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Distress Call 2.6: No Prince Charming

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Distress Call 2.6: No Prince Charming

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TITLE: Distress Call 2.6: No Prince Charming
SUMMARY:  Wilson does a necessary job.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House
RATING:
R for language and themes (gen fic).
WARNINGS: This is a very alternate universe. Adult themes and adult language.
SPOILERS: No.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Never will.
NOTES: The stories from this ficverse are numbered by chapter and scene. Links to all chapters are here.




For the first time since he awoke there, Wilson goes back to the hyberroom. The bodies aren't corrupted yet, having been so thoroughly stabilized by the sterile, airless cold of hybersleep, but it's just a matter of time. They've got to be put back into their cells, and the cells turned on again, before ... before what naturally happens begins to happen. It's a simple task, but not a pleasant one, and he's been putting it off for a while. He has stopped procrastinating mostly because at the moment, it seems easier to deal with the corpses than to keep sitting there in the clinic with House, the honest-to-God vampire. Haemovore. Whatever.

Death, at least, is well-known to Wilson, a family member he doesn't like but whose presence he has always accepted. Whereas House has turned out to be a thing so alien that his very existence is enough to exhaust Wilson's mind.





It's funny, but now that he's dead, Doctor Rupert Norfolk looks pleasant. The high forehead with its thinning gray hair seems grandfatherly, beneficent. His large, arched nose suggests a strong character, a sharp wit. The firm line of his mouth has relaxed, easing into an indulgent smile.

You'd never know, thinks Wilson as he seals Norfolk back into the hybercell that killed him, what a pompous ass the man was. He imagines what would have happened had it been Norfolk and not himself who found House. Norfolk might well have killed the haemovore outright, but more likely he'd have simply allowed House to die, and then brought the body home for scientific study. God, the awards he could've won for that stunt.

"Goodbye, Rupert," Wilson murmurs, and steps away from the closed cell. I'm afraid I won't miss you.

He can see this place now, in a way he couldn't before. Going into the cell, he'd been heavily drugged, sedated; coming out had been that waking nightmare that obliterated almost every rational thought. It's so different now, peaceful in a surreal kind of way. The lights in the hyberroom are mellow and low, designed to go easy on the eyes of the newly awakened. The clear tops of the cells make them look like glass coffins, like that Old Planet fairy tale about the princess awaiting the kiss of life.

Wilson thinks of the story as he stands over Doctor Ulman. Even now, she's lovely, her dark hair loose and shining, her lips a gentle, rosy curve. To look at her, you'd think she could wake at any moment, and oh, how he wishes that were true. Her company now, her voice, would be a priceless source of solace. It's not that he ever really knew her; she was a soft-spoken woman who glided easily around the edges of his world, moving in other directions, always away from him.

It was probably just as well. Wilson had been in a marriage contract during the whole of their acquaintance -- a contract that he's certain has been voided in his long absence from home. Julie had never once even sent him a note, and he was deeply unsettled to discover that he didn't mind; it eased the guilt he felt when a new woman touched him on the shoulder, smiled at him, issued a silent invitation.

There were several women who'd done that, but Sarah Ulman wasn't among them. He wasn't close enough to touch, and he doesn't do it now. He watches his own reflection slide across the glossy surface as the lid lowers back into place. Hollow, he thinks, staring at his ghost-self, translucent and distorted by the curve of Novaglas.

By the time he reaches Sutherlin's cell, Wilson has nothing left. He can't summon a single feeling for the tall, burly man he met only once, long enough to shake hands. Either I'm a rotten human being, he thinks, or it's just evidence of shock.

Shock, he decides. It's shock.

Figuring out what went wrong will not be easy. He'll have to search the computer directory, find the hybercell histories, and then sift through the reams of information. Wilson's smart enough to do it, and he's certainly got enough time, but he doesn't have the heart. Not yet.

Wilson walks out of the hyber-room and doesn't look back as the old-fashioned doors swing shut behind him. This whole ship is an absurdity, a quirky mixture of the modern and the antique. If he could control the damn thing, he might even enjoy himself here. The place has a decadent luxury about it; the corridor floors are polished stone, the walls covered in rare wood paneling.  There are even a few well-aged pieces of art. The fixtures in the master suite's bathroom are plated with genuine gold.

