a/n: First off, a big thanks to Merlin71 and JennifferButterfly for hearing my idea and encouraging me to do this based on rough notes and ideas.
I'm a dissenter. There was enough lazy writing and glaring problems with Merry Little Christmas (as with many episodes this year) that I'm going to be a vilgante fanfic writer and try to redo the episode myself to my liking. Is the idea crazy? Sure, but I was up for a challenge. Here are the nitpicks I aim to address.
Everyone was so out of character. Except Chase. He had no character. He had no lines. That's getting fixed.
Cameron is being written as too much of an uneven bitch. She was way too righteous in this episode. I'm toning it down a notch.
Can Cuddy actually run a hospital? Why was everyone so hard on Wilson? I plan on fixing those glaring character flaws.
The diagnosis process. I looked up Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis on Medline. It was so freaking obvious upon reading those symptoms that it was the diagnosis that I'm having trouble believing that five highly skilled doctors missed that. Especially when Chase actually suggested it and they quickly brushed it off. That was wrong on so many levels. Despite his brilliance, House is not the only freaking doctor in this hospital. His team when working together can function when he is not around by now. They aren't as brilliant, but they shouldn't be missing the obvious either.
Tritter. I'm creating an ending where he goes away.
There is no way responsible doctors and friends would let House detox like that. There are simpler and safer options. They should have known that he would harm himself or score more drugs on his own. I have come up with another way that is completely plausible.
This fic is a huge experiment. There were roughly 34 scenes in the episode that aired. I think only about 9 of them were fine as they were. The rest are replaced with new scenes or changed. For the scenes from the episode that I liked, I showed a few lines from that scene and some internal dialogue. For the scenes I edited and replaced, I wrote in story format. It may seem a little jagged because there are a multiple number of scenes, so consider it cross between an episode and a story. Hopefully it works!
Detective Tritter knew that House was too stubborn to see reason. He was doing his part to play good cop, but he was secretly relishing the fact that he now had Wilson's testimony and House was going to jail. The case was now solid. He also enjoyed watching this stubborn man go down defiantly. He was sure House thought it was bravery, but he knew this was an act of plain cowardice.
"Knock it off. Look, I don't care why Dr. Wilson is doing this. Right now, it makes no difference to me but you need to deal with the reality of your current situation. Want to stand on principle, you end up in a cell. And you end up never practicing medicine again. So you've got two choices, your principle or your life."
"Get out of my office." House ordered after glancing at the two men.
Tritter grabbed his coat, trying hard not to let his satisfied smile show. "The DA put a clock on the deal. You've got 3 days to decide."
"You did what!?" Cuddy exclaimed at Wilson's admission. "Shouldn't you see the head of the hospital before cutting such a deal?"
"I had no choice. He's out of control and is willing to sacrifice himself for nothing. I don't understand why you haven't suspended him. He almost ruined a little girl's life and punched out an employee in the lobby. How is he getting away with that?"
"I spoke with Dr. Chase the day after it happened. He didn't want to make a big deal over it and refused to file a complaint. I wish he had so I had a valid reason to suspend House." Cuddy was really using that as an excuse. She almost suspended him anyway, but knew he would be hanging around all the time asking for pills.
"We need to do something."
"He's our best doctor. We need him and he can still practice medicine with proper meds." She needed him right now to take the case of her dwarf patient. He saw something she didn't.
"If we don't deal, your best doctor is going to jail and will never practice medicine again. How is that going to help the hospital? I got us a win-win here."
"It involves taking control of his life away from House. That is losing scenario. He will never forgive us or allow it to happen. Have you ever thought that people will just see it as you trying to save yourself? That is the way House is going to see it."
"We have been wrong this entire time. We have been leaving proper pain management in the hands of a junkie. That is no different than letting the nuts run the asylum. He's brilliant with other people, but he is still destroying himself."
"So you think cutting a deal with the cop is the answer. You think two months of forced rehab is actually going to help him?"
Wilson sighed in frustration. He didn't have all the answers, but he wasn't sure what else to do. "It was the best way to get Tritter to go away. He can't keep on going like this. Rehab is better than nothing."
"He'll never do it. He will go to rehab and detox painfully. They will watch him for two months, and then when he is back and in pain again he'll likely go back to his old ways. He can't change."
"None of us have a choice anymore, including House. If we don't force the issue, House isn't the only one going down. Tritter could take all of us with him."
Cuddy grabbed her forehead and shook her head in frustration. She had no answers for this mess. She was allowing this situation to spiral out of control and it was threatening the reputation of the hospital. She was having a hard time separating what was best for the man verses what was best for everyone else.
Wilson continued. "When dealing with a child you take away what he loves the most. We have to force him to take the deal by cutting off from his meds. Once he is in pain, he'll see reason."
