"What's the last thing you remember?"
The question hung in the air, became another presence in the room. Wilson was desperate for any sort of answer so that he could finally start treating his friends. House searched desperately through his jumbled store of memories for the answer he knew his friend needed.
House frowned "I was in a car accident?" His answer was barely above a whisper, he had spoken so little over the past week that this was all he seemed to be able to manage. He swallowed a couple of times and fell silent again for a moment.
He was uncertain about what his friend had told him, his eyes felt heavy and he struggled to remain focused. His tired eyes traveled restlessly across the small room, he was able to take in enough to prove to him that he was in fact in hospital, something had happened to him. He looked down at his hands, one was tightly bound in fresh white bandages, the other in a heavy, off white cast concealing the healing bones within. Wilson nodded encouragingly, trying to dismiss the fatigue and fear he saw in his friend's face. House's face clouded over as he struggled to remember any of what his companion had said.
"Do you remember anything?" Wilson prompted, without much hope. His shoulders fell as he got his answer.
"I..." House struggled to recall, uncertainty now showing in his eyes. He trawled back through his memories, images and snatches of conversation surfaced: House sat at his desk; House yelling at his team; House yelling at Cuddy, House drinking with Wilson. All were real memories but nothing seemed to be recent. It was hard to make his thoughts come together; his memories were foggy, especially those he thought were most recent. The effort left him feeling exhausted. "I'm not sure... I don't know…" Frustrated, House allowed his head to drop back onto the pillow, he was too tired to hold it up any longer.
Wilson watched on as pain flashed across House's face. House looked up. "My head hurts…" He lifted a trembling hand and cradled his head waiting for the pain to pass. Wilson looked on feeling a surge of sympathy for his friend, he looked so vulnerable and scared. As the initial pain died down House began to rub his temples in slow circles, easing the tension accumulated from a week lying on lumpy hospital pillows.
Wilson tensed as House's thumb moved slowly towards the scar above his ear then moved just as slowly away again. As the pain began to ease House was able to think clearly for a while, he gratefully let his heavy hand fall back to the bed. He slowly lowered his head back onto the pillow and closed his eyes. He began to feel himself drifting away, the sounds of his hospital room: the constant beeps, whirrings and buzzing soothing.
"House" Wilson barely whispered. House looked so tired he regretted keeping him awake but he needed to complete the neuro check, and he needed to rule out any possibility that House had suffered brain damage. "House" he repeated a little louder when his friend didn't stir. This time the man in the bed slowly opened his eyes and looked to Wilson.
Wilson sighed and stepped closer to the bed, he didn't know how to comfort his friend but needed some sort of proximity for himself. "I'm sorry" he mumbled "I need to do a couple more tests before you can sleep. Do you want to do them now or do you have any questions about what happened."
House thought for a moment his eyes still on his friend. Even through the fug in his head he could still tell that something was up, what he saw in his friend's eyes caused his breath to hitch in his throat, Wilson looked nervous. He raised his bandaged hand again, it felt tired and heavy but frustration and exhaustion mixed to make him feel restless. He ran his hand nervously through his hair and was about to lower his tiring arm again when his thumb grazed the patch of short hair.
House frowned, his attention pulled away from Wilson. "What…?" He whispered to himself. His fingers slowly moved across the crop of short hair. He began to breathe heavily as his probing fingers caused jagged pain to flair up in his head. House glanced at Wilson wearily, then continued exploring the source of his discomfort. When his fingers found the healing scar his hand jerked painfully away as if burned.
"House, there's something you should know…" Wilson started quickly, then paused, trying to think of the best way to break the news to his friend. "The car accident was pretty bad. You were hurt pretty bad." House looked at him wearily, not sure if he wanted answers just yet. Suddenly he felt overwhelmingly tired, so tired he couldn't even concentrate. If he slept he could avoid hearing what Wilson had to say, he could pretend that everything was fine and he was heading home tomorrow, good as new.
Wilson continued in his explanation. "A car hit you at some traffic lights, they were really gunning it. You were brought in with a penetrating skull fracture, we had to fit you with a plate…" Wilson stopped there, he had to let House process this news. He didn't need things broken down for him, explained in layman's terms, he could work out how serious it was from the scar on his head.
"Tell me what happened." House whispered, he forced his eyes open again, the room blurred beyond recognition for a few seconds, he blinked a couple of times to clear it. As the world came back into relative focus House noticed that everything was a little darker than it had been before. God he was tired. Sleep called to him, told him that everything would be better if he could just surrender to it's comforting folds. He almost did when he heard Wilson speaking. He had almost surrendered to sleep again but his friend's voice pulled him back.
"You were brought in with pretty severe injuries, the worst was the TPI, it caused your heart to stop in the ER, we were eventually able to bring you back." Wilson paused as he saw House blink a few times his eye lost their focus then slowly corrected themselves. Then he saw House look around confused, he looked so lost for a second that Wilson couldn't help but ask "Are you ok?" House nodded then looked expectantly at Wilson. "Then…you went into surgery, they had to remove some damaged tissue and insert a plate, they also had to repair some internal injuries. You were right you were out for a while, 6 days, and you were in and out of consciousness for a couple more days. Do you remember that?" He was rewarded with a slight shake of the head. House didn't remember anything at all.
While his friend thought over what he had just been told Wilson debated over whether to continue. He knew that House needed answers but the rest could surely wait. House had plenty to deal with, he knew about most of his condition, now he needed to rest. House didn't seem to want to know any more for the moment and if Wilson wanted to finish his neuro check he had better do it soon, House was fading fast.
"House I'm gonna let you rest soon, but I have to finish your neuro checks first." House nodded again, too tired to answer. He surrendered to Wilson and stayed focused for as long as he could. Before long the lights were out, with the room shrouded in darkness all that could be heard was soft breathing and the beep and whir of the monitors.