A/N: Yeah, this a repost. FF dot net deleted this story a few weeks ago, along with a couple others, for being songfics. This repost obviously is lyric-less. But just for reference, it was written to the song "I Still Do" by the Cranberries.
NEW EPISODE OF HOUSE TODAY AND THE DAWNING OF WILSON'S ERA, OMFGIMSOFUCKINGEXICTEDWHEEEEE!
I'm still contemplating writing that fic out of my last drabble "Distortion."
And Cotton Candy Baby is not dead.
Stacy was gone. Wilson has holding up House by himself, and his legs were shaking. Thank God for Lisa Cuddy, because he just couldn't handle this alone. He'd cried, he'd smashed things, he'd gotten drunk. And when he stepped back into the hospital, he was responsible. He James Wilson the doctor, instead of the friend. He asked questions, he watched procedures, he explained everything to House. He requested the drugs, he fell asleep in Stacy's chair, he fought on the phone with his wife over coming home late or not coming home at all.
House lay there. That's all. James watched him lie there for a week before ordering anti-depressants, but they didn't seem to do much good. James had never believed they would; he knew House's problems were his heart and his leg, not the chemicals in his brain. He gave them to his friend anyway, and Greg didn't seem to notice or care. He barely spoke, but one of the few things out of his mouth was the question – had Stacy moved out yet? And Wilson told him yes, because he knew he couldn't lie. He'd been to House's apartment several times for different things, and the third time around, he found it desolate and half-empty. It even depressed him.
He took House's pulse, brought him trays of food, made sure there was always something good on TV. And House lay there. He didn't look at anyone anymore. He had only given James a few straight stares, and they had ripped at James like a thousand, dying, cancerous children all in one room. Those blue eyes were dead, and it was unnatural. House had never believed in depression, always said it was self-indulgent, and now here he was. Wilson supposed that if he were in the same situation, he'd be pretty downcast, too. It had only been a few weeks anyway. It would pass. He kept telling himself it would pass.
House still kept a picture of himself and Stacy on the bedside table. He'd asked Wilson to get it from his office, and Wilson had complied only because he didn't want House to fight him. The couple smiled from behind the thin glass, and House would stare at it whenever he was alone. The pain was twice as much as his leg, but he didn't care.
One day, Wilson had come back from another venture to House's apartment with an unexpected, agonizing surprise. He had found one of Stacy's night gowns left over. He had argued with himself all the way to the hospital as he drove about whether or not he should give it House, and in the end, he knew it belonged to Greg and gave it him. House saw it clinging to Wilson's pants even before the oncologist reached the bed. Peach silk and white lace. He could remember every night Stacy had worn it. He flung his hand out over the bed, and Wilson slipped it to him. It was almost like touching her, holding that silk in his hand. Wilson left him alone, and House smelled it to smell her.
When the physical therapist made his first appearence, House had looked at him like Satan had come for him at last. For days, he wouldn't cooperate, exasperating Wilson and the middle-aged therapist. It led to his first strong feelings besides pain in weeks.
"House, you need physical therapy. You could never walk again if you don't cooperate. Do you realize that?"
"Thanks for being gentle," said House, one more vein in his heart rupturing when he thought about not walking again.
"I've tried to be gentle all along," Wilson protested, "but you're not doing what you're supposed to. I know this sucks and I know you're depressed but you're the only one who can make yourself better. If you want the wheelchair instead of all your other options, fine. Tell me and I'll call off the therapist."
House just looked at him with those same dead eyes, and Wilson sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. House looked back to the TV. He had no idea what was on, and he didn't care.
That night, Wilson went to a bar once House was asleep. He had been to the same one six times already because it was the closest one to the hospital. The bartender watched him with an unusual concern, as he sat hunched over and thinking through glass after glass of brandy. In a few hours, he would go back to the hospital, back to House's room, back to the chair that made his back ache. Cuddy only let him stay because she knew it was Wilson and she knew it was House. Meanwhile, Wilson's wife slept with the neighbor.
The next morning, House listened to the physical therapist. It ended after nearly an hour of exercising his bad leg and stopped when he screamed, sweat gleaming in his emaciated face and neck, skin gray. Wilson didn't need to do more than look at the therapist to say that it was enough. He ordered House another dose of Demerol and dabbed the sweat from House's brow with a damp cloth. He decided to give House another drug for sleep, and he had a beer for lunch afterward.
No word from Stacy. No way to fix House's leg. No way to stop the pain. He was useless. What killed him the most was knowing that House knew.
