Absolution, a House MD story

Main characters: Gregory House., with references to Cuddy and Wilson. There is a Hilson slant and please consider yourself warned; this story does not shed a favorable light on Cuddy.

The story is meant to describe House's inner feelings about his relationship with Cuddy and the breakup, since we've really only heard him express his true feelings about the breakup once and that was only in a two word phrase. This is what I imagine would be going through his mind. This is a one shot and I deliberately left the ending the way I did.

He was drunk; not an unusual condition for him. He'd been drunk most of the last week. After confidently limping away from the chaotic devastation he'd wrought on his ex-girlfriend's home, he made his way to the closest bar with no idea what his future would hold. He had narrowly managed to avoid hitting Wilson in the midst of the devastating crash, but Wilson was hurt anyway as he fell to the side to avoid being hit by House's car. House just wanted out of here.

He couldn't remember how he got the plane ticket, but he must have procured it while he was in the bar. How he got to the Newark airport, he had no idea. Since his car was buried in Lisa Cuddy's house, he must have gotten a cab. Miraculously, he found his way to the correct gate as listed on his airline ticket. A ticket to a tropical island paradise, or at least it seemed that way when he landed several hours later in the tropics. He had enough time on the plane to sleep it off. About 14 hours after the crash, he walked off the plane, retrieved his luggage, and hailed a cab to the nicest beach front hotel he could find.

The hotel was beautiful and most importantly, it had a beach front bar with a good bartender. That was really all that was important. Well, a good bartender and a nice supply of affordable hookers.

Several days of baking in the sun, Vicodin, and single malt scotch numbed him out so much that he'd managed to forget, at least for a little while, that he was a fugitive from the United States on serious charges of property damage with intent to cause great bodily harm, and who knows what other charges would be piled on top of that.

The nice bartender asked him if he was ready to go home.

House had been sitting in a drunken haze at the bar, enjoying the warm breeze and the nearly naked men and women strolling in the sand past the bar. Prime viewing spot for a possible nip-slip. Jimmy Buffett's "Son of a son of a sailor" was playing over the bar's PA system. He was nursing at least his fourth scotch when the nice bartender asked him if he was ready to go home.

Suddenly he snapped out of his fog. Shit. I'm a fugitive. Why did he have to ruin it?

"Not yet," House answered pensively, as he drained his scotch, paid his tab and limped slowly through the sand back to his hotel room like a decrepit old person. House was oblivious to the fact that several onlookers began to follow him at a distance, out of concern for his safety. Even with a pronounced limp, House was always steady on his feet and could walk rather quickly. Limping on a beach after too much Scotch and too much Vicodin, and too soon after major leg surgery, is a different story. House was too numbed out to care about safety as he made his way back to his room, but a few onlookers couldn't help but notice the weary steps, the subtle way he dragged his right foot through the sand instead of lifting it as in a normal step, and the way his entire right arm shook with the effort of bearing much more weight than usual on his cane.

I met her when we were in medical school. Isn't it funny that I didn't consciously remember meeting her in the bookstore when she was a first year med student. I met Wilson after I was already practicing as an MD and I remember every single thing about Wilson since the day I first met him. It took an opiate-induced hallucination some 25 years later to make me remember the one night stand I had with Cuddy. I didn't even remember meeting her at the bookstore until much later. I met her at the bookstore, tracked her down to the hoedown, had the one night stand, and then I got expelled from school and that was it until I ended up as a patient in her hospital with my dead thigh muscle.

For all those years, before the surgery that changed my life, I'd completely forgotten about her. Hell, it really was just a one night stand; nothing more than that. I don't remember any of my other one night stands. I wouldn't have remembered her either, if fate hadn't just dumped me right in her lap (so to speak) all of a sudden, all those years later, when she told Stacy about the option of cutting out my thigh.

Cuddy told me she knew I was hurt and that she was sorry. Were we talking about the same damn thing?

Yeah. And we weren't talking about the breakup.

I told her "It's not your fault." It wasn't. It wasn't anyone's fault. It just happened. I coded shortly after the first surgery to remove the clot. I knew that was a possibility. And I knew that a cardiac arrest from rhabdomyolysis would justify further surgery to remove (debride) the dying muscle. I suspected the muscle might be too far gone to save. I don't blame her for the second surgery that permanently changed my life. Everyone thinks I do, but I don't. I don't even blame Stacy for that. I did for a long time, but eventually I came to grips with the fact that she did what she had to do to save my life.

By the time he made it through the hotel lobby, up the elevator and to his room, he could barely stand upright, let alone walk anywhere. Maybe I should have let them cut it off way back when. I blurted that out in the heat of stress with Hannah. I always said I didn't want it cut off. Maybe I'd be better off without it. Hell.

He hurled the cane against the sliding glass door to his balcony, flopped down on his back on the bed, downed a few more Vicodin and sobbed. All these years later, and the shock and anger had not abated one iota. He'd just managed to keep walling in those feelings until fate stepped in and smashed the walls down. He thought he learned coping skills at Mayfield. Obviously not. Well adjusted people don't secretly mainline experimental drugs, he thought. Well adjusted people learn how to accept and deal with the shit life dishes out.

The mini bar in his room had been restocked while he was gone. House thought nothing of grabbing a $10 can of beer from it, and downing it in one go.

