Xander and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and 20th Century Fox. House, MD is the property of its creator, producer, and distributor. No infringement is intended. No profit will be made.Not-The-Author’s Note:
I did not write this. My brother did. Some day, he’s going to get tired of waiting for me to post his stuff and get his own frickin’ account. That day, however, is not today. This is his twelfth Xander crossover. The previous eleven are:
1. Don’t Lose Your Head (Xander/Highlander)
2. Medium-Sized Trouble in Little China (Xander/Big Trouble in Little China)
3. Loose Dead Ends (Xander/Dead Last)
4. Car Shopping (Xander/Herbie)
5. An unCharmed Life (Xander/Charmed)
6. Vegas Vacation (Xander/CSI)
7. From Beneath You, It Devours (Xander/Tremors)
8. Slayer Development (Xander/Arrested Development)
9. Buy Hard (Xander/Evil Dead)
10. Gate Crashing (Xander/Stargate)
11. The Customer is Always Wrong (Xander/Clerks)House Calls
At Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, Dr. Gregory House addressed his staff.
“Patient is a Caucasian male in mid-twenties, found passed out in the rest room of a Quick Stop. Admitted this morning. Symptoms include high fever... and passing out in a Quick Stop restroom. So, theories?”
Dr. Eric Foreman raised his hand. “Is that all? Don't we have any more information?”
“No. Now, to the board. C'mon, let's hear those theories,” House said.
“Foreman's right,” Dr. Robert Chase said. “By the time you agree to take a patient, they've usually been through a battery of tests. Why did you take on this person?”
“I was feeling especially philanthropic this morning. I see the sick; I am compelled to heal them. It's my thing.” House said.
The three staff doctors stared at House.
“Plus, I lost a bet with Cuddy.” House mumbled. “I had to treat the next patient admitted. So! Theories?”
“High fever could be in response to infection.” Foreman said.
“Infection.” House wrote down. “Get a blood sample, test for all the usual suspects. Next?”
“Drug overdose?” Chase asked.
“Run a tox screen on him.”
“There are a whole range of inherited or environmental causes that could produce the fever and fainting. What's his medical history?” Dr. Alison Cameron asked.
“Don't know.” House replied.
“Well, as the admitting doctor, isn't it your job to get a history?”
“Technically, yes. Which only reinforces my whole 'never be the first doctor to treat a patient' mania.” House said.
“So, why don't you get a history?”
House sighed. “You are just going to keep nagging me on this, aren't you? The reason I haven't taken a history yet, is that the patient has not yet waken up from his whole passing out in the restroom shtick.”
“So contact his next of kin.” Foreman said.
“Logical. But his ID puts his address as Sunnydale, California. Which, as we all know from the Discovery Channel special on last month, disappeared into a sinkhole a couple of years back. Kind of makes calling the kinfolk a wee bit tricky.”
“Does he have a cell phone?” Chase asked.
“Yes. But, I don't think he gives out his number to just anyone. You'll really have to flirt to get his digits.”
“If you have his cell phone, simply go through the numbers on it. There's bound to be family members in there.” Chase explained.
“Right. Cameron get on that.” House ordered.
“Because you haven't cultivated the contempt for patients and family that Chase and Foreman have. You're really lagging behind. Very disappointing. Frick and Frack, start running the tests.”
Xander struggled to sit up. Sweat poured off his body. He looked around his room at the various people he knew.
“Guys, I don't feel well.”
Buffy looked up from the table. “Xander, quit distracting me. I'm trying to prepare dinner. I'm sure you'll be fine.”
Xander staggered to his feet, his hands trembling. He looked around for help.
“Willow, something did this to me. We have to stop it.”
Willow rolled her eyes. “Xander, have you even considered what they've gone through? I'm sure from their point of view, your painful illness is only reasonable. Don't be so narrow minded.”
Xander turned to Giles. He took a step, but stumbled in pain. He slowly rose up, every joint in agony. “Giles, please. You have to help me.”
“Of course. Willow, you are very wrong. As you can see Xander is in agony. His illness is clearly getting worse. In fact with the increased pain, the only thing he should be thankful for is that he probably won't survive much longer.”
“Giles, I need -”
“Quiet, Xander.” Giles admonished. “I'm busy lecturing Willow.” Giles turned back. “Now, Willow, I have five main points to cover. The first....”
Xander slowly crawled along the floor.
Anya looked down at him. “You're no good to me like this. You should go off and convalesce. Return once you're back to your full wage earner peak.”
“Xander, please listen to me.”
