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Laundry Day, part 2

Two hours later and in the midst of a particularly rambunctious differential, Wilson opened the door to House’s conference room.  House was examining the whiteboard while yelling to his Fellows about conflicting test results.

Chase stood at the coffee station, fuming quietly in the direction of the industrial maker and viciously stirring his drink.  Wilson decided not to interrupt and sidled quietly around the outskirts of the room, carrying his coffee mug and intent on swiping a cup he could drink instead of wear.  Just as he reached the counter, Chase spun around and opened his mouth to speak, but instead ran straight into Wilson, splashing his drink all over his new shirt, tie, and lab coat.

“Oh!  Doctor Wilson!  I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were behind me!” Chase stammered as he attempted ineffectually to mop up the mess with a paper towel.

“It’s okay, Chase, no problem.  It’s not the first time.  Hell, it’s not even the first time today.” Wilson sighed and closed his eyes, shoulders slumping a little.  Three pairs of eyes swung directly to House.

“It wasn’t my fault!  A kid ran into me,” House protested.  He narrowed his eyes and sniffed.  “At least this time it isn’t coffee.”

Wilson looked down at himself and sniffed as well.  “No, it’s not.  Tea?” he asked Chase.

“Yeah, oh god, I’m so sorry, Dr. Wilson!  Tea stains really badly, too,” Chase said, still rubbing the paper towel over Wilson’s shirt.

Wilson grabbed his hand.  “It’s okay, Chase.  Stop that.”  He began to pull at his shirt again as he had early that morning.  “I’ll just go … Oh damn, I don’t have any more clothes.”  He lifted his eyes to Chase.

“I have a spare shirt but I don’t think it’d fit you,” Chase said, eying Wilson’s body speculatively.  House shoved down the urge to punch him.  Wilson turned to Foreman.

“Sorry, I had to take my spare home to wash yesterday,” Foreman said with a shrug.

“I can go find you some scrubs,” Cameron offered, rising from her chair.

“Never mind,” House interrupted.  “Wilson, come with me.  You flying monkeys, redo the tests!”  He limped quickly through the door adjoining his office.  Wilson followed.

House dropped into his chair and opened a bottom drawer in his desk.  Within a few seconds he pulled out a t-shirt and handed it over to the dripping Wilson.

Wilson unfolded it and held it up in front of himself.  “Jethro Tull?”  He questioned disbelievingly.

“Oh, it’ll be fine.  Just put another lab coat on top and button it up and nobody’ll know.”

“But,” Wilson began, but then didn’t seem to know which direction to go in.  “But … Okay, first of all, when was the last time I wore a t-shirt to work?  And second, I can’t wear a tie with a t-shirt!”

“First,” House echoed, holding up one finger in front of him, “I wear t-shirts all the time and you don’t see me complaining, and second,” he held up another finger, “of course you can’t wear a tie with a t-shirt, that would look silly.  But you don’t have any more ties anyway, and that one is now a tea-stained Martha Stewart creation, so it doesn’t matter.”  He thought for a moment.  “And third,” another finger, “it’s your only real choice outside of a scrub shirt.  Put on my t-shirt.”

Wilson hesitated a moment, then shook his head and began stripping for the second time that morning.  House meandered over to the glass walls and began closing the blinds.  Wilson raised a questioning eyebrow.

“Privacy!” House defended.  Wilson merely rolled his eyes and went back to his buttons.
House hobbled back to his desk and sat down again, ready to enjoy the second show.  He watched from under his eyebrows as Wilson again stripped off the stained lab coat, then the shirt and tie.  Too bad there’s no undershirt this time, he thought, holding his cane out by the base and catching Wilson’s shirt on it, bringing it back to himself and dropping it in the bag with the other clothes.  Wilson smiled at the maneuver and then donned the t-shirt.  “Well, how do I look?”

House’s breath caught at the sight of Wilson wearing his, House’s, clothes.  Inwardly, he thought, like you’ve just spent the night in my bed and are getting ready to make us breakfast.  He said, “Like a reject from a monster truck show.”

A knock sounded on the glass door.  “Dr. Wilson?” Cameron’s voice came through as she opened it up.  “I brought you another lab coat.”  She extended her arm through the doorway and handed it to Wilson.

“Thanks, Cameron,” he said, quickly pulling it on over the t-shirt.

House glowered.  “Try to keep your clothes on for the rest of the day, eh?” he growled at Wilson.
“Hey, I’m 0 for 2 here, neither of those were my fault,” Wilson laughed as he turned to leave.  “See you for lunch?”

House nodded, and then watched the man disappear down the hall.

The cafeteria at lunch time was, if possible, even busier than the clinic first thing in the morning.  The crush of bodies milling through the lineups and then making for open tables or searching for lunch companions was nearly impossible to get through without bumping into at least one person.  Miraculously, Wilson had made it through the hordes without spilling anything on his tray, and he plunked it down triumphantly on the table in front of House with a smirk.

“There you go, chili cheese fries, as ordered.  Just keep them far away from me,” he said, pulling his own packaged salad and bottled water from the tray.  “Any more mishaps today and I’ll have to walk around here naked.”

House nearly choked on his soda, and his mind went to very naughty places.  He managed to dredge up a suitably offhand reply from somewhere.  “Well the nurses wouldn’t object.”

“Cuddy might,” Wilson replied.

“Nor would most of the patients,” House continued, ignoring him.  “And come to think of it, most of the doctors too.”  He eyed the younger man appraisingly.  “The cleaning staff, the orderlies.  The accounting department.  I could go on.”  He saved a fry loaded with chili in Wilson’s general direction.

“Please don’t,” Wilson interrupted, grabbing House’s hand and redirecting the fry back to the tray.  “And don’t point that at me.  I just said I’m out of spares.  I’m taking no chances.”

“Spoilsport,” House muttered.  He looked around the large room casually, scoping out the trajectories of the people coming close to them.  Finally he selected a target, a very young man who looked like he could be right out of junior high, but was probably a first or second year med student.  He was carrying a tray with two baskets of chili cheese fries and looking off to his left, not paying attention to where he was going.  House stuck out his cane and the boy tripped spectacularly, sending both baskets of fries directly into Wilson’s lap.  A hush fell over the room.

Wilson scooted the chair back in an attempt to avoid the mess but was just a hair too late.  He ended up with both baskets upturned on his legs, sending melted cheese and gravy all over his pants, the borrowed t-shirt, the lab coat, the chair and the floor.  He surveyed the disaster with dismay, then squeezed his eyes shut and covered his face with his hands, breathing deeply and harshly.

“You’re not going to have an aneurism or anything, are you?” House inquired evenly, pulling his cane back to his body, removing the evidence.  The boy dropped the tray on the floor with a clatter and raced off to the tills, hollering for napkins at the top of his lungs.

“I’m considering it.  Why do you ask?” Wilson said through his hands, his voice almost manic in its calmness.  House could tell he had his teeth clenched tightly.

“Well, I’d just like to be warned of any psychotic breaks or impending brain damage, so I can be prepared,” House continued, backing up slowly in his chair.  The boy came running back with a mountain of paper towels in his hands and began trying to clean the mess off of Wilson’s lap.  Wilson grabbed the boy’s wrists as they swiped ineffectually at his groin and held them in what had to be a vice grip, considering how white the skin of Wilson’s fingers was.  House raised his eyebrows as he observed the interaction.

Wilson turned to the boy, whose face had drained of all colour and whose eyes were round as saucers.  “It’s fine.  Don’t do that.  Go away now.”  His voice came out in a low growl.  The boy stammered half words that may have been apologies and then reeled around and fled.

House pulled out his cell phone and dialed quickly.  “Cameron, you can bring Dr. Wilson those scrubs now.  Men’s medium.  We’re in the cafeteria.  Bring them to the men’s room here, I’ll meet you there.”  House spoke quickly and quietly, keeping his eyes on Wilson.  “None of your business, just be quick!”  He flipped it closed and rose to his feet.  “Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.”

