Title: Bursting Bubbles
Author: Lady Charena
Fandom: House MD
Episode/Spoiler: 5.21 Saviors; 5.22 A House Divided
Characters: House, Amber, Wilson
Rating: gen, pg
Sum: Amber accompanies House to the hospital.
A/N: I wrote this before I could get my hands on „A House Divided“; therefore you could consider it… a kind of missing scene, maybe? It just popped up in my head like this ‘snaps fingers’.
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me. I’m just playing with the characters and promise to return them right before curfew. Sadly this story has not been beta-ed so every mistake is mine alone. Wanna trade?
Lyrics: “Please, please, please” by Sasha
… Everybody's talking but I'm out of attention.
I can only feel the information passing by.
I'm deep inside a bubble and there's no one here to shout me out.
The storm inside my head got me tossing and turnin'.
Each and every night I've been a victim of my brain.
I know I gotta take a rest but I just don't know how.
My twisted universe just won't let me go. ...
A hint of irritation flittered across James Wilson’s features; his eyes involuntarily sliding away to follow the path of a bubble slowly descending to the ground to leave a barely visible splotch on the tiles. He glanced over his shoulder, a slight frown grazing his face, but couldn’t detect the origin of the bubble. Smoothing his features back into a look of friendly professionalism, he once more concentrated onto the patient he’s been talking to.
Right behind him, unseen, a fresh cascade of bubbles tumbled towards the floor of the lobby like an army of kamikaze pilots; showing all kinds of colors on their surface before exploding like miniature bombs on the ground.
Nobody seemed to pay much attention to them, besides a little girl with black hair waiting in triage. Sitting next to an older woman, probably her grandmother, she twisted and wiggled on her seat to watch them sail across the room, an almost wistful expression on her small, round face.
Gregory House dove away from the railing but Wilson didn’t lift his eyes once to look up to the balcony. Slight disappointment flashed and was squashed back merciless as he reflectively shook the nearly empty container of bubbly soap.
A bright red plastic kid’s toy, left by one of the children he examined, labouring grunt work at the clinic earlier today. Sneaking out half an hour before he was supposed to leave, he retreaded to the balcony to watch the ebb and flow of people beyond – similar to watching a real ocean – and with the benefit of never getting wet feet or needing to climb over slippery stones. Perched above them like this, it proved to have the same soothing effect on him.
His eyes narrowed, following the shaky path of an especially big bubble, hovering for a moment suspended in air. A small, oblivious smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.
“It’s so not nice leaving me all to myself, House,” Amber said next to his ear.
The big bubble succumbed to gravity and burst into splatters of water and soap on the floor.
… I don't need another night like that.
Please, please, please. Let me sleep.
This is what I call a case of mind over matter.
Locked up in the bedroom with the world to change.
The ghost in my machine is having such a good time right now.
And still that troubling madness won't let me go …
House closed his eyes, exhaustion settling back over him like a smothering grey blanket smelling of dusty lavender and mothballs, dragged from a closet in a room seldom used. “What do you want now?” he asked testily, opening his eyes.
Amber settled next to him on the ground, her long legs – unhindered by the railing – dangling over the edge of the balcony. Her head put to one side, she considered him with a look strangely similar to the one the girl in triage wore watching the bubbles.
Golden hair, reflecting the light overhead, brushed his shoulder as Amber moved to peer down. “He looks sad,” she stated.
“Duh! Good thing I did fire you,” House muttered, conscious of other people passing them by. “Your diagnoses suck.” He didn’t need to draw ‘that’ kind of attention. The bubbles made for a nice diversion even if they’d considerably palled on him. “He’s fine. Wilson’s moved on, right into the arms of another woman.”
A passing nurse glanced at him fleetingly – obviously recognizing him, because her face showed slight disdain. He made sure to blow a few bubbles to her back. Soapy fluid trickled down his fingers, wetting his wrist, vanishing into the sleeve to be sucked up by his cuff.
Amber laughed. “I think I hit it just right.”
“Then why don’t you go bother him?” House put the container down to the floor and wiped his hand on the leg of his jeans.
She lifted her hand and a bubble – reflecting gold and amber and red tones – danced across her fingertips like in a magic trick. “You called me,” she reminded House, her voice almost gentle. “I’m here for you.”
“I’m hallucinating because I’m sleep deprived – not because I’m looking for… for company.” House averted his eyes, too tired even for snark. “I don’t want you here.”
“Everything’s always about you,” Amber sing-songed. “Or is everything about… him?”
House lifted his eyes to watch her climb onto the railing, effortlessly balancing on her toes, unaware – unconcerned – about the gaping wide of empty space behind her. “Leave me alone!” He pushed himself away from the railing, sliding on his butt backwards until he hit the opposite wall.
That wasn’t Amber’s voice. Turning his head, he encountered Wilson’s concerned eyes.
The oncologist was propped against the railing - with Amber now doing cartwheels on the narrow rail - right behind his back. “Who are you talking to?” Wilson’s eyebrows did their little dance of worry, completing the patented Wilsonesque ‘care-stance’ – only legit with the crossed arms in front of his chest – also available with the ‘hands-in-hips’-edition for the ‘pissed-but-still-caring’-mode.
House blinked to clear his vision – to clear Amber away. But alive, dead or hallucination – she stood her ground, refusing to leave him alone.
“Maybe he’s a hallucination, too,” she said, slightly breathless from her exertions. “Maybe you never left your apartment.”
He ignored her. “Obviously I’m talking to you.”
Wilson shrugged. “Okay. I just wanted to know if you’re ready to grab some lunch, but if you’re... busy…“ His eyes fell onto the container with the bubble soap. “See you around.” He pushed himself away from the railing, preparing to leave.
“Wait.” House tried to get up – too fast, the lack of sleep sided with his leg and he bit his lower lip not to groan at the sudden flash of pain. “You can’t leave me, all by myself, without food and entertainment,” he whined as Wilson turned back to him – hopefully covering up his slip.
Wilson smiled slightly. „You’re right. Can’t do that ‘and’ keep my reputation.” He grabbed the cane, leaning against the railing and gave it to House. “Don’t bite my head off for suggesting this – but maybe it’d be better if I lend a hand and help you to get up from the floor?”
“Fine,” House answered after a long minute. “Never stop a boy scout from a good deed, right?”
“Well, I do have a quota to fill.” Wilson took his hand and with the help of the cane, House was back on his feet in no time.
“Do another one and buy me lunch,” House demanded, finding his way to the elevator. He waggled his eyebrows. “Don’t want you to get spanked because you didn’t make your quota.”
“That’s… awfully nice of you.” Wilson followed him into the car.
House turned to answer, his breath catching at the sight of Amber sitting on the railing, long legs dangling, waving goodbye and blowing bubbles into the air, a bright red plastic container in her hand.
I'm for-ev-er blow-ing bub-bles,
Pret-ty bub-bles in the air.
They fly so high,
Near-ly reach the sky,
Then like my dreams
They fade and die.
For-tune's al-ways hid-ing,
I've looked ev-'ry-where.
I'm for-ev-er blow-ing bub-bles,
Pret-ty bub-bles in the air."
(Max Fleischer, 1930)