Rating: Very mild R
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine, and the words are mostly from the dictionary.
Summary: What is the collective noun for a gathering of Wilsons, anyway?
Warning: Severe Crack!fic. Possibly Bad!Crack!fic. I’m too stoned to tell.
Beta: Thanks very much to evila_elf, for beta and source material :)
Notes: I would like to take the opportunity to blame this on ticcyyy (and partner in slash celticfaerie2) who introduced me to this piece of RPG Wilson/Neil (DPS) smut, which gave me some very strange ideas. Thanks a lot, guys… ;)
noun : change of position, state, or form
(Theol.) A spiritual change, as during baptism.
(Med.) A change in the location of a disease, as from one part to another.
House shouldered his way through the glass doors of PPTH with a scowl on his face. It hadn’t been a good morning. His leg was aching; he’d gone into the kitchen this morning to discover he’d run out of milk, which had made his morning bowl of cereal a less than pleasant experience; and something was making the bike’s engine catch at unexpected intervals, which he’d have to look into later on. He wasn’t exactly a ray of sunshine at the best of times, but today he was more like a looming thundercloud. On top of it all he was running very late, but that was more on the plus side of the ledger as far as he was concerned.
“Excuse me? Sir?”
A hand touched his upper arm, and he wheeled around, primed for a pithy comment about how it was bad luck to touch a cripple, especially one wielding a cane, but was stopped, literally, in his tracks. The boy was tall and slim, looking to be in his late teens, and dressed in the hideous uniform of some extremely expensive and old-fashioned private school, which would have been enough to make House hate him instantly. He also had that kind of fresh-faced innocence that made House instinctively long to find some puppies to kick, as some small way of putting the universe back in balance. However, these things were all secondary to the shocking familiarity of the dark brown eyes and hair, and the curve of his cheekbones. House couldn‘t help but stare for a long moment.
The boy looked exactly like a younger version of Wilson.
“What?” House snapped, more out of habit than anything else.
“Sorry. I was just wondering if you could tell me where I am?” The boy looked slightly dazed.
Why Jimmy, you’ve been hiding things from me, House thought. He looked the boy over again. Nephew? Cousin? Or, the more disturbing thought… son? He was young enough that it was possible. Wilson obviously had some serious explaining to do. At the very least this might be nicely entertaining in the absence of any new and interesting cases.
“Can’t you read?” House indicated the large signboard attached to the nearby wall. “What are they teaching nowadays? Hos-pit-al. You must be looking for Doctor Wilson.”
House studied him again. He didn’t seem mentally deficient, and the horribly expensive school had obviously found him to be a suitable candidate, but the two weren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.
“You’re in the right place. Come on, I’ll take you upstairs. Or, more accurately, to the elevator.”
“I really don’t know what I’m doing here. I was just in my father‘s study, and I…” the boy’s face clouded for a moment. “Well, it doesn’t really matter what I was doing. But I have no idea what’s going on.”
“It’s all right. I know someone who I’m sure will be able to explain everything.”
“Really?” His face brightened. “Is he… like God?”
This kid couldn’t be for real. “No, but he thinks he is. Come on.”
“Thank you, sir. What should I call you?”
“I‘d prefer you didn‘t,” House said, and then relented. He never knew when he might need the leverage over Wilson. “I’m Doctor House.”
The boy stuck out his hand, but pulled it back when House just glared at it.
The noise was audible from halfway down the corridor, and House was already wondering what new and horrible emergency had arisen in his absence. However, he stopped long enough to peer into Wilson’s office, and found it empty, so he motioned Neil ahead.
“You can sit in my office till he gets back.”
“What the hell?”
House’s conference room was filled with people. It was as though someone had decided to throw a party without telling him, although the atmosphere was more chaotic than festive. Extra chairs had been pulled in from somewhere, and the whiteboard was covered with neat blue writing. He could spot Cameron, Chase and Foreman in the milieu, but no sign of Wilson. Or rather, House would have had difficulty actually finding Wilson in the crowd, because all the other faces in the room looked… exactly like him. At different ages, to be sure, but the resemblances were unmistakable. Even Wilson couldn’t have hidden this many relatives from him.
