House - Almost Dying Changes Nothing - fishtank36
Warnings: S5 spoilers and a bit of swearing. Oneshot.
A/N: Based on seeing the House promo every commercial on showcase and the extended previews from awhile back. Events are probably out of order, but then again nothing has aired yet :D Thanks to Izzy, I'm sorry for making you read like a billion different fics at once :P Enjoy!
'Boy, you're really milking this bereavement thing aren't you?'
If he were one for cliches he'd say it felt like a gunshot. The way his ears rung and his hands went cold, the way his stomach turned and he felt like he'd be ill. But he's not one for mixing his pain with metaphors - and he's been shot, he knows what it's like and this is so much worse.
The mere thought of Wilson leaving for good churns up all these emotions he'd rather not deal with. Shock that he'd actually mention leaving, annoyance at this typical response to pain, betrayal that his friend would actually do this to him, anger at the entire proposterous situation, and ultimately guilt - that this is really his fault, grief that it's making him lose his only real friend.
'I'm not sleeping with him to get him to stay.'
"Pretty, pretty please?" He doesn't know who else to talk to about this, usually he goes to Wilson for this sort of thing - but considering the circumstances he might be a little biased.
"You don't sleep with someone who just lost the love of their life." She's moving around at warp speed, signing charts, ordering tests, IV's, and medications. She's almost like a hummingbird hovering around in front of him, hair messy and those horrible pink scrubs bunched unattractively on her small frame.
"What is that? Some kind of nice person code? This is really important, he's one of the top oncologists in the country."
Cameron sighs, finally stopping to look at him, "I assume this is your unique way of asking me to talk to him?"
"I was actually being serious about the whole sleeping-with-him thing."
She rolls her eyes and turns back to the chart in her hands, "Just because I'm single again doesn't mean I'm gonna jump the next available body - even if it is for the 'greater good'." She lets it slip without any caution flags firing in her mental filter. It's not something she meant to tell him (knew he'd find out eventually), but then again she's always making these sort of admissions around him.
He hears the word single and for just a second he's distracted, which seems to happen more than he'd like around her, "You and Chase?" He frowns, curiosity taking over. She's silent, the quick glance over tells him all he needs to know. "You end it?" He asks because he wants to know, hopes it was her, he didn't think she'd settle for anything less than actual love.
"This isn't about me and Chase, go talk to Wilson."
He taps his cane on the ground - he should have known she'd be all for talking things out, "You do know I don't actually know how to do that, right?"
Cameron finishes writing, handing the chart off to a nurse, "I'm sure you'll figure something out."
'I just need a change of scenery.'
'Buy a plant.'
He's crass and rude because he truly doesn't know any other way of dealing with this. He can't help but be argumentative and blunt; he tells him he's being an idiot because it's true. His pain, although real, is turning into a big fucking cliché and it's annoying because Wilson should know better than anyone else that this is what they do.
Bereavement 101, pain fades eventually... most pain (not his). That leaving doesn't solve anything, it's the equivalent to breaking up with someone and tearing them out of your photos - physically gone, but you know they're there. Haunting every moment awake or not, turning once happy memories into torture.
But the pain is blinding him and House's version of 'talking' is only making it worse.
"I've made up my mind."
He's too consumed by his friend's imminent departure to think of anything but that. Not even a patient full of complicating symptoms can pull his attention. Wilson is the only one who has ever stuck by him through everything; no matter what each other did they always mended whatever hole they managed to burn. Wilson gave him hope that maybe he wasn't as screwed up as he thought, if someone stuck around him that long maybe there was something worth sticking around for. Leaving meant he gave up; the one person who had put up with all his insanity had had enough. All that was left in the end was the manipulative bastard with the tin heart.
House gets up in the middle of the differential, startling everyone with the quickness of his action. He leaves them just as fast, barely pausing to shout, "Figure it out yourselves."
He busts in without knocking (not that he ever did), because what he has to say is too important for him to pause and heed such idiotic things like boundaries and common courtesy. He shuts the door quietly, taking the time to prepare himself for what he never thought he'd say.
He doesn't want to look Wilson in the eyes, but he needs for him to know he's serious, that he actually means it. So he does, dragging his eyes up from the empty desk to Wilson's, feeling all the guilt settling heavy in his chest. The weight of what he's done ticks in his jaw, knuckles white as they grip his cane - when he looks at Wilson he sees Amber. He sees the way her hair haloed around her head as that garbage truck smashed into the bus. He sees her scared face, cutthroat bitch actually afraid, remembers now - can't stop remembering the events that led to her death. How he wasn't able to cling to consciousness long enough to make sure his best friend's lover would be alright.
"I'm -" He's choking on the words, practically drowning in the pain he sees barely hidden behind his friend's eyes, "I'm sorry."
He looks at Wilson and finally sees how much he's fucked up one life, knows it won't change him (nothing ever does), doesn't want to accept that this is something they probably will never get over.
House nods, trying to keep his own pain at bay, "It's my fault, I can't... I don't-"
Wilson cuts him off - one abrupt motion of the hand and House is silent. "I tried to blame you - I want to blame you, but it's not your fault."
Usually at this point it means that they're going to be alright, but his office is almost empty and House knows that this time is so much different. "I just can't be here anymore... being friends with you has always landed me in the red, and this time..." Wilson shakes his head; he just can't do it anymore.
