Spoilers: 4.15/4.16; House’s Head/Wilson’s Heart
Summary: Tag for episode 4.16:
The first time House awakens after the deep brain stimulation, he doesn’t want to open his eyes. His first thought is Amber’s going to die—or she’s dead already. God, Wilson, I’m sorry. His second thought is Cuddy’s here. I’m in a hospital bed, and Cuddy’s here. Must be bad.
And then it comes back to him—not in neat, easily-assimilated pieces, and not in a breath-catching rush, either. He just… didn’t know, and then in the next moment he does. The bus collision, the amnesia, the replay of the accident, the cardiac arrest, the return to consciousness with Amber’s name on his lips. The ensuing days, trying to keep
He’d been relieved when
She’d been so beautiful, so calm. He’d been distraught. He’d told her that lonely, misanthropic drug addicts were meant to die in bus crashes; she wasn’t. He remembers now that he’d cried without shame, telling her that he couldn’t get off the bus because he didn’t want to be in pain anymore. And because he didn’t want
“You can’t always get what you want,” Amber had reminded him with an enigmatic smile.
So he’d stood up, gotten off that bus with all the dignity he could muster—he had to stick around so he could give Wilson what he needed—even if it meant being the target for Wilson’s anger. House had known he still might die, but even stronger than the ignominy of death itself was his need for
Because he remembers all of it now, he also knows one thing; he’d failed. He’d not only not given Amber back to
There’s one good thing about his closed eyes, though; in his dark isolation, he can still feel the bond that ties them, each to the other. He’d never put it in words, not even to himself—but it’s something he can feel, even now. It’s a living thing, their bond, maybe the only living thing that survived the crash whole and intact. Normally, he doesn’t acknowledge it; its existence can be a hindrance, an annoyance. Not now, though; now, he needs that unspoken covenant, the way he needs the oxygen and the fluids and the medicines they keep pumping into his body. He returns to his unnatural, medicinal sleep, gratefully feeling the hum of their connection just beneath his skin.
The second time House awakens, Cuddy’s still there; he can hear her breathing quietly, evenly. He opens his eyes and looks at her. Obviously exhausted, curled asleep in the chair by his bed. And still in the same clothes; she hasn’t left him. But they aren’t alone; House senses that someone’s watching him. And there’s
House’s speech isn’t really intelligible, sensible yet. So the best he can do is beseech
They only really talk once. House is still having residual difficulty transferring thought to speech, so conversation is hard work—frustrating and tiring. But House has to try, and he counts on
“You doing all… all…”
“I guess I’m all right, House.”
“I’m… gonna… okay… you know… back bot… bot… bother you… no time.” House smiles crookedly.
“You? You? What about Amber, House? Remember her? The woman I loved? You’re gonna make it out of this. You’ve got blood flowing through your veins, air moving in and out of your lungs. Your heart is pumping. And Amber…. So forgive me if this one time I can’t focus all my attention—”
On the third night,
As doctors and nurses and other personnel arrive, House hears
Later, when the sedation lifts, he doesn’t have to open his eyes to know that Cuddy’s back; he hears the click of her heels as she moves around his bed checking monitors, adjusting lines. But he has a question, so he opens his eyes to let her know he’s awake. Immediately, she’s leaning over him, smiling worriedly. “You’re okay, House. Just a little seizure; the EEG looks good. No—don’t try to talk.”
He ignores her. “Wi—Wil—sss.” He makes a frustrated noise deep in his throat.
“Where is….” he croaks out. Cuddy reaches for a cup of water, puts the straw to his lips as she answers.
“The call was from Amber’s parents. The… service was earlier today. They wanted to take
“So he’ll… be back soon.” House is happy that he got out an entire sentence, even if it was just above a whisper. But it’s taking so long for Cuddy to respond that House is beginning to wonder if he’d unknowingly garbled the words.
Finally Cuddy answers. “I… I don’t know, House. He didn’t say.” Cuddy avoids looking at him.
After another sip of water, House is ready to talk. “I was seizing when he left; he’ll… be back… he’ll… be worried.”
Cuddy gives him a false smile. “I’m sure you’re right. But he’s got a lot of things on his mind right now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if—”
“’Course he’s got things on his mind,” House interrupts. “His best friend’s in ICU. Get him… a cot. Don’t… don’t want him sitting… up all night… he’s… exhausted….”
“That’s not what I meant,” Cuddy says gently. “It’s not all I meant. Amber—”
“Amber’s dead. I’m not.” Okay, so it sounds… cold, even to House. But it’s the truth. “He’ll be back soon; get… the cot.”
Cuddy stares at him a moment, then leaves the room.
When she returns, she’s followed by two men from Housekeeping; they set up the cot in the corner of the room and then leave. Cuddy walks over to it thoughtfully, idly straightens the linens. “I’ll just stay with you until he gets back, okay?”
House nods at her. He wants to stay awake until
In the morning, the first thing House does is open his eyes and look in the direction of the cot, and when he sees the blanketed body, he feels better already. Then the pile of blankets moves, and the body turns over, and it’s Cuddy. When she sees that he’s awake, she gets up and hurries toward his bed.
“I’m sorry; he didn’t get back. Maybe he decided to take the Volakis’ to the airport, or—”
“But he called.” It’s not a question, but Cuddy has to answer it.
“No, House. I’m sure he will, though, when he can.” House has turned away from her; he can sense her discomfort, knows she’s at a loss for words. She rests her hand briefly on his shoulder, but when it tenses under her fingers she sighs and moves away from the bed.
Two hours pass. House pushes away his untouched breakfast tray and refuses to speak to anyone, but he never closes his eyes. At , his vigilance is rewarded; he sees
House’s eyes are on
And House feels the pull, then the agonized snap—a physical sensation of something that’s there, and then it’s not. House takes a deep breath, and it’s like breathing in fire.
His leg hurts; he wishes it didn’t. So he pushes the PCA for a hit of morphine. His head hurts; he wishes it didn’t. So he presses his head as far into the pillows as he can, allowing the pressure to ease the pain.
His heart hurts; he wishes… he wishes …. But there’s no specialized equipment, no fast-acting tonic, no complicated surgery for this wound, this pain.
And so House closes his eyes one more time. He wishes it could be the final time, because the best reason he has for ever opening them again has just walked down the hall, trailing the jagged remnants of what was once unbreakable.