dominus_trinus (dominus_trinus) wrote in house_musical,
dominus_trinus
dominus_trinus
house_musical

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Title: DDX, With Feeling
Author: dominus_trinus
Rating: Appropriate for teens and up.
Pairing: House/Wilson
Genre: Musical/Filk
Summary: House: The Musical ("Once More, With Feeling" version). Scrubs did it. Buffy did it. And we all know Wilson can swing-dance with the best of them.
Words: 7,294
Warnings: Meta, some angst (if either counts).
Feedback: Is insatiably hungered for and immeasurably appreciated!
Notes: Finally complete after seventeen meticulously reworked musical numbers, plus stage directions and dialogue. Please take time to appreciate the rhyme schemes and harmonies. Thank you.

DDX, With Feeling

Act I

[Scene: Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, CUDDY’S office. She is sitting at her desk, filing miscellaneous paperwork as she waits for her computer to boot up.]

CUDDY (mutters): Why is this thing always so slow? (Closes drawer on the paperwork, logs into the computer network.) Okay…first order of business, make sure House didn’t spam the staff e-mail accounts again. Didn’t hear the end of that for weeks… (Double-clicks the e-mail program, skims the screen, reads a subject line aloud.) ‘Attention all staff’—what’s this? (Casts a wary eye on the message, opens it, reads aloud in an undertone.) Staff of PPTH will be conducting all business in—what? (Silently reads further, eyes growing wide, then sighs.) Oh, great. (Looks up at the ceiling, throws up her hands.) Why me?

(A young woman, approximately twenty and wearing a t-shirt and jeans, enters the office, stopping in front of CUDDY’S desk and giving the Dean of Medicine a smile.)

YOUNG WOMAN: I can answer that.

CUDDY (gives her an appraising look, then narrows her eyes): Who’re you?

YOUNG WOMAN: Call me Dem—acronym for deus ex machina. Since your Powers that Be take the summer off and I have far too much time on my hands, I decided a little song-and-dance is just what this institution needs. Whimsical and excellent for character development. (DEM’S smile widens; she pulls a folder seemingly from nowhere and lays it on CUDDY’S desk.) There you go. You don’t actually have much singing to do—just the one number to start things off, a short interlude and a verse or two during the climax—so you get to play the Greek chorus for the duration. All your lines are in there.

CUDDY (looks flabbergasted, sputters): This—this is a hospital, not Broadway! And I don’t sing—

DEM (cutting in): Doesn’t matter; you do now. Participation is kind of compulsory. (Snaps her fingers, and a light, mincing musical introduction begins to play; then she vanishes, leaving CUDDY alone in the office.)

(CUDDY tries to fight the music, but as the opening bars wind to a close, she finds that ‘compulsory’ was actually an apt description, as she begins to sing in spite of herself. Contrary to her earlier assertion, her singing voice isn’t that bad.)

[Song: Trying to Keep Order (To the tune of “Overture/Going Through the Motions.”)]

CUDDY:
Every single day, it never changes
Trying to make this place run.
Sure I’ve reached the top, but what is strange is
It’s never easy. And it’s rarely fun.
What I must endure from the fourth floor,
I stand all that and more, but I’m just
Trying to keep order,
Wielding chair and whip,
Hoping Doctor House won’t lose his grip!

Always arrogant, oh-so-sarcastic
Pops narcotics left and right.
How to change his ways? Do something drastic?
Wilson tried and failed. It’s not worth the fight
(Or case oversight).

So I stand behind his brilliant mind,
Let him be unrefined
For despite his unorthodoxy

[Descant (courtesy of NURSE BRENDA, from the clinic):] Damn unorthodoxy!
And bedside learned in hell
Make allowances and he’ll excel!


Will he be this way forever?
All these years and he has never
Tried that bitterness to sever—
Nothing I can do…

Just keep keeping order,
Fulfill inner drive,
And hope someday he'll see
Life’d go more easily
If he’d do more than just
Survive.


[End song.]

CUDDY (sighs): Thank God that’s over! (Glances at the folder, opens it and reads the top sheet, then frowns.) Oh, dammit. There’s no way House will… (She trails off, a slow, wicked smile spreading over her face as she realizes that HOUSE won’t have a choice.) On second thought…this I have to see. (Opening the drawer, she takes out four copies of a file, puts the folder down and leaves her office, taking the elevator off the clinic to the fourth floor. HOUSE is limping down the hall to his office; she catches up with him and shoves the folders into his hand.)

HOUSE (frowns at them): Now, see, those look like case folders, but they can’t be, because I don’t recall agreeing to take a case.

CUDDY: I don’t care if you agree or not: you’re taking it. Now go do your job.

HOUSE (opens the folder, skims it, then looks up as a musical note sounds): What the hell was that?

CUDDY (smugly): Did I mention we all have to sing and dance our way through work today? (Pauses, considering.) Well, not dancing, in your case, but that was probably the cue for your opening number.

HOUSE (flatly): I’m not singing.

CUDDY: That’s what you think. (Points to his office.) Get in there.

HOUSE (approaches the office door, glances in at the FELLOWS): I can diagnose from out here today, I think.

CUDDY: Do it, and you don’t have any clinic hours until this madness is over.