Xander turned at the sound. He looked around, but his vision was so blurry, he couldn't make anything out.
“So, Alexander. Tricky situation. What do you make of it?”
Xander stopped. “Sam?”
Sam Zabuto stepped forward. “Now, first step is to assess the situation.”
Sam nodded. “Very. High fever. Muscle and joint ache. Nausea. Remind you of anything?”
“You have to get better.”
Xander looked around. “I... heard someone.”
“Take stock of what's happening. Next, figure out the best course of action. You know this, Alexander.” Sam stated.
“You have to do it.”
“I have to do it.” Xander repeated.
“You can do this.” Sam assured him.
“Please. I need this from you.”
Xander thought to himself. “I can do this.”
“Please, just wake up.”
Xander opened his eye.
Dawn Summers sat by Xander's bed, holding his hand. The doctors and nurses would come in occasionally to check something, or to change his IV. But she was mainly undisturbed.
As the last nurse left, Dawn leaned up towards Xander's ear.
“Xander, please listen to me.” she said. “You have to get better.”
Dawn stopped and wiped her eyes. “You have to do it.”
Xander stirred in his sleep.
Dawn sat up at his activity. She glanced at the monitor by the bed, but couldn't tell if anything had changed. She turned back to Xander. “Please, I need this from you.”
Xander's lips began to flutter. “I can do this.” he whispered.
Dawn's eye widened. She ran to the door. “I need a nurse here! He's waking up!”
Dawn ran back to the bed and grabbed his hand again.
“Please, just wake up.” she pleaded.
Xander opened his eye.
“Dawn?” he croaked out.
House sat in his office, reviewing a patient chart, when his friend Dr. James Wilson entered.
“I heard the good news.” Wilson said.
House looked up. “What good news? All I have are problems.”
Wilson stopped. “Your patient woke up. Five days unconscious with a fever. He comes to. Sounds like good news.”
“Not really. We've been running a series of antibiotics, anti-allergens, blood tranfusions, and half a dozen other treatments. With enough shit thrown at the wall something was bound to stick. We still don't know what made him sick in the first place.” House explained.
“It's always a shame when a patient's recovery from the brink of death interferes with your being able to complete your diagnosis. Such a tragedy.”
“And I'm sure that whatever hit him won't recur the moment we stop the broad spectrum treatment.”
Wilson sat down next to House.
“So what's the next step?” he asked.
"Cameron's taking the history. I'm waiting for the results on yet another round of tests. And the Dover Boys are out doing environmental tests.” House said.
“I didn't know Harris had a residence around here. Oh, and there were three Dover Boys. So that doesn't fit Chase and Foreman.”
“Yep. Tom, Dick, and Larry.”
“Damn. I really liked that one. And Harris doesn't have a residence. He does have a vehicle he's been traveling in. So I sent Chase and Foreman... the Hardy Boys! No, wait. They were actually kind of cool. I'll think of something when they get back.”
Dr. Cameron had just finished her medical history with Xander, and was leaving the room. Xander waited until she left the room, then turned to Dawn.
“So you just came out here after one phone call from the doctor?” Xander asked.
Dawn nodded. “I figured you could use a friendly face with you. I'm ahead on my college assignments, so I took a flight out here for the weekend.”
Xander smiled. “Thanks. Just as long as you don't miss any classes.”
Xander looked at the door, making sure no one else would hear what he said to Dawn next.
“Look, Dawn, you need to get in contact with Giles. There's only been one other time I felt like this.”
“Chumash Tribe curse, Thanksgiving '99?” Dawn asked.
Xander nodded. “Um, yeah.”
“Already talked to Giles. I told him your symptoms. He's got the Devon coven casting some protection spells and seeing if they can find a supernatural source. He's going to call back in a couple of hours. It's taken care of.”
“Oh. Thanks.” Xander said. “Also be careful what you tell the doctors here. I don't want them nosing around in the Council business.”
“Got it.” Dawn said. “But the important thing is to get you feeling better.”
“Good luck with that. I don't see how it'll happen with the crap they feed me.” Xander complained.
Dawn looked around, got up, and shut the door to the room. She sat back down and pulled out her bag.
“I got your fix right here.”
With that, she pulled out a pack of Twinkies from her bag.
“Oh, you are a goddess. I owe you some serious karma for this.”
“I figure I owe you for all the times you snuck me snacks when I was grounded. So this one's free. Next batch will cost you.” Dawn said.
“Aw, little Dawnie grew up and became a pusher. I'm so proud.”
