Dr-House.com Fanfiction

The Tide of Time
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By Rtlemurs

Just the usual disclaimer here, I am writing this purely to get it out of my head and make no claims on the characters, they belong to someone at FOX.

            Rating: R for Violence and Language

This is a very intense scene and will probably be upsetting to some. Sorry but I had to get it out of my head.

 

 

The Tide of Time

 

He looked down at the blood soaking into his shirt.  The fluff from the exam table padding was still fluttering through the air. The ringing in his ears blocked out all other sound. He was shaking. There was no pain, no fear, no anger, no emotions at all, just a blank still canvas. He brought his hands up from his sides; they were covered in blood as well. So much blood, this wasn’t good, not good at all. A drop of water fell into the palm of his right hand and he looked up to see where it had come from. Had the sprinklers come on? No nothing up there. He looked back down to see if he had been mistaken, if it had been more blood and not water at all. No, it was water and there was more of it. It was tears, his tears.

            He felt a weight on his shoulder and looked up. It was Cuddy, her lips were moving but he couldn’t hear her. His ears were still ringing. What the hell had just happened? Everything was a blur. Funny how time works. You’re just floating through life, enjoying the scenery, when suddenly something happens. Everything slows to a crawl and just when you’re praying it’ll all be over with it shifts into high gear and the next moment you’re wondering where you are and how you got there.

            She started to examine him. She pulled his shirt opened, lifted his t-shirt, felt his belly, his chest and around his back. She kept talking to him but he still couldn’t hear her. She stopped, stepped back and held him at arms length; the tears welled up in her eyes. Suddenly she embraced him. He was too numb to resist so he just stood there arms hanging limp at his sides.

            His hearing started to return. He heard her crying on his shoulder, heard his heart pounding in his chest, heard the stillness in the air. The ever present pain in his leg started to return as well and he looked around for his cane. It was on the floor near the far wall next to the gun, spent shell casings pointing the way. He gently pushed Cuddy away and limped towards it. She hurried over and picked it up.

            “Dr. House?” He turned, there was a policeman standing in the doorway. Time, it’s a funny thing. It all came flooding back just as quickly as it had drained away. The tide of time how apt.

            “Give us a moment” Cuddy told the officer. He nodded and stepped back out of the room.

            “Where is he?” He asked her.

            “They took him up to surgery right away.”  He turned and started out of the room.
            “I’m sorry sir, you can’t leave yet, we need to get a statement. And we’ll need that for evidence” he said pointing to the cane. He just turned and continued towards the elevators. The policeman grabbed his shoulder and before he knew what he was doing he balled up his fist and swung around with every ounce of strength he had. He connected and the officer went down. Two other officers who had been standing by the desk ran over and grabbed him. He struggled with them. It wasn’t much of a struggle really. As soon as they added their weight to his bad leg it crumpled underneath him and they went down in a heap. He continued to flail and his elbow connected a time or two. In the struggle one of the officer’s guns had come out. This caused a stir. Three more policemen ran in, saw the loose weapon and pulled theirs. They ordered him to lie still, to quit struggling and put his hands behind his head.

            “Go ahead, shoot.” He thought and struggled harder. He reached for the gun. That’ll do it, they’ll shoot now. It was his fault that Wilson was dead. He couldn’t live with that. Why couldn’t that moron have been a better shot? Missed him completely, not a scratch. Incompetent idiot! Why did Wilson have to hang around all the time? Why weren’t these policemen blowing him into little bits already?

            Cuddy was standing between him and the officers with the drawn guns. Someone had kicked the loose gun out of reach. He was too tired to struggle anymore so he gave up and just lay there. The two officers that had him pinned started to cuff him.

            “No please, you don’t understand. His best friend was just gunned down in front of him, he’s upset” she pleaded.

            “He assaulted an officer” one of the three said as he holstered his gun.

