Characters: House, Wilson, Cuddy, Chase 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. Follows Sleeping Man: Outside.
Timeline: Set in the early fall of last season, around the events of Cane and Able, Informed Consent, Lines in the Sand.
A/N: The prequel to this, Sleeping Man:Outside, is here: http://maineac.livejournal.com/8929.html#cutid1)
Repeating last few lines of previous installment:
“House, look at me,” Wilson commanded while Chase tried to check his reflexes. “Do you know where you are?”
“Yes,” murmured House.
“Well?” Wilson persisted. House could exasperate him even when he was 50 percent dead and 90 percent unconscious. “Where?”
“Jail,” said House. And then his eyes closed and he was gone again.
“What the hell was that about?” asked Wilson, applying the ice pack, which Cameron had just passed him, to the side of his nose.
“I've seen that kind of reaction before,” said Chase. “Severe dehydration, like he has, causes symptoms similar to those of blood loss and shock: anxiety and mental confusion--and combativeness.”
“I get that he might be disoriented, not know where he was, or why he’s here,” said Wilson. “But I seriously think he didn’t have the faintest idea who I was. That’s different from being disoriented.”
“Well, add to that a fever of 104, the toxins and crap clogging his system, the fact that his brain is shutting down just like his other organs…nothing he does or says right now would surprise me.”
But Wilson couldn’t shake the feeling that something was deeply wrong—something besides the fact that House’s body was, once again, betraying him.
As it turned out, House’s attempt to flee the ICU was just the beginning.
For the next twelve hours, while Wilson sat beside him, and maintained his vigil, House’s fever raged unabated, the kidney failure showed no signs of reversing itself, and he suffered two more seizures.
In between it all, House talked non-stop.
Sometimes his eyes were closed and he appeared to be talking in his sleep. These times he held incoherent conversations with people who weren’t there.
“No!” he called out, tugging against the restraints.. “Why? You don’t have to.” And “Don’t.… I said I forgive you… Listen to me.”
And then, lying utterly still, and in a totally different voice, one that broke Wilson’s heart to hear: “I’m sorry. It was an accident. I’ll wash them…. Yes, sir. It won’t happen again… No, sir.”
Other times, when the fever ebbed a bit, he opened his eyes and appeared to be semi-lucid. The first time this happened was when the night janitor passed through the room. Wilson got up to tell the man the room didn’t need cleaning. He’d decided early on that the one thing he could do for House, really do for him, was to protect his privacy and dignity, two things House valued above all else, and which there was precious little of in the ICU setting. He felt rotten enough being privvy to House’s inner ramblings—it would kill House to think he was being overheard by Wilson, or anyone else. Wilson was determined, during these talking jags, to do whatever it took to keep strangers out of the room.
So he stopped the man with the mop, before he had a chance even to get the floor wet, and asked him to leave. But he must have woken House, because the next thing he knew House was talking again.
“Sensei... Doko…?” he rasped, staring straight at the janitor.
The janitor swiveled around in surprise, and Wilson registered for the first time that he was Asian.
“Doko…?” he asked House.
“Watashi no tomodachi... Akio.”
“Shiranai. Sumimasen,” the janitor replied, then turned a puzzled face to Wilson.
“What was that about?” asked Wilson.
“He is speaking Japanese. He ask me, Where is his friend, Akio,” replied the janitor with a shrug. Then he smiled. “He think I am a doctor.”
House’s eyes were still open, though barely. Wilson approached the bed. “Do you know where you are?” he asked him.
“Hai,” said House, still looking at the janitor. “Byooin.”
The janitor paused in the doorway. “He say he is in hospital. He get that right.”
Sort of, thought Wilson. Right building. Wrong continent.
House also babbled snatches of German, and several other languages Wilson couldn’t even begin to guess at. But every now and then, mixed in with the rest, would be a medical phrase in English or Latin that he recognized.
Then came the moment House opened his eyes and looked at Wilson. They were wide with fear. “House?” said Wilson, hurrying to the bedside. “What’s wrong?”
“Hurts,” he gasped. “Hurts.” He was trying to free a hand to massage his leg. When that failed, he tried to curl in on himself, but he couldn’t manage that either and fell back on the mattress, panting.
“I’m sorry,” said Wilson, his gut twisting. “I can’t give you anything for it.”
“Please,” begged House in a voice that was hardly audible, his features contorted as he twisted feebly in the restraints. “Something… Anything.”
“I can’t. Even aspirin is too risky.” He was trying to take refuge behind Chase’s words. But suddenly he heard his own words, Not so much as a baby aspirin, and he couldn’t look at House anymore. Couldn’t believe he’d actually uttered those words just a few hours ago. He felt a vague wave of nausea and had an urge to leave the room, to call a nurse, to have someone else take over.
Instead he sat down beside House, and wrapped his hand around House’s fist, clenched and shaking inside the cloth restraints.
“Please,” repeated House. “Not faking…I’m not…an addict. Not looking for…a fix. Just need some…”
Wilson looked more closely at House. Where did he imagine he was? Once again he asked the question: “House. Do you know where you are?”
House’s reply was whispered: “Clinic.”
And then Wilson asked the question, the one he had been too afraid to ask, fearing the answer. “Look at me. Do you know who I am?”
House nodded. But apparently he couldn’t bear to look at Wilson, either. His eyes were fixed somewhere over Wilson’s shoulder.
“Yes,” said House bitterly. “Sanctimonious…prick.”
[Earlier chapters can be reached by clicking on the green "previous entry" arrow at the top of the page.]