Title: Administrative Hour
Characters: House, Wilson, Cuddy
Word Count: 1150
Summary: House has a plan. Wilson has anxiety. Cuddy has a solution.
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 , Uncomfortable Hour , and Lunch Hour .
Once Cameron and Chase have left, Wilson returns to his untouched lunch; House has already finished eating.
“You’re getting right back into the swing of things,” House observes cheerfully as he swipes a pickle from
“I just answered a few questions; that’s hardly—hey, wait a minute! You don’t even like pickles!”
“Well, yeah, but you forgot to order fries, and I need to polish my food-borrowing skills. Hate to admit it, but they’ve gotten a little rusty lately.”
Wilson shakes his head. “How could I have been so thoughtless? I’ll go get you an order of fries right now, how’s that?”
“Nah; no fun unless they belong to you. Anyway, we need to see Cuddy before she leaves for the day.”
Wilson looks like a kid unexpectedly summoned to the principal’s office, just when he’d thought the school day was ending. “Why?”
House determinedly ignores the way Wilson’s suddenly gone pale and uncertain. “Because it’s rude to leave a party without at least thanking the hostess,” he says airily.
Wilson’s still shaking his head, and House sees the beginnings of real panic in his eyes. House remembers a trick his mother used to pull on him when he was small, and being stubborn about going somewhere;
Wilson’s insecure enough right now that it might just work.
“That’s fine; you can stay here, then. Finish your lunch. Start your lunch!” House has noticed that all Wilson’s done is push the food around on the plate. “Or get a cup of coffee or something. I’ll be back.” He stands and begins to walk quickly away from the table.
“No, wait!” Wilson calls. “I’m coming.”
House bites back a smile and waits for Wilson to catch up.
When they arrive at Cuddy’s office, House doesn’t knock—he bangs open the doors and shouts, “Hi honey, we’re home!”
Cuddy forces herself not to jump, and aims a manufactured smile in House’s direction. The smile she turns on Wilson, however, is warm and welcoming. She moves from behind her desk with her arms open, and envelops him in a hug. After only a second, he hugs her back.
House waits impatiently; touching scenes aren’t his thing, and there’s work to be done. As the two old friends finally break apart, he raps his cane against the desk to get their attention. “You,” he announces to Cuddy, “have a problem. A big problem.”
Cuddy shakes her head regretfully. “I’m well aware of that, House, but once I realized that you have tenure, I figured there are simply some things I’ve gotta learn to live with.”
House makes a face. “Cute. Now listen. I’ve decided how we’re gonna get Wilson back where he belongs.”
Cuddy starts to say something; House silences her with a look. He imperiously points to the couch with his cane, and waits until his audience has seated themselves. Then, he begins to pace.
“Here’s the way I see it. The three of us have already brought down one Evil Empire, with nothing but our light sabers and our wicked tongues, and—”
Cuddy leans over and whispers loudly to Wilson, “What the hell is he talking about?”
Wilson smiles and whispers back, “Vogler, et. al. It’s his favorite war story when we’ve been drinking. You’re always Princess Leia.”
“He’s been drinking?”
“‘He’ has not,” House intones dramatically. “He has figured out a way to get you out of this mess!” House stops speaking and glares at Cuddy when she groans. “What!” he demands.
Cuddy smiles sweetly at him. “It may have… escaped your attention, but most of your attempts to bravely right the wrongs of the world wind up costing me money. Lots of money. And anyway—”
“Silence!” House roars. He sneaks a look at Wilson, who no longer looks pale and uncertain—he’s snickering indulgently behind his hand.
House continues. “So here’s the cunning plan. I will sneak into the Throne Room, and lay waste to the gilt-edged Secret Documents, thus rendering them unusable. Boy Wonder and Super Girl—”
“I thought I was Princess Leia!” Cuddy objects to Wilson.
“Different empire,” he informs her matter-of-factly, while House glowers at both of them.
“If I may continue.” House waits until they both nod obediently. “Boy Wonder and Super Girl are charged with invading the Kingdom of Neoplasia. You must steal the Secret Life-Giving Formulas and replace them all with useless water. Then you must warn the denizens of Neoplasia that the Horrible Hemlock is endangering their lives. They will rise up as one, and ride him out of town on a rail. Problem solved!”
“Isn’t he mixing his metaphors? Now we’ve somehow got trains in this scenario.” Cuddy’s shaking her head in confusion.
“Mixed metaphors appear to be the least of his problems. Any beds available in Psych?” Wilson replies.
“Yeah,” Cuddy says, “but none in the lockdown unit. I’m afraid we’re stuck with him.”
“You two have no imagination,” House grumbles.
“No, but I do have a plan based in… uh… reality,” Cuddy smiles.
“How prosaic,” House sulks, collapsing into a chair.
“As you know,” Cuddy begins, “Dr. Henley’s position hasn’t been made permanent. And… it’s not going to be. I’ve already spoken with all the board members. Seems he’s rubbed most of them the wrong way. Imagine that!” Cuddy smiles dryly. “He has a six month contract, which gives us about seven weeks to come up with a replacement. I’ve been informed that Dr. Wilson should have his license back, officially, in about six weeks. Funny how these things work out.”
House is still sulking. “You let me go through all that, and you knew all along….”
Cuddy doesn’t bother to point out that House wouldn’t let her speak. “It’s okay, House,” she soothes. “That was perhaps the most entertaining psychotic break I’ve ever been privileged to witness.”
Wilson nods his assent, and House grins in satisfaction.
“One more thing,” Cuddy says to Wilson. “The board called an emergency meeting today and voted to restore your salary, retroactive to when you were wrongfully imprisoned.”
“That’s very kind of them, Cuddy,” Wilson says. “But I won’t be able to do anything to earn it anytime soon.”
“Oh yeah, you will,” Cuddy says. “When you’re ready to come back, you can do some consulting for your department, fill in as guest lecturer—we’ll keep you busy,” she assures him.
“Did you hear that, House?” Wilson asks. But apparently, House is engrossed in methodically taking apart an intricate molecular representation he’s found on a side table.
Cuddy and Wilson both stare at House while Cuddy continues, “And of course… you… do realize… that you, uh… get House back.”
Wilson and Cuddy continue to watch House, in silence, for a moment more. As the expensive little model explodes to the floor in pieces,
Wilson takes a deep breath and turns to his boss.
“I’m gonna need a raise,” he sighs.