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HOUSE M.D. FIC: Faith (1/1)

TITLE: Faith
AUTHOR: Flywoman
FANDOM: House M.D.
RATING: PG
SUMMARY: Speculations of an inveterate invertebrate just before surgery.
SPOILERS: For 6X9, “Wilson,” and accompanying DVD commentary.
DISCLAIMER: Do you see my name when the House M.D. credits roll? Didn’t think so.

 

 

The last thing I saw was his hand reaching down to rub his right thigh.

I can’t get that gesture out of my mind, even as I announce my intentions to Tucker, sign the consent forms, and get prepped for surgery. Had it simply been an unconscious response to referred pain at the prospect of possible loss? Or had it been a deliberate manipulation on House’s part, intended to make me feel guilty and weaken my resolve? He hadn’t looked up at me for a reaction; that would have been a clear signal. But then again, if he had wanted me to believe that I was causing him so much distress that he wasn’t even fully aware of his own actions, he would have played it exactly as he had.

These sorts of insanity-inducing speculations are a familiar refrain in our friendship, although the regularity of the rhythm doesn’t make the duet any easier. Should I have turned back and expressed some sympathy, at least said something to reassure him that despite last night’s alcohol-fueled outburst, we were going to be okay? Or should I have allowed myself to swell in a repeat performance of self-righteous indignation, accused him of still being able to astonish with new heights of self-absorbed assholery, and then stomped out to have the surgery?

I don’t doubt that my decision was correct, and far from feeling like a doormat, I’m basking in a kind of quiet pride that I have chosen to do what I wanted for once, over both House’s and Cuddy’s protests. But at the same time, I can’t dismiss that visual, the kneading of his scar tissue, the permanent stigmata commemorating House’s loss of faith in the woman he’d loved. Deliberate or not, it couldn’t help but be a symbol of perceived betrayal.

And then, lying on the gurney, surrounded by surgical personnel, I experience an epiphany of sorts. I realize that I have failed once again to trust House, to give him the benefit of the doubt when it came to his capacity for caring about another human being. The whining about his possible future need for a liver donation to compensate for decades of prescription drug use had only been a cover for the depth of his fear for me, and that of his foreseeable grief. In the heat of the moment, I had almost missed the real message, the one he had even been willing to say aloud for once: “Because if you die, I’m alone.”

Can I really blame him for that? Hadn’t I had the same thought many times, as his behavior became more and more self-destructive over the years, without any apparent regard for how his demise might actually affect the lives intertwined with his? Wasn’t that why I had fled PTTH after Amber’s death, knowing that I couldn’t possibly weather a second wreck in its wake?

And why might he be feeling especially vulnerable right now? The answer to that is obvious. I had taken him in after rehab, promised him and Cuddy and myself that I would be there for as long as he needed me, and then turned around and demanded his departure at the first sign of trouble. Some friend. It wasn’t like this was the first time we’d ever lived together. Had I really thought that sharing my home with him was going to be a walk in the park, that there would be no cause for conflict or compromise?

Sure, he had woken me up with his damned guitar and taken over my freezer. And why was that? Because he was just being his usual obnoxious self? Because he hadn’t realized how I would react? No. House never does anything without a reason. It had been a test. Having maneuvered himself off the sofa, he had been taking his first tentative steps towards truly moving in with me, and he had been purposely pushing the boundaries to see how far I would bend. Like a child, House has always needed to know where the limits are before he can feel safe in his relationships. He needs me to grow a spine if he’s going to trust that I’ll call him on his crap instead of abandoning his ass. And I have failed him, and although he would never say it, he must be scared shitless.

I should not have been shocked that he couldn’t bring himself to be here with me.

Suddenly a shape shambles into the observation suite above, coming to rest in the center of my vision. I can barely make out the familiar face as the anesthesiologist presses the pungent mask over my nose and mouth, but I can imagine all it must conceal. Relief floods through me, as powerful as any artificial anesthetic. As my muscles relax, I feel my lips curving in an involuntary smile.

The last thing I see is his solid silhouette, standing there without wavering, even as everything else dissolves into a bright blur.

 

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
hawaii5063
Sep. 8th, 2010 01:25 pm (UTC)
Sure, he had woken me up with his damned guitar and taken over my freezer. And why was that? Because he was just being his usual obnoxious self? Because he hadn’t realized how I would react? No. House never does anything without a reason. It had been a test

An interesting theory and quite possibly correct. I think House is an extreme limit tester.

