A/N: Here we go, folks... the story I've been working on for oh so long but have been oh so nervous to share. Three things before we start our journey: THIS IS NOT A SELF INSERT! It's in first person, but Anya is an OC. Secondly, thank you to my Beta, Wolfpack pride, for letting me know that I'm not completely crazy and making sure my grammar was spot on! Thirdly, this story contains very mild religious themes.
Disclaimer: I no own-y the House MD.
The last hints of the hot summer were fading, soon to be replaced by the cool and windy gusts of fall. It was my intention to enjoy the last day of my freedom before my ass got tossed back in school for my last year.
I wasn't as distraught about going back to school as usual, this year. After all, I had already been accepted to university, so I could pretty much just skim through senior year without much worry. Still, not being in school was always a better alternative to being in school.
I walked out onto my deck, basking in the sunlight as it hit my tanned skin. My Irish heritage would catch up soon, and I'd be pale as a ghost by picture day. Right now, however, my usually alabaster skin was bronze, and my dark brown hair two shades lighter than usual. My bangs were brightened to the point of almost being blond.
My mom had laid out a towel for me as usual, so I laid it down on our deck where I usually sun bathed, and then grabbed my float from the pool supply shed. I planned to spend the entire day out in the pool, and was grateful that the sun was out. As the nights cooled, so too did our pool temperature, and swimming in a freezing pool on an overcast day wasn't exactly my idea of fun.
I tossed my float into the pool. I took several steps back, doing my usual routine of diving headfirst into the water instead of slowly lowering myself so I could get used to the temperature. I liked the invigorating rush of suddenly being submerged in frigid water.
My bare feet smacked against the burning deck as I raced towards the pool. Launching forward, I parted the water easily, the cool water rejuvenating me.
Suddenly, a weird sensation hit me, like I was being flipped upside down. For a long moment, I felt weightless, and not the way you sometimes feel when you're floating in a pool. Like my body had lost all substance. I was an ethereal being, unable to be seen or touched...
Then I wasn't. The water was back, and if I could have breathed a sigh of relief, I would have. I was flat on my stomach on the bottom of the pool, and there were strange objects under me. I groped around blindly with my hands, not wanting to open my eyes to the assault of chlorine. I picked one of the pieces up. A penny?
And if the sudden appearance of loose change on the bottom of my pool wasn't enough to mystify me, it also seemed that my pool had gotten about twenty degrees warmer. When I pushed myself off the bottom and went to swim to the surface, I also found it was about five feet shallower. I got up on my knees and my head broke through the water, and suddenly a blustery wind smacked into my face, causing me to shiver.
My pool... was gone. I was... I honestly had no idea where I was.
For starters, I now understood the presence of change, as it seemed I was in a fountain.
What the hell?
I surveyed the area around me, completely lost. Did I fall asleep on the float or something?
It was the only explanation I could come up with. I was either asleep or hallucinating, and since the first option was more comforting, I stuck with that one. I was fairly confident in my sanity.
I looked around at the buildings and paved walkways, and I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd been here before. The trees were bare, despite the fact it wasn't even fall yet.
This looked familiar... where was I?
And then I saw the very, very familiar building in the distance.
Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital was a few miles' walk away, which could only mean that I was on the Princeton University campus. For a second I was shocked, but then rationality beat it down and I rolled my eyes as I stepped out of the fountain. Another House dream. Although I was lucid and it was more realistic than usual, it was the only explanation.
My body was drenched, and the cold air made me shake with cold. I was clad in only my red bikini, and if I was outside in the dreary overcast weather much longer dressed like this, I'd become hypothermic.
But this is just a dream, so does it really matter?
I sighed, pinching myself. I was freezing my butt off, and this wasn't like the typical House dream I would have, and by that I meant it was lame and had a distinct lack of a shirtless Chase.
Although I pinched myself hard, I remained on the Princeton campus. This made no logical sense... I closed my eyes hard, trying to will myself out of the dream, but I remained where I was.
"Okay," I said, talking to myself like I always did in bad situations. "Let's assume for now that this isn't a drugged out trip to wonderland, and it isn't a dream." I was trying to keep from panicking. I imagined my mother coming outside to join me for a swim, and seeing me gone, nowhere to be seen. "Calm down," I chastised myself.