(HOUSE considers. That offer is apparently too good to refuse. He enters the office, where CHASE, CAMERON and FOREMAN are sitting with a crossword puzzle, HOUSE’S paperwork and a cup of coffee, respectively. The earlier musical cue—a single, upbeat note—repeats itself; HOUSE tosses the charts onto the table and begins to sing.)

[Song: I’ve Got A Theory/Half-wits/Just Run the Damn Tests (To the tune of “I’ve Got a Theory/Bunnies/If We’re Together.”)]

HOUSE:
We’ve got a patient! The differential?
Well, come on, people—I’m not giving you all day here.

CAMERON (reaching for a chart):
What are the symptoms? There must be symptoms,
And given your tastes I am guessing that they’re severe.

HOUSE (impatiently):
That what the chart’s for—start to work it out!
Keep your mouth shut ‘til you know what you’re meant to talk about.

CHASE:
It could be drug use! Illicit drug use
‘Cause that’s a common cause
Of many of the symptoms here
And we should run a tox screen
Search the house and find out if
The patient lies.

FOREMAN:
Maybe head trauma? Get an MRI.
Or what if—

HOUSE (explodes, disgusted):
‘Fore I hired you, did you even go to med schools?
You’re clearly guessing and I don’t pay you to be fools!
Chase at least learned my methods—but the rest of you are so getting on my nerves!
Theories! Give me some better theories!
(Or more stuff to mock.)

CAMERON:
It could be lupus. Run an ANA.

HOUSE:
It’s never been lupus and it will not be so today!

Chase, break and enter. Foreman, start to test:
Tox screen, CBC and all the rest—
And that’s an order, not a request.
Well, go on; move—your duty calls;
Don’t stand and gape within these walls.

FELLOWS (filing out):
Another case. Well, let’s get in it;
Patient’s growing worse every minute.
We know by now: we cannot grouse,
Or else we’re sure to piss off House.

We’ll run the tests—


HOUSE (descant):
Run the damn tests!

FELLOWS:
And we’ll solve this case—
That’s how we are meant to earn our place.

HOUSE (descant, cont’d):
And get me answers!

FELLOWS:
Nothing we can’t guess…
Eventually.


[End song.]

HOUSE (mutters, with an expression of profound disgust): This is why I’m an atheist: no benevolent being would have allowed showtunes to highjack my life. (Pause, pensive silence.) I wonder if Wilson’s been forced to sing anything? Maybe a funeral dirge with some tumor-ridden kids as backup…

[End scene.]

(Fade in on CUDDY, standing outside the room while the FELLOWS run an MRI.)

CUDDY: While House is goofing off, his fellows are actually doing their jobs and taking care of the patient, who’s having an MRI—apparently Foreman is testing for neurological problems anyway. (Peeks in the door.) Chase is back from the weekly break-in, which is fortunate, because an uncommon number of patients seem to need an intensivist at some point during this procedure.

(Pan in on the MRI machine. The patient has just come out; fanfare begins to play.)

[Song: The Patient (To the tune of “The Mustard.”)]

CAMERON (turns a cartwheel, sings):
The patient’s still okay!

FELLOWS (echo jubilantly):
The patient’s still okay!

[End song.]

(Cut back to CUDDY, looking disturbed.)

CUDDY: I’ll talk to them about that display later. Right now, we should get back up to oncology—Wilson’s due to start an expository number any minute. (Consults her watch, then the folder from earlier. There’s sheet music sticking out of it.) Damn—if this tune were any sweeter, it’d make Disney sick. I hope they let him bring it down an octave. (She turns and heads for the elevator.)

(Cut to WILSON’S office. He’s sitting at his desk when guitar chords begin to play.)

[Song: Caught in His Thrall (To the tune of “Under Your Spell.”)]

WILSON:
He drives me crazy sometimes—
I’m first to admit it—yet
He’s seen me through my glum times
Almost since when we first met.
Maybe it’s a fact
That opposites attract.

Caught up in his thrall
Standing at his side
Confidant and sometimes guide
Just why I can’t recall
But I’ll take in stride
Each surprise that he’ll provide.

We’re so mismatched that it’s strange
We’ve been together this long—
But there’s not much that I’d change;
Somehow it keeps our bond strong.
It’s odd, yes, but true;
That we have seen so much through.

Caught up in his thrall—
But on reflection,
‘Twas mutual connection.
Something, however small
Prompted him to stay;
Had to figure out the way
I worked—why I liked him.

Our friendship endures—
Maybe even something more?

Caught up in his thrall—
Don’t quite know it all
For he’s such a mystery
Enough to make me fall
Holding to the key,
Glimpses that he’s let me see…
There’s something more there…
There’s something more there…
There’s something more there…


[End song.]

(Cut to CUDDY, standing about halfway between the oncology and diagnostics offices.)

CUDDY: Even with the elevator, it takes far too much time to get from the basement to the fourth floor—I only just made the first refrain. (Pause.) Wilson has a great voice, even if that number was a little more than I wanted to know. At least it explains why he puts up with so much crap from House. (Pause. CUDDY glances into diagnostics. HOUSE is juggling an 8-ball, his oversized ball, and the stapler. She raps on the glass; he starts, but still catches the objects.)

