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Never Could Spell Medieval (PG)

Title: Never Could Spell Medieval
Author: Dee Laundry
Pairing: House/Wilson
Rating: PG
Summary: How can you have one without the other? Discussion the day before Halloween, 2014
Notes: Thank you SO MUCH to [personal profile] nightdog_barks and bironic for beta duties and general cheerleading. There is actually sick Wilson in this fic, but don't blink because you'll miss it. If you'd like more sick Wilson, please let me refer you back to a previous fic in this 'verse, Senseless, which has heaping helpings of hurt, both physical and mental (but a happy ending). The entire My Fathers' Son series can be found on AO3 here.

"Uh."

Damn. House had been wracking his brain for over five milliseconds for a snappy witticism that would preserve emotional distance from the scene in front of him, and nothing at all was coming to mind.

He’d obviously been a father too long.

"Wilson, why’s the kid a sobbing mess?"

Wilson’s rubs down Jack’s back got a little rougher. "Mark’s going to be Captain America for the class Halloween party tomorrow."

“Overdone and pedestrian, but even I wouldn’t wail that much over lack of originality.” House took the cushion next to Wilson on the couch, and gave Jack’s head a pat. The kid launched himself House’s way, fortunately missing the bum leg, and dug his nose into House’s right pectoral, tears and snot both aimed squarely at his breast pocket.

“Post! Nah! Ah; awr!” Jack sobbed. “Lee, ee, ee, oh.”

Wilson, whose leg-adjacent area had not been missed by Jack’s tangly legs, poky knees, or clunking sneakers, sucked in a pained hiss and then explained, “Mark was supposed to be a knight so that Jack could be a squire. But Leo talked Mark into joining a group of boys who are all dressing up as Avengers.”

“Alright, so why doesn’t Jack join the Avengers kids?”

“Awna,” Jack exclaimed in between sobs, “be awr!”

House sighed. "Look, it's ok for you to cry, but not to cry and talk at the same time. One, because you’ll choke and two, because you sound like a hearing-impaired parrot with how distorted everything's coming out."

"C'mon," Wilson encouraged. "A few deep breaths."

Jack shakily took the requested breaths, shuddering in House's arms. Then he started his sentence over. "I want to be a squire." Wiping his face, he wiggled into a sitting position between House and Wilson. "Not an Avengers guy." After one more sniffle he continued, "And a squire has to have a knight."

"And the squire costume's already done," Wilson muttered under his breath.

"Chill, Martha Stewart," said House. "No one's saying you have to whip up another costume."

"I don't want another costume. I want to be a squire, and Mark was gonna be the knight, and Sunshine's the princess, and Alice's the dragon. And now there's no --" A hitch of breath had House suddenly wishing pox, plague and locusts on this Mark kid, tender age be damned. "No knight."

Moving from Plan A to B to Q was always one of House's strengths. "Why don't you be the knight, Jack?" Wilson's mouth opened; House hurried to continue: "You've got a knight helmet and shield already in your toy box; wear those with your squire costume, and Wilson wouldn't have to make you anything new. If you've got a princess and a dragon, the group doesn't really need a squire."

"I don't want to be a stupid knight. A squire is the helper and gets everything ready and carries the flag and takes care of the horses."

Which sounded like a crap job to House. Why be the shit-shoveller when you can get someone else to do it for you? But he'd obviously been a father way too long because if Jack wanted to trail along behind a knight, House was going to bulldoze through every obstacle to make it happen.

Bulldoze. Wait a second.

"Who'd you say the princess is?"

Jack pulled away from Wilson's diligent nose-clean-up to reply. "Sunshine. And Alice is the dragon."

"Is she wearing the same costume she wore in Wednesday's parade?" off-tracked Wilson.

"Uh-huh," Jack replied. "With the bow especially on her head. Because some kids told her that dragons don't wear bows, and she said." Jack's entire face opened up, eyes wide and teeth gleaming. "'I AM FIRE I AM DEATH,' and now everybody knows that dragons can wear whatever they want."

House approved heartily; there was just one thing. "I don't remember a girl dressed in a dragon costume in the parade."

"She was right up front in the group of costumed Girl Scouts," Wilson noted. "They had her leading because the streamers representing her fire needed space to unfurl."

"Wait. That dragon in front of the Scouts? There was a kid in there? I thought that was a miniature-sized float." He whistled. "Alice's mama put you to shame, Wilson."

Wilson sighed. "Her father's a professional costume designer and her mother's an engineer. They hooked up some kind of gear system to the wheels on Alice's wheelchair that controlled both the wings and the tail. How am I supposed to compete with that?"

"I don't want to compete," said Jack, "and I don't want to be a dragon." His tears had dried and he was back to his awesome normal self. House hid a smile as Jack continued, "My squire costume is perfect and all we need is a knight."

Back to House's point. Bulldozer. "Sunshine is the girl who went out for Tiny-Mite football, isn't she?"

"Yeah," Jack confirmed. "She's a linebacker now but when she grows up she wants to be a MFL defensive tickle."

"The position is tackle, sweetheart," interjected Wilson. "For the NFL. Watch the Eagles game with Daddy and me this weekend, and we'll teach you the different players."

