Title: Resistance (1/1)
Betas: The lovely starhawk2005 and yutamiyu, without whom this would not be anywhere near readable. I love you both dearly.
Summary: The deterioration of the House/Stacy relationship. Second-person Stacy POV, though I wasn't very nice to her.
A/N: Before you beat me, House DID call Stacy 'sweetheart,' as much as it pains me to say, in 'Three Stories,' right before his first "I can't". Watch it and turn up the volume. It's there.
“Love never dies a natural death.
It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source.
It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals.
It dies of illness and wounds;
It dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing.”
– Anais Nin
i. one [it all starts innocently like these things always do]
You were made for one another, most thought. He was the jackass and you the lawyer that kept him in line. The two of you were volatile and passionate and never sweet, but you both liked it that way. You fought and made up and had sex, only to do it all over again the next day.
A lot of people thought you’d last. Because he gave and you took and you took and he gave. Though he didn’t give much, so you were thankful for what you got. You were the only one that would bitch right back at him—you were the only one that had the guts. Probably because you were the one he was having sex with, and you could cut him off. Either way, it worked, and for a while, both of you were happy. He was happy, but he wouldn’t admit it.
You were lonely at times, but you accepted it, because he was just like that. Sad as it was, you were thankful that you were the one he allowed into his life, when he alienated everybody else. Nobody knew him like you did. Nobody knew that Greg House could sometimes be less of a jackass, and that he was capable of holding you when you were upset. And you were glad to keep it that way, because you were selfish and wanted to keep that knowledge and that part of him for yourself.
Everyone thought you were insane. The both of you. And that’s why they thought you would last.
You might’ve. But you didn’t.
It started innocently, like most of these things do. And then those involved are left to ponder over and over what they could’ve done differently, only to find out that if they were to do it again, everything would be the same.
It started, but it was nothing. At first. [it’s just my leg he always said just my leg it’s fine stop worrying it’s annoying]
Your recollection is blurry, but you remember him saying it to you in bed. You were laying there like you always do, your head on his chest and his arm around your shoulders in a private display of affection and his eyes fixed on the ceiling. It was then that he said it, and that was where it all started.
“Hey,” he said, “My leg hurts like a bitch.”
You raised you head from his chest and looked at his face, “You’re a real sweet talker, aren’t you?”
“It’s one of my more endearing qualities,” he said, and winced when he shifted his right leg.
He gave you a look. “I just said it hurts. One would assume that’s defined as ‘not okay.’”
“Fine. You should see a doctor about it.”
“They’re all idiots.”
“Except you, right?”
“That’s right. I’m not an idiot.”
“No, you’re not. What you are is self-centered, sarcastic, and—”
“You’re complaining? You’re in bed with me. I thought you went for sarcastic, self-centered bastards.”
You laughed and put your head back down, sighing softly. “See a doctor, would you?”
And he did see a doctor. A few times, actually; they thought he was after the drugs. But he kept coming back to you, in pain, and you tried to help him. You tried to ignore it for the most part, the both of you, because you thought it’d go away, but it kept getting worse and worse and worse. The next thing you knew, he was in the hospital with you sitting next to him. Wires were coming out of every part of him, and ten different monitors that you never understood the purpose of were to his left, making beeping noises. You were the only thing to his right.
You sat by his bedside and you held his hand because you could do nothing else. You watched him sleep and watched him flinch when it hurt. You knew he’d never flinch if he was awake, because he never wanted to admit to you that he may have been weak and afraid. You sat there for hours, days, and you hated him. You hated yourself, because you were watching him die, and there wasn’t a damn thing you could do about it.
Until Doctor Cuddy came to talk to you. Something about a middle ground, she said. You kept it in mind, and went back to his room to watch him wake up.
When he did, he didn’t arch up and scream like he did before. He just exhaled, sighed sadly, his eyes glassy, and you knew he was in a kind of pain that screaming wouldn’t help.
“How bad is the pain right now?” you asked him.
