Chapter 9: Tensions
Disclaimer: I don't own House MD! All rights go to David Shore and the Fox Production Company
"Foreman," Wilson sighed angrily. "I honestly do not give half a damn about whether you think it's a good idea or not. You're the best group of doctors in the state, never mind the hospital, and you're going to treat House whether you like it or not."
Everyone was unaccustomed to hearing the typically docile Wilson speak to anyone like that. Thirteen blinked, taking in the scene in front of her. Wilson, fists clenched, standing roughly six inches away from Foreman, who looked positively livid. Cuddy standing near Wilson to show whose side she was on, but still looking apprehensive. Taub, an impassive bystander taking in the situation from the door to Cuddy's office, which was where the little stand off was taking place. Then there was her and Chase, standing awkwardly in the middle of the room, watching with a mixture of horror and interest at the display going in front of them.
"You remember what happened the last time we treated people we all knew?" The words were barbed with acid, and you could see the visible hurt in Wilson's face as he no doubt thought of Amber.
"You son of a bitch, don't you dare bring Amber into this." Cuddy took a step closer to Wilson now, as if preparing to restrain Wilson if he attacked Foreman. Chase tensed beside her, seemingly ready to spring in between the two men if needs be.
"Collins is his attending, she should be the one to treat him! And if you desperately want a diagnostics department to look at him, then pass him off to the team down in Atlanta, don't burden us with him!" Foreman protested.
"'Burden us with him'!" Wilson repeated incredulously. "You've worked with the man for eight years and you act like he's just a sack of flesh!" Wilson's face was red with rage and his voice ripe with accusation.
"I just don't want to risk the life of our actual patient by trying to juggle two cases at once! We don't operate that way, we never have." Foreman countered. "House is sick, it sucks. But we're not the only doctors in the world, and once again your objectivity is ruined because-"
"Oh, will you drop that objectivity bullshit?" Wilson asked, throwing his hands up in the air. "Sometimes knowing a patient clouds judgment, but when it comes to my best friend I'd rather have people who are actually motivated to save him take care of him! Of course, it's seeming like you don't really fall into that category, so maybe you should just get the hell out of here." Another few inches closer. Wilson and Foreman were quite literally toe to toe, and eye to eye, due to the fact the two men were both the same height.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm a cold bastard, we get it." Foreman growled. "But I'm the cold bastard that you know is right."
"Yeah, I'm standing here having a shouting match with you because I agree whole-heartedly with your opinion." Wilson spat back sarcastically. Thirteen wasn't sure what to think of this angry Wilson. It was surreal. She had almost never seen any hint of anger in the oncologist... sadness at times, yes, but never anger. Was House's life being dropped back into the firing line after just getting out driving him into this rage?
"Wilson, I've worked with you for eight years, and I'd like to think I know you well enough to know that you can't really think this is a good idea." Foreman said, lowering his voice, apparently trying to calm the situation. However, Wilson's eyes flared, and it seemed Foreman had done absolutely nothing to appease him.
"If you think for one second I'd just pass off my best friend to someone who I didn't think was completely capable of curing him, then you don't know me at all." His voice too had dropped, but not into the calming tones Foreman had adopted, but into venom laced contempt.
"Wilson, this decision could kill him! You know we'll be less likely to take risks knowing who we're treating!" Foreman shouted.
"Well, since you're a soulless emotional robot, then this should be the perfect case for you!" Shouted Wilson back.
"Just because you're best friend is dying doesn't mean you have the right to insult me! Get a hold of yourself! He doesn't even know who you are, and you're risking his life by trying to force-" Thirteen was tempted to plug her ears, the two men were yelling so loudly. None of them seemed to know what to say. Normally Cuddy would have stepped in long ago, but the emotional stress on top of the fact that she was probably so shocked by Wilson's behavior seemed to have rendered speechless.
"Don't have the right? Oh, I can think of something I've got the right to do." Wilson gritted his teeth, and before anyone could stop him or really knew what was happening, Foreman was on the ground, clutching his nose.