HOUSE (shouts): What?

CUDDY (sighs, opens the door and sticks her head in): Wilson’s office. Now. You’re late for a duet.

(HOUSE glares obstinately at her, drops into his chair and crosses his arms over his chest. She opens the folder and consults the contents.)

CUDDY (cont’d): Actually—you can stay there. (She withdraws, lets the door swing shut and heads for oncology, stopping in front of and knocking on the door. Wilson opens it, looks surprised to see her there.)

WILSON: Dr. Cuddy? Do you need something?

CUDDY: You have a duet in House’s office. It was originally supposed to be in yours, but he’s determined to go through this with as much ill grace as possible.

WILSON (chuckles): Sounds like him. Actually, DDX in song was fairly entertaining…and I had no idea Chase could theorize that fast. (Leaves his office, closes the door behind him.) Anything I should know about this number? The last one was kind of a surprise…

CUDDY (checks the folder as they head for HOUSE’S office): There’s a dance interlude in the middle, kind of a forties-style thing. House is exempt, for obvious reasons, but you’re stuck with it.

WILSON (dryly): I think I’ll survive. (Enters just in time for a winds-and-piano introduction; lets the door swing shut behind him as he draws a breath in preparation to sing.)

[Song: I’ll Never Tell (To the eponymous tune.)]

WILSON (gestures to indicate HOUSE):
This is the guy that I do not ask why
I still hang around,
Even when he grins with glee as he runs me
Into the ground.
All these years, they just show
His vitriol won’t make me go.
There are just things that—no.
I’ll never tell.

HOUSE (mirrors WILSON’S gesture):
He is my friend to the end, will attend
To my every need. He’ll pay my bail when in jail
Will not fail my hungers to feed.
He’s loyal, he’s a wit,
We’re both screwed up but still we fit.
It’s just that he’s a bit—
Well. I’ll never tell.

BOTH:
But the things I could tell!


(Music changes key, speeds up in preparation for the banter.)

WILSON:
He drinks.

HOUSE:
He preaches.

WILSON:
All boundaries he breaches.

HOUSE:
He has this thing with marriage that I won’t describe.

WILSON:
Addict, narcotic.

HOUSE:
He’s ever so neurotic!

WILSON:
He’ll lie, cheat or steal or try an incisive jibe.

BOTH:
Ascribe whatever meaning…

WILSON:
Maybe needs some intervening.

HOUSE:
Or out of control careening.

WILSON:
Maybe on support he’s leaning,
But I guess just as well.

BOTH:
‘Cause God knows I’ll never tell!

WILSON:
He needs a muzzle
And depends on a puzzle
To get him through the day he couldn’t otherwise bear.

HOUSE:
He needs the needy—
It’s really almost greedy.
When I least want a lecture that’s when I’ll find him there!

WILSON (spoken): Time for that dance interlude, I guess.

(Instrumental break, change of key; WILSON begins a few dance steps; HOUSE observes, still seated.)

WILSON:
Well, maybe we’re both crazy.

HOUSE:
The logic’s hazy…

WILSON:
But his antics are amusing,
Even when they’re quite confusing
So if I’m the crutch that he’s using…


(Instrumental break; HOUSE stops WILSON’S dancing with a strategic application of cane to shins; return to original melody.)

WILSON:
We need each other.

HOUSE:
Like symbiotes or brothers.
Never mind the others—he’s the one that will stay.

WILSON:
I endure vices, and make some sacrifices,
But in the end the price is one that I’m glad to pay.

HOUSE:
I say that I need no one;
That way, I know I won’t be betrayed.

WILSON:
But I wouldn’t let him drive me off.

HOUSE:
Despite all the times I yelled and scoffed.

WILSON:
Maybe this arrangement’s stressful
But ultimately successful.

HOUSE:
And I can’t imagine working
Sans my bud beside me smirking,
Maybe pranking,
Maybe joking.

WILSON:
Maybe driven into stroking.
Either way, all the provoking
It will somehow end well,
And that’s why I’ll never tell.
I swear that I’ll never tell.

HOUSE (smirking):
Although I could.

WILSON (pointedly rubbing his shin):
Although I should.

HOUSE:
I take the fifth.
Just move along.

BOTH:
I’ll never tell!

[End song.]

WILSON (to HOUSE): That was...uncommonly positive of you.

HOUSE: It was the song talking—I haven’t had to be that candid about my emotions since I ditched Stacy. Did I mention this vaudeville routine is getting old?

WILSON: Not to me, but I’m sure you’ve been complaining all morning.

HOUSE (disgruntled): Of course I’ve been complaining—if I wanted to sing, I wouldn’t’ve become a doctor!

WILSON: It’s not that bad—my younger patients were really entertained when I sang while they were getting morning meds.

HOUSE (interestedly): Something upbeat and heartwarming, or did they all end up crying over their terminal prognoses?

WILSON (frowns): They’re not all terminal. And it was nice; full of hope. Some of them made great backup singers.

HOUSE (with a pained expression): Thank God I was nowhere near that. I’ve had about as much sweetness as I can stomach.

(Cut to CUDDY, waiting by the fourth floor elevator.)

