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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter SEVENTEEN 
24th-May-2007 10:04 am
FindOutWhoFriendsAre
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 SEVENTEEN: INTENSIVE CARING
 
The three fellows come running into House’s cubicle, and virtually screech to a stop. “What’s happening?” Chase demands.
 
“Fever’s shooting up—104.6 now,” Cuddy tells him.
 
Chase almost laughs with relief; he’d been afraid that the page was somehow related to House’s untreated pain, or to the withdrawal symptoms. Or worse—Wilson might’ve wanted to bring up the vent again. “So order an antipyretic,” he says. “Acetaminophen, ibuprofen.”
 
“Can’t do that. He’s scheduled for his first full dialysis session in a few minutes; that’s got to take priority. And that’ll remove the drugs from his system before they’ve even had a chance to start working.”
 
“Yeah,” Chase says thoughtfully. “Besides, acetaminophen’s not good for his liver, and ibuprofen is murder on compromised kidneys. Okay; let’s get him in an ice bath.”
 
No!” Wilson, who’s been glowering at both Cuddy and Chase, speaks up for the first time. “I won’t allow you to put him through that! There are other options, maybe not as fast but just as effective. And he has more than enough circulation problems in the right leg without—”
 
Chase meets Wilson’s eyes. “It’s the preferred treatment for fever above 105. Anyway, he’s unconscious, so—”
 
“Am not,” interrupts a weak, raspy voice from the bed, and they all turn towards House, who’s eyeing his three fellows, standing in an anxious row before him. “You didn’t tell me it was Buy One, Get Two Free Day,” he says to Wilson.
 
“Sorry,” Wilson responds. “Didn’t even know those two were in the building.” He scowls at Cameron and Foreman.
 
“It’s okay.” House closes his eyes. “Cuts out the middle man. And you need to let the nice intensivist treat the intensive care patient. Just go back to being a helicopter….”
 
Everyone gathered around the bed shares a concerned look. “Helicopter?” Wilson asks tentatively.
 
“You know, that whole… hovering thing… you do so well.” House’s weak voice is growing fainter. “Chase is… good doctor….” He sighs, and returns to what Wilson hopes are pleasant dreams.
 
Now Wilson eyes Chase. “He doesn’t recall what just happened downstairs. Obviously.”
 
Chase looks down. “I know that. And… okay… his temp’s not 105 yet. So let’s put him on a convective airflow cooling blanket.” He looks to Wilson for approval.
 
Wilson nods. “That’ll work.”
 
They wait until House’s dialysis session is underway, then Wilson approaches the bed. “House; need to talk to you.” No response. “Hey, you awake in there?”
 
House doesn’t respond, and Wilson’s starting to get worried. When he places a hand on House’s arm and squeezes gently, House doesn’t open his eyes or respond verbally, but he does turn his head towards WilsonWilson doesn’t know how much’ll get through, but he speaks to House as if it’ll all be understood.
 
“We’ve gotta take care of your fever, House. Meds won’t work ‘cuz of the dialysis, so we’re gonna put you on a cooling blanket, see if that helps. Might be a little uncomfortable; you just let me know if it is.” 
 
Wilson continues to speak to House as he’s turned and lifted by Chase and Foreman to allow Cuddy and Cameron to slide the thin blue blanket beneath him, and then he’s resettled comfortably. Throughout the procedure, House is generally nonresponsive. He does open his eyes once, looks around, spots Wilson smiling reassuringly, and goes back to sleep.
 
After an hour, Chase is pleased that House’s fever has come down a degree and a half, and no longer poses a neurological danger. Wilson is pleased that, apparently, the blanket isn’t adding to House’s discomfort, and that—while he’s still tachycardic—his heart rate has fallen to 116. Cuddy’s relieved that the crisis has been averted, but she isn’t surprised when Wilson indicates that he’d like to speak with her and Chase.
 
Leaving Cameron and Foreman with House, the other three step outside the cubicle. Wilson motions them further out into the hall, and Chase and Cuddy stand patiently before him, waiting for whatever it is he wants to tell them. Both understand that he’s exhausted and worried, and both understand that they’ve made a big mistake; they’re willing to let him have his say.
 