House turned to look at Neil, who was staring wide-eyed at the roomful of people, then turned back to look at the conference room. He blinked once, then twice, resisting the urge to hit himself sharply over the head with his cane to see if it would help. Whatever he might have expected, it wasn’t this.
“Why does everyone look like me?” Neil was asking, but House was completely unable to formulate any adequate response.
“Doctor House.” Cameron had seen him first, and was making her way over to the door. “Oh, I see you’ve found another one.”
She smiled at Neil, who blushed.
“What the hell is going on?” House knew he was repeating himself, but no one had answered him the first time, so he felt justified. “Where… is… Wilson?”
“Come on,” Cameron said to Neil. “I think there’s a seat next to Jeremy. No one wants to sit with him, but he‘s perfectly harmless.”
Neil did not look completely reassured by this, but obediently wove into the room, following the direction of her outstretched hand. House’s gaze swept over Jeremy, who looked to be an even younger version of Wilson, but with the distinguishing feature of being very pale. He was also wearing sunglasses, despite being seated well away from the window.
“Anemic and photophobic,” House noted. “Riboflavin deficiency?”
“Vampire,” Cameron muttered.
“Of… course.” His head was beginning to ache in sympathy with his leg.
Thankfully, Neil was already taking his seat and did not seem to have heard. House watched the introductions, fascinated.
“Hi, you‘re Jeremy, right? I’m Neil.”
“Um… I don’t want to be rude, but the last thing I remember… well… are we dead?”
“I don’t know about you,” Jeremy shook his outstretched hand, “but I’m undead.”
He grinned, showing unnaturally sharp incisors, and Neil visibly flinched.
“But don’t panic. Doctor Cameron already got me a pint from downstairs. Sit down, take a load off.”
House pressed a hand to his temples, but it wasn’t helping. Chase and Foreman were making their way through the throng as he turned back to Cameron.
“Do I have to say everything twice today? What’s going on? Where is Wilson? You know, the original.”
“He’s downstairs with Danny and Barry. We thought it was better to ward them for now. Nothing you’d be interested in. Danny has AIDS - he’s end stage, and Barry is schizophrenic. He claims to be fine, but he was obviously a bit shaken to find himself here.”
“And let me guess - they all look like Wilson, too.”
Finally, House had calmed down enough to survey the room. He had to admit the sight, although odd, was quite pleasing to the eye. Jeremy and Neil were seated at the conference table, with two other younger versions of Wilson, one dressed in an odd costume of hat, suit and scarf, with freakishly long hair that framed his face, the other dressed in what appeared to be period costume. House mentally dubbed them ‘Long Hair’ and ‘Romeo’. Jeremy and Neil appeared to be getting on well, but the other two were steadfastly ignoring them, and each other. House idly wondered which of them most resembled Wilson when he was younger, and quickly decided on Neil. The others scared him.
Another gaggle of Wilsons was standing around next to the window by the coffee maker, engaged in conversation. They were all very slim, and all dressed in various permutations of long trousers and collared shirts - one had on a dark jacket and matching tie, one was wearing a white short-sleeved shirt with dark tie, and the third a plain, grey long-sleeved shirt, no tie.
Dark jacket and tie was gesticulating with one hand, his speech fast and assured. “I hope they hurry up and sort this out. I have to get back to Jimmy. He’s got a big race on tomorrow, a huge race. Won the championship last year, you know, and he was only a rookie.”
“Bryant is going to kill me,” white short-sleeved shirt said gloomily. “Break’s only meant to be half an hour. Amanda’s covering me, and she’s going to be pissed too. I have a perfect record. Perfect. Never been late, never lost a plane. How am I going to explain this?”
