Spoilers: Major ones for 6.10, Wilson. In fact this story make no sense unless you have seen that episode.
Summary: A simple infection keeps Wilson from donating part of his liver. Alternate ending to 6.10, Wilson. Written for prompt #31 for sickwilson_fest on LJ.
Disclaimer: House and all of its characters are sadly not mine. I am only borrowing them for sake of hurting and then comforting. I have borrow a couple of lines of dialogue from 6.10, Wilson, and they are not mine either.
He wasn't trying to be a hero. He was simply trying to be a friend.
In the end, he ended up being neither.
He leaned against the balcony rail, letting the cold winter breeze float past him. He shivered slightly; his coat was forgotten, left slung carelessly across his desk chair.
A throat infection. The tickle in his throat that he'd been downplaying to the stress of long hours as he'd searched for a solution for his friend that didn't end up in his death was strep. He'd been eliminated as a donor within three minutes of the initial physical exam.
In any other circumstance, strep would have been mere annoyance. He'd take the antibiotics for a few days, cure the infection, and become healthy enough to donate. But Tucker didn't have a few days to wait. He had less than a day.
"Didn't your mother tell you never to leave the house without your coat?"
House. He sighed. Facing him was the last thing Wilson wanted to do.
"I'm not in the mood, House."
"Of course not. It's not every day that your body stops you from doing something stupid. Which your brain should have done, but luckily your tonsils don't have a center of caring."
Wilson shook his head, gripping the balcony rail a moment before finally turning to look at House.
"So that means you are actually happy I can't donate part of my liver?"
House didn't hesitate with his answer. "Yes." House leaned against the sliding glass door and rested his cane beside him. "We're all dying. Some of us sooner than others. I rather like the fact that you aren't going to be one of those people."
House shrugged. "I hate being alone."
He didn't offer any further sentiment and Wilson knew was the closest he was going to get to House admitting their friendship mattered. He mattered. It was touching, but it didn't change the situation at hand. He swallowed and winced at the pain in his throat that was ignited by the action. The pain just reminded him of what a shitty doctor he was. Couldn't save Tucker, couldn't even fully recognize the signs of strep so that he wouldn't be facing this dilemma in the first place.
"It really was my fault. I gave him too much chemo. I needed to make this right."
"You did your job. You cured his cancer."
"And gave him a different death sentence instead."
"Foreseeable complication. You knew that going in. Problem is that knowing it can exist and knowing how to deal with it when it becomes reality are two different things. And you're really only good at one of those things."
"I've had patients die. More than I'd like. But never when I could have stopped it."
"And donating your liver would have saved a life? Your friend still could have died. You could have died trying to be noble. Either way, the outcome would have been the same. You should be grateful you picked up an infection."
Wilson let out a short laugh. "Grateful? You can't be serious." He immediately held up a hand. "Wait. Of course you're serious."
"You're a doormat. And he's a self-important jerk."
"Again, that makes him different from you how?"
"I'm not the one asking for a vital organ, now am I?"
Wilson laughed. "So that is what makes all the difference then? The fact that Tucker had the guts to point out my mistake and ask me to be a friend and correct it. You'd do the same."
"Maybe," House relented. "But you didn't make a mistake. You took a risk. An incredibly stupid risk, but a risk that you made your patient fully aware of. It blew up in your face. You can't do anything else, but of course that fact isn't going to stop you from feeling like you can. So go ahead. Be angry about it, just stop this self-pity act. It's for wimps."
Wilson reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose. House was frustrating as hell and as always, obvious to his point.
"You said it yourself, you can't change a table."
"Actually, you can. Just need a coat of paint and the guts to use it." House took a moment to balance himself, picked up his cane, and left, not even waiting for Wilson to respond.
The guts to use it, huh? He could do that. He wasn't able to give Tucker his liver, but he could give his support. House was wrong about one thing, though. There was no reason to get angry. Or at least, no reason to get angry with anyone else but himself.
He swallowed, ignoring the pain in his throat, and left the balcony to visit a friend.
Less than ten minutes later, Wilson slid the door open to Tucker's room, ready to truly face, apologize, and support his friend, Melissa, and Emily for next few hours.
He didn't expect his friend to be completely aware in his final hours and therefore, wasn't surprised to find him groggy eyed. But he was surprised to find Ashley and not Melissa at his side, her hand gripped tightly around his.
Tucker's eyes turned to Ashley. "Can you get some ice for the water pitcher, honey?"
Ashley gave him a small smile and nodded. She grabbed the pitcher, leaving the two men temporarily alone.
"I was thrilled to get the family back together, you know," Tucker said. "And Melissa is great for decision-making in a crisis. But when there's nothing left to do, the person you want when you're fighting isn't the same people you want when you're actually dying."
Wilson just stood there a moment, wide-eyed and unsure of what to say. His friend had dragged his ex-wife to his side, only to cast her away at the last moments. He wondering if Tucker really ever knew what he'd thrown away.
"I got a whole pitcher of ice chips this time. Hi Jim."
Wilson gave Ashley a thin smile. "Actually, it's James."
In end, Wilson didn't walk out. He did stay with Tucker through the end, because one thing was certain. He needed a friend. Wilson didn't dwell on Tucker's personality flaws and did the right thing. The only thing he could.
But after it was all over, he stood on his balcony once again. This time his coat was on and firmly buttoned. He scrolled through the contact list on his cell phone looking for number he needed to dial.
He couldn't be angry with a dead man. He was tired of being angry with himself and for once, he couldn't even be angry with House. But House, as much as he hated to admit it, was partially right. He needed to get angry.
"How much did Lisa Cuddy bid on that condo?"