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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter TWENTY-EIGHT 
6th-Jun-2007 09:55 am
collide
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
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen 
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven



CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT:  HONEST ANSWERS

 

Cuddy takes the newest lab results to Wilson herself; they’re going to need to talk now, because virtually everything that can go wrong is going wrong.  And they’re running out of ways to make anything go right.

 

As she gowns up outside House’s cubicle, Cuddy sees Wilson sitting beside the bed.  He’s pointing at the TV screen, and he’s talking, laughing.  She frowns; there’s no one else in the room except House.

 

As she enters, Wilson is saying, “You’re really gonna have to explain this to me again.  I’m not getting this whole ‘she left her husband to return to her second ex-husband but then she found out she’s pregnant with her sister’s boyfriend’s baby’ plotline.”  He stops speaking, acknowledges Cuddy with a smile, then tells House, “’Course, it’s a lot easier to understand than the ‘she’s a woman who used to be a man who used to be a woman’ plot.  Lost me on that one real early in the game.”

 

Cuddy regards Wilson quizzically.  “Fascinating conversation,” she says.

 

“Don’t mind me,” Wilson responds.  “I’m just keeping House up to date on his soaps.  Apparently, when you miss a day, you actually miss a year or two.  Or ten.  Some kid who was four last week turned up today as a fourteen year old bimbo.  Wouldn’t want House to get too far behind,” he smiles.

 

Cuddy tries, and fails, to return the smile.  “I’ve, uh… got the labs, and… we need to talk.”

 

Wilson’s face grows immediately serious.  “That doesn’t sound good.”  He clicks off the television, stands and joins Cuddy across the room.  She hands him the paperwork and waits while he scrutinizes every word, every number.

 

“Damn,” Wilson whispers.  “Okay, it’s time to go with the meropenem then.  And we’ll combine it with teicoplanin; some hospitals are getting good results with that combo.  Have you notified the pharmacy?”

 

Cuddy won’t meet his eyes when she speaks.  “We… can’t do that.”

 

“Why not?  It’s time to start fighting back against the VRSA, and so far, that’s the best we’ve got.  So—unless you have a better idea—we need to get those meds in here.”

 

Now Cuddy’s meeting his eyes, and Wilson studies her expression.  It’s sad, and sympathetic, and bespeaks news she’d rather not impart.  Wilson feels a rush of compassion for her, asks gently, “What is it?  Talk to me; please.”

 

“Anything we put him on now would… shut down his kidneys, probably permanently.  He’d be on dialysis indefinitely, and with his history… they wouldn’t even put him on the bottom of the transplant list—you know that.  And he’s got no immune system to speak of, and now his liver’s failing….”  Cuddy stops speaking and looks pleadingly at Wilson.

 

“What are you trying to say, Cuddy?  You saying that we should give up, throw in the towel, watch him die, just because the odds are against us?  I would’ve thought that by now, House himself has shown you often enough that the odds are just… numbers—they don’t have to mean anything at all!”  There’s a desperate note in Wilson’s voice, and Cuddy looks pained.

 

“It’s… not just my decision,” she tells him.  “Not anymore.  Chase says that if we continue treatment, he’s… he’s going to go to the Ethics Committee, tell them what House said, lay it all out for them.”

 

“He can’t do that!” Wilson explodes.

 

Cuddy doesn’t say anything; they both know that he can.

 

“All right,” Wilson finally says.  “I need to speak to Chase, make him see that the situation isn’t hopeless.  And I need to talk with him now, before any more time is wasted.  Is he here?” 

 

“Yes, he is—but you have to understand that he’s determined to honor House’s wishes, and… I don’t think you’re going to be able to change his mind.”

 

Wilson is silent for a full minute.  Then, keeping his voice neutral, nonjudgmental, he asks Cuddy, “If it was up to you, what would your decision be?”

 

Cuddy’s already thought long and hard about the answer; as soon as Chase had come to her, told her what he planned, she’d examined her own heart and mind.  She’d weighed all the factors, tried to be objective.  And she’d reached a conclusion.  She doesn’t think that knowing her opinion will make this any easier on Wilson, though—as a matter of fact, she fears it will make things even more difficult for him.  But he’d asked, and he deserves an answer—an honest answer.  So she looks straight at Wilson, and says simply, “I don’t want him to die.”

