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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter FIVE 
10th-May-2007 09:05 am
HWb&w
Summary:  Wilson is given an unexpected opportunity to prove his friendship to House.  This story is my own attempt to make sense of the unsettling disruption of the House-Wilson dynamic in Season 3, so mention is made of many of the S3 plotlines and character development.  House-Wilson-Cuddy angst, hurt/comfort, introspection--my usual gig.  ;)  x-posted
Rating:  PG


Chapter One 
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four

CHAPTER FIVE:  THE BEST-LAID PLANS

 

After Wilson leaves the room, Cuddy stares at House for so long that finally he demands, irritably, “What!”

 

Cuddy shakes her head at him; House is reminded of the times he’d disappointed his mother with his behavior in public. He finds, to his dismay, that he’s actually having to stop himself from squirming uncomfortably under Cuddy’s steely gaze.

 

“What’d I do?” he asks again, and he recognizes the same plaintive note in his voice with which prepubescent Greg had asked the question; his mom had called it a whine.

 

“Like you don’t know.  You just cut off your nose to spite your face.”  Yeah; his mom used to say that, too.

 

“Why?  Just ‘cuz I don’t want Wilson hangin’ around my place wringing his hands and melting his eyes every time I say ‘owie’?”

 

“Yeah, I can see where having to deal with real caring and compassion would be a hardship,” Cuddy says dryly.  “So instead, you’re willing to pay strangers to pretend to care; you’re willing to let your best friend sit in his hotel room and worry himself sick over you.  All because of your stupid pride.  People can choke on their pride, you know.”

 

There she goes, channeling my mother again.  That’s just… weird.  “Well, if I choke on my pride, good thing there’s a doctor here; I’ll bet you’re trained in the Heimlich maneuver and everything.  Whereas Wilson, judging by recent history, would just let me strangle in it.”  House’s eyes go distant.

 

Cuddy knows he’s remembering that disastrous Christmas Eve, when he’d overdosed on a stolen prescription.  Wilson had left him lying in his own vomit.  And things between the two men had changed rapidly after that.  Whatever it was that had bonded them so deeply seems to have broken.  What surprises Cuddy is that Wilson’s feeling the loss as keenly as House is.  Wilson’s come to her several times to talk about it; he’s utterly lost without House, his unlikely best friend. 

 

Cuddy had figured that Wilson would quickly fill his life with dates and sports and all the people who’d previously avoided him because of his association with House.  She’d figured that House would simply become meaner, more miserable, even more of a loner.  Of course, she’d been right about House.  But about Wilson, she’d been completely wrong.  And now she worries constantly about both men.

 

“That night,” she begins carefully, “Christmas Eve.  It killed him to leave you there, you know.”

 

“Could’ve killed me too,” House observes.

 

“He was doing what he thought he had to do, to help you.  He was seeing you kill yourself by pieces; watching that was destroying him.  By Christmas Eve, he wasn’t thinking straight anymore.”

 

“He was willing to let me die, to prove some stupid point.”

 

“And you were willing to kill yourself to prove the opposite point.  In chess, I believe that’s called a stalemate.  But the game didn’t end in a draw; you both lost.”  Cuddy steps closer to House, places a tentative hand on his arm.  “I’ve spoken with him about this, House.  I know how badly he feels.  Can’t you forgive him?  He knows now that what he did that night was wrong—”

 

“What he did was right!” House interrupts so fiercely that Cuddy releases his arm, takes a step back.  She stares at him, stunned.

 

House continues, “What he did was right for me.  Made me take a look at a few things.  Made me pull my act together.  Made me go to Tritter—for all the good that wound up doing.”  House laughs bitterly.

 

“I don’t understand.  If you believe that he did the right thing, then what’s changed between the two of you?”

 

House meets Cuddy’s eyes, and holds them locked with his own, in almost the same way he’d tried to connect with the autistic boy.  Cuddy’s aware that he’s searching inside her for something… vital.  Apparently he finds it, because he nods to himself and begins to speak.  His tone is low and serious.

 

“I said he did the right thing for me.  It was wrong for him.  It wasn’t who he is, what he does.  He thinks he’s supposed to protect me.  He went against his own nature, sacrificed everything he believes about friendship in some moronic attempt to help me.  He thinks he failed, let me down.  And he can’t live with that.”

 

Cuddy stands very still, almost afraid to breathe.  I’ve known House a lot of years; he’s never talked to me this way, never opened up like this.  Whatever he’s got to say, it’s important.  And it’s the truth—his truth, anyway.  She nods slowly, indicating for him to go on; he’s got her full attention.

 

“Then this happens,” House indicates the bandaged right hand.  “And he wants to rewind that night, atone for his behavior.  He wants to make it come out right this time—but right for him, not for me.”

