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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
Reparations [new one-shot] 
29th-Nov-2007 01:12 pm
Title:  Reparations
Rating:  PG
Characters:  Wilson, House
Summary:  It's House's second day back at work following Rehab--and he has something to share with Wilson.
Genre:  Angst, Friendship
A/N:   This rather short one-shot came to me out of nowhere this morning; i believe that it may have been inspired by a discussion with   leaveout    following my take yesterday on episode 4.09.  And for an amazing drive-by beta, heartfelt thanks to the wonderful, invaluable   blackmare_9   !
P.S.  Yeah--you might've read this yesterday.  But then, because I continued to revise it several times after posting--and because I had a crisis of confidence based on a very weird combination of factors all coming together at the same time, I locked it.  And this morn, all those factors have been put into perspective, I've [well, some bitter white tablets have--finally] gotten a handle on an unusually bad spate of pain, and I'm finished sitting out in the garden, munching on the worms  blackmare_9  so generously offered to fry.  So I ask your indulgence with that little blip on my radar.  Here's the story, again, with a zillion minor [and likely unnecessary] revisions. I apologize.



House and Wilson glare at each other across Wilson’s desk.  House stands in an accusatory posture; Wilson sits not-quite-defensively, but he has clasped his hands together.


It’s House’s second day at work after the travesty that was Christmas Eve, the cosmic joke that was Rehab.  His first day back, by unspoken agreement, he and Wilson had successfully avoided one another.  But now, House has entered Wilson’s office clearly primed for a fight.  That much is easy to figure out—but still, Wilson’s utterly unprepared for House’s opening volley.


“You almost killed me.”


Wilson sighs.  “House.  When I left you on the floor, you’d vomited.  And all indications were you were gonna vomit some more.  The oxy was leaving your system.”




Wilson looks at him, genuinely confused.  “So how did I almost kill you?”


House takes a deep breath, in an attempt to calm himself.  It works; when he begins to speak, his tone is neutral.  “I came to you.  Asked for a scrip for anti-emetics.  Remember that?”  He waits until Wilson nods impatiently.  “You refused.”


Wilson waits, certain that House is going to continue, going to explain.  When House remains silent, Wilson says, “I didn’t almost kill you; if I’d given you the metoclopramide, that would’ve been murder.  All that oxy would have stayed down.”  Wilson pauses, and meets House’s eyes.  “You would’ve died.”


House shakes his head.  “No.  If you’d given me the scrip, the rest of it wouldn’t have happened.  I… the withdrawal, the nausea.  I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t eat.  And it was just…  I had to control some of it.”


Wilson’s eyes grow wide; he’s beginning to figure out where this is going.


“So I stole the oxy; figured I could take just enough to take the edge off the withdrawal, get the vomiting under control.  But by then I… wasn’t thinking straight.  You know the rest.”


House tone has remained calm throughout, but now the hard, accusatory look is back in his eyes—and they’re trained directly at Wilson.


Wilson, unaware that he’s doing it, stands as his jaw goes slack.  He stares back at House as the horror grows in his eyes.  When his face goes pale and he wavers on his feet, House instinctively takes a step towards him, hand out.  But House stops when Wilson involuntarily takes a faltering step back.


Wilson finds his voice.  “I… House, I….  Oh, God,” he whispers.  His legs give out then; the chair’s there to catch him as his head drops to his hands.


House moves to the couch and sits.  He’s still watching Wilson, but now the anger’s drained from his eyes, replaced with puzzled concern; he'd expected an argument, a denial--not this heartsick, guilty man crumpled in front of him.  He says nothing, just watches.


Finally, Wilson whispers, “I’m… sorry,” and House nods.


When House speaks, his voice is—almost—gentle.  “Just thought you should know.  Because… patients don’t always lie.  And doctors aren’t always right.”


The two sit, in silence, for several minutes, each lost in his own thoughts, his own memories.  It’s not uncomfortable, exactly; there’s simply a mutual air of waiting.  What comes next?  So Wilson ventures quietly, “Wanna get some lunch?”


