Chapter 1. Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginnings End.
House stared at the woman in bed beside him. How could she sleep so soundly when everything was falling apart? He'd almost rather have her screaming at him for his innumerable faults, for doing things she'd expressly forbade him to do, for costing her the job, the position she'd been so proud of.
He'd thought that, once they were together, he could get away with even more risky procedures, break even more rules. He thought he no longer had to ask her permission to cut open a patients brain or use drugs off-label. He'd been wrong.
She'd come down on him harder and more often than ever. "Just because I'm sleeping with you doesn't mean you can do anything you want, House!" It was moments like that, when 'Greg' reverted to 'House', said in a derisive voice more scathing than any his father had ever used, that he knew it couldn't last.
And then, to make matters even worse, the hospital board had decided that they'd been right all along, that Lisa Cuddy gave special treatment to Gregory House because she was in love with him. They finally had the proof they needed, and they forced her to resign.
She'd resented it, of course, and blamed him. She'd been Dean of the hospital for a long time, and took pride in holding that position despite her age and gender.
"You were the one who told me I was good at what I do. It didn't matter whether I was still a competent doctor, I knew how to run a hospital. Well, now it matters," she said bitterly, and he didn't know how to fix it.
But she WAS a competent doctor, more than competent, and she cared about her patients, maybe too much, like a certain former young Fellow of his used to. It was just that, dealing directly with patients wore her out emotionally. She no longer had time or patience for Rachel. When House called her on it, she turned on him. "She's MY daughter, and I'll do what I want with her!"
Before that, when she seemed to coddle the toddler too much, giving in to her every whim, House told her that Rachel would never learn to do anything for herself if her mother did it all for her, and Lisa had compromised with him, biting back her desire to protect her daughter and allowing Rachel to try things for herself. But now, he couldn't stand by and watch as the once loving mother became a tyrant to her child. Yet he didn't know how to fix it.
The problems in their relationship weren't all Lisa's fault, of course. He was the first one to admit that. How many times had he demanded her attention when her patients or Rachel needed it? How many times had he lied to her, telling her he was content with their relationship when he wasn't?
He thought he'd changed, was being kinder to people, reaching out to help them, and that he deserved to be happy, had earned it. He thought that being with Lisa would bring him happiness. He'd thought wrong.
Nolan told him that just doing good was its own reward. House couldn't accept that. He needed some tangible sign. It took too much effort to change. How could that be his only reward?
Instead of getting better and bringing him happiness, his relationship with Lisa had deteriorated. Now, when her eyes weren't angry, they were sad. And he didn't know how to fix that.
He hadn't seen her at all the day before, and found he hadn't missed her. His team had a case, one that had intrigued him, so much so that he'd stayed at the hospital with them. But in the end, the patient had died. Only then did they realize he didn't have cancer but an embolism they'd missed. Disgusted with himself, House finally left the hospital and drove home. The house was dark. He was glad Lisa was asleep, since he couldn't handle facing her, but she could have left a light on for him.
He crept through the house as silently as he could. Kicking off his Nikes and dropping his jeans, he collapsed on the bed. But sleep eluded him. His mind retraced all they'd done for their patient, looking for a flaw in their thinking, and wondering how they could possibly be so wrong. When his brain finally gave up wrestling with that, it turned to the shambles of his personal relationship. He was still analyzing it when Lisa finally stirred.
"Morning," she mumbled.
"Yeah, I guess it is."
"How'd it go last night?"
He couldn't remember whether he'd called to tell her he had a patient and would be late. "He didn't make it."
"What was it?" She continued to pepper him with questions.
"An embolism. We missed it completely. So just drop it, OK?" He glared at her.
She shook her head. "Well, don't take it out on me!"
House sighed. He'd come to a conclusion during the night, and perhaps this was the time. "Lisa, this isn't working. It hasn't been, almost from the beginning. I don't know how we could have expected it would."
She didn't argue. "What...what are you going to do?" she asked in a voice only slightly louder than a whisper.
"The only thing I can do. I'm leaving."
"Then it's good you kept your apartment," she said in as even a tone as she could muster.
It was his turn to shake his head. "I'm leaving PPTH. I'll hand in my resignation, effective immediately. I'm leaving Princeton." He got out of bed and walked to the dresser.
"Where will you go?" she asked, realizing he was dead serious.
"I don't know. All I know is that I can't stay here." As he said it, he knew it was the right decision. He began pulling socks and briefs from a drawer.
"Please keep in touch," she pleaded, sitting up. "I still care about you."
He smiled ruefully. "It's not enough."