CUDDY: He should be happy, then: the number he has coming up is about as far from sweet as possible. (The elevator doors slide open; she gets in and hits the button for the first floor.) Not that he likes to discuss his suffering, either, but he’ll get to do it more or less in private. (She opens the folder and sighs.) Time for my second song—at least this one’s short. (Leaves the elevator; returns to her office and sits down behind her desk, just in time for the sound of chimes to open up the piece.)

[Song: The Meta Number (To the tune of “The Parking Ticket.”)]

CUDDY:
So far it’s been a strange, strange day;
I hope the theater routine won’t stay…
Up in diagnostics
The final bars of a duet…
There’s something odd going on there—
It’s not the dancing; au contraire;
Something else, something more
Some twisted ending is in store…
Something the music should reflect
(Or else the Chorus will correct).


[End song.]

CUDDY (heaves a sigh and leans back in her chair): That’s enough foreshadowing for a while, so let’s fast-forward a few hours and get back to House. According to my file, he should be home by now—thank God I don’t have to follow him there—with some scotch he has no business mixing with narcotics, particularly bad leg pain and an even worse mood than usual.

(Cut to HOUSE’S apartment, where the omnipresent bottle of Vicodin and a half-empty glass of scotch can be seen on the coffee table. HOUSE is seated at the piano, wearing a pained expression that intensifies into a scowl as he hears a phantom electric guitar begin to play.)

HOUSE (yells at ceiling): Would you shut that thing the hell up? I’m in pain and nowhere near drunk enough to want to sing!

(The guitar pauses for several seconds, then begins the chord again, louder and more insistently. HOUSE’S scowl deepens, then he sighs and begins to accompany the chords on the piano, singing in an undertone.)

[Song: Didn’t Choose (To the tune of “Rest in Peace.”)]

HOUSE:
Since the infarction years ago
The evening hours crawl; seem almost to slow.
Nerve endings frayed, broadcasting pain
With fire’s burning glow…

Half drink, and half narcotic haze
Substitute for the puzzles
That get me through my days.
Shouldn’t manage it like this
But there aren’t other ways…

It’s hell; a most perverted dance
The pain my sneering paramour,
Pills a toxic chance.
Better to have died than live
In grips of this romance…
Anything for relief.

Didn’t choose this way
Didn’t choose this pain—
Refused amputation, debridement
Gave me addiction’s chains.
Trusted her and was betrayed
What was inflicted can’t allay…
A price too high to pay.

They think that they can understand;
They say that it’s all in my head
Frown at the pills in hand—
It’s not their call to break my fall,
To chide and countermand,
Deny me this relief.

The days, I can bear:
When a case is found that can hold my mind
Puzzle pieces form a chain to bind
Back the pain and work with the pills entwined
And so what if this method’s oft maligned?
At least it works—or so I find.
I just wish they—

Knew I didn’t choose this way
Didn’t choose this pain—
Refused amputation; debridement
Gave me addiction’s chains.
Trusted her and was betrayed
What was inflicted can’t allay…
A price too high to pay.
A price that’s far too high to pay.


[End song.]

(HOUSE gets up from the piano, takes an extra Vicodin with the remainder of the scotch, limps into his bedroom and slams the door behind him.)

(Cut to CUDDY’S house, bedroom. She’s sitting up in bed, a book splayed open on her lap, apparently put down recently. The folder sits on her bedside table.)

CUDDY (yawns): I was starting to think I’d be up half the night waiting for House to do that number. Anyway, back at the hospital, his fellows are still running tests on the patient... (She trails off, yawns again and switches off the light.)

(Cut to PPTH, lab. All three fellows are there, carrying out their respective tasks accompanied by a slow, melancholy tune. After a while, they sing in unison.)

[Song: The Fellows’ Lament (To the tune of “Dawn’s Lament.”)

FELLOWS:
We have been here all night working.
Does anybody even care?


[End song.]

(Abrupt cut to a sleeping CUDDY, and the tacit answer: “No.”)

[End scene.]

(Pan in, HOUSE’S bedroom. HOUSE is sprawled out on the bed, limbs splayed; a close-up of his face shows he is in REM sleep. The close-up grows closer, and closer, and finally fades into the familiar blurry wavering of…a dream sequence. HOUSE is back in the living room, sitting on the couch. STACY leans against the piano, wearing a tight red satin dress short enough to show a scar to match HOUSE’S marring her right thigh.)

HOUSE (notices her): Stacy? How’d you get in here—and what happened to your leg? (He gets up, limps over to inspect the damage.) You can’t have had—

STACY (breaking in): I didn’t—and I’m not Stacy, technically. (Sits down at the piano, gives him a half-smile.) Come on, Greg—basic metaphor doesn’t even approach your caliber of puzzle. Wake up and smell the psychology.

HOUSE (puts it together): You’re my pain. And since my pain doesn’t usually come in such a shapely, well-dressed package, this is a dream, and I want to wake up. Now.

(PAIN laughs at his look of horror as a jazzy piano opening begins to play.)

[Song: What You Feel (To the eponymous tune).]

PAIN:
Since I’m here to stay—
Come and say ‘hello.’
You can’t send me away,
And the hours pass real slow.
I’m the fire, stealing your motion
My ebbs and flows, eternal as the ocean…
Oh, you know me well—‘cause I’m your private hell.

I’m what’s deep within,
The secrets you keep
And the many sins
That torment you when you sleep.
All your doubts and darknesses hidden,
Things that others to see are just forbidden…
So what do you say? Why don’t we roll them out?

‘Cause I am what you feel, boy…
I know just what you feel, boy…

HOUSE (shouted):
The hell you do! Shut up and get out!

PAIN (shakes head, then sings):
All that repression—keep it up too long
Sooner or later, pressure’s gonna grow too strong:
The cork will blow out of the bottle
Everything inside will flow full-throttle…
That’s how it’ll be…
Unless you deal with me.


Pain of your form must be the norm;
But not pain of your mind.
Keep thinking pills will cure all of your ills
You won’t like what you find…

I am here and I’m real, boy…

HOUSE (interjecting, over descant):
Shut your trap, cut this crap
‘Cause I don’t wanna hear it.

PAIN:
I’ll be what you feel, boy…

HOUSE:
I know pain, and again
I’m refusing to fear it.

PAIN:
Heed my warning: I’ll be your ruin
Unless you will listen and stop me brewin’.

HOUSE:
While you’re there: I don’t care
For the price that I’m paying.

PAIN:
Remember that when you’re awaking
Or your leg isn’t all I will be taking.

HOUSE (half-resigned, half-contrary):
And yet why should I try
To deny that you’re staying?

PAIN:
Oh, you’ll know me well—I’ll stay your private hell.


[End song.]

(Abrupt cut to HOUSE, now awake and breathing hard. After a few seconds, he composes himself.)

HOUSE (mutters): Much more of this, and I’m going to start a smear campaign to take down Broadway. (He gets out of bed and returns to the living room, then picks up the bottle of Vicodin and shakes it, listening with a practiced ear.) Hmm, running low. (He dry-swallows a pill.) I’ll get a scrip from Wilson in the morning. (Putting the bottle down, he returns to the bedroom.)

[End scene.]


Act II

[Scene: WILSON’S office. WILSON is at his desk with a cup of coffee and a stack of paperwork. He’s just about to start on it when HOUSE bursts in through the balcony door.]

WILSON: And to what do I owe the pleasure of your company (consults his watch) a full two hours before you usually come in?

HOUSE (holds up the Vicodin bottle, shakes it to emphasize it is empty, and speaks with false brightness): Out of my happy pills. Need a scrip.

WILSON (dryly): Darn, and here I was hoping we were going to have another cheerful duet.

HOUSE (incredulous, then pained): That’s still going on?

WILSON: Afraid so. If you’d been half an hour earlier, you’d have caught your minions in three-part harmony.

HOUSE: And as many possibilities for humiliation as that undoubtedly had, you’re missing the point: I’m still in pain here. More, actually, since I found out we’re still on this hellish journey through Musicville. (Crosses to WILSON’S desk, picks up his prescription pad, shoves it at him.) Write.

WILSON (sighs, picks up a pen): One of these days, you’re going to destroy your liver with all the acetaminophen you keep inflicting on it—and you just said yourself that your pain was aggravated by the sing—

HOUSE (pointedly): What was that I sang about you yesterday? ‘When I least want a lecture—’

WILSON: All right, all right… (He begins to write as mellow guitar chords sound in the room, singing softly as he does so. Curiously, HOUSE doesn’t seem to hear.)

[Song: Questions (To the tune of “Standing.”)]

WILSON:
How often have you made this demand?
How often have I played the willing hand?
And how many times have I longed to understand?
Oh, House…

Would it kill you to in me once confide
What’s there beyond the walls ‘hind which you hide?
I’ve stood stalwart, always at your side,
And yet…

I still find it agonizing, watching your steel-strong will,
Which bows to no man living, kowtowing for a pill:
A sacrifice
That reaps such terrible ill—
There is no higher price.

If I could only see where lines divide:
Neuropathic, versus emotion’s side.
You say that you’re unchanged; I know that you have lied
(Or tried).

And now I am sitting, writing—and does it hurt or heal?
It’s not my call to make: I can’t know what you feel—
Wish I could make
A wish and make it real:
Just a wish that you would heal…
How I wish that you could heal.


[End song.]

HOUSE (takes the scrip, consults the clock): What just happened?

WILSON: I wrote—

HOUSE (breaking in): You pick up the pen, I’m unaware of two minutes passing, next thing I know, you’re handing me a scrip. What happened in the two minutes?

WILSON (sighs, puts the pen down, leans back in his chair): I sang. About my concern for you, and how I hate knowing you’re dependent on those damned pills. (Pause.) Every time I write a scrip—I may be stopping your pain, but I’m also helping you do damage.

HOUSE (narrows his eyes, gestures sharply at his right thigh, speaks deliberately): The damage is my leg, not the pills. I spent most of the night dwelling on it—in song, by the way, just to add to the suffering—and I am not discussing—

(On cue, HOUSE is interrupted by a piano-and-strings combination that makes WILSON wince. HOUSE attempts to escape the inevitable duet, but finds himself frozen in place in front of WILSON’S desk.)

[Song: Answers/Caught in His Thrall (Reprise) (To the tune of “Under Your Spell/Standing (Reprise).”)]

