Chapter 13

The clinic was quickly turned into a moving wave of people, crowds of terrified patients scurried towards the exits, their runny noses and excuses for a day off work instantly forgotten in favour of saving their lives. There was a few seconds of pure mayhem followed by an abnormal silence engulfing the hospital. It was an alarming silence which caught House's attention immediately, his focus fixed on deducing what was going on outside Cuddy's office doors, rather than concentrating on what was going on in the room he was in. The place had been quickly turned into complete stillness, which seemed to last an eternity, though it was stopped by a sharp pain that radiated up through House's stomach as a gun was jammed in to him. Cuddy and House's attention was quickly brought back to the armed man in front of them.

Cuddy was the first to speak, breaking the tension filled hush. Her voice shaky and weak, surprising both House and herself at how she came across

"Sir, can you plea…" Cuddy screamed as the man lurched forward violently thrusting his gun in front of her face, House's instincts took over and flinched forwards. Though the man glared at him and he took a step back standing again by Cuddy's side. It caused another wave of silence to fall upon them.

"Shut up, bitch. You talk when you're spoken to" His voice was stern, but lightened and softened a little at the next two words "Doctor House?"

House's eyes opened wide. "What?" he muttered angrily, his eyes narrowed at the man and is eyebrows drawn together tightly with a frown etched into his face.

"You're not the politest of people, I've ever met." The gunman smirked.

"Bite me!" House spoke.

"You would have thought you would give more respect to a man holding a loaded gun."

"Funny then, you're gonna have to think rethink your plan if you want some of that."

The man smiled again. It was a creepy smile, if you could call it a smile. He lurched forward a second time, grabbing Cuddy and spinning her around, pressing her to his front, with his Gun to her stomach. "Better?" He joked though no one laughed.

"Let her go." He said through gritted teeth, the pain in his leg slowly radiating. He thought It was a good starting point for reasoning with the mad man, though on second thoughts it wasn't a reasoning at all, more so an order. He took in his features, deducing as much as possible. He tried again when no reply came.

"What do you want?" He almost felt sick even contemplating giving in to this man.

His hair was grey but thick, speckled with dark brown hairs and his skin looked dry and leathery. The lines around his eyes and mouth told House he was physically aged far beyond his biological body clock. His breath came in pants, short wheezes in and out and his eyes were tinged with a misty yellow. There was something off about him, besides from being, at first glance, a raging psychopath.

"I need…you to help me, doctor."

"House…?" Cuddy's strained voice came from behind the man; he ground the gun harder into her abdomen causing her to groan and tears to build in the corners of her eyes.

"Shut up!" the man bellowed.

"Go on" House said, now repositioning himself down on the arm of Cuddy's office couch and crossing his legs at his ankles, he now held a look of a much calmer frame of mind. He was intrigued. He was interested.

"Wha...House?" Cuddy questioned in a small voice. Why the hell was he acting so relaxed? The guy had a freaking gun pushed against her.

"I need…" the guy said as he pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket. "You need to get me as much oxycontin as you can"

"Oxy, seriously? You really think that re-enacting 'Dog Day Afternoon' is the best way to get your hands on oxycontin? I'm sure you've got your motives, but you should watch the movie all the way through."

"Shut up!" The gunman wailed as he pulled the gun from Cuddy's stomach and pointed it at House's temple. Cuddy gasped from behind him and covered her mouth with her hand. For once, she was speechless.

House's eyes widened and focused on the tip of the gun. "You're not gonna do anything. You still need me." He slowly stood up and stepped forward.

Silence overcame the office once again as the man's trembling hand held the gun against House's head. House almost hear Cuddy's heart hammering in her chest, although on second thought perhaps it was just his own. It was the sound of distant sirens seeming to be getting louder that broke the tense air.

"You're right. I do need you still. I also need you to know you can't screw with me!" He snarled, his voice full of malice as he raised the gun above his head and shot at the ceiling. Cuddy jumped in shock and fell forward on to her knees, the gunman span on his heels and aimed the gun at her.

"Don't you make a damn move!" he screamed. Cuddy shook with fear, dust and debris fell down onto her head from the damaged ceiling and House stared at her through squinted eyes, as powdered rubble fell lightly on to his head. He almost prayed to a god he didn't believe in that Cuddy would read the intensity in his stare and be somewhat comforted. Nothing was going to happen to her.

"Is this all for the oxy?" House asked, realising this guy wasn't pissing about. If he didn't get the drugs then he wouldn't hesitate on shooting.

"House, just…get the drugs" Cuddy's tired voice came from the couch. She had slowly pulled herself up to sit on the edge.

House's eyes shot to her and she saw a sudden flash of worry in them. "Cud..."

"Do what she said!" the guy shouted.

"Fine..." House said, not looking at the gunman.

"Wait!" The gunman shouted as House made his way towards the door hastily with an inappropriate amount of enthusiasm. "I want sulperazone…as well as the oxycontin."

The gunman's last words stopped House in his tracks and caused Cuddy to lift her head in confusion.