Wilson runs a hand over his eyes, rubs the back of his neck. When he begins to speak, they see the anger simmering in his eyes, but his voice is calm.
 
“What happened is inexcusable for any patient—but House? You know him, you know his medical history, you know how dependent he is on those pills.”
 
“We all know how dependent he is on the Vicodin,” Chase says defensively.
 
Wilson knows exactly what Chase is getting at. “I’m not blameless. Believe me, I probably feel worse about it than either of you. But I’m not his treating physician right now; I’m his friend. And I’m damned lucky he’s allowing me to be his support system. Otherwise, he’d be trying to get through this alone.”
 
Both Chase and Cuddy start to protest, and Wilson shakes his head. “Yeah, I know you’d try—but he wouldn’t allow it. You know House; he’d make a conscious decision to shut everyone out. Chase, you know that when a critically ill patient has no support, there’s rarely a good outcome. Frankly, I’m amazed, and grateful, that House has decided to let me in, help him through this. And that has to be my primary responsibility. I have to maintain the trust he’s placed in me.  If I try to be his doctor as well—”
 
“You’re absolutely right,” Cuddy interrupts. “You’re doing the right thing. And you made a good point about how well we know House and his medical needs. Speaking for myself, though, I think that’s why it happened.  I’m so familiar with his intimate relationship with those damned pills that I let it become just a part of who he is; I’d stopped thinking of it as an ongoing medical need. That’s not a defense—believe me, I don’t even want to defend my part in this. But it is a reason.”
 
Wilson nods. “No, it’s not a defense. But it’s understandable. I appreciate your honesty.” He and Cuddy smile at each other, both acknowledging that they’ll now move past this, personally and professionally.
 
Chase, however, isn’t ready to either explain or defend his own responsibility in what occurred. “It was a mistake. Mistakes happen,” he says almost sullenly.
 
Wilson’s eyes widen, and Cuddy says tersely, “That’s not good enough, Dr. Chase.”
 
Wilson puts a hand on Cuddy’s arm. “Would you mind excusing us? I’d like to speak with Chase privately.”
 
“Sure. I want to go check on House anyway.” Cuddy reenters the unit, leaving the two men alone.
 
“Chase, you do understand everything I’ve said, right?” Wilson is puzzled at Chase’s attitude; he senses resentment from the younger doctor.
 
“Oh, I understand it all right; I understand that House is gonna make me feel like crap, and you’re getting off scot-free!” Chase says. When Wilson, astonished at the outburst, just stares at him, Chase continues, “I don’t get this. All through the narcotics investigation, we protected him, lied for him, had our lives disrupted for him. Now I’m trying to save his life, and the one person who turned on him is lecturing me about trust!”
 
Wilson sighs and leans heavily against the wall. When he speaks, his voice is low, and strained. “I made the deal with Tritter because he verbally attacked Cuddy; he attacked you physically. And I didn’t know what either of you would do, how bad you might make things for him.” 
 
He looks at Chase almost beseechingly. “I couldn’t allow him to go to prison over some stupid principle that made sense only to him. And he would’ve; I don’t doubt that for a minute. He has a moral code that… that… defies interpretation. And I should know; I’ve spent years trying to understand it. But he’ll stand by that code to the death. And that’s what prison would have meant for him, Chase. Death. I was working as hard to save his life then as you are now. I made mistakes then that I’m still paying for now. And House is paying for my mistakes. I take everything I did—and didn’t do—very seriously. I’m asking you to take the same responsibility.” Wilson leans his head back against the wall, closes his eyes.
 
Chase studies him thoughtfully for a minute. “Okay, I’ll take full responsibility for my oversight… if you’ll keep him from punching me out when he hears about it.”
 
Wilson opens his eyes to find Chase grinning at him. He grins back. “You’ve got it. Don’t forget, delirious or not, House called you a good doctor. That’s… no small thing, coming from him. Now, let’s go make sure he lives to give you grief for a few more years.”
 
