An odd sort he was. My grandmother used to say that people like him were born old. They were never children. Never blew bubbles, jumped in puddles, or pulled pigtails. Well, I wasn't quite sure about the pigtail part. He lay in the hospital bed, his eyes closed, his breathing deep and even. Every once in awhile he'd shift his position. However, he never knew I was there. At least I don't think he knew. And I'd sit beside his bed for hours at a time. The nurses gave this room a wide berth and were professionally grateful that I was there instead of them. Because I was one of them.
To say that one knew Gregory House was a lie. A bold-faced lie. You might be acquainted with him, work with him, play foosball with him, and if you really wanted your ego destroyed you might even tentatively call yourself his friend. But, no one knew House, not even House knew House. And I hated calling him that. He wasn't a building. He certainly wasn't a safe haven with a cheery fire at the hearth. But I'd rather be here, now, than anywhere else.
There was a time when I had a school-girl crush on him. That was long ago in a different galaxy. How could a young woman not be bowled over by a tall, handsome son of a bitch you knew was going to throw you out in the morning? How could you feel safest while standing near the one person on earth who could tear out your soul and sell it back to you before you knew what you were buying? How could you trust him with your life and hate him at the same time? I usually just sigh and shake my head. No use trying to make sense out of him. There was no sense to him, but he had all the sense in the world.
I had always liked the old bastard. Many were the times I'd had to pull a rookie out of harm's way just before they spoke the words of doom: "But why, Dr. House?" They were soon convinced he actually was omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. That was the point where they deserted him. 'Let him do what he wants, it's his name on the chart'. But I never wanted to desert him. I liked waiting for the "next big thing".
You see, Gregory House does nothing half-assed. He even takes laziness to heights never dreamed of by Jabba the Hutt. Not necessarily because it's what he wants to do. No, it's more for the reactions of others that he patiently waits. I would say he had the patience of a saint, but I think that's listed under blasphemy or sacrilege or one of the seven deadly sins. He has this stop watch in his head. He's timed humans' reactions to his shenanigans down to the millisecond. He knows just what they'll do and what they'll say before they do. It's annoying. He reserves his best for the people who think they know him best, or think they like him. He'll have none of that, no sir.
He sighed deeply and I watched as his brow furrowed for a moment. Against hospital policy, I pushed the PCA button to give him a little more morphine. His features slowly relaxed into something resembling peace. There really was no peace for Gregory. He'd seen too much, heard too much, done too much, and lived through too much to ever allow peace to overtake him. Constantly on his guard, he steadfastly refused the few offers of happiness he'd had. Such a pity. Keen loneliness was the price he thought he had to pay for the man he had become.
So, for all these years, I did my part lingering in the shadows. Flirted with him when he was being deadly serious, belittled him when I knew he was right, and teased him when he was worried. He knew that someone loved him dearly and had the good sense never to act on it. I truly believe he thought he could trust me. Well, as much as he's able to trust anyone. I'd learned his toggle switches, and he knew it. There were even rare occasions when he let his guard down and I'd actually see him smile. Not that evil smirk or that shit-eating grin of his, but a true-to-life smile. He has a glorious smile.
I haven't introduced myself because who I am is not important. What I represent, however, is important. I represent all the people who had crossed paths with Dr. Gregory House, for good or ill; all the men, women, and children who had benefitted from his brilliance or suffered through his arrogance. Those who had seen his flashes of rage and the gentle caress he showered across his piano keys.
When he took his final, ragged breath, it was all of us together who held his hand and shed a tear.