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05 April 2006 @ 12:30 am
Fic: "Blood Types", Part 2 by CagedWriter61  
Title: Blood Types
By: CagedWriter61
Rated: PG 13
Part: 2/?
Pairings: None intended, reference to House/Stacy
Disclaimer: All I own are the words.
Feedback: Yes, please, and thank you!
Summary: After Wilson is involved in an accident, House is forced to face everything he's been running away from.
Notes: Wow, so I already finished this 2nd part. I think it's too short/not fleshy enough, though. Meh.

Listen to "So Far, So Good" by Thornley.








Chapter 2

“If I Fall”



By the time House pulled into an empty “Employees Only” space right near the front entrance, it was already a quarter to ten. He snapped his cane out of its holster and only took off his helmet as he hurried through the door, tucking it under his free arm. The on-duty receptionist looked up at him, as he approached.

“I need to know about a Dr. James Wilson.”

“Does he work here? He’s not on duty...”

“No, no, he doesn’t work here! He’s a patient, brought in about two hours ago. Someone called Lisa Cuddy over at Princeton-Plainsboro and notified her.”

She referred to her computer for a moment, before switching over to the paperwork on her desk, and House’s fingers danced impatiently on his helmet.

“Ah, right. Dr. James Wilson. Brought in at 7:55 PM, mild head trauma. Should be in room 228, second floor.”

House lunged off without thanking her, almost certain his heart must be palpitating. Head trauma. Never mind mild. Head trauma.

Head trauma, head trauma, head trauma.


And he was two hours late. Fuck.



He shoved his finger into the top button, once he reached the elevator, his body giving an involuntary shudder when the door slid open and reminded him of always riding the PPTH elevators with his oncologist friend. As he stepped in and pressed the second floor button, he was more than aware of having to ride this one alone.

He strode out onto the second floor as if it was PPTH, and he had every right to be there. One of the nurses called out to him that visiting hours were over, and he ignored her, limping toward the hallway that had the plaque reading 200-230 on the preceding wall.

“Sir! Sir!”

Head trauma, head trauma.

I’m sorry I ate your salad...


His eyes darted periodically across the long, wide hall, and he didn’t stop to wonder if this nurse was letting him win or he really was faster than her.

Room 228. Room 228.

I want you to stay.

The long stretch of quiet tile was dimly lit, and he wasn’t sure why. Past visiting hours, sure, but still only 10 o’clock. Was this the death wing? Was this like the God damn death row in a maximum security prison?

Head trauma, head trauma.

No, she said mild. She said mild. Wilson’s not dying. Wilson’s not filler for a freezer cubicle. Mild, mild, mild. He’s not dead, he’s not dying. Only two hours late. Room 228.

He stopped. The numbers were a silent, white piercing on the wall to his right. He was adjacent to the door, with its solid 10x12 window, uselessly decorated with black criss-crosses. He hated hospitals like this. He hated the isolation, the solidarity of everything. The only thing similar in PPTH was the clinic. He much preferred the glass rooms, the opportunity to know and see without invading space. He hated doors like this – the kind that reminded him of prison cells. He could almost imagine Wilson curled up on the floor beyond this window, half-dead and malnourished and beaten and....

The steel handle gave way under his hand. His shoulder connected with the door, brushing the bottom of that window. He pushed. He pushed as if he were capsizing a ship.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the ingratitude.

And he stood in that familiar, hospital light, letting it stream out into the hallway. Wilson lay in the bed, hand over his eyes and elbow pointed to heaven. House didn’t know what to think.

Wilson let himself see, looked up to crease his brow.

“House?” He began to push himself up. “What are you doing here?”

And House didn’t know what to think. He shut his eyes, felt the ocean pour in around him and roar in his ears. His hand stayed the steel. He felt the light bathe his wrinkled face.

Stay, salad, sorry...

“House?”

