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Dec. 6th, 2006 @ 08:34 am Gotta Run 5/6 and 6/6
Title: Gotta Run 5/6 and 6/6
Summary: Remember the days when Wilson and House were friends? So do I.
Word Count: 5378 total
Head Count: House, Wilson, OC. Cameo appearance by Foreman. Chase gets three lines, because it’s in his contract. Cameron and Cuddy have the week off.
Directions: 2 C. fluff, 3 T. angst, 1 C. heavy drama. Beat ingredients well. Cook in hawt oven til a crisp golden brown. Season to taste (S1, S2, or S3).
Disclaimer: Don’t own. Don’t even rent. Just squatting illegally. (Hey, back off, Tritter. It was a joke, man! Can’t you take a joke? No, really. Put those cuffs away. I-- )
A/N: This is set in early fall, a few weeks post Cane and Able.

Author’s Note: I decided to post the last two chapters of this at once, partly to put everone out of their misery, but mainly because they really need to be read consecutively. So that’s it for this one. Thanks to all who commented. And please feel free to leave concrit of any kind.

Chapter 5 The Next Telephone Pole


The truth was, for the last few months, ever since Wilson had moved in, and then out, of House’s place—and more especially while House was recovering from the shooting--Friday night had meant dinner at House’s apartment, followed by some kind of bad movie, a new video game, or a chance to listen to some music House had burned to CD. On rare evenings he played piano and Wilson caught up on his reading. It had become an end-of-the-week ritual, without either man really noticing.

Yet this Friday, Wilson had begged off. The next day was the New York Marathon, a crucial milestone in Anton’s training regimen. They planned on completing the half-marathon together, providing moral support and pacing each other over the thirteen-mile course. Friday night, Anton had promised to prepare a special pre-Marathon meal full of whatever it was you needed to eat before marathons. Wilson didn’t know what it would be; he doubted it was something that was going to take off the roof of his mouth, or come wrapped in a chocolate chip pancake.

Sure enough, it turned out to be a particularly bland mountain of pasta. Wilson found he had little appetite and had to force himself to eat. He shifted restlessly in his seat while he listened to Anton. His dinner companion talked at length about the food they needed to pack for the race—what kind of Power Bars, how much water—and then switched to news from home.

“…and Sofia is taking her first step this week. Mila sends me a photo, here let me showing you. There. But it is not the same thing as to be there to see it. It is killing me to miss this.”

“Yeah. Must be tough.”

“But did you know, they can all watch me running the race on the Internet? They have cameras so that…” He trailed off, and cocked his head to the side, giving Wilson a curious look. “Is everything okay? You are not eating.”

Wilson put his fork down. “To be honest,” he said, but he was interrupted by his cell phone sounding off in his pocket. He flicked it open. It was Foreman.

“I’m at Smokey Joe’s,” he said. “You might want to get down here.”

“Yes,” said Wilson shortly, after he’d listened for a minute. “Okay.” He snapped the phone shut and sat looking thoughtfully at his plate of pasta for a moment, tapping his thumb against his water glass. Finally he lifted his head to meet Anton’s questioning look. “I’m sorry, Anton. But I’ve got an emergency.”

Anton gave him a quizzical look. “Which patient?” he asked.

“One of… Foreman’s patients, actually.”

“Can I be of assistance?” Anton’s broad face was creased with concern.

“No, really, thanks.” Wilson left the table and slipped on his coat. “I’m sorry to do this, but I’ve gotta run.”



*****
Wilson entered the club, paid the cover charge, and looked around for Foreman. He was sitting with Wendy, the peds nurse, at a table at the very back of the dimly lit room.

“Hey,” he said, acknowledging both of them and sliding into a chair as the waitress approached. “I’ll have a scotch—make that a double.” He glanced over at Foreman and then up at the stage. House was seated at a piano there. Behind him was Whitey, playing sax, and a bass player and drummer. “What’s going on?”

“I thought he might need someone to persuade him not to take his bike home tonight. And, well, better you than me.”

“Has he had a lot to drink?”

“I think so,” said Foreman, looking at the bottle on the floor by House’s feet, the glass on top of the piano. “And he’s also chugged a couple of Vicodin.”

“I’m afraid it doesn’t take much liquor,” sighed Wilson. “He’s a something of a lightweight.”

Foreman smirked. As the waitress arrived with Wilson’s drink, Foreman leaned forward, jerked his head toward the stage, and said, “Check this out.” The ensemble was working its way through a version of Sweet Home Chicago, and Wilson realized that the other musicians were about to let House take the piano solo.

