All in the Head
(Part 1 of 2)
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Chase seriously considered calling in sick for work the next day. In fact, he'd just made the decision to do so and turned off his alarm clock when his cellphone rang. Groggily, he groped around for it on his night stand. After a moment he located it and flipped it open.
"Hello?" he said, his voice slightly muffled by his pillow. He blinked several times to clear the sleep from his eyes.
"Chase," Foreman's commanding voice responded. "I know you're planning to renege on our bet! Just wanted to let you know that if you do, I'll make absolutely sure House knows all about your little crush on Cameron. I'll meet you in the parking lot at 7:30." With that, he hung up.
Cursing quietly, Chase dragged himself out of his nice, warm bed and set about getting ready for the day and resigning himself to his fate.
Forty minutes later, he pulled into his usual parking spot. It was no longer raining, but the sky was still overcast and the air was foggy, and it looked as though more rain could be expected later that day. Chase thought it appropriate. Foreman sauntered confidently over to him as he was getting out of his car, an amused expression on his face.
"You're not really going to make me do this, are you?" Chase pleaded, figuring it was worth a try. Foreman smirked at him.
"Oh, you're doing it," he said. They walked together down the lot, Chase trying to keep the pace slow to put off the inevitable for as long as possible. He could feel himself blushing already.
Up ahead of them a short ways, a car pulled into a free parking spot and Wilson stepped out. He spotted them and gave a friendly wave. All of a sudden, Chase realized something and was hit with a wave of relief.
"Foreman," he whispered, "the bet was just to hit on the first department head I saw! Not House!" He gestured at Wilson, who was busy locking his car. Foreman rolled his eyes.
"And you'd rather hit on Wilson than House, then?"
"I'd rather hit on anyone other than House!" Chase said, as though the same were true of everyone.
"Fine," Foreman agreed, only a little disappointed. "Go for it. But remember, you have to make it obvious!" Chase nodded and started jogging over to Wilson.
"Doctor Wilson!" he called. "Wait up!" Wilson turned towards him. Foreman followed behind Chase at a steady pace, making sure he was within hearing distance.
"Yes? " Wilson asked when Chase had caught up.
"Er," Chase began awkwardly. "I just wanted to say... how nice you look... today. Er." He took in Wilson's rumpled appearance and noted that he actually didn't look particularly good. Wilson gave him a strange look.
"Uh, thanks," he said. "Is that all?" Chase shot a panicked look at Foreman, not knowing what else to say. Foreman shrugged at him.
"Um, those pants make your butt look really good," he tried. Wilson's eyebrows shot up. Foreman was making hand motions at him and mouthing Give it a pat! Sighing and giving up completely, Chase gave Wilson a friendly pat on the ass and an exaggerated wink. Wilson jumped a bit and his mouth opened and closed several times.
With absolutely no warning at all, a pretty blonde girl stalked up to him and slapped him, hard. Then she gave Wilson the same treatment and stalked off again without saying anything. Chase was bewildered.
"What? What was that?" he asked wildly, his hand on his cheek. Wilson groaned.
"Tracy! Wait!" he yelled. Foreman was laughing so hard tears were rolling down his cheeks.
"What did I do? Who was that?" Chase wailed in confusion.
"Tracy!" Wilson yelled again and took off after her, though it was obvious he wasn't going to catch her.
"What happened?" Chase demanded. Foreman couldn't seem to stop laughing.
"She slapped you!" he managed, clutching his stomach.
"I know that!" Chase said indignantly. "Oh, never mind. You're useless." Foreman watched Chase walk stiffly away, his hand still on his cheek, and doubled over in laughter yet again.
"All right, differential diagnosis people, come on," House said as he strode into the room. He paused, surveying the area. "Where's Foreman?"
"Here." Foreman waved from beneath the table. House raised an eyebrow. While Foreman was focused on House, Chase reached his leg past Cameron’s and gave Foreman a sharp kick in the side.
“Ow!” Foreman exclaimed. “Cameron!”
Cameron looked ready to protest. House cut her off. "Don't want to know. Your umbrella is over there. I borrowed it yesterday. Differential, anyone? What might have caused an otherwise perfectly healthy young woman to suddenly stroke?"
Foreman stood up, triumphantly holding a pencil, and glared at House.
"Insulinoma could explain her vision," Cameron suggested.
"Glucose levels were normal." Chase walked over from the coffee machine, took a seat and started fanning himself with Cameron’s folder. "Why is it so hot in here?"
"Could have just been caused by anxiety," Foreman said. "What's her job?"
"I'm actually not sure," Cameron said, tapping her chin thoughtfully. "They were rather vague, despite being ridiculously detailed about everything else. Some kind of special ops."
"Sounds potentially stressful to me."
"No, Foreman, she's not ghetto enough to be special ops." Cameron, Chase, and Foreman all ignored House.
"Her blood pressure levels were high. Hypertension commonly presents with anxiety disorders," Chase said. House glared at them.
"Come on, you guys. That's lame. I finally agree to take the case, and the best you can come up with is an anxiety disorder? It's not anxiety." Foreman was denied the chance to respond when the door opened to reveal Owen.
"I'm joining you for the differential," he said as he entered the room, his steps confident.
"No. You're not." House glared.
"Yes, I am," Owen responded, ignoring House's stare and pulling up a chair.
"Don't think so," House said, hooking the arm of the chair with his cane and jerking it away.
"I am a fully-qualified doctor. And Jack wants me here."
"Oh, so you're such a little puppy you'll do everything he says? Will your master finally notice you and throw you a bone?"
"I want me to be here," Owen replied sharply, matching House's glare with one of his own. "Gwen is my friend."
"A little more than that, if I'm to believe Doctor Cameron." Owen looked outraged.
"Calm down, you two!" Cameron cut in, worried the argument would soon escalate to an all-out brawl. "House, Owen is a doctor. It might be useful to have another perspective." House turned his glare on her, opened his mouth to issue some scathing comment, then paused and turned back to Owen.
"All right then, Doctor Harper," he said. "Tell us your brilliant ideas." Owen sat down, looking smug.
"I thought it might be an anxiety disorder. Our job--" He was cut off by House's snort of laughter.
"It's not anxiety. Does anyone have any useful ideas?" Owen gaped at him.
"It presents all the classic--" he started, but was cut off once again by House.
"Shut up, you moron. It's not anxiety! Someone, please, be useful! Here, maybe this will help." He turned and began to list symptoms on the whiteboard:
Loss of color vision
Elevated blood pressure
"Am I missing anything?" he asked.
"Don't think so," Foreman said.
"I still don't see why it can't be anxiety!” Owen obviously wasn’t used to the utter lack of respect. “We should at least make sure before we rule it out completely!"
"Hey, Harper, moron says what?"
"Thank you." Owen and Foreman rolled their eyes. Cameron looked reproachful.
"What?" Chase asked, looking confused. House snorted.
"Can we please get back to the differential?" Foreman pleaded as Cameron slapped her hand to her forehead and made a quiet noise of despair.
"Paraganglioma," she suggested, trying to bring the conversation back on course. "Would explain several of her symptoms."
"And most of her symptoms are neurological, so it would make sense," Foreman added.
"All right," House agreed. "Order an MRI. Any other ideas?"
"You forgot a symptom." Owen walked over to the white board, grabbed a marker and started to write. House whirled on him, brandishing his cane.
"Only I get to write on the board!" he yelled, whacking Owen over the head.
Owen raised his arms to protect his face. "What the fuck! You're crazy!" he shouted. House landed a blow on the hand that held the marker, causing him to drop it. He leaned over to pick it up and grinned in self-satisfaction. Owen took a step back. "What. The. Fuck. I was just going to add a symptom!"
"We didn't forget any," House stated with confidence.
"You forgot difficulty recognizing people. She called Ianto ‘Jack!’"
"I didn't forget it. It's right there. ‘Mental confusion.’ They're the same thing." House pointed with the marker.
"They're not necessarily the same."
"You two are like children," Cameron cut in. House glared.
"Could be hyperthyroidism," Chase contributed. House made a face.
"Doubt it," he said. "Hyperthyroidism most commonly presents with major weight loss."
"It would explain the weakness, confusion, and mood swings, though. And she could have just recently started losing weight, so there hasn't been a significant enough change to be noticable," Chase argued.
"Fine, tell them to test her blood for TSH levels, if it makes you happy."
"It could be lupus. Or vasculitis." Everyone stared at Owen. "What?" he asked, staring back. House aimed another whack with his cane, and Owen had to jump to dodge it.
"Leave. Now." House sounded rather menacing.
"Fine!" Owen yelled, throwing up his hands. "You lot are all crazy! I give up! I don't know why I even bothered!" With that he stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him. Almost immediately, he ran right into Ianto who, unfortunately, was carrying a hot cup of coffee that predictably ended up all over both of them. Frustrated and cursing, Owen stalked off down the hall without listening to Ianto's apologies.
He hadn't gotten very far before he rounded a corner and fell straight into an inconveniently-located manhole. His shout of surprise at finding one on the second floor of a hospital echoed in the hall for a few moments, and then the manhole vanished as quietly as it had appeared.
“We’re just taking some blood samples for more tests,” Cameron reassured Jack as she entered the room with Chase and Foreman trailing behind her. Jack nodded and stepped aside to let them through the door.
“Where’s Owen?” he asked.
“He didn’t come back here? He left before us.”
“He’s probably somewhere sulking,” Foreman muttered.
Jack gave him a sharp look, but Cameron just sighed and said, “House and him had some words. You should know House doesn’t take kindly to friends of patients trying to get in on the diagnosis process.”
“Is House in his office then?” Jack asked.
“Should be,” Chase replied, “he won’t show up here often. It’ll just be us.”
Jack winked at him. “That’s fine by me.”
Chase nearly dropped the needle he was holding. He fumbled with it for a moment, came close to stabbing Foreman, then regained his grip. He glared at Jack, who was watching with amusement. “Oh no you don’t,” he told him. “I know what you did to Wilson.”
Cameron looked up. “What’d he do to Wilson?”
Foreman mouthed, Wilson’s gay! Cameron’s eyes widened. “No, I will not go on a date with you,” she replied. Chase slapped his forehead and Foreman let out a long-suffering sigh. Jack decided to leave them to it. As he left, however, he crashed right into Ianto, and they both fell, Jack landing on top of his colleague. As Jack pushed himself up, he felt wetness on his hands. He grinned at Ianto.
“Now come on, I know you’re excited to see me, but this is ridiculous.”
Ianto glared at him with unusual force. Most days, he gave as good as he got, but right now, he seemed in no mood to tolerate any of Jack’s levity. Jack glanced down and saw the coffee stain down the front of Ianto’s shirt.
“Oh.” Jack offered Ianto a hand to help him up, but Ianto ignored it. “What’s wrong?”
Jack grabbed his shoulder. “Ianto, you know I get concerned when you close up on me.”
Once again, Ianto defied his expectations and didn’t calm down. Instead, he shook off his hand and kept walking. Jack had to jog to catch up. “Ianto?”
“I would hate to concern you, sir,” Ianto said curtly.
“Did I do something wrong? Oh no, you’re not actually upset I stole your tie, are you? I’ll give it back, I promise--after it’s been to the cleaners, of course.”
Ianto rounded on Jack and slammed his fist against the counter of the nearby nurse’s station. “I saw you last night,” he hissed.
“Normally you like that.”
“At the café! With that doctor! William, or Willard, or whatever!”
“You were following me?” Jack asked. Gwen had warned him about this. Workplace sex is not a good idea, she’d said. Trust me, I know. So did the rest of Torchwood Three, because they had quite an extensive security system, and Ianto was the only one who ever bothered to wipe unwanted records. Everyone else preferred just to watch.
“No, I wasn’t following you,” Ianto exclaimed. “I was, I was... yes I was following you!”
“Because I wanted to know where you were going! It’s my job to make sure you stay safe!”
“It’s not like he can--” Jack paused as he realized he couldn’t exactly announce he was immortal to the whole hospital, so he finished: “--stab me with... a chemo injection.”
At this point, Jack noticed the surrounding area was unusually silent. He looked up and saw everyone staring at them. Everyone except an old man in a walker who was frantically hobbling away. Again. Then he looked over and saw the nurse sitting at the desk they were arguing over. She looked familiar, but it took him a moment before he placed her as the nurse who’d caught him and Wilson in the elevator. Oh, not good.
“Are you cheating on him?” the nurse asked Jack pointedly.
“No,” Jack replied, rather sheepishly.
“You men are all pigs!” She slapped him, then turned to Ianto and handed him a card. “Here, give me a call if you need someone to talk to. I know how it feels.” She burst into tears and ran away. A young intern noticed and ran after her, calling, “Tracy! Tracy! But I’ve been asking for your number for weeks!”
Tracy grabbed a cup from a passing patient and threw it in his face. The contents were disturbingly yellow. “Scum!”
Jack nodded to himself. “Well, Ianto, you did challenge me last week to show you a workplace stranger than the Hub.”
