One Thing

"I got one thing. Same as you. I know that limp. I know that empty ring finger. And that obsessive nature of yours, that's a big secret. You don't risk jail and your career to save somebody doesn't want to be saved unless you got something. Anything. One thing. The reason normal people got wives and kids, and hobbies, whatever is because they ain't got that one thing that hits them that hard and that true. I got music, you got this. The thing you think about all the time. The thing that keeps you south of normal. Yeah. Makes us great. Makes us the best. All we miss out on is everything else. No woman waiting at home after work with a drink and a kiss. That ain't gonna happen for us. And when it's over, it's over."

-John Henry Giles, DNR

It wasn't much, he knew. But it had been enough. For years there had been precious little to distract him. Rainbows hadn't been enough to draw his attention from the all encompassing grey that had leeched the color from everything in sight. Loss had been slowly set upon him; one thing and then another. No way to retain the gifts that had been given to him. No way to win them back. And then, the pneumonia. The slow, unending spiral that had sucked him in. No light. No air. Nothing and no one to reach him. No hope. No love. Death sounded like a fair compromise given the last years of his life. Death sounded like release. And yet—death had been denied him. Taken from him, when at last it offered him the chance to escape the cheerless, joyless existence left to him. He had mourned for it.

Yet, somewhere within him he summoned the only emotion left in his palette and drew upon his anger. His ire. Death was the only thing left within his reach. He could not fail. He struggled for death once more; only to find it beyond his grasp.

No, then.

If not the release of death, then what? To live, forever bound within his broken body? He could hear, yes, he could see. He could speak. But the rhythm of music was forever denied release through his body. No longer could he play, or dance, or love. His anger butted up against his grief—brought to a head again and again by the stubborn tenacity of Dr. Gregory House; emotions seeping in where the grey had washed them away. Other emotions returned, one by one. Fear. Desire. Hope.

Pain.

Joy.

And now, sorrow. He smiled then, wistfully, as he scrolled through the Princeton-Plainborough press release. Music had been returned to his life; his re-awakened emotions had sung sweetly within him, all the way down to his marrow and penetrated his every thought. They found release upon the keys. House, he knew, had found no release. There was no magical cure that would bring him freedom. Trapped within his broken body with his endless thoughts; the man had become as entangled as he himself had been when his own body had nearly failed him. His joy, his gift, his very essence had been stripped away, and he had been forced to face the man beneath. The man who remained when everything was laid bare.

He could not bring House the ability to free himself. His prison was not entirely one of his own making, but he was imprisoned nonetheless. He had to discover the boundaries for himself. Even when it was over, it wasn't really over.

Not even in the face of death.