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 only if you wear goggles)
Summary: The fallout from House's recent misadventure. Follows Sleeping Man: Outside
Timeline: Set in the early fall of Season 3, around Cane and Able, Lines in the Sand
Chapter One is here:Part 1 Previous chapter is here: 15
* * *
Wilson slept. He slept and slept.
( Collapse )
He was on the couch at House’s place, and House had added a second sofa, behind the leather one. House was sleeping on that couch. Wilson couldn’t see him but could hear him snoring. The snoring turned into a buzzing sound.
“Aren’t we a little old to have sleep-overs?” he asked House over the buzzing noise.
“This isn’t a sleep-over, you girl,” said House, somehow managing to talk while snoring.
“What is it, then?”
“It’s a slumber party."
“And the difference is?”
“Slumber parties are for pranks. Hold still.” House began snoring again. “But I’m not asking you over again. You snore too….” There was a lot of crashing around then, followed by silence.
“Wait,” Wilson said. “You’re the one who’s snoring.”
“Not me,” said House. “I’m not even asleep. Also, you talk in your sleep. It’s ridiculous. A grown man.”
“I do not.”
“You’re doing it right now.”
“Am not,” said Wilson, so loudly he woke himself. At least he thought he was awake. It was hard to tell, he felt so sleep-drugged and out of it.
The hospital room was in darkness, and the privacy curtain had been drawn around House’s bed. He wasn’t sure but he thought he might have an urgent need to pee. Perhaps it was just that he’d dreamed that House had stuck his hand into a bowl of warm water once again. Wilson stumbled blindly out of bed into the bathroom and peed without turning on the light, afraid to waken House. Then, as if it was the most natural place in the world to be spending the night, he climbed right back into the hospital bed and fell asleep again.
When he next opened his eyes, it was early morning. He groaned, trying hard to wake himself, then yawned loudly, and turned over, checking instinctively to see how House was doing. The privacy curtain was still drawn, but House was speaking.
“For the longest time I had this feeling,” he said in a low voice, “of missing something. But I had no idea what it was. I mean, I was really missing it, you know? It was a very disturbing feeling, let me tell you, not to be able to remember something you were so clearly…attached to. But now I know. It was you. God, how I missed you. And now we’re back together again, aren’t we? Where we belong.”
Wilson listened to House with growing concern. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed, steadied himself, still feeling groggy from whatever it was—Cuddy! Cuddy must have dosed him! Dammit!-- and flung back the curtain to House’s bed, not knowing what to expect..
House was sitting part-way up in bed, plastic med-dispensing cup in one hand and in the other, a single white pill gripped between thumb and forefinger. A long oval pill. Vicodin. He was gazing at it reverently. “Come to Papa,” he said, without taking his eyes off it. Dropping the pill into the back of his throat, he swallowed greedily, making a sighing sound. Then he turned to look at Wilson and frowned.
“Now, remind me again,” he said. “Who are you?”
* * *
It was a simple, direct question. Yet Wilson found he couldn’t respond. Was his brain still too fogged with sleep and drugs? Or was the question just too hard?
“I’m…” he began. James Wilson. Onoclogist. Department head. Doctor. Healer. Colleague. Co-conspirator. Care-taker. Giver. Nagger. Conscience. Truth teller. Liar.
He sighed, lay back down on the bed and let his eyes close. Had he said all that out loud? He ardently hoped not.
“…your friend,” he finished, and hoped for sleep.
“Really?” said House, and he turned on his side, the better to examine Wilson. “Tell me, how long have we been sleeping together? Or do you do this”—he pointed to Wilson’s bed—“for all your patients? I mean, friends?”
“Just the ones I care about,” mumbled Wilson.
“So, next question…Who am I?”
Oh, God. Where to begin to answer that one? “You’re…” Gregory House. Diagnostician. Genius. Colleague. Co-conspirator. Pain in the ass. Trouble maker. Risk taker. Taker. Truth teller.
Wilson opened his eyes and once again wondered if he’d said any of that out loud. No, no. Just in his own head. He looked at House to be sure, but House was giving him an odd, quizzical look, his head tilted to the side like a bird examining its own reflection in a window.
“You’re my friend,” Wilson said, out loud, and let his eyelids flutter shut.
“Good,” said House briskly. “Now that we’ve established that you don’t have amnesia-- despite the good impression you’re doing of being me: you know, doctor strung out on uppers, babbling incoherently, sleeping in his clothes, hiding from Cuddy. Now that we’ve established all that, I’ve got a present for you.”
“House?” Wilson sat slowly up in bed and peered at the man in the other bed. He was rewarded with an enigmatic smile. “House, it’s…you. You remember everything?”
“Aren’t you interested in my present?"
“When did this happen? Where’s Chase? And Cuddy? Do they know?” Wilson got out of bed and for a dreadful moment House thought he might hug him.
“And here I stayed up all night making it. Had to listen to you snoring and talking in your sleep. And by the way, I’m never inviting you to another sleepover.”
