A Fine Time to Become a Hero
Speeding through the city at night was something that never failed to relax House. No matter what he had to put up with that day, be it constantly defending his treatment, listening to Cuddy's lectures on how reckless he was, pretending to ignore looks of concern, pity or occassionally disgust from Cameron or just trying to make his leg obey him long enough to get through the day. Today had been the worst day for a long time, fighting against Cuddy and his team was exhausting. His patient was dying, and the only way House knew to save him was through an extremely risky procedure that could do as much harm as good, but at least the patient would survive. When he confronted Cuddy about the procedure she had lost it and blew things out of all proportion. Leaving House feeling mildly guilty for asking, a feeling he hated to experience.
Today had also been a bad leg day. His wasted thigh muscle was constantly burning, he was barely able to support his own wieght. His shoulder screamed at the extra burden this meant it had to support. To add to this Cuddy had overruled his treatment plan for the patient, causing her condition to deteriorate, a problem which House was expected to remedy. Why does no one listen to me? He mused to himself as he worked on bringing her back from the brink.
To top it all off today it was raining, so House would have been skinned alive if Wilson caught him on his bike. He had settled for his corvette. If he couldn't have his bike this was surely the next best thing.
At least the roads were clear. At three in the morning they should be. Quickly calculating the odds of any cops being in the area House pushed harder on the gas peddle, and was rewarded by a satisfying roar as the engine worked harder to cope. Buildings streaked past. He had been driving around for hours. Mulling over the day, thinking about why Cuddy was convinced his disregard for patients feelings would somehow result in them breaking. He found it hard keeping up the pretence that he understood what people wanted from him, that he understood the motives behind people's actions. That it wasn't that he didn't understand people's feelings, it was just that he did care how they felt.
House streaked down the rain soaked streets, enoying the rush he got from the dangers of travelling at high speeds. Up ahead he watched, annoyed as a set of traffic lights changed from green to amber to red, cutting short his exhillaration. House let the car roll to a stop at the cross road, frustrated, there was no one about yet the lights still made him wait. If he tried to creep forward now he knew that a cop would appear out of nowhere just as he got across. So he sat there impatiently drumming the steering wheel with his thumbs. After an exasperatingly long wait the lights finally changed from red to amber, after his delay House was ready and had managed to set off before the lights had even turned green.
Once again the powerful car roared as House floored the gas peddle, bringing him back up to speed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something careening towards him at breakneck speed. Instinct told him to turn the wheel right and speed up to avoid the rapidly on coming SUV. He was too late. His wheels screeched on the rain slick road.
The two cars collided with enough force to lift House's car off the ground a couple of inches before depositing if back of the road with a heavy bump, the suspension impaired by the collision. Glass that had exploded from both cars softly sprinkling down upon the quiet street, mingling with the rain.
Pain coursed through the left side of House's body. He hadn't known pain like this for a long time, the left side of his body was on fire. So was something else. House could feel heat on his face. He could feel the skin on his neck and chest begin to pucker as the extreme heat cooked his soft skin. His mind screamed at him to open his eyes, that this wasn't a good time to be sleeping. Groaning audibly House lifted his head a little, shakily drew in a breath, acrid smoke stung his lungs, making him cough and splutter. Pain ripped across his chest, his head felt like it had been cleaved in two. Unconsciousness pulled at him. It was so soft and warm, and pain free. Why not go with it House thought, it was what his body wanted. But the heat on his face and chest brought him back, if his car was on fire surely he shouldn't be in it.
Slowly House managed to open his eyes. The world was bright, much too bright. His eyelids clamped shut, seemingly of their own accord. House focused all of his will into making them open again. After a few second his eyes had adjusted to the intense light coming from the fire working it's was through the car House was sat in, he squinted through the bright light and saw another car attached to his, consumed by angry flames.. Orange rings marked his blurred vision, he was vaguely aware that it was not good, this could be the result of a head injury, if it was bad he could be in trouble. Trapped in a burning car with no one around but someone equally injured also trapped in a burning car.
It hit House then that he should probably do something. Why hadn't he been concerned as soon as he saw both cars ablaze? There was something very wrong here. House tried his door. The force of the impact had twisted the metal, it wasn't going anywhere. He would have to get out the passenger side. As he leaned over he felt something heavy weighing down his jacket pocket. Of course his cell phone! As he reached for it with his left hand he recoiled as pain shot through his wrist and up his arm. House gritted his teeth, that driver had really done a number on him. Using his right hand House managed to pull his cell out of his pocket and flipped it open. The phone was so small House could barely make out the numbers through his blurred vision. By finding the raised button on the five key he was able to feel his way around the buttons and dial the number.
"911 what your emergency?" Sang the voice through the earpiece.
"Ambulance" House grunted, a little disconcerted at how his voice slurred. "I've been involved in a car crash, the other driver is hurt, I don't think she's conscious. Her car's on fire so you had better make it quick."
"Sir, can you tell me where you are, are you hurt? The voice had lost its earlier lightness, now it was all business.
House paused, he looked around him for some sign as to his location. There. Scudders Mill deli. "I'm in Plainsburo, somewhere near Scudders Mill,… near a deli.. at a crossing."
"Don't worry Sir we'll find you. Could you tell me your name?"
With that House hung up, there was nothing more he could do on the phone. Right now he should try to reach the person in the other car. He pulled himself across to the passenger seat grunting with pain, and reached for the handle. It swung out smoothly, taking a surprised House with it. He tumbled into the road unable to catch himself.
House lay gasping for breath, pain coursed through his body, so much pain he couldn't tell where it was coming from. Suddenly he began to retch. Heaving until he brought up only bile. This exertion brought more pain, which caused him to retch harder. After dry heaving for what felt like hours, House finally managed to regain his control. He soon realised that he was soaked through. It was still raining and House was lying in the road. He had to get up. He had to reach the other the car, before whoever was in it was burnt to death.
House shakily heaved himself to his feet, using the car as leverage, a difficult task with only one good hand. He leaned heavily on the wrecked corvette as he made his way to the SUV. Now he could see the car properly he was troubled to find that the fire was making its way through the inside of the car, and was dangerously close to the slumped figure. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that his own car was now consumed wiht fire, if he had given into oblivious both he and the woman would have been burnt to a crisp. This spurred him on.
"Hey." He called thickly. No answer. He peered in through the window. A woman lay slumped across her steering wheel, a large gash across her forehead. The fire already making it's way along the driver's side. If she wasn't already dead she soon would be if House continued to hesitate.
House reached out for the handle with his uninjured right hand, prepared to drag the injured woman from her car. He pulled hard. Then he felt a searing as he gripped the handle. Letting go House studied his palm. It was already beginning to blister. The pain hadn't registered straight away, it was probably the adrenaline. "Dammit!" House cursed. He pulled down the sleeves of his jacket, and reached for the white hot handle again. This time he was able to force the door open. The pain in his hand caused House to curse loudly.
He swung the door outwards, the heat made him stagger backwards, House was barely able to stay on his feet. Swaying slightly House reached into the blaze and released the catch on the seatbelt restraining the prone woman in front of him. Then noticed the back of her jacket was ablaze. He reached in with his covered right hand and began to beat at the flames, reducing them to smoulders.
The heat from the fiery inferno stung the injured man's eyes, drying them out. Surely this woman couldn't have survived this heat, or the terrible burns he knew must be hidden from his sight. He checked her pulse, it was very faint. House would have to move fast. He wouldn't be able to pull her out using one hand. House gingerly manoeuvred his left arm so that the crook of his elbow was under her arm and repeated the procedure with his newly injured right arm. The heat from the very close fire brought more pain from his wounded hand. The woman in House's arms didn't some much as stir as House pulled her, from the wrecked vehicle, barely suppressing a scream of pain as his injuries reacted from the strain. He managed to staggar backwards with the dead weight before he body gave up on him he fell to the floor with her. The jarring fall caused another wave of intense pain and nausea to course through House. This time he couldn't fight the abyss that was waiting for him.
Sirens. House stirred, he could hear sirens. He detached himself from the still unconscious form next to him and rolled onto his right side where the pain was less intense and raised his head. He could make out an ambulance very close and two men running towards him with a gurney and equipment. He let his head fall back to the floor in relief, help was here.
He opened his eyes again and found he was strapped to a gurney in a racing ambulance. The sirens were wailing, causing his head to thump. Every nerve in his body was ablaze. He couldn't control the low moan that escaped his lips.
"Dr House, can you hear me? Don't worry your safe now. You're in an ambulance on the way to Princeton Plainsboro, that's where you work right? ... Dr House?"
House thought he could hear someone talking but couldn't work out what he was saying. It didn't seem to matter anyway, he felt darkness tugging at him again and went with it, at least it didn't hurt in the darkness.