Disclaimer: I do not own House, Wilson, Cameron, or anyone else mentioned in this fic. They belong to David Shore and Fox. I watched the end of "Damned If You Do" and couldn't find any fic explaining who had given Cameron the Christmas gift at the end or what it was. So I wrote it. Reccea, Kerithwyn and Cereta previewed this for me but any mistakes, especially regarding pretzel continuity are mine.
The Gift of Giving Back
"Do you think Cameron needs a new hat?" House asked, setting the red tam on his head and fluttering his lashes at his companion.
"I have never seen Cameron wear a hat," James Wilson said, snatching the hat from House's head and setting it back on its hook. "Why are you buying Cameron a Christmas present anyway?"
"I know, that sounds like something you'd do," House mumbled, turning away from the hats and making his way down the aisle.
Wilson touched the lace of a veil on one of the hats and turned to follow House down to the purses.
"This one's pretty," House said, peering into a large beige bag.
"No, it's not, and you didn't answer my question." Wilson took the bag out of House's hand and put it back on the shelf.
"Was there a question? Speaking of questions, what did you get Julie for Hanukkah?" House wanted to know, on the move again. He stumped his way down the main aisle of Macy's, clearing a swath through the last-minute holiday shoppers.
Wilson followed him easily, tucking his hands into the pockets of his wool overcoat.
"I asked you why you're getting Cameron a Christmas present. You don't get anyone Christmas presents."
"Ah. Yes." House planted his cane and swung around, ignoring the disgruntled mutterings of the customers who had to step aside to avoid bumping into him. "She got me something."
"Really!" Wilson's eyebrows shot up and he grinned. "So -- "
House rolled his eyes and turned around, shouldering his way through the crowd.
"So what did she get you?" Wilson demanded, following House out of Macy's.
House stopped, again disrupting the flow of traffic around him. "She got me something good," he admitted. "She got me Metro Prime Hunters."
"Metro Prime Hunters?" Wilson repeated. "Isn't that for Nintendo DS?"
"Yes!" House was wild-eyed and gleeful. He glanced around the mall. "I need a pretzel."
"You don't have a Nintendo DS. Unless I missed something." Wilson was quite sure that he'd seen House use his Gameboy Advanced earlier that day, but maybe the new toy hadn't quite made into House's office.
"You didn't miss anything. Except the obvious. Two pretzels, garlic, and cheese dip."
"No garlic for me," Wilson cut in.
"They're both for me," House said. "I missed lunch."
"Right. In that case, one pretzel, plain, and a diet coke. Now, what was this that I missed?"
"Cameron. She's a genius, really." House collected his pretzels and cheese and looked confused. "Oh. I'm out of hands. Terrible, this cane."
Wilson rolled his eyes and handed the girl behind the pretzel counter a ten, nodding sideways at House. She smiled sweetly and handed him two dollars and some change. "Thanks."
"Right. So Cameron," House was saying as they stepped back into the crowd, "got me a game to a game system I don't have. Probably out of ignorance, but we'll overlook that for now. Because really, the brilliance of it is that now I have to buy myself a Nintendo DS." He stuffed the first pretzel into his mouth and bit off a chunk. "Can't let a present go to waste."
"I see. So now you have an excuse to upgrade." Wilson took a bite of his pretzel and washed it down with some soda.
"Not that I needed one, really," House added, sitting himself on an empty bench to open his cheese dip.
"Of course not." Wilson sipped at his drink, scanning the mall. Most of the shoppers were male, and all looked harried. He smiled, glad that Hanukkah had been a week ago and his shopping completed long before that.
"So what did you get Julie?" House was still talking through pretzel, the second one by the looks of things. He was glaring back and forth across the mall, apparently irritated at the lack of visible gift options.
"She asked for a smoothie machine."
House stopped and cocked his head. "So you bought her a smoothie machine?"
"Among other things." Wilson finished his pretzel and took one last sip of soda before tossing his trash into the nearest bin.
"You know...." Wilson made his 'significant' face.
"A sweater and some...things."
"Ohhhh!" House nodded and turned back the crowd. "Things. Right. Thanks. That was almost a little too much TMI. Hm," he said thoughtfully. "Maybe I should get Cameron some THINGS." He waggled his eyebrows and winked at Wilson as he hauled himself up and made his way down the mall in the direction of Victoria's Secret.
Wilson winced and followed, throwing House's discarded pretzel bag in the trash along the way.
"THINGS like a lawsuit," he muttered in House's ear as House entered the store and immediately snatched up something small and pink and lacy.
"Cameron likes pink, right?" he asked innocently, inspecting the item. "It's one of those pretty, girly colors. She's all...pretty and girly."
"Can we get out of this store?" Wilson asked between gritted teeth. "You cannot buy Cameron...anything from here."
"You sure?" House had found something in green. "What size do you think? You're an expert on these things." He held the frilly bra in front of his own chest.
"I -- I don't know." Wilson shoved his hands deep in his pockets and looked around as if they were someplace they didn't belong -- which was fairly accurate.
"Of course you do. You've been married three times. And there were all those women in between...and...during. One of them must have been about the same size as Cameron."
Wilson shook his head. "I...34B."
"B? You think?"
"I just said!"
"Huh. I would have said C." House shrugged and hung up the frilly garment. He pushed past Wilson, out of the store.
Wilson suppressed his sigh of relief. He was far from out of the woods -- or the mall. When he found House again, House was standing in front of the window of an electronics store, gazing covetously at the Nintendo DS on display.
"So? What are you going to do?" Wilson asked, stepping up behind him. "Lunch hour's long over. Cuddy's going to be looking for you and your nun's at the hands of your erstwhile young ducklings."
House grunted. "Chase is popping out her IUD tomorrow. No virgin births for our Sister Augustine." He squinted at the price tag turned ever-so-slightly sideways in the window. "I should...get that Nintendo DS. Wouldn't be very grateful of me to let Cameron's present go to waste."
"Oh, no," Wilson said innocently, stepping back while House turned and skirted the pair of pre-pubescent boys ogling the much-vaunted Nintendo DS. "We wouldn't want that." He managed to stay silent while House stomped into the store and acquired his new game machine. "So..." he asked as they left the store, "have you decided what you are going to get for Cameron?"
"As a matter of fact," House said cheerfully. "I have. I am giving Cameron the gift of giving back."
Wilson thought about this. "Huh?"
The red box shone temptingly from Allison Cameron's desk. She tried not to be too delighted when she saw the name on the tag. It just went to show that no one could resist the spirit of Christmas. She sat in her chair and lifted the box to her ear. It was heavier than she'd expected, and didn't rattle. Instead, she heard something inside slide from side to side. She put it back on her desk and smiled at it. The paper was metallic and professionally wrapped. The ribbon was tied in a perky bow. It was almost a shame to unwrap it.
She didn't let that stop her. Three seconds later, the bow was on the desk, the paper was in the trash, and Cameron was peering into the box. There was tissue paper, a lot of it. She moved it aside and pulled out her gift. She turned it in her hands and studied it curiously.
What on earth was she going to do with a Gameboy Advance?