Written for the Supernatural!Wilson challenge at sick_wilson's Fall Fling.
Length: ~ 8 k, 5 Chapters
Genre: supernatural (kinda a given), friendship
Characters: House, Wilson, cameo appearances of the team and Cuddy
Setting: spanning canon
Warnings: major character deaths implied! This is not a 'happy' fic!
Summary: Wilson's reaction to a cancer patient's unexpected survival makes House suspicious. He asks a few questions, but the more he finds out, the less he likes the answers.
Beta'd by menolly_au who was unflappable as usual when I inundated her with a lot of words at extremely short notice (read: no notice whatsoever).
If House’s car hadn’t had a flat that day, maybe he’d never have found out, because then he would have been on his couch watching the ball game instead of sitting on the hood of Wilson’s car, waiting for Wilson to pack up for the day and give him a ride home. It was from there that he observed Julie’s car pull into PPTH’s parking lot with squeaking tires. Julie wasn’t the type to wear down a decent set of tires for the sake of a dramatic entry, nor was she likely to pick Wilson up from work when he had a perfectly good car of his own. Julie, Wilson liked to say, was practical-minded. (House personally preferred the term ‘self-centred’.)
House hopped off Wilson’s car and headed back towards PPTH so as to intersect Julie’s path just as she reached the entrance doors.
“Greg,” Julie said, scarcely masking her dislike.
“Julie,” House replied with a mock bow. “Picking up your significant other for a romantic evening?”
Julie snorted. “Romantic evening! One of his patients took a turn for the worse this week.”
That had indeed been the case, to House’s considerable irritation. Wilson was no fun when his patients threatened to fizzle out. He flat out refused to be distracted from his duties in order to watch soaps in Coma Patient’s room. He ignored pages for consults in the clinic; he sat listlessly in the cafeteria, not even putting up a token protest when House ate up his entire meal; he didn’t join House out on the balcony in front of House’s office. He wasted massive amounts of time and energy hovering over the patient, holding their hand, monitoring their medication, and reassuring loved ones.
It so happened, however, that House’s sources in oncology had informed him of a significant improvement in the patient’s condition that very afternoon (which was why House had entertained realistic hopes of being chauffeured to Baker Street). In short, the crisis was resolved (for the moment) and Wilson was free to wine and dine his neglected spouse — if he so wished. House’s brain considered and discarded several theories that accounted for Wilson’s failure to communicate his patient’s current medical status to Julie.
The simplest explanation usually being the correct one, it was fair to assume that Wilson’s marital communication deficits were in some way connected to the new paediatrics resident, a well-endowed blonde. House didn’t much like Julie, but then, he didn’t like anyone Wilson married. Chances were that he wouldn’t like Wife #4 any better than Wife #3. As annoying as an unhappily married Wilson was, Wilson in love was ten times worse. It therefore behooved House to preserve Wilson’s current marriage.
“There isn’t much you can do to help,” he said to Julie. “He’ll be with the patient monitoring her status until he’s sure that there’s nothing he can do anymore. I’ll stay here and take him home when he’s ready to go, if you like.” He accompanied his offer with a winning smile for Julie and a mental note to himself to give Wilson hell for screwing around with the paediatrics chick.
“His patient is recovering,” Julie stated, striding so rapidly that House was hard put to keep up with her.
Oh, so she knew. Curiouser and curiouser! “And that’s a problem because?”
“He’ll need me to take him home. . . . Have you never seen him after one of those crash-and-recovery thingies?” Julie asked, tapping her foot impatiently as she waited for the elevator.
House considered her question. In Wilson’s specialty, there wasn’t much in the way of recovery once the patients had passed a certain point. From there on, it was mostly downhill. Only a handful responded to treatment in unexpected ways. House had heard of a few instances when patients with supposedly terminal cancer had rallied and left the hospital on their own two legs, never to return. He’d never attributed much significance to the rumours, because people in general and oncology staff in particular craved saviour myths; they needed lightning flashes of hope in order to survive the appalling dreariness of daily deaths. Within the oncology department Wilson had a near-mythological status when it came to seemingly hopeless cases. (House suspected that his friend had a better eye for atypical tumours and a happier hand at selecting treatment options than the average oncologist, but whatever.)
Nevertheless, he couldn’t remember any instance of Wilson bouncing off the walls of his office, of victory dances, celebratory alcohol binges, or any other signs of Wilsonian cheer after a particularly felicitous case of cancer remission. When those rumours of miraculous cures cropped up, they did so in a contextual vacuum, rather as if Wilson the Saviour wielding a wand of healing co-existed with Wilson the Friend of House, who knew nothing of these goings-on. (Which was why House had never given the rumours much credit.)
Julie interrupted his musings with an aside. “I guess not. I’m sure I wouldn’t want you to see me like that.”
House lifted a lecherous eyebrow. “You’re saying he gets so horny he jumps everything in sight?” Maybe that explained two-point-five broken marriages in the man’s life.
“I wish! I’ll be lucky if I get any in the near future,” Julie muttered, giving up on the elevator and heading for the stairwell. “Nice talking to you, Greg.”
House was intrigued. He could count off on the fingers of one hand the number of times Julie had seen fit to pick Wilson up from the hospital and still have fingers left over. And he couldn’t ever remember Julie voicing concern over Wilson’s state of health or their sex life. Definitely a first there — one that she’d probably regret later, once she realised in front of whom she’d shot her mouth off. He briefly considered following her up the stairs, but after a packed day that had included two hours of clinic duty, climbing stairs wasn’t an option. The elevator was dicey; chances were that Wilson and Julie would be on their way down by the time he managed to catch a car going up, so House finally settled on waiting in the lobby.
He’d come to the conclusion that Julie had outmanoeuvred him by taking Wilson out via a side entrance when they finally arrived in the lobby. When the elevator doors opened wide enough to reveal them, House’s mouth fell open. Wilson had draped an arm over Julie’s shoulders, the seemingly romantic gesture marred by his pale, sweaty face and the heavy list of his body towards Julie. Julie’s face was set in a determined mask, her lips a tight line from the strain of practically carrying Wilson out of the elevator.
They stumbled out of the elevator, Julie muttering, “Okay, James, just a few more steps and then we’ve got it. Come on, you can do it!”
If it wasn’t for Wilson’s pallor, House would assume that he was badly wasted. House swung into place on Wilson’s other side to shield him from curious stares, only to earn an, “Oh no, I thought he’d be gone!” from Julie. He chose not to respond, skipping a half step ahead to hold open the lobby door when they reached it. Once out of sight of the lobby, he grabbed Wilson’s free arm and pulled it around his own neck.
“I don’t suppose anyone would like to tell me what’s going on?” he managed to spit out from between clenched teeth. His leg didn’t appreciate having to bear half of Wilson’s weight in addition to his own.
Wilson lifted bleary eyes. “Leave it, House.”
“You know that isn’t likely to happen.”
“Flu, okay?” Wilson said, leaning against the car while Julie opened the passenger door. “Be fine once I’m rested.”
“Right,” House said. He changed tack. “Wanna give me a ride home? My car broke down.”
As Julie leaned over Wilson to fix his seat belt, Wilson’s head fell back, his eyes closed. He said weakly, “He can —“
“No, he can’t,” Julie said with force.
“— take my car and bring it back here tomorrow,” Wilson continued, ignoring the interruption.
Julie dug into Wilson’s coat pocket and pulled out his car keys. She tossed them to House. “Here! You heard him.”
“‘Thanks for your help, Greg,’” House mouthed in a falsetto as she rounded the car to the driver’s side.
Julie sighed. “Okay, thanks, Greg. Just . . . Just give him some space, will you?” It wasn’t really a question. It was more of a prayer that she knew would go unanswered.