            “Yes, yes he did but… Please just let him go upstairs. Until we know what’s going on. He’s not the bad guy here. He’s not a criminal” she looked at them with big sad eyes, like those kitten paintings so popular in the seventies. A tear ran down her cheek. He could have sworn she even turned her leg a little so the thigh peeked out from the slit on the side of her skirt.

            They looked at each other and turned their backs to discuss his fate. The two officers that had cuffed him now lifted him to his feet. His right leg protested and if the officers hadn’t still been holding him he’d have fallen to the floor again.

            “I need my cane” his voice sounded hollow and empty. They took him over to a wheelchair sitting near the clinic entrance and dropped him into it. He clenched his jaw at the jolt of pain but wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of crying out. One officer remained with him; the other went to check on his fallen comrade. The three officers broke up the pow-wow and turned back to Cuddy.

            “Okay, but he can’t leave until we talk to him and the cane stays here, it’s part of the crime scene right now” the leader told her. She sighed and thanked them. The leader nodded to the cop standing by the wheelchair. He roughly pushed him forward and undid the cuffs. Cuddy took a position behind the wheelchair and began pushing him towards the elevators. Again he didn’t protest, a great weariness had fallen over him and he just wanted to curl up and sleep. Never wake up.

            “It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay. You stopped most of the bleeding. They took him upstairs right away. It’ll be okay. He’s going to be alright. Rayburn’s the best. He’ll take care of him” she was babbling. “Everything’s okay. It’ll be alright.”

            He had seen the fear in Wilson’s eyes. Wilson knew he was dying and he, the great Dr. Gregory House MD, couldn’t find any words of comfort. No “You’ll be alright” or “Everything will be just fine.” nothing to give him a little peace at the end. All he could manage was anger

“Damn you! Always gotta be the hero. Damn it! Damn you! Always hanging around trying to protect the cripple. Shit! Look at me! Damn it you’re not going anywhere. You want to play hero, you’re gonna be stuck here with me until I’m finished with you. Damn it, don’t you give up on me! Focus! Wilson, look at me, Wilson. Don’t you give up!”

He had to use both hands to stop the flow of blood. He hadn’t even held Wilson’s hand. He hung his head trying to fight off the flood of images and emotions but the shock of his blood soaked jeans tore through his resolve. His vision became blurred and the sobs racked his body. He tried desperately to grab hold and rein them in but they were strong and fast and he was too tired to chase them.

He didn’t even notice that they had stopped. Cuddy circled around in front of the wheelchair. She lowered herself down to his level, took his hands and gently lowered them from his face. He looked up. There was just a blurry flesh colored blob in front of him and it spoke.

“He’s going to be okay.” But there was no comfort or conviction in her voice. She got up and resumed pushing. That little interruption had been enough for him to get control again. The tears slowly faded and he sat staring straight ahead, numb again.

They reached the small surgical waiting room. It was dimly lit. They were always dimly lit. The TV in the corner was on. Cuddy parked him next to a table by the door.

“I’m going to check and see what’s going on I’ll be back. Are you okay? Do you need anything?” she asked.

“Oh I’m just fine” he thought. He shook his head. He didn’t have the energy for a confrontation. She left and he drifted off into a half sleep.

The pain shot through his leg like electricity and woke him with a start. Initially he was disoriented. He couldn’t remember where he was or why he was in a wheelchair. But that tide came flowing back again. He looked around for Cuddy. She was asleep in the chair next to him. He had no idea how long they’d been there but it had been long enough for the blood to dry on his hands and clothes. He had to pee too. He tried to push himself forward in the chair but knew immediately that he’d never make it to a bathroom without his cane. He reached for his pocket to get his pills but realized he didn’t have his jacket on anymore. Damn it, when had he taken that off? His hamstring gave a little twitch that shot pain right up through his sinuses. This didn’t help the bladder control. Pee first, and then find the Vicodin. He maneuvered the wheelchair out from beside the table and started towards the door. The movement woke Cuddy.

“Where are you going? Here, let me help” she said as she started to get up.

“I’ve gotta pee, do you mind?” he growled, sounding like his usual self. She looked at the clock.