Their eyes meet, and in this silent conversation, both acknowledge that there’s still work to be done, understanding and forgiveness granted—from both sides.  But they’ve taken the initial step, that very first, incredibly difficult step, and House smiles hesitantly.


“Who’s buying?” he asks.  Wilson knows that House knows the answer—but that he needs the comfort of the familiar, the past.  And Wilson sees the hope in his eyes, vulnerable and almost childlike.

Wilson grins.  “Stupid question.  I’m buying.” 


As they leave the office together, Wilson thinks that lunch—the first, Wilson suspects, in a long line of reparative meals provided, of course, by him—is a ridiculously small price to pay.

30th-Nov-2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
Love how you wrote this! Wilson would have come to his own conclusions as to what happened. But when presented with the one piece of the puzzle that he missed (why House wanted the anti-emetics) and I can see him reacting just like this. It would hit him like a ton of bricks- because, with that last piece he'd easily follow House's train of thought. (Wilson may not be at the same level of brilliance as House, but he's not that far behind- which is probably one of the reasons Wilson needs House as much as House needs Wilson, it's got to be lonely not having anyone who can keep up with you. Must have been a joy to find a kindred spirit the first time they met!)

This story also makes me wonder if there's something that Wilson (and House) missed regarding House's dependence on the Vicoden. House is trapped in a damaged body. I wonder if House needs the Vicoden not so much to kill the pain as to suppress it enough for House to settle his thoughts. It seems whenever House has a brainstorm, he needs to move-- pacing the hall, throwing the ball-- something that's not connected with what he's working on. I'm guessing before the infarction he'd run or do something physical to calm his thoughts but now he can't, and that has got to frustrate him more than anything else. (I can also see him doing some physical after dealing with clinic patients all day to clear his mind-- and he can't do that now.) I could see that being one of the reasons House might be resistant to getting off the Vicoden-- it works for him, and having to go searching for a new combination of drugs that might (or might not) work the same way as the Vicoden does for him.

lol- Sorry for rambling-- your stories always get me thinking about how I view the characters and I want to write down what's in my head (as unformed as it may be) before getting distracted by something else! Thanks for sharing this with us!
1st-Dec-2007 01:21 pm (UTC)
Okay, and I do know how to spell "Vicodin" and the end of this thought was "...that might (or might not) work the same way as the Vicodin does for him would be something he'd probably avoid even if Wilson was pushing for it. House usually listens and considers Wilson's POV on everything else except that it seems."*headsmack* :)
2nd-Dec-2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
wonder if House needs the Vicoden not so much to kill the pain as to suppress it enough for House to settle his thoughts

bingo! you just hit the nail on the head--for me, anyway, speaking solely from my own personal experience with opioids. that's what many just don't understand--the narcotics do not magically make the pain go away. at best, they only mitigate it enough to make clearer thought possible. and yes, they also have the advantage, sometimes, of making the rushing thought process a bit more manageable.

and i utterly, completely understand house's refusal to mess with [what he perceives as] what works for him. again, purely from personal experience.
2nd-Dec-2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's the thing that struck me- that House has pointed out that he needs the Vicodin to function. House's curiosity and need to know is what drives him-- if he can't think straight then he starts falling apart and then he's forced to really focus on his pain because his thoughts are no longer distracting him from it.

And, I apologize, there's a story idea somewhere in what I just typed that I need to go look at- sorry for leaving the rest of this comment unfinished! :)
2nd-Dec-2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
there's a story idea somewhere in what I just typed that I need to go look at

yes--i explored that concept [no distraction=(perception of) increased/worsened pain] in details. i'd be quite interested to see that theory expounded upon--good luck!!!
2nd-Dec-2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
Could I email you a research question about pain meds for the idea running through my head? Didn't want to load up your comments page (and, feel free to tell me no too!) Thanks!
4th-Dec-2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
yikes! thought i'd answered this--so sorry! yes, please do. i can't guarantee help [i'm working on a top secret, very complex, longer, terribly angsty fic currently--shhhhhh! ;) ] but i'll be happy to do my utmost! looking forward to it.