 

House fixes Cuddy with a serious gaze.  “If I keep him out, then he’ll get past what he did that night, no matter what happens this time around.  Gonna take a while, but he’s stronger than he thinks he is; he’ll get through it.  But say I let him back in now, let ‘im go all warm and concerned, indulge all that guilt.  I let him do that whole thing he does, take care of me, get his ‘need’ fix. And then this turns out….” House pauses, takes a breath.  “If I die, he’ll never get past it.  It’ll eat at him, destroy him.  I’ll take him down with me.”  House smiles without humor.  “And that goes against my nature.  I’d prefer my death to be a solo act; no one gets hurt but me.  Just call me a selfish bastard….”

 

I’d call you anything but.  “I understand,” Cuddy says softly.  And she does, just as she understands that this conversation, this admission, has cost House dearly.

 

Both of them are silent for several minutes, each lost in private thoughts.  Then Cuddy ventures tentatively, “I want you to think about something.  This’ll probably turn out to be nothing.  You’ll be back to work in a few days, and nothing will have changed.  Nothing.  And you’ll have blown your chance to get past it, get things back to whatever it is the two of you call ‘normal.’  You’ll have blown his chance.”  House opens his mouth to speak, and Cuddy holds up a hand.  “Just think about it.”

 

Any response House might have given is cut off with Wilson’s return.  “Bad news,” he tells them.  “The agency’s overbooked, can’t start shifts until tomorrow.”  He looks at House.  “So I guess you’ll have to wing it tonight.  Good news is I’ve got your meds, and a wheelchair waiting.  So we can leave whenever you’re ready.”

 

“Now that’s what I’ve been waiting to hear,” House proclaims happily.  “Home, James!”

 

Cuddy goes with them to Wilson’s car.  She and Wilson step away a short distance and go over a few details again.  They aren’t really discussing anything important, but they want to give House some privacy while he adjusts to standing and walking with the cane in his left hand, and gets himself settled in the passenger seat.  He blows the horn impatiently, and they both jump.  Cuddy pats Wilson’s arm, and watches while Wilson puts House’s backpack in the trunk, then gets into the car.  Cuddy shakes her head sadly as they drive off.

 

On the ride home, House keeps his eyes trained out the side window.  Wilson glances over when House gives a soft hiss of pain; he’s cradling the right hand again.  “Might wanna lift it up a little; help with the throbbing,” Wilson says casually.

 

House gives a soft, derisive snort at the unsolicited advice, but Wilson notes that a few seconds later, House has lifted his right elbow to the armrest, and his bandaged hand is lying against the window.  House has closed his eyes, leaned his head back; he looks a little more relaxed.

 

As Wilson pulls up to the apartment, House is already opening the car door.  “Been real. Thanks for the ride,” he says.

 

“Oh, no,” Wilson responds as he retrieves the backpack from the trunk.  “Orders from the top; I’m not to leave until you’re safely settled.”

 

Wordlessly, they enter the apartment together.  “Almost dinner time,” Wilson says.  “Want me to fix you something?”

 

House ignores the question.  He sits down on the couch, props his legs on the coffee table, and grabs the television remote.  “This is as settled as I get.  Bye,” he says, eyes already on the TV screen.  Argue with me.  Insist on making dinner.  Make up some flimsy excuse; I’ll buy it.  Just don’t lea--

 

Wilson clears his throat and looks hard at House.  “You’re the boss,” he says, his voice devoid of emotion.  He drops the backpack, turns around and walks out.  House shuts his eyes tight against the sound of the door thudding closed. 

Chapter Six

 

Thoughts 
10th-May-2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
The man has no friggin back bone. Come on Wilson he wants you to fight him, but nooooo. God the last few sentences were horrible to read. How much do I have to pay you to fix this? Please?

I have to agree with Cuddy and with House. I fall more on House's side about everything but Cuddy is right about this being the last opportunity to fix things. Wilson though needs to do something. It can't just be House. Wilson need to grow a damn back bone and do some good. Now please fix this somehow. Like have Cuddy talk to Wilson or something....
10th-May-2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
awww, hon--nothing to fear; nothing at all! promise. starting with chapter six, things get good. so hang in, 'k? ;)
10th-May-2007 02:49 pm (UTC)
This is an excellent fic. I've been reading it since the beginning and I've been hooked ever since :) Wish I could write fics this well LOL. Can't wait to read the next chapter!
10th-May-2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
very glad you're enjoying it, and many thanks for the compliment. i'm not someone who writes only for my own pleasure; i write to make the readers happy as well, and i love knowing i'm accomplishing that!
10th-May-2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
Oooh. House's confession to Cuddy was painful (and not just for him.) But also very in character. Nicely done.

