I was having some writing trouble, but it appears my muse is back—with a vengance. Lol. This is for slytherin_girl 's Random Items Challenge for Camp sick_wilson . My items were: Green tea, a dollar bill and an empty envelope. Also, I used srsly_yes 's secret word in it, too, which is MIGRAINE.
This is AU from the end of "Out of the Chute." Really AU. You'll see when you read. :-)
"So, I ran into a sick person on my way here."
Lisa Cuddy looks up from her paperwork and watches House plop himself down on the sofa, leaning his cane between his legs as he stretches them on her coffee table. She carefully moves her mug out of the way in case she needs to make any sudden moves. She'd hate to have to fill out all of this paperwork again.
"Interesting," she answers wryly. "Since we're in a hospital. Did you treat this sick person, or was he or she made mentally ill upon talking to you?"
"You know, I think you've gotten bitchier since we stopped dating. Which is weird, you know, since you dumped me," House muses, a thoughtful look upon his face. "Could it be my new relationship with a certain head of oncology…?"
Cuddy sighs and puts her pen down. "Since we've been broken up for more than a year, and you and Wilson have been together for that long, no. You just bring out the best in me."
"What a nice thing to say."
Cuddy shakes her head, and tries not to let the corners of her mouth drift upward. She's not entirely successful. "What do you want, House?"
"I told you. I ran into a sick person on the way here. Actually," he amends. "I ran into a sick person and decided I needed to come here and tell you said sick person won't be coming back to work for a while. Probably. I'm not completely sure, yet."
Any amusement she had vanishes in a second. Damn it, she should have seen that coming…since House only comes into her office to harass her, or because he's done something to someone else. When he can do one that causes the other, she's pretty sure he considers his day of work done. She's already switching her schedule around in her head so she can meet with the hospital lawyers when House speaks up again.
"Wow, that's fun," he says gleefully, an amused smirk on his face. "Watching you have a mental breakdown never fails to make my day."
"Relax," he says with a roll of his eyes. "It's Wilson. I happened to be walking by the men's restroom—"
"You mean you and Wilson were making out in the men's restroom?" She asks, remembering that rumor she'd heard out at the nurse's station in the clinic one afternoon.
"I wish," House mutters bitterly as he recalls how he'd ambushed Wilson in the bathroom, after seeing him go in, only to step in and hear the musical sounds of retching. "But no. He's throwing up and hasn't stopped any time in the last-" he looks at his watch. "-two hours or so."
"You didn't drug him again, did you?"
"I only did that…twice?"
"You're asking me?"
"Whatever," House says with a shake of his head. "Contrary to popular belief, I don't physically maim Wilson for the fun of it…anymore."
"Right," Cuddy says skeptically. "I'm not even going to jump on that train of conversation. Do you know what's wrong with him? And why'd you wait two hours to tell me?"
"We're running tests," House answers. Cuddy can tell that he's going for casual, like it's a normal thing that he's running tests on his best-friend-turned-lover, but she sees the glint of concern crinkling the corners of his eyes and she suppresses another smile. "I've got the team going over everything he's eaten, done, come into contact with in the last 72 hours. And I wanted to see if I'd get any results to tell you, but the damn lab's backed up…which is another reason why I'm here. Can you get them to speed things up?"
Cuddy raises an eyebrow. "I'm not going to bully them for you, House. And you are going to leave them alone, too. I'm sure they're going as fast as they can."
"Wouldn't bet on it," House mutters.
She doesn't say anything to that and just looks at him steadily. Finally, she watches him roll his eyes, get up off of her couch and limp back out of her office in a huff. She lets the smile slip out now that his back is turned.
Careful, House, She thinks with not a little amusement, picking up the mug she'd moved and taking a sip of her, now cold, green tea. Someone might think you care.
"Nothing out of the ordinary," Chase says, coming up on House as he's shoving the dollar bill he'd pilfered from Wilson's wallet this morning into the vending machine and pressing the selection for a bag of Cheetos.
"There's got to be something," House demands, opening the bag and upending it into his mouth. Crunching loudly, he grins when Chase winces.
Chase ignores it, otherwise. "Nope. He ate breakfast with you, said you'd eaten the same thing. I assume you're not feeling sick."