Brokenly, he answered, “It’s…bad.”
And that’s when you knew it was killing him, because up until then, he’d denied it [i'm fine it’s my leg my life it’s just taking longer they’re wrong they always are] and he’d ranted about it. But right then, he didn’t scream. He didn’t yell. He just seemed to be holding back tears. And it was slowly killing you, too.
You tried to convince him, to put all that law school education to good use. But it didn’t matter how many convicts you’d put in jail, how many cases you’d won. Because none of those convicts or clients had the stubbornness of Greg House. The very thing that you loved most about him was what was going to kill him.
You tried, though, because there was nothing else to do.
And you were close to tears when you said, “Let them cut off your leg.”
He shook his head and your heart broke for him. “Sweetheart, I can’t. I can’t. I’m sorry,” he says. And his eyes, which previously hid everything from you simply to irritate you, were showing everything, because he no longer had the energy to hide any more.
He asked you to talk to the doctor. Put him in a coma. And that’s when you’d made your decision to tell them to do that middle-ground surgery. You wouldn’t tell him about it, because you knew he’d refuse. At that point, you just wanted him to live and had completely forgotten about the fact that he was a doctor and you weren’t and that it was his body and not yours. You didn’t tell him because you knew he’d refuse it, and you didn’t want to have to argue any more. So you ordered it. Dr. Cuddy made a weak attempt to stop you, but it didn’t work. You told her he wanted to be put into a coma, the one part of his request you honored, and went back to his room again to watch.
“I’ll see you when I wake up,” he said, “We’ll go golfing.”
You smiled because you couldn’t help yourself. It was the first time you’d smiled in a while and it felt nice, but it didn’t last long because you knew what you were about to do.
“I love you.” [he never said it often because he just assumed you knew]
If it were possible to hear your heart breaking, you just had. But he didn’t, because he didn’t know. He usually didn’t.
Regardless, you answered back. “I love you too. I’m sorry.”
He said you had nothing to be sorry about. You thought otherwise.
You brought your hand up to caress his face, and you knew you’d regret ordering the surgery. You knew he’d hate you. You knew you were being selfish because at that point, you just wanted him to live. And you thought you knew better.
“Give me the forms you need signed.”
ii. two [he doesn’t react but his lack of reaction is what hurts the most]
When he woke up, after the surgery, it wasn’t pretty.
He didn’t yell, he didn’t scream, his face didn’t go red from rage, like you’d seen it do before. He didn’t even raise his voice.
He just looked at you and asked softly what you did to him. You told him that you ordered a surgery, and had the muscle removed. Why, he’d asked. Because you were worried about him and you loved him and you wanted him to live.
And then, of all things, he’d laughed. You just assumed it was the morphine
You reached for his hand and took it, squeezing. He looked at it for a second, his blue eyes shining with fear and anger and something you couldn’t quite place but you knew was your fault [it’s those eyes that you fell in love with because they were so damn blue they could bloody well make you feel like everything would be all right even when it wouldn’t].
He nodded, and then he took his hand away. Disentangled his fingers from yours and placed that hand lightly on his right leg, feeling it and grimacing in pain. A slight smile appeared on his face, a sad smile that always made your stomach turn because it was too damn difficult to look at. Then he looked at the ceiling and closed his eyes.
You waited until he was asleep before taking his hand again and kissing the palm. It tasted salty, but that was only because you were crying.
He didn’t react. In fact, he didn’t even seem to register it. But it was the fact that he didn’t do or say anything, the fact that you’d hurt him so much that he couldn’t even bring himself to speak, that hurt the most.
You’d rendered Gregory House speechless, and for once, you weren’t happy about it.
iii. three [it’s the little things that always changed first]
You went home together, because you wanted to salvage what you had. At least, you did. You didn’t know about him.
Things changed immediately. You weren’t stupid.
He walked with a cane from then on and took his pills and just wasn’t inclined to do anything, least of all with you.
