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HOUSE M.D. FIC: Being There (1/1)

TITLE: Being There
AUTHOR: Flywoman
FANDOM: House M.D.
RATING: PG-13 for language
PAIRING: House/Wilson friendship
SUMMARY: When things get bad, he’s all you can count on. But when things get really bad, it’s impossible to be certain even of him. Missing scenes from 5X24, “Both Sides Now.”
DISCLAIMER: Do you see my name when the House M.D. credits roll? Didn’t think so. Also, I’m pretty sure that I stole the AVMA from Front by the amazing blackmare .
AUTHOR’S NOTE: A simple explanation for Wilson’s failure to follow through at the end of “Under My Skin.”

 

No. I’m not okay.

Cuddy walked ahead of House to open the door of Wilson’s office, then stepped aside so that he could enter after her. Wilson was sitting at his desk, left hand in mid-scrawl. When he saw House’s face, he put down the pen and slowly stood. His eyes flicked to Cuddy and back, almost shouting their implicit question.

“She knows,” House said simply. Wilson exhaled and pinched the bridge of his nose.

Cuddy looked from one man to the other. “And so did you, apparently,” she reprimanded Wilson, who flinched.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you. Did anything- I mean, is everyone okay?”

Cuddy clamped her mouth shut and shook her head, eyes suspiciously bright. House just gazed at Wilson, feeling lost and utterly exhausted.

“Okay,” Wilson said. “Okay.” He came out from around the desk and placed a comforting hand on Cuddy’s arm. “You go home. I’ve got this.”

“Are you sure-“

“Yeah,” both men replied, Wilson reassuringly, House sounding resigned.

Cuddy refused to budge. “What’s wrong with him?” she asked in a hushed voice, as if House might not be able to hear from right beside her.

“The hallucinations were from the Vicodin,” Wilson admitted. “We’ve ruled out everything else. I have an old friend associated with a nice facility outside of Philly. I’ll make some calls and take him there tomorrow.” He glanced apologetically at House, almost as if asking for permission.

Cuddy stared at Wilson intently for a moment. “All right,” she said at last, reaching out to squeeze House’s arm. “Call and let me know if you need anything.” With a final look backward, she left the office, latching the door behind her.

House’s legs promptly buckled under him, and he sank onto the sofa. Although he felt curiously detached from the situation, his hands were shaking. He looked up at Wilson. “Hear anything about my patient?”

“I’ve been told that he’s finally in his right mind again,” Wilson deadpanned.

“Well,” House said, “that makes one of us.”

Wilson hesitated, then sat, just close enough for him to feel the faint radiating warmth at shoulder and hip. House knew that if he’d been anyone else, Wilson would have put an arm around him to go with the Concerned Cancer Doctor face. “House… what happened today?”

House just looked at him. “I’m the last person you should be asking,” he pointed out.

***

Wilson drove, saying that House’s car would be just fine in the parking garage until he got one of the fellows to help him bring it back. They were silent for most of the drive, each man lost in his own thoughts.

“Sounds like the wedding’s back on,” Wilson ventured at last.

“Hmm. I guess Cameron decided she didn’t want to be homeless.”

“Right,” Wilson said, nodding thoughtfully.

House twisted in his seat and gave him a hard look. “Do you actually have any idea what I’m talking about, or are you just humoring the lunatic in case he turns violent?”

“Yes.”

***

Without inquiry or invitation, Wilson followed House into his apartment and down the hall. “Gotta pee,” House said, shutting the bathroom door in his face.

“I’m going to order out,” Wilson called from the other side. “Kung pao sound good to you?”

House closed his eyes against a sudden wave of nausea, dry-heaved, and spat.

“House?”

“Whatever you want.”

“That doesn’t sound like you,” Wilson said mildly.

“I’m not hungry.”

“Right. I’ll get a double order in case you change your mind.”

When he returned to the living room, Wilson was on the phone. “Fine,” he was saying. “We’ll be there by nine. Thanks. Good night.”

