House was sitting in his office throwing his ball against the wall and catching it. The case was over, the team off administering the treatment and he was feeling good about solving a particularly complicated diagnosis. Things were going well for him lately at the hospital and although living alone was proving hard to handle while remaining completely clean, he was staying clear of vicodin and limiting his drinking to two drinks a night. Still, he was feeling out of sorts. He'd given up on getting Cuddy and had given up on pushing Sam and Wilson before he lost Wilson's friendship entirely. Truthfully, he valued that friendship more than any other relationship he'd ever had in his life and nearly screwed it up for good once; he was determined not to do that again. Wilson started coming over again once or twice a week, and House was content with that for now, especially since Sam was endorsing it and not trying to prevent it. The problem was, that left him wondering how to fill the other five or six nights a week, especially when his case didn't compel him to stay on late at the hospital. With a sigh, he put the ball down, grabbed his pack and cane and headed out to his car.

House headed home and scrolled through his TV, idled away a little time at the piano, then finally decided to go out someplace where he could get some food and liquor. It had started to rain so he took his car instead of his motorcycle and headed to a pub a few miles away. The pub was filled as usual with rowdy sports fans in the bar side. The restaurant side was fairly empty tonight which suited him fine. He took a seat at a booth so he could slide in sideways and rest his leg on the bench and catch glimpses of the game on the TVs over the bar. He placed his order and the waitress brought him his drink and left him alone until it came out. The fish and chips smelled good to him and he realized only then that he hadn't eaten since the bagels that Chase brought in that morning. He was nearly through the meal when he sensed someone at the table and looked up expecting to see the waitress.

The man standing at the table was looking at him with interest and a touch of amusement in his eyes though his face was impassive. He was expensively well dressed, out of place in the pub really, and it made House feel like a hobo with his old jeans and tee on. "Take a picture," he growled and flipped the guy the bird. "You're blocking the game."

"My apologies," the man said smoothly and slid into the booth opposite House. The waitress appeared immediately with a drink for him and a second for House then disappeared just as quickly.

"Who are you, the Godfather?" House demanded as he watched the waitress go and sat back against the wall a little more.

"No, not hardly," the man said with a chuckle. "I am the owner of this establishment."

"Oh." House said then shrugged apologetically. "Sorry about flipping you the bird then. Should I pay up and never show my face here again?" he asked sarcastically, though he was preparing to leave figuring that was the likely outcome.

"Oh, that. Please. If I was sensitive to such things I should have gone into another business than a bar that serves alcohol," the owner said with a amusement, gesturing to House to sit back and finish his meal and drink.

"So, why did you come to my table then?" House asked, settling back and picking up his drink.

"I am in search of something that I thought you might be able to supply me with."

"You want a diagnosis, go to the hospital. You want drugs, go find a street dealer."

"You're a doctor? Most intriguing, I had no idea. I would have guessed a musician from the shirt you're wearing and your hands. I am not looking for drugs either. We may both be looking for the same thing actually now that I get a closer sense of you," the owner said, looking at House as though he could see right through him.

"A blowjob?" House said crudely, unnerved by the man's stare.

"Not out of the realm of possibility but I was thinking of something less specific than that. I find myself surrounded by people but lacking companionship. I see the same markers in your behavior. You seem to me a man adrift. I am interested in knowing whether you wish to remain adrift, like the pirates of old, or if you have been so long enough and are wishing for a port to anchor in. I would like to be that port to someone."

"Look if you're looking for sex, I may swing both ways but I don't fuck around lightly," House said downing the rest of his glass and preparing to leave after all.

"As I said, it is not outside the realm of possibility but that is not what I am looking for initially. If you need to talk, or just in need of a good meal and stiff drink, feel free to come as often as you like. Enjoy your evening."

House nodded and headed into the bar to the register but was told that his meal was on the house per the owner's instructions. He looked back but the man was gone, nowhere to be seen in either side of the pub. After a moment, he left the pub and went home but had a restless night, unable to shake the strange encounter from his mind.

Two weeks later, House sat on the floor of his bathroom, the mirror shattered in the bathtub, holding two bottles of vicodin in his hand after just losing Hannah, his patient from the crane collapse. The call of the pills and the numbness they would bring was like a siren but some part of him knew he'd be throwing away the past year of sobriety and the stay in Mayfield. Still holding the pills in his hand, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed 411, getting connected to the pub. The phone was answered and he recognized the owner's voice.

"I need an anchor," was all he could rasp out.

"Where are you?" came back the immediate response. House gave him his address. "Don't do anything or go anywhere. I'll be there in just a few minutes."

"I've got two full bottles of vicodin in my hands," House said shakily.

"All right. Don't take them and don't move. I'm coming right now.

House didn't respond, just let the phone slide out of his hands as he sat on the floor and stared at the pills in his hand, thinking how pathetic it was that he had only a stranger whose name he didn't even know to reach out to. Still he did as he was told and just waited, holding the pills without moving. The front door opened a few minutes later and he looked up to see him coming into the bathroom.

"I don't even know your name," House said hoarsely. "Why would you come?"

"My name is Marius. And I came because you asked me to, because you needed me," he answered soothingly, holding out his hand to House. House dumped the two bottles into Marius' hand who set both bottles onto the sink.

"You're not dumping them out?"

"I'll leave that for you when you're ready. Come," Marius answered, holding out his hand again and helping House to his feet. "You'll come back to my home tonight. Leave a note for anyone who might come looking for you, so they'll know that you're all right despite what they'll find in the bathroom," he instructed. House obeyed woodenly and turned to see Marius holding his backpack. "Where's your cane?"

House looked around and shrugged. "Must be still in the wreckage," he said softly.

Marius nodded. "Lean on me then," he commanded softly, wrapping his arm around House's waist. After a moment, House settled his arm around Marius' shoulders and they made their way out of House's apartment and into Marius' black jaguar parked at the curb.

A short drive later the car pulled into a driveway of a large house in the suburbs. Marius got him out of the car and helped him in, taking him directly to the master en suite bathroom.

"Let's get you cleaned up first," Marius said.



"That's my name. Dr. Greg House. People just call me House," he answered.

Marius nodded and carefully eased his clothes off of him, House was too tired and too wrung out to protest or help. Marius stripped as well and helped House into the shower, standing behind him in case he needed support to get the worst of the concrete dust washed off him and taking a look at the bleeding wound on his collarbone. It had been stitched but still bleeding, though Marius felt that would stop once House stopped stressing it. After showering, Marius put House into the Jacuzzi, padding his neck with a rolled towel and turning on the jets, leaving him to soak for a few minutes to ease his strained muscles while he went to make some preparations for his guest.

After pulling out some pajamas for him to wear and getting some extra pillows to support his leg, Marius went to make a few calls, getting a selection of new canes for him to choose from in the morning, as well as making arrangements to get his apartment repaired and some clothing brought over for him. He had no intention of allowing him to return to his home until he was emotionally stable again. He wasn't worried about the vicodin. House didn't want to go back to it that much was clear in that he had called for Marius to help him.

Fifteen minutes later he returned to the bathroom where House was dozing in the Jacuzzi and gently woke him up, shut off the jets and helped him get out, dried off and dressed in pajamas.

"You don't have to do that," House said, embarrassed but bone tired and with no strength to do it himself.

"Just let me take care of you for tonight," Marius said quietly. He helped him to his feet and into the bed in the next room, supporting his leg with the pillows and putting a light gauze dressing over the wound before covering him up. Marius turned off all the lights, leaving just one dim light on in the bathroom and withdrew into a sitting room off the side of the master suite to watch over him and wait for the delivery of canes and clothing.