He stretched when he woke, and reached to the other side of the bed. He expected to connect with a warm body, and thought to open his eyes to see House laying next to him. The other side of the bed was unoccupied, and he snapped his eyes open with the sudden memory that he wasn't at home. He blinked as the figure at the end of the bed came in to focus. She wore only a T-shirt, and her hair hung in ringlets around her face.
"What are you doing?" He pushed himself up to the pillows.
Her head snapped up and she looked at him, guilty, like a cat with the bird still in its mouth. "Who is Dr House?" she asked, recovering from being caught, and holding up his wallet. She'd been looking at the pictures. "Cute kids. Is he the guy in all these pictures?"
Wilson didn't look at the pictures often, but he knew them well. Most of them were House and the girls. His left hand went to the back of his neck. "I don't know what you're talking about." He pulled at his neck and lifted his eyes up to look at her as she sat on the edge of the bed.
She flipped the wallet back to the driver's license and thrust her arm out, holding it an inch from his face. "Says here you're Dr Wilson."
Wilson shook his head. "No."
"No what? This is your wallet, your picture. The name isn't House." Wilson's hand dropped to his lap. He looked away, but her hand on his jaw forced him to look back at her. His eyes closed. She sighed. "Hey. I just want to know what's going on here. Who is Dr House? He's your emergency contact number, so he must be somebody."
Wilson opened his eyes, and he opened his mouth, but there were no words. He shook his head and set his jaw in an effort to hold back a surge of emotion that threatened to over take him. She was looking at the pictures, and he couldn't stop himself looking too. A picture of House with Alexa's arms around his neck and Adira in his lap. He remembered it well, that picture had been taken on Adira's second birthday. Wilson blinked rapidly, and his head fell forward as he lost the battle and tears spilled down his cheeks.
She stood, still clutching his wallet, and paced at the end of the bed. He rolled onto his side and clutched a pillow to his chest. He knew he should pull himself together. He should give her some sort of explanation.
He had no idea how long he cried. It might have been five minutes, or five hours. Eventually he felt his wallet thump the bed, and he managed to pull himself together enough to look up at her. She had what appeared to be work clothes in her hand. "You need to leave so I can get ready for work."
He rubbed furiously at his face with both hands. "I owe you an explanation."
"We had a good time last night, Doctor. You don't owe me anything." His hands dropped away from his face and he reached for his wallet. "It's all there," she nodded toward him. "If you want to count it."
He shook his head. If she'd taken the cash he'd gotten from the bank, he deserved it. "He's my partner." Wilson's lip trembled along with his voice. "He was in an accident a few day ago."
Wilson opened his wallet to the picture from Adira's birthday and tapped his finger over House's face. "I love him, and I…I can't sit around, waiting for him to wake up, because when he wakes up and realizes what's happened to him, he's going to die inside."
She reached up to touch his face. "You shouldn't be here."
"You don't understand." Wilson took in a deep breath, held it for a long moment, then released it through his nose. "You don't know House."
"I know enough to know he's a lucky guy, and you should be with him." She dropped her hand to cover his hand and gave a gentle squeeze. "What ever happened to him, he's alive, and I'm guessing you're the first one he's going to be looking for when he does wake up."
Wilson mashed his lips together and looked away. He focused his gaze on a spot on the ceiling until he felt he could talk. He turned her hand over in his and patted the back with his other hand. "Thank you."
"I've got ice chips," Cuddy approached the side of House's bed when she saw that he was awake. She didn't expect him to show any interest in the chips, but it was something to say. She dug a chip out and held it out to him. He closed his eyes and held his lips together, jaw set against her.
She sighed and dropped the ice back into the cu and set it aside. House didn't open his eyes, and after a moment she sat down in the yellow chair again. The tube had been removed from his throat almost three hours earlier. She'd expected him to talk, if only to ask about Wilson. Aside from coughing and wheezing, he hadn't mad a sound. He hadn't asked about Wilson, hadn't asked about the girls, hadn't asked what happened. He looked away or closed is eyes when Cuddy spoke to him.
She knew it would take time. He needed time to process what was happening around him. Knowing him like she did, she knew his mind was trying to structure what he knew like a puzzle, and he was attempting to fit the pieces together to make a bigger picture. The question was how much he knew, and what holes punctured his memory and skewed his facts, and this puzzle.
"I wish you'd talk to me," she sat forward on the edge of the chair and put a hand out to his arm, her fingers traveling down to his hand. He still held the picture she'd put in his grip the night before, though he hadn't looked at it. She wondered what he thought it was, if he even knew it was a picture. She tried to pry it loose, but his hand tightened. "Tell me what you're feeling, what you're thinking."
His eyes fluttered, his face tensed. She knew he was about to cough, and she reached up to support his head and his shoulder so he could lean a little to the side. The effort left him wheezing and exhausted, misery etched into his features. She smoothed the hair back from his face, her palm caressing his forehead long after he drifted into a restless sleep.
"Stubborn jerk," she muttered.