He looked at Wilson and vaguely noted that his friend appeared to be okay. Those brown eyes took hold of him and forced his own to stay open. They waited. It was House’s turn to speak.

“I – came to see what happened. Cuddy called.”

He listened to himself. He didn’t sound the way he felt.

“Oh. They – must’ve found my hospital ID in my wallet. I just woke up....”

“Do you know what happened?”

“I – think it was a car accident. I’m not sure.”

“They didn’t give Cuddy any details, so I have no idea.”

House let go of the door and limped to the end of the bed, picking up Wilson’s charts out of the bin. He propped his cane up against the bed and flipped through the packet.

“Concussion. No other injuries listed. X-rays and scans clear.”

Thank God. Thank Buddha, thank Allah, thank everything I don’t believe in.

“So I’m okay,” said Wilson tentatively, sinking back down and rubbing his forehead.

“Fluids and low dose of Demerol prescribed,” House continued.

“What happened?” Wilson asked the ceiling. He shut his eyes, looking troubled. “I don’t remember.”

“Do you remember being angry at me?”

Wilson looked at House again.

“Yeah.”

House stared at him intensely for a moment before looking back down at the paperwork.

“Sorry for – overreacting,” Wilson said. House didn’t absorb it immediately, but once he did, a grin stung his face.

“You’re sorry? I thought I was the one being a jerk.”

“It was just a message. And plus, it’s you. I shouldn’t have been surprised.”

The smile faded. House swallowed and carefully put the charts back in their bin. He picked up his cane, leaned gently against it. His blue eyes lifted precociously, but Wilson wasn’t looking at him anymore.

“There you are! Look, I’m sorry, sir, but visiting hours are over. You have to leave.”

A balding stranger in a white coat had interrupted this silence. House peered over his shoulder at him. Must be a doctor. The other kind. The kind House wasn’t.

“Please. You can come back in the morning, after nine,” the stranger continued.

“I want to talk to you outside,” said House. He turned back to face Wilson. What was it he had been planning to say?

Sorry, message, salad, lonely.

What was it he wanted to say?

“Tell Cuddy I’m fine,” said Wilson. And House couldn’t tell what kind of tone he had. “I’ll see you on Monday.”

House suppressed a sigh and dropped his eyes, nodding. He turned away, waving goodbye with his shoulder, and missed the hint of regret in Wilson’s face. The nameless doctor held the door open for House and shut it after them both, turning out the light in Wilson’s room.

“What’s the story?” House questioned. The other man, whose name tag read Larry Blackwell, sighed.

“Who are you?” he answered.

“Dr. House, head of the diagnostics department at Princeton-Plainsboro, and that man in there is head of our oncology department. I want to know what happened.”

Blackwell blinked in surprise. “He – was in a minor car accident, unconscious when he was brought in. I assume you read his charts; he’ll be fine after recovering from the concussion. We’re keeping him for observation and bed rest. He can go home tomorrow.”

“What about his car?”

“I have no idea.”

House paused, suddenly overcome with a sense of heaviness.

“Okay.”

He side-stepped the doctor and began hobbling back the way he came. Blackwell stood at a loss.

“Well – are you going to come get him tomorrow?” he called out.

“He can catch a cab,” said House, without stopping.

Insensitive jerk. That’s what you sound like.

Blackwell watched House go, and Wilson still rubbed his eyes in the dark.



House stopped on the outskirts of Plainsboro at a bar he’d never heard of. The wiry, fluorescent clock glowed slushie red and blue near the TV. 12:25, roughly. He plopped down and ordered Bourbon. For a Friday night, the place wasn’t as packed as he would have anticipated. Comfortably full, not overcrowded.

He hadn’t. He hadn’t said anything. No apology, no explanation, no questions. He still didn’t know why Wilson had been in New Brunswick, still didn’t know if he and Wilson were okay, still hadn’t changed. He sipped his whiskey.

I don’t want to stay this way. Post-its, sorry, roommates....