That's where Wilson's headed now. He needs another shower, to soothe the lingering aches in his body. To wash the last of the mud-planet stench out of his hair. Next he needs food, even if all he can keep down is the bland soup that's helping him recover from hybersleep.

And then, having fortified himself, he'll check on House again. He'll attend to the living. The dead will have to wait.
  • First comment??

    "Death, at least, is well-known to Wilson, a family member he doesn't like but whose presence he has always accepted."

    This is a beautiful metaphor, and my favorite from the entire piece. I, personally, have a big problem facing death, and in just one short line, you've summed up Wilson's feelings perfectly. He accepts his destiny, even if he's scared to death of it, or at least scared of drifting and dying alone in space.

    Wilson's story is just so sad; as we learn more about him, we begin to see just how detached he really is. As for House, it seems he's had different experiences -- the things that have affected him are completely different on the surface than what Wilson suffers, yet I can see how their pain can become a way for them to bond and connect.

    I'm still so terribly interested to learn more about House's world, but this chapter left me feeling satisfied because we're discovering much more about Wilson. This was written beautifully and conveys so many emotions through such a short amount of writing.

    Finally, the last line: "And then, having fortified himself, he'll check on House again. He'll attend to the living. The dead will have to wait." That's a pretty gut-wrenching line. It conveys their desperation and hope in just a few sentences. Wonderful chapter! Keep up the great work; I look forward to the next chapter.
    • Re: First comment??

      Glad you enjoyed this. We revised it a number of times to get it to effectively convey what we intended, and yes -- this Wilson is every bit as isolated as we generally see Wilson in our own universe.
  • I haven't commented on this fic yet, which is just plain slack of me. I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far. I'm a star trek fan, so the space setting is awesome. And 'Vampires' are just win.
    I loved Aftershocks, so I know I'll love this too. Just as long as space Martin doesn't show up.
    I was wondering if Cuddy or the fellows (past or present) would be making an appearance, or if it would just be House, Wilson and several OC's.
    I can't wait to see what happens next.
    Just wanted to get that out and now it's time for bed.

    Kinks
    • Hi! We appreciate the comments; it's great to know that folks are out there reading.

      No Martin Grey in this universe, but we are still the Collective, and this ficverse of ours is rather ... hazardous.

      We've written one canon character into this universe, but it will be a while before you see that person. Another one or maybe two could show up at some point; we're not sure. This is a very, very different creature from Aftershocks, because the scope of this thing is enormous -- various planets and cultures, and a span of many years.
  • Beautiful. What struck me is the depth of Wilson's isolation. His current situation, i.e. lost in space so to speak just seems to be a metaphor for his lifelong detachment from others. Just amazing.
  • I was wondering about the rest of the crew, thank you :)
  • Oooooooh, this chapter made me really curious about what Wilson was doing out in the middle of nowhere with three other people (doctors?) in the first place. I'd wondered before, but it kind of got pushed to the back of my mind because of the whole haemovore thing. I hope we get to find out soon? Yes? *g*

    I have to say, this may be one of my favorite fanfics ever. The premise is absolutely awesome (the SF fangirl in me is still squeeing over the space vampires thing), and the writing is stellar. Pun intended. :D
    • You will learn how Wilson got where he is -- but it may take a while, because after tomorrow's installment we are going to be forced to take a break for at least a week. We've added and rewritten so much of the early chapters that it's forcing us to do a ton of rewriting of the following chapters.

    • Wow a Friday installment - very good news :) Having to wait a week for another installment painful but I'm sure it will be well worth the wait.
    • Hey, for most fic writers weekly updates are considered pretty snappy. So while I am sad about the mini hiatus, I have to admit that you spoil us. (But don't stop.)

      -Nia
  • I am really enjoying this story.
  • The titles and summaries of your chapters are sometimes the best parts (I mean that in a good way). "No Prince Charming" is one of my favorites. I like the reference to the Snow White story, the visuals of the clear-topped hybersleep chambers, but it also makes me think about Wilson and House, and the line from "Into the Woods" ("I was born to be charming, not sincere.") In other words, that Wilson (at least on the show) actually is the Prince Charming who sweeps in to rescue the damsel in distress but then disappears during the happily ever after, while it's House who is no Prince Charming. I may be babbling now. Great work, y'all.
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