Authors Note: Sorry it's been such a long while since I've posted a new story in this series. This one really is different to my other so I hope you enjoy it. And once again I apologise for the delay.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
I try to keep my hands steady as I read over my latest patients file, I flip back over to the blood panel results and scan through them again, rubbing my eyes harshly as if it will make any difference, which, after I've rubbed them a few more times, I realise wont happen.
Closing the file I slam it down on my desk and let out a strangled cry, dropping my head into my hands I will away the moisture that is quickly gathering behind closed lids, but it's no use, the moisture rapidly turns into tears that make no hesitation in breaking free of their constraints and travelling a slow and agonising path down my cheeks.
I lift my head wearily and swipe my cheeks, drying them off with my shirt before roughly pushing my sleeves past my elbows and loosening my tie, this isn't supposed to be happening, not now, not…ever.
Running my fingers over the thick black lines that make up the identity tag of the folder I can't help but notice the irony of it. The name is written in permanent marker, and what lies beyond the name is so…permanent.
It isn't so much what's in the folder, but the few lines that make up the name on the folder, they seal the fate for that one person, and 70 of the time there's nothing anybody can do about it, no matter how many tears are shed, hugs shared or chemicals are prescribed.
How I pray that this time falls within the marginal percentage of survival rates, that this time there's something I can do, all of course without the hugs and tears; they wouldn't want that…no, not at all.
I lean back in my chair and slowly sink into the soft leather, letting it envelop me until I feel that I'll never get up again, I don't want to, maybe I can just stay here all day, all week…for the rest of my natural life, that would make everything a hell of a lot easier.
But I know this can't happen, not if I want a chance at saving him, saving myself as it were. So I grasp each side of my chair and push myself up, just to grab the phone and then sink back down again, preparing myself for pure mental exhaustion.
"You need to come to my office," I say as way of greeting, sparing the chance of any responding argument by hanging the phone up as soon as my speech ran dry.
So I sit and I wait, knowing that of course he isn't going to come any time soon, it'd all have to be done on his time, because I guess it is his time that's on the verge of running short, his life being stretched to its limits again.
I don't know how he's going to handle it, hopefully better than I am, he's that type of person I suppose, able to hold in all of his emotions, hide them away from prying eyes, unlike me, Jimmy the Wonder Boy Oncologist, who always wears his heart on his sleeve.
"What?" He asks, half an hour later as he stalks into my office.
I raise my head and lock eyes with him, mine red rimmed and puffy, his bright cerulean blue with a spark of mischief behind them.
I drop my gaze back to the file on my desk and he takes this as an invitation to take a seat…not that he's ever needed an invitation before. Again I let my fingers travel along the permanent black lines that have effectively sealed his fate, before I lift my eyes and sigh in contemplation, wondering how to tell him.
Before I can even open my mouth he's effectively started and ended the conversation with one sentence, "It's positive, I've got cancer, I'm gonna die."
"Geez Greg," I grind out between clenched teeth, "act a little more humble why don't you."
His eyes widen and he leans forward, resting his chin on his can, "You mean, it really is positive, fuck Jimmy, I was just breakin' the ice." He whispers, the realisation hitting him like a tonne of bricks.
I open my mouth to offer some words of comfort, but for the first time in my career I can't formulate any combination of words to soothe him, or offer him any type of condolences.
He stands up quickly and turns around a few times before flinging his cane out in front of him, effectively smashing a line of ornaments that sat along the front edge of my desk, and even though they hold no importance to me I still can't help but cry out in objection.
"Greg," I say softly, staring him in the face, "Sit back down. Please."
He looks at me for a few moments, seemingly deciding whether to continue smashing up my office or to obey my request, before sighing and sitting down, his eyes glazing over as he tries to control his emotions.
"There's treatments, you know, we haven't caught it early enough but there's a chance surgery could –"
He cuts me off, looking me straight in the eye as tears trace never before taken paths down his cheeks, "Surgery, I want…I-I want the surgery, I want the drugs."
I nod slowly, almost too surprised by the sudden show of emotions to do much more, "Okay," I breathe, "We'll schedule it for tomorrow." I find myself unable to look him in the eyes any longer and instead take to reading over the thick black lines again and again.
"Just…please Jimmy, please just don't let me die."
Gregory House, Gregory House, Gregory House. I read it over and over again until I hear his last desperate plea.
"Please Jimmy, Please."
I raise my head slowly but still I can't meet his eyes. How was I ever going to live with myself?
I'd just given my best friend a death sentence.
Don't let me die Jimmy.