Chapter 1: Blood On His Jacket
Author's Note: This is my first fic, I hope you enjoy! This is AU starting halfway through "Moving On".
Disclaimer: I don't own House MD or it's characters. All rights go to David Shore and the Fox Production Company.
Gregory House sighed a deep sigh as he threw one leg over his motorcycle and haphazardly strapped on his helmet. It was time to head home after his brief stint in the hospital. His leg was screaming with pain despite the dozen or so vicodin he had taken since his surgery. The only thing that rivaled the pain in his leg was the pain in his heart. He had slammed shut the door on his feelings when Cuddy ended their relationship, and had been trying to outrun the heartbreak that was bound to catch up with him eventually. Wilson wanted him to talk, to let it all out, but how the hell was that going to help? House felt much better numb. When he was numb, when he didn't think, that's when he was okay. That's when he was normal. The vicodin and booze were the only two things that could halt his constantly racing thoughts, emotions, and of course, his pain.
As he started up his motorcycle and rode smoothly out of PPTH parking lot, his thoughts flashed to his pledge to change. How many times had he said he would change? Obviously since he found himself making the empty promise yet again, he had failed miserably on his previous attempts. It had taken landing in a hospital bed for him to think that maybe it was time to try again. But could he really stop who he was? His friends (well, friend) always blamed his rash, rude, and reckless actions on his vicodin abuse, or his alcohol problem, or his leg pain. As if that wasn't his fault as well. But did any of those things really have anything to do with it? Or was it just him? He had been consistently alienating people since he learned how to talk. He had always been rude, always been selfish. Peel away the addictions and pain, both emotional and physical, you didn't have some self sacrificing saint. You still just had House. A misanthropic, bitter, apathetic son of a bitch. He thought bitterly to himself as he stopped briefly at a red light.
It didn't matter, he decided, whether he changed or not. Because he would always be miserable. He would always be the man that-
His self pitying thoughts were cut off by a blaring car horn. Jerking his head to locate where the noise was coming from, House had only time to see the massive headlights of an eighteen wheeler before a slamming, unbelievable force crashed into him. He let out one choking, strangled noise, then his entire world went black.
House's eyes split open, revealing a familiar, white space. He looked to see where he was sitting, and for some reason was unsurprised to see a perfectly white bus seat below him. Inhaling a deep breath, he smelled a familiar scent of lavender.
"Amber." He acknowledged without looking at the apparition of the beautiful young doctor sitting next to him.
"Observant even when you're teetering on the brink of death. Not bad." She commended, leaning forward in what he guessed was an attempt to cause their equally blue eyes to meet.
"Brink of death?" He repeated in a small voice.
"What, you thought that semi was trying to give you a hug?"
"All I saw were the lights-"
"I know what happened, and I'm sure you believe that I'm an extension of you, so that means you know." She stated simply.
"Are you not an extension of me?" He asked warily.
"Would you believe me if I said I wasn't?" She asked with a small smile. House was looking at her now. She looked just as pristine and youthful as she did in life, and she had the same precocious and determined fire in her icy eyes. A pang hit House's heart. You killed her. He reminded himself. You killed this woman. Amber clucked impatiently.
"Oh, it was nearly four years ago, get over it! Pretty sad that I moved on from my death before you did." She shook her head exasperatedly. "The point is," She began.
"There's a point?" House said roughly. "I assumed this was just some vision before I died. Am I still alive?" He asked. There was no hopefulness in his voice, just a sort of calm resignation.
"No and yes." She said, now smiling broadly, something she only did in the company of Wilson when she was alive. "Nope. I'm here to tell you something..." She leaned close to House, her lips almost brushing his ear. "You're getting a second chance..."
There was a bright flash, and House knew no more.
James Wilson sat looking absent mindedly through patient files as night set on Princeton. He breathed heavily through his nose and leaned back, abandoning the pretense that he was actually taking in any of the words he had just read. Wilson was, as per usual, worried sick about his best friend. The doctor had left in low spirits, and of course had discharged himself before he was nearly ready to leave the hospital. Wilson thought of House, who was likely passed out on his couch, an empty bottle of vicodin in his hand. Wilson had been struggling to decide whether he should stop filling out vicodin scrips for House. Some days, Wilson wanted to burn his prescription pad and call every doctor in the tri-state area and make sure that Greg House never got his hands on anything stronger than Ibuprofen.
