Title: Transfusions, Tampering, Tests... Tenderness and Trust
Characters: House, Wilson
Genre: Angst, Friendship, Hurt/Comfort
Summary: After the events of House's extra-rough day, Wilson plays doctor, psychiatrist--and friend. Short, quickly written tag for House episode 4.08, You Don't Want To Know.
Transfusions, Tampering, Tests… Tenderness and Trust
Wilson stands at House's front door and forces himself to take several deep, calming breaths. He checks the bag of equipment he's carrying. Then he knocks and, not waiting for an answer, lets himself in.
House is lying on the couch. He's somehow managed to change into a pair of pajama pants and an old T-shirt, but apparently hasn't been able to do anything else to make himself comfortable--he's got no blankets, no pillows, not even a glass of water on the coffee table. He's shivering visibly, and he's clearly miserable. Even so, he's got the strength to favor Wilson with an annoyed frown.
"What are you doing here?"
Wilson approaches the couch. "A better question would be what are you doing here, six hours after... lemme see... a transfusion reaction, a narcotics OD, and no less than three invasive biopsies--any one of which requires close monitoring of the patient for several hours."
When House wearily closes his eyes and doesn't even attempt a snappy comeback, Wilson asks quietly, seriously, "How are you feeling?"
With an effort, House opens his eyes and focuses on Wilson. "Like I've been drugged and mugged. How do you think I'm feeling?"
Hands on hips, Wilson regards House for a minute. Then he lowers his head, shaking it slowly. "You know, I can't even make myself say you deserved this."
"Gee, thanks," House responds dryly. He shifts uncomfortably, unable to suppress a moan when the site of the kidney biopsy scrapes against the back of the couch. Wilson winces in sympathy, settles himself on the edge of the coffee table, and begins to root through the bag he's carrying.
"I'm just gonna get a set of baseline vitals," he tells House as he pulls out a blood pressure cuff. "Assuming everything's okay, I'll help you get to bed."
"I'm okay here; thanks anyway."
"Couch isn't big enough for two," Wilson observes as he unwraps the BP cuff.
House makes a show of looking around the room. "Could've sworn I cancelled tonight's hooker. Sad as that is, I therefore have no plans for sharing it."
"Neither do I," Wilson says firmly. "You aren't going to be alone tonight, and since I'm apparently the only one who hasn't put a price on your head lately, seems I'm your best choice. Safest, anyway. Even your behavior doesn't justify everything you were put through today."
"Don't need a sitter, don't want one, either But I don't suppose that matters, so why the hell not?" House says half-heartedly. Wilson wonders at the note of resignation in his voice; he can almost hear House's unspoken thought; 'I've lost control of everything else; what's the use?'
"You're wrong, you know," House continues. "Karma's a bitch. I deserved everything I got.
Wilson, surprised, studies House's face, and sees that House believes what he said. "You know you could have died? Again."
"No great loss. Matter of fact, some might've even found cause for celebration in my demise." House is obediently holding out his arm for the BP cuff, and Wilson finds this even more worrisome than the statements he's made.
"I expected at least a token argument to all the fussing," Wilson notes quietly, careful to keep his tone neutral. "You feeling okay?"
"I'm fine," House says shortly, not meeting Wilson's eyes.
Traditional House-speak for 'let's change the subject'; he must really feel like crap. Wilson gets a blood-pressure reading, and then moves the stethoscope to House's chest. "Deep breaths," he instructs automatically. Then, after House grants permission with a terse nod, he pulls House's T-shirt up to check the biopsy sites.
The mild bruising at the sites doesn't surprise him—but he is relieved. His main concern had centered around the fact that, like most patients on opioids for treatment of chronic pain, House supplemented his Vicodin with large amounts of ibuprofen to take advantage of the synergistic effects of the two meds. And among the other stupid decisions House's potential fellows had made, they'd apparently forgotten that House's frequent ingestion of those NSAIDs affected his clotting ability. And of course, they'd completely disregarded the post-biopsy protocol for aftercare. These things infuriate Wilson—but House seems uncharacteristically accepting of this shoddy treatment. Maybe he does believe he deserves it….
"House…." Wilson begins tentatively. "Those kids endangered you. And they don't even seem sorry. Why are you taking this so calmly?"
House leans his head back, closes his eyes. "I goaded them into it. Gotta admit, I'm a little surprised they… went as far as they did." He smiles ruefully, waves his hand in the general direction of his liver, his chest. "but hey," he continues, "you've been bugging me for a liver biopsy for a couple years now; thought you'd be happy!"
