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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter FOURTEEN 
20th-May-2007 10:12 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
Chapter Thirteen



Cuddy comes in at 6:30am.  She hands Wilson a cup of coffee and the latest bloodwork results.  The coffee’s good; the lab results are not.


“I was hoping the dialysis would at least lower his potassium,” Wilson says as he studies the numbers.


“He’ll have a longer session later today; that’ll help.  Some of those numbers are so out of whack that I’m surprised he’s doing as well as he is; wouldn’t even expect most patients to be lucid.”


“I’m not sure he is,” Wilson tells her.  “He’s in and out.  Had a strange conversation about the prednisone after the dialysis team left; all he seemed to care about was that I knew.  He’s awakened a couple times since then.  First time he reminded me that it’s my turn to buy the beer and rent the movie tonight; do you know how long it’s been since we actually did that?  And the second time, he told me I looked like hell, and that recent studies indicate that having to look at worried people hovering at your bedside increases recovery time.”  Wilson smiles.


Cuddy smiles too.  “That’s our House—a true diplomat.  But he’s right; you do look exhausted.  I think that—”


“Give it up,” Wilson interrupts.  “I’m not leaving.”


Cuddy smiles again.  “Exhausted and cranky!  What I was going to say was, I think I’ll call Housekeeping, get a cot brought up from Peds.  Figure it’s easier to bring in another bed than it would be to convince you to go find a couch.”


“You’re right, and… I’m sorry I snapped.  Thanks.  For the coffee, and the cot, and… just, thanks.”


“Hey,” Cuddy says gently, “I understand.”  And he knows she does.


There’s a sound from the bed, and they turn to look at House; his eyes are open, and he’s looking at the paper in Wilson’s hand.  “Those the labs?  Lemme see,” he croaks out.  But in the short time it takes Wilson to cross over to the bed, he’s gone back to sleep.


Wilson looks at Cuddy.  “I don’t like his respiratory rate.  It’s above 30, even when he’s sleeping.  And he’s got fluid in his lungs.”


“I know.  I’ll increase the Lasix, see if that helps.  I’m also thinking of calling Chase in; bring him up to speed, get his opinion on the meds.”


Wilson nods.  “Good idea.  If we don’t start seeing some improvement soon, House is gonna wind up in ICU anyway; might as well have an intensivist on the case.”


“I’ll go call him then, and I’ll have the cot sent up.  I’m not putting it in here just to crowd the room with more furniture, by the way.  I expect you to use it.”


Wilson smiles tiredly.  “I will.  Eventually.  Until he’s stable, though, I don’t think I’ll be sleeping much.”  As if to make the point, he drains the last of his coffee.


“Yeah.  About that.  I’ve also arranged for the kitchen to send up your meals.  Breakfast should be here soon.  I hear it comes with coffee.”  Cuddy gives his arm a squeeze, and leaves the room before he can even try—again—to express his gratitude.


Before sitting back down, Wilson adjusts House’s pillows; he’s been so restless that they’re in a tangle now.  The movement causes House to awaken.  He focuses slowly on Wilson’s face.  “Kinda thirsty,” he says.  He runs a cracked tongue over dry, swollen lips.


“Yeah, I know.  But you’re not putting out much.  Let’s try a few ice chips, okay?”


House nods, and reaches out his left hand to attempt to take the spoon.  Wilson sees the uncontrollable tremor, and quickly catches the hand with his own, lowers it back to the bed as he spoons the chips into House’s mouth.  But House, too, has noticed the tremor—and now he’s staring worriedly at his hand.


Wilson somehow manages to laugh.  “Good thing you’re normally right-handed,” he tells House.  “You’d give us lefties a bad name!”  He’s ashamed of the relief he feels when House closes his eyes and drifts off again before they can discuss the worsening symptom.


A nurse comes in to get a set of vital signs and drain the urine bag.  “How much?” he asks her.


She holds up the cup.  “Less than 200cc,” she tells him.


He looks at his watch.  “About 16cc an hour.  Better than nothing, I guess.”