 

Wilson had been holding his breath, awaiting the answer that would help him make up his own mind.  Now he breathes again, and the overwhelming relief almost makes him dizzy.  “I need… to talk to Chase.  But not here.  Will you stay with House?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Wilson nods his thanks, and goes to speak to House.  “I need to go take care of something, pal.  Don’t know how long it’ll take.  But Cuddy’s here with you, and she’ll stay until I get back.  Try not to give her a hard time, okay?  And you remember what we talked about; I’m doing my best by you.  It’s not… logical; it’s not black and white.  It may not even be the right thing to do.  But in my mind, in my heart, it’s the only thing.  That makes it worth fighting for; you’re worth fighting for.  So… wish me luck.”

 

Wilson turns away from the bed and walks to the door.  As he leaves the cubicle, he hears Cuddy whisper fervently, “Good luck.”

 

Chase is in the Diagnostics office; he looks up when Wilson enters, and Wilson can tell that he’s been expecting this visit.  Neither of the men speaks immediately.  Wilson pours himself a cup of coffee, sits down across from Chase.

 

“Linezolid’s stopped working.  Cuddy tells me you see that as the end of the road, that if we fight you on this you’ll go to the Ethics Committee.  And I’m wondering… what’ve you learned, working with House the last three years?”

 

Chase takes a deep breath, gazes at the ceiling.  “I’ve learned that sometimes, no matter what we do, the patient is going to die.  I’ve learned that we aren’t God—that sometimes not even House can fight death and win.  And I’ve learned that family members can’t be objective, so sometimes the unpleasant decisions fall to us.”

 

“Are you saying that I can’t possibly know what’s best for House?  That you can just… discount everything I’ve been through with him, everything I’ve learned about who he is, what he believes?”

 

Chases gazes thoughtfully at Wilson.  “I’ve got a question for you.  Let’s say the decision is yours.  Forget that you’re his best friend.  Forget that you’re the closest thing to family that he’s got.  You’re his physician, and all you’ve got to go on is something he said to you before anyone could know what was going to happen, or just how bad things were going to get.  What would you do now?”

 

Wilson wants to say, “I’d keep fighting,” but it isn’t the whole truth, and he knows it.  The whole truth is a lot more complicated, and he’s had plenty of time, over the last three days, to figure it out.  So he regards the young doctor sitting in front of him, the man who didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to his own father because, so often, the truth is obscured by emotion.  He looks Chase in the eye, and when he speaks, there’s no question about the veracity of the words he reluctantly forces out.  “I… just… don’t know.  I don’t know what I’d do in your position.”  Wilson looks down, closes his eyes; he knows that his honesty has cost him the opportunity to argue for continuing treatment—he’s just condemned House to death.

 

“Dr. Wilson, I need to go speak with the pharmacist.  And you should be getting back to House, shouldn’t you?  He’s going to need his family supporting him if he’s going to beat this thing.”

 

Wilson raises his head.  “What?”

 

Chases nods at Wilson.  “I didn’t know what to do either.  It isn’t as easy, as clear-cut, as I thought it would be.  In a situation like this, I’d usually go to House, get his take on it.  I couldn’t do that this time, of course, so I did the next best thing.  And… I just watched a physician I admire put his deepest personal feelings aside, to try to help me make this decision, and I heard him tell me the truth.  So since I don’t know what’s right, if I’m going to make a mistake I’d… rather err on the side of life.”

 

Wilson’s stunned, and unable to speak; all he’s able to do is stare at Chase.

 

Chase smiles at him, says, “Finish your coffee; you’re gonna need it.  I’m off to the pharmacy to get the new meds.”

 

And then he’s gone, leaving Wilson, still speechless, to gaze after him, in wonder, at yet another unexpected turn of events. 