"Sunshine likes the Jets."

"Well, she's smart enough to be a DT." House refrained from rolling his eyes by the barest of margins. "That's Sunday, so let's go back to the issue for tomorrow. My point was, are you sure Sunshine wants to dress up as a princess? Maybe she'd want to be the knight."

"She told me all about her long dress that's blue like Elsa from Frozen and green like Anna from Frozen and also pink too and there is a tiara and gloves and her mom will let her wear colored lip gloss for just one special day only because of Halloween not any other time ever until she's much older like teachers' ages and Sunshine hopes it is Miss-West old and not as much as Mrs.-Walker old." Pausing for a quick breath, Jack looked House straight in the eye. "She really wants to be a princess at the party."

"Got it."

House looked over at Wilson and got nothing back but a shrug. Great. Wonderful. Think, House, think. Need a knight. Knight of the round table. Knight in shining armor. Wilson'd reveled in playing that role over and over, but Jack didn't want his Pop's pudgy middle-aged ass hanging out in the kindergarten classroom. Plan A to B to Q. Q for quilt, for queen, Dancing Queen, and there was Wilson's middle-aged ass in his mind again, although really, Wilson's ass was not any bit more pudgy than it needed to be for fun and -- off-topic. Totally off-topic. No more thinking of that luscious butt of Wilson's that had not been ravaged by middle age the way that his waist had (really, he should have worked harder to stave off love handles if he didn't want House chomping and pinching them). Plan A to B to...

Middle age.

Middle Ages.

There it was. The right question to ask.

"Are you a squire from the early Middle Ages or the late Middle Ages?"

"The middle is not the early or the late," Jack pointed out reasonably yet unhelpfully.

Wilson jumped in (love handles wiggling only in House's mind) with "The late Middle Ages, according to the LARPer on Pinterest I got the costume design from."

"Pinterest? Really?"

"Yes, really," Wilson protested. "A squire costume for a five-year-old is not something you can just run to Target and grab. I had to be creative."

"But... Pinterest? Crafting white-lady heaven?"

"Oh, there's more than on there than you realize." Wilson's eyes developed an intriguing glint. "Remind me to show you my cuffs and collars pins some time."

Jack grunted, and House tried to drag his focus away from that glint and the accompanying tiny upturn of lips and toward his son. Costume. Cuffs and collars. Maybe a slave-boy scene, with House as a Roman citizen...

"Dad."

Halloween costume. For young child. Right.

"In the later Middle Ages," he began after a small cough -- Wilson had nothing to smirk about, seriously -- "Some scholars say that the role of squire began to be considered as a worthy occupation in its own right. A squire didn't have to be tied to any particular knight and maybe not to any knight at all."

"What?" Jack jumped off the couch and faced House more directly. "A squire without a knight?"

"Why not? Tell me again what you like about being a squire."

"Helping and carrying a flag and taking care of the horses."

House raised an eyebrow. "I seem to recall that princesses often have horses and flags and appreciate having a helper."

As Jack considered that thought, Wilson's twinkle turned more paternal. "Remember watching Brave?" he asked. "Princesses have a lot of duties. A squire would make their lives much easier."

"Sunshine does like horses. And being in charge."

Wilson stood up and held out a hand for Jack. "Let's go call her and see if she has a flag for you to carry at the party tomorrow or if she wants you to bring one in."

"Awesome."

They got a few steps away before Jack came hurtling back to throw his arms around House's neck. "Thanks, Dad; I love you infinitely."

"Love you infinitely too, kiddo."

Yeah, he'd been a father too long.

Or maybe not long enough yet.

This entry was originally posted at http://deelaundry.dreamwidth.org/22574.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sassyjumper
Nov. 1st, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
So happy to read a new fic from you -- and that RenFest gave you some inspiration!

I love that Jack wanted to be the squire, because he's the sidekick and a helper and takes care of people. And I adore House's internal voice here -- with his mind veering from wishing the plague on a kindergartner, to the differences in squire protocol between the early and late Middle Ages, to (inevitably) Wilson's ass.

And OMG, I love Sunshine! Thanks for the Halloween treat :D
deelaundry
Nov. 2nd, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you! At first, the writing of this was so slow and painful -- but once I turned it over to House's internal voice, it flowed so much more smoothly. :) Sunshine is now a favorite of mine, too, along with Hobbit-quoting Alice.
barefootpuddles
Nov. 9th, 2014 02:08 am (UTC)
This was very cute. I like your little Jack.

Jack's entire face opened up, eyes wide and teeth gleaming. "'I AM FIRE I AM DEATH,' and now everybody knows that dragons can wear whatever they want."

House approved heartily;


I bet he did! If House and Cuddy ever had a daughter together this is what she would be like. I am assuming that Jack is Wilson's biological child? After all, he does want to be the squire. ;)

"Love you infinitely too, kiddo."

My husband used to tell our daughter that he loved her "approaching infinity." Apparently that is mathematically more correct. lol
deelaundry
Nov. 14th, 2014 01:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks! House is Jack's biological father, believe it or not. House thinks often about nature vs. nurture in respect to Jack. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )