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22 June 2009 @ 11:00 am
road to redemption  
Moral high ground has never been her forte, although she’s done okay for now. She’s never been called unjust or corrupt, perks of learning all about justice and equality in law school. But, she’s never been perfect, just strict and sometimes severe. house, md. missing scene from the end of Need to Know. Stacy-centric. Just a practice in writing from a different perspective for once.


 

She’s barely finished her second drink when Wilson slides in next to her, not offering any words or explanations for his presence. Then again, does he really need any? People get so hung up on mumbling pathetic words. They never take time to appreciate the silences, to feel anyone else’s pain. They just talk until eventually it all sounds alike. A waterfall of I’m sorry’sand You’re better off’s, all meaningless and empty deterrents, all stirring together and adding to the pain of realizing the sum of her sins.

Somehow, the company of Wilson, a renowned adulterer, isn’t helping. It’s putting her more on edge, making her more anxious, and she bites her lip as she waits for the I’ve been there before speech, but it never comes.

At last, he sighs, head leaning on his arm, face turned towards her. Her eyebrows peak automatically, her classic defense pose, armed and ready for whatever he may throw at her. Well, perhaps not ready, but certainly equipped.

“He’s not going to be content until he makes sure he ends up alone,” he mutters bitterly, and Stacy flinches from his words.

Wilson looks down and she takes the brief opportunity to study him, concentrating on his grief. She’d rather think about his pain than her own. She’s always been this way. Finding a new target, a new person to pity, well, it helps her survive. If she were to hone all of her attention in on her own problems, well, she doesn’t think she’d make it out alive. She has to deflect, to evade, to lie, just a tiny bit. Just enough to take the edge off.

“Don’t worry,” she jokes with as much humor as she can summon. “He won’t ever let you go. Who’d pay his bills?”

Wilson smiles, eyes lined with gratitude. “He’s an idiot.”

“Oh, I know,” Stacy replies, fidgeting with the hemline of her skirt. “The best ones usually are.”

Wilson nods in agreement as the waitress comes by with another drink for Stacy. He shakes his head at the young server, indicating that he won’t be drinking tonight. Stacy’s alone in that way.

“What are you going to do?” he asks, skipping over the pleasantries and moving straight to the tough questions. As a lawyer, Stacy almost appreciates his directness, almost.

She inhales deeply, her chest heaving as she does so and shakes her head. “I don’t know,” she replies, the most honest she’s been in weeks. “I just don’t know.”

Wilson pauses, examining her for a moment before sighing. “Yeah, you do,” he remarks. “You’re going to go home and feel like crap for a few days or weeks or maybe even months. Then, you’re going to go back to the way you were before this mess.”

Stacy eyes her drink guiltily, but laps it anyway. “You’re right,” she admits, setting the glass down. “Of course you’re right. Can’t leave Mark...not now. He’s expecting me to. And after what I’ve done to him...I can’t...I can’t leave him alone.”

Wilson folds his arms. “You’re punishing yourself,” he states, a hint of astonishment in his voice.

Stacy shrugs. “Maybe...a little. But I do love him.”

“You know, you don’t have to leave,” Wilson begins again, grasping at straws. “If you wait...if you try to get through to him, he’ll come around. He doesn’t actually want to be alone. He just wants to want to be alone.”

Stacy smiles appreciatively, but exhaustion shines through her eyes. “Maybe. Maybe not,” she admits. “But I can’t do it again. He’s a child. When he can’t have me, he wants me, and then when he gets me, he doesn’t know what to do with me.”

Wilson frowns, slouching slightly in his seat. “He knows what to do,” he counters. “He’s just scared.”

“He’s still mad at me,” Stacy remarks. “He’ll always still be angry with me. Every time he pops a pill...every time his leg throbs...every time he eyes his cane...he can’t get over it. It’s either that or he doesn’t want to get over it, because some days, the pain...it’s all he has. He can’t function without it, but he’ll never stop blaming me for it.”

Wilsons sighs. “So, he’s screwed up. We all are...he just...”

“Wilson,” she interrupts, amused by his protectiveness over his friend. “Wilson, I’m not you. I can’t stand by him forever...not like this. And he doesn’t want me to.”

“He doesn’t know what he wants!”

Stacy closes her eyes, taking a moment to regroup. When he eyelids flicker open, she turns back to Wilson. “I don’t want the job again. I don’t want to take care of him. My husband...my husband can’t walk.” Tears tug at her eyes, but she strains roughly, fighting for control of her body. She wins the battle for dominance, tears dissipating as if they had never been there at all. “I can’t leave him Wilson...and I can’t stay for House...especially for House.” She shrugs quickly. “And I won’t.”