Wilson stood, letting most of the mess glop soggily to the floor, and trailed after him, his movements slightly jerky and erratic.  This time there was no hesitation, and as soon as he went through the door House held for him he started stripping off the offending clothes and dumping them unceremoniously onto the floor.  In a moment a knock sounded at the door and House stuck his hand out for the scrubs.  He waited as Wilson swiped at the grease that had soaked through to his skin and then handed them over.  Wilson dressed quickly and then fled the bathroom, making a bee-line for the elevator, and leaving House in the dust.  House gathered up the clothes and left as well.


Later that afternoon, House hopped over the low balcony wall and peered in door at Wilson.  He was sitting in his desk chair, poring over a chart and sipping something from a paper cup, water or soda, House couldn’t tell.  Wilson leaned back in his chair and rubbed at his eyes, then stood and reached for one of the books on the top shelf of his bookcase.  He brought the cup with him, still sipping.

House opened the door softly, trying not to startle the man more than necessary.  “Hey,” he said, “you’ve managed…” he broke off as Wilson startled and jumped around to face the intruder, tipping the glass down his front as he did so.  Ah, House thought, soda after all.  Coke, unless I miss my guess.

“Shit, House!” Wilson cried, looking down at the brown puddle spreading out from his shoes.

“Well, I was going to say you’ve managed to stay dry for two hours, you deserve a treat.  I guess that’s out now, eh?”  House smiled.

“Lucky for you I’m not wearing my new shoes.  These ones are older, and now they’re ruined.”  Wilson blinked mournfully at his feet.  “And I’m officially out of clothes.”

“No problem, I have some spare runners in my office.”  House went back through the door and over the wall again, returning with a pair of old runners in his hand.  “Try these on for size.”

“Actually I think they’re a little small,” Wilson said after he’d shucked his sticky dress shoes and socks.

Lucky me! House thought, and stomped down the smile that threatened.

“They’ll work for the rest of the day, I guess.  Thanks,” Wilson said.  “I’m just going to stay in here and do paperwork for the rest of the day.  Let me know when you’re ready to leave, and I’ll try to sneak out the back way and avoid anyone who could possibly spill anything on me.”  He smiled up at House.  “I think it’s just safer that way.”

“Probably right, yeah.”  House took a deep breath and looked away.  “Actually, I can leave whenever you’re ready.  Patient’s stable, the minions are treating him like they have a clue what they’re doing, and I’ve finished my clinic time for today.”

“You.”  Wilson made it a statement rather than a question.  “You did your clinic time.  Without a fuss.  Without a huge production and song and dance number and histrionics fit for an opera house.  You did.”  He cocked a disbelieving eyebrow as he finished tying the laces.

“Yes, I did,” House responded, widening his eyes and doing his best to look innocent.  “Cuddy never thinks to look for me in the clinic.”

“And Cuddy was looking for you because…?” Wilson straightened the stacks of files on his desk.

“Oh, who knows this time.  Something to do with a paperwork backlog.”  House flapped his hand in dismissal.

Wilson smirked.  “And you chose the lesser of two evils.  Interesting approach.”

“Not lesser, just different evils.”  House turned to the door.  “You ready to go then?”

“Yeah.  I’m going down the back stairs.  I’ll meet you at your place.”

“Paranoia will destroy ya!” House sung as he limped out the door and headed to his own office.  Quickly he gathered his toys together and snagged the bag with Wilson’s clothes and then made for the elevator.  While he waited for the car to arrive, he thought back to the sight of Wilson’s bared skin and a shiver of excitement thrilled through him.  He hoped the evening would go just as well as the day had.  For an off-the-cuff plan, it was sure coming together nicely.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2007 07:08 am (UTC)
Aug. 2nd, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Lucky me! House thought,
and now i want some chilli chesse fries.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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