WILSON:
Caught up in your thrall
House, why won’t you see
I can’t sign your death decree
I will not watch you fall…
Know you don’t agree,
But you mean too much to me
And I cannot just—

HOUSE:
Just shut up; you don’t understand;
It’s ‘cause I trust you that I can demand
Your helping hand—

WILSON/HOUSE:
So please confide the knowledge /I cannot trust
I need to understand:/ You to leave this alone
What lines divide/ I’m not having it discussed
Your damn pain? /You will adjust; I am not fussed
Do pills keep it all banned? /So do what you must—

BOTH:
Just understand…
Just understand…
Just understand…
Just under—
Stand…


[End song.]

(Awkward silence stretches for several seconds; neither HOUSE nor WILSON moves. Then HOUSE turns and limps out, shutting WILSON’S door behind him with a bang.)

WILSON (mutters to self): Well, that went well. (Considers the coffee cup, reaches for it, then stops, decides coffee is the last thing he needs. Pauses, assures himself:) This insanity will end, and we’ll agree that whole exchange never happened… (Adds bitterly:) Even if the issues behind it stay right there until he kills himself. (This fails to make him feel better. He sighs, mutters:) Best damn diagnostician in the country—the world, maybe—and his own health just has to be the blind spot.

(WILSON stares down at the abandoned prescription pad, then shoves it into a drawer, which he slams shut.)

[End scene.]

(Cut to diagnostics. HOUSE is standing in front of the whiteboard, his foul mood all but palpable; the FELLOWS—visibly tired and nursing cups of coffee—are seated at the table.)

HOUSE: Did you work out what was wrong with the patient, or do I have to go see (pauses, checks the file) him?

CAMERON: Atypical presentation of a bacterial infection. He’s on broad-spectrum antibiotics and should be fine. (Pauses, gives HOUSE an appraising look.) Are you—

HOUSE (deliberately): One caring word out of you and you’re fired.

(CAMERON closes her mouth; CHASE and FOREMAN exchange a glance, silently agreeing the best course of action at present is to keep their heads down.)

(Cut back to WILSON’S office. He’s started the paperwork, and is about a third of the way through it when the opening bars of a somber piano melody begin to play.)

[Song: Nearing the Finish (to the tune of “Walk Through the Fire.”)]

WILSON:
So the final movement begins:
Melancholy piano plays.
I just don’t know
The outcome of the show.
Can Greg House change his ways?

Another day, another song,
Another step made in the dance.
But do I dare
To tell him how I care?
How can I take the chance?

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained;
And every rule can bend.
Some things just must be explained
Before the—


(Change to lower register, abrupt cut to HOUSE, brooding in one of the clinic’s empty exam rooms—where, he knows, no one is going to look.)

HOUSE:
I’ve known his secret all along—
He’s easy as a book to read.
But if I felt…
After the wounds she dealt
Which way would I proceed?

Is it a risk too great to take?
For every chance, a price incurred.
Better not make, fatal mistake
Wait for the—


(Abrupt cut to CUDDY, in her office with the file, still in her capacity as Chorus.)

CUDDY:
As we come down to the wire
Will this duo face the fire?
Is it a gamble either can take?
House is known for insane chances
But well, the case of romance is
Personal: there’s so much more at stake.

A question posed,
The answer soon to be disclosed
As we draw nearer the finish.


(Cut back to HOUSE in the clinic. When WILSON begins to sing, the screen splits to show him in his office.)

HOUSE/WILSON:
The music’s gone on long enough;
The time draws near to make a choice:/But do I dare
Avoid more pain
But forfeit chance of gain?/To tell him how I care?
Or give the silence voice?


(Cut back to diagnostics and the FELLOWS. CHASE sings the main melody with FOREMAN in counterpoint; CAMERON contributes the descant.)

CHASE/FOREMAN:
Madness is intensifying/House’s dark mood affects us all:

CAMERON:
Says he’s okay but he’s lying.

CHASE/FOREMAN/(CAMERON):
Since the music first began to play./He looks like he’s ready to kill./(Can’t stand any concern)
Call it magic or delusion;/He’ll work it out/(Not any concern.)
Either way, all the confusion/’Cause that’s what he’s about,
Has to be resolved sometime today./But first might take a fall.


(Cut back to HOUSE in the clinic; screen splits to show WILSON, still in his office, when he takes up the counterpoint.)

HOUSE/WILSON:
Just play the part—
Why admit that I have a heart?/All rules can be bent…


(Abrupt cut to CUDDY, once more. She reads the file as she sings.)

CUDDY:
Now we are nearing the finish:
Let’s see what rules can bend,
What barriers can diminish
Before the end…
‘Fore the end…
‘Fore the end—
‘Fore the end!


[End song.]

(Cut back to HOUSE, apparently finished brooding. Having earlier filled the prescription he got from WILSON, he dry-swallows a Vicodin.)

HOUSE: Patient saved, clinic a moot point, and that last song wasn’t a duet. (Smiles smugly, turns toward the door.) And since I’m getting out of here while I can, the next one won’t be, either. (Leaves the exam room, limps briskly out of the clinic, pocketing a cherry lollipop on the way out. Fade out.)

[End scene.]

