Thicker Than Water, Chapter Six
Author's Note: Insert standard disclaimer here... Enjoy!
Wilson was in his office, looking over the file of one of his newer patients. Ellie Randall, age eight, had just tested positive for leukemia. Judging by the stage of her illness, he figured she had less than five years left to live. He hadn't told the family yet. It was his least favorite part of his job.
No matter how many times he did it, it never got any easier to tell a patient and their loved ones that they were going to die. He especially hated breaking the news to kids. Often times, they were just too young to grasp the concept of what was happening to them. The parents, however, understood perfectly that they were doomed to outlive their child.
They always said thank you when he told them the news, though he didn't quite understand what they felt they should be thanking him for... Doing his job? Maybe. He was certain they weren't thanking him for putting an expiration date on their lives. He never really knew how to reply when they said that to him, so he would merely nod and give them an appointment to come see him again before leaving them alone to deal with the news.
He sighed as he re-read the little girl's test results. He didn't envy her parents one bit.
Thinking about the dying child made him think about House, and his own sick daughter in the second floor ICU. He wondered why his best friend had kept something as important as a failed marriage from him. Of course, Wilson had kept his share of secrets, too. It had only been a year ago that he had finally told House about his estranged brother, David, and he still hadn't really discussed any of the problems he and Julie had been having prior to their divorce with him. He supposed it was only fair that House would have skeletons of his own in his closet.
The door to his office opened and Wilson looked up to see House marching in with a smirk on his face. Wilson closed up the folder on his desk and set it aside before leaning back in his chair.
"I was just thinking about you," he told him as he sat down.
"Now Jimmy," House said in a mocking voice, "I thought I told you to get over that? You and I... We'd never work out in that way."
Wilson rolled his eyes and groaned loudly. "What do you want?"
"I just wanted to talk," House replied, feigning innocence. He reached out and picked up a paperweight off the desk, holding it up to examine it.
"About what?" Wilson asked, eyeing his friend warily.
Wilson sat up and reached across the desk to snatch the paperweight out of House's hand and place it back where it had been sitting.
"Are you feeling ill? You don't usually open up about your personal life."
"I'm not opening up about it now, either," House corrected him. "I want to know how you feel about her."
"How I feel about her?" Wilson repeated, looking at him incredulously.
"You think she's cute, don't you?" House taunted him.
"Come on, there's no use denying it. You're almost forty, she's in her mid-twenties. It's only natural for a man who's going through a mid-life crisis to want a younger woman."
"I am not going through a mid-life crisis!"
"But you didn't deny that you think she's cute," House pointed out.
Wilson stared at him for a moment, unable to find his words. A few muted sounds came from his mouth before he was finally able to speak again.
"Okay, fine... I admit it. I think she's attractive."
"You dog," House cajoled.
"How did you know, anyway?" Wilson asked him. "I left as soon as you got to her room."
House leaned closer to him, coaxing him closer with a wave of his finger. Wilson considered if getting closer to the man would be a good idea, seeing as how he just admitted being attracted to his daughter. After a moment's deliberation, he finally gave in and leaned closer until their heads were mere inches apart over the desk.
"You have..." he whispered conspiratorially then paused, looking warily around the room as thought he thought they were being spied on, "a nervous habit."
"What?" Wilson replied, laughing as he sat back in his chair once more.
"When you and Julie were still married, you used to play with your wedding ring whenever you talked to a woman you found attractive," House explained. "You were just itching to take it off so you could get in her pants."
"That's not true," Wilson denied the accusation.
"Rachel picked up on you doing the same motions when you were visiting with her, only you don't have a wedding ring to ditch any more."
Wilson shifted a bit uneasily in his chair, before clearing his throat.
"So you think I want to jump your daughter?"
"I know you do," House assured him. "Hell, I'd jump her if she wasn't my kid."
"That's mildly disturbing."
"What? That I find my own daughter attractive?"
House shrugged. "I think it's legal in some states, isn't it?"
"Not in New Jersey, it's not," Wilson pointed out.
"Oh well... The point is, you're interested in her."
"And I think she's interested in you, too."
"Really?" Wilson asked, raising an eyebrow.
House reached across the desk and placed his hand on one of Wilson's. Wilson looked down at House's hand for a moment before training his gaze back up to his friend's face.
"I'm going to give you some advice here, as a friend."
"Oh...kay..." Wilson replied feeling slightly panicked.
"Take it slow. You're on the rebound. Don't rush things. And do not break this girl's heart unless you want me to make your life miserable."
"Wow," Wilson laughed, "did you just threaten me?"
"Kinda," House replied as he let go of his hand and sat up straight in his chair.
"I thought you didn't care about her?"
"She's still my daughter. God help me, but I have the Daddy Complex."
"Is that the one where you turn into an overbearing, overprotective maniac and threaten any male that shows the slightest bit of sexual interest in her?" Wilson asked.
"That would be the one."
"I'll keep that in mind, then," Wilson agreed with a smile.
A knock sounded on the door and Wilson called to the visitor to come in. The door opened and Cameron took a tentative step forward into the room.
"Doctor Cameron," he greeted her. "What can I do for you?"
"I need to speak to Doctor House," she told him timidly, trying her best not to make eye contact with either one of them.
Wilson and House exchanged a look as Wilson stood from behind his desk, gathering up several folders.
"I need to go... find Nurse Hastings and ask her about the treatment we have Mrs. Lambert on," he said, knowing the excuse sounded as lame and fake as it really was. "You two can stay here as long as you like."
House glared at him as he headed out of the room, giving Cameron a smile as he passed her on the way to the door. Cameron watched him leave, staring at the closed door a moment longer.
"What is it you want to speak to me about?"
House's voice pulled her out of her thoughts and she turned back to him. For a while she couldn't do anything more than just stare at him.
"I thought you might want someone to talk to," she told him as she took a few steps forward. "This whole thing with Rachel... It has to be pretty upsetting for you."
"What makes you think that?" he asked. His question caused her to stop dead in her tracks. She sighed heavily and reached up to push some of her dark hair back out of her face.
"Look, I know you don't like talking about your feelings--"
"How observant of you to notice," he interrupted.
"--but I've been in your shoes, and I figured you could really use someone right now."
"Are you talking about the death of your husband?" he asked her, getting up from his chair.
Cameron nodded, watching him as he stood and started to approach her.
"Then save your breath. Rachel isn't going to die."
He stepped around her and continued on to the door. Cameron closed her eyes and swallowed nervously before speaking again.
"You don't know that," she said before turning around. Her words had stopped him, but his back was still facing her. "You have to accept the fact that no matter how hard you try, she may not make it. If that happens, I want you to know that I'm here for you... as a friend."
"She's not going to die," House repeated before continuing to the door.
Cameron watched him disappear out into the hospital, tears burning at the back of her eyes. He was in denial. She convinced herself it was the only way he knew to cope with things. A part of her hoped he was right - that he was good enough to make sure his daughter made it through this alive. A bigger part of her hoped that if things didn't work out, he wouldn't place all the blame on himself and close himself off even more.
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Legal Disclaimer: The authors published here make no claims on the ownership of Dr. Gregory House and the other fictional residents of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Like the television show House (and quite possibly Dr. Wilson's pocket protector), they are the property of Fox Television, David Shore and undoubtedly other individuals of whom I am only peripherally aware. The fan fiction authors published here receive no monetary benefit from their work and intend no copyright infringement nor slight to the actual owners. We love the characters and we love the show, otherwise we wouldn't be here.