A/N: I meant it when I said I was done, but I've been heavily fantasizing about this dark stuff the last couple days, so I had to do something.
No slash intended, strong friendship only. This is an AU for post 5x01, "Dying Chnages Everything." Mention of Wilson/Amber.
WARNING: This is a dark, dark fic. No happy ending. Pretty much just gratuitous tragedy.
by Marie S. Crosswell
"The worst pain a man can suffer: to have insight into much and power over nothing."
Friday, September 19, 2008 – 8:36 PM
After Wilson tells him their friendship is over, House goes home. He locks the apartment door behind him and turns around to survey his living room. He drops his backpack on the floor next to his feet and throws his motorcycle jacket on the couch. He stands still for a moment and thinks of what just happened, Wilson's words penetrating deeper and deeper into his mind.
We aren't friends anymore, House. I'm not sure we ever were.
A lot of hatred in the world is fierce, searing, like molten lava or liquid nitrogen. Wilson's hatred is cold, like the bottom of the Hudson River in January. So cold, House can't feel anything. He's aware of "broken." He just doesn't feel it. So cold, his nerve endings are dead, frostbitten away into nothing.
House isn't surprised that at the end of everything, his heart's the first to go, but that he still has his mind in tact. He decides what to do. It doesn't mean anything to him yet, just another right answer.
He leaves his cane against the door and limps to his bedroom, lowers himself to the floor, and reaches beneath the bed for a metal box of olive color. He pulls it toward him and pushes himself up, then goes back out into the hall and retrieves the old wooden box from the coat closet.
He sets both boxes on the coffee table in the living room and goes into the kitchen, takes the unopened bottle of Johnnie Walker Black from the liquor cabinet and a short glass. He goes back into the living room but realizes he forgot something and leaves the whiskey and glass next to the boxes. He limps to the bathroom and comes back with a bottle of bismuth.
Now, he sits down on his sofa and opens the boxes.
Friday, September 19, 2008 – 9:13 PM
Wilson's on his second glass of bourbon. He never drinks bourbon, but tonight, he needs something harder than beer. He's a little afraid, as he grows drunker, that he might start to cry here in this bar. He knows if he starts, he won't be able to stop. He'll have to get up and leave. But despite this fear, he isn't giving up the alcohol yet.
He realized halfway through his first glass how cruel he sounded back there, telling House he's through. Part of Wilson is sorry. Part of him isn't. Thinking over what he said, he's aware that the reason he gave House for leaving—not wanting to enable the cruelty and abuse—is bullshit. He wasn't lying when he said he doesn't blame House for Amber's death. So the truth is Wilson has no idea why he's running like this.
He just knows that this is pain. The first woman in years he felt truly in love with is gone, ripped away from him after only a few months, and he doesn't know what to do. Nothing like this has ever happened to him before. It hurts to break up. It stings even more every time he divorces another wife. But this—this is a pain Wilson has managed to escape his whole life, until now. Even his brother disappearing for the last eleven years doesn't hurt this much.
Wilson drains the last of his second glass and asks the bartender for another. The bartender pours and Wilson nods in gratitude.
That night, when he lost Amber, he walked into House's hospital room and just looked at the man. Wilson wanted to blame him, wanted to say that if House hadn't called him, hadn't gotten drunk, hadn't gotten on that bus, Amber would still be alive. But even within an hour of her death, Wilson knew it had just been a hellish accident, a string of coincidences. He stood in House's room and looked at him, knowing House had done everything in his power to save a woman he had no personal feelings for, knowing House could've died trying. Wilson still remembers he asked House to do it. His best friend of fourteen years, traded in for a girlfriend he'd been with four months.
Wilson still doesn't know what he felt in that moment, what happened to him in that room. All he remembers is how he was blown away with the shock of his own loss, and seeing House reminded him that he'd been damn close to losing both loves of his life.
He couldn't tell House thank you for trying. He couldn't take out his anger on him either. He couldn't think anything except how an atomic bomb had just been dropped in the middle of his life and taken everything. He doesn't know why he walked away then anymore than he knows why he's walking away now.
But at the time, he figured all those mean words would sound real enough to make House quit, even if it was all crap.
Friday, September 19, 2008 – 8:56 PM
House has everything laid out in a row on the table, the boxes now closed and pushed back. The pills are grouped by type: 10 Sonata, 12 Solfoton, 11 Valium, 14 Norpramin, and 16 Vicodin. At the end of the row lies one syringe of morphine.
He begins with the bismuth, drinking straight from the bottle; he needs to ingest enough to prevent premature vomiting of the pills. The stuff tastes like chalk, thick in his mouth. He washes it down with his first few gulps of the Johnnie Walker Black—a Christmas gift from Wilson, three years ago. He drinks enough until the taste of bismuth disappears beneath the warm whiskey burn. He glances at the bottle of Black to make sure the cap's off for easy access, then starts on the meds.
The anti-depressants first, because he hasn't lost his sense of humor. Small, round pills. Green with black print. He secretly made an appointment with a psychiatrist a few months ago, after Amber's death. A moment of desperation, where he thought the pills would be enough to tide him over through the loss of Wilson. Instead, he took the bottle of Norpramin home and stuck it in his wooden box. He swallows them three at a time, with only enough whiskey to knock them back smooth.
The Phenobarbital next: Solfoton, round white pills. These, he bought from a drug dealer he's known for many years, a guy who uses the nickname "Cartier" with his clients, who are all wealthy New York City types. Barbiturates are scarcer these days, which sucks when you want them but also means they're higher quality when you find them. Again, House swallows in threes, sipping as little whiskey as he can.
The Valium—round blue pills with the V-shaped logo carved out in the center of each one—he stole from a dead patient at the hospital. Not his patient, but someone he'd heard of while eavesdropping on two nurses chatting. He can't even remember now what had motivated him to go check out this dead person's charts for current prescriptions, but he took the Valium because he could.
The Sonata belong to him. Right around the time Wilson started dating Amber, House had a bout of insomnia. He rode his motorcycle to a small hospital in South Jersey and put on his best act for a script of decent sleeping pills. These are capsules—half white, half forest green. He used them for ten days and stopped. Now the leftovers disappear, and he's a little more generous on the whiskey.
The best for last: Vicodin. The last sixteen in his current bottle. These, he takes one by one, even though he should hurry with them, before everything else sets in. He finishes a second glass of Johnnie Walker on the familiar, long, white pills. Once he swallows the last one, he sets down the empty glass and pauses for a minute, shutting his eyes and taking a deep breath. He feels good. Calm. Ready.
He's wearing a t-shirt today with short sleeves, so he doesn't have to roll one up. He ties his piece of rubber around his left bicep and picks up the morphine syringe. The needle glimmers for a second, just before it pierces the skin and burrows into his blue-green vein on the inside of his elbow. He pushes the drug slow, feeling it immediately blossoming into his blood. Once he finishes, he sets the syringe back down on the table and breathes.
He knows he doesn't have a lot of time. He stands up and already feels dizzy, but his leg hasn't been this pain-free since he was on ketamine. He smiles, rubbing his bad thigh.
He walks down the hall to his bathroom and starts to fill the bathtub with water.
Friday, September 19, 2008 – 9:41 PM
After three glasses of bourbon, Wilson's started on his second beer. He feels the turn: his relief shifting to the drop into a deeper pain than what he feels sober. His throat closes up, and his chest clenches. His eyes burn, and in the haze of his mind, Amber and the hole she left starts to give way to House and the hole Wilson made.
He props up both elbows on the bar top, and his lower lip quivers. His face scrunches up and reddens, and he shields it with his hands.
He's never felt this alone. Part of him wants to call House because that's what he's done the last fourteen years. But he can't now, not after what he said, not when he knows that somehow staying with House will cause him just as much suffering as he's in now. Maybe more.
The tears start, and he fists his hands together, pressing them against his mouth. His shoulders jump a little. He slumps down after a few minutes, covering his face with his hands, and the tears collect on his jaw, dripping onto the bar top.
Friday, September 19, 2008 – 9:37 PM
House turns off the faucet once the bathtub is full. His vision's compromised, and his head feels light. His breathing is slower, his pulse too, but there's no pain. He reaches into the left pocket of his jeans and pulls out his knife, then swings his bad leg up and into the tub. He heaves himself awkwardly into the water, lying on his back with his arms on the sides, trying to keep the knife dry. He braces his feet against the end corners of the tub, sneakers squeaking a little when they slip.
He blinks and tries hard to focus with the knife in his right hand. The blade is the clearest thing in his sight. He sets the sharpened edge against his left wrist, right below the bottom of his palm. He takes a deep breath and tilts the blade at an angle, the tip pointing into his skin. He presses hard and cuts vertical for three inches, pushing his feet against the tub as his muscles tense up with adrenaline. He thinks he can feel the exact moment when the veins sever.
Once he stops, his holds his wrist above water and looks at the wound, knocking his head back against the wall and smiling open-mouthed. He drops the knife on the floor next to the tub and leaves that hand dangling in midair, arm resting on the tub side.
He lowers his left wrist into the water—now the blood can't clot. The water begins to stain red, as if House's arm were an octopus, inking in self-defense.
Today is Friday, he thinks. No one will think to come looking for him until Monday.
He feels his mind shutting down, darkness covering him, and for the first time, he quits thinking.
Friday, September 19, 2008 – 10:01 PM
House's landline phone rings in the living room, the standard three rings, before going to voicemail.
