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Chapter 12: Eleven Minutes in Heaven with James Wilson


 

This all started with a proper noun, a bag of pretzels, and two gift cards. Similarly, two micrograms of the toxin secreted through a poison dart frog’s skin will kill a grown man.

But at least death by poison dart frog is quick.

James Wilson had the idea that death by a proper noun, bag of pretzels, and two gift cards would be slow and painful.

Or at least, that was the idea. That was the idea of all deaths excluding gunshot wounds and decapitation—slow and painful, something to be avoided at all costs. This was the idea fed into the minds of small children when they went to their grandparents’ funerals. This was the idea Wilson saw every time a patient lost hope and faded away. This was the idea Wilson felt every time he remembered there was really no hope to begin with.

It was an equation fit for Sesame Street.: Life is good. Death is bad.

But now, as he lay there with snow in his back pockets and House’s bulky jacket over his arms and shoulders, eyes closed and barely breathing, he questioned death’s taboo.

Because this didn’t seem as bad as what he saw at the hospital. No code blues and defibrillators. No stressed out orderlies, no spouses, no tears.

He wasn’t really asleep, and he wasn’t really awake. He wasn’t aware of anything outside of what occurred within his own mind. He wondered if other people should be so lucky, to be aware of their mortality in play-by-play clarity.

Wilson shook as another wave of nausea hit him, the kind where you know nothing will come up except for bile and whatever energy you have left.

The only energy Wilson had left was burned by wondering how it would happen—whether he’d wink out in the passing of a second, or whether it’d all be too slow to really see, like the hour hand on a clock.

The brain is still active for approximately 11 minutes after death. He knew that. Most doctors knew that. What they didn’t know is what happens in those 11 minutes. Do you go towards white lights? Do chemical reactions in the brain cause auditory and visual hallucinations? Do you even exist, or is it just flesh, just a jumbled mass of bones and muscle while the computer in your head shuts down?

And while Wilson had spent his life acting as though he didn’t care about those 11 minutes, in the back of his mind, he knew that those 11 minutes wouldn’t last 11 minutes. Because those 11 minutes were all he’d have. Be it Heaven or Hell or complete nothingness, the world of James Wilson would be nothing more than what was contained in those minutes.

Strangely enough, it comforted him.

He thought about the elegance of death through other, more articulate, eyes. Like the last scene of American Beauty or the modish wit of Fight Club, and suddenly he was sad again, because he’d never be able to top Lester Burham or Tyler Durden.

Shit, he didn’t even have any good last words.

“Rosebud” was already taken.

And in all probability, those 11 minutes would be spent rewatching classic movies on cable, watching other people do great things, as seemed to be the trend while he was alive.

It was here he came to wonder if his 11 minutes had already started. These were the long-winded, incoherent ramblings of a dead man, so it suited James Wilson that he was already dead.

He pictured the epitaph on his grave.

Here lies Dr. Jim

You probably haven’t heard of him

Then again, House might throw in an artistic contribution or two…

Here lies the body of Dr. James

Whose life was like a pinball game

He went here, there, and all around

His purpose here is yet to be found

He couldn’t hack it, couldn’t climb the walls

Life was too fast, so he lost his balls.

He’d smile and laugh if he could. Everything was dwindling down to not being as important as he felt, but he was okay with that. He made lives better, even saved a few, but that really didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered was that somehow, in the middle of nowhere, in the bitter cold, he felt warm. It was a warmness that engulfed all of him, filled him up with a definite sense of…contentment. And despite the yearly supply of “thank you”s, the awards, the salary, nothing could quite compare to the sensation of knowing that everything was okay. Wilson wandered around his head looking for a white light. He was finished. He was ready. The clock was set at 11 minutes.

But House.

But what about House?

Wilson suddenly felt as if he were leaving a part of himself behind. Trouble was, it wasn’t a tiny part like a fingernail or a hair or even a tooth. Wilson felt as if he were walking out of the house without his legs—a feat that was understandably hard to accomplish.

And Wilson could continue to kid himself, to think that dying was possibly the one decision he had some say in, to view himself as the balance beam under the unlimited neediness of Gregory House…

But there was a part of him that refused to let his last thoughts be a lie.

Wilson wondered if just maybe, he needed House as much as House needed him. House could say what Wilson couldn’t. House could do what Wilson couldn’t. House could be what Wilson couldn’t.

And still, Wilson could do what House would never be able to do, which was to finally admit that such things were true.

House was not the leech on Wilson’s leg, but rather the sea anemone to Wilson’s clownfish.

In the wild, when one dies, so does the other.

Scratch that. House and Wilson were in the wild.