Act III

[Scene: WILSON’S office. He’s standing by the door with an expression that’s half-determined, half-nervous. After a minute or two, he leaves the room and walks toward diagnostics, peering through the glass. HOUSE is not there; he opens the door and pokes his head in.]

WILSON (to FELLOWS): Have you seen House?

CHASE: Not since before the last song. Just as well he left before it started—he was pissed off as it was.

WILSON (ruefully): Concern…has that effect on him. (He leaves, takes the elevator down to the first floor and enters CUDDY’S office.) Do you know where House is?

CUDDY (raises an eyebrow, consults the file with a look of interest): It’s that time already? (Reads through several pages.) Okay, I guess it is. (To WILSON:) He should be at home—that’s where the last big number is supposed to hit, anyway. You’d better get over there if you want to be in time for the last verse.

WILSON (surprised): You’re telling me to leave work in the middle of the day? My department—

CUDDY (breaks in): Has competent staff and can manage for a couple of hours without you. Go talk to House so the music will stop.

(There’s a short pause; then WILSON nods and leaves the office.)

CUDDY (mutters): I don’t know what’s stranger: what’s about to happen or that he seems to think Oncology grinds to a halt all that time he spends managing House.

(Cut to HOUSE, sitting on the couch in his apartment. His feet are propped up on the coffee table, and—perhaps given pause by the previous night’s dream sequence—he has elected to forego the scotch. He sighs when a light piano introduction begins to play, but by this point, the fury has mostly given way to lower-key exasperation.)

HOUSE (mutters): The point here is to destroy my ability to enjoy music, isn’t it?

[Song: Say it in Song (to the tune of “Something to Sing About.”)]

HOUSE:
Last two days, we’ve all lived to the tune
And songs been forced to croon
Our dignity impugn.
I have sung—though quite against my will—
As I am doing still,
And it’s making me ill.

Hardly overjoyed
Privacy destroyed.
More than just annoyed
I could not avoid
What was deployed—

The endless song and dance
Doesn’t accomplish much, at a glance…
What is the point?
Is there a point
To anything that we’ve sung about?


(Unseen backup singers, presumably on the same plane as the piano, begin to vocalize: ‘Ah-ah-ah.’)

Did our lives have to be sung about?

(Backup: Ah-ah-ah…)

(Short instrumental break.)

I’m in pain—
Must you repeat the fact?
Or Wilson’s old speech act—
Why suffering protract?
What is there, we couldn’t just ignore?
Why these showtunes endure?
What are we singing for?

What’s the end in mind?
Why these roles assigned?
What has been aligned?
Or must we fly blind
By songs confined?

What will the ending show?
As usual, I have to know—
What’s going on?
Let answers dawn!


(Music slows, switches into dissonant minor key. HOUSE winces, but continues to sing.)

All of the pain,
Fury and doubt—
What was it about?
Just tell me!

Familiar refrain:
Oh, tell me why
And not with a lie…
I remain
Curious and again

Anxious to know what this was about!
Or just to stop it!


(The music crescendos, increasing in speed as well as volume. HOUSE, of course excused from dancing, absently taps his cane on the floor in time.)

(Enter WILSON as the music slows and mellows, unfortunately retaining the minor key.)

WILSON:
I think I feel—
Well, I just thought—
Sorry we fought…
‘Cause I care.

These words are real.
They’re not just a song,
But honest and strong: I mean them.

And maybe that’s what matters…
Yes, maybe that’s what matters…


[End song.]

(There’s a long pause, during which WILSON awaits some reaction from HOUSE. When none appears to be forthcoming, he looks at him askance.)

WILSON (a bit incredulous): Aren’t you going to say something?

HOUSE: What? That I had no idea you have feelings for me? (Gives WILSON a ‘use-your-mind’ look.) I’m an ass, not an idiot.

(A jazzy piano tune begins to play. HOUSE begins to sing, matter-of-factly and without bothering to get up.)

[Song: What You Feel (Reprise) (To the eponymous tune.)]

HOUSE:
Wasn’t hard to guess; the symptoms were all there.
Three exes, no less; how could I not be aware?
The big secret you’ve been concealing?
I’ve known all along just how you’re feeling.
Endure all the stress...well, of course you care!


[End song.]

HOUSE: Right. Before I was interrupted by that needless musical exposition (begins to enumerate points on his fingers): three failed marriages, the Suzy Homemaker routine, and you take an hour to style and blow-dry your hair in the morning. At the very least, you’re batting both sides—and you wouldn’t have put up with my crap all these years if you didn’t have some completely stupid reason.

WILSON (affronted): It isn’t—

HOUSE (flatly): It isn’t rational. But it never is.

(WILSON moves to sit next to HOUSE on the couch and puts his feet up. There’s another silence.)

WILSON (not precisely sure how best to broach this topic): Do you…?

HOUSE (sighs): Look. Neither this goddamn singing nor your spilling your guts to me is going to make me into a person who likes sharing of feelings. The only time I even consider it is when I’m post-coital and swimming in enough endorphins to drown my brain, and that is not the case here. Bottom line is, we know each other and still work.

WILSON: But could we work together?

(Guitar chords begin to play. Both HOUSE and WILSON look annoyed to have the conversation interrupted again.)

