Okay, so, this is it. The final chapter. Sorry it's a bit pathetic. Endings are definitely not my strong point. Also, I know it seems to be cut off rather abruptly. There will be a sequel (probably!), but not for a few months, I should think, as I have exams (Don't we all!).
I'd also like to apologise in advance for any brit-speak in this chapter (and in retrospect, for the others!). I really don't notice the differences. Sorry, I know how annoying it can be.
Also (last also, I promise!), to sort out some confusion expressed by a few reviewers; the patients House is treating in this fic are all different. The boy with cluster headaches and the boy with hydrocephalus are different people and not important.
Anyhoo, on with the story. Thanks for all the reviews so far, you all make my day!
There was darkness. Heat, pain, confusion. A thick fog blocked his mind. Demons crawled over his body, whispering into his ear, calling his name. Then he couldn't remember his name any more, and there was only darkness, and pain.
He woke to the sound of the heart monitor. He lay there for several minutes, just listening, waiting for the rest of his body to realise that he was awake, and his mind to catch up and fill in the blanks in his memory. He was interrupted in this pursuit, however, by a familiar voice at his side.
"Come on House, open your eyes. I know you're awake."
He pondered this for a moment, then obeyed, slowly blinking Wilson into focus. Swallowing painfully and pushing aside the oxygen mask covering the lower half of his face, he managed to croak out "How long?".
Wilson frowned at him, but didn't move to replace the mask, instead reaching out and raising the head of the bed. "Since you collapsed? Four days. You're an idiot. You should have been admitted well before that. Your temperature on admittance was 104.7 degrees, and you stopped breathing twice. We had to intubate the second time. It only came out yesterday." He stepped back, running a hand tiredly through his hair. "You've been in and out of consciousness. Mostly delirious, though, when you were awake. I don't suppose you remember." Without waiting for a reply, he continued, voice rising in volume. "You went into arrest once, but we got you back on the first try. You were lucky."
He paused. "For Christ's sake, Greg, what the hell were you thinking? You nearly died!" Wilson was almost shouting now, and House winced as the raised volume sent spikes of pain through his already aching head. Seeing this, Wilson stopped, sighing. "How are you feeling? And if you even think of saying 'fine', then you'd better re-think any plans you had for reproduction."
House raised an eyebrow. "Hey, I'm a sick man here." Studying Wilson carefully, he became serious once more. "I didn't die, you know. I'm okay. Or", he amended, as a sharp bolt of pain shot through his chest, making him gasp softly, "I will be".
Rolling his eyes, Wilson flopped into a chair by the bed, expelling his breath with a snort. "Yeah, I know. I was just - worried, you know? Everyone was. This isn't the first time."
House sighed too. "Yeah", he allowed, wincing as he swallowed carefully. "Now get me a drink before I hack up what's left of my lungs." Wilson complied, then re-took his seat, watching as House carefully sipped the water, holding the cup with trembling hands. After a few minutes, he started to chuckle.
"What?" House snarked. "Did you sit on that vibrating chair again? Do the two of you need a room?" Grinning, Wilson leaned back in his chair. "I can't believe you fainted in Cuddy's arms!" Minutes later, a loud splash and a strangled curse could be heard echoing down the corridor.
Cuddy, predictably, was next. Wilson had barely left to change his pants when she appeared at the end of his bed, arms crossed over her chest, eyebrow raised. House followed suit, smirking, and waited. Sure enough, after a few minutes, exasperation won, and she opened her mouth to speak. He cut in gleefully, voice still rasping painfully. " So, was I right?". She rolled her eyes at him. "Yes, well done", sarcastic, dry, "Legionnaires it is".
It was House's turn to roll his eyes. "Not me. What do you think I am, self-obsessed or something? Was I right about the kid?" She gave him an odd look, a mixture between admiration and exasperation, then shook her head. Resignedly, she flopped into Wilson's vacant chair.
"Tests were inconclusive-"
"They're always inconclusive" He interrupted her with a wince. She glared at him pointedly, and continued as if there had been no interruption, "-but it's looking likely. It's definitely our best explanation for all the symptoms." She paused, and he could tell that she was debating her next words. "Pleasant though it is to discover that you are capable of making a correct diagnosis without causing a malpractice suite, even while not at your best…" she trailed off, sighing. "I won't hold it against you if you tell me next time you're sick, just for a change." She smiled wryly. "It's getting a little ridiculous. The nurses are placing bets over where you'll collapse next."
