damigella: (sad_thoughtful_wilson)
[personal profile] damigella
Chapter 1 and warnings. Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Chapter nine

I take my time in dressing - not easy, and I'll need help to organize my closet so I can still wear matching colors. Of course if House lived here and helped me select clothes in the evening... God, I'm so stupid. I could be a teenager as far as my ability to dream the impossible goes.

Finally I have no more excuses, but just as I get out of the bedroom I hear the front door opening. "Grocery shopping, will be back," he shouts, followed by the door banging closed behind him.

I check everything as much as I can. The kitchen is clean and tidy, and after some diligent searching I discover that the clothes I discarded yesterday have mysteriously found their way into the laundry hamper. My fingers meet also something unexpected there. A pair of boxers, high-quality satin cotton, smooth as silk. Still with the starchy feeling and sharp folds of new underwear that has been worn only once after purchase and not been washed yet. Not mine.

I search more, and identify also a t-shirt with the same smell as his deodorant - fresh and barely noticeable. I sit down on the tiles and keep smelling. It's only when the trace of his scent has gone dull that I go back to the bedroom and start trying to coax the computer into reading the newspaper to me.

I can hear House limping in, and I leave the laptop to go to him.

"Do you need help carrying the groceries? I may be blind but I'm able-bodied."

"Nah, I agreed on home delivery. They'll be here in the afternoon, we can go grab a sandwich for lunch. You're paying."

A smile finds its way to my lips. It's good to remember the old times. House takes my hand and leads me to the couch, making sure we sit near each other, but not too close. I could try to protest, but I don't.

"Wilson, will you let me stay here now?"

I swallow, trying to gain time. "I don't know."

"That would be because you love me?"

His voice tone is completely serious. Even the dreaded four-letter word comes out without a hint of mockery. More like it were a life sentence, which in a sense it is. I'm trying to figure out how to answer this when the doorbell rings. He's faster than me, and soon comes back.

"Fed-exed official letter for you, I had to sign a receipt. From PPTH."

What could this be? And why sent like that? I'll be going there again for a check-up tomorrow. It makes no sense.

"If it's not in braille you may as well read it aloud, House."

I hear the envelope being torn, the sheet of paper unfold. "Nope, just a boring administrative letter. Dear Dr. Wilson, I'll skip the salutations-" House pauses. The silence lengthens, becomes scary.

"What does it say?"

He sits down, but not too near. As if I could read over his shoulder. "Your license has been suspended, and you're now on leave for medical reasons. It's paid, but if you cannot go back to work within six months your contract will be rescinded." House pauses before going on. "And they also ask whether you prefer to receive your severance pay as a monthly allowance for three years or as a lump sum. Apparently they don't believe you'll go back."

I fumble in my pocket for the happy pills. Then I remember, but decide to take one anyway.

The doorbell rings again, and this time I follow him; it's the grocery delivery. They had a free slot and decided to try and see whether we were home. I whisper loudly in House's ear to tip them well, so much so that the delivery guy laughs and says "Don't worry, he gave me five bucks."

House shoos me off, claiming he needs to be alone to cook properly, and insisting it's time for me to practice some Braille anyway.

He obviously wants to avoid discussing feelings, and so do I. I didn't know I could be so much of a coward. And yet, how far can avoidance go?

We're sitting on opposite sides of the table, and my second cup of coffee is empty. I refuse a third. I'm scared but avoiding the issue makes me more sick than facing it, and the solidity of the wood between us makes me feel a bit more at ease. Protected. Whether protecting me from him, or him from my hands overriding my brain I don't know.

"House. I really think you should leave. I appreciate your efforts but now please go."

Hs cup hasn't moved for the last ten minutes at least. It must be empty, or its content cold. Suddenly he grabs my hand, his arm stretched across the table. I wonder whether he touches me on purpose, and decide he probably does.

"There's something I need to explain."

"Do I have a choice whether to listen or not?"