I'm glad you indicated that things are going to be looking up soon because right now I feel so bad for our boys.
10th-May-2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
welllll... depends on how you define 'looking up'.... but if you're defining it as a bit of fluffiness, a taste of 'the good old days,' yeah--that'll be coming your way tomorrow!!!
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10th-May-2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
ahhhh, you know me far too well! i know, i'm as damned formulaic as the show. but hey--works for me! ;)
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10th-May-2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
House's conversation with Cuddy was so drenched in emotion, while still in character, very moving. I'm with House. I really wanted Wilson to take up his spine, argue with House and insist on staying. He gave up way too easily. He'll soon return with groceries, or his things from the hotel so that he can spend the night or something, right? I hope so, the state of the House-Wilson relationship here is torturous. Of course, the fact that this elicits such a response, is a testament to how well written and believable it is. I've been completley drawn in and invested from the start. Wonderfully done, as always. :)
10th-May-2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
i'm beginning to feel like i need to hug all you kids, as well as that sweet, clueless idiot, wilson! it's gonna be okay, i promise!!! wait'll tomorrow; things'll look brighter for our boys then (at least... temporarily [evil cackle]).
10th-May-2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
thank you ! I've loved your trilogy (the devil, etc) and I love this fic too. I reckon you have an amazing talent to describe the characters (they are so like I see them when I watch the show) and a devilish skill for telling a story. Which makes me a poor thing while i'm waiting for the new chapter to be posted !
10th-May-2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
thank you so much! and as long as i'm having fun writing (i assure you, i am), and you guys are having fun reading (which you appear to be), i'll keep telling these stories!!
10th-May-2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
Aw man come on Wilson. Fight the man! *pokes Wilson*
I totally see House's point and I loved that he could at least tell Cuddy about it. Hopefully Wilson will clue in too.
10th-May-2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
let's try this again... our favorite synonym for wilson? all together now: CLUELESS! don't worry, our lovely cuddy isn't about to allow the current situation to go unchallenged--bet on it!
10th-May-2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
Awww. I really loved the part with House whining, and Cuddy acting like his mom.
10th-May-2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
both house and wilson do have their childish moments, don't they? and cuddy, though she doesn't always show it, knows just how to make 'em behave!
10th-May-2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
I loved the exchange between House and Cuddy. The end was great, in a painful-to-read kind of way.
10th-May-2007 10:05 pm (UTC)
that exchange was relatively easy to write; sometimes, i get really lucky, and house tells me what to say that'll convey emotion, yet not put him too far out of character. this, i think, was one of those times.
10th-May-2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
Aw, come on, guys, make up. XD I nearly cringed at the end bit. Really enjoying this story; thanks again!

By the way--House's talking about how leaving him in his own vomit was the right thing for him but the wrong thing for Wilson--that's brilliant. ^^ Spot-on--IMO, at least.
10th-May-2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
thanks! you know what was really weird about that bit? that was not the way i'd intended for it to go--at all. but it was another time when house was talking, and i was simply along for the typing. and when i later read what i had writ, i was stunned. just... stunned. because i agree with you; i think this is the way house views the incident--and beyond that, i also think it's the truth.
11th-May-2007 01:26 am (UTC)
I was afraid to start reading this fic after your last one left me completely at its will. *cringe* Must grow backbone. Can't let House/Wilson dynamic in this fic make me feel like guzzling Zoloft. @.@

And that ending is just plain cruel. If I grow a spine before Wilson does, I'd willingly transplant mine to him.
11th-May-2007 01:35 am (UTC)
rofl! it gets better tomorrow (at least for a while...) ;)
11th-May-2007 03:20 am (UTC)
What the hell? WHERE IS Wilson's backbone? That was the most baseless acceptance I've ever read. HE LEFT A-FUCKING-GAIN! You're making me want to kick him again and it's really disturbing. That moron. I need to see Cuddles ream him out for that. Surely you'll come through?
11th-May-2007 04:02 am (UTC)
On the other hand, it might be about time House learned that, if he keeps telling Wilson to GO AWAY, it is going to happen. Wilson can't read his mind.

I actually sort of saw this as Wilson standing up to House, refusing to play the game and stay there and take the abuse. If House says he wants to be alone, fine.

Not to fret, though, Angel. I'm sort of a first-reader type on this so I'm many chapters ahead and...just keep reading. Hee.
11th-May-2007 04:10 am (UTC)
I'm still readin!

Just wanted to let you know! Of course, I'm loving it. House! Say something to Wilson already!
He's so damn stubborn.
11th-May-2007 10:29 am (UTC)
(author now cowering in corner, in the face of all this unexpected hostility towards wilson)
11th-May-2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
Noooo! Wilson, you silly man! Get back in there right now!

*rushes off to read chapter six*
11th-May-2007 05:31 pm (UTC)
poor wilson, everyone's mad at him.... ;)