Chase and Foreman approached the Humvee in the parking lot of the Quick Stop. They tried to ignore the people loitering by the entrance as they unlocked the vehicle.
“Why is it we always get stuck with the break ins , but Cameron always gets the patient interviews?” Chase asked.
“Because House hates us.” Foreman answered.
“House doesn't hate all of us.”
“Sorry. He sends me on the breaking and entering because I stole a car when I was a kid and he uses that to blackmail me. He has Cameron interview the patients and family because people open up to her. And he also is trying to make her more skeptical of what people say.”
Chase nodded. “But what about me?”
“House sends you on whichever is the most unpleasant task.” Foreman explained.
“Because House hates just you.”
“That I believe.”
Chase and Foreman rummaged through the Humvee.
“I got some fast food remains.” Chase said.
“Bag it. We better test it. See if there's anything in it.”
“If there's been some spoiled food, we'd be seeing a lot more cases. Harris is the only one so far.”
“I know.” Foreman replied. “But we have to be sure.”
They continued searching the vehicle.
“Hey, there's a locked box in the back. Pass me the keys.” Chase said.
“Here you go. Look, this is a bust. Whatever affected Harris isn't -”
“Foreman.” Chase interrupted.
“You find something related to his illness?”
“No. Something else. Take a look at this.”
Foreman looked over to what Chase had found. “Crap.”
“Yeah. We've got to tell House.”
“No. We've got to tell Cuddy.”
“You look good. I mean besides the whole near death sickness deal you got going on.” Dawn said. “You seem to be doing well. Especially compared to how you were after Sunnydale.”
Xander nodded. “Yeah. I wasn't in very good shape then. I mean, I put on a happy face, made dumb jokes, but....”
“I never thanked you. You tried to help me out back then. You were the only one. Well, actually Faith approached me one time. But I wasn't very friendly. I... I shut her down before she could even start.” Xander said.
“I missed you, y'know. I really wish you could have gone to Europe with us.”
“I know. But I couldn't. I had to go out on my own for awhile.”
“Why?” Dawn asked. “Why didn't you want to come with us?”
Xander sighed. “I'd already seen how it plays out. After the almost apocalypse, we're just one big happy family. That is as long as I don't mind playing the dependable sidekick. The after about four, five months tops, Buffy finds herself some mysterious stranger that she feels drawn to. Then I get shoved aside and ignored while the new guy takes center stage. She starts hiding things or out right lying to me. Then everything comes out at exactly the wrong time. And we reconcile as long as I forget all the lying, being ignored, and treated less like a friend and more like an acquaintance when convenient. Then the whole thing begins again.”
Xander paused and took a drink of water. “I was tired of the whole cycle, so I figured I'd give it a miss. Instead I went off on my own, and found out that I actually be more than the funny sidekick in the background.”
Dawn sat silent by the bed. After a minute she spoke.
Xander looked up. “What?”
“It lasted for ten months. Me and Buffy traveled around Europe, saw the sights, caught up on the sisterly bonding. Buffy was determined to keep her promise to show me the world. Then after ten months, she met the Immortal. And after that, spending time with her sister became a second priority. Distant second.”
“I'm sorry.” Xander said. “When did you leave?”
“My eighteenth birthday. For months before it, Buffy kept going on about how important it was and how we would celebrate. By the time it came around, she was caught up in her new guy. And I got a message saying that the Immortal had made special weekend plans with her, but she'd do something with me the next week.”
“Yeah. So instead, I called Giles. By the time the next week came round, I was in England, translating some ancient texts for the new Council.” Dawn explained.
“I thought I recognized your handwriting on some of the notes I saw. I also heard about some field work you did.” Xander said.
“Yeah. Nothing big though.”
“Really? That's not what I heard. There was something about almost being sacrificed in a Scottish town. Summersville?”
“Summersisle. You heard about that?”
“Yeah. I found a cult of neopagans. Turned out they had been sacrificing people for thirty years. Never thought I'd be so glad I wasn't a virgin. Couple Slayers came to the rescue, and we shut it down. Funny thing was, after I filed the report, I got this blistering e-mail from Willow lecturing me about how they weren't really pagans and how the actual druid beliefs are peaceful and blah, blah, blah.”
Xander smiled. “Yup. That's our Willow. Manages to ignore your peril while she lectures you about how dead white males are the source of all evil.”
“Yeah.” Dawn said. “Xander?”
Dawn paused, as she formed her thoughts. “I get why you haven't kept in touch with Buffy. But why haven't you spoken to Willow in over two years?”
