For those of you wondering, this fic is in a world where House has Taub, Chase, Foreman, and Kutner in his team. I left out Thirteen because I find her hard to write about, and I loved Kutner and was pretty mad when he 'left' the show. Also, House lives in a flat with Wilson, though I haven't decided as to whether or not he's back on vicodin yet. In this version, he never gets kicked out. Sorry for any confusion this causes.

House pointed at Jacob's head. "Before we do anything, we have to get that mess cleaned up."

The young man nodded his consent and House examined the back of his head with surprisingly gentle hands. However, Jacob still flinched slightly at the contact.

"Hurts," he explained briefly, but House saw the flush that had just adorned his cheeks.

He didn't comment. He'd been gun-shy too, at that age.

He examined the area. "No blood, lucky you," he stated after a moment. He tossed the kid a cold pack, then crossed his arms.

"Any other injuries I should know about?" he asked, feeling like Wilson as he eyed the kid's hoodie. The oncologist had asked him the same question more times than he could count, mostly after bar fights that didn't end in his favor.

Unsurprisingly, Jacob did the same thing he did. "No."

"Uh huh. You want to take off that jacket?"

Jacob made a face at him, but slowly, he pulled off the hoodie. What House saw made him wince in sympathy.

Bruises were all over his arms. They were the marks a person got when covering themselves, but not fighting back, during a beating. He didn't see anything that would do lasting damage, but that didn't mean the kid wasn't in massive amounts of pain.

House did a normal check up after that. When he used the stethoscope, he saw clearly that the bruises continued onto his ribs and chest.

House leaned back and sighed. "Okay. I'm going to write you a script for some prescription strength acetaminophen."

At Jacob's blank look, he clarified. "Tylenol. Pain medication? Tell me we're on the same bus here."

Jacob shook his head. "I know what acetaminophen is."

"Then wipe that look off of your face, you look like a vegetable."

Jacob blinked. "I'm sorry. I just… this is so… surreal."

House rolled his eyes, though privately he knew exactly what the boy meant. If this had happened to him during his childhood, the next thing he would have expected to see was flying pigs.

"Come on. You hold onto this," he said, cramming the prescription into the boy's hands. "I'm going to talk to my boss, and one of my fellows will hook you up with some pain meds."

House barged out of the room, the young man following behind him meekly after he re-donned his hoodie. Chase and Foreman watched them with bemused expressions on their faces.

House pointed out Chase to Jacob. "Tell him to get these for you, because I said so. If he argues tell him I'll make him do the patient charts for the last three years if he won't."

House was forcing lightness upon the situation. He knew that the kid must have been flipping out inside.

"Cuuuudddleees!" House shouted, making her secretary drop her papers in a nervous mess. "I have something to teeellll you!"

Jacob watched the seeming lunatic with wide eyes as he walked right into his boss's office, standing firmly with his legs spread apart and his cane in the middle. Then the door slammed shut, and all he could hear was muffled talking.

Cuddy looked up from her paper, frowning. "Whatever it is, House, it's not going to get you out of clinic. Get your ass back in there and do your job." She looked back down at her paperwork, problem cleared up in her mind.

House stared her down until she looked back up.

"I'm reporting an abuse case," he said without preamble, inwardly slightly amused when her eyes widened.

Cuddy's eyes flickered to the young man talking to Chase outside her office. As she watched, Chase's shoulders drooped and they walked together to the miniature pharmacy. "House, if this is a joke-"

"Not a joke. Kid showed the signs, I asked him about it, and with a little pressure he told me. You need to call CPS and have daddy arrested."

Cuddy scoffed at him, still sure he was joshing her around. "House, I'm not in the mood for this."

His eyes narrowed. "Oh, that's okay. I'll just tell Jacob there to go home, because my boss isn't in the mood to call child protective services. I'm sure he'll understand."

Cuddy was still half convinced he'd paid off the kid to give him an excuse to get out of clinic. "Stupid attempt at a joke, House."

House went livid, slamming his cane on her desk with a resounding crack. Several papers landed on the ground, fluttering softly in protest."You think I would joke about this?" he hissed. "I do have limits, Cuddy."