When Stacy first called him to say that she was taking Greg to the hospital, he had twisted into fear and panic. He hadn't been able to stay with House as much as Stacy, and now he hated himself for it. He had asked Cuddy for a full report as the situation progress, and he hadn't slept knowing how much pain Greg was in. When House had died for two minutes, he was working and only noticed the group of nurses in House's room once they had already gotten the situation under control. He'd rushed to ask Cuddy what had happened, and she had reluctantly told him.
That night he'd cried in his dark office and smashed his empty bottle of vodka against the wall.
When he had heard of House asking for an induced coma, he had found himself in the bathroom, throwing up in one of the stalls. No one had any idea how hard he was taking this, even worse than Stacy. Part of the problem was he couldn't even be there half as much as he should be – which was always.
When he had heard what Stacy had ordered done, he had had a panic attack – not because it was anything extraordinary, just because everything had finally built up to the point of bursting. A nurse on his floor had found him in his office, and they had made a big fuss over him, even though all he had needed was Haldol.
"Look," Cuddy had said softly, once alone with him. "I know House is you're best friend, and this hard. But you can't let it get to you like this. You're making yourself sick, and that's the last thing he would want. We've got it under control now; the surgery will save his life."
"And what about the actual living?" Wilson said, sitting up from the gurney. "What about the pain and walking and the fact that he didn't want it done? Do you really think he's just going to thank you and Stacy once he's awake for taking that much muscle out of his leg? He could be in a wheelchair forever!"
His voice had broken too many times.
"A wheelchair's better than a casket," she'd replied.
"I know that – but House won't see it that way."
And House hadn't seen it that way. Wilson had watched him fight Stacy from across the hall; neither had bothered to close the blinds. It had ended with Stacy storming out and House looking stunned. She hadn't come back again, and House's anger had turned into depression just like that.
House knew this was hurting Wilson. Somewhere, he knew – but he was so consumed with his own tragedy, he couldn't make his friend feel better. He ate a little, tried listening to the therapist, but Wilson continued to live like a wreck when no one else was looking. Everyday, his marriage grew more and more strained, as he devoted all his time into taking care of House. He didn't think about now, but the divorce wouldn't pass easily for him later.
"Please eat," he said quietly. One more afternoon of sitting next to House's bed, watching him pick at lunch.
"This is crap," said House. Wilson didn't even have the energy to roll his eyes.
"Please just eat," he said quietly. House looked at him, and he brought his brown eyes to stare into the blue for once. House looked back to his plate. He nibbled at the rice.
"I'll bring you soup for dinner," Wilson murmured.
"Soup would be nice," House answered.
Hours later, while House worked his way toward finishing that whole bowl of soup to make Wilson a little happier, the oncologist stood outside, away from the room, and cried into his hand. He was exhausted and depressed and frustrated, and no one was helping him. Cuddy and the hospital could take care of House's medical needs, but Wilson was the only one to attend to the emotional ones, which seemed the most arduous task of all. The only comfort he had came from Cuddy and booze. His wife wouldn't stop bitching, House grieved him, he was neglecting patients; it was too much guilt.
But when House needed him, he was there. When House needed strength, Wilson was strong for him. He dealt with his own demons on his time, just as he had all his life. It was a noble and sick self-policy. He hated being a burden to anyone, and yet he loved burdening himself with everyone else.
"I finished," said House, once Wilson returned. The bowl had been empty for some time, and House had been watching TV, waiting for Wilson to come back. Wilson looked at the empty bowl and gave a tender smile. He was grateful the lights were too dim for his puffy eyes to stand out.
"You're not happy?" House asked, sounding more like himself than he had in weeks.
"No," said Wilson softly, sitting down. "I'm happy. Good job."
"What's wrong?" House asked, forgetting about the bowl.
"Nothing," Wilson whispered, giving his head a small shake. He tucked his blanket around him, trying to settle in the chair. The TV made little noises, but House could watch Wilson, as his friend smooth a patch of blanket that didn't really matter. House reached out and lay his hand on Wilson's shoulder. Wilson shut his eyes as House rubbed his neck.
"You want me to take the tray?" he asked, eyes shut.
"No," said House. "It's okay. I'll leave it on the floor."
"But you shouldn't – "
Wilson lay his head against the back of the chair, facing the opposite direction, and House massaged until he recognized Wilson's sleeping breaths. He kept going for a few minutes more, before stopping and leaning over as far as he could to set the tray on the floor without making noise.