My fingers are twisted around the lever. I've pulled it down. I just haven't actually pushed it in. I'm too afraid to.
Me? Afraid of my co-workers? Sounds stupid, doesn't it… Ridiculous. What're they going to do, eat me? The worst thing they can do is reject me, tell me to go to hell for making them worry about me.
I'm thinking maybe the rejection just might hurt more than the cannibalism.
I release my grip on the handle. I can't bring myself to walk in there. I can imagine the looks they'll give me. Cameron will have that weird look that's halfway between an injured child and an angry housewife. Chase will have that sad puppy look – which by the way is entirely creepy. He's far too old to use that look seriously. And Foreman… Foreman will just stare. Blankly. In that way of his that makes me want to pick him up by his ankle and shake him until money falls out. And then, in one way or another, they'll all dismiss me and go about their lovely, lovely lives, starting with dinner.
I have no place here.
"Pizza with a friend..."
Right! I could call Wilson. He still likes me. Even if I am an asshole. Even if I treat him like dirt. Even if he's always been my fall guy…
I shake my head. No, can't call him either.
Anything. C'mon. Anything…
Cuddy's going to hate me the most, I know it. I've always treated her like a common whore. Always the cleavage comments. And that pathetic show of perversity grabbing her ass in her own home. I wonder if she knows that I don't actually feel like that. I respect her, amazingly enough. I respect all of them, to a degree. Some more than others. Cuddy and Wilson are at the top, though. Cuddy for never firing me or sending me to jail, even though that's obviously where I belong. And Wilson for calling me his 'friend' no matter what I've done to him.
Why am I even still here?
This is going to sound weird, but I scare me.
I'm afraid of my own head.
Because…I don't think it's under my control anymore.
When you're afraid of your own brain, there's something wrong. I have to admit the idea of me, House, having a drug addiction is frightening in and of itself. But pretending to be dying of cancer just to get high? They were all right. All of them. Even Tritter.
I just laughed out loud at myself. There are people looking at me funny.
Tritter was right. I used to think he was just out for revenge, that he was a pathetic being who was below me. But really, he was all for justice, like any other cop. He wanted the dangerous, pompous drug addict out of the hospital – a place where people should be treated, not mocked and berated.
I made fun of a fucking bulimic. Am I sick?
Maybe. Probably. Definitely.
I'm totally lost. I've been walking for a good hour and a half now, I have no idea where the restaurant is, or ever was. I've turned down a bunch of back streets that I don't recognize the names of. There's music coming from someone's open window… Looks like I'm in some kind of ghetto. Woo, this is good. Way to go, Greg. You're going to get shot again.
Of course, just I think that, some black kid jumps out of an alleyway with a gun pointed at my face. I look up from the ground. For a moment, he says nothing, then he looks at my cane. He stares at my shoes, my coat, then back up at me. He lowers his gun.
"Damn, homie. Whatever money you got, you keep it. You need it more than me."
And off he limps in that weird gangsta way kids do these days, and he's disappeared around the corner.
He thought I was homeless.
I think I've lost it.
Mind you, when someone's "lost it", that usually implies they can't think. Not straight, anyway. Then again, I'm not thinking straight, so I guess maybe I have lost it.
Eventually, after walking for what seems like forever, I'm in front of this abandoned building. Looks like it'll be torn down any day… Assuming someone gets around to it. It's in the middle of a nowhere ghetto, after all.
I don't know why I'm going in… There's nothing there. What am I looking for? An imaginary friend?
I walk up the front steps. The door's bolted shut. There's a sign, "Do not enter", doesn't say why. I break the lock with my cane, flimsy thing that it is, and wander in.
The reception hall isn't particularly welcoming, or even descriptive of what this place used to be, so I go up the stairs around the corner of what looks like might've been an office at some time.
I reach the top, and there's a dirty old bathroom ahead of me. I push open the door and nearly throw up, backing away and letting it swing shut again. The smell is enough to kill a large rodent. I look down the hall and start walking. I peer into each of the small rooms along the way. Scattered remains of the alphabet, workbooks and a few surviving desks – and I use the term "surviving" loosely here – tell me that this was once a school.
When I reach the end, I'm in front of the janitor's closet. I open the door, God knows why. Nothing ever interesting has ever been found in a damn janitor's closet. It's too dark to see, being the time of night it is. I look at my watch and realize it's stopped. I raise my wrist to my ear and shake it. Weird rattling noise. I shrug and look for a glint of metal – ah. There it is. I pull the string.
It's small, maybe three-feet-by-five-feet. Small tub for disposing of dirty water a foot away from the door. Mops on the walls, brooms, all hanging like they could fall off any minute. It's weird – this seems to be the cleanest room in the whole school.
That's when I notice a length of rope tucked up on a shelf. I'm not sure why, but I grab it.
Then I turn and notice another staircase. I wander up, stumbling. The stairs are actually crumbling beneath my feet; my cane can barely find traction on any step.
When I finally reach the top, I'm surprised to find a completely empty, useless hall. There are no rooms except the room leading to the next staircase at the other end. Why would this be here if there's nothing here? I shake my head. My vision is blurring. Maybe I should've gone into the restaurant anyway… I should've eaten…
Suddenly, my knees give out from underneath me. I black out.
When I wake up, my head is killing me. I vaguely remember a dream… I must've been out for a while, though… It's completely silent and, if possible, even darker than before. Must be past midnight, or thereabouts. I pull myself up carefully and wait for the vertigo to pass before I brush myself off.
That's when it hits me. The whole weird dream comes screaming back to me. I'd seen Wilson talking to Cuddy, then they'd looked my way, and shook their heads in this sort of pitying way… And Cameron and Chase and Foreman were there, too. I don't know why, but they were all laughing and smiling and playing Mario Kart. Maybe it's a sign to lay off the video games. I laugh out loud at my own silent joke. But I'm not laughing for long, because then I remember seeing myself through someone else's eyes; I'm in a straitjacket in a padded room. Then I'm standing in front of a building. I can only see the silhouette of it, there's purple smoke covering the grounds. Then I'm in this hall… The hall I'm in right now, it was in my dream… I saw a crack in the wall… Then I saw me, standing on a balcony, and when I look back at myself looking at me, my eyes… Look so weird. So much more blue than usual. They look sad.
I've never really looked at myself in the mirror for long. I wonder if this is what I looked like to everyone else. Maybe they really don't like me. They just pity me…
How stupid could I have been…? That's when my head snaps up. I look back down at the floor. My cane, the rope I'd picked up – but now there's a hammer lying in front of me. I pick it up along with the rest and twirl it around in my hands curiously. That's when I look back up through the hall. I remember. I start searching the walls for a crack.
I find it.
Immediately I throw my cane and the rope back down on the ground and start hammering away at the crack in the wall. Within seconds it's a heart-shaped hole the size of my foot. I tilt my head curiously and lean down to look through.
A window. A huge window. White see-through curtains.
Wait. Is someone there?
I start hammering away again. Eventually the hole is large enough for me to duck through. I do so.
The room isn't as big as I'd thought it'd be. It's rectangular, maybe fifteen feet long and ten feet wide at most. The ceiling's pretty high, though, considering the size of the room. But then there's the huge window. It's like a bay window, except it very nearly reaches the floor. The curtains are blowing, but I can't feel wind passing through the open doors. I walk through and look out into the night.
Police sirens. A woman yelling at her husband. Teenagers talking in the street. A dog barking. I guess I didn't walk as far from that little building ghetto as I'd thought. I survey the horizon of rooftops. The moon is full. The stars are bright. The sky is practically black, except for the little hint of blue at the bottom. I want to smile, but I can't. Somehow, my mouth muscles won't move. I look back into the room. There's a desk in the corner of the unused half. There's a chair in the middle, right below a fan.
I look down at my pockets where I stashed the rope when I'd finished hammering away at the wall. I pull it out and stare at it. It's so clean. I couldn't figure out why everything in that room had managed to stay clean…
I wander to the middle of the room and look up at the fan. It's sort of old, but like everything else in this room, it looks pretty sturdy. Pristine, too. This room must've been sealed away long before the school was shut down.
The chair's pretty steady too. I'd almost think it was nailed to the floor. Except it moves when I budge it lightly.
I find myself gripping onto the chair back. I'm still staring at the fan.
Wilson's face floats in front of my face. Then Cuddy's. Cameron. Chase, tears in his eyes, like when he'd hugged me. Foreman. Blank stare, as always. Then it's just the fan again, and I've made my decision.
Doctors work for the greater good. If saving a thousand patients means sacrificing one or two, you do what you have to. You work with what you've got to make the world a better place; you push the limits if that's what it takes.
You do whatever you need to ensure a brighter future.
I never did that.
But now I am.
I mount the chair and tie the rope around the neck of the fan. Knot it. Pull it tight. Tug a couple times to make sure the fan won't fall.
Then I make a noose and lower it around my own neck.
Some voice in my head is telling me, you can stop right now, you know. You can stop and turn around and go home, and turn up at work tomorrow like nothing's happened, and make fun of everyone again. But another is saying, No, you can't. Haven't you fucked up enough? It's over.
I surprise myself and agree with the second voice.
As I tighten the noose, I hear the voices of all my co-workers, my family. My friends, if I'd ever really had any. I'm still not sure. I guess I never will be.
I take one last breath just as the first real wind comes through the window. Fresh night air. The last I'll ever breathe.
Last tear I'll ever shed.
I kick the chair.
A/N: So, first deathfic I've ever written, but after that last episode where Greg fakes cancer, I really wanted to. The Goth Plot Bunny demanded it. (For reference, this was written March 7th, 2007, right after the episode was first aired in Canada)
I'd love reviews. Feel free to write a follow-up fic of how everyone deals with House's death. Consider it a challenge. Just make sure to reference this fic. I've thought of two different possible follow-ups myself, which I may or may not write. Anyway... REVIEW PLLLLEEEEAAASE. :D
Note: I had to fix the date on this, but my idiot father downloaded new versions of Microsoft word that haven't been approved yet, so I had to redo it all on notepad then edit it again here at ff.n, so please don't yell at me if I've missed a period or forgotten to italicize something. Mmkay? -;