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Mar. 4th, 2008 @ 04:03 pm Sleeping Man: Inside 9/?

Author: Maineac
Characters: House, Wilson, Cuddy, Chase with some appearances by the rest of the Scooby Gang.
Rating/Pairing: 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 Season 3.
Earlier parts here:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.

What the Critics Are Saying about SM:I: 
“Full of suspense…crackling dialogue…and…elipses.”
                                 —TIME Magazine

“Almost as good as I Am America and So Can You.” 
                                —Stephen Colbert, The Colbert
"...une des meilleures fanfictions [du monde]. Parfaitement bien écrite, haletante, bouleversante, quelquefois drôle, toujours touchante. A lire absolument." Le Figaro, Paris



“House? House?”


He had no idea whom the voice was addressing until a hand shook his shoulder gently.


“Come on, House. I need you to wake up. House.”


House. That was him. His name. He was House. He blinked his eyes open one at a time.


“Attaboy,” said the figure looming over him, a tired smile flickering across his face. It was the doctor who’d been there since, well, since whenever it was he had landed in this bed. He searched his memory, but his brain felt like it was working in super-slow motion. At last he came up with the man’s name. Wilson. Dr. Wilson.


Dr. Wilson moved the bed tray over in front of him and adjusted the head of the bed so House was sitting up even more than usual. That felt good. It helped his breathing to be upright. Next Wilson slid the bed tray across his lap. The tray was covered with plastic food containers. Dr. Wilson undid the restraint on House’s wrist and replaced the oxygen mask with a nasal cannula. Then he flipped the lid off one of the food containters. Green Jell-o. He dug a spoon into it and held it out for House. House blinked at Dr. Wilson dumbly.


“Come on, House. You need to eat something. Otherwise you’ll never get rid of the NG tube.”


When House didn't move, Wilson picked up House’s hand and thrust the spoon into it, making a fist around the handle. House stared at it for a second, uncertain what was expected of him. What had Dr. Wilson said about an NG tube? He vaguely remembered being wheeled down the corridors to somewhere. Radiology? Had they put in an NG tube? He raised his hand to his face and felt his nose. Yes, there was a tube there, taped to his face.


“House!” cried Dr. Wilson with dismay. 

What? What had he done? Dr. Wilson grabbed the spoon out of his hand and reached for a napkin. House looked down. He had spilled food all down the front of his gown. Idiot. He’d forgotten about the Jell-o. His face must have registered something because Dr. Wilson’s expression softened, and as soon as he finished cleaning House up, he retrieved the spoon from the bedclothes.


“Never mind, House,” he said kindly, digging out another helping of Jell-o. “I’ll do it for you. Open up.” It was humiliating, being fed. But House knew he couldn’t manage anything as complex—not to mention tiring—as feeding himself, so he let Dr. Wilson shovel Jell-o into his mouth, swallowed when he was told to—that part he could do--and felt obscurely touched. It was surprising how very good the green Jell-o tasted, too, as it slid easily down his throat. Even so, after just a few bites his hunger evaporated, overtaken by a wave of nausea. He turned his head away.


“Come on, House,” pleaded Dr. Wilson holding the spoon in front of him, but at that moment the other doctor entered the room. The blonde doctor with the accent. House felt vaguely embarrassed to have anyone see him being spoon fed.


“I see you’re awake,” the new doctor said to House with a cheerfulness that rang false in House’s ears. “How are you feeling?” But he wasn’t looking at House. He was looking at the monitors behind House’s head. “How long has he been on the nasal cannula?”


“Five minutes,” Wilson answered. “His O2 sats have stayed steady in the low 90’s.”


“Respirations are down to 22, too,” added Blondie. Then, addressing House in a louder voice:  “That’s good news, Dr. House.”


“He’s sick, not stupid, Chase,” muttered Dr. Wilson. 

Chase. That was his name.


Dr. Chase had the grace to look embarrassed. He turned his head again to look at the monitors. “Heart rate’s still slightly elevated, though. How’s the pain? Can you give me a number? If your breathing keeps improving, we'll be able to give you something for it soon.”


House managed to shrug one shoulder, not sure what he meant by “number,” but Wilson interceded.