“Private donkey show?”

Wilson gave him a pained look. “Mayfield. A friend of mine from undergrad is the director. It’s a nice place.”

“Yeah. Practically a resort. I’ll be sure to pack my swim trunks.” House frowned. Something was bothering him, some inexplicable sensation of déjà vu.

“House. I know you’re scared, but it’s gonna be okay.”

“You don’t know that,” House said. “You can’t know that.”

“I know you,” Wilson said steadily. “I know that you can do this. If you really want to.”

“Aww, that’s sweet,” Amber said, appearing over Wilson’s shoulder. She cupped his cheek, bent down, and brushed her lips against his throat. Unsurprisingly, Wilson didn’t react.

“Fuck off,” House told her. Wilson’s lips tightened as Amber pouted and vanished. “Oh, relax, Wilson. I wasn’t talking to you.”

“Yeah,” Wilson said. “Now I feel a lot better.”

***

House couldn’t remember the last time he’d eaten, but the smell of the Chinese food turned his stomach, so he settled for perching at the piano and running his hands over the keys in discordant notes as Wilson ate in silence. Afterwards Wilson wiped his fingers and rose to put the leftovers in the fridge.

When he returned, he stated, “I’m staying over. We’ll leave first thing in the morning.”

“Fine. Blankets and pillows are in the closet.” Right where you left them, House didn’t add.

“Actually, I’m planning to sleep with you.”

“Why, Jimmy!”

Wilson sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “I mean in your room. I’ll feel better if I know where you are.”

“Think I’m going to climb out the window in the middle of the night?”

“I wouldn’t put it past you. At least this way I’ll know if you get up.”

House knew that Wilson slept like a dead man, and he knew that Wilson knew that he knew, but all he said was,

“If you wet the bed again, I’m telling Mom.”

***

In unspoken consensus, they sat down together in front of the tv, and House turned on the Discovery Channel. There was a special on parasites that changed the behaviors of their hosts, including the Cordyceps fungus that infected ants and produced chemicals that acted on their brains, causing them to climb up a blade of grass and disperse the spores when their heads literally exploded.

House’s own head was starting to buzz, and his thigh to throb dully in anticipation of real pain. He shifted restlessly, wondering whether he’d be able to get to one of his vials of Vicodin without Wilson noticing.

“Go ahead.”

“What?”

“Go ahead,” Wilson repeated without looking at him. “Just go get your Vicodin. I’ll fill you in if you miss anything important.”

“Are you serious?”

“House, you probably have hundreds of pills stashed away in here. Did you really expect me to go through the entire apartment with a fine-toothed comb and then, what, conduct a full body cavity search?” House opened his mouth and Wilson waved a hand at him preemptively. “You’re checking into rehab in twelve hours. You think I want to deal with your pain and nausea all night? No thanks, I’ll leave that to the professionals.”

House briefly considered going cold turkey just on principle, but the thought was so terrifying that he decided that Wilson had a good point. He limped over to the closet and fumbled in the pocket of one of his ill-fitting old sports coats, pulled out a vial of pills, and popped two of them dry.

When he rejoined Wilson, his friend said in a carefully neutral voice, “By the way… it’s probably better if you don’t come back here right away when you’re released.”

When, not if, House noted, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“I’d like you to come stay with me for a while. At Amber’s.”

“At Amber’s,” House echoed. At the Amber Volakis Memorial Apartment, he could have quipped, but didn’t.

“Yeah. You shouldn’t be alone.”

“Is this so you can keep an eagle eye on me, or to ease those long lonely nights?”

“Yes,” Wilson said.

***

While Wilson retrieved his emergency toiletries kit from the car, House emptied his bladder and cleaned up, trying not to look at himself too hard in the mirror. He unbuttoned and took off his shirt, unpeeled his socks, and had just changed into pajama pants when Wilson returned.

Wilson raised his eyebrows at the small suitcase just inside the bedroom door, hefted it experimentally. “You’re already packed?”

House turned to give him a sharp look. “Yeah.”

“They suggested that you bring three shirts.”

“So I’ve been told,” House said, looking at him even more intently.

“I’d have a couple of extra on hand, just in case.”

“Of course you would,” House murmured automatically, but his mind was working furiously as he tossed Wilson an old t-shirt and a pair of elasticized sweat pants. Wilson went into the bathroom and closed the door. House lay down on the bed and listened to the high-pitched hum of an electric toothbrush, the sounds of spitting, the muffled flush.

Wilson had watched him pack that suitcase. He had picked him up from the bar in response to House’s panicked speed dial, when Amber reappeared in the middle of Foreman’s phone call. He had told him about his college friend’s facility near Philly. Hadn’t he?

Wilson emerged to find him staring fixedly at the ceiling. House waited for Wilson to settle himself on the other side of the bed before saying, “Why haven’t you taken me to rehab already?”

“Um. It took a little while to make the arrangements, and we’re both tired, so I thought tomorrow morning would be better.”

“Yeah. But why didn’t you take me before today?”

Wilson turned his head, frowning a little. “After your incredibly stupid insulin idea, you said the hallucinations were gone.”

“They were. Until later that night.” His heart speeding up, House searched his friend’s face for any spark of recognition, but saw none.

“I’m sorry,” Wilson said sincerely. “I didn’t know. You’ve seemed better the past few days. More confident about your medical decisions. And I know how you hate it when I hover.”

House turned on his side to conceal the sweat breaking out on his brow. He felt the mattress shift with Wilson’s weight and the faintest brush of air against the back of his neck as the other man extended his arm tentatively, then withdrew.

***

Unsurprisingly, House couldn’t sleep. His mind went over and over the events of the past few days, struggling to sort out truth from fiction, and failing. He said nothing to Wilson while curiosity and his instinct for self-preservation warred inside him. But in the end, as it so often did, curiosity won out.

“Wilson?”

“What?” Wilson mumbled, sounding half-asleep.

“Did I tell you that I had sex with Cuddy?”

Wilson’s eyes widened, and he turned and propped himself up on his elbow. “Seriously?”

“No,” House sighed.

Wilson frowned. “Wait. You didn’t have sex with Cuddy.”

“No. And apparently I didn’t squeal to you about it, either.”

“Oh.” Wilson took a second to process this. “You mean you’ve been hallucinating me, too?”

“Hell,” House said, hating the ragged edge of hopelessness in his voice, “I can’t even be sure that I’m talking to you now.”

Wilson raised his eyebrows, then slid his hand across the space between them.

“Ow!”

“Sorry. I thought that maybe if I pinched you-“

“I’ve been hallucinating, not dreaming, you idiot,” House growled, annoyed enough to forget for a moment how frightened he was. “I just told you that I was convinced I had sex with Cuddy, for Christ’s sake.”

“Oh, right,” Wilson nodded. “Well, that’s a relief. I mean, I was going to offer to try that next, but if that’s not going to prove anything either…”

The corner of House’s mouth twitched upward despite his tiredness. “Go to hell.”

Wilson rolled onto his back and flung a forearm over his eyes. “I hate to break this to you,” he said, suddenly sober, “but I’m pretty sure we’re already there.”

“Yeah,” House said. And then, even more softly, “Sorry.”

 

So… so you thought you could tell
Heaven from hell
Blue skies from pain
-Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here”

 

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
menolly_au
Sep. 17th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
I like this, makes me feel all nostalgic for the end of the 5th season :) It was odd the way they had Wilson on the verge of taking House to rehab and then dropping the whole thing - this makes more sense. Very nicely done.
flywoman
Sep. 17th, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! People seem to write fanfic for all kinds of reasons. I've discovered that I often write it to explain (away) things that don't make sense to me. Although it turns out that the whole tie thing is not an issue if we assume that several days pass despite the lack of night scenes.
menolly_au
Sep. 17th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
Time is a very flexibile concept in the House world - see the amazingly fast breakup with Lucas that Cuddy managed in the final episode, or the small 10 year discrepancy in the Sam marriage timeline :)
jezziejay
Sep. 17th, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, lovely. I always enjoy reading 'missing scenes', as it gives a glimpse into what might have happened, and it's always interesting to read how others pick up on actual pieces of the episode that I might have missed or paid little attention to.

