Rating: Mature. Bro-mance only, no slash.
Summary: House is sent away for his own mind and his own good. Wilson must cope with the repercussions.
Disclaimer: House isn't mine. Though I wish he was. Slurp!
Today I saw it in his face. A physical twitch manifesting a fear from his deep insides that even he was trying to ignore. House walked by and did not reply to my comment about the fatigue that had carved its canyons beneath his eyes and the obvious tremor in his long fingers.
And that's when fear from my insides began to rise. It quickly surfaced and poked me, saying House is losing it and this time it's for real.
"House." I followed him anyway despite his silent dismissal of me and my worries.
But I couldn't help it. Not then and certainly not now.
I need those worries. I need mine and I carry his around for safekeeping because, true to his nature, House worried about very little. The man had been polluting his body for a decade with liver-damaging drugs. He ate bad food only when he found the time and drank gallons of alcohol, which he didn't need at all. Small wonder he did not care a lick about a little shaking or sleeplessness.
I care because without me, he would be lost.
I used to think that, anyway. Now, despite my caring, it seems he's halfway there.
I care because I love the dumb ass. "Are you okay?"
A thought managed to collect into one place in his mind and, after a minute, he looked at me curiously from behind his desk, his habitual hiding place. "Sure." Computer screen, porn and a metaphorical sign draped over him; it said Fuck off.
House had his charms.
I don't think I've heard a rusty hinge that sounded worse. The ragged vocals tried once more, if only to hint for me to scram. "Why?"
More denials would undoubtedly be forthcoming so I dropped it, smiled my little twisted corner of the mouth smile -- to reassure him of my gentle friendship (an affect he didn't buy for a second) -- and left. I felt his eyes at my back all the way down the corridor as though his eyes turned corners.
I think House recognized that he was finally crumbling, and I think what scared him more than that was that I recognized it too. His mental fetal position screamed at me like a beast in pain. At that point, I wasn't sure which of us was more scared.
We got our answers the day House failed to show up for work and, at the behest of his frightened team, urged me to check on him. They all remembered the last time a team member had not showed up and none of them were anxious to discover the reason. Taub was quiet with worry over his place in the world. Salary and wife and family life were at stake if House was lying somewhere cold.
Foreman and Hadley kept looking at each other, sharing the silent memory of their colleague's dead body. Even his blood, spilled out over floor in a grotesque puddle, had chilled by the time anyone had missed him.
Cameron looked sick. I imagine House had never quite left her mind and hopeful body but, somehow House did that to you.
I found him in bed, sleeping heavily. House was a light sleeper -- though he could sleep almost anywhere -- but he was groggy and sighed at me when I roused him and he rolled over.
"Hey. Are you sick? Cuddy's been trying to call you." He had slept in his clothes. I wondered how many days worth.
"Which is why I've been trying not to answer."
At least his sarcastic streak was in proper order. "Are you going to come to work?"
That was the first day of my fears realized.
House stayed home another week, playing sick, and did little but sleep and watch television. When I dropped in, his responses to me were slower each day and more and more unconcerned, like the effort to speak even a few words was draining. Like the world around him had faded to grays and wasn't the most real part of his day anymore.
By the end of the second week, when House had given up eating and showering -- when I decided it was time to call an ambulance -- he didn't resist. He didn't even protest.
My fear became terror. "Jesus, House . . ."
Once House saw the barred windows, he woke up and fought the orderlies and the leather restraints like a crazed animal. I've seen that sort of thing on the Nature Network. Some mountain Lion or Ocelot is caught in a sack, anesthetized, blind and helpless to its surroundings and in ignorance of its own plight. It stays very still, unaware of the passage of time or the scenery that's changing around it without its knowledge.
Then its captors would open the bag and stand back and the wild creature would explode from the sack's depths, all teeth and claws and snarls of fury with no mind to escape anywhere in particular but simply to escape.
House, no less exotic than a wild cat, woke up and found himself about to be made an involuntary guest of a mental hospital and fought like a wild thing just awake from a drug.
I guess his human mind understood, then, that this cage might be permanent. Not even the totally sane would go quietly with that news.
So one can hardly expect quiet surrender from the crazy.
Insanity is especially hard on those who suspect it within themselves to begin with. House was perhaps the smartest man I have ever met. He understood he was other than normal in the mental department, a little quirky in the habits department and frankly demented in the entertainment department. Hookers aside, House derived mountains of satisfaction from figuring out, not only the mystery, but the tiniest details of it. The motivations, if mysteries have motive. Truth was his ally and lies his best friend and he used either or both to achieve his goal of understanding…whatever was the puzzling flavor-of-the-moment.
Medical mysteries of course. The pathetic conundrum of my screwed up relationships with wives and women. Families – any but his own.
Whatever could not be explained, he tried to explain. Needed to. Like breathing and brain food. Only himself he left well enough alone. House was afraid of his own mind. Over the years I had grown to know and love him and only understand him a little and even I was afraid of his rat maze of a brain. Even worse was if House was afraid, such a smart man, then there was reason to be. Right?
The admitting nurse paged the on-call and after a few minutes a tired looking man in his mid-fifties and thin as tinsel appeared from behind a door with no name.
He greeted me and caterpillar eyebrows arched their backs when he found out who was being admitted to his little crazy corner of an only slightly less crazy world.
For some reason I had an urge to slug him. How dare he muse over the sight of my best friend's craziness. Geniuses have the right to go nuts as much as anyone and House had racked up enough points. He deserved the executive suite in this stinking nut-nest.
House was, in sequence, tranq-ed, strapped to a Gurney and wheeled to his very own white-walled blank space they had the nerve to call quarters. I wasn't allowed to say goodbye or anything.
I was asked to sign papers of course, being House's medical proxy, and I obeyed. Three months for starters.
I walked out of that place with enough guilt to make up for everything Nixon and Clinton ever did put together.
I slammed the door to my car and started the engine, wanting to not drive away but go back in there and take House by his shoulders and bring him home.
Instead I rested my forehead on the steering wheel and sobbed like the betrayer I felt like. It was the first time I'd cried since Amber died over a year ago and I hated that this felt like a death too. Living and dying were pretty well the same thing in a nut house.
I drove away and wondered when they'd let me visit or if House would speak to me when I did. In my pocket was the phone number of the psychiatrist who would be treating him and a cheque stub to the tune of twelve thousand dollars. Standard going rate for three months mental therapy.
I stopped and paid House's landlord another thirty-five hundred dollars to keep his apartment and everything in it safe, promising to stop by once or twice a week to collect the mail and make sure the taps hadn't burst.
Small favors in payment for sending my best friend away to become just another mental patient at New Jersey Trenton. The place was a mausoleum to insanity. Its echoing halls and crumbling, castle-like wings all but shouted: We house crazy people.
Cuddy will, in her sweetness, assure me it's all for the best. She wanted House back, whole and sane like I did and will say to me something about it every day probably.
Her face was so full of twisted guilt when we agreed to conspire against House and get him committed, it made her almost ugly.
When I arrived back at Plainsboro, House's team was sitting around, trying to look like they weren't discussing their boss's sudden insanity.
House's chair was pushed under his desk and his computer screen had been turned off. No one entered the office and no one dare even use his phone.
All was still and quiet like a crime had been witnessed there.
Like someone dearly loved had died.
To be continued ASAP
ALSO: Part VI of Fairy God Doctor is almost ready.