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Posted as [ profile] killalla, April 24, 2005 to [ profile] housefic and [ profile] cox_and_co

Title: House and Holmes
Author: killalla
Fandoms: House MD and Sherlock Holmes
Spoilers: For House MD, through Episode 15 “Mob Rules” and for Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventure of the Dying Detective”.
Rating: General, Mild H/W subtext in both incarnations.
Disclaimers: Assume the usual for House MD and the Granada television production. The works of Arthur Conan Doyle are now public domain.
Summary: A crossover, of sorts. Gregory House watches Sherlock Holmes.
Notes: Many thanks to [ profile] triskellian for the beta. Someone on a list or community suggested that "House and Holmes" would be a good magazine title, I used it for a fic. All errors and omissions are mine. X-posted to housefic

When he wasn’t working on a case, House tended to leave the hospital before five, a habit that had become even more pronounced once clinic duty became involved, so Wilson was not surprised when Cuddy stopped by his office on Friday afternoon and asked him if he could drop off some paperwork for House on his way home.

“The New Jersey Office of Occupational Health and Safety wants a survey of the entire hospital, and I need reports from each department head.” She tossed a folder with the forms on his desk. Wilson winced. He had done the report for Oncology, and it had taken several hours. “In fact, I needed the reports three weeks ago, and what with things the way they are with our new Chairman…” She didn’t finish, but didn’t really need to. “Just tell him that if report’s not on my desk first thing Monday morning, I’m confiscating his Game Boy.”

Finding House in his apartment, feet up on the coffee table and watching television was not unusual, but what was unusual was finding him intently watching something that was neither a soap opera nor soft porn. “Hey, I thought General Hospital finished at four,” Wilson joked weakly, setting the folder down on the table. House shushed him with a wave of the hand, and gestured for him to take a seat on the couch. On the screen, Dr. John H. Watson had just arrived at Baker Street and bounded up the stairs to greet Sherlock Holmes (1). The detective’s response was to make a catty comment about his new tie (2).

“The ties, they’re always a giveaway.” House picked up the bowl of popcorn from his lap and passed it to Wilson.

“Well, at least I know where you’re getting your amazing deductive insights.” Wilson grabbed a handful of popcorn and began to munch. “So, who’s been murdered?”

“No-one, yet. Of course, they’ve dressed it up a bit for television, but the gist of it is that guy -” House pointed to the screen “is about to be infected with the rare and deadly Sumatran River Fever while at an opium den in Rotherhithe. His wife, meanwhile, has come because she is concerned that his cousin is trying to ‘do him in.’ It’s all about the inheritance, of course.” He reached over to retrieve the popcorn bowl. “Dr. Watson, because he’s a sucker where a pretty face is concerned, there see? Holmes agrees with me – thinks they need to get involved.”(3) House shot his companion a sidelong glance.

For a while, they watched in companionable silence, the flow of voices from the television broken only by the sounds of crunching, while it became increasingly clear that the unpleasant Dr. Culverton Smith was indeed responsible for the death of financier Victor Savage. House kept up a lively commentary while Holmes dispatched the Baker Street Irregulars to collect information in Rotherhithe (“Think the team would work better if I offered a shilling for the first person to get me a differential diagnosis?”) and Watson expressed outrage that Adelaide Savage and her children were to be turned out of their house, insisting that he himself would undertake a break-in of Smith’s house to find the incriminating evidence. (4) (“All because of a girl. I hope you’re taking note of this – it’s exactly where all this helpful supportiveness leads to. An arrest for burglary.”) But it was clear that he was enjoying the episode immensely nonetheless.

Throughout, Holmes maintained that all the evidence he had was a matter of coincidence, and insufficient proof of Smith’s guilt, but in the end he agreed to accompany Watson to the country estate involved and then to take the dangerous step of denouncing Smith publicly. This evidently exposed the detective to Smith’s wrath, and subsequently, Mrs. Hudson summoned Watson to Baker Street with the news that Holmes was on his deathbed. It was this point that House could no longer contain himself “Now, this is one of the more interesting cases, but this bit always strikes me as just implausible. Watson is intelligent, he’s a medical man, and he should have suspected something. I mean, if you were called to my bedside with the news I was dying, but I refused to let you within six feet of me, would you actually believe it? You’d have to think there was something fishy about that.”

Wilson looked at his friend. With his relaxed posture and animated attitude, it was almost difficult to remember what it had been like, that first time, finding him in a hospital bed, facing down constant pain and a likely lifetime of disability. In fact, House hadn’t let him get within a few feet of the bed before cutting loose with some incredibly caustic remarks regarding his latest engagement, and then proceeded to reduce the nurse who’d come to take his temperature to tears. “Well, I might have a problem distinguishing your regular conversation from raving delirium – You may not be babbling about oysters on the sea bed, but complete non-sequiturs in everyday conversation are about par for the course with you. Besides, wasn’t the author of the stories a doctor himself? Surely his science can’t be that wrong.”

