Authors: karaokegal and michelleann68
Fandom: House MD
Pairings: House/Wilson, Wilson/Amber
Notes: Starts at the end of Season 3 (Human Error) and contains references to Season 4 episodes thru Games. Full Metal Beta carried out by leiascully. (Remaining problems are exclusively the responsibility of the authors.)
Warnings: Not much fluff to be found. Emotionally dark.
Summary: Wilson learns a thing or two about addiction.
Wilson stayed in the break room after Foreman and House had finished playing out the last act of Foreman’s long goodbye.
He needed time to figure out exactly what the departure en masse of Foreman, Chase and Cameron meant for House, and by extension, for himself. It couldn’t be as bad as the fall-out when Stacy left, but it wasn’t going to be pleasant. House would need him, if only as a sounding board for his insane theories until he could put a new team together, and as a built-in audience for the sadistic performance art that passed for a job interview in the diagnostics department.
Wilson looked up, to find Nurse Previn standing in the doorway. She wore that particular expression of exasperation which Wilson had mentally designated The House Look. He’d seen it often enough on his own face in the mirror.
“What’s he done now?”
“It’s what he’s doing. Smoking cigars in the hospital. In Mrs. Hernandez’s room. I can’t find Dr. Cuddy, and if he sets off the smoke detectors…”
Wilson was already on his feet. Cigars? Of all House’s self-destructive vices, Wilson could hardly begrudge him a good Cohiba, but why was House smoking in the patient’s room, when he generally spent so much time avoiding patients and their loved ones.
He followed Brenda’s white-shoed footsteps down the hall to the elevator and studiously avoided making any eye-contact with her on the ride to ICU. He respected her skills and endurance in a notoriously rough job, but he knew that she hated, or at least resented House and therefore had to be considered a possible enemy. Great, he thought, now I’m turning into his Haldeman.
The smell of burning tobacco wafted down the hall, triggering Wilson’s memory of the last time he’d smoked one, at the hospital’s Charity Casino Night. He couldn’t help smiling at the thought.
That night he’d witnessed House doing battle with one of his demons and coming out on top. Wilson’s own victory in the poker tournament was a small pleasure compared with knowing that House could finally put away the Ester file. There was even the selfish enjoyment Wilson got from seeing House dressed up for the occasion, complete with his silver cane. It had reminded him of the days before the infarction when he and Greg and Stacy actually used to go out to dance clubs together.
It was hard to remember a better time and that had been before they’d gone home and things had gotten better still.
The smell of cigars brought that all back and the sight of House sharing a cigar with Esteban Hernandez wiped it all out. Wilson knew it was ridiculous. He was being petty. Why shouldn’t House celebrate with the man whose wife he’d managed to diagnose and save, with the added bonus of being able to disprove another so-called miracle? Wilson kept insisting he wanted House to be happy, so how come the sight of House downing rum Jesus no, not on top of the pills and looking so damned…content made Wilson slightly nauseated.
He suddenly realized how long how long it had been since he’d felt that happy.
While the Ketamine was working, Wilson had certainly taken advantage of House’s renewed flexibility and energy, but since then, since he’d discounted the return of House’s pain and unknowingly triggered the series of events that followed? Decreasing satisfaction in his work, much less joy in living and increasingly frequent periods of bleakness, sorrow, and wondering if he’d ever feel real happiness again.
Paxil provided enough relief to get out of bed in the morning and do his job. The screening therapist had been anxious for him to start psychoanalysis, but he’d put an emotional crack into his voice, and convinced her that his depression centered on the breakdown of his marriage. In his emotional telling, this was completely due to Julie’s infidelity.
The therapist had written the prescription and given him a sympathetic smile, probably wondering how any woman could possible cheat on such a wonderful man. Wilson left her with his deep gratitude and a look that would have gotten him a date and more if he wanted it, without ever mentioning the major issue in his life.
Now that issue was sitting there, making him feel like total crap simply by being happy. Brenda waited nearby in a growing state of agitation, expecting him to get House to stop, but Wilson knew that she was vastly over-estimating his ability to make House do anything. All he could do was walk away, trying to figure out how his own situation had gotten this bad and what he was going to do about it. By the time he got back to his office, he’d reached one conclusion: he needed help.