[Song: Where Do We Go From Here? (To the eponymous tune.)]

WILSON:
Where do we go from here?

HOUSE (echoes in a slightly lower, but harmonizing key):
Where do we go from here?

BOTH:
We’ve confessed but have not yet guessed
Where that leaves us—it’s not clear.
Where do we go from here?

Should we be friends, or more?
What is there still in store?

Not so grand when it’s all unplanned
And we’re on a new frontier…

HOUSE:
Tell me…

WILSON:
Where do we go from here?

HOUSE:
If romance must appear,
Can friendship persevere?

WILSON:
If we suppose that it can, God knows
We will have nothing to fear…
Where do we go from here?
Where do we go from here?

HOUSE:
Where do we go from here?


[End song.]

HOUSE (flatly): Let’s assume we don’t need to continue that conversation.

WILSON: Shouldn’t we? You hate the music because it forces you to be open and honest about what you feel—but isn’t that actually desirable in a relation—

(HOUSE cuts WILSON off by crushing their lips together. It’s not tender—in fact, it probably almost bruises—but it gets the job done. After several seconds, they separate. WILSON stares at HOUSE.)

WILSON: What was that?

HOUSE: A good interruption.

WILSON: But not a great kiss.

HOUSE (simply): Wasn’t supposed to be.

(Soft piano music begins to play in the background. The two give each other appraising looks, seem to come to a decision, then lean slowly closer to one another, singing in undertones.)

[Song: Coda (to the eponymous tune.)]

HOUSE/WILSON:
The music’s gone on long enough…
/I dared
And now I know I’ve made a choice/To tell you how I feel…
Give silence voice…/I know this much is real…
Maybe some wounds might heal…

BOTH:
We’ll go forward from here.

[End song.]

(A jubilant finish coincides with the meeting of lips—in a proper kiss this time, one that’s lengthy and carries the weight of unspoken words.)

(Pan across the room to a calendar; a breeze blows in through the window and flips the pages ahead six months, in that tried-and-true means of signifying the passage of time. Cut back to HOUSE and WILSON, still in HOUSE’S apartment, which has changed slightly but noticeably with the addition of WILSON’S possessions. It’s evening, and the two are sitting in companionable silence on the sofa. The TV is on, but the volume is low and neither is really paying attention to it.)

HOUSE: So, how’re the chances of macadamia nut pancakes for breakfast tomorrow?

WILSON (half-smiles, regards HOUSE levelly): About as good as the chances of your going out for more flour.

(There’s a pause as HOUSE mulls that over, decides he doesn’t want the pancakes quite badly enough to work for them.)

HOUSE (decisively): I’ll settle for an omelet.

WILSON: Thought so. Anyway, I think you unsettle your minions when you eat those pancakes. (Pause.) Something about disturbing facial expressions?

HOUSE (plays innocent): Can I help it if your cooking borders on orgasmic? (Seriously:) And it only unsettles one minion—which it wouldn’t do if she hadn’t been stupid enough to walk in on us in your office.

WILSON (flushes at the memory): That incident was your fault.

HOUSE: Yeah? And who didn’t lock the door?

WILSON (dryly): Forgive me for not expecting to be—pounced on in the middle of my paperwork.

HOUSE (leering): I don’t remember you complaining. (He scoots closer to WILSON, apparently considering some suitably lewd action to match his tone, but is stopped short by a winds introduction.) Oh, God.

[Song: Somehow it Works (To the tune of “I’ll Be Mrs.”).]

WILSON:
Six months now together.
Somehow I thought it would be a change,
But so little’s different, it’s strange.
So much is just routine—
Now it’s comfortable to be a pair.
Guess potential was always there.
He’s still a jerk; I’m still his friend
He lives to irk; I know to bend
Same old at work (so we pretend).
No one asks why,
But I’d reply
That it all works out.
Somehow it all works out.
Maybe we’re a bit odd, but there’s nothing we can’t weather.

HOUSE:
Six months now together.
Easy enough, this whole couple thing
(That is, when we don’t have to sing).
I still drive him crazy—
But it’s nothing he doesn’t expect
And despite it all, we connect.
He cleans our place and keeps me fed,
He’s quick-witted and great in bed,
And what more than that need be said?
If asked just why
I would reply,
That it all works out.
Somehow it just works out.
We survive each other: there’s nothing we can’t weather.

WILSON:
We know by now
The take-and-give
That governs how
We choose to live.
There’s no more denial
We’ve given this a trial,
And know he and I’ll still fight and forgive.

HOUSE:
This partnership, it works out well
Although we are mismatched as hell
And he can still be—I’ll never tell!—
All those events
Now they make sense.

BOTH:
It all works out.
Yes, somehow it works out.
It works out...

[End song.]

(There’s a pause; the two exchange glances.)

WILSON:
I’ll go get the flour if you don’t take an extra pill to make up for the aggravation of the song.

HOUSE (considers, then nods): Done. (Suggestively:) And after dinner, I pick up where the music cut in.

(WILSON grins, nods, gets up and heads for the door. HOUSE bestows an openly affectionate smile on his retreating back, then slumps against the sofa cushions as we…)

[Fade to black.]

FINIS.

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