“This isn’t stranger; it’s just more dysfunctional. And you’re not diverting my attention that easily.”
Jack looked him straight in the eye. “If I recall correctly, you were the one who said it was going to stay casual.”
“You’ve been alive two hundred years--and I know they’ve been busy years--are you telling me casual sex has ever stayed that way? Someone always gets hurt, Jack, always.”
“Do you want it to end?”
“No! I want to hear you say, ‘I love you!’ I don’t care if you mean it, I just want to be more than a part-time shag.”
“You’ve always been more than a part-time shag. But...”
“But you don’t love me.”
“I’m not going to lie to you. But last night...” Jack looked around. “It wasn’t what you think.”
“Then what was it?”
Jack smiled, even though he knew Ianto would be able to read what he was actually thinking. “Don’t worry about Gwen’s files; they’re taken care of.”
“It’s you or him. You can’t have it both ways.”
“Neither can you, sir.”
Well, that was more like the usual Ianto. He grinned, and this time, he actually felt it. Wilson might be easy on the eyes, but Jack knew better than to let his feelings get in the way of his work. Torchwood was his responsibility; everyone and everything else was expendable. He might not like it, but that was how it had to be. The world had to be ready.
“You believe me?”
Ianto smirked. “You know better than to lie to me, sir.”
Jack kissed him lightly on the lips. “You’d better get out of those clothes before I do it for you.”
He sighed as he watched Ianto leave. Ianto was a patient man, but somehow, Jack didn’t think he would wait for him. In so many crucial ways, Jack differed from Lisa, perhaps in too many ways. Maybe it was for the best, but whether for him or for Ianto, Jack wasn’t sure.
House left the conference room feeling extremely pleased with himself, not because the differential had produced any particularly exciting or interesting ideas, but because he had so successfully humiliated the annoying man who dared call himself a "doctor." One-upping people always left him in a good mood.
His mood was short-lived, however, as he was waylaid by Cuddy on the way to the cafeteria.
"Look! A rich guy who wants to donate all his money to dying kids!" House tried. Cuddy was unfortunately too clever to fall for this.
"Right. House. You owe me at least three clinic hours today," she said, crossing her arms.
"Uhh... I can't! Wilson paged me a minute ago, he's dying of a heart attack. I have to go rescue him." House tried to push past her and make an escape, but Cuddy had the advantage of having full use of both her legs, and it was pathetically easy for her to catch him. He cursed under his breath.
"Now, House. Or I'll double your clinic hours for next week."
Seeing no immediate way out of his predicament, House submitted and made his way down to the clinic. A distracted nurse handed him a chart as soon as he got there and directed him to one of the exam rooms. He managed to swipe a couple lollipops when she turned her head.
"All right, why the hell are you in here bothering me today?" he said as he walked in, throwing the chart onto the counter without bothering to look at it.
"Stomach ache," said the man sitting on the exam table.
"Right, I suspected as much," House said. "Any other symptoms?"
"No," the man said. House paused, a little disconcerted. There was something very off about the man, but House couldn't put his finger on exactly what. The slight monotone in which he spoke was a little odd, but not entirely unusual, and not nearly enough to cause the sense of unease he was feeling by itself.
House took a minute to take in the man's appearance, and this disturbed him even more, though again he couldn't say exactly why. Individually, there was nothing remotely strange about any of the man's features, but when they were all put together on his face, they looked, in a subtle way, wrong. As if there was nothing at all to distinguish him from anyone else. No funny blemishes, no crooked nose, no tiny scars--none of the smaller features that all humans had in some form just from having lived. Everything about him was absolutely, definitively, normal. He looked to House--because there was really no other word to properly describe it--contrived.
"Right," House said slowly. "Lie down and indicate exactly where you feel this pain." The man did as he was told. House felt the area for a moment.
"You probably just have a cold," he said. "Any over-the-counter medication will relieve most of the symptoms, and you might try resting if you--"
He stopped speaking abruptly as the man sort of phased in front of him. Just for a millisecond, he was something large and reddish, and then it was as if nothing had happened. House blinked, feeling his brain rebelling and trying to dismiss what it knew it couldn't have possibly seen. House mentally told it to shut up.
"Yes?" the man prompted. He didn't seem to notice, or at least didn't acknowledge, his momentary failure to comply with the laws of the universe. House quickly collected his thoughts.
"Bed rest. Tylenol. That's it," he said, stood, and quickly exited the room.
"Damn," he muttered to himself. "I knew I shouldn't have eaten Wilson's salad yesterday. It smelled funny. He's probably trying to poison me."
The parking structure was very well-lit for a parking structure. Ianto felt this was a crime; there were distinct rules by which the universe operated--parking structures were supposed to be dark, weevil-infested places where people got kidnapped, hospital administrators were supposed to be old, oblivious bureaucrats, and coffee was never supposed to be on your suit. It was as though Princeton-Plainsboro existed in some extra-dimensional realm where weird things happened and House existed, not that House was necessarily a bad person. As much as Ianto disapproved of House physically battering his co-worker, he had to admit it was quite amusing to watch from a distance.
Less amusing was Cuddy, who had shown up less than an hour after his run-in with Brenda the day before. She hadn’t found him via his suit though; she’d reviewed the security footage instead. Once she’d established who he was, she’d been fairly polite, but she also made clear that he was to stay out of places where he didn’t belong. She’d then noted that he could sprint quite well and asked whether he was physically fit, had a history of illnesses, or was interested in becoming a sperm donor. He wasn’t sure why this was relevant to Gwen’s case, but Cuddy had been quite insistent that he answer her questions.
His shirt grew increasingly sticky and cold as he searched for the rental car. After a period of confusion, he found it at the top of the car park, three floors higher than where Tosh told him she’d parked it. That was unlike Tosh, he thought. Then he saw a sign on a pillar next to the car that read “7B,” exactly the location Tosh had told him. He looked up and saw a piece of roof four feet square hovering over the car, one corner attached to the pillar and the rest abruptly vanishing into thin air. As he watched, two sparrows chasing each other dropped from the sky and ran head first into the concrete. When they picked themselves up from the ground and he saw they were all right, he shrugged and opened the trunk.
Inside, he found Owen doubled over amidst the luggage.
“Ianto! Where the fuck am I? What did you do to me?” Owen tried to get up, but his hands and feet seemed to be bound together by some invisible force.
Ianto tugged at Owen, but he couldn’t get Owen’s head past the top of the trunk. Every time he tried, Owen would slam his head against thin air and curse louder. He did this a few more times for good measure before he gave up, shoving Owen into a corner so he could extricate a new suit from his travel case.
