A/N: This is an idea that got sparked months ago by a post I saw on tumblr. Someone commented that the conversations House and Hazel would have crossed their mind, and they burst out laughing. I really loved the idea as soon as I saw it. It seemed like a fantastic opportunity to get these two excellent characters together, who have a lot in common, actually, especially in how they think about disease and sick people.
But then, David Shore et al had to go and give Wilson cancer, so I had to wait out the end of House to see where it would go (I'm not a fan of constructing A/U scenarios, or messing too much with timelines (except for the part where I'm having fictional universes from different media cross over)).
So, this fic is set presuming that both TFiOS and House are happening in "real" time (which canon has shown that they roughly are- TFiOS lists March 29 as a Thursday, which it is in 2012, and House followed the seasons of the year, see also Chase's "It's Tuesday" phase).
If you accept that premise, then this fic takes place in early September 2012. Wilson would have about a month left, and it has been about 2 months since Augustus died- by my count he dies about July 2nd (it's been 12 days since his death when Hazel's mother informs her it is July 14th, Bastille Day)
(Fun Fact- Gus' revelation to Hazel that he is terminal and House's realization that Wilson is terminal occur at almost the exact same time- airdate of the House episode was May 7th, Gus tells Hazel on May 6th)
tl;dr I over think things
"HAZEL! It's the first day of the school year!"
My mother pulled the covers off my head with a broad smile. "Hazel, come on, get up, we have to leave."
I groaned and rolled over so I didn't have to face her. But she scooted around the side of the bed and persisted in trying to rouse me with as much joy as humanly possible.
"Come on, you're going to have an excellent semester. Don't forget we need to do your inhaler treatment this morning."
I sighed and sat up, accepting my mother's help in switching from my Bi-Pap over to Philip and my nubbins. She also set up the aerosolizing inhaler and handed it over. I grimaced as she started up the machine because the medication tasted like death wormed over. She smiled and tousled my hair. "I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think it would help."
"I know mom, I know." And I did know that. Pretty much everything my mother did was to help me. And when I wasn't here to be helped any more, she would be helping other people. She would finish her social work degree in December. Dad and I were secretly attempting to throw her a graduation party. Unfortunately, the only people she ever spent time with, besides us, were the world's leading experts in differentiated thyroid carcinoma, who, let me tell you, are not anyone's #1 choice for party guests. Not that they'd take time out of their schedules to celebrate a master's degree anyway.
There was also the problem of food. We weren't going to make my mother cook for her own graduation party. My father can't cook much beyond pancakes, and I am a walking fire hazard around open flame.
I knew my mother would be thrilled by whatever pathetic attempt we put forward, even if we had a crappy deli tray and the only guests were Isaac and his family. But I wanted to do something big for her, to show her how glad I was that she was doing this, that she viewed her life beyond her role as my perpetual care giver.
For a while there, I was pondering a way to find the money to have the party catered, and weighing the pros and cons of inviting the Waters and/or Patrick (the pros being warm bodies my mother knew, the cons being how unpleasant it might be).
During that time, Dad went to work, I enjoyed a summer of ANT reruns, and Mom took classes. It felt something like normal.
But then, my suckish lungs had to go ruin everything. At my most recent doctor's appointment I had donned the heinously uncomfortable nose clip and ran through the painful monotony of a pulmonary function test. At the big Cancer Team meeting that afternoon, my Cancer Doctor Maria informed my mother and me that my pulmonary function had decreased by 15% for reasons no one could explain. All my PET scans showed no tumor growth.
My mother peppered all the doctors with questions, some of which they could not answer. There is something humorous about watching a doctor try to deal with a question they do not know the answer to. Maybe it's something about spending most of their lives in school, but they react exactly like a student who has been asked a direct question about a book they didn't read. They hem and haw and try to say as many words as they can without actually saying anything.
It would have been much funnier if it wasn't a definitive sign that I was in a world of trouble.
"Now, don't you worry about this, Hazel" my mother had remarked to me on the drive home. "I've been doing some research, and this may be a late effect from the chemotherapy and radiation you had when you were younger. There's a doctor in New Jersey who is an expert in this type of lung damage in cancer patients. I'm going to see what I can find out."
I didn't respond. I could have said something about the irony that the treatments that were supposed to heal my lungs actually damaged them, but I wasn't in a particularly ironic mood. I didn't feel either nervous about the test result or reassured by my mother's words. The way I saw it, another thing had gone wrong with my crap lungs, which was fairly typical. The why or how didn't much matter to me. The outcomes were fairly limited. Either 1) my mother or my doctors would find a way to fix it or 2) they wouldn't, in which case a) they would find a way to compensate for it b) I would learn to live with a new deficiency or c) I would die.
1, 2a, and 2b had all happened before. 2c, of course, had not, and while I was not eager for it, I had accepted its inevitability long ago.
It turned out that New Jersey doctor was not able to take on my case at that time. My mother was more than a little miffed about it, but agreed to be referred to one of his colleagues. He was your stereotypical oncologist, way more interested in tumors than in people, and way too into his own brilliance and importance. After one appointment in which he actually and literally did not address me, he pronounced my additional lung damage to indeed be a side effect of my previous treatment. Unfortunately, the extensive studies that he'd done were really more to do with predicting and characterizing such side effects than with treating it, so he prescribed a medication that had helped some patients increase their function and capacity. Then he sent me on my way to be just another side effect for the rest of my ever-shortening life.
And my mother wonders why I'm depressed.