Author's Note: Wilson and House go out after Amber breaks up with him and are in a terrible car accident. The first part of the story is told in a form that a book (I can't remember the name of it) I read was written in because it's meant to be viewed as a dream/ memory and not the actual event as it took place. I was trying to show the fragmented and confusing nature of tragic events like this one. That's also why it jumps back and forth in time. Alternate Universe in which Amber never died and in which House and Wilson are in a long-term established relationship that neither one of them was fully serious about.
A night of burgers, beer, and bowling left me giggly, half asleep, and throwing gutter balls, but House didn't decide I'd had enough until after I sat down real close to him, draped my arm across his shoulder, and whispered—I thought I was whispering, but he flinched at the sound of my voice—"you have pretty eyes," right in his ear.
"I'm gonna go pay the nice man at the cash register now," he explained, grabbing what I assumed to be my wallet, and removing my bowling shoes from my feet. "Put these on before I get back," he instructed, handing me two ugly pieces of leather that shouldn't have belonged to someone as young as me.
Cut to blinding lights coming right at me from out of nowhere, accompanied by the blaring of a car horn.
Cut to Greg returning to my seat at the bowling alley and looking me over, seeming extremely annoyed. "You've got them on the wrong feet!" He sat back down and I looked over at the man helplessly.
"But these are the only ones I have." Even I heard the slurring of my voice, but it didn't stop me from bursting at the seams with laughter.
"Okie dokie," he complained, removing my shoes and slipping them back on. "I'll get this too. Looks like everything's on me tonight."
Cut to me in the passenger seat of his car, slumped over, with my head leaning against the window.
"Sorry I wasn't much fun tonight. But I did just get dumped. You weren't exactly a blast after Stacy left but I never complained then." I looked up at him, and felt guilty for bringing it up, especially as his hand brushed over his eyes as if he were wiping away tears.
"I may have been a drag to hang out with but at least I never put us in danger of getting killed," he mocked, and my brain flashed back to me drunkenly lobbing my bowling ball across three lanes and knocking some league idiot's "sure to be a strike" into the gutter. He raced over and started screaming in my face, threatening to remove certain essential parts of my anatomy.
"Hey, uh—I'm sorry. This is my little brother," House explained, stepping in between the huge guy's fist and my face. "I know he seems rude and obnoxious and drunk as a skunk but he's not. Poor little guy's sick, actually. Jimmy here, he has Cerebral Palsy. The poor kid can't help it. He's real clumsy."
"I'm not sick, I'm wasted," I interrupted, as if the latter was a more desirable condition in this particular time and place. I thought about burping in the big man's face but figured my word would be good enough.
"Yes you are, Pal," he said, patting me on the shoulder. "I gave him a 7up said it was a Bud Lite. His doctor says one beer is probably okay, but our mom's a huge worrywart. His whole life." The guy looked us both over doubtfully. House handed a couple bills to the bully, probably more cash he had removed from my wallet.
"Two gimps in one family. What, did you guys live under the power-lines or something?" I could hear the guy's moronic friends laughing and it made me wish I'd hit him in the head and not in the ball. I laughed at my own joke.
"Oh this?" He waved the cane in the man's direction."It's nothing. I went on a date, at one of those indoor rock-climbing places. I was trying to impress this chick, and…" House made the roadrunner cartoon sound. "Busted up my knee pretty bad. Should be back to normal in no time. Good news is, she felt so bad she's still cooking me dinner."
"That's not what happened! His ex-girlfriend stole his thigh muscle after he had a infart—infract—in—a heart attack in his leg," I tried to tell them but stopped because even I didn't believe myself. The guy stared at me.
"Anyway, take the 40 bucks and have a couple games, a few drinks and whatever, on us. And thanks for not pounding the crap out of my brother. My mom would kill me if I let him get hurt again."
House dragged me away from the big, scary men in bowling shirts and I stared at him in awe. "Not a word," he whispered. He shoved me into one of those hard plastic chairs on our lane. Then, he leaned down and whispered, "you owe me big." He finished playing the rest of his game, and sat beside me. Then I said the thing about his eyes and we left.
Cut the two of us in the car together, laughing over the well-handled mishap.
Cut to the headlights slamming into our car, as I squeezed my eyes shut. The sound of the crash was much louder than I expected, and our car started to spin like a roller coaster. Shards of glass were flying here and there. It stunk of gasoline. My body banged into the dashboard, a door, and my seatbelt.
