House Episode One: Money, Money, Money (Part Two)

(Disclaimer: I own and claim nothing and do this for the love of the show and these characters, nothing else).

(Scene: the same motel as last scene. It is later in the morning, the sun is up and shining brightly, the two motorbikes are packed with belongings again and Wilson is leaving his bike and walking up to the motel reception. He is patting his pockets and looks puzzled.)

Wilson came into the motel's reception area looking concerned. He saw House at the counter and said, "Have you seen my wallet?"

Just then, the attendant handed House back a credit card and smiled, "I hope you had an excellent stay, Dr Wilson."

Wilson mouthed, "What?" when he heard House addressed as 'Dr Wilson,' then just shook his head as House handed him back his wallet. House said to the attendant, "Best night I've had in years, actually."

The attendant said, "I'm glad you slept well, sir."

House winked broadly at him and said, "Who said anything about sleep?" then turned to Wilson and added, "Come on, lover."

Wilson looked at the attendant, who looked scandalised. Wilson protested, "He's… we're not… oh, forget it."

House leaned over to him and whispered, "You might, but I won't."

Wilson raised his eyes to the ceiling and gave up, shaking his head as they walked out together.

He said to House, "Do you have to do that?"

House, deliberately misinterpreting him, said, "Well if you leave it lying around, somebody's bound to pick it up and run off with it."

"My wallet?"

House gave him a mischievous grin, "No, your virginity, Sherlock."

Wilson opened his mouth to say something, then shook his head at the sky and walked over to his bike, lifting his helmet off and arranging the helmet communicator carefully within it, then pulling it on over his head. He looked at House, "Anywhere in particular today?"

House shook his head and smiled, "Nope. Just not back the way we came."

Wilson looked up at a billboard ahead of them and suggested, "What about there?"

"Lake Ontario? Okay."

House put his helmet on and his voice came through the helmet comm to Wilson, "Looks like about a three hour run to Factory Falls. Want to stop there for breakfast?"

"We just had breakfast."

"Second breakfast."

"You have the metabolism of a chipmunk."

"And balls of steel. Thank you."

Wilson shook his head, but he was grinning as he gunned the bike, "Let's go. I'm on a road trip with a dead maniac."

House's voice came through the comm, "They call me the Ghost Who Walks."

"Maniac."

"Pussy," retorted House.

"You had to go there, didn't you?"

"Of course."

"Shut up and ride," grumbled Wilson

"Funny, that's what you said last night."

Wilson gritted his teeth and did not reply. House grinned.

They set off into the beautiful countryside, Wilson riding in front, House about three car-lengths behind him.

After an hour, Wilson pulled over, looking exasperated.

House slowed and pulled up next to him, and Wilson ripped off his helmet and exclaimed, "Seriously? Abba?"

"What, you don't like my singing?"

"Abba?"

"It's a good song."

"It's the same song, about ten times now. They had about fifty hits, don't you know any of the others?"

House shook his head, "I like that one." He began singing, "Money, money, money, must be funny, in the rich man's – OUCH!" he exclaimed as Wilson hit him on the helmet with his own helmet.

House muttered, "No sense of humour."

"Greg – I know you can be a bit obsessive, but can you please be obsessive about something else? You have a good voice, don't you know any Bizet? Borodin? Could you try La Boheme?"

"That's boring. Unless you can do a soprano?"

Wilson shuddered out a sigh, "I'm going to switch my helmet comm off now, so you'd better ride in front, okay?"

House shrugged, and Wilson switched off his helmet comm, put his helmet back on and hopped on his bike. There was a knock on his helmet and he turned to House and asked irritably, "What?"

"Why did you pull over? You could have told me that through the helmet comm."

"I needed to hit you over the head."

"Oh."

They took off again, House in the lead. House eventually sailed blissfully unaware past the diner turn-off and Wilson pulled in. Wilson rode up to the diner. After he got off his bike his hand hovered near the helmet comm switch, but he changed his mind, clipped his helmet to the bike and walked inside.

