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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter TWENTY 
27th-May-2007 10:11 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
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen 
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen

Heart monitor screeching. A weak, broken, male voice, “Where’s Wilson?”—and then the soothing murmur of a female voice; Wilson can’t make out the words. The rustle of sheets, and then the female voice again, louder, more forceful: “House, no! You can’t get up!”
Wilson sits up with a start, and sees Cuddy trying to keep House in bed. Wilson’s across the room in three steps, hands gripped on House’s upper arms, forcing him back against the pillows. “It’s okay; relax. I’m here.”
House looks at him angrily. “Where’s Wilson?” he challenges.
Wilson and Cuddy exchange worried glances. “I’m right here, House. Look at me; I’m right here.”
House stops struggling and looks at him. “Obviously. You made that clear when you assaulted me.” House looks pointedly at the hands still pinning his arms to the bed. “Now if you’ll let go of me, and tell me where Wilson is, I’m willing to forget about pressing charges.”
Wilson slowly releases House’s arms and sits on the side of the bed. “I’m Wilson,” he assures House in a slow, hushed voice. “I’m Wilson. Jimmy. Your friend. Okay?” 
The struggle’s stolen the rest of House’s strength. Breathing rapidly, he gasps out, “No. Wilson left. He has… to come back now….” House pauses; his chest is heaving with the effort of speech.
“No, House, I didn’t leave; I won’t leave. I was just lying down. Over there; see?” He points to the cot. “Any time you wake up and don’t see me, you look over there; I’ll never go further than that cot without letting you know.” Wilson smiles reassuringly.
“Nice… of you to… stay here… but I’d be… grateful if you’d… find Wilson… instead.”
Wilson indicates to Cuddy to increase the flow of oxygen. When she mouths sedative? he shakes his head, then returns his gaze to House’s face.
“Listen to me, House. It’s okay. You’re a little foggy at the moment; your kidneys are trying to shut down on you. We’re taking care of it, but right now all those toxins are messing with your brain. You following me?”
House’s head moves feebly, up and down, against the pillows. He closes his eyes in resignation. “Will you at least… call Wilson… for me? If… I’m sick… he’ll wanna know… and he might come… always… used to come… when I needed him… before….”
Cuddy and Wilson exchange heartsick looks, and Wilson has to swallow hard several times before he can speak again.
“I want you to open your eyes, look at me. Can you do that for me? Need to talk to you.”
House opens his eyes slowly. “Gettin’ tired… wanna… see him ‘fore I… sleep. So talk… fast. Then find ‘im.”
This is the first time Wilson’s ever heard a hoarse whisper sound like an imperious command, and he smiles—House is still in there.
“You’re right. We had a few problems, you and I. We never stopped speaking, but we stopped… communicating. For a long time. But I never went away, House. And I never would. Should’ve told you that before. I wanted to; I tried to. You weren’t ready to listen. So listen to me now. I’m here. I’m staying. That’s a promise, my friend. Take it to the bank.”
House looks hard at him, and marshals all his strength. “Where. Is. Wilson.” Not a question—a demand.
Wilson’s shoulders slump; he’s out of words. So he simply looks at House. He’s so devastated that he forgets to shield the worry and concern in his eyes. He’s confused when House begins to smile.
The smile quickly becomes a grin, and then a wide smirk as House turns his head toward Cuddy. He’s notably calmer now, and his voice is stronger, although he still struggles for air between words. “Told you he’d come,” House says to her. “Told ya. There he… goes, melting his eyes, drippin’… compassion all over the place, making… a mess. Didn’t I tell you… he’d do that?”
Cuddy smiles. “You certainly did, House,” she confirms.
House turns back to Wilson. “Where you… been? Been sick; thought for sure… you’d be… hanging around, driving me… crazy.”
“That I have, House. Been here all along. Hiding in plain sight.”
But House doesn’t hear the last few words; he’s gone to sleep, the remnants of his grin still quirking the corner of his mouth. And this time, they know he’s just sleeping; as Wilson and Cuddy maneuver him onto his left side and prop his injured hand on a pillow, he grumbles at them. It’s difficult to make out the words, but they both catch “leave me the hell alone,” and then both of them are grinning too.
The smiles are fleeting; Cuddy has the latest labs, and she hands them to Wilson. “Didn’t need these to tell me his renal function’s deteriorated,” he says.
“I know. That was frightening; his mentation’s been affected. But Chase agrees with you about the vancomycin; we’re discontinuing it. Started him on linezolid; he had his first dose an hour ago. And his vanc level’s subtherapeutic now, so we should begin to see improvement in renal function in twenty-four, forty-eight hours.”
“Good. An hour ago? How long did I sleep?”
“Not long enough,” Cuddy says pointedly. “But almost three hours. Sorry about the… uh… wake-up call.”
“Three hours! Cuddy, I’ve got people to contact, research to do. House is running out of time; we don’t even know yet if there’ll be any response to the linezolid. Or whether we should be combining it with an aminoglycocide. There’s so much we don’t know,” Wilson looks over at House. “And time is our enemy, unless we can find a way to buy him more of it.”
“I’m not apologizing. You’ll be much more helpful to him—and to us—now that you’ve had some sleep. Oh, and I had them hold your dinner at the nurse’s station; I’ll get ‘em to warm it up and bring it in. And you’ll eat it.”
Wilson recognizes the no-nonsense, no-argument tone in Cuddy’s voice, and he’s oddly grateful for it. “Yes ma’am. Every bite.”
Cuddy smiles with satisfaction. “Now that’s what I like—well-behaved, obedient doctors who show the proper respect for authority,” she says, stripping off her isolation gown as she walks to the door. She stops and cocks her head at Wilson. “Know where I can find any?”
Wilson acknowledges the question with a quick smile, then gazes at House and grows serious. “Let’s pray you don’t have to go looking.”
On an impulse, Cuddy goes to Wilson and wraps him in a hug. Because she’s already removed her gown, she’s breaking isolation, and now she’ll have to shower. But he needs this hug—and so do I.   “Amen to that!” she whispers in his ear.