House was walking back to his office, when the hospital Dean of Medicine, Dr. Lisa Cuddy, caught up with him.
“Come with me.” Cuddy said. “I have to show you something.”
“Is this the trick with the ping pong balls? Because I have been wanting to see you do that ever since I read about it on the men's room wall.”
“No. It's what Chase and Foreman found in your patient's car. In their unauthorized and might I add illegal search, they came across a cache of firearms and explosives.” Cuddy said.
“Are any of them the cause of his illness?” House asked.
“So why are you talking to me?”
“I want Harris out of here. Discharge him. Now.” Cuddy ordered.
“I haven't completed his diagnosis yet.”
“I don't care. He's better now. Get him out of the hospital. Whatever he's involved in is bad news, and I don't want it affecting this hospital.”
“If he's such bad news, call the police.” House said.
“I would, except the search of his vehicle was made without his permission. If we call the police, he could sue the hospital.”
“Yet without that search, you wouldn't know about his one man militia movement. Ironic, isn't it?”
“No arguments. Discharge him.” Cuddy said.
“How about this. We discharge him. Then a couple of days later, whatever hit Harris the first time rears its ugly head again. Harris suffers and maybe even dies. The hospital gets butt-slammed by a lawsuit. Then it comes out that you specifically ordered him out, against his doctor's advice. How does that affect the hospital?”
Cuddy sighed. “Keep him for observation for twenty four hours. If he's still healthy, discharge him.”
“That's all I ask.”
“I had been in Africa for about three months at that point. It was me, Sam Zabuto, and the three Slayers we had found at
that point.” Xander explained. “Sam had gotten a lead on a cursed tome. He had an address for where it was located, but there were mystic wards around it. A Slayer would be spotted right off. Sam was coordinating the whole thing. That meant I had to go in and get it.”
“What happened?” Dawn asked.
“It went off fine. We got a local shaman to cast a spell on me. It made me undetectable to any magic. I went in, got the book, and got out. Whole thing went like clock work. But when I got back, I found out the Willow had tried to find me, she was frantic. I gave her a call to find out what she was upset about.”
“What did she say?”
Xander paused and took a deep breath. Dawn studied him, seeing how the subject matter still upset him.
“Before I left for Africa Willow cast a tracking spell on me.. That we she could keep track of me no matter where I went or what I did. When the shaman cast his spell, I suddenly disappeared from her tracking.”
“Oh.” Dawn said quietly.
“So I basically found out she did this without getting my permission or even telling me about it. I was pretty pissed about that. I then asked her if she did the same thing to Giles or Buffy.”
“What did she say?”
“She said no, because she knew Giles and Buffy could look after themselves.” Xander said.
“Oh, god.” Dawn groaned.
“Yeah. That's when I went off on her. I told her... actually I yelled at her that what she was doing was no different from wiping Tara's memory. That upset her and she said that she wouldn't talk to me until I apologized. And that was over two years ago.”
Dawn sat, uncomfortable in the silence. After a moment, she spoke up.
“Remember that time on Buffy's birthday, when I wished no one would ever leave? And then Anya's friend made it so we were stuck in the house with a demon trying to kill us?”
“Did I ever mention how sorry I was over that? Cause I am. Really sorry.”
Xander laughed. “Dawn, everyone's screwed up with magic before. I mean I had the whole love spell and song and dance demon summoning on my record. The difference is that you and I learned not to mess with magic and cast spells on our friends. We especially know not to do it without their knowledge and act like it's for their own good.”
Dawn took Xander's hand. “Friends suck.”
“Yeah, they really do sometimes.” Xander squeezed her hand.
They sat for a moment, before Xander spoke.
“Thanks for coming out here. It means a lot to me. On a friendship scale of one to ten, one being -”
“Casting spells on you without your permission?”
“Yeah, and ten being, flying all the way across the country to sit by my bedside while I'm sick. This is a nine, nine and a half.”
“Nine and a half?” Dawn shouted.
“Well, technically you didn't fly across the whole country. You only flew in from Chicago.”
“So if I was attending Cal Tech instead of UIC, I'd get a full ten?”
Xander shrugged. “I don't make the rules.”
“Yes, you do! You made them just now!”
Xander sighed. “I suppose I can give you a half point extra credit for bring twinkies.”
Wilson found House in his office staring at the white board.
“How's the case going?”
House looked up. “It's not. I have under twenty four hours before I have to discharge Harris. I'm still no closer to figuring out what wrong with him.”