“It’s only been an hour, he’s probably still in surgery” she said blankly. “You were sleeping when I got back. I thought it was best to let you sleep while you could.”

“Thanks now make yourself useful and find my meds.” He continued out and down the hall to the men’s room. He immediately went to the sink and began to wash his hands. When he glanced up at the mirror he was startled by the reflection.10 years and a mixture of blood and tears where smeared across his cheeks and forehead. He turned the hot water higher and began to scrub his face. Of course all that running water wasn’t helping in the urinary department.

Drying his face he surveyed his options. There was no way he could use the urinals. Since they’d put in those automatic sensor there was nothing to hang on to. His right thigh felt like it was in a vice. It would not support him happily so he’d need a handhold. He got himself over to a stall, grabbed the door frame and hauled himself upright. He tried to put as little weight as possible on his right leg. Didn’t matter it was set on making a fuss. Until he got some Vicodin to calm it he would just have to put up with it. He balanced the best he could and relieved himself. All the while his thoughts wanting to return to what had happened but he held on tight. There was no time for that now.

On the way back to the waiting room he stopped at the desk. He still looked like an extra from Zombie Massacre. The nurse eyed him over; they were used to blood covered guests in the ER but not surgical. Wilson was still in surgery. She assured him that a doctor would be out with news as soon as there was any. He went off to wait. Cuddy was still gone. He wished she’d hurry up.

It had been seven minutes to five. Seven more minutes and they would have been gone. Seven more minutes and he would be home right now. Seven more minutes and Wilson would be home right now too; with Julie and Sam and dinner. Seven stinking minutes.

He remembered the door opening; both he and Wilson had looked up. He had been packing up his watchman. Wilson had been sitting in a chair near the head of the exam table. He was sure it was Cuddy trying to squeeze one more patient into his day. His mind was quickly searching for a smart retort. He didn’t know what Wilson had been thinking. The man stepped inside and closed the door. Wilson closed the magazine he had been reading.

“The nurse must have told you the wrong room. I’m off duty” he had said

“I’ll meet you at the car” Wilson smirked at him as he rose to leave  

“You bastard!” the man said so quietly that both he and Wilson stopped and looked at he man.

“Well, yes, but I’m still off duty and your still in the wrong room” he said somewhat shocked that this man would call him a bastard out of the blue. He searched his memory for the face. Not today, not even yesterday. Wilson looked from the man to him and back. He could tell that Wilson was tensing up, getting ready for a confrontation. He had turned and was getting ready to retrieve his jacket from the stool near the door when the man spoke again.

“You fucking bastard” the man said a little louder. He turned to face the man full on but as he turned the man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the gun. At the first flash of steel the tide flowed away; seconds turned to hours. Every motion felt like it was being performed in a vat of molasses.

From the corner of his eye he could see Wilson moving to get in front of him. He made it as far as his right shoulder when the first bullet left the barrel. Two more came in quick succession as Wilson slammed into him. The fluff from the exam table exploded into the air. He was stumbling forward. Two more shots. His knee slammed into the edge of the stool but managed to spin away into the wall to stop from falling. As he turned he saw Wilson leaning against the exam table wide-eyed, blood already spreading from the wound. Wilson had taken a bullet, or two or three that were meant for him. Adrenaline surged through him. His cane was still resting against the wall next to the stool. He grabbed it and launched himself at the gunman. Swinging it like a baseball bat his cane connected with the man’s skull. Homerun. The shock of impact jarred it from his hands and it went spinning across the room. The man dropped the gun as he fell forward and it spun across the floor, coming to rest next to the cane.

He caught his balance and looked up. Wilson was looking at the blood spreading down his blue shirt and stark white lab coat, soaking into the waistband of his pants; slowly sinking to the floor. The tide came in and minutes flashed by like seconds. He hurried over and caught him under the arms. If Wilson reached the floor he’d never be able to get down there and do anything to help.