House shoots him a glare and shovels more Cheetos in. "Right," Chase answers. "He hasn't eaten lunch yet, but he had a second cup of coffee about an hour before he went into that restroom with you."
Chase looks at him suspiciously and House crumples up the empty bag and throws it at Chase's head. "How's the anti-emetic working?"
"He's stopped throwing up for now and we still have the saline drip in, to keep him hydrated." Chase answers. House nods.
"And the results for the urine sample and blood work?"
"Still waiting on it."
"Of course we are," House mutters. "Fine. While we wait on that, get him a CT, so we can scan his stomach. Also, an ultrasound, he was holding his right side in the bathroom. I want to rule out gallstones. Might as well check his kidneys while he's in the CT. I think Foreman and Taub are in the clinic, get them to help you."
Chase nods and scurries off to do his bidding. House momentarily finds himself at a loss as to what to do next. His first instinct is to run and hide in his office until his team comes back to give him results. But a year after the disastrous affair with Cuddy managed to teach him a few things.
Then it comes to him, before he could stop it, that the difference there, is that if he didn't go to Wilson's room…Wilson would never hold it against him….even after what he'd done to help him a year ago.
House exhales and looks around briefly, as if the hallway will hold all of the answers, before he resolutely makes up his mind and makes his way to Wilson's room, too.
When he opens the door, both faces look at him in surprise, one extremely pale and clammy, with bags under his eyes where there weren't this morning.
"Chase tell you what we're going to do?"
Wilson nods tiredly. "Yeah. Foreman and Taub are putting the orders through."
House looks at Chase, who nods in confirmation. "Should be in there in about fifteen minutes."
Wilson nods again, and squirms to get comfortable. "Thanks, Chase."
"Sure," Chase says, He pats Wilson's shoulder. "I'll be back in a few."
House sits on the edge of Wilson's bed as Wilson moves the tiniest bit to make room. He winces and House looks at the monitors above his head.
Wilson nods almost imperceptibly.
"Okay, once we're sure you can keep it down, I'll get you some Tylenol for that."
"Chase told me you hadn't eaten lunch yet?"
Wilson shakes his head. "Wasn't hungry."
"You had a patient didn't you?" House asks, remembering Wilson's comment this morning after breakfast (that he does distinctly remember Wilson eating) that they couldn't have lunch together, so House would have to fend for himself. To which he'd snatched Wilson's wallet with a smirk.
"Anything unusual with the patient?"
"Like what? You think my six year old leukemia patient could have poisoned me?"
"Kids are evil, Wilson."
Wilson snorts a laugh. "No. Like I told Chase. Nothing unusual."
House nods and they sit in comfortable silence, before House hears the change in Wilson's breathing and looks over to see that he's drifted off to sleep.
House exhales slowly and watches him for a minute, remembering, again, that night a year ago, when Wilson was in a similar spot… Except, Wilson had been the one sitting next to him, but instead of a hospital bed, they'd been on the bathroom floor of the loft as House had de-toxed from Vicodin. He'd only been back on it for a short time, but he'd gone back full force and the process of getting back off of it again was still hell…and Wilson had never left his side through all of it.
Before his mind can get to what lead to that whole decision, his train of thought is interrupted when Wilson makes a pained noise in his sleep, and wakes suddenly. Before he knows what he's doing, House is holding the basin under his face as Wilson sits up and retches again with a pained groan, because there isn't anything in his stomach to throw up.
When the last of the heaves are finished, House sets the bucket aside and helps Wilson lay back down gently.
"I'll get you another dose of Zofran," House says.
"'Kay," Wilson says tiredly, already drifting off, but not looking the least bit comfortable. On another slow exhale, House carefully raises his hand, and with only a little bit of hesitancy, lays it on Wilson's forehead.
House shakes his head at himself, because this isn't even the first time Wilson's been under the weather since that night, and he's recalling the migraine Wilson had had last month. But since that hadn't involved Wilson lying in a hospital bed, unable to even keep water down, House feels that this incident is slightly different…he's allowed to be more concerned.
He tells the little voice in his head that is saying that he's turned into a sap to knock it off as he holds his hand on Wilson's cool forehead for just a few moments longer, before getting up and getting Wilson the anti-emetic. They'd need to stabilize his stomach again before they can get him through the CT…it would be really inconvenient to have to explain that to Cuddy…
Three hours later, House is sitting in his office throwing his favorite ball against the wall in frustration. No amount of badgering would the lab techs to get him his results faster. So he'd gone to do what he'd always done when he was frustrated and wanted to vent…he went to Wilson and ranted, which, admittedly, was a little stupid, considering how sick Wilson was feeling.
The funny thing, House mused, was that Wilson laid there and let him do it, blinking sleepily at him and smiling like a loon.
Okay, that might have been because Wilson had spent the last five hours alternatively puking and being poked and prodded, and he may not really have known what was going on, but still…
However, he must have been too loud, because the next thing he knew, Cuddy was standing in front of him, hands on her hips and chastising him for keeping the sick Wilson awake.
She'd shot Wilson a glare when he tried to talk, and kicked House out, telling him that he was getting all of Wilson's clinic hours for two weeks, if he didn't leave Wilson to rest.
So, here he is, throwing the ball at the wall and trying to calm down, because damn it, the woman has a point. Stupid Cuddy and her stupid…being right. He had been keeping Wilson awake, and not being in the least bit productive to get his lover feeling better, and that lab techs are incompetent idiots-
House snaps his head up and glares daggers at the object of his ire. Well, one of them anyway.
"Wilson didn't die just because you weren't there," Cuddy continues with some amusement.
Instead of teasing back, though, he looks away, his eyes traveling to some point above her head. He gets some satisfaction when Cuddy wilts a little and sits down in one of the chairs in front of his desk.
"Sorry," she says gently. "That was…insensitive."
"I don't need an apology from you," House snaps, then softens marginally. "I just..."
"I know," Cuddy says with a soft smile. "I finally get it."
House looks at her. "Get what?"
Cuddy looks thoughtful. "We tried way too hard didn't we?"
House looks down, realizes that they've never had this conversation, not in the year since it happened.
But they've both moved on and he doesn't feel the need to have it out now.
Cuddy must see that on his face, because she holds up a placating hand. "This isn't going to be a heart to heart. I just want to tell you that I'm happy for you…and that it took you—both of you—long enough. You should've gotten there sooner."
House shrugs. "If you and I hadn't tried out a relationship, I probably wouldn't have gone back on Vicodin…I wouldn't have jumped off that balcony…Wilson wouldn't have met me by the poolside threatening to kick my ass if I didn't stop the madness…it was part of that madness that we got our act together."
He remembers that kiss…when Wilson had been desperate and pissed off, when House had been soaked through his clothes, how he'd climbed out of the pool and stopped Wilson's tirade with his lips.
How the crowd around them had made whistling noises and Wilson backed away and grabbed his arm, dragging him back to his room and sitting him on the bed. He had then rounded on him, planting his hands on his hips and demanding to know what the hell had just happened.
House had just shrugged. "Seemed like a good idea at the time."
Wilson had thrown his hands up, in half exasperation and half anger and House had just smiled.
"You know what?" Wilson had said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Sober up. Then you can tell me whether you still think it's a good idea."
So, two days later, after House had stopped drinking and he'd thought it through, he'd stormed into Wilson's office, dragged him up from his chair, and planted one right on the mouth.
"What about you?" House had asked breathlessly, after moving away to breathe.
Wilson had just shaken his head, a small smile tugging at his lips, before he'd grabbed the back of House's neck and met that smile with House's smirk.
Two weeks later, after conversations House hadn't wanted to have, he'd handed over every bottle of Vicodin he'd had, and Wilson helped him de-tox.
He still remembers the deciding factor in that decision, what had helped him realize he didn't need it to be himself:
"You're you, House. I love you," Wilson had held up a hand when House's mouth had opened. "I don't need you to say it back. I just want you to know that it's up to you. I've been with you for twenty years… I'll still be here either way."
"There's a lot I needed to figure out, and accept," House answers, looking Cuddy straight in the eye. "Wilson helped me do that. In fact…he's been helping me do that for a lot longer then either of us had realized."
Cuddy nods, but before she can say anything else on the subject, Chase is knocking on the glass door. He opens it without waiting for an answer, and strides in with a folder in his hands.
"The urinalysis and blood work were normal," Chase says, handing the file over. "I also have to results of the CT scan and ultrasound…you're not going to like this."
"Why?" House demands. "What's wrong?"
"Well, see, that's the thing…" Chase tells him what he saw, and House just sits and shakes his head.
