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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter THIRTY-SIX (Conclusion) 
15th-Jun-2007 07:06 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. ;)  This is IT, folks, the last chapter.   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
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two 
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five

AUTHOR'S NOTE #1:  The end of the rough and rocky road has arrived, and I'm not ashamed  (well--maybe a wee bit ashamed) to admit that I'm sitting here crying.  I hope all of you enjoy this chapter, and find it a satisfying conclusion to our journey together.  If you do find it satisfying, that's due, in whole, to [info]blackmare_9  and [info]misanthropicobs ,and their insistence that I 'get it right.'  Mare actually shaped the chapter with her brilliant  suggestions, all of which I shamelessly appropriated.

And now, on with the story (and my silly tears):


Figures, Wilson thinks as he rushes to catch the elevator before the doors close.  I ignore Cuddy yelling at me for two days because I won’t leave House’s room.  Then I let Foreman push me out the door for something stupid—lunch and a hot shower weren’t good reasons to leave House.  What was I thinking?  But he found a way to punish me, all right; I’m gone twenty minutes, and damned if he doesn’t wake up.


Wilson swallows a curse and stabs uselessly at the button as the elevator doors shut, then he turns and heads for the stairs.


A lot has happened in the past two days.  A mere eight hours after the first dose of WCK 771, House’s fever had broken, and from that point on, the improvement in his condition has been slow but steady.  His labs are improving, and the forty-eight hour culture results for the WCK 771/dalbavancin combination have shown complete eradication of House’s strain of VRSA.


Wilson remembers the very moment the fever had broken, and he smiles.  Looked like House’d gotten himself caught in a rainstorm; he was so soaked with sweat we could’ve wrung out those sheets!  And after the nurse and I got him all cleaned up, and she suggested giving him a shave…  bet she’s still wondering why I wouldn’t stop laughing when House’s heart rate picked that moment to shoot through the roof!


It’s going to be several more weeks before House’s kidneys will fully resume normal function and he’ll be able to come off dialysis, but they’d expected that.


He’ll still need dialysis when I take him home; that oughtta be a laugh a minute.  Doesn’t matter, though—I’ll put up with whatever he dishes out.  It’ll be easy; I’ll just remind myself how close we came to permanently redecorating the living room, replacing the piano with a home dialyzer.


Wilson’s inordinately grateful to the dialysis machine; it’s responsible, in large part, for the resolution of House’s pulmonary edema.  Yesterday morning, House had begun bucking the ventilator—attempting to breathe on his own, against the mechanical flow.


Reminded me of a kid who’s just discovered he can set off the smoke detector by burning his toast—I swear House was fighting the vent just to see how high he could make us jump every time it alarmed.


By early afternoon, after the multiple alarms had everyone’s nerves permanently jangled, Chase had decided that it would be safe to try and wean him from the vent.  So they’d lightened his sedation, waited a few hours, and begun the routine process.


Of course, House had to make it exciting for us—nothing routine about him, Wilson thinks wryly.


Chase had decreased the settings on the vent so that it was providing only four breaths per minute, giving House a chance to breathe on his own during the fifteen second intervals between mechanical breaths.  Not only hadn’t House attempted to breathe, his heart rate had fallen alarmingly.  Chase had returned the vent to its original settings and tried to soothe Wilson by suggesting that maybe they were hoping for too much, too soon—maybe they were rushing things.  But Wilson wasn’t buying that.


“House, I know you can hear me,” he’d said loudly.  “Here’s the deal; you get another thirty minutes to shake off the sedation, and then we’re trying this again.  You either cooperate, or I’ll personally declare you brain-dead and donate your body for spare parts.  Not that you have anything anybody else would want, but it’s the thought that counts.”  Wilson knows it had to be his imagination, but he’d still swear he’d seen House give the smallest of grins around the endotracheal tube.  And half an hour later, House was ready, and the extubation had gone without incident.


Cuddy and Wilson were concerned when House hadn’t regained consciousness after a few hours, but Foreman had pointed out that not only had he been heavily sedated for several days, but the combined effects on his body of the unremitting high fever and the daily dialysis sessions had left him without any reserves; he needed this time to recoup.


And I needed to do some recouping of my own.  Guess I just didn’t let myself realize, until he started getting better, how close I came to losing him.  I couldn’t let myself realize that; if I had, my only alternative would’ve been to give up on him.  And I couldn’t do that… again.  Almost killed us both the first time.


So Wilson and Cuddy had waited, and watched, and hoped.  And they’d both spent a lot of time talking to him, privately.


Wilson doesn’t know what Cuddy said to him.  He himself had quietly told House all that he’d learned in the past week.  He knows he’ll always treasure this time they’ve had, these private monologues, the ability to say to an unconscious House the things House’s waking demeanor won’t permit. 


Glad I finally told him what he means to me, the difference his friendship makes.  House may not have heard everything I said; maybe he didn’t hear anything I said—but that’s okay.  I’ll have plenty of time to show him. Deeds, not words.  Wilson smiles as he savors the phrase, ‘plenty of time’.  It’s a luxury he intends to appreciate fully, a gift they’d come far too close to losing.


Wilson arrives at House’s cubicle and hurriedly throws on an isolation gown.  Cuddy, Chase, and Foreman meet him at the door; he looks toward House, whose eyes are closed.


“He’s just gone back to sleep,” Cuddy whispers.  “He’s very weak, of course.  But we told him pretty much everything that’s happened, and he seemed to understand it all.”


“Did he say anything?  Is he angry?” Wilson asks, his eyes trained on House.  Doesn’t matter if he is; I’d have done it anyway.  And I’d do it again, if necessary.  But it’s probably a good idea to find out what I’m walking into before I walk into it!


“He had a few questions,” Chase tells him.  “And he did want to know how he’d wound up on the vent.  But I’ve gotta say—he seemed more… amused than anything else, when we told him what you’d done.”


Wilson’s still looking closely at House.  “I’m sure he’ll wake up again soon,” he tells the others.  “Would you mind giving us a little time?”


“Not at all,” says Cuddy.  “We need to get back to work anyway,” she says to Chase and Foreman.  “Believe it or not, House isn’t the only patient here; there’s a building full of ‘em.  And I’m happy to be able to say that now we can concentrate on a few of the others!”


As soon as they’re gone, Wilson approaches the bedside.  “It’s safe, House; they’ve left.  You can open your eyes now.”


The tiny grin lifting the corner of House’s mouth isn’t Wilson’s imagination this time.  House opens his eyes slowly.  “How’d you know I wasn’t sleeping?” he asks.  His voice is hoarse, but much improved over the broken, labored whisper Wilson had last heard from him.


“Easy; that little habit you have of biting your upper lip when you’re bored. It’s a dead giveaway.”


“You study my body language?  That’s just… weird.”


“No it’s not; it’s a survival skill, learned at great expense.”  To both of usAnd I need to be practicing it more often.


“Speaking of ‘survival’,” House says, “word on the street has it that you saved my life.”


“Yeah, well… you know how reliable word on the street is.”  Wilson looks away.


“Oh, I trust my sources.  Heard your methods were pretty impressive, too.  And just barely legal.”


Now Wilson meets House’s eyes.  “Learned from the best.”


“Not gonna deny that.”  House’s expression is self-mocking, but Wilson can see that House is pleased with the unexpected compliment, and that he’s maybe even a little bit proud of his bestest bud, and what he pulled off on House’s behalf.  Wilson can also tell that House is tiring; he’s making a conscious effort to keep his eyes open.


“Why don’t you get some sleep for real?  You relapse now, I’ll have to go through that whole tedious saving-your-life thing again.”


House shakes his head; he’s not done talking yet.  “You familiar with that old Chinese proverb?  The life you save, you are responsible for.  Or is that a moral?  You know I always get that confused.”


Wilson blinks and swallows.  “It’s a proverb, House—a phrase with profound meaning.  Now.  I’m not asking, I’m telling—close your eyes, get some sleep.”  Wilson looks down at House, fighting sleep like a recalcitrant child, and he smiles affectionately.


House eyes Wilson’s loving expression suspiciously.  “You’re not gonna… hug me, are you?”


Wilson’s smile grows a bit wider, and his eyes are shining.  Both he and House know that the hug House is protesting is safely wrapped up in the look on Wilson’s face.  “Wouldn’t dream of it.  You’re down to skin and bones anyway; your luck, I’d break something.  Now quit stalling and go to sleep.  I’ll be right here when you wake up.”


House’s eyes close, and he smiles too.  And he’s got just one more thing to say.  He could swear he says “Stop hovering!”  But what comes out is, “I’m counting on it”—and that’s okay, too. 

A/N#2:  Huge thanks to everyone for your support, encouragement, and praise; it’s been one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had.  And here’s a little gift for your loyalty, and to whet your appetites for what’s coming up; I’ve put it under a cut in case there are those who’d prefer to wait until I officially start posting.  See you in two to three weeks with that promised sequel!!  mjf 06.15.07

15th-Jun-2007 12:17 pm (UTC)
Love, love, love, love, love. Aw, Wilson can tell when House is faking.

Funny, as I was heading for my computer, thinking I'd check whether 36 was posted yet, I thought that my favorite line in the whole thing was about Wilson being a helicopter. And her you echoed that in the very last line.
15th-Jun-2007 12:28 pm (UTC)
And her you echoed that in the very last line.

YAY!! you caught the echo!! was wondering if that would... uh... fly!!! (pardon very bad wordplay--need more coffee)
15th-Jun-2007 12:55 pm (UTC)

Oh my goodness! What an ending - wonderful and sweet and utterly realistic. Wonderful, just wonderful! Thank you! Thank you so much! I loved every sentence, every word! I am utterly sad now and will be rereading the whole saga from the beginning now (well, as soon as I stop sniffling!) I'm just in awe of how good this was!

I just loved "I'm counting on it"... Just... poetic in its beauty! Thank you!! I hope to see you soon!!
15th-Jun-2007 01:07 pm (UTC)
well, as soon as I stop sniffling

tell me--why should you get to stop sniffling when i will be sniffling all day?? :(
15th-Jun-2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
Wonderful way to end this story. Especially loved how Wilson could tell that House wasn't sleeping, and the little eye!hug (haha, sounds like iHug; wait, so does that mean there's iSex too?).

