A/N: This is my own idea for the House series finale. It came to me complete, in a dream right after watching the episode "Nobody's Fault." As it turns out however, the next episode "Chase" also fits in with this story so the action takes place after that episode.
One of the few things that does not fit in with my narrative is Domenica but as I've never felt the validity of House having a green card wife (as well as the speed with which he acquired her) she is absent from this story completely and his marriage to her never took place. Everything else is as occurred in canon up to and including "Chase."
The title of this story is based on Bob Dylan's song, "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and the chapters are named after lyrics from that song. The reason for the link to that particular song will be made readily apparent.
I hope to move faster with this story as we are all running out of time with our favourite show . I hope you like my take on the House finale and if you do, then feel free to let me know. If you don't, then it's just as well you keep your thoughts to yourself as I don't like or need disparaging commentary about my work.
Thank you all.
Subterranean House-Sick Blues
Chapter 1: Mixing Up the Medicine
Limping along at what was for him, a very rapid rate, Gregory House slammed through the door of his best friend's office in his typical, refuse-to-knock style. Halfway across the room, House threw a surreptitious glance in James Wilson's direction. His friend continued to sit steadfastly behind his desk in a manner seemingly oblivious to House's runaway freight train entrance. In fact, Wilson had not moved one iota save for the next moment when he calmly set down his pen atop the stack of papers cluttering his "In" box.
"Okay Wilson. I know that you know." House said as he poured himself like water upon the couch leaning against the far wall. "There's no way you wouldn't know. You of all people would know. So now you're going to tell me what you know so I'll know and then we'll both know."
A small sigh of resignation escaped Wilson's lips as he leisurely stood up, stretched his back and moved to shut the door that House in his haste had not bothered to close behind him. Years of firsthand experience in dealing with House made Wilson hold his tongue in regards to his friend's brusque entrance and so far ambiguous line of conversation.
In the first instance, nothing he could say or do would ever make House respect his privacy. Things like closed doors, private emails or personal bank account passwords were merely temporary obstacles to House's full steam ahead, egocentric approach to the world at large. They were items to be overridden, plowed through or totally ignored.
And as far as making himself understood, Wilson knew that House would do so eventually. After years of vainly attempting to modify House's behavior, Wilson had finally reached the inescapable conclusion that House would always remain . . . well . . . House. It was therefore an exercise in futility to try to force him to change.
House always tended to dwell on another plane entirely anyway. His mind connected the multifarious and scattered elements that he so astutely observed with such a quick rationality that Wilson found it hard work sometimes just to keep up with him. And Wilson was himself no slouch in the intellect department.
Yet he inherently knew that he could not hold a candle to House's staggering genius. In this one area Wilson had shrewdly decided against wasting his time being jealous of his friend's mental capacity. Instead, he sensibly used House's brain power to up his own game. Wilson was always somehow better around House, smarter, funnier, a more honest, improved version of himself.
Which was one explanation why, after weathering so many trials and tribulations, their friendship, though oftentimes strained, had not as yet irrevocably broken. The two men remained unwaveringly loyal to one another. And this truth remained paramount even during the many times the relationship did not appear to be on a level playing field.
House's unquestionable genius was one reason for that. Another was his penchant for self-destruction.
Wilson could not help viewing with disdain House's many drug-fueled downward spirals, how he pushed the people he cared most about away, how it seemed he would forever doom himself to be miserable and alone.
But whereas Wilson might habitually feel himself to be the moral superior of the two, House for his part, simply loved and accepted those few he had allowed into his inner circle, Wilson being first and foremost among them. Wilson was for House, "not boring" and he tended to look upon the oncologist as the younger brother he never had.
Nearly from the moment they met, House played the older yet less mature teasing and annoying brother to Wilson's more mutable personality. House constantly pushed Wilson, to improve, be more open with himself and in his own, strange way, House was the one to put Wilson on the road to attain that which he himself sought after but had finally resigned he would never accomplish: to be happy.
For House had finally become bereft of that hope. True happiness could never, would never be his. He was too damaged, too undeserving. It had become simply impossible for House to even imagine a satisfying end to his pain after a lifetime of having seeing his own dreams fade and die off, one by one.
