Like any doctor, House had become familiar with the phenomenon of being shaken awake in the early hours of the morning. That shaking was usually accompanied by a cup of coffee however, not an automatic pistol. Unsurprisingly, this worked even better than caffeine to stimulate a return to full consciousness.
“What th… ” he started.
“Up!” the figure looming over him barked, “Get your medical bag.”
“Not that you don’t have a very persuasive argument,” House commented, staring up the barrel of a gun, “But who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house?”
“I’m the man who’s going to shoot you somewhere non-lethal but very painful if you don’t cooperate immediately. And you have a patient. Get up.”
“Put so charmingly,
how can I refuse?” House said as he grabbed for his dressing gown.
He did indeed have a patient; male, Caucasian, mid-twenties, red hair, pale skin, unconscious and bleeding on the heavy oak dining table that was a relic of his Stacy years. The smell of cordite was the definitive clue to the patient’s problem. House got to work stripping rough bandage and clothing away from the wound,
“So, no-one told him that was the wrong way to point a gun? What type was it?”
“A .22. At close range.”
“I gather I’m wasting my breath recommending a visit to the nearest hospital?”
The man didn’t bother replying. Under brighter lighting, House’s abductor turned out to be about six foot two and in his early thirties with dark hair, light brown eyes, and glasses. He was also, House noted, wearing a very expensive, very nicely tailored suit, irretrievably ruined now by bloodstains. And his hands were manicured. He’d been shanghaied by a stylish criminal. Well, that made everything all right of course.
Removing the bullet went as smoothly as could be expected for field (or rather, dining room) conditions. Mr Well Dressed Abductor was obviously familiar with medical procedures, calmly handing him appropriate instruments (oddly enough, often before House had even asked for them) and showing no reaction to the bloody mess. House got the impression he was usually on the ‘causing’ rather than ‘repairing’ end of the wound equation however. Any attempts to start a conversation were met with silence and House’s barbs – which got more acerbic the worse his leg hurt – were ignored. The patient almost struggled into consciousness once, but Mr Well Dressed Abductor brushed long red hair back from a sweaty forehead and ordered,
“Go back to sleep.”
Surprisingly enough, it worked. House wished the rest of his patients were as obedient. Then again, he didn’t think Cuddy would approve of Surgery with Sidearm.
After he was finished and the patient transferred to his guestroom, House washed up in the on-suite bathroom, Mr Well Dressed Abductor watching from the doorway. Though now House thought about it, the word ‘abductor’ implied being taken away. As a point of semantics, he wasn’t sure if you could actually be abducted in your own home.
“Your friend should be able to be moved in three or four hours,” he said as he limped heavily back into the bedroom, “If you’re going to kill me, hurry up and do it now. The way my leg is feeling, I’ll gladly shoot myself in a minute.”
The other man smiled. To House’s surprise he was tossed a pill bottle. Ah, finally - sweet chemical relief. House grabbed the water glass from the bedside table and gulped down the Vicodin as his abductor spoke,
“I have no intention of harming you, Dr House. You have, after all, been surprisingly acquiescent for a man of your reputation and temperament. I am going to insist you take a couple of sleeping pills however and tell your friend you won’t be in today. Oh, and he isn’t to bring you lunch from di Stephano’s.”
“What are you tal. . .”
The phone rang at that moment. The Caller ID read WILSON. House raised an eyebrow at his abductor.
House picked the receiver up and snapped,
“You’re still at home? I thought you were meeting me for breakfast?”
He hadn’t realised that much time had passed, though possibly dawn should have clued him in. Huh. It seemed being held at gunpoint really did focus the mind.
“I’m not coming in today. Tell Cuddy for me, would you?”
There was a pause, where House could almost hear the cogs grinding, then an almost audible clang as Wilson discarded various ways of asking ‘are you in that much pain?’.
“I was thinking of going to di Stephano’s for lunch. How about I pick you up some lasagne and come over?”
House flicked a brief, startled glance over to his abductor.
“No. I’m taking a couple of sleeping pills and going back to bed.”
“Are you sure? I can drop it off after work and reh. . .”
House injected more than a suggestion of irritation into his voice,
“If I wanted someone to fuss over me Wilson, I’d shack up with one of those vacuous bubble-headed bleach blondes you go through like Kleenex and then leave lying around. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Well, that would guarantee he didn’t speak to House – let alone visit him – for a couple of days. As it was, Wilson huffed exasperatedly and hung up.
“Well done, Dr House. It’s just as well your patients’ recovery doesn’t rely on your bedside manner though, isn’t it?”
House glared at the note of amused condescension in Mr Well Dressed Abductor’s voice.
“Well, if you get yourself shot I’d be thrilled to test that theory out on you.”
The barb seemed to amuse the other man even more,
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“How did you know about di Stefano’s?” House demanded, “And how di…”
“None of your business doctor,” he was interrupted. “Now, the sleeping pills if you please.”
When House woke next, it was late evening. His leg hurt like a bitch and his head was muzzy from the pills, but in the broader scheme of things, i.e., he was still alive, he thought that those could be rated as minor inconveniences. His guestroom was also delightfully free of gunshot victims and other extraneous criminals.
House picked up the phone to call the police and report the matter, but decided that no, it really wasn’t something he wanted to discuss with bureaucratic minions of the law. Besides which, this was much too interesting to share with other people.
He wandered into the kitchen and found a note on his fridge. It read:
“Thank you for your assistance. In reparation, a piece of advice: next Tuesday, don’t take your usual motorway route to work.”
Dammit, but he
really wanted to know how Mr Well Dressed Abductor did that.