"About the results, yes. About the conditions under which it was performed, and the care you didn't receive afterwards…."
House attempts to sit up straighter, and begins to cough. Wilson watches helplessly as he ineffectually tries to splint his side with a trembling hand, finally winds up sighing and lying back again, lines of pain creasing his face.
"Let's get you to bed." Wilson doesn't hide the concern in his voice. "I can finish checking you out once you're comfortable. Think you can make it?"
House nods dispiritedly, and grasps the hand Wilson offers for a lift up. "Need to make a pit stop first."
Wilson waits at the bathroom door, unashamedly listening for the sound of a strong, normal urine stream. When the only sound he hears is a muffled groan, he calls, "You okay in there?"
"Doing great," House calls back. "Mommy didn't send you that celebratory email last week? Those Cheerios targets floating in the bowl really did the trick; I can aim, and flush now, and everything!"
This glimpse of House's normal demeanor makes Wilson smile. "Yeah, well… about the flushing." He hears House snort.
"Nephrologist in here, you know. Amazingly, I know just what to look for after a kidney biopsy. So I'll spare you the sight of my pee."
"Right now," Wilson points out, "I'd be thrilled with the sound of your pee!"
"Shy bladder," House retorts. "I don't perform well under pressure."
Wilson grins. "I know a cure for that. Involves a nice bowl of warm water." His grin widens when he hears House laugh sharply, and the sound of a healthy flow of urine follows on the heels of the laughter.
When House opens the door, he reports, "Pale yellow. Clear. Boring."
"Thank God for boring," Wilson mutters as he helps House into bed.
House lies quietly as Wilson finishes his examination. There's no running narrative, no criticism, no sarcasm. Wilson wonders if the narcotic overdose is still affecting him, making him appear subdued. But—judging by the rapidity of House's pulse, the frequent wincing, the swallowed groans—everything's worn off now, and it doesn't appear that House has taken his usual meds, either. He's moving as little as possible, and every movement of his leg is accompanied by a sharp intake of breath.
Wilson removes the thermometer from House's mouth and frowns at it. "You're still febrile."
"Non-hemolytic transfusion reaction can result in fever of up to sixteen hours duration," House recites dully. He's begun to shiver again, and he's sweating.
Wilson leaves the room, and returns with a glass of water and a syringe. "Drink this," he says, handing House the glass.
"What is it?"
"It's water, House! What's it look like?"
House rolls his eyes. "You'll forgive my suspicion. Lately, it seems anytime I'm handed a beverage, my state of mind is significantly altered."
Wilson has the good grace to look sheepish. "Just water. I promise. We've gotta make sure you stay hydrated, and I'd prefer not to go the parenteral route. Although I can if I have to."
House's eyebrow climbs. "Is that a threat?"
Wilson sighs. "No; it's concern. I'm… worried about you, okay?"
House takes a long drink from the glass and almost smiles. "Okay," he says quietly. "And that?" he asks, indicating the syringe.
"Meperidine. Anti-pyretic, analgesic, and a nice, safe high. What's not to like?" Wilson grins, but House looks nervous, and Wilson knows what's bothering him. House, it seems, has been severely shaken by today's events—oddly even more so than by his recent electrocution.
But that was his decision; everything that happened was planned, under his control. This time, they stripped away his control, made him vulnerable. He could've died, for real. And whether or not he did was at the mercy of others.
Wilson sits on the bed. "It's okay. I'm right here, and I'm staying. I'll be monitoring you all night long. I won't let anything happen to you. We've gotta get your fever down; we've gotta get your pain under control." Wilson sees the doubt, the fear, still in House's eyes. "It's okay," he repeats firmly, quietly. And finally House nods.
After he's administered the injection and turned out the light, he stops to smooth a perfectly straight blanket—an excuse to let his hand linger warmly on a trembling shoulder; his fingers squeeze the tense muscles. "Get some rest," he says gently as he walks to the door.
He turns. "Yeah?"
"In the morning, I want breakfast in bed. Three-cheese omelet. And bacon. Crisp."
Wilson smiles into the darkness. "You're a pain in the ass, House, but I love you anyway." He closes the door quickly, before House can feel obligated to ruin the moment with a snappy comeback.
And then he returns to the living room, ready to stand guard over his friend throughout the long night. And happy to do it.