Wilson smiled indulgently at House who continued to drape his long, lanky frame comfortably across the couch, his head on one armrest and his feet hanging over the other. Right now, Wilson was thankful that in their current game of sibling rivalry and one-up-manship, he currently had the proverbial upper hand.
His friend wanted information, information that he apparently had. So in his own, frustratingly slow manner, Wilson took his time crossing back behind his desk and sitting down. It certainly wouldn't hurt House to wait a few moments at least.
But he knew he would not draw the suspense out too long. House had a tendency to get a little destructive when he couldn't get exactly what he wanted in a timely manner. Like a three-year-old throwing a tantrum, House was known to grab and break anything within his reach.
As they were in his own office, Wilson naturally wanted to protect his prized possessions, especially his new Ipad that was unfortunately lying atop a nearby table, well within House's long-armed reach.
"Maybe if you tell me what you're talking about?" Wilson eventually began.
"Don't play coy with me. It doesn't suit you."
"Seriously House. What the hell are you talking about?"
"Geez, do you play this hard to get with all your women too? No wonder you haven't gotten laid in months. You should have been the one to spend some time in the pokey. This kind of formality gets dropped the first day on the inside. If it isn't, the bulls'll knock it right out of you."
"Yeah, yeah. I've seen The Shawshank Redemption too," Wilson said inadvertently releasing another sigh. "Don't give me that crap. Either tell me what you want or get out and let me get back to my paperwork."
House leaned back sinking even further, if that was possible, into the cushions of the couch. He raised his right arm, holding his cane high above his head and began twirling it adeptly with his slender fingers as if he were a drum major and his cane, a baton.
Wilson had known House long enough to recognize his "moments." Moments when his genius friend would let his mask fall, allowing someone to glimpse the humanly flawed person hiding within his carefully constructed, solid walled exterior. It didn't happen often, not even with his best friend.
He regarded House dolefully. Something was eating at him. And House seemed on the verge of having one of those 'moments.'
"Does this have anything to do with Chase? I thought you two healed the breach. I thought he was working for you again."
"I'm NOT talking about Chase," House said disdainfully.
The two were silent for a few moments.
"This IS about Chase isn't it?" Wilson quietly said. "You apologized. You apologized and you really meant it. And he finally accepted it. "
Wilson paused, nervously running his hand through his thick, dark hair. "So, since that worked out for you, you're wondering who else . . ." He raised his thick eyebrows in astonishment. "It's Cuddy. You want to see her, apologize to her?"
House stopped twirling his cane and lowered it placing it against his right leg on the couch. When he finally spoke, Wilson couldn't help but react. He inhaled sharply at the level of emotion he discerned vibrating with each word, each syllable.
"Where is she Wilson? I know you know. I need to see her. Talk to her. Tell her I . . ." House's voice cracked and he was unable to finish.
Wilson turned his head and looked away, almost as if he was witnessing something too intimate, too naked and raw.
"Tell her you're sorry?" Wilson shook his head sadly. "It's too late House. It's been almost two years now. She left Princeton about six months into your prison term. You need to let her go. You need to let her move on."
"Don't you think I know that?" House snapped. He stood up suddenly, limping over to Wilson. The abruptness of House's action as well as the anger etched in every feature of his face made Wilson grateful that the desk still separated them.
"I know you've talked to her, maybe even seen her and Rachel. I KNOW Cuddy. Can you honestly tell me she's moved on?"
Wilson leaned back slightly in his chair. He had seen Cuddy. Every time they'd gotten together they each tried to avoid the subject of House like the plague. Yet it always seemed that by trying to steer clear of a certain subject the energy expended only made it more powerfully come to the fore.
House was the absentee third party whose presence was felt at every meeting, every lunch or dinner they shared. Wilson and Cuddy would forever eventually bring their conversation back around to House. He was the elephant in the room between them.
And when they would finally relent and begin talking about him that was when Wilson saw the change in her. Even after all this time, all these many months, there was a light in Cuddy's eyes where there was none before. As she peppered Wilson with questions about House, his cases and how he was doing, her face would become animated, her voice take on an added warmth and her cheeks flush with anticipation of receiving as many answers from Wilson as he could possibly provide.
House was right. Cuddy had moved away, moved from Princeton, started a new job, built a new life. But she hadn't moved on. Not from the strange, twisted love-hate, needy relationship she had shared with House. The realization struck Wilson that Cuddy hadn't even mentioned going out on a date in nearly two years.