“I’d just as soon stay here,” grey shirt chipped in. He was leaning against a thick, padded vest which had been draped on a chair next to him. “At least no-one’s shooting at me.” He took another sip of coffee.
In the facing corner, a scruffy-looking, stubbled, jeans-clad Wilson was perched on the desk, feet on the chair, strumming a guitar absently and staring out the window. He appeared to be humming softly to himself. On the other side of the desk, a couple of feet away, a preppy ninth Wilson (House was beginning to lose track) was framing the scene with his hands, as though about to film it. One more, very buttoned-down version, who most resembled the Wilson he knew, was walking around tidying up stray paperwork and reshelving books.
House shook his head helplessly. “This is… terrible.”
Cameron smiled. “I thought you liked Wilson.”
“Not this many of them. They’re not actually Wilsons, though, are they?”
Chase and Foreman had taken up flanking positions around Cameron. Cameron excused herself to go and reassure Neil, while Foreman took up the exposition.
“From what we’ve been able to work out, no. They’ve been coming in all morning. Wilson says he found Peter,” - here he indicated Long Hair - “on his doorstep, and a couple were found wandering the hallways by the nursing staff. Confused the hell out of everyone, too, but the staff figured they must have been Wilson’s relatives, same as you probably did. Some of them appear to have instinctively made their way up to Wilson’s office on their own. Anyway, we thought it was easier to put them all in here. Chase has been writing their names on the whiteboard, so we can keep track of them. Neil makes twelve.”
“So, including the good doctor, we have a coven of Wilsons. Am I having some kind of psychotic break?”
“If you were, wouldn’t we be part of it?” Foreman was smiling. “We’ve been taking histories on the ones who are willing to co-operate, but they don’t seem to have anything in common. Apart from the obvious, that is. Don’t worry, Cuddy’s on it.”
“Well, we did a differential in your absence, and it’s obviously a case of dimensional shift,” Chase piped in. “Cuddy knows some lawyers in New York who have contacts. She’s trying to get hold of them now.”
Obviously? The only obvious thing here was that he was really having a very bad day.
“I need to sit down. Not in there.”
“We kept your office clear.”
“Thank Wilson for small mercies.”
House took one last unbelieving glance at his conference room, and made his way to his own office via the main corridor. He slumped heavily into a chair, and pulled the Vicodin from his pocket.
“Sorry about the conference room. Just as well nothing else major seems to have come up today.”
House looked up from his reassuringly singular Gameboy.
“Ah, the man himself. Or at least, one of them.”
“Yeah.” Wilson ran a harried hand through his hair. “It shouldn’t be too long - Cuddy’s called this place in New York - Wolf and Hart? They should be able to sort this out…”
“Wolfram. They’ll be here in a few hours.” Cuddy had appeared in the doorway, resplendent in off-white tweed and matching pumps. “People are coming up from LA. Private jet, but they need air clearance.”
“Great,” Wilson said, turning to face her. “Sorry.”
“Why?” A small smile was quirking the side of Cuddy’s mouth. “It’s not your fault. Is it?”
“I hope not,” Wilson said. “But the evidence doesn’t look good.”
“It’s kind of sweet, all these copies of you. I like Romeo.”
“Claudio,” Wilson corrected.
“Cutie-o. I could just listen to him talk all day long.” She looked through the glass and gave a little wave. Claudio, who had been sitting sullenly, returned it with a small smile.
“He’s married, remember,” Wilson said.
“Should we be calling you Mrs. Robinson, now?” House looked amused.
“I’m not the one who’s married. Anyway, no need to spoil my fun just because you’ve already got one.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” House demanded, but Cuddy was already on her way out. He glanced at Wilson, but Wilson appeared to be engaged in a mental tally of the conference room.
“Why is this happening? Am I the only one who finds this incredibly annoying? How are we going to get rid of them?”
“Well, it’s a little disturbing, certainly,” Wilson shrugged. “But they’re not hurting anyone. I think they all just want to get back home. Well, except Jamie, the FBI guy. And maybe Peter, I think, although it’s hard to figure him out because his English isn’t that great. He’s German,” Wilson added helpfully.
“That would explain why he looks so bad-tempered. Or is it the haircut?”
“But why are they all… you?”
“They’re not me. They just look like me. Big difference.” Wilson grimaced as a particularly strident chord sounded from next door. “Remind me never to take up guitar.”
“What’s happening, Jimmy? Race, remember?” Dark jacket and tie had caught sight of Wilson and was standing in the adjoining doorway, with white shirt tagging behind. “My brother’s name is Jimmy too, did I tell you?”
“Yes, DeMille, you did. Twice. I told you. We’re working on it. You too, Cruise,” Wilson said, before white shirt had a chance to open his mouth. “Experts are on their way. Go drink some more coffee.”
“Bathroom?” DeMille insisted.
“Down the hall.”
They both receded and Wilson heaved a sigh of exasperation. “I never thought I could be so annoying.”
“Oh, believe me, you can.” House smirked. Half an hour spent guiding an Italian plumber had done a lot to restore his equilibrium.
Cameron, Chase and Foreman had filed in, looking at Wilson expectantly for news.
“On the way,” Wilson said, for what seemed the millionth time. “Who’s the new one?”
“That’s Neil,” Cameron said.
“I found him.” House leaned back in his chair. “He accosted me in the lobby. He thinks he’s dead.”
“Pretty poor excuse for an afterlife.” Chase had swiped House’s ball from his desk and was tossing it back and forth. “Although it might help if guitar guy - um, Terry - would stop singing about Jesus.”
“And maybe someone should tell him that song has more than one verse.” That was Foreman, who was clearly more irritated than impressed.
The ninth Wilson, camera-guy, was now standing in the connecting doorway, and appeared to be sizing up all of them, but especially Wilson, through framing hands.
“Jon, would you stop that?” Wilson said.
“But this would make the greatest movie - I mean, all these clones of ourselves, alike but different? One life across different dimensions? It’d be a breakthrough hit! I’d call it… Being Jon Salter. I could make it to Cannes with this.”
“You’re right,” Wilson said to House, turning his back on Jon and collapsing into the guest chair. “We need to get rid of them. Soon.”
“Listen up, people. Can everyone just shut up for a second?”
The conference room was starting to look thoroughly lived in. The buttoned-down one (Alfred, House had learned, and then promptly forgotten) had been doing his best to keep everything in reasonable condition, but there were crumbs and half-drunk coffee cups everywhere, and the pitifully small wastepaper baskets were overflowing with lunch scraps, a black garbage bag handling the overflow. No further variations of Wilson had appeared in the meantime, much to everyone’s relief. House, Wilson, and the three younger doctors had already found themselves space in the room, primed by Cuddy's phone call. The not-Wilsons all looked up with varying degrees of admiration as she finally walked in.
However, for most, this was quickly tempered by the sight of the visitors she had brought with her. Two of them were perfectly normal looking people, a bob-haired brunette and a dark-haired man, but the others were green and blue of skin, respectively. With unsettling bumps. They both wore baseball caps, but the effect did little to detract from their oddness, especially since the green one had apparently decided to team his complexion with a striking purple suit.
“Forsooth, they be demons.” Period costume had quickly switched his attention from Cuddy to the visitors and was rising to his feet, his voice loud in the silence. “Lady, if thou art come under some strange threat or devilish curse from these foul knaves…” His hand was at his waist, but fortunately for everyone, he had either arrived without, or been previously divested of, his sword.
“Oh, do shut up,” someone muttered in accented English. German boy.
“Calm down, Claudio. They’re… friends. Well, they’re here to help, anyway.” Cuddy waved him down, and he sat, but continued to glare.
“Angel! Is that you?”
The dark-haired man looked startled out of some inner reverie, and it took him a minute to focus on the waving boy.
“Jeremy? What are you doing here? Is Modoc with you?”