“Damn you! Always gotta be the hero” he growled at him. Wilson’s knees gave out as he tried to get him around to the side of the table. The adrenaline eliminated his pain but not his lack of muscle.

“Come on Superman, you’re gonna have to help me here” Wilson gained his footing again and stumbled around the table with him.

It took him three tries to get him up onto the table. All the while he swore under his breathe. The supply cart was on the other side and there was no time for formalities. He slapped his hands over the wound and applied pressure. Pain shot across Wilson’s boyish face.

“We need some help in here.” He shouted over his shoulder at the door. They had to have heard the shots. Hell he was deaf from the noise.

“Damn it! Damn you! Always hanging around trying to protect the cripple. Shit! Look at me!” Wilson looked at him and said something that he couldn’t hear. Their eyes locked. Good, keep focused, stay with me he thought. But he saw the panic in Wilson’s eyes.

            “Shit, damn it you’re not going anywhere. You want to play hero, you’re stuck here with me until I’m finished with you” Wilson said something again and then squeezed his eyes shut.

“Damn it. Don’t you give up” his hands were slick with blood and he could feel the warmth against his thighs from the blood soaking into his jeans. Where the hell was everybody? Christ! Twenty feet on the other side of the door, what was taking so long?

“We need some help in here, NOW!” he yelled again. He pushed down harder. Wilson’s eyes popped open. His normally sharp dark eyes were unfocused and distance.

“Damn it, don’t you give up on me! Focus! Wilson, look at me, Wilson. Don’t you give up!” he felt the rush of air as security kicked the door open, guns drawn.

“It’s about fucking time. We need a gurney in here. We need to get him to ER STAT!” he shouted. They stooped to examine the prone form of the gunman.

“Fuck him we need to get Wilson to the ER!” he spat. They looked up and spoke. He cut them short.

“Right now I can’t hear a fucking thing you’re saying. Fuck him!” he shouted with a nod to the gunman

 “I’ve got a man bleeding to death here and we need to get him out of here 20 minutes ago” he looked back at Wilson. His eyes were shut; he couldn’t tell if he was still breathing. He didn’t dare move his hands to check for a pulse. He was about to start into another tirade but two medics and a gurney pulled up next to the table. One took over putting pressure on the wound and the other went to work checking vitals. He stepped back and almost immediately the adrenaline that had been keeping everything else at bay crashed down. He stood there shaking, numb and deaf as they hurried out of the room with Wilson.

            The emotions started to creep back in. He felt his resolve slipping away. With an effort he pushed them back. He needed to think about something else. Something useful, get his mind away from Wilson.

The gunman; who was he? He never bothered to commit clinic fodder to memory but he generally never forgot a face. He was sure he didn’t know the man but he kept going over the faces. The clinic, the few actual cases he’d had and their family members. He didn’t do much outside of work so the chances that it was someone outside the hospital… Cuddy appeared in the doorway. She didn’t have his jacket or his Vicodin.

            “Sorry it took so long. The police were having trouble getting in touch with Julie so I spent some time calling around. She’s on her way. I thought you might want to change before she gets here” she said holding up a pair of scrubs.

            “Did you get my meds?” God he hated asking her like he was desperate, but he was. Now that everything had calmed down and the excitement of the moment had worn off his leg was killing him, especially around the knee where he’d banged it on the stool. Just the movement of his jeans over it felt like a cheese grater.

            “Maybe that’s not such a good idea right now” she ventured. “I think you should get checked out before you take anything for the pain. Make sure everything is okay.”

            “I’m fine. Nothing the Vicodin won’t fix” he glared at her. This wasn’t the time or the place for this.

            “I really…”

            “Give me the scrubs!” he interrupted. “I don’t want be sitting here soaked in Wilson’s blood when Julie gets here. I don’t suppose you got my cane back from the SS?” He wheeled himself towards her.

“You’re more docile in a wheelchair. I like you better that way” she joked giving him a small smile as she dropped the scrubs into his lap.

            “Niiice” he shot her a look. But before he could continue she did.

