So... this may have taken longer than I intended. Sorry. *Guiltily rubbing back of neck.*
Wilson shook House gently. He hated to wake him up – House needed every bit of sleep he could get. But he couldn't sleep on the couch. It'd be too hard on his legs.
"Hey. Come on."
House mumbled something, pushing Wilson off. "House…" Wilson muttered, sighing. "You have to get into a real bed."
"This's fine," he murmured, refusing to open his eyes.
"Get up before I dump you off the couch."
House's eyes finally cracked open. "That's no way to treat a double cripple," he muttered, stretching. He looked around blearily. "Where's Cuddy?"
"Went to go get Rachel."
House sat up straighter, rubbing his eyes. "Well then I'm definitely not going anywhere."
Wilson rolled his eyes. "She's bound to be asleep by the time Cuddy gets here. It's nearly nine."
House waved his hand at Wilson dismissively. "She'll be wide awake and sugared up. Cuddy had to hire a different nanny for today – Marina's sick. This new one probably gave Rachel a bunch of sugar and she'll be bouncing around like a jumping bean."
At the thought, he looked nervously around. "Put the cover down on my piano," he commanded suddenly. "Gently – gently!"
Wilson inched it down. "Do you need to hide your porn stash?" he half joked, even as he looked around for one.
House gave him a withering look. "Yes, I let my girlfriend come to my apartment without first hiding the porn."
Wilson grinned while House looked around for anything else breakable. "Move that," he demanded, pointing with his cane to his antique replica of a human skull and brain, "up there."
Wilson complied, setting it gently on the top of the bookshelf. He looked at the titles on the shelf while he was over there. "Sherlock Holmes?" he questioned, frowning at the green cover.
House shrugged. "It's not a book. It's a box."
Wilson raised an eyebrow, pulling it out. He opened it, but there was nothing inside.
"What was in here?" he asked, curious.
House looked suddenly uncomfortable.
Wilson realized he's stumbled onto something bigger than an empty box. "House. What was in there?"
House sighed, locking his hands behind his head and leaning back. What the hell. Why not tell Wilson another deep, dark secret. He could set his emotional record. "Morphine."
Wilson's eyes widened in shock. "You – what - ?"
"You notice how it's not there anymore?" House said acidly, looking away. He didn't want Wilson's lecture. The day he'd come back from Mayfield, he'd dumped it. It'd been one of the few stashes that Wilson hadn't found on his own.
Wilson felt slightly sick. "You were dosing yourself?" he asked quietly.
House was tense all over, his hand straying to his leg and staying there. "Not consistently," he replied. He was trying for honesty here. "Only when it got that bad."
Wilson said nothing, just standing their dumbly with an empty box in his hands.
"What was "that bad"?" he asked, his voice quivering. With the memories of the infarction still so fresh on his mind, House's pain was more vivid to him than at most times. He was not doubting his friend, not at all.
"A few weeks after you left…" House said, still not looking at Wilson, "I hit… a ten. Again."
Wilson leaned back like House had physically struck him.
"Only that time, you weren't there. So I started keeping it on hand."
House closed his eyes for a moment. His hand rubbed his leg. Pain had suddenly begun to spike from it – a mix of tense muscles and memories of pain had it acting up.
Wilson silently closed the book, placing it back on the shelf. He was proud of House for keeping it empty, but also sick at the fact that he'd had to use it in the first place.
He sat next to House on the couch, just touching his left leg. House looked at him sharply.
"No lecture? No, "House, how irresponsible of you to keep morphine around, I can't believe you?" House said bitterly, crossing the arm that wasn't holding his leg over his chest in a defensive manner.
Wilson was motionless. "I'm sorry I didn't help you. Why didn't you tell me, when it got that bad?"
House was slightly thrown. After a moment, he spurted out an answer. "And what would you have done if I had? You'd have had even more of your life taken up by me and my damn leg. And, if anything, all you would have done was give me morphine yourself. I can – could – do that on my own."
Wilson nodded. At times like this, Wilson was struck by just how unselfish House could be. Of course, he did it at the most self-harming of times, but still.
He clapped House on the back. "Thanks for telling me," he said earnestly. The fact that House had told him the truth about what had been in the book, or had even pointed out the box at all, was a flying leap in the right direction for him.
House grunted, but Wilson could see his tense form relax.
Cuddy tapped her foot, annoyed. This nanny was incompetent.
"So let me get this straight." She began irately. "You thought it was a good idea to give a three year old Lucky Charms at eight at night?"
The woman shrugged helplessly, shrinking under Cuddy's glare. Rachel, meanwhile, was streaking around the house like a squirrel on cocaine.
"She said she was hungry, and she'd already eaten, and I had some in the car…" the woman explained timidly, her hands out in a placating gesture.
Cuddy rubbed the bridge of her nose. No one could replace Marina, it seemed. She slapped some money in the woman's hand.
"Don't expect a call back," she stated, sending the woman out the door.
She looked at her child dejectedly. Rachel was rolling on the floor, making animal noises.
"Rachel, honey," she called, giving up to the inevitable. "We're going to spend the night somewhere."
Rachel stopped rolling around, running to her mother and clinging to her enthusiastically. "Daddy?" she questioned, looking up at her mom.
The word pulled at Cuddy's heart strings, and she smiled. "Yes, baby. For the whole weekend."
Rachel shrieked with enthusiasm, rushing to her room. "My toys!"
Cuddy rubbed her temples. "Okay, Rach. Only one backpack full though, alright?"
Not bothering to wait for the response she knew wouldn't be coming, she headed to her room to grab their bags. She may have slightly over-packed. She blew stray bangs off her forehead and looked, slightly concerned, at the suitcases littering the floor.
