Friends, Interrupted

Chapter 1

I can see the two of them in line, selecting their meals and talking about something – I can't tell what, but Kutner is smiling. Then again, when is he not? They reach the register, and I notice that Kutner gestures to both their trays, and Taub fishes around in his wallet. He pays for both meals.

I can't help but chuckle at this. Unbelievable. My God, it's like watching myself with House. House and Wilson Lite. Well, sort of.

Kutner is so like House, almost eerily so. Not just in having trained Taub to foot the bill. He's got the same brazen approach to medicine, the same sort of thought process that follows a winding rabbit trail of metaphors until it arrives at the perfect solution. While House has his monster trucks and his soaps, Kutner has his comics and sci-fi movies. House has his leg, Kutner has his parents' death. But while House is a miserable ass, Kutner is…..not. I suppose he must have conquered his demons long ago. I don't know him well enough to say for sure. He's too inexperienced to have House's arrogance, although it might come if he continues to channel his boss. But Kutner also has a heart, and his own humanity doesn't bother him, like House's does.

Taub appears to have taken on my role as the stable one, the mature one. He can read people well and knows how to analyze behavior. God, he even has the marital problems, maybe a little occasional depression too. He's going to find himself led down all sorts of crazy paths by this kid. He'll probably complain and worry about it, but secretly, I bet he will enjoy every step.

And Taub is lucky. Kutner might be reckless at times, but that's from the excitement of youth. He's gotten much better handling those damn defibrillators: if he hasn't killed himself by now, I think he's safe. He doesn't pull crap with his own life for kicks, or for whatever reason House does. He respects his life and his own health, probably because of the simple fact that he's not in misery. Taub won't ever find Kutner OD'ing on stolen pills, he won't ever have to sit by a hospital bed because Kutner stuck a knife in a wall socket. He won't have to know that sick feeling, that his best friend didn't care enough about himself or you to NOT do such things. And Kutner won't do that to him.

I'm no fool. I know House is one lucky bastard – the number of things he's survived make me wonder if he's ever going to die. I find myself worrying when his lucky streak will run out, when the guardian angel or whoever looks out for him goes for a smoke….. I know then, that despite my best efforts, House will leave the world. Alone. And it will be his own fault – or his own choice. I wish to God I could change that, but I don't know if I will ever be able to. Taub will be spared that kind of fear and anxiety, God willing. He won't wake up in the morning and wonder, "Is this the day he doesn't show up to work, when the pain and misery become too much to bear for him?" He won't ever have to look at Kutner and think, "Why wasn't I able to help him? Was I the friend I should have been?"

I told House once that I wasn't so sure you could choose your friends. Maybe that's true for Taub and Kutner as well. They don't seem like they would be friends just on their own. Circumstance threw them together as coworkers, for a boss who puts them through the ringer. But then, I didn't see this sort of relationship develop with Chase and Foreman, not really. So maybe it's not the circumstances. Maybe it's just the Fates, the way the world conspired, making them click. Out of all the stress and mess, comes something worth smiling about. I don't know. Who does really? As House finally arrives at my table, stealing half my sandwich as he sits down, I think to myself, that I'm glad we're friends, come what may. And I glance across the room as Kutner sneaks a fry off of Taub's plate. I'm glad they are too.

Author's Note: I wrote this short piece from Wilson's POV back in January. I forgot about it, then rediscovered it after the events in "Simple Explanation." I was taken aback by the amount of foreshadowing I had unsuspectingly put in it. I decided to continue the story, still from Wilson's POV, dealing with the aftermath of of 5.20.