He knew he'd gone mad.
It was inevitable, after all.
He'd known it was coming for a while, first there had been the whispers, half-hearted words hastily strung together. And then the dreams that did not dissipate when he woke. The ghosts of his sleeping thoughts trailing forlornly around his room until the sun rose and burned them away. There was always one that lingered, though. One to watch him rise awkwardly from his bed and pad over to the bathroom. Blank eyes would stare, pitying, disappointed. House would ignore them, tell himself to hang on for a little while longer, and then he would give in.
The progressive deterioration became more pronounced when he found himself staring at something that was no really there. Wilson hadnt noticed the ghastly white hands carressing his cheek, so House did not feel the need to enlighten him. His friend would have to wait. He would find out later on.
The madness began to affect his work, though, and House didn't know how much longer the ghostly figures would remain just that, ghostly. How long would he have before he believed them real? How long before he was talking to them? Touching them?
How long until he was one of them?
Alcohol seemed an appropriate, yet temporary, cure. It chased away the edges of coldness and let him slip into a hazey, unsure state that did not allow the illusion of insanity or lies. Inebriation was the key, he soon found.
He still popped Vicodin liked tic tacs, but found their effects sadly waning. Perhaps he was becoming resilient. Maybe the booze reversed whatever hold they had on him. But he still took them, finding a small measure of comfort in the little pop of the bottle and the rattle of the pills inside as he tipped one. Two. Three. Into his mouth.
One. By. One.
"You look like death." Wilson joked one day. He was reading the paper, and didn't look up to see his friends reaction, or there lack of. House hung his head low, his hands clenched weakly into fists in his lap.
"I feel like it, too." He muttered, and Wilson laughed like it was a joke.
House went through the motions. Worked like a sane, normal person. Although, even when he hadnt been mad, he hadnt been normal. Normal was so far out of his persona that no one could prove that he was, in fact, any different.
But then Amber showed up.
She smiled at him. Always smiling. It was a cold smile.
Her eyes would glow gold in the night as she watched him sleep. She would rise when he rose and lean against the doorframe as he showered, ate, drank, staggered to work. She was his shadow, a constant reminder that he was in no way a decent human being. House was an asshole. A complete dick.
"Don't you want a kiss?" Amber would whisper at times and he would always flinch. She would do it at work, in bed, while he relieved himself. And each time he cringed away, she would laugh and laugh and laugh.
How House hated that laugh.
Days. Weeks. Months. A year ticked over.
House remained quiet about his condition. But it was growing worse. Now the night shadows would stay long after the sun rose and the whispers had grown into full voiced mutterings. Sometimes he couldn't tell whether it was the voices muttering or him.
Cuddy asked him if he was alright once, but he snapped at her and told her she had her own damn problems to worry about. The look in her eyes stayed with him for a long time, like she knew he was hiding something.
But she never said anything.
House wondered whether she and Wilson ever talked about it, maybe they planned interventions, or talked about getting him help. It made him despondant thinking about it.
And that's when the idea came to him.
He went to work that day, managed to voice the sarcastic and snarky comments that used to come to naturally to him but now felt awkward rolling off his tongue. They didn't notice anything, perhaps he got the odd resentful glance or a frown. But nothing else. They didn't know that sitting beside him was Amber, her long nailed fingers raking through his hair and a smile playing across his lips as he shivered. She knew what he was thinking.
As she followed him home that night, she seemed unusually interested in the passing shops, the cafés and resturaunts. She remarked on how full and lively they seemed, and how she would miss them.
"I like the sound of life." She said thoughtfully and he nodded.
The shadows were thick and so still when he got home. They watched him with knowing eyes. He trooped passed them, through them, as if they were watching him walk the line. He flicked the bathroom light on. It hurt his eyes.
He was mad.
His mind had finally slipped and fallen down the rabbit hole.
Down and down.
His fingers shook as he popped open the Vicadin and threw the rest passed his lips.
He leaned on the bathroom sink.
He mind was trickling and something inside him began to grow. It had big hairy claws and reeked of despair. House felt those claws rake along his insides and the pain made his eyes water.
"You'll miss the pain when it's gone." Amber said softly.
"Maybe." He replied.
House stared at his reflection. There wasn't much to look at. A lifeless, poor excuse for a man returned his gaze. He saw no spark in those eyes, nothing but a knowing that made him want to look away. But he didn't.
The shadows were converged around the doorway, behind Amber. She wasn't letting them in, wouldn't let them stop him, make him think about it, back out. He glanced at Amber. She gave him a reasuring smile. He looked away.
In the cabinet there was a treasure trove of pills. Sleeping pills, pankillers, Vicadin. Everything, anything he needed.
He needed them all.
Shacking hands unscrewed the caps, tipped the pills into the palm of his sweaty palm. He looked down at them. But he never second guessed, or rethought. This was it. He watched his reflection in the mirror as he tipped his head back and clamped his hand over his mouth. His body tried to reject the onsluaght of pills suddenly forcing their way down his throat and into his blood stream, his muscles, his brain.
Amber hovered by his side, she watched his knuckles turn white as his body began to convulse. He collapsed to the bathroom floor, head hitting the tiles with a dull smack. His body trembled and shuddered. He watched through heavy lidded eyes as the lights swayed, turned red and then blue.
The pain was burning bright. His stomach was being ripped apart from the inside out. But he clutched that pain, wrapped it tightly around himself because it was growing and growing.
His throat burned and he vomited. The stench filled his nose and managed to turn away. He was blacking out, it would soon end, though. And House would rather it end than be mad.
Amber leaned over him, she looked pale, and lifeless. Her smile was sly.
He stared at her as the world slowly dimmed and he was soon unfeeling to anything but the pain inside. It had grown so much that it began to swallow him in turn. He let it go so that it could do just that.
"Do you want a kiss goodnight?" Amber asked and House nodded.
When she kissed him the pain eased and the darkness of something more than sleep fell. With it, House was left with the lingering feeling that he'd somehow done something wrong.
Something that he shouldn't have done.
Thanks for reading!
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