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Bad Company

Aftershocks 15.1: Poison Control

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Aftershocks 15.1: Poison Control

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dark barn
TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: He wishes they'd just wake him up when it was over.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House, Cuddy
RATING:
R for language and themes.
WARNINGS: Details the aftermath of events in Bad Company, a rough, violent story. Aftermath isn't always pretty; may distress some readers. Adult themes and adult language.
SPOILERS: No.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Never will.
NOTES: The pieces of this shattered story are numbered. The first number signifies the number of days that have elapsed since the original event in Bad Company; the second number signifies when the fic occurs during that day.


Poison Control



When he wakes, the first thing Wilson thinks of is an illustration of the ghost of Jacob Marley, in a book he'd seen as a kid. Marley had bandages wound around his head and under his jaw, holding it closed; that's exactly how Wilson feels. He's well past dead and he can't open his mouth.

Also, judging by the smell of the place, he's not in House's apartment anymore.

"Please tell me that din't happen," he whispers through his teeth, as he opens his eyes enough to see that, sadly, it did happen. He's in the hospital, and the pale light coming through the windows is turning the dark room faintly blue. The memories spiral downward upon him like buzzards. He swallows, and it feels like his throat has been scoured with sandpaper. Everything hurts, but not nearly as bad as it did a few hours before. His jaw has been re-wired while he slept, and since he's sure that process would have been agonizing, he's glad to have been unconscious at the time.

He would love to simply pass out for, oh, a year or so. How wonderful it would be to let everything go, to heal while he slept.

His right arm is still rigged up with an IV. He wiggles his fingers and they touch a small plastic object that he recognizes immediately. It almost makes him smile; it's the morphine button. He gives it a click before turning his head to look around the room.

In a second bed to his left, a familiar shape is sprawled, pajama-clad and sleeping. Good idea, House. Just stay asleep. Wilson can do that, too; he can sleep. If anything goes wrong, House will know.

Wilson presses the button a few more times and lets himself drift away.





"If you're gonna puke that much," says the low voice next to Wilson's head, "you're really supposed to get drunk and stupid first."

Wilson's far too groggy to have any kind of a comeback. Also, he remembers why he was throwing up in the first place, and it's making him want to do it again. The floating pieces of dream and reality swirl around and settle inexorably into a coherent whole. 

He wishes he could go back to the way he was before last night, recalling only the mundane violence. Failing that, he wants to believe that the toxic milkshake was real and the other thing—the thing that happened in the barn, the relentless, invisible hands and the vicious wet mouth—was the nightmare. 

But it's far too late for that. He has used up his quota of delusions. The only real question now is whether anyone knows. His gut twists at the thought.

"House," is all he can manage to say, and he hopes House will fill in the blanks.

"I haven't seen that much vomit since I went to Mardi Gras." House is sitting in a chair beside the bed, looking at him the way House looks at a particularly interesting x-ray.

Wilson squeezes his eyes shut and brings his hand up to cover his face. He feels the red heat creeping over his skin. He hopes like hell that he didn't get delirious last night and talk (scream, whimper) about ... that. The last thing he needs is for the whole hospital to be spinning out more rumors about what happened to Poor Doctor Wilson. There's enough of that going on already.

House continues, in that flat tone he has, and answers the question Wilson hasn't asked. "As far as the hospital's concerned, you had an upset stomach and the vomiting just aggravated your injuries. All your tests came back okay. You'll probably be released this afternoon."  

"Wha's this?" Wilson mumbles, fingering his jaw. "Feels diffrnt."

"You've still got the horizontal wires anchored into your jaw," says House, "but for keeping your mouth shut, I had 'em replace the metal with elastics."  The corner of House's mouth curves upward.  "Just as effective for preventing your lectures, but easier to cut in an emergency."

Wilson's not sure whether to be glad when the door slides open, interrupting House's insults. It's Cuddy—probably the only person who dares to venture into the lion's den. 

"How's the nausea?" she asks, and she seems to be asking them both, which is odd.

"He's a lot better," House replies. Cuddy isn't satisfied.

"And you?" she demands. "You don't think anyone told me you were sick? If there's something I should know—"

Wilson gives a questioning glance to House; House glares at him.

"I wasn't feeling well, but you remember my car? The fast, red, gorgeous chick magnet? Wilson," he gripes, "barfed in it. You'd have been sick, too. Admit it."

Cuddy looks at House, then at Wilson, who can see a whole series of subtle calculations going on in her eyes. He wonders if she can read his own plea: Just don't ask questions. Not now. Just don't.

Maybe she does understand, because she nods silently and turns back toward the door.

"House?" asks Wilson, once Cuddy is gone.

