Disclaimer: House M.D., its characters, locations and storyline are the property of David Shore, Bad Hat Harry Productions and the Fox Television Network. All Rights Reserved.
A/N: Be certain to read both the Forward and the Prologue in "Chapter One" of this story. While this is not a songfic, occasionally I may include the lyrics of a song or other quotations if I feel they can add to the chapter or passage following it.
Spoiler Alert: This story includes spoilers for all seasons of House M.D. up to and including Season 6 Ep. 22 "Help Me". I have parted from Canon into AU at the scene at the end with House in his bathroom just before Cuddy appears. So Cuddy never comes to House's apartment that evening. If you haven't seen the season finale, some parts of this prologue may not make sense to you, but in general you should be able to follow along.
Rating: T (Until further notice) for coarse language, sexuality, violence (including attempted suicide) and adult themes.
This story has grown out of my frustration with the development of the main characters since Season Four. House, like any human being (fictional, in this case), is subject to being changed by his environment and experiences just like everyone else, yet some among TPTB at House feel that he will never change, that he will always be miserable and will end up as he began at the beginning—all alone. This, in my opinion is the worst thing the writers could do. If House is the main character then he needs to be a round, dynamic character. To keep him in a state of misery, ever the same, he is in no way a dynamic character, nor is he realistic or even interesting. Quite frankly, I've found House becoming a boring man in spite of his issues because no matter what he faces he never really grows or changes. I've heard some people comment that he simply can't find any kind of happiness or else he's boring. That is ridiculous! What's boring is remaining eternally, predictably the same, not being happy!
When they began Season Six, I thought, "Yes! Finally we'll see House moving and changing, and in "Broken" and "Epic Fail" we saw that. It was so exciting! Then, for some reason, they reverted back to House and all of the main characters being forced back into their ruts, except for Cuddy. For Cuddy, they decided to dehumanize her and turn her into a total b***h which has done such a disservice to her character and to Lisa Edelstein who is being limited in what she can do with the character in terms of creativity, IMHO. The same is true for the character of Wilson. What we saw happen in Seasons Four and Five were incredible changes and growth for him but for Season Six we see him reverting backwards but not only that, losing his intelligence at the same time. Wilson is about as broken as House is, but that doesn't mean he can't learn from a few of his mistakes. That's what life is all about: the flow, the struggle, the overcoming and the growth. They have him in many ways reverting back to the Amber arc again, except with the Amber Arc he learned something—until TPTB gave him a sudden case of amnesia somewhere around "Lockdown".
Now, I am unapologetically a Hilson shipper, but I can be persuaded to think otherwise so long as the development of the relationship is organic, logical and realistic. If the Cuddy Arc looked anything like a logical and organic growth of the characters out of the ongoing plot, I would say great! Fine! However, it has not been. (Do I blame all of the writers for this? No. I believe the problem begins at the very top.) So when I write this I've decided to take a break from focusing heavily on romantic relationships and more on House himself. This is not to say that there will be no romance, and what there may be will be Hilson, but I don't want the focus to be there. I will be introducing a number of new OC's; I want this fic to be an exploration of House where he is allowed to be himself yet grow and change like any great character in fiction is allowed to do. It's going to be radical and quite frankly some of you are going to absolutely hate it, especially those of you who hate change. If you think you're one of those people and you can't be open-minded, then perhaps you should pass on this story. If you are so fanatically attached to one 'ship or another that it will bug the hell out of you if your particular preference isn't written to your satisfaction, don't read. If you hate the introduction of OCs into the House universe, don't read.
For the rest of you, we will be exploring this together and of course your reviews, comments, questions, opinions and ideas are always welcome! I love hearing other people's thoughts about House, even those that radically differ from my own. However, I do not want rudeness and flaming to myself or anyone else who comments on this fic! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
Feel free to P.M. me about your thoughts or if you want to discuss something in depth.
This, like life, is going to be a work in progress. Those of you forging ahead with me, I thank you! On with the fic!
…All that I fear is the realness I'm faking.
Taking my time but it's time that I'm wasting.
Always turn the car around.
How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line, can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around.
Don't wanna turn the car around.
I gotta turn this thing around.
--"Shattered" by O.A.R.
He was all alone. Sitting on the glass-strewn floor of his bathroom, huddled against the tub, Dr. Gregory House clenched his fist around two white tablets, debating whether he should just take them and end the pain that never ended; not only the pain in his battered leg, which screamed at him for abusing it the way he had, crawling under collapsed building to reach a woman whose leg had been pinned beneath a giant slab of concrete and steel but also the pain in his soul that was far more unbearable than any physical pain could ever be.
