Eight Bells: Chapter Six

A/N: Finally! Chapter six is ready. Actually most of it had been ready for about four months, but there were smaller bits missing. Anyway, it's finally here. I hope you all still remember what had been going on in the last five chaps ;)

Hopefully the next chapters will be written much faster. There are still plenty of ideas in my head that are waiting to be put into this fic. I hope you'll keep on reading.

Reviews are very much appreciated!

Disclaimer: I unfortunately still do not own House or any of the other characters.

"Where are you going?" Cuddy followed House with short, quick steps. As soon as she caught up, she slowed down.

"Clinic," House answered and hobbled on along the corridor.

Cuddy's eyes widened. She could swear that man became weirder by the minute.

"What are you gonna do in the clinic?" she asked.

"Patient." He said and walked on.

"Will you stop for a second to talk to me or do I have to order you into my office?" With a sigh Cuddy stopped, hoping House would turn around to her.

"Your office. When?"


"Can't." House said without turning around. "Patient. Clinic." He pointed to the elevator.

"What ever happened to complete sentences?" she complained, hoping to get him talking, but he just shrugged his shoulders.

Cuddy shook her head and let him go, but she watched him closely as he limped into the elevator. His leg seemed to hurt a lot for he could hardly walk at all.


House did not have a patient waiting and he did not go to the clinic, instead he left the hospital and drove to the local library.

The library was all quiet when House walked through rows of books. High shelves blocked the light and although it was a sunny day, the back part of the room was only dimly lit. In the section he had been looking for, House had to squint at the book titles to read them. Most of them made him cringe and the rational part of his brain urged him to leave the supernatural section, but he stayed.

The first few books House saw were about UFO landings and alien abductions. He quickly skipped to the next shelf. An investigator's guide to magical beings by John Greer, he read silently and shook his head. As far as House knew, Wilson wasn't magical. He wasn't even able to play poker!
The M-Files: The reports of Minnesota's unexplained phenomena by Jay Rath. No, Wilson was definitely not showing up in Minnesota, but in House's apartment in New Jersey.

Most books, House noticed, dealt with crimes and murder combined with the supernatural and for a few seconds he wondered if Wilson had returned to kill him or drive him insane.

"Can I help you?" A young woman suddenly stood behind House. Her long brown hair fell on her shoulders and she reminded House of Cameron so much that he involuntarily took a step backwards.

"No," House avoided her eyes. He glanced at the books, then looked down at his hand that lay on the handle of his cane. He felt more than uncomfortable in the supernatural section and wanted to get out of here.

"Ghosts," he said in a low voice.

"Oh, you'll find specialized books on that topic over there," the woman said softly and pointed to a shelf on the right before she turned around and left House standing in the dimly lit aisle.

Slightly embarrassed House cleared his throat and took a few steps to the shelf she had pointed to.
The Why-Files: Are there really ghosts? – Questions about angels and psychic friends by James Watkins. This was it! House skimmed over the books for a while and left half an hour later with a whole pile of them.


"House, we need to talk," Cuddy opened the door to his office to find her head of diagnostics buried in a pile of books. "What the -?"

"Get out!" House barked at once and slammed the book shut that he was reading.

"Out!" he bellowed again as Cuddy didn't move.

She staggered a few steps backwards in surprise before she caught herself.

"House, stop yelling. What's going on here?" Her eyes narrowed in anger and suspicion. "I've been looking for you in the clinic and you hadn't been there all day."

"Out," House spoke the word this time. But got up and took Cuddy by her arm and led her out of his office.

"What are you doing in there?"

"Reading." House suddenly felt exhausted. He noticed his hand was trembling slightly from the shock of being almost caught with a bunch of books on ghosts.

"And I'm not allowed in your office because you're reading?" Cuddy asked. "Are you preparing some kind of voodoo magic or something."

"Yea, just need some of your hair and I'm done." House pulled out a bit of her hair and cast it a satisfied look. "Voilà."

Cuddy heaved a sigh, put her hands on her hips and eyed House crossly. He cringed inwardly at her Wilson-ish pose.

"Your leg hurts more than usual," she stated and waited for his respons. He didn't answer.

"And I know it's because you're missing Wilson."

"It's not because I miss Wilson." House tried his best derogative look, but failed miserably. "I slept on the couch."

Cuddy twisted her mouth and looked at House. Everything in her face seemed to say "See I told you you miss Wilson".

"I guess I'm getting to old for sleeping on the couch, hm," House pondered.

