The thing is, I've never been interested in what you have to say; all I care about is what you do.

- Tritter, "Words and Deeds"

A thick, cardboard-encased desk planner slammed down in front of Wilson's eyes. It took him a moment to realize what it was, and looked up. House stood over him, glaring.

"Preliminary hearing's on the 19th at 10," he snapped. "Make sure you use that; I'd hate for you to forget to when you're scheduled to officially sell out."

Wilson couldn't repress a wince, but his conscience wouldn't allow him to put up any more of a protest than a feebly remonstrative, "House." It was a mistake, of course. Weakness only goaded House on, especially when he was convinced he was in the right. Actually, Wilson was half convinced House was right. But that didn't mean he needed any more guilt heaped on him. He was doing just fine in that category all by himself.

"Make sure you pick up a tie that won't induce blindness," the diagnostician continued mercilessly. "I'd have picked one myself but after buying the planner I'm all tapped out. But that's ok; I know you were reimbursed. How much is thirty pieces of silver in today's currency?"

"House, please. I feel shitty enough about this already. Besides, I'm not testifying. Tritter got everything he needed when you signed for Zebalusky's Vicodin. He doesn't need me."

"Cuddy to the rescue." House's voice hovered between impressed and disgusted. "She found some 'evidence' proving that I didn't get the dead guy's oxycodone; allegedly she set it up so that I'd get placebos instead when I signed for them. Pharmacy log 'proves' it."

"Placebos? The judge actually believes you OD'ed on placebos?" Wilson knew his voice was edging on hysterical but he couldn't get it under control. Residual waves of horror and hurt from that terrible Christmas kept washing over him. He kept seeing House bleary-eyed, unconscious in his own vomit, reeking of bile and sweat. And that damned vial next to him.

"The judge doesn't know about that," snapped House, yanking Wilson out of his flashbacks. "At least, not until you testify."

And now another wave of emotion was sweeping over Wilson, this one made of sheer desperation. "I won't testify. I'll refuse. I'll back out."

"Don't you get it?" House bent over him, looming over him. "It's too late. Tritter's got his claws into you. There's no way he'll let you go now." He straightened and turned for the door. Wilson dared to think the abuse was over until, Columbo-like, House paused for the final blow.

"We both know you'll testify. It's jail time if you don't, and everyone saw how fast you crumbled just to get back your bank account and your car and your precious, tumor-ridden patients. Why would you be any slower to protect your pretty-boy ass from Knuckles and his band of prison johns?"

Wilson winced again and dropped his gaze to the new planner in front of him. He heard House give a derisive snort – it was no fun when the victim didn't react – and the door slammed. Left alone, he brought up a hand and rubbed his eyes. Nothing he could say was going to change House's opinion of him. Wilson pushed the planner away to the corner of his desk, took a sip from his water bottle, and wondered how the hell he could possibly put things right.

The 19 th, 10:11 a.m.

Tritter paced the courtroom's hallway, knuckled turning white around his cell. "What's taking so long? I want James Wilson in this courtroom immediately or else I want him in cuffs."

"I'm with hotel security right now," came the placating response from the prosecution's lackey. "OK, the door's unlocked. Dr. James Wilson? I'm with – oh my God. Sorry, I have to call you back."

"What? No!" Tritter stopped his pacing. "What the hell's going on?"

"I'm sorry but I have to call 911. This is an emergency."

Abruptly the line went dead in Tritter's ear. He dialed back but only got dumped into voice mail for his trouble. Angrily he snapped the phone shut. "That man better be dead or dying," he muttered to no one in particular.

Meanwhile, Wilson continued to twitch and jerk in a puddle of vomit, unresponsive, as the EMS rushed into the room.