“Ianto! Get me out of here!”
“You seem to be stuck.”
“Get me out of here!”
“I’ll go get help.”
“Ianto, you bloody tosser, you better--”
Ianto shut the trunk and walked away. Most strange.
Wilson opened the clinic door, sighing at the prospect of two more hours of clinic duty. Normally, this was something he enjoyed. It was an escape from the constant overhang of hopelessness that lingered around his chosen specialty. These were people for whom he could do more than just make them comfortable.
Today, however, he just wanted to get it over with. It had been an unnecessarily tiresome day, he thought, and certain events--and people--had been trying his normally limitless patience. After clinic duty was completed, he only had a few routine appointments and then he could go home and sleep.
This first clinic patient was a fifty-three-year-old woman named Edith Thompson. Her chart showed no previous medical conditions, she wasn't running a significant temperature, and all her vital signs had been recorded as registering within normal ranges.
"Hello, I'm Doctor Wilson," he said in a cheery voice as he walked into the room. "What seems to be the problem today?" When he actually caught sight of the woman, he inwardly groaned. The chart had failed to convey just how big she was. Not overweight, but stocky, and tall. Definitely taller than him by at least an inch. And as if that wasn't intimidating enough, she was dressed as though she was a teenager, with a low-cut white blouse and a pastel blue miniskirt.
"Hello, doctor," she breathed, batting her eyelashes at him most obviously.
He had to consciously keep himself from leaving and slamming the door behind him by telling himself that Cuddy probably wouldn't appreciate him acting like House.
"I just have this terrible chest pain," Ms. Thompson continued. "Do you need to take a look?" She started unbuttoning her blouse and Wilson's subconscious shut down in sheer horror. You have got to be kidding me, he thought.
"Uh, this chart says you have a sore throat," he stuttered.
"I've changed my mind, big boy."
The day started out so ordinary, too, Wilson lamented to himself.
“So what’s wrong with you?” House asked, trying to make clear that this question was rhetorical rather than literal. The patient, of course, failed to notice.
“Well, I think I’m coming down with a stroke,” the man said.
The patient was young, about twenty-one, House estimated. He glanced at the chart. Damn--off by a year. That would most likely make him a college student. By the look of his lengthy and unwashed hair, set off against the contrast of $300 Gucci shoes, he was a spoiled rich brat who got off on pretending to be a new-age purveyor of philosophy or some other equally worthless major, and who desperately needed to unite with a group of fellow kool-aid drinkers to worship grass or something. And judging from his previous comment, he didn’t deserve to be in college. All this led House to the most professional diagnosis that he was an Idiot-Who-Can’t-Tie-His-Shoes.
“You’re coming down with a stroke?” House repeated, on the off chance that this would make the man say something less stupid.
“Yes, I’m coming down with a stroke.” Well, it was worth a try.
“And why would that be?”
“My arm tingles.” The idiot held out his right arm. House whacked it. “Ow!”
“Does it tingle now?”
“No. It hurts.”
“Did it tingle before it hurt?”
“Only in the mornings.”
“Are you a social butterfly who’s popular with people but trusting of strangers and extremely gullible?”
The idiot brightened. “Why yes! Are you a believer of physiognomy?”
“No, but apparently, some bunch of idiots who had nothing better to do with grant money decided that similar types of people share similar sleeping habits, namely that they sleep on their sides.”
“I sleep on my side!”
“Do you cushion your head with your arm?”
“Yeah! Dude, you’re like psychic or something!”
House whacked him again. “You’re not coming down with a stroke. When you sleep on your arm, you cut off circulation, so when you wake up in the morning, it tingles.”
“What should I do?”
House tilted his head, wondering if this idiot might flicker and prove to be other than human, because if not, many humanists would go to bed crying tonight. “Stop sleeping.”
“Yes. I guarantee your arm will stop tingling if you stop sleeping.”
“Great. Thanks, man!” The patient got up and clapped him on the back as he left the room. House glared. People really needed to stop doing that.
House stood and prepared to leave, but Jack Harkness slid in between the closing door and the exiting patient, and now House was trapped. “You’re not getting those files,” he snapped.
Harkness shrugged and flashed his teeth at him. “I’m over that.”
For once, House felt a sudden urge to take care of his paperwork. He did not like this man, and it wasn’t because he now had his arm around him. Or at least, not only because of that.
“What are you doing?” House asked.
Harkness massaged his shoulders. “Your skin is very soft.”
Now, House thought, as Harkness moved into just the right position. With a flick of his wrist, he brought his cane whirling about to strike Harkness’ temple. The man let out a yell and fell back, smashing several jars on the countertop behind him. House turned to survey him calmly and was pleased when he saw him rubbing his head madly.
“Don’t touch me,” he said again.
“And here I thought actions spoke louder than words.” Harkness managed to summon up a smile, though House was pleased to note it was much less blinding than the one before.
“When around idiots, I sometimes feel the need to repeat myself.”
“People usually respond favorably to me.” Harkness started closing the distance between them again. House was alarmed. Most people responded rationally to violence; it was an appeal to fundamental instincts, the need for self-preservation and the like. At a slightly higher level, insults and demeaning comments created negative associations with House in most people’s minds, and the slightly more intelligent avoided him for that reason. Clearly he needed to try a third approach.
There was only four feet between House and the door, and Harkness was not in the way. He made a mad dash, falling at the door handle rather than actually moving his legs. In a flash Harkness was at the door, and his foot kept it from swinging open any further. House sighed. “What do you want?”
“So we’re at the bargaining stage. Almost at acceptance.”
“Nobody’s died, you moron, though your stroking colleague might if you don’t let me out of the room.”
“Your associates are running tests on her; they said you wouldn’t be checking on her for a few hours yet.”
House made a mental tick mark next to “tattle-tale” on the list of actions he predicted Cameron would take to get him to sleep with her. Creating tension came right after sleeping with Chase to make him jealous. House gave it three more months before she started to seduce him outright. He only hoped she wouldn’t take lessons from Harkness.
“It’s usually those who can’t find any sexual partners who feel the need to brag about their attractiveness,” House said.
“Maybe you should ask Dr. Wilson just how attractive I am.”
House forgot about the door. “What?” Jack looked far too self-satisfied to be making it up, but House nevertheless told him, “You’re lying.”
“Do I detect a hint of jealousy?”
“Don’t be fooled by all his divorces; Wilson’s as Catholic as he’s Jewish. He wouldn’t even know what to do with you.”