He listened to House play, mentally shaking his head. He’d known House for a long time and didn’t think there was much left about the man that could astonish him. This astonished him. First, that he hadn’t known about this side of House at all. Secondly, the skill with which he played, his right hand improvising a delicate, melancholy variation on the melody in a haunting minor key while his left worked a complicated rhythm in the bass line. But most surprising was the effect the playing had on House. While he closed his eyes to play, his face, his whole body became a sort of mirror of the emotions he was working into the music. He raised his eyebrows at a particularly aching phrase, or frowned at a slow passage, lifted a shoulder, or inclined his head. Wilson was absolutely certain he had no idea he was doing this—revealing a side of himself he was so careful to keep closed off—and it was fascinating.

As he listened, Wilson forced himself to consider the question of what drew him into this lopsided friendship. What did he get out of it besides aggravation? The answers were not ones he cared to look too closely at.

There was a brilliance to House he knew he could never find in another human being, male or female. There were times, watching him work, when he was certain he was in the presence of something unique—call it genius if you will. He’d known plenty of very smart people in his career, so it wasn’t just intelligence, a high IQ, that made House different. He supposed that what differentiated a genius from a smart person was the presence of some other, ineffable quality. For lack of a better word, passion. It was this second quality that made House so eternally fascinating to Wilson: not just his ability to solve the puzzle, but his passion to solve it.

A person who lives a life of dedication is not the same as a person who lives his life with passion. Wilson was a dedicated physician, House was a passionate one. Wilson cared deeply about his patients but could go home at quitting time and leave the hospital behind. House appeared to care very little about his patients--no one would ever call him dedicated, or devoted—but he couldn’t leave the hospital the way Wilson could. And Wilson was smart enough to acknowledge there was a thrill—a vicarious, envious thrill—in watching someone who had that kind of passion driving his life.

Wilson never deceived himself that the price for this single-mindedness was an enormous selfishness—a monumental self-centeredness, as he himself had once termed it. Nor had House ever pretended otherwise. He would now and then make an effort to admit other needs, perspectives, points of view existed outside his own. But it was short-lived, painfully inept, and, to be honest, rather touching to watch.

So…genius. And passion. Was that it? Was that enough to constitute a basis for a friendship?

Once again he had to admit to an uncomfortable truth. What really attracted him to House was not the man’s brilliance. It wasn’t the light of his intelligence, but the heat of it, more precisely the danger created by that heat. House was like some sort of bright celestial object that defied the rules of physics. He constantly pushed boundaries, rules of law and rules of medicine, all the careful conventions a society created to make life comfortable and safe and predictable. Wilson knew he himself was nothing if not deeply conventional. Beneath the charming, boyish exterior he presented the world was a badly screwed up man, as House had often pointed out. And what kept that inner screwed-up man on the rails was the outer conventional man, the one scared of authority, the law-abiding creature who wore pocket protectors, married well if not wisely, drove a Volvo, washed it every Sunday, and had never had so much as a speeding ticket. This Wilson was drawn to House like a cautious, careful moth mesmerized by a flame.

Wilson was not the only one. It was this same force that made Stacy fall for House so hard and stay so long. It was the reason Foreman didn’t take that job in California, why Cuddy risked so much, why Cameron couldn’t talk herself out of her crush.

House, for his part, had no idea, Wilson was convinced--hadn’t a clue about the effect he had on people, except to know that sooner or later, whatever attracted them to him would invariably drive them all away. Like planets drawn into the uncertain orbit of an unstable star, those that didn’t manage to leave the orbit were doomed. Nothing could burn that hot without burning itself out, and it would incinerate along with it everything in its gravitational field.

********


Chapter 6 Funeral Pyre

House signalled with a glance at Whitey that he was concluding the piano solo, and the saxaphonist bowed in his direction before chiming in with his own instrument. The audience burst into enthusiastic applause for the piano solo, several even shouting out House’s name (“Yeah, Doc!”), but House never acknoweldged the applause, instead keeping eye contact with Whitey as the two of them drew the song to a close. Even Foreman put his hands together. “He’s good, man,” he muttered to Wilson. “Shoulda been a musician.”

It was the final number in the set, and the musicians began packing up their instruments and clearing the stage. House sat unmoving at the piano, even after Whitey came over, said something in his ear and clapped him on the back.

Foreman was making leaving motions—probably wanted to get out of there before House spotted him--so Wilson told him he would take it from here. Foreman gave him a grateful look and escorted his date to the door as Wilson climbed onto the stage. House was busy trying blindly to retrieve the bottle of scotch at his feet. Wilson snatched it away and House rewarded him with an angry unfocussed look. He reached for the half-full glass of scotch on the top of the piano and sucked most of it down with a happy hiss before Wilson plucked that away too.

“House. What are you doing?” Wilson demanded.

House sighed and lowered his forehead to the piano. When he spoke it was as if he was talking to himself. “Just trying to get to the next telephone pole. You know?” He paused for a long moment and then opened one eye as if seeing Wilson for the first time. “Jimmy. What are you doing here?” He was enunciating carefully, a sure sign that he was very drunk. “Aren’t you up past your bedtime? Don’t you and Dr.... Kovic have a…runathon to…run?”