She smiles sympathetically.  “If you need anything at all, Dr. Wilson, you just let me know.  We’ve been trying to stay out of your way; Dr. Cuddy said you’d be seeing to most of Dr. House’s needs yourself, and she asked that we bother you as little as possible.  But I didn’t want you to think we were neglecting him—or you.  Just buzz if you want something, okay?”


“I appreciate it, Judy.  We’re fine for right now, but if you could check on when my coffee might be arriving, that’d be a big help.”


Five minutes later, Judy returns carrying a large, steaming ceramic mug of fresh coffee.  Wilson takes the cup gratefully.  “This doesn’t look—or smell—like cafeteria issue,” he tells her, puzzled.


“Just made a fresh pot in the nurse’s lounge.  And I figured you needed some serious caffeine; those styrofoam cups hold about two teaspoons!”


Wilson smiles his thanks at her, and she smiles back.  “Just wish there were something I could do for Dr. House, too,” she tells him.


Surprised, Wilson asks, “You… uh… get along with House?”


Judy laughs.  “Oh no, not at all!  The man’s an ogre.  But I’ll never forget what he did for that kid, Jesse—you know, that leukemia patient of yours.  Must’ve taken him hours.”


“Oh yes, Jesse Beele.  I remember… House consulted on a stubborn infection we couldn’t shake.  But you’ll have to refresh my memory; it’s been a while.”  Wilson hopes that Judy hasn’t guessed that he hasn’t any idea what House had done for the kid.


“Good heavens; I’d have thought that a kindness that big—especially coming from Dr. House—would be something you’d remember!”


Wilson just smiles vaguely, as if he’s trying to recall, and Judy continues.


“Dr. House asked me why Jesse was always crying, so I explained how his folks lived so far away, and they couldn’t miss any more work without losing their jobs, and they had all those other kids to worry about.  So then he said, ‘So why the hell don’t you distract the sniveling brat?’”  Judy and Wilson both laugh.  House moans and turns his head at the sound, and she lowers her voice. 


“I told him that the only thing that made Jesse happy was country music, and we couldn’t keep it on because Jesse’s roommate, that kid in traction, hated it, and screamed every time we turned on the radio.  So then Dr. House muttered something about ‘Pediatrics, God’s Own special Hell on Earth,’ and he stalked off.  The next night, he came down to Peds and tossed an iPod at me, said someone had left it in the lobby.  Told me to give it to Jesse, said it might buy me a few minutes of peace and quiet.  I checked the playlists; it was all country music.  Over three hundred songs on that thing!”


Judy leans forward and whispers, “I was gonna let Jesse use it for the night, take it to Lost and Found in the morning.  Couldn’t figure out why he hadn’t turned it in.  Turns out, wasn’t lost at all.  Guess he forgot about the GH engraved on the back.”


Wilson stares at her.  “Thanks, Judy.  That had slipped my mind.  Thank you very much for the reminder.”


Judy looks one more time at House; Wilson sees real compassion in her eyes.  She shakes her head sadly, repeats “Please, let me know if I can help,” and then House and Wilson are alone again.


Wilson stands smiling down at his friend.  “You are so busted, House,” he whispers affectionately.  “Lost your iPod, huh?  Tossed it out the window at screeching cats, huh?  Glad I spared you the carelessness lecture—for a change.  Glad I got you a new one for your birthday.  Really glad Judy has a big mouth.”


Wilson wonders what House’s reaction would be if he knew how many people were pulling for him, how many lives he’s touched in a positive way.  He imagines House’s scowl at the news, hears the sarcastic putdown—and sees the disbelieving vulnerability in the expressive blue eyes.  Wilson leans down, whispers even more quietly, “It’s okay, House; your secret’s safe with me.  All your secrets are safe… with me.”

Chapter Fifteen

(Deleted comment)
20th-May-2007 03:25 pm (UTC)
House is someone who generally doesn't trust and when that is damaged it affects everything else about his reactions.

that's exactly it! that why i'm upset with the show's writers--they destroyed both house's and wilson's abilities to trust one another (and neither of them trust anyone else!), and then poof! that ability to trust each other, that easy camaraderie, is magically restored, between one episode (Airborne, wherein wilson's not even aware that house is overseas) and the next (Act Your Age, wherein the two of them act towards each other as if the rest of season three had never transpired). i simply can't buy the lack of explanation, the absence of plausible build-up--hence this story. /end rant
20th-May-2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
You've hit on something very true about House's personality. He doesn't care what people think of him. (well, most people).

