It was the mid morning, around 11:30am, just before lunch, and all the doctors of the Princeton-Plainsboro teaching hospital were busy trying to get to a point in whatever they were doing to be able to take their lunch break. Dr. House, as always, was the exception.
He sat in his office, almost sullen, trying as he does to take his mind off of the dull pain that follows him through his days. For him lunchtime is usually spent considering whether or not he should eat first or just pop a couple more vicodins now, eat, then pop another one before getting back to work. The truth of the matter was that if push came to shove he could live without taking anymore vicodins, the pain was there, certainly, but it was manageable. With that in mind, Dr. House told himself that little lie, as everyone does (tell little lies, that is) that he actually needed them. Today was going to be one of those days, he could feel it, he thought to himself. He stopped belaboring the issue and popped two of the little pills into his mouth when he saw Dr. Wilson coming down the hall towards his office with a hustle to his step.
Dr. Wilson opened up the glass door to his office and popped his head in for just a moment. “Cuddy needs to see you” he blurted out before House even could tell his old friend “Can't you see I'm busy?”
“What's up?” Dr. House asked.
“I'm late for lunch. You'll have to ask her”
House walked to Cuddy's office on a cloud of vicodin haze, able to tune out the sound of his own cane tapping against the ground as he made his way down the maze of hallways.
“Greg, Good, youre here.” she said as he sat down in the chair second closest to her desk. “I just got off the phone with a personal friend who wants your help in a very unusual local case.” she continued, completely skipping all pleasantries. Dr. House actually preferred it that way. “Go on” he said as he admired her face and her form.
“Well, do you remember that story a couple years ago about the local boy genius?” she asked.
“The...hydrocephalic? Sure. Who can forget a kid with a head that large. Let me guess, his cranium grew so large that his neck can barely support it's weight anymore.” he replied, sarcastically.
Dr. House looked at her, dumbfounded.
“That's not all. It's reached some kind of accelerated growth spurt. He is literally mutating. And no one knows why. And then it gets weird...”
“Oh, that wasn't already weird?”
“Not like this. Apparently he is now generating some kind of bio-electro-magnetic field, frying any instruments that he comes into contact with, which is preventing a lot of efforts to treat or even determine what is wrong with him.”
“That sounds like something out of the X-Files. Or the X-Men.”
“Does it sound like something that might interest you?”
Dr. House pauses, stroking yesterday's five o'clock shadow while he thinks for a moment.
“I suppose I could take a look.”
The patient, David Morrow, was wheeled up into the candle lit examination room by his concerned mother. David, his gigantic throbbing cranium shedding hair as it grew, looked shriveled and pathetic in the wheelchair, not unlike a quadriplegic. House took mental note of the boy's appearance, likening him to a Stephen Hawking bobble-head. His sullen mother, on the other hand, reminded him of Sally Field.
“Hello, Doctor.” David said to Dr. House, telepathically.
“How old are you now, David? 15?” Dr. House said as he used an old fashioned stethoscope to check the boy's heart and pulse. Neither of them sounded like anything he had heard before. His heart seemed to be beating at the rapid pace of a hummingbird's. “I am, 16 as of last week.” he replied, telepathically, causing Dr. House to wince.
“It's disconcerting, isn't it? Hearing my voice in your mind.”
“Can you hear my thoughts?”
“I could, yes. I try not to, but each mind I come into proximity of is like sitting too close to the speakers at a concert. I can tune some of it out if I try hard enough, but the base still reverberates inside of my chest, if you know what I mean”
“Okay, David, I'll leave you two.” His mother suddenly said aloud, startling Dr. House. He watches her, wide-eyed, as she leaves them.
“It's okay, Greg. Can I call you Greg? I can see your thoughts. You may take a pill. I know it takes the edge off.” The boy then quietly said inside of House's mind.
“David, I'm not comfortable speaking to you in this way.” Dr. House said aloud, sternly, but careful not to sound too condescending or rude.
“It isnt just you, Dr. House. It's everyone. I can hear everyone's thoughts. Everyone on Earth.”
“But can you discern any of it? Or is it all just chaos?” Dr. House asked aloud.
“I can hear each instrument in the symphony. Like a magic eye painting. I just have to pull back....” David said before drifting off.
“David? David?!” Dr. House urgently asked as he checked the boy's pulse. He was alive, just asleep.
David floated a midst infinity, seeing all things microcosmic, right down to each and every molecule of his entire body, and then slowly upwards, becoming aware of the state of every molecule of every being around him. He could feel the electricity surging through the building and out into the nearby cities, visiting each home the current powers, seeing each person living their lives, seeing what they are doing, hearing what they are thinking. The awareness continued to spread, across the entirety of the Earth. He could hear the mind and heart of every being, man and animal alike. He was experiencing and understanding a level of contentedness that he always suspected but never knew for sure. On a quantum-level. Each mind. Each body. Each plant. Each feeling. All one. The infinite burning of a world's anger, setting his own mind ablaze, the endless joys, warming his very being, the infinite depths of sadness and pain, causing him to be all to aware of his own. It was the pain that kept him moving up.
