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16 February 2007 @ 04:50 am
And You Will Have the Death of a Saint - R - House  
Title: And You Will Have the Death of a Saint
Rating: R
Summary: In each and every moment there is a chance for regret, a chance for repentance, unless the moment never existed and there is really nothing but time.
Fandom: House
Pairing: House/Wilson, Cameron/Chase, Cameron/House
Spoilers: Up through ‘Insensitive’.
Warning: Deathfic, mature situations, both slash and het.
Word Count: 3,500
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by David Shore and FOX, among others. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author’s Notes: Ten drabbles of 100 words each, all connected. Interspersed are five vignettes of 500 words each, all connected. And both the drabbles and the vignettes will all be connected in some way. Confused yet?

If you read, please be courteous and leave a constructive review telling me what you liked and what could be improved upon. Thank you for reading!

ETA: Edited some typos, took out the numbers.



And You Will Have the Death of a Saint



Nine-twenty-three on Wednesday morning and the bed is empty. Cold. Wilson looks, and then he hears, almost far-away sounding; the bathroom door makes a dead sound when he pushes it open. On the floor House is blanched and shaking and saying no, no, no, go away, fuck off, it’s nothing, and when he throws up it is black, almost beautiful, except when it isn’t, and Wilson calls the hospital and tells Cuddy and Cuddy tells him what he already knows. House’s pills are nowhere to be found, and it is only later that he realizes that that is their problem.

-

“No.”

“House-”

“No.”

“Please-”

“Now it’s really no.”

The air is cool and Wilson leaves, hands in his pockets. Treatment should not be a question, it should be an answer. They should need needles and medication, rather than get-well-soon cards and prayers; House doesn’t look at the cards and the only ones praying are Cameron and the priest, anyway.

The pain starts in his neck and works its way up, full-blown migraine by eleven-fifteen and one triptan later has him on the couch in his office with the lights dim and the only sound is Cameron crying through the wall.

-

Denial of the inevitable will only get you later, sneak up on you when you least expect it. It will hurt more, and it will taste bitterer and there will be no one there to comfort you because they have already grieved and moved on, leaving you behind, aware that you were not aware.

Or that you pretended you were not aware.

In the slide of skin over skin and mouth over skin and moans against the sheets it is easy to pretend that nothing else matters. His hands holding your hands high above your head, clasped together like you were praying (which you might have well have been, with the oh god oh god oh god echo that escapes from your mouth) are the only thing in the world, unless you count every other fiber of your bodies, touching and frantic and alive.

If you can imagine a place where it won’t happen, then it won’t happen.

And then you’ll hurt double for it.

In this place, where his breath is your breath and you taste sounds and colors and feel every part of your body yell stop! there is nothing that can hurt you.

All you have to fear is fear itself, and fear isn’t frightening when it doesn’t exist.

Walking through the hospital leaves ghosts in your memories, from times so long ago that it was like they weren’t really real, at least to you. His footsteps echo your footsteps and your breath echoes his breath, and for one long moment you are the same people you were back then.

And then his shoe scuffs and breaks the monotony of how you’ve been pretending, and that’s when it hits you.

It’s oh god oh god oh god for a different reason and to a different rhythm, and for a split-second it’s funny that he’s here for both of them, all of it, and then nothing is ever funny again.

It’s almost like you’re invisible to the world as they stream past you, on business that has nothing to do with you anymore. They have spent their time mourning for an idea that you can’t think of, for an idea that you’ve put off for far too long, and they have nothing to say to you. They offered themselves once, and you brushed past, and now, when you need arms tight and soft words, they are hollow and yet full at the same time.

Kneeling in those hospital halls is no different from kneeling on the bed, except that in the hospital you are no more special than anyone else who has ever lost a loved one. In bed, he can make you feel special and safe and loved and beautiful and everything else that you could ever call home, but right here and right now, all you know is that you are too late to hold your breath and take the plunge like the rest of the world.

Sometimes, you hate Chase for making you feel whole.

-

Dying, Wilson heard from a patient, is a lot like living, except people pay more attention to you; cancer patients would know this kind of humor better than anyone, including House, who laughs and laughs and laughs until he cries, and Wilson feels awkward standing there, watching his best friend cry. They only talk about what’s happening when they have to, because there’s only so many ways to say ‘I’m sorry’ before it gets old.

When they aren’t talking about the cancer bubbling through his liver, they talk about hot nurses and Cuddy’s blouse and everything normal, everything from before.

-

The very first time House admits that he is dying, when he says the words out loud in a whisper, and then in a shout, Wilson stands calm and still; this is about House, not about him. He looks at every thing in the room, every tile on the floor, everything that is not House and isn’t a living, breathing man who won’t always be living and breathing. If he looks at House it is through a false sense of hope that he can’t afford to have when dealing with Cholangiocarcinoma. If he looks at House, House doesn’t look back.

-

Anger rockets through you, and Chase doesn’t deserve what you’re yelling at him. He has done nothing wrong in this moment, in this day, in this memory, but you need to yell and fight and kick and scream and do something other than wait.

All anyone is doing now is waiting.

They waited too long, and now you can’t feel it.

When they finally tell you the truth, what’s happening to him and what they can’t do for him, you imagine his father’s face first, clutching the phone when he hears and silently atoning for all the sins he silently committed. When they finally tell you the truth, you say you want to see him, but they tell you that you can’t, and you are angry now at Chase, who looks on with hurt and mild annoyance in his eyes.

It’s never been simple, and you never imagined it would be.

When you started having sex, it was sex, beautiful hot sex, being pounded against the mattress and the sheets and the twisting shouts to determine who could be the most indifferent when they came, and that was good. All you wanted from him was sex.

You didn’t want something that you remembered from the days with your husband, memories preserved like glass, fragile to the touch and no one could come close. Yours, all yours.

But Chase was more than just sex, and it hurt you that it made you fall in love with him.

Love was for your husband, and for someone secret in your heart who you could never have and never hold, and it was the worst-kept secret in the world because everyone knew. Everyone felt your eyes on him and everyone felt his wit undo you, and when it happened, it was like a dance.

There is tightness in your chest, and Chase catches you when you fall, fall to your knees in the middle of the living room, head spinning and he tells you it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s time to lie down.

Your anger makes you scream bubbles of ‘I hate you I hate this I hate living this lie’ but he doesn’t hear a word because they all get caught in your throat. You thrash and try to make him leave you alone, leave you to deal with everything you should be helping someone else deal with, always a martyr, but your meaning gets lost in translation and you are asleep in his arms before you reach the bedroom, exhausted from caring about not caring enough.

There are a million scenarios that cross your mind, and in each one, someone gets hurt and someone doesn’t get hurt anymore.

If you had loved your husband just a little bit more, would he have lived?

If you had cried just a little bit harder would Chase have made absolutely everything go away, erasing every thought that you are thinking now?

If you had cared just a little more, would House be alright and smiling?

-

They are never in a room alone anymore. When there aren’t nurses, or House’s parents, or one of his fellows, there are invisible ghosts. There is the press of time, and there is the press of ‘I should have done better’ and there are the ‘tiny tumors of joy’ (House’s branding, not his own, and when House had suggesting naming the biggest one Tritter and the two toward the top of the liver ‘Cuddy’s breasts’, Wilson had choked back a laugh that sounded suspiciously like a sob). Sometimes Wilson misses the chatter they could only achieve through stillness and forgiveness.

-

Bargaining used to get you anything you could ever want. You weren’t stupid, you realize what you looked like, and you bargained your way in and out of whatever you pleased.

Death could not be bargained with, and you, in your head, think that you would take everything back if you could.

Chase sits in the other room, reading a journal, and you can hear the pages turning, and you fade out, thinking of the four of you in the room and the four of you solving riddles and the three of you wondering what you were doing with him and how long and why and how.

You can’t go into the hospital anymore. It hurts. Your fellowship is over and Chase’s fellowship is over and Foreman works in his department and you haven’t seen him in weeks, and it hurts.

Chase sits in the other room, reading a journal, and you know you should go and comfort him. He feels your pain, and doesn’t show it, and you hate that he grieved without you, while you weren’t watching, while you were pretending not to breathe air in a world where death happened. You were supposed to do everything together, because that is love, and when he holds you at night when you cry it is only going through the motions, not clinging-to-you-because-I-know holding.

When he needed that, you needed sex.

When you need that, he needs you to stop pretending that House ever loved you, that you ever loved him.

You only play pretend in your dreams, now, when Chase can’t watch and judge and laugh and actually deal with what you think about.

Chase sits in the other room, reading a journal, and you stand up, feeling hard wood beneath your feet and stale air in your lungs and you saunter up to him. His eyes meet yours, and the journal drops to the floor as you kiss him, hard and fast and he is on his feet and pulling your shirt over your head and you trail kisses down his chest and close your eyes.

He knows where you need and what you need and your pulse begins to match his after a certain point, and even here, in the middle of his cock in your warmth you keep your eyes closed and your lips in a smile and you think of naughty little thoughts about someone far away, and about someone deep inside you, and you think over and over about the two people who you should and shouldn’t care about. It’s funny, only it’s really not, and Chase has no idea who that smile is for.

In a land where death doesn’t happen, this same story plays out, where you and Chase love one another and fight about the stupidest things and have sex on the coffee table until you both come and roll to the floor and pant and hold one another. Death doesn’t change things like that.

