House slept through the night out of exhaustion and woke up wondering where he was. He couldn't identify the room or the clothing he was wearing and he slowly sat up on the edge of the bed. After a few minutes he recalled the events of the night before and that he was in Marius' home. His cell phone was sitting on the nightstand next to the bed and in a nearby chair his backpack and a duffle bag of clothing, along with a selection of different length canes. House was impressed by the arrangements that Marius had made overnight. He picked up his cell and checked the time, grimacing when he saw it was already 10:30 in the morning. He dialed the hospital and was put through to Cuddy.
"House! Are you all right? Wilson found the note you left," Cuddy said, relieved to hear his voice this morning.
"Yeah, I'm all right. I'm not coming in today," House answered. "Tell Wilson I'm all right."
"I will. Did you take any of the vicodin? He found it on the sink with the mirror smashed just as some workmen came to fix it. By the way, how did you get workmen to come in the middle of the night?" Cuddy asked.
"I didn't take any vicodin. I came close. I called up a sponsor and he made the arrangements for the workmen. I don't know how he did it," House answered quickly growing weary. "I'll call you again tomorrow," he said cutting off the call and putting down his phone.
Marius entered the room, having waited until he finished the call. "Good morning," he said and House nodded in return. "Breakfast will be ready in half an hour. I had one of my trusted staff bring your clothes and shaving kit here for you. Just come down the hallway and through the great room when you're ready, breakfast will be waiting."
House tried out the canes and found one that was the right height then made his way into the bathroom. After relieving himself and brushing his teeth he pulled on some clothes and made his way out to the great room. Marius was seated at a table being waited on by a young man, who upon seeing House moved to pull out a chair at the other place setting. House took his seat and looked around the room. "Very nice. Pub business treats you well from the look of it."
"The pub is a diversion against boredom," Marius answered with a smile. "Would you prefer coffee or tea?"
"Coffee," House answered. The young male servant brought the coffee and then their meal in, leaving the room at a nod from Marius.
"About last night," House began uneasily, fiddling with the silverware. "Thanks. Sorry to need that much help."
"I'm pleased to have the means to provide the help you needed and to go beyond that level to something I hope gave you some measure of safety and comfort," Marius answered, giving House his full attention. "I took the liberty to have your home repaired and cleaned up overnight."
"So I heard. How much do I owe you for that?" House asked as he started to eat breakfast.
"You don't owe me any money for that," Marius answered.
"Suggesting that I owe you something else instead," House responded, fixing Marius with an analyzing look. Marius chuckled and nodded.
"Indeed. I want you to remain with me today. Since you told me you are a doctor and you were covered in concrete dust, I deduce that you were rendering aid at the crane collapse in Trenton. Something occurred there that shook you very badly. You needn't tell me any details, unless you wish to. But I don't want you to spend today alone. So that is the 'payback price' for the repair work. Is it a deal?" Marius said, looking up at House, cocking an eyebrow in a light challenge.
House debated for a moment but truth was he wasn't ready to be alone yet or go back to his place and face the bottles of vicodin or Wilson. "Deal."
"Good. Now eat your food. I have some business to do this afternoon. You can come with me or remain here in Timmy's care, whichever you prefer. You're welcome to go anywhere in the house except for Timmy's quarters, unless he invites you or gives you permission. This evening you'll come with me to the pub for a few hours before we return back here," Marius said matter-of-factly.
"Got it all planned out do you?" House asked, half amused and half alarmed. "Gonna' slip me a micky?"
Marius laughed aloud at that one. "I prefer my sexual partners conscious and aware, House, so no, I have no intention of slipping you a micky. But I'm going to insist that you follow my instructions for today. Tomorrow after breakfast, provided you stabilize out today, I will drive you home if you wish to go, or pay for a cab if you'd prefer. Or you may remain here for as long as you like," Marius said, finishing his meal and sitting back to enjoy his coffee while House finished his.
House chose to remain in the house while Marius went out to do his business, using the opportunity to go through the place and investigate, to try to get a sense of who this man was and what his angle was. He went through his desk drawers, opened his computer, rummaged through his bedroom, all under the watch of the servant Timmy and was surprised when he made no move to stop any of this. He discovered that Marius had a couple of businesses besides the pub but a very wealthy investment portfolio. He was starting to believe that Marius was telling the truth; that the pub was an entertaining diversion. The house contained some very fine furnishings, a huge library room and home theater, an indoor pool and hot tub in the middle of a large indoor garden. He also came across a collection of erotic sex toys which gave him pause as he remembered that Marius had left the possibility of sex open quite deliberately. He heard the door open and Marius voice speaking with Timmy, so he picked up one of the leather collars and stood there holding it up when Marius came into the room with his servant.
"Find something you like?" Marius asked with a smirk. "You're welcome to wear it to the pub tonight, but there are conditions and implications you may not be prepared for attached to it."
"No thanks," House answered, dropping the collar back into place as Timmy stripped Marius right in front of him. "So you're into bondage and domination?"
"Yes and no," Marius answered. "The bondage scene often acts out scenarios and role play. I play for real life, which not many do."
"Meaning?" House asked. His eyes automatically swept Marius' body as Timmy took the dirty clothes and brought out a bowl of water and cloths to give him a quick wash down. Marius was well toned, lightly tanned. He had a couple of symbol tattoos as well as a series of rings pierced through the skin of his scrotal sack. He looked completely at ease standing there in the nude, bathed by his servant and watched by House.
"Meaning that to me, bondage and domination is what they call a 24/7 pursuit. It isn't a role play or a scenario. It revolves around daily life," Marius replied lightly. Timmy put a robe over Marius' shoulders and withdrew from the room. "So did you find any answers in your investigations today?" Marius asked as he drew the robe closed.
"A few but more questions. You knew I'd go through everything," House accused with a smirk.
"I figured you would," Marius admitted. "I've nothing to hide from you. We'll be leaving for the pub in hour and eating dinner there," he continued as he headed toward the walk-in closet. "I'll leave you to get ready then."
House hadn't been too sure about the night at the pub in the beginning. Marius authorized him anything to eat and drink on the house but instructed the staff to limit his alcohol intake to one per hour and House couldn't trick or budge them otherwise no matter how hard he tried. Eventually he gave up and settled to watch TV. By the time Marius was ready to leave he had played a few games of darts, a couple hands of cards and a game of billiards with Marius himself. He found he'd actually enjoyed the evening, had some drinks and went home sober, which was something completely new for him.
The next morning, House was ready to go back to work and accepted Marius' offer of a ride, having him drop him off at the doors to the clinic, knowing that everyone would question him really having a sponsor. Sure enough, Wilson and Cuddy were at the clinic desk when he climbed out of the jaguar and said his goodbyes to Marius.
"Wow. Your sponsor drives a jaguar?" Wilson asked as House signed in at the desk.
"Yeah. How cool is that?" House smirked then watched as Wilson and Cuddy's faces shifted in concern. "I'm all right," he insisted. "He helped me through. No really, I'm all right," he added when they remained unconvinced and headed off toward the elevators with Wilson in tow behind him.