“Cancelled it. So, do you come here a lot?”

“My god, can’t you think of a better pick-up line than that?” sneered House.

“Okay.” Wilson stuffed a dollar bill in the scotch glass and gave House an entreating look. “Do you know People? Play People,” he whined. “Please, please.

House ignored him and rose to his feet, trying to maintain a dignified air, but failing miserably. As frequently happened when he was drunk enough to feel no pain, he forgot he needed a cane, and with his first step he collapsed against the keyboard in a loud cacophony of treble notes. He would have fallen even further if Wilson hadn’t anticipated just such an event and snaked an arm under his elbow. Whitey retrieved the cane from under the piano bench, and Wilson thrust it into House’s hand, sighing, “This is why they call it getting legless. Not a good idea for someone who’s already down a leg.”

He guided House off the stage and toward the exit. “Great to have you back, Doc,” said the club manager cheerfully as Wilson paid his and House’s bar bill at the door. “See you next week.”



“You shouldn’t cancel the runathon,” said House as they made their slow, stumbling way down the street, Wilson now carrying the cane and practically carrying House as well. “You gotta run. Running’s good for you. Anton’s…good for you. Why’d you cancel?”

“Something more important came up, I guess.”

“Shame. And a waste, too.”

“It’s not a waste. I can—“

“Not you. Orange juice.”

“What?”

“Bought a buttload of orange juice. Little Dixie cups. Was going to stand on street corners and keep you…hydrated.”

“Sure you were,” said Wilson fondly.

“Was too. Now what’m I gonna do with all that orange juice?”

Wilson thought for a few paces. “Mimosas?” he suggested. “We can get champagne and have them for breakfast.”

Excellent idea. Celebrate…whatever.” He came to a stop and looked at Wilson. “But what about the Vaseline?”

“Excuse me?”

“Also got a big jar of Vaseline.”

“For…what?”

“Supposed to rub Valesine…Vaseline on your nipples. Before a runathon. Prevents chafing. Chafed nipples, very bad. Didn’t Slobo tell you?”

“He did not.”

“Pffft. Well, to hell with him then.”

“That’s right,” said Wilson as they arrived at the Volvo. “No Valesine for him. Come on. Let’s get you home.”

House peered at Wilson closely. “Want me to drive? You’ve been drinking, you know.” He wagged a finger in Wilson’s face. “I can smell it on your breath.”

Wilson just ignored this, opened the door and decanted House carefully into the front seat. He lifted his right leg in after him, as House seemed incapable of even that. By the time he climbed in the other side, House had lowered the seat back until he was completely horizontal. This made the shoulder strap ineffectual, but Wilson reached over and pulled the lap belt around him.

“Try not to throw up,” he said as he put the car in gear. “I just had the car detailed.”

“Not going to throw up,” declared House. “Going to sing.” And he started right in. “People! People who need people!--”

“Stop,” Wilson interrupted, wincing. “Please.”

“--Are the screwed-uppest people in the world!”

“If you stop singing People,” implored Wilson--

“One person! One very special person!—“

“--I’ll let you rub Vaseline on my nipples when we get home.”

Silence.

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

House lifted both hands and played the opening notes of a new tune on air piano, then launched into the lyrics. “The time to hesitate is through,” he sang, at top volume. “No time to wallow in the mire. Try now, we can only lose. And our love become a funeral pyre. Come on baby, light my fire! Try to set the night on FIII-YAH…”

He was still singing when they got home.


FIN
Gotta Run, The (very tongue-in-cheek)Sequel is here:http://maineac.livejournal.com/6051.html#cutid1


Chapter 1 is here:http://maineac.livejournal.com/4833.html#cutid1
About this Entry
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From:skyearth85
Date:December 6th, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC)
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Is it finish yet? °o°
Do you have a particular "Sweet Home Alabama"'s version in mind? *curious*
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From:maineac
Date:December 6th, 2006 11:56 pm (UTC)
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That's all she wrote...
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From:peculiar_writer
Date:December 6th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC)
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Bwahahaha! Yay! Happy ending with nipple running. I figured House would be most concerned with Wilson's nipples. Such a cute fic, thank you for it!
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From:gournay
Date:December 6th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
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Ah, and then they lived happily ever after. Or did they? Probably not. Any- ho this was GREAT! to quote a famous tiger.
House is so caring. Orange juice AND vaseline. A real friend. So a sequel? I would like to know if Wilson kept his promise.
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From:maineac
Date:December 6th, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
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Wilson usually keeps his promises, but as for a sequel, I will leave that all up to your (fevered) imagination...
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From:arisblue
Date:December 6th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
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ah i'm sooo very happy for the ending! and a bit sad too. no more installments? (whine~~)
From:splits_thesky
Date:December 6th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
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ahaha, I love drunk!House, I've gotta say. :D
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From:el_gilliath
Date:December 6th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
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love the icon! What episode is it from?
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From:sandssavvy
Date:December 6th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
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Drunk House is luff.