Cuddy knew how risky an option that was. "We know what will happen if we just cut him off. He'll detox again and be in insufferable pain. When he's like that, his actions cannot be controlled. He could end up hurting himself and possibly someone else. He's very smart. He will get his hands on drugs somehow."
"Is there another answer?" Wilson didn't have any more ideas.
"Cold turkey is dangerous. We should offer to help detox him ourselves first, then he goes to rehab without having to go through that."
"He only has three days to respond."
"Rapid detox takes one to two. His team is experienced with the process."
"You want to get his team involved?"
"Do we have a choice? They have the right to be part of this. They are suffering from all this too."
Wilson hadn't considered this option and needed time to consider it. "How will we get him to agree to this? We can only help him detox if he agrees to go to rehab."
"Don't worry. The pain and withdrawal will convince him that this is the most reasonable option. In the meantime, I'll force the issue."
"Did you get that looked at?"
"I'm fine." Chase was surprised House even acknowledged his handy work. He knew that his question was the closest thing he was ever going to get to an apology.
House only wanted to focus on the case. Chase was fine with that, but Cameron and Foreman had their own ideas. "Take the deal," they told him. Did they really think that he was going to give in? House had too much pride. Chase didn't want to think about it too much though because he didn't really care anymore. Nothing was going to change and in the end they would all be out of jobs and the medical career of their boss ruined. He only now wanted to figure out why a dwarf's lung collapsed.
"Gold star for Cameron." Give me a break, Chase thought. He could never understand why he was always getting crap for sucking up yet Cameron was worse at approval seeking than he was. Let Cameron go do her Gallion scan under the blessing of the great Dr. House. He had better things to do and he certainly didn't need House's approval to do it.
"Care to go for a spin?" Cameron heard House say some pretty outrageous things, but that crossed a line. She wasn't sure if it was his recent erratic behavior or if he was just being himself. Either way, he was being disruptive and slowing down her process.
"House, get out. I have work to do here."
"Ooh, I'm interrupting Saint Cameron right now. She has real work to do. I'll be in my office."
The mother had a hard time figuring out why House still had a job. "I get that he is good, but how does he get away with that? Aren't there rules about behavior for doctors? Isn't there some type of sensitivity training in your line of work?"
"Dr. House has always been the exception to the rule." Cameron replied.
Exception to the rule he always was. Cameron always recognized his brilliance and trusted his judgment. She knew that Cuddy and Wilson gave him the pills so he could keep being brilliant and save lives. Wasn't the last case proof enough that he cannot function without his vicodin? Part of her knew though that he was taking too many and his pain issues were getting out of control. She didn't have the answers, but forcing House to deal with it was wrong. He needed to be helped on his terms, not hurt. She was probably just as bad an enabler and Wilson and Cuddy, but she didn't care. The pills do more good than harm in this case. The exception to the rule.
House was in the zone. His mind was clearly focused on only one thing. Why didn't the liver show up on the Gallion scan as bright as the other organs?
"House, we need to talk," Cuddy told him as she entered the office.
"I'm not taking the deal, glad we talked. Ultrasound her liver."
"Stand up. Your turn."
"House, you're off the case. Your treatment privileges are suspended until you accept Tritter's deal."
"Your not going to take the deal just so I can have fun of treating a dwarf, so I assume there's more to this threat."
"I'm also cutting off your vicodin." Cuddy didn't want to do this in front of his staff, but he left her no choice.
"That could work."
"I'm taking over as attending. Get an MRI of the lungs."
"This is not lung cancer."
"We'll find out as soon as we MRI her lungs." She waved the three underlings along. They all got up and went right to it. They certainly weren't going to defy an order from the Dean of Medicine.
"You're going to come begging to me to save this girl long before I come begging for pills." House said in a condescending tone.
"House, what choice have you left me with? You think I can just do nothing and let this continue? This isn't about you anymore. The entire hospital is being affected by this. This will not go away on its own. We are foolish to think that anymore."
"This place would run just fine if I was allowed to do my job without pain."
"You almost ruined a little girl's life and punched Chase who at the time was only trying to get you to see your mistake. How can I allow that behavior to continue?"
"I was in pain. None of that would have happened if you had given me what I needed."
"Don't you mean what you want? What you need is no longer reasonable, and we are being forced now to deal with it. Don't you realize that not only will you go to jail, but you will never be able to practice medicine again? You are willing ruin your life and countless others patients that you can save over stupid pride? I don't like it anymore than you do, but we have to do something now."
House turned his back and waved her off, ignoring anything she had to say.
Cuddy sighed. She wasn't getting anywhere. "Are you ready to hear another option?"
"I don't like options unless it involved my pills."
"You are an addict. We can do this the easy way or the hard way."
"Vicodin is the easy way. Tritter can go to hell. You need to sick a good hospital lawyer on him. I'm sure he has crossed too many legal boundaries of his own. I don't know why you are tolerating this."