Sobbing, and close to the point of passing out, he finally admitted to himself that he blamed Cuddy for not being honest with him before she put him in the medically induced coma that he asked for. I asked to be knocked out because I wanted to sleep through the pain. She should have reversed the medication and let me wake up and discuss this with her before the second surgery. Cuddy and Stacy both insisted I have the leg amputated. I didn't want that, but nobody explained the possibility of doing a muscle debridement instead of amputation. I knew a muscle debridement might be necessary before they knocked me out, but it was Cuddy's professional responsibility to tell me that. Nobody woke me up to tell me they were going to do it or even explain it to me and let me decide. They thought I wouldn't agree to it, so they took the decision out of my hands altogether. After it was done, it was done, and nobody cared that they went behind my back to do it. I would have agreed to it had it simply been presented as an option to me. It should have been discussed with me beforehand and it wasn't and that's what I blame Cuddy for.

Stacy thought the only surgical option was to amputate my leg. She's a lawyer, not a doctor. Cuddy didn't even tell Stacy about the debridement procedure until I was already knocked out. That should have been presented to both of us while I was still conscious and able to agree to the procedure before it was forced on me.

Now everyone thinks that everything I do is influenced by "the leg". But the only person honest enough to actually say that to me is the one I really care about.

House remembered what Wilson said; just like he remembered pretty nearly EVERYTHING Wilson ever said to him. "So you think everything is because of the leg?" Those words rang over and over in House's head.

Yeah, a lot of what I do and how I feel IS influenced by my leg.

Cuddy didn't hurt me by breaking up with me. Hell, I knew that relationship was bound to blow up sooner or later. Sleeping with her was the best and worst thing that could have happened. It was the best thing at the time, and it was the death knell of our relationship too. I knew it. I was just enjoying the high while it lasted.

Cuddy hurt me by taking the decision that should have been mine to begin with out of my hands.

When Stacy left, I needed SOMEONE in my life. I needed someone to be intimate with. But intimacy is impossible with someone else when I can't even stand to look at my own self. I have to look at my ugly leg and I can't stand it, so it's pretty damn difficult to be intimate with someone else and expect them to accept it when I can't.

House dried his eyes, painfully stood up, undressed and pulled back the covers. As he sat down on the bed again, he took a good hard look at the fresh incision. He told Thirteen that it was healing. What he didn't tell her was that four stitches had popped out and only about a quarter of the incision was healing. The other part was a red, raw, angry looking thing that looked like someone had hacked at it with a razor blade. The only thing in his favor was that it wasn't infected, especially given what he had done to himself in his own unsterile bathtub. The scar, which had already been ugly to begin with, was bound to be hideous now.

That's why I buy hookers. They have to look at it; they're paid to look at me naked. I get my intimacy at $100 an hour, no questions asked. I can play with their boobs all I want to and they don't care if the Vicodin causes impotence because they get their $100 whether or not I can get it up. Whether or not the impotence is caused by Vicodin or by the fact that intercourse makes my leg hurt more than it already does all the time anyway. They get paid, and that's all they care about. Half the time all they do is sit and talk dirty to me while I play the guitar or piano, anyway.

So why did I waste all those years flirting with Cuddy when the one I really want in my life is in the office next door? Why sleep with her knowing that that would signal the end? I couldn't look at her while she was kissing my leg because it was all so fake. I needed the intimacy. I was vulnerable and she stepped in and told me whatever she thought I wanted to hear. Actually, no. She told me what she wanted to say. I guess she was vulnerable too and she told me what she wanted to say so that I would sleep with her. Isn't that crazy? I needed the intimacy and she gave me what I needed but it was all so fake; what she wanted had nothing to do with helping or loving me. She wanted absolution. I went along with it and let it go a lot farther than it should have because she was there. So I closed my eyes and let her kiss my leg. I didn't have to look at what she was doing to me. Kissing my leg just reinforced that the scar really does matter. If it didn't matter, she wouldn't have focused so much attention on it.

She told me she wanted children, and even let me think for a little bit that she might want me to be their father, but when push came to shove, she'd rather look for sperm donors than get involved with me. Everything was fine as long as all I did was give her the damn shots, and Sperm Donor #613 was apparently more desirable a candidate for the father of her child than I was. The list included Wilson but even he wasn't as "suitable" as Sperm Donor #613. She wanted a sperm donor to father her child, but apparently she didn't want a sperm donor that actually wanted a relationship with her or the child. Stupid of me to think she did.

She told me that she loved me for who I was and that I didn't have to change, but everything was fine as long as all I did was give her sex. I even slowly learned to love her daughter. I gave her what she needed, I guess, or at least I thought I did. When she apparently needed more than I could or would give her, she dumped me. Stupid of me to think that the relationship would actually be beneficial for both of us. I gave and all I got in return was heartache.

Why would my crazy valentine scream at me, basically telling me I was worthless, then break into my apartment to sleep with me and try to "save" me? I needed understanding more than anything else. I didn't need a savior. I needed someone to try to understand. I was too physically and emotionally wrecked to realize that the only reason she wanted a relationship with me was to try to absolve herself of guilt, to try to fix herself. She didn't start that relationship with me to save me. She did it to save herself.

I'm no saint either and two crazy people should never hook up.

I told her I was hurt, but I didn't tell her why.

She told me she was sorry, but she didn't say what she was sorry for.

I told her it wasn't her fault, but I didn't tell her what I really did blame her for.

So now what do I do?

FIN