He had failed at everything of any real importance in life, and as a consequence he was all alone. He had hurt and disappointed his mother, made the wrong decision with his leg, in some way alienated the only real friend he had ever known, caused a woman whom he cared a great deal for years of aggravation and grief to the point where she had given up on him ever changing, ever being good enough…for anything. He even failed as a doctor, had known it the moment the spark of life had been extinguished in Hannah's beautiful eyes. She had died in spite of the fact that he done everything he could under the circumstances he had been handed. He had been powerless to stop it, to save her. She went through hours of fear and pain only to have to suffer the agony of an amputation and then still, after all of that, she had died.
At that moment House envied her more than anyone or anything else in his entire life. He couldn't what he could possibly have left that was worth living for. Everyone else had moved on with their lives…Stacy...Cuddy…Wilson…. That hurt the most of all. For nearly twenty years Wilson had been his best and only friend. He had been the warm shelter he could escape to when the blizzards that were his life blew. They had had their times of trouble and strife but in the end nothing had been able to destroy their friendship…until Sam Carr reappeared from hell into Wilson's life. One bitch had managed to do what the numerous others hadn't been able to: persuade Wilson to push him out of his life. House had been thrown out of the loft into the blizzard with nothing to protect him. Even Alvie had moved on and left him.
The others had real lives; House simply existed. He didn't want to even exist anymore. He didn't want to go on. He had toyed with his own mortality many times in the past, but if the truth be told, he had always been too afraid to go the distance and actually kill himself. He was a coward and a failure. Well, he refused to be a coward—or a failure—anymore. Still holding the Vicodin tablets in the one hand, his eyes looked at the shards of broken mirror on the floor. Finding one that he could actual wield sufficiently for the task, he picked it up and looked it over as the light refracted through it. Which method should be the one to end his miserable existence once and for all? Should he use the glass to slice open the veins in his arms and the carotid in his throat? He would bleed out very quickly and it would be a dramatic statement to whoever was unfortunate enough to discover him two, three days from now when he failed to show up at work or answer any phone calls or pages. It would be painful, but because of how quickly it would occur the pain would be over soon enough and there would be no way to reverse what he'd done fast enough to save him. The Vicodin would be painless; in fact, it would feel fucking good until he lost consciousness. However, if someone were to come and check on him too soon, his chance of surviving was high. He would find himself back in the asylum and he would truly lose everything if that happened.
He weighed the pros and cons of both and then made his decision.
Dr. James Wilson hurried to the door, ready to give whoever it was on the other side a piece of his mind for ringing the door bell incessantly and pounding at the same time. He had just got home from a torturous day of treating the injured brought to PPTH from the crane disaster in Trenton. The only thing he wanted to be doing was taking a shower and then curling up in bed with Sam and sleeping for the next week. He unlocked the door and swung it open, his mouth opening in preparation of yelling when he stopped short.
"Foreman?" the oncologist said in surprise. The neurologist was the last person he thought he would ever see at his door, much less at nine-thirty in the evening. "What are you doing here?"
The African-American doctor didn't wait for an invitation, striding past Wilson into the foyer of the oncologist's loft.
"Is House here?" Foreman demanded, looking extremely…worried? Anxious? Wilson couldn't be certain but that combined with the use of his friend's name worried him
"No, he doesn't live here anymore," Wilson replied, frowning in confusion.
"I know," the neurologist said quickly, frowning and wiping rain off of his face with his hand. "I've tried calling him both on his landline and his cell, as well as having the hospital page him, but he's not responding to anything. I went to his apartment to make certain that he was okay, but there was no answer to my knocking and the super wouldn't let me in--."
"Why were you checking on House?" the oncologist demanded, a knot the size of his fist forming in his stomach. "I thought he and Cuddy got back to Princeton fine."
"They did, but House rode in with a patient—that woman with the leg pinned?—but she died en route from a fat embolism from the amputation he ended up having to perform to free her."
"Oh my god," Wilson muttered, knowing full well how hard it would have been for the diagnostician to have to perform an amputation to save a life, but then to have that life snuffed out anyway due to a complication of the amputation…House would not have taken that at all well.
"When he got off the ambulance he headed straight for the exit," the neurologist told him. "I've never seen him like he was tonight in the six years odd years I've known him. He was practically in tears, completely distraught. He looked defeated. I thought I'd give him some time to work through the worst of it and then I'd check on him, but I can't locate him. His bike and car are at his apartment and since he wasn't answering there, I came here."
