Three-Word Statements In Five Stages
–noun: an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc., is false
"House is dead."
There are many different sets of three-word statements Wilson has heard (and used) in his lifetime; three-word statements that conjure up the very essence of the message, in three powerful yet simple words: you have cancer, the tumor's inoperable, I'm going home, I want you, I hate you, I love you, please marry me, I'm getting married, I'm leaving you, I'm getting divorced, we are finished. These are all words he's mulled over for as long as it was necessary to before he neatly compartmentalised them and moved on.
But those three words he just heard about House are ringing in his ears.
House is dead. House is dead. House is dead. Like a mantra, over and over, his mind trying to sift through the magnitude of the words, yet unable to process their meaning.
Can't be true, another part of his mind says. Can't be. It just can't. House can't be dead. How is that possible? How is it possible that the great Gregory House is dead? It's not possible, it's not.
The cold, icy feeling seeping into his gut and crawling into his veins tells him it is, though. Something about the weight of the cold, the heaviness, the way it makes his stomach feel like lead has dropped into it. Coiling, churning, writhing around in the pit of his stomach like snakes slithering over each other. He still has the phone in his hand from when he'd answered it. It had been Cuddy, of all people, who phoned. Her voice was thick with disbelief, her attempts at wrangling professionalism over the top of how shocked she obviously felt, failing. A flight of stairs, she'd told Wilson; House had lost his footing, tumbled, fell down a flight of stairs and broke his neck.
Wilson had been so shocked that he'd laughed. He'd laughed. In disbelief, of course. Denial. Complete and utter denial. And Cuddy had hung up, leaving Wilson standing there where he was now, in the middle of his silent, empty apartment with those words echoing around in his head.
House is dead, House is dead, House is dead.
He numbly replaces the phone onto its cradle and then pushes his hands into his pockets, and stares at the wall. He can't feel anything. He doesn't know what he's supposed to feel. He doesn't believe that House is dead. But the more he lets his mind turn over that piece of news, the more he feels shock slowly starting to sink in. He hears a roaring sound in his head, like white noise, while his skin prickles with coldness.
Wilson finds himself automatically trying to picture House's face, and he's horrified to realise that, for some reason, he can't remember what he looks like. It's like his mind is refusing to let him remember, because remembering would mean acknowledging that it's true; that House is dead.
House is dead. House is dead.
No, he's not. He's not. How can he be dead when Wilson only saw him yesterday before finishing work? He frowns as he tries to recall how the conversation went in his office, when House had barged in, and -- again, to his horror -- Wilson can't seem to remember anything about it. It's as though he's trying to remember a dream he just woke up from; a dream that instantly starts to fade around the edges the moment consciousness takes over.
Wilson doesn't know how long he stands there, staring at the wall. Five minutes? Five hours? He doesn't know. But when he finally moves away, he feels heavy and weightless at the same time, as though he's floating in space and unable to properly coordinate himself to walk.
When he grabs up his jacket and car keys to go to the hospital, he's certain that when he gets there he'll find it's been all a joke and House will be there in his office laughing at him, and Wilson will feel anger at first for being made a fool of before relief settles in and he begins to laugh with him.
Yeah. That's what'll happen, he thinks to himself as he shuts the door of his apartment behind him.
–noun: a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.
It's been a month since House died.
Wilson has spent that month silent, closed off, in denial. He goes to work, walks past House's office and he's certain, each and every time, that he'll see House sitting there at his desk, or standing at his whiteboard, or coming out of his office. When Wilson goes down to the cafeteria, he's certain that House's hand will come out of nowhere and steal his fries. When he consults with a patient, he's certain House's cane is going to be heard obnoxiously thump-thumping on his door.
He wakes up to a sunny October morning, and that familiar numb feeling is there. He goes about the motions of the day, getting ready for work, eating breakfast, checking his voicemail, driving to work, still feeling numb, empty, in denial. He consults with several patients, goes to lunch, meets up with Cuddy, who seems to be as distant as Wilson is feeling while trying to maintain her professional stance, and he eventually returns to his office.