God, what had he done? Thrown away opportunity. Turned away from the door out of hell. Wilson was right. He loved being miserable. He chose it.

The whiskey burned his throat, barely chilled by the ice, and he sat slumped over the bar, head in his hand. He must be the only middle-aged man in this bar without a girlfriend, a lover, a wife, kids. He must be the only cripple, the only one who could make a difference if this bar was suddenly full of sick people that each had a different disease. That's all he had, huh? Just his damn brilliance.

The Bourbon was bitter on his lips, hot on his tongue. It reminded him of blood, of all the regret he couldn’t pour out. Did he really think he could absorb it with alcohol? He slid the empty glass toward the bartender and nodded for another.

Message, sorry, pancakes, okay, hell-out-scare-the....

Why New Brunswick? What did the car look like? What was the other half of the accident? Another car? A pole? A fence? Wilson would swerve into a crash to avoid a little kid playing in the street, not commit suicide, no, not like that.... Whose fault was it? Speeding? Alcohol? Lack of attention? Red light running?

It was his, all his, oh Bourbon.

I’m sorry. Sorry for everything. Sorry for deleting your message and calling you out of dinner with Julie and being an asshole about Andie and making you resign to Vogler and not listening to you and making too many jokes and throwing you out and rejecting Stacy and buying the motorcycle and asking for loans and not answering my phone and lying and walking out, sorry, so sorry....

The glass slid back and forth a third time, a fourth. Everybody’s laughter sunk him further and further into this rambling depression. Bourbon had to make it better, had to drown this pain.

You’re going to spend the rest of your life alone.

He was used to it, he was used to this. Accustomed, designed.

“Being miserable doesn’t make you better than anybody else.”

He was going to die alone.

Why had he sent Stacy away? Why hadn’t he said anything to Wilson?

“You're so afraid if you change, you'll lose what makes you special.”

Fifth, sixth, he had already finished the bottle. Hit me up for a seventh, lucky number of days in the week to be alone, to fuck up. Hit me, hit me. God, someone hit me. Take away her touch. Take away all the other’s that never happened.

He had spent every second of his friendship with Wilson feeling entitled, failing in gratitude. He had allowed his friend’s generosity to flow unchecked, and if he was honest, he had given little back. He even had to screw it up this time, when Wilson really needed support. House couldn’t let him stay on his couch one night without bitching, couldn’t comfort him when the wife cheated or when he was in the damn hospital. House hadn’t even been able to let Wilson emote back before Julie even confessed to cheating, when Wilson had outright told him that he needed someone to talk to.

He had now also lost track of his alcohol intake.

What a fuck up.



It was past 1 o’clock when House stumbled back out toward his bike, though he didn’t know that. The bar was still fairly crowded, but no one was stopping him from going home smashed on a motorcycle. He was vaguely aware that he had probably over-paid for his booze, but he didn’t care. He just wanted to go home, to his fucking empty apartment.

“Hey, man, look here!”

House didn’t have to time question whose voice that was, because he was suddenly being tackled to the ground, his cane slipping out of his hand and his leg collapsing underneath him. It didn’t completely register when someone socked him right in the eye or kicked him in his left side. He thought he could feel a hand slipping into his pocket for his wallet and knew he’d been right when it flopped on the tar next to his face a moment later.

He could hear footsteps fleeing out into the parking lot, cars starting and screeching away. He squeezed his eyes shut, his body aching in more than one place, his mind sloshing around with God knows how much Bourbon. Fuck. He had thought this shit day had already ended.

 
 
 
"No contest, Contessa"contessa_maggie on April 5th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. I think that when he's honest with himself House really does feel regret about not being a better friend to Wilson, but he's so locked into his usual patterns that even a crisis can barely break him out of them. Setting the ending in a bar reminded me that the original script for the season 1 finale had House getting shit-faced and inciting a beating from another bar patron. I'm glad they didn't go with that ending.