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

 

Thoughts 
6th-Jun-2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
Soooo...they're giving him new meds - the one's that Wilson wanted to start him on?

x
6th-Jun-2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
new meds - the one's that Wilson wanted to start him on?

yeah, i think so. treatment for vrsa is still very much a guessing game, hit and miss--that's why it has such a high mortality rate when it goes systemic.
(Deleted comment)
6th-Jun-2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
I hope we're not talking permanent kidney damage here. Being permanently on dialysis isn't something that I think House could live with for very long.

and that's wilson's biggest misgiving about the choices he's made for house. i hope for wilson's sake that the kidney damage isn't permanent--or wilson'll have permanent damage of his own to deal with, i'd suspect! ;)
6th-Jun-2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
You've done a great job of depicting the characters in a time like this. How Wilson and Cuddy, despite being doctors, are House's friends first and foremost. This is why I've always felt it's just as well Wilson wasn't there when House has surgery on his leg since he'd have been right there beside Stacy in consenting to the treatment.

I also love Chase. You're showing how he is the most ready of the ducklings to be cut loose. He knows there are rules to be followed but he's willing to do what it takes to save his patient, just like House would.
6th-Jun-2007 10:25 pm (UTC)
This is why I've always felt it's just as well Wilson wasn't there when House has surgery on his leg since he'd have been right there beside Stacy in consenting to the treatment.

that's always intrigued me. i even wrote a one-shot, wherein wilson says to house that he wasn't there during the infarct because “I didn’t come back because she asked me not to. She figured it was better that there was someone you didn’t blame.” and i believe that was quite reasonable thinking on stacy's part!
6th-Jun-2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
This chapter just blows my mind. It's all these characters at their very best, and for all the terrible pain of the situation, you've let them understate their emotions in the way they really would.

When Cuddy says "I want him to live," I just about fall into pieces right along with Wilson.

6th-Jun-2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
you've let them understate their emotions in the way they really would.

that's an incredible compliment coming from an author whose own skill for understatement is virtually unparalleled. thank you so much.
6th-Jun-2007 04:14 pm (UTC)
"Err on the side of life" is definitely what House would do -- this is the guy who had a woman get a liver transplant so he'd get the time to diagnose her, after all. There's always time to quit if things got unbearable later.
6th-Jun-2007 10:30 pm (UTC)
There's always time to quit if things got unbearable later.

absolutely! there's virtually no 'mistake' that can't somehow be rectified (or at least mitigated), but 'death' tends to be pretty... permanent.
6th-Jun-2007 04:27 pm (UTC)
I know I shouldn't read these at work but every time I see a new chapter I just have to!! Another heart-wrenching chapter. Poor Wilson, he protects House as best he can and still it's a struggle. You give him so much strength and compassion - I love it.
6th-Jun-2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
Poor Wilson, he protects House as best he can and still it's a struggle. You give him so much strength and compassion

and in my opinion, strength and compassion are the top two requirements in the job description for 'House's Best Friend' ! ;)
6th-Jun-2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
Your Chase in this chapter was just amazing. Such hard decisions that have to be dealt with by someone every day. God knows I could never become a doctor.
6th-Jun-2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
Chase in this chapter was just amazing

chase does have his moments; i've been starting to like him more lately--he seems to have matured (a bit).
6th-Jun-2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Yay Chase! Stepping up to a challenge for once in his life. ...and I was wondering, if Chase had pursued the other route, House didn't sign the Advance Directive, so it seems that Chase wouldn't have such a strong legal basis for his argument...right? The point is moot now, thankfully, but as I've read the last few chapters, the fact that House didn't sign the paper has stuck in my mind.

Okay. The Duckling issues are resolved. I'm about ready for House to start turning the corner. Dialysis isn't any fun.

