black_cigarette (black_cigarette) wrote,

Aftershocks 21.2: Mug Shot

TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: The female of the species is more deadly than the male.
CHARACTERS: House, Chase, Cuddy, Cameron
R for language and themes (gen fic).
WARNINGS: Details the aftermath of events in Bad Company, a rough, violent story. Aftermath isn't always pretty; may distress some readers. Adult themes and adult language.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Never will.
NOTES: The pieces of this shattered story are numbered. The first number signifies the number of days that have elapsed since the original event in Bad Company; the second number signifies when the fic occurs during that day.

Mug Shot

There is an uninvited object sitting on House's desk.

He crab-walks over to it, glaring suspiciously at the foreign thing, which appears to be a large thermal coffee mug. It's one of the "travel" breed, tall and capacious and with a brushed steel exterior. Its lid is on the desk, leaning against the mug's side. A rolled sheaf of papers juts out from the cup's top.

This whole questionable setup would reek of James Wilson, if only James Wilson were here. Which he isn't, and won't be for a while, and many thanks to whatever idiot just chose to remind House of that.

House can hear the voice of his father telling him again that he's lucky. His friend is alive. Angry, bitter, one-handed and suffering, but alive and spending at least half the day asleep in that damn hospital bed.

Wilson ... if you stretched him out on an air mattress in the middle of a swimming pool, he'd probably point due north.

House snorts at that idea. It's funny to think of Wilson turning into a compass, because he kind of always was. He was the thing House always carried in a pocket, forgetting about it until he got a little lost. Wilson had always been a necessary instrument, even when he pointed the wrong way.

The not-left-by-Wilson coffee mug shows no evidence of being the result of terrorist activity. No need to call in the bomb squad or the guys in hazmat suits. Yet. House picks it up and shakes the rolled sheets of paper out onto his desk. They've been that way for a while, it seems, because they do not want to uncurl. He smooths them down with a huffing noise that no one is around to hear.

Every sheet of paper is a recipe for bisque soup. Seafood bisque; artichoke bisque; broccoli-and-cheese bisque; mushroom bisque; tomato bisque; chicken bisque; there are at least a dozen different formulas here and most—shockingly enough—appear to be edible.

Bisque soups and a big insulated mug. There's no name tag on the offering, but whatever elf left it here might as well have written "WILSON" on it in shiny gold letters.

Whoever did this either actually cares about Wilson, or knows that House cares about him and wants to earn brownie points with House. Those two criteria rule out all but two people, one of whom just happens to be shuffling through the door right now.

"Sure you went into the right field, Emeril?"


"Or do you think you're Wolfgang Puck?"

Chase cocks his head, scowls and blinks at him. "What?"

"Never mind," says House, tossing his name badge at Chase's chest, where it bounces off and falls to the rug. "Go be me instead. It's fun. You get to take a lot of drugs and hit people with a stick. Gotta get your own stick, though."

With a big, resigned sigh, Chase picks up House's name tag and clips it to his lab coat. He's well trained. He turns and heads for the clinic without another word. House smiles—not only because he's gotten out of clinic hours but because he now knows who the Soup Fairy is.

Cuddy hadn't understood a word that he said. Well, at least she hadn't admitted it. She had insisted that she'd had nothing to do with the Travel Mug of Mystery, and then she'd wanted to know why he wasn't in the clinic where he belonged.

Next time, House will remember that in the original stories, fairies weren't all gumdrops and cotton candy. They were powerful, capricious beings who would turn you into a hedgehog just for kicks.

Or they could send you down into Hades to get sneezed upon by a six-year-old whose sinuses were currently producing a sea of pea-green snot. Whatever House is getting paid, it's not enough to justify this kind of thing. What he really, really wants (other than freedom, his leg not to hurt, a few million tax-free dollars and lots of sex) is a very large mug of coffee.

The Evil Soup Fairy has sent Chase to the ER, and it's Foreman's day off. Fortunately for House, his remaining fellow is a perfectly capable fetcher of hot beverages.

As soon as the booger boy is gone, House uses some paper towels and alcohol to wipe the worst of the stuff off his clothes. Then he pages Cameron. She's going to hate him for this, which makes it even better: she's amusing when she's mad.

"In that nice shiny mug," he specifies. He's sitting on his rolling stool, using his cane to push himself a few inches to either side, back and forth. "The one that holds, like, a quart. Just what I need to survive the next two hours."

"You know that was for Wilson," she says, crossing her arms over her chest. Well, well, well. So the fairy wasn't Cuddy after all.

"Yep. And now I know where it came from," he retorts. "Surprisingly unsentimental. Was the gift shop out of teddy bears?"

"You should have waited to piss me off until after I brought the coffee." Leaning back against the exam room counter, she waits for his response—any reason he can give her to put sugar and not salt (or something worse) in his drink.

"You've gotta admit that was a weird present. For one thing, you seem to think I can cook." He can, in fact, but she doesn't need to know that.

"I think you're resourceful enough to get whatever you want. But," she qualifies it, smirking at him, "not from me."

"I'll give it to him, okay? Cross my cold, dead heart. I'll even ... figure something out about the soups. A change of diet might make him less bitchy."

"Maybe you should try it too, then," she says, and saunters (when did Cameron learn to saunter?) out the door.

Cameron doesn't know it, but those recipes are already tucked neatly into the inside pocket of House's leather jacket. She's gotten it right this time. He wonders whether telling her so would increase the chances of her actually bringing him that coffee.

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