It never dawned on me that House might have hallucinated anything else but the night with Cuddy - and your writing of this gave me goosebumps. This further isolation for House is really terrifying, in particular the idea of him hallucinating Wilson watching him pack the case the first time - although it gives a lovely insight into the depth of their friendship; that House could imagine, with remarkable accuracy, just what Wilson would suggest he bring with him to the facility. It's almost a paradox and is wonderfully clever. And scary!

Loved Wilson's 'yes' to all of House's questions, and Wilson's insistence on sleeping beside House (maybe for Wilson's comfort more than House's). And the banter and flirting are some norms in the midst of House's madness.

And now you have me wondering whether this story stems from your imagination, or House's...

Really - very, very nice!
flywoman
Sep. 17th, 2010 10:38 pm (UTC)
Welcome back! I'm very glad to hear that you liked it :).

It just seemed so strange to me that Wilson would pick House up, help him pack, and then apparently forget about the whole thing. Plus some of the "advice" he gave in "Both Sides Now" sounded suspiciously like CTB/House's subconscious trying to screw him over. And then I thought, a man who's been hallucinating vividly for several episodes is hardly a reliable narrator!

Yes, in my mind, Wilson is sleeping beside House more for his own comfort, absolutely, and House knows the score but is allowing it because it's an act of kindness he can perform for his friend in an otherwise hellish situation.

I maintain that House hijacked my imagination for this one, so my answer is both ;).

Off to post to House_wilson now since no one has made any major corrections...
cuddyclothes
Sep. 18th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)
This is really good. It feels absolutely right. Thank you!
flywoman
Sep. 18th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for commenting - I'm glad to hear that you liked this!
yarroway
Sep. 18th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
So Wilson in Under My Skin was a hallucination? Interesting idea, and far more logical than what we got in canon.

Nice piece! "Go to hell" was great, I could hear House saying it. Thanks for sharing it.
flywoman
Sep. 18th, 2010 10:23 am (UTC)
Yes... logical explanations make me happy!

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
geelady
Sep. 18th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
Nice filler for the scnees they SHOULD have given us. Very vivid and well written, too, with the voices just right. Hope you're writing other stuff??
flywoman
Sep. 18th, 2010 10:29 am (UTC)
Thanks very much for reading and commenting!

Work will be very hectic for a while, so I'm not sure how productive I'll be fanfic-wise. But I have written other stuff; just click on the link to "My House Fic Archive" or on the "complete story" tag for a list. I've been experimenting with various styles and characters, but "Three Months" contains scenes that are most similar to this.
barefootpuddles
Sep. 18th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
I've always been very confused about which scenes in the final show(s) of that season were real and which were not. Did he really tell Wilson about the sex was one of my biggest questions. And then the whole "do something big to win her" advice seemed very out of character for Wilson.

I liked the feeling of fear, resignation, and comfort you imbued within this piece.
flywoman
Sep. 18th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and commenting!

I don't think that we're given enough information to know for sure, but the two scenes you mentioned were the big ones that stood out for me (the latter, both for Wilson's advice to "Go terrorize her!" and for his eerily prescient comment about the stories we tell ourselves about who we are). It also seemed very out of character for Wilson to help House pack and then never raise the subject of rehab again!
vitawash24
Sep. 19th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
I really like this - something like this would have definitely helped with the "Dude, wait - what?" feeling I kept getting in Wilson's scenes in that episode. Very cool story!
flywoman
Sep. 19th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
Yes, writing it made me feel better, too ;). Thanks for reading and commenting!
jiraiyasgirl
Sep. 19th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. Good job.
flywoman
Sep. 19th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear you liked - thanks for reading and commenting!
(Deleted comment)
flywoman
Sep. 20th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I was very pleased with this one!

