Over the years I've dabbled off-and-on with fan fiction stories ('fanfic' for short), whereby one takes the characters from television shows or movies or books, and tells their own stories with them. These characters can be within the world already created for them, or placed in an alternate universe which gives the fanfic writer more leeway with story lines, characterizations and the like. (And hey -- if Walt Disney could do it . . .) Any which way, most of my forays into fanfic have involved the character Dr. Gregory House from the television show House, M.D. I used to enjoy the stories and the medical mysteries, and most of all actor Hugh Laurie's portrayal of a rather acerbic character. Following is a story I wrote three years ago where I crossed over two characters from House, M.D. to the world of the TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Today, for something a little different, I'm sharing that story here. I hope you enjoy it -- I certainly enjoyed writing it. (Please note there is some mild swearing in it (no f-bombs or anything like that), so if you'd rather not read it that's a-okay.)
Without further ado, here is House Calls:
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Las Vegas Police Detective Jim Brass looked down at his hands, folded together on the black tabletop, and wished he had enough hair to run his fingers through. He had almost gone through the motion regardless, but the man seated across the table from him would have been all over that like the D.A. on a good sound bite for the six o’clock news.
Brass looked at the man. His hair was somewhere between brown and black and in need of a trim or maybe just a comb. The smudged-on appearance of his beard and moustache didn’t do much to add or detract from his haggard face; it was just, well, there. It was a part of the package known as Dr. Gregory House, currently wrapped in a rumpled tuxedo complete with an undone bow tie, black sneakers, and a cane. Bum leg was all the doctor had said when asked about the latter, his eyes seeming to turn a brighter blue when Brass began to question him further about it. Yeah, the detective decided to leave that one alone. For now.
Casting a sideways glance at the door, Jim willed someone, anyone, to come in and give him a break from this exasperating . . . his silent plea was cut short by the sound of fingers snapping together.
“Hello? Detective? Focus, please. This isn’t Law & Order. No need for long, dramatic pauses.” Dr. House rested his chin on the top of his cane, frowning as if silently scolding Jim for letting his mind wander.
Holding back a sigh, Jim gave his head a slight shake before picking up the line of questioning once more. “Sorry,” he said, knowing the doctor did not doubt his insincerity for a second. “Now Dr. House, why did you skip out on the banquet for the conference’s keynote address? Seems a shame to miss out on a free meal.” He shrugged his shoulders as if the answer really didn’t matter to him one way or the other.
The doctor rolled his eyes as he leaned back in his chair. “Oh please,” he snorted, “it wasn’t free.”
“You were sent by --”
“--the administrator from hell. Trust me, it’s not free.”
Somehow, Jim didn’t doubt it. And he could sympathize with the administrator.
“Look,” Dr. House continued, looking evenly at the detective, “I admit I found Dr. Grayson. Wished I hadn’t. Being a doctor, I have this crazy urge to save lives, not take them, even if it’s someone I don’t particularly like. Now do I need to call my lawyer in from stress leave or can I go?”
This time Jim sighed. Loudly. Slowly. This, while entertaining, was not helping further the investigation. He told the doctor he was free to go, but made sure they could get a hold of him if something did come up in the course of the investigation. Dr. House only nodded his head in response, wincing slightly as he pulled his tall frame into a standing position. Leaning heavily on his cane, which he held in his right hand, he made his way out of the interrogation room while rummaging around for something in the opposite suit pocket.
Jim waited a few seconds before pushing his own chair back and leaving the room. Lead CSI Catherine Willows, who had been watching from the adjoining room, quickly fell in step beside him, flipping her strawberry blond hair over her shoulders. Not off much in height from the police detective, they were otherwise a study in opposites in ways beyond their gender and volume of hair. She was petite to Jim’s stout; smartly dressed to Jim’s standard beige or brown suit; and she radiated alertness and attentiveness whereas Jim usually looked bored. He supposed his jowls (he really hated that word) didn’t help.
Brass looked over at Catherine when he heard her quietly chuckle.
“So,” she asked, her glossed lips curved in a smile, “do you think he makes house calls?”
