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ZOMG...I wrote fanfiction again. 

Title: Mexican Standoff
Rating: PG 
Characters: House/Wilson/Foreman
Words: 772
Summary: It can't end well with two stubborn, armed adversaries...or can it? Spoilers for 8.07 Dead and Buried

He had expected the worst. To be wrestled ungainly from the office by two or three burly, bloated badge carriers, through the reception and out the front door, with gawking yet clearly unsurprised colleagues observing from the sidelines. That Dr. House. Always flipping one to authority, pushing, probing, pressing the buttons of his superiors. It was only a matter of time before he found the destructive combination and had his ass hauled back to jail.

But thirty clinic hours.

It was a meagre morsel of a punishment than the one he thought would be dished out. Foreman was a worthy adversary at times, a man of his word, staunch, principled and authoritative in his own right. His resignation, informing to Cuddy on his exploits, tests that he believed were necessary regardless of House's mocking. Foreman says, Foreman does. And when Foreman threatens with jail time, that's what House expects to get. 

He goes to that office with the unfamiliar sensation of defeat in his stomach. They've called each other's bluff, and one of them was going to lose out. House's Freedom versus House's Knowing. Some would say it was an unfair match up, a Mexican stand off between an old rusting revolver and a semi-automatic machine gun, and that there was only ever one outcome. 

The machine gun blitzes the tie, and the rusting revolver is at its mercy. 

He had seen it coming, of course he'd seen it coming. He knew it and Wilson had spent most of the week not so subtly telling him to step back, put down the weapon and get out of the firing line. It's not worth it, it's not worth it. The younger man flapped and frittered. Bouncing back and forth like a pinball between the two of them, being the physical manifestation of being stuck between a rock and hard place. 

He'd wavered for a moment, a tiny but significant flutter in his brain, as he saw the look on Wilson's face when he came back for the last time to plead for him to stop. A mixture of careful hope, delicate loneliness and heavy weariness. And for one moment it was gone, that need, that urge, that yearning to decipher the puzzle. It was gone, if only briefly. 

But his head ruled his heart, no matter how hard he tried, and as he raised and cocked his gun, he could see Wilson, frustrated and listless in the corner of his eye. He had to do this. He had to know. What is life without knowing? What is freedom without knowing?

He was surprised to see Wilson in Foreman's office when he takes his seat outside the walnut brown door. He can't make out what either man is saying, but Wilson is animated, even with this apparently losing cause. Foreman stands, stiff and upright, absorbing and decoding without even a flicker of the eyelids. Two undecipherable men having an almost undecipherable conversation. 

Wilson doesn't want to take the bullet, he wants to stop the bullet being fired altogether, and this is his last attempt, the last distraction, the last beg to both men's rational reasoning, before the flag is waved and bellows of 'FIRE!' echo through the hospital. The look on Foreman's face hinted that perhaps his calls for restraint were falling on deaf ears. 

House had to wonder, and he did, why Wilson is still defending him with such vigour. He's violated parole, went behind Foreman's back and should, technically, be thrown back into the penitentiary. Even Wilson knows that. 

But then it occurred to him. This is not just a case of His Freedom versus His Knowing. It's Their Friendship, Their Freedom, Their Sanity versus His Knowing. 

When Wilson exited the office, he offered a small yet victorious smirk. The pacifist tactic had paid off and Foreman had removed his ammunition and laid down his weapon. A peace offering in the form of thirty clinic hours has been put forward, and House could do nothing but accept. 

He found Wilson sitting on a bench in the parking lot, absent-mindedly twiddling the keys of his Volvo between his fingers. 

"How many?" 

"He gave me thirty."

"I would have gave you fifty." Wilson smiled and dumped the keys back into his pocket. 

"That's 'cos you'd be a crappy Dean of Medicine. You don't have the people skills."

"Oh ok, pot, kettle, black, over there."

"What do I owe you?"

Wilson could have gone the whole hog, some clinic duty here, some administration paperwork there, injecting his pissy, diabetic cat, but his request was simple."A bottle of beer and pizza would do just fine."

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