By: Sy Dedalus
Rating: PG-13 except where otherwise noted. Contains naughty language, adult situations, adult themes, and medical realism/grossness.
Paring: none (House/Wilson strong friendship)
Spoilers: Spoilers for "Detox" and the rest of season 1 with some season 2 foreshadowing.
Summary: The missing scenes from "Detox" plus some. Wilson helps House as House faces himself and his addiction. Mostly hurt/comfort and angst.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to FOX and the producers of the show, etc. I'm not making any profit from this. Please don't sue me, etc. The quote from Lermontov comes from the Modern Library edition released in 2003. Quotes from Modest Mouse, John Berryman, Martin Heideggar, R.E.M., Johnny Cash, Albert Camus, Robert Lowell, Nick Flynn, Radiohead, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hunter S. Thompson, Joe Wenderoth, Hugh Laurie, Theodore Roethke, Queens of the Stone Age, Coldplay etc., belong to their respective owners and not to me. Please don't sue over that either.
(New readers, please read this first.)
Welcome to my very long fic, Intervention. I began writing this fic when the promos for Detox aired in the first week of February 2005. I wrote most of the first part of the fic before June 2005. The second part took a year to write. So, part one tried to fill in some of House's background, which no one knew (we hadn't even heard the name 'Stacy' when Detox aired) until the end of season one, by which time much of this had already been completed. Hence the infarction story as we're told in "Three Stories" doesn't appear at all here – I wrote a different background entirely, as many fic writers were doing at the time. I tell you this because I don't want it to come as a surprise when you encounter this background in the first fifteen or so chapters here. I thought about going back and changing the fic to conform to what we now know but found that it was too tightly written for me to do that. I just wanted you to know this before you began reading.
Similarly, because the second part of the fic took over a year to write and during that year all of season 2 aired, I have had the great benefit of seeing what the writers have done with these characters in two seasons rather than having just one season of character development to work with. As a result, the second part is probably somewhat different. I hope the characters are in-character throughout—if not with the show, at least within this fic itself—but I wrote this, so I can't quite tell. This is my rather poor excuse for any continuity errors in character.
This was the first fan fic I'd ever written. Or, it was the first fan fic I'd ever written when I began writing it. Since then, I've started several other House fics, some finished, some not finished, and while I find certain of them to be better fics or more in character or more original or superior for some other reason, I love this one best because it was so hard to finish and because it was my first outing as a fic writer. I'd like to thank my friend Auditrix, also one of the first fic writers in the House fandom, who shepherded me through this and other fics, particularly when it came to the medical realism. I'd also like to thank the people who started reading it during the first season and for one reason or another, have kept reading it over the long year and a half it's taken to write. Without so much positive reinforcement, I wonder if I would have finished it at all.
I tried as hard as I could to make the medical jibber-jabber in this fic correct. I didn't always succeed, but I hope it's plausible. Given how often the medicine on the show itself is a little far-fetched, I hope you'll forgive me my trespasses. Also, because this started as a fill-in for "Detox," it makes use of a great deal of the dialogue from the show, which is quoted here at length. I make no claim to it; it isn't mine. It belongs to whoever wrote it and whoever owns the rights to it. So do the epigraphs.
Finally, I started this fic and all my other fics because the relationship between House and Wilson intrigues me. It's why I watch the show. It's always been why I watch the show. While I consider this fic to be a friendship only piece, you can read House/Wilson slash into it if you like. You can also read House/Cuddy, House/Cameron, House/Stacy, Wilson/Cuddy, and Wilson/Cameron into it. It's all present here if you tilt your head a certain way. I think of it fundamentally as an exploration of House and Wilson's stupid, screwed-up friendship, but that isn't how you have to think of it. ;)
All this said, I hope you enjoy it. I enjoyed writing it, as frustrating as it sometimes was. I have never enjoyed writing a fic more than I did this one. And now I'll shut up and let the characters do the talking for me.
T-Minus One Week
If I die, I die. It's a small loss for the world; and I myself am
Why have I lived? For what end was I born? I suppose an end did exist, and I suppose I did have some lofty purpose...