"WILSON!" Cuddy shouted, jumping forward. Wilson was now on top of Foreman, socking him repeatedly in the face. Foreman was yelling inaudibly. He landed a well aimed punch to Wilson's stomach, and the older man fell away for a moment. Before he could lunge at Foreman again, Chase rushed and grabbed one of his arms, while Taub grabbed the other. Thirteen raced over to Taub's side, knowing the small doctor would need help restraining the signifgantly larger man. Hooking onto Wilson's elbow, Thirteen restrained Wilson with all her might. He was resisting them like a feral animal.
Cuddy carefully placed herself directly between the two men when it looked like Foreman might decide to retaliate. Fury raging in his dark eyes, his lips curled in a snarl, he looked positively terrifying in Thirteen's opinion. She tightened her grip on Wilson's arm, convinced that if the fight restarted Wilson would undoubtedly be on the losing end.
"Wilson!" Thirteen finally burst out angrily, unable to believe the oncologist's actions. "Stop!"
"Will the three of you get off of me?" He roared.
"Not until we know you're not going to try and tear out Foreman's throat." Taub informed him in a matter-of-fact voice. Wilson tried once more to rip his arm out of Thirteen's grip, and successfully elbowed her in the mouth. She felt hot blood rushing from her lower lip and stumbled backwards.
Chase's reaction was immediate. She felt a rush of air as Chase pressed both his hands into Wilson's collar bones and shoved him against the wall. Chase then moved his left arm so he was pinning Wilson to the wall by his throat, lifting the other doctor several inches of the ground.
"Wilson, you're my friend, but I swear to God if you ever touch her again I'll-"
"Chase! Chase, you're suffocating him!" Thirteen exclaimed as she noticed the purpling color hue of Wilson's face. Wiping her lip with the sleeve of her lab coat, she pushed herself up and grabbed one of Chase's shoulders, pulling back on him roughly. The surgeon seemed to snap out of it, and stepped back from Wilson, who collapsed on the ground, dragging in harsh gasps as he massaged his throat.
"I cannot believe you!" Cuddy shrieked, stalking towards Wilson, her nostrils flared and her eyes blazing. "House could be dying and you're beating on the people who could save him!" Cuddy now seemed to be as furious as Wilson was moments before, and Thirteen knew that if she went off then Wilson and Foreman would be back up and punching each other any moment now. She could already see that Wilson was pushing himself up, and both Chase and Foreman started moving towards him. Thirteen had to do something. Removing her hand that was stopping her profusely bleeding lip, she took a deep breath.
And she screamed. Oh, she screamed. She let out the most shrill, ear piercing scream she could muster. Like a "Help me now I'm being viciously raped/murdered/beaten!" kind of scream.
It got their attention. Everyone immediately stopped and covered their ears, groaning in protest.
"What are you doing?" Foreman tried to yell over her, but his voice was almost completely drowned out by her scream. After everyone had been successfully silenced, she stopped and held up her hand.
"Now," She began in a light tone. "We are all going to stop yelling. We are not going to punch each other, elbow each other, strangle each other, or touch each other in any way." (At this point she missed House, who would have surely made a dirty comment at this.) She paused, looking at the shocked faces around her. "Is that clear? It's no good for House if we all kill each other. Anyone's voice gets loud, I start screaming again, and they," She pointed into the lobby at the small crowd that was gathered there, all of whom quickly averted their eyes. "get a show."
Slowly, Wilson nodded. "You're... right." He said, his voice not filled with anger for the first time since the conversation had started but hoarse from the encounter with Chase. His eyes shamefully darted to Foreman, who was still clutching his nose, his eyebrows furrowed. "Sorry, I've never lost control like that before." He added quietly. Wilson was staring at his hands, which were covered in blood, and she saw a regretful and lost look in his deep brown eyes. Thirteen felt an unexpected dart of pain for the oncologist. She wondered if that was the first time Wilson had ever pyschically hurt anyone, ever.
Foreman waited for a moment, then growled the response. "Well, this proves my point that things get messy when you treat people you know." He commented arrogantly.
"There's something you two have been forgetting this whole time." Chase pointed out in a small voice.
