A/N: So, there I was, working on Chapter Four of Courtship when I happened to flip ahead in my notebook and saw this piece that I had actually forgotten I wrote. So here it is. Inspired by P.S. I Love You, one seriously sad book/movie. And I know that Wilson has that Vertigo poster in his office, but I'm considering this piece in alignment with the other story I wrote called Vertigo.
A/N 2: Here on the East Coast it's after three in the morning, so I'm heading to bed. This hasn't been beta-ed or even edited really. Sorry, but I'm too tired for all that.
Disclaimer: Don't own House, Wilson, or anything else mentioned in this story. Except popcorn.
P.S. I Miss You
It's a bad day. You went to his office, telling yourself that you absolutely had to put your hands on his copy of Gray's Anatomy, and when you got there you saw, for the first time, the white tarps draped over his things. You listen to yourself gasp sharply, feel your fingers tense up into fists. You rarely allow for pointless regrets, but it seems so utterly unfair that all this crap happens to him as consistently as it does. In just the past three years he's had to experience the pain of losing full use of his right leg again, he's had to deal with the Tritter mess, lose Amber, Kutner, and now his sanity and his reasoning mind, the two things about himself he values above all others.
You collapse in his chair, and run your hands over your face. The mere process of getting up and going about your day is exhausting without the hope that any minute House's face is going to appear, scaring you half-to-death and presenting some ethical dilemma to you like, "Is it wrong to lie if you don't realize you're lying?" You miss him much much more than you thought you would.
There's the echo of heels on hospital flooring, and when you look up you see Lisa looking at you through the glass walls. Vaguely, you know you should feel embarrassed at the transparent grief she's watching you experience, but truthfully, you don't care. People can say what they want, but you and House just work, and being separated feels like you're missing one of your hands.
Lisa pushes the door open and regards you with such sympathy that you feel your eyes well up with tears. It's dark, so you know she can't see them. "You okay?"
"Fine," you say. You want her to leave you to your hopeless sadness-the last thing you want to do is talk.
She stares as though uncertain whether she should leave, and for a moment you wonder what this looks like to her, what it would look like to anyone. Would someone from the outside looking in see this as a natural reaction of concern for a friend? Would Cameron act this way about Foreman? The answer only leaves you with more questions.
"Are you sure you want to be alone right now," Lisa asks. You blink, having forgotten that she's there. "I could stay…"
"I'm sure," you reply. You look up and meet her eyes with your own. She sees something there because she stops arguing and nods. The door swings shut and you're alone again.
Somehow you want to pour salt on your gaping, open, wound, so you pull the tarp off his desk, and open the drawers to inspect the items inside. You've been to his apartment countless times, seen those surroundings. You want to know what he keeps at work.
The top drawer contains only case files and a Popular Mechanics magazine. You pick it up and flip through it, reflecting over what House might have seen. When you reach page 25 you freeze. A large, yellow post-it is pressed against the page and the handwriting on it is heartbreakingly familiar. It sends goose bumps up your arms.
W- Check out the impala. Remember when that one rear ended us on the way to Niagara Falls? God, I thought you were going to have a stroke.
You have to reread it twice before the words sink in. He left it for you. How? When? You wait for overwhelming grief to knock you over, but instead you feel yourself grin. You do remember that. You'd driven to Canada with your best friend in an impetuous decision to see Niagara Falls-you'd always wanted to go and just never had. On the way home you'd slammed on the breaks to avoid hitting a cat and a '67 Impala had hit you from behind. Not a scratch on the tank, but your brand new Mercedes sustained $8000 in damages. House had made fun of you for a month.
You close the magazine, pocketing the note, then glance at the handle of the second drawer, thinking. Could there be more than one? You yank it open and examine the contents. A letter opener. (House uses a letter opener? What the hell?) A box of rubber bands. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Then, at the bottom, is a c.d. in a clear case. Another post-it makes you flinch and gasp at the same time. With trembling hands you pull it out and read the scrawling words.
W- Wrote this last week. Listen, because I suspect you need to be reminded of my sanity.
You place it in the nearby player and listen to the cords fill the room. Predictably, you tear up again at the slow, doleful song. You try to match the picture in your mind's eye of the man you dropped off at Mayfield and the one that must have sat at the piano for hours, composing this music. You take a moment to sob freely before you open the third drawer to continue your search.
This time you see the note and its object right away, and you nearly laugh. The DVD case of 'Vertigo,' your least favorite movie of all time.
W- Just because I'm not there doesn't mean you're allowed to shirk your responsibilities.
You sit back in the chair, and think about the last time the two of you watched it in his apartment last month. You'd made the popcorn (of course), he'd put in the movie, and the two of you had sat side by side in the dimly lit room.
"Want me to hold your hand," he'd teased. Then, with a glint in his eye, he'd caught your hand in his own and held it until the very last scene.
You search the office carefully for anything else but are eventually forced to admit that those three notes are it.
"In here," your mind whispers.
Not daring to hope, you carefully replace the tarp onto the desk (barely even registering the sharp tug on your heart) and leave his office. You make a right, then pull out a key to your own. Once inside, you glance around quickly. You've been in here since House left, but mostly just for patient meetings and to drop off paperwork. It's hard to look up and have a perfect view of his empty office.
One of the books on your bookcase isn't pushed all the way back in-it's jutting out. It's a copy of The Scarlet Letter-definitely not yours- and immediately you get the joke. It's almost as if he's standing in front of you, leaning lightly on his cane, smirking at the vast canyon of his cleverness. No note, but you know what it would say anyway.
"I miss you," you say to the empty room. You try to imagine House sprawled out on the couch, rolling his eyes at the sentiment. You turn to your desk and check the top drawer. Nothing exciting. Next drawer. Success! A long white box, complete with a bright yellow square piece of paper.
W- Do everyone's eyes a favor.
You pull off the top and are surprised at what you find. A light blue… tie? You glance down at the one you're wearing. Yellow with brown polka dots.
You automatically replace the tie, and finger the light blue. The silk is soft against your skin, and your breath catches in your throat. "Greg," you say into the quiet. You're suddenly reminded of your habit of speaking to ghost-Amber. You quickly tell yourself that this is different-House isn't dead. He's coming back; he just needs to get off the Vicodin. And you always wanted him to do that anyway, remember?
You finally open the bottom drawer, and all the papers you were certain were in there are now completely gone. In their place is a single photo of you and your best friend from six Halloweens ago. You in your clown costume, him dressed as Sherlock Holmes. You're laughing together, completely unaware of the picture being taken. You remember the music playing in the background, the bitching House had done about having to attend a "damn hospital party," but you both had known he was secretly thrilled with his costume. Of course, after the 11th "Elementary, my dear Wilson" it stopped being cute. You turn the picture over in your hand, touched, because it must be his. You've never even seen it before. Another post-it, short and sweet.
W- I miss you too. BFF
You laugh because you know you're supposed to, and you're stuck by how easy it is, how it's more like a dull pain than a crushing horror. You get to your feet, knowing that's it. He's coming back and when you see him again it'll be like he never left. You'll find your way back to each other (you grin, envisioning his response to such a gushy thought). You'll miss him, but you'll get by.