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
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?”
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.