The big things didn’t change quickly—you still lived together, you still slept together, you still ate together. Those would change later. But it was the small things—the things you loved the most—they were either gone or changed.
He was distant. He often sat at the piano and didn’t play anything, but just seemed to be lost in thought. Every now and then, he’d take one of his pills. You tried to ask him once what he was thinking about, and he said “My leg. Or lack thereof,” and you left him alone.
You didn’t ask him about anything after that. You just let him sit there.
He didn’t talk much. When he did, his words were short and clipped and often hateful. You could see that he was fighting something you had no control over. It made you feel helpless, having no control, and you supposed that that’s how he felt, having his control taken away.
But it was the little things that changed, that you noticed the most.
Before, you always used to look forward to Friday nights. It was the one night of the week when you didn’t necessarily feel lonely with him. He used to always insist on watching that ridiculous soap opera of his, and you’d let him. You’d often make bets on who was going to cheat on whom, and he’d always win.
He used to stretch out on the couch on his back, and you’d often be there too, settling yourself on top of him, your head on his chest. He usually smelled like scotch and tobacco and something you loved but could never exactly place. You would never do much—just watch the show, and he’d let his fingers trail softly up and down your back. You’d shiver sometimes, because you had a thing for his hands, but nothing else would happen, because he was obsessed with his show.
It was a Friday night ritual that the two of you had, and you always looked forward to it, no matter how much you hated that stupid soap of his. You’d often fall asleep in that position, your head in the hollow of his throat, and he would wake you up when the show was over. He’d yell obnoxiously and scare the shit out of you and mock you when you screamed bloody murder. Or he’d make some annoying comment about how you were crushing him. But it never really mattered how he woke you, because the result was always the same. The two of you would walk into the bedroom together. He never carried you, because that just wasn’t him.
All the same, you loved it. And you never thought you’d miss his arrogant yelling, waking you up.
And, along with many other things, it wasn’t there after the hospitalization. His enthusiasm had gone, and had slowly taken with it everything else.
He still watched his show—a small sign of normalcy—and you sometimes joined him. He never pestered you to watch it with him anymore, and you never made a single bet. You tried once, but it didn’t go over too well. You asked him who the father of that baby was. Usually, he’d give you a long-winded, animated and sarcastic response that always amused you. But that time, he just grunted. Something that sounded like “stop it.” Or it may have been “leave me alone,” but you got the general idea and left him alone again.
Another time, you attempted to sit and watch with him. He wasn’t lying down, but was sitting with his legs propped on the coffee table. You tried to sit next to him, lean your head on his shoulder, because you missed that kind of thing, having his arm around your shoulders. But the moment he saw what you were doing, he withdrew his arm and used the cane to heave himself off the couch. It took him a while, because he wasn’t used to it yet, and you could see that he was angry. [i hate this thing, he says pointing to the cane and laughing, resisting the urge to say that it’s your fault because he wants to take his time making you feel guilty]
You missed having his arms around you, because it was a scarce thing to begin with, even before his leg. Now, there was almost nothing.
Sometimes, if he was too tired, he wouldn’t withdraw, but such occurrences were rare. He’d flinch, but he wouldn’t move, and you’d lay your head on his shoulder and think about exactly how much you two had lost.
He’d fall asleep, and you’d sit there until early in the morning thinking about what you did. At times you regretted it, often you didn’t. But the thought of how much you gave up just so he’d live was what made you wonder if it was all worth it.
Usually, the tears came when you realized that he would rather have died than been with you, that he was only there because he had nowhere else to be and because he knew no one else. You’d cry into his shoulder, but you only did it when he was asleep and wouldn’t know. Because he’d push you away if he was awake and tell you to go ruin someone else’s shirt.
After those nights, he’d wake up in the morning and you’d be gone making breakfast but the shoulder of his t-shirt would be damp. You saw him inspecting the shirt once, and watched him react from a corner of the room. He didn’t know you were there.