Without another word, Wilson ran to his bedroom to grab his shoes.
"Where are you going?" Sam asked him from where she lay in bed, reading. "Do they need you back at the hospital?"
"No," Wilson told her tersely. "It's House."
As the oncologist headed out of his bedroom and down the corridor, he heard her remark. "Okay, what has he gone and done now?" He ignored her words even though they angered him. He joined Foreman again, put the shoe and his jacket on and tore out of the apartment with Foreman having to jog to catch up.
"We'll go together in your car," Wilson told him as they raced down the stairs, not wasting time by waiting for the elevator. "I have a key to his place. Do you think he was capable of hurting himself tonight?"
"Absolutely," Foreman replied. "Would I be out in a rain storm after a day like today if I didn't? He's been showing up at work smelling of liquor and I suspect not completely sober, the increased pain in his leg that he's been denying and his obvious depression—I'll be surprised if we don't find him messed up somewhere, stoned or dead!"
The doctors ran from the condo building to Foreman's car parked on the street out front. Wilson sat shot gun as Foreman climbed in behind the wheel, fired the car up and raced away from the curb. He drove as quickly as he could without hydroplaning on the water covered streets or slamming into another vehicle. Where it was safe he blasted through red lights and broke several other traffic laws without attracting the cops or smashing the car. He had barely pulled up to the curb in front of House's apartment building when Wilson launched himself out of the car and up the steps to the main door. Foreman slammed the car into park and then raced after him, not even bothering to lock it with his key fob as he ran.
Wilson sprinted up the stairs two at a time to the second floor, forcing images of his friend overdosing on Vicodin from his head. He was fumbling with his key ring when Foreman caught up with him at House's door. The oncologist found the desired key and then unlocked the door, throwing it open.
The lights were out in the apartment except from a dim glow coming from down the corridor leading to the bathroom and House's bedroom.
"House?" Wilson shouted as he and Foreman ran into the apartment. "House, where the hell are you?"
"Bathroom," Foreman declared, pointing down the corridor. Wilson launched himself towards it. He didn't bother to knock; if House was indecent it wouldn't be the first time his best friend had seen him that way. He opened the door and then cursed and entered the room. Foreman was right behind him.
The middle-aged diagnostician, still covered in the grime from the accident site, lay in a pool of his own blood on the floor. A large shard of broken mirror glass was still in his motionless hand.
"Call for an ambulance!" Wilson shouted as he checked for a heartbeat and respiration; he grabbed for towels to use to staunch the blood flow from both of the diagnostician's arms. A small rivulet of blood flowed from where House had tried unsuccessfully to cut his own throat. Thankfully he had to have passed out before he could sever his right Carotid artery.
Foreman was already on his cell phone to the emergency dispatcher.
"Call the hospital, too, and let them know we're bringing him in to Emerge!" Wilson shouted over his shoulder as he tied the towels around the cut-up arms the best he could. His eye caught the upset amber pill bottle on the floor next to House. Tablets of Vicodin spilled out from it to the floor. Wilson then saw the tablets near House's other hand where they had fallen from his grasp. Had he taken the Vicodin, too? Did he try to make certain that his suicide attempt succeeded by taking an overdose and cutting his veins open?
Oh God, House! Wilson thought desperately. Why didn't you call me for help?
Because you wouldn't have believed him, his conscience told him. You would have listened to Sam when she told you that it was just another one of his ploys to interfere with your relationship with her. You would have hung up, assuaged your guilt with a round of sex and gone to sleep without another thought about it.
"Tell them that he may have taken an OD of Vicodin as well," the oncologist said to Foreman, his voice breaking as he fought to remain in control. He had seen bloodied and broken bodies all day but had left the hospital glad that none of them had been people that he knew. He now crouched next to the body of his best friend who had inflicted lethal injury upon himself. He felt like he wanted to throw up.
"The ambulance is on its way," Foreman told him, stepping into the room. "They estimate their arrival in five minutes. The ER knows we're on our way in with him; they're going to page Cuddy to let her know." He shook his head sadly, no evidence of his rivalry with and dislike for House anywhere on his person.
"I've got it under control here," Wilson told him. "Why don't you go greet them and bring them up when they arrive?"
"Right," the neurologist said with a nod and then left the bathroom.
Once alone with House Wilson knelt and lifted his best friend's head onto his legs and gently caressed his cheek, tears stinging his eyes. "Why?" he whispered shaking his head in dismay. "I'm sorry I didn't see the signs. I should never have told you to move out. I thought you were better! You've got to hold on. Don't you dare go and leave me! I don't know what I will do if you die!"