Roughly one hundred feet away was what I determined to be the campus store, and lights on inside indicated it was open. Eyes glancing around and hoping no one would see me in my current state, I raced forward as fast as I could.
When I reached the doors of the shop, I pressed them open, poking my head inside. It was empty except for a bored looking girl sitting at the counter reading a copy of Reader's Digest. I debated on what to do, not wanting the awkward questions the girl would ask that I wouldn't be able to answer.
That's when I saw the date on the Reader's Digest.
Shocked, I stumbled forward, drawing the girl's attention.
"The hell?" she exclaimed. I jumped up, adjusting my bikini to make sure none of my more private areas were exposed. I decided that since she had already seen me, there was no point in hiding now. I walked up to the desk, breathing hard, and leaned. She looked at me like I was from a different planet.
"I'm sorry, I'm... uh... just, what's the date?" I asked, the words tumbling out of my mouth. The girl raised her eyebrow at me. She was a typical college age girl. Blond hair, mascara, lipstick and an expression that said "I've got to get money to party somewhere."
"November sixteenth, why?" she asked. "And why are you half naked and wet?" Ignoring my urge to make a dirty joke, I leaned forward.
"What year?" I inquired cautiously. It was worrying enough that apparently I had missed three months somehow (still working under the assumption that this was real), but I needed to know how much my reality had been distorted. She once again gave me a look like I was insane.
"2004. You okay, kid?"
November 16th, 2004.
That date was incredibly familiar, and took me only a moment to recognize it. That was the date House first premiered in the US. Being a dedicated fan, I obviously had memorized that little fact.
If it weren't for the fact that I was in Princeton, I would write it off as a coincidence. But here I was, on the day it all started, only a short distance away from where the show took place.
I had to figure out what was going on, but first and foremost I needed some clothes.
"Listen, my name's Anya, you're not going to believe me if I tell you the whole story, but here's how it is: I'm lost, very lost, and I have no money. I need clothes. That's it, just clothes. Then I'll leave. Please, I really need your help," I pleaded with the girl behind the counter.
She looked at me, chewing on the inside of her cheek, unsure what to do by the looks of it. I'm short for my age, only clocking in at 5' 4", and I hoped that my shivering, small form would inspire some pity and proceeding kindness from the stranger. She sighed, reaching behind the counter. She tossed me a gray Princeton sweatshirt and a pair of light purple sweats. She threw in a pair of worn down running shoes as well.
"Here, take these. They're old anyway, and I was just going to get rid of them. Should fit you okay." My mouth fell open as I took the clothes from her.
"Th-thank you," I stammered gratefully, still freezing. "Is there a bathroom I can use to change in?" I asked. She nodded and pointed to the other end of the store.
I rushed to the bathroom as quickly as I could, and as soon as I was inside, I darted into a stall and slammed the door shut. Obviously since I had no bra or underwear, I'd have to keep the bikini on, but at least I could smother myself in the slightly too big sweatshirt and sweat pants.
I tugged them on as quickly as I could, relishing in the warmth they provided. Taking a deep breath, I leaned my head against the wall, trying to think.
I was eight years back in time. I had only been nine when House premiered, but here I was, seventeen and a short distance from where technically, the fictional diagnostician's first televised case should be taking place.
It could be a complete coincidence, the date and location I had been transported to.
But I don't believe in coincidences.
There was really only one thing to do at this point. I had to see if my suspicions were correct, and the only way to do that was a trip to Princeton Plainsboro.
I walked out of the bathroom and headed towards the door. I looked to the girl behind the counter.
"Thank you for your help... and please, don't tell anyone that I was here," I said. I didn't want her to call the police the minute I was out the door. Once I figured out what the hell was going on, I'd decide what to do then. I wanted the ball in my field. The girl behind the counter nodded.
"Good luck, kid, whatever you're doing." I gave her a small smile and departed. Outside, it looked like a storm was brewing, as indicated by the dark sky. I looked off into the distance at the hospital. It was time to get some answers.
I stood in front of the glass entrance doors of Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. This was... surreal. It was just like it looked on the outside in the show, and from what I could see of the inside, that too was identical.
I had a feeling my suspicions were going to be confirmed once I was inside. One look at the Dean's office right inside the reception area, and I'd know if what I suspected was true.
I pursed my lips and opened the doors, excusing my way through a crowd of people heading for either reception or the clinic.