Fresh air, he decides. He needs some fresh air. He goes out onto the balcony that separates his office from House's, and he stands by the wall with his hands braced against it. Breathes in, breathes out, in, out, his eyes closed and when he opens his eyes again he glances at House's office.
If House was there, he'd probably be barging out of his office now, announcing something to Wilson that would make Wilson retort cynically, or maybe make him smile. If House was there, if House was there.
Out of nowhere, Wilson feels a spark of anger. It's the first thing he's really felt in a month. It's only slight. But it's there.
If House was there, if House was alive. If House hadn't fallen down those fucking stairs. House, stupid House, stupid fucking House.
Wilson swallows thickly as he stares at the door to House's office, and the feeling of anger swells in him, and swells, and swells. Like hands clawing out of the pit of his stomach and creeping up to seize him around the throat. This isn't fair, this isn't right. Why the hell did House have to be such a fucking idiot? Why did he have to be near those stairs? Why stairs, of all fucking things? Why couldn't Wilson have been there with him? Maybe if he had been House would never have fallen, and he'd still be here. And he'd be walking out of that office right now, out onto the balcony, declaring some epiphany he'd had about idiots, or God, or people, or human nature, and then demanding in the same breath that Wilson buy him lunch.
The anger feels almost sickening with how strong it feels. Twisting in his gut, aflame, burning, simmering. Out of nowhere, this anger erupted. As though his mind suddenly switched itself on after a month of being stunned into silence.
Wilson looks away from House's office and tries to quell his anger, and when that doesn't work, he pushes himself away from the balcony wall and silently walks back into his office. It's a good thing his office door that leads out into the hospital corridor is shut, because when Wilson reaches his desk, he leans against it with his hands for a moment before he suddenly clenches his fist and pounds onto the surface. Hard and loudly, hard enough that it leaves a painful throbbing feeling in his hand.
He wants to punch, hit, hurt, bruise, and strike out at something or someone. House, maybe. If House was here. But he's not, and that fact makes Wilson slam his clenched fist onto his desk in anger and frustration again, this time keeping it pressed against the desk so the pain reverberates up his wrist and forearm.
I hate you, he thinks. A three-word statement. Not House is dead, but I hate you. I hate you, House, for what you did. You idiot. You stupid fucking moron. I hate you.
Wilson heaves a deep breath and then pushes himself away from the desk, before he rounds it and slumps in his chair. He props his elbows on the edge of the desk and drops his head in his hands, waiting for the anger to dissipate.
Five hours later, when he's packing up to go home the anger is still there, thick and heavy as ever.
-noun: something offered or acquired at an advantageous price
It's been three months since House died.
Wilson knows sex doesn't solve a thing. He knows that. He deliberately doesn't let himself think that as he presses his mouth to Beth's, a pretty, young oncology nurse he'd chatted up in the cafeteria. He'd asked her out for coffee after work, chatted over two lattes and before he knew it he was back at his apartment with Beth.
The anger he'd felt, he'd hated every minute of it. Two months, that deep, volatile anger bubbled away inside him. But now, here he was, attempting to bargain away his grief with empty pleasure. He can't quite work out how he went from feeling nothing but hatred towards House, to this. Perhaps it's been slowly happening over the last few weeks. Slowly, but surely.
But god, Beth feels good up against his body. She's short but well-rounded, with curves in all the right places, decent handful-sized breasts, and a mouth that kisses in a way that promises him with much more to come. Wilson focuses all of his energy into her, shredding her clothes off piece by piece while she tugs his shirt and his pants off him. Like this, he can push House far into the back of his mind, bargaining grief for sex. Sounds like a good bargain to him right now. Sounds very good, especially when Beth sinks to her knees and he feels her mouth close over his cock and start to suck him off.
There's no House is dead or I hate you running through his head. But there is, "I want you," spilling from his mouth when Beth pulls away from him before he can get a chance to come.
I want you, I want to not think about House, I want to fuck you until I can't think or feel. I want you, I want you, I want you.