Cut to me half hanging, half sitting just above the ground, sore as Hell, and with something thick and hot running down my face. I unbuckled my seatbelt and tried to get out of the car. I could hear House's voice, but it sounded very far away.
"It's okay, Jimmy," he whimpered. "The paramedics and firefighters are coming. They're gonna get you out. Everything's going to be okay." I started to smell something burning. The flicker of fear caused by the initial accident erupted into full-blown terror as I wondered if I would soon catch on fire.
"Jimmy?" House's voice broke through the darkness of my nightmare. "Wake up." His voice seemed distorted and strange through the fog of what I could only assume to be a morphine drip based on its effects. I must be hurt really badly if I'm on the heavy-duty drugs. "Please, Jimmy. I—I need you."
I expected to reenter the world quickly, everything popping into my brain immediately but I didn't. I thought it would be like on TV, despite my medical knowledge. The fragmented memories and gut wrenching horror returned slowly. Followed by a realization, I had no idea what day or time it was. I wasn't even sure I was at my hospital. The pain came last. As I came too, I noticed a throbbing pain all through my head, along with a fiery ache across my neck, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach and upper back. "I love you," Greg sobbed, burying his face in my chest. All of this happened in just a minute or so, but it felt like a lifetime. The glue on my eyelids finally melted, allowing me to open them. ""Jimmy? Can you hear me?"
"Hey," I croaked. My throat felt raw, which I figured was because I had probably been on a ventilator at some point.House had a huge white cast on his left arm, all the way up to his elbow. He was covered in small to medium-sized cuts and bruises, and a string of sutures on his left cheek. There were dark crescents under both his eyes, and about four-times more stubble than usual. He'd been watching over me for at least two days.
"I had surgery?" He nodded, without saying a word. It looked like he was fighting to hold back tears. "Did I lose any organs?" His head barely moved, but it was definitely a no. "I guess my legs aren't too bad. Only part of my body that isn't killing me." As a doctor I should have seen this as a red flag but I guess I was still in shock. "They don't even hurt." House sat down on the bed, laying his hand over mine. I wrapped an arm around him in the hopes of helping him to relax. I thought it might calm me down too. "I lost one of them didn't I? I can't feel anything in my leg because it isn't there." Greg shook his head again. Tears drizzled down his face.
"I tried to pull you out of the car but you were pinned between the seat and the dashboard. Your legs got burnt a little but they used the jaws, and got you out. Neither of our burns are very bad. You should have a full recovery from those with minimal scarring." He regained a small bit of control over his emotions. "Now, before I tell you what happened," he paused, sighing. "I wanna prepare you. I won't insult you by saying "you're lucky" because you're not, but it could have been a lot worse."
"House," I started to say as stomach acid overflowed, fizzling up and into my mouth. . I actually threw up from anxiousness, and he cleaned my face, gently. "Just tell me," I whimpered. Another head shake.
"This news will hurt too much if I'm my usual blunt self. Trust me. You want it nice; you wanna hear something like this from …well you. Problem is I couldn't be nice to save my life. I still wanna get it right this time. For you."
"And you know what you wanted, needed, to hear when you had the infarction, the stuff even I didn't know how to tell you, right?" Finally, he replied yes. "Did I lose them both? My legs I mean." I wanted to scream, stop shaking your stupid fucking head and answer me at him.
"No matter what happens, I can promise I'll never leave you…I love you. And you love me. We always come back to each other. And I never say these kinds of things but I feel like we're meant to be together. Or whatever. And we're going to find the best physical therapist, and hire a super hot in-home nurse who will pity you so much she'll ignore it when your hands accidentally grab her ass or her tits. I will workout, get strong enough to help you whenever and however I can. You will still be able to cook. You will still be able to clean the apartment. You will—we will—still have sex. We can find ways. Good ways. We will kiss, go to monster truck shows—and get the best seats ever now. Two cripp—uh…Well, more good news, you shouldn't have much pain after your other injuries heal. You have full use of your arms. You can breathe on your own. You're gonna be amazed at how much you…we…are still able to do."
