Day 1 - Friday - 7th October 2011
He's dragged down a corridor, hands holding him tightly, cuffs cutting into his wrists. He's been here eight months and this is the first time he's really felt the brute force of the prison officers. They're used to dealing with dangerous, drugged up offenders, men who have killed. Now, he's in their sights, he's defied their authority and he knows that he's going to be chucked into the hole for a long time. There's no appeal, no recourse, no Cuddy to give him some additional clinic hours and roll her eyes at him. The price for being wrong here is a high one.
He's still numb from his failure, he's risked everything, thrown away his freedom and he was wrong. His first patient in over a year and he's blown it, he's failed. He was so sure he was right, that being right would be enough.
They take him to a small room, uncuff him and order him to strip down. There are three of them in the room with him, they're not taking any chances. He wants to resist, to protest, to try and regain some human dignity but he knows if he does he'll be face down on the floor and they'll strip him anyway.
He slowly takes off his shirt and jeans, kicking them away when he's told to. He pushes down his boxers and steps out of them, leaving him standing naked before them, as always he feels the hideous scar on his leg most keenly. He's never liked having it exposed to scrutiny but it's something he's had to do regularly here. The prisoners he's shared the shower with have been given full knowledge of where he is most vulnerable.
When he stands naked before them he's told to turn around and clasp his hands behind his head and he's cuffed again, their hands coolly efficient on his wrists. He's told to leave his hands there and while he stands like that he's searched. It's swift and business like. Fingers run through his hair and probe into his mouth when he opens it on command. Gloved hands examine his genitals, picking up his balls and holding them to checking underneath. A hand presses on his back and he's bent over, his cheeks spread apart and a gloved finger inserted inside. Just like a medical exam, he tells himself, he's done this to many patients. It's not an assault, it's an exam. At least they're quick about it.
He's given his white prison issue shorts back, a clean white t-shirt is provided to go with them, then an orange coverall, much like he's seen on any prison show ever. He's uncuffed again and told to dress. He dresses much more quickly than he disrobed and zips up the coverall thankfully. The hands-behind-your-head cuffing manoeuvre is repeated and then an officer bends down with a leg chain in his hands.
House find his voice for the first time and protests. "Hey, I'm a cripple; I'm not going to run anywhere."
The officer pauses in his work, looking up at his boss who just signals to 'go ahead'. House tenses up and the officer seems to sense this and hurriedly finishes putting the shackles on his ankles. House wonders if they're going to fix the chain to a belly chain, and whether he will be able to walk if they do so but thankfully they seems satisfied with what they've done. He can walk like this, just barely, a lame shuffle at best.
He's taken out of the room, down a corridor and past a row of steel doors, close together, a single number printed on the outside of each. As they pass the doors there's noise, men calling from inside those tiny cells, heckling the guards, heckling House, or maybe just making noise because that's all they can do. The guards on either side of him seem unmoved by the noise, they're used to it, when House's step falters they tighten their grip on his arms and move him forward.
They stop in front of the last cell on this corridor and he looks at the door number - D21, his new home. In a minute he'll be going in there, alone, with no idea when he'll be coming out again. He swallows heavily, he's scared, his heart is pounding and the reality of what's about to happen is hitting him. He'd been scared when he'd been taken to his cell in the general population part of the prison, but he knew he'd be able to leave it for at least some portion of each day. He knows from talking to his fellow prisoners that he'll be in this cell for 23 hours every day.
The door is a heavy steel one, sliding open at a command from the control unit, he sees the small cell beyond and tenses up, he's never liked being shut in small places, the cell back in gen pop was bad enough, this is so much worse. It's narrow and cramped and he doesn't know how he's going to survive in there.
The officers tighten their grip on his arms, as if expecting him to make a break for it, and despite his apprehension he feels a sliver of amusement. Where's he going to go exactly? Limp down the corridor at a speed a turtle would be able to beat? He's told to enter the cell and he does so, still cuffed. The door slams shut and he's ordered to the cuff port, which is a small slot in the cell door. He puts his hands through the port and the cuffs are undone and removed. The cuff port slams shut and he's alone.
They haven't talked to him, beyond barked commands. No-one's told him how long this will be for; he wonders if they even know.
He looks around the cell. There's not much to see, a bed made of poured concrete along one wall, barely long enough for him, a thin mattress, a single blanket, a well-worn pillow. There is the usual steel toilet in a corner, a tiny sink, a single roll of toilet paper, a rough towel. At the bottom of the bunk there's a pile of shorts and t-shirts, and when he counts them he finds there's seven of each.
He glances at the small window set high in one wall, it's been painted over; he can't even catch a glimpse of the outside world.
He lies down on the hard bed and stares at the ceiling, listening to the faint hiss of the ventilation system. He's sore all over, from the fight and the handling of the prison officers when they were subduing him in the clinic. There's dried blood on his face and chest, and over everything there's the screaming of his leg. The Vicodin he'd had this morning is a distant memory and he doesn't know if there'll be any more while he's down here. He dreads having to go through withdrawal locked in this tiny cage.
He rubs his thigh and tries not to think about the pain. To distract himself he runs over Nick's symptoms again, if it isn't mastocytosis what the hell is it? He'd been so sure that he'd risked everything to prove himself right and he'd been wrong.
He hears footsteps outside and looks up hopefully at the door, maybe they've changed their mind, realised he was only trying to save a guy's life and wasn't a danger to anyone. He doesn't need to be punished.
There's the sound of a metal door being unlocked and then the food slot at the bottom of the door opens and a tray is slid in; the door shuts again.
He stares at the tray; it's the usual prison tray with the usual prison slop on it. He doesn't want it.
He looks back at the ceiling. If it isn't mastocytosis, what the hell is it?
Adams packs her personal things under the watchful eye of one of the prison officers. She's never been fired before, let alone escorted off the premises like a... well, like a criminal. She feels a flare of anger. She had saved Nick's life by following House's directions. Now she has been fired, and House has been hauled away in handcuffs by the guards. She swallows hard as she remembers seeing him, face down on the bed next to Nick's, arms twisted painfully behind his back and several prison officers holding him down. He'd sacrificed everything for a patient who wasn't even his officially, without hesitation. She feels a streak of deep admiration for him, despite the circumstance of their meeting, and his crimes. He is a great doctor, and she is convinced that he is a good man too, despite his outward harshness. Now he'll be sitting in solitary, thinking that he was wrong with his diagnosis, that he had failed and that it had all been for nothing. She has to get a message to him somehow.
She eyes the prison officer standing over her, she doesn't know him, and he looks pretty pissed off at her. The officers don't like people making fools of them like House did, and in their eyes she had helped him. Sykes had been scathing and the warden had appeared in person to fire her. He'd warned her that they were considering filing charges against her for aiding and abetting a prisoner in a criminal act. She's scared of that; she doesn't want to experience prison from the other side of the bars, not after what she's seen here over the last few months. She hopes the fact that Nick was cured will count in her favour when tempers have died down a bit.
She decides to keep quiet and get out of here with as much dignity as she can. She'll phone the prison when she gets home and ask to speak to Alvarez, he seems a friendly sort, and he might be willing to help get a message to House. She has to at least try; he deserves to know the truth.