Maybe she was too frightened. At least that's what she seemed to hint at when Wilson and she had engaged in a truly heart-to-heart talk.
But Wilson didn't think that was it at all. When they finally broached the subject of House, Cuddy's eyes flashed, not with anger or fear. Wilson saw love, love only partially hidden by a thin veneer of pain and regret.
And somehow House knew. Like some sort of all-too-accurate psychic, the genius bastard knew. Maybe House's connection with Cuddy was so powerful, so innate that it did border on the spiritual. House knew Cuddy better than anyone else, knew her feelings and emotions, her loves and hates. Maybe, just maybe, House knew Cuddy better than she knew herself.
But was House truly sincere in wanting to make an apology, in releasing her from the stranglehold his love still had upon her? Or would his reemergence in her life simply conjure up so many storms, both past and present, that Cuddy would have to once more weather?
Wilson needed to find out.
"What are you saying House?" Wilson said. "Are you saying you need to see her to apologize to her? To let her move on? You want to see her for her?"
"Yes," House said almost inaudibly. He cast his eyes to the floor for a moment and then raised them to once again meet his friend's astonished gaze. "I've thought about this for a long time Wilson. Long before this thing with Chase happened. But now I know for sure. I've got to let her know . . . I mean she needs to know I don't wish her any harm."
"You sure have a strange way of showing someone you don't mean them any harm, by parking your car in their dining room!"
The pain in House's gaze made Wilson again turn his head.
"That wasn't meant for her."
"Then whose dining room did you mean to crash into? Did your GPS forget to recalculate how to get to the parkway?"
House was glaring at Wilson now. "You were there! You know that I didn't . . ."
"I don't know anything except that I broke my wrist jumping out of the way of your car as you smashed into Cuddy's house! What the hell else am I supposed to . . ."
"I wasn't trying to hurt you either!"
"You weren't aiming at Cuddy? You weren't aiming at me? Who the hell were you trying to . . . ?"
"ME, YOU IDIOT!"
House's face was flushed and he was breathing hard with the effort of trying to rein in his emotions a second too late.
"What?" Wilson said, shock subduing his voice. "I don't understand. I don't know . . ."
House dropped his head and slumped his shoulders. He looked utterly defeated.
"I wanted to die. I wanted to kill myself. Not anyone else." House sighed. "Stupid seatbelt."
"House I . . . why didn't you tell me this before?"
"What good would it do? You can't change the past."
"No. But you can acknowledge your mistakes and then try to move on."
House raised his eyes to meet Wilson's steady gaze. "Yeah, that's what Nolan said. A long time ago."
"Are you trying . . . Are you ready, I mean do you want to move on now? Finally?" Wilson asked.
"I don't know." House's blue eyes seared into Wilson. "But I think it's high time Cuddy moved on. Don't you?"
Wilson's hand brushed forward, the gesture splaying his fingers in the air. "And you don't want anything?"
"For myself? No. I only want her . . . I want her to finally be free of me. I want her to move forward. Be happy." When House finished talking, his voice was barely more than a whisper.
Wilson stood up. Placing both hands on his desk, he leaned his weight onto them, dropping his head between his shoulders. Then he raised his head to look back at House from beneath his lowered brow. House had not moved. All of his questions regarding House's motivations were instantly erased the moment he met his friend's gaze.
No malice dwelt there. Nor any game-playing or manipulation. House's mask of impenetrable indifference had slipped. And all that was left behind was an azure gaze filled with so much anguish, regret and self-loathing that Wilson felt there would never be enough time for it all to ever heal.
"Cuddy moved out of state," Wilson said quietly. "But every six weeks or so, she brings Rachel to visit her grandmother. Arlene still lives in Jersey so you won't be violating your parole by leaving the state." He paused momentarily, looking at House, gauging his reactions. House stood as motionless as if he were carved out of marble.
"This weekend is the sixth week," Wilson went on. "She and Rachel will be at Arlene's this weekend."
House nodded and silently turned back toward the door.
"House! Don't make me regret betraying Cuddy's secret."
House, still facing the door, answered, "I won't. Oh and Wilson?"
"I'm sorry about your wrist."
House turned the handle of the door and went through it, closing it behind him and leaving James Wilson staring after him with a look that could only be described as wonderment.