Wilson looked around and felt a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach when he saw deer heads lining one wall. In a booth between him and the counter sat three surly-looking men who looked up with barely disguised hostility when Wilson walked in.

Wilson walked up the counter and the waitress strolled over. She was pretty, in a cheap kind of way, and Wilson smiled and said, "Hello."

"What can I get ya?" she smiled, eyeing the three men behind him cheekily.

Wilson, mistaking her smile as genuine, said, "Can I get a coffee and two tuna and mayo sandwiches with salad, please?"

There was a huff of laughter from one of the men behind him, which he ignored, mistaking it for a cough.

The waitress chatted to Wilson while making the sandwiches, "Travelling alone?"

Wilson laughed, looking towards the door, "Hopefully not for too long."

She smiled and pushed the tray, with two tuna sandwiches and a coffee, towards him, "That'll be twelve ninety-five, thanks."

He passed her a twenty, pocketed the change she gave him and said, "Thank you."

He turned around with the tray and walked back past the three men, but one man stuck out an arm and blocked the narrow gap between their table and the next.

Wilson looked at him, "Excuse me."

"Give me one good reason I should," retorted the hillbilly.

Wilson tried to push past the man, but the man refused to budge, and in the resulting struggle a tuna sandwich landed in his lap, spilling mayonnaise on his crotch. With a roar, he stood up, yelling at Wilson, "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"

"Trying to buy a goddamn sandwich!" retorted Wilson, "What the hell are you doing?"

"Don't you speak to me like that, you dumbass city slicker," growled the man, and his friends stood up. They all started to advance on Wilson.

Wilson had backed past two slushy machines and felt the coke machine at his back before he knew what had happened, "Get off me, you big jerk." As threats went, he thought ruefully to himself, it was not his best effort.

"Make me."

Suddenly, behind the men, a cane smashed the slushy machine, sending a fountain of cold, sticky red cordial all over the two men in the rear. They ducked away, yelling, and Wilson swung a fist and connected with the first man's jaw, hard enough to send him to the floor. The cane impacted the side of the head of one of the other two men and he too, dropped to the ground. House and Wilson turned on the third one, who backed off and ran out the door.

"About time you got here," said Wilson to House.

"Can't leave you alone for five minutes but that pretty face starts a brawl," teased House, grinning.

"Jesus!" came the voice of the man Wilson had punched, "What's wrong with him?" He crawled over to his buddy.

They all looked at the man House had hit with the cane, who was lying on the floor twitching violently. It looked as though he was having some kind of fit.

"Al? Al? Talk to me, buddy!" said the first man, shaking his friend by the shoulders.

House pulled him back with his cane, and said, "Get out of the way."

"What are you doing, I'm trying to help him!" protested the first man.

"By getting him into a fight? Move aside, I'm a doctor." House bent down and attended the man.

The waitresses voice challenged them all, "I've called the police. You can stay and fight, or you can spend the night in jail."

"He's hurt!" Wilson snapped at her, and she joined them in looking at the man still fitting on the floor.

"He's bleeding out his ear," Wilson pointed out worriedly.

"That's not the ear I hit him on. Something else is wrong." House looked up at the man who had started the whole thing, "Is he epileptic?"

"Er… no, I don't think so."

"The police," worried Wilson, "We have to go."

House was frisking the man's pockets, and eventually came up with some pills, "He is an epileptic. It's just a seizure, probably. I don't like that bleeding, though."

"They can call an ambulance. We have to go! Greg, we can't get caught by the police!"

House looked up and the waitress relented a little. She pushed at his arm and said, "Go on, I'll call an ambulance."

House stopped her, "Can you do CPR?"

"Yes," she said, looking worried.

"Take his pulse and make sure he keeps breathing," House said to the waitress, "If he stops breathing or you lose the pulse, start CPR and don't stop until the ambulance arrives, you got me?"

