House fumbles through the darkened living room, shouting, “I’m coming; I’m coming! Shut up already!” On his way through, he glances at the clock—. Means it must be one of his team with an earth-shaking discovery, something that better be worth waking him for.
Earlier in the evening, some sort of freak allergic reaction—House suspects maybe the cinnamon chicken in the hospital cafeteria—had prompted him to take 150 mg of diphenhydramine and head for bed. Who ruins perfectly good chicken with cinnamon anyway?
Finally he reaches the door and yanks it open impatiently. Wilson’s standing there with a six-pack of beer and a rented movie, and he’s smiling. “Did I wake you? You up for gratuitous violence, ear-splitting explosions, and half-dressed women? And beer, of course.”
House shakes his head to clear the fog. “What… are you doing here?” he asks slowly.
“Not gonna invite me in?” Wilson asks, brushing right past him and coming in anyway. He tosses a beer to House, then puts the movie in the player and grabs a beer for himself. He takes a seat on the couch and slings his feet up on the coffee table.
House thinks maybe he’d better sit down, too. He joins Wilson on the couch and stares at him. “What are you doing here?” he repeats, a little more forcefully this time.
“Needed a break,” Wilson says casually, eyes on the TV screen. “That whole prison thing gets old pretty fast. Figured an evening with you was just what the doctor ordered!” Wilson laughs. “’Course, you’ll have to be the doctor; that’s a no-no for me now.”
“Why did you… what were you… how did you….”
Wilson laughs again. “This is a first—don’t think I’ve actually heard you be incoherent before. Well, at least not sober and incoherent.”
House sighs. “Just answer the questions; I’m certain you can translate them.”
“You worry too much, House. When someone’s imprisoned for something they didn’t do, they can come and go as they please. Even got my own key—see?” Wilson dangles a shiny silver key from his left index finger, then replaces it in his pocket.
House rubs hard at his right thigh; damn, it’s hurting bad. Wilson notices. He pulls a prescription pad and a pen out of his pocket and fills out the top slip, handing it to House when he’s finished.
House studies the scrip for Vicodin that Wilson’s just given him. It’s signed James Wilson, M.D. “You… can’t do this anymore,” he says.
“Sure I can. Can’t practice as a physician, but they can’t really take the title away, can they? Earned that by going to med school. May be worthless now, but it’s mine to keep. ‘Course, the pharmacy’ll probably notice the lack of a DEA registration number. Hmmm….” Wilson looks momentarily stumped, but then he grins. “Got faith in you, House. Anyone can figure a way around the legalities, it’ll be you.”
House nods slowly. Finally, he settles back on the couch to watch the movie, drink his beer, spend time with Wilson. House has decided not to look this particular gift horse in the mouth.
When House awakens in the morning, he smiles before he even opens his eyes. The hallucinations that 150 mg of diphenhydramine can cause are an undesirable side effect—that’s what the pharmaceutical companies call it, anyway. Not House; House calls it an evening with his friend—and that’s very desirable, indeed.
It’s only later in the day, after he’s snapped even more viciously than normal at anyone stupid enough to stumble into his sphere, that it hits him—last night’s hallucination had been trying to tell him… something.
And—for the first time since Wilson’s arrest—House may have finally found a puzzle that’s worthy of his attention.