May 26th 2007 3:00 pm-4:00 PM
Patient: James Wilson
Presenting cause for appointment: Depression, Anxiety, overall lethargy
When I walked out to greet Dr. Wilson, I found him sitting sullenly in the chair, in a slumped posture and not making any eye contact.
He kept pace with me as we walked down the hall and then he allowed me to take the initiative and walk in the door first. He surveyed the chairs in the room, appearing somewhat lost and directionless. He chose to sit on the couch, but still said nothing, waiting for me to make the first move.
Dr. Wilson is currently on Paxil. He describes it as “lifting a weight slightly off his shoulders” He reports that he is not sleeping beyond four hours at one time and he has given up most of his after-work activities. Since his third divorce, he has yet to find a permanent place to live and has been staying at a hotel for nearly a year. Client admits to drinking two to three drinks a night and does not feel that he has a problem, even though he feels the needs to drink alcohol at night before attempting to sleep.
He says he first recognized the signs of depression after his divorce was final. The end of the marriage seems to have taken him by surprise. He claims to have had no idea she was involved in a relationship with another man and insists that there were no overt signs that she had strayed from the marriage. James left their home and stayed with a friend for a short time before moving in with a female oncology patient, ostensibly to provide care. He refuses to give any more details about her, but seemed uncomfortable discussing the matter, understandably given the potential breach of ethics involved in such an arrangement.
Since then he has relocated to the previously mentioned hotel, where he is currently staying. He seems unwilling to look for a new place, to put down roots.
Dr. Wilson claims that work is generally the only place he can relax and feel competent about his skills, but lately he finds himself questioning why he is a doctor and his path in life.
Dr. Wilson’s father was a lawyer and his mother maintained the home. They lived in a gated community on a golf course and he mentioned that his father was often gone, leaving his mother as the primary disciplinarian of the family, his father rarely getting involved in day-to-day parenting.
I asked him about his siblings and he mentioned there is only one now, and would not discuss the details of his other sibling, leading me to assume that one must be deceased, although Dr. Wilson did not say this directly. I did not press the issue, but made a note to revisit his family dynamics. Dr. Wilson sees his family rarely. His excuse is that he is too busy taking care of patients.
He has no regular lover or intimate relationship, but does report that he has someone that he is with from time to time. Overall he seemed to lack enthusiasm about sexual satisfaction in his current life. He would not open up as to who this person is, or what role that person has in his life, only that the spark that had been there has dimmed, as in his previous intimate relationships.
His primary relationship is with a colleague named Greg House, whom he met shortly after the dissolution of his first marriage. He says that House is his best friend, but requires a lot of time and energy.
He mentioned that he feels there is no one he can be honest with and discuss what is bothering him. I am surprised that he has not turned to his best friend for advice. He is reluctant to take any other medications. He claimed to want to give his current meds time to work, framing this as the opinion of a medical professional, but I did detect some worry about his inability to move on.
At first I thought he was talking about his third marriage, but I now believe “moving on” pertains to a significant relationship, intimate or otherwise, that he has yet to be upfront about, perhaps the on and off partner he spoke of.
We have agreed on a course of weekly sessions. His stated goal is to find out why he is so reluctant to move out of the hotel and into a place of his own. I also think there is a greater goal that he is not being upfront about.
Sofia Drake, PhD
West Chester Mental Health Group
Wilson sat at his desk, contemplating the sandwich he’d picked up before returning to the hospital. It was an artery-clogging concoction of meat and cheese he would normally have gobbled with greed, heedless of calories or cholesterol. Right now he could barely look at it, much less eat.
Paxil put a crimp in his appetite, but the pills weren’t keeping him from eating his lunch: it was revulsion, not with the food, but with his own weakness.
He’d honestly thought he was ready. Discreet inquiries had produced the name of Dr. Sophia Drake. She came highly recommended and the fact that he’d have to drive almost an hour away from Princeton Plainsboro was actually a plus. The farther away from House, the better.
“I can do this,” he’d told himself as he picked up the phone to make the first appointment. He had convinced himself that he could sit on an analyst’s couch and tell the truth about everything. His family, the women, professional self-doubt, and, of course, House. The conversation would be painful, but keeping it inside was killing him.
The illusion lasted until he was in Dr. Drake’s waiting room, facing the reality of insurance forms and the calculated-to-sooth “smooth jazz” that only made him more uncomfortable. He handed in the forms and sat down, finding it a struggle to stay in the chair instead of bolting. He wasn’t that unhappy.
A tall woman with sleek, black hair heavily streaked with silver appeared in the doorway.
He got up and shook her hand, hoping his own wasn’t too clammy, and proceeded to waste an hour of her time as well as his. Evasions. Half-truths. Pretty pictures about growing up on a golf course. Nothing remotely honest regarding his parents, his brothers, and certainly nothing about House. Oh, he might have mentioned having a friend by that name, but none of the dirty details, emotional, physical or otherwise.
The only thing he could talk about with a modicum of truth was his three failed marriages, so Dr. Drake had inevitably focused on that aspect of his history and offered him a printed list of questions entitled: Codependency Test.
I’m not codependent; I’m an enabler, he’d thought to himself, but even that was more honesty than he could muster out loud. He nervously folded and refolded the paper until he tucked it in his jacket pocket. He promised to look it over before the next appointment leaving him three days to psych himself into another try.
Wilson’s sandwich remained untouched, sending out whatever signal it took to turn on the green light that alerted House that somewhere, food was being eaten. There was no way to avoid encountering House indefinitely, especially when he had been conspicuously unreachable for the better part of the morning. Wilson could only hope that House had acquired a new case, something to absorb the obsessive energy that would otherwise be aimed at unearthing any potentially mockable facts about Wilson’s personal life.
Unable to eat or focus on the stack of paperwork he was facing as penance for a morning of trying to take care of himself, he reached into his jacket pocket and found the sheet of paper, already starting to tear at the creases. He unfolded it carefully and glanced at the first question.
1.Do you feel demeaned, hurt or offended when someone you love tells you they don't need your help?
He closed his eyes, seeing a montage of his attempts to help House and the various ways he’d been rebuffed. His recent attempts to broker a resolution to the Foreman crisis were a particularly sore point. House had responded to Wilson’s perfectly valid argument about his unwillingness to change by going on a rampage of self-destructive behavior that had left House without a team. Who’d have thought that Cameron would actually leave of her own accord, rather than having to be bodily removed, her hands pried off the diagnostics office door? She was stronger than he was, Wilson thought with grudging admiration.
2. In the last year, has anyone resorted to arguing, begging or raising their voice to get you to stop trying to help them?
“You sneaky bastard!”
House entered Wilson’s office, the limp doing nothing to reduce the air of entitlement. He barely glanced in Wilson’s direction, but Wilson got the usual feeling he was being assessed and found wanting in some way. House grabbed the sandwich and started shoveling it into his mouth like a ravenous creature, one with an extremely fortunate metabolism.
“What have I done now? And sure, you can have my sandwich.”
“You left the hospital at ten-thirty this morning, turned off your cell and your pager. You couldn’t have told Cuddy where you were going because she’s not that good at lying to me and you told Vivian…”
“Valerie,” Wilson corrected.
“...that you’d double any bribe I offered. I hope you’ve got a lot of dough in the bank. I got a little crazy.”
There’d been a time when Wilson found House’s these games both amusing and flattering; now he just shook his head in resignation.
“You missed your calling.”
“I was thinking stalker.”
“I wouldn’t have to work so hard if you weren’t trying to cover your naughty little tracks, but why bother? It’s all over your face.”
“Guilt. Little early in the day to be visiting your friend Robin, isn’t it? And why bother if all you’re going to do is mope? Although for your people, that’s pretty much the same thing, isn’t it?”
“Just because you’ve got three different escort services on speed-dial doesn’t mean the rest of us are doing it,” he tossed out lamely.
House settled himself into the chair and took a few seconds to ostentatiously pop a Vicodin while eyeing Wilson’s suit. Wilson could practically see House’s brain working behind the gaze. He shook his head, which Wilson took as House dismissing the possibility of a sexual tryst.
“You’re wearing the good suit. You’re taking time off from your precious patients to see someone, but it’s not making you happy and neither are your oncologist’s little helpers.”
The incriminating paper was still on his desk. If he could get House out of his office without that coming to light he’d claim it as a victory.
“You coming over tonight?” House asked, switching topics abruptly. Wilson noticed that there was no longer a pretext. A movie or some sporting event or even the chance to trade gossip. Did this represent an injection of reality into the relationship or its deterioration from a friendship to mere utility, since they both knew what would happen?
Wilson tried to remember the last time it had been good, really good. Sometime in the era now known as Before Tritter. Nice as it would be to blame all his troubles on the cop, he knew it had stopped working even before that. He had no one to blame but himself for trying to make House into something he wasn’t and trying to create a real relationship out of sex and sarcasm.
“Sure,” he said, just to get House out of his office, so he could tuck his new guilty secret away in the same desk drawer that still held Grace’s last post card.
House nodded and propelled himself out of the chair, leaving Wilson feeling weak and finally hungry.
Three days. This time he was going to tell Dr. Drake the truth.
Sofia saw Sally Reynolds out the door and sat back down in her chair, taking a few minutes to write down notes that would go with the tape of the session.
She stood and stretched, made a cup of tea and ran to the bathroom. She walked back into the lobby and saw Dr. Wilson sitting in the leather chair. He seemed a little anxious, his foot tapping insistently Sofia smiled and paused when she put her hand on the doorknob. "Good morning James, come on in."
He’d insisted on having her use his first name during the initial session, and she’d quickly concurred, taking it as a positive sign that he wanted to drop as many masks as possible, starting with his professional persona.
"Morning." He stood and made a motion to reach out his hand, then quickly stuffed it into his pocket.
Sofia sat in her chair and motioned for James to sit as well. She noted his hair was getting longer, his tie was loosened, and the sleeves of his blue shirt were wrinkled. He must roll them up when he was at work. "Anything you want to address before we get started?"
Dr. Wilson hung his head, and his leg began to tap again. He shifted in his chair and looked around the room. His eyes finally settled on Sofia. "Um.. I ... there is something. It's actually silly. I'm sort of embarrassed."
"Nothing is silly here. I'm here to listen and help you without judging. What's on your mind?"
"Oh God... this is...I mean it's not like me... “He sighed deeply and took a few moments before blurting out, "I kidnapped a guitar."
Years of training kept Sofia's face neutral. "Whose guitar, and was there a particular reason why you felt the need to take this item?"
Sofia wasn’t sure what was going on in James' head. This was clearly unusual behavior for him, but he was acting out, a very big step, and certainly better than keeping it bottled inside.
"Well, there was a point. Or at least I thought there was. It didn't seem to accomplish much. I took House's guitar." Wilson laid his head in his hands, propping them on his knees.
Sofia pushed her glasses up on her face out of habit. "House? Your friend, the doctor?” The one who was only referred to by last name, even though James had identified him as his closest friend. “What was the point you were trying to make with this kidnapping?"
James mumbled, "Friends...yeah...you could say that." He rubbed the emotion off his face with his hand. "I thought he needed to be pushed to do the right thing." Wilson shrugged and sat back in the chair. "I tried to get through to him with something he cared about, but in the end he doesn't really care about anything.
"How long have you been friends?” She waited till he looked up.
"Years,” he muttered vaguely. “Too long for me to have to do this.”
"What was he not doing that drove you to kidnap the guitar?" Sophia pressed.
"He needs a team. He was trying to solve a case with the janitor for crying out loud!" Emotion filled the room as Wilson raised his voice. "I wanted to make him admit he needs people."
Sofia softened her voice. "People, James? Are you sure this is really about work? I need you to be honest with me and with yourself.”
Words flowed out of his mouth quickly. "He alienates people, pushes away anyone who tries to care about him. And work is all he's got; he has nothing else he cares about."