“So you haven’t heard? I’m disappointed, House. I expected you to be up on workplace gossip. You like to have an edge over your colleagues, don’t you? Or maybe Wilson’s your gateway to the hospital, and damn, he sure ain’t one to kiss and tell.”
Their stand-off was quite rudely interrupted by a pretty blonde who looked too healthy to be here with a cold. Her shoulders were a little tight, and she walked with a shuffling gait, suggesting she was nervous about some embarrassing medical condition. The force of their attention probably didn’t help her anxiety.
“Oh!” she gasped. “I’m sorry, the nurse told me this room was unoccupied and I could wait for--”
“Well, she was wrong!” House snapped. “Can’t you see I’m here with a patient?”
“Hi, Captain Jack Harkness,” Harkness offered her his hand. She shook it, looking confused. “It’s nice to meet you, Miss…”
“Lucinda Davidson,” she squeaked, blushing.
“Lucinda. May I call you Lucy?”
She nodded. This needed to be stopped. “Shoo! Your rash isn’t an STD, it’s just an inconveniently located fungus. Go find someone to write you a prescription.”
Lucinda’s eyes widened. She glanced at Jack, whose smile didn’t even flicker. This man had issues.
Jack winked. “We’ll talk later.”
“Yeah,” House said, “after I figure out what to do with his drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea.” He slammed the door on the girl’s shocked expression.
Harkness folded his arms. “Now you’re stuck with me. How do you want to pass the time?”
House pulled out his portable television and turned it on. Harkness looked disappointed but nevertheless approached to watch over his shoulder.
“Ah, General Hospital. Great show. So sad when it ended.”
House glanced at him. “What are you talking about?”
“Oh, oops. Right. That’s not for years.”
Don’t call him. He’ll call me during his lunch break.
“Here,” Tosh said, handing Gwen her cell phone. “Can you keep this for me? And if anyone calls, tell them I’ll call them back.”
“Sure,” Gwen replied. “But why can’t you--”
“It interferes with my scans,” Tosh said, as confidently as she could manage, given that she was lying through her teeth. She ran out of the room, ears straining for the sound of her ring tone even as she headed down the hallway.
She and Monty had gone to bed not long after they arrived at the hotel--separately, of course; Tosh had no intention of rushing into a relationship. The next morning was a flurry of activity as they exchanged phone numbers on hotel stationery and rushed to beat the sun to work. Surprisingly enough, the fact that Monty knew about the existence, if not the specifics, of Torchwood did not bother her. He didn’t press her on details, and he seemed far more interested in her than her work. She felt good when she was with him. With Mary, there’d always been the sense that she was doing something wrong, something furtive, as though she was a child trying to keep her parents from finding out she’d done something against the rules. Monty was the sort of partner she could actually take home. Well, if he wasn’t a politician, anyway.
They’d arranged to meet again that night. Tosh wasn’t sure where this relationship was going, if anywhere, but she liked it that way. She could leave any time, only she knew she wouldn’t. But knowing that she was in control, it made her feel safe in a way she hadn’t since aliens crashed into Big Ben. All her life had been a blur after that, one covert organization after another, so many secrets, a million little weights that she couldn’t put down, and each one seemed so light, she always thought, Just one more will be all right.
When she returned to the hospital, Ianto told her about the coat rack he’d discovered, as well as how Jack had failed to track it down. She’d tweaked the scanner a little more as she sat with Gwen. Owen had disappeared, but she supposed he could be forgiven after staying up all night with Gwen. She only hoped he’d found somewhere comfortable to get some rest.
Keeping a wary eye out for Brenda, Tosh walked down hall after hall, trying to conceal the beeping device in her hands. She first searched the location Ianto had described, but though she picked up slightly elevated radiation levels, they were low enough to tell her the artifact had long since moved on. She next checked the readings outside each doctor’s office, but there weren’t even small spikes to suggest that the artifact had been on the floor apart from when it’d been by the coat rack. Maybe it’d been a doctor visiting from another floor...
Then she noticed a janitor wheeling a cart into a patient’s room. The coat rack had been near a janitor’s closet! She rushed back to the location, and sure enough, found a locked door. Maybe Ianto had been mistaken. She pulled out the lock-breaker Jack had let her bring from the Hub, and a click told her the room was accessible. She pushed the door open and found herself in a small enclosure, barely one by two meters in area, and disappointingly devoid of alien objects. The beeping almost stopped entirely. She took a step in and waved her handheld over a few of the shelves, hoping for a pick-up in the readings. There was nothing.
Someone behind her cleared her throat. Tosh whirled around and found herself face-to-face with Brenda. The nurse frowned. “What are you doing?”
There was no escaping, and Tosh wasn’t about to try to force her way past; she knew from yesterday how strong the woman’s grip was. There was only one thing to do; Tosh stepped closer, wrapped her arms around Brenda, and brought their heads together. Brenda let out a soft gasp as their lips met. Tosh opened her mouth, and when she applied a little pressure, the nurse let the tip of her tongue slide through her defenses. She smelled different from any man or woman Tosh had kissed before; the scent of antiseptics drifted about her, and her skin was so clean it was almost tasteless. Nevertheless, there was nothing sterile about her technique. She most certainly knew how to kiss.
Tosh let the kiss stretch for a few more seconds before she let go and they broke apart. Brenda’s face was emotionless, but the sternness was gone from her expression. Brenda brushed a finger against her lower lip and stared at Tosh. “I haven’t been kissed in a long time.”
Tosh smiled and waited. Brenda contemplated a moment longer before saying, “You shouldn’t be here. You’ve been awfully bad, and do you know what we do to those who’ve been naughty?”
Ianto rushed into the lobby. Jack wasn’t picking up his cell and Gwen had answered Tosh’s, saying she’d left just a few minutes ago to search for Ianto’s coat rack. Either of them would have the equipment to deal with Owen’s situation, so he headed for the lift, figuring Tosh would be easier to track down. As the lift approached the first floor, however, he heard a curious sound growing louder.
“Ow, ow, ow, ow, OW.” Ding.
A dark, blurred shape burst through the opening doors and knocked Ianto to the ground. He blinked and saw it was Tosh. He looked past her and saw the doors close on Brenda.
Tosh brushed her hair from her eyes and pushed herself up. “I tried kissing her.”
“You must not be a very good kisser.”
Tosh looked indignant. “Brad Pitt couldn’t move that woman’s heart.”
“What about Jack Harkness?”
“Someone say my name?”