Chapter Twenty-One
27th-May-2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was actually quite scary. You are worrying me now. But I have a question. Would a brain tumor make a patient start thinking that they were very young? At least for short periods of time?

And would age showing on the faces of others matter? Particularly for parents?
27th-May-2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
i don't know, hon. brain tumors csn csuse such a wide variety of symptoms and atypical behaviors that it's probably a safe bet that the things you mention are possible. i'm just... not really wanting to think a whole lot today; sorry.
27th-May-2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
I've learned something lately : always read SLOOOOWLY your chapters, it lasts longer and it prolongs the agony...I'm torn between two options : wait several days to have plenty of new chapters to read in a row or check frantically every day for your new update. My will power is weak, the 2nd option always chooses me.
You know I love everything in your story, content and form, but I think that what I prefer above all is the interaction between the characters and the always unexpected House's lines. Gosh, you're really good at that !

ps : sorry to read about your current location (come to Paris, rainy today but wonderful place !) or current mood (I hope the great reviews you'll get and deserve will cheer you up).
Thousand thanks again for sharing your talent and sensitivity.
27th-May-2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
but I think that what I prefer above all is the interaction between the characters

tthat's my favorite part of the writing. i enjoy the medical stuff, but when it really comes down to it it's the characters' interactions that are at the heart of all my stories.

i'd love to come to paris, and the rain would suit me today. sounds lovely.
27th-May-2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
Aww, poor House...
Still loving every word of this magnificent fic - keep it coming!
27th-May-2007 03:25 pm (UTC)
feeling bad for all the awful stuff i'm putting that poor man through; sometimes it really bothers me, fictional character or not. but i'm glad it appears to make for an enjoyable story--thanks.
27th-May-2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, I thought for a moment that House was just 'effin' with Wilson. it would have been funny, but not really IC for the scene.

