Foreman came into his office, file in hand and stopped dead at the sight of House sitting at his coffee table calmly spreading some jelly on a piece of bread. Other bits of food, paper bags, and miscellaneous bits of garbage were spread out on the table. House looked up as Foreman entered and deliberately stuffed a piece of the bread into his mouth, chewing obnoxiously with his mouth open.
Foreman felt in his pocket for the remote. You'd think House would learn eventually. Trouble was the guy was turned on by pain, giving him a shock was probably the equivalent of stroking his cock for him.
He just set the remote for a mild buzz and House stiffened as he felt it. His eyes widened for second and then he swallowed his piece of bread and smiled lazily at Foreman.
"Is that all you got?"
"The setting goes all the way up to lethal."
"Yeah, killing me would be a good strategy. Especially as you've got a case for me. Must be some important guy for you to carry the file to me personally like this."
Foreman kicked the level up a bit more and House jerked in his chair but kept grinning at him, like he knew something Foreman didn't. After a beat he put his hand on his crotch and rubbed it suggestively.
"When Wilson was fucking me, on our night away, he used the remote, gave me a buzz just when things were getting hot. Well, just between you and I, wowza! "
Foreman gritted his teeth, briefly debated pushing the dial all the way up to 'writhing helplessly on the ground level' and then deliberately put the thing down.
"Pick up your crap and get out of my office, you arrogant jerk. Cure this guy and be a good boy and ask nicely and I might let you stay instead of kicking you back to that prison where you belong."
House got up, leaving the remains of his breakfast where it was. He snatched the file out of Foreman's hands.
"If you had any intentions of 'kicking me back to prison' you would have done it last week when you had me all chained and helpless outside your office. Instead you just settled for a kinky scene to impress the peasants. You need me here, the Board wasn't pleased with the way PPTH slipped down the rankings without a functioning Diagnostics department. I heard that your ass was toast if you didn't get me out of prison." House went over to the desk and picked up the remote control before Foreman could stop him. He gave himself a mild buzz and grinned. "The more I feel this the more I like it, maybe you should try it yourself. I'm sure Chase would be happy to oblige, the boy swings both ways as I'm sure you know," he winked at Foreman in an exaggerated motion and then chucked the remote back at Foreman who caught it one handed.
"I'll let you know when," he peeked at the file, "oh, hotshot prosecutor, brilliant, just the type of person I like saving so they can spend the rest of their life making people miserable. I'll let you know when Tommy here is cured."
He arrogantly limped his way out of Foreman's office, leaving the sticky knife, crumbs, and other debris behind him. Foreman called for his assistant to clean up the mess and paged Adams. He might not able to send House back to prison, the damn perceptive bastard was right there, but he could find plenty of other ways to make his life more miserable than it usually was.
Wilson met with two of his men in the small apartment that used to belong to Amber. The men were under the impression that he lived here, and Wilson was careful to keep up that appearance. After Amber's unfortunate death a few years ago he'd kept the apartment and had it carefully maintained. Her photos were still on the wall, some of her clothes in the closet, her coffee mugs were sitting on the small shelf in the kitchen. House had laughed when he'd seen it, called it Wilson's 'Cut-throat bitch shrine' and Wilson had merely smiled, and given him another six for his impertinence. The apartment served a purpose. There was no need for these men to know where he really lived.
He served them coffee and pastries at the small table. They were roughly dressed, street clothes thrown over their uniforms. They'd come straight from their shift at PPTH, and seemed coarse and out of place in the immaculate apartment but Wilson served them as if they were the cream of Princeton society, he had discovered that if you treated men like this with sincerity and politeness they were more apt to be loyal.
The men would most likely not be recognised by many of the staff at the hospital despite the fact that they were there every night, and sometimes during the day, they were almost invisible as janitors. They had free access to every office, every lab, every room in the place. There was nowhere these men couldn't, and didn't, go.
"Foreman is meeting with some donors on Tuesday. One of them is that guy from Goodyear, you know, the one with the wife who has the little drinking problem." Lou mimed putting a flask to his lips. Wilson nodded, he knew the man, and his wife, well. The 'little drinking problem' had resulted in a 'little car accident' for the wife last year, and a nice flow of funds to PPTH ever since, after some blood alcohol lab results had been smoothly switched for the donor. "The guy seems to think he's paid enough for his wife sins, he wants to see Foreman to renegotiate." Wilson knew that as well, he'd had a hand in it, he needed Foreman to be under pressure, more than the hospital needed another few thousand from the donor.