What broke you was the fact that he looked at the stain on his shirt, then his leg, and quietly laughed.
iv. four [it was painful for the both of you]
Soon, the bigger things started to change, too.
He never kissed you again. Sad as that made you, you understood. Because you knew he regarded that as something personal and he didn’t feel like giving you that satisfaction of knowing him anymore.
It was always the same.
You’d be in bed, either just lying there or reading, and he’d come into the room. Usually, he never said anything to you, just stripped down to his boxers—which were often long, covering his thigh—and lay down.
Most of the time, he’d just fall asleep. But other times, rare times, he’d grab you and pull you to him and you knew what he wanted.
He never was one for subtleties and he would drag his jaw along your collarbone, the stubble there leaving a bright red mark.
You’d reciprocated, allowed him to touch you, because you thought that he was coming around. If he was doing this, it meant he didn’t hate you as much. You still don’t know why you thought that, but it seemed right at the time. A lot of things seemed right at the time.
Every time it was the same. He’d grab you by the arms and pull you on top of him and you’d straddle his legs. Sometimes he’d grunt because you jarred his leg and would push you off. But most times you were careful enough.
He would rip whatever clothing he could reach off of you, which was usually just the lower half. You were always on top, because he didn’t have the strength to hold himself above you for long enough.
You’d pull down his boxers and every time you did, he’d given you a look. Because he used to think you would hit his leg on purpose, simply because you wanted to hurt him.
“Trust me,” you’d once said.
“Yeah, because you’re the epitome of trustworthiness,” he’d replied, breathing heavily.
His hands would settle on your hips and grip so hard that you sometimes found bruises on them the next day. He noticed them once, and grunted something. You didn’t think it was an apology, because he’d never apologize to you, but he didn’t grip so hard after that. He didn’t need to feel guilty as well as in pain.
You never looked at his leg because you knew that would only serve to make him angrier. You just rose up above him, with his hands still almost painfully holding onto your hips, and lowered yourself down onto him. You always gasped slightly when his grip grew tighter and he pulled you down harder, because you were going too slowly.
You began to move and you were far too aware of his eyes on you, angry and confused and afraid. And when he came and cried out under you, it was more from pain than satisfaction, because his leg was hurting him. It always hurt him, even then.
You were just foolish to think that you could help.
When it was over, he’d roll out from under you and fall asleep on his own side of the bed. Once, you tried to stop him and pull him closer, but all he said to you was “don’t,” and rolled away.
But it wasn’t about sex. It never was. It was the two of you looking for forgiveness or validation from one another in all the wrong places. He was trying to understand, and he never did. He never did, because he’d been going about it the wrong way.
And you let him. It was your fault that you let him go on without understanding. You just left him alone.
v. five [he only kept you around so he could break you slowly]
You sometimes wonder why the two of you even bothered. You tried for those few months to make everything work, but wasn’t the same, and it kept getting worse as it went on. It was so bad that you were just better off alone, because you would undoubtedly end up killing one another.
You should’ve known, though. He was the type that didn’t forgive you easily if you forgot to tape his favorite show, for God’s sake. What you did was inexcusable to him, and you should have expected that. But you did it anyway because you were selfish and you wanted him to live and you stupidly thought you knew better than he did.
But you had nowhere else to go. You had each other and you had your jobs. Other than that, nothing. You couldn’t just leave him like this, but the man you’d loved so much it hurt, not even a few months ago, was gone. He’d been replaced by a broken shell of a man that just didn’t care anymore.
That fire in his eyes that you’d fallen head-over-heels in love with was gone, and you were responsible for putting it out.
It was probably because of this that you’d fought. A lot. About stupid things, unnecessary things. You fought about breakfast and about television and when you’d be home from work that night but it never really mattered because it never solved anything anyway.
And you know he only kept you around so that he could break you slowly. He was never the type to abuse anybody physically, though you’d heard from James that he liked to poke people with that cane every now and then. No, physical abuse was never his style. When he wanted to hurt anybody, it was through words. And you were his target during those last few months.