(Oh, and, excellent work!)
6th-Jun-2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
if Chase had pursued the other route, House didn't sign the Advance Directive, so it seems that Chase wouldn't have such a strong legal basis for his argument...right?

legal, maybe not--but ethical, now that's another story. an ethics committee would normally grant him a presumption of truth, whether or not a signature existed--and as long as chase was granted that presumption, he (and therefore house) would've probably prevailed.

but had that happened, i've no doubt that wilson would've gone the next step and made it a legal issue!
6th-Jun-2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
*gasp* Didn't see that coming. You evil person, you, throwing plot bombs at us without giving us a chance to look for cover. *sighs* I really, really hope House isn't going to...I don't know...explode when he wakes up and finds out he's still alive. Didn't he specifically ask not to be put in this situation? I'm getting a little confused now. Is Wilson forgetting the last seven years? Is Cuddy? Is Chase? *wonders honestly*
6th-Jun-2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
Is Wilson forgetting the last seven years? Is Cuddy? Is Chase? *wonders honestly*

i think it's based on the last seven years that wilson is willing is willing to take this chance--that and the knowledge that house was clinically depressed and under mega-stress for a very long time prior to becoming acutely ill. as foreman discovered, though, valid arguments can be made for either side of the argument.
6th-Jun-2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
There are no words. I have nothing to say. Brilliant chapter. You've left me speechless, dear. But I must ask, when will the next update be? Tomorrow? UGH! I'll DIE if I don't find out what happens soon!

-ANimal
6th-Jun-2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
But I must ask, when will the next update be? Tomorrow?

i'm quite flattered that i have rendered ANimal speechless!! ;) yup; regular update tomorrow morning!
6th-Jun-2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, the Chase scene definitely balanced out the Cameron scene! That had to be tough for Wilson- telling Chase the truth even though he knew what it might cost him. But Chase did deserve the truth; Chase was doing what he thought House would want. I like how he is willing to rethink the situation when necessary.

I'm pretty sure you mentioned a sequel to this (or that House might survive) but now the medicine he needs might shut down his kidneys and his liver is failing? I'm almost afraid to find out what condition he will be in if he survives!

*hugs*
6th-Jun-2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
That had to be tough for Wilson- telling Chase the truth even though he knew what it might cost him.

and yet... i can see wilson doing that, somehow--just being unable to lie to chase in that circumstance. wilson is, indeed, capable of the occasional lie--but i can't see him lying here--not even to save house.
6th-Jun-2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
"I’m just keeping House up to date on his soaps. Apparently, when you miss a day, you actually miss a year or two" :
this line was both funny and deeply touching. Wilson not only is working the heck out of him to save House's precious life but also is concerned by his mental comfort, the angst that House is certainly feeling in his situation, albeit sedated. I love those guys. Both.
"Since I don’t know what’s right, if I’m going to make a mistake I’d… rather err on the side of life" :
haaaaaaa ! I feel much better now, Chase really scared me but I'm not surprised by his decision. Of the ducklings, to me, he's the most potentially better guy !
Onwards everybody ! action now ! House, wake up and show them they were right !
And the usual : I love your writing, both form and content. You rock !
6th-Jun-2007 10:50 pm (UTC)
Wilson not only is working the heck out of him to save House's precious life but also is concerned by his mental comfort, the angst that House is certainly feeling in his situation, albeit sedated.

yup! house's "people skills" may be a bit lacking--but when it comes to best friends, he sure knows how to pick 'em! :)
6th-Jun-2007 07:23 pm (UTC) - unexpected and very nice
Anonymous
The Chase plot is really a tricky secene, I prepared to face some hard arguement but the story turns suddenly, nice.
6th-Jun-2007 10:52 pm (UTC) - Re: unexpected and very nice
The Chase plot is really a tricky secene

when i sat down to write this chapter, i honestly hadn't any idea how chase would react, or what the outcome of his and wilson's conversation would be. so i was as pleasantly surprised as you were! ;)
6th-Jun-2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
O...kay... Chase, thou art confuzzling me. I'll hold off on judging Chase any further and see what he does.
6th-Jun-2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
Chase, thou art confuzzling me

i'll bet not near as much as cameron confuses me! ;)
6th-Jun-2007 07:44 pm (UTC)
Wow. This line just cut to the core: "So since I don’t know what’s right, if I’m going to make a mistake I’d… rather err on the side of life.” Definitely had me choked up a little there. I've only been involved in one case with a major ethical dilemma so far, but that was exactly how I felt. I think you captured the culture of medicine very well in this. There is a strong sense of "apprenticeship" that often leads young physicians to look to those more experienced for guidance. Ethical issues typically pose the greatest difficulty because there's rarely a clear, concrete answer, which juxtaposes the nature of the science of medicine, and the stakes are almost invariably high, as they are here. Beautifully done. This is an absolute pleasure to read. Thank you for writing it.
6th-Jun-2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
Ethical issues typically pose the greatest difficulty because there's rarely a clear, concrete answer, which juxtaposes the nature of the science of medicine, and the stakes are almost invariably high, as they are here.

and the intriguing thing about medical ethics is that so many opposing answers can all fall under the category of "right." i find that endlessly fascinating, and i truly enjoy exploring the dilemmas all those 'right' answers can cause.
6th-Jun-2007 07:55 pm (UTC)
"I'd...rather err on the side of life."

So true, so true.
6th-Jun-2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
yup--death is a pretty unfixable mistake! ;)
6th-Jun-2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
*exhales* Phew! You certainly enjoy scaring us all!
6th-Jun-2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
You certainly enjoy scaring us all! *sips complacently at coffee whilst attempting to hide evil smirk behind cup* (now you just knew i couldn't go the entire day without mentioning coffee at least once, didn't you?)
6th-Jun-2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
I'm enjoying this story so much! I especially loved your Chase here.
6th-Jun-2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
loved your Chase here.

well, i had to redeem him somehow after the vent conflict, because he wasn't really wrong, and i honestly didn't want to paint him as 'the bad guy'.


6th-Jun-2007 11:38 pm (UTC)
Still wondering how House is going to react to this and if his kidneys are going to fail or not. Cuddy and Wilson both can do magic with the donor's list, but I think this is even bigger than those two. How could Chase just give up on what he believed like that? Dude, the guy really is a wuss. Wilson didn't tell him the truth. Gah... I'm confused about how I feel. Great job!
6th-Jun-2007 11:54 pm (UTC)
How could Chase just give up on what he believed like that?

i'm a bit confused myself, by what you think he gave up on? once house was placed on the vent, chase's obligation to give treatment stayed the same. i suppose he could've chosen to take himself off the case--but don't forget, he never said he AGREED with house's decision, he simply attempted to honor it.
(Screened comment)
7th-Jun-2007 09:44 am (UTC)
Anonymous
I think I'm beginning to realize where this story is heading(with the kidney failure and all)but I'd rather not say.Maybe other readers took the hint as well.great jod and I guess it's gonna drag for at least another 28 chapters
7th-Jun-2007 10:20 am (UTC)
lol--nah, it's not gonna go there! as a matter of fact, i pulled down the post to which i think you're referring, because i realized shortly after i wrote it that i'd inadvertently given the (quite wrong) impression that house was gonna be in the market for a kidney donor. that wasn't what i'd intended to say, but blackmare pointed out that it could easy be interpreted that way.

as to the length? there will be six more chapters (slim possibility of seven, if i get... verbose). and i really am terribly sorry for any misunderstanding my little dissertation caused, on house's hypothetical chances of finding a kidney donor--not even i would do that to those poor guys! ;)
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
7th-Jun-2007 01:26 pm (UTC)
Im running out of adjectives to describe the chapter lol =)

This was one of the best Bday presents!! Thank you =)

I just love Wilson. His love and care is just so deep and honest. No underlying motives (die Cameron, DIE!), no brovado, just deep, honest love for a friend. It just so pure... does it make sense?

I'm not the biggest Chase fan, but he did impress me. Thank you for that! I have rediscovered Foreman and wow, he's Chase. Not an a**kisser, but a talented doctor. I wish writers would show that a bit more lol

But, honestly, it was a wonderful chapter! I wonder if Cuddy picks up the conversation with House from where Wilson left off lol... Somehow I can picture her lecturing House about hanging in there and not giving poor Wilson any more grey hair!

Take care!
7th-Jun-2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
well, happy birthday! and today's chapter will be up in five minutes or less--hope that makes you happy too!! :)
8th-Jun-2007 09:14 pm (UTC) - Review again!
Anonymous
Wow, that was deeeeeeep. The "I'd keep fighting" paragraph was just amazing. AMAZING ;)
On to chapter thirty!
(By the way, I'm Dr. Fantabulous. Forgot to add that in my last review, titled so creatively, "Review!")