Title: The Promise
Disclaimer: House M.D. and its characters do not belong to me. I am only borrowing them for entertainment purposes only and I'm not making any money from this.
Characters/Pairing(s): G. House, J. Wilson, S. Warner, E. Foreman and other canon characters, OCs/ House/Wilson preslash, House/Stacy friendship-UST.
Word Count: ~1600
Spoilers/Warnings: General spoilers for all seasons up to and including the series finale, 8x22 "Everybody Dies". Major character death. Drug and alcohol use, coarse language, adult content.
Rating: R (M) (to be safe) unless otherwise advised.
A/N: This is my attempt to deal with my hatred of the final story arc in the series. The characters may be OOC. Sorry about that. Sorry too that this fic includes major character death. I don't usually write about that and if you find it to be a trigger for you then you best not read this.
I'm not a lawyer so I don't know NJ law, so what you read here is fiction and probably inaccurate in real-life, but I'm taking creative liberty:) To all who have reviewed this fic thus far, thank you so much and please continue to review. I read them all!
House knew he was either dreaming or hallucinating when Wilson entered Stacy's guest room and came to sit on the edge of the bed next to him. He looked young and beautiful, just as he had when House first met him, not sick and wasted like he was at the end.
"You're not real," House whispered, feeling a burning in his chest.
"I'm as real as you need me to be," Wilson told him with a smile. "I'm so proud of you."
House shook his head; just the sight of his late lover and soul mate caused him indescribable pain…but also a hint of joy. "For what?"
"For taking this step," Wilson answered, reaching out and gently touching House's cheek. House closed his eyes; this had to be a powerful hallucination because he could feel the softness of that hand. "For continuing with your life rather than giving up."
"I promised you," House replied simply, shrugging. "I wanted to give up. Sometimes I still do."
"But you won't," Wilson assured him. "You're braver than I ever was. You'll survive prison, and then you can start all over again."
"Chances are I won't get my medical license back," House told him. "I'm not even certain I want to go back into medicine, even if I could."
"You have a gift, Greg," Wilson insisted. "One that you can't deny."
"Had a gift, Jimmy. Besides, who will trigger my epiphanies now that you're…gone." House felt like he was going to choke and couldn't speak for a while.
"I'll always be with you here," Wilson assured him, touching his temple softly, "and here." He moved his hand to lay it over House's heart.
"It's not the same," House argued, shaking his head. "Things will never be the same again."
"No, they won't," Wilson acknowledged, "but that doesn't mean you can't find happiness again. You have to open your heart, and learn to trust people. You need to take a chance on people like you did with me in that police station in New Orleans."
"No one will ever replace you," House said stubbornly.
"Maybe you can learn to create a new place in your heart for someone new," Wilson told him, cupping his cheek again. "Or maybe for someone not so new."
House knew he was referring to Stacy. "I never loved her the way I loved you."
"Like I said," Wilson replied gently, "Maybe you'll be able to love her differently now. Neither of you are the same people you were the first time around. Maybe age and experience will make the difference."
"I loved you, Jimmy. I never told you, but I did."
"I know. I loved you, too. Loving someone else won't negate that. Stacy wants to be there for you. Let her."
House's voice coming from the bedroom next door to hers woke Stacy from a restless sleep. He was talking to someone. Had some one telephoned him and she had slept through the ring? Had he contacted someone? Since she was curious and couldn't really sleep anyway Stacy got out of bed, pulled on a robe, and padded her way to the guest room.
Carefully she opened the door a crack and peeked in. House laid in the bed, and light from streetlamps outside the window reflected off of the tears on his cheeks. His eyes were closed and he appeared to be dreaming.
"Don't go, Jimmy," he slurred softly in his sleep. "please…no, don't…don't leave me again…"
Stacy silently closed the door; shaken by the sight of House in tears, dreaming about the lover and best friend he had tragically lost. Part of her wanted to go to him, wake him from his nightmare and comfort him. She knew better than to do that, though; she knew House would be humiliated and would push away her attempts to make him feel better. The best thing she could do for him was to leave him alone, and never tell him that she had caught him in such a vulnerable state.
She returned to her own bed, her heart aching for him. It took her quite some time to return to a troubled sleep.
House woke early the next morning and made certain to shower in case he didn't get another chance before returning to prison. After popping a Vicodin to ease the painful roar in his ruined thigh, he contemplated his face in the bathroom mirror for a few moments before pulling over his toiletry bag. He took out an electric razor, adjusted the setting, and shaved his face smooth. He then returned to the guest room to dress for his meeting with Deacon Bernard.
