Characters: House, Wilson, Cuddy, with some appearances by the rest of the Scooby Gang.
Rating: Gen; a mild R for language; H/W strong friendship (slash if you wear slash goggles)
Summary: The fallout from House's recent misadventure. Sequel to Sleeping Man: Outside.
Timeline: Set in the early fall of last year, around the events of Cane and Able, Informed Consent, Lines in the Sand.
ATTENTION NEW READERS. You need to read Part One (Sleeping Man: Outside http://maineac.livejournal.com/8929.html#cutid1). Otherwise "Inside" won't make any sense.
Wilson stood, his back against the wall beside the swinging doors of the ER, where he had been unceremoniously escorted—no, escorted was too kind a word: shoved—and watched as the ER team worked on House.
To say that he had been shocked by the sight of House’s body as they cut the clothes off him would also be too mild a word: the infected knee, inflamed and oozing pus was bad enough, but House had lost an impossible amount of weight in the ten days he’d been gone. House had always been lean, but now his hip bones, collar bones, and ribs were starkly visible beneath the pale flesh. His eyes were deeply sunk in his face, and the rest of his features, the little that was visible beneath the heavy beard, were gaunt and grey and—not to put too fine a point on it—filthy. As was the rest of him. He was almost unrecognizable as the man Wilson had seen just ten days ago. How could he have gotten into this state in such a short period of time? What had happened to him?
The ER staff was too professional to show any reaction to the sight of House’s naked body, though he caught several of them—including Chase—stealing glances at the ugly, ragged scar on House’s thigh. But Wilson was unable to find the same detachment, to tamp down the feelings roiling around inside of himself.
At the moment, the most critical problem was House’s blood pressure, which was tanking. It was no exaggeration to say that if they didn’t get it under control, before it reached the point of no return, House was not going to make it out of the ER. After a frantic and breathless fifteen minutes, during which time it took all of Wilson’s self-control not to yell at people, the ER team finally managed to get it stabilized.
The urgent beeping of the monitors gradually receded, and Wilson became aware of Cuddy’s voice, eerily nearby. He opened his eyes to see her inches away from him. He hadn’t even realized that at one point he’d had to close his eyes to stop watching the scene in the ER.
“Wilson?” she repeated. “He’s stable. They’ll be taking him up to radiology for chest x-rays.” Behind her he could see them readying the gurney, while the ER doc handed over the chart to Chase, who immediately began ordering a series of tests.
“What’s Chase doing with his chart? I should be his—“
“Last time I checked, Chase was a board-certified intensivist. And you were an oncologist. Let’s see: Oncologist? Or intensivist? What does House need right now? I’ll tell you what he needs: a friend. So go tag along. But stay out of Dr. Chase’s way. And Wilson?
“What?” He was distracted by the sight of the gurney coming at them. Cuddy put a hand on his arm.
“Breathe out. Breathe in. You remember how it’s done?”
Wilson let out a long breath. He felt Cuddy’s arm still on his, and her worried gaze, and realized he was feeling a little light-headed. Probably he had actually been holding his breath. He braced himself against the wall and watched the gurney .
“He’s going to be okay,” said Cuddy.
“You don’t know that.” Pushing himself off the wall, Wilson caught the side rail of the gurney as it went out the door. He would hold on until they reached radiology. He wasn’t letting House out of his sight yet. Or ever, probably.*****