Fandom: House MD
Challenge/Prompt: 100moods, 039. Exhausted
Summary: Infarction=relationship killer. House and Stacy's first break up.
Author’s Notes: Mmm. This was fun. *Yawn*
I hate it now like I hate you and before I die I will show you how much I hate you.
“I hate you,” Stacy snarls, “I fucking hate you.”
Ah, House thinks, I see the pity wore off. Took long enough.
Stacy is drunk and her eyes are wild and she’s also pretty angry by the look of it.
This is what I do to you, House thinks, but that isn’t quite true.
She’s put up with it as long as she can, she says, and carefully doesn’t mention the days when he’s shouting-never crying, never sobbing, just yelling- and throwing stuff at her while things break on the floor and she’s left to tidy up the mess. It’s all implied in her tone. He makes life hell for her.
She made life hell for him. It’s a fair trade.
(Stacy says she still loves him. She insists it all the time. She doesn’t cringe away from the scar on his leg, which House has to give her snaps for- he fucking cringes away from it in the mirror, in the shower.)
“I mean,” Stacy says softly, and her eyes would be filling with tears if she were still capable of crying, “I saved your life and- and this is how you thank me?”
(He threw his cane at her last week and it left this huge bruise on her arm. She looked to him for an apology but all he could think was oops, I missed, I was actually aiming for your face and even he knew that that wouldn’t actually cut it)
House says nothing, because he’s fairly sure that there are no words left. At least, none that he will physically say, and of the small choice of phrases he might just voice aloud if pushed, none of them are what she wants to hear. It’s better to let her shout herself out and then perhaps they can either start from there or make a [resoundingly not] clean break.
“If you had any idea what I go through for you-” she begins, and then shakes her head, because that’s wrong. He has every idea and he still doesn’t try and lessen her suffering at all.
(Making it worse, taking everything and refusing to give stuff back, glaring malevolently, screaming accusations and spilling pills on the coffee table just in case she didn’t already have it bashed into her head that he is in pain.)
House bites the inside of his mouth and thinks no, this is what you do to yourself.
He’s a monster of her own creation. She made him like this. She signed that paper and signed away everything, including her right to happiness. And his right to happiness. And Wilson’s right to happiness. And Cuddy’s peace of mind (and right to happiness, to a certain degree). One signature and Stacy damned them all to hell.
(He’d pity her if it weren’t for the fact that all his pity is being used up on himself. And he really doesn’t like sharing.)
“I mean,” Stacy tries again, running a shaking hand over her face (losing it a little- this is a new one) “You’re so cold now, so different-”
And House thinks, what did you expect?
He is different now. He’s a different man. He’s angry and resentful and he doesn’t want to be the person he was before because that person could run and laugh and didn’t spend his life hunched over a wooden cane and didn’t have to rely on drugs to function and that person loved Stacy and he can’t love her any more. Not now. Not after what she did to him.
(They still have sex but it’s possibly more loveless than anything else in this relationship hands sliding over each other’s skin taking everything trying not to give anything back lights out so afraid of touching the wrong place and pain burning up and House sometimes thinks he’d rather be celibate than to have to go through that ever again.)
(She cries in the shower. She thinks that he doesn’t know. He does.)
“Do you just think I can sit back and take this?” Stacy asks. “Day after day of abuse and cold-shouldering? Do you really think I’ll just put up with it forever?”
House has never thought that but he finds it amusing that she thinks he has. She’s making him out to be worse than he actually is. Maybe. Perhaps he’s just too selfish to carry off this relationship.
“You won’t speak to me, you make even the slightest touch seem like a chore, and you- you look at me all the time and I don’t know what you’re thinking and I think that if I knew I’d be terrified,” Stacy is still yelling.
House knows he ought to stop her but on the other hand the only way he can think of ending this is not what he wants to do, if only because he’s not going to be the one to suggest she leaves. Stacy belongs to him because of what she did to him. And if she wants to escape that’s her own business but he won’t be lenient and offer her a get-out-of-jail-free card.
(He will never forget and he will never forgive.)
“I thought you’d get over this,” Stacy says breathlessly.
More fool you, House thinks. It’s on the tip of his tongue to say it but he doesn’t.
“But- but you haven’t. And I won’t stay here and watch you fall apart and take it out on me any more.”
(Throwing shot glasses at her, shattering on the wall next to her head, just to watch her flinch.)
House eventually speaks.
“You can’t walk out on me.”
It’s not a plea. It’s an order and a dare and a statement of fact. Stacy bites her mouth together and looks completely conflicted.
(“I’m sorry.” “You’ve got nothing to be sorry for.” Oh, but she had, hadn’t she, and when he woke up and found out what she’d done- he’s never wanted to kill someone more, just to wrap his fingers around her neck and squeeze while she’s sleeping, in the hope that then she’d understand what she’d done to him, and what she’d cost him.)
“You can’t walk out on me,” he repeats, but what they both hear is you won’t walk out on me.
“Watch me,” Stacy replies, and he doesn’t. He listens to her shoes clicking down the hall and listens to the front door slamming and then he listens to the clock ticking and counts to twenty before his face breaks into a raw smile.
This, he thinks, this is different. It makes a nice change from Stacy forgiving him forever. And she’ll come back but she won’t apologise to him and she’ll pack her stuff into boxes and leave him to rot, and he’ll miss her for a couple of hours and resent her forever and he doesn’t need this any more and she’s free to go find someone who maybe actually likes her a little and he doesn’t have to deal with her any more.
“You brought this on yourself,” he informs the empty room, and maybe Stacy actually would cry if he told her that and outlined all the reasons why it’s true but it’s too late now.
(Maybe he’s sorry. Maybe he doesn’t want her to go. Maybe the apartment is a little too silent now, without her screaming to add colour to the world.)
(He doubts it though.)
And the grim little smile clings to his face anyway, pinned there by relief and shock and smugness and perhaps because it’s a little easier to smile than any of the other options laid open to him.
Later on Wilson will tell him he’s an idiot but on the other hand Jimmy is at an impasse with Rose at the moment and the marriage will crumble into non-existence in a couple of weeks anyhow and besides, Wilson doesn’t know anything.
As for House, well… he doesn’t know what he wants any more.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter.