Author's note: House and Wilson are simply too snarkilicious to ignore ;-) So, as threatened, a small House/Wilson fic. You know how you sometimes get an image or bit of dialogue in your head and you just have to get it out, even tho it won't grow into a real story? That's what this is, and that's *all* it is.
Ed.: and it's here so that 'the other House fic won't feel so lonely.' I get the feeling they will attract a few more before we're done. Hope so! [ Hint.]
House cringed. He'd been so close. So close. Still, there was a small chance He tried to cut to the other side of the hall, and an unlocked supply room. But the hall outside the clinic was crowded and he was trying to disentangle his cane from an IV pole when something small and lethal attached itself to his elbow.
"Curses, foiled again," House said as he turned to face Cuddy.
"I'm surprised you haven't come up with a better escape route by now," Cuddy said.
"I was trying to blend into the crowd."
"You're 6-3 and you limpyou're not going to blend in with any crowd."
"Unless it's a crowd of NBA players with groin pulls," House said.
"And we see that so often," Cuddy said. She shoved an ivory colored envelope at House. "Here."
"Worse. Invitation," Cuddy said with a satisfied, even evil, smile on her face.
"To what?" House opened the envelope and skimmed quickly through the pertinent data. Then he shoved the invitation back at Cuddy. "No."
"It's for charity."
"And charity begins at home which is where I'll be tonight."
"I'll double your clinic hours."
"Then I'll only work half as hard," House countered.
"You may like to think you're above such venal concerns, but without money this hospital can't function. That means your department, too."
"So the charity this dinner is raising money for is us?" House asked, confused.
"No, but a lot of potential donors will be attending the dinner. The kind of people who like to make themselves feel good by sharing tiny fractions of their wealth with those less fortunate."
"They'll feel even better without me there," House said.
"These are the kind of people who like to know where their money is going. The kind of people who like to see the brave, brilliant doctors who fight so heroically to save lives." Cuddy sighed at House's incredulous expression. "I know, but you're a department head and you're going to be there."
"Fine, but you should've given me more advance notice." House gave her a look he hoped communicated the sheer impossibility of his being available on such short notice.
"If I'd told you sooner, you would've had more time to come up with an excuse," Cuddy said.
"Precisely," House said. "The best I can do now is my grandmother died."
"Again? That's got to be the fifth one at least."
"I come from a long line of bigamists," House said.
"No excuses this time, House. Lame or otherwise."
"I'm not good at schmoozing," House protested. "I know." Cuddy sounded resigned. "Just take a couple of pills and sit in a dark corner."
"Hmm " House pondered the possibilities. "I'll be the brilliant, brooding, and ultimately unapproachable doctor."
"That might work."
"You get an hour," House said. He turned and started to walk away.
"Open bar?" House asked.
"Fine, but if the drinks are watered I'm so out of there." House smiled to himself. Watered drinks or not, he'd be out the door in forty-five minutes. Possibly escorted by security.
Cuddy's voice caught him one last time before he turned the corner.
"Oh, and Housebring a date."
"A date." House repeated this fact because Wilson didn't seem to be getting the point.
"It doesn't have to be a date date," Wilson said. "Just bring a friend."
"Right, one of my many friends. Like Kevin in bookkeeping?"
"It's Carl, and I'm thinking no." Wilson logged off his computer and began sorting through the stack of files on his desk.
"It's easy for you. You have a built in date," House said.
Wilson paused in the act of shoving a couple of selected files in his briefcase. House waited.
"Actually, I'm going stag," Wilson said finally.
"Should I not ask?"
"Not today, no." Wilson closed his briefcase and turned off the desk lamp. "You could ask Cameron."
"Cuddy prefers I not start any scandals."
"The 'dirty old man and his beautiful young protégée' scandal," House explained. He gave a careless shrug. "I'm her boss. How would it look?"
"Like you got very lucky. Or Cameron's an indiscriminate slut," Wilson said.
"Well, exactly," House said.
"But it wouldn't be as bad as if you asked Chase," Wilson said. A hint of a grin tugged at one side of his mouth.
"True, but if we're talking really big scandalhas to be Foreman."
"Black and gay: yeah, that'd raise a few eyebrows," Wilson agreed.
"Screw it. If you can go stag, I can go stag," House decided. "Give me a lift?"
"To the charity dinner. Duh."
"I'm not going as your date," Wilson said. He loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top button on his shirt, which pretty much signaled the end of Wilson's working day. House didn't wear a tie and he was always unbuttoned. He wasn't sure what that signaled.
"Afraid people will think you're gay?" House asked.
"No, afraid people will think you're the best I can do."
"It's an open bar," House threatened.
"I'll pick you up at seven," Wilson said with a resigned sigh. "But you'd better not puke in my car."
"It wasn't supposed to snow tonight." Wilson shook his head, trying to islodge the melting snowflakes from his hair. He held his overcoat carefully by the collar in an attempt to keep his suit dry. He reached House's overcoat and handed both of them to the coat check girl. He turned back to House.
"Shall we mingle?"
"I think we must," Wilson said.
House followed him into the ballroom and swept the crowd with his eyes. Dark-suited men and women in jewel colored dresses were just beginning to meander to their tables. In the corner, a string quartet provided an almost subliminal soundtrack for the evening. House wondered if they took requests, and if they did, was The Who on their playlist?
"We could just find our table," Wilson said after making his own assessment of the gathering.
"We could just find the bar," House countered.
"Dr. Wilson, how lovely to see you again."
"Mrs. Conner." Wilson clasped her offered hand and smiled.
House had to hand it to him; Wilson managed to attract a better quality of society matron. House always seemed to get the ones who wore too much makeup and too much jewelry and had an unhealthy devotion to their pets. Wilson got those, too, but he also got the ones like Mrs. Conner. Well dressed, well preserved, and articulate if not outright intelligent.
"Elizabeth, please," Mrs. Conner said. "And where's your lovely wife this evening?"
"She had a previous engagement," Wilson said. The smiled on his face was so tightly held House could almost hear the grinding of his molars.
"That's a shame." Mrs. Conner turned slightly toward House. "And you are?"
"The lovely Dr. Wilson's date," House said without hesitation. Beside him, he heard Wilson sigh.
"Dr. Gregory House," Wilson said, completing the introduction before House could do any more damage. "Head of Diagnostic Medicine."
"Ah, yes," Mrs. Conner said. She offered her hand to House. "You have a reputation for being something of a wit."
"Really." House grasped her hand only briefly before immediately returning to his cane. "I was under the impression that I had a reputation for being something of a rude, sarcastic SOB."
"Er yes." Mrs. Conner stared for a moment, then 'conveniently' spied a dear friend. She excused herself, graciously of course, and quickly walked away. Wilson sighed again, and House smiled.
"Go find our table," Wilson told House.
"I thought we were going to find the bar."
"I'm going to find the bar," Wilson said. "You already have drugs and a head start."
Late in the evening, House returned to the table and sank into his chair, angling it so that he faced Wilson.
"I think someone got his role confused," House said. He set a full tumbler of Scotch among the dinner detritus littering the table. "I'm supposed to be the brooder. You're supposed to be the schmoozer."
"You seemed to be doing enough schmoozing for the both of us."
"All schmoozed out," House agreed. "In fact I think I broke my schmoozer."
"Always a tragedy," Wilson said. He saluted House with his glass and took a sip. "Maybe our next charity event should be a Schmooz-a-thon."
House let out an amused grunt. He looked at Wilson and tapped the tumbler with his index finger. "One of us needs to stop drinking now."
"Way ahead of you," Wilson said. He nodded at his glass of water and pushed the tumbler toward House. "Enjoy."
"You're a prince among oncologists, Dr. Wilson." House savored a mouthful of the scotch. "Always putting the needs of others first."
"Not really. It's just the only way I can be sure you'll put out."
An elegantly dressed couple stopped dead in their tracks as they rounded the table. The shocked expressions on their faces nearly matched the dumbstruck one on House's face. Then House laughed.
"You realize this will be all over the hospital by noon," House said as the couple moved away.
"Chase is on call tonight."
"Is he? In that case they'll be serving scandal with breakfast." House sipped at his drink.
"You're buying." Wilson's eyebrows rose as Cuddy stormed past their table, her cleavage dripping. "Did I miss the wet t-shirt contest?"
"Wet t-shirt contest? I'm shocked. I'm appalled," House said as his eyes followed Cuddy's indignant bosom out the door. He turned his head and looked at Wilson. "I'm pissedI had fifty bucks on the chairman's trophy wife."
"I thought that was his daughter."
"And you think I'm naïve," House said with an exaggerated roll of his eyes.
"No, I don't."
"Oh, right. That was me." House gripped his cane firmly as he got to his feet. "Let's go."
"Not much to shock and appall there."
"No, but you've got t-shirts and water," House said. "We'll improvise."
This story was added on 24 SEPT 2005