The orgasm he has when he fucks Beth into his mattress is the most powerful he's had in a while; that might have something to do with the fact that he hasn't had sex in a long while. It might have something to do with how good she is in bed.
It might have something to do with how much Wilson is aiming to bargain away his grief.
He doesn't think about that, though.
He tries not to think about it when he falls asleep next to Beth, or when he wakes up in the morning to find her gone. He tries not to think about it when he brings Beth back to his place again the following Friday night, or how much he bargains his grief away by screwing her senseless, until after about a month of doing this she finally has enough of him.
–noun: a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason
It's been five months since House died.
Wilson doesn't wake up in the mornings very well anymore. He wakes up tired and lethargic, like he has the weight of the world resting on his shoulders. His days aren't much better, though he's good at pretending he's okay. He can still smile that same charming, professional smile and he can still joke when he's supposed to, but it's all empty. He feels empty.
House's death has slowly started to sink in, and Wilson hates that. He hates how he no longer expects House to turn up in his office, or to turn up in the cafeteria to steal his fries, or to turn up in the middle of a consult with one of Wilson's cancer patients. He feels like he can't feel. Ironically. Yet, at the same time, he feels grief slowly starting to strangle him.
The thing that depresses Wilson the most is that he's beginning to remember again. He's beginning to remember House's face, that roguish smile, the blue eyes, the way he'd smirk, the way he'd frown, the way he'd talk, the way he'd laugh. Sometimes Wilson finds himself getting lost in thought about House and the times they had together. The painful part of that is finally realising -- after five long months -- that he's never going to have any of those times with House again.
He's sitting in his apartment, staring at the television. Nothing important or interesting is on, though nothing seems interesting to Wilson at all lately. Everything feels dull and pointless, and useless. But he finds himself thinking about House again and before he knows it he's up off the sofa and walking across to the bookcase, where he keeps his photos. Sitting himself on the floor with his back against the wall, he pulls out the photo album that has pictures of him and House when they went away to Colorado for a week. It was just a random vacation that Wilson had suggested as a joke more than anything, after the finalization of his third marriage, and to his surprise, House had agreed to it.
He opens the album, and the first picture he sees is of House glaring at the camera. That had been taken early in the morning when they were supposed to be going out for the day. House had bitched that he wanted coffee if Wilson expected him to be up that early; Wilson had responded by whipping the camera out and taking a snapshot of House's morning bitterness. House hadn't been impressed.
Wilson finds himself smiling slightly at the memory.
He turns the page, and on the next page is a photo of House and Wilson sitting at a table in a restaurant, eating a meal. The waitress had taken that picture, and while Wilson is smiling in the photo, House is scowling. He hated having his photo taken.
He turns the page again. A photo of House, sleeping this time. He'd got drunk at the bar, and when they returned to the room he'd passed out on the bed, limbs splayed, shirt rumpled up over his stomach, head hanging over the edge of the bed and a thin line of drizzle oozing from his mouth. Wilson'd had a moment of being immature and took the photo for amusement's sake.
Wilson finds himself smiling slightly at that memory, too.
Again, he turns the page. It's him and House again, standing close together outside the lodge they'd stayed in for the week, except this time House is smiling. It's a big, broad smile; he'd been laughing at something Wilson had said when the photo was taken, and Wilson in the photo is looking at House with an equally large, laughing smile. It's a candid shot, one of the only pictures Wilson has of House smiling like that.
Wilson doesn't realise he's crying until two tears drop down onto the photo album. He wipes them away quickly, trying to pull himself together, but he finds another two tears leaking out. And another. And another. He leaves the photo album open and forgotten on the floor, and covers his face with his hand, and starts to silently weep.
And for the first time in five months, he finds himself thinking, I miss you.
-noun: The act or process of accepting.
It's been almost a year since House has died.
On the mantelpiece in Wilson's living room stands, in a silver frame, that very same picture of House and him; the one where House is laughing and Wilson is smiling. Each morning that he passes the mantelpiece he looks at that picture, and sometimes he smiles. And sometimes he finds himself thinking, I love you.
It's the closest he'll ever get to acceptance.