Summary: House lived to solve mysteries -- big ones (like saving lives) and small ones (why Foreman didn't want to treat that homeless woman). Today, he was going to solve the small mystery of Wilson's tie.
Notes: This story idea popped into my head after I read http://rwryter.livejournal.com/4208.html -- Ties and Signs by rwryter, which is a James Wilson/Eric Foreman fic.
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge."
~Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)
Gregory House liked to think that he and the universe had a working relationship. Whenever she was bored (which was often), she threw some patient that was bleeding from every orifice at him and watched to see if he could figure the problem out before the patient died. This kept him on his toes and relatively boredom-free. There were times when the universe was busy elsewhere, causing plagues and famines and the like, of course, and that was when House would get bored -- and he figured everyone who had met him at least once could say that a bored Gregory House was a Bad Thing. With the uppercase and everything. It was when he was bored that he went looking for his own little mysteries, ones that the universe overlooked (she tended to focus on big things that were life and death), little tidbits of useless knowledge only he would find interesting.
That was why he was currently staring at Wilson's tie, brow knitted in concentration. The tie was new, seemingly brand-new actually, and there were several striking things wrong with that. One, the tie wasn't one that Julie had bought him, because House had every one of Wilson's ties catalogued in his head. Two, the tie was too stylish for Wilson to have bought it himself. For one thing it was a Georgio Armani tie, with burgundy and gray stripes. And it was silk. When Wilson tried to buy ties for himself, he usually ended up with some garish color like pink or violet or...huh, gay colors. How had House never noticed that before? He filed that one in the 'Ways to Torment Wilson' folder for the next time Wilson showed up with a gay-looking tie. Oh yeah, there had been another thing wrong with the tie. Three, Wilson kept smoothing it down and flushing guiltily whenever House caught him fondling the tie. Definitely a new girlfriend. So why had House not been informed of this new development? Wilson had always told him about his rebound girls from his first two marriages. And actually, Julie had been his rebound girl, who he'd now found a rebound for. Life was funny like that. But still, House was not amused at being left out of the loop. Wilson knew he liked knowing things. Maybe it was Debbie from Accounting, and Wilson just didn't want to admit that House had been right.
House watched as Wilson stroked the tie again, and raised an eyebrow when the oncologist flushed. His voice deliberately causal, as though he hadn't figured out Wilson was in yet another relationship, he remarked, "Well, all three of my minions seem to be running late today." Actually, he and Wilson had somehow managed to get to the hospital a half-hour early, go figure (he suspected Wilson of messing with the clocks in his house), and his three little slaves had plenty of time to get there, but maybe he could fiddle with the clock and make them think they were late. He couldn't get away with it since Wilson was still loitering in the room though, and so filed that plan in his 'Nefarious Schemes to Torment the Minions' folder.
"They have another fifteen minutes, House," Wilson said, glancing up at the clock and absently running a finger along the gray stripes of his tie. The constantly fondling was getting annoying, actually. After all, silk was nice, but not that nice.
House (valiantly) resisted the urge to rip the tie off Wilson's neck, and instead tilted his head and asked, in the same casual voice, "So who is it? Debbie from Accounting? That new nurse in Radiology?" He watched Wilson like a hawk for a visible reaction, and wasn't disappointed -- Wilson's hand froze on his tie, and his eyes widened to saucers for a moment before he began to stammer.
"How did you...I mean, I don't know what you-- who is what?" Man, sometimes Wilson was too easy.
He paused to admire the way Wilson's cheeks almost matched the burgundy shade of his tie, and then smirked. "This is why I didn't invite you to Poker Night. You'd lose the shirt off your back." He leaned back in his chair, twirling his cane in his fingers. "Who're you sleeping with? Debbie from Accounting? It has to be someone at the hospital, unless you're running out to see someone during the rare lunch break you're not eating with me."
"I'm not...." Wilson sighed and rubbed his face. "Okay, okay, I'm seeing someone. There, you've got your interesting tidbit of the day. Can we change the subject now?"
"Now Jimmy," House admonished him, putting the slightest edge of amusement into his voice, "as if I would change the subject when you haven't given me her name." Did Wilson really think he could keep a secret from him? When Wilson just stared at him with a vaguely panicked expression, he raised an eyebrow and drawled, "So who is this mystery rebound girl that I've oddly heard nothing about?" He paused, a bit startled at himself, as the 'nothing' came out sharp and almost irritated. Well, it just wasn't like Wilson to hide relationships from him, he reminded himself. This meant either a) it was someone House had guessed he would sleep with and Wilson didn't want to put up with his 'gloating' or b) someone House would disapprove of. Both options gave him full rights to be irritated.
He was going to assume it was b), however, when Wilson sighed, rubbing the back of his neck, and said, "It's not Debbie. Or Karen from Radiology."