“If you are referring to Dr. Watson’s literary agent, then I think you must be mistaken - he certainly wouldn’t have had that level of input. But, it’s true that Watson’s medical references were a little unusual – and Holmes kept running into rare poisons, quack regenerative serums, and rare tropical diseases. Mind you, these were times when most illness was treated with a bit of brandy and some smelling salts. Ah, the good old days.”

“Proving my point that the disease might be unusual enough that -” Wilson did a double take. “Wait a minute; you do know that the Sherlock Holmes stories are fictional, right?”

“Ah, Dr. Wilson, you speak as a novice, but that’s merely because you’ve never played The Great Game.” Wilson could hear the capital letters in the phrase. “We never acknowledge the role of the literary agent – just not done, you know.” House winked. “Although I am thinking of writing an article on the deficiencies of Watson’s diagnostic technique for the next BSI Journal.”

“Okay. So, you do know it’s fictional, but you’re pretending it’s not – and other people are playing along with you?”

“Exactly. Baker Street Irregular, card-carrying member since 2000. My investiture was as ‘The Aluminium Crutch.’ ” (5) The smile was self-mocking, but the statement appeared to be genuine. Still, Wilson couldn’t quite believe it.

“You’re kidding.”

“No, I’m not. The society puts on a pretty decent dinner every year in New York, and the booze is excellent. Besides, if you can’t take your hobbies seriously, what can you take seriously?”

The episode was concluding, and one of the Savage children came over to hug Watson and thank him for helping them. He directed her to Holmes, who was sprawled in a lawn chair with his feet up and his hat down, dozing. His usual ratty scarf was wrapped around his shoulders. The girl looked frightened, but gingerly approached the detective and extended her hand “We are very grateful to you, sir.” With great dignity, Holmes shook it “My privilege, Miss Savage.” The barest ghost of a smile played across his face.

“Now see, that’s about as much interaction as I would ever like with precious little tykes. Although, having the ability to intimidate small children would be useful. Also, kind of cool. Bill Arnello said it was all about making them believe you’ll hurt them, but I think there might be more to it than that. ” House chased down the last few pieces of popcorn and popped them into his mouth. “Say, do you think that cane would look good on me? I bet I could really work the silver topped look.”

“Only if you wore the hat as well, and that might look a little out of place in the hospital, even for you.” Remembering the ostensible purpose for his visit, Wilson picked up the folder that he’d dropped on the coffee table when he arrived. “This is for you, by the way. The occupational health survey. Cuddy threatened to hold your Game Boy hostage until it’s finished.” He took a breath, realizing he should say something about Volger, and the Board, but unsure of how to phrase it. Further warnings wouldn’t change anything, and House would do what he pleased, as always.

But before he could say anything further, House cut him off. “Okay, I’ll get to it. But stay and watch this next episode – it’s one of the better ones. There’s beer in the fridge, or scotch if you want something stronger.” A click of the remote, and the familiar FBI Warning was filling the screen. “And the game, as they say, is afoot.”

(1)For those playing along at home, House is watching the 1994 Granada production of ‘The Dying Detective,’ from the series 'The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.' It stars Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and Edward Hardwicke as John Watson. Although the story has been adapted for television, the original is available in the collection 'His Last Bow' or online at
(2)In fact, the line is “Don’t ask me to comment on your new tie.” Watson responds with the statement “You’re quite heartless, Holmes.” Ties, hmm? Everything old is new again.
(3)Here, the statement is “I think you’ve head turned by a pretty woman.” Holmes then precedes to hand Watson his valise, and they take a hansom to dinner together.
(4)When Watson declares his intention of breaking into Smith’s house to search for evidence, Holmes offers to go along, noting that “You’ve already had your head turned – I must make sure you don’t get your neck broken as well.”
(5)This, like all Baker Street Irregular investitures, is an actual reference from a case.
“‘Yes, my boy, these were all done prematurely before my biographer had come to glorify me.’ He lifted bundle after bundle in a tender, caressing sort of way. ‘They are not all successes, Watson,’ said he. ‘But there are some pretty little problems among them. Here’s the record of the Tarleton murders, and the case of Vamberry, the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old Russian woman, and the singular affair of the aluminum crutch, as well as a full account of Ricoletti of the club-foot, and his abominable wife. And here–ah, now, this really is something a little recherché.’” From “The Musgrave Ritual,” p.386-87 in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.
Apologies to Baker Street Irregular Joseph Gillies, 1962 – I have given Gregory House his investiture.
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