A/N: First House story, first time posting here since '09 – under a new account. College nursing student, but will try to update, especially with the summer coming.
Not a doctor by any means, and still learning as a nursing student, so don't expect any brilliant diagnoses or medical conditions… writing almost entirely for the characters here. This should be short – maybe 3 or 4 chapters – but I just love exploring House and Wilson's friendship.
Foreman's eyes met House's as he limped slowly into the office. "Patient complains of unsteadiness, nausea and vomiting, and not feeling like herself. Low BP and lightheadedness. Admitted to the ER after she was attacked on her 20-mile run today. Other than that, everything seems normal. She's a runner, so I'm thinking that may be able to explain the –"
"Patient has Parkinson's. I had faith you uneducated morons could solve that great mystery without me. Figure out whatever it is real doctors do and break the sad -"
"She had a seizure in the ER," Thirteen interrupted, sliding the file toward the end of the table where House stood, leaning against his cane. "That's when they sent her over to us. None of her symptoms seem to be related to a seizure, unless there was drug involvement, epilepsy, or a brain tumor, none of which were supported by the tests or patient history."
"She also doesn't have Parkinson's," Taub added knowingly.
House cocked his head to one side. "Patient is also hypoglycemic," he added, placing his cane on top of the file and knocking it to the floor unforgivingly. "Try some carboloading and she'll be ready for the marathon."
Taub bent over to pick up the scattered charts, collecting them into the folder. "I know the concept of 'normal' confuses you, but aside from the fact that her blood sugar is high, I'm not convinced that a distance runner would be an undiagnosed Type I diabetic who coincidentally happens to come down with Parkinson's."
"Then you're an idiot," House mused.
"She's eighteen," Thirteen fished, her voice suggestive.
House pursed his lips. "Okay," he offered on an exhale. "What causes unsteadiness and high blood sugar in a girl with perky ta-tas?"
"Could still be diabetes," Kutner tossed out. "Probably not type II, but undiagnosed type I is still a possibility."
"Brilliant!" Taub fired back. "Undiagnosed juvenile diabetes in a marathoner. How did I not see that one coming?"
"Just trying to explore all options. It's never something we suspect," Kutner defended.
Taub offered a pointed look of annoyance. "It's never something impossible."
"Au contraire," House prodded.
Thirteen sat up further. "Seizure could be a result of the trauma," she said, eyes alight. "She did hit her head at some point during the attack."
"Unlikely that she'd seize after a couple of hours in the ER," Foreman disagreed. "Vertigo could explain it. Low BP is coincidental because she's an athlete, hyperglycemia is caused by carb-loading for her run today. Only other symptoms we really have are the unsteadiness and change in personality."
House rolled his eyes. "Yeah, because seizures happen to the best of us." Sarcasm.
The door swung open and a flustered-looking Wilson poked his head in. "Sorry to interrupt… can I talk to you?" he asked quietly, meeting House's gaze. House noted something important in his eyes. The urge to push him away reared its head – it always did when someone was being particularly needy – but instead, he dismissed his team. "Run the toxscreen again, get a better history than the dingbats in the ER did. Throw her on a treadmill and see if any of her symptoms relapse. And someone hit Kutner for thinking it was diabetes."
The team shuffled past Wilson, none with much to say. Since Amber's passing and his return to Princeton-Plainsboro, nobody seemed to have much to say. House was doing his best to act like everything was the same – truly not much was different, as Wilson was always recovering from some sort of romantic blow, it seemed – but it was difficult when everyone in his environment was so used to babying those who had lost something. So Wilson had lost love. Whatever. House had lost the use of his right leg.
Wilson broke the silence as House dropped himself into a chair. "I hope I didn't interrupt anything important." He sat down and fiddled mindlessly with his tie, not allowing his eyes to reach his friend's. House directed his head downward, but looked up at Wilson.
"You know how I hate to be bothered when I'm calling them incompetent," he half-teased. "Really disrupts my flow."
Wilson finally reestablished eye contact, and House felt the heaviness in his heart. Something was wrong, and it wasn't something that should be joked about. Not that he wouldn't joke about it.
Weighing his options, he settled with letting himself soften for a moment. He tilted his chin toward Wilson. "Everything okay?"
Perhaps it was the shock of House's concern, or the sheer existence of concern despite its owner, but Wilson took this as a cue to crumble slightly, letting down his usually well-kept guard. "It's gotten harder," he mumbled, to nobody in particular. "It's supposed to get better, but it's gotten harder."
House said nothing.
"It's been months," Wilson ruminated, dread tainting each syllable as it emerged from his lips. "And I still see her everywhere. I can hear her voice, smell her hair… everyone said it would get better."
House grabbed on to this as if it were a lifeline. "Not before it gets worse," he quipped. "As a doctor, you'd think that you knew that."
"This isn't some mysterious condition that you can treat like a physical illness," Wilson countered, throwing his hands up. "You can't put a band-aid and Neosporin on something like this." His head fell into his hands, propped up by his elbows resting on his knees. His hands found the top of his head and raked the hair back and forth, forcing it into a messy tangle of sunburnt straw atop his head. "I'm going insane here."
House took a moment to think. He knew Wilson, and knew he could endure pain. Maybe not physical, but certainly emotional. Hell, he spent each day watching people die, watching loved ones grieve, meeting children who would grow up without parents, and parents who would grow up without children. If anyone was the expert on consolation, it was him, not House. As a friend, he'd be better off if Wilson had been shot – it was easy enough to mop up a bullet wound and suture the holes closed, but dealing with something like this?
What was there to say? She was dead. There was nothing either of them could do about that. Retrospectively, House could've not called Wilson that night at the bar. He could've not gone to the bar. He could've done a lot of things differently that would've kept Amber alive. But he didn't, and he couldn't undo what he had done.
He picked six words to best describe how he felt. "You need to get over it."
Wilson looked up, incredulous. "Excuse me?" he managed, nearly seething.
"She's dead." It was a simple statement. "You're alive. Quit acting like you're dead."
"Yes, she's dead," Wilson agreed. "All of us can agree on that. You, however, can sit there shrugging your shoulders at me like I just killed an insect and am overly emotional about it. I loved her, House – why is that such a foreign concept to you? I loved her, and she's dead, and she's not coming back any time soon." Wilson finished with a huff, trying to catch his breath before it caught him.
"Do you want me to pity you?" House asked, walking toward the corner of the room. "Pretty sure you've got enough of that. You were pitiful before your life turned into a Lifetime special."
Wilson was behind House before his chair had even hit the floor. "You're so wrapped up in your little world of deflection, of sarcasm, of… of… pig-headedness," Wilson spewed, "that you can't maybe feel a little sympathy for someone you've claimed to be friends with for decades?"
House drew a hand to the bridge of his nose, pinching his sinuses and clenching his eyes shut. How to react? As an ass, as himself, as he always was? Or as a friend, something harder to reach for, harder to portray?
Harder, he mused, to be.
He felt pain for Wilson. It was true. Of course it was true – they were friends. He wasn't incapable of caring, though everyone thought he was. It was just easier this way, he knew, to keep himself separated from others, to give tough love. Wilson, of all people, could use it. He had just admitted to wanting sympathy, for Christ's sake.
His reverie was broken by an aggravated growl from Wilson's throat. House turned in time to see him retreat out the door, lab coat billowing like a cape behind him.