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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter THIRTEEN 
19th-May-2007 10:31 am
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



As Wilson returns to House’s room, he hears House yelling before he sees him.  “And I’m telling you, you only need to go with the venous catheter!  We’re not looking at years of dialysis here—maybe three weeks.  Only reason the vanc caused renal failure is I’ve been taking—”  House has seen Wilson; he clamps his mouth shut.


It’s now or never.  First chance to let him know that I’m here for him—really here this time.  Wilson strides into the room, says authoritatively, “Patient’s been on corticosteroids for acute shoulder pain for fifty eight days.  Came off ‘em as soon as he recognized he was going into renal shutdown.  His baseline’s always a little out of whack because he’s also a chronic pain patient, for which I prescribe opioids. As soon as the effects of the vancomycin on his kidneys wear off, he should begin to return to baseline.  Do as he says.”


“But Dr. Wilson, there’s nothing in his records about steroid administration, and we were told--”


“I don’t care what you were told.  It was Dr. House’s option to seek private medical treatment, away from this hospital, and he chose to exercise that option.  This conversation is over.  The patient needs kidney dialysis, and he needs it now.  Do your job.”


Throughout Wilson’s speech, he hasn’t dared look at House.  Now, he walks to the bedside.  House’s breathing is too fast; his eyes are only partially open, and they’re not quite focused. It’s evident that he’s still feverish, and that the toxins in his system are quickly accumulating.  The argument with the dialysis team was apparently too much for him.  He tries to focus on Wilson, to say something.


“Shut up, House; we’ll talk later.  Now just lie there quietly and let these nice people get you hooked up.”  He stands there until House closes his eyes, then moves away so the dialysis team can get to work.


“If you’ll just step out for a few minutes, Dr. Wilson, we’ll get this done as quickly as we can.”


House’s eyes fly open, and the rate on the cardiac monitor jumps up.


“No.  I’ll be staying,” Wilson says quickly, firmly.  “Any problems with that, take it up with Dr. Cuddy.”  House closes his eyes; Wilson sees his heart rate settle down.


The team sees it too, and no one offers any further argument.  They’d gotten off to a shaky start with House, but Wilson knows they’re the best in the business, and that House’s well-being really is their main concern.


House doesn’t even wince when the venous catheter is inserted into his jugular vein by the radiologist, stays absolutely still as placement is checked.  Wilson isn’t certain that House is fully aware that the minor surgical procedure is over; he hasn’t given any indication that he’s even conscious.  But once the actual dialysis has been started, House opens his eyes and pretends to listen as one of the team slowly explains to him that this first session will be only an hour, to ascertain that he can tolerate the dialysis, and so as not to cause a drastic fluctuation in his blood pressure.  He nods politely as the ‘patient education’ continues, and the tech tells him that he’ll be hooked up to the machine for about four hours every day for a while, and that as the retained fluid decreases, it’ll be four hours every three days or so.  Then he thanks the woman for her explanation.


That’s when Wilson realizes how very ill House is.  Of course House knows everything he’s just been ‘educated’ about, and a hell of a lot more.  And a normal House wouldn’t have listened patiently to the simplistic spiel; he’d have made some cutting remark at the start, probably sent the girl from the room in tears.


House sleeps through the dialysis session, but he isn’t peaceful.  Wilson listens as he moans low in his throat, watches as his head tosses restlessly against the pillows.  He manages to buy House some real comfort at one point when he gently places a cool washcloth on his forehead, but it doesn’t last long.  A sharp hitch in House’s breathing draws Wilson’s attention, and he sees House pull his right leg up.  Under the thin sheet, Wilson can see the ruined quadriceps muscle in House’s thigh contracting—the cluster of spasms ripples the sheet like a pulse, gently, rhythmically.  When House allows the leg to relax again, Wilson moves the sheet aside and places a pillow under his knee.  He hopes it might help; he knows it won’t.


At the end of the hour, just over a liter of fluid has been removed from House’s body.  Once the equipment’s been moved away, Wilson listens to his lungs; he’s becoming concerned about House’s rapid respiratory rate.  Although the high fever offers partial explanation, Wilson is worried about fluid in his lungs.  He hears rales in the bases of both lungs; this confirms his suspicion.


House awakens as Wilson is concluding his assessment.  There’s a brief look of confusion on his face, but he takes in his surroundings and relaxes again.  “You knew,” he says to Wilson.


Wilson understands immediately.   “About the prednisone?  No.  Just found out, when I was packing your stuff.  House, I’m so sorry.  For everything.”


House smiles as his eyes close again.  “You knew,” he repeats.  “’S okay, then… you knew.”  This seems to bring House some sort of comfort, so Wilson goes with it.


“Yeah; it’s okay.  I know about the prednisone now, and it’s okay.  We’ll handle it; not a problem.”  Before Wilson finishes speaking, House, still smiling, has drifted off again.  Wilson wonders why it seems so important to House that Wilson is aware of the prednisone.


Was he afraid I’d be angry?  Wouldn’t believe him?  Or did it bother him that much that something had changed and I didn’t know about it?  Maybe… he’s just relieved that I didn’t use his shoulder pain as a weapon against him.  This time.


“Don’t worry about it,” Wilson whispers to his sleeping friend.  “Don’t worry about anything.  I get it now; I understand.  Done with all that crazy dancing, all those missed steps.  Gonna get you well; gonna get us back in sync.  That’s a promise.”


Wilson sinks into the bedside chair, studies the monitors and sees that—for right now—everything’s stable.  But he doesn’t allow himself to relax.  Meant everything I just said, House; you don’t worry about anything.  This whole stupid months-long dance?  My turn to lead, and I’m gonna do it right.  Because a misstep could be fatal.


It’s 4:20 in the morning; outside the window, it’s dark and peaceful.  House seems comfortable for the moment.  Wilson stretches and shakes off his fatigue; he’s made a very big promise—and he intends to keep it. 

Chapter Fourteen

19th-May-2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
Aw, it's a shame House has to be that sick for the two of them to start being honest with one another (but then there wouldn't be so much angst so I guess that's a good thing.) Another great chapter- and House's reactions were interesting, looking forward to seeing why (for House) it was so important that Wilson knew about the prednisone (and wouldn't be too surprised if it was a mix of all the reasons Wilson thought.)
19th-May-2007 03:31 pm (UTC)
you're right--it's a mix of all those reasons. but mostly, it just seems to me that house (secretly) craves wilson's approval for anything he does. he always scoffs at wilson's advice on the show--and then winds up doing just what wilson suggests. and since house has to know everything about wilson, i think he figures wilson should know everything about him as well. just my take...
19th-May-2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
Jimmy is finally learning. That's good. Him taking the lead though slightly scares me. Maybe I am just afraid for House or perhaps I still don't trust Wilson completely yet. The rest of the story though, I'm sure is going to be very interesting. Keep writing!! Get House out of the fever please so he can tell the dialysis people off.
19th-May-2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
scares me as well--but i don't think he'll let house (or us) down. and... uh... house's health pretty much goes downhill from here... so the dialysis team is gonna be spared his sharp tongue; sorry! ;)
19th-May-2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
Wow, what an utterly perfect chapter! Just such beautiful writing - thank you!

Its just brilliant to log-in and read another one of your gems!
19th-May-2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
thank you! i was worried that this chapter was too brief; nice to know that it read well for you!!
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19th-May-2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
and unfortunately (fortunately?) poor wilson's struggle is just beginning.....
19th-May-2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
I really like your balance of hurt and comfort in the h/c. It seems like most of House fanfic has a different ratio than what I prefer.

I'm really enjoying this story! Thank you for writing it and putting it up!
19th-May-2007 03:44 pm (UTC)
that's a really intriguing statement, and something i've never thought about before. what's the usual balance?

and you are very welcome!
19th-May-2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
Well now I'm extremely curious. And I'm skiving off something important to read this, so I'll get back to that now. *sigh* Brilliant job, as usual, you evil writer, you. *sighs again*

Now, I read the comments and you promised you wouldn't kill House. I'm holding you to that. Seriously.
19th-May-2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
house is gonna live. really. house will live. (however, it is my intent to find out exactly how close one can bring him to death before snatching him back..... ;)
19th-May-2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
I'm not worried; it is PPTH - they have the best success rate for cardioversion in the world.
It's a great story, but I don't want House too out of it he can't keep up his end of the dialogue for too long. I bet Wilson needs his help if he is going to pull through.
19th-May-2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
i'm laughing here, because as the author i have a wee, small advantage in knowing what's going to happen.... just keep in mind what a powerful presence house is, even when silent! :)
19th-May-2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
Poor ol House. The fact that he concealed steroid use knowing full well the potential consequences of combining it with vancomycin speaks volumes. I think it was Mark Twain who once said something like, what a piece of writing doesn't say is more important than what it does say. Maybe Twain didn't come up with that, but some other 'great' writer did. So cheers for not saying this one; the fact that it wasn't said makes it resound more loudly.
19th-May-2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
yeah; i have this endless fascination (obsession?) with the "trust issues" between house and wilson--and this season's given me plenty of stuff to chew on in that area. house wants to trust wilson--i know he does. but wilson makes it... difficult (how's that for understatement?).
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19th-May-2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
This is great. So glad Wilson's finally figured things out. Another wonderful chapter. :)
19th-May-2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
poor, sweet wilson tries, he truly does. and he gets points for trying, 'cuz he's so adorable, and he cares so much about house. otherwise, i'd never have forgiven him this season. ;)
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19th-May-2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
My turn to lead, and I’m gonna do it right.

*melts* Though they may have to hold off the actual dancing until after this MRSA thing blows over. :(
19th-May-2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
the mrsa thing is about to take a... treacherous turn. that dance is gonna be a long time coming!
19th-May-2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
Lucky me ! I was away for 2 days so I had 2 new chapters to read at a time. And what chapters ! I'm soooo happy to read something that meets so well what i've been thinking about Wilson's attitude with the shoulder thing, Tritter, his denial of House's pain, his constant misunderstanding of his complicated friend. There's something a little autistic in House, glad that finally Wilson realizes that, glad that Cuddy is aware of it too. I was dying to read this explanation somewhere, you did it, brilliantly. You're my hero.
19th-May-2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
yay! thank you!! that makes me feel wonderful; that was the purpose behind these chapters, and even the story itself, really. thanks again!
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