Another multi-level time-machine like story. I don't want anyone to be confused so I'll just explain this before you start reading:

- 2017 = time of narration. House wakes up in a hospital, but of course he doesn't remember how he got there.

- 2013 = House has to face the fact that everyone moved on while he was paying the price of his recklessness. These are all flashbacks.

What happened in the past will explain House's current state. Oh, and as a side note. This story has a happy ending!


Return to Innocence

A H/Cu story

by Ale

Nobody said it was easy,

It's such a shame for us to part.

Nobody said it was easy,

No one ever said it would be this hard.

Oh take me back to the start.


Chapter 1

Summertime, and the livin' is easy.

Jun 11, 2017

Light.
Lights.

White, bright lights. Music. Was it Jazz?

House slowly turned his head and saw a vase with three golden daffodils waving in the breeze on the bedside table. An iPod was plugged to a couple of portable speakers.

A rush of warmth stroked the left side of his face. Sunlight filtered through a large window facing what seemed to be a green or park... The hospital park. That's where he was.

House screwed his eyes for a second. That was definitely not a dream. How had he ended up there?

Motion at his bedside.

"House!"

Who was it? Oh, yes. Wilson. The man had just jumped to his feet from a leather armchair pulled up to the wall in front of his bed and was now staggering unsteadily toward him. From Wilson's upset look, House couldn't really tell if he was happy to see him.

He just closed his eyes and slipped away once again.

Six years earlier

No one knows what it's like

To be a bad man

To be a sad man

Behind blue eyes.

They had him in jail by the end of the second week. It had been easy to give in, almost natural, as he held out his wrists for the handcuffs to enclose them at last. All around, the arrival gate had gone silent, everyone frozen on their feet to stare at the scene. Someone had pulled a rolled newspaper from the hand baggage, and so the merciless information had leaked from mouth to mouth, until everyone in the terminal had been aware that the person being arrested before their curious eyes had rammed his car through the windows of a house, out of love craziness for a woman who could not sustain his many flaws and had put an end to a doomed relationship.

That was it. That was what their eyes showed through their reflections as he was being escorted outside the airport by the NYPD.

He had felt the weight of his actions, eventually. But not back then.

That time, he just felt nothing: the same, blank and hollow nothingness which had emptied his sick soul when she had gone away; the same nothingness filling his stare when he was driving his car into her house. What was he thinking? He did not know. The most frightening doubt, one that kept him awake at night, staring at the ceiling of his cell, was whether or not he was aware that he could hurt them all. Hurt Rachel if she had been there, or Julia, who definitely was. Hurt the people in her life. Hurt her. He could not help but feel nauseous at the filth that act had poured onto his already damaged soul.

But none of that had happened when they had taken him.

None of that had happened when Wilson had come to visit, looking so upset he could not even put together a meaningful sentence.

None of that had happened when those other screw-ups played cat and mouse with him. None of that had happened when he had felt blood leaking through his nose and mouth, his arm twisted in an unnatural position while he lied on the ground, flat on his stomach, forced in that position by someone whose nickname he could not even remember. He could still remember the tattoos, that was for sure. He had gotten a pretty detailed view of the names and figures on the guy's arm while he was suffocating him in a choke-hold, just before kicking him to the floor with his utterly unnecessary strength. A cripple could easily be knocked down, but that seemed not to cross the guy's mind as he was having fun with him using all of his might. Then, all the others had come. They had his shirt ripped and his torso exposed, and they were laughing so hard while trying to pull his pants off that the guard had finally decided to notice. That was a second after they had spotted his scar. That was a second after everyone had gone silent. But still, he had felt nothing more than the chills running down his spine as he lied partly naked on the cold, tiled and bloody floor of a stupid prison which he had shoved himself in.

House knew very well when he had felt it. The filth taking over. It had been a bit later than that, when they had taken him to the court for the first hearing, to let him hear the charges he was facing. He was so beat-up and weak that he had wished they would save him the shame of going there. Instead, someone had pushed him into a wheelchair and wheeled him in front of the judge. In front of her.

That was the moment he had realized how incredibly unforgivable he was. He had wished he could sink in the wheelchair, to hide his bruises and the broken jaw, the stitches on his right cheek, the plaster enclosing his left arm and the brace protecting his crushed ribs. He had felt the utter weight of it all when their gazes had met for the first time, when he had seen so much pity in the broken glance she had flashed at him, that he had gotten even angrier at himself for not succeeding in eliciting hate from her.

Anger, that was definitely there. Disappointment, also. Disbelief, still lingering on her features from that day. But not the slightest sign of the hate he knew he deserved, he wished he had finally been able to raise. When she had seen him being wheeled into the courtroom, all these feelings had dissipated to provide room for an incredulous stare. In her eyes, only surprise and pity. That was when he had realized he was paying the price to the last cent. That was when he had realized what he had done to her, to himself, to a broken-hearted Wilson staring at him from the second row behind Cuddy. He was sick of how pitiful he looked. Nauseated by her compassion. He did not deserve any of that, and most of all he did not deserve compassion from her. He just deserved each and every kick hitting his ribs and clenched fist stuffed into his mouth, and he deserved to be forever excluded from whatever human contact and feeling. He deserved every broken rib, bruise and drop of blood he had shed. He deserved his own filth, the smell of whatever good still resided inside his soul going rotten, he deserved the atrocity of his nightmares, where the voices from his life of mistakes called him the loser he had always been sure he was.

They had never reached the trial. Not even the preliminary phase. The charges were clear and well proven, and he had no intention of denying his actions to anyone.

He'd pled guilty.

Almost two years later, Wilson had come to take him home. It was the end of May, 2013.