Characters: House, Wilson
Summary: The only real way to win the Stalking Game is to stop playing.
Notes: Yes, this is an actual update to Distress Call. Please do not be alarmed. The previous chapter is here; links to all chapters are here.
By the time House comes home, he's limping heavily. He forgot his pills when he went out, and there's only so much drinking he'll do in smoky halls full of criminals and strangers. He heads straight for the infirmary, for the cabinet where he knows Wilson keeps the merstellin syringes, hidden in a box of spirocytes meds.
First thing: clear the cloud of pain. Pressure-cuff, swab, and the old-fashioned needle that Wilson hates and House's skin requires.
When it's done, he tosses the syringe aside, deactivates the cuff and sags against the counter while the drug hits his system. He wonders if this is the kind of relief Wilson will feel, when House finds him. He's definitely here; House caught a whiff of fresh scent in the airlock, coming in.
"Tell me where he is, Callie. Wilson needs me."
"Now you care what I need?" The voice startles him, though he really shouldn't be surprised that Wilson's eavesdropping. "I'm in my quarters. My terms, this time. Leave your cane at the door or I will shoot you."
"I need to bite you, you idiot, not beat you."
"Yes, and I should trust you with a weapon in your hand, after the last week."
"Trust me," House replies. "Or bring me an autochair. It's that kind of night."
The fact that they are Wilson's terms, doesn't mean Wilson likes them. 'His terms' involve his new stunbolt and an aspiration syringe, just in case. He waits with the lights turned down, sitting on the bed with his back against the wall so that there's only one way for his bloodsucking friend to approach.
House sounds tired, but House is very good at sounding however he needs to sound, looking however he needs to look, in order to get what he wants. Still, it takes several minutes longer than it ought to for House to show up in the doorway. Wilson wishes he didn't notice that.
"If you fuck with me, House, I will knock you down." The words feel alien to him, the kind of thing people say in badly-scripted dramas. "And then I'll take a needle, draw off a dose right from the source, and inject myself."
"You know what's really cool?"
"What's ... what?"
"I actually believe you. But you won't need that." House is looking at the stunbolt, but in the dimness of the room, that's all Wilson can tell. "I told you. I'm done."
"Strangely, 'believe whatever House says' is not my first priority right now." Even though he's already done it, sort of. He's choosing to ignore the cane, feeling certain that House would fall over without it.
"Have I ever -- sure, I lie all the time, but have I ever lied to you about this?"
"Lies, I could deal with. You've been attacking me."
"I've been surprising you."
"Attacking me. Let's hear you argue it one more time." Wilson has tightened his finger on the trigger, without even thinking about it. Even though he can smell House now, oh God, can he --
"Okay." House is leaning heavily on his stick, coming closer. His eyes move from the stunbolt to the syringe and supplies on the night table. "Brutal, don't you think?"
"I think it's exactly what you've been doing to me."
House looks away. Ashamed or feigning, Wilson's not sure, but he hopes it's shame and he hopes the needle won't be required. He might botch it. He's got a sheet of sonographic mesh that will help him locate the modified parotid glands that store House's serum, but the smell of haemovore is making him shaky. He doesn't know what will happen if his muscles spasm while he's sliding the needle into place. He doesn't know just how delicate those glands are, or how fragile the whole voracin delivery system might be, or ...
Wilson lowers his hand to hide the tremors. "You're afraid," he says. "I kept trying to make sense of it. Why would the guy who risked a terrible death to save me, be trying so hard to make me hate him?"
"I'm not afraid, and you're an idiot."
"You risked everything for me, and that terrifies you."
"Each stage of symbiotic crisis," House says, "causes new releases of hormones and toxins in the patient. The odor reads like a chart. You're in the early third progression, which means it's very hard for you to just sit there and spout nonsense at me."
"Go to hell."
"I'm hungry, I'm tired, and I'm in pain." And he's stepping closer, and the scent coming off him is a physical force. Wilson draws a deep breath, which only makes everything worse. He wants to grab House and drag him headlong onto the bed.
"But you're ... not sorry."
"I won't do it again. Sorry if that isn't sorry enough."
Wilson glances one last time at the night table, with the things he knows now he won't use. What's House going to do, after all? Bridge the last half meter between them with a flying leap? Latch onto Wilson's throat and oh God that thought --
He swallows hard, and drops the stunbolt to the floor.
When Wilson awakes, the first thing he thinks is that the ceiling is still the same color it was the night before, just before he turned down the lights.
The second thing he thinks is that this is a stupid thing to think about. Wilson's face is covered with a slick film of oil; he can smell musk on himself, and feel the salt of dried sweat; and he has to pee.
He recalls pulling House closer, turning to give the vampire his throat. There was House's weight and House's mouth on him, before he lost consciousness completely. House must have dosed him well before opening up his jugular.
Bastard. Wilson would never have offered his neck if he weren't half out of his mind from withdrawal. No way does he trust House that much, not after days of being hunted like a rabbit. And House knows that, but he does not care, because for him this is all about power. It has really always been about power, hasn't it? And this, Wilson thinks, is what he has to live with until they're far enough from their enemies to safely break the addiction.
Wilson's stomach hurts.
He shuffles into the bathroom to shower away the mingled smell of House's body and his own. Checks the mirror, but can't find the mark on his neck. The entry points of the fangs, where House dosed him, yes, but the bloodletting incision is ... is ...
...in the crook of his right arm, just below the joint.
Wilson shucks off his wilted nightclothes, sighs and steps into the stall, resting his forehead against the cool plasti-tile. He doesn't understand. He'll never understand.
"Full mirror, please," he says, the wall shimmers, and he squints. This close, he's gazing into his own red-shot eyes, so he backs up and takes another look.
The history is there, he knows, everywhere. Tiny scars, an invisible map of his body -- everywhere, except for the throat with its one lonely mark. The one time House went outside the boundary, because it was freely offered.
Boundaries, borders, permission. It has to mean something, because everything does with House, even when House is being a vicious bastard. Maybe especially then.
The twisting sickness in his gut begins to ease. