Characters: House, Wilson
Word Count: 600/575
Summary: Because others are concerned, both House and Wilson seek out help. An exercise in futility? This series began with Visiting Hour, Happy Hour, and Midnight Hour. (these should be read in order, please!)
A/N: The title for this one comes from the traditional length of a counseling session.
FIFTY MINUTE HOUR: House
This is a crappy idea. Of course it is; it isn't his idea, it's Cuddy's. Which automatically makes it suspect, of course, but this time there's more. She's told House--in no uncertain terms--that if he doesn't keep this appointment she's set up for him, she'll suspend him. Indefinitely. An indefinite amount of time to mull over what his decisions have done to the only person in his life who's ever cared about him just because he's House.
Not because he's a phenomenal diagnostician, not because his presence at Princeton-Plainsboro brings in the big donations. Not even because they're somehow related and, well, you have to care about family. No;
The psychiatrist is young, and self-important--two strikes against him. The third strike comes when he asks the first question. "Dr. Cuddy tells me that you've been sleeping excessively, even at work; shall we talk about the issue you're trying to avoid?"
Strike three, House thinks. You're out! He smiles at Dr. Arbeson, and it's a deceptively kind smile. "Sure," he says pleasantly. "What are the magic words that'll fix killing your best friend?"
House notes, with satisfaction, that the young man's eyes have just doubled in size. "You're... admitting to... committing a murder?" the psychiatrist asks hesitantly.
House leans back in the chair, closes his eyes. "Yup. Worst kind of crime, too. Kind I can't be punished for.
"And you're... feeling a lot of guilt about this."
House lifts his head and regards the doctor with wry irony. "They pay you to figure that out? I'm in the wrong specialty!"
Dr. Arbeson has recovered his professional mask. “You need to come up with healthier coping mechanisms than avoidance; perhaps I can help you do that. Start by acknowledging your depression.”
“I’m not depressed, you moron,” House almost shouts. “I’m angry!”
Arbeson looks smug. “Depression,” he says sagely, “is simply anger without enthusiasm.”
House looks hard at Arbeson. “Here’s something they didn’t teach you at Harvard. Sometimes guilt is a valid feeling. Sometimes our choices have consequences. And sometimes people we care about have to live with those consequences, while we get off scot-free. Got a pill, or a bandage, or a nifty slogan for that?”
Arbeson simply stares back, and House sees, with cold amusement, that the psychiatrist is at a loss for words. House checks his watch.
“Seems I’ve used up nineteen minutes; gives you thirty-one minutes to dig out your DSM-IV. Maybe you can find the diagnostic criteria for ‘crappy friend.’ If I were you, I’d start under H. Then,” he says as he stands and grabs the doorknob, “at least the insurance company’ll know how to reimburse for this illuminating—” he checks his watch again, “—nineteen minutes and thirty-two seconds. And make sure you tell Cuddy I was here.”
House is halfway out the door. He turns around and says one more thing. “Sometimes, guilt is just… guilt. No fancy names, no simple cures. And we live with it.” And then he’s gone.
FIFTY-MINUTE HOUR: "So nice to meet you, Dr. Wilson," he says, extending his hand. Sadness radiates from They seat themselves, and the psychiatrist says, "That's as good a place to start as any. Would you like to discuss how you feel about the loss of your medical license?" "But there's nothing you can do, so that concern isn't productive for you." "But you don't understand House. He's... different. And now that I'm not around, he'll shut down. Every aspect of his life will suffer. His diagnostic skills, his interactions with others. And his health. That's my primary concern right now, his health--mental and physical." "I have to point out, again, that you're powerless to intervene there." Dr. Ambegley watches as his statement causes real pain to settle across "If I could just... talk to him. Let him know that nothing's changed, that I still worry, I still care...." The psychiatrist feels uncomfortable now--but he has to ask. "I'm inferring from the... degree of your concern... that you and your friend House might, well, have a… relationship?" Now it's Ambegley's turn to smile. "And I take it you're the big brother?" Dr. Ambegley watches the expressions, the memories, playing across “I’d like to see you again, next Thursday,” Ambegley says. “Are you willing?” The psychiatrist shakes his head and sighs as he scribbles out
And onward to: Random Hour
"So nice to meet you, Dr. Wilson," he says, extending his hand.
Sadness radiates from
"But there's nothing you can do, so that concern isn't productive for you."
Now it's Ambegley's turn to smile. "And I take it you're the big brother?"
“I’d like to see you again, next Thursday,” Ambegley says. “Are you willing?”