Summary: Two ways Help Me could have ended. From a prompt by Soophilia which had Wilson showing up instead of Cuddy.
Disclaimer: House, M.D. belongs to David Shore, Universal Television, Heel and Toe Productions, and a lot of other people who are not me. I'm not making any money from this.
Thanks: as always, to Srsly_yes for her patient beta work.
Option One: Wilson arrives a little later than Cuddy did...
The pills are in his hand. He hurts everywhere and the pills are in his hand, and he wants them. He doesn’t want to want them, but he does.
House looks at the doorway. There’s no one here to stop him. There’s no one here to save him.
Why not take them? Why not blot it all out?
Amber…He doesn’t want to see her again. He never wants to see her again. He never wants to have trouble discriminating reality from delusion again. He could have lost his license permanently. He could have killed his patient. He remembers lying in Wilson’s bathtub realizing he’d been wrong about MS. He remembers not being able to trust his perceptions or his conclusions, thinking it was eosinophilic pneumonitis and then being sure that meant it was anything but that. Worse, he remembers Chase.
He also remembers all the years he took Vicodin without any of that happening.
He thinks the reason he hallucinated Amber a year ago was that he’d still felt guilty about her death. He knows that it wasn’t his fault, that no one could not have predicted the accident, but the truth was that he’d been frightened and jealous. He’d wanted her for himself and he’d wanted her dead, and then she was, and suddenly both of those wants were betrayals.
Has he forgiven himself enough to be sure that won’t happen again? It’d be interesting to find out. It’s not like he’ll be losing anything if he is wrong. A detox will get rid of her. No one will know he’s taken a handful of pills, and… no one will care. Cuddy was right. She and Wilson were both moving on. Trading up. While he has nothing and no one.
Except these. His fingers close around the pills.
He swallows and then coughs. He isn’t used to dry swallowing anymore, but it’s comforting to feel them go down. It’s comforting to know that the pain will fade soon. He scooches further down against the bathtub and waits for them to kick in.
His dreams are troubled. Someone is chasing him down a long hallway. He runs but never fast enough or far enough. He passes people. Cameron and Chase, their heads bent together over a medical chart, Wilson and Sam playing cards together, Taub and Thirteen doing a tango. They don’t notice him.
He comes to a door and flings it open. Cuddy is there. She smiles at him and for a moment he thinks he’s saved.
“You’re late, as usual,” she says. She grabs him and throws him onto the couch. Stacy is there and Cuddy holds him down.
“This will hurt a lot,” Stacy says, positioning a chainsaw over his leg.
“It’s for your own good,” Cuddy assures him.
He wakes himself, screaming. His leg bursts into pain as he surges to his feet, panting, terrified. They aren’t there. It was a dream, it was only a dream, but his leg really does hurt.
House takes more Vicodin and drags himself to bed.
He’s in a tunnel that angles sharply downward. There’s a dim light somewhere behind him. There is a voice calling his name in that direction, muffled in the distance. House doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He heads deeper into the cave, curious to find what’s there. His leg doesn’t hurt, doesn’t slow him, and he’s happy about that.
It’s dark here. He has a candle but no canary, which is dangerous; Wilson will be angry at him when he finds out, but Wilson is busy with Sam. It serves him right that he’ll notice too late to stop House from exploring.
He heads down. The tunnel closes in around him. House scrambles over rocks and squeezes through narrow channels where the walls come together. He’s not sure he’s going to be able to make it out again but he keeps going anyway.
“House!” he hears, and something rubs hard against his sternum. House bats it away and is surprised at the lack of strength in his arms.
“House,” Wilson says again. What’s Wilson doing in his cave?
A light shines into his eyes. House groans. Wilson’s face swims into focus.
“Get up,” he says. He sounds grim. He gets a shoulder under House’s arm and tries to lift him off the bed. House tries to get his feet under him but he’s weak. Weak and useless and tumbling.
He’s on his side on the floor. He sees that very clearly, and then he starts to drift again, and somewhere House knows this is bad and maybe he took too many pills, but it doesn’t hurt anymore, so there’s that, and he’s on a cloud sinking very slowly. It’s comfortable here, peaceful and pain-free.
Something stings his thigh and he tries to push it away but he can’t make his arm move. It hurts but he lets himself drift away, just drift, and it doesn’t matter anymore.
The cloud quickly dissolves into his bedroom. House is lying on his side on the floor with Wilson’s worried face hovering over him like a setting moon. House is completely clear-headed and he’s pissed.
“What did you do?” he growls.
Wilson holds up a syringe. “Nalaxone.”
“Dammit, Wilson,” House says, shouting. “I’m in pain!”
“Yes,” Wilson shoots back, “and I just wanted to burst your bubble for no reason other than your lips were turning blue and you were nonresponsive.”
That stops House. He took the second dose too quickly. It shakes him. He’s relapsed and he might have died from it. He can’t think of a single reason not to do it again, either, which means he will.
“What do we do now?” House asks, hating how he sounds, but he doesn’t know what to do, can’t trust himself to think clearly. For all he knows, this could all be a hallucination “How do I even know you’re real?”
Wilson grimaces at that. “You’ll just have to trust me,” he says, and squeezes House’s shoulder for a second. Then he gets to his feet and walks away. House can hear Wilson moving things around in his closet and a few moments later Wilson reappears with a suitcase. He begins to pack House’s clothes, his toiletries.
There’s something very wrong with him, because he can’t think of a single dismissive or obnoxious thing to say. His mind is drifting, rudderless, and he’s not sure even now that any of this is truly happening.
He waits for Wilson to bustle back into his field of vision. “Kiss me,” he demands.
Wilson's mouth tightens. "Hard as it is to believe, I think I'll forego the honor."
“You know you want to. You’ve wanted to for years. This is your chance. If you don’t like it, you can tell me later it was a hallucination. It’s not like it’d be the first time I’ve had psychotic sex.”
Wilson stops. His hands are on his hips. “Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a partner capable of meaningful consent. Besides, you’re only asking in order to find out whether I’m real or not. I--” he pauses, thinking. “I suppose that parallels your hallucination of Cuddy last year.” There is a note in his voice House can’t place. He is too out of it to figure it out.
Wilson is right, though. If this were House’s hallucination he and Wilson would be—-but they aren’t. The rejection stings, which is stupid. Why would Wilson want him? Why would Wilson ever want him, let alone now when House is filthy and high and weak? On the other hand, maybe House’s libido isn’t in charge of this hallucination. Maybe his self-destructive streak is calling the shots.
He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know anything.
“Hey,” Wilson says. His hands frame House’s face, lift it. “I’m taking you to the hospital. You have to get up.”
House looks at him. He is terrified that this isn’t real, that his subconscious is manufacturing what he wants. If Wilson is a product of his imagination, does that mean House is going to drive somewhere? He doesn’t think he can drive. He feels uncoordinated, disconnected from his body. Lost.
He can think this through. Is it likely Wilson would be here? Or is it more likely he’d be at the hospital with Cuddy or at home with Sam?
Turns out, those aren’t hard questions.
“This isn’t real,” he says, unreasonably hurt and angry at Wilson for being a figment of his imagination. “I wish you were. I--” need you, he was going to say, but he won’t speak those words, not even to a hallucination. “You’re not real.”
Wilson lets go of him.
“You gonna vanish now?” House asks harshly, because even hallucinatory Wilson is better than being alone.
“For the moment,” Wilson agrees. He leaves the room, and House is annoyed with his subconscious for making him go.
Wilson returns, arms full of pillows and blankets, a large medical bag hanging on his shoulder. “I’ll wait for you to sober up. Barring some new medical crisis, we can wait to get to a hospital in the morning.”
He arranges House to his liking, and sits down on the floor beside him, cross-legged. He dims the lights and pulls out an e-reader.
“Get some sleep, if you can. You’ll get through this, House.”
House is on the floor. He is breathing. He is certain that he is breathing. In a few hours Wilson will either still be here, or he won’t. House presses his forehead against Wilson’s leg. It feels solid and warm and real, but Cuddy felt that way too. He can’t be sure, but so long as he keeps breathing he’ll find out in a few hours. He feels Wilson’s hand come to rest lightly on his back.
He closes his eyes.