"Why do you think that you need to make sure he has people around him?"
James looked up confused. "What do you mean?"
She sat back in her chair. "I just want to understand why you think that you need to kidnap your friend's guitar, to get him to assemble a team. Why is that your responsibility?"
He rested his hand in his lap and muttered. "Moral responsibility."
Sofia sensed that James wanted to avoid the issue, even though he’d brought it up.
She leaned forward, trying to get Wilson's attention," Why do you feel it's your moral responsibility"
Gripping his hair, James dipped his head closer to his chest. His eyes were pinched shut and he shook his head while keeping his lips pressed tightly together.
Sofia softened her voice, "James you are safe... tell me, what the real nature of your relationship is."
"Relationship?" The word came out tightly through his tense jaw.
Sitting back in the chair, Sofia tried to change her approach, "Friendship? Acquaintanceship? You tell me then, how do you define what you have with Dr. House? Tell me in your own words."
James whole body seemed to stiffen. He took a deep breath, eyes closed for a couple of breaths. "Sometimes... it's more than a friendship."
"James, people tend to put relationships into all kinds of boxes, trying to codify the rules that govern those relationships. What is it about your relationship with Dr. House that makes it something you consider outside of how you define friendship? "
He crossed his arms and sat back in the chair, realizing he looked defensive. He dropped his arms. "I know... I know I need to talk about this. If it were anybody else, I'd be telling them they had to be honest, but when it's about me and House... I'm not even sure if I have the right to tell anybody."
Sofia knew that James was getting close to a breakthrough.
"You need to be honest with yourself. I am not judging your decisions, James. You have a pattern of trying to fix people and trying to manipulate situations so that they fit around a set of constraints. I would like you to step away from those constraints and believe that I am acting as an impartial observer. How do you define your relationship with Dr. House?"
Looking up, then down, James was clearly doing his best to avoid eye contact.
"You want me to say it out loud?"
"Yes. Yes I do. I can turn my back and you can write it on paper and read it out loud, but you need to make it real for you, you need to let it out and not keep it stuffed inside.”
Shifting in the chair and looking as though he were trying to find some position where he could be comfortable and finding none, James blurted out, "Okay fine! You want to hear it? You want me to say it? We're ...lovers." Wilson got out of the chair and paced back and forth. "If you can say that about someone who may not even give a damn about you."
"James," she replied calmly, "I appreciate you getting to the heart of the matter, but why yell? Where is that emotion coming from?
"You don't understand."
"Help me to understand then."
She watched as he sat down again, letting his weight sink into his arms, pressing hard into the back of the chair. "We've been through so much together. Sometimes it was…really great, but as soon as there was any possibility of a real relationship..." He shook his head, "If he might actually to admit that someone could care about him... that he really cares about someone…"
Sofia looked at her watch. The time had flown by and they were just starting to make real progress. She needed to help him get to his final realization. "Have you told him how much you care? Or is this just an excuse to try to fix something that's broken?"
James looked up and waited a few moments before muttering, "You sound just like him."
Sofia nodded. "Why do you say that?"
He slumped back into his chair.
"He thinks I want to fix him. That I’m only interested in damaged people. I was worried he might find the questionnaire. He'd have a lot of fun with that."
"Kidnapping his guitar certainly sounds like you are trying to fix him...do you see it that way?"
"He needs someone to save him from himself."
Sofia glanced at her watch and saw that they had officially gone over time. She thought she might be able to get him to a place he needed to be if they went a little longer, and decided to push him a little harder. "Has he told you that? Asked you to push him? How do you know?"
Her questions came out quickly, but she made sure to keep her voice even and nonjudgmental.
James crossed his arms and legs and leaned back in the chair, looking defensive.
"James, I am here to help you, not judge you. I'm trying to help you define this obviously important relationship. Let's take a step back. When did the relationship take this change? When did it become intimate?"
He broke into a smile, the first one of the session. "It doesn't feel so bad once you say it out loud. House never wanted to give what we do a label. It would just be a night, a morning, or a way to spend some energy and pass the time. We haven't talked about what exists between the two of us. I don't think he feels...." Wilson let the rest of the sentence hang in the air.
"As fucked up as all this is, I love him. He's a sarcastic ass, but that doesn't matter. I love him, but I don’t think he…He won’t let me in. Not for long, anyway."
James glanced at his watch. "We've gone over time, I'm sorry." He went to stand up.
"It's fine," she said, trying to keep him focused. "We’re back to the same question. What were you trying to accomplish by kidnapping his guitar? Was it to prove something to him, or to yourself?"
"I don't know,’ he said, sounding genuinely perplexed by his own motivations.
This might be a good time to leave it for now. You can think about this for the next few days and we can get back together at your next session and see where you are."
Sofia could practically see his urge to run from the room and never come back.
"James?" Sofia prompted him.
"Yes, yes, next week, the afternoon slot. That’ll work."
"Wonderful, I'll see you then."
Wilson stood up and nodded. "Great, I'll give what we talked about some thought. Thanks.”
"Have a good week, James."
The door closed softly and Sofia hurried to her desk. She took a deep breath and started to write down her impressions of the session and notes to remind her of what they needed to discuss next week. There was still the possibility that he might not show up, but she hoped the catharsis he’d achieved would be enough to bring him back.
Notes on Dr. James Wilson - 1030AM Tuesday
James “kidnapped” his friend’s guitar as a way to provoke a confrontation. James admits that the relationship is at times intimate, but seems to feel that is one-sided. He does not feel appreciated or understood by his friend. I think these latest actions speak to a great problem of identity. James has created an identity out of what he thinks people expect. The challenge will be to find out who he really is.
Wilson had spent years watching House’s love affair with Vicodin and never honestly understood, even as he’d tried to defend House to Tritter. He knew the right words for both the physical and emotional dependency that people formed on behaviors or substances and though he really knew what addiction felt like. He'd been wrong.
Now he knew.
The sheer relief that had followed his admission to Dr. Drake was as intoxicating as three scotches or the involuntary amphetamine high he’d received courtesy of House. The thing he’d been keeping to himself for so long was out in the open, the words had been said, and the world hadn’t ended.
He walked out into the parking lot and breathed in the smoky autumn air, not sure if he wanted to laugh or cry or break into song. That night he treated himself to a celebratory steak dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Wilson felt better than he had in months, if not years. At work the next day, two nurses treated him to the flirtatious smiles that Wilson remembered used to greet him every day. He smiled back, wondering if he could have both of them, before remember that he was trying to curtail that sort of behaviour because it drove House crazy.
The real test would be seeing House, who was so taken with torturing his new horde of disciples that he managed to go nearly two days before showing up in Wilson’s office, smirk and insinuations fully in place.
“What are you up to?”
Wilson felt the metallic taste of adrenaline-fueled fear in his mouth. House knew that Wilson had exposed the thing that was never to be said out loud. Wilson braced himself for punishment by mockery and possibly the final nail in the coffin of whatever was left of their “relationship.” Then he took a deep breath. The secret had no power because it wasn’t a secret anymore. And if House was going to act like a petulant child, he’d, well; he’d spank him, or something. Wilson smiled to himself. He must be getting better if he could actually imagine inflicting pain on House.
“Who says I’m up to anything?”
“My spies tell me you were heard humming in the elevator.”
“I’ve joined the Princeton Barbershop Quartet. I’m the new tenor.” He started singing, just to get a wince out of House. “We were sailing along on moonlight bay.”
“And exactly which Madeline have you been paddling home with?”
House was actually smiling, which made Wilson smile. It was good see House like this. Energized and engaged, and most important, with no idea that Wilson had spilled the beans. Perfect.
The inevitable pager call interrupted and all Wilson had to keep him company was aesthetically pleasant sight of House walking away. He didn’t dwell on the emotional symbolism that House was always leaving one way or another. He buried it in the feeling of relief and did what he’d always done, immersing himself in his work. There, he also felt a sense of renewed interest. He was able take on new patients without immediately envisioning their last days.
