Disclaimer: All characters are property of ACD, Marvelous Mark Gatiss, Steven "The Moff" Moffat, the BBC, Fox, David Shore, Katie Jacobs, Bryan Singer, et al. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's Note: Because rexregirebellis asked for it in the Make Me A Monday - Week 1 post, because jupiter_ash wrote the amazing "A House and A Holmes", and because I apparently write FASTER if I'm multitasking on multiple stories, here's part 1 of 5 of "In The Genes." God help me. And if anyone else thinks Professor Emily Holmes bears a striking resemblance to Joanna Lumley, well...good.
In The Genes: Interphase
By Alice Day
They'd picked a café on the corner of Albany and Longford Streets, mainly due to the fact that it was almost empty and would give them some privacy. Seated at a corner table, the doctor watched his tall companion swirl a mug of tea, pale eyes staring into the gritty dregs as if reading his own fortune.
"I think...this is the foulest tea I've ever had," he decided.
"It wasn't my idea to eat here," the doctor pointed out, forking another bite of fried egg into his mouth.
"Hasn't stopped you from sampling the cuisine, though." The tall man grimaced at the plates of food in front of them. "That really is disgusting. All that grease is going straight into your arteries - you're going to need an angioplasty after this."
The doctor sighed and put down his fork. "Yes, because hanging around with you won't kill me first," he groused. "I'm hungry, all right? We've been running around like a couple of gibbons on crack all day."
"Pfft - eating," the tall man sniffed, leaning his head against the dingy white wall of the café and glaring at the ceiling in what his friend recognized as all-too familiar boredom. "Besides, you're enjoying yourself."
The doctor pushed away his plate. He was, but letting his companion know that was never a good idea. "Why don't you try checking your phone?" he said, trying for an even tone. "I know you've been getting texts - the damn thing's been beeping all morning. Maybe there's a case."
"Why bother? If it was important, they'd call."
"Oh, for God's sake, House, just check the damn phone."
Gregory House scowled, banging his mug on the table a little harder than necessary. In return, James Wilson deliberately shoved another forkful of egg into his mouth. Their attendance at an international conference on internal medicine was supposed to have been a reward for House staying clean all year, as well as a chance for Princeton-Plainsboro to make a name for itself on the wider stage. In his more cynical moments, Wilson knew full well that Cuddy paid for his membership and ticket to make sure House stayed out of trouble while in England.
Yeah, because I have so much control over him, Wilson thought, chewing stolidly. He's behaving himself because he knows he doesn't have any pull over here - that and he doesn't want Cuddy to leave him.
Before he could suggest yet again that House stop acting like a three-year-old and check his messages, the diagnostician's phone rang and House glanced at the number. Much to Wilson's surprise, his friend paled, salt-and-pepper stubble standing out against suddenly milky skin. "I need to take this outside," he muttered, grabbing his cane and hobbling out of the café as fast as he could go.
That can't be good. Bemused, Wilson took another sip of his lukewarm tea (which wasn't nearly as bad as House said, and was still a hell of a lot better than what passed for coffee over there) and waited for his friend to come back inside. When House did, a few minutes later, his color was back, almost too much. In fact, he looked-
Wilson paused, mug halfway to his mouth. Oh, hell. He knew that look. Somehow, somewhere, some idiot had pissed House off on a thermonuclear level, and the missile silos were about to return fire. "Okay, what's wrong?" he demanded.
House grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair, shrugging into it. "We've got a case," he snapped.
"What - we?"
"Yes, we," House said testily. "Since the Three Stooges are on the wrong side of the Atlantic right now, I need your help."
Wilson looked at the rest of his food, and sighed. "Fine. What's the case?"
But House was already limping back out the cafe door. Wilson grabbed his own jacket, tossing payment and what was undoubtedly a huge tip on the table, and caught up with the diagnostician just as he reached the curb. "House, what's the case?"
Ignoring him, House raised his cane and yelled, "Taxi!" As if by magic, a Black Cab pulled to a stop in front of him.
"Where to, mate?" the driver asked.
"University College Hospital on Euston Road - it's an emergency," House ordered, opening the back door and lumbering inside. Wilson climbed in after him, just managing to shut the door before the cab surged forward.
The oncologist fell onto the seat, grunting with the effort. "Okay, now are you going to tell me what's going on?" he demanded.
House frowned into the distance, his fingers clenching and unclenching the cane handle. "Someone's been poisoned."
As if it was a physical effort to focus, the diagnostician finally looked at Wilson, blue eyes glowing almost incandescent with rage.
And underneath that...fear? "My son," House muttered.
They were greeted in Admitting by a sleek brunette with a Blackberry that seemed to be surgically attached to her hand. "Dr. House, Dr. Wilson," she said in honey-smooth tones. "I'm Jocasta, Mr. Holmes's PA. He asked me to bring you up."
She turned and swept past the security checkpoint without a pause. Wilson noticed the security guard kept his gaze firmly on his desk, not even registering their passage. More importantly, House didn't make a crack about the PA's (admittedly nice) rear or ask how personal her assisting could get. He just limped silently behind, his face a mask with dangerously glittering eyes.
An elevator took them up to the British equivalent of an ICU, and Jocasta ushered them into what had to be the doctor's lounge. The oncologist noted the two suited men with faint but telltale shoulder bulges waiting outside the lounge door, and two more waiting (no - stationed) outside another door further down the hall. Whoever this Mr. Holmes is, he's got serious pull - and he has something to do with House's son. Great.
Wilson was still trying to wrap his head around that particular bombshell. At some point in the past, Gregory House had reproduced, a tidbit he'd never bothered to share with Wilson before. And the oncologist knew damn well Cuddy had no idea about her maybe-kind of-eventual stepson. Yeah, this is not going to end well.
Inside the lounge, Jocasta ghosted over to an upholstered chair and focused on her Blackberry. House and Wilson were left with two people seated at a battered round conference table; one of them, an urbane-looking man in a three-piece suit that looked custom-made, rose and gave them a tight, humorless smile. "Ah. Doctor House," he said, his tone cordial but strained. "And Dr. Wilson, of course. Thank you for coming."
Wilson waited for House to say something. Instead, the diagnostician limped up to the other person at the table, an elegant older woman in a fashionable jacket and skirt. Her blonde hair, shot with silver, was in an immaculate French twist, and she rose gracefully to meet House's stumping arrival, taking his hand in her own.
"Hello, Greg," she said, her voice a warm alto. "I'm glad you came."
House sighed. "Emily," he replied, either unable or unwilling to meet her eyes. "It's been a long time."
"Yes it has," she agreed. "I'm sorry to interrupt your conference, but we need your help." She glanced at Wilson, giving him a pleasant nod. "Hello, Dr. Wilson. I'm Emily Holmes - I don't know if Greg explained the situation to you yet."
"Not all of it," House muttered. "Wilson, this is Professor Emily Holmes, Regius Professor of Mathematics at Brasenose College." He scowled. "And her son Mycroft."
Mycroft's answering smirk was bland. Wilson's attention swiveled back and forth between the two men, trying to find a resemblance. The age difference alone - there's no way-
"Oh, for God's sake, he's not mine." With an annoyed huff, House dropped into one of the conference chairs. "His brother Sherlock is. And speaking of my spawn, how the hell did he wind up in an explosion?"