He can be an ass, or a hero, and all he really cares about is being right. If he never got credit for doing good deeds, he wouldn't give a whit.

Nice chapter!
20th-May-2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
He can be an ass, or a hero, and all he really cares about is being right. If he never got credit for doing good deeds, he wouldn't give a whit.

absolutely. and yeah--i believe that for house, in the end, the only opinion he ever really, truly values, is wilson's.
20th-May-2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
wonderful chapter, I loved this i-pod story, I know that THIS House exists, the compassionate, sensitive, humble (yes, humble)human being. I'm happy you managed to show him to us in such a subtle way. THANKS !
20th-May-2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
and the oddest thing has happened, for me, with the iPod story--i somehow managged to convince myself that this had really taken place on the show, actually started to look for the clip the other day! lol anyway, i think that's because the house whom all of us perceive is, indeed, capable of such secret kindnesses. and that is due to hugh laurie's phenomenal ability to portray house as human--and vulnerable.
20th-May-2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
*squeals with delight* Yes, I, too, despise country music, but that was just made of awesome. House is spectacular, damn it. Wheeee! I think I have a new contender for second place in the favorite chapter race, but--knowing you--that'll change again soon. *nods*
20th-May-2007 03:37 pm (UTC)
i just wish they'd have him do something similar on the show. it'd be at least as believable as his eight mile run! ;)
20th-May-2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
The story about the ipod is excellent. I love the fact that Wilson is just finding out about it. Sounds like House to throw his ipod at someone else. *laughs* He really is great with kids. Makes me wonder if he ever wanted to have any. So is Wilson going to tell him he knows? I like the fact that the nurses keep somethings to themselves about House and the fact he does do some good things. Wonder if Cuddy knows... hmmmm. Tell Wilson to get some sleep though, sounds like he needs it. Great job!
20th-May-2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
thanks! and yes, weary wilson will soon sleep--cuddy'll make certain of it! ;)
20th-May-2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
House doesn't want praise for the good things he does. He wants to be admired for his genius but, as for the other stuff, he genuinely doesn't care whether people approve or disapprove of his actions. It's one of the things I like best about him. (The fact that he has a much easier time accepting criticism than praise, I attribute to his father and the abuse.)

It's nice for Wilson to occasionally see the good stuff.
20th-May-2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
i agree on all points. but i also think that many extremely bright children grow up hearing more criticism than praise--whether there's abuse or not. and that's why so many have a pessimistic, even cynical view of the world.
20th-May-2007 05:08 pm (UTC)
I was rooting for House bringing is his guitar and singing some country music for Jesse until you mentioned that his roommate hated country. The iPod -was- an endearing touch, though.

It's like House to keep all his good deeds to himself, but I think it says more about the level of attention that Wilson is paying House that Wilson didn't learn about the whole country music escapade earlier. I mean, he probably learned about the missing iPod only when he told House to quit blaring the music and House responded that he couldn't - he'd lost his iPod.

“It’s okay, House; your secret’s safe with me. All your secrets are safe… with me.”

Except that House no longer shares his secrets with Wilson, no matter how much either of them wished that he did. T.T
20th-May-2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
Except that House no longer shares his secrets with Wilson, no matter how much either of them wished that he did.

i sadly acknowledge that--but i can at least "fix" it in my imagination!!! :)
20th-May-2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
Ditto all of the above.

For House, acts are ends in themselves, not means for achieving other ends. (I wonder, though, if people are ends to him. He claims they aren't and uses them as means, but that touch of humanity in him makes me wonder if he isn't just blustering to forestall the development of any real relationships.)

Yeah, awesome. One of my favorite scenes from the past season comes from Lines in the Sand: the 'red berries' scene where House shows Adam the knock-out gas is safe by huffing it himself. It's a means to an end (to get the kid to sleep), but it's also its own end (the kid trusts him), though we may conclude that's just a side effect. (Or we could conclude what Wilson concludes: that it's just another way for House to get high.)

