Drastic and Repugnant Measures
by Pun

Notes: Takes place following "Detoxed" and "Cursed"

Dedication: Thanks go to Isagel and Jacyn for great betas.

House was sick of Wilson being mad at him. The first few days, while he was still mad too, had been fun. He had skulked around his office and kicked the trashcan when it got in his way. He told Cameron her new blouse looked great ... if she was going for the slutty fifteen-year-old look, which he sincerely hoped she was. Most of time he spent sprawled in his armchair popping Vicodin while he planned cutting retorts for when Wilson would inevitably pop his head in with a sob story about some deathly ill "relative" he wanted House to treat, or a lecture on the benefits of catching flies with honey. Except that Wilson never did.

After three days of no cases, no clinic duty and no Wilson, House had to admit (if only to himself) that he was bored and lonely. Blowing off work to watch t.v., terrorizing Cuddy, tormenting his staff: it all lacked a certain relish without Wilson looking on in amused disapproval.

With a fair amount of internal lamentation, House decided that he had to be the bigger person, and was pleased when Chase's father showed up, providing an opportunity for him to use his preferred method of conflict resolution: pretending like nothing had happened.

"Twenty-six year old male, sudden loss of the ability to speak." House kept his voice bright, certain in the potency of his hook. Wilson might play at sainthood, but he liked gossip as much as anyone, and he rarely missed an opportunity to meddle in House's meddling.

But the Chase family drama didn't turn out to be the olive branch that House had thought. Wilson steadfastly refused to get involved, and two more days passed without House seeing any sign of him.

Bribery didn't work either.

"Hey. Green Street Cinema has a midnight showing of Heat tomorrow night. We'll go to that ribs joint you like, catch the movie and close down a bar afterwards."

"Can't." Wilson said. "I'm busy."

"Change your plans. Come on. Pacino and DeNiro. All those explosions on the big screen!"

The set of Wilson's jaw softened just a bit, but then he looked away and said, "Sorry. Not this time."

House hit his cane against the floor in frustration. "Why not? You couldn't possibly have something more important to do. I don't have any other ex-girlfriends."

Wilson's 'how could you?' expression packed a much greater punch when it carried an undercurrent of genuine hurt instead of amusement.

A mixture of anger and guilt sped House's uneven gait as he stalked back to his office. He never thought he'd miss clinic duty, but the parade of morons would have made a nice outlet for his bile. "Foreman, get in here," he called into the next room.

Next he tried faking sick. That worked for a few minutes while Wilson felt his brow and took his pulse and looked sufficiently concerned, if a bit detached and doctorly. But by the time he'd gotten to peering down House's throat, he was using the tongue depressor like a battering ram.

"You seem fine to me," Wilson pronounced after one final peek in House's ears.

"Are you sure, doc? I really think I'm coming down with something." House coughed a few more times as pathetically as possible, but he could tell he was losing his audience.

Wilson was already halfway out the door, in fact. He looked back and said, "Well, I realize I lack your unparalleled diagnostic skills, but the glaring lack of any real symptoms leads me to believe that you are not sick. If you remain unconvinced I recommend a radical treatment known as rest and plenty of fluids." Then he slammed the door.

House kicked his feet against the exam table and mused that a cold hadn't been dramatic enough. If he'd put his mind to it he probably could have found a way to fake a tumor.

Two weeks into the Great Wilson Freeze Out of '05 and House was getting desperate. He was running out of ideas. If properly manipulated, Cameron might have been willing to serve as a goodwill ambassador, but then House considered that he'd been making life unpleasant enough for his team that they were most likely already unsuccessfully lobbying for him of their own accord. There was nothing left to do. He would have to take drastic and repugnant measures if he wanted his life back to normal.

House burst into Wilson's office just as he was getting ready to leave for the evening. "I want you to stop being mad at me."

James looked up in surprise. "Is this a dream or are you actually trying to have a direct conversation with me?"

"I think it's time we talked."

"I'm sorry. I'm looking for my friend Dr. Gregory House. Have you seen him?"

House ignored Wilson's sarcasm and took a few steps farther into the room. "I've been thinking it over, and if you'll agree to my terms I might consider making some
concessions as well."

"Ah, there he is," Wilson's voice was detached, as if he were responding on autopilot.

"You've been completely stubborn and unreasonable. You don't—"

"You know, if you want to win me back you're going about it exactly the right way. A good berating is one of my major turn-ons."

"I noticed how well it works for your wives." House shot back.

Wilson rolled his eyes and picked up his jacket, making to leave. "Are we done?"

There was an unnatural weight on the last word which seemed to echo in the silence that followed. House reached out to steady himself on Wilson's desk, trying to take in enough air to speak. "I guess I was hoping you could answer that question."

All the fight went out of Wilson's posture. He sagged down into the chair he used for patients. "You aren't going to get help." Voice heavy and low.

House shook his head. He didn't bother to argue that he didn't need help. Wilson had made up his mind.

"I don't know," Wilson said, studying the floor.

"I've missed you," House said softly.

Wilson looked up, surprised and almost smiling. "I've noticed."

"And you've been completely lost without me," House added.

"I have?"

"Look how neat your desk is. That means you've been working too hard. And the circles under your eyes tell me that without my place to escape to you've been spending more time with Julie, which equals more fights and more sleepless nights."

"You do make life interesting." Wilson gave a real smile. The crooked one where just the right corner of his mouth tugged up. One of House's favorites.

"Of course I do. You'd be really boring without me to add intrigue to your character."

"And there is my R.D.A. of creative insults to consider." Wilson sounded more like himself now, sarcastic but not angry. Relief washed over House and sent his heart skipping in his chest, causing him to realize how scared he'd actually been.

There was a bit of an awkward silence, and then House said cheerfully, "So. Make up strippers? We haven't been to The Pussycat Palace in awhile. I'm starting to forget what it smells like."

"Ah, yes that special odeur of cheap beer, vomit, and jism. I have missed it." Wilson said, making his way to the door. He held it open, but stopped House halfway through with a hand on his arm. "I still don't like what you're doing to yourself, you know. Nothing has been resolved."

Their faces inches apart, House could see a depth of sadness in James' eyes that affected him far more than any angry lecture ever could. "It seldom is. That's life." House stifled the urge to apologize. There was no use apologizing for life.

"At least now I know you can't live without me." Wilson smirked.

House didn't confirm this premise, but he didn't deny it either. Instead he said, "Come on, let's move it. Drinks are half priced before nine."

Walking down the hall felt easier than it had in days. He didn't have to look back to know that Wilson was following close behind.


compliments or criticisms welcome, feedback to pun at popullus.net