"Sulperazone?" Cuddy questioned, looking up at the man and taking a good look at him for the first time. She didn't like what she saw. "You're holding us hostage for sulperazone?"

"Cuddy" House warned, sensing the rising anger in the criminal.

"No, House. This guy thinks he can get away with taking drugs, my hospital's drugs just because he has a gun! No." Cuddy's face flushed and she stood up, not quite knowing where the sudden bravery came from. Her hospital was her property in her eyes; one would go as far as to say it was almost like her baby, she would do anything to protect her property, and apparently she'd risk her life for it too.

"Shut up!" both House and he gunman's voices filled the small room. Cuddy jumped at the sound and leaned against the couch, the adrenaline that powered her seemed to have disappeared as a wave of faintness washed over her and her face paled. Steadying herself on the armrest she looked up to find the gun now pointed in her direction, her breath caught in her throat and a few tears trickled silently down her cheek. She looked down and wiped her hand across her face. Fucking idiot! Her inner voice chastised. Just give him the drugs and get out. Get home…to Rachel. You have a daughter for god sake; you can't risk your life for the hospital, not now you're a mother.

"You're sick." House said simply, his gaze fixed on the intruder.

"You're annoying, and I've got a gun" the man deadpanned. "See the fun in that?" The gun was still aimed at Cuddy's head and her eyes were solemnly studying the floor. It wasn't like her to show so much weakness, though then again how was she supposed to react to a gun shoved in her face. The fact worried House. Perhaps not so much there was an armed man in the building, ready to kill for what he wanted. More so that she was in the middle of it than anything else.

"You're wearing a Venus neck chain, a famous Bangkok brand. Now either you've got a friend, loved one, who's bought it for you or you've recently been to the land of smiles. And given my perception of you, especially in circumstances we're under...I'm guessing you don't have many friends, so it's the latter. Also, the red burnt tinge on your face, a poor excuse for a tan, gives it away." House spoke quickly, not stopping to take a breath during his speech. Both the gunman and Cuddy listened, not able to break his line of thought. "You're experiencing shortness of breath and sharp pain when you inhale…decreased lung volume. You're experiencing heart palpitations, fatigue, stomach pain and you have a rash on your inner hand..." The man glanced at the hand stretched out holding the gun, then looked back questioningly at House, so he concluded. "By the way you are holding the gun, I figured you're in a considerable amount of discomfort…due to the rash." He added, as if it was obvious. "Could be 100 things wrong with you. Though if you add on that brilliant final symptom, it can only be melioidosis."

"Wha.." Cuddy began, breaking the silence that followed House's impressive deductions.

The gunman quickly cut Cuddy off. "What final symptom? Those were all my symptoms."

House grinned. "Last one is the first thing I mentioned. You've recently visited Thailand, melioidosis is endemic in Thailand. Case closed."

"There is no case, House. what he says, okay?" Cuddy said wearily.

"You really aren't smart are you?" House carried on, ignoring Cuddy "It's a free clinic, it doesn't matter that you don't have insurance, key word is free" House said, his voice condescending.

"So I really have this meliosis thing?" he asked, lowering his gun to his side as his attention was placed on House.

"You tell me, you've obviously researched it. I'm pretty sure someone who hasn't even graduated community college wouldn't know the appropriate antibiotic for it. Like I always say, who needs med school when you've got wifi?"

Cuddy stood up from the couch and walked over to House, she'd kicked her heels off when the gunman wasn't looking in anticipation of any quick dashes she'd have to make. Although, now that she thought about it, she wasn't the only one wouldn't be able to run fast, with her heels and House's leg the idea that they both could make a quick dash seemed impossible.

"What's going on?" Cuddy asked once she'd arrived at House's side. The marked difference in height had no effect on her new found superiority as the confidence she'd previously lost crept back up on her.

The man continued rubbing his head "I know the cops are outside, I'm not a fucking idiot. Just get me the drugs, bring them here to me and I'll let you go, mostly unharmed, if you let me go. I'm not pissing around, you have two minutes to go...wherever...get me as much oxycontin and sulperazone as possible and bring. Them. To. Me. Understood?"

"If you're sick you need to get checked out, you can't ju…shit" Cuddy began but was cut off once again as a gun was ground hard into her stomach. The area was still incredibly tender and Cuddy felt the pain in waves ripping through her abdomen.

"Hey!" House said, grabbing the criminal's arm and using his own force to pull the gun away from Cuddy. "All she's saying is if you do have melioidosis, we need to confirm it or test to see whatever else it could be. There's always the possibility that this one particular med won't work for you. And then what? Try this whole doomed plan again in 25 years."

The gunman snarled and lifted the gun until was aligned with Cuddy's temple.

"Just do it. Oh, and don't let him outside know about the other drugs." He waved his gun freely, motioning beyond Cuddy's office doors. House smiled.

"You really are stupid. You're holding a hospital captive because you don't want your lover outside to find out you're ill?"