House's pager blares, the sound intrusive in the bare space of Wilson's office. Reluctantly he picks it up, "Patient's in cardiac arrest, ouchie." Wilson shakes his head again, sitting himself down in his chair. If apologies got him no where he'd have to do something exponentially more drastic, "I'm going to go home until you decide to stay here."
"You can't do that!"
"I don't know any other way," House admits.
"Yes, it is." House responds, feeling absolutely defeated. "Your friendship means more to me than any patient."
'I can't let you walk away from a patient House.'
'Then fire me.'
"You have to go talk to him."
"Why?" Cameron asks, eyeing Cuddy suspiciously.
"Because I already tried talking to Wilson and House," Cuddy responds, exasperated by the situation, "because House listens to you."
Cameron snorts, knowing exactly how Cuddy is trying to manipulate her, "House doesn't listen to anyone."
Cuddy is determined to help fix the rift between two of her hospital's most brilliant doctors. Running the hospital with only one of them there would be a nightmare, especially if that one were House. And despite what most others think they both keep each other in check and they both know how to deal with one another's moods - something she hasn't come close to mastering. "That's not true; you know that's not true, House listens to Wilson and you."
"And since Wilson wants nothing to do with House, I have to talk down his insanity?"
She goes to Wilson first, finding him sitting alone in his office. The shelves are empty and his couch is already gone. He looks up from the single file on his desk like sooner or later he expected her, "House send you?"
"That's not why I'm here..." She stands behind the guest chair, gripping the back for support. "I know-"
"With all due respect Cameron-"
She cuts him off, unusually sharp in an attempt to get him to actually listen to what she's saying, "I know how annoying it is to have people tell you how you feel or tell you that they know how you feel. I know what it's like to want to spend the rest of your life in bed, to cry yourself to sleep at night wishing it were all different - to be haunted by your dreams."
"Why are you here?"
Cameron flashes a sad smile, "Because I wish someone told me that leaving doesn't make it better, even though I know how it feels to have to get away from something. Because I wish someone didn't tell me to stay or not to leave, that someone understood why I had to go and told me they hoped I'd return one day - because I hope you do."
Wilson nods, unable to meet her eyes as he feels the tears welling up inside him again. She returns the nod, exiting silently, and stops to lean against the wall outside his office. She hears him begin to cry and can't help but feel for him, nothing but time will ease the sharp ache of pain.
She hesitates at his door, truly unsure of how he'll react to her being there. She remembers the last time she were here under similar circumstances - how bad he was - and hopes he's still in one piece.
One deep breath to steady her nerves and she knocks, waits a full minute (counting out the seconds in her head) and is about to knock again when the door is pulled away from her hand. House appears for a fraction of a second, disappearing from the door frame leaving the door open. He doesn't bother slamming the door in her face because despite what everyone thinks of her, she doesn't give up as easily as he would expect. And unlike Cuddy, she doesn't seem to be phased by his moods concerning personal matters.
Cameron inches into his apartment, gaze sweeping around until she locates him in the kitchen with a glass of scotch (or bourbon, she can't tell) and the open bottle on the counter.
"Cuddy sent you?"
"Yes and no," she says fingering her keys before stuffing them in her pocket.
He empties the glass in one long pull, setting it down (not slamming like she'd expect), "How can it be both?"
"Cuddy wanted me to talk to you, but that's not why I'm here..."
He really doesn't want to talk about this right now, or ever - he's already bared his soul for Wilson and that didn't change matters - and surely someone as nice as Cameron wouldn't understand that. "Gonna sleep with me to change my mind?"
"I'm not going back," he snaps, no one understands how important this is - it's not for drugs or to prove a point, it's for his friend, "not until he agrees to stay."
"You can't blackmail him into staying." She says, raising her voice to match his.
"Since your suggestion worked out so well for me, I guess I should keep taking your advice." He says, the sarcasm practically dripping off his words.
"Your patient is dying..."
"That's kind of the point of blackmailing." He pours himself another glass, feeling the need to continue numbing himself though it doesn't seem to do much for the guilt he feels.
"Letting your patient die is just reinforcing the reasons why he's leaving." She crosses his apartment with purpose, no longer hesitant, and pulls the glass from his fingers.
"He's leaving because his girlfriend's dead." He argues, not believing his own words.
Cameron sighs, "He's leaving because he needs to get away from all the things that remind him of her."
He turns his head away from her, unable to look at her and tell her she's wrong. Because she's right, because of all of those things, and because if he looks at her she'll know how guilty he feels - it's his fault and he can't live up to it.
"Please..." She pleads, feeling awful herself for taking advantage of him to help some woman when she knows (however misguided his actions) that what he's fighting for should take precedence. But she's seen both sides and knows Wilson is right as well.
"I'm not going back." He reiterates.
"Then give me something that I could come up with, something that will lead to the answer."
He doesn't know why he gives into her (he always does eventually), she seems to pull out what she wants of him at will, but never seems to like taking advantage of that. Maybe he's not the complete bastard he's thought of himself to be, maybe there's something more... She sees something in him, maybe the same thing Wilson has for all those years, it gives him hope - and that for him is enough.