Dilemma

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)


Author's Notes: There is no House fic. There should be. Therefore, I hope to get the ball rolling with this. Also, please note that I know nothing about hospital procedure and that all of my "technical" terms are guesses. If you know better, you are welcome to correct me. Then I'll correct the fic. Then future fic (if there is any) will be better.


Arriving at the dispensary counter, Dr. House leaned against the wall next to the window and set his prescription bottle down on the counter with a sharp click. “Thirty-six > Vicodin.”

The young woman behind the counter looked up from the computer. “Who’s the patient?”

House rolled his eyes heavenward. A new one. “Me,” he said shortly.

She blinked. “I’m sorry, sir, I can’t fill a prescription you gave yourself. It’s against policy.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “You’ve been here what, a week? Less?”

She was starting to look unsettled. “Five days.”

“Of course. Clearly, you’re still learning how things work around here. Just fill the prescription.” He tapped one finger on the counter and raised his eyebrows. “Now.”

The woman shifted her weight uncomfortably but shook her head. “I’m really sorry, but I can’t. You’ll have to have the prescribing physician come down.”

House leaned towards her over the counter. “I’m sure you find rules and guidelines and regulations very comforting,” he cast his eye over her crisply starched uniform and tightly bound and constrained hair, “but if you don’t learn to improvise, this job is going to last about as long as your last relationship did.”

For just an instant her expression was taken aback, but she quickly recovered her ground and proceeded to visibly entrench her position. “The prescribing physician,” she prompted, lifting her chin a little.

House glanced at his watch. Noon. James wasn’t going to be in until 3pm today, which meant he couldn’t play Dr. Wilson for three more hours. Personal business, he’d said. House mentally weighed his options. Ask Dr. Cuddy, or go three hours without anything to take the edge off. Ask one of Drs. Cameron, Foreman, or Chase, or go without.

Ask damn near anyone in the hospital but this one pharmacist, or ride it out for three hours.

Three hours.

***

At exactly 3:00pm, when Dr. James Wilson was five steps from the hospital doors, his pager went off. He hiked up his coat and unclipped it from his belt. Greg. Paging him at precisely 3 o’clock. Something was wrong.

Shrugging out of his jacket, Wilson draped it over his arm and caught the elevator up to his friend’s office without taking the time to drop by his own on the way. The instant he opened the glass door something came flying towards him. By reflex alone he brought his hand up in time to catch it before it hit him in the face. Greg’s prescription bottle.

“Fill that for me,” House said tightly.

Wilson took in his friend’s posture. He was sprawled in his desk chair, his weak leg stretched out straight in front of him, the other bent and bouncing a little, as if with impatience. He’d tilted his head all the way back and was staring at the ceiling. The fingers of his left hand were white-knuckled on the grip of his cane.

“Why didn’t you--”

“Just fill the fucking bottle,” House snapped, not taking his eyes off the ceiling.

Wilson turned and strode out of the office, foregoing the elevator in favor of all but flying down the stairs. He didn’t recognize the woman manning the dispensary. “Thirty-six Vicodin,” he said, setting the bottle down on the counter.

“Patient?”

“Dr. House,” Wilson answered. He was beginning get a bad feeling about this.

Sure enough, the woman hesitated in the act of picking up the bottle. “He was in here earlier, trying to fill a prescription for himself,” she said suspiciously. “Are you sure you should be doing this?”

Shit. “How much earlier?” Wilson demanded.

“About noon.” She still wasn’t filling the bottle.

Shit! He thought fervently. Three hours. Knowing Greg, he hadn’t thought to take one just before trying to fill the prescription. It wasn’t normally a problem. By now, he was undoubtedly in agony. “In the future,” he said, trying to be understanding, “when Dr. House asks you for Vicodin, just give it to him. Please. It makes life much easier on the rest of the staff.”

She frowned and reluctantly started filling the bottle. “If he has a problem, you shouldn’t be enabling him.”

“His problem is chronic pain,” Wilson said impatiently and gestured for her to hand over the bottle.

Finally she surrendered the painkillers and he was off, running back up the stairs. Wilson deliberately slowed to a brisk walk when he reached the appropriate floor. Greg wouldn’t thank him for making a scene running through the hallways, no matter how much he wanted the Vicodin.

He pushed open the door to his friend's office. "Heads up," Wilson called, waiting for Greg to look up before tossing the bottle in his direction. House said nothing, merely cracked the bottle open and shook two of the pills into the palm of his hand. "Ah!" Wilson said, raising a finger. "One."

The glare he received in response should have peeled the paint off the walls. "If you knew how this felt, you wouldn't say that," House grated.

"I know that one is enough, even if it doesn't feel like it right now. Do you want to become tolerant?"

"I'm going to become tolerant eventually."

Wilson crossed the room and dropped into a chair opposite the other man. "As slowly as possible," he said mildly.

House snorted, but pushed the second pill back into the bottle before swallowing the first one dry.

"This hospital is full of doctors," Wilson said, eyeing his friend contemplatively, "any one of whom could have gotten that for you. But you waited three hours for me to do it."

"I'm sure one day I'll go to hell for my pride," House replied sarcastically.

"Well," Wilson said, smiling a little, "maybe they'll let you bring the Vicodin."

--End--