It started slowly, at first. When he used to sit at the piano, he’d never talked before. And one day, he’d spoken. He had just finished playing Beethoven, and you were sitting on the couch with a book. Normally, when he played, it would relax you, but that day had been anything but. There was tension just waiting to boil over, and it did.
“Take the stuff out of the closet. Put it into storage or something.”
He was, of course, referring to the closet that housed all of his sporting equipment. He’d played lacrosse, before, so the stick was in there, along with a few other things. He used to run, too. You’d loved watching him run. Now, his several pairs of running shoes had lain untouched since you’d come home. They were in the closet with in the bag that he always took to his races.
You’d closed your book, stood up, and walked over to him. “Why?”
“Because I can’t use it anymore. You know, the useless leg and all. I have you to thank for that, by the way. I never got to run in that 10 mile race, either, which kind of sucks—”
You were behind him, and he was still sitting on the piano bench, looking down. You tried to put your hand on his shoulder, but he wrenched it away and looked at you. There was a different kind of fire in his eyes then. Not determination and passion and love, but malice, regret and hate. And just like the last one, it was all for you.
“Don’t do that.” He paused, and turned himself around on the bench so he could face you. He spoke calmly. Monotone. Quiet. “It was yesterday, you know. The race. I would’ve run it yesterday.”
“Stop talking like that—”
“I would’ve won, too. You remember? It was a real bitch, training for it, but I would’ve won. By a landslide. You would’ve been proud too, if you’d come to see it. Would’ve said ‘Yeah, I’m having sex with him,’ to anyone who’d listen, wouldn’t you?”
“Those new shoes were a waste of money, too, weren’t they? I wish I’d known I was going to get surgery forced on me before I bought them—”
“Because you’re scaring me.”
He laughed. Low and dangerous. “I’m scaring you?”
“Well, it’s not about you. It’s not always about you.” He let that sink in for a moment and then stood, flinching and exhaling sharply, because it still hurt him. It always hurt him when you were around.
“You see this?” He took his Vicodin out of his pocket and showed them to you, rattled the bottle so you could hear the little white pills.
“And this?” He held up his cane. “I can’t live without these now. So don’t talk to me about being scared.”
He’d stopped rattling the pills and took one right in front of you, to strengthen his point. You just watched him, because there was nothing else you could do.
You watched him limp past you and take another Vicodin on his way to the door. He’d gradually left you, and not just physically. But he came back the next morning, only to do it all over again.
One day, the fight was about running.
The next, about the sex.
And after that, about guilt.
The one you weren’t able to get through was the one about hate. And love. And how they were mutually exclusive.
You loved him. He said he didn’t love you. You wanted to fix it. Fix him. But after a while, you were just tired of it.
vi. six [you knew he wouldn’t forget, but you were foolish]
It just got to be too much after a while. For the both of you.
You loved him, but being with him was killing you. It was killing him slowly, too, you knew.
So you left. Because you were afraid and for a long time, you couldn’t convince yourself [or him because he was just too damn proud to think that you both were wrong] that you’d done the right thing. Eventually, though, you came to terms with it.
He was alive, but he wasn’t the same. So it was just useless. Pointless. All of it.
You knew he wouldn’t forget. You were smart, and you knew that and could deal with the fact that he would have a limp and pills and a bitchy attitude. You knew that. He had a bitchy attitude anyway. But you were just foolish enough to think [to hope and hope and try to get through to him that it’s just a damn leg] that he would forgive you.
You remember that Tennyson quote; “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Now that you sit and remember everything, as you do every day, you beg to differ. Because if you’d never loved him, you’d never get that painful feeling in your gut whenever you saw him limping through the hospital’s hallways. If you’d never loved him, your chest would never tighten every time you saw him walk with the cane or pop one of his pills. And if you’d never loved him, you wouldn’t regret leaving him.
Dear GOD, finally.