Disclaimer: I own nothing. Of course.
A/N: I, like many others, was disappointed by the most recent episode, Help Me. However, it was a good direction until House broke the mirror. I'm starting an alternate ending of that episode, from 38:17, when House was talking to Foreman and he leans against the desk.
My leg was killing me. I'd been in and out of the wreckage for almost eight, catering to Hannah's every wish. As if it did any good. I'd ignored her most fervent demand, that I save her leg. I ignored her, told myself that it was in her best interests. Because of that, she lost not only her limb, but her life.
I knew that anybody who saw me right then, limping slowly into the hospital, would have told me that it was stress due to a long day. An emotional response to a situation that brought up bad memories. If only my leg felt the same way. I just barely made it to the information desk. I'd been hurrying across the lobby in a vain attempt to get to my office, where I could stretch out my leg, perhaps with a heating pad.
Today wasn't my lucky day. I hadn't even made it halfway to the elevators, much less to the right floor, when my leg gave up. I leaned heavily against the desk, taking some of the stress off an overworked leg.
Foreman's concern about my emotional state irritated me. That wasn't my most pressing concern at the moment. More worrisome was the spasming muscles in my ruined thigh. It took all my self-restraint to keep from lashing out, hitting him. I sharply ordered him to leave me alone. I could take care of myself, and damn it, I would.
Foreman must have seen something in my expression, since he moved to the side, letting me continue my lopsided, aching, limp to even a small bit of relaxation. I'd given up on the idea of going to my office, knowing that once I sat down, I wouldn't physically be able to get up again.
I was running on the last dregs of an adrenalin high. Once that was used up, I'd be spent. I had to get home before I collapsed. I'd managed to hide all signs of pain since Mayfield, evading Wilson's need to have me dependent on him. I wasn't dependent on anybody, or anything. I stayed on the ibuprofen, off the Vicodin, to prove that.
This was one battle that I knew I'd lose sooner or later. Not tonight, though. Tonight, I just concentrated on getting into a cab. The driver offered to help me inside, but I declined-perhaps a little sharper than strictly necessary.
Finally, I was in my apartment. I considered taking the Vicodin, I knew where some was hidden. There was one bottle, a safety bottle, that had evaded all attempts at detection. I didn't bother with it right now, though. I knew from many long nights that there are some times when even it can't help me.
At that moment, I seriously doubted that even morphine could ease the ache in my leg. I thought back to the last time my leg had gotten even nearly this bad, back three or four years ago. Pacing sometimes helped loosen up the muscles.
I was desperate enough to try anything. I made my way over to the well-worn circuit around my couch. My lack of a cane didn't help matters any. Instead, I ended up having to rely on my arms for balance, clutching at anything that provided me with a bit of help keeping upright. My leg started to burn, but I kept going.
On my second circuit, I felt my leg give out. I fell onto the floor-on my right side. At that moment, it was too much for me and I succumbed to the inviting darkness.
I could feel somebody tugging on my arm, their insistent voice cutting through the darkness. "House, come on, wake up." It sounded like it was coming through a tunnel, but I'd know that voice anywhere. I groaned, trying to sit up, for Wilson's sake, if not my own.
Bad move on my part. I was on my right side, and I was now completely stiff. Not only my thigh, but my knee and hip as well. Sitting up brought on an acute wave of nausea, and I threw up all over the floor.
Wilson sighed in disgust. "Will you never learn?"
I assumed he thought I'd overdosed on something, but before I could say anything, Wilson walked away, leaving me alone in a puddle of my own vomit. Again. Except this time, it wasn't my fault, not really. I'd followed Nolan's orders, and Wilson's. I stayed on the meds they gave me, even on the days where I could barely get out of bed.
Today was worse than any of those days. I managed to get over the two or three feet to the couch, and I pulled off a pillow for my head. I might as well do my best to get comfortable. This promised to be a long night.
A/N: So, what do you think? I think this should be a two-shot, if anyone's interested.
PS: Yes, I'm working on my other stories. This is just a late-night thing. Letters is finished, I just have to post it.