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06 April 2007 @ 08:33 am
Stuck In A Moment (House, House, Wilson)  
Title: Stuck In A Moment
Fandom: House
Rating: PG
Word count: 832 words
Summary: He lost a patient on Wednesday, and it hurts the way all his failures do, sharp and bitter, with a hint of regret.
Notes: I like writing about the weather. Entirely too much.

It snows in April, a freak storm that comes down large, wet globs that stick to the ground in clumps, and House watches from his desk as it piles up on the balcony, white mountains with soft curves and steep slopes.

He lost a patient on Wednesday, and it hurts the way all his failures do, sharp and bitter, with a hint of regret. The trained monkeys don't say anything, keeping to themselves the way he's taught them to, though he knows Cameron wants to say something, her mouth pulled into a tight line as she watches from the corner of her glasses.

Wilson haunts his shoulder, a steady voice telling him that it wasn't his fault, that there was nothing he could do. But Wilson has lost too many, understands too little. He's too calloused, skin growing back too fast, too often. House doesn't trust his false promises, his unthinking comfort.

He closes the blinds, locks the door, and refuses to talk to anyone. He sleeps on the couch instead, dreaming of all the ways it could have gone, all the ways he could have not failed. He dreams in black and white, crisp lines and sharp contrasts, where his mistakes are clear and simple, easy to spot.

When he leaves for the night, he catches a glimpse of his reflection in the window of his car, his hair and clothes speckled white with snow. He tilts his head upwards, opens his mouth, catching a few stray flakes on his tongue, and remembers what it was like to be young.

By the time he gets home, the snow has melted, leaving him wet and cold.


The next day, the sun appears, peeking out from behind gray clouds, and House feels more like himself, sliding back into old, familiar skin.

It's suddenly warm again, and the snow begins to melt. It almost looks like rain, pouring down from the trees, catching morning sunlight as it falls. Wilson shows up too early, just before eight, with bagels and sheepish smile, loudly concerned in that way of his, trying to draw House out. It happens, he says, even to the best of us.

House ignores him and pours them coffee, downing two Vicodin so that the world blurs at the edges, keeping it away just a little longer.

We aren't gods, Wilson is saying from where he is by the window, bright against the dark of the dark of the room, though sometimes you forget. His mouth curls into a smile, gentle and kind, and House knows that he's just trying to talk the crazy away from the ledge, from taking that one last step that would let him fall. House would tell him that he's not a moron. He gets it. He really does. But it doesn't mean that when he's not good enough, not smart enough, not fast enough, people die. People die, and it's his fault.

Let's go, he says instead, and Wilson tries to push (You're being stubborn, he says like House doesn't know, his tone just shy of angry), but House has his stupidity filter on, letting Wilson fade into the background like the rest of the world, too far away to touch.

He takes the bike to work, careful not to slip on the melting ice.


The balcony is a puddle at the moment, soaking the concrete wet, and there are no new cases at the moment. (The last one hit him hard, Foreman whispers when he thinks that House isn't listening. House says something nasty and leaves.)

He goes to the roof, even though it's day and not night, the sun warm on his skin, too bright for his eyes. Two more Vicodin, and they slide down easily even when all his throat wants is water. It's quiet up here. When he closes his eyes, he can hear the wind moving through the trees, a calm, gentle sound that always reminds him of spring.

Wilson finds him there, stretched out on the ledge, eyes closed, on his back, facing the sun, separated from the rest of the world.

I thought I'd find you here, Wilson says, his sleeves rolled up, his eyes squinting. He has a smug, cat-got-the-canary face. Wilson always knows where to look, when he tries. Sometimes, House would like to resent him for that.

House sits up, his hand resting on his cane. Don't you have work to do? he asks with a scowl, even though he knows the truth. He's still not quite himself yet, restless and uncomfortable still, not willing to go back in, but he's getting there. Each second brings him closer to the moment he'll be ready.

