Physiotherapy, part one

This is set immediately (within a couple of months) post infarcation, and written very late at night.


House hung between the walking bars, staring at his feet and panting. Indeed, breathing seemed to be taking up a lot of his energy at that moment. And staring. Staring and breathing. Stare fiercely enough, and the way it ached to breathe was turned into little flashing lights, dancing across his view of his overly pale and bony feet. It was an ironic switch-around of the grim reaper and his almost-victim.

'I hate you,' he ground out, an annoying drop of sweat trickling down between his shoulder blades. He didn't have a free limb to deal with it.

'You've already said that. Come on House.' The voice was warm and smooth like honey, and, he felt, it could have persuaded a stone to sing. But he could not move. That was even further from the realms of physical possibility than operatically talented boulders.

'Get me the wheelchair you sadistic ass. I'll buy a nice electric one and run down old grannies on the footpath.' With mammoth effort, he dragged his head up and fixed his tormentor with a piercing glare, to show he was serious. Chocolate brown eyes smiled mildly, watching him from directly in front of him, in the torturous path delineated by the bars. Coaxing. Hard to avoid.

'I know you can House. If you're still spitting hell-fire and acid, then you can take one more step.'

There was no hint of doubt in that honeyed voice, and House took umbrage. He could feel the weak muscles in his arms straining from holding him up, his whole body atrophied from his long confinement in a hospital bed. Sunk down as he was, elbows level with shoulders and knees bent, he could feel his shoulder-blades pressing together, the muscles there bunched up. Every straining muscle was shaking, and he was sure he was about to collapse. And here was the very picture of calm and peace, lightly requesting that he lift himself and take another step.

Half out of spite, House lurched forwards, attempting to get away with a half-step. His over-tired sinews collapsed at the moment of greatest strain, and with am abrupt stab of panic, he realized he was going to fall. Wilson realized it first, and had caught him under the armpits before he managed to hit the ground, probably jarring his drugged up thigh into abrupt and angry pain. It only gave a little murmur, and the rest of him hurt worse anyway.

'That wasn't a step,' Wilson commented wryly, holding House easily. House let himself be supported totally, too tired, in body and soul, for pride. He was staring at his feet again, having looked down to watch the floor coming up to meet him. He could feel his feet touching the ground, but there was no weight on them. He'd almost grown used to the sensation of useless feet.

'Have I been sufficiently tortured yet Genghis Kahn?' he muttered, unable to look at Wilson whilst the man was holding him up. It was humiliating, the fact that he was so light after his months in bed that Wilson hadn't even needed to shift his weight. He might as well have been a doll.

Wilson sighed. 'If you'd step properly, you wouldn't fall.'

House wanted to bite so many things to that, but Wilson was carrying him backwards, a measly three steps, to his starting point, the blessed wheelchair. House both loathed and loved it. It meant rest, but he was bound to it now, so utterly dependant as to be laughable.

House settled for a grumbling 'I hate you,' once he was safely settled down into it. He used his tired arms (they felt floppy and useless like wet noodles. He forced them into work, since they were the only bit of him that still did) to roll the chair backwards, asserting his independence to extract himself from the dreaded line of the walking bars.

Wilson was smiling, and House felt a brief flare of annoyance that Wilson wouldn't ever get offended by anything he said, but it faded quickly enough. 'Sponge bath time,' he said with false gaiety.

'You worry me sometimes.'

'Only sometimes? I'll try harder. Or did you mean to say I worry your wife?' House leered in an inappropriate manner. Wilson just laughed from behind him, and House felt the wheelchair start to move as Wilson took the handles and began to push. There was a momentary toss up in House's mind between pride and tiredness. Like so many times before, tiredness won out, and he was pushed through the hospital like an infirm. A growling, snapping, sweaty infirm.

'They think I'm an infirm,' House groused to Wilson.

'I highly doubt it,' replied Wilson from behind his head as they turned a corner. 'Infirm is classed as someone who can't make an intern whimper with a single glare.'

'Is that your excuse for why the head of oncology is giving me sponge baths?'

'Indubitably,' murmured Wilson dryly, and pushed the button to call the elevator. House found a smile on his lips, and for a moment, he forgot about his cursed thigh.

The end of part one (and a warning that there may not be a part three)