Wilson nevertheless nodded at Lou and acknowledged his good work, you had to let people know you valued their contributions. Many of these people were very much like puppies, treat them well, give them praise and an occasional treat and they fell over themselves trying to impress. He turned to Carlos, who was the more savvy of the pair.
"Your report on Doctor House's team?"
"Chase is solid. He's visiting a club on 34th street regularly and he'll fuck anything that moves, and some things that don't, but he's loyal. He's spying for House but you know that. Taub is having trouble with those babies of his, juggling his schedule and spending time with the kids... usual thing. He's on the prowl again, but at least he's using a condom now - you might want to steer clear of sleep lab four if you don't want to see him in action." Carlos made a face and Wilson smiled agreeing, he had no wish to see a naked Taub. "Park is as dull and earnest as she appears. She's taking anger management classes if you can believe that. Can't see a problem there, she lives with her parents, so if you ever need a pressure point that's it. Adams is who you need to watch. She's been having 'meetings' with Foreman. And she blames House for what happened to her. They're planning something, haven't been able to find out what yet, but we're working on it."
Wilson nodded. "And Doctor House?"
Lou spoke up, he had the most to do with House, having nurtured a relationship of sorts with him - House regularly beat him at poker and thought Lou was working for him. "He's doing okay. Hasn't tried to get out of the hospital. Keeping his head down mostly. He's been stealing some things here and there, clothes, food from the lounges, some pills. He's going up to the roof a bit but he doesn't seem to up to anything."
Wilson begged to differ, House always had some scheme going. He didn't like the sounds of him stealing pills - Wilson was supposed to be his sole source of Vicodin. He told Lou to keep an eye on the situation and see if he could find out more about the pills, where he was getting them from and where he was stashing them. He paid both men, handsomely, and saw them out the door. Looking around he called his cleaning lady to come in and clean the apartment so it was fresh again and made his way into the hospital.
Adams and Park were investigating the home of their newest patient when they came across his secret room. Park stared at the row of military rifles, the handguns, the explosives in the underground bunker. Adams looked around with cool appreciation.
"You report in to House, I'll get some samples from in here, there might be some contaminant. He's probably the only one who comes in here which would explain why he's sick and no-one else in the family is." Adams said and Park nodded and went outside the room to get better reception for her phone. Adams checked that she was well clear and began to take samples.
"My patient has an arsenal of weapons in a secret room in his house," House said, as he sat in the cafeteria with Wilson who had bought him some lunch. House's prisoner shirt, and the collar around his neck garnered him some looks from the visitors to the hospital but they chose to mind their own business, looking the other way and hoping not to get contaminated by the criminal in their midst.
"Weapons?" Wilson looked up, his gaze sharp. "Who went to the house?"
"Park and Adams. Adams doesn't like Park, and Park is frightened of Adams so I thought it would be fun for them to spend some time together. Also I was hoping that the cops would turn up, what with Adams being on probation, but they mustn't have made it there in time."
Wilson was about to answer when his cell phone chirped. He looked down at the screen and frowned.
"We need to get back to your office."
"Why? Is there a hooker waiting for me there?"
"Foreman is having it searched," Wilson said grimly.
As they approached diagnostics House could see Foreman standing in the small office, and three security goons turning the place over. He started forward, raising his cane but Wilson held him back.
"Let me deal with this," he said firmly.
House shook off his hand angrily but Wilson tightened his grip on his arm. "House."
They locked eyes for a moment and then House lowered his eyes and nodded. Wilson gave his arm a squeeze and went over to Foreman.
"You should have consulted with me."
"And have you tell House so he could hide it?"
"What is it you're looking for? He doesn't have anything. He's been cooped up in this hospital for all but one night of the last few weeks. What exactly do you think he has?"
"He's House, he steals stuff, we're looking for contraband, anything he shouldn't have." Foreman looked away and Wilson received the impression that he knew exactly what he was looking for and expected to find it. The rest of this was just for show.