I actually made up the television reference to the (real) fungus - one of my scientist friends showed me some awesome photos once - but I wouldn't be surprised if they had shown something about it on the Discovery Channel, or at least in Life in the Undergrowth.
fleurione
Sep. 21st, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
I read this on my phone days ago & then couldn't handle the keypad for my comment... and in hindsight I'm not relly much more coherent here than if I had posted back then, but nvm

ARGHAGRHGSH this is AWESOME and creepy with House's growing sense of unease, and while I am a little concerned that if the Wilson we saw in the episode was a hallucination, how would House have known about Wilson's undergrad friend (but then it's been a long time since I've watched the ep and I really want to again because of this), overall I think the whole thing is wonderfully done and I have a headache so I'm not really doing too great a comment, but argh *thumbs up* :)
flywoman
Sep. 21st, 2010 12:23 am (UTC)
LOL - nice to hear from you and glad that you liked it!

House has an eidetic memory, and I'm sure Wilson must have mentioned his friend at some point in House's drug-addicted past even if we didn't hear him, so it's only natural that it would come up in his hallucination. Anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it ;).
phiso_kun
Sep. 21st, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Goodness gracious, I miss season 5.

Excellent job, really. I don't know what else to say without sounding silly, so yeah. Very good, and much more realistic than some of the other stuff I've seen written about House lately. *coughpremierecough*
flywoman
Sep. 21st, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
Thank you! Always nice to hear that one's work is appreciated :).
black_cigarette
Oct. 13th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)
I just now read this, and it is excellent! I heartily support your use of the Amber Volakis Memorial Apartment, and wow, yes -- never thought of it, but things DO make more sense if House was also hallucinating Wilson sometimes.

They're both so very much themselves here that it's kind of painful; I keep wanting Wilson to go ahead, put that arm around House, see that the world doesn't end. But he's Wilson, so no, not going to happen.

Oh, I keep forgetting I'm logged into the Ciggie account; I'm sure you already figured out this is Mare. :-)
flywoman
Oct. 13th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
Hey Mare, glad to see you dropped by - I thought that you would like this one :). It's very different from your poignant take on this situation, which was much more in keeping with the tone of the episode. But I felt like we had gotten a lot of weird Wilson in "Both Sides Now" and wanted to provide a plausible explanation.

"They're both so very much themselves here that it's kind of painful" - exactly what I was going for. I am a huge fan of hurt/comfort in principle, and yet many of the characters I ship just wouldn't behave in particular ways, even under extraordinary circumstances, and still stay true to themselves.

And thanks very much for commenting; you made my morning!
blackmare
Oct. 14th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
See, I kept wondering ... just ... some of the stuff didn't make sense to me, but if House was hallucinating Wilson, well. There you go, then!

I'm guessing you mean A Thing With Feathers, and that was rough to write, but what's great about fic is, I find this scenario just as plausible, and I'd never have come up with it myself.

Somehow I missed this; I got here via someone else's link and now I can't recall where. Perhaps HHOW. Interestingly, it shows up in your fic list but I don't see it when I just page back through your journal. This is possibly because I am oblivious?
flywoman
Oct. 14th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)
Yes, A Thing With Feathers. I swiped a bit from that for A Valiant Woman as well, when Cuddy escorts House to Wilson's office. Although Dreams of the Gimp-Legged Nuthatch is my favorite of yours from that period; just reread that one recently for the bittersweet pleasure of it.

Being There got recc'd on HHOW? (checks it out) Cool, I had no idea! :) Oh, and so did "Getting On Board." It's so funny to me that people will really enjoy a piece, even rec it to others, without bothering to inform the author. I know I'm not perfect in this regard myself, but I try very hard to pay it forward when I find something I like.

I'm not sure why you're having trouble with my journal, though... I can find the fic if I page through Sept. 16.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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