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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
Honorable Hour (thirteenth in the HOUR series) 
6th-Jul-2007 08:13 am

Title: Honorable Hour
Characters: House, Wilson
Rating: PG
Genre: Angst
Word Count: 1100 
Summary:  House heads to the prison to speak with Wilson.  

The previous vignettes, in order, are:
Visiting Hour,  Happy Hour,  Midnight Hour  Fifty-Minute Hour Random Hour,  Painful Hour,  Dark Hour ,   Desperate Hour,   Witching Hour ,   Lonely Hour,    Dinner Hour and  Legal Hour  .



Wilson waits for House in an exam room in the infirmary.  This time, it’s different; he knows House is on his way here, and that House wants to see him.  Wilson doesn’t know why, and he doesn’t really care—House is coming.


House enters the room, tosses his bike helmet on a counter, nods at Wilson, and says without preamble, “We need to talk.”


Wilson smiles.  “Hello to you, too, House!  Just fine, and you?”


House ignores the greeting.  “I’ve just come from the state attorney’s office.  Your being here, it was all a mistake.  Tritter overstepped his bounds, fudged some numbers.  Broke some laws.”  House lowers himself into a chair; Wilson sees that he looks exhausted, drained—and triumphant.


“We already knew all that, House.  But if I hadn’t taken this deal, he would’ve gone after you, and we might have both wound up in prison.”


House looks intently at Wilson.  “Listen to me.  Tritter’s in jail.  We aren’t the only one’s he’s screwed with.  I went to see Doyle because I finally figured something out; they’re holding you based on a faulty assumption.”


Wilson sits patiently on the edge of the exam table.  He knows there’s no sense in trying to rush House to the point of this discussion.  House has solved a puzzle, and—whether or not its solution is relevant—he’s always compelled to share the process with anyone who’ll listen.  And Wilson always listens.


“Tritter made certain that they counted the scrips I forged into the total of what you’d written for me.  Put you in clear violation of the Controlled Substances Act.  He knew that if anyone caught it, said anything, you’d have to admit, in court, that you knew about the forgeries.  Otherwise, he’d call in his handwriting experts, his DEA contacts.  Subpoena a few pharmacists, run a few security tapes for the jury. He’d have us both.”  House stops talking and peers at Wilson to make sure he’s following.  When Wilson nods thoughtfully at him, House continues.


“But it was in Tritter’s best interest that you take this deal.  Because it turns out that he was wrong from the start.  The search on my apartment never should have happened.  Doyle says that nothing that followed should’ve happened either.”


Wilson says slowly, “That means that both of us are in the clear.  Both of us.”  He looks at House with just the smallest bit of hope in his eyes.


“Yeah—but the important thing is, you really didn’t violate any DEA regulations, didn’t break any federal laws.”  House pauses and gazes seriously at Wilson.  House’s eyes are warm; the faint smile playing across his face is sincere—he looks like someone who cares.  “That means they’re removing the sanctions from your license.  You’ll practice medicine again.”  House allows the smile to widen, the eyes to grow warmer, as he regards Wilson.  His kind, empathetic expression never changes as he allows the implications of what he’s said to sink in.


He continues to explain the details slowly, and as simply as he can.  His tone isn’t patronizing, though—it’s… considerate.


Finally, Wilson’s able to speak.  He meets House’s eyes.  “Thank you,” he says simply.


House frowns; the smile and the warmth disappear.  “For what?  Letting you go to prison?  Putting you in a situation where you might’ve been killed?  Almost destroying your career?  Or just for being a lousy friend?”


Wilson shakes his head.  “No, House,” he says gently.  “For doing the honorable thing.  For… for following the moral imperative to protect your friend.  For coming here today and… treating me like a human being.”


House looks away and says gruffly, “Yeah, well—don’t get used to it.”  Then he stands and begins gathering supplies.  “Now let’s have a look at that shoulder; wanna see if the infection’s resolving.”


Of course Wilson knows that House knows that the shank wound had become infected—but House thinks Wilson’s unaware of the daily phone calls.  So Wilson decides to bust him on it—this could be fun.


“How’d you know it was infected?” Wilson asks casually as he removes his shirt.


House looks trapped, but only for a second.  “Easy,” he asserts confidently.  “You’re flushed—indicative of a low-grade fever.”  House snakes his fingers around Wilson’s wrist.  “Pulse is rapid—backs up the fever.  And the padding on the bandage is triple what it should be at this point in the healing process,” he finishes triumphantly.


Wilson thinks, briefly, of pointing out that both the flush and the rapid pulse could easily be explained by the news House has just given him, and that even clean, uninfected wounds can drain for a very long time.  But he decides to let this one slide.  House has demonstrated his human side for the better part of an hour.  He’s made it clear that he cares, very much.  And he’s allowed Wilson to see his guilt, his vulnerability.  Let’s not push it.


Wilson watches as House searches in the unfamiliar cabinets for something.  He could tell House exactly where to find whatever he’s looking for—but he knows that House needs this respite from all the emotion that’s recently filled this room.  So he doesn’t speak, just continues to observe quietly.


House’s gait is slower than usual, the limp more pronounced.  Wilson realizes that—between the ride to and from the state attorney’s office, and the drive to the prison—House has been on the bike for over three hours.  House’s own rule, in deference to the leg, is two hours, max.  And he still has the drive back to Princeton.


Wilson would normally chide House, tell him he should’ve taken the car.  But he knows, intuitively, that the torturous ride, and the pain it’s causing him, were somehow necessary for House—that House needs to punish himself for his perceived wrongs.


