Title: Of a
Author: Sy Dedalus
Rating: T, TV-14, PG-13
Pairing: House/Stacy, House/Wilson strong friendship
Spoilers: Season One
Summary: House meets blood clot, or a fill-in for the infarction.
Disclaimer: Not mine. The bits of dialogue that you recognize from the episode are not mine either, i.e. please don't sue my dirt poor ass.
This one is filler of a sort, but important filler.
Chapter 21:Where's Wilson?
Like a ghost, Wilson's reflection appeared in the room's window sometime in the early afternoon. Seeing him, Stacy took a long look at Greg and quietly left the room.
Standing on the other side of the glass, neither spoke for a moment. Then, as if they shared a brain, both moved across the hall to an alcove with vacant chairs.
Stacy's attention remained on House. Seeing this, Wilson slid his Kind, Caring Doctor mask into place and changed his opening remark, accustomed to putting himself last.
"How is he?" Wilson asked.
The question broke Stacy's concentration. She gave him an apologetic smile and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
"Better," she said half-seriously. "He's not puking any more. That's a relief."
Wilson returned her sardonic smile, rubbing his hands together. "Fentanyl can be rough at first. But it works."
Stacy nodded, serious now, eyes roving from Wilson to the floor to the small table separating them. "He's not screaming any more, either," she added softly.
Wilson looked at the table, too. Cuddy had mentioned the bad morning House had experience and Wilson had asked that the lab CC every report to him. The decline in renal function was frightening. Now that he'd seen House—restless, half-delirious, half-sedated—he knew that the dialysis Cuddy had just ordered was the only thing that would keep House alive unless he changed his mind about debridement. He wished he could speak to House, but…
Wilson pulled himself back to the present. Stacy was subdued, revisiting the earlier horrors.
"How are you doing?" Wilson ventured.
Stacy shook her head, looking away, and Wilson saw her begin to break.
"I feel so helpless," she said in the same choked voice he heard almost every day he visited a patient's loved ones.
Wilson reached across the table to take her hand. "You're doing all you can do," he said.
Stacy swallowed her emotions and looked up at him. "You do this all the time," she said, hating the weight burning behind her eyes. She smiled crookedly. "Got any tips?"
Wilson shook his head slowly. "I don't know how to make it any easier," he said. "I'm usually not…"
He stared hard at the floor, took a deep breath, and looked back up at her.
"My mother had a heart attack," he began, swallowing against his own emotions. "About an hour ago."
He felt Stacy squeeze his hand and stand up, but he kept his eyes on the floor just as she had done earlier. Other than his department head, with whom he wasn't very close, he hadn't told anyone yet. It was surprisingly difficult to talk about, he was finding.
"She's—ah—she'll probably be fine." He felt himself starting to shake now that her other hand was on his shoulder. "The time—my dad was there—he thinks they caught it in time." The hand squeezed his shoulder. "I don't know—I'm waiting for them to call me back." He took a deep breath and fought the shaking. "But—I have to go. Now." He gestured meaninglessly. "In an hour. My flight's in an hour." Quickly, he glanced up at Stacy, then back to the floor.
"James, I'm so sorry," Stacy said, squeezing his shoulder again, offering him a hug made awkward by the chair he still sat in.
He stood up and hugged her as tightly as she was hugging him, so grateful to have someone who cared about him to tell his awful news. He had Julie, yes, but she hadn't known him as long as Stacy had. She didn't know House, either. She wouldn't understand how hard it was for him to go to his mother.
He blinked heavily as they parted, her hand still on his arm. "Thanks," he said, rubbing an anxious hand across his neck.
He looked past her to the glass wall and the unmoving figure obscured by bed rails and a chair.
"I don't want to leave," he began, "but…"
Stacy tried to smile. "I know," she said.
He glanced at her again, smiled reflexively, and dropped his eyes back to the floor. "Ah—I've seen everything—all of the labs—and Dr. Cuddy is doing everything right." His hand fell from his neck and he met her eyes now. "I have every confidence in her."
Eyes glistening, Stacy nodded briefly in response.
"You have my cell and page numbers?"
Again, Stacy nodded, struck by Wilson's concern for Greg.
"If not, they're on file," he said, aware that he was rambling but not able to stop himself. "Cuddy should have them, and my department head. I'll keep in touch, and, ah, let me know if…anything changes."
Now it was easy to stop. He'd seen House's labs. He knew much better than Stacy that House might not make it through the night. He wanted very badly to speak to House before he left. To say something banal and reassuring that House would mock. But he couldn't interrupt this little bit of rest House was finally getting. So his hand clamped on to the back of his neck again and he shifted his weight.
"I'll call you as soon as I can," he said lamely.
Stacy squeezed his hand again. "Thank you so much, James."
Though he saw the sincerity in her expression in other faces almost every day, he had to force himself to breathe deeply again, to gather himself and what he wanted to say. When he could meet her eyes again, he forced a smile.
"Tell him he owes me a round of golf when this is all over."
Stacy smiled with wet eyes and wished him and his family well, and then he was glancing again, maybe for the last time, into House's room—quiet, still; House wasn't awake yet—and then he was down the hall and in the elevator. The doors closed cutting the floor off.
Stacy watched him disappear down the hall, noticing the long look he gave the room as he passed. She felt sick for him. Angry at the horrible timing.
Slowly, she returned to Greg's room, sat next to him, and took his hand. James thought he was going to die. She saw him try to conceal the fact, but he was an awful liar. James thought Greg was going to die.
Tears. Again. She hated herself for crying.
Greg's hand was warm in hers—too warm. James, the only person Greg seemed to like and the only doctor he seemed to have any respect for, thought he was going to die.
Looking down at him, she couldn't avoid thinking the same thing. The only person she'd ever seen as sick as he was had been her grandmother at the very end of her life, just before cancer killed her.
But Greg didn't have to die. He could still be right—he was always right, always insufferably right, why not this time too?—and there was still time to fix him. It was just a leg. Just a leg. He'd be different, but she wouldn't love him any less. Not over something as petty as a leg.
She sat alone for several minutes before a nurse arrived to check his vital signs. Every fifteen minutes. She understood time in fifteen-minute increments now.
Then she was alone again, Greg still semiconscious, his eyes rolling furiously, fingers, toes, shoulders twitching at random. Cuddy and Greg's colleague from nephrology—she couldn't remember which one—told her he was scheduled for dialysis in an hour. That had been almost an hour ago. For the umpteenth time, she realized that she wasn't any good at waiting.
A soft gasp made her look up. Sleepy blue eyes peered back at her.
"You're still here," he mumbled.
She smiled. "Where else would I be?"
"Not here," he answered. "This place sucks."
He gasped, shutting his eyes and moaning softly, but she'd seen a spark behind the fatigue and the fever and the pain in his eyes. She felt wonderful. Lifted up. He was still alive. Still okay.
His thumb rubbed her hand and she realized she'd been looking through him rather than at him.
"Hey," he said, having gotten her attention again. "See any ice chips around? My mouth's a desert."
She found a cup and gave him what hadn't melted, telling him about James' mother between his hisses of pain.
"Sure he didn't fake it to get away?" Greg asked, licking his dry lips with a pleasantly cold and wet tongue.
Stacy gave him that look.
"It's what I would have—" Pain caught him mid-sentence. Another surprised gasp. His eyes shut again.
Even with fentanyl, which he had to admit made a difference, he couldn't escape the near-constant burning in his flesh. No more ebbs and flows. It was getting worse, leaving him with less time for respite.
When he opened his eyes, the worried expression Stacy wore almost constantly now greeted him and she asked him again how he felt and mentioned again that it could all be fixed so easily.
He closed his eyes, tired of listening.
Stacy watched him slip back into semi-consciousness. She held his hand tighter.