Disclaimer: Read the other nine chapters to find out.
Dragging the white board through the DDx room and into his office, House let out a breath and sat down in his chair. He put up his feet and crossed them one over another and leaned back then, staring straight at the board that contained every symptom they had seen in the boy. What the hell... what the hell caused self-mutilation, kidney failure, sand-like kidney stones, and sore joints in a five-year-old? The diagnostician bit his lip and re-ran over every possibility, but settled again on the same one he had thought was right all along. "It's got to be the Dad. It's always the Dad," he mumbled to himself and narrowed his eyes on the word 'abuse?' that sat on the board. "Always," he reiterated. He took his eyes off the board for just a second and saw Kutner re-enter the DDx room. House pushed himself off the chair, adjusted his weight to his cane, and opened the door to where his team sat. "What'd you find?" he simply asked.
"He insists he's not being abused, and I believe him. Why are you so dead-set that it's his father that caused this?" his Indian doctor replied.
"What if he has just a case of autism and self-mutilated enough that he caused kidney damage? We've seen him hit himself, try to bite his fingers off, and chew his lips... what would stop him from ramming himself into things when he's not under supervision at home? He could've easily caused the kidney damage to himself, then not have been able to filter any drugs the ER gave him as a standard patient before sending him onto us," Foreman volunteered. He was getting sick of this case, and even sicker of House sticking with the same idea the whole case. That wasn't like House and everyone knew it, but nobody knew why he was acting so out of character.
"Get him on dialysis and get him on the transplant list," House decided after thinking for a moment, "and someone figure out what Daddy Dearest is doing to him. Now."
"House! Cameron doesn't have time for you to analyze his home life! The way his kidney's are deteriorating, he's gone in less than a week. Probably less than a few days. He's scared that he's dying and we can't tell him that he is. Why are you so stuck on this?" Thirteen cried out at House. He could tell she was upset, could tell down to the way her voice cracked and went up a few pitches and in the way her eyes lit with fire. "Yeah, House, why are you so stuck on this?" he mocked at himself in his head. "Nope, nobody can see it's because the kid is abused at home and because I can't let that go. I know all too well how he feels, even though I feel nothing now." It was almost 8 PM - House sent his ducklings home and told them to come back in the morning with less-shitty ideas.
"House?" Cuddy quietly opened the door to his office and shut it smoothly behind her. The lights were out and House was behind his desk, feet up by his computer monitor - showing a rather vulgar image at the moment - and crossed over each other, his mouth hanging open and him snoring lightly, so silently you'd have to be close enough to kiss to hear it. Cuddy smiled softly to herself as she looked down on her sleeping doctor, and looked at the time on his computer screen - that she had minimized - to see that it was past 10:00. Sighing, she shook his shoulder lightly and whispered, "House?"
He jolted awake at her first touch and whipped his head around the room to see who the intruder was when his eyes came to rest upon her. He could see her figure illuminated by his computer screen. "Whoops, didn't mean to leave that on..." he laughed to himself when he saw the window had been minimized. When his breathing calmed down and his heart slowed, he turned to look at her again. "Whatcha need, Cuddles?" he said with a smirk.
"How's your patient?" she asked, looking at him with concern.
"Fantastic," he responded quickly, just to irritate her.
"He is not 'fantastic,' and if this child dies I'm going to lose a huge donor," his boss nagged.
"Do you mean if this child dies now, or dies at an old age like we all dream of? Technically, he's going to die sometime, we all do-" he was cut off by Cuddy again.
"House, I'm being serious. I know this is a rough time for you right now-"
"Oh, cut the crap. You wouldn't have given a damn about 'what I was going through' if Wilson hadn't told you, because you wouldn't have known. I was over this years ago, so don't think you finding out changes anything," House said finally.
"You can't let him die just because you're stubborn and upset with Wilson and I," Cuddy stated, then added on, more softly, "you can't let him die because you want to think he's having the same childhood as you did."
House thought about that for a moment... "I know," he finally answered with a downcast look. "But I also know there's more going on behind the scenes here. Whether or not it is relevant to his illness, I know it's happening," the blue-eyed man finished.
"You're seeing abuse because you want to see abuse. Not because it's there. You're responding like- like a human being. You want to help him, but he doesn't need any more help than for you to diagnose him. That's all the more help you are capable of giving him," Cuddy rambled, trying to put her thoughts into words but struggling to do so. "All you can do is save his life, but I don't know if you're even thinking straight enough to do that," she finally ended with. House responded by giving her the most empty look she'd ever seen from his blue eyes. It was like she'd just taken everything away from him.
He swallowed and absorbed the fact that he'd failed at yet another aspect of his life and realized his father had been right all along: He'd always be a failure.
House stumbled up out of his seat and grabbed his cane. "I can- I can solve this. I can solve this without help from any of you," he muttered. "I can and I will solve this," he urged, louder this time.
Cuddy looked at her most prized doctor with sympathy as he fought was she just said. She knew it was harsh, but she also knew that Cameron needed someone who was being objective. "House. Your team doesn't have to know why I'm handing the case over to another department. You don't have to tell them it's because the memories of your father have been resurfacing - I'll just say that you pissed off Cameron's dad and he wants you off his son's case," she tried to reason with House.