He saw the Earth from a God's point of view. At first, a shimmering beautiful jewel floating in the blackness, getting smaller and smaller as he approaches Mars, feeling alien feelings that are still as natural to him as the wind against his face. The storms of Jupiter, caressing his mind like a moist spritz on a hot day, then he stopped for a moment. And turned. He saw the great mother of all life that he has ever known. Sol. Such violence, such beauty, such grandeur. Reduced to a tiny yellow dot as he moved up even further.
He saw the outside of the Milky Way as though it were a childhood home he was visiting for the first time since becoming an adult. Everything seemed to...small.
Further still past the confines of the Virgo Local Super-cluster, and even more, as he passed through the threshold of the Laniakea Super-cluster. And just a few more layers of awareness up and he is seeing the entire universe. It seemed to tiny. Surrounded by an infinite number of universes like itself. He could feel all of them. It soon became clear that he was no longer in outer space, but rather that outer space was a tiny part of the inner space of a larger body among an infinite sea of larger bodies. Like an amoeba given the awareness to see each creature on Earth.
The cycle continued, up further and further, seas of beings that are parts of larger worlds, larger universes and so on and so forth...forever. At least, he thought it was forever.
Finally he came upon a sea made of colors unlike anything a living consciousness could ever dream of perceiving. It was then that the longing, the loneliness that he had felt creeping up on the coattails of the awe he had been feeling was finally addressed. He was being addressed. By one of the other beings. He could see his astral body now, formless and massive, reflected in the eye of the creatures before him. He likened them to a parliament of Gods.
He swam with them in the infinite sea, washing in cosmic forces he had only hoped to someday see and understand. He felt like a dolphin being released from a lifetime of captivity that he had been born into.
Finally, the time came to attempt communication. To communicate with the beings before him. To try to share with them.
David was a starchild the likes of which they had never encountered. They looked upon him with curiousity and fascination. In a single, beautiful, instant, he felt them all reaching out for him, to touch him, to share in what he was. To let him into their world. Their secrets.
If only to be interrupted, by an infernal, damnable beeping. It was a machine. A human machine. He was being pulled back.
“No! Why? Why?! Let me go back! Please, Let me go Back!” he cried as his eyes opened and he saw his mother and Dr. House standing in front of him. “What...What is happening? I...I cant see...I cant feel...everything. I am...only me. I can only hear my own thoughts! The...the images are fading...Please...let me go back there! Before it's gone! Please! PLEASE!” he begged and screamed, tears streaming down his face. Dr. House winced, genuinely feeling sorry for the guy, as he injected him with a mild sedative.
A few hours later David awoke again. He felt numb. “What happened?” he asked.
“Your head kept growing. Slowly. Over the span of months. You were unconscious the whole time. As near as I can tell your brain was...”evolving”...into some kind of...massive bio-computer. Do you remember any of it?” Dr. House replied.
“No. Yes. I dont know. I remember the feeling of being connected to everything. I remember colors. Electricity. Like the ending to 2001 a Space Odyssey. Its gone now. I guess you could say I am human again. How did you bring me back? Why did you bring me back?”
“Your body was getting to a point where it wouldnt support your head anymore. You would have died-”
Dr. House began to say before being cut off by David.
“What gave you the right?!” he barked with angry impudence.
“It was me, David. I told him to do what he could to save you. I need you, David. I dont want to lose you.” his mother said, her voice trembling as she attempted to keep her composure despite the tears streaming down her face. David opened his hand and his mother knew to step to his side and take it. “It's okay mom. So, what happened?” he continued, addressing Dr. House.
“Well, I discovered a gland at the base of your hypothalamus that was producing the strange conductive fluid that was causing your head to grow. I had to surgically remove the gland, and then drain each one of the fluid reservoirs that had collected in your skull. Once the swelling started to go down, and your head returned to normal size (well, normal for you) you woke up. You have to understand, David, I didnt want to stop what was happening. It was something completely new and completely different. But with you shorting any machine that got close to you it was almost impossible for us to really collect any data. So, as a doctor, my choices were limited. Save your life or call the government to come and have you dissected. You may have lost your telepathy, but your brain is still incredibly powerful. Once you are fully recovered you will still be among the smarted human beings alive.”
David nodded his head and let out a sigh. “It hurts. My head hurts.” he finally replied.
“You are going to be in recovery for quite some time. I imagine that headaches are going to persist for a while. I can give you a prescription for something to help with the pain”
“No, Dr. House. Drugs aren't the answer. You of all people should know that.” David said, in a way that both was and wasn't intended to be a dig at The Doctor.
“Suit yourself, Kid.” Dr. House replied.