Chase offers his hand; Wilson shakes it firmly. Then they walk together back into the ICU.

Chapter Eighteen

Thoughts 
24th-May-2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I really hate how Chase acts like a child. I'm glad Wilson brought up House's strange moral code. It was the proper thing to do, because would have gone to jail standing by that code. (Thank god for Cuddy.) And that Wilson is taking some responsibility. A step in the right direction.

Cuddy's excuse was good. House finally got what he wanted, no one to notice the leg or have it fade so much into the background. (Now if that had only kept Tritter away. I fully support the violation of that man by large harsh objects for his little game earlier this year.) Keep writing.
24th-May-2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
*lightbulb over head suddenly comes on* got it!!! that restraining order against cam? we need to amend it to read, "dr. allison cameron must stay at least three states away from all sentient beings EXCEPT dectective michael tritter; in his case, we insist that she be in close enough proximity to him at all times that she would be able to hand him the puppy she carries in her right hand, and the kitten from her left, so that she could then lean in as if to kiss him, thereby slicing his face with the razor blade she has secreted in her mouth." (there is a terribly obscure 'St. Elsewhere' reference in there, which makes the above ramble make perfect sense--i swear! ;) )
24th-May-2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
Loved it, especially House calling Wilson a helicopter, and Wilson taking responsibility for his mistakes, of course. Wilson is adorable when he's in protective mode. Excellent work, as always. :)
24th-May-2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
Wilson is adorable when he's in protective mode.

i agree! he should try it a bit more often next season....
24th-May-2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
*So* good again... I'm already completely drawn into this. Your talent in getting the different characters just right is simply unparalleled. I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy this... THANKS SO MUCH!! Already looking forward to reading the next part... :)
24th-May-2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
thanks for the reassurance on characterization--my single biggest fear is going too OOC; it's always a relief to me to be told that i've not wandered too far off.... :)
24th-May-2007 02:40 pm (UTC)
"...Anyway, he’s unconscious, so—”

“Am not,” interrupts a weak, raspy voice from the bed, and they all turn towards House, who’s eyeing his three fellows, standing in an anxious row before him. “You didn’t tell me it was Buy One, Get Two Free Day,” he says to Wilson...."

That part was so cool, and appropriate, it made me smile...
Nice work - can't wait for more (no, really - I can't!)
x
24th-May-2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
i just love it when i'm writing house, and house is talking to me, because it does make for some fun lines that i couldn't come up with on my own. i also love it when something in a chapter brings a smile to you kids! ;)
24th-May-2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
Interesting how Wilson goes from being House's doctor to realizing he can't be -- at least for now. I like how you brought back around the conversation b/t Wilson and Chase over the peanut butter and how that (and subsequent events) would affect their relationship. All of the little plot bunnies that the writers forgot about/overlooked. If only the show had gone the way of your story -- at least a little bit . . .
24th-May-2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
All of the little plot bunnies that the writers forgot about/overlooked.

and therein lies the purpose of this story....
24th-May-2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
You didn't use this opportunity to mention the ice baths, even in thought. *sighs* MY ONE COMPLAINT. It's coming, right? Because it's entirely relevant and what would happen if someone decided to put him in one would throw a nice huge John House-shaped wrench in everything.

And as far as Chase's behavior, I don't think he handled it entirely properly, but his resentment is at least a bit understandable. It's not like House is known for attacking the people who deserve it. He holds it in and it all comes out at inappropriate moments at inappropriate targets. Gee, I wonder who he got that from...
24th-May-2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
And you're a caffeine addict, aren't you? *rolls eyes and counts how many times coffee is mentioned in your location, never knowing before that coffee could be one's actual location and wondering how I was proven wrong*
24th-May-2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
And everyone's on good terms again, always good. :)
24th-May-2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
good terms again, always good. :)

