Disclaimer: All poems included belong to Juliabohemian and are from her fic Bibliotherapy.
Author's Note: I apologize for the delay. This chapter has been reworked so many times I've lost count. The first draft was just bad and then every edit after that just wasn't worthy of posting. My knowledge of anything medical is so incredibly limited I have trouble with writing it at times. That and I've been suffering from awful writer's block lately. Which isn't good since the semester starts in a month and I will have little to no time to write at that point. I thank everyone for their patience with me though.
Thank you to Juliabohemian and Ash for your abundance of help on this. This part wouldn't read or sound as good if ithadn't looked it over so many times by both of them.
Part Four – Wilson
After Cuddy's visit, House's expectations of anyone else taking the time to see him had diminished considerably. Wilson and Cuddy were the only people in his life that he might be willing to believe actually cared about him. When Cuddy left and all that remained of Wilson was his note, House started wondering how he could possibly pass the time in this Godforsaken place.
Not that he had any belief whatsoever in God; that was beside the point.
"Well, Gina assigned poems to you for a reason," Kutner intoned, his eyes tracking House's relentless pacing in the small space between his bed and the door.
His leg was twinging slightly, some psychological breakthrough pain bullshit that his attending physician kept babbling on about every time they met. The Methadone was a much more effective physical pain blocker, but that didn't mean it could block other types of pain. Psychosomatic pains still haunted him, all in his mind yet anguishing nonetheless.
And there was also mental and emotional pain that Gina kept explaining. Pain that was manifest of everything he'd been dealing with over the past several years.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
The pain was real. Couldn't any of the doctors here see that? Even Gina? She saw him frequently since his therapy sessions took place a few days per week. Didn't she notice what he was going through?
"It's not real," Kutner reasoned. "You know that now and you knew that three years ago."
House snarled at him, but didn't let up on his pacing.
The pain and restlessness had left House in no mood to write, despite Gina's insistence that it would actually be helpful.
Right. Like writing a poem could restore his leg. As if it could bring back the removed muscle tissue and allow him to walk normally.
Pretty words weren't going to solve anything.
"Maybe they can," Kutner said. "Words have saved people in the past."
Not in my previous experience.
Finally tired of pacing, House stretched himself out on the bed. He reluctantly pulled his writing notebook towards him, and flipped to a clean page.
He never wanted anyone to read what he wrote. It was personal, labeled "HIS EYES ONLY" in big red letters with a lot of tape.
Not that he had access to any tape.
If he had a shredder, each paper would be sliced into tiny pieces the minute they were finished. Sadly, no shredders allowed here. Not a big stretch of the imagination to figure out the why behind that.
The assignment Gina had given him was a little harder to formulate than he thought it would be, no matter how many times the Kutner in his subconscious hassled him about it.
"Just put down what you're feeling," Kutner mentioned. He was sitting cross legged on the floor. "You're supposed to think about your addictions and how they've affected your life."
"Why are you here?"
"Because you need me to be here," was Kutner's calm reply.
An evasive remark, as usual.
House ignored him and started tearing little bits of paper in his hands. It was a nervous habit that kept him preoccupied and also prevented him from rubbing his leg insistently.
No. No. Ignore the pain. Concentrate.
What to write, what to write.
He wasn't entirely up for tackling that whole issue though. That issue, the one that involved him self-medicating with pills and excessive amounts of alcohol, was one he didn't like to contemplate for very long.
House hated his dependence on inanimate items. The pills, the bottles of alcohol, his cane.
He hated being dependent in general.
It was easier though. The dependency made everything easier. The pain had caused the dependency. The people he knew shouldn't blame him for that.
Yet they all did.
Hell, he even blamed himself.
Kneeling, shackled before a faceless master.
This pathetic excuse for a human being.
Surrendering the worthless remnants of his soul.
For just one more dance with an inanimate god.
That will inevitably leave him with unquenchable thirst.
He drowned himself in Vicodin and alcohol and any other type of drug that could possible numb the pain. It was a pain that refused to go away and disturbed him day and night.
What was so wrong about not wanting to be in pain?
But it wasn't just the physical pain. It was also the empty feeling of loneliness, the feeling of worthlessness, how he wasn't good enough. The only way to block that pain was to suppress it with a drug filled haze.
House wasn't worthy of anyone or anything. At least that's what he constantly told himself.
Why else would Stacy have walked away? Why else would Wilson have walked away?
They didn't want what was broken and could not be fixed.
He was damaged goods.
"Which is why Cameron obsessed over you for so long," Amber pointed out. "I must say I'm enjoying all this introspection."
House groaned in annoyance; writing was impossible with her there. Kutner had vanished. But at least the assignment was finished now.
Amber clapped her hands and smiled at him.
"Good. Let's talk then."
"I'm not listening or talking to you," House muttered.
Just go away. Leave me alone.
"House, words can hurt you know." Amber pouted before sitting next to him on the bed, her legs dangling off the side. "I'm only trying to help you."
He was saved from replying by the orderly arriving to escort him to his therapy session.
Small miracles could still happen apparently.
House had to fight the urge to hug him, despite the fact that touching people voluntarily was always something that caused him to recoil.
He'd never been overly affectionate. Words, not actions, were what he used to express himself. At that moment though, faced with the choice between Amber or the orderly, House had never felt more grateful for the man's perfect timing.
Gina glanced up at him briefly from her position behind her desk when House entered the office. Her dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail and reading glasses rested on her nose. She was scribbling away on a pad of paper, a thick file opened up in front of her.
Notes from a previous session with another patient.
When Gina reached around behind her and grabbed his file, House couldn't help but feel smug that his was nowhere near as immense.
Had to mean something; the other patient was way crazier.
With all the medical history that House had accumulated throughout his entire life, seeing that he was doing better than someone else was like a small victory. He'd always been the patient with mountains of paperwork. But in here everything was different.
It was strangely gratifying to know that there were people here who were worse off than he, even if that did make him sound like more of an asshole. House was used to others calling him a jerk for his way of thinking, so that didn't bother him. But he knew feeling grateful that he was dealing with less severe problems versus the problems of other patients only served to increase his asshole status.
"Have a seat, Greg," Gina said, pointing toward the couch with her pen. "I just need another minute."
So what was he supposed to do, twiddle his thumbs?
Scowling a bit, House sat down on the couch and began doing just that. Amber started humming next to him. He longed for the time when having her there would no longer be necessary. He wanted control of his mind again.
Gina finally finished up with her paperwork and flipped open his file, shuffling for a couple of seconds, finally sliding a single piece of paper out from the pile. She removed her glasses and settled herself in her usual chair before looking over at him.
House eyed the paper in her hand with suspicion.
"The assignment I gave you; how did that go?" Gina asked, crossing her legs.
Straight to the point.
"Beautifully. I think you'll make a writer out of me yet," House said, sarcasm. "I might quit my day job now, take it up professionally. I mean, everyone is writing these days."
"Do you want to quit your day job?"
House blinked in surprise.
"Interesting," Amber drawled.
"Why are you asking that?" House said slowly.
"Because you saying that means you've at least thought about it," Gina pointed out.
Yes, he had thought about it. He'd tried to quit right before he entered Mayfield, and Cuddy had brushed him off.
But did he really want to quit and leave the hospital?
He'd finally be free of patients and people lying to him every day. He wouldn't have to worry about doing his job while in agonizing pain or in a drug-filled haze.
House would miss the puzzles though. He would miss the thrill of solving a mystery and saving someone's life. It was one of the only things that kept him going anymore. As much as it seemed to exacerbate the pain at times, it also helped keep it at bay. The puzzles allowed his mind to think of something else for awhile.
He couldn't lose that, could he?
"Be honest with yourself," Amber whispered. "You'd miss Wilson, too."
House growled low under his breath, hoping it didn't catch Gina's attention.
She was sharp though, and good at her job.
"Greg, why aren't you focusing?" Gina inquired.
House started, jerking in his seat. Amber's laughter filled his head as Gina's eyes held him in place, studying him carefully.
"I don't want to quit," he said almost inaudibly, skirting the more recent question.
I really don't.
Of course, she had to ask why.
House resisted the urge to roll his eyes.
Why though? What was the answer to that?
It helps with the pain.
"I like my job actually," House said scathingly. "Hard to believe, I know."
Gina continued to gaze at him, waiting for him to say more on the subject.
"And it helps," House finally muttered.
Gina nodded and wrote something down on her clipboard.
"Better than the pills, or the alcohol?"
House glared at her.
"Well, what do you think?" He said mockingly.
"Pills and alcohol mask pain, they don't remove it completely," she explained. "And while you being a doctor and helping people doesn't remove the pain either, it provides you with something else to think about, something to distract from the pain. You enjoy your job because it keeps your mind occupied, not numb. Feeling anesthetized means losing the experience of all sensations. And you crave reality and realism. Going through life desensitized all the time would be you lying to yourself."
House was silent.
"Accurate description I'd say," Amber mentioned thoughtfully. "I may grow to like her."
Like that would ever happen.
"Oh ye of little faith," Amber chuckled.
"I like what I do," House continued, staring down at his hands. "And I…don't want to lose that."
"And you don't have to," Gina replied gently. "Staying here, getting treatment here, doesn't mean you've lost your opportunity to be a doctor."
Yes, because I'm sure Cuddy and the donors will absolutely love having a hallucinating drug addict wandering the halls of their hospital.
"Once I and the other doctors have cleared you, you can return to PPTH and resume your position there."
It sounded so simple. Was it really?
"Nothing in life is ever simple," Amber stated. "I know that, so you know that."
She was right. It couldn't be that simple.
That meant he'd have to ask Wilson about it at some point.
"Let's talk about the pain management you were undergoing before you came here. During your intake session we went over it briefly and I'd like to hear more."
Gina evidently felt that they were done discussing the subject of his job and was ready to move on.
"If I mentioned it briefly then obviously I don't want to talk about it," House retorted.
Gina ignored the comment. She was getting much better at doing that, dismissing things said purely to deflect from the issue at hand.
Most people became discouraged when faced with his sarcastic and acerbic nature. Upon entering Mayfield his first assumption was that no one would be able to tolerate his attitude, and that the staff would most likely be kicking him out within the first week.
House never expected his therapist to be almost as headstrong as himself. He never expected her to actually have a backbone.
"You were experiencing more and more pain before you came here, at least that is what you told me. You took Vicodin regularly, in increasing amounts. What effect was that having? Were you still in pain? Or suffering from any side effects, both emotional and physical? Explain that to me."
Vicodin. A blessing and a curse all wrapped up in small white capsules.
A label that bears my name.
Tethering me to a bottle full of false promises.
A relief that does not exist.
Sentenced to watch everyone else living.
As I die in slow motion.
Day in, day out, they'd slowly been killing him.
Death by Vicodin. Death by failed liver.
The pills had kept him functioning at least, and really that had been his only expectation. The actual prospect of living pain free was something he'd given up on long ago.
House had tried to rid himself of the pills, by switching to Methadone. But Cuddy, in her desperate attempt to exercise even more control over him, had raised the stakes. She'd forced him to choose between keeping his job and pursuing alternative treatment. And he had eventually gone back to the pills, because he apparently valued his job more than pain free living.
But now it was different. Now the Vicodin was a greater enemy to him than ever, and the Methadone was his only chance. House could no longer tell if the Vicodin was hurting him more than it was helping him. Imminent liver failure was a given. But the more recent hallucinations were an even scarier result.
The Methadone…it was different. And though the delusions and hallucinations were not completely gone, they were fading. If the Methadone couldn't help him, then maybe nothing could. Because he'd either be in too much pain to work or too doped up to realize what was happening.
Either way, his career would be finished.
And despite what Gina might say, Cuddy still had the power to terminate his employment. If not the drugs, he knew that she'd find another reason. And if she didn't, he'd probably give her one.
Was the situation truly better? Was being on the Methadone making everything better?
"They were my happy pills. I just couldn't get enough of them," House mocked. "Tasted like candy."
Gina said nothing for a few seconds, her expression blank and calculating. House had to admire her a little for her great poker face.
I should bring a deck of cards next time.
"I know what you're doing," she finally said. "By deflecting and circumventing all my questions you hope that I'll eventually give up. You've been candid with me a few times. But those moments are few and far between, and the deeper we delve into these sessions the more you pull back and create some distance."
She paused and House found he could only stare at her, trying to conceal his irritation.
How was it that whenever he was sure he was revealing less, he was somehow giving her more?
There's no way she could read me that effortlessly.
"Got me all figured out I see, after what? A month and a half?"
"You're not as complex as you think you are," Amber sneered at him.
"No," Gina disagreed. "I don't have you all figured out. But I am trying to understand you more and I am here to help you understand yourself more."
"So it's all about getting in touch with my feelings, hmm?" House sniped.
How do I feel? Annoyed.
Leave me alone.
"You could put it in those terms, yes," Gina replied.
"At least she's honest about her motives," Amber pointed out, tapping her fingers on her knees.
Doesn't matter. Therapists are useless.
The little beagle bobble head on Gina's desk nodded at him.
House wanted to throw it out the window.
"The Vicodin," Gina said, trying to bring House back to her original question. "Explain the effects."
House felt tired now. He wanted to walk out the door and keep going until he left the building entirely. He didn't want to be there. He didn't want to talk about the Vicodin.
"I'm here, aren't I?" He responded dully.
"So do you believe the Vicodin is partly to blame for your hallucinations?" she asked.
He didn't even have to pause to think about that question.
He should have known that would be the follow-up inquisition.
"You never did detox, did you?" Amber said with a chortle. "You made that all up on your own."
Just another crazy delusion.
"It was the only idea I never got an answer to. I…I tried. I thought I detoxed, but it never happened."
That's not it though.
"You know Vicodin isn't the only reason why I'm here," Amber stated.
No. No it's not.
"Why do you think you didn't allow yourself to detox?" Gina inquired without looking up, still scribbling on her clipboard.
Pain. I couldn't handle the pain.
Everything led back to trying to escape pain. House hated being in pain above all else. Because even though he could understand it, he couldn't control it.
And so many aspects of his life had been robbed when the infarction had occurred. Things previously enjoyed no longer possible and people in his life once there now gone.
Pain changed everything.
Unending, infinite figure eight.
Trapped on a predictably curving path.
Intersecting at the same inconvenient times and places.
Robbing me of every last good thing.
Tendons stretching, my own fingers probing.
Desperate to extinguish this searing heat beneath my skin.
Left only with hollow bones and blood stained feathers.
Forever grounded; incapable of flight.
Forever limping. Forever slowed down. Forever in pain.
House blinked and focused back on his therapist.
"Well, I don't know. Because I like to detox?" The sarcasm in his voice was heavy.
"Evidently you did two months ago," Amber said with scorn. "Oh wait, that wasn't real."
House groaned softly in aggravation. The endless commentary was getting to be repetitive.
Gina leaned forward, a look of displeasure on her face.
"You don't trust me; that's fine. Our time is up anyway so we can continue this conversation during another session," she stated firmly. "Keep up with your writing and I'll see you in a few days."
"See ya," House uttered quickly. Gina's eyes tracked him, as he quickly made his way to the door.
Oh blessed freedom.
Walking down the hall with an orderly beside him, Gina's words ran through his head; you don't trust me.
House snorted under his breath. Trust her completely?
Trust her a little?
He'd never been good with trust though. Trust made a person weak, made them vulnerable to being hurt. And House hated being weak and hated being hurt.
One step at a time.
The next few days passed by agonizingly slow. House stayed in his room and tried to write, coming out only to retrieve his pills and to eat. Amber and Kutner flitted about here and there. But neither of them stayed for extended periods.
He was tired of them though, and could care less.
Since his therapy sessions were only a couple times a week, House was blessed with not having to worry about seeing Gina again until the weekend.
This meant there was not much to do except wait for time to pass.
He was utterly bored out of his mind.
And House refused to think that he was counting down the days until Wilson came to visit him again.
Nope. Not that pathetic.
"Actually, you are," Amber quipped.
Go to hell. Literally.
He only got a loud scoff in response to that.
Wilson's note (which House had retrieved from the floor after Cuddy left) had said he'd be back on the 27th.
I've thought about what you said. We need to talk some more. I'm coming back on the 27th. Don't try to avoid me.
That was today.
Had it really been another week of residing in this damn place?
"Days blending together?" Amber asked slyly.
"I wish you and Kutner could blend together," House snapped. "And by blend together I mean having you disappear entirely."
Was she ever going to leave?
"Oh, you know you like having me around."
House sighed. This whole Amber and Kutner thing was starting to become redundant.
A continuous loop of annoyance.
House didn't even realize how much time had gone by with him sulking away in his room that day until an orderly knocked on the door before entering.
"You have a visitor."
House had a sudden insane urge to hide.
Don't try to avoid me.
Easier said than done.
House knew he could refuse, tell the orderly he didn't want to see anyone and then Wilson would be sent away. This wasn't like being back at his apartment or at the hospital, where Wilson could just barge in and ignore House's protests.
It was oh so tempting.
"You know you want to see him," Kutner said. He was now visible across the room, standing next to the orderly.
"Okay," House mumbled. "I'm going."
The orderly handed him his cane and House had a vision of himself smacking the man in the back of the head with it before making a break for it down the hall.
Ah that would be amazing. Just like an epic movie.
Escape from Mayfield.
House contained his impulsive urge to giggle.
At least he wouldn't have to cross the San Francisco Bay or jump off a cliff. Too bad he wouldn't get very far though, especially with the prison-like security at the hospital.
Well, that took all the fun out of the scenario.
"Have to be sneakier," Amber whispered.
House closed his eyes briefly.
No, he was here for a reason. That meant no trying to get out early.
No matter how desperate he was to scratch that itch.
When they reached the door to the common room, the orderly held out his hand and took House's cane back from him.
So much for hoping he'd forget this time.
Still grumbling to himself, House limped carefully into the room, spying Wilson easily. The other man had his back to the door and was staring out one of the large windows, hands stuffed into his pockets and rocking slightly on his heels.
And maybe he didn't want to run away.
House really did want to see Wilson.
He'd never admit it, but he'd missed the other man. A lot.
Ugh, I'm a sap.
All that wonderful therapy was changing him, though Amber kept trying to make him think it wasn't. He now found himself acknowledging thoughts and emotions he never would have previously. And even if he had, there was always some mocking comment to go along with it.
Therapy was making him think though, and he had yet to figure out if that fact was better or worse than how he handled himself in the past.
House plopped himself down in a chair and looked up at his still-standing friend.
"Hey, House," Wilson said with a faint smile.
Just from the way Wilson was wringing his hands, House knew that he was nervous.
Go figure. They hadn't parted on the best of terms last time.
And now…now felt like the calm before the storm.
House forced himself to ignore that feeling.
"Hey, Jimmy. How's it going?" He tried to go for overly chipper. Yet it fell flat somehow.
House had to force himself not to wince.
Wilson frowned and shuffled his feet a bit before taking a seat at the table across from him, just like Cuddy had the previous week.
House definitely preferred Wilson right now though, despite their problems and odd, unstable friendship.
What did that mean?
It was a question House wasn't too keen to explore at the moment.
"Uh…good. Good," Wilson answered, fidgeting. "Got my note?"
"Yes. I drew little hearts all over it and then put it in my very special diary," House replied sarcastically.
Wilson rolled his eyes and grinned a little.
"Nice to know you're putting it to good use," he quipped back. "I can see you were going to try and avoid me anyway though."
"Hey! I'm here, aren't I?" House protested, drumming his fingers on the table.
"After an orderly practically had to drag you out of your room," Wilson pointed, tapping his hand against his mouth and trying to hide his grin.
"Only a little bit of dragging involved," House said. "I was…not sure how this would go."
The smile dropped off of Wilson's face and he bit his lip.
"Me too. But I wanted to see you again after…last time."
House tried not to show how much that comment pleased him.
"I'm…glad," he finally responded.
An awkward silence fell over them and House began to feel anxious, wanting to leave.
That was surprising.
Well, I guess we're all cleared up now. Thanks for playing.
"No," Kutner said sharply, from somewhere off to his left
House jumped slightly in his chair, and desperately hoped Wilson hadn't noticed that.
Since Amber and Kutner were no longer hanging around him every second, the times they did make themselves known were that much more unexpected.
And Kutner had been unusually persistent lately. Cranky too.
"Don't do that again, House," he continued. "There's more to talk about. You know it; Wilson knows it."
Damn bothersome subconscious.
An ache started radiating through his thigh.
"So I guess we need to talk…" House trailed off, trying to ignore the pain and hoping Wilson would pick up on the conversation. He had been the one to mention that in the note after all.
Wilson relaxed back in his seat a little.
"Right. Um…I shouldn't have left like that…before. It was wrong of me and I should have just stayed and tried talking with you. But I was angry and you were…"
Wilson flailed with his hands for a second, obviously at a loss for words.
I better help with that.
"Telling you the truth," House said bluntly.
Wilson sat up straighter and looked at him in confusion.
"House, you can't possibly think…?"
House rolled his eyes in exasperation.
Here we go again.
"What? Did you think what I was saying was just the incoherent ramblings of an old man who has finally gone off his rocker? Really, Wilson. I've never been thinking more clearly than I am now."
"That it's partly your fault. Yes, I remember that."
House felt like he was talking to a child suddenly. It was a bit disconcerting how oblivious Wilson was acting.
Wilson was looking progressively frustrated and edgy. He was leaning forward intently in his chair while restlessly tapping his feet against the carpet. He had the distinctive air of a man who was anxiously trying to curb the urge to move.
"I don't think I understand."
"He doesn't see it," Kutner whispered.
When had everything become so wrong?
House let out a sharp, bitter laugh.
"Do you honestly think you aren't culpable in any of this? God, Wilson. How dense are you?"
Wilson's eyes flashed in anger at the comment.
"You're blaming me for you being here? Yes, I remember you saying that, and I can't wait for the explanation."
"Who said I was going to start explaining? If you don't know then this is pointless. I may have to work on my issues, but you have to meet me halfway."
"That's what I don't get," Wilson countered. "Why is your being here my fault? I'll meet you halfway, House. But you have to clue me in, too. I came here to try and fix things and because I hated how I left last time, turning my back again just like…in my office. I want…I want to understand you."
"Why did you leave?" House muttered. "You had to know I'd recognize that for what it was."
Wilson sighed and rubbed one of his hands across his forehead.
"I was angry, hurt that you would say something like that to me. I'm your friend and I never thought you…I just never imagined you thought like that about me. I know being here is hard for you, and I know you're scrambling to find answers. But…" He trailed off.
I'm your friend. Why doesn't it feel that way?
"But what? You thought I was just going after you because you're a convenient target?"
Wilson averted his eyes guiltily.
House laughed bitterly. "Oh, that's good. You would think something like that."
"I don't know what to think, House!" Wilson practically shouted at him before slumping back in his seat.
House increasing impatience caused him to stand up and lean against the wall behind the table. He flicked his eyes around the room, noticing a few patients and orderlies looking their way. They must find his visitors extremely entertaining by now.
Wilson tracked his movements and then relaxed visibly when he realized House wasn't leaving the room. He started to open his mouth to continue the conversation before snapping it shut and blowing out a loud breath. His shoulders slumped forward and the look on his face could only be described as lost.
"I'm…" He laughed shortly. "I'm not good at this."
His hand started rubbing the back of his neck in a gesture that was so Wilson it almost made House smile and caused this horrible ache in his chest.
He grabbed his leg reflexively, wrongly thinking the pain was there. Because House couldn't associate the twinge he felt as anything other than relating to his leg. It was an automatic response; borne over years of feeling pain only there.The Methadone was a pain blocker though and this reaction was…irrational.
So why was he responding that way now?
"The answer to that is right in front of you," Kutner told him.
It all led back to Wilson apparently.
"Is your leg bothering you?" Wilson asked anxiously, eyeing him and half-rising out of his seat.
"No," House snapped back. "I feel just dandy. Continue."
He couldn't associate the pain as anything else but physical. Because emotional pain made little sense to him.
"I'm sorry," Wilson finally whispered. And House knew it wasn't about his leg.
Just a word. Just a word.
Oddly, the pain lessened at that point and he released his vice-like grip on his thigh.
Because it was the word that meant something. Even though any phrase involving sorry was not usually his thing. At that moment though, House wanted to hear it.
"I know," he answered just as softly. "That doesn't take anything back though."
Wilson threw his hands up into the air and glared at House.
"What do you want then, House?" he snapped loudly. "I apologize and yet you're still not letting anything go. What do you want from me?"
My apologies never mean anything to you, so why should yours, Wilson?
"Yes, because you obviously let everything go, too," House responded with a roll of his eyes. "Mister Let-Me-Talk-A-Situation-To-Death."
Wilson crossed his arms and looked away silently.
You know I'm right.
"Tell me what you want, House." Wilson sounded overwhelmed.
"I want…" House trailed off, glancing over at Kutner who was nodding encouragingly.
What did he want?
"I want…to matter. I want…you to care." House shut his eyes tightly. "I want us to go back to the way we were before."
"House. Oh God," Wilson said, his voice muffled.
House opened his eyes to see Wilson sitting before him with his face buried in his hands. House stiffened, shifting his weight uneasily. He then slowly lowered himself back into his seat, mind racing to formulate a reply.
"Why do you keep doing this?" Wilson cut him off, still not looking up. "Why must you keep bringing all this up? Have I not proved, time and time again, that I do care? I. Care, House."
In an act reminiscent of his previous visit, Wilson leapt up from his chair and started to pace back and forth. House was getting dizzy just watching him.
"I don't think you…"
Again Wilson cut him off, abruptly halting his pacing and waving his hands around in agitation. His eyes bored furiously into House's and there was more anger in his voice as he kept talking.
"You called me, on the fucking phone, and told me you were about to inject yourself with insulin! God, House, I haven't run that fast in years. Do you have any idea what that did to me? Don't you think that proved I care? How many other times have I proven myself?"
"So this is all about keeping score?" House barked. "Let's count up the tally marks."
"What? No!" Wilson said indignantly, starting up his pacing again. "There is no score, House. But you claim I don't care about you and only use you when it suits me, and that's not true." He paused and looked away while running his fingers through his hair. "And I could say the same about you."
Round and round in circles we go.
"I've heard this before," House muttered.
"Stop!" Wilson snapped, rapidly losing his temper.
Wilson's hands were resting on his hips and a very fine tremor was vibrating through his body. House only noticed because he knew Wilson so well.
"Okay, you're right, this isn't about scores," House admitted. "But it is about the way you treat me."
"Shut up. For one minute, shut up," he snarled.
Wilson froze in place at the tone of House's voice before dropping back down into his chair. His hands were still trembling and House watched as Wilson clenched them into fists and held them stiffly against the top of his thighs. His shoulders were hunched and he eyed House warily, exuding an aura of fight or flight.
But he stayed quiet this time.
House's head was throbbing and another ache was growing in his leg.
Listen, Wilson. Please just listen to me.
"You knew this wasn't going to be easy," Kutner said.
Nothing in his life ever had been.
"This isn't just about a couple of issues, Wilson," House spoke harshly. "This is about everything. But you've never been able to see that. Your friendship is conditional on every single thing I do. If I'm behaving, you stay. If I fuck up, you leave. If I do what you want or think is best, you're my friend. If I do something for myself, I'm suddenly selfish and you hate me."
House took a deep breath, trying to pretend he wasn't seeing Wilson's stoic expression. His fingers started playing along the edge of the table, searching for a distraction.
He hates me. He hates me.
You've hurt me. I hurt you. I'm in pain. You're in pain.
"Explain that." Kutner was speaking into his ear.
On and on and on.
"I take pills because I'm in pain. But to you I'm nothing except an addict, craving his next fix. My leg hurts more on certain days, but to you that's because I must be suffering from some emotional conversion disorder. The funny part is you bitch, yet you need me to be in pain because then I need you more. You don't understand that I need you in spite of everything else."
Should I have admitted that?
"You…you always want to repair me, always want to put me in order like I'm a broken toy or something," House continued on in a whisper. "This is me though. Why can't you accept that? Why can't you see me instead of what you want to see?"
House wasn't looking at Wilson, not wanting to see the reaction to what he was saying. His fingertips still brushed along the tabletop and he kept his gaze focused there.
"Why can't you just be a friend, without making me feel like crap all the time? Why can't you be the friend I need?"
Ball's in your court. Now you can say something.
"House, you've…got this all wrong. I don't…no."
