DON'T LET GO

Taken off from "Both Sides Now", but House does NOT go to Mayfair. But he still has some serious challenges. Here's how it would all happen in my world. Total Huddy*Huddy*Huddy all the way!

I know there are quite a few of this vein of story line already circulating out there, but I hope you will enjoy this one too. Please read & review!

Rated M/Adult mainly for some future stuff.

All the usual and applicable disclaimers and warnings apply, such as don't like - don't read; I don't own House or any other characters, or anything or anybody else, blah, blah, blah…

NITEJASMINE

DON'T LET GO

House MD fanfic by NiteJasmine

*****

House sat on his bed, his head bowed, arms limp at his sides. He was staring at the floor, but his focus was much farther away. Amber was in the room with him, but she was still and silent, sitting cross-legged on the floor under the window, watching him.

The revelation in her office earlier of his massive hallucination had left him shattered and visibly shaken. She had managed to help him get to the couch, and he had been able to give her a shaky recount of what his deluded brain had conjured up. Cuddy was shocked by the magnitude of the hallucination, but she kept her own thoughts reigned in and calmly listed to the whole thing. When he had finished, he had haltingly told her that now he was sure. It had to be the Vicodin. He really did need to detox. For real. He just didn't know what was real or not anymore.

"Will you help me?" He had asked, staring at the floor, his voice barely audible.

Cuddy had put a hand softly against his cheek, and gently turned his face to her. She felt a knot in her stomach at the haunted, frightened look in his eyes.

"Of course I will," she had said.

He had nodded, then he went quiet, looking back down at the floor. Since that moment, he had barely spoken.

Cuddy had taken him to Wilson's office and told him what had happened. Then she had brought him home, she didn't know where else to take him. House had asked for her help. Both in his delusion and for real, and she had a chance to do exactly that for him. But a full-blown detox with him? This was a daunting and frightening task. She was not sure she could handle it alone. Handle him. House was a strong man, and could easily overpower her physically. And she knew he could also be evilly manipulative to get what he wanted, especially when he got desperate.

There were so many things that could go horribly wrong with this plan. She seriously considered that maybe it would be better to take him somewhere, so he could go through this all in a controlled environment, surrounded by professionals. But she was not sure he would go, and his rebellious nature would cause him to fight every inch of every step of the way, being surrounded and prodded by a batch of strange doctors. It could push him even closer to the edge, or even right off the cliff. And his mental state was already very, very fragile. No, it was better to try it here, where he was familiar and comfortable. That decided, she took a deep breath and launched into the first order of business: sweep the place for all of his drugs.

She moved around House's apartment while she talked to Wilson at length on her cell, gathering up every stash of pills she could find while still keeping a watchful eye on House. But he just sat there on the edge of his bed, not moving, unresponsive. If he was aware of what she was doing, he didn't show it.

She had spent quite some time on the phone, arranging her nanny's schedule for Rachel, her staff nurses to hold down the fort for a few days, and asking Wilson to stop in at regular intervals, and to stay on call for her in case she needed him to come over quickly. They had also discussed her safety, and she set up a planned check-in schedule for herself with him as well. If she didn't call when she was supposed to, Wilson had better come running and bring the cavalry.

After hanging up, she had checked the kitchen and the fridge, there was enough food around for a day or two. And she could always ask Wilson to bring whatever she needed. She dug around and scrounged up some tea, chicken broth, and a few other odds & ends that she thought would come in handy later on. She put everything out so it would be within quick and easy reach for her. It was going to be a long, bumpy ride, and once they got rolling, she was going to have to make sure that House never left her sight, not for a second.

Finally, she felt she had everything arranged. She was ready. She took a deep breath, and headed for House's bedroom.

That was the last room she searched. He didn't speak or move as she methodically went through everything, collected the little amber bottles, emptied them into the toilet, and flushed them all away.

When she was done, she came and stood in front of him.

"House…" she started. He didn't look up at her. He knew what she wanted. He reached into his pocket and took out the bottle of pills. The same bottle that earlier had been her lipstick. He stared at it for a moment, then silently handed it to her. That one gone, she came and sat down next to him on the bed.

"Are you hungry?" Cuddy asked quietly.

House shook his head no.

"You should try and eat something," she continued gently. "You need to keep your strength up."

"Do you think…" House began, but stopped, surprised at the tremor in his own voice. He swallowed hard, and started again.

"Do you… really think… this will work?" He asked softly.

"Yes, I do," she answered. She put every once of belief in her answer. She didn't want to entertain any thoughts at all about this not working. She didn't want to go there. This had to work.

House was quiet for a for a long moment.

"Okay," he finally answered softly, resigned.

"House…" Cuddy stopped herself. "Greg. It's going to be alright. I'm here for you."

"Are you really?" He asked timidly, like he was afraid of the answer. "Are you really here?"

Cuddy put one hand over his, and wrapped the other around his shoulders, pulling him to her.

"Yes. This is all real. I'm really here." She answered, willing him to believe her.

That's when he broke down and started to cry.

He collapsed into her arms, and exploded into tears. He pulled his legs up onto the bed before he balled his hands into fists and tucked them against his chest, curling himself into a tiny ball.

Cuddy held him tightly, slowly rocking him as he shook with sobs, the hot tears pouring down his face. The big, powerful man she once knew was reduced to a shaking, broken, weeping child in her lap.

He curled himself up around her, trying to make himself even smaller, to hide away from it all. He didn't have any shred of pride or self-consciousness left in him. The feel of Cuddy's warm embrace around him was his final undoing. He surrendered to his emotions completely, and let it all come pouring out. The years of pent up anguish, loneliness disappointment, fear. The bone-crushing, relentless pain, he vented it all. Stacy. His leg. His father. Amber. Kutner. His whole miserable life since the infarction. He laid there and emptied himself, too far gone to try and hold anything back.