Wilson looked at the white board. “Fever, joint pain, convulsions, coma. He came out of his coma after five days of treatment. What about the rest of the symptoms?”
“Abated, but they're still there.” House answered.
Wilson studied the board. “These symptoms are pretty common. Too bad there's nothing unique to them.”
House stopped. “If there's nothing unique about the symptoms, we look at what's unique about the patient.”
“He's been traveling. Did you check his vehicle?”
“Nothing out of the ordinary. Plus the fact that the symptoms persist even in a hospital setting means that it's not environmental.”
“What about medical history?”
“Nothing there. At least according to him.”
“You think he's lying about something?” Wilson asked.
“Everybody lies. He's no exception. Harris has an impressive collection of scars. Looked like some claw marks, stab wounds, even a couple of bullet wounds. X-Rays showed his wrist has been broken, probably more than once. And then there's the missing eye. Harris claims all of this was the result of work accidents.” House explained.
“What about the eye? I saw he doesn't have a prosthetic. Could the wound site have gotten infected? That would match the symptoms.”
House shook his head. “We took a culture. Tests came back negative.”
“So, what is his work?”
“Says he's a consultant for a private school.”
“He got a bullet wound working for a school? Does he work at Columbine?”
“It's some English school.”
“There's no way a recruiter took that kind of damage working for a school. You think he's lying? That's what he's lying about.” Wilson stated.
“You may be on to something.”
“Seriously? No one?” Dawn asked.
“Well, I didn't want a one night stand. And the one females I spent extended periods of time around were Slayers. Most of them were under eighteen.” Xander said.
“And the ones over eighteen?”
Xander sighed. “I was their Watcher. It really wouldn't be appropriate to start anything with them. Besides, after everything with Anya, I just haven't been in the mood to get back in the dating scene.”
“Wow. I mean, I've dated my fair share after Sunnydale. More than my fair share. In Italy alone -”
“Don't need to hear the details on this, Dawn.” Xander interrupted.
“Oh, sorry. But once I got back in the U. S., the whole dating process has been horrible.”
“Really? For you? I figured the guys would be lined up to go out with you.” Xander said.
Dawn blushed at this. “Yeah, well not as many as you'd think. I actually joined a singles group.”
“Nope. I've only gone a couple of times. But we have a meeting where we complain on how we can't get a relationship, then everyone goes to the local bar. Once you get past the pathetic feeling involved, it can get pretty fun.”
“Maybe I should join one. The most attention I've gotten have been a witch that was forbidden from seeing me, a garage band member being bullied by a ghost, and a married mom of a possible Slayer.”
“Any of them demonic?” Dawn asked.
“Well, at least you're making progress.”
At that moment, House entered the room.
“Hey, Doc. You're new. What bring you down here? You usually send the cute girl doctor.” Xander said.
“You're lying about something. What is it?” House demanded.
“Why do you think I'm lying?”
“Everybody lies. Now what is it?”
“Okay, you caught me. I don't buy Playboy just for the articles.”
“What aren't you telling me? I'm not asking because I want to get to know you better as a person. I need to figure out why you're sick. And when you lie to me, I can't do that.”
Xander sighed. “I've already told you everything.”
“How did you lose your eye?”
“Running with scissors. How'd you get the limp?”
“I masturbated too much. What work do you do?”
“I'm a recruiter for the London School for Gifted Girls.” Xander answered.
“You got shot working for a school?”
“YOU GOT SHOT?” Dawn yelled.
“Not the time, Dawn.”
“Hey! This is not a game. This is your life.” House said.
Xander turned to Dawn. She nodded her head.
“Tell him, Xander. Please.”
Xander turned back to House.
“It's an Indian curse.”
“An Indian curse. I'm afflicted with the diseases that wiped out a local California tribe. It hit me a few years ago, but was lifted. It must have come back.”
“You expect me to believe this?”
Xander sighed. “No, which is why I didn't tell you. Look, just do your tests. Syphilis, smallpox, influenza.”
House gaped at Xander. “When you were admitted, we tested for STDs including syphilis. It was negative.”
“But nothing. Syphilis presents with skin rashes around the genitalia. You don't have that. Smallpox occurs with an outbreak of pustules. You don't have that. Influenza attacks the respiratory system. Yours is fine.”
Xander looked at House, then turned to Dawn.
“I'm not cursed?”
“Hey, don't look at me. I'm still trying to process the whole 'you got shot' concept.” Dawn said.
“Dawn, it was nothing. Really. I was very careful in Africa. It was just a graze, nothing to be worried-”
“YOU'VE BEEN IN AFRICA?” House yelled.
