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Bad Company

Aftershocks 15.2: Contact

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Aftershocks 15.2: Contact

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TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: Wilson has developed a new reflex.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House
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.


Contact


Wilson flinches away from the hand of the nurse, as they head for Radiology to check him over again before they let him go home. They can't use the MRI; there's way too much hardware in Wilson's body now.

It's the flinch that's preoccupying House, though. He'd first noticed it on Friday, immediately before he'd ejected Norma Jean or whatever her name was. At the time he hadn't thought too hard about it. Anyone would have wanted to run in terror from that woman.

But then last night it happened again. Wilson had startled at every touch as they arrived at the ER. He'd damn near kicked House in the groin as House helped move him onto the gurney. Yes, the reaction had stopped pretty quickly, but the fact that it started in the first place is ... troubling. 

Today's nurse is a lithe and gentle-mannered blonde, the kind that typically causes Wilson to stand slightly too close and put on that little-boy smile. If Wilson doesn't want her hand on him, that means—well, House isn't sure what it means. He will have to observe this new response very carefully, like a symptom of an infection that might spread.

House doesn't want that reaction to get any worse, because it has become necessary for him to touch Wilson so often. There are injuries to tend. That sling requires frequent readjustments. Every morning and evening House has to examine his patient, checking for heat, inflammation, anything that might indicate a problem. There's all of that practical stuff, but there's another thing, too.

The other thing is irrational and weird and has never happened before. He's been finding excuses to put his hands on Wilson, because House's brain has gone haywire and it refuses to believe that Wilson is here and he's real and he's safe. They might have killed him, but they didn't. House's mind keeps demanding proof of that, and the only proof it will accept is the tactile sensation of Wilson's warm and living body.

House should be stronger than that, but some part of him seems to be stuck in the past, on the phone with Martin on that endless night. Some part of him is still helplessly listening to Wilson being beaten, broken. Taken. It makes his guts ache every time he thinks of it, and he thinks of it far too often. It's over and he shouldn't need solace now; he's a grown man and he knows better. He's a grown man, so he keeps a secret bottle of scotch in his bedroom, and tries to soothe himself without Wilson knowing. It doesn't work very well, but he's got to do something more brave than wrapping his arms around Wilson and holding on for dear life. Wilson probably wouldn't appreciate that anyway.

Of the two of them, it's Wilson who's always been more reticent about touch. House puts his hands on everything, while Wilson's hands stay tucked safely in his pockets, or planted on his hips, or clasping some file or other. There are very limited parameters, with him. If you're not either a patient or a lover, Wilson won't touch you. He avoids contact so well, so deftly. He glides past, slips gently away and you—if you're an average, unobservant cretin—never even notice that he's doing it. People think of Wilson as soft and cuddly, and he isn't. He's as detached as a crane in flight. Or he was, until Martin and his band of apes shot him out of the sky.

There he is now, barefoot and in pajamas in the middle of the day, hobbling down the corridor under the sympathetic eye of that RN. It is suddenly unbearable to see her walking away with him. House charges after them.

"He's not brain damaged, you know," he snaps at the nurse as he approaches. "He remembers how to get there."

"I'm supposed to help with the—"

"Not anymore you're not. Anyone bitches at you, send 'em after me; I could use some fresh meat."

House says nothing about the expression of weary relief that washes briefly across Wilson's face as she leaves. Instead, he brings his hand to Wilson's shoulder and rests it there. There's no flinch, no nervous reaction, just a softly exhaled breath. A ravenous hope uncoils itself in House's chest as he limps slowly toward Radiology, alongside his friend.
 
 
  • (Anonymous)
    Thank your for the chapter about how Wilson isn't the touchy-feely guy everyone thinks he should be! It's such a fandom cliche yet it's completely untrue of the canon character.
    Taiga
  • People think of Wilson as soft and cuddly, and he isn't. He's as detached as a crane in flight. Oh. *shivers* Is it possible to fall in love with a metaphor?
    • Oh I m also in love with that line. It is a perfect description of canon Wilson. I've never thought of him as the touchy/feelie type - never. That's definitely more House than Wilson.
  • Oooh! We get a taste of House's pain, now. Not just the concern for Wilson that has been present, but a little niggling psych problem of his own. You guys are doing a great job with this!

    Although House's guilt is not surprising it is unjustified, since he had no warning that Wilson might be taken in this manner. Under normal circumstances House's rational mind would have recognized this. Re-living Wilson's beating shows (at least to me *g*) that House needs his own cathartic moment.

    And I really like that Wilson doesn't flinch, only under House's touch. That is so like canon subtext!! I know there is no slash in this, and I love it. I also love how deftly you are inserting the "your-imagination-here" (just like the show!!)

    See ya tomorrow!
  • Yes. So very glad you posted this today. I'm going to pretend like I wasn't waiting eagerly all weekend for it. Woo!

    Read both of these twice, and I gotta say, as those above me have said already, that I'm glad you're mentioning Wilson's reticence about touch--because it's right there in canon, and because it makes the moments when he reaches out to House that much more meaningful.

    Also the whole not-afraid-of-House thing is just sweet. Jeez.

    thanks again.
  • the only proof it will accept is the tactile sensation of Wilson's warm and living body.

    So he still hasn't convinced himself even after the shave.

    he thinks of it far too often. It's over and he shouldn't need solace now

    Poor House is going through his own version of PTSD here, and for all that people seem not to see what Wilson's going through even while they flutter around him, I think the only one who suspects how hard a time House is having is Cuddy. Scotch in his room and thinking not hugging Wilson is cowardly, ha. He *ought* to hold Wilson tight, for both of their sakes.

    until Martin and his band of apes shot him out of the sky.

    How beautiful -- painfully so. It is a nice reversal of fanon to say that Wilson avoids touch while House has no trouble with it, and it fits perfectly well with what we see on the show: Wilson touching patients when he thinks they need it, to comfort, to convince, but not necessarily because he needs or wants it. Another reason why House should do the reaching-out for (to) him.
  • He's as detached as a crane in flight. Or he was, until Martin and his band of apes shot him out of the sky.

    Oh my God. What a line. *headdesks*

    The whole thing about House making excuses to touch Wilson bit me from inside (I'm sure you guys didn't actually mean it to feel that way) It shows the ultimate fear House has within, fear that he might be dreaming and Wilson's actually not alive and breathing in front of him, but gone forever.

    OUCH.

    You need to keep on going before I detox again. It's so addictive and sooo good, like Vicodin x33
  • I had a question about this line Some part of him is still helplessly listening to Wilson being beaten, broken. Taken.

    Does TAKEN mean that House actually heard Wilson being assaulted or is he just assuming that based on his past experience with Martin? Did something else happen to Wilson that we don't know about yet? Why has Wilson generalized his fear of touch to everyone but House?
  • I'm not sure that my feedback has ever shown up before. I've had some ISP issues. I have enjoyed all your chapters. The angst, the depth of emotion conveyed with such precision...well, every chapter is a gem. Wilson seems to be a very cautious guy. He mainly gets a bit closer in someone's personal space if he's flirting, or if he's with House. Oh, same thing. Sorry. A guy that's so cautious about making sure his attention is wanted that he calls his dates "going out as friends" wouldn't be touchy feely. Then again, after 12 years of House, maybe he's just expecting rejection when none is forthcoming. Then on the third hand, a touchy feely doctor is a doctor with lots of lawsuits and sky high insurance premiums, eh? Anyway, I love your writing. It's powerful. (It's good to see House being human too.)
  • This story keeps getting better and better. The characterization is perfect, and I love that you underlined the complexity both in House and in Wilson, that "what you see is NOT what you get".
    And I know this is not a slash story, but the bond between these two men comes out so strong and full of "love" that it gives me warm feelings.
    I so hope Wilson is going to confide in House... he needs to tell someone, even if he's not yet ready. And I think House will probably never be ready to hear it, but I think (hope) he will be willing to, for his friend.
    Thanks for this, truly a wonderful story.
  • Greetings!

    "House's mind keeps demanding proof of that, and the only proof it will accept is the tactile sensation of Wilson's warm and living body.

    House should be stronger than that, but some part of him seems to be stuck in the past, on the phone with Martin on that endless night. Some part of him is still helplessly listening to Wilson being beaten, broken. Taken. It makes his guts ache every time he thinks of it, and he thinks of it far too often. It's over and he shouldn't need solace now; he's a grown man and he knows better. He's a grown man, so he keeps a secret bottle of scotch in his bedroom, and tries to soothe himself without Wilson knowing. It doesn't work very well, but he's got to do something more brave than wrapping his arms around Wilson and holding on for dear life. Wilson probably wouldn't appreciate that anyway."

    *jumps up and down in frustration, wanting to leap into the story and club House over the head w/his own scotch bottle* House, don't be an idiot! It's NOT over - how could it POSSIBLY be over? If Wilson won't allow the touch, fine, but God in HEAVEN, the bottle is SO not the answer!!!!! Yes, indeed, you ARE behaving like a grown man, the synonym for which in this instance is IDIOT!!!

    Ok... I'm better now. Really. :-D
    This is one of my major beefs, as I've said elsewhere. The friends and family are ignored, simply expected to somehow magically cope w/no backup of their own.

    In other words - well done!!! ;-> If I'm led to rant that hard, y'all have done something very right.... :-D

    "He's as detached as a crane in flight. Or he was, until Martin and his band of apes shot him out of the sky."
    Beautiful.... Such a vivid image of a beautiful bird brought terribly to earth... hopefully not forever, but a part will always remember, no matter what....

    -Katrina
    • Yes!!!! Katrina, so glad you mentioned family members and friends of a trauma victim because really, they are often just as traumatized and feel just as helpless and angry as the victim. But helping House get past the guilt using reflection and words instead of a bottle is going to be a challenge.

      Oh and I'm emotionally invested in this story too :)
  • People think of Wilson as soft and cuddly, and he isn't. He's as detached as a crane in flight. Or he was, until Martin and his band of apes shot him out of the sky.

    Elegantly worded. I've never thought of Wilson as a particularly touchy-feely person: he's far too conscious of others for that kind of constant physical connection. While he understands patients, friends, and lovers needing physical reassurance, and manipulates this thusly - that scene with Foreman from 'House Training' is a great example of his comforting other people with physical attention, - Wilson does not indulge in physical comfort of any kind for himself, perhaps because of his manipulative nature with others.
  • I love protective House and the fact that Wilson's working like a magnet here bemusing House with his own need to reach out & touch Wilson. Nice characterization of physically standoffish Wilson and that still they manage to take comfort in each other in these unexpected ways.
  • *utterly ♥s this chapter*
  • This chapter and the last one were fantastic. It's wonderful when reading fanfiction makes me aware of aspects of the show that I had not considered. Wilson's touches are calculated to comfort others, not genuine expressions of emotional connection. Although now I'd be curious to know what you think about his relationship with Amber. Did she, like House, manage to break through that thick, pretty shell and share an intimacy with Wilson that his wives never could?
    • Well, Amber was a lot like House, and yeah, I think she did get past that shell of Wilson's.

      It's interesting, isn't it, the difference between what Wilson makes you think and what he actually does. He seems so accessible and cuddly and he's just ... not. I've often thought that House, starved for affection as he is, would gladly take a bit of affectionate touching from Wilson, if only they could allow themselves to do it. But they can't, so House just invades Wilson's space an awful lot, rubs shoulders with him, gets as close as the cultural censor in his head will allow. Or as close as Wilson will allow.
  • I think House is catching on, but doesn't want to be :( Poor House, poor Wilson!! And that's right, Wilson always seems more reserved when it comes to touching people than House - if you reached out and randomly touched House, he'd give you an odd look; I think Wilson would freak slightly. He needs his space <3
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