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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 05:37 pm (UTC)
Had a smile on my face when I finished this.
15th-Jun-2007 05:44 pm (UTC)
smile on my face

which puts a smile on my (still somewhat tear-stained) face! :)
15th-Jun-2007 05:39 pm (UTC)
I'm going on a long journey to-morrow, so it was great to get to read the final chapter to-day. I liked that Wilson can read House's body language and that House uses the alarm on the vent to make people jump.
15th-Jun-2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
House uses the alarm on the vent to make people jump

that idea came to me because my 11 year old son actually did discover that he can make the smoke alarm go off by burning his toast! (and i regularly make the thing shriek--but we're oh, so, NOT going there....)
15th-Jun-2007 05:44 pm (UTC)
I've just spent the last few days glued to the computer writing an essay (the topic was in your area of expertise, paeds nursing, too) and the thought of getting back to this story was one of the only things that got me through!

Anyway, this is one of those rare stories that would make an excellent episode. It had all the important ingrediants-- realistic character depiction, angst, well-researched medical info and a well-rounded resolution to the pain debate between House and Wilson. A story like this would also have been a better ending to season three as it properly set up Foreman and Chase being ready to be cut lose from Daddy.

I loved this finale chapter, how Wilson was able to bond with House yet you portrayed it all in a manner that wasn't nauseatingly sugary (I hate stories where House turns into a fluffy marshmallow!). I also love how the 'sparkling clean' hospitals of the UK got a wee mention (we nearly killed House but at least we also cured him!).

I look forward to reading the sequel; it sounds very ominous for poor House and I get the feeling Wilson's going to get the message that it won't all be plain sailing. I get to spend my summer on placement so it will be something to look forward to after a long day!
15th-Jun-2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
I also love how the 'sparkling clean' hospitals of the UK got a wee mention (we nearly killed House but at least we also cured him!).

rofl! and the cure is what counts! (also, i'm now able to read articles in british medical journals without mentally "correcting" the spelling! ;) )
15th-Jun-2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
*rests back on her chair and smiles serenely*

Oh that was pretty.
15th-Jun-2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
Oh that was pretty

i pretty much figured i owed you kids a nice, neat, peaceful resolution, as you so stalwartly braved Hell with house and wilson! ;)
15th-Jun-2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
Oh! I loved the ending. Really fitting. :)

I really like your characterizations. They just seem really spot on to how I also see the characters, so it's really easy to get into the rhythm and dialogue of the whole thing.

Can't wait for the sequel. :D
15th-Jun-2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
really like your characterizations

(as virtually everyone knows by now) i never tire of hearing that--thank you!! :)
15th-Jun-2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
Two to three weeks!?!?! I don't think I'm going to make it!!!
15th-Jun-2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
I don't think I'm going to make it

then c'mon over, clean my house, take care of my kid, and i'll start writing in earnest! hee.
15th-Jun-2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
You are truly evil hun. I love your lovely cliffhanger. Great job! I knew there would be problems!

Anyhow, great job with House waking up. Wilson is really going to be in for it if House actually wants him to follow that proverb. I'm seeing it now... House making Wilson miserable for saving his life. However long or short. I've been wondering about Wilson's "there's plenty of time" phrase. I think it is a pet peeve of mine for people to think like that, because tomorrow you can be dead. I swear I've heard that phrase from somewhere (the one I said, not the other.) and I can't think of where I heard it. Hmmmm......

So he's woken up. Cool. One part of the journey can be checked off. The entirety of rehab still left. So are you going to take a break or are you working straight through? I mean you have all summer. (God knows I'll need it one I finally see the episodes I've missed.) Just answer me this and I won't bug anymore, is this rehab going to be horrible? Is the devil going to make another appearance? (Sorry I couldn't resist. That was actually one of my favorite sequences in your last trilogy.)

I hope you've had some good coffee!!
15th-Jun-2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
Just answer me this and I won't bug anymore, is this rehab going to be horrible? Is the devil going to make another appearance?

as to question #1; i'm writing it--what do you think? ;)
question #2; who knows? (not i--yet!)

and i've promised ko i'll take a week off from the writing, but after that--full steam ahead.

(and yes-- too much good coffee (per usual)
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15th-Jun-2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
*sighs contentedly*
Loved this chapter and the whole story, but I'm sure you've gathered that by now. You've done an excellent job beginning the path to resolution of the madness that ensued between House and Wilson this season. Wilson being undoubtedly Wilson with the helicoptering, but taking on House's role of fighting against the odds and doing whatever it took to find the right solution to the puzzle was brilliant. The House-Wilson-Cuddy dynamic was strong, as I expected it to be after the Devil series, but what's more your ducklings were well-developed and in character too. You found the Foreman that's lurking in there somewhere, and highlighted an ethical dilemma, progression and understanding in Chase. Their dedication to their patient and his wishes, even when that might have meant losing him, would have made even House proud.
Such well-done stories are all too rare, and very much appreciated. I am in awe of how flawlessly and beautifully this carried through. It was gripping and engaging from start to finish and shared nice insights into all of the characters' relationships with House and each other (no small feat considering the man himself was comatose for the bulk of the story).
The proverb was a lovely touch, and I look forward to seeing it play out in the next part given Wilson's realizations of how he has failed his responsiblity to House thus far.
Thanks for sharing this story, which was an absolutely joy and pleasure to read. :)
15th-Jun-2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this story, which was an absolutely joy and pleasure to read. :)