“I have no idea, and no. Just fix it, will you? Please?”
“Do our best."
“Wait, he‘s apparently from a different dimension and you still know each other?” House’s tone suggested a deep and unyielding mistrust for the odd visitors. He had not failed to notice that Cuddy had ordered the blinds drawn beforehand, and the paleness of Angel's skin.
“I get around,” Angel grunted, clearly unhappy with House’s attitude.
“If you gentlemen have finished,” Cuddy went on implacably, “Mister… Angel and his colleagues have come to look into the… dimensional distortion which has apparently landed you all here.”
“This is… Keith,” Angel said, indicating the blue creature.
“Keith?” Wilson whispered to House incredulously. He shut up quickly as Angel glared at him.
“He’s a Tarpa demon. Good at diagnosing dimensional rifts, although most of the time we have him in the IT department. Keeps him busy.”
House was beginning to wonder whether he’d woken up on the wrong planet this morning.
“So, what I need all of you to do is to just be quiet for a minute, and let him focus on the energy in the room.” Angel grimaced, and glanced at the woman next to him. “Why does it always sound so much better when you say it?’
She rolled her eyes at him. “Just get on with it.”
The room was obediently silent as Keith extended his arms and closed his eyes.
“I see… a garden, a hen house and the letter W. You had chicken salad for lunch,” House remarked to Wilson.
“You watched me eat it!”
“Both of you shut up, unless you want these people here forever,” Cuddy snapped.
The blue demon had lowered his hands and turned to Angel. They both turned their backs on the main group, and a low hum of chatter broke out again as they moved away to discuss something in the far corner. Cuddy watched them nervously.
“So… looks like Beauty and the Beast need to talk. Shall we have a little sing-along in the meantime?” the green demon said brightly, surveying the captive audience.
“No!” Foreman yelled, before Terry could reach for his guitar.
“It’s okay, Lorne,” Angel said to the green demon, restraining him. “It’s fine. I think we just need to have a chat with Doctor Cuddy first. “As you were,” he said, motioning his team and Cuddy into the hallway.
The buzz rose again behind them, but in a couple of minutes Cuddy was back, and she was smiling.
“Doctors House and Wilson, could we see you, please.”
Cameron, Chase and Foreman exchanged glances.
“Uh-oh,” House said.
“Are you familiar with the concept of poltergeists?” Angel asked. They had all retreated to Wilson’s office, by virtue of its solid and firmly non-transparent walls and front door.
“Yes,” Wilson said. House merely continued to glare at Angel and his team.
“Since the 1930s, it’s been known that human spirits, both living and dead, possess an energy field that can extend some distance around them. In some cases, this energy can be powerful enough to move objects, make noises, even start fires. Or in this case, cause an inter-dimensional rift.”
“Really?” Wilson was looking strangely uncomfortable.
“If it’s powerful enough, yes. And the only way to patch the rift is to release the energy from its trapped state and use it to restore the former equilibrium.”
“What kind of ‘energy’ are you talking about, exactly?” House said, aware that Wilson had suddenly clammed up, and it was up to him to extract an explanation or die trying. Cuddy merely stood by, looking amused.
“The most common types are, uh, repressed anger or hostility, extreme grief, or, uh…” Angel trailed off.
“Sexual tension,” Cuddy supplied helpfully.
Wilson looked like he wanted to run out of the room. “So it is my fault,” he muttered.
“Only partially,” Cuddy said, eyeing House in a way that made him suddenly very nervous. “Mister Angel, could you and the others wait in my office, please? Just in case it doesn’t work and we need you to come back. Thank you.”
Angel looked extremely relieved, and ushered the others from the room quickly, leaving a smiling Cuddy, a fidgety House, and a Wilson who was blushing all the way down to his neck.
“So, did you get that, House?” Cuddy asked, after the door was firmly shut.
“I believe what he was so tactfully trying to say was…” House’s face puckered into a grimace,“ …to get those people out of my office, I need to… do Wilson.”
