Disclaimer: I do not own House M.D. or any of the characters from the series.
A/N: This is based on the unaired sides from season one's finale.
Here In My Palm
She tries not to cry, but tears are stability, and this life is full of uncertainty. The tears are old friends that appear along a lonely pathway. A lonely, sterile room, with a lonely patter, patter on the roof. A lonely, sleeping man who she can only hope is dreaming.
And so she muffles her sobs into his hand.
Does she care that his palm is full of her tears, but his face is free of her love? Or that he's more of a comfort when asleep, than he ever could be awake? He's unable to stare with his shocking blue eyes. His shocking blue windows of truth. Unable to move. Unable to speak - aside from the lonely overtones he spills into any room he inhabits.
He doesn't stir, because that isn't what dying men do. He lies there - like serenity's second nature - pretending not to know he's dying. He feigns disregard - like he hasn't a care in the world - while she grasps at his fingertips and cries into his lifeless palm. His indifference is an irony most cruel - a contradiction and a mimic most insufferable.
"House . . ." Empty whisper for empty air.
It's only natural that she blames herself. She never was one to blame other people, or to blame a God she didn't believe in.
"Greg . . ." He won't even respond to his first name. She shouldn't have used it. She shouldn't have tried. First names are sacred, and his is a sacred secret. One day, she'll crack the code. But here and now is too soon.
Though it may be all she has.
She's known for quite some time that her only place is here, by his bed, by his side. His hand is her only refuge - she knows that. But only now does she realize how her face fits perfectly in his fingers. She gives herself over to him - wholly, humbly - and doesn't care that he couldn't care less. His hand is warm, and his wrist is soft. The wrinkles and the veins give him character, making up for what he's lost to sleep. (She tells herself it's sleep; she can only hope he's dreaming. But why does he not respond?)
He's so different when he's quiet. So unnatural. So . . . out of place. Ghostlike.
What will be left of her? Whose mail will she sort in the mornings? What will happen when she walks past the coffee maker and realizes she doesn't want any? She can't take a sip of her own until House has a cup on his desk. A flashy, red cup - like the car he drives, like the tennis ball on his desk. Like the blood on his face when they wheeled him into the hospital . . .
He's always got to make a show.
She presses lean fingers to her cheek and tells him he can have her forever. If only he'll open his eyes. Forever is so untouchable that she doesn't care if it's probably a lie. The flinch she imagines he makes, when she kisses the middle of his palm, is too much to handle, and she dissolves back into all she knows –
– Salt. Remembrance. Droplets of pain on her eyelashes.
It's the solace, the silence, of her sobs. A familiar dance, a familiar song. Her cheeks are stinging in the humor of it. Salt has always been associated with preservation. Preservation . . . Preservation?
She laughs through a breath on the release. There's a truth to the lie - a truth to every lie - and it's enough to send her reeling. Send her hiding. Send her home.
But she's too busy dancing to notice. His veins and his wrinkles dance with her, and they all run away together.
She feels a twitch in the palm of her hand, and nothing has ever been so important. It's her imagination she's running away with. Not House. House is gone. House is . . .
. . . twitching again.
The song falls away and her eyes stop dancing. Her heart nearly stops as well. "House?" She knows better than to use his first name. She'll curse him. She'll jinx him.
It's when he stops twitching that she knows he was never twitching to begin with. She's lost it. He's taken more from her than he was ever entitled to.
His head rolls around. He can see her slumped at his bedside.
She holds his hand and she holds his love. She holds what she can only hope for. She hold what she no longer believes in.
And he knows it. He give himself over to her - wholly, humbly - and doesn't care that she'll never receive it. It's the gift, after all, that counts.
– Her gift.
She cares whether he lives or dies. And it's enough for him.
Dance, Allison. Dance on. Youth, beauty - heaven in a sense. It dances with you.
– His gift.
He dances with her. It'll be enough for her, in time.
He gives her palm a squeeze.
She imagines the squeeze like she imagined everything else. It's a lie and a darn good one - because there's truth in every lie.
A soft kiss on the flesh of his thumb. It's, goodbye. It's, I'll miss you. It's . . . I loved you.
No – love. Not loved.
The back of her head is all he can see. But he can feel her tears in his palm. He holds them - he holds her - in a moment she'll never know of, and returns his eyelids to their resting place.