"Better people than pills…"
"Hah." Wilson had to be kidding. People only caused you pain, and in Wilson's case maybe a 10 year jail sentence and the loss of everything that ever meant anything.
"Take the deal," he said. Two months of rehab, and then only after that slow descent into Hell (they'd call it purgatory). Tramadol and Gabapentin. And that only after a week on Buprenorphine. Two months of being forced to listen to platitudes that meant nothing if you really needed the meds; that meant nothing if you knew that, in the end, the narcotics were really the only answer that made sense. That made you functional; that made you neutral. That let you do your job as the oracle of hopeless medical causes—yourself included. Two months of being forced to talk. To divulge. To dig deep within memories better left alone—dead and buried long, long ago. Memories now that were only ever flashes that came likes wraiths in the night just when you thought they had gone for good. Reminders of what it costs to trust; to love; to connect. Humanity is overrated and he didn't want to explore it—not his own, nor anyone else's.
Rehab would strip him bare, leaving nothing of him but a heart broken too many times and now beyond repair. Broken muscle, broken bones. All to reveal simply and, in the then end, a broken man. And who would want to see that? Only the morbidly curious, himself excluded. Wilson would get off on that though, wouldn't he?
And then the months and years of regaining a medical license he was no longer sure was worth the effort. Despite what Wilson said. What was it? "No sanctions to the medical board." Yeah, right. As if they will so quickly restore his DEA number; his license to practice. And at this point, he doubted he'd have the energy, the will, the desire to even try.
So then there was the alternative. If only Wilson had left it alone. If only Cuddy had possessed the faith in him to let it be. Deals made with the Devil never work. Wilson's perverse sense of protectiveness is a joke. It would have worked out, House was sure. Never gotten past the preliminary hearing. Tritter'd had nothing that could stick. House needed the Vicodin. He had scrips for it. So what if they were out of the bottle and in his pocket? Just easier to carry that way. But Michael Tritter wanted revenge; wanted to humiliate him; bring him down. He had nothing—no fucking evidence; so he made everyone's life miserable. And Wilson caved. Fuck Wilson.
So now it was rehab or jail. Ten years versus two months—either way, the end of life as House knew it. Over. Done. Out of his own control. House looked at the bottle of Oxy, now sitting on the coffee table. How many had he taken? He'd lost count after 10. At leasat nothing hurt now: not his leg, not his head, not his gut. Numb. Just numb. Rationally, he considered, it would be better this way. Ending it under his own control. Regaining the upper hand from Tritter; from Wilson. From Cuddy. What was he giving up, anyway? He'd died years ago: the day that Stacy left. The end of a slow, long, lingering death.
House drifted through his flat, wrecked since Tritter's little visit two weeks earlier, a ghost already. His eyes settled on the phone, message light blinking. How many times had Wilson called in the past three hours? And Cuddy? Leaving messages that could only be read as pity. Just how pathetic did they think he was, anyway?
Could no one grant him a moment's peace? And his mother's call: hurried and excited. Off to Aunt Sarah's for Christmas dinner. "I wish you'd reconsider, Greg," she had pleaded. "She asks about you all the time. She'll be disappointed that you're not coming up."
"Take a number Aunt Sarah," he thought bleakly. "Take a number." He sat, grabbing the phone, dialing it. Four rings. He knew his parents had left hours ago; that the voice mail would pick up. She'd phoned from the road, on her mobile. "Hi mom," he heard himself saying from far, far away. What else was there to say? He swallowed hard, considering how to tell her; what to tell her. Deciding, in the end, to tell her nothing. Why ruin her Christmas? "I just wanted to say Merry Christmas…" I'm in trouble, mom. I hurt. I can't…. Please help me. The words threatened to emerge of their own volition, so he pressed the "off" button before he could stay them, staring back at the Oxy bottle as it dared him.
He picked up the bottle, if only to stop its seductive amber glare, thumbing loose the cap. Six pills left. Twenty four coursing through his system. He was slightly surprised that he was even remotely conscious at this point. He tapped the remaining pills into his palm, pouring the tumbler full of Maker's Mark. Six more pills chased with 12 ounces of whiskey. Numb. He liked the feeling of it. He felt like shit; but he didn't care. About anything. Or so he told himself. He wanted to never care about anything again. He wanted not to feel anything about anyone or anything. He wanted to not feel the pain in his leg; the emptiness in his soul; the longing for something he would never have or be. He simply wanted to feel nothing. Numb. Eternally and forever, and finally, numb.
The whiskey went down smoothly, almost too fast. He wanted no time for second thoughts; for reconsideration. No time to see Wilson's face, or Cuddy's or his mother's…or Stacy's telling him that he would be OK, just don't do this.
Too late, suckers. The deed done, he waited, restlessly, for the end to come. He heard his phone ring distantly and Wilson's voice begging him to pick up. "Not a chance in Hell, Wilson," House shouted back silently into the room.
Again it rang, more distantly this time, although he hadn't moved from his spot on the sofa. Can't they just leave him alone? To die in peace. "Rest in peace." Isn't that what you were supposed to do? Then why…?
"Greg. I'm so glad you called. We're at Aunt Sarah's." Her voice was wrapped in cotton as it came vaguely through the answering machine speaker. "Greg. There's something wrong. I can hear it in your voice. Please call me on my cellular phone. Please." He could hear the panic in her voice; the worry, the tears, even through the fog surrounding his brain. He considered her voice, absently thinking that he should pick up the phone; to allay her worry. Tell her that he was soon going to be fine. Just give him an hour or two. He would never hurt again. Never worry her again. It would was going to be OK.
A wave of dizziness overtook him as he tried to stand, grabbing for the phone, causing him to fall into the lamp. Hitting the floor hard, banging his head on the table, as the room swam violently before him. Nausea gripped his body as he lay on the wood, dimly aware of the disappointed click ending his mother's call. A day's worth of Oxy suddenly, viciously expelling itself from his stomach; the sour taste of half-digested pills mixing with the alcohol as it spilled from his gut. House closed his eyes, barely aware of Wilson's voice as he pounded on the door, calling out to him. Only dimly aware as Wilson left him there, disgusted and angry. And alone.