"This option will help you." Cuddy replied ignoring his rant.
"I don't want to be helped! I want to go back to what worked."
"Rapid detox. I don't want to see you suffer. I'll let you go through that if you agree to go to rehab afterward. That way you can go off the vicodin without suffering from painful withdrawal. After it is out of your system, they'll help you find better ways to manage your pain in rehab."
"That's your option? Oh why didn't I think of that before? Oh yeah, because it won't work! I had a perfectly fine pain management system before all this happened."
"It's either that or you go through painful withdrawal on your own."
"I can't be sedated. You are going to need my help on this case."
"It's only for 24 to 48 hours."
"Yes and when your patient's vital organs start shutting down and she dies before I wake up, you'll realize that you killed a patient for the wrong reason."
"That won't happen."
"Oh yes it will."
"Then I'll have to take my chances. Take time to think about it. I have a feeling you will see reason once the pain gets unbearable."
House just scowled as she left the office. He wasn't in the mood to deal with her right now. He had to find a way to score a fix.
"This is wrong." Cameron said as they were performing the MRI.
"Cutting House off? Might not work but it's not wrong." Foreman certainly didn't have another solution.
Chase was too focused on the lung scan. He tried to tune out his colleagues. "Bone windows look clean."
"Because it's effective doesn't make it right."
"Cuddy's bending the rules to get a patient to do the right thing. We work for a doctor like that."
"And the ends justify the means?"
"Ends involve us keeping our jobs, sure. Lung parenchyma is clean. No masses. It's not lung cancer." Chase didn't want hear any talk about House.
"Is that all you care about, your job?" Cameron asked Chase.
"Other than my job, it's none of my business." He replied while still focusing on the image in front of him.
"It's because he hit you," Cameron blurted, offended by Chase's indifference and lack of loyalty.
All of a sudden there was trouble with Abigail. The three doctors rushed in right as she started vomiting blood. It may not be the lungs, but something was definitely wrong.
"What causes liver disease and a collapsed lung?"
Cameron, Foreman, Chase, Wilson all gathered with Cuddy in her office to discuss their new case. The endoscopy and the blood work confirmed that her liver was failing.
A myriad of possible conditions flew back and forth among all of them, but the discussion ended with Cameron and Wilson sniping at each other over autoimmune vs. cancer. Foreman though it was hepatitis and Chase believed drugs and alcohol were to blame. In the end, there were four doctors in the room all with dissenting opinions.
Wilson knew he wouldn't get approval for his actions, but Cameron was acting of line. She lived in much of the same denial as House. She would also throw everything away just so she could stand on principle. To her there was only ever black or white with any issue. There was never grey area. He had trouble understanding that way of thinking. He also never liked how she couldn't separate her personal feelings with her professional behavior. He thought she would have learned by now that mixing such emotions usually ended badly. He hated how House always let her get away with it.
"I'll do a liver biopsy to confirm," Foreman said.
"I'll search the patient's home for drugs or alcohol," Chase added.
As they turned to leave Cuddy stopped them. "Wait, we have another matter to discuss."
Cuddy looked at Wilson, who decided he would do the talking. "We are trying to convince House to do rapid detox."
"Why does he need to go through that? He just needs his vicodin." Cameron wasn't about to let them put her mentor through such torture. "We can't give into Tritter. What he is doing is wrong."
Foreman was skeptical for different reasons. "I agree something needs to be done so he doesn't go through painful detox again. Each time seems to get worse. House won't allow it though."
"You leave that part to us." Wilson replied. "You have done this sort of thing with other patients before right?"
"Yes. For opiate withdrawal he would go under light anesthesia for 24 to 48 hours in the ICU. He will need constant monitoring and medication for nausea and other symptoms." Foreman had done this enough for others, although he had to admit Chase had far more experience.
"That's where we were hoping all of you could help." Wilson pleaded. "He will need round the clock monitoring."
Chase, who sat away from the others in the opposite corner when Wilson started speaking, had yet to say a word. He decided he'd heard enough. He got up and headed toward the door.
"Where are you going?" An incredulous Cameron asked.
"I'm not doing this," he replied bitterly as he opened the door and left.
Everyone remaining in the office looked at each other not sure what to make of what just happened.
"I'll talk to him." Foreman volunteered.
"No, I'll do it." Wilson countered. "Okay we'll let you know if House goes for it. You will have to be available on a moments notice if he does."
Everyone took that as their cue to leave and go about their duties. No one had much confidence that the plan would work. This was House after all and if it wasn't on his terms, it likely would fail. Still, they had to try something.
a/n: If you liked this, I'll go on. You got to let me know though! As a teaser, Chapter 2 has a great Chase and Wilson scene where they discuss the aspects of addiction. You don't get to see it if you aren't interested!