House feigned an indignant frown. "It's only happened twice. Well, three times . Four if you count that time when-" suddenly he was coughing; hard, painful coughs, which were giving no sign of stopping. Clutching at his chest, which felt like it was being torn apart, he gasped for breath, black spots clouding his vision. Absently, he registered hands on his back, his chest, propping him up, but he was concentrating too hard on staying conscious to make any of the numerous inappropriate comments that instantly sprung to mind; which, on reflection, was probably a good thing. Pissing off the person controlling your oxygen flow was perhaps not the best idea.
It was nearly ten minutes later that the coughs started to trail off, and he flopped back onto his pillows exhausted. Eyes closed, he managed to rasp out, "Well, that was fun". Raising a hand, he weakly batted at the oxygen mask being pressed to his face, only to have his trembling fingers slapped away by an exasperated Cuddy. "Leave it on, House".
Glaring at her, he nonetheless obeyed, reluctantly recognising the need for the extra air, at least for a while. Rolling his eyes, he lowered his hand, using it instead to gesture at the foot of his bed, and his chart, raising an eyebrow as Cuddy started shaking her head. Keeping eye contact, he again reached towards the mask, daring her, and she sighed, resignedly passing him the desired chart. Grinning smugly, he absorbed himself in it, and, after a moment, she busied herself checking the monitors surrounding his bed.
After a few minutes, he laid down the papers and removed the mask, setting it aside. Cuddy rolled her eyes resignedly, but didn't say anything, evidently deciding that he had had enough oxygen. Or possibly realising the difficulties in speaking that could be caused by lack of air.
"You're going to get fits like that for a while. Weeks at least. Probably months. Your stubborn 'just a cold' stance really did a number on your lungs."
House shook his head dismissively, determinedly repressing a wince as he did so. "Legionnaires would have done that anyway, whenever I got treatment." He ignored her exasperated sigh as he gradually became aware of how much his body hurt. Whatever painkiller they'd given him must have been wearing off. His head and leg throbbed relentlessly, his throat felt like someone had sandpapered it, and his chest sent sharp pains ripping through his body every time he drew a breath. He could feel the congestion still in his lungs, rattling and crackling, making him feel a constant need to cough. Even after only having been awake for half an hour, the exhaustion seeping into his limbs was hard to ignore. Cuddy obviously saw this, as other than the sigh, she didn't try to argue with his statement, merely shaking her head as she prepared an injection for his IV.
Noticing her movements, he glared at her. "Now now, you wouldn't want me to become dependant on drugs, would you? Think how bad it would look to all the- hey!" The needle flashed into his line and he felt the drug flood into him.
As his eyes drooped closed, and he felt the oxygen mask replaced over his mouth, he frowned, squinting up at his boss. "That's … not … fair …" The last thing he saw was Cuddy's triumphant smirk as he slipped into sleep.
Smoothing his blankets absent mindedly, the hospital boss glanced around the room at the numerous monitors keeping track of the sleeping man's elevated heart rate and temperature, his oxygen flows and his pain medication, along with several other pieces of information. Rolling her eyes at the startlingly fragile form of the stubborn man in the bed, she left him to his rest, dimming the lights as she went.
Just a cold, indeed.
So, there it is. Or was, I suppose. Hope you enjoyed. Please review just one last time? Let me know what you thought, and any requests for the sequel.
Thanks so much for reading.
Thanx so much to all who reviewed, obsessedwithstabler, BlkDiamond, izzfrogger, KylaRyan, med-anomaly, kaydee, 1985laurie, Boys Don't Cry, Batman'sBeauty18, Neela149, Sparky the Wonder Weasel, band122005, Hatori Soma, DrifterSkip, Rosenkruez, restlesssoul, Krows Scared, RedClarinet5, Radon65, taifanficfan, kyu, IceStar4621, Miss Howlett, megatokyolover, callietitan.
Hope I didn't forget anyone - let me know if I did!
Also, for those who don't know what legionnaires is but want to, below is the link where I got most of my information (remove the spaces, and replace the word (dot) with the actual thing!):
www (dot) nhsdirect (dot) nhs (dot) uk/articles/article (dot) aspx? articleId 229