My love has brought no one happiness because I never sacrificed anything for those I loved; I loved for myself, for my own pleasure; I satisfied only my heart's strange demand, greedily swallowing their emotions, their tenderness, their joys and woes...
Tomorrow I may die! And there will not be a single being left on earth who ever understood me completely. Some consider me worse, others better than I am. Some will say he was a good fellow; others, a scoundrel. And both will be wrong. After this, is it worth the trouble of living? Yet you keep living—out of curiosity. You're waiting for something new. It's amusing and annoying at once...
There are two men in me: one lives in the full sense of the word; the other thinks and judges him. The first may in an hour say goodbye to you and the world forever, while the second...the second?..."
—Pechorin, A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov
Wilson paced in his office. It was something he did when he was chewing a thought around, when the vagaries of life chose to intervene in the sterile, easy world of symptoms/treatments, problems/solutions, questions/answers, where facts were privileged above all else and he wasn't authorized or expected to make difficult moral decisions. That was left to the patients and their families. Having to watch people agonize over a course of action every day remained heart-wrenching, but most of the time he was glad it wasn't him in the hot seat.
He'd been lucky in life so far: none of his wives had had any life-threatening illnesses and he had no children to worry over. Even his dog was in perfect health. His closest friend, however—a friend who had only himself to argue with when difficulties arose because most of the time he didn't choose to involve others—was not so lucky.
Years ago they'd made a tacit agreement and Wilson was listed as his next of kin, making him responsible. Right now that responsibility was weighing heavily on him. He was wearing a hole in the carpet in front of his desk.
House had come to him again today, dropping into a chair in front of Wilson's desk before Wilson had even acknowledged him.
"I'm out," he'd said.
"Already?" Wilson asked, annoyed and not a little worried.
"Well, no, I have a few left," House replied, "but they'll soon be gone and so here I am."
Wilson sighed. "I just wrote you a script last week," he said, frustrated.
House's drug intake had started escalating about a year ago. Either the pain was getting worse or he was taking them for another reason. Neither option was palatable. If it was the first, then something was going on with his leg that he was ignoring—Wilson fancied he'd know about it if House was seeing his doctor more often and since he didn't know about anything like that, he assumed House was ignoring it—and any number of bad things could happen. House wouldn't be the miserable person he was now if the pain hadn't been ignored when it first presented. But that hadn't been House's fault. And if it was the second, then House was using the drug recreationally which meant that he was addicted and that he had a serious problem. House didn't seem to want to acknowledge either one.
Wilson sighed again, inwardly this time.
House shrugged. "I had a party this weekend," he said. "Didn't you get the invitation I sent? Damn the postal service." He slammed his cane into the floor to emphasize his point. "You missed one kick ass shindig. Cuddy did a table dance."
Wilson stood, hands on his hips, unwilling to be drawn away from the subject. "You've already doubled your dosage since I started writing for you," he said.
House looked up at him and shrugged. "So sue me," he said. "My leg hurts."
"Has it gotten worse lately?" Wilson asked, trying not to let concern show openly on his face. House hated that.
House looked away, expelling an annoyed breath.
"I'm trying to understand why you're taking so much," Wilson said gently. "If the pain's worse, you should-"
"It's fine," House interrupted angrily. Seeing that Wilson was unimpressed, he added, "I get all my check-ups, all my shots. You wanna see my rabies tag or would you think it's a fake too?"
"Go ask Masterson," House growled, frustrated. He'd didn't feel like being hassled right now. He couldn't take any fighting with Wilson. "I'm fine," he spat. Butt the hell out.
"Then why are you taking more?" Wilson challenged.
House looked away again. "Because it hurts," he said in a low, angry voice. "How many times do I have to say it?"
He didn't like admitting to pain. He hated it, in fact. Wilson knew that. So why was Wilson pushing him today? Jesus, it was wearing him out. He resisted the urge to pop a Vicodin into his mouth. He needed to stop feeling.