“House!” Wilson sputtered.
“Exactly.” Cuddy’s smile was devastatingly bright.
“Because of this… thing… between us which I’ve managed to successfully ignore up to now.” He waved a hand in exasperation.
“Well, don’t make it sound like such a burden.” Wilson’s embarrasment had quickly turned to irritation, and his hands had automatically gone to his hips.
“See?” Cuddy said. “That’s the kind of thing that’s ruining reality for the rest of us.”
“Fine,” House said.
“I’ll do it. Anything to get rid of them.”
“Wait a minute,” Wilson said. “Why don’t I get a say? Why does everyone take it for granted that I want to do House?”
“Because it’s obvious,” Cuddy said simply.
“And it’s your fault,” House snapped. “How many of me do you see in there?”
“Just work it out between yourselves, OK?” Cuddy put a hand on the door handle. “Let me know when you‘re done. I‘ll go talk to them in my office for… oh, fifteen minutes should do it, I think.”
“Ouch,” Wilson said as she walked out.
It suddenly seemed very still and quiet in the office. They looked at each other uncertainly.
“So… now what?” House said at last.
Wilson held his gaze for a moment longer, and then cautiously moved forward a little and put one hand on House’s hip. Then he brushed his lips against House’s, kissing him gently at first, and then more forcefully as they pressed up against each other. Wilson’s hands pushed their way up under his T-shirt as he kissed his way along House’s jaw, his erection already hard against House’s thigh, and House moaned, steadying himself against the desk. They’d been right, of course. His level of arousal felt strong enough to start fires right about now.
There was a polite tap at the door, followed by the muted click of the door handle, the sound like a shock of cold water to their systems. They pulled apart immediately, breathing hard and glaring at each other for forgetting the meaning and purpose of locking mechanisms. The door opened partway, to reveal a tall, well-dressed man with innocent blue eyes in a long face.
“Excuse me, chaps,” the intruder said, with blithe disregard for their disheveled states. “I’ve already popped by next door, but they said…"
He finally seemed to register the sight of House and his eyes opened very wide. House glared.
Wilson stared from one to the other disbelievingly. “House?”
“Oh, I say, you do rather look like me, don’t you? Is that why everyone keeps laughing when I talk to them? Jolly rude way to react when a fellow is just a little lost and in need of a few directions, I must say. Name’s Wooster, by the way. Bertie Wooster.”
Neither of them moved to take his outstretched hand. House finally swung into motion, moving to the half-open door and giving it a not-so-gentle push.
“Now see here, that’s no way to speak to a fellow, is it? We could be brothers!”
“I’m an only child. And I’d like to keep it that way,” House growled.
“If you could just wait next door with the others, Mister Wooster…” Wilson seemed to have finally recovered his ability to form coherent speech.
Wooster appeared to really take in the sight of Wilson for the first time.
“Oh - you - and all those other chaps - I see - bit of a day for doubles roaming the halls, is it?” If it were possible, he looked more bemused than ever.
“If you could just wait with the others,” Wilson repeated, “you should be back home within half an hour.”
“Half an hour?” House looked at Wilson, and then back at Wooster, meaningfully.
“Well… maybe we could cut it down a little.”
Wooster seemed to have finally worked out that perhaps he had been interrupting something.
“I’m so sorry,” he said. “Wait next door. I’ll just… yes. Jolly odd sort of a day, what?”
He fled. House locked the door firmly behind him, and then turned back to Wilson.
“Come on. Let’s get on with it before more of me start turning up uninvited.”
“And they say romance is dead.”
House promptly resumed kissing Wilson, and before long had trailed one hand down to the front of his trousers. Wilson gasped in a most satisfactory manner, and proceeded to return the favor until they were both breathless.
And as they went about setting the world to rights in earnest, House's thoughts strayed for a fleeting instant back to the words of his own bizarre double. Much as he had disliked the man, he could not help but find himself in grudging agreement. It really had been a jolly odd sort of a day.