Title: In closing
Summary: "I want a DNR," he growled. It ends. AU, Future-fic
Characters/Pairings: House, Wilson, Cuddy, Chase
A/N: My mum and her fiancé were talking about DNRs on the way to a football game. I came up with this. I detest my brain.
It was Wilson who diagnosed him. There wasn't much room for argument in the diagnosis, either—stage four cancer of the liver, metastasized to the lung and lining of the stomach was hard to mistake for something else, especially by someone who specialized in the finding-and-treatment-of cancer. He accepted it with about as much grace as one could—a cane through the glass-pane door of Wilson's office certainly wasn't the worst thing that Wilson had ever experienced.
"I want a DNR," he growled. Anger worked. Rage against the universe; he was so good at that, it seemed a given even to himself that it was what he needed to do.
Wilson just nodded and looked like he might cry.
"House won't be coming back," Cuddy told them. The three of them looked to each other, then to Chase, who was standing up at the head of the table.
"What happened?" he asked, looking horrified. "He's not—"
"Not yet, no," Cuddy replied. She took a deep breath, like she was steadying herself. The fellows stared at her.
"What happened?" Chase asked quietly.
"He's dying," Cuddy answered. Her voice shuddered as she continued, "Make your peace with him." She visibly pulled herself together. "Wilson thinks it'll be a couple months, at most." She sighed.
The fellows stared dumbly, but Chase nodded with an affirmative sound. "Right. Is he being treated?"
"He's refusing," Cuddy said.
Cuddy stared. "Can you blame him?"
He was grateful that he and Wilson lived together. When he woke up to vomit, when he couldn't get out of bed, when he couldn't quite make the toilet in time. He just needed to call.
The cancer, as cancer is wont to do, spread both up and down—to the bone of his mangled leg, to his lungs. As it did, he couldn't even call anymore.
Wilson took time out of work. Wilson stayed with him. Wilson refused to allow him to completely lose his dignity.
Wilson married him—committed to him—to keep the decisions in his hands, because House couldn't trust himself anymore. Wilson gave up his life to make the last of House's bearable
And as grateful as he was, some deep, horrible part of him hated that anyone saw him in a state. He hated Wilson for seeing him, and he hated himself for doing so.
Chase walked quietly into the hospital room. Wilson had passed out in the chair next to the bed, curled up into as small of a ball as he could manage. He and House made a surprisingly similar picture—too thin with dark circles under their eyes, unkempt and disturbingly pale. The main difference, of course, was that House was stretched out on the bed with more tubes hooked up to him than Chase thought should be possible. He sat in the chair on the other side of the bed, and House cracked an eye open.
"The hell are you doing here?" he rasped. His voice was weaker than Chase had ever heard it. It was frightening to see—even though House had been disabled the entire time Chase had known him, he'd never properly thought of him as such. He couldn't walk properly, he hurt. That was all.
But here House lay, dying. It was such a weird thought; despite all the times he'd come close, Chase had thought that House would simply continue going. Would always be there. That he'd merely be too stubborn to die, and thusly ignore any attempts his body made at doing so.
"I don't know," Chase replied quietly.
House didn't respond. After a few moments, Chase stood up and hugged him tightly. House, unsurprisingly, didn't return the embrace, but he made no effort to get Chase off him, either.
When Chase finally got up, he made no comment of the wet streaks on House's face, mostly because House made no comment of the tears on his own.
He turned to walk away, but a soft noise from House stopped him. He stayed facing the door, however, as House choked, "Make sure he doesn't do something stupid."
There was no doubt in Chase's mind as to who House was referring to, but how, exactly, House intended for him to follow through with his instructions, he had no idea. Still, it was a dying man's last request of him. "OK," he said.
"Don't do anything stupid," House said. "You're a smart guy, and you're…" He paused. "You're a good doctor. Did Cuddy hand the department over to you yet?"
"Yes," he croaked. He would not break down in front of House.
"She made a good choice."
Chase nodded and managed to make it to the men's room before he started sobbing.
House died on a Sunday, and the whole hospital knew within minutes. A disturbing number found an excuse to walk by his room, and were disappointed to find that the blinds were closed tightly and Chase was there to ward off anyone who wasn't welcome.
Cuddy knew she'd be welcome, and gave Chase a pat on the shoulder as she passed him. He gave her a watery sort of smile as she closed the door.
Wilson was on the floor, staring at the ceiling. House was gone, had been for several hours. The bed was stripped.
Cuddy sat next to him and toed her shoes off. They stayed there long enough for Cuddy's ass to fall asleep, neither saying a word.
"I…" Wilson trailed off and covered his eyes with his arms.
"What?" Cuddy asked.
"I leave the room for two minutes," Wilson muttered. "Two minutes. And I missed it." He let out a hysterical sort of giggle. "He would."
Cuddy let out a mirthless snort. "He would, wouldn't he?"
Wilson rolled onto his stomach and started crying into the cold tile. Cuddy laid down next to him and held him until he stopped.