"If he knew I was sick he'd get rid of me quicker than lager turns to piss"

"Nice analogy, BRB" House said, swinging his cane as he left the office. His nonchalance, however, didn't have its desired effect on Cuddy, who immediately became overcome with fear. House was gone and she was alone in her office with a psychopath, a psychopath with a gun.

Once he was out of view of Cuddy's office, House limped as fast as he was able to towards the corner of the clinic. His footsteps were heavy and leg was playing up big time, though it was nothing he was going to let Cuddy see. He kept an eye on the second gunman who was watching his every move, a gun pointed in House's direction the whole time. He had been given two minute only to get the drugs, bring them back, and then negotiate Cuddy's and his release. His heart pounded in his chest as fear coiled in his gut and mouth went dry; this was it. He knew if he could leave. He could pass through the doors and head on beyond the waiting wave of police and not go back. Though if he did, if he ran with his life, he knew the psychopath would have no qualms taking Cuddy's life.

He reached the drug cart and entered his access code. He grabbed a handful of sulperazone and stuffed it into his pocket, before grabbing a small amount of oxycontin and closing the drawer with a slam. He looked at his watch, 30 seconds had passed. He shut his eyes and inhaled deeply in. Using his free hand to hold onto his cane with a death grip, he looked around the clinic, catching the eye of the second gunman who perched behind a nurses' station, as he walked back to the office.

"Hey!" House's head spun as he was approached by the second criminal. "Give me the drugs"

"Your buddy already has dibs on them, sorry" House said quickly, trying, and failing, to try and turn to make his way back to Cuddy's office. A strong hand grabbed at his shoulder and spun him around, whilst another hand grabbed his cane, pulling it from beneath him. House lost his balance a little from the sudden movement and reached out heavily, slamming his palm on to the nurses' station. He clenched his jaw together, as pain flared up through his leg.

"Give. Me. The. Drugs." House flinched as his head became cold; the unmistakable cool metal of a weapon was firmly placed against his temple. Why did I even come to work today? He thought.

"If I don't get these back real soon a woman will get shot. Do you want that on your conscience?"

"I don't give a damn, I want the drugs. Give them to me now" House groaned, why on earth did he think that argument was ever going to work.

"Fine" House said as he handed over the oxycontin he was holding in his hand, his palms clammy and his heart racing as he limped as quick as he could towards the office, he was running out of time, Cuddy was running out of time.

He only taken a few steps when he heard the other word. "Wait!" the man shouted and his voice bounced off the empty walls that surrounded them, his head frantically looking around as the flashing blue lights reflected through the clinic's class. "Give me the other drugs" He slowly turned round.

"I have no idea what you're talking about" House said, giving his best poker face.

"I'm not a fucking idiot, the drugs you put in your pocket. Whatever you're planning, I'd recommend you don't. Give them to me" House glanced down at his watch; he'd been out just over a minute. He knew he had to get back real soon, if only this lump of scum would just piss off.

"What's in your pocket? I swear if you've given me the wrong stuff I will make your life a living hell. More than it already is..."

"There aren't any drugs in my pocket." House raised both hands up beside him in a feeble attempt to convince him.

"Don't lie to me!" the man roared, standing and marching closure to House. His arm rose and he slammed his gun into the side of House's face, causing him to kneel on his good leg, before pressing the cold metal under his jaw. "It's simple. Give me the drugs, and I won't shoot you."

The thump in his chest was almost unbearable now, the hard beats rivalling the throbbing in his cheek. His hand trembled as he reached into his trouser pocket. The gunman's hand shook as his fingers slid towards the trigger. He smiled a grimace, deep lines forming under his eyes as he did so. Beads of sweat on his brow met and formed on large droplet, which rolled down the side of his face. The longer time went by, the closer his fingers seemed to get towards the trigger, and the harder the gun was pushed into House's jaw. His fingers shook in his pocket as he wrapped his hand around the vial of pills. He pulled them out and lifted them up out of his pocket slowly.

Just as the man caught sight of the pills in Houses hand, something caught the air ever so slightly. It hardly made a sound but the impact caused the criminal to drop instantly to the ground. Lifeless. The gun, which only seconds before had been close to becoming a part of House's jaw forever, fell to the ground. A pool of blood formed around the gunman's head and slowly made its way around House's foot. It took a second for House to realise what had happened and then he came to his senses. He'd been shot in the face. House exhaled shakily as he frantically looked around, catching sight of a large crowd of men dressed in black behind the clinic glass.

A man barely entered the clinic, stopping by the door. He paused for a second. Then waved House over, signalling for him to make his way to safety.

House's face looked like one of shock. He said nothing just stared at the body in front of him. He glanced at his watch, purposely ignoring the silent beckoning calls of the policemen. He had ten seconds before the two minutes was up. He had to get back.

"Please come with us." A man whispered. He could leave, he could leave with his life, with no risk of any more harm coming to him. Though leaving would cause one thing for sure. He could leave, and leave Cuddy alone with that psycho, leave her alone with the psycho who hadn't got his drugs. He would kill her, no doubt. The decision was all his. Should he go to the left, or to the right?