            “I’ll see what I can round up while you change. There’s a room across the hall they said you could use. Are you sure you don’t want me to take a look?” She tried one more time.

“You’d like that” he mumbled under his breath “I’m fine.” He started to wheel past her. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a bottle of pills and held them out to him. He paused but didn’t look up. He took the bottle and dropped it into his lap. Even that little bump sent cold spikes of pain into his leg.

“Thank you” he said softly and started for the room across the hall. There were several chairs and a few end tables. He opened the bottle and shook out one pill. He really needed two, really wanted two, but knew that it wasn’t a good idea just yet. He dry swallowed it but didn’t have time to wait for it to lighten the pain so he braced himself and began.

            He leaned over to take his shoes off. Just the extra pressure of his weight and his leg felt like it was going to explode. His elbow bumped his right knee and he damn near jumped out of the chair.

“Ow! Shit! Mmmmm!” he let out as he gripped the arms of the wheelchair and pushed up. Wow that certainly cleared the sinuses! This was pitiful! Wilson was fighting for his life in a room down the hall and he was in here whining about a little bruise. He bent down and finished removing his shoes, carefully avoiding any contact with the knee.

He took a deep breath and pushed himself up. As the pain flooded through him again he called up the memory of Wilson leaning against the exam table, blood spreading down his shirt. This is nothing compared to that he told himself. Once he was steady he limped over to the nearest end table, scrubs in hand. That Vicodin needed to kick in soon.

“Come on you can do this” he told himself. He fixed that image of Wilson in his mind, used it to deny the physical pain.

When he finally got his pants off he opened his eyes and looked at his knee. There was a blackish-purple bruise the size of a grapefruit centered near the top of his right knee. That was okay, it would help to remind him. There was blood smeared on his thighs and some had soaked into his boxers. He really needed a shower but there was no time for that. Every time the physical pain tried to stop him he countered with that image of Wilson. As he finished he felt the Vicodin starting to chip away at the edges of the pain.

Normally he didn’t fold his clothes but this was different. He started to neatly fold his jeans so the blood was inwards and couldn’t be seen once he stacked them up. He folded his shirt the same way but as he picked up the t-shirt his hands began to shake. He sucked in and exhaled, he could feel the warmth around his eyes. His hands continued to shake. The dam broke. Before he knew what was happening he was overwhelmed with sadness, fear, anger, hopelessness… His hands were shaking so badly now that he couldn’t finish folding the shirt. His vision blurred with tears again.

God this was all his fault. He balled the t-shirt up around his hands and curled himself around it. Why had Wilson put himself in harms way for him? All the times he had treated Wilson like shit, yelled at him, mocked him, called him names, pushed him away. All of that and Wilson didn’t think twice about protecting him. There had been no hesitation in Wilson’s stride when the gun came out. Why? He wasn’t worth it. He’d never been worth it. Why? Was it to punish him for eternity for the way he had treated him? He knew that wasn’t it, Wilson wasn’t like that. He knew Wilson would have done the same for anyone.

That only made it worse. If he hadn’t pissed that guy off, even though he couldn’t remember who he was or how he had pissed him off it didn’t matter. He pissed people off everyday with no thought to the consequences. That wasn’t true. Deep down he knew he had hoped for just such a situation. Hoped he’d piss someone off enough that they’d come back and end it all for him. He’d never figured Wilson into it and now it was too late. He couldn’t take it back.

There was a knock at the door. He quickly wiped his face and nose in a clean spot on the t-shirt.

“Yeah” his voice a little shaky yet.

“Everything okay in there?” It was Cuddy “Are you decent? I found a cane you can use.”

“Come on, I’m just finishing up.” He replied as he started to fold the t-shirt again. She stepped in and closed the door. She held one of those fancy bight pink aluminum things with the big foam handle and a black paisley design that the old ladies thought were fashionable.

“It’s all I could find but I figured you’d take it over a wheelchair any day.” She offered.

“You’ve got that right.” He replied as he accepted it. He pushed himself up.