*echoes med_anomaly's contented sigh, and adds another at the absolute glowingness of medanomaly's comment*
16th-Jun-2007 03:26 am (UTC)
And so ends the first awesome step of what will likely become many. I have your word that the sequel will not completely destroy my ability to hope, right?

UPDATE SOONER! BREAK YOUR PLANS AND YOUR PATTERN! Surely, it'd be easier for you than me. *could use advice on that front*
16th-Jun-2007 11:04 am (UTC)
I have your word that the sequel will not completely destroy my ability to hope, right?

you do have my solemn word on that.


not happenin'--can't happen! house and wilson need a bit of time off to recover from the first story, and so do i! ;)
16th-Jun-2007 10:00 am (UTC)
"You’re not gonna… hug me, are you"
Would you mind if I hug YOU ?
I never took that much time to read a chapter, slowing down every step of the way, till the last word. I even hesitated to finish it next week, or next month. But I couldn't wait. And now, it's over. I'm not sad though because this wonderful story is still there, and I'll read it again, the 36 chapters in a row. Just as I re-watch a whole season in a row. A marathon. And I know this will be sooooo good.
You already know how much I loved your story, I told you, many times. Every chance I got. I'll tell one more time : I LOVED YOUR STORY !
Kudos, Bravos, Hats off, I wish I could invent new words that could show you how grateful I am to you. For those days spent in your brilliant company, for your generosity. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, your sensitivity, your talent.
See you very very soon I hope, I'll be right there to read the sequel, oh yes !
16th-Jun-2007 11:10 am (UTC)
Would you mind if I hug YOU ?

not at all--hug away! i'm going to sorely miss chatting every day with you about the story and characters--but as i told someone else, that's great motivation for getting the sequel off the ground!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, your sensitivity, your talent.

it was very sincerely my pleasure. Thank you for your unflagging support!

17th-Jun-2007 04:25 am (UTC) - David Shore & aspergers
This topic was brought up under one of the other chapters, but I found out that David Shore had admitted that House has aspergers. There was a web chat for the UK when House premeired and he was asked if House had aspergers or OCD. Shore said he had aspects of those things which makes him the genius that he is. You can find it at Hughlaurie.net under news.
17th-Jun-2007 11:52 am (UTC) - Re: David Shore & aspergers
thanks for letting me know! i've always maintained that there's no way wilson could've come up with the asperger's ploy in the first place--unless there was a grain of truth to it to begin with! nice that shore thinks so as well!
17th-Jun-2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
*huge sigh*
oh what a great ending!! I love how it all worked out and all the stuff with Wilson and the rest and just... *sigh and grin*

And I can't wait for the sequel.
17th-Jun-2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
oh what a great ending!!

i'm glad you liked it; i just reread all 36 chapters myself, and i've gotta say--i, too, am pleased with how it turned out! :)
17th-Jun-2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
Awwww... fuck. I missed your beautiful conclusion. No no dear, I'm crying too. Not silly at all. It was exactly the type of ending this story needed. Though, I don't know if I'll still say that when I read the sequel. Well, good luck with that!

17th-Jun-2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
No no dear, I'm crying too. Not silly at all.

thanks. yeah--i always get really depressed, for about three days, whenever i finish writing a long one. so... currently still sad. i like living inside my silly stories, which is probably very good indication that... i need to get a life! ;)
18th-Jun-2007 04:38 am (UTC)
What a terrific story! I really loved the ending.

Thank you for writing it and putting it up!
18th-Jun-2007 09:59 am (UTC)
and thank you for reading, and commenting so faithfully!
6th-Nov-2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
hi! I saw this linked over at hw_reqs and I've just read it.
I loved it, how you dealt with the problematic issues of House and Wilson's friendship after S3 events - that the authors ignored. I love that they are best buddies again, but still, a bit of continuity would've been good!

And I loved the medical mystery that you plotted, it was like a real episode, if much more tragic. I liked the idea of Wilson channeling House, seen from Cuddy's POV. And House's heart rate calming down when Wilson was back was really moving, as were a lot of other scenes. Poor Wilson, he had to suffer a lot. In some ways, even more than House.
It's been a wonderful read!
6th-Nov-2007 04:59 pm (UTC)
i'm so glad you've enjoyed it, and i appreciate your taking the time to comment. i wish i could tell you that i'm hard at work on the sequel, but that's just not happening yet, for some reason. i am, however, still quite hopeful that it will happen--and soon! :-) thanks again!!
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