I opened my mouth to ask him what was wrong with me once again. "You were pinned in your seat and I tried to get you out on my own. I tried so hard…" He seemed unable to actually finish explaining. "The guy who hit us was high as a kite, on Meth. He died, and I'm told, was in excruciating pain when he "passed." And by passed I mean croaked. If it brings you any comfort." Come on, Greg. I need to hear it from you. "Your spine was…it was squished under you. The cord basically popped like a champagne cork—sorry. Force of habit…the surgeons tried fix it, tried to make it so you'd be able to walk. I convinced Cuddy to fly in a specialist from Seattle. Supposed to be the best in the country. The guyfor this. They did the best they could. The best anyone could."
It looked like Greg might cry again. He rubbed his face and took a deep breath. "You're paralyzed from about the waist down. You might regain some lower body function with time, and enough physio but that could take years. I wish I could give you more hope, could promise more but I just don't know what exactly you are in for. Sorry." Although House was holding me and trying to keep me calm, I was starting to panic.
"You are not going to die, Jimmy," he continued. "I need you too much to let them stick you in the ground." He gathered up all his courage and cuddled with me awkwardly. "All the patients who's lives you save would never make it, if they had a different doctor. Look, I know I complain all the time, and yes, every so often living as a disabled person is worse than being dead but it isn't always bad, especially if you have somebody. In fact we get a lot of perks. Great parking spaces, never having to wait in line, bigger, cleaner, sometimes private bathrooms…I'm sure there's other stuff but all I can think of is that you are always going to have a place to sit." I smiled weakly and for some reason actually felt a tiny bit better. "It's going to be okay." I couldn't believe how amazing House had gotten at this. Except, he hadn't. I figured it out. It had taken everything inside of him to be so kind and gentle and nice. He did this for me.
"We?" He nodded. I was terrified, certain I would never live a normal life, and yet part of me (a very small part) was starting to believe what I was being told. I had House and the man was clearly willing to do anything for me.
We had been dancing around the idea of starting a "Big R-relationship" for a decade. Each of us always had their own reasons, usually because one or both of us was coming off of a big breakup. I came to yet another realization as House ran his fingers through my hair, straightening my tubes, checking the monitors. He was taking care of me.
I always took care of him, of course, but what I'd never considered (until that moment) was how he had been doing the same for me since the night we met. Minus the incident with the antique mirror. House never abandoned or ignored me, not even when I was a pain in the ass. He was constantly supportive. Reassuring. Loving. Protective. You have no idea how helpful it can be to hear the right voice tell you, "she's an ungrateful, gold-digging whore and you're better off without her" at the exact right time. He constantly pushed me. "Hop back on the horse, and dig in your spurs." He became even more amazing after the accident. So much so, that it was starting to upset me a little.
"Uh, House?" He looked over, worriedly. "I realize how what I'm about to say might sound but I'm a little freaked out by how nice you are right now." He swallowed hard.
"Most of that is the initial shock of being told you're going to be paralyzed for the rest of your life. And I'm being nice because nobody else is around. Besides, even if I'm not horrible enough to make fun of you in our current situation."
"Well," I started to tell him, wondering if I really wanted to give this particular guy a free pass to make fun of me. "If you called me a cripple or an idiot, I'd be more able to believe you when you say nothing is going to change between us. I know you're scared of losing me or whatever, and I'm probably fragile, and look worse than you do but I need my House right now."
"Damn it, Wilson," he shouted. "I haven't slept for almost four days. I just found out that my best friend/ boyfriend/ whatever you are is going to in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. My arm is broken in three places, andit hurts! Now, I'm not talking about the normal pain level of a 7.5 or an 8 in my leg all day every day, I'm telling you it hurts everywhere. Every single inch of my entire fucking body feels like a bomb went off inside it. I'm at a 10, and I can't even lie down or rest, I can't even think about it, or anything else because I gotta keep taking care of you. I haven't got the time or energy to deal with you acting like a moron right now! You got that, you crippled idiot?" Greg looked as though he might cry (really cry) again, though whether that was because of what he'd just said to me or what had happened to us, I couldn't tell.
"I'm in shock. Give me a week, and I'll actually be able start really processing this. Then, I'll be more like myself. One thing I can promise is that no matter how much my injuries might change my life, I will never die on you. Well, one day…30 or 40 years from now we'll both die, but it'll be at or around the same time and we're going to be too old for it to matter. I promise." He made a face like he was trying to smile, and when I said, "it's going to be okay," I think both of us were starting to believe that those words might actually be true.