Still slightly disturbed by his outburst, Cuddy snapped at him. "Since when? And how would you recognize the signs of abuse, anyway? You've skipped every class on the subject, I know you have." she accused.

His eyes darkened, but he chose to go with an explanation she would understand instead of the one he was thinking; 'he looked just like I did.'

"Take one look at the kid, and you'll see what I saw. He flinched at every loud noise, every sudden movement. He's ashamed to admit pain- he's got a concussion and all he said was that his head hurt a bit. He's gun-shy and covered in case, Cuddy. Now call CPS, I haven't got all day, and neither does he."

Cuddy was now convinced, thoroughly in fact, but that didn't stop her curiosity. She got the feeling that there was something House was not telling her. "Since when do you give a shit, anyway?"

House looked at her coldly. "I may be an asshole, Cuddy, but abuse isn't something I'd just ignore." Not like my doctors did, he thought angrily to himself.

Cuddy's cheeks reddened, and she felt slightly ashamed. "Right. Give me the file and I'll make the call. Wait with him until they come for the interview."

House tossed down the file, turning on his heel to limp out of the room. He figured it was best not to say anything about his future plans for the kid. He supposed she'd figure it out soon enough

He nodded to Jacob, who was quaking slightly in his seat next to the door. He had a crumpled white bag in his fist, a pill bottle in another. "It's done," he told him gruffly, but with a slight hint of understanding in his voice. "Come on, I've been instructed to babysit you until CPS arrives."

Jacob got up quickly, following the doctor. "So how is this going to work?"

House eyed him. "You'll talk to the interviewers, tell them everything. They'll investigate your dad, keep you in protective custody for a few days. Then when he's convicted they'll permanently take you away from him, place you in the system. From there I'll step in and get you into my flat as a foster kid."

Jacob looked a bit overwhelmed. "You said you had a roommate," he questioned suddenly. "What're they like?"

House flickered a smile. "He's a pansy of an oncologist, and he'll absolutely adore you and all your neediness."

Jacob blinked. "Oh. I didn't know you were…"

House laughed, rolling his eyes. "Not gay, Jacob. Just friends."

Jacob looked slightly relieved. "Oh. Okay. Not that I'd have a problem if you were, of course, but-"

"Quit babbling, you sound like a moron."

Jacob blinked, but closed his mouth all the same.

House looked him up and down, stopping at the clinic desk to sign out. "You hungry, kid?" he asked after a moment, an idea sparking into motion.

Jacob swallowed. "Uh… yeah."

"Good. We're going to meet mister pansy right now, and he can buy us both some food. You should have a full stomach with those meds you just took."

"Oh, but I have money-"

House cut him off again. "First rule of hanging with me; you never pay. That's what Wilson's for. Come on."

Jacob followed him, hands shoved into his dark hoodie's pockets. House punched the elevator button with his cane, drawing attention to it.

Jacob looked a bit afraid to ask, but he did so anyway. "So what's up with your leg?"

House sighed inwardly. That may have been his least favorite question in the world. He still hated having to explain.


"Isn't that… a heart attack?" Jacob asked, confused.

House was privately impressed that the kid knew what that was at all. "Sort of. Only this one happened in my leg. Caused some muscle death and the dead tissue was removed."

Jacob pinched his lips together in sympathy as the elevator went up. "It hurts, huh?"

House eyed him sharply. Not many people who he met in passing realized the pain he experienced with the injury.

Jacob explained briefly. "I could just see it in your face."

House slowly nodded. "Hurts everyday."

He left it at that, and Jacob didn't push.

The doors pinged open, and House limped out. Jacob followed him to a nice wooden door, labeled "Dr. James Wilson, Head of Oncology".

House flung the door open without knocking, just as he'd done with his boss.

"Wilson, I'm hungry," he told the man sitting at the desk. Jacob hung back behind the door frame as House threw himself down on a chair, throwing his arms out over the back.

Wilson rolled his eyes. "When are you not hungry?"