I looked to my left, checking the name on the door. Of course, the blinds were open, so I didn't need to read the name to identify the woman inside. It was a nearly ten years younger Lisa Cuddy.
I sagged against the wall, trying not to look as shocked as I felt.
I'm in a different universe... House's universe...
Panicking, I gripped the gold cross around my neck that I never took off. I was in a different universe. Why? How?
Calm down, calm down, I told myself. I needed to figure out what to do fast. Right now, I needed to disregard how I had gotten here. Why was I here?
I supposed some weird universal portal could have formed and I could have fallen through, thus affirming the theory that there were other universes, I guess, but for a Christian, the first explanation as to why I was here went out to the guy upstairs.
Had God sent me here for a reason? There's a reason for everything. I answered myself.
There were several logical, reasonable courses of action I could take from here. I could contact the police, the government, scientists, and figure out what the hell had happened.
Yet none of them seemed like they had solved anything. Firstly, I needed to find out if my family and I even existed in this universe. Actually, that might be secondly.
Firstly, I needed to find House.
I was in the House MD universe, quite obviously. So, it seemed like an obvious step to find the man the universe was so named after.
I began striding toward the elevator, knowing House's office wasn't on the first floor. To be truthful, I never figured out whether it was on the second or third floor. I winged it when I reached the elevator and pressed the button for the second floor. Luckily, the elevator was empty. I didn't look too fantastic right now, in the old beat up running shoes and casual outfit. I pulled up my sweats and straightened my sweat shirt, privately cursing that the first time I met my hero I was going to look like this.
The elevator doors opened, and a hallway was revealed. Nope, I recognized this place. It was the Oncology ward. House and Wilson's office must be on the third floor. I didn't even bother getting out of the elevator.
However, someone joined me in the elevator, and when I saw him, my heart skipped more than a couple of beats.
A young and handsome James Wilson stepped into the elevator and gave me a courteous smile as he pressed the button for the third floor, patient file in hand.
I gaped at him. I hadn't watched a season one episode (or Dead Poets Society, for that matter) in a long time, and I forgot how adorable he was when he was younger. Don't get me wrong, Wilson was always handsome, he was just a little fresher in season one.
He noticed me staring, and raised a dark eyebrow at me.
"Can I help you with something?"
The fangirl in me was screaming her head off, but I forced myself to stay calm. My plan so far was to convince House that I really was from another universe, and seek his help. House was just going to tell Wilson anyway no doubt, and if I could convince Wilson, who was marginally less suspicious and disbelieving than House, maybe he could help me persuade the diagnostician...
"Your name is James Wilson," I said. "You're on your third marriage, your wives being Sam, Bonnie, and Julie, in that order. Things are rocky with Julie, and she hates the color green. You like the Village People, old movies, and have two brothers. You paint your toenails and blow dry your hair." All the essentially useless trivia I'd acquired from religiously watching the show tumbled out of my mouth in a torrent.
Wilson's brown eyes widened at me, and his jaw went slack. I decided to press on. "Listen, I'm from a different universe where your life is a TV show. Well, not your life, but House's, and since you're House's best friend, you're in it. I know this sounds insane, but I must have fallen through some portal or something and now I'm here and I need to figure out what I'm going to do."
Wilson looked at me for a few long moments before cracking a smile.
"House is really running out of ideas for pranks," he said, shaking his head as the door opened. I sighed, running out after him and lightly grabbing his arm.
"Please," I begged, searching for something Wilson hadn't told House at this point in the timeline. I was glad it was season one, or else this would be a lot more difficult. "You have a brother named Danny. He's schizophrenic. He stopped taking his medication in college because you hung up on him when you had to study. You've only seen him once since then, and that was in Princeton. That's why you accepted the job so eagerly when House mentioned it, because you think he may still be in the area. And you never told House any of this, so there's no way he could have told me. In fact, I'm pretty sure you've never told anyone what drove Danny to run away... and of course there's the fact that I know you still blame yourself for it. It's one of the reason's you're so unfailingly kind, or at least try to be, 'cause the one time you dared to be selfish, it completely blew up in your face."
I took a deep breath as I finished, hoping desperately I had convinced Wilson I wasn't just someone House had hired to prank him.
We stood in the middle of the third floor hallway, Wilson's office several paces away. He glanced from me to his office door and back again.
"I think we should talk," I said, pointing to his office. Wilson tensed before tersely nodding his head.