They both jumped as Jack appeared from the direction of the hospital’s free clinic. Ianto opened his mouth. “Owen’s--”
“Jack!” Tosh exclaimed. The three of them froze as they realized Tosh’s scanner was beeping madly. She ran up to Jack and scanned him. The screen lit up like fireworks. Ianto looked over her shoulder and did a few quick mental calculations.
“For that level of radiation, you have to have been exposed within the last twelve hours,” he said.
“Twelve hours?” Tosh said. “More like six.”
“Not if he was in close contact for a long period of time.”
“For that long, he’d have to have been on a date or something!”
Jack glanced at the device. “Yeah, well, there was Wilson.”
“Just an oncologist. Strictly professional.”
“Gwen has cancer?”
“Where else have you been today?” Ianto asked.
“Clinic,” Jack replied. “Three nurses, two receptionists, House, another doctor, and Cuddy, briefly. This morning, there was Chase, Foreman, and Cameron, and I’ll be damned if Cameron isn’t obscenely flirty.”
Ianto raised an eyebrow.
Jack raised his hands in mock surrender. “I’m serious, the woman’s on hormone pills or something. She’s probably trying to make someone jealous.”
“Maybe we should check the clinic before the objects of your flirtation walk out on us.” Tosh said.
Ianto sighed at Jack’s self-esteem and sense of sexual entitlement. He might find it amusing, or at least exasperating, if it wasn’t all that stood between them and the possible annihilation of the city.
Wilson's second clinic patient was no better than the first, which just seemed insanely unfair. He was a heavy, balding, middle-aged man who was, it appeared, very fond of shouting, and was definitely a first-class champion at it. He also had an alarming tendency to emphasize everything with obscenities.
"I need a fucking physical!" he announced the moment Wilson stepped into the room. Slightly put-off by his attitude, Wilson glanced down at his chart.
"All right, Mister, uh, Humphrey." The man's name was Hubert Horatio Humphrey. The Third. Oh God. He couldn't conceive of a less suitable name. "I'm Dr. Wilson," he continued, "and I--"
"Goddammit, stop your fucking blithering and get on with it! I have to get back to work and you fucking snobs have already kept me waiting forty fucking minutes! I have to make a living too, you know!" The man seemed to naturally punctuate his sentences with exclamation marks, even when he wasn't actively trying to be loud, and since right then he was, Wilson doubted there was a single person within fifty meters of the room who couldn't hear every word. It wasn't even noon yet, and he already felt his frayed nerves deteriorating even further.
"Right, sorry. I'll try to make this quick," Wilson said, trying his best to remain polite and calm. He hurried to pull together the necessary papers. "What is your reason for getting a physical?" he asked.
"For my fucking insurance agency," the man boomed. "All I want to do is switch policies! Could the bastards make it a bigger fucking issue?" Hubert Humphrey continued to rant about insurance agencies in a voice that steadily rose in volume as he made himself madder and madder. In the wake of his venting, he seemed to have forgotten about his rush to return to his job.
Wilson stared, transfixed in morbid fascination as the man's large, round face deepened from a pinkish hue into a dark red one. The excess skin on his neck wobbled menacingly, and a couple of thick veins throbbed and pulsed on his forehead. Watching him was like watching an erupting volcano that was somehow partly plugged, so that the liquid inferno inside was unable to force its way out all at once and was so very outraged to discover it had no choice but to erupt a bit at a time.
The man was so big he could probably have killed Wilson just by sitting on him. It was absolutely terrifying.
Then, sometime in the last five minutes, his tirade shifted from the inefficiencies of insurance agencies to the inefficiencies of doctors and hospitals. Roughly seven minutes in, Wilson, far past the end of his rope and fearing for his eardrums, decided he'd had enough.
"Do you want to get on with this or not?!" he yelled, the words exploding out of him. Typically, he immediately regretted it and felt bad. The man paused to stare at him in disbelief.
"How dare you speak to me that way, you fucking little shit! If you don't want my money, I'll go to another fucking hospital!"
"I apologize, it won't happen again," Wilson said wearily, all the anger having drained out of him to be replaced by absolute indifference. He didn’t bother to point out that the clinic was free.
"You're damn right it won't! That's one of the things I hate about doctors; they all think they're so fucking high-and-mighty..." And unbelievably, the man was off again. Wilson rubbed his temples. He was seriously considering fetching House and letting them deal with each other when the man himself opened the door and popped his head in.
House took less than a moment to assess the situation and then, ignoring Wilson's panicked arm motions, opened his mouth. "SHUT UP!" he roared, his commanding voice somehow carrying well over the noise Mr. Humphrey was making, which abruptly ceased. "Thank you," House said, before addressing Wilson. "What is going on in here? The nurses all think you're trapped in here with the Incredible Hulk! Apparently they're wrong, though. He's not the right color," he added.
Wilson struggled between relief and exasperation. His ears were ringing.
"Do you want to die?!" Humphrey shouted at House. House pretended to consider the question.
"I'd say dying is the last thing I want to do," he responded flippantly. Wilson rolled his eyes.
"Coulda fooled me--" Humphrey hesitated and frowned. "Wait..."
"Anyway," House continued, turning towards Wilson again, "I'm getting lunch. You coming?" He reached over and used his cane to unhook his coat from a stand in the corner of the room. Catching Wilson’s expression, he said, "Is it just me or is it hot in here? Not good for your temper." And with that, he left. Wilson engaged in a brief debate with himself over the merits of keeping his reputation versus the merits of keeping his sanity. Of course, he quickly decided on the inevitable and followed after House, pausing only to assure his fuming patient that he'd send another doctor in shortly.
Five minutes and a quick stop at the restrooms found House and Wilson on their way to the cafeteria. Wilson had calmed down considerably and was even on his way towards regaining his good mood. He and House were thoroughly immersed in a deep theological discussion.
"Every religious revelation must involve a tree, or at least be near one," House decided.
"Yes," Wilson agreed.
"Or a bush."
"A burning bush."
"A burning bush, maybe. That's why I don't trust Islam. There aren't many trees in the desert." House looked thoughtful. "Do cacti count?" he asked. Wilson hadn't considered that.
"Er, I don't think there are really cacti there. At least, not in the way we think of cacti. The Old Western type, you know."
"How big do they have to be to count?" House wondered. Wilson shrugged.
"I don't think they'd count unless they have leaves."
"How many trees do you think had to be cut down in order to build this hospital?" House asked, apparently losing interest in the cacti.
"Dunno," Wilson said helpfully as they both rounded a corner. "Lots, I'd imagine. Not much of it is made of wood, I suppose, but even just the amount of paperwork involved..."