"What?" Foreman asked irritably, grabbing one of the tissues from the tissue box on Cuddy's desk.
"I'm the head of diagnostics." Chase emphasized this, but not in an egotistical way, just as a statement of fact. The surgeon's light blue eyes were aimed directly at Foreman. "And I decide who we do and do not treat."
There was a thick, awkward silence that followed this sentence. Cuddy's eyes darted from Foreman, to Chase, to Wilson, and back again, wondering who would speak. She was wondering whose side Chase was taking, but Thirteen could tell by the way he was looking at Foreman...
"We're treating House." He stated authoritatively. "Two of us will treat Janice, and two of us will treat House. Obviously since you're so reticent to do this, you and Taub can treat Janice-"
"No," Cuddy interrupted him. "I want Taub treating House." Taub stared quizzically at Cuddy.
"Not to be modest, but... why?" He asked.
"You've never lost a patient." She said softly, her eyes avoiding the other team members. Foreman winced visibly, and Chase subconsciously ran a hand through his hair. Her mind was immediately filled with a picture of Stark and his dog, both of whom she had killed... she closed her eyes, regaining her composure. "Thirteen and Foreman can treat your original patient, and Chase and Taub will work with Dr. Collins to treat House." Cuddy ordered with some finality. "If you're okay with that." She added to Chase quickly. "It is your department."
Chase's eyes briefly flashed towards Thirteen, but then his eyes were staring at the ground. Thirteen wasn't exactly thrilled to hear she'd be working with Foreman, but she was happy that House's life wouldn't be on her shoulders.
"Yes," Chase agreed. "yes, that's fine."
Cuddy nodded and cast a pointed glance at Wilson. "Is that alright with the 'family'?" She asked, raising her eyebrows and pursing her lips, as if challenging Wilson to argue. Wilson didn't respond, but nodded. Cuddy clapped her hands together. "Excellent. You two," She pointed at Chase and Taub. "go meet with Dr. Collins in House's room and get going on the differential. You don't need me to tell you how important this is. And you two," She waved her hand at Foreman and Thirteen. "go treat your patient. She's a priority too, every patient is... don't let House distract you from that." She could see the pain in the administrator's eyes as she said this. Thirteen nodded.
"You guys can just use House's room for differentials... Thirteen and I can grab the old clear dry erase board and work up in the differential room." Foreman said as he made his way to the door. Thirteen went to leave, but then stopped and looked back at Chase, who was casting a furtive glance at Wilson, whose hands were still massaging his collar, and then another at the thin trail of blood streaming from her lip.
"You should get that looked at." He commented, folding his arms. She shrugged.
"I'll be fine..." She dropped her voice low enough so that hopefully Cuddy, Taub, and Wilson couldn't hear her. "Thank you." She told him, meeting his eyes. Chase blinked, seeming surprised and opening his mouth to respond, but before he could, Thirteen turned on her heel to follow Foreman to the differential room.
Chase and Taub left Cuddy's office without a word shortly after Thirteen and Foreman did, and Wilson and Cuddy were left alone. Wilson sank into the chair in front of her desk, and Cuddy placed herself in her usual spot on her side of the desk, folding her hands in front of her.
"You know for a fact that if you weren't my friend I would have fired you on the spot." She said. There was no malice or even anger in her voice, just resignation. Wilson laid his hands face up on her desk, still staring at his own blood covered digits.
"God, Cuddy, I'm losing it." Wilson still had a tremor in his voice.
"You were damn lucky Thirteen pulled Chase off of you, or else we probably wouldn't be talking right now." Cuddy said. Wilson nodded soberly.
"I hit a woman." Wilson choked. "I've got to apologize."
"Worry about apologizing after House and their first patient is out of the woods." Cuddy muttered, running a hand over her face. "Just as we get him back, he's in danger again..." She laughed humorlessly. "House always was unlucky."
"Yeah." Wilson muttered, half listening. It had taken them a half an hour to stop the bleeding in House's throat, and he had spiked a fever at 104. House's life seemed to be hanging by a thread once more, and this time it wasn't just a matter of waiting and hoping for the best.
No, this time, House's life lay in the hands of his team.