 “God you look like hell. Are you sure you’re okay?” For once her concern didn’t piss him off.

“I’ve got a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my knee but it’s just a bruise. I’ll be alright. I’m more concerned about Wilson. Any news?” He busied himself with the pile of clothes.

 “No, but that’s good. It means he’s still alive. The longer the better.” She stated

“Yeah, no news is good news huh?” he looked up. “Is Julie here yet?”

“No but I’m sure it won’t be long. Are you going to be okay?” Why did she keep asking him that?

“It’s the least I can do don’t you think?” He stopped fussing with his clothes and straightened up.

“I don’t know, I still don’t know what happened in there” she was wringing her hands, afraid of setting him off again. He felt his eyes burning again. No. NO. He had to keep a lid on it. He had to be strong for Julie. He took a long deep breath and started out of the room. His knee was pounding but the Vicodin had removed the pain. It was swollen and tight but he could still walk.

“Not now” he said as he limped past her and out of the room.

“Greg?” his heart skipped a beat. Wilson? He turned towards the voice. Walking down the hall was Jacob and Emily Wilson, James’ parents. It took a moment for this to register. Jacob and James could have been twins if not for 40 years; same dark eyes, quick smile, and expressive features. Only if you listened closely could you detect the slight quaver of age in Jacob’s voice that differentiated it from James’.

“Emily. Jacob. I didn’t know… are you with Julie?” he asked as he made his way down the hall.

“Julie’s parking the car. James was supposed to meet us at Mario’s for dinner. We waited but he never showed. Julie took a call and said something had happened, James was in the hospital and we needed to get over here” Jacob explained. “What happened? How bad is it?”

“There’s been no news” he said automatically as Cuddy stopped next to him.

“You must be James’ parents. I’m Dr. Lisa Cuddy, Dean of Medicine” she smiled and extended her hand. After exchanging pleasantries they turned back to him.

“Why don’t we go to the waiting room and sit” he offered, trying to postpone the inevitable

“Yes, yes of course” Jacob nodded. He turned and they all moved towards the lounge.

“I don’t think pink is your color. How’s the leg?” Jacob asked. He glanced over his shoulder and caught the grin on Jacob’s face. Jacob was one of a handful of people who could say something like that and not set off his defenses. Of course Cuddy didn’t know this. She stole a glance at his face, trying to read his reaction. He could tell she was mentally preparing for every scenario that might arise from his response. Getting ready to do what she did best and smooth things over after hurricane Greg blew through. He smiled. It was nice to know he could keep her off balance without even trying.

“About the same” he replied as he stepped aside to allow them to enter first. He let Cuddy follow, anything to prolong the moment when he’d have to tell them what had happened. Two steps into the room he stopped, the urge to turn and run was too strong. He could face Julie, had prepared himself to face Julie, but Jacob and Emily. How could he tell them it was his fault?

Their oldest son, Jake Jr. had been a bit of a disappointment. Jake Jr. had no desire to go into the medical field. He had the desire to fix things. Mechanical things though, not people. He had pursued a career as a mechanic. Jacob and Emily supported him, even put up the capital for him to open his own garage. Jake Jr. had done very well. After the infarction, as motivation, Wilson had taken his car to Jake to have the hand controls installed. Jake did a beautiful custom job, chrome and leather; blended the dash and steering column with the controls so you hardly noticed. They were proud that Jake was happy and successful but disappointed that he hadn’t chosen medicine.

The middle son, whom he had just recently learned of, didn’t fulfill those parental wishes either. The little he had gotten out of James since learning of Josh had only increased the mystery. James had told him that Josh had turned his back on the family nine years ago and it was in everyone’s best interest to just forget it. Of course it was obvious that James hadn’t and since he was a betting man he’d bet Jacob and Emily hadn’t either. Their desire for another doctor in the family final came to rest on James’ shoulders.

 James was their golden boy. From an early age he showed a natural desire to help and comfort the injured and sick. Jacob had once told him the story about the time James had rescue an injured mouse from a local cat and nursed it back to health much to Emily’s dismay. Every little bump or scrape that a classmate received on the playground was tended to by little Jimmy Wilson until the school nurse took over. Of course his parents encouraged this and made sure he had the best of everything. He had heard the whole story when he was serving his residency under Jacob.

“You’ll like him” Jacob had said one night after inviting him to dinner to meet James. He figured James would be a spoiled know-it-all kid but it would be fun to mess with him. He respected Jacob so he’d kept it low key. As it turned out James and he got along very well. After the initial bit of confusion, James had picked up on his personality and played along. Sharp, subtle and intelligent, James was not to be outdone. He enjoyed the challenge this young man presented and they soon struck up a friendship. James trying to keep him out of trouble and he was trying to get James into it.

Jacob cleared his throat and he realized he was still standing just inside the door. Everyone was looking at him. He moved to a chair across from the Wilson’s and lowered himself into it. He didn’t know where to start. Fortunately Julie showed up and gave him a moment to gather his thoughts. After greetings and hugs they settled in and looked to him again for an explanation. He had never been good at beating around the bush so he jumped right in.

“James has been shot” he said looking at the floor a few inches in front of his feet. Silence. He looked up and met Jacobs stare. “We were finishing up in exam room 2 when the guy came in.” Damn this was hard. He looked down again

 “When he pulled the gun out James pushed me out of the way.”  He pushed his elbow into his right thigh until he could concentrate again. He looked back up. Tears were streaming down Emily’s face. Again he met Jacob’s stare. He could see that Jacob knew it wasn’t good. He couldn’t hold his gaze, he was too ashamed. He was starting to lose it.

“Dr. House?” A voice from the door asked. Everyone looked over. It was the policeman he had slugged downstairs. “Excuse me, we’re just about finished downstairs and we still need a statement from you. Follow me please.” Talk about a rock and a hard place. He turned back to the Wilson’s.

“I’m sorry, I need go” he apologized. “Dr. Cuddy can fill you in on the rest.” He got up and followed the policeman.

“Um, about downstairs, I’m sorry.” He ventured as they waited for the elevator. “I don’t know what happened, I was… upset.”

“Yeah, it happens” the officer replied. “I see it a lot at shootings. It’s understandable, everyone’s a little high strung until things get sorted out.” This made him feel a little better.

“First time I’ve been decked though.” They boarded the elevator. He must have had a really surprised look on his face because the officer continued.

“I’m usually on pretty high alert. You know, kinda waitin’ for someone to take a swing. I guess I just didn’t figure on a guy with a cane comin’ out swingin’” the officer watched him out of the corner of his eye. He looked down as a smile spread.

“Well, ask anyone that knows me, I’m not your typical guy with a cane” he looked sideways at the officer.

“I’d bet not” the officer replied with a grin of his own as they left the elevator in the direction of the clinic.

The officer led him over to the clinic’s waiting area and deposited him in front of a detective with a clipboard.

“Dr. Gregory House?” the detective asked. He nodded.

“Please sit down” he motioned to the chair in front of him.

“It’s my understanding that you were in the room when the shooting occurred. Is that correct?”

“Yes”

“Who else was in the room?”

“Dr. James Wilson and the gunman.”

“Do you know the gunman?”

“No”

“Did it seem like Dr. Wilson knew the gunman?” He thought about this for a moment.

“No.”

“Okay, I’d like you to write down everything that happened, in as much detail as possible, from just before the gunman entered the room until the victim was taken out. No detail is too small or unimportant. Include anything you feel is important either before, during or after the event. If you have any questions I’ll be over there” he stood and point to a group of police gathered just outside exam room 2.

He took a deep breath and got busy writing. As he played back the events something didn’t seem right. He and the gunman had never made eye contact. That seemed odd. Maybe the guy just didn’t have the nerve to look into the eyes of the man he was about to kill. No. If you’re angry enough to show up in a public place with a gun and call someone a bastard before you gun him down you wouldn’t have a problem making some eye contact.