Yeah, Wilson says, his smile as bright at the blue sky above. He sits down next to House, and their fingers brush, skin against skin, as he rests them on the ledge. Yeah, he says again, so softly House can barely hear him over the rustling of the leaves.


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triedunture on April 6th, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
Love it. The weather was very apropos.
thedeadparrot: staring at the sunthedeadparrot on April 6th, 2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, I have this whole thing about weather as a metaphor or at least a good indicator of the mood.
genagirlgenagirl on April 6th, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
Wow, that was calm and gentle and - restorative. I think I can make it now.
thedeadparrot: housethedeadparrot on April 6th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I love stories about healing and hope, and while House will totally deny that that's what's happening here, I like to think that this is what it is.
starrigan on April 6th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
This was great. I loved how you extended the metaphor of weather all the way through the story. I teach creative writing, and that's a very difficult thing to do skillfully, but you did it, and beautifully. Good on yer. ^_^
thedeadparrot: lightthedeadparrot on April 6th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I know the weather symbolism does show up a lot, to the point where it's a cliche, but sometimes, I really can't help myself. ;)
no_eden on April 6th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
That's so incredibly sweet. Very nice weather symbolism going on.
thedeadparrot: flyingthedeadparrot on April 6th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. It's not as subtle as I'd have liked, probably, but I was just going, yay! weather! whee!
T'eyla: jimmy glassest_eyla on April 6th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
If this is you writing about the weather, I really hope to see more of that very soon ;).

I loved the quiet way this fic progressed, very true to its title. I liked the gentle dynamics between House and Wilson.

Thank you for writing this!
thedeadparrot: introspection in weird momentsthedeadparrot on April 6th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading! I really do have an unhealthy fixation on writing about the weather, and so it usually ends up creeping into my stories somewhere, even when it's not to the same degree it did here.

And yeah, I think that sometimes House's relationships are just as much about what he doesn't say as much as it is about what he does, and I was trying to get that here.
(Deleted comment)
thedeadparrot: focused!housethedeadparrot on April 6th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Yeah, I think the reason for the lack of patient deaths is mostly a function of the format. It's a weekly mystery, and they always have to discover the bad guy in the end, even if they don't get it in time. So considering his extreme craziness regarding Esther, I do think that House would not react well to a time when he wasn't able to figure out the right answer in time.

And yeah, this was kind of prompted by the freak snow on the East Coast yesterday, even if I wasn't quite affected. :p
Housepiglethousepiglet on April 6th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
This is really lovely. House working through his mood; Wilson's persistence; the weather metaphor; the image of them just sitting quietly together on the roof in the sunshine, at the end. Many thanks for writing :)
thedeadparrot: lightthedeadparrot on April 6th, 2007 04:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. Wilson's persistence is really one of the only reasons he's still House's friend I think, and yes! I do love the sunshine as well.
med_anomalymed_anomaly on April 6th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
This was lovely, very sweet. :)
thedeadparrot: Let it bethedeadparrot on April 6th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
Lady Not-Appearing-In-This-Film: house walk ondemonqueen666 on April 6th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
Well, I like you writing about the weather. You do it very well.

This was a nice, quiet piece, and all the characters really shone through well.
thedeadparrot: eowyn judethedeadparrot on April 7th, 2007 12:10 am (UTC)
Thanks! I like things that are nice and quiet, and where everything is kind of said in between. And also descriptions of the weather.
Katearwen_kenobi on April 7th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
I really loved the style and the way you tied the weather into it. Awesome job!
thedeadparrot: lightthedeadparrot on April 8th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I do love a good story about the weather.
Æ: Dear God!joe_pike_junior on April 8th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC)
You're very good at writing about the weather. So that works.

Well done. I enjoyed this.

Armchair Elvis.
thedeadparrot: flyingthedeadparrot on April 8th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's kind of a relief to know that I'm not annoying people with my meanderings about sunlight and rain and such. :)
leiascully on April 8th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Very nice! Succinct and sweet and sad all at once.
thedeadparrot: beauty breakdownthedeadparrot on April 8th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad that it all worked for you.