First impressions were never Dr. James Wilson's forte. Give him a case of stage IV Hodgkin's disease, and he might be able to give you a complete, accurate diagnosis and treatment plan in a heartbeat. Yes, he was nothing but a lowly oncology resident ("soon-to-be fellow," he corrected himself) compared to all the big-shot, world-renowned specialists all around him. However, wasn't this unexplainable diagnostic talent of his (and, of course, that awesome interview) what got him into this fellowship program at Princeton-Plainsboro in the first place?
But he digressed. He fixed his tie nervously while the elevator ascended. He didn't really like this tie, but he wasn't the type to truly admit what he really thought and felt. For example, he has never felt that pastel blue ties suited him well, but he wasn't going to refute his wife's theory. Not aloud and in her presence, anyway. Similarly, he wasn't going to reveal directly to her that he could no longer love her now that he knew the truth about her supposed "private yoga lessons." Likewise, he wasn't going to confess that he has done the same when he went out for a drink with "the guys."
Another thing he could not understand was why he was being absolutely nervous. First days always got to him, ever since high school. He didn't give a damn what anyone thought of him, but it certainly would be nice to have a confidant or two during the next four years. He didn't even need a friend, per se, just someone he could talk to, at least professionally. Were there even such things as friends in this field of profession? His undergraduate and med school experiences have been filled with endless, and pointless, competitions, or so it seemed to him. Que sera, sera. It might be the optimistic idealist in him, but that has been his mantra ever since high school. Of course he wanted to do the best and be the best, but being insanely competitive, to the point where competition has blinded aspiration, was simply not the way to go.
"Psych ward's on the second floor," a voice interrupted his thoughts. He hasn't even noticed there was someone else in the elevator. He was a bit startled, but quickly regained his composure. He turned around and saw a man who was perhaps a few years older than him. The man was a good few inches taller, somewhat lanky, with stubbles running along his jawline and chin, and the most piercingly blue eyes. Wilson was usually hardly intimidated by others, but he felt that these eyes could see into his deepest secrets.
"Excuse me?" he half-questioned. He didn't want to sound offended, but he also avoided his occasional stutter and whispering tone, just so he would seem more confident than he was in actuality.
"Paling skin, somewhat excess sweating, trembling, and pupillary dilation. Clearly symptoms for an anxiety attack," the man offered unfalteringly. He was looking through some files, presumably patients' charts, while occasionally glancing over at Wilson. This made him a bit uncomfortable, but he pushed the feeling away.
"Thanks for the tip," Wilson mumbled, without any intention of retorting. There was no need to make enemies on the first day, he told himself. At least not before he made friends.
A few seconds of awkward silence fell upon the two men before the stranger spoke again. "First day? Ugly, but designer, tie with jittery, yet somewhat composed, movements... Let me guess, fellowship program?"
Wilson glanced back over his shoulder, and then looked up to the floor indicator to see how much longer this elevator trip was going to take. Whatever happened to politeness and common courtesy? he thought to himself. "Yeah." That's it, just keep it short. From the experience he has gained as an unhappily married man, Wilson knew that brevity was the most powerful tool to avoid confrontations. That is, of course, when silence was no longer an option.
The man has taken the groaned answer as a sign of offense taken. "Don't worry, my girlfriend buys ugly ties too. The concept that women have better fashion sense than men cannot be more false."
Wilson, still facing the elevator door, rolled his eyes silently. "Do you always chat up everyone you see in the elevator?" he asked, beginning to feel frustrated at the intrusion.
"No, but you're pretty. I like that," the stranger answered with half-sarcasm. If Wilson didn't know any better, or if he didn't see that ironic glint in those blue eyes, he would have taken that comment seriously.
The 'ding' of the elevator rang, signaling the arrival to the fourth floor of the building. Wilson exited without a word, heading towards the oncology office. His elevator companion stayed on his tail. Wilson silently prayed that he wasn't one of the other fellows. As if hearing his thoughts, the stranger caught up to him. As an unpredicted gesture, he extended his hand amicably. "Gregory House. Just thought you may need a friend. This place isn't exactly filled with daisies and daffodils."
The gesture was friendly and innocent enough, despite the earlier elevator encounter. Still, Wilson hesitated before accepting the handshake, and the beginning of a new chapter of his life. "James Wilson. So, Dr. House, now that I know where the psych ward is and can pay a visit anytime, anymore tips on how to survive this place?"
"Don't make conversation with the most cynical jerk around," House quipped. "Oh, wait, too late for that."
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Legal Disclaimer: The authors published here make no claims on the ownership of Dr. Gregory House and the other fictional residents of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Like the television show House (and quite possibly Dr. Wilson's pocket protector), they are the property of Fox Television, David Shore and undoubtedly other individuals of whom I am only peripherally aware. The fan fiction authors published here receive no monetary benefit from their work and intend no copyright infringement nor slight to the actual owners. We love the characters and we love the show, otherwise we wouldn't be here.