Nice work again! I look forward to your updates!
27th-May-2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, I thought for a moment that House was just 'effin' with Wilson

no, not playing around at all, although that's something house would do, for sure. what i was trying to convey here is how much house counts on wilson's concern and compassion (his 'hovering', if you will) and associates those characteristics so much with 'his' wilson that even when his mental status is altered, he's still able to recognize wilson's love and caring, and thus confirm for himself that wilson's there. (sorry if that makes no sense to anyone but me...)
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27th-May-2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
Okay that was really freaky that House didn't rocognize Wilson for at least half the chapter. It was pretty cool too. I love how Cuddy is telling Wilson what to do. Someone needs to take care of him.
27th-May-2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
Okay that was really freaky that House didn't rocognize Wilson for at least half the chapter

many years ago, at the start of my nursing career, i was present when a 43 year old man in renal failure (yes, made such an impression i still remember his age--and his name) had essentially the same conversation as in this chapter with his mother, whose heart, of course, broke right then and there. never forgot it, and to this day the memory affects me deeply. (hence its appearance in this story, i suppose)
27th-May-2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
“No. Wilson left. He has… to come back now….”

This had me a bit teary-eyed and heartbroken. T.T

And poor Wilson; it feels like he's a swirling blackhole of angst right now.
27th-May-2007 06:16 pm (UTC)
(((hugs))) i teared up while writing it, not much liking putting poor wilson through such a heart-wrenching experience. but i've seen it happen (see anecdote above), and felt it might make an effective scene. glad it worked for you as well.
27th-May-2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
That was interesting, how House didn't recognise Wilson until he forgot to hide his worrying.
27th-May-2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
geeze....cameron hates me.....
27th-May-2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor Wilson- he's already stressed with House's condition, and then to have House not recognize him...

I'm glad Cuddy won't lose sight of the fact Wilson needs someone to watch out for him. I enjoy how you portray Cuddy, how you balance the doctor, administrator and friend in your stories. (Especially since that balance has been missing a lot this season.) I like how you have her 'treating' Wilson as a patient as well as a friend, and showing her as an integral part of the friendship, but still able to take that one step back to take the objective look that is needed to keep both Wilson and House going. The only way House can really improve is if Wilson is right there and functioning.

And I liked how, in this chapter, House needs more than just knowing Wilson is there- he needs to know that he is caring for him. Loved how it is Wilson's hovering and worrying- which House insists drives him crazy- is the thing he is looking for here. I'm sure it's that connection that will get him through this and keep him from giving up. (Cause he will be surviving this, right?)

Thanks for more great chapters! *hugs* Hope you're feeling a little better!
27th-May-2007 07:58 pm (UTC)
I like how you have her 'treating' Wilson as a patient as well as a friend, and showing her as an integral part of the friendship, but still able to take that one step back to take the objective look that is needed to keep both Wilson and House going.

cuddy fascinates me--and i really feel that she's the most consistently underused character in the show, especially in S3. it's almost as if the writers are saying, from show to show, "okay, we need a (pick one) angry/hysterical/compassionate/intelligent/overly emotional female for such-and-such a scene. hey--we haven't given edelstein any screen time yet; she's flexible, let's use her!" which is a shame, because she's integral, i think, to what makes both house and wilson tick (or she used to be, back when house and wilson actually got some focus in the show). and she really does care deeply about them, and does a great job of being mom/big sis/flirtatious-but-safe female--whatever they need emotionally. i do hope they bring that cuddy back next season; i miss her.

House needs more than just knowing Wilson is there- he needs to know that he is caring for him

and i think that, were this a script within the current timeline, a scene like this would be feasible; it would be ever so nice if the writers would show us some of the reparative steps house and wilson must take to get their friendship back on track, instead of just saying, "everything's fixed now, guys; wasn't that fun?"