"Did you tell Wilson?"
"No," Chase answers. "He was barely awake. Didn't even open his eyes when I was taking him back to his room."
House grabs his cane, and limps swiftly out of his office, leaving Cuddy and Chase looking at each other in abject amusement.
House opens the door gently and slides in. It had taken longer to get here then usual, because he'd had a stop to make at the hospital gift ship. But as he spies Wilson still dead to the world, he doesn't think it matters. Taking in Wilson's pale face and clammy skin, he grabs the chair and sits in it, before poking Wilson's arm gently.
Wilson squirms a bit, and winces. House inwardly feels bad for disturbing his rest, but then he remembers why Wilson is sick, and made him worry, and he stops feeling bad.
Well, a little. But Wilson doesn't need to know that.
Once Wilson's eyes stop fluttering and he looks more awake, House holds up the folder with his results.
"You are a not boring guy...with an ordinary illness."
Wilson blinks owlishly. "What?"
"You don't have some awesome rare disease that I get to cure, and be, like, the best boyfriend ever. You don't even have gall stones, which admittedly, isn't much more exciting, but still…"
"You?" House says with a flourish. "Have the stomach flu."
House opens the folder and reads from it: "'Moderate small bowel and colonic fluid-possible gastroenteritis.' Stomach flu."
Wilson frowns. "And…you'd rather I had some incurable disease?"
"No, stupid," House snaps, a little harder than probably necessary. "I just…"
"…worried about me," Wilson finishes, with a small smile.
"I was not worried about-shut the hell up."
Wilson chuckles. "Sorry to disappoint you."
"Yeah, well, we never really do anything the easy way," House accedes. "This…we'll just add it to a very short list of things that can easily be fixed. You're already not puking."
"Zofram is a beautiful thing," Wilson says.
"Yes, it is," House agrees. "I'll prescribe some to take home with you…anyway, you know the drill. Fluids, and small simple things to eat when you can handle it."
"I did go to medical school…and I've got some common sense," Wilson answers.
"Well, I don't know about that."
"I'm a nice guy. Speaking of which, I brought you something." He reaches into the pocket of his blazer and pulls out a slightly wrinkled envelope. He hands it to Wilson, who opens it cautiously.
"It's not going to blow up," House retorts with an eye roll. "Though, that would be cool."
"Wouldn't put it past you to find a way," Wilson agrees, as he pulls out the card, which just has the simple message of 'Get Well Soon' on the front and tossing the empty envelope to the side of the bed.
When he opens it, a dollar bill falls out.
"Just paying you back on my debt. Well…today's at least."
Wilson snorts. "You took twenty dollars."
"Baby steps, Wilson."
Wilson turns his gaze back to him with a grin. "Thanks."
House knows, without a doubt, that Wilson is thanking him for a lot more then the dollar, and he wants to shake his head in disbelief, because he should be thanking him, for everything that he's done for House in the past year…the past twenty years. Instead, he looks down at Wilson's hand resting by his hip and with barely a second thought, he reaches over the grabs it a little roughly. Wilson doesn't even wince; he just squeezes House's fingers, back and smiles, getting the message.
"You're welcome," they say at the same time.
"Don't expect to hear that from me again," House warns.
Wilson squeezes his fingers, again, hard. "Don't worry. I know better."
Wilson looks at him, as though surprised by his answer. He leaves it alone, though, and suddenly starts squirming toward the other side of the bed.
"What are you doing?"
"Come up here with me."
"Don't really think these beds are made for that," House answers, already standing up. "But I'm all for giving it a shot."
Wilson laughs as House makes himself comfortable. Before they know it, Wilson's head is on his shoulder, House arm under his neck.
"My entire body hurts," Wilson says tiredly.
"You're right. These beds aren't made for two grown men cuddling."
"I do not cuddl—shut the hell up."
Wilson's body shakes with laughter. "Ow…you only say shut up like that when you know I'm right."
"Go to sleep, Wilson."
"Yes, boss," Wilson teases with a smile, his eyelids already drifting closed.
"Damn straight," House whispers, as Wilson's breathing evens out in sleep. He leans forward and presses a lingering kiss to Wilson's forehead; mentally thanking whoever will listen that Wilson will be okay.
Even though the stomach flu is still boring.