I loved the bit about the vaseline and Light My Fire was very fitting after Wilson's musings.
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From:hi_falootin
Date:December 6th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
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vaseline? eeeeek. is that true? man.


I may have forgotten to comment until now, but I have been keeping up with this story because it's cute and interesting and the characters and their emotions really ring true. I love that you can tell such a great story with so little drama--it feels like the workings of everyday life but still fresh and very House-ish. I like your drunk!House a lot too. And I like that he plays piano in a club. Also + + + for using Foreman, cause he's rad, and doesn't get nearly enough fanlove.
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From:maineac
Date:December 7th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC)
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Thanks a lot. As to Vaseline, yes, it's true. You're also supposed to rub it on your inner thighs to prevent chafing there, but those waters seemed way too treacherous for poor House to try to navigate in his present state...:)
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From:el_gilliath
Date:December 6th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
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Hehe, lovely ending. House may be an ass, but he sure cares for his friends nipples!
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From:fatalisticrebel
Date:December 6th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
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"--I’ll let you rub Vaseline on my nipples when we get home."

LOVELY MENTAL IMAGE. Someone out there must draw this. In explicit detail. Props if they're both in the nude while doing so. XD
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From:arwen_kenobi
Date:December 6th, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC)
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LOL oh my God the end was PRICELESS!!! *laughs insanely* Awesome conclusion!
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From:joe_pike_junior
Date:December 7th, 2006 12:28 am (UTC)
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Great stuff. I love Wilson's introspection in the middle, it's perfect.

You ended the fifth installment on a great line. This is so true of House, and you made it fit in perfectly with the otherwise light-heartedness of the rest of the story. This is really what House is all about, the balance between the humour and the tragedy, the realisation that House is such a unique and dangerous character. And you really hit that here. Well done.

I also love the the way that you ended on a scene that, while being very funny, was also slightly depressing, especially taking what you said in the previous chapter in mind. But letting Wilson and House drive off drunkenly into the sunset? Perfect.

I love the OCs and the little splash of House at the Jazz club. You don't need to explain that much, he is what he is, and this is just so so House. The dialogue is perfect, and I still wonder at how you can make such a good mix between the light-hearted banter and sarcasm, and the pathos that is House.


Anyway, sorry to write such a book in comment form. I loved every moment of this, very well done.

Cheers
Armchair Elvis.
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From:aeeee
Date:December 7th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
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Agreed. What a great fic.
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From:petrichor_fizz
Date:December 7th, 2006 01:34 am (UTC)
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come wrapped in a chocolate chip pancake

Read that wrong. My fault.

married well if not wisely

Othello references FTW!

“--I’ll let you rub Vaseline on my nipples when we get home.”

Silence.

“Promise?”


We did go into my loving you, didn't we? If not then consider yourself loved.
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From:maineac
Date:December 7th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC)
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Ah feeeeel your lurv! Yes I do! It comes wrapped in a chocolate something pancake.
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From:poeia
Date:December 7th, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)
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Awww. Wilson cancelled his runathon because House needed him. I guess that big jar of Vaseline will come in handy.

I loved this fic. Sweet, funny, very touching without crossing (or even coming near) the emo line. Wonderful.
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From:zulu
Date:December 7th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC)
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Much hee for the runathon. I loved the buildup of this--House's jealousy, Wilson's new friend (who was an excellent character)--I could only wish that the outcome was longer. And not necessarily slashier or anything, but, hmm. How to say it. I guess I wanted fallout: Anton's reaction, or Wilson saying, "He's moved on to a different rotation," or something--and House sober again to appreciate what's happened. But other than that, so much great dialogue, and the description of House at the jazz bar was excellent. Awesome.
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From:maineac
Date:December 12th, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
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As I mentioned in another comment, I think I always err on the side of saying too little rather than too much (I hate spoonfeeding readers, esp. the House fic readers, who don't need it). But your point about a denouement to the story is well taken. Thanks for taking the time to do a thoughtful critique.

PS. I did end up writing another scene for this; but it's not what you (or most readers) had in mind. Tongue in cheek. If you missed it, it's here:http://maineac.livejournal.com/6051.html#cutid1
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From:0dreamer0
Date:December 7th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC)
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this fic was pretty perfect.

also: "Wilson just ignored this, opened the door and decanted House carefully into the front seat."
decanted him into the seat...i may actually be dead now. you've killed me with funny and sent me to metaphor heaven. i just...damn.
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From:stilmoch
Date:December 8th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
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I second the love for that line. It's all kinds of gorgeous!