Author: cardiogod PM
She looks at him and all she can see is what might have been. Post-ep for Simple Explanation.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - G. House & L. Cuddy - Words: 835 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-29-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5027723
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Whiskey Lullaby
Spoilers: Through Simple Explanation.
Summary: She looks at him an all she can see is what might have been. Post-ep for Simple Explanation.
Disclaimer: House MD and all things associated therein are property of FOX and David Shore. I'm just playing with them.
She looks at him and all she can see is what might have been.
The bloodstain that taints the hardwood floor becomes one of vomit, the police lines that mark where the body was become the outline of his lanky frame. The gun becomes a handful of pills and the bullet becomes an empty whiskey bottle. Every time she blinks she sees lifeless brown eyes melting into blue ones, a clean shaven jaw lining with graying scruff, a young, lithe body morphing into an older one with a handicap that she herself created.
She has lost a colleague, a good doctor, a good man, and for that, she is filled with grief and sadness. But another part of her floods with relief that when she got the call that one of her employees had taken his own life, it wasn't him.
He sits on the edge of the bed, photographs clutched in his hands, and does not look at her when she enters the room and leans against the doorframe, watching him. His eyes are focused on the images before him, scanning every detail, every frown line, every wrinkle on the young mans' face, and she knows he's still looking for clues, looking for something to blame, someone other than himself.
She sits beside him, feeling the mattress sink beneath their combined weight and she thinks that this isn't at all how she'd imagined being in bed with him would be like. He doesn't look at her, but turns to the next picture, one taken at a beach, full of sunlight and happiness and hope, all of the things that were crushed by the pull of a trigger. She lets him look, ponder, examine. She knows he needs this time to try to make sense of that which makes no sense at all.
They sit in silence, neither acknowledging the presence of the other, and the time stretches on past the ticking of the wall clock or the movement of the second hand on her watch. She doesn't know how long it is before she removes the pictures from his hands, doesn't notice the encroaching darkness or the hoot of the owl outside the window, welcoming the night. She only feels his breathing, slow and languorous beside her, calmness only betrayed by the occasional hitch, a breath that didn't fit with the pattern, syncopated like the jazz rhythms that she heard him play in his office when he didn't think she was listening. He lets her take the photos, his hands limp and his eyes focused on a point on the opposite wall that she couldn't quite make out.
"Why?" His voice is raspy and filled with a heaviness that came from too much emotion held in for too long.
Her own sigh matches his, and she searches herself for comforting words, platitudes, some bit of rhetoric that would make everything okay, make it somehow acceptable that Kutner was dead. "Nobody knows why, he didn't want-"
She is cut off when he turns to look at her, his eyes filled with things she can't identify and anguish she is sure that she has never felt. "No. Why didn't I see it?"
"House…" she begins, but she doesn't really have anywhere to go and he knows it. She could tell him there wasn't anything to see, she could tell him that Kutner was private about his life, she could tell him in a thousand different ways that it wasn't his fault, but she knows he wouldn't believe her. So she remains silent, a silent constant beside him in his pain.
"I should have seen it." He is defeated, tired, and looks as though he has aged ten years in a matter of minutes.
"I've been there," he says, and it is the first time he's spoken of Christmas Eve since she found him lying in a pool of his own sick after receiving Wilson's troubled phone call. "I've looked into the barrel of the gun, I've lived in the darkness. I should have seen it."
She merely nods and slips her left hand into his right, hoping that her gentle squeeze can convey to him all of the words that she cannot yet say.
Days later, she visits the grave. She doesn't bring flowers or tell him how much she misses him or how sad she is that he's gone. She stands there, staring at the headstone that marks the passing of one too young and too full of life, and she thanks him, thanks him for not being House.