“I’d guess it’s around four or five. That’s the only bright side of having his system full of sludge. It seems to have dulled the pain receptors along with everything else.”


“And his mental status?”


Wilson’s turn to shrug. “Oriented times two. He’s in and out. Getting worse.”


Dr. Chase pulled out a penlight and checked House’s pupils. “Do you know what your name is?” he asked.


He was able to remember that one. “House,” he answered softly.


“Do you know where you are?”


“Hos..hosp...,” he trailed off, unable to finish the word.


“And do you remember who I am?”


House looked to Wilson for help, then remembered just in time. “Chase,” he managed to say. Dr. Chase raised his eyebrows in surprise.


“He’s faking it,” said Wilson. “He has no real idea who you are.”


“How do you know?”


Instead of answering, Dr. Wilson turned to House. “What’s Dr. Chase’s first name?”


Were they playing a game with him? Should he know this answer, too? He frowned and shrugged again.


This got a strange reaction from Chase. He stood back, head cocked, and asked, “You really don’t know who I am?” House couldn’t figure out why this would surprise him, since House still wasn’t 100 percent sure who he--House--was. Chase started to ask another question, but before he could finish, to House's relief, there was a knock on the door.


“That’ll be Fitzgerald,” Chase explained to Wilson. "I paged him for a consult." But when the door opened, it was the woman with the wavy dark hair—he dredged up the name Cuddy from somewhere—followed by another woman he thought he might have seen before: slender, with pretty brown hair. He couldn’t quite place her, but for some reason he was pretty sure she wasn’t Fitzgerald.


Wilson wasn’t looking at either of the newcomers. He glared at Chase. “Why didn’t you ask Jacoby for the consult?”


Dr. Cuddy answered for him. "Because--" she began, but she was interrupted by a horrified cry from the other woman, who was staring at House with eyes like saucers.


“House!” she exclaimed, approaching the bed. He shrank into his pillows a little. She looked like she was going to pat his head or something. Then, to Wilson, she said, “What did you do to him?”


Before Wilson could answer, Dr. Cuddy joined her at the bedside. “Why, House,” she said with, House would have sworn, an evil smirk, “you clean up real nice.” What the hell did she mean by that? The two of them stood there gaping at him. Was he still covered in Jell-o? What were they staring at?


Finally Cuddy turned away, her smirk fading. “As for you, Dr. Wilson,” she continued, giving him the once over, “while House is all bright and shiny, you  look more and more disreputable every time I see you. What is this, opposite day?” Now that she mentioned it, Dr. Wilson did look like he had slept in his clothes—well, everybody did, including Cuddy—plus he had dark circles around his eyes, his hair was unkempt,and he had at least a day’s growth of stubble, not to mention what looked like a shiner under his left eye.


Wilson managed to look exasperated. “Look, could we discuss this nephrology consult instead of the state of my clothes? I’d like to know why you’re bringing John Fitzgerald in, instead of Jacoby. Jacoby’s head of nephrology, and Fitzgerald, let’s face it, is not nearly as good a doctor.”


“Simple,” said Chase. "Jacoby hates House with a passion."


“'Loathe’ would not be too strong a word,” Cuddy agreed. “He threatened to resign when I first brought House into the Nephrology Department. House had been a fellow under him at Hopkins, and—“


Wilson gave a weary sigh and waved a hand. “You don’t need to elaborate. We can all guess. But the fact remains, he needs a good nephrologist, and even more, he needs someone who can get him into dialysis as soon as possible. The very fact that Jacoby hates House--”


Chase, looking like House felt—confused—finished Wilson’s sentence for him. “--means there’s no way he’s going to do him any favors. And essentially that’s exactly what we’d be asking...“


While he talked, House saw Cuddy and Wilson exchange some secret look. Cuddy laid a hand on Chase’s shoulder. “I see exactly where Wilson is going with this. Cancel the consult with Fitzgerald. Leave this to me.” She reached for the phone by House’s bedside and requested a page for Jacoby to meet her in her office. At least that’s what it sounded like. House was having more and more trouble following events around him, and more and more trouble staying awake.



 [Next update in a day or two. Promise.]

About this Entry
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Date:March 4th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
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I love the narrative in this part: it's so indicative of House's state of mind. <3
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Date:March 4th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
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This is good. I like the fact that House is awake. And I'm a bad person because I like his confusion.

