A/N: Well, I didn't think I was ever going to write any House fan-fiction. But after last week's episode, this idea just attacked me, and it wouldn't leave me alone until I got it down onto my MS Word.
Any and all feedback is appreciated.
She turns the drawer of her desk right side up, places it back where it belongs, and begins the task of refilling it with all her papers and books. This is a simple job that requires very little time, so once that is accomplished, she continues to clean the rest of her office (as there is much to clean). The menial work allows her mind to wander freely to what just took place.
During the whole trauma – that is, when the man had been holding all those people hostage in the hospital, their lives literally in his hands – she had been aware of what was happening, every sense heightened to a tall, tremoring tower on the verge of collapsing. But she had been so preoccupied with each awful moment, so determined just to get through it all, that the situation hadn't been able to really sink in. Then, once it was over, with the aftermath strewn in front of her, there was nothing to do but digest it. So when she'd first entered her office, all she could do was stand there, taking in the full destruction of the room, the full horror of what had taken place at her hospital.
And then he had come in.
He, who had treated the patient that held innocents at gunpoint in order to get a diagnosis. He, who had become so obsessed with solving the patient's medical condition that he'd deliberately disregarded the safety of others to find his answer. He, who had helped the hospital fall to pieces.
He, who her heart twisted for in some indefinable way when she heard his familiar scuffing footsteps on her office carpet.
After going through that sort of ordeal, and then finally seeing that he made it through alive, another woman would have had a very different reaction upon first seeing him again, she muses to herself, as she straightens the items that were knocked over in the fray.
Another woman would have dissipated into a shower of tears, bawling without barriers. She would have released an overload of emotion through her steady water flow. She would have tried to splutter out words, explain to the uncomprehending man why she was crying, why she must cry. She would then give up forming any sentences understandable to human ears, and simply cry, weep, sob. She would press her face into his shoulder as she bawled, knowing even through her tangle of emotions she couldn't decipher that one of the reasons she cries is out of relief that he is still alive.
She starts to blot away the blood stains from the floor.
Another woman would have been whirled into a high fury beyond her control, like a tornado unpredicted and unforeseen by the weathermen. She would have shouted and screamed, throwing all of her rage into a rage of loud and discordant words. She would have stomped across the floor, slammed her hands on her desk, thrown a few things the length of the room. She would have perhaps pulled the classic woman-infuriated-with-a-man move and slapped him across the face, furious that would have risked others in such a way . . . furious that he would have risked himself.
She scrubs off the written symptoms he'd penned on her wall.
Another woman would have felt joy blow up in her stomach like a balloon. She would have experienced the helium of this happiness filling her, flooding her, overwhelming her, as she turned to face him. She would have all former worry and distress and agony pushed away as the realization of it's over, of the understanding that there was nothing else to fear now, hit her. She would sense her heart pattering fast and fluent, threatening to fly right out of her chest, and as this delight conquered her entire being, she would embrace him right then and there, squeezing and holding and kissing him as though she planned to never let go.
She removes the stray pieces of clothing, along with a tennis shoe, that had somehow been left behind.
The three basic reactions in the wake of a disaster: anguish, fury, elation. All entirely different, but all equally intense. Most women would have had one of those exact, or severely similar, responses. Some might have had all three.
Not she. She had gone through none of them. Each had battled against each other in a brief fist-fight within her. The end result had been what could have nearly been considered a non-reaction. She had snapped a few words, indicated her frustration with him . . . but for the most part, she had remained steady. Apathetic. Blank-faced. The usual way that she dealt with him, letting him do as he wished with no more than a slap on the wrist. What about what she wished?
Another woman would have . . .
She is distracted from her work by her thoughts and closes her eyes briefly, then opens them, and resumes her former tasks.
Another woman . . .
But she isn't another woman. She can be no more or less than what she already is.
And neither can he.
She's still trying to figure out if that is a fortunate thing or not.