"Okay," she said, looking worried.

"Yo, dumb-ass, call the ambulance for her," House instructed the other man. When there was no response, he roared, "Now!" and the other man galvanised into action and leapt behind the counter for the phone.

Wilson slapped House's arm and they raced out and jumped on their bikes, getting out of sight around the corner just before the police car arrived.

The police sergeant walked into the diner to find the waitress anxiously holding the man's wrist. Her other hand was hovering over his mouth, and she looked up, "He's still okay, he's still breathing."

"You want to tell us what happened?" asked the sergeant. His younger partner took over from the waitress at the twitching man's side and the waitress stood up.

The waitress looked up at the man behind the counter, who was still talking on the phone but shot her a terrified look. She hesitated, then said, "Dan saw everything."

"Two bastards on bikes just came in here and started beating on me and Al for no reason," he said.

The policeman looked at him cynically, "No reason, eh? Come on, I know you two."

Dan looked sheepish, and he said, "Anyway, Al's hurt. Aint' you gonna do somethin' about that?"

The policeman lifted his radio to his mouth and said, "Mike, you nearly here?" He nodded, and said "Right" and just then they heard the wail of the ambulance siren.

The policeman waited until the ambulance officers came in and took over, then pulled the waitress aside, "Did they pay you for anything? Use a credit card?"

"He paid, but he used cash."

"Dammit. No chance of tracing them that way. Anyway, did they really start it, or did Dan and his cronies?" he asked her, eyeing Dan suspiciously and dropping his voice so that Dan did not hear him.

"Well, at first it was just a bit of aggro Dan was putting on one guy, but then his friend arrived and started destroying the place with his cane."

"Cane?"

"A walking stick."

"He was a cripple? Jesus, Susan," he looked at the smashed slushy machines and the man lying on the stretcher, "I wouldn't even bother reporting this, except I have to because the ambulance got called."

She remembered something, "He said he was a doctor. He tried to help Al, but then they took off when they heard the police sirens. And his friend called him Greg."

"Right. A crippled doctor called Greg, on the run from the law. And I suppose Tonto was… what? Wearing a bandana? I'm not putting out a bulletin on this, I'd be laughed over the State line."

She pursed her lips, then jumped as Dan's voice sounded close behind them, "So, what you just gonna let them get away with this, Sherriff? Well, me and my boys might have other ideas."

"Don't you cause no more trouble in my town, Dan Brady. I'll toss you inside."

Dan gave a snarl of disgust and walked out after the stretcher bearing Al. Once in the car park he headed for a pickup truck, but then his eyes lit on the bigger truck parked behind it and he called to the medics, "Wait!"

They waited, and he said, "I have to take these apples to the cold store, or Al will lose most of his year's harvest money. His truck keys should be in his coat pocket."

"Here you go, Dan," said one of the paramedics, and tossed him a set of keys.

Dan smiled and said, "Thanks." He ran off and jumped into the truck. The cargo bay was empty. He set his jaw and set off in the direction House and Wilson had taken only minutes before. The empty truck bounced along the road.

A little way along the highway, he pulled into a driveway. The third member of their group walked out to the truck and Dan said, "Come on, John. We got a score to settle."

Up ahead, House and Wilson were travelling along, and House started singing, "Money, money, money, must be funny…"

Wilson said, "If you don't stop singing that goddamned song, so help me I am turning around and going back to New Jersey."

The helmet comm went silent for a while, then came alive. House's voice came through, "You know, I didn't get a bite to eat. What say we try for lunch again, only this time I'll escort you into the diner."

"I don't need a minder," protested Wilson.

"Yes you do."

"You're an idiot," grumbled Wilson.

"You're a thug," countered House, "You start brawls wherever you go."

"Come on, there's another diner just up here then. We'd better put the bikes around the side. Keep them out of sight though, just in case the police come by."

