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HOUSE M.D. FIC: Eliminating the Impossible

Much like House, I was obsessed with figuring out the real reasons behind Kutner's unexpected suicide, despite my friends' assurances that the show's writers were just screwing Kal Penn over his decision to leave the show. And like House, I'll probably never know. But in the meantime, there's this.

Title: Eliminating the Impossible
Author: Flywoman
Fandom: House M.D.
Rating: PG
Pairing: none
Categories: Gen, angst
Summary: With Kutner's suicide preying on his mind, House calls in Taub to help him solve the case. Post-"Simple Explanation."

Disclaimer: These characters belong to Fox and to David Shore and his talented
colleagues. I am borrowing them for personal pleasure, not financial gain. Please don't
sue.

When I answered the page, House was in his office, his thinning hair more mussed than
usual, his cane balanced across his legs. I received the distinct impression that I was
being called in to see the principal and wouldn't get out without a beating. Sure enough,
House paused only long enough to swallow a Vicodin before starting right in on the
interrogation.

"Did Kutner say anything to you?" When I just stared at him stonily, House elaborated,
"Anything relevant. Anything about feeling... isolated, tired, miserable."

"No. He seemed just the same."

"Did he ever talk to you about suicide?" House's bloodshot eyes bore into me, and I
realized that, somehow, he knew.

"Once. I told him about a colleague who gave himself an overdose of insulin." House
didn't say anything, and I found myself adding, "It was pretty touch-and-go for a while,
but he survived."

"Your... colleague got lucky," House said. I didn't respond. "How did Kutner react?"

I shrugged. "I told him the story because I wanted him to know that suicide is stupid and
selfish. He decided that he had gotten one of his magnificent insights into something that
was actually none of his business."

House nodded slowly. "Anything else?"

I didn't want to think back, to remember. The loss was too recent, too raw. But my boss
was demanding this of me, so I racked my brain, trying to uncover a clue.

"That one patient who was being bullied. Kutner seemed to take the case kind of
personally. We thought maybe he had been picked on as a kid, but he said no."

"Hmm. Did he seem guilty? Like he felt the need to make amends?"

"Maybe. When the case was over, the rest of us went out for drinks, but he said he
couldn't come because he had something to do."

"Tying up loose ends," House muttered, maybe just to himself. He began ticking points
off on his fingers. "There was no note. No alcohol or drugs in the apartment. If it was
suicide, he did it sober, and he didn't want anyone to know why."

"Apparently he did a good job," I said, and instantly regretted the flippancy in my voice.
House didn't seem to notice. He was already off on another track.

"Did he ever talk to you about his parents' murder?"

"It was hardly a secret," I said. "Besides, it was a long time ago."

"Did he tell you that the guy was coming up for parole soon?"

"No."

"Did he say anything about buying a gun?"

"No." I thought about this. "You think he found out and was afraid? That he got the gun
to protect himself?"

"I do think that he was afraid. I'm not sure if the gun was for protection."

"Revenge?" I guessed. House stared back at me, his face unreadable. "That doesn't sound
like Kutner."

House sighed and leaned back in his chair, eyes dark. "I'm not sure how much we can
trust what we think we know about what does and doesn't sound like Kutner." It took me
a second to parse that sentence, but when I had, I had to agree.

House pondered for a minute, then leaned forward again, those penetrating eyes fixed on
my face. "Did you go over to his apartment the night he died?"

"What, now you think maybe I killed him?"

"I'm not accusing you of putting the gun to his head, you idiot. Did you go to his
apartment that night?
"

"No," I said, starting to feel nervous despite myself. House had always been crazy like a
fox, but I was starting to think that the stress of Kutner's suicide was actually
unbalancing his mind. "Why would I do that?"

House narrowed his eyes. "Oh, I don't know... maybe to apologize for taking credit for
his big idea?"

I stared. "How- Did Kutner-"

House cut me off. "Kutner didn't say anything to me. He was your friend. He covered
your ass."

Foreman, then. "Yes," I admitted. "He did."

"It wasn't the first time that he was betrayed by one of the cutthroat colleagues he
thought of as a friend," House pointed out. I remembered poor Cole, defiant and
seemingly victorious, and repressed a shiver.

"This was nothing like that," I said. "I was the one in danger of getting fired, not Kutner."

"Maybe," House said. "Or maybe it was the last straw."

I had never wanted so badly to hit him. He couldn't possibly be right that I had had
anything to do with Kutner's death. "Or maybe you're grasping at straws, and this is the
best you can come up with."

House didn't reply immediately. He tossed his giant tennis ball up and caught it, once,
twice. Then he said softly, "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains,
however improbable, must be the truth."

"I have a patient," I said, and turned my back on House and walked out of the office. I
fully expected him to call me back and tell me that my Jewish ass was fired, for good this
time, but he didn't.

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