Not when you want it to.

-

“Alright, when do I get my parade? I’m dying and demand a parade.” House looks twelve, arms crossed over his chest and eyes wide. Wilson laughs, and they are suddenly like teenage girls, engaged in a pillow fight with nothing to solve. Only, things are different, because they have everything to gain, and when their lips meet and they meld together, they begin to have nothing to lose as well. This is the buildup of years of knowing; it is soft and pure, and then it is rough and heavy, and House breathes, “Screw the parade, this is much better.”

-

House could go home as long as Wilson goes with him; Cuddy is strict and sharp and yet shaking when she signs the papers. No one is happy with the decision, because it means that everyone recognizes that House’s last days should be spent somewhere outside of the hospital, the place that his entire life had been exhausted.

When they get to his apartment, House locks himself in the bathroom off of the bedroom and Wilson retreats to the kitchen when he hears sobbing. He’s still not used to the breakdown of the strong man who used to be House.

-

Depression never gets easier, no matter how many times you go through this, no matter how many times you deal with it. It sits there and stares at you and eats at you, and nothing will ever change it, or you.

Your job offer sits on the table, the paper copy of the phone call you turned down last week, as if holding something tangible in your hands would mean that making the worst mistake of your life would suddenly be just fine.

It’s a fine offer. They want you for your talent, for who you are. Chase tells you to go for it, squeezes your shoulder and whispers in your ear and you are thankful for that distraction from the lies you are holding inside and you fuck him as a way to not think about moving away and far away.

This is what you know. You know a meaningful, wonderful relationship that has hollow holes only one of you can see. You know driving past the hospital and not looking at it because looking would mean that you would park in the lot and walk up to the doors and want something you can’t really have. You know a mouthful of unspoken desires that he got from you anyway.

When you and House had sex it was in his office with the blinds drawn shut, late at night after Foreman and Chase, blissfully, went home. When you and House had sex, there were no fireworks, there were no signs that said that he was the one, that it was love, that anything was ever going to be special and right and how you’d always imagined. When you and House had sex, you had sex, and that was supposed to be that, and he left after you were done without a word, cane marking Morse Code for regret on the tiles.

This is déjà vu, this is a repeat from every other time you have ever felt lost.

Chase has offers himself, but he never shares where or why, and you think he wants you to make a decision first. He think this is love in the sense of long-term love, where you move somewhere together and have a life together and you will fix each other forever and ever, and you sometimes cry over the fact that you’re a liar when you smile at the thought. It hurts worse when he dries those tears and makes everything better, because you are a hypocrite and a failure and you just don’t know anything about anyone, especially yourself, anymore.

House, before and after everything changed, was a wall of emotion and power and you admired him in the same way you feared him. He had lost so much, and here he stood, losing more and more and he just didn’t give a damn. Ever. That was what you wanted from him, pressed tight and warm, watching for the bad leg, mouths on one another over and over.

You wanted faith.

-

They are careful when it happens, but it is needy and when House wraps his fist around Wilson’s cock, they both moan out loud, a break in the unspoken silence they share when this happens; both men flinch, and both men decide that they don’t care. When Wilson lets his mouth take House in, they both ignore the ticking of the clock on the nightstand, the steady pass of time that they try to avoid while doing this, while doing everything. With each noise from that clock, it is closer to the end.

House comes first, Wilson lost in thought.

-

Cameron visits with Chase in the afternoon, pleasant conversation wrapped in the fact that Cameron’s eyes stay on House a moment too long every time he laughs, wrapped in the way Chase holds her as if to make a statement House doesn’t care to hear. Foreman visits in the morning, talking about patients and pretending that life just moved on when someone died. Cuddy visits anytime she wants, bringing medication and comforting smiles and bottles of something strong for Wilson after House falls asleep.

Wilson watches everyone visit, wishing that in some ironic way that it could go on forever.

-

Acceptance from your family was your first priority, growing up. Acceptance from your peers was next. It continued like this, all the way to the bottom of the ladder, where acceptance from yourself was last.

At the funeral, you lay lilies in a beautiful bouquet and stand next to Chase and lean against him when the first shudder and sob run through your body. You shake into him and cry as his urn is lowered into the ground, and Foreman is on your other side, a silent support when you need it the most, and you are grateful for that.

You have decided to take the job offer in Colorado in four weeks; Chase is taking an offer at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Neither of you have talked about the envelopes on the coffee table, lying side-by-side, screaming ‘neither of you wins!’, and you don’t think you will ever talk about it. It will just happen, and this will be another mark on the imaginary cross you bear, another weight that you will carry around your neck when you try and remember why.