He nods slowly. She knows he must have already known her mind was made up. But Wilson was an eternal optimist. He had to at least try. He wouldn’t be Wilson otherwise.

She reaches into her purse, fishing out a twenty dollar bill and sets it onto the table. She turns to Wilson somberly, and he stands up, allowing her to slide out of her seat. Her face crumbles into a sly half-smile as she climbs to her feet, purse tugged over her shoulder, and eyes never really meeting his.

He smiles sadly back as she walks away, pushing past the waiters and waitresses, past the other late night diners, and past the comfortability she has allowed herself to fall back in during her brief stay in New Jersey.

But when she strikes a match, holding it limply out to the end of her cigarette, all of this is forgotten – there’s nothing but breathing and inhaling, smoke clearing away the muck.

The truth is, she’s always been stronger than him in most ways. She could easily succumb to weakness, walk inside and spend the night with him, leaving in the morning, feeling wasted and forgotten. But, the lackluster desire isn’t enough to convince her, because when it comes to him, she’ll always want more. The door is too far away and her car is now much too forgiving, much more compassionate than those cold eyes of his. He’s probably expecting her to walk inside at any minute now. She won’t do that, even if she has things to pick up. Let them torment him. Let her memories haunt him for once. She won’t play his game...she never has.

She’d once heard Dr. Cameron telling Wilson that she believed House did what he did, because it was right, not because he cared. She secretly agreed with the young doctor’s misplaced wisdom, but with one stipulation. House did everything he did because he thought it was right, a major difference in Dr. Cameron’s theory.

Perhaps that’s why they’d been doomed from their very beginning. She was wired exactly like him in most cases. She did everything she did, because she thought it was right. Not cheating on her husband...well, it wasn’t even an option, because being with House, in that moment, well, it was right. She’d never be able to explain it or account for her actions, she knew that much. But she wasn’t sorry, even if he’d left her more bruised in the end. That was always the risk with him. He wanted people to become more damaged than even he was. He needed them to be damaged.

Their ideas of what was right just never seemed to line up. They were always swimming in two different directions, just hoping to overlap at some point, but they never did. They never fell in sync with each other, never even tried to. Their individual wills would always be stronger than their desires, their happiness, their love.

Ideas of wrong and right, notions of self sacrifice and endurance – they were all just empty words that they threw around in order to protect their hearts from ever having to become completely vulnerable. They could never be completely vulnerable around each other, and they both knew it. She wanted to hate him for ending it, and certainly a part of her did, but not all of her, never all of her. He’d given her an easy escape, a clean break, a free pass out of hell and back into the dull, listlessness of paradise.

She really should be going.

She flicks the cigarette butt out the window, hand freezing there, dangling in a lapse of forgetfulness as hazel startled eyes meet chrome, traveling up the length of the bike to the chilled baby blues nursed on top. He removes his helmet carefully, barely glancing at her as he makes his way to the door.

He leaves it open, blowing loosely in the wind, an invitation, not for forever, but for the night.

An invitation that she’s already made her mind up to rescind.

This may have been the very quirk that made him fall in love with her from the start, for while others say they’ve made up their minds, they usually go and do exactly what they claim they would never do. Stacy’s the opposite. She sticks to her guns, clutching to the rigidity of her structured decisions perhaps a little too tightly.

Moral high ground has never been her forte, although she’s done okay for now. She’s never been called unjust or corrupt, perks of learning all about justice and equality in law school. But, she’s never been perfect, just strict and sometimes severe.

Knuckles are white against the cold of the glass as she presses the button with her free hand, window sliding up noiselessly. The only times her heart and head have been in conflict before were all moments involving House. House and his messiness. House and his ridiculous theories. House and his damn aggressiveness and arrogance and allegiance to only himself.

He’s in her head and she wants him out. She concentrates on other obligations – a meeting on Tuesday, a dental appointment next week, a tune-up for her car the following Friday. She has to call her father, she’s been promising for weeks, and her sister wants to visit, just to make sure she’s handling Mark’s injury well enough. She is long overdue on her grocery shopping and she’ll have to buy that damn nicorette gum again if she keeps this up.

Old habits and all. Vices are always there, right? Isn’t that why they’ve been named vices in the first place? There’s no overcoming them, just dealing with them.

She ignores the opened door, pulling quickly out of the parking lot and back onto Witherspoon Street, vowing not to stop until she’s back with her husband, back where she belongs, back to normal.

Only, she’s out of cigarettes and there’s a corner store with dull, humming florescent bulbs flashing twenty four/seven.

 
 
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