Thankyou SO much for all of the reviews and story alerts. They are a huge boost to my morale and keep me going :)
Hope you enjoy this chapter, I know it's not medically sound, but it's not supposed to be realistic.
I refuse to write any differentials between the team because I have no interest in them.
House's ducklings in this fic consist of Foreman, Thirteen, Taub, and Chase.
Chapter Four: Things Change
'We must announce time of death, Dr. Cuddy. There are no indicative signs of life. I'm sorry.' The EMT was persistent.
'NO! TOD will be determined once all options have been exhausted'. She snarled. 'We will keep shocking him until we reach PPTH, where-from we will perform the basic neurological tests required to verify irreversible brain death.'
'He has been unresponsive for at least 20minutes! You know the survival rates of delayed pre-hospital defib'. Your medical judgement is impaired because of your relationship with the patient!'
'Don't question me.' She growled.
Wilson watched the exchange between the two as he continued to compress the BVM. He was confused to say the least. Be-fucking-fuddled. The blood was House's, of that he was certain, but upon initial examination, no evidence of head injury, puncture wounds, or incisions were found – none.
Nothing made sense. He was negative for any peripheral cyanosis which is inherent in patients with severe blood loss, and his physical reflex tests also showed healthy nervous system function – all of this regardless of being the very definition of clinically dead...what the hell was going on?
- [H]UDDY -
It was chaos in the ER after they arrived at PPTH. Cuddy was instantly back in her administrative persona barking orders, the hospital staff obeying in fear of her wrath.
House was immediately taken to a private room, as per ordered, his team performing a battery of tests (with Cuddy overlooking them, naturally) that left them with more questions than answers. What was most puzzling was his blood abnormality. Each of the five samples taken were completely devoid of oxygen – kidney tests showing no anoxic induced renal ischaemia, no evidence of hepatic dysfunction, no intracellular acidification, and CT scan exhibiting no hypoxic/anoxic brain injury. It had no ill effect on his body whatsoever.
After much arguing, it was through unanimous agreement that House be kept from any advanced life support, given that he seemed stable without it, settling instead on routine catheters, total parenteral feeding, and 24hour monitoring – to Cuddy's insistence.
Wilson observed him from the foot of his bed, his palms resting against the edge of the mattress. Looking at House, no testimony to life was apparent. Only the steady, albeit unnaturally slow, bleeping of the ECG gave any indication.
He seemed different, though he couldn't quite pinpoint any singular discrepancies – besides the physically obvious. He felt uncomfortable just being in the room – in fact, it scared the hell out of him.
His eyes shifted to look at Cuddy. She looked exhausted, and given the current mess, rightly so. He thought to wake her, the awkward position she had fallen asleep in, draped over House's hospital bed with her fingers interlaced with his, would have her aching when she woke up.
They were idiots. Shaking his head, he turned to leave. He needed to sleep.
- [H]UDDY -
The door to his office swung open, banging violently against the wall. Wilson jumped slightly, looking up instinctively expecting to see an irate House, but instead being met with the sight of a flustered Cuddy.
'Did you check his leg?'
'Huh?' Not exactly the response Cuddy was looking for, but she mentally forgave him after taking in the 'just got dragged out of bed' look he was currently wearing, having spent the night in his office.
'During the physical exam in the ambulance.' She gestured towards the window. 'Did you check his leg?'
'...Briefly.' After a moments thought, he added, 'Why does it matter? Is there something wrong.'
'Would I be asking otherwise?' Cuddy sighed. 'You didn't find anything unusual?'
' No...should I have?'
'…' Cuddy's mouthed moved wordlessly, eventually settling for a perturbed, 'It's gone.' She saw the question in his eyes, and clarified. 'The hole in his thigh.'
He rolled his eyes at her and snorted in derision, obviously thinking her delusional. She herself knew how ridiculous it sounded, but Wilson's reaction wasn't expected.
'Nice one, House,' he mocked, leaning back in his chair and bringing the coffee cup to his lips. Cuddy huffed in annoyance.
'Dammit, Wilson. I'm serious!'
'I know.' She looked at him in exasperation. 'It...its as if it was never there to begin with. No superficial scarring, no skin discolouration - not even slight. Nothing.' She shrugged, completely baffled. 'Even if it was..somehow...spontaneous regrowth, there is no way it could happen over night. No way.'
Wilson narrowed his eyes at her before unceremoniously dumping his coffee cup on the desk, pushing himself out of the chair and walking past her.
- [H]UDDY -
The entire team was boxed in around House's hospital bed, conversing amongst themselves, pausing as Wilson entered with Cuddy hot on his heels. The room's occupants nodded in acknowledgement before parting as he came to study House's exposed thigh.
He reached out a hand to habitually palpate the skin, silent a few moments as he pondered the development. Cuddy's voice broke the silence, her words barely above a whisper.
He turned look at Cuddy, a frown marring his features, following her line of sight as she nodded towards the urine collection bag.
'His body isn't absorbing the parenteral formula we have been administering...it's just bypassing it as urine.'
He brushed a hand nervously through his hair, sighing.
Cuddy motioned him towards the head of the bed, Thirteen moving to switch off the light. Gently pulling back House's eyelid, she flashed the beam of her penlight in his eye, all the while watching for Wilson's reaction as House's pupil shrank from dominating the entire eyeball, to regular size, before bouncing back. It wasn't disappointing.
'Jesus!' He pulled back abruptly, his eyes wide in shock. 'That's...that's...wow.'
Cuddy nodded, swallowing hard.
'I have requested that only the six of us have authorization to enter this room. It is imperative that what takes place here be kept strictly confidential. Anyone who threatens this will be subject to disciplinary action. I trust that you have no confliction with this arrangement?'
Wilson nodded in concordance, still struggling to accept reality.
'Not at all'.
Sorry, it's not a very productive chapter.