They parked the bikes in some bushes at the side of the diner, so that they were out of sight of the main highway. They walked in to scout out the diner. Wilson hung back just inside the door and House went up to the counter to order their food.

Wilson walked over to an auto-teller machine just inside the door and took out some money, then staggered slightly when he saw the receipt. He sat down in a chair near the auto-teller, and House walked over after making their order and sat down beside Wilson. He watched Wilson and began to sing softly, "Money, money, money, must be funny, in the rich man's world…"

Wilson started, and looked up at House, his eyes wide, "You knew!" He waved the receipt under House's nose and pointed at it.

House smiled.

Wilson continued, hyperventilating, "You've been singing that damned song all day! You knew this morning! Did you see the balance when you used my card?"

"Nope."

"Well, then, how?" asked Wilson.

"It's my life insurance," said House, "I knew they had to pay up by today."

"Your life insurance? But you're still alive… oh!" said Wilson, his eyes going wide, "This… this is fraud! House, we have to give this back!"

"And what, tell them you can't accept it because I'm still alive? They'd throw me in jail. And you too," said House.

"No! Hell, no. No. But what do we do?" Wilson was beginning to look frantic.

House leaned over to him, and said, "Look, if you're going to spend the rest of your life being a career criminal, you'd better start acting a bit professional about it. Keep your mouth shut and pocket the money."

"I'm beginning to see that you are a career criminal. You really are. This sort of thing comes naturally to you. Jail must have been a cake-walk for you."

House sang happily, "In my dreams I have a plan; If I got me a wealthy man-" he winked broadly at Wilson, "-I wouldn't have to work at all, I'd fool around and have a ball..." then walked back up to the counter to get their food. He brought it back to the table.

Wilson sat shaking his head for a while, then started eating his sandwich. He looked up at House and said, "You're the devil, sent to collect my soul, aren't you? Before I die?"

House smiled and sang quietly, "A man like that is hard to find, but I can't get him off my mind, That's too bad, So I must leave, I'll have to go, To Las Vegas or Monaco…." He trailed off and looked at Wilson, his eyes lighting up with an idea.

Wilson looked ruefully at him and asked, "What?"

"Wanna go to Las Vegas?"

Wilson blinked, then smiled, "I guess we really should, shouldn't we? It wouldn't be a real road trip without a visit to Las Vegas."

House smiled and they ate their sandwiches.

After a while Wilson leaned over and whispered, "I have to ask, how the hell do you know the lyrics to Abba?"

"An old boyfriend of mine was a big fan."

"I happen to know you don't have any old boyfriends."

"Yeah, and you knew I was married both times twelve months after it happened," grinned House, "You've always been sharp like that."

"I'll kill you if you sing that song again."

House smiled, "Okay, but I have to ask…"

Wilson asked, "What?"

"How do you know so much about Abba that you know I got the lyrics right?"

Wilson choked slightly on his sandwich and glared at House, who chuckled at him.

Just then Wilson froze, because he saw Dan's face outside the diner, "What the hell?"

House turned around, then jumped up and dragged Wilson out a side door before Dan came in. They hid beside some bushes and watched as Dan scouted around the diner and found their bikes. He walked back to the truck and spoke to another man in the truck.

Wilson whispered, "That's the other guy from the first diner."

"I know. Shhh."

"Why are we hiding?" whispered Wilson, slightly irritated, "We took three of them, we can take two."

House turned to look at him and said, "You are not only an insatiable brawler, you are an unobservant one. Look at the bulge at his hip."

"Is that a gun?" Wilson paled and clutched House's sleeve.

They watched as Dan and his companion found the bikes and walked back into the diner, then spoke to several of the locals, one of whom shrugged, then pointed over the road at the bar, which was crowded and raucous. Dan and his companion trotted across the road to the bar.

"Quick!" said House, and headed for the bikes. Then he walked straight past the bikes and headed for the truck.

"What are you doing?" asked Wilson, trotting along furtively beside him.