House glanced over at him finally and saw that both of Wilson's hands were gripping the back of his neck and he was rocking subtly. The blank look on his face was now being replaced by loss. House had to keep pushing though; he couldn't help himself.
That was why he was there; that was why he had come to Mayfield. He wasn't there only for the hallucinations; he was also there to face his issues with the people in his life.
And Wilson was at the very top of the list.
"That has never changed," Kutner reminded him softly.
No, it hasn't.
"I've always considered you my friend, Wilson. Always," said House. "No matter what you do or say or how you treat me, I've never stopped being your friend and I never will stop."
House closed his eyes and turned his head away. He couldn't bear to see that pained look on Wilson's face anymore.
"I want you…to feel the same way about me. I want you to…value our friendship as much as I do."
"Oh House, how can you not know?" Wilson sounded like he was close to crying again.
House wasn't sure which was worse; the almost crying or the raging anger.
"How can you even think like that?" Wilson continued.
Because it's true.
"You make me feel like a burden to you; you've always done that. I can count on one, maybe two hands the number of times you've actually seemed to appreciate me, to like me."
"Oh ho," Wilson broke in suddenly, standing once more and pointing a shaking finger at House. "Like you don't? You put this all on me yet you treat me the same way. How many times have you ignored me? How many times have I actually needed you as a friend yet you couldn't be bothered to be there for me? How many, House?"
"Do you want an actual number or just an estimate?" House asked, lifting his hand and starting to count off with his fingers.
Wrong thing to say.
"House, dammit!" Wilson growled and slammed his hand down on the table. He kept it there, leaning on the table and tipping it a little his way.
"Watch it," Kutner warned.
Interesting how Kutner was trying to keep him in check when Wilson was the one losing his temper.
"This isn't why I came back. I didn't want to fight again," Wilson said with a lot of the bite from before now gone from his voice. With the hand not placed on the table, he reached up and started kneading his forehead. As if staving off a headache.
They were a little beyond that point now though.
"Why must you question everything?" There was now only exasperation in Wilson's tone.
I have to question this; I have to do this.
"I may act like an asshole and I may not be the world's greatest friend. But you make me earn your friendship, every damn day," House snapped. "You make me feel as if I'm a charity case; that you only put up with me because you should."
"That's not true!" Wilson practically shouted in a strangled voice, his hand hitting the table again.
"Are we friends, Wilson? Are we? Answer me that. Tell me we're friends because you want us to be friends, not because you feel as if it's some duty that makes you look like the saintly martyr."
"House…" Wilson said, shaking his head frantically from side to side and placing his hands on his hips. "Don't do this. Don't ruin another visit."
"I need to know. I need to do this. Don't come back, until you can look me in the eye and tell me the truth, not some bullshit lies that you love to spew. I can't go on like that anymore."
House stood up and started to limp away. But the helpless look on Wilson's face combined with his renewed trembling made House pause next to him. Peripherally he saw Wilson raise his hand as if to set it on House's shoulder before aborting the move and clenching the hand back at his side.
Gnawing worriedly on his bottom lip, Wilson started to step closer to him. But House immediately took a step back in response and Wilson bowed his head in defeat.
Heartbreak. Ache in his chest. Itching behind his eyes. Pain in his leg making him stumble.
The Methadone felt suddenly useless.
Why am I doing this?
Leave. Leave now, before I take it all back.
"I'm…" House broke off, shifting in place as well as he could with one bad leg.
I can't say sorry.
Please please understand.
As House limped out of the room, he glanced back over his shoulder to see Wilson still standing with his head down with the addition of his arms wrapped tightly around his torso. A whole aura of misery surrounded him.
Words can hurt. Get used to it.
House had to ignore any emotions the scene produced though. He had to force himself to turn away and keep walking. Because feeling guilty for his actions wouldn't facilitate the situation. And he couldn't feel sorry for Wilson after all the pain he'd caused House. He just couldn't allow himself that.
How many times have I felt the way you feel right now, Wilson?
Lost at sea.
Once more in need of your assistance.
The tide is quickly rising.
Throw me a line and draw me in.
Please forgive me.
For we both already know.
Tomorrow I will do it again.
And this is the moment when he hated himself.
End part four.