He went to bat for me.  Went in there thinking he was turning himself in.  Came all the way out here to deliver the news in person.  And now, the renowned Dr. House is cleaning and bandaging a simple stab wound, with all the concentration I’d give a biopsy.  Least I can do is let him think his secret’s safe. 


Wilson watches in wonder as House gently peels away the tape on the dressing and glances at Wilson’s face to make certain he isn’t hurting him.  Phone calls?  What phone calls?


“Impressive differential, House,” Wilson concedes with a smile.  “Accurate as always.”  Then he leans back comfortably against the pillow, and allows his friend to care for him.

Next up:   
House's Hour  


6th-Jul-2007 12:40 pm (UTC) - Honorable Hour (Dr. Fantabulous)
Oooh, that was a pleasant surprise, another chapter so soon! Again, they're sooo profoundly in character. And the fact that "Wilson always listens"- that's a good observation.
6th-Jul-2007 01:13 pm (UTC) - Re: Honorable Hour (Dr. Fantabulous)
and it was a pleasant surprise to receive a comment so quickly!

the fact that "Wilson always listens"- that's a good observation

yeah--the one thing that didn't much change in S3 was wilson's respect for house's diagnostic skills. (well, except for that wee, little lie wilson insisted on telling him in Cane & Able, about the patient in Meaning...)
6th-Jul-2007 01:17 pm (UTC)
When it started, I thought House was taking credit for figuring out the illegal search warrant thing -- that he'd rather do that than admit that he offered to go to jail instead of Wilson.

I love this series.
6th-Jul-2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
I thought House was taking credit for figuring out the illegal search warrant thing

house really means to prove to wilson that he's sorry--and of course, that's very difficult for house. he wanted to demonstrate he'd solved part of the puzzle ("huge ego, sorry", after all) but wasn't about to take credit for the rest of it.
6th-Jul-2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
Beautiful, a real pleasure to read this series.

I think you have captured perfectly what makes this stupid screwed up friendship work so well

and I can't wait to see Tritter get his :)
6th-Jul-2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
you have captured perfectly what makes this stupid screwed up friendship work

and i think that's one of the nicest compliments my writing's ever received--thank you!
6th-Jul-2007 01:37 pm (UTC)
*hugs kidnurse, House, and Wilson* I haven't told you how much I am enjoying this series yet, have I? :P
6th-Jul-2007 01:43 pm (UTC)
haven't told you how much I am enjoying this series

ohhh, you mighta mentioned it a time or three! ;)
6th-Jul-2007 01:58 pm (UTC)
House smiling ?
If it were only for that, Thank you ! I'll keep that image in mind.
Really good serie, deep, sensitive, optimistic and icing on the cake, Tritter in prison. Till now, this was only happening in my dreams. You made them come true, as usual.
6th-Jul-2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
House smiling ?

it happens! and i've noticed, on the show, that he pretty much saves the sincere smiles for wilson, so it seemed appropriate here. :)
6th-Jul-2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
You own these characters. Seriously. You write them better than the shows writers do sometimes. Many, many, MANY kudos!
6th-Jul-2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
You own these characters.

ahh--if only! afraid fox/nbc might have a bit to say about that; but what lovely praise--thank you!
6th-Jul-2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
fluffy. But, not too.
6th-Jul-2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
good; 'twas just what i was going for! :)
6th-Jul-2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
And for once Wilson decides to let House be. Sooo nice.
6th-Jul-2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
glad you enjoyed it!
6th-Jul-2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
Character growth, wooo! Best thing possible in a story. Never mind that it's wrapped in genuine happiness for both boys, a rare feat for sure. (I like the purpose to which you used the infection. I didn't see it coming quite like this. Wooo, unpredictability!)
7th-Jul-2007 01:47 am (UTC)
I like the purpose to which you used the infection. I didn't see it coming quite like this.

not quite done with this particular plot device! ;)
6th-Jul-2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
So much more realistic than canon. Been following the series, and haven't commented much because I'm not quite sure what specifically I like, but I like it a lot.
7th-Jul-2007 01:48 am (UTC)
not sure how much more realistic it is--but it's certainly more palatable, for me at least. happy you're enjoying it.
6th-Jul-2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
Fantastic part! :)
7th-Jul-2007 01:49 am (UTC)
it's one of my own favorites of the series.
6th-Jul-2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
I love that.

Thanks very much. XD
7th-Jul-2007 01:50 am (UTC)
you're welcome very much!
6th-Jul-2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, House does deserve to be left alone after all he's done for Wilson today *hugs 'em both*
7th-Jul-2007 01:54 am (UTC)
once wilson realized what the day had cost house, both physically and emotionally, compassionate!wilson kicked in again. just seemed right, somehow.
6th-Jul-2007 11:24 pm (UTC)

Finally able to comment -- been busy all day!

Another lovely installment, and I really enjoyed the way Wilson was able to very gently twit House with the "moral imperative" line -- an idea that House had earlier scoffed at.

Looking forward to tomorrow's vignette!
7th-Jul-2007 01:56 am (UTC)
sorry--tomorrow's saturday, when i try to remember i have an eleven year old--and, failing that, would love to get this wrapped up asap. sorry. i'll be back monday.
7th-Jul-2007 01:19 am (UTC)
your stories are always one of the highlights in my day.
7th-Jul-2007 01:57 am (UTC)
i'm happy to hear that; thank you very much.
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