"Talk to the psychiatrist." Cuddy said and it was an order, not a suggestion.

"I'm fine."

"You're in pain," she insisted.

"Just the usual muscle pain." House dissented and went back into his office. His door closed with a definite bang.

He sat down at his desk again and he was happy to have Cuddy believe that his leg got worse because he missed Wilson. His fear was her finding out about the bruises and cuts he got when he crashed on the table when Wilson's ghost tried to punch him.


Later that evening, House was pacing up and down his living room, while waiting for the bell clock to ring. Every now and then he popped a pill to ease the pain. The skin on his right side had become a dark violet and blue color and his elbow was throbbing almost as much as his thigh.He looked like he had been in a car crash, House thought, but with a better outcome than Wilson…

He cast a look at his small couch table that he had repaired half-heartedly. A pile of books served as a table-leg now and the top had been patched with nails and scotch tape.
On his way home he had thought about buying a new table, but he decided to keep this one as a reminder not to grab Wilson's arm or hand to steady himself. It was a reminder of Wilson's existence as a ghost, too. And that was the downside of it. But House's dislike of changes had finally tipped the scale for keeping the table. He liked it still. Now it was as damaged as he was.

The eight bells sounded through the silence of the room and House's head jerked up. He looked around to find Wilson and saw him sitting on his sofa almost right away.

Even before he was completely visible, Wilson jumped up and walked over to House. His face showed concern and his hand automatically went up to touch House's arm. About an inch away from House's sleeve, Wilson stopped his hand and let it fall again.

"Are you okay?" he asked, scanning House's body with a worried look.

House nodded and kept his eyes on Wilson's hand that had almost touched him. He wished Wilson had not stopped. He thought that the simple touch of Wilson's fingers could have taken the pain away.
But House did not allow himself to get distracted very long. As fast as his aching body let him, he hobbled over to the table and grabbed a book from the top of the pile.

"You're not a ghost," House stated and fiercely tapped his finger onto the cover.

Wilson's look changed from concerned to confused to annoyed.

No one, House thought, could switch moods faster than Wilson. A slight smile crossed his face and was gone again.

"I found a few books that could help us," House went on, opening the book and flipping through the pages.

"Books that help you," Wilson disagreed and his eyes narrowed. House still hadn't given up on his newly found conundrum.

"Here," House had found the passage he had marked earlier today. "Spirits are capable of continuing a full existence on the other side with their full mental and emotional facilities intact," he quoted.

Wilson looked doubtful. "You're calling this a full existence?" He turned around and took a few steps forward and walked right through the grand piano.

House let out an impatient grunt. "But you are mentally and emotionally intact."

Wilson's eyebrows went up. "Even after my death I decided to return to you. I doubt anyone would call that mentally intact …"

"Funny," House said dryly. He didn't have the time for a snide remark. He had to clear things up and figure out how he could make Wilson stay.

"I'm not a science project," Wilson protested angrily as if he had read House's mind, but House ignored him.

"You will not likely … spirit … ghost hunt," House mumbled as he skipped through the page, his fingers tracing the lines, the tip of his tongue showing between his lips as he concentrated on the text.

"There it is: Their appearance might be in the form of ectoplasm mist, as well as a full bodied apparition." House looked up. "Full body apparition. Obviously," he added as his eyes went up and down Wilson's body. He watched Wilson's face. It was boyish like it had always been. Almost forty, House thought, and still looking so damn young. Suddenly this struck him as very odd.

"Why are there no bruises?" he asked, taking a step forward. "You wear the same clothes, even the same damn tie, but there are no bruises! I remember your cheekbone had been broken in the accident."
House frowned. And Wilson did, too.

"Might be the bruises are only visible as ectoplasm mist," Wilson snapped and turned away from House, touching his own cheekbone with his fingertips.

House knew Wilson did not share his fascination for puzzles and unsolved questions, but he was sure that in the end – when he found a way to make him stay – he would appreciate House's efforts. Besides that, House's need for solving this puzzle had to be satisfied. He couldn't let this go.

House returned to reading from the book."They are permitted to visit on occasion and even communicate when they have permission to do so."
"This," House tapped the page again," will be this calling thing. The clock. I have to call you to give you permission to show up."

Wilson spun around. "You give me permission to show up?" He angrily put his hands on his hips. "Permission? The hell you do! Not only can't you leave a puzzle alone for once, no-ho! You think you are the … the," he fumbled for words. "The master of ghosts!"

"Spirits," House corrected quietly, but lowered his eyes.