“House, look at me.” Wilson’s voice was deadly serious. House rolled his eyes in a long-suffering way, while Wilson stuck a thermometer in his ear and checked his other vital signs.
“No fever. I’m not delirious. I ’m not the one who’s been babbling incoherently. What I am, is hurt. Hurt that you seem to care so little about the present I made you.”
Finally satisfied, Wilson sat back down on his bed and gave House a huge grin. “Welcome back,” he said. “It’s…God, it’s good to see you again.”
“You’re the one who’s been asleep for twenty-four hours, Rip van Winkle. Though Rip van Winkle was a little hairier when he woke up. So about this present…Could you please stop grinning like an idiot and concentrate?”
Wilson shook his head and seemed to hear House for the first time. “You bought me something? You, what, lifted my wallet while I was asleep?”
“How little you know me. I’m a whole new man—“
“—without a wallet—“
“—and as you know Martha Stewart always says home-made presents are more meaningful—“
“—than store bought ones.”
“You made me something?”
“Took me all night.” As Wilson watched skeptically, House leaned over the side of his bed, unhooked the urine collection bag from the frame, and held it up proudly. It was filled with a small amount of dark liquid. “My very own urine,” he said, battng his eyelids demurely.
“House!” Wilson exclaimed, an even broader smile splitting his face.
“I knew you’d be pleased. Always be guided by Martha Stewart. You can't go wrong with urine.”
“That means your kidneys are healing.”
“Yes, I know. I, too, went to kidney school.”
“Has Chase seen this?”
“I’m told he went home to sleep last night. The slacker.”
* * *
A moment later there was a knock on the door and the slacker in question entered the room, followed by the charge nurse.
“Good morning, Wilson,” Chase said, hastily flicking a glance Wilson’s way. “House, what’s this I hear about the nurse finding you on the floor in the middle of the night—“ he broke off mid-sentence and, doing a double take that was almost cartoon-worthy, looked back at Wilson. Behind him, the nurse was staring at Wilson, with her mouth ajar. House launched into a coughing fit, drawing attention back to himself, and then gave the two of them a death glare and shook his head. They seemed to get the message, because neither of them said anything to Wilson.
Chase tried to pick up where he had left off. “Um…so…What happened?”
“I must have been sleep-walking,” House explained. “It happens sometimes, especially during sleep-overs. I guess I passed out.” In fact, in walking the two steps between his bed and Wilson’s, in the middle of the night, House had been startled and dismayed to discover how truly weak he was. A few days ago he’d been able to walk a mile, albeit slowly. Now, a mere two steps had left him exhausted and dizzy, and he had started to see spots before his eyes before he’d finished what he got out of bed to do. The nurses had found him on the floor not long thereafter and put him back in bed with a great deal of fuss. “No harm done.”
"If you don't count pulling out your IV catheter once again," said the charge nurse pointedly. House gave a little shrug.
"Meh," he said.
“Ooookaaaay,” said Chase, beginning to put two and two together. “How are you feeling this morning?”
“Like this,” House retorted, triumphantly holding up the Foley with its meager contents. Chase of course made a gratifying amount of fuss over the fact his kidneys were working again. “So this means I’ll be out of here soon, right?” When Chase gave him a dubious look, House pressed: “Soon being the operative word.”
“Let’s see what Jacoby has to say about this,” Chase hedged.
“I’ll go page him right now,” said Wilson, making his way to the door. As he passed them, both Chase and the nurse made gasping sounds, but House laid his finger over his lips, forbidding them to say anything. When he was gone, Chase turned back to House, his smile fading. He cleared his throat and put on the kind of face you use to lecture a fractious teenager.
“House, you know, realistically, this is great, but you need to show a lot more improvement before you can even think about going home.”
“But, Mommy, you haven’t seen my latest report card,” House whined. He reached over to his bedside table and picked up three color-coded sheets of paper. “I practically made the Honor Roll this semester.”
“So that’s where the labs are,” exclaimed the charge nurse, glowering at him.
“I just finished chewing her out for misplacing them,” said Chase. “How’d you get your hands on them?”
“’G’day, mate,’” said House in a terrible Australian accent. “’How about rushing those lab results for Greg House up to me in room 324? Good on ya!’ It's the British accent. Fools ‘em every time.”
Chase just sighed and reached for the labs. Just then there was a shriek from somewhere down the corridor near the nursing station. Everyone ignored it.
“Like I said,” House continued, pointing to the blue sheet Chase was holding. “I got a C-minus in Renal Studies and”—he indicated the pink and green sheets—“a B-minus in Heart and Lungs. Not bad, eh? Considering I was flunking Renal and barely passing Heart and Lungs just last semester. I think that deserves a—“
The door to the room burst open and a furious Wilson stormed in, flung open the door to the bathroom, and stood there, staring into the mirror. “House!” he sputtered. “How could you? What were you thinking?” While Chase and the charge nurse tried to stifle their smiles, House looked at him innocently.
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
[A/N: This picks up tomorrow. Sorry about cutting it off mid-scene.]