Loving it. Cheers!
20th-May-2007 05:24 pm (UTC)
(Or we could conclude what Wilson concludes: that it's just another way for House to get high.)

that's why i had to have wilson re-analyze that incident in this story; S1 and S2 wilson would've known why house was doing it, and would have both admired it and given house that 'look' that said he was touched!
20th-May-2007 07:36 pm (UTC)
I'm horrible, horrible at reviewing regularly, but I just wanted to say: wow. This series, and your previous "Devils" series, are so good; they're the sort of thing I just assimilate into my own personal canon and use to view these characters forever after. Just the right amount of medical stuff that I don't understand, the perfect tone of their voices, the right amount of angst for a junkie like me. You do this well. :D

Plus, look at all the discussion and reflection this sparked! House being kind is so interesting, not necessarily because it's unusual but because of the motivations behind it all. Compared to Wilson. Because though Wilson's probably not in it for just the praise, he does appreciate it and build his sense of self on being acknowledged as a kind person.

House is odd, though. It's not exactly that he doesn't care what anyone thinks--then, for instance, there'd have been no reason to pretend that it was someone else's iPod. (I will use the example right from your story, since it's so subtle and sweet and so House.) He wants people to think he's a mean, miserable old bastard who's never done a kind thing in his life. Even he seems to want to see himself like that. Somehow he manages to do the quiet good deeds around this hang-up.

I eagerly await all the next chapters!
20th-May-2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
i'm so glad you jumped in--welcome!

Plus, look at all the discussion and reflection this sparked!
isn't it great! forget the story--the discussion's the best part!!

House being kind is so interesting, not necessarily because it's unusual but because of the motivations behind it all. Compared to Wilson. Because though Wilson's probably not in it for just the praise, he does appreciate it and build his sense of self on being acknowledged as a kind person.
this is a fantastc observation, and i agree--wilson does need the acknowledgement just as much as house disdains it; i think that's how each validates his own self-perception. intriguing pair, aren't they?
20th-May-2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
I've decided to treat your story like a great glass of wine: I wait until I've done all my work for the day, am relaxed and in the mood, and then I open the link. It's actually very satisfying. :)
20th-May-2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
rofl! (and my kid thinks mama's finally lost it) and now, through the mere power of suggestion, i must have a glass of wine! :)
20th-May-2007 11:41 pm (UTC)
House is indeed busted! Typical that Wilson had to find out through outside sources.
21st-May-2007 10:54 am (UTC)
house? be straight with wilson? not bloody likely!! ;) (yeah, yeah, yeah, got all the possible permutations of my statement! ;) )
21st-May-2007 01:32 am (UTC)
Quick note:
Still reading in between my crazy real life!

Loved the little side story about the kid and the iPod. So Houselike.

Love the fact that he doesn't care if people hate him, doesn't care if people like him. Also love that connection he has with kids, probably due to the fact that he is forever 8 years old.
21st-May-2007 10:51 am (UTC)
he is forever 8 years old.

except when he's 6... or 3! and i agree; i think the connection with kids has a lot to do with his own social and emotional age.
21st-May-2007 02:38 am (UTC)
*sigh* I'm happy now =)

Loved this chapter - your writing is just so poignant and insightful! Well done. I love how Wilson looks after House, small things, like ice chips, pillow under the knee, straightening the pillows... I like how protective Wilson is of House - small things that loved ones would do in a hospital. Just sweet, without being out of character for either.

I loved the iPod part, once again, House is House - abrupt, rude, a pain in the behind, but at the same time, he has a way with kids, without ever actually acknowledging that he can communicate like few others do. He's just sometimes a big kid, caught up in adults' confusing, irritating world.

I'm a bit worried about his breathing though.... 30 reps... Am I right in thinking that you will be following this up with some more h/c? =D

I just love logging in and seeing a new chapter! Brilliant!!
21st-May-2007 10:48 am (UTC)
for me, the big thing in the house-wilson dynamic is the sense of protectiveness i see from wilson towards house, and house's acceptance of it--he wouldn't let anyone else worry like that! this is just hinted at in the show, but it's definitely there. in my fics, it's normally the theme, isn't it?

yup--worry about his breathing. worry about it a lot. ;)