House shot him a look. "Are we going to have to play the Name Game, or are you going to tell me who it is?" It would suck if Wilson insisted on the Name Game, because House didn't remember half of the women's names in the hospital, and they both knew it. Hell, he barely remembered Cameron and Cuddy's names half the time. Playing the Name Game would mean research and waiting a whole couple of hours to figure out who this mystery woman was, and House really wanted to know now. When Wilson sighed again and looked away, House poked him in the chest with his cane. "Is it someone you really shouldn't be with? God, if it's Cuddy, I'm going to kill you for your own good--" He was slightly gratified to see Wilson roll his eyes at the suggestion of Cuddy as his rebound girl.
"It's...complicated, House." And Wilson was back to fondling his tie and his cheeks were attempting to match the burgundy shade again. "Can we talk about this later?"
"No," House said flatly, and started to look up as the door to the conference room opened -- and then paused, arrested by the conscience-stricken expression on Wilson's face, the way the other man's eyes had shot to the door, and most of all how he had swallowed visibly. House blinked. Now that was...interesting. Cameron? He hadn't thought Wilson had it in him.
After a second, though, Wilson visibly slumped in relief, and House finally looked up to smirk at Eric Foreman as the neurologist pulled off a damp coat and tried to shake the water off, even as his mind repeated in astonishment, Cameron? He really hadn't believed Wilson would go after her when she was still infatuated with House. Then again, maybe Wilson was trying to kill two birds with one stone; have a rebound and get Cameron off House's back. Too bad Wilson had forgotten that Cameron was the clingy type.
Foreman raised an eyebrow at them both, having obviously noticed Wilson's guilty reaction. All he said, however, was, "It's pretty slick out there. I think the hospital's going to be getting a lot of accidents today," before he went to pour himself some coffee. Did that man not have a curiosity bone in his body?
Allison Cameron came in about five minutes later, raindrops still clinging to her hair. She wore her familiar earnest smile, but House squinted at her, certain there had to be an 'after-glow' aspect to the smile. When he saw nothing out of the ordinary, he frowned. Well, maybe she and Wilson hadn't slept together yet. Maybe he'd only wined and dined her. He just nodded when she smiled at him, and glanced at Wilson from the corner of his eyes (subtly, of course).
There was only one problem with trying to read the oncologist's expression; Wilson's face was currently buried in his hands, and he didn't respond to Cameron's soft, "Are you all right, Doctor Wilson?"
Doctor Wilson, ha. It was Jimmy now, wasn't it? Unless those two had a kinky thing where she continued to call him Doctor Wilson. Now there was food for thought. Did she get called Allison or Cameron on their dates?
Fifteen minutes later, Robert Chase hurried into the conference room, looking flustered. "Am I late?"
"Yes," Foreman and House said together, and House shot the neurologist a look. It was his prerogative to harass Robert Chase, not Foreman's. Foreman could harass...well, wait, it was House's prerogative to harass everyone, so Foreman really didn't get to have fun. Oh well, Foreman could deal.
He waited until all three of his minions were settled into their chairs before he glanced at Wilson again (the other man's head was still resting in his hands, as though he was trying to delay the inevitable) and remarked in a tone positively dripping with innocence, "So, Cameron, what do you think of Wilson's tie?"
Cameron's expression was puzzled. "His...tie is nice, I guess," she offered uncertainly, her guileless eyes meeting his -- wait, it wasn't Cameron? -- and then they both turned to stare at the sound of someone choking on their coffee.
Chase's face was bright red, matching his wine red tie, actually. His...Armani wine red tie. Coughing fitfully, Chase managed to gasp out, "Went down the wrong way" before he resumed his coughing. After a moment, Cameron leaned over and plucked the forgotten red mug from his grasp, (which was probably a good plan since Chase seemed in imminent danger of dropping the mug and spilling hot coffee on himself).
Well, this was...interesting. House knew his expression was probably one of shock and that his jaw was probably touching the floor, but he couldn't help gaping at the blonde. Wilson and...Chase? Chase the sycophant? Chase the...very male intensivist?
"Huh," he said, and belatedly closed his mouth. "Huh, well...that was interesting."
"House." The name was almost groaned from between Wilson's hands, and Wilson looked up, expression beseeching.
House felt some of his shock ebb at the familiar pleading tone. Now this was familiar territory, Wilson trying to keep from being tormented mercilessly. After a moment, he gave his best friend a pat on the shoulder. Then he looked at his three little minions and grinned, making certain to show off all of his teeth, and was rewarded by Wilson turning as white as a sheet. Oh yes, this was going to be so much fun. He'd have to file this under...well, he supposed he needed a new folder.
'Various Ways to Torment Wilson and Chase.' That had a very nice ring to it.
"I happen to think his tie is beautiful. Don't you agree, Chase?" he said in an ultra-sweet tone, earning a suspicious look from Foreman, a bemused head-tilt from Cameron, and an expression of dawning horror on Chase's. Yes, this was going to be very, very fun.
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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.