Now to wait for the sequel. *hunkers down at computer desk with food and water*
15th-Jun-2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
*hunkers down at computer desk with food and water*

ROFL!!! soo glad you're...uh... prepared to await the sequel--but no pressure or anything, right? ;)
15th-Jun-2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
forgot to mention two things: a) 'the life you safe, you are responsible for' - sorry, but that was just such an amazing touch. Just the realisation on Wilson's (and our) part of how much that friendship means... thinking about it gives me goosebumps. b) massive thank your blackmare and misanthropicobs!! Well done!!!
(Deleted comment)
15th-Jun-2007 01:54 pm (UTC)
Hey, i just wanted i've read your entire fic and never had the confidence to comment before, but now you've finished i've got to say that that is one the best fics i've ever read. Looking forward to the sequel!
15th-Jun-2007 01:57 pm (UTC)
never had the confidence to comment before

but... but... we're such a nice, well-adjusted, stable little gang! surely you've noticed that! ;)
15th-Jun-2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
how dare you just END it...
15th-Jun-2007 02:00 pm (UTC)
just END it

i'm so sorry! i overheard a rumor that 'ending' is what stories... uh... do! obviously, i got hold of some bad information!! ;)
15th-Jun-2007 01:58 pm (UTC)
When someone gives you a gift you write a thank you note ( or so I was always taught to do). So:

Dear Kids Nurse,
Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into writing this fic for all of us. We really enjoyed it, and are looking forward to the sequel.
Your fans
PS. Thanks again for the fic
15th-Jun-2007 02:02 pm (UTC)
Dear Maineac,
Thank you so much for recognizing the time and effort, and for enjoying the story--that's more than thanks enough for me!
KidsNurse :)
15th-Jun-2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed following this series very much! Thanks so much for writing such an intruiging story, and updating so regularly. This was a real rollercoaster ride.
15th-Jun-2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for writing such an intruiging story, and updating so regularly

and thanks for reading, and letting me know you enjoyed it!
15th-Jun-2007 02:47 pm (UTC)
Excellent story, thank you for not only beginning it and posting it, but also for ending it. It kept me on edge in quite a number of chapters, and the resolution was great.
15th-Jun-2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
thank you for not only beginning it and posting it, but also for ending it

you're quite welcome; 'twas truly my pleasure!
15th-Jun-2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
A masterpiece! I love the bond you paint between the guys, its so real and warm and loving but IC. I've enjoyed this from beginning to end.
15th-Jun-2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
I love the bond you paint between the guys, its so real and warm and loving but IC

words that make me smile! thank you; i do work hard to try to do justice to these wonderful characters; means a lot when that's recognized!
15th-Jun-2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
Another wonderful story ends, at least there's the sequel to look forward too before I go into House withdrawal.
15th-Jun-2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
the sequel to look forward too before I go into House withdrawal

and goodness knows, i wouldn't wanna be responsible for anybody withdrawing from anything. hee.
15th-Jun-2007 04:24 pm (UTC) - Ch. 36 (Dr. Fantabulous)
Perfect finish, so subtley emotional, which is what I love about it ;) Bits of priceless House-humor are great, too. That was a fantabulous story. And How To Save a Life- great song, very fitting to this chapter!
15th-Jun-2007 04:42 pm (UTC) - Re: Ch. 36 (Dr. Fantabulous)
Perfect finish, so subtley emotional

i've a bad tendency to slip easily into the melodramatic, and i've been working on that--so your words are music to my ears!!

and speaking of music, iTunes tells me that i listened to How To Save a Life a total of 367 times while writing this story--that's an average of ten times per chapter. it just... fits so well, don't you think?
15th-Jun-2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
There isn't really very much to say, except thank you so much for this story, and I just can't wait for the sequel.
15th-Jun-2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
thank you so much for this story

you're welcome! and you mean hanging around with this gang hasn't turned you into a certified babbler yet? ;) oh well--maybe the sequel will do it! :)
15th-Jun-2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
And I think this calls for a Kermit!flail. ;)

Loved that Wilson knew he was faking and I had to giggle a bit when House woke up when Wilson wasn't there. hehehe. Bravo!
15th-Jun-2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
Loved that Wilson knew he was faking and I had to giggle a bit when House woke up when Wilson wasn't there

yeah, i felt like we were overdue for a bit of good, old-fashioned house-wilson humor at this point! ;)

thanks for the kermit!flail--i'm honored!
15th-Jun-2007 05:36 pm (UTC)
Excellent! Well worth the -- well, I wouldn't call it a wait exactly, so -- well worth reading full to the end, because none of it disappoints. Yay for happy endings! And for knowing this isn't the end! Yay all around! Yay!
15th-Jun-2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Yay for happy endings! And for knowing this isn't the end! Yay all around! Yay!

and... just how much coffee have you had today, my dear? and... uh... was house anywhere around your coffee mug? ;)
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