Why this. Why a funeral on a sunny Sunday afternoon in New Jersey for someone none of you really knew. You could say that you knew him, and you would feel the lie burn your throat as soon as you said it, because you knew, and everyone knew, that House knew everyone and never returned the favor.

After the funeral, where you hug Wilson tight with your tears staining his suit as you press to him, looking for comfort that Chase can’t give, because you’ve never slept with Wilson and he doesn’t know how you once let House’s name slip while you were being fucked in the shower, you say goodbye. Goodbye to Cuddy, who smiles and lowers her head and thanks you for everything you’d done, goodbye to Foreman, who shakes your hand and promises he’ll keep in touch even though both of you know he won’t, goodbye to Wilson, who promises he’ll keep in touch and you both know that he will and that makes you cry a little more.

Goodbye, in a small way, to Chase, who kisses you on the forehead and makes you forget for even just a second that in some way you could have saved everyone. That this was all, somehow, your fault, even though it really wasn’t. He loves you, and you love him, and things will end in a month and you won’t cry that hard, though you want to.

Goodbye to House, who can never say goodbye back to you, not that he would have if he could have, because that’s just who he was, and you love him for it all the same. It’s as bitter as you thought it would be, maybe more so, but as you drive away, Chase saying something you can’t focus on, you realize that it takes moments like this and people like these to make you who you are.

-

When it happens, it is no different from any of Wilson’s other patients. The overused term ‘out not with a bang, but a whimper’ runs through his mind and House would have laughed along with him if he weren’t dead dead dead and Wilson is calling the hospital, and then the police, the moment he wakes up and finds him. There is a tense span of time where it is just Wilson and just House, just like how it used to be, but so much had changed since then, and it would never, ever, have the time to go back.
 
 
 
Joey Paul: Creating New Worldsjoeybug on February 16th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
That was so....there has yet to be a word invented to describe how poignot that was, how wonderful, how heart-breaking, how very sad, but very good at the same time.
Poeiapoeia on February 16th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
Wow. Can't say I wasn't warned. Still, crying at work probably isn't a good thing. I don't want this to happen. I don't want House to die. EVER.

I found the concurrent numbering a bit confusing intially. I got used to it, but it might have been an unnecessary distraction in the early part -- thinking about "why is there another section 1?" when I should have been thinking about the subject.

Other than that, the only criticism I can make is that "feel ever part of your body yell stop!" is missing a "y."
adria_harrison: house l in this I'm a raincloudadria_harrison on February 16th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Yes. It took a bit for the structure to flow for me, but once I understood the point of view differances it all came together. I love the development of Wilson and House and how Cameron's part is almost a different story entirely, because Cameron doesn't mention Wilson that often and Wilson doesn't mention Cameron either. And the second person voice was great, too.
ladysarahii: sick takethekeysladysarahii on February 16th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
Wow. Ouch. This was beautiful to read, and I felt like I was right there. You did a fantastic job of describing what was going on, and the imagery was just fantastic. Thank you. This story was phenomenally well written.
my shallow heart's the only thing that's beating: H/W(Love requited)empressaurelius on February 16th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
*SNIFF* Ooh, God, SO sad.
Phinadelphinapterus on February 17th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
Very sad but very well done. I really like the sense of inexorable progression that you've written in.
from the people who brought you stalin:: House -- blue eysearlwyn on February 17th, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC)
I loved this, extremely, and now I'm going to babble about it. Ahem.

It beautifully depicts how isolated House is, as only death can make one realize. He permeates the piece, as does Wilson's resilient love for him. It's funny, how very few words were actually used to describe the moments between House and Wilson, and yet their friendship, their intertwined lives, still thrived powerfully in the background of Cameron's grief.

And I love the way you get into Cameron's head, from the change of POV to the way she views her relationship to the entire matter. It's obvious she's on the outside looking in but she is absolutely sunk in the middle of her grief and her guilt over House's death. It's marvelous, really. I'm impressed this much was conveyed in only 3,500 words.

There are some lines I especially felt captured the mood of the piece:

You were supposed to do everything together, because that is love, and when he holds you at night when you cry it is only going through the motions, not clinging-to-you-because-I-know holding. It rings so true and is so beautifully, prosaically stated.

House’s last days should be spent somewhere outside of the hospital, the place that his entire life had been exhausted. This just made me feel so sad; it sums up what the hospital means to House and the fact that he will never set foot in it again in such a few short words. Gorgeous.

He think this is love in the sense of long-term love, where you move somewhere together and have a life together and you will fix each other forever and ever This made me choke up and I don't know why. I think it's just such a vivid description of what long-term love is wished to be.

Okay. So I loved this and I loved you and now I want to know everything else you've ever written so I can be awed and amazed by the pretty. Totally mem'ing this.