"I played pretend, okay? I told the staff it was a stomach bug and that we both had it. Big deal." House gets up and limps over to the door, looking at that instead of at Wilson. He's still shoeless and in his flannel pants and t-shirt from the night before. "Go back to sleep.  I've gotta get dressed and go avoid some other patients."
 
 
  • Ooooooooooooooooooooo happy dance!!!!! I am getting ready to read it now but first I had to express how happy I was to see two more sections posted. I love you all!!!
  • AWWWW!! That is just so sweet, the way that House covers for Wilson, helping to preserve what dignity he can!!

    I just love these two in this chapter.

    Thanks.

  • Did House pretend, or did he really throw up when he realized there was something Wilson was remembering that was bad enough to make him that ill? (Did he guess the nature of it too?) I don't know which feels better to believe.

    How wonderful it would be to let everything go, to heal while he slept. It must be terribly inviting, the idea that all the physical and emotional pain could disappear while he was unconscious. But he has to be awake to process what happened so he can come to terms with it and continue his life, however changed it will be. Oh, Wilson. You make me ache for you.
  • This section brought tears to my eyes - especially this line In a second bed to his left, a familiar shape is sprawled, pajama-clad and sleeping. Good idea, House. Just stay asleep. Wilson can do that, too; he can sleep. If anything goes wrong, House will know. . Wilson is trusting House to take care of him because it's obvious he's still very afraid.

    I loved the way, he shared in Wilson's humiliation - giving himself over to the gossip mongers. This line "I played pretend, okay? I told the staff it was a stomach bug and that we both had it. Big deal." . Loved it.

    Question: Do you plan to combine all the sections for those of us who want to make a hard copy? When the ficverse ends - (it pains me to say that) I would be happy to create a PDF version with graphics of the whole fic verse. Generally, I don't print out fics but this is one that I never, ever tire of reading over and over again. So I would love to have a copy in a book format.
    • Wow. Ah ... we never gave any thought to putting this into .pdf format.

      We'll have to get back to you on that. Maybe after we figure out how to do it in the first place. :-)
    • Ditto. That'd be great--I know for certain that I'll print it out, but I'm not looking forward to copying each individual section. XD
      • (no subject) - misanthropicobs
        • Greetings!

          Same here... just copy/pasting into Word as I go....

          My housemate has Acrobat Pro tho', so I might be able to ask her if I could do one up, if such would be permitted and desired. I used to do typesetting for a living - love getting the chance to play.

          -Katrina
          • I always lose the formatting when I copy and paste into word. Also I was thinking it would be good to include the graphics and also a section that describes how the Aftershock collective evolved and how they have managed to meld their different perspectives into such a creative and compelling story. Collaborative anything is always a challenge. Yet, the collective has managed to do something that social justice collaborations often fail at - co-constructing a shared reality that honors multiple voices and perspectives. As an organzational management consultant, I find this aspect just as fascinating as the story that has evoled from the process.
            • Oh, trust us. When this is done we are going to talk extensively about how it started and then grew into the monster that it is. It took us completely by surprise.

              None of us has ever had an experience quite like it, and we've all been enjoying it thoroughly.

  • Greetings!

    Again that 'careless' care that House uses here. I breathe easier knowing that House covered for him, and honor the way he will throw himself to the wolves, as it were, to preserve Wilson's dignity. And it is so typical that he shrugs the thanks away.

    Cuddy is a wise one... I'm sure she will be back, but there are simply times you turn to your own b/c no-one else can understand, and she is both smart enough and perceptive enough to know that.

    ""Go back to sleep. I've gotta get dressed and go avoid some other patients.""
    And a needed bit of humor at the end, to free us all, both in and out of the story. :-)

    Powerful, powerful stuff expertly handled, as always. :-)
    Thank you for giving us this wonderful story,
    -Katrina
  • House's honor shows its face again. Beautifully written.
  • "Please tell me that din't happen," he whispers through his teeth.

    It's so awful that Wilson feels ashamed of the reactions he feels from a situation that is so entirely not his fault.

    Like bironic, I was wondering initially about House's vomit alibi (there's two words you don't normally see together); in any case, House has really entwined himself around Wilson; he is attuned to everything. (What a change to his pre-Bad-Company attitude).
  • So many wonderful layers at work; Wilson wanting to float off into the ether as the memory overwhelms, shames, exposes too much. And
    the line "He has used up his quota of delusions." is sad flicker of the pain from his past, maybe his brother or failed marriages. And House working behind that gruff mien as his cover for Wilson is given away. They both want to hide so much of themselves; it's enthralling.
  • Oh Wilson... I hope he tells House what happened so that House can help... But that's more guilt for House and gahhh <3
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