THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…
A/N: Hi kids; great to be back--missed you guys! Starting another long one here; hope you enjoy.
CHAPTER ONE: MISCOMMUNICATION
"It's not working."
House glances up from some paperwork on his current case; Wilson's standing in the doorway, looking decidedly uncomfortable. "It's not working," Wilson repeats, and his voice is tense, almost nervous. He won't quite meet House's eyes.
As he stares at Wilson, comprehension slowly dawns on House's face, and his expression of confusion is replaced by one of cruel amusement. "This is some sort of retaliation for that alfuzocin scrip you wrote for me, isn't it? How dare House the junkie bother the dedicated Dr. Wilson with something as mundane as a plumbing problem? So now you're gonna teach me a lesson, impart some Wilson Wisdom, and get your own issue resolved all at once; pretty efficient!" he comments as he locates his prescription pad and begins to scribble on it.
Now Wilson looks puzzled as he reaches hesitantly for the piece of paper House is waving at him. As he reads it, his puzzlement grows, and finally he asks, "What is this?"
House removes his reading glasses and tosses them to the desktop. Then he leans back in his chair with a smug smile. "C'mon! You wanted to blame my 'pissy little problem' on the Vicodin, and you were pissed," House pauses to pull an amused face at his own wordplay, "when I asked for the scrip. So now you come in here asking for that. Losing your touch, Wilson. You really think it'd put me in my place to have to write it for you? Bzzzz… wrong! But as always, thanks for playing!"
Wilson's thoroughly baffled. "I didn't… I wasn't… I don't call you a junkie!" I did. I was. And no, not a junkie. An addict—much more pleasant euphemism.
"Backfired, didn't it? 'Cuz when they see I wrote that for you, it'll start some really cool rumors. Debbie from Accounting. That Peds nurse Foreman dumped, what's 'er name? Wanda?"
"Wendy," Wilson corrects automatically.
"Whatever; your potential conquests are endless. Maybe even the prescribing physician himself…." House's grin grows even more mocking as he regards an ever more baffled Wilson.
"Payback's a bitch, ain't it?" House is practically crowing. "Here you find yourself in an… embarrassing situation. Ya go to your friend expecting compassion, or maybe just a little understanding. And it doesn't happen quite like you thought it would. You and 'little Jimmy' get to be fodder for the gossip mill; people start lookin' at you funny. You wonder why your friend couldn't've just given you the scrip without the side order of nastiness."
House spares Wilson a mock-sympathetic glance. "You'll get through it; I did." Wilson hears the suppressed bitterness hiding inside the sarcasm. "Hey, I'm curious," House continues, "How's it feel to be on the other side of the prescription pad? Not that I mind writing it, or anything. And if little Jimmy gets 'worse', lemme know. Won't give you a problem with refills either. I know how hard it can be; doc doesn't believe you, thinks you're taking too many of 'em, gives you hell before he'll give you the scrip. Wouldn't do that to you, though—not to my best bud!" There's no longer sympathy in House's tone, mock or otherwise. Now his voice is just plain bitter.
House has tired of toying with Wilson, though. Quietly, he continues, "Just take it and go. I put a couple refills on there—save you havin' to go through this again. Save me having to be bothered with it; win/win, right?"
Wilson stares down at the prescription, then frowns at it. The frown turns into an intense squint as he wills the letters to rearrange themselves into something—anything—else. Finally, he looks up, and says slowly, "Why… are you… giving me… a prescription for… Viagra?"
House settles his face into an expression of doctorly concern. "Every scrip I've ever written for 'the little blue pill' has been preceded by an embarrassing conversation that starts with some variant of 'it's not working.' Thought I'd save you that conversation. 'Course, you being a doctor and all, I'd have expected a few fancy terms thrown in for good measure, add some credibility to your story, ya know—in case I think you're making it up. Avoiding a larger issue, or something. But hey, at least I didn't make you repeat it three times. Loudly." House scowls now, remembering the humiliation of having to beg Wilson for pharmaceutical relief from three days' worth of urinary retention. Remembering that Wilson had accused him of lying.
Wilson doesn't know whether to laugh at the miscommunication, or just forget the whole thing, turn around, and walk out. He takes a deep breath and decides to try again. "That's why I'm here, House. That's what's not working, not—" He frowns again at the paper in his hand and shakes his head as he crumples it, "this."
"Huh?" Now it's House's turn to look baffled. "I told you the damned pills worked. Well… those and a couple rounds with the garden hose."
"No. Not that. Not just that." Wilson sighs, and sits heavily in the chair across from House. "Ever since the whole thing with Tritter…." His voice trails off, and he looks away from House.
"Is this gonna be a conversation about… friendship?" House asks with suspicion. "Because if it is, I think I might have an emergen—" House's pager interrupts the rest of the sentence, and he makes a show of holding it up before he shuts it off and returns it to his pocket. "Sorry. Gotta go; sick people, you know." He grabs his cane and stands.
"You did that on purpose," Wilson accuses quietly.
House smiles. "Technology—it's a wonderful thing. I'm leaving now. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves." With that, he exits the office.
Wilson stares after him for a long moment. Then he transfers his gaze to the crumpled prescription he's still holding. Do I really make him feel like that when he asks for his scrips? He thinks back on some of the conversations they've had about the Vicodin. Yeah. That's exactly how I make him feel. Every damned time. Don't even show him the respect I'd give the junkie on the corner. Sure as hell don't give him the same amount of compassion. When he told me his pain had returned after the Ketamine, I told him he was just like every other patient. But I don't treat any other patient the way I treat him.
Wilson twists his mouth into an expression of self-disgust, and lowers his head into his hand. Add that to the list of things I owe him an apology for, and move it to the top of the pile. Been so busy trying to get House to examine his own behavior, his own motivations; never even took a second to realize that maybe mine are just as bad. Or… worse. Yeah. Worse.
Wilson thoughtfully smoothes the little piece of paper that's just taught him so much, and places it carefully in his pocket before rising slowly and walking to the door. Then he, too, leaves, shutting the door gently behind him.