Cuddy's voice fills the apartment, replacing the everywhere silence.
"I know you're home, House. I'm just calling to make sure you're okay. I'm sorry about Wilson. I tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen. Try not to worry about it too much. He's going through a rough time; he'll come around."
She pauses and exhales.
"Call me, please. Let me know you're not shooting up every drug known to man."
She hangs up.
Friday, September 19, 2008 – 10:50 PM
When the cab driver asks Wilson where he wants to go, he gives House's address without thinking. He's drunk enough that he forgets for a few minutes that he's not talking to House anymore. He has nowhere else to go, nowhere that belongs to him—just his dead girlfriend's apartment filled with her things and his best friend's couch. Ex-best-friend.
"Oh," he says out loud, remembering. The cab driver glances at him in the rearview mirror but doesn't say anything.
Wilson doesn't bother explaining. Or thinking ahead to what he'll do when he gets there. He just rides in the back of the cab, leaning against the right side door. He keeps his eyes closed and doesn't think of anything.
The cab driver pulls up in front of House's apartment building and says,
"We're here, sir."
Wilson fumbles for his wallet and hands him a ten and a five. He gets out and stands on the sidewalk, as the cab drives away. He looks up at the stars, then at the buildings. He doesn't know what he's going to do or say, but he's here. He climbs the steps on the stoop and goes in.
Wilson knocks on House's door, soft and slow. No answer.
"It's me," he says, but he's not sure if he spoke loud enough.
He stands there for a couple minutes, then reaches into his pants for his keys. He looks at each one, trying to remember which one fits in House's door. He tries two wrong keys, then the right one.
When he lets himself in and stands in the doorway, he feels his chest tighten up again. It's been months since he was in this apartment. It looks the same, and this makes him sad and satisfied both.
He shuts the door and calls out for House. He doesn't know what time it is, but it's unlike House to go to bed before 2 AM on a Friday.
"House. It's Wilson."
Nothing. Maybe he's not here, Wilson realizes. He's pretty sure the bike is parked outside, but maybe he's wrong. Or maybe House left some other way.
But then Wilson steps up to the back of the couch and looks down at the coffee table. Two nondescript boxes. An empty prescription container with the cap off, which must be House's Vicodin. A tall bottle of whiskey and a short glass.
He can't explain why, but a sudden fear slithers into his belly and sobers him up. He turns and hurries to the bedroom, flips the light on but finds nothing.
The bathroom door is open, and the light is on. Wilson doesn't have any logical reason to fear going in, but as he stands in front of the bedroom and stares down the hall, he knows whatever he finds there will prove worse than he can imagine.
He calls House's name again, voice shaky, like a scared child looking for his parents after a nightmare. No answer.
His steps are slow and careful. It's a short distance he's trying to lengthen. Something inside of him tells him to turn back around and leave, but he can't. He needs to know. He needs to see.
When Wilson reaches the bathroom and looks inside, he screams "no."
Friday, September 19, 2008 – 11:52 PM
Cuddy parks her car at the end of the block, across the street. She's the one Wilson called, the one who called 911.
When she arrives, the sirens already audible in the distance, she finds Wilson sitting on the bathroom floor, his arms around House's torso. Sections of Wilson's white dress shirt is stained pink; House's body is lying in red. Cuddy covers her hand with her mouth and steps back outside into the hall, eyes already wet. She can hear Wilson sobbing, wailing, trying to mumble words but failing to form any.
She forces herself to go back in and look. Wilson has his head on House's shoulder, his face partially pressed into House's neck. House's head lolls to the side, against Wilson's. The sirens are louder now, but she knows it doesn't matter.
Wilson rocks his own body a little, even in his twisted position, knees against the side of the tub. Pink water's splashed all over the white tiles. Cuddy's never seen Wilson cry like that, not even when Amber died.
She can see the pain all over his body. He doesn't look at her. She doesn't think he realizes she's there. He's lost in his own agony.
She can't do anything or say anything, so she leaves the bathroom and waits for the paramedics. The apartment is quiet, except for Wilson's noises. Even from where she stands near the front door, she can hear him when he whimpers, and she knows then that Wilson's gone.
Soon, red and blue light bathes the front of House's apartment building. Two police cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck block off most of the street directly in front of the building. Cuddy explains to the two paramedics that it's clearly a suicide and House is already dead. She speaks low and follows them to the bathroom.
They stop in the bathroom doorway, faces somber, and Wilson makes no move to compose himself. One paramedic leaves to go get the gurney, and when he comes back, Cuddy has to help restrain Wilson, when they pull House away from him. Wilson pleads and cries, and Cuddy's heart has never been so broken. She holds him there as he moans on House's bathroom floor, while they wheel his best friend's corpse out into the night.