The ICU could never be said to be quiet. There was a constant hum from the equipment, the beep of the monitors, the clatter of nurses going and coming. For House though the ICU tonight was as quiet as a grave. Wilson had finally lapsed into a coma, the brave words he had been uttering just hours ago had vanished from the room and now there was only the slow rise and fall of his chest to show that he still lived.
House perched on the stool by his friend's bed and stared at him. The fellows had all been by. He'd known what they were doing – they were saying goodbye to Wilson just as they had to Amber. He'd sniped from his stool at them, mocking their visits but all they'd done was smile sadly at him. Chase and Foreman had patted his shoulder on their way out, Thirteen had hugged him. He'd snarled at her that he wasn't the one dying. She'd pulled back and looked at him and the tears in her eyes and infuriated him beyond all belief. After that he'd barred the door and refused entry to anyone who didn't have any business in here. He didn't want the whole oncology department trooping through here to make themselves feel better.
So now he sat alone. Cuddy had been here most of the day but had left for her office, still trying in vain to find a liver somewhere for Wilson to replace his failing one. None of Wilson's colleagues or so-called friends had been willing to give up a part of their liver. There weren't many self sacrificing idiots like Wilson around. Cuddy had forbidden House from putting pressure on the fellows and had sent Taub, the only one who had a matching bloodtype, away for a weeks holiday. House didn't know what she thought he was going to do to Taub, it wasn't like he could rip it out of the man's body himself. He'd tried to ring Taub to persuade him to come back to the hospital but the phone had remained silent.
Wilson's parents were too old to donate, his older brother didn't match – apparently much to said brother's relief. Nephews and nieces weren't a match and cousins weren't even approached, For someone who had spent his whole life trying to please people Wilson had very few people in his life who would even consider donating blood for him, let alone a lobe of their liver.
House would, of course, given him his bourbon and Vicodin soaked liver, doctor's advise and best practice be damned but they were different blood-types. He had thought about paying Tucker a visit and taking back what belonged to Wilson but knew by the time he got back Wilson would be dead – Tucker was on the other side of the country now.
There was one last option, one person he hadn't tried, that Wilson had ordered him not to approach. Wilson's parents and brother had claimed not to know where Danny had got to, said they weren't in contact with him. Lucas had come in handy and now there was an address of a halfway house on a card in House's pocket.
Slowly he stood, leg protesting. He turned to leave but went one last time to the bed. He reached out one shaking hand and touched Wilson's hair, pushing it back to neatness. With a tear falling from his eye he lent over and pressed his lips gently to Wilson's forehead.
"Don't die Jimmy. I'm coming back."
With that he turned and limped heavily out of the room.
The house he stopped at was unkempt, uncared for. As if the inhabitants had enough trouble caring for themselves to worry about mowing lawns and cleaning windows. He barged up to the front door and bashed his cane against the wood. He didn't have time for civility.
The door opened and he stared at the man. Soft brown eyes looked back at him in puzzlement and then the boyish features lit up in recognition. They'd only met once, before House had had to go face his own time in the psychiatric hospital but apparently he'd made an impression on this Wilson as well.
"House!" Daniel looked around him, frowning at the empty car. "Isn't James with you?"
House stared at the man, who looked so much like his friend. Whatever belligerent comment he was about to make died on his lips and he shook his head. Now he was here he didn't know if he could ask this fragile man to think about making this sacrifice, but he didn't know if he could leave without ever knowing. As he stood in silence, staring at the ground he felt a hand on his sleeve.
"House? What's wrong? Is there something wrong with James?"
"Yes." House spoke quietly, reluctant to say the words out loud. "Wilson is in the hospital. He's dying. He needs a liver transplant."
Daniel Wilson stared back at him. House wondered how much of Wilson's younger brother was still left, after the hard years on the street, the madness, the months in a mental hospital. How much did he remember of his childhood, of his love and affection for his older brother, of his need for James Wilson. Did he remember that night when Wilson hadn't been there for him?
Daniel turned back inside and House thought he had lost, had failed in this last attempt. Then Daniel came back out, pulling on his jacket and locking the door behind him. He nodded at House.
"Okay, tell me what I can do."
When Wilson finally woke House was still sitting there beside him, sleeping in the chair, head thrown back. Wilson rolled his head to look in the other direction and saw Danny sleeping in the hospital bed next to him.
"Danny..." he whispered, voice raw.
"He's fine, recovering well."
Wilson turned back to face House, anger in his eyes.
"I said not to contact him. He's not able to decide to do something like this. You had no right."
"I couldn't let you go Wilson." Houses nodded at Danny. "Neither could he as it turns out. You're both going to live. Plenty of time to wallow in that Jewish guilt of yours. Plenty of time to thank him."
House got up, stretching, he really needed to go get a shower, a change of clothes and crash out for a few days of sleep. As he began to slide the door open he heard Wilson's quiet voice.
"Don't thank me, thank him – he's the one with the missing body parts."
House slid the door shut behind him and then looked back as Wilson lay back down on the bed and fell asleep.
Both men would need a long recovery time. He wasn't sending Danny back to that place, there was plenty of room in the loft for another bed.
After all, two Wilsons were better than one.