"Think of how many important revelations may never be able to happen now!" House tried hard to sound distressed.
"It is truly an unparalleled loss," Wilson agreed sadly. They both spotted Cuddy approaching them from the other end of the hallway. House adopted a wary look.
"Do you think that could possibly be construed as religious discrimination? Cutting down all those trees?" he asked.
"It is quite possible." Wilson plastered on a grim expression. Cuddy halted directly in front of them and opened her mouth to speak. House, sensing danger, attempted a preemptive strike.
"That sort of religious discrimination is intolerable!" he yelled, loud enough for anyone on that floor to hear, which badly startled Cuddy. "I am utterly disgusted by you, Doctor! All those trees!" With that, House turned on his heel with a grace that belied his bum leg and limped off as fast as he could manage. Wilson gave a snort at the flabbergasted look on his boss's face before running to catch up with his friend.
"DAMMIT, HOUSE! YOU NEVER FINISHED YOUR CLINIC DUTY!" Cuddy yelled after them as they escaped.
They split up, Ianto heading for the patients waiting in the lobby while Tosh checked the staff and Jack burst into exam room after exam room. When Ianto’s search yielded nothing, he headed past the reception desk to help Jack. Thus far, none of the nurses had noticed Jack’s incursions, but he doubted that would last long; the sooner they finished their search the better. He was about to enter one of the rooms when Jack ran out of the next one over, his wristband beeping.
Jack grabbed a passing nurse. “Excuse me, which doctor was in here? He examined me earlier, but I didn’t catch his name, and I realized I had a question for him.”
“You didn’t get his name? That’d probably be Dr. House, then.”
“No, no, he was in another room. I remember because he made someone cry and she told me, ‘If you see a doctor with a cane named House, run as fast as you can.’”
“Oh, well let me check then.”
“Thank you.” Jack and Ianto followed her back to the desk. She flipped through the files and nodded.
“The last five patients in that room saw Dr. Wilson.”
“I told you,” Ianto said.
Tosh ran up to them. “I got nothing.”
“It was Wilson.” Jack said. “Come on, let’s go.”
“Brenda’s on the oncology floor,” Ianto and Tosh said at the same time.
Jack rolled his eyes. “Cowards.” He ran off. The two of them reluctantly followed.
When they entered the main lobby, Tosh froze. Ianto glanced at her, then followed her gaze to see a handsome young man waving at her from the front door. He remembered she’d been gone last night.
Jack noticed too. “Wow, Tosh,” he said approvingly, “you’ve been busy. It’s the American accent, isn’t it?”
The man entered and ran up to Tosh, kissing her on the forehead. “Are these your coworkers?”
“Uh, yeah,” Tosh said, still looking nervous. “This is Jack and Ianto. Jack and Ianto, meet Monty Pike.”
“Nice to meet you,” Monty said, shaking Jack’s hand.
Jack grinned. “Nice to meet you too, Monty.”
Tosh shook her head. “No flirting, Jack.”
“When were you going to tell us you’d met someone?” Jack asked, before adding in a faux whisper, “And so hot, too.”
“I don’t suppose I could pry Toshiko away for an hour?” Monty asked.
“Did you drive from the capital?” Tosh said.
Monty shrugged and tried to look nonchalant. “Yeah, well, it’s been a slow day.”
“There’s sort of been an emergency,” Jack said. “And--”
“Jack,” Ianto interrupted. “I think you might want to let her go.”
Jack stared at Ianto in confusion, and in the ensuing silence, they all heard it: a double shrill, insistent beeping from Jack and Tosh’s hands. As one, they both brought their scanners closer to Monty, and the beeping grew louder and more frequent.
“Uh, what’s that?” Monty asked.
“Never mind,” Jack and Tosh said, shutting off their scanners.
Jack smiled. “Special scanners; they detect sexiness.”
Ianto saw Tosh give Jack an incredulous look that Monty didn’t see. The young man looked extremely pleased and was much too focused on Tosh to give the comment any extra thought. He offered her his hand, which she took with one last glance at Jack, and they headed out the door together.
“Come on, stop staring at his ass,” Jack told Ianto. “We have an oncologist to intercept.”
Wilson and House retreated to Wilson’s office, figuring Cuddy would expect them to hide somewhere less conspicuous. Wilson sighed in relief as House slammed the door. He had no patients waiting to meet him, and though he’d left clinic duty an hour early, he could make it up later. At least House wasn’t in an argumentative mood; he might actually get some peace, now.
He heard the lock click. He looked up and saw House leaning against the door with a self-satisfied look. Oh, this was not good.
“Word ‘round the water cooler says you’ve been making out with my patient’s boss,” House said. “I’m sure there’s something in the Hippocratic Oath against it.”
“It also says not to give women abortions.”
“Did you just conveniently forget to deny my accusation? Oho, Wilson! You mad sex dog.”
“I heard Dean from pediatrics fancies you. You could be James and Dean, rebels without the sense to run away from bratty children.”
“It was just one kiss.”
“That what you told your first wife?”
“You know what, House? I don’t have to put up with this.” Wilson stood up. When House refused to budge from the door, he pushed House out of the way, causing him to collapse onto the sofa. House looked indignant but Wilson shook his head. “There’s a reason I didn’t talk to you; I’d hoped you’d be at least a little bit understanding, but I should’ve known that was too much to hope for. Come back when you have something supportive to say.”
Wilson unlocked the door and stepped out. He sighed, wondering where he could go now. House would be waiting in his office when he went back in, that much he knew for sure. He might as well return to the clinic and maybe go home early. Yes, that sounded like a good idea.
He turned to head for the elevator and immediately ran into Jack Harkness.
“Take off your coat.” Jack demanded.
Wilson turned and ran.
“Ianto!” Jack called.
A man in a suit appeared in the intersection ahead and charged Wilson. Wilson dodged to one side, but the other man was too fast. Ianto tackled him, slamming him against the floor. Their combined momentum sent them skidding backward into an approaching nurse who screamed and ran away.
It was all too much. Wilson screamed. “Get the fuck off me!”
He threw a wild punch that sent the other man flying. Clambering back onto his feet, he saw Jack was rapidly closing the distance between them. There was no time to run. Still in a blind rage, Wilson unhooked his stethoscope and threw himself at Jack, wrapping the cord around his neck. He slammed the captain against the wall, applying his full weight against his chest to keep him from moving.
“Stop stalking me!” Wilson yelled.