Something must have changed in his demeanor as well. Smiles kept coming his way, including one from Cuddy, who’d been so concerned with House’s well-being, she seemed to have forgotten that she had a whole hospital to administer, not just one cranky genius.
It was toward the end of the third day, that he spotted House surrounded by the new applicants. He hadn’t really bothered learning their faces or names yet, although there were several very attractive women in the group.
House wasn’t bothering to enlist Wilson in his latest capers and it made him feel like a boy being left out of the clubhouse. Suddenly the rest of the week he had to wait before talking to Dr. Drake seemed very, very far away
By the time his next appointment arrived, Wilson was brimming over with things to talk about and one hour a week wasn’t enough.
He switched to twice a week and by October, he had moved up to three. His insurance company had cut down their co-payment and Wilson was writing the kind of checks he used to dish out to Bonnie for alimony. It was worth every penny to be able to tell someone about the rare jubilation he’d felt when House said out loud, “I love you,” even if it was a joke made in gratitude for the extra Vicodin, or the horror he’d felt when House endangered his own life again, or even the efforts he’d gone to cover his jealousy when House insisted on obsessing about some woman from the CIA to whom he’d rashly made a job offer.
Every session was a chance to unburden himself of whatever miseries or joys House had inflicted on him in the intervening days. He got the relief, but it was never quite as good as the first time. He sensed that Dr. Drake was growing frustrated with him and he was starting to fear that his supplier might cut him off.
“I’d like to talk about your brother,” she’d start. Or his parents. Or Julie. Or why he’d become a doctor. Or how it felt to be in a specialty that almost guaranteed constant failure in terms of patient deaths. Wilson would dutifully speak on the subject until something reminded him of House, and then his pulse would rise and the rest of the session would be spent on his favorite topic.
He told himself he had to talk about House. What else was there in his life, really? He worked at Princeton Plainsboro because of House; every relationship in his life had ended because of House.
How could he not tell his therapist the details of what exactly had happened when Wilson tried to spent Thanksgiving with his parents? Danny’s absence was more painfully acute then ever, and the conversation turned to Wilson’s most recent marital disaster long before the turkey was carved. They’d heard Julie’s version before Wilson’s, and naturally she put the blame right at House’s doorstep. When both his parents and his sister-in-law started attacking House, Wilson had stood up to them, literally. He’d gotten to his feet, and announced to them that House would always be a part of his life and if they couldn’t accepted that, then maybe he didn’t need to see them at all.
He’d left his parents’ home in Ridgewood without even getting a piece of Aunt Phoebe’s pumpkin cheesecake for the road and driven all the way back to Princeton. He didn’t worry about the time when he knocked on House’s door. He knew House’s sleep patterns better than his own, having written nearly as many prescriptions to battle insomnia as he had for Vicodin.
“Where are we, House?” he demanded, daring House to make some kind of smart-ass remark instead of dealing with the question.
“What do you want, Wilson?” House asked, sounding irritated but slightly intrigued by Wilson’s aggressiveness.
Half-imagining himself telling Dr. Drake about the event, he stepped further into the apartment, into House’s personal space.
“And then I pushed the door closed and I kissed him.”
“What kind of a kiss?”
“Very Hollywood,’ he replied, remembering it, seeing the slow-motion, the fiercely grasping hands, and House’s mouth opening up to him.
“How did he react?”
“He didn’t stop me,” he said, as though this fact meant as much as he wanted it to.
Dr. Drake nodded, but didn’t seem terribly impressed.
“You had sex.”
She was looking him straight in the eye, and Wilson felt defiance building up.
“Yes. We did. And it was great,” he added, not completely truthfully. It was great by sex-with-House standards. “He let me stay all night.”
Wilson tried not to notice exactly how pathetic that must sound.
“Are you using House to punish your parents?”
“What? No,” Wilson bristled.
Something was wrong. He’d expected his therapist to be supportive, maybe even congratulatory.
Instead he felt like she was judging him, as though she were rejecting his connection to House as much as his family had.
“I’d like to talk about your first marriage. Your parents liked Tricia, didn’t they?”