"There are other ways to manage pain," Wilson said, an angry edge in his voice now too.
House didn't say anything, didn't look at him.
Wilson took a breath. It was hard, what he was about to say. It could do so much damage. But it had to be said. And since no one else would say it, because there was no one else….
"I think you're addicted," he said quietly.
House sniffed. "I am not," he snarled, looking back up at Wilson.
Wilson looked down at him. "Then it won't hurt you to cut back," he said.
"Yes, it will, actually, hurt me," House said, getting exasperated. This conversation should've ended five minutes ago. "That's just what it'll do."
"You won't even try?" Wilson said, trying to keep his voice even.
"Why should I?" House said, throwing his hands in the air. "I come to work. I do my job. I do it well."
"No, you don't," Wilson said. "You piss people off. It's gotten worse."
House shrugged again, not taking him seriously. This was Wilson he was talking to, after all. Wasn't like it was Cuddy.
"So my bullshit tolerance level has dropped off lately," he said. "I come in everyday and fix people that no one else can fix. You can't expect me to be nice to them at the same time."
"The rest of us manage it," Wilson said, trying not to sound as angry, frustrated, and annoyed as he felt.
"So, what, you think that stopping my meds will make me nicer?" House said incredulously.
"I think they've changed your personality," Wilson said. "I think you should consider another form of pain management—one that doesn't involve narcotics."
"What are you, my doctor?" House said flippantly.
"No," Wilson said, "I'm you're friend."
"Great intervention," House said, rolling his eyes. "But where are my folks? Where's Cuddy? I can't believe she'd miss out on this."
"There's no one but me," Wilson said softly. "I'm worried about you."
"I'm touched," House replied, standing, "but really, you don't have to. I'm fine."
Wilson sighed to himself. This was going nowhere. He wrote the prescription and held it out to House.
"Just think about it, okay?" he said.
"Can do," House said and snatched the script.
Wilson sat down in his chair, defeated, and watched House leave. It was plain to everyone who worked closely with him that he had a problem. Whether that problem was addiction or something else, it was hard to say, but it was equally plain to those who'd known him long enough that he had changed. But he was House. He was impossible to talk to about personal matters. He'd never been very open, even before the infarction. And even if Wilson refused to write for him anymore, he'd just go to someone else. Refusal would also push him further away, making any attempt to get him to change harder than it already was.
He'd changed. He'd really changed. Wilson ran his fingers through his hair. What to do, what to do.
He used to revel in House's tales of debauchery. Even after the incident with his leg and the nasty break-up with Stacy, he'd taken a few girls out. Those relationships broke up pretty quickly, which wasn't really surprising. He was getting over an intense relationship and adjusting to the devastation of never being physically "normal" again, the mental pain as well as the physical pain. Wilson knew how that felt—the emotional and mental part of it, anyway. He remembered how torn up he'd been after his first marriage went sour, how difficult it had been to get back in the saddle. House was human; he needed time; Wilson recognized that. But time had passed, lots of time, and House had grown more and more unwilling to deal with anyone, much less pursue anything romantic. As far as he knew, House hadn't even tried to date anyone in over three years. It wasn't just his leg. It couldn't be. In fact, he stayed in more in general. Wilson could understand that House felt a little old for the bar scene but he knew the man was no monk. So why was he celibate all of a sudden? Okay, Wilson knew he wasn't celibate, but certainly wasn't who he used to be either. The life he was leading now, it was hardly a life. Something had to change or... Wilson didn't want to think about the alternative. He knew where depression often ended. Soap operas wouldn't keep House afloat forever.
Wilson stopped pacing. He rubbed the back of his neck with his hand. He would talk to Cuddy about it tomorrow, see what she thought. She'd been there too, and she cared about him no matter how much she tried to hide it. Maybe she'd have some ideas.
He sighed, sat down, and did an hour's worth of paperwork. In his head he was still pacing as he drove home, greeted Julie, ate dinner and watched a basketball game. He was still chewing the problem around as he lay down to sleep, his back turned to his wife, her back turned to him. He hoped he could think of something before it was too late.