"Dang," House exclaimed as Cuddy pushed through the door with bags in tow. "You staying for the weekend or a month?"
Cuddy gave him an acid look. At that moment, Rachel burst into the room and launched herself onto the couch, hugging House tightly.
House grinned. "Hey, kid. You're all hyper, aren't you? I bet the nanny gave you some good stuff."
"Mawsh-mallow cereal!" she reported proudly, smiling widely.
House shot Wilson an "I-told-you-so" look, arching an eyebrow.
Wilson threw his hands up in the air, rolling his eyes. "I never win. Never."
He pushed himself off the couch to help Cuddy with the bags, dragging them to the bedroom while House and Rachel talked.
"I missed you, Daddy," Rachel was saying, her voice excited. "Pano?"
House messed up her hair, looking at the piano somewhat longingly. "I can't right now, Rachel. My legs are messed up and I can't press down the pedals. But I can play the guitar."
He reached over to one that was on a stand by the couch, strumming it gently. It was already in tune – this was the one he'd taken to the hospital.
"Rachel, go tell Uncle Wilson to come here," House told her, gesturing to the bedroom. He needed someone to plug in the amp to the wall – someone who wouldn't have to clamber into a wheelchair first.
"M'kay," Rachel agreed, and hopped off the couch, her little legs pumping to get her to back room.
"Uncle Wilson!" she yelled, easily loud enough for House and probably anyone in the hallway to hear. "Daddy want you."
Wilson appeared a moment later. "I can't leave you alone for a second, can I," he said, but his tone conveyed more than the words. He was looking at House in a deep, emotional way that House felt inclined to ignore, so he did.
"Plug in that amp for me, slave," he demanded, but Wilson shook his head.
"It's nine at night. Play the acoustic."
House whined. "But I have to tune that one…"
Despite his grumbling, he took the guitar that Wilson handed him and fiddled with it until it was making a satisfactory noise. "Rachel!"
Rachel came rushing back into the room, full speed. She careened around the table and launched herself onto the couch like she was going off a springboard, bouncing up and down.
"Rugrat, what should I play?" he asked, the question now familiar after the weeks spent in the hospital.
Rachel grinned. "Bad bone!"
Cuddy's voice suddenly pierced the living room from the back bedroom. "I know I did not just hear my three year old ask to hear Bad to the Bone!"
House grinned, and, instead of answering, played the opening riff.
Rachel giggled at her parents bickering. "Bad bone! Bad bone!"
House laughed too, and Wilson didn't think he'd ever heard a happier sound than when House was truly open and blissful with Rachel. "Ah, kid, we better stop before your mom gets mad at me. What's another one?"
"Sweet child," Rachel replied after a pause, smiling with her finger in her mouth, laying down on the floor and looking at House upside down.
"Please tell me she means Guns and Roses," Wilson said hopefully, sitting down again.
House played the beginning of the song. "She's got a smile that seems to me…" he sang, and Rachel quickly joined in.
Cuddy was out of the bedroom almost immediately, watching the progression of the song from the hallway. A peppy song was becoming an improvised lullaby for Rachel, whose sugar rush was quickly coming to an end as she fell asleep. Drowsy, as the song came to a close, she curled up next to House and closed her eyes. House played the chorus a few more times, but he was looking at Cuddy, not at Rachel.
Wilson suddenly felt like he was intruding on a very private moment.
"Well, I'll see you later," he mumbled, but neither person left awake in the room heard him. He let himself out quietly.
Later that night, as House lay in bed next to Cuddy, she rolled over and smiled at him.
"What?" he grumbled, opening his eyes half way when he felt that he was being watched.
"You are the most…" she began, trailing off. "I don't even know what to make of you."
House cracked a smirk. "I have that effect on people."
Cuddy sighed contentedly. "You wanna go house hunting tomorrow?"
He mock-grimaced. "Sounds painful," he joked, referring to the pun.
She lightly flicked him in the chest. "You know what I mean, you jerk."
The smile faded from his face somewhat. "Are we going to be looking for wheelchair friendly homes?" he asked, sighing. "Because otherwise…"
Cuddy chose to think out her response carefully. "House… I think it might be a good idea."
"You know that Yung suggested that you be in the chair on and off for a week each. It… well, it might be a good idea if we did. Go ahead and get a chair friendly house I mean."
House still looked incredibly defensive. Cuddy sighed.
"House. I want you around for as long as possible, alright? Will you please, please…"
House cocked his jaw, turning over. "Fine. We'll get a home for the crippled. Happy?"
Cuddy blinked hard, fighting frustrated tears. "You aren't crippled."
"I can't even walk!"
"For NOW!" she roared, suddenly pushed to her limit. "Your broken leg will HEAL! And when it does, you'll be walking like you always have! There's nothing wrong with getting a home that will be easy for you to get around! Admitting that you need help is not WEAKNESS, Greg! Getting a house that you'll be miserable and in pain in? That's stupidity!"
House refused to look at her, blinking hard. "I just don't want to give in."
Cuddy deflated, suddenly drained.
"It's not "giving in", House. It's just accepting some help. Please let me help."
House looked less than convinced, but he still relaxed. His tense muscles loosened slightly. "Okay."
"Okay," Cuddy repeated. However, she was far from relieved. House had reacted far worse than she'd expected. This was a bigger issue than she'd realized... and she knew it probably had origins all the way back to his childhood.
She tossed and turned all night, worrying.
Ooh. Tense. If anyone was wondering, I haven't forgotten about mystery therapy woman... (hint, hint)