with his fruitcake misadventure.
The nurse parked Wilson's wheelchair before handing Cuddy the x-rays and leaving the room. House quickly snatched the radiographs away and put them on the light box, forcing Cuddy to peer over his shoulder.
"That doesn't look good," she stated with a frown.
House sighed. "No, it doesn't."
"Hello! Patient in the room here."
Cuddy turned around and smiled apologetically. "It's broken."
Wilson's eyebrows shot up in shock. "What?"
"Broken," House repeated as he turned away from the light box. "It's when a bone that used to be in one piece is suddenly in more than one piece."
"Ass," the oncologist growled.
"No, toe," the older doctor shot back with a glare. "Although that would explain the anatomy grade I saw in your college transcripts."
"House," Cuddy admonished. "Stop being such a bully."
"Don't you have a Christmas party to attend to?"
Sensing the two men might handle this situation better left alone in that dysfunctional friend way of theirs, she nodded. "Okay, but try to act like grown ups for a change."
Wilson nodded thankfully as House sneered, "Yes, Mommy."
After Cuddy departed, House perched on the stool and looked up at Wilson. "It's a displaced fracture of the hallux."
"You should get a specialist to look at it."
"House, please. What do you think?"
The other man shrugged. "It's close. It might be okay with a splint or a cast."
"Or it might need surgery." Wilson didn't relish the idea of surgery – the pain, rehabilitation, or missed time from work. Despite the fact that there were other oncologists at the hospital – a fact House pointed out repeatedly – Wilson liked being there for his patients. He needed to be there for them. It was almost… how had House described it once? Pathological?
"Earth to Wilson!"
"Before you get all weepy about your patients missing you and the world screeching to a halt because of your absence, you should get a specialist to look at it."
Wilson nodded but then groaned and sagged in the wheelchair. "All of this from a stupid fruitcake."
"Twelve stupid fruitcakes. And a coffee table." The last part was sung to the tune of 'and a partridge in a pear tree'.
The younger man rolled his eyes until the last comment sunk in. "You think the coffee table started this?"
"Yep. I'm thinking you initially fractured it when you stubbed your toe. Probably non-displaced, not a huge deal. The fruitcakes delivered the coup de grace, displacing the fracture."
"Come on," House said as he stood and rummaged through a supply drawer. "Let me splint your toe, give you some Tylenol 3, and then let's blow this joint. I'll call and schedule you an appointment with a specialist tomorrow."
An hour later Wilson was discovering that 'blow this joint' meant he got to sit in the car while House fought Christmas shopping crowds at the nearby mall. He normally wouldn't have minded, but the pills had only knocked his toe pain back to a four and was doing nothing for the stress headache that had assaulted him as soon as he'd walked out of the hospital doors. He leaned his head against the passenger window and enjoyed the feeling of the cool glass against his cheek as he closed his eyes and tried to empty his thoughts. It must have worked too, because soon House was waking him up as he pulled the Volvo in front of their apartment.
Wilson squinted at his friend in the dim light and rubbed his head. "What on earth did you need so badly you went shopping tonight?"
House ignored the question, opting instead to offer, "You look cute with drool on your cheek."
Wilson scrubbed frantically at his face as his friend's laughter floated around the car. The passenger door opened and House handed him the pair of crutches they'd brought home with them. He awkwardly maneuvered out of the car and watched with envy as House and his cane seemingly danced up the sidewalk. Several stumbles and a couple of near-falls later, Wilson was sprawled out on his couch, panting and debating the merits of cutting of his big toe right then and there.
"You want to move to your bedroom?"
"The couch is fine."
"I'm too tired to go any farther." An idea occurred to him and he glanced up at House. "That was just Tylenol 3 you gave me, right?"
"Like you were ever a scout." The words were spoken without menace as Wilson let his eyes slide shut. After a few minutes he felt very gentle hands lift his left foot and stack pillows beneath it. Then a blanket softly settled across his body and he couldn't hold back a sigh of contentment.
"I am so not giving you a good night kiss."
Wilson smiled as he snuggled under the blanket and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning sunrise sent brilliant rays of light pouring straight into the injured man's eyes. Wilson blinked in confusion since morning sun never invaded his bedroom and that's when the previous night's events came rushing back to him, quickly followed by a throbbing pain in his toe. Propping up on one elbow, he was surprised – and pleased – to see a bottle of water, a paper cup holding two Tylenol 3, and a hastily scribbled note. He downed the pills and read the note.
Had a case come in. Going to get the ducklings started and schedule your appointment. Be home in a few. Try not to break anything else until I get home.
Wilson grinned and set the note back down when he noticed something amiss with his coffee table. He leaned forward and peered more closely, soon breaking into laughter. It was obvious now what House had been so desperate to buy the night before.
The treacherous piece of furniture didn't look nearly as threatening with the neon blue packing foam wrapped around all four legs.