Where does she hide it inside of her?
That keeps her peace most every day
And won't disappear, my hair's turning grey
But she smiled sweetly
She smiled sweetly
She smiled sweetly
And says don't worry...
The Rolling Stones
There were three basic principles in Dr. Greg House’s life: everybody lied; Cuddy lived to frustrate him (in more ways than one); and Wilson’s relationships were doomed to failure. These principles were comforting in their constancy and any challenge to them was a threat that needed to be eradicated. Even if it was a person. Especially if it was a person. Right now, he was sure it was a person.
Over the past few weeks, House had become convinced that Wilson was in a relationship again. Or on the point of it. The important thing was making sure this didn’t progress any further. Although applying the word ‘progress’ to any of Wilson’s relationships was oxymoronic: he just repeated the same situation over and over again.
“So what does that say about my relationship with you?” Wilson asked when House pointed this out over lunch, in another attempt to find out which needy woman was crying into his friend’s pillow.
“Plenty. I insult you, you ignore me and we both rest assured in the knowledge you’ll keep coming back for more. Works for me. Oh, come on!” He glared at the television screen. “If you can’t recognise one twin from the other, you shouldn’t be going out with either of them.” He leaned his head towards Wilson’s. “If he knew it was the other one, I’d respect him so much more.”
Wilson couldn’t help glancing down at the comatose patient lying in between them. “He can hear us, you know.”
“Of course I know. This is probably the highlight of his day. Right, Charlie?”
“His name is John.”
House gave the man a cursory glance. “He looks like a Charlie.” There was a knock on the door. “Go away!” House yelled, popping another potato chip in his mouth. “Trying to have lunch for Christ’s sake!”
The door swung open and Ami Mizuno stepped through. She had her customary look of calm assurance but she’d been in the US long enough to look straight at them instead of at the floor. “Excuse me, but I was told to give this to Dr. Wilson.” She held out a folder. Wilson felt his heart start to move a lot faster for some reason.
House raised his head like a hound scenting blood. “Just that?” he asked, looking at her down the length of his nose. “You don’t want to give him anything else?” He raised one eyebrow, easily putting in the double entendre.
Ami clasped her hands in front of her like a schoolgirl prepared to listen and fixed her wide eyes on him. “Like what, Dr. House?” she asked, her faint Japanese accent giving a peculiar favour to the question. Wilson winced at the way she’d laid herself open and began to speak but House was quicker.
“Your telephone number? The key to your apartment? Maybe the bento box he forgot this morning when he was rushing out the door?” He tipped his head in the enquiring way that his team could never resist. “Come on, help me out here.”
Wilson almost hit him but he knew this wasn’t about Ami, this was about whether he’d react in any special way to House picking on Ami. So he couldn’t afford to react in any way, even the way he’d normally react. Sometimes, he could really hate House for being such a smart bastard.
Ami was watching with those dark eyes, waiting for House to finish. Then she smiled, at once polite and yet remote, then put the file into Wilson’s outstretched hand. “Excuse me for interrupting your lunch,” she said, with a tiny bow to emphasise her apology, then turned and went out, closing the door behind her.
House stared at the door, his mouth slightly open in outrage at being ignored. “Did you see that?” he said. “Do you realise how rude that would be in Japan? She’s corrupted already!”
Wilson dropped his gaze to the folder in an effort to hide the smile of amusement that was spreading across his face. “They do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” he remarked, with just enough time to recover before House whipped round and looked at him with narrowed eyes.
“You’ve primed her, haven’t you?”
All amusement vanished. Wilson closed his eyes and sighed. Ami heard the sigh from where she stood outside the door. She shook her head slightly and made her way down the corridor. She had been warned about House, but not by Wilson. It had been her own team leader, Dr Chase, who’d given her the file and said, “Don’t respond to anything Dr House says, Mizuno, okay? Just give the file to Dr Wilson and get out.”
“But I’m not scared of Dr House,” she’d protested.
“I know you’re not,” he’d answered. “And I don’t want him to know that. Not yet, anyway.”
Ami had put this away to think about, and now, as she knocked on the door of the laboratory, she began to think about it again. What was so wrong with Dr House knowing that he didn’t scare her? Surely that was a good thing? And she thought of what James had said as well:
“If he sees you’re scared, he’ll just take advantage of that. He takes advantage of any perceived weakness. Kindness, especially.”
Ami opened the door as she heard Chase’s voice and walked in, still pondering the idea of fear. Was fear really a weakness? She knew what it was to be truly scared, to fear for your life, your soul, your loved ones. That fear hadn’t weakened her, it had motivated her. Of course, she had to admit that fear could make people do horrible things as well: kill, blackmail, lie through their teeth… And kindness was a weakness to this man? Not for the first time, Ami wondered why he had any friends.
“So you’re still alive.”
She blinked and looked up. Dr Chase was giving her that slight boyish smile that made so many female patients give in to his demands. “Oh… yes,” she said, with a slight shrug. “It wasn’t difficult.”
“What did House say to you?”
“He asked me if I had anything else to give to Dr Wilson.”
Chase nodded, unsurprised. “And what did you say?”
“I said I was sorry for interrupting his lunch, then I gave the folder to Dr Wilson and I left.” Ami shrugged again. “Like I said, not difficult.” She stared as Chase shook his head, chuckling. “What?”
“Let’s just say that I’m glad you’re not on his team.” Chase took the slide out of the microscope, placed it carefully back in the petri dish and then placed the next one under the lens.
“Why?” Ami demanded, folding her arms. “I already told you I’m not scared of him.”
Chase straightened and looked at her. He saw a slim woman, small by American standards, dressed a crisp white coat that was currently undone to reveal a smart but conservative navy blue trouser suit. Her one concession to fashion was her hair, cut in a bob that flicked out in gentle spikes around her face. There was nothing scruffy about Ami Mizuno but nothing too noticeable, either. Everything about her screamed ‘easy target’, but Chase knew her well enough by now to safely say she was anything but. “I’m not saying you’re scared… I’m saying you’re polite. Respectful. And he would just use that in every way he could, to see how far he could push you. You’re far too valuable to this hospital to be abused by him.”
“That’s why I’m with you?” Ami asked, a small amused smile curling her lips.
“Cuddy interviewed you, right?” Chase asked, turning back to the microscope and motioning her over.
“Yes…” Ami said, walking forward and squinting into the lens. “Why?”
“Just proves my case. It may seem like she lets House get away with a lot but… let’s just say that she allowed me to have first choice. And that’s why I got you and House got Chiba.”
“Because you thought he was tougher?” Ami asked, her tone crisp as she looked up at him.
“Because he looked tougher,” Chase replied. “Small but subtle difference.” He grinned. “Besides, there can only be one good-looking man in my team and that’s me.”
Ami held his gaze for a moment, then she allowed herself a smile and turned back to the bacteria. Chase let out a breath. For one small but eerie moment, he’d had the distinct impression that her eyes were frosting over. He felt a little cold, despite the layers he was wearing. “You want some coffee?” he asked.
“Only if you’re making it and not getting it from a machine,” Ami answered, not looking up this time.
“Right,” Chase said, and left the room with an odd feeling of relief.
I'm really sorry that I'm late. I was trying to get your birthday present ready all yesterday and today and it just wouldn't come right! >.< Hopefully, yow will have it by tomorrow evening. I'm going to Alton Towers (amusement park) with some people from work tomorrow, so I'm excited!
In other news, Dumbledore/Grindelwald is officially canon. I would like to take this moment to say: I KNEW IT. And so is Neville/Hannah. Congratulations, Jo! :D