The guards were picking everything up and dumping it on the floor, all House's books and the assorted paraphernalia that Wilson had stored for him while he was in jail. A model of a skull smashed when it hit the ground and Wilson glanced at House to see him staring rigidly at the remains.
"Foreman... " Wilson said warningly, "stop this."
Foreman had opened his mouth to reply when one of the guards came over with a small candy container in his hands. He gave it to Foreman who opened the top and smiled when he looked inside. He showed the open bottle to Wilson and then took one of the tablets out.
"I think we all know this is Vicodin, not sugar candy," Foreman said, examining it, "got a prescription for this Doctor House?" The last two words were said mockingly.
"You know I take Vicodin for my pain."
"Oh yes, we all know about your pain Doctor House. And I know that the only Vicodin you are supposed to be taking are the three doses Doctor Wilson gives you during the day, single doses, which he is to watch you take. This is contraband. There will be an investigation, and a hearing."
Foreman pocketed the Vicodin but kept watching the goons. Wilson again had the sense that Foreman was looking for something specific.
One of the guards had taken a framed picture out of the desk and Wilson caught a glimpse of an old photo of Blythe before House was advancing on the guard, his cane raised.
There was a shout and then a brief tussle before House ended up on the floor, his body jerking as Foreman activated the remote to the collar.
"That's enough, Foreman. He's had enough. Leave it!" Wilson shouted and Foreman took his finger off the remote and House lay still for a few seconds before he began to get groggily to his feet, head shaking from side to side. The guards hauled him bodily to a kneeling position and cuffed his hands behind his back, one of them kicked the cane out of reach, breaking it in half as he did so.
Wilson heard a gasp and looked up to see Park and Adams in the doorway, Park with her hand up to her mouth, Adams with a satisfied look on her pretty face.
They all stood there as the guards finished searching the office, nothing was left untouched until there was a pile of books and papers on the floor. They'd found a few more pills and a stash of candy bars and other junk food from the vending machines but Foreman frowned.
The guard shrugged. "Yes, there's nothing else." He looked down at the kneeling House, still dazed from the shock blast, his mouth happening open slightly, his eyes unfocused. "What do you want us to do with him?"
"Uncuff him and leave him here for now. Take that food and dump it, I'll take the pills."
Foreman knelt besides House, tugging his head up. "I'll be in touch about the pills. At the very least there'll be an administrative punishment for that. I'll let you know when the hearing is." He stood up and looked at Wilson. "If I find out you had anything to do with the extra pills..."
Wilson ignored him, gesturing to Park and Adams to help their boss onto his lounger. The guards and Foreman left the destroyed office.
When House was settled Wilson waved the fellows away, telling them to get back to their patient. When he and House were alone again Wilson slapped him across the cheek, rocking his head. House's eyes opened wide but became more focused and his mouth snapped shut.
"You idiot, you just had to steal pills didn't you?"
House rubbed his stinging face and shrugged. "I need extras."
"I give you enough. You get the prescribed dose."
"I'm a fucking addict Wilson, what do you expect?" House said wearily, looking around at the mess they'd made of his office. He caught sight of his snapped cane and groaned. "Shit, that was my favourite."
"Get Chase to buy you another one," Wilson said. "He'll enjoy that. What was Foreman looking for?"
"No, they were just a bonus, he was looking something he didn't find."
"Maybe it was this," Park was standing at the doorway, a bag in her hand. At Wilson's impatient look she came into the office and took a handgun out of the bag, offering it to Wilson.
Both men stared at it and then back at Park.
"Adams took it from the patient's home. You remember we told you he had an arsenal there." She said to House. "Adams took some samples."
"And planted it in my office," House said, looking with admiration at Park. "You spied on her, and hid it. You are learning quickly young Padawan."
"Adam, I trust not. Hates you, she does." Park answered and House grinned at her. Wilson wasn't so amused.
"If he'd found this gun you would have been straight back to prison."
House reached out a hand for the gun but Wilson held it away from him. "He can send me 'back to prison any time he likes, he doesn't even need an excuse. They told me that when they released me. He won't do it because the donors are breathing down his neck about PPTH slipping down the performance rankings. Diagnostics is the only department in this shithole that has a reputation beyond New Jersey. He needs me here."
"So why did Adams plant it then?" Park asked.