I hear a soft chuckle. "I don't think so. Except, of course, you now have a phone: you can call the police and say I threatened you."

It's clear that he doesn't believe for a minute I would do it, and neither do I. I sense his fingers relaxing and pull my hand free.

"Speak. But I won't believe a word."

He gets up, brings the cups to the sink. When he comes back he stops behind my chair, rests his hands on my shoulders, and for a fleeting moment his touches my hair, or maybe I just dream it. He limps away, lies down on the couch. There's no music and the rain has stopped, the room is so quiet I can hear my own heartbeat, and occasionally his breath, a bit ragged as if he had been running.

"During my stay at the Barbados, I met someone. Well, at first I paid her, but when my money started running low I didn't hire her anymore. So she just came by whenever she needed a break, and we also talked a lot."

"Don't tell me there's a prostitute somewhere who's as stupid as I am."

"She might be. She eventually insisted I had to go back to my life. When I said I couldn't face it, she said there must be someone back where I came from who would stand by me. I explained to her what I had done, but she was stubborn that someone would still care."

"So that's when you thought of Thirteen, uh? Too bad Sandy came in the way."

House's moving around. Like he's not comfortable. Maybe his conscience is bothering him? I laugh at my own idiocy. House doesn't have a conscience.

"Rosario found me a therapist. Well, a drunkard ex-therapist, but anyway. He helped me realize that your friendship had always been the one thing I could count on."

"Except when I asked you to risk your life for Amber, and then vanished. Sold you to Tritter. Or threw you out for Sam."

I know he's heading there. Or I would in his place. Because I do have a conscience, and it has been reprimanding me enough while House was away.

"Except in very extreme circumstances. But still. I thought it was the one relationship I hadn't managed to screw up. I thought I could build my life on our friendship, since love I was no good at. And I decided to go back to you, to us, with a clean record. So that you would welcome me back."

"And with Thirteen you needn't right? Because she cares for you more than I do? Or because she counts on you to kill her?"

I must have missed the moment when he stood up and moved. Now he's sitting down closer than he was. Too damn close. I inch away.

"No. I like her and we're there for each other, but we aren't really friends. If things had been different - but they aren't different. Anyway, I was planning on you and me going back to our lives as they were when I came back from Mayfield. Before Sam, before Cuddy. Before I threw my life away."

"And then you discovered I had thrown my life away, more than you did." I try to laugh, but the sound that comes out of my lips sounds more like a dog's bark. My throat aches.

"Yes. When you said you loved me, my first thought was to run away. Jump on a plane and go back to Rosario."

"As if you could have done that with an anklet. Did you promise her you'd be back?"

So typical House. Yet another human loving him, getting their life and happiness destroyed as a consequence. And yet he had apologized to Cuddy. House being House, I can't avoid wondering whether he could have hired an actress ot play his ex on the phone, but of course it's impossible. It had been Cuddy calling.

"No. She has her own life and two kids with her boyfriend, who will be out of jail soon. I promised I'd let her know when I got my life back together."

"Well, this is not going to happen as long as you stay here. You need a license and a job, and good luck in finding either."

House's answer is in so quiet a tone that I have to strain to hear it, near as we are.

"I have got my license back. I also have job offers. Some."

"Good. Then get yourself a place and leave me alone. Better, do that in a different timezone. Or continent."

I'm angry now. He must be making fun of me again. I almost killed myself and destroyed my future for this revolting piece of human garbage, who flaunts he can get a job when I obviously can't even keep the one I have.

"Wilson, I want to stay here with you. Although I do realize it will be difficult."

His voice sounds so gentle that my anger scales down to irritation. He really seems sincere. I shiver at the possibility that he is, what this would imply. Then I remember I am no longer the person I once was, and that this is probably what makes him hesitate.

"It will be difficult because I'm blind and jobless?"

"Because I'm scared of love. I hurt the two people I've loved in my life so badly they won't even talk to me on the phone. If I were to do that to you as well I couldn't live with myself."
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