Hope you're feeling a little better

getting to discuss this stuff with you kids is always the best distraction for me; thanks!
27th-May-2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
That little "leave me the hell alone" just made me smile.

I wonder if this is the first time Wilson has ever really known how much House counts on him. The first time House has openly admitted that he truly needs his friend. I think perhaps it is, and it's heartbreaking to read.

Lovely chapter.
27th-May-2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
little "leave me the hell alone" just made me smile

was trying (with only partial success) to keep everything from going too emo in this chapter--figured a house-based snark might save things (or at least keep us all from drowning).

I wonder if this is the first time Wilson has ever really known how much House counts on him.

you truly think he doesn't know? i guess i always figured he does, but now that i'm thinking about it... maybe not. food for thought.
27th-May-2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
Quite a scary, but beautiful chapter!

Poor House and Wilson!! I guess there will be plenty more torture to come.. Can't wait!!! =D

Sending heaps of hugs to ya from a cold(ish) Melbourne!

27th-May-2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
Quite a scary, but beautiful chapter!

i quite like this description; thank you! i think the reason i enjoy writing addled!house is because it's one of the very few times he needn't be compelled to hide what is human, and therefore vulnerable, about himself. and somehow, it's just that much more touching because it is house.

hugs gratefully accepted--thanks!
28th-May-2007 12:14 am (UTC)
I'm going to have to remind myself not to read this when highly emotional (my dog passed away this morning), or to invest in some kleenex if I do. This was beautiful. House not recognizing Wilson until he could see the caring and worry in his eyes was very moving and felt chillingly realistic.
28th-May-2007 12:21 am (UTC)
(my dog passed away this morning)

oh, i am so very, very sorry! sending hugs and prayers for your furangel, newest resident at Rainbow Bridge. i'll tell my furangels to look out for yours....
28th-May-2007 12:17 am (UTC)
A powerful chapter. It's frightening to think of what renal failure can do to a person's mind (even someone as strong and intelligent as House) and, in turn, to the people around them. Cuddy giving Wilson some much needed support was a nice tough; they need each other now more than ever.
28th-May-2007 12:26 am (UTC)
Cuddy giving Wilson some much needed support was a nice touch; they need each other now more than ever.

you're right; i'm finding, as i work on the later chapters, that cuddy is necessary to keeping wilson together. else i think house's illness would kill wilson as well.
28th-May-2007 12:54 am (UTC)
Ahhh... as much as I would love to stop seeing it, the slash just keeps on popping out at me!

Poor House. Jeez that must've been scary for Wilson, but probably even scarier for House because he thought his Jimmy left him. How sad. You know I'm totally in love with your writing, right? Brilliant.

OH! And I had a near death experience today whilst driving. But I am getting better! XD

28th-May-2007 01:01 am (UTC)
Ahhh... as much as I would love to stop seeing it, the slash just keeps on popping out at me!

sweetie--you see it because you want to see it! it isn't there. it's just... not! these two men have a bond, an intimate friendship not based on sex. read an interesting article about this yesterday; the new term is "bromance." and yes, house and wilson were mentioned in the article. but.. whatever floats your boat! ;)

OH! And I had a near death experience today whilst driving. But I am getting better!

so happy you're all right! i'm... almost afraid to ask... but did anyone in our little group here have a good day today? here's hoping that tomorrow is better for all of us.....
28th-May-2007 02:01 am (UTC)
no lie i jst read that all in one shot except when my roomate told me to get off the computer and help her clean the damn house. But even she will admit that was the fastest ive ever helped her clean just to get back on the computer. Anyways!.. this story is made of awesome and you just win at life. Definetly adding to memories once its all done! And if it wasnt clear. Friggin' loved it!!!
XO Belle
28th-May-2007 11:52 am (UTC)
great! now you can come help me clean my house, as i've given up that little chore for the duration of the story. my house (abode) is in far worse shape than our poor House! glad you're liking it!
28th-May-2007 03:11 am (UTC)
Aww! I love that hug at the end -- totally worth having to shower!
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