Once he was dressed he headed for the kitchen and found Stacy already there and the coffee brewed and ready for him. She poured him a mug and sweetened it the way he liked before handing it to him. He noticed how her hand trembled, threatening to slosh coffee over the rim of the mug.
"You should eat," she told him. "I'll make you something. How about some eggs?" She turned to head to the fridge when House reached out and grabbed her forearm gently, staying her.
"We'll stop for breakfast on our way to Bernard's office, my treat," House told her, releasing his hold on her.
"I'm not really hungry," she told him ruefully. "How can you be so calm? I'm not the one who could potentially end up behind bars before the day is through and I'm a nervous wreck!"
House shrugged. "I know what to expect this time. I've been preparing myself for this since I made that damned promise to Wilson."
"Still, you can't be thrilled with the prospect of being behind bars again," Stacy argued, shaking her head. "I wish I could do something to help you, Greg!"
House set his coffee down and gently grasped her shoulders, holding her at slightly less than arms length from himself. He could feel her trembling and it moved him (not that he would ever admit it).
"You have helped me, Stacy," House told her almost gently. "I'm indebted to you."
"I wish I could do more," she insisted. "I love you, Greg."
House pulled her close enough for him to place a tender kiss to her forehead. "I know," he assured her. "Come on, let's go."
House and Stacy were shown into Bernard's office by one of his assistants as soon as they arrived. Bernard looked up from some paperwork he was working on and set it aside, giving his client and co-counsel his undivided attention. He waited to speak until his assistant had excused herself from his office and had shut the door behind her.
"Here's the situation," Bernard began, coming around to stand in front of his desk and lean against it as House and Stacy sat down in the visitor's chairs. "The ADA I talked to managed to get you a plea deal from her boss. It's not exactly what I wanted, but I think it's about as good as we're going to get. They're willing to waive the Felony Vandalism charges altogether if you serve three months in a psychiatric institution for detox and anger management therapy followed by pain management therapy and twelve months in a minimum-security prison. It took me some wheedling to get them talked in to sending you to a minimum-security facility, I can tell you.
"My strong recommendation as your legal counsel is that you take this deal. You could be facing a minimum of five years in prison if not for this deal. The ADA pulled a lot of favors to get you this. You'll be required to plead guilty to escaping from legal custody and second-degree fraud for the faked death. This deal is only good until tomorrow at midnight. If you fail to turn yourself in to the authorities by then, the deal is off the table and they hit you hard with everything they've got."
House took this in with silence—fifteen months in custody; Mayfield all over again plus a year of prison. Could he handle that long? He had to admit to himself that it was more lenient that what he was expecting; even so, he wasn't thrilled with the prospect. However, this time he was being sent to a minimum security prison instead of the maximum where he'd previously served time. Perhaps he could study theoretical physics via distance learning while there. He wouldn't have to face Mendelsohn and his cohort or thugs this time, though he was certain that there would be someone like the prison gangster at the medium-security institution as well.
"Can we select which psychiatric institution?" House inquired. He glanced over at Stacy; she was pale but perfectly composed and professional.
"I can do my best to get you placed in one of our choosing, but ultimately that's up to the court," Bernard told him. "I know it seems like more time than what we were hoping for—"
"I'll take it," House said quietly, cutting his lawyer off. "Get me committed to Mayfield. It's where I detoxed once before and where my former shrink works. If I have to go back to the nuthouse and see another quack, it might as well be one I'm familiar with."
"I'll see what I can finagle," Bernard answered with a nod. "Are you prepared to turn yourself in to the police today?"
House felt Stacy grab his hand and squeeze it. He looked her in the eye and took a deep breath before nodding.
"I'll accompany Greg to the police station," Stacy offered. House nodded, relieved to hear that.
"You'll spend time in county lock-up until your psychiatric assignment has been established," Bernard cautioned him. "That could take from anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending how many hoops we have to jump through to get you assigned to Mayfield. After treatment there you'll likely be assigned to Northern State Prison in Newark for the remainder of your sentence. I'll be in regular contact with you while you're in county and of course I'll be there with you in court when you render your plea to the judge."
House nodded, standing with help from his cane. "Fine. Let's get this over with."
Stacy stood as well, offering her hand to Bernard, who shook it. "Thank you, Deacon, for all that you've done."
"You're welcome," the defense attorney replied. "Hang in there, Greg. We'll try to make this as painless as possible."
House doubted that the attorney could do much to take away the agony of detox and the harsh, restrictive monotony of prison life, but he knew that things could be a lot worse for him had he not had the lawyer in his corner.
For you, Wilson, House thought grimly as he followed Stacy out of Bernard's office and headed for her car.