I like how your Wilson is psychoanalyzing House right up until the moment of unconsciousness. :)
flywoman
Sep. 8th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks! When I watched the ep with commentary, they mentioned that the thigh rubbing was unscripted and a choice on HL's part, and RSL's interpretation was that this was a deliberate ploy for Wilson's sympathies. I think that it would have been hard for Wilson to be sure, and it seemed like a good inroad for exploration of his thoughts before the transplant.
hw221
Sep. 8th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
Nice fic. Wilson is an obsessive-compulsive House analyst. How very IC. :)
Also, I must comment on your icon. Taub's face at the bottom there being so smug is hilarious. I didn't realize until just now that his face is crotch-level with House. It's fab. ;)
flywoman
Sep. 8th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Heh. If I possessed mad Photoshop skillz, I might have tried to remove Taub from the picture, but it is pretty funny now that you mention it!
fleurione
Sep. 8th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
Very nice; I do think that Wilson would always be thinking of House's actions/meanings; he'd obsess over House just as much, but quieter. I like your interpretation of the 'pushing boundaries' with the guitar etc.

I'm really intrigued now for the commentary :) I love awesome things like HL's additions to the character..

p.s. I approve of the icon :P
flywoman
Sep. 8th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I was somewhat inspired by spending the weekend with my friend's four-year-old ;).

I like your userpic too!
jezziejay
Sep. 8th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC)
I may have already told you this, but my favourite part of this fic is House rubbing his thigh as a response to feeling betrayed. ('permanent stigmata' - very nice) I love it when another perspective broadens my own - makes me want to re-watch the scene.
I really enjoyed this.
flywoman
Sep. 9th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
Thanks - I believe you did, but I certainly don't mind hearing it again! :)

I also find that some of my favorite stories help me to look at old eps in new ways. HL and RSL are amazing actors, but there's still only so much they can reveal of the wheels turning inside their characters' heads when limited by a visual medium.
accentsarehot
Sep. 9th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
This makes me all >_< that I still haven't been able to watch except like...1 episode of Season 6. Ughhh. I need the DVDs. lol!

But! even though I have no idea what happened in that episode, this is still a freaking awesome fic! I love the analytical stuff in their relationship, it is so much fun to read different people's perspectives of it :)
flywoman
Sep. 9th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Long story short, one of Wilson's former patients needed a liver transplant because of an overdose of chemotherapy, and Wilson agreed to donate. Someone mentioned to me that most fic written about this ep focuses on House's reaction, but I found Wilson's reaction to House's reaction even more interesting, especially considering that he went from threatening to kick House out of Amber's apartment to buying a loft (out from under Cuddy) where he and his friend could live together more comfortably.
accentsarehot
Sep. 10th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
Ohhh okay. :) I can see the appeal to both sides, myself. I can't seem to make up my mind who's point of view I like writing from better, though I think I'm probably generally better as Wilson's.
blackmare
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:35 am (UTC)
Oh, Wilson.

He always figures it out eventually, and he always means well, and he's always so afraid. House is so good at pretending to be heartless, that even Wilson forgets to see through it sometimes. And the result is so painful for both of them.

And yeah, House was right about the reason Wilson bolted after Amber died. I mean, there were a lot of reasons, but the big one, the driving one, was the fear that he'd lose House too. That may have been my favorite line in Dropped Coverage.
flywoman
Oct. 3rd, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC)
It breaks my heart when Wilson ascribes entirely the wrong motives to House (not that the man is never truly selfish, but really, a best friend might at least try to give him the benefit of the doubt). I also think that House is a much more insightful psychologist than Wilson despite all of the practice Wilson has had! Thanks very much for commenting.
blackmare
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
I can no longer edit comments (my paid LJ time has expired and I'm annoyed/dismayed/poor enough not to be renewing it) so I'm coming back again to add:

I really, really like the bit about House needing to push and push until he finds out where the boundaries are so he can feel safe. That rings so very true, and while I'd long been aware of his need to shove at people -- and shove at Wilson in particular -- I had never related it to the need for safety before. Lots of other things, but not that, and now I wonder how I could have missed it.
flywoman
Oct. 3rd, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
This fic came to me while I was in the middle of writing a much longer piece, "A Valiant Woman," for which I was spending a lot of time reflecting on the House-as-child metaphor (particularly in the context of his relationship with Cuddy). As my friends' children have started becoming little persons in their own right, I've seen first (well, second) -hand how very much boundaries need to be defined by parents so that their children can feel secure, knowing just how far they can push without breaking anything.
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