"When I'm sleeping. We're going to the cafeteria so you can pay for my breakfast. Get up."

Jacob's eyes widened slightly at House's reckless tone, but Wilson seemed used to it. He sighed and stood, grabbing his wallet. "You know, you could be a bit less transparent about this," he mentioned, starting to walk out of his office. He trailed off as he caught sight of Jacob.

"Hello," Jacob said uncertainly. House grinned behind Wilson's back.

Wilson shot House a look. "House, who is this?"

"My long lost cousin Billy," House joked, standing to shove past him. "Come on, they stop serving breakfast at ten thirty."

Wilson shrugged, sticking his hand out to shake with Jacob. "Dr. Wilson."

Jacob shook, shaking his head in amazement. "Jacob Darning. Is he always like that?" he asked, gesturing to House, who was already at the elevator.

Wilson rolled his eyes, but fondly. "No, sometimes he's worse."

They caught up with House just as the doors opened. "So what brings you to hang out with this guy?" Wilson asked, thumb gesturing over his shoulder at House. "You can't tell me it's his personality."

House cut in. "I've been told to babysit, and the kid's hungry. Ergo, we came to you for food, as usual."

Wilson eyed Jacob. "I've got to ask," he said somewhat apologetically, pointing to his eye.

Jacob swallowed and looked down. House spoke up again, hooking Wilson's arm with his cane and pulling him back. "Kid got into a fight at school," he growled, a warning tone in his voice. His face seemed to say, 'leave it alone, Wilson'.

Wilson knew when to shut up, and he did so. When the door opened, House led them to the cafeteria.

Wilson watched with dismay as House piled his tray with food. "House, do you just not eat if I'm not there to pay?" he questioned him only half jokingly. House had always been thin, but after the infarction he'd lost a ton of weight. It truly looked like he only ate if Wilson bought him a meal.

House shrugged, choosing not to answer.

Next to him in line, Jacob timidly grabbed a bagel. "I do have money," he told Wilson apologetically.

Wilson waved his hand at him. "You, I don't mind paying for. It's the other working adult that I've got the issue with."

House jerked his head at Wilson when he got to the cashier. The employee had long ago learned to not expect money from the crass diagnostician, and nodded at Wilson kindly.

Wilson smiled at him and paid for all three meals, feeling like the father of two children.

House sat down at their usual booth, and Wilson slid in across from him. Jacob stood there uncertainly, worry crinkling his forehead.

House rolled his eyes. "Kid, we don't bite. Hard," he added as an afterthought. "Okay, Wilson doesn't bight hard. Sit."

The kid sat, rather like a dog obeying a command. He slid into the seat next to Wilson, apparently deciding that the brown eyed oncologist was the safer of the two.

"I'm sorry, but I really have to know," Wilson asked finally as Jacob picked at his bagel. "Are you his patient or something?"

House narrowed his eyes at Wilson, but Jacob spoke up. "Sort of. He treated me in the clinic earlier."

Wilson's face immediately became sympathetic. "Ah, I see. You doing okay?"

"No, Wilson, he came to the clinic because he feels perfect," House snarled. He didn't want the kid to have to explain his situation to Wilson. First off, he knew how much pain and confusion the fourteen year old was going through at the moment, and he cared just enough to not make him voice it. Second, if Jacob told Wilson why he was here, that would start the wheels turning in Wilson's head and make him suspicious.

House didn't need that.

Jacob surprised him by taking the initiative, no pointers needed. "I'm fine now. His boss told him to watch me until… uh… my aunt… comes to take me home. Apparently the hospital isn't a fan of pyrotechnics."

House just about choked on his eggs. This kid was good.

Wilson looked faintly green. "Uh huh. Well, I need to be going," he muttered, letting Jacob slide out of the booth so he could scoot away. "House, stop bringing your criminal friends in here. Wasn't the mobster bad enough?"

House grinned. Sooner or later, he was going to have to tell Wilson the plan he had for this 'criminal friend' of his. It did involve him staying in their home until further notice, after all.

He was going to enjoy the look on his face.