"Cuddy, if I haven't thought of what's wrong yet, nobody is going to. Even when I'm distracted, which I'm NOT now, I'm still statistically the best diagnostician in the world. I figured out that the hot teenage supermodel was really not a girl even though I was blinded by just how stunning she was, I figured out that our Asian Invasion patient's parents attempted to kill her even though I was hundreds of miles away and stuck at my father's funeral, and I figured out what was going on with the girl who had a building fall on her head with you hounding me about hiring a team. If I can't solve it, who can?" House rambled, trying to defend the only attribute he liked about himself. He started walking towards the door and gave Cuddy a final look, as if daring her to respond, then limped out of his office and into Wilson's.
The oncologist was more surprised than anyone else when House came storming into his office at 10:30 PM. Wilson had been just about to pack his things up and head home for the night to think about the current situation with House. He knew he had screwed up in telling Cuddy, but he also would have screwed up if he hadn't told Cuddy. He didn't know how to handle hearing House had been abused by his father... either way, it had explained a lot. It shined a little light on why House was so bitter and why he had resisted going to his father's funeral so much. However, Wilson shook his head and focused in on what was happening now. "House?"
House just sat down on Wilson's couch and put his head in his hands. What was wrong with this patient, and what was wrong with him? But they weren't connected... they couldn't be. His Dad was gone, why did he care about the abuse? He didn't. He had survived the beatings, the ice baths, the cold winter nights, everything. He shouldn't care anymore. He was too old. He didn't care. But he could care about the kid as long as he didn't say anything. Right?
"What?" House barked at Wilson.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot I angrily barged into your office," Wilson retorted and rolled his eyes at his childish best friend.
"Wilson. Shut up," House eyed his friend, daring him to berate him farther.
Wilson sighed and looked sympathetically over at House. Taking a deep breath and bracing himself for the storm, he asked simply, "how are you?"
"Fine." Nothing else.
"House, you're going to have to tell me something sometime. I didn't ask for details. I just asked how you were."
"Let me reiterate that for you. I. Am. Fine."
"House." That stern voice only Wilson could do.
"House." Again. Good lord, it sounded better than being scolded by a 1960s mother.
The diagnostician finally looked over at Wilson. "I'm dealing," he said this time.
"How are you dealing?"
"By forgetting it again."
"You can't just push it away."
"But I can."
Wilson was getting frustrated. How hard could it be just to tell your best friend, the guy who'd picked your sloppy self up from bars, cleaned up your vomit during breakthrough pain, and watched you self-destruct time after time how you were? Wilson took a deep breath and looked at House, who had his head down and thumping on his cane. "Stop that," Wilson instructed House, "Tell me something. Anything."
"Cuddy was almost falling out of her top today."
"House, tell me something serious. Something that matters. Not your deflections. Why- if you- if you would just tell me things, you wouldn't be so damn bottled up and guarded all the time. If you would tell anyone things, you'd-you wouldn't be so... so broken, like you always have been. All of your emotional scars that you say you don't have would heal. Why wouldn't you take that chance? Wilson stuttered.
"Because our scars remind us that the past is real!" House started angrily, "because nothing is ever going to change me, or my father, or my childhood!" House stood up and took a deep breath, expanding his lungs to full capacity. "What do you want me to tell you? Do you want to hear about every time he'd yank off my shirt, just like you did in the clinic-" Wilson grimaced at his own prior actions- "and put out his cigarette on my skin? Do you want to hear about all the ice baths after getting his belt on my back? About being sent, shivering and wet after one of those god forsaken ice baths, outside in December? Is that really what you want to hear? Some sadistic bitch you are," House finished, overwhelmed by how much he just told Wilson.
Wilson, unbeknownst to the unobservant House during his screaming fit, cringed at every piece of abuse his best friend has said was inflicted upon him. Upon further thought later, Wilson cringed at every piece of abuse he knew House hadn't told him about. The ones that were worse than what House had said. Suddenly, Wilson became extremely nauseous at the thought of doing such horrible things to such a small, vulnerable person. He stood up quickly and put his head in his hands. "House, how come you never told me any of this?"
"Because this is how you react! I get it! It's disgusting for happening, I'm disgusting for letting it happen to me. I could have stopped it, I should've stopped it, I could have stopped it... I could have been a better child, not angered my father... just done what he had asked. But I was okay, I was fine until this came back up... but damn it it's disgusting and I let it happen and it shouldn't have but it did and I just don't know how this happened," House mumbled to himself, but loud enough for Wilson to hear. "I'm sorry," was all he could say.
A/N: Ugh. Long time, no update... like, over two weeks. I was at cross country camp from the 20th-23rd, then came home from a few days to re-pack, do laundry, catch up on life, etc. before I left again for another camp on the 27th-31st. Basically, no time to write, as well as no laptop, computer, wi-fi, etc. :(
Not to mention, things have been really stressful just in daily life and at home what with having to put time aside every day to practice driving and having to help my Dad fix up the house we rent out to other people... our last tenants caused a ton of damage to the house (resulting in a huge blow-up, especially between my parents, at home and me spending ample time taking care of my younger siblings while helping clean up the house. In addition, student council, weightlifting, helping family, and trying to have a social life are kicking my butt. Then, school starts next Wednesday, August 13, which is horribly early and makes me so sad and takes so much time for me to keep up with my advanced classes.
But now I'm back! I have another cross country camp this week Mon.-Fri. but I commute to and from the camp (it's a really pathetic camp at our school) so I am finally home for good and can write more. Thank goodness... I finally have the rest of the story mapped out.
I'm sorry this was such a long A/N. I really like talking to you guys, even if it's kind of one-sided.
Anyways, make me really happy, review... and hopefully there will be another update within the week! And feel free to answer my notes in a review ;)
Thank you all so much!