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Leaning heavily against the wall just out of sight of the entrance to the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, Greg House once more cursed the safety cap on the brown plastic bottle in his hands. He had been in the interrogation room for an hour and his leg had been screaming for a pill half an hour before that. Letting his hands fall to his sides, he took a steadying breath before trying to open the lid once more. He almost wept with relief when he felt the lid slip smoothly off and he was finally able to shake two of the oblong white pills into his hand. He dry-swallowed the Vicodin before limping over to a small stone hedge where he sat down, careful to keep as much weight as possible off of his throbbing right leg.
House dropped his head down, his chin almost touching his chest, as he reflected on the evening's events.
The keynote speaker was a bore. He was a bore at last year’s conference and House knew he was going to be a bore at this one. It didn’t help the guy lacked the intelligence to change the title of his talk from last year. And judging by the number of attendees he had encountered in the lounge, the doctor knew he was not far off base in his assessment. His colleague and co-worker, Allison Cameron, proved to be ever the optimist and had slugged it out for fifteen minutes before coming to join him in the lounge. Having comfortably worked himself into the background and behind the baby grand piano in the corner, he resisted the urge to comment on her departure from the banquet room. He didn’t want too many witnesses placing him away from anything related to the conference he had practically been blackmailed into attending. So House had quietly let his fingers continue to roam over the smooth keys, playing a melody he couldn’t quite place but had embedded in his mind none the less, and only quirked an eyebrow when Cameron sat down beside him on the piano bench. She was a pretty woman. It was one of the reasons why he had hired her – twice. Tonight her auburn hair was pulled back in a chignon; the emerald green of her simple sleeveless sheath and matching wrap complimented her smooth complexion.
Not that he would ever tell her that. Because, well, he was just going to stop thinking about it.
A part of him wanted to stay there and allow himself for once to enjoy the moment, when the all-too familiar leg pain decided to make him more acutely aware of its presence. His fingers inadvertently struck a discordant chord on the piano. When those seated at the nearby tables looked up, he tried to think of some sort of a comeback but his leg would not be ignored and he seriously felt like he was going to be sick (blasted Scotch on an empty stomach). With more speed than he thought possible, he pushed himself up from his seat and out of the room. Thinking the bathroom would be near the elevators, he made a beeline for them.
That was when House found Dr. Ian Grayson, the aforementioned keynote speaker, haphazardly leaning up against the wall by the women's' restroom, a crimson stain spreading across his white shirt. House glanced at his watch. Grayson had to have given the same speech -- it had been a twenty-five minute snooze fest the previous year as well.
Cameron's presence was revealed by the click of her shoes as she hurried to catch up to House. He noticed the pallor of Grayson's complexion, hoping for once the clues were leading them down a different path. Shooing Cameron out of the way, he managed to crouch down and put his fingers on Grayson’s neck. No pulse.
There was no point in trying to resuscitate the man; they both had seen that almost immediately. Cameron had already called 911 on her cell phone and before they knew it they were surrounded by police officers, yellow tape, and were being hustled off to the Las Vegas Metro Police Department to have their formal statements taken.
Just because he had tried to help the guy and, oops, got some blood on him, House had been taken into a nice room with chairs ergonomically designed to torture and a squat little man who would be sure to ask even more questions if he popped a pill. So in an effort to distract himself from the pain, House had parried with detective for awhile – just enough to keep himself amused, not to incriminate – and found himself impressed by the man’s calm exterior. It was like he was a shorter, older, and male-er Lisa Cuddy. And a police detective instead of a dean of medicine.
Okay, he needed a Vicodin. Now. House barely heard the detective – Brass? – tell him he was free to go but stick around in case they had blah, blah, blah before he was out the door and out of the building. He had almost taken his pills out of his pocket before he made it outside, but some skinny brunette was observing him with a frown so he managed to grab his cell phone from the breast pocket of his tux on the way out the door.
House sighed as the drugs kicked in. He pulled out his cell phone once again and dialled Cameron’s number, his mind churning with a way he could convince her to keep quiet about this when they were back in Princeton.