"Spirits! Fine!" Wilson slammed his fist on the piano, but the effect got lost when his hand sank in without making a noise. "Fuck! Full existence? Fucking no existence!" he went on yelling. "Giving me a fucking permission to talk to you? Oh, you wish! I don't have to fucking obey you, House!" Wilson now stood in front of House, pointing his finger to his chest. "I never had to obey you. You are not my fucking boss. I came to you, because Iwanted to, because I knew you wanted me to be with you and because you are just too fucking stubborn to ask even once!"

Wilson stood huffingly only a few inches away from House, his half-transparent chest heaving, his face reddened in anger.
"I'mnot your puzzle, House!" Wilson said crossly, but did not yell anymore.

House held the book with both hands. It was closed now and his eyes rested on Wilson's finger that still pushed against his chest.

"And now," Wilson said wearily as he lowered his finger, "you've got me to say 'fuck' about a hundred times in a minute."

"I'm sorry." House's voice was barely audible.

"Good." Wilson turned away and ran his fingers through his hair. "I'm dead. I don't want to fight. Whatever this is, we got a chance to spend a little more time together. Call it fate or whatever you want. I don't care." His voice sounded exhausted as if the yelling had worn him out. He even looked a bit more transparent than before.

House didn't like to call it fate and he couldn't call it anything else as long as he hadn't figured out what was going on. But he kept his mouth shut. Wilson had made clear that he could leave anytime and that was the least House wanted him to do.

"Don't go." House heard his own voice, but couldn't remember saying it.

Wilson sighed. "I'm not going." He turned around to House again and for a second House thought that Wilson would hug him. But then he stopped and just looked at him.

"Could I," House asked carefully," read one more passage to you?"

Wilson shook his head in resignation, then nodded when he saw his friend's big blue eyes that were questioningly, pleadingly asking Wilson for permission. Sometimes, Wilson thought, House was just a big curious kid.
"Go ahead," he finally said. "What is it?"

Slowly House opened the book again and searched for the page he had lost when Wilson had yelled at him.
"Many believe that we have spirits assigned to watch over us," House read, his eyes quickly flicking up to Wilson's face to judge his reaction. ".. but you won't normally be detecting them unless they have a special purpose in making their presence known."

Wilson waited silently. He knew the question House was about to ask.

"Do you have a special purpose? A mission to finish?"

There it was, just as Wilson had suspected, but he didn't know what to answer.
"Doyou think I'm here to finish something?" he returned the question instead.

House held his head down, but his eyes looked up to Wilson. A look that showed how insecure he really was right now.
"Maybe," House said softly," it's not something you have to do. Maybe it's giving me a chance to do something that I have failed to do?" He looked a Wilson.

"Something you failed to do?" Wilson eyed House closely. "Failed to find a way to make me stay?"

House shook his head slowly. "Failed to tell you that it matters," he mumbled and couldn't decide if he could bear looking at Wilson. "It's not only this friendship. You matter."

He thought his own words sounded awkward and he wasn't sure how to handle this, but when he finally looked into Wilson's face he saw him smile.

"You do matter, too," Wilson answered. "I guess you mattered so much that I had to come back."

"I love you," House whispered and it felt surprisingly good to say it.

Wilson nodded. "I know."

The silence in the room was almost tangible. Just like the ghostal appearance of Wilson, it was clearly there, but not solid.

"Do you …," House began, but couldn't finish the question. He was too afraid of the answer. What if it was 'no'? What if Wilson didn't feel the same way about this?

"I do love you, too." Wilson stood close to House, but didn't touch him.

"Good," House said relieved and they stood quietly for a while. "How long?"

Wilson sighed. "Too long." And House left it at that.


They sat in silence for the rest of Wilson's hour. Half in shock and half in awe from the things that just had been said. Wilson's hand lay on House's, holding it as tight as he could without his fingers sinking in. House had his eyes closed, completely overwhelmed by the situation.

Not used to this intimacy, House's fingers moved only reluctantly under Wilson's warm hand. He freed a finger to softly stroke along Wilson's thumb.

Tenderly Wilson caught House's finger again as if it was a sheep gone astray from the herd. He held House's hand under his own and finally entangled their fingers.

"House," Wilson said quietly as the first of two bells rang. "I don't want to go." With the second strike of the clock, House felt Wilson's touch getting lighter until his fingers only clutched air. Wilson was gone – again. And House missed him already when the clock started to tick in its slow monotonous rhythm again.