Jack head-butted him. He cried out, falling backward, and he felt a pair of strong arms grab him and pull him back. Still blinking stars from his eyes, he couldn’t recover in time. Jack pressed some angular device against a door and pulled it open, revealing a janitor’s closet. His associate gave Wilson a push, and he staggered in. Jack followed and shut them in. Wilson backed away, suddenly a little frightened.
“Did you pick up any strange artifacts in the past two days, under mysterious circumstances?” Jack asked.
Wilson tilted his head in confusion. “What? Uh, no.”
“Then you won’t mind if I check your pockets?” Jack asked. “Really, I just need to see your coat.”
Wilson hesitated a moment, then shook off his coat and handed it over. Jack rummaged through his pockets, and when he found nothing, he looked upset. He ran his wristband over the coat, and it beeped wildly.
“Empty your pockets, please?” Jack said.
Wilson complied, realizing the urgency in Jack’s voice meant this encounter was strictly professional. There was only his wallet and his keys. Jack scanned them quickly, then had him put them back.
“That’s strange,” Jack muttered to himself.
Suddenly, there was an urgent knocking on the door.
“Jack! Get out of there! She’s com-- aaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiieeeeerrghhghhhhhhhhh!!!”
The door flew open to reveal Brenda, the nurse.
“Why hello,” Jack said brightly, “I’m-- ow ow OW!”
With Brenda’s fingers tight around his right ear, Jack had little choice but to allow himself to be guided out of the closet. Once he was outside, she slammed the base of her hand against his back, and the captain went flying. Wilson felt himself relaxing in relief when she turned back toward him. He felt his heart jump into his throat.
“I expected better from you, Dr. Wilson,” Brenda said.
“Uh, I swear, I wasn’t-- oh, can I just please go?” He tried to edge past her, but she grabbed his shirt and pushed him back against the shelves. In his terror, he couldn’t take his eyes off her, but he heard the door squeak shut.
“You’ve been a naughty, naughty boy, Dr. Wilson.”
Wilson whimpered and shut his eyes. This day could not end soon enough.
As soon as they were out of the hospital, Monty pulled Tosh aside and looked around furtively. “There’s something I need to show you.” He opened his briefcase and rummaged through the contents before withdrawing a metallic, rod-shaped implement about seven centimeters long. It was tapered at one end and ended with a round extrusion on the other, but there were no markings or buttons on it. Tosh could see no way of activating it, though there must be some method, because plain as it looked, they both needed but a glance to realize it was alien in origin.
Tosh ran her handheld over the object, and sure enough, the artifact was practically glowing with Rift energy. Monty grinned; so he’d known what she and Jack were doing.
“This came through just hours ago,” Tosh whispered. Monty nodded confirmation.
“I was leaving the governor’s office when I heard a soft zapping sound. There was a bit of a burnt ozone smell, too, and when I checked behind the secretary’s desk, I saw this on the ground, smoking as though it were burning a hole in the carpet, though there was no damage.”
“This is not good,” Tosh said. “This came through from Cardiff. One artifact this far away from the Rift is bad, two means... well, it’s never happened before.”
“What about a few months ago with the aliens over the Taj Mahal and all that? I overheard the governor making some calls and I’m sure he said ‘Cardiff.’”
“That was... special.”
“So, what, is the space-time continuum coming apart and the universe preparing to end?”
“Nothing that drastic. Probably.” Tosh took the rod and flipped it over and over in her hands, trying to find some hint as to what it did or where it came from. “The Earth might get destroyed though.”
“Oh, well, that’s nothing to worry about,” Monty said.
“So this is what you came to see me about?” Tosh said, pointing the rod at him. He jumped out of the way.
“I was going to come anyway, just not this early. But it seemed urgent, and I didn’t know who else to turn to. It isn’t every day something materializes in the office.”
Tosh nodded. “It’s a good thing you did. Thank you. I’ll have to find some way to repay you.”
“Oh, I can think of a few ways.”
Tosh smiled. Then she focused her attention back on the rod. Come on, she thought. What do you do? Activate!
Suddenly, a shrill scream, like the blow of a whistle, sounded as though from the very air around them. A concussion exploded outward from the device, and when the blast hit her, everything fell silent, as though she’d gone deaf. Then the shockwave passed and she could hear the rushing of wind roaring away from them. A single beam of light shot out from the rod and struck a passing pedestrian.
Damn it! She quickly pointed the rod down at the ground, but the damage was done. Thankfully, it shut down before it could do much more, but the man it’d shot was sprawled unmoving on the ground.
She and Monty ran up to the man and turned him over.
“He’s still breathing,” Monty said.
The man’s eyelids shot open. He shifted his gaze from one of them to the other, his eyes wide with a sort of dazed fervor. “Am I dead? Are you... angels?”
Tosh shook her head. “No, you’re alive, thankfully.”
“Thank the Lord! He has allowed me to come back to serve Him!”
Tosh and Monty exchanged looks. She could tell he was thinking, Oh, it’s one of them. The man ignored them.
“Oh, the follies I have committed. He struck me down in punishment for my sins, but when I was afraid, He appeared in the darkness and showed me the path of righteousness. I have been granted a second chance!”
“You’re all right, sir?” Monty said cautiously.
The man grabbed his tie and pulled him closer. “I am great, young man! I am saved! Repent, or you will burn in Hell for all eternity!”
“Oh,” Monty blinked. “Great. Sounds like fun.”
“Are you being flippant?”
“Oh no, I never learned to cartwheel. I had a bad back in elementary school.”
The man paused, apparently unsure what to make of his comment. Finally, he nodded, his eyes filling with tears. “You have already sold your soul to the Devil! You are beyond salvation. Oh, may you suffer for all eternity.”
He stood up and wandered away and promptly began to rant at a particularly lewd-looking tree.
“You don’t suppose I did that to him?” Tosh asked.
“I don’t know,” Monty responded. “But promise me one thing.”
“Never point that thing at me again.”
“God damn you!” the man roared as Tosh and Monty beat a hasty retreat. “You’re just like that blasphemous Giving Tree, seducing little children with your ‘gifts’ and making them play with you!”
To Chapter 3: Part 2
Back to Chapter 2: Three Kisses
Summary: We broke LJ. Seriously, this chapter was so long it wouldn’t fit in one post. Cracky overview? Bad things happen to Owen, Wilson gets hit on by the entire hospital, Jack accidentally spoils to House that yes, General Hospital does one day end, Tosh messes around with an alien phallic symbol that stimulates spiritual orgasms, and aliens invade Princeton-Plainsboro and attack Cameron and Ianto. And as if that isn’t enough, this is followed by an interlude featuring the Second Doctor and Jamie being menaced by monstrous mushrooms with big pointy teeth.