Title: Lunch Hour
Characters: House, Wilson
Word Count: 900
Summary: House--being House--wants everything resolved five minutes ago. Wilson simply wants to relax. Guess who wins?
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, Legal Hour , Honorable Hour, House's Hour , Wilson's Hour , and Uncomfortable Hour .
After Wilson’s had a chance to settle in, House makes a suggestion. “How ‘bout we head over to the hospital. Bug Cuddy, grab a late lunch.”
Earlier, House had called Cuddy to let her know he’d be bringing Wilson in; could she make sure House’s team left them alone? He wasn’t coming in to work, just wanted Wilson to get back on the horse, so to speak. House figured a quick lunch and a short visit with a friendly face ought to do it. Cuddy’d thought the idea was a bad one, but House had overridden her objections. So she’d reluctantly agreed to notify his team to keep their distance. And she’d promised to make herself available after lunch. Perfect.
Wilson hadn’t fallen off this particular horse—he’d been pushed. And House considers that since he’s the one who started the pushing, it’s his responsibility to see that Wilson climbs back on soon, and safely.
Wilson is hesitant. “I don’t know. I’m not… it’s been a long day. Can’t we just hang out here?”
“No food here; gotta eat. Cuddy’s not here either. It’s a lot easier to make her miserable when we’re in the same room. Or at least the same building.” House resolutely ignores Wilson’s unhappy expression, and grabs the car keys. “C’mon, let’s go. I’m hungry.”
Wilson reluctantly follows House out the door.
At the hospital, House heads straight for the cafeteria. It’s late for lunch; Wilson’s relieved to see that the place is almost deserted. But as they set their trays on a table, there’s a doctor headed straight for them. Wilson doesn’t recognize him.
“Dr. House!” the man says, with an insincere smile. “Care to introduce me to your friend?”
House matches the fake smile with one of his own. “Doctor… uh… Hemlock….”
“Henley,” the man corrects smoothly, as he turns to Wilson. “And you are?”
“James Wilson.” Wilson forces himself to meet Henley’s eyes, and to offer his hand.
“James Wilson, MD,” House says jovially. “Boy Wonder—once and future head of Oncology, at this very establishment! Slays dragons, eradicates big, bad cancers—and still manages to file his taxes on time! Wilson, meet the man who’s been keeping your chair warm during your temporary absence.”
“House,” Wilson warns.
“Ah, so you’re the legendary Dr. Wilson,” Henley says. “I’ve heard… many interesting things about you.”
“Sure you have,” House says quickly. “Unfortunately, Wilson can’t say the same about you. Seems you just aren’t all that… interesting.”
“Yes. Well. Be that as it may, here’s one fascinating fact for you to chew on, Dr. House. I’ve been Acting Head of Oncology for over four months now. Rumor has it that the Board will be voting to make my position permanent next week.” Henley turns to Wilson. “Don’t worry. I’m sure that with your… mmm… current credentials… you’ll quickly be able to find a position… uh… somewhere.” Henley smiles coldly, nods, and leaves.
“Wouldn’t have ‘em engrave that plate for the door just yet, Hemlock!” House calls after him loudly.
There’s an uncomfortable silence at the table. House is beginning to think he shouldn’t have forced this today.
“He seems… pleasant enough,” Wilson finally offers.
“He’s an arrogant jerk,” House says shortly.
Wilson smiles at that. “Yeah, actually, he is. As a matter of fact, under… different circumstances… I might even count him among my closest friends.” Wilson laughs at the honestly confused look on House’s face, and he’s just starting to relax when he spots Chase approaching their table, with Cameron not far behind.
“Dr. Wilson! It’s good to see you,” Chase says with a wide smile.
Wilson smiles back. “Good to see you, too, Chase.”
But Chase has already turned to House. “Glad you’re here,” he tells him. “Seems our patient has cholangiocarcinoma, a Klatskin tumor, and we’re going to—”
“If you’ve already diagnosed her, my job is done,” House interrupts, scowling. Hadn’t he told Cuddy to confine the puppies to their pen? “Go find what’s-his-name and—why have you suddenly developed a head twitch? You might wanna see Foreman about that.”
Chase twitches his eyes this time—and now House catches on. All this seizure-like activity is aimed in Wilson’s direction, although Wilson is unaware of it; Cameron has him wrapped in a hug.
House’s eyes widen. “Ah!” he says loudly, “A Klatskin, one of the rarest of the liver cancers. Hemlock won’t be able to handle it; maybe we’d better keep this patient for ourselves.”
Wilson disentangles himself from Cameron. “House, you can’t do that. Your patient needs an oncologist!”
“Actually, Dr. Wilson, I think we can handle it, if we could just get a few questions answered. Could you do that, do you think?” Chase asks, holding out the file to Wilson.
“I can’t, Chase.” Wilson shakes his head, but his eyes are on the file. “Don’t have my license back yet.”
“Just a formality!” House booms. “Besides, the children aren’t asking you to practice; they’re merely asking for the knowledge of an older, wiser physician, such as yourself! Right, kids?”
Cameron and Chase are both quick to assure Wilson that all they want is his guidance. This time, when Chase offers the file, Wilson takes it eagerly. Within seconds, he and Cameron are deep in discussion. Wilson’s eyes are bright, his demeanor serious and purposeful.
House leans over and whispers to Chase, “Remind me to pad your paycheck this week.”
“You’re welcome,” Chase whispers back, and then joins the discussion.