Disclaimer, etc. in previous chapters.
At last, the end. I want to thank everyone who's read this beast, and specifically Taru of House Transcripts and More, which is where this fic got its start, and the folks on the message board there who encouraged me to keep this fic up; Auditrix, who provided invaluable assistance throughout the writing process as consultant, beta, and idea ball-tosser; Benj, for being so enthusiastic and awesome; The Lilac Elf, also for being so enthusiastic and awesome; Namaste, for the crit; and everyone else who's reviewed. Thank you. I hope this doesn't disappoint.
Quick note. I'm going through and editing each chapter now, making cosmetic touches and sometimes adding something a little more substantial so that the final version will be consistent and (hopefully) typo-free.
Also, small spoiler warning for season 2 in general, though what's here is very general and vague.
Finally, a standard CONTENT WARNING for this epilogue. It contains illegal drug use and should be considered T+ or a light M in terms of rating. I know this sounds strange since the whole fic is full of drugs, but in this case, it's a drug that's illegal in many countries. So, please don't take this as encouragement to break your country's laws and all that. (Btw, I wrote most of this epilogue in December, before the episode where we see Wilson rolling a joint had aired, but darn those writers if they didn't scoop me on this one.)
Epilogue: Wilson's Magic Bag
House sunk deeper into the middle couch cushion, fairly content with his feet up on the coffee table, a monster truck rally on television, and applesauce dribbling steadily down his chin. As he wiped it away, he felt the long, stiff blades of hair on his chin and deemed himself shaggy. Applesauce was tricky to clean out of excess beard growth—he'd need an actual shave. Too bad. He hated the merciless bite of the razor as much as he hated looking neat, but he knew he'd have as much time as he wanted to grow it out again.
Yep, plenty of time. He grumbled to himself, but he was really thankful that his self-appointed keepers were there for him when he really needed them. Not that he realized this consciously—oh, no—or fully understood why he wasn't angry with either of them and never really had been.
He would learn later, slowly, over the months to come that he was taking more Vicodin than he should be, that his pain was getting worse, that something was happening to him to make it worse—and that something had to happen to stop or at least slow the progression of pain or he wouldn't be able to function on Vicodin alone any longer. And somewhere deep within himself, he knew what he could do to begin fixing it, but since he no longer believed that anything truly important could ever be fixed, he had chosen to bury his knowledge so completely that he could no longer access it. Right now he knew none of this. He felt only a vague sense that something might not be right, and that sense was easily dismissed, so he blissfully licked the applesauce out of the spoon, separating the clumps of apple from the sauce with his tongue, enjoying the sight of Truckzilla crushing Monstersaurus.
His memory clicked and he recalled the huge monster truck show he'd read about in Princeton General's E.R. waiting room. He'd have to look in to that. However naughty Wilson had been of late, he didn't deserve to be deprived of such monster truck glory. House dipped the spoon into the applesauce and licked it again. Yes. He could score great seats with his connections. As soon as he was back on his feet…
He finished the applesauce and stretched his torso with a happy groan after depositing the empty container on the coffee table. Wilson had been quiet on the way home. No badgering, except for a new bottle of Benadryl with two refills that shared a bag with his Vicodin and the three drugs for his ulcer. As a sign of appreciation for Wilson's tact, House had taken one after Wilson left and promptly dozed off. Then a Vicodin when he woke up, a much-needed shower, and two cups of applesauce from a hastily-assembled care package of edible hospital food stuffs (the prepackaged kind that the cafeteria staff never touched). Monster trucks on TV, a full and happy belly, still a little sleepy, and not in any significant pain, he felt like a new man. Life might just be livable now.
The crowd roared as Truckzilla crunched a line of old cars as part of its victory lap, and House sank further down and closed his eyes.
Later, a knock startled House out of his doze. House let out a knowing sigh, rolled his eyes, and picked himself up off the couch.
"Did your house burn down or something?" he said as he opened the door. He couldn't resist a chance to nettle Wilson, even when he was expecting him.
Wilson gave him a dirty look and shouldered past him, laden with plastic bags.