and always, always temporary! (veg of my own, to go with your userpic!)
24th-May-2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
the one person who turned on him is lecturing me about trust!”
I'm glad Wilson doesn't punch him for that line (I clearly understand why Chase said that though) because the fact that he stays calm and takes time to explain -still not a defense, but he gives reasons ;-)- why he betrayed his friend proves once again his humanity, humility and cleverness. Not that easy to admit such a terrible baaaaaad decision (to a little too much stolid duckling to whom he owes nothing btw). If House would have gone to jail, both Wilson and him were dead, in different ways but dead either way.
And as said above, I love when Wilson is in "protective mode" : House really need for once in his life that someone stands for him. Unconditionally. I'm happy Wilson is finally taking that road.
Thank you again and again, you're still perfectly in character (I confirm as I see you're afraid to go OOC), the rhythm, storyline, humor (ahhhhh "helicopter" !), sensitivity, insights, ALL IS PERFECT !
24th-May-2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
proves once again his humanity, humility and cleverness

and this is the wilson we know and love--not the wilson who'd allow cam to accuse him of making the deal for "impure motives"--now that deserved a punch!
(Deleted comment)
24th-May-2007 05:34 pm (UTC)
Antartica

do we really want to do that to the nice people of Antarctica? I'm thinking more along the lines of an ice floe, somewhere near the south pole.....

yes, coffee is definitely a distinct place

pay attention, angelfirenze! apparently, they forgot to mention this in your geography class.... ;)
24th-May-2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
Mmm, excellent. Makes me very sorry I'll be out of town and probably without internet till Sunday evening. I can sense the impending fic withdrawal already. :(
24th-May-2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
but i'm certain you'll be having way more fun than i will, as the chapter i'm currently working on is... rather grim... and is affecting my RL mood as well (for which i already owe the kidlet at least one apology--but he'll forgive me, as his baby!house flame cane has just arrived!)
24th-May-2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to see Chase taking a lead role in treating House. Often he's shoved into the background by Foreman's arrogance and Cameron's clucking so it's not often that he's made to push himself forward, especially meeting Cuddy and Wilson on equal grounding.

I loved how he's depicted in this chapter. He's partly hiding behind adolescent sullenness and Wilson is right in forcing him to accept his errors instead of passing the buck. But it was also good seeing him voice his anger because, to him, it must look like the Ducklings did more for House during the Tritter incident than Wilson did.

Seeing Wilson and Chase resolve things between each other was a very well-handled moment. For all their immature behaviour at times (!), these aren't schoolkids and it's nice to see them behave like a team.
24th-May-2007 06:30 pm (UTC)
For all their immature behaviour at times (!), these aren't schoolkids and it's nice to see them behave like a team.

oh, i wholeheartedly agree! each of them is an outstanding physician, and they've proven that they're capable of pulling together and giving their best when necessary. and i think that in this situation, each of them is going to try to do better than their best!
24th-May-2007 07:41 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say that I'm still following and enjoying this.

Sorry this isn't a detailed comment, I'm in a bit of a rush...
24th-May-2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
hey, the words 'following' and 'enjoying' are enough for me! :)
24th-May-2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
Great Chapter and you know what made it even better??? Cameron didn't say a word!

I love Wilson being a helicopter! Perfect analogy! Perfect IC for House! I'm at work at the moment so am bouncing with joy on getting another chapter to read! YAY!! (sorry... coffee...bouncy here).

Also, your chapter has helped to take my mind off my knee, which took extra abuse today but my every graceful full straight onto it =/
24th-May-2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
ouch--so sorry about your knee!! glad house and wilson (and silent cam) could take your mind off it for a bit--get feeling better!
25th-May-2007 12:31 am (UTC)
Oooh, your Wilson/Chase interaction had be sitting on edge - not that your usual stuff doesn't. I couldn't help but cringe at how petulant Chase sounded in my head, but that's so like him.
25th-May-2007 12:32 am (UTC)
And, uh, yeah. That would be "me" that sitting on edge, not "be." -.-;;
25th-May-2007 01:57 am (UTC)
I loved it, as usual. You're keeping everyone's characters wonderfully realistic here :)
25th-May-2007 10:52 am (UTC)
thank you--that's lovely to hear! :)
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