AN: the last Wilson's Heart ficlet. Also, the last of the pre-written story fragments...
First attempt at House's perspective.
It felt good to be awake. For the first time in three days he was fully awake, not semi-conscious or lost in his dreams.
He ached all over. His leg was an ever present pain; he did not rank it equally with the pounding headache or the burning in his chest. Wilson had pounded his chest with his fist before resuming compressions. His whole left side ached with abandon, as did his head, neck and back. Glancing down, he could see the deepening bruises partially hidden by the gown. He shifted in the bed, felt the tug of his IV, and the restraint of the Foley as he slid onto his left side cautiously. After sitting upright for so long, even the slightest change in position eased the ache a little. He listened to the acceleration of the cardiac monitor before his heart rate slowed once more, stabilizing at 74. He stared at the bed railing, at the empty recliner beside his bed before reaching out and punching the button for the TV. It clicked on soundlessly, and he jabbed the button on the rail until Dr Phil's tinny voice came through the speakers.
"…you've got to help yourself. There isn't anyone to do it for you—"
"…hazardous levels of radon. How often should you have your house checked? Tonight, at ten."
"Dr. House?" he lifted his head slightly to find the door to the ICU had opened and one of the nurses was standing just inside. He waited expectantly as she crossed to his side for a vitals check.
"How're you feeling?" she asked gently as she took his wrist to measure out his pulse, then checked the monitors.
"Better." He whispered hoarsely.
"Any pain?" she asked brusquely.
"Some. Head, chest." He was still half-sitting, half lying on his side.
"Can you sit back for me?" she asked. He shook his head. She patted his hand sympathetically, and he closed his eyes. "That's all right. You're about due for pain meds. Dr. Cuddy will be in to see you shortly."
He nodded, and let himself go limp against the pillow as she finished noting his vitals in the chart and left to retrieve his meds. He tried to pay attention to the TV; Jeopardy was on, and he liked trying to guess the answers. The nurse returned, and pushed the diazepam through his IV port. He stayed awake until the commercial break, but by the time the show returned; he was out for the count.
He woke next to find the TV was off, and the curtains on the side of his bed had been drawn. He lay there for a moment, breathing; he felt dulled, heavy. It took him several moments to work out he wasn't alone in the room; he could make out another person breathing slowly, deeply. Asleep, he realized. He lifted his head slightly, closing his eyes as the room spun sickeningly. He breathed through it, opening his eyes when the worst of the vertigo passed. It was late, if the dim lighting could be trusted for the time. He blinked then, wondering whether or not Cuddy had been to see him. As if conjured by his thought, Cuddy appeared in the doorway. She smiled to see him awake, and slid her hand atop his in greeting.
"How are you feeling?" she asked quietly.
"Better." He whispered faintly.
"How's your head?" she let go of his hand and reached for his chart before sinking down in the recliner.
"Still there." He reached up to touch along the base of his neck, felt the lobe of his ear.
"Your blood pressure keeps fluctuating." Cuddy told him, and set his chart on the tray before rising to wrap the blood pressure cuff around his upper arm. She inflated it, and watched both the gauge and the monitors as she took the reading.
"105/64. Your heart rate's low, now, too." She sighed softly as she removed the cuff and noted her findings in the chart.
House fingered the rails of the bed and avoided Cuddy's eyes as she stared down at him tenderly.
"We'll need an ECG." She told him gently. "And I think you know we need to talk about a pacemaker."
"No." he murmured.
"House…" she sighed faintly. "Please. You've suffered two cardiac arrests within the six months. You couldn't be lucky forever."
"I know." He breathed again, feeling his chest burn. His head throbbed, he could tell his pressure was rising by the pounding in his head; could hear it in the beeping of the monitors. His heart wasn't pumping steadily any more; the beat was slowly becoming more erratic. When Wilson had left the ICU without speaking a word, he'd hoped he was dying. Now he was.
"Will you consent?" she asked again. Her voice sounded so hopeful that he nodded, and felt her squeeze his hand happily and brush his hair back gently. Living. Dying. It made very little difference to him.
"I'm going to order the ECG, I'll be right back. Do you want to lie on your right side?"
He nodded again, and Cuddy unhooked him from most of the monitors before helping him shift onto his right side. She slid a pillow under his right knee, and another behind his back, wedging him in place. He reclined against the pillow; grateful for the support. She hooked him back up to the monitors, checked his vitals. His blood pressure had dipped again, as had his heart rate while he was off the IV. Cuddy smoothed his hair back, and left him to sleep. He closed his eyes, and breathed, deeply.