“Everybody liked Tricia.”
“What about you?” she asked, pointedly.
“I loved her.”
“But did you like her?”
The session ended shortly thereafter, with Wilson feeling dissatisfied. He wanted to get Dr. Drake's support for pushing House further and demanding some kind of emotional commitment. It hadn’t worked before, but he was stronger now. Therapy had done wonders for him.
I’ll see you Friday,” Dr. Drake reminded him and Wilson nodded. Next time would be better, and hopefully by then he’d have more progress with House to report.
His illusions suffered a head-on collision with reality when he discovered that House had urged his patient to sue over Wilson’s mistaken diagnosis.
He’d sat and stared at House in disbelief. Every single moment of closeness, those times when he’d looked into House’s eyes and honestly believed they shared some something special, evaporated.
Never mind a lover or soul mate; what kind of a friend would do that? House had jeopardized Wilson’s career before, but never so blatantly or so pointlessly. It wasn’t even selfish; it was just stupid and vindictive.
The worst part had been House’s attempts to convince Wilson that it was for his own good. To teach him some kind of lesson, even though he tried to couch it in jokes about wanting Wilson to keep his money for House
House would ask him for advice about whom to hire, but in the end he’d do what he wanted. House would fuck him, and then try to screw him over professionally. House would act like Wilson was important to him, and do anything to keep him from having a relationship with another person, but he’d never put Wilson first in his life. What was wrong with him that would make him love a man like that?
Wilson had just taken out his cell phone to call Dr. Drake for an emergency appointment, when his pager went off. One of his patients was coding. This, he remembered, this was what was important. Even when his personal life was total crap, he had to go and try to do his best by his patients.
At the end of the day, he was wandering around the hospital trying to work up the energy to go home when he saw the tall blonde leaving the room of House’s latest patient. She’d clearly been crying.
He had to struggle for her name. Calling her Cutthroat Bitch probably wouldn’t be helpful under the circumstances.
“Are you ok, Dr. Volakis?”
“I’ll be fine.” He watched her clench a fist, digging in her nails to keep herself under control. “It’s House.”
“Is something wrong?”
Wilson’s momentary panic that House had once again hurt himself quickly subsided. Dr. Volakis wouldn’t be crying over that. She’d be dealing with the situation the way she had before, capably and professionally. That left only one option. House had decided on his team and she wasn’t among the winners.
“You didn’t make it?”
“It’s not fair. He said I played the game better than anyone.”
“He’s an ass.”
She was biting her lip, clearly trying not to let herself break down.
He’d witnessed enough of the process to know this was woman defined herself by strength, who’d worn her nickname with pride. Wilson had seen how hard she fought for the job and could only imagine how devastated she must feel to have lost at the very end.
“I know,” she sniffled. Wilson offered her his open arms and she deliberately took a step backwards. That was good, Wilson thought. Good for both of them. Bonnie and Julie had both walked right in.
He settled for a pat on the shoulder, which she accepted. He could feel the tension in her upper body and suspected how hard she was fighting not to give in her emotions again.
It felt right to be comforting her. They’d had a special connection ever since she’d crawled into his office to thwart one of House’s rules. He’d admired her initiative, along with her legs and shapely rear end.
Wilson let the hand on her shoulder move down her back. Instead of the soothing noises he’d used with other women, he told her he’d see what he could do for her in terms of contacts and referrals. She looked at him, narrowing her eyes, before widening them, and they were beautiful. The longer he stayed there, touching her, the less concerned he became about House or anything else.
“I can’t change House’s mind or anything, but I’d like to take you to dinner.” She looked him up and down, presumably weighing suspicion with the need for a friend or even just a free meal.
He put on his best sympathy smile.
She smiled and shook her head. She probably knew his reputation, but was deciding to take a chance anyway. Or maybe because of it. There were parts of his reputation he could certainly live up to.
“Why not? I might as well get something out of this.”
Wilson hoped they’d both get something, and either way, he’d be helping someone who needed it.
While she went to freshen up, he left a message for Dr. Drake canceling their next session.
He was tired of being an addict.