"What?" House said defensively. "I'm gonna have to start charging you rent."
Wilson was putting down the bags on the coffee table. "C'mon," he said. "I always bring goodies." He held up a bag of Cheetos.
House limped back to the couch. "Normally your goodies and my goodies aren't the same thing, but I like what I see."
Wilson smirked slyly and produced another item.
House groaned as Wilson produced more of the same item. And more. And more.
"Ensure?" House griped. "I'm not that old."
Wilson merely smirked again and piled more on the table.
"You know you're not supposed to insult your elders, don't you, you young whippersnapper?" House waved his cane threateningly, balancing himself with a hand on the back of the couch.
"You can mix it with something and pretend it's an $8 girlie drink," Wilson said. He piled even more on the table.
House's eyes widened. "How many of those did you get?" he asked incredulously.
"There are two more cases in the car," Wilson said.
He tossed House the Cheetos and sat down on the couch while House watched him.
"But the real treat," Wilson said reaching into his pocket, "is this."
He produced a tattered paper bag. House sniffed the air.
"Smells like Otto's jacket," he quipped.
Wilson grinned. "Promise you won't tell," he said.
"I get so turned on when you break the law for me, Jimmy," House mocked.
Wilson shrugged. "It has been a while," he said, emptying the bag on the table.
House's eyes practically leapt out of their sockets. "How much did you spend?" he asked.
"Manners, House," Wilson cautioned.
House stared at him with persistent, demanding disbelief until he cracked.
Wilson rolled his eyes at House's need to know everything.
"Kid down the street," he said. "I caught him smoking—accidentally—I wasn't looking for him…" He let House put the rest together.
"And you didn't narc," House said proudly, patting Wilson's back as if he were a younger brother. "You're learning."
Wilson shrugged. "For all I know, this is cut with oregano, rosemary, cilantro—who knows. He rolled it for me."
"Nice kid," House muttered. He ran one of the joints under his nose as if smelling a cigar. "Smells like the genuine article to me," he said. He sniffed again. "Product of Vancouver."
Wilson produced a packet of incense and House snorted.
"Did you bring a lava lamp and a Pink Floyd record too?"
"I've got the giant pig in my car," Wilson replied. "You've got a pump, right? 'Cause all those inflatable women don't just blow themselves up."
House eyed him meaningfully. "You would know," he said.
Wilson sniffed, then gestured to the twenty odd cans of chocolate Ensure and three bags of Cheetos on the table.
"Do you see my plan?"
"I drink the Cheetos, smoke the Ensure, and eat the pot?" House asked with a furrowed brow. He snatched one of the bags of Cheetos and ripped it open.
Wilson rolled his eyes at House, playing their game as always.
"I've got five more bags of sandwiches, soups—that sort of thing—a big pan of lasagna from Julie, and lots of munchies." He sat back and gestured to everything on the table. "You've got a week to consume all of it."
"I don't know," House said skeptically with Cheeto flakes in his beard already and bright orange fingers, "that's a lot of weed. I'd need a ton of munchies to manage."
"Well," Wilson said with uncontainable smugness as he picked up one of the Ensure cans and shook it, "this is your only chocolate fix. You've got to have your chocolate fix."
"You bastard," House said, throwing a handful of Cheetos at Wilson, "you've learned too well."
Wilson collected the thrown chips, popping them into his mouth, and made another sly face.
"It's not like you've got to do it all by yourself," he said, picking up one of the joints and rolling it between his fingers.
House scrutinized him for a moment. Then his lip curled into a pleased, if grudging, half-smile.
"Lock the door," he instructed, and limped caneless to the stereo.
By the time Wilson had returned to the couch and moved the food out of the way, House had licked his fingers clean and cued up Dark Side of the Moon, filling the remaining cd trays with everything else Pink Floyd.
House joined him on the couch, muted the monster trucks, and passed a joint under his nose again with an appreciative sniff. He popped a can of Ensure and opened another bag of Cheetos. Wilson opened a can too and they toasted the marijuana.
House licked the end of the joint and glanced sideways at Wilson with a devious expression.
"Got a light?"