"It's not House he's after, it's me." Wilson said, his eyes locking with House's. "Every infraction House commits, every time something like this happens, it reflects on me. It makes it appear that I can't keep my people in line. He's playing the long game. If he'd found the gun he would have used it for leverage."
"How does it feel to be a pawn?" House asked Park.
"I... I think I should have gone to cookery school like my Mom said." Park said glumly. "Are you going to fire Adams?"
"Hold your enemies closer," House said, "we know what she is. She could be useful."
Wilson handed Park the gun. "Go and get rid of this."
"Don't shoot anyone," House added helpfully.
House's disciplinary hearing was held the next day in the special conference room in the basement. Besides House & Foreman every department head was present, as well as two representatives from the board and a bored looking man from human resources.
House didn't bother to offer a defence to the charges so Foreman quickly pronounced him guilty and read out the sentence.
"Doctor House, you have admitted to obtaining fifteen Vicodin tablets without a prescription. You refuse to say who gave them to you. The penalty is fifteen strokes for the first offence, five for the second." He nodded to the two guards standing either side of House and gestured to the whipping post. "String him up."
House shook off their hands and took off his denim shirt, turning his back on the assembled doctors. There was a gasp from some of those present when his bare back was revealed.
Across his shoulders, down to mid-back was a collection of bright red welts, lash marks. He'd been well whipped, and recently.
House grinned at Foreman, showing him the damage.
"Wilson got there first, you bastard," he whispered, "and it was magnificent." He brushed his hand casually over his crotch, leering at the enraged man.
Foreman glared at him and then looked at the guards.
"What are you waiting for? I said, string him up." He gestured towards the whipping post at one end of the room.
One of the Board members, an elderly woman stood up and shook her head.
"He's been punished Doctor Foreman. I think that's sufficient. Doctor Wilson has always been trusted by this hospital to deal with Doctor House's... problems. It looks like he hasn't spared him in this instance, I see no reason for that policy to change."
The others followed her lead, getting up to leave, some of them looking apologetically at Foreman, some appreciatively at Wilson, and a couple brushing past close to House to get a better look.
Wilson came up to House and slapped him on the back. House hissed in pain and Wilson smiled.
"There'll be no more stolen pills, will there, House? Put your shirt on and go cure your patient so he can go back to preparing for the apocalypse. I need to have a word with Doctor Foreman."
House shrugged his shirt back on over his stinging back and limped out the room using his new cane. He shut the door firmly behind him. Chase and Park were lingering outside, looking awkward with each other. Apparently he'd interrupted something. He groaned.
"Chase, not another team member. Don't you remember what happened with Cameron? You're lucky to still have your balls after that, don't you ever learn?"
"Hey, she asked me out, boss." Chase said, falling into step with House. "Don't worry, I'll go gentle with her."
"It's not her I'm worried about. She has a gun now."
"She does?" Chase's eyes lit up and he looked at Park with new appreciation.
Adams looked into House's darkened office. There was no sign of her boss. She didn't know what had gone wrong, or how the guards had failed to find the gun. Foreman had been unimpressed and Adams wanted to show that she could be useful. There had to be something incriminating in House's office, they just hadn't looked hard enough.
She went into the room quietly, her way lit by House's desk lamp, there was a drawer open and she headed for that.
She heard the slight noise a split second before her feet were jerked out from underneath her and she found herself rising into the air, rough ropes surrounding her. She struggled to free herself , her heels catching in the gaps between the rope. She was caught in a net, and now hung, suspended, from the ceiling.
"House!" she yelled out, "let me down, you bastard." She couldn't see him but she knew he'd be there somewhere. She kicked against the ropes, sending the net swinging.
The lights clicked on and she looked up to see Doctor Wilson standing in the doorway staring at her. He was not smiling.
"Doctor Wilson, I was just..."
"I warned you once, Doctor Adams. Don't fuck with me, and don't fuck with him. There won't be another warning."
"I haven't done anything, I was just coming to get a file from House's desk. Let me down," she said, swallowing hard as his expression didn't change. "Please," she added.
He clicked the lights off, leaving her in darkness.
"Goodnight, Doctor Adams."
Thanks for reading, as always, comments are welcome and anon commentating is turned on. Thanks for anon comments from last chapter.
I'm working on a couple of other things so I'm not sure how much more I will do of this, or how frequent updates will be if I do continue them.