And so you wonder what man can know these things, and still give up, what man can know this, and still count backwards from 11 minutes.

Not Wilson.

If he died, House would die, and he knew that if House died, he would die. He figured he’d let House keep the smug satisfaction he seemed to possess whenever he was alive…which was frequently.

And before deciding whether he could wait, Wilson decided that he would wait.

Just a little longer.


Next Chapter

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-18 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yukinakid.livejournal.com
Love the epitaph! That was hilarious. I smirked out loud in the student center. So sweet, the sea anemone and the clown fish. I can see a Dr. Wilson Clown Fish and a House.... pfft!

Sorry it's not one of my usual up to standard comments. Look forward to more! Enjoy your soon to come up weekend!! =) In case I don't speak to you before then. I'm going home!

-Natasha

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-18 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alanwolfmoon.livejournal.com
hmm...

dying is only sad because of live people--the dead guy couldn't care less.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-18 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verbal-kint10.livejournal.com
I'm not sure I really get what you're saying. I'm sorry, I'm kind of dumb sometimes, lol. Could you restate that in an idiot-friendly way?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-18 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jacques327.livejournal.com
If you don't mind me helping out...

He/she is saying that because people are alive they care about death. But since the "dead guy" is dead, he doesn't/shouldn't care about death.

My own comment:
I think that person failed to miss that Wilson is not dead, he's dying (ie still alive), so he still cares about whether or not he lives or dies. I'm not sure if the above comment was constructive criticism or just a comment... either way it doesn't really apply to your story...

Which is excellent! Keep up the good work!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-19 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verbal-kint10.livejournal.com
Okay, that makes sense now. And while I agree with their statement that dead people don't care, I don't really see how it's relevant, as Wilson's not dead (no offense to Alanwolfmoon!).

Thanks for clearing it up though, and thank you for reading!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-18 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] srsly-yes.livejournal.com
Very poignant...getting into Wilson's head like that. Also, as a doctor how he would ponder death.

Are you really only 16? You are amazing. Don't forget us fanfic writers when you become famous. XD

Can't wait for the next update.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-19 12:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verbal-kint10.livejournal.com
Haha, it'll snow in Hell before I become famous, but thank you very much, and I'm glad that you like it. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-19 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mertondingle.livejournal.com
You're sixteen? Goddamn.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-18 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsofspike.livejournal.com
oh this is great :) love the writing on his imaginary headstone... love him deciding to keep living for house... just wonderful :) can't wait for the next :) hehe

(no subject)

Date: 2008-09-19 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lhoma320.livejournal.com
Wow...Wilson's inner thoughts! You think of the best stuff. Loved this sentence "wondered if other people should be so lucky, to be aware of their mortality in play-by-play clarity." Love the way it sounds when you say it out loud. :D

Ha! This is so Wilson! “Rosebud” was already taken." Those these too "It was here he came to wonder if his 11 minutes had already started". "...so it suited James Wilson that he was already dead." So perplexing.

Dr. Jim, Dr. James. Loved how it rhymed! So funny. You think of the best stuff.

Ahhhh..."House was not the leech on Wilson’s leg, but rather the sea anemone to Wilson’s clownfish." So sweet picturing Wilson wrapped in House's tendrils. :) Makes me mushy.

I'm dying here! Update STAT! :D

YAY!

Date: 2008-09-19 01:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oliviazaratinga.livejournal.com
Chap 11, because somehow Chap 11 disappeared before I wanted it to, so you get it here. Looks like I've got 3 juicy chapters to read, so thanks. What I like best: Doctors Cuddy and Chase acting like complete idiots about their injuries and doing all the things to themselves that they yell at patients for. Of course, they've got a very good reason to do that. I also enjoyed Chase's Evil!Koala story. Quantas Airlines will be outraged. It was a nice touch, and showed that Australians have the same "tell a scary story around the campfire at night" gene that Americans have. Lousy timing for the gene to express itself because The Things With Shiny, Shiny Eyes That Glow In The Dark and Big, Sharp Crunching and Clawing Things may already be contemplating them as a nice snack, and why think about that until you need to? That's my philosophy. Simple. Sweet. Hard to fit on a bumper sticker. Enjoyed Persuasive!Gutsy!Cuddy taking charge and taking action! Excellent. Anyway, I enjoyed it all.
Chapter 12: I absolutely loved Wilson's ramblings on death, the meaninglessness of life, the importance of those last eleven minutes the brain is active after death, his poem and the way he was absolutely sure that if he died House would die so he decided to hang on a bit longer. It's quirky, and I like that a lot. On to the next chapter!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-12 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jacks-boonie.livejournal.com
HANG ON, WILSON!!!!

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