“Um, yeah. Is that important?”
“Is it..? For god's sake! You don't.... Forget it.”
House grabbed a hypodermic needle and approached Xander.
“I need a blood sample, dumbass.”
House drew the blood from Xander and quickly left the room, muttering insults under his breath.
Cameron, Foreman, and Chase watched House working in the lab.
“He's been in Africa? That opens up the possibilities.” Foreman said.
“Yellow fever?” Chase asked.
“Usually presents with reddened face, tongue, and eyes. Harris doesn't have that. Plus it presents within a few days. Harris has been out of Africa for months.” House said.
“Malaria? It can stay in the system for years before presenting.” Cameron asked.
Chase shook his head. “It would have shown up on the blood tests.”
“Not necessarily.” House said. “If there's a delay in testing and the blood cools to room temperature, the gamocytes will divide, and things get much harder to identify.”
“Which is why you rushed from the patient's room to the lab.”
“That's right.” House examined the blood sample in the microscope. “Gentleman, we have parasites.”
House stood back and let the others observe.
“We need to start treatment.” Cameron said.
“Chloroquine?” Chase asked.
“If it's a resistant strain, it won't do much.” Foreman pointed out.
“Try artemisinin. That's had the most effective results in recent years.” House ordered. “He'll be up and around in a few hours. Then discharge him. Cuddy's orders.”
“You don't want to follow up on the weapons we found?” Foreman asked.
House shrugged. “I finished the diagnosis. My work is done. Let someone else handle the rest.”
The next day, Xander drove Dawn to the airport.
“Thanks for coming out, again. It meant a lot to me.”
“Anytime. But you're not allowed to get sick anymore. Or shot.” Dawn said. “You should have mentioned that before. I would have avoided all this if you had.”
As Xander stopped at the departures gate, he helped Dawn with her bag.
“I know I haven't seen you in awhile.”
“Hey, you called, sent postcards. Remembered all birthdays and holidays. I got more than Buffy and Willow.”
“Yeah, but you're my friend. And that's important to me. Hell, you're my best friend. I can't just let that die away. You mean too much to me for that.”
Dawn smiled at this. “I am so glad you're better. You really scared me there.”
“I'm sorry. Lucky you were only here for the last couple of days. So you missed the worst of it.”
“Now, you have a flight to catch. Enjoy the flight. Call me once you land.” Xander said.
Dawn turned and entered the airport. Xander watched as she walked out of sight.
“Take care.” he said softly.
Xander got back into his Humvee and drove off. He looked down at the package next to him.
House was in the parking lot, when he heard his name called. He turned and saw Xander approaching.
“Hey, Doc. What's up?”
“Aw, shit.” House muttered. “Harris. How's the malaria treating you?”
“All cleared up.” Xander handed a wrapped package to House. “You saved my life. So I figured I should get you something.”
House held it up to his ear. “Well, it's not ticking, so that's a good sign.”
House unwrapped it the gift.
“Patch Adams? PATCH ADAMS? IS THIS A JOKE?”
“Yeah. Like it?”
House turned to Xander. “God, no. It's possibly the worst movie ever. Every time I come across it on TV, I won't sleep well until I kick a puppy. Pretty funny gift.”
Xander smiled. “Well, I saw it and thought of you. Thanks for all the help.”
“It's my job. Only thing that makes interacting with my staff bearable.” House said.
Xander regarded House. “Why do you do that?”
“What? The misanthropy? Years of practice.”
Xander shook his head. “Push people away. They obviously respect you. And they must enjoy the work, or else they would have quit a long time ago. But if you keep pushing, then someday, they'll figure it's not worth the effort anymore. I should know.”
“Let me guess. You pushed your friends away, and they left.”
“Nope. I'm the one that got tired of being pushed away.” Xander said.
“I'll keep that in mind. Although I noticed the hottie that stayed by your side. So I guess not all of your friends pushed you away.”
“Dawn? Yeah. I'm lucky. Even though she just showed up for the weekend.”
House stopped. “Is that what she said?”
“When you were admitted, we looked for your next of kin. Cameron called the first number on our cell phone that wasn't an international number. She reached your friend. Six hours later, she showed up at the hospital. She stayed by your side all five days your were in a coma. Only left your side to eat, clean up, and use the restroom.”
“But... she said she only got there right before I woke up.” Xander said. “Why didn't she tell me?”
House looked at Xander.
“Didn't you know? Everybody lies.”The End.