Till now, I always got by on my own
Gregory House lies in the dark.
Somewhere above him there is a commotion – whirring, clanging, grinding, hammering, knocking. Yells of instructions. Shouts of reassurance. Rescue workers working desperately to clear tons of rubble to save a doctor who was only trying save his patient's life.
"Dr House, are you there?"
"Hang on, Dr House, we're gonna get you out. Just hang on."
He doesn't respond to them. Whether because it's physically impossible, or because he doesn't want to, he doesn't know.
He can feel his right thigh screaming at him, protesting at his climbing in and out of rubble for hours consecutively. It twists and spasms relentlessly, the pain so overwhelming he wants to throw up. He wants to curl up into that fetal position he has come to know so well, so that he can fight against the pain. But he can't move. He grips the metal pipe right next to his right hand so tightly he can feel it cut into the skin of his palm.
He can hear his harsh breaths as he fights to inflate his lungs with a slab of concrete on top of him. He can feel the pounding of his heart, the adrenaline racing through his veins. He can smell the coppery tang of blood. He can feel that very blood oozing out of his wounds, starting to soak his shirt. He can taste the dust that hovers in the air. He can't see a thing. Not even the rubble that is just inches away from his face.
He should be praying to a god out there that air is not going to run out, that Hanna made it, that he's not going to die in this concrete coffin.
But all he really hears are her words.
What are you clinging to, House? You're gonna risk her life just to save her leg? Really worked out well for you, didn't it? What do you have in your life, honestly? Tell me. I'm moving on. Wilson is moving on. And you...You've got nothing, House. Nothing.
They play over and over in his head as he stares into the pitch darkness. They drown out everything. He can actually see her face. The furious set of her mouth, the eyes glittering with anger and frustration. He can actually replay that moment over and over again.
Now his body is telling him there is too much pain, it's time to escape. He thinks he can actually feel it begin to shut down. The irony is that because he is in pitch darkness, he doesn't even know when he is actually starting to black out.
But the words are still running through his mind, so he must still be conscious.
He allows a tear to run down his face.
It isn't because he's afraid of dying. Maybe it's because he's in pain. Yes, it's because he's in pain.
Because he's in pain all the time.
No one knows how he wakes up each morning gritting his teeth. It takes him ten minutes to soothe the muscle, get off the bed and onto his feet. Sometimes, twenty, if the attempt to place weight on his right leg ends up with him falling back on the bed.
No one knows how hard he fights to not reach for Vicodin.
No one acknowledges the fact that he's managed to stay clean for one whole year.
He thinks about how good it would be to escape from it all. Because he's been trying so damn hard. He's always been a lone warrior, but some battles are just too hard to fight alone.
His eyelids start to close, and another kind of darkness begins to envelope him. It's comforting. It's warm, and it doesn't hurt. He can feel his limbs begin to go numb. His thigh spasms, then throbs, and then the pain starts to fade. And then it doesn't hurt anymore. He almost smiles at the relief he feels.
"Dr House? You still there? You're gonna be alright. We'll get you out in no time."
"House! Can you hear me? Please, stay awake. Just... please, hang on."
Her voice drifts down, and pierces through the fog that he is giving in to. He blinks and forces his eyes open, and strains to hear her voice again. But it sounds like she's getting further and further away from him.
He's so tired.
He closes his eyes.
The last thought he has is how the two people he trusted and loved have turned their backs on him.
How he really is alone.