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Chapter 4

“You,” House said, pointing his cane at Wilson after dropping his backpack near the kitchen doorway, “are healing patients.”

Wilson looked up from chopping onions, his mouth twitching in amusement. “That’s what I understood I was being paid to do, so — yes. Guilty as charged. Forgive me for doing my job.”

“Wrong! You get paid to treat your patients. The treatment — medication, radiation, surgery — is supposed to heal them, not you.”

Wilson threw down the knife. “House, I don’t even know what you’re getting at. I treat my patients according to the latest guidelines. Every now and then I go out on a limb and try a somewhat more aggressive treatment than usual or a slightly unorthodox combination, but that’s about it. It isn’t anything obscure or mystic, and it sure as hell isn’t illegal.”

House eyed him speculatively. “So you’re saying you cured Leroy Carter via conventional methods.”

“As you were so quick to point out, I didn’t cure him. He recovered. Whether that’s due to the treatment or a happy coincidence is up for debate, given that till now treatment didn’t even scratch the surface.” Picking up the knife again, he waggled it at House. “I get that ‘coincidence’ is a swear word in your universe, but that’s all I can offer. Oh yes, his grandmother prayed for him three times a day, if that’s more to your taste. But my methods were above board and will stand the scrutiny of any investigation.”

“I’m not talking about the treatment as documented in the files. I’m talking about your personal involvement. You’re doing something. I don’t know what you’re up to, but when all other treatment fails —“

“You’ve caught me, House. I go in there, wave my magic wand, utter, ‘Interfice tumores!’ and the patient is healed.” Wilson waved his knife foppishly before returning to his onion massacre.

House picked up a lemon and squeezed it suggestively. “The patient leeches you and survives, while you are drained.”

“Fascinating. You could write a paper on your theory. . . . Leave that lemon alone if you value your dinner.”

House put down the lemon. He reached back with his cane to pull his backpack towards himself. From it he extracted Carter’s patient file and slapped it onto the counter. “When were you going to replace the last page?”

“Sorry?”

“Like you did with Gillian Dupont, Chandra Ramanujan, Sonny Wills, and others. I know what Gillian’s file looked like before you ‘cleansed’ it, and I’ve found a nurse who can testify that Ramanujan’s patient file has undergone a drastic change since she last saw it.”

Wilson stared at the files without moving. Finally he met House’s stare. “You’re basing your crazy theory that I’m some kind of I-don’t-know —“

“Miracle worker,” House inserted.

Wilson looked at him with distaste. “‘Miracle worker’, then. You’re basing your theory on the fact that I had to replace a few messy pages with neater, more legible versions.”

“Puh-lease! Your nurse practically fainted when she saw the bowdlerised files. There’s no legal justification whatsoever for file retconning, so whatever you’re hiding has to be bigger than your fear of getting caught. ” House rapped the files with his knuckles. “All other doctors advertise their expertise, especially if it happens to be curing cancer. You must be the only doctor trying to hide the fact that he can cure terminally ill patients. Now why would you do that instead of giving hope to many?”

“I don’t . . . I can’t . . .”

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Tell you what, I’ve re-written your bio data for the hospital website.” House pulled out his laptop, flipped the lid open, and read aloud, “‘Dr Wilson has been highly successful in treating patients with a poor prognosis, especially the young. If your child has been diagnosed with a stage III or stage IV cancer, do not hesitate to contact Dr Wilson directly.’ I’m sure you’ll get ten to twenty phone calls a day, plus emails. Not to mention parents beleaguering your office, tugging at your sleeves every time you pass, pushing their children’s files under your door. What’ll you do, open up a waiting list? Or are there special criteria that qualify a patient for treatment with your Healing Hands?”

He poised his index finger an inch above the enter key. “One click, and then — ping! — it’s uploaded to the hospital website.”

“House, no!”

“No?” House said, circling his finger above the key.

Wilson leaned on the kitchen counter with both hands. “It’s complicated, okay?” he said fiercely, looking down at the chopped onions.

“I can clear my busy schedule to accommodate your break-through in cancer treatment.”

Wilson looked up, his eyes shiny-bright. (House opted to blame the onions.) “It’s no break-through. It’s . . . Oh, fuck!” He brushed past House, and for a moment House feared that he was making a run for it. But a moment later he heard the swoosh-thump of Wilson dropping onto the couch.

House got two cans of beer from the fridge, and then joined Wilson in the living room. Wilson was curled up on the couch, his eyes closed and the blanket drawn up to his chin. House opened one of the cans and placed it on the coffee table next to Wilson’s head. Opening his eyes, Wilson shook his head wearily.

“Not for me,” he said.

So whatever it was, it was worse than a divorce. House settled down in an armchair and waited.

“It started with Danny,” Wilson finally said, turning onto his back. “Over the years I’d gotten adept at calming him whenever he had a bad turn, but I’d never attached significance to the fact that I could do it while the others couldn’t. Not until my last year in high school, when he got worse. I noticed how much it drained me to get him back into sync, but at the time I assumed it was the psychological stress of dealing with a sick brother.
“Then, in the middle of my first year at college, my parents called me. They said they couldn’t cope with Danny any longer and that he’d have to be institutionalised. I rushed home, and — they had a point. He was completely out of control. So, I . . . calmed him again. It took hours of sitting with him, holding him, talking to him, comforting him. I sort of ’walked’ him through his delusions until he came out on the other side. Afterwards I was exhausted to the bone; I collapsed on my bed.
“That night I woke up to voices. There were people at my bedside, people I knew but who had no business to be there, calling me names and telling me that I was a loser. Later, there were dragons, real dragons. I could reach out and touch them. And . . . other stuff.”
“It went on for days. I thought I was going mad. As it was, I nearly dropped out of college. And I realised that I couldn’t help Danny without endangering myself. I didn’t return home anymore regardless of my parents’ pleas. I’d phone Danny and try to talk him through it, but I couldn’t face him again, knowing that I’d have to refuse him what he needed. It was either him or me. I chose myself.”

Wilson fell silent for so long that House finally cleared his throat. Wilson opened his eyes, but only to stare at the ceiling. He hadn’t looked at House once since starting his tale.

“What about your cancer patients?” House asked.

Wilson became smaller, more vulnerable, if that was possible at all. “I had no idea I could do that with other diseases too, diseases that weren’t of the mind, or with people who weren’t close to me. I’d assumed that it was the bond between Danny and me that was causing the problem.
“Then, about eight years ago I had a young patient with terminal cancer. He wasn’t my first terminal patient, nor was he the first kid, but — he reminded me of Danny. So I spent a lot of time with him. And I don’t need you to tell me that my actions were fuelled by guilt; I’m quite capable of figuring that out by myself. . . . When he started slipping away, I automatically did what I’d been doing with Danny, the walking-him-through-it thing. I assumed that I was easing his departure from this world; instead he came out alive on the other side, and I — well, you’ve seen what it does to me.”

“So what do you do?”

Wilson turned his head to look at House. “I have no idea. I can only tell you what it feels like, and you’ve seen the effects. I can’t reproduce it on command; I can only do it if I feel a strong pull, a sort of inner urge.”

“What triggers the urge?”

“House, this isn’t an exact science! In fact, it isn’t science at all. I can’t tell you why some patients trigger me while others don’t.”

House mentally let the files parade along the catwalk of his mind. “Young patients, patients with people who love them, patients who are ‘worthy’,” he noted. “You don’t do it for the elderly or for miserable jerks.”

Wilson looked at House pointedly. “I only do it for the dying. The price is too high.”

“A day in bed?”

Wilson sat up abruptly and cast the blanket off. “It’s more than that, okay? Would you be prepared to lose your mind?”

House looked down. When he looked up again, Wilson had disappeared into the bathroom. House went into the kitchen and surveyed the chopped onions. He could hear Wilson letting water into the bathtub. House swept the onions into the trash and took his takeout flyers out of the drawer.

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Date: 2016-10-13 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] menolly-au.livejournal.com
How dare Wilson go around healing patients! Although I do like the distinction House makes there, I guess Wilson using his special talent is one up on giving them half his liver to cure them.... Poor Wilson, he's carrying a large burden of guilt over not being able/willing to help Danny further and he's had no-one to talk about all this with.

Date: 2016-10-14 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingrat.livejournal.com
How dare Wilson go around healing patients!
Yes, utterly outrageous — when he could go bowling, hang out in coma patient's room, or check out clinic patients' boobs with House. :)

Wilson using his special talent is one up on giving them half his liver to cure them
Yes, it isn't really hard to imagine Wilson behaving like this if he had a gift like that.

Poor Wilson
Yes, indeed. It's a curse, actually, not a gift.

Date: 2016-10-13 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yarroway.livejournal.com
I had to tell you again how wonderful this fic is.

Date: 2016-10-14 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingrat.livejournal.com
Thank you. (How does one do a waving emoticon?)

Date: 2016-10-14 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yarroway.livejournal.com
No clue. How about if I just imagine one there? :)
Edited Date: 2016-10-14 10:29 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-10-15 11:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingrat.livejournal.com
Works for me :)

Date: 2016-10-13 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] srsly-yes.livejournal.com
I like how Danny's schizophrenia triggered Wilson's empathic ability. I wonder, would it have stayed dormant if it were not for his brother?

Ooh. Just had a thought. Maybe Wilson actually cured Grace too. ;)

Only one more chapter? Hate for the story to end.

Date: 2016-10-14 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingrat.livejournal.com
would it have stayed dormant if it were not for his brother?
I think it was always there, but he might never have found out, because normally doctors don't have such an intensive contact with their patients. (At least, mine don't.)

Maybe Wilson actually cured Grace too.
Ooh, I hadn't thought of that, but you might well be right :)

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