He had been standing on the left side towards the end of the exam table and Wilson was sitting at the head of the table when the gunman first entered. After the first “You bastard” he had moved to the end of the exam table, towards his jacket and cane on the stool but he gunman hadn’t followed him. Had he? No, he had continued to look at… Wilson?

He thought hard, playing it back several times. He was sure of it. The gunman was looking at Wilson. He continued through the events. When the gun had come out he didn’t see the barrel, he saw the right side of the gun. That meant the gun was pointing to the left of him; pointing at Wilson.

When he had attacked the gunman he had hit him in the back of the head because he was shooting at Wilson, not him, Wilson. His mind was reeling. Maybe Wilson’s interference distracted the gunman. Maybe the gunman wanted to eliminate the healthy threat then get back to the cripple. Underestimating him like the officer had done. But no, he was sure of it. From the moment the gunman had walked into the room he had been focused on Wilson.

He knew he wasn’t making this up, trying to remove the blame from himself. He turned and called out to the group of policemen across the room. The detective approached to see what he wanted.

“Do you know who the gunman was?” he asked

“We can’t release that information” the detective replied.

“But you do know who he is?” he persisted.

“Yes. We know who he is; we’re just trying to sort out what happened.”

“Is his last name Warren?”

“You do know the gunman.”

“No just a guess. His wife’s name is Amanda?”

“Who told you that? I thought you said you didn’t know the gunman?” The detective was getting suspicious.

“I don’t know the gunman, lucky guess.” His mind was speeding ahead at a breakneck pace. He needed to talk to Julie now. He began to get up.

“Whoa, where are you going, we’re not finished here.” The detective put a hand on his shoulder to stop him. The group of police across the room grew silent and alert.

“To put it bluntly, James was fooling around with Amanda, I’m guessing her husband found out and wanted to eliminate the competition. If we’re finished I need to go talk with his wife.”

“But…”

“Look everything I know is in the report; you know where to find me. I’m not going anywhere at least not until you give me my cane back” he said brandishing the hot pink model he was now using. He limped off, no one stopped him.

Julie had to know James was fooling around but… Shit, this was a whole different ballgame. He knew what it was like to have your world come apart at the seams over a woman. He had barely made it through, he wasn’t sure James could.

Did Wilson know that was the husband? No. He wouldn’t have pushed him out of the way if he’d known. Wilson would have gotten as far away from him as possible if he thought the gunman was after him. He owed it to Wilson to try and make things right with Julie.

When he reached the waiting room he could sense the change. Everyone was teary-eyed but smiling.

“He’s out of surgery. Things look good” Jacob said.

“He’s not in the clear yet but he’s stable.” Cuddy piped in. He should have been relieved but he wasn’t.

“Julie, I need to talk to you alone” he said. Of course everyone exchanged looks.

“Okay” she said hesitantly. He turned and went to the room across the hall, closing the door behind her.

“I thought it would be better if you heard this from me” he started. “You know when you met Wilson he was married. You also knew that was his second marriage.”

“Greg” she stopped him. “I know he’s been going out with someone. I’ve known for a while.” He was surprised. Not that she knew but that she was so calm about it.

“But…”

“I knew what he was like when I married him. Of course I hoped it would all change because of me but deep down I knew it wouldn’t. That’s part of his attraction you know. He just cares about others so much. Sometimes he can’t separate the caring from his responsibilities. I just hoped he love me enough to keep it hidden or be honest enough to tell me if he did” she gave a half laugh as she started to cry. He approached and put his arms around her. “I still love him. I always will.”

“It doesn’t have to end this way” he said. Boy if that wasn’t the corniest line he’d ever spoke! Before he could regroup and say something more meaningful she looked up at him.

“I’m not going anywhere, not right now anyway. He’s going to need everyone around him for this and I don’t intend to abandon him. Maybe he’ll realize how much I do love him and change” her smile widened “I can always dream.”

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