"We'll never outrun them," House pointed out, "Keep a lookout, I'm going to try to find a way to disable this truck."

House reached in under the floor mat but was disappointed to find nothing, "Why don't people keep keys under their mats anymore?" he whined.

"Because of people like you," retorted Wilson, anxiously watching the door to the pub across the street.

House ducked awkwardly down to look under the truck, favouring his bad leg. He gave an "A-ha!" of satisfaction and poked hard at something with his cane several times. There was a loud twanging nose and Wilson heard something start dribbling out under the truck.

"What did you do?"

"Transmission line, I think. Or it might be oil. I'm not a mechanic, you know. Let's go!"

They hurried back to their bikes, but just as they reached them, Dan and his cohort emerged from the bar across the street and spotted them. Dan gave a shout and sprinted towards them, and Wilson and House barely managed to get on their bikes and roar away, skidding around the two men running towards them.

Wilson flinched as a bullet whined and spat against the mirror on his bike and shattered it. Wilson nearly fell off his bike, but managed to stay on. House said through the comm, "Was that what I think it was?"

"They're using those guns, House." Wilson's voice was mildly hysterical.

"Dammit, ride!"

"Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking!" growled Wilson, and gunned his bike up to maximum speed.

He was amazed to hear House yell, "Woo-hoo!" as they took off up the highway.

A few minutes later, some miles behind them, the truck began blowing smoke and chugged to a stop. Dan slammed both his fists onto the steering wheel, swearing as the engine ground and squealed to a halt.

When the truck finally stopped, he shot a volley of bullets into a nearby sign, which said, "State Line ahead."

House and Wilson rode for the rest of the day, putting two State lines between them and Dan. At the end of the day, they pulled into an inconspicuous motel on the edge of a medium sized town, and got a room and parking out the back. Wilson left the motel after a few minutes and went to order dinner at the takeaway Chinese food down the street, leaving House to grumble about the poor television reception. As Wilson left, House called out, "I might be over the road at that bar when you get back."

"Okay," Wilson called back, and followed his grumbling stomach to the Chinese takeaway.

It was crowded and he had not pre-ordered, so he had to wait for their meal. Wilson sat down and read a magazine. Eventually his order was put on the counter and he pulled out his card, paid for it and carried the bag full of boxes back towards the motel.

The first thing he noticed was the cars. Then the music. Then the scantily clad girls.

He walked around to find the motel crowded with revellers, the centre of the crowd being their small motel room. He walked into the motel room and had to duck around two girls who looked suspiciously like hookers. "Greg!" he called.

"Jimmy!" called House's voice from out near the pool. Wilson turned and walked over to the pool and stared at the scenes of debauchery around him. House was sitting on an outdoor lounge with one girl holding his beer and another massaging his leg. Next to him was an empty lounge, and he waved Wilson over towards it, "This is Jimmy, everyone!" There was a chorus of "Hi's" from all around them.

Wilson was virtually pushed into the lounge, and had a beer thrust into his hand. A girl immediately sat in his lap, and House eagerly reached for the Chinese food. Wilson handed it over and asked faintly, "When did you? How did all this happen, in just… what? Thirty minutes?"

"Oh, well, you know how it goes, Jimmy, I was over at the pub having a few beers and Charlene here noticed I was by myself, and we got to talking. I bought her a beer and I bought her friends here a beer, then there were some more friends, then the barman got irritable so we decided to come back here."

Three people fell laughing into the pool behind them, sending up a splash, several drops of which reached Wilson and House. The girl in Wilson's lap squealed, and just then someone turned the music up to a near-deafening level. "The motel is going to kick us out," Wilson pointed out.

Charlene giggled and said, "They tried, so Greg booked the whole motel for the night and they said we could make as much noise as we liked."

Wilson put his head in his hands.

"What's up, Jimmy-boy?" asked House cheerily.

"Five million dollars is not going to be enough," groaned Wilson.