But, as House put it, he needed unreasonable amounts of vicodin, because he pained in unreasonable ways. But House had been doing just fine off of vicodin for the past year in a half. Before Cuddy broke up with him, he had been doing... good? He wasn't sure that House did 'good', but nevertheless, the diagnostician was in the best state he'd been in since he and Stacy were in the height of their relationship.
He thought of calling Dr. Nolan. Perhaps the old black man could have some insight on how to react to House's recent insanity. First he jumps out of a fifteenth story window, goes on a drugs, booze, and hookers rampage, gets married, starts taking experimental drugs that had only been tested on rats, and then tried to perform surgery on himself in his bathtub. What was next?
He wasn't exactly on the road to recovery. Wilson rubbed his forehead and sighed. He needed to get his mind off of House, or he'd be killing himself with worry. He decided to call his friend and just talk to him. Wilson had House on speed dial, and moments later he was listening to House's voicemail with a furrowed brow.
"This is House. Leave a message." The long beep then came, and Wilson left a brief message.
"House, it's me. Call me back." He jammed his thumb on the end button and pushed his cell phone back into his pants pocket. Wilson shoved himself out of his chair and decided to head down to the clinic. He had six hours that needed doing, and he wasn't accomplishing anything by sitting in his office and staring at the wall, wondering what House was doing. If he didn't call back, he'd go to his house after work and check on him.
He began to make his way down to the ground level of the hospital. On his way to the elevator, he ran into Thirteen. Remy. He mentally corrected himself. He had been wanting to stop using the young woman's nickname for a long time. Wilson thought it a cruel reminder of the doctor's terminal neurological disease.
"Hey." Wilson greeted her, and she nodded at him as they stepped into the elevator together.
"What floor?" She asked with a raised eyebrow and light tone.
"Clinic." He stated. She nodded.
"Same here. We discharged our 'artist', and House hasn't decide to grace us with his presence or let us know if we're free to go, so I figure I might as well kill time in the clinic." She informed him.
"What are the others doing?" He asked. Thirteen let out a snort of derision in response.
"Please. The minute House was out of the hospital, they bolted out the door."
"Men." Wilson said sarcastically. Thirteen smiled at him.
"I don't know." Wilson answered, more harsh and more quickly than he meant to. Thirteen didn't seem taken aback.
"Don't know what?"
"I don't know how House is doing. I assumed that's what you were going to ask. He discharged himself an hour ago and I don't know where he is, how he is, or what he's doing." He said in a monotone as the elevator door binged open to reveal the ER bay, which they had to go through to reach the clinic.
"Ah." Thirteen said simply. "Are you worried?"
Wilson thought about how to respond, and deemed the younger doctor trustworthy.
"...yes. Yes, I'm worried. I called him, but he didn't pick up."
"Foreman tried to call him about fifteen minutes ago. No answer with him either." Wilson remained silent at this statement. His worry had only increased now. It was unusual for House to ignore calls on his phone. The diagnostician may act flippant and uncaring towards his patient, but his phone rarely got the chance to ring more than once before he picked it up to see if there was something wrong with his patient of the week.
Thirteen and Wilson plodded silently through the ER. He tried to avoid looking at the patients. He guessed by the open ER bay doors and rush of gurneys and shouting, that there had been an accident of some kind. For a doctor, he did not have a very strong stomach for blood and gore, and he hated the sight of human suffering. However, he could not keep his eyes from landing on the newest entrant of PPTH. A man, covered in blood, broken, and near death. There was something familiar about the man. The left side of his head was so completely caked in blood, and with a choking sound in his throat, Wilson thought he saw what he guessed was brain matter. A crumpled, destroyed arm lay jammed against the gurney railing, and both of his legs looked equally damaged. He couldn't help his eyes watering slightly. That man no doubt had a family, had a life, a job, people who loved him-
He froze in his thoughts of sadness over the stranger. Because he realized now, that this was no stranger. His eyes were glued to the jacket the man was wearing, a black leather motorcycle jacket with a red stripe over the breast...