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Act 5

Titania: My Oberon, what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamour’d of an ass.
[A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 4 Scene 1]

7:30 am

Down in the lobby there were first signs of the great event to come. The cleaning crew were giving the glass panes a final shine, the nurses at the front desk were checking their make-up and patting their hair down while the front doors opened and closed in a steady rhythm as staff members entered the hospital for the 7:30 a.m. deadline. Among the early entries was Wilson, resplendent in his best suit and a tie that shouted ‘special occasion’. From inside the hospital two security guards appeared to take up their posts, one on each side of the entrance.

House took all this in with one glance as he headed towards a central position on the gallery from which one had an excellent view of the entrance, the lobby desk and the clinic doors while able to withdraw quickly to avoid detection. He’d come in the hope of heading Wilson off to give him young Arun’s file and get a new scrip for his painkillers, thus circumventing the need to deal with Cuddy on either issue, but his hopes of achieving that were effectually quashed at the sight of the lone figure occupying his preferred spot on the gallery. Read more... )Previous chapter
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 Act 4

Titania: Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
Fairies, be gone, and be all ways away.
[A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 4 Scene 1]

3 am
“No, Mom, I don’t think either of us will be back anytime soon. Lucas has been admitted for observation and I don’t want to leave him until I’m sure he’s alright. ... No, it’s nothing serious, just a precaution ...Mom, please go to bed. There’s no sense in worrying – Lucas will be fine. ... Yes, I’ll lie down for a few hours in my office. ... Mom, this isn’t the first time I’ve done this. I’ll be fine! ... Yes, I can shower here and I have a change of clothes.” Cuddy rolled her eyes. “The babysitter will be in by seven-thirty, okay? ... Yes, I will. ‘Night, Mom.”

She put down the phone and leaned her forehead on her hand. Saying that she was staying in the hospital because of Lucas was far enough from the truth to qualify as an outright lie. She knew now what ailed Lucas, even if she didn’t know the hows and whys of it, but it wasn’t life-threatening. The reason she was staying was one she didn’t want anyone, least of all her mother to know, for fear that it might get around to Lucas.

House.
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Act 3, Scene 2

Puck: [...] in that moment (so it came to pass)
Titania waked, and straightway loved an ass.
[A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 3 Scene 2]


11 p.m.

House was leaning against the wall twirling his cane when Wilson rounded the corner of the corridor outside the ER. He straightened up and limped alongside Wilson.

“She’s in a real frenzy. Thinks he might have had a stroke.” Wilson rubbed his hand over his face. “I should’ve told her it’s just Rohypnol.”

“You don’t know it’s Rohypnol. You’re assuming it based on my telephone diagnosis.”

“That’s even worse. I know he’s drugged, but I don’t know what it is, and to top it, I’m letting Cuddy believe it’s a seizure or a stroke.”

“I doubt he’d be running to tell anyone what it was if he’d managed to drug you,” House pointed out with impeccable logic.

“Good point. So you think I should stoop down to his level.”

“Think of it as cruising below your usual flight altitude to evade the enemy radar.”

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Author's Note: Feral Attraction is the porn film House digs up in Private Lives, staring a young and maybe not quite so innocent Wilson.

Act 3, Scene 1

Quince: [...] and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the Duke.
Bottom: Peter Quince?
Quince: What sayest thou, Bully Bottom?
Bottom: There are things in this Comedy of Pyramus and Thisby, that will never please.
[A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 3 Scene 1]


10 pm

“Is everyone at their posts?” Quincy asked his walkie-talkie. The question was redundant, for there was no security staff member who couldn’t be seen on one or other of the monitors in security headquarters. “Let’s get going, shall we? It’s 8 am in the morning and Senator Woodward is approaching the main entrance with her entourage.”

Quincy and Lucas were at security headquarters, checking via the monitors whether the senator’s movements were covered at all times. Rob, who was impersonating the senator since he wasn’t needed to observe the monitors during the run-throughs, entered the lobby. Piccolo and Leo strode forward to flank him.

“Slower, Rob, you’re a lady. They don’t stride like the giant in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’,” Quincy instructed.

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Act 2, Scene 2

Puck:
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charm doth owe.
[A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2 Scene 2]

9 pm

If House lost his whole team, there was no knowing what he’d do. No team meant unsolved cases, unsolved cases meant frustration, frustration meant pain, and pain meant vicodin. If A implies B and B implies C, then A implies C. Simple logic, but House was refusing to see it. Wilson sighed, drew his fingers through his hair and stumped through the snow to his car. On the way he saw another familiar vehicle – Foreman’s. Hadn’t House said that Foreman had left? There was a bar close by frequented by PPTH staff. Perhaps Foreman and Thirteen were there. Wilson changed tack, making down the road towards the bar.

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 Act 2, Scene 1

Oberon: Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy
To be my henchman.
Titania: Set your heart at rest,
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
[A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2 Scene 1]

9 p.m.

The winter landscape below him was strangely calming. New snow at the beginning of March, an oddity of nature. The sounds of evening traffic drifted up to him muted by the thin blanket of snow. It was a good thing he’d left the bike at home and taken his car. He stuck out his tongue to catch a snowflake, glad to be able to indulge in such childish behaviour without a witness, for the roof was deserted thanks to the late hour and harsh weather. Not that he objected to an audience per se when he behaved like a juvenile, but playing with snow had a touch of sentimentality, somewhere along the same lines as liking fairy tales or rescuing kittens. Perhaps living with Wilson was beginning to rub off on him. You’re catching his girl cooties, he reprimanded himself.

Change was imminent. He didn’t like change, and had never done so. Now, however, it was inevitable. His mother used to say, and probably still did, “What can’t be cured has to be endured.” A stupid, defeatist adage. Admittedly he couldn’t ‘cure’ the problem, but he could give it a treatment of palliative medicine, making the transition from this state of being to the next easier on himself. He’d already applied a hefty dose of manipulative morphine today, screwing Foreman in front of the whole board. Wilson had texted him afterwards: ‘What r u up 2? 13 fuming!’ He wondered whether Cuddy had seen through his ploy.

She’d cornered him in the clinic two days ago, dragging him into an exam room, shutting the door behind her and leaning against it to prevent his departure before she was done with him. He had hopped onto the examination table patting the space next to him invitingly.

“Oh, are we skipping the verbal foreplay today? I love it when you want it hard and fast.”

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