Summary: 'You were wrong,' she says harshly. His head falls; she sighs. 'We were both wrong.'
Fandom: House, MD
Pairing/Characters: Cuddy, Wilson, House
Title, Author, URL of Original Story: Bironic | Good Intentions
'It's over,' he says.
She keeps her gaze unfocused out the window.
'We... did our best,' he says.
Not the right thing.
Not the wrong thing.
It would have been better if we'd done nothing.
'We tried,' he assures her.
And she almost laughs ( 'We failed.' ) as if she knows about the pills and the lie and how none of it ever really mattered to him at all.
'Thank you,' he says. 'For-' He stops. 'You didn't have to.'
He can't read her tone. Can't see her face.
'You did the right thing.'
But his voice is so hollow. She turns.
'Go home. Get some sleep.'
He nods, thinks about hugging her, about touching her shoulder, about taking her home with him just this once.
'Goodnight,' he says.
She stares out the window.
Wilson leaves and House counts cracks and stains on the ceiling, trying to think about anything other than the slowly fading ache in his leg, the dirty mattress, the look on her face.
He tries to think about anything, and falls asleep to even footfalls, and the echo of metal locks.
She wakes up at three in the morning, breathless and cold and wide-eyed in the silence. She inhales deeply, closes her eyes, and falls back asleep.
When she gets to work, same time as always, she pulls the records she needs, makes a few small changes and a few copies, puts one back in the folder and one in her briefcase; she stares blankly at the thin strips of the original, blending in with useless memos, old receipts, and the printout of the first (only) sonogram she had in the fall.
'He can't go to jail, Cuddy.'
'He won't survive in there, and you know it.'
She glares at him; the file hits the desk a little too sharply. 'I said I know.'
'We have to do something.'
'No,' she says; he doesn't catch her hesitation, doesn't feel the words stick to the back of her throat before she forces them through: 'He has to get himself out of this one.'
'You're going to leave him hanging?'
'I'm not the one who sold him out in the first place-'
'I did what I thought was best.'
'You were wrong,' she says harshly. His head falls; she sighs. 'We were both wrong.'
He glares. 'And so now you're going to let him face the consequences?' She starts to protest, he shakes his head. 'We have to do something.' His voice lowers, and he stares at her with so much faith that she knows, somehow, it has to be fake; false - has to be that he's learned to play her guilt so well (maybe learned from his own).
'Please,' he murmurs.
She swallows. 'There's nothing we can do, Wilson,' she says softly. 'The trial's tomorrow.'
'Cuddy…' He looks away.
The Christmas music and lights and chatter barely cover the strangled tension, the whispers in doorways.
They're too close yet too far and nothing they say or do (or don’t say or don't do) seems to be working. His skin is pale and his eyes dark and he can barely walk, barely stand.
'We're all unraveling,' she murmurs.
He's in the lobby when he stumbles; she's there suddenly, from nowhere; he throws her off.
When she grabs his arm, her nails bite into his skin. (How metaphorical, he thinks bitterly; she would never hurt him on purpose.)
The numbers on the alarm clock cast a dull, red glow that burns his eyes but he can't stop staring. One am. Two am. He shifts, reaches for the phone, puts it back.
He can't believe he left. Can't believe he didn't stay, pick up the pieces, like always. Can't believe he's not there, right now-
He picks up the phone and dials.
No one answers.
The answering machine beeps, but he doesn't know what to say.
He sees her later, standing in the hallway with a towel around her shoulders, a nurse here and there. She's talking to the parents, but he doesn't know what she's saying, doesn't care; the only thing he can focus on is the small pool of water at her feet, and keeping his weight entirely to one side.
When he looks up again she's gone, and he almost feels like he's missed an opportunity.
'He thinks we're conspiring against him.'
'We are,' she says.
'We've lied to him about everything important, and we've done it together.' Her voice softens with guilt. 'I think that pretty much solidifies our standing as Worst Friends of the Year.'
'We're doing what's best for him.'
She blinks, stares up at him. 'Are we?'
He sighs. She turns away, turns back.
'Look. I'll see what I can do about getting you your license back, or at least find a way that I can keep you on the payroll.'
'Wilson,' she says. Her voice is low, and harsh; a warning. 'We are not innocent in this.'
Wilson picks him up from jail, doesn't tell Cuddy.
Cuddy tells him about the treatment, doesn't tell Wilson.
They're terrible liars, but not to each other (and he knows it).
'Is everything okay?' she asks, as if he'd tell her.
'Perfect,' he lies.
'I'm sorry about your leg,' she says, means it.
'Yeah,' he says, instead of me too.
'I think we've broken him,' he hears her say.
A sigh. 'He'll be fine.'
'He's going to find out about-'
'Not if we don't tell him.'
'We should tell him.'
'He wanted Vicodin, Cuddy. After one cramp in his leg.'
'Maybe it hurt.'
He can hear the accusation: 'Are you really that gullible?'
'Are you really that distrusting?'
'Uh, of House? Yes. House needs pain. He needs it as an excuse to be miserable.'
She shakes her head. 'He wasn't miserable last week.'
And Wilson sighs impatiently. 'He'll be fine. Just... don't tell him.' And on her look adds, 'At least not right now. Let's wait and see...'
'Yeah,' she says.
He sees Wilson try to shrug, try to brush her off. 'What's the worst that could happen?'
He doesn't hear her reaction, doesn't stay to listen to them argue or agree; he turns away, and reaches in his pocket for a pill.