But his short-term memory is working (or, at least, his VERY short-term memory) and that's the hardest one to get back so I'm confident that you'll make him all better eventually.
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Date:March 4th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
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What great writing, it just gets better and better.
I look forward to the next update.
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Date:March 4th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the great update Maineac. I think I might just make it now.
Date:March 4th, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
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Cuddy and her evil smirk! And the remark, so canon. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan "Well, they'll stone you when you walk all alone." Very House, paying attention when Wilson says Chase's name then faking knowing it. Very Wilson to catch on right away. You've got these guys down cold. This is a chapter where there doesn't seem to be a lot going on and yet you've managed to increase the tension. So good.
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Date:March 4th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
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gah, this made me really angry (in a good way :> - House is finally back and everyone is talking over him and staring at him. Am not used to seeing the mastermind so lost :( great update tho!
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Date:March 4th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
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no memory, but still smart, and with knowledge of medicine. And Wilson is still able to read him. I'm happy to see him awake, if not really oriented. I loved hearing his thoughts.
Again, I love this. I'll keep waiting for updates until you finish it. :)

ps: there's a typo at the beginning: a tired smiled should be "smile".
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Date:March 4th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
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I was about to fall asleep, and then I saw this entry, and I managed to stay awake long enough to read and I'm glad I did!

Heart-wrenching and hopeful as always, attention capturing and bever disappointing! Now, it's nap time, and thank you again! I look forward to more in two days :D
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Date:March 5th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
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House! Poor House. He'll get better soon, right?
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Date:March 5th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
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So good to see more of this. Even if poor House ... oh, poor House. I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate my desire to cuddle him. Heh.
Date:March 5th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
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I love that you gave us a bit from House's (very confused) point-of-view. (Is the brunette Cameron? I wasn't entirely sure from her reaction, although the wanting-to-pet-House certainly indicates that it's Cameron...)
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Date:March 5th, 2008 04:17 am (UTC)
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Yes! Not only for this update but for the future one in a few days.

Anyway, loved how you kept it in House's POV. Describing Chase as the "other doctor". You know what I mean.

Very nice.
Date:March 5th, 2008 10:43 am (UTC)
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Du FIGARO, Paris, France : "Probablement une des meilleures fanfictions du moment. Parfaitement bien écrite, haletante, bouleversante, quelquefois drôle, toujours touchante. A lire absolument."
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Date:March 5th, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC)
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Je suis bouleversee par cette critique, une critique qui est--faut le dire--tellement bien ecrite, intelligente, pleine de sagacite et perspicacite (sauf pour les mots "du moment." Pourquoi pas "de toujours"? "jamais ecrites"?)

Je suis tres reconnaissante. Je vais l'ajouter toute de suite a la liste de critiques ci-dessus. Merci mille fois.

Mais je me demande, qui lit Le Figaro?
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Date:March 5th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
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Et aussi, "probablement?"
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Date:March 5th, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
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Sorry MysteriousGirl4...took your comment down because some folks are spoiler-averse (like me!!!!!!)
Date:March 5th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for updating! I look forward to each new chapter so I'm holding you to updating in a day or two! Glad House doesn't seem to be getting any worse even if it doesn't look like he is getting any better. What does Cuddy, Wilson and House know about Jacoby? From the look Cuddy and Wilson exchanged I expect it to be good. See ya in a day or two.
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Date:March 6th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
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Everytime I read this story it does something to me. I love the way Wilson is all over House feeding him and helping him. Glad to see he's still wearing restraints. LOL Like the way Wilson unbuckled his one arm. House speculating the answers from what he heard and Wilson catching him in the end was so thoughtful. Thought Cuddy's reaction and intervening in House's treatment was excellent turn of events. I can't wait to see what comes of the dialysis and House getting worse is always a good sign. :)) For some reason and don't ask me why, it makes me crazy when House has trouble talking so I absolutely loved House's short 1/2 worded responses. Keep up the great work! Love it!
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Date:March 8th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
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I love Chase!
*pats under-appreciated aussie*
And I adore this story.
It's a mystery, I love mysteries.
(still a little mad at Wilson though)
thanks and can't wait for more!