The intensity of his collapse into her arms startled Cuddy. She had never seen anyone so absolutely devastated.

"I'm here, Greg," she whispered. "I've got you. I'm here." She could feel his whole body trembling, and it wasn't from any detox, not yet. This was just raw emotion. The cork had finally popped off the bottle and House was powerless to stop the gushing flood.

The tortured sobs shook his body. He felt completely drained and defenseless. He could feel the pain in his leg already beginning to howl. It wouldn't be long before the chills and the tremors and the nausea would come, and torment him with their icy grip for hours. And the pain. The unbearable pain. The prospect of this brutal detox looming on the horizon terrified him. He had no idea how he was going to survive it.

"I… I ca-can't… do th-this…" he stammered between sobs, his voice slightly muffled against Cuddy's stomach.

She felt her heart break for him.

"Yes, you can," she said softly but firmly, squeezing and rubbing his back and shoulder. "I'm going to help you."

He cried a little harder, and Cuddy held him a little tighter.

"I'm going to stay right here, Greg," she told him. "Right here with you. Every minute. I won't leave you. You just hold on to me. You hear me? You hang on to me and you don't let go. We're going to get through this together… Okay?"

He didn't answer her. Instead, she felt him shift his body slightly, and pull his arm free. He shakily wrapped it around her waist, knotting his fist up in the back of her shirt, and pulled himself tighter to her. She gently stroked one hand through his hair, while the other kept a firm hold across his back.

He eventually calmed down some, he had cried himself dry. He laid there, still trembling, but not moving, for what felt like an eternity. Cuddy thought he may have even dozed off into a fitful sleep. Good. He would need all of his strength to get through what was coming. They both would.

Cuddy had relaxed just a little, lulled by the stillness and relative quiet. She kept comforting him, gently rubbing his back, reassuring him. Hours passed.

Suddenly, House jolted in her arms, his detox symptoms starting to kick in. She felt him tense up, and heard a low, keening moan begin to come from him. The pitiful sound only stopped long enough for him to take a breath in, and continued again. His began to rock his body back and forth. He kept himself pressed against her, his face still scrunched up against her stomach. She began to wonder if he could breathe well enough, but she didn't want to chance trying to move him. He might think she was trying to push him away, and that would be disastrous.

"Nooooo…" she heard him moan. He solved the air supply dilemma by slowly turning his head up to look at her. His eyes were red-rimmed and bloodshot, and already swimming with pain. He laid there, just staring up at her, the look in those tortured eyes already begging for relief.

He crunched his eyes shut as his body tensed up harder, and he gasped, tightening his arm around her again.

"It huuuuuurts…." He wailed softly. "It… always… h-hurts… so… b-bad…"

Cuddy held him tightly. She knew she was going to have to be strong for him, but it was taking a monumental effort not to let her own tears fall.

"I know," she whispered. "I know it does."

"It never…. never stops…." He gasped further. "Never… Pleeeeease…. Make it…. stop…." His breathing turned rapid and shallow. "Please, please, please…." He dissolved against her as a fresh round of choking sobs tore from him.

Cuddy held him as tightly as she could, rocking with him. Is this what he has been keeping locked up? This level of brutal pain? Desperate to drown it with alcohol, squelch it with Vicodin, Morphine, or any other drug he could get his hands on. It's been eight years. Eight excruciating years of brutal, unrelenting pain. My God. No wonder he shredded himself to pieces. No one could endure this. Not indefinitely. She was amazed that he had been able to hang on and last this long.

She felt a huge pang of guilt for the time she and Wilson had manipulated him into going off his pills for a whole week. How the hell did that ever help him? All it did was prove that he was an addict and put him through 7 days of hellish pain.

And she felt absolutely ashamed of herself for all those other times that she had ignored his disability, forgot about his injury and his mobility issues. Messed with his pills. Hid his cane. Hurt him. She had actually hurt him. Like he didn't have enough pain to deal with already. She wished she could turn back the clock and undo all of it. She would never, ever, discount his suffering again. Or anyone else's for that matter.

House shuddered against her, bringing her back to the moment.

"Make it stop….." he whispered, begging her.

"Oh, Greg…" she whispered back. But before she could say anything else, he suddenly twisted in her arms and half-rolled to the edge of the bed, where he violently emptied his stomach into the trashcan there. Cuddy had to quickly tighten her hold on him to keep his convulsing body from rolling right off onto the floor. She held onto him while he wretched hard, heaving until there was nothing else to bring up. He rolled onto his back, coughing and gasping for air.

Cuddy leaned down and snagged a T shirt that was lying on the floor, and gently wiped his face and mouth with it. He rolled his shivering body back towards her, wrapping his arms around her again and hugging himself to her fiercely. She circled her own arms around him and pulled him even closer, rocking with him again as a new wave of pain hit, pulling more tortured, pitiful moans from him.

She wished there was more that she could do. Something that she could give him to stop his pain and suffering. But she knew there wasn't anything. Not yet. She could eventually treat the pain, but not until the Vicodin was purged. He had to detox. He was going to have to go through this measure of hell and just ride it out. And they both knew it was going to get worse before it got any better. All she could do is hold him, comfort him, keep him grounded, be his strength.

House kept a tight grip on her. He was in absolute agony from the pain, the cramps, the tremors. He struggled to maintain any semblance of rational thought in his shambled mind. Don't let go. He kept repeating to himself. She was his anchor in the wailing thrashing storm. Don't let go. If he lost his grip on her for even a second, he feared that he would be swept away and lost forever. Don't let go…