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HOUSE M.D. FIC: Wake-Up Call

Title: Wake-Up Call
Fandom: House M.D.
Rating: PG
Word Count: 739
Characters/pairing: Gen. House/Wilson friendship.
Summary: Wilson finally wakes up. Missing scene from 7X22 “After Hours.”

It’s still early, but he hasn’t slept well all week, ever since Remy told him about the experimental muscle regeneration drugs and House shattered the protective glass on his favorite poster. He still winces whenever he thinks of House in that moment, the heavy cane in his upraised fist, the cold, deliberate rage in his eyes. For the first time in their long and tumultuous friendship, he’d feared being physically attacked by the taller man, and for what? For caring enough to try to figure out what reckless new behavior he had been hiding? Is the compound House is taking causing neurological symptoms he can’t detect himself? Later on his friend had seemed back to normal, but how long would that last?

By now he’s in desperate need of rest, but he still sits weighing the capsule in his palm for a few moments as he ponders. He uses this prescription very sparingly, knowing how addictive sleeping pills can be. He’s also reluctant to relinquish that much control over his consciousness, even on a quiet night like this one. He’ll be dead to the world for eight hours, deaf and dreamless, not even waking with the sudden involuntary movements that will startle Sarah off the bed.

In the end, though, he’s exhausted enough to cave. He sets his phone on vibrate before placing it on his bedside table, swallows the sedative with a glass of water, and crawls wearily between the sheets.

***

Wilson wakes to a low-level buzzing near his ear. It’s his cell phone, Cuddy’s smiling face belying the alarming circumstances that would explain such an early call. He props himself up on his elbow, fumbling for the phone with one hand and rubbing stubborn sleep from his eyes with the other. “Hello?”

“Wilson.” Her voice sounds strained; he suspects that she’s been crying. “I’ve been trying to reach you for hours.”

“I… didn’t hear the phone,” he mumbles, cursing his fogged brain. “What’s wrong?” Even as he asks, a wave of anxiety crashes over him, and he wonders whether he is about to vomit. He knows without being told that it has to be House. Either he’s hurt himself or he’s hurt someone else, and Wilson doesn’t even know which would be worse.

“We’re at Princeton General. He tried to operate on his own leg, alone, in his apartment.”

Jesus.” Now Wilson sits all the way up, yanking the comforter away from his bare legs, and swinging his feet to the floor. “Is he all right?”

He’s pulling off his boxers one-handed as Cuddy says, “Calm down, he’s fine for now. Apparently this experimental drug he’s been using stimulated tumorigenesis in his thigh, and he was trying to remove the growths. I got him into surgery, and they think they’ve excised all of the tumors cleanly and repaired the damage.”

Wilson sinks back down on the bed, almost dizzy with relief. “When can I see him?”

“He’s sleeping now. But I’m sure he’d be happy to see you when he wakes up.” There’s that strain in her voice again. “It shouldn’t even have been me. He called you first.”

“I didn’t hear the phone,” he says again, lamely, feeling worse than ever. “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

He has never gotten dressed so quickly. He brushes his teeth and runs a comb cursorily through his hair but skips the shower and the shave.

Five minutes after hanging up with Cuddy, he is in the car.

It’s all he can do not to spend the drive beating himself up mentally. His phone log confirmed that House had called him less than an hour after he’d gone to bed, and there were three voicemails from Cuddy, each more urgent and less cryptic than the last.

He knows that House wouldn’t have called him until he realized that he couldn’t handle things alone. He wouldn’t have been able to stop him from attempting the excisions; he might even have gotten roped into materially assisting in a way that Cuddy, not qualified, would not. But still it eats at him.

Because he should have suspected that something like this was going to happen. Because he shouldn’t have backed down last week when House rejected his concern. Because he should have known that House needed him, whether he was willing to admit to it or not.

Squaring his shoulders behind the wheel, Wilson resolves that this time, things will be different.

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
yarroway
May. 17th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
Very nice. I need good fanfic to make sense of things sometimes, and this does. I'll just assume he turned off the ringer on his land line and the episode suddenly works better.
flywoman
May. 17th, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
This fic definitely fell into the written-to-make-sense-of-stuff-for-myself category.

Thank you for reading and commenting!
rincewindy13
May. 17th, 2011 02:28 pm (UTC)
Sleeping pills make so much more sense than Wilson not waking up from his vibrating phone. Thanks for sharing!
flywoman
May. 17th, 2011 02:35 pm (UTC)
Wilson has always been portrayed as a pretty deep sleeper, but I thought that he had especially good reasons for needing a good night's rest lately.

Thank you for reading and commenting!
leakey_lover
May. 17th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
Very well done. Good filling in of plot holes. His "should haves" is spot on. I love how he keeps tempering his emotions with logic.

Also, thank you for dispelling some of the bad taste after last night's epi. Except for the end.

I like your writing very much.
flywoman
May. 17th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
I felt compelled to tie things together from the past couple of episodes - glad you liked this. Thank you for reading and commenting!

PS Your icon is super cute!
pgrabia
May. 17th, 2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
This explanation for Wilson sleeping through his phone makes sense. It also portrays Wilson's attitude the most realistically, I think. I believe that of course Wilson would feel guilty about sleeping through the call but would also realize that he couldn't continue to live in denial of the fact that House will not be okay with time and House couldn't continue to deny the fact that he needed help. Excellent fic!
flywoman
May. 17th, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
Wilson would feel guilty about sleeping through the call but would also realize that he couldn't continue to live in denial of the fact that House will not be okay with time and House couldn't continue to deny the fact that he needed help.

Yes, exactly - once I realized that Wilson experienced two kinds of "wake-up calls," the whole fic took shape for me.

Thanks for reading and commenting!
tuckatangent
May. 17th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
Sleeping pills totally make sense. When my phone vibrates, it's loud and obnoxious and moves on the table. I definitely wouldn't sleep through it.

I also liked Wilson running over things in his mind, and feeling guilty about not helping more. And oh how I wish things actually would be different. But it seems every time we get an epiphany about how House can't continue his downward spiral, he digs himself an even deeper hole. It's so frustrating to watch.
flywoman
May. 17th, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
I once dated someone who used sleeping pills, and he could sleep through anything - would even kick or shove me without realizing it. It was terrible.

But it seems every time we get an epiphany about how House can't continue his downward spiral, he digs himself an even deeper hole.

True, dat. And it looks like his resolve to "change" things next week is going to end in disaster.

Thank you for reading and commenting!
(Deleted comment)
flywoman
May. 17th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
Waking up to that news have been quite the emotional rollercoaster for poor Wilson...

Thank you for reading and commenting!
(Deleted comment)
flywoman
May. 18th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
When Wilson slept through that I thought of sleeping pills at once, and for exactly the reason you posited.

Wilson has always been a deep sleeper... unless he has resorted in the past to sleeping pills when under great stress.

And he's shouldering the blame again.

People don't change. *grin*

Thank you for reading and commenting!
smiddlecn
May. 17th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC)
This filled in some blanks for me very nicely, and is extremely well-written. You've done a good job of capturing Wilson's thoughts in a believable 'voice'. I'm impressed you got it up and posted so quickly!
flywoman
May. 18th, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
It was short enough to write fairly quickly once the idea solidified.

Thanks very much for letting me know that you liked it!
menolly_au
May. 17th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
Nicely done! I liked the episode but five doctors either ignoring or not hearing the phone took a lot of believing! (Good thing House didn't have a patient for the team I guess, or one of Wilson's patients wasn't dying...).I like the sleeping pill explanation and you tie it up well with WIlson's concerns for House. I think if Wilson had been the one to go he would have gone on with the surgery (as you suggest here).

Now we just need an explanation of how Cuddy sleeps through her three year old coming into her room and sitting down on the bed and watching television for some unspecified amount of time but wakes up for the phone...
flywoman
May. 18th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
I liked the episode but five doctors either ignoring or not hearing the phone took a lot of believing!

No kidding! I was sitting there thinking of Foreman in cuddyclothes's icon: Oh come the f*** on!

I think if Wilson had been the one to go he would have gone on with the surgery (as you suggest here).

I think he would have found it very difficult to say no, seeing as how it's his specialty and all. Although he probably would have accompanied it with a lecture on how House should have come to him for treatment in the first place.

Now we just need an explanation of how Cuddy sleeps through her three year old coming into her room and sitting down on the bed and watching television for some unspecified amount of time but wakes up for the phone...

LOL, I missed that bit while I was commenting on h/w - didn't realize that Rachel was actually in Cuddy's room!
menolly_au
May. 18th, 2011 01:00 am (UTC)
Sitting on her bed, watching television...I dunno, I'm not a mother but I'm pretty sure I'd wake up if anyone did that let alone my three year old child...
lit_luminary
May. 18th, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
Thank you for this fic: I loved looking at the differences between your portrayal of the moment and mine. Your prose and characterization are both excellent, and (although others have said it before me) sleeping pills make perfect sense. (I suppose I thought Wilson's sleeping through the phone less strange because I'm the sort of person who needs two alarm clocks minimum.)

flywoman
May. 18th, 2011 01:00 am (UTC)
*smile* I'm enjoying the comparison, too. I like that we both had Wilson know it was House without Cuddy having to say so, and resolve to do things differently in order to help House break his self-destructive cycle.

(I suppose I thought Wilson's sleeping through the phone less strange because I'm the sort of person who needs two alarm clocks minimum.)

LOL. I know that such people exist. I'm a very light sleeper, myself. House should have called me.

Thank you for reading and commenting!
damigella_314
May. 18th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC)
As a mother, let me tell you no way you don't wake up when your three-year old sits on your bed! Not to mention the TV, lol. I'm a very deep sleeper, but my kids always woke me up easily (it's getting better now that it's no longer needed).

Sleeping pills made sense. Poor Wilson, blaming himself. And thank you for trying to make sense of the craziness in this ep.
flywoman
May. 18th, 2011 11:13 am (UTC)
As a mother, let me tell you no way you don't wake up when your three-year old sits on your bed! Not to mention the TV, lol.

Sorry - for that explanation, you guys are on your own. ;)

And thank you for trying to make sense of the craziness in this ep.

This is the main motivation for much of my fic. It's funny - I am less likely to feel the need to write fic for shows that feature great character continuity. It's the interesting but flawed ones that trigger the need to "fix it."

Thank you for reading and commenting!

petitecuriosity
May. 18th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
I very much like the idea of Wilson being under the influence of sleeping pills as his reason for not waking up to the sound of his phone; it makes a lot of sense. I like how you described the significance of House's physically violent outburst in Wilson's office and Wilson's guilt, especially in this line: He knows that House wouldn’t have called him until he realized that he couldn’t handle things alone. You've really illustrated House's dire need here.

I also love the last line because it sets up for Wilson's more assertive helping of House in the last scene of the episode (of which I haven't yet recovered from because it was so awesome), and, possibly, a determination that will stick with him through the finale. (I hope)
flywoman
May. 18th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
This was definitely one of those "Please make it make sense" kind of fics for me!

I also love the last line because it sets up for Wilson's more assertive helping of House in the last scene of the episode (of which I haven't yet recovered from because it was so awesome)

OMG, me too!

Thank you for reading and commenting!
barefootpuddles
May. 19th, 2011 05:14 am (UTC)
Squaring his shoulders behind the wheel, Wilson resolves that this time, things will be different.

You captured well what I think Wilson's tone, words and expression were saying at the end of Monday's episode. I just hope the writers continue in that vain and have Wilson not fall back into comic relief or useless lecturing.

I also like your explanation for Wilson not waking, though just taking antidepressants could do it too. I think the writers dropped the ball with Cuddy though. They have her sleeping through her child watching TV in her room but not a cellphone vibrating? Not likely.
flywoman
May. 19th, 2011 12:11 pm (UTC)
I just hope the writers continue in that vain and have Wilson not fall back into comic relief or useless lecturing.

ME TOO.

I also like your explanation for Wilson not waking, though just taking antidepressants could do it too.

True, but then I wouldn't have been able to tie in his heightened anxiety over House's recent behavior or his guilt for choosing to the sleeping pill on that particular night...

They have her sleeping through her child watching TV in her room but not a cellphone vibrating? Not likely.

I'm not even gonna go there :P.

Thank you for reading and commenting!
jezziejay
May. 22nd, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Luffly! We see so much of House's chaos this season - but so little about its knock on for Wilson - from being drugged at dinner, kicked out when he really needed a friend, the cannonball, the office assault, and now House operating on himself. Sleeping tablets is very plausible - personally, I'm surprised he's not on heroin!

And yes, I could see him blaming himself for not hearing the phone, and berating himself for not being a good friend - but you ARE, Wilson - YOU ARE!
flywoman
May. 22nd, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
Sleeping tablets is very plausible - personally, I'm surprised he's not on heroin!

Seriously, at this point I wonder how the man continues to get up in the morning.

Thanks for reading and commenting!
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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