Characters: House, Wilson, Cuddy, Chase with a dash of Foreman and a pinch of Cameron.
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, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
What the Critics Are Saying About SM:I:
“Lambent, lucid prose…Compelling reading. I was utterly charmed.” —Martin Grey
“And if you take too long with the next chapter, I’ll break your
other jaw.” –Ibid
"Fantastico cuento. Se debe leer lo inmediatamente; si no, preparase a morir estupido."
—El Pais, Madrid
"...une des meilleures fanfictions [du monde]. Parfaitement bien écrite, haletante, bouleversante, quelquefois drôle, toujours touchante. A lire absolument."
— Le Figaro, Paris
“Yes! We told you Hugh Laurie was losing his hair. Exclusive photos.” —The Daily Mail, London
“SM:I’s fascinating characters and storyline are ruined, for this reviewer, by the glaring inaccuracies of the medicine. In Part 1, for example, a nurse tries to start an IV using an 18-gauge needle, when a 16-gauge needle is clearly called for. I know it’s fiction, willing suspension of disbelief, etc., but still. —Dr. Huu, Medical Economics
“Derivative.”—Soap Opera Digest
“And also clichéd. I mean, amnesia? Please.”—Soap Opera News
When Wilson next checked, over the top of his newspaper, House was awake again, staring at the ceiling. He spoke without turning his head, as if talking to himself.
Wilson lowered the newspaper and waited. He could almost see House trying to process something.
"So, who’s… the beauty?” House asked finally.
“Skinny brunette…With Cuddy.”
“Oh, her. That’s Cameron. One of your fellows.”
“Why does she…look at me that way?”
“It’s, uh, this Beauty and the Beast thing she has going on.”
It took House a moment to digest this. “I’m the Beast?”
“Well, I hope this doesn’t come as a shock, but you sure aren’t the Beauty.” Wilson was surprised to see the corners of House’s mouth tug upwards in an almost-smile.
“And she thinks…one kiss will…what?”
“Mmmm.” He was starting to drift off again. “Think it’s gonna take…more than that.”
At several other points during the lengthy dialysis procedure, House opened his eyes again.
Wilson’s earlier eagerness to take advantage of these brief windows of semi-lucidity on House’s part quickly faded. It was abundantly clear that House didn’t recognize him, and it was too eerie, and far too painful, this House-as-stranger business. Foreman had said that being back on familiar ground should help House recover his memory. While every case of retrograde amnesia was different, he suggested that House would either remember everything, and soon, or there was a strong chance he would never remember his past at all, ever. And he was concerned that House had shown little change, very few signs of recognition, during the brief moments when he was conscious. Wilson had been trying to convince himself that the reason for this was that House was so out of it—his brain and body so racked with fever, pain, or the systemic toxins from the ARF, or all three—that even when he was ‘awake’ he had not been able to really register where he was.
Wilson tried to imagine what would happen if House never did recover his memory of the past. Would they have to rebuild their friendship from scratch? Was such a thing even possible? Would House even want to try? After all, he had always claimed he didn’t need friends, and he would only have Wilson’s—a stranger’s--assurances that they had once been friends.
Wilson’s own brain was too tired to grapple with this possibility. It had been three straight nights now with almost no sleep, and he was actually relieved that the return of House’s fever and pain, as the dialysis progressed, made him lose interest in talking. Wilson told himself he wouldn’t think about the ‘what if’s’ just now. Tomorrow was another day. He would think about all that tomorrow. Assuming House lived that long.
As soon as dialysis was finished, House was transferred back to his bed in the ICU. He was sweaty with fever, and rigid with pain. He resisted all attempts to get him to uncurl from the semi-fetal position he had resorted to, to ease the pain in his leg. Chase quickly hooked him up to the monitors, re-started the IV antibiotics, and wrote him an order for IV Demerol.
The nurse who brought the pain meds also brought House’s most recent lab work. Chase studied the results, and the monitors.
“Looking much better, House,” he said at last, an expression of relief on his face. He nodded at the nurse to start the pain meds. “Just a few more minutes, House, and you’ll feel much better, too.” He put a hand on House’s shoulder, feeling the clenched muscles slowly relax, the breathing ease as the Demerol kicked in. “He should sleep now—really sleep,” Chase assured Wilson. “And so should you, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
“Will do,” said Wilson. But once Chase had left, he glanced out the window at the setting sun and then at House, who was watching him blearily through half-lidded eyes. He took three pills from his jacket pocket and swallowed them dry, House style. “Not just yet though,” he said to no one in particular, and pulled up a chair.
“Night, House,” he added, as House’s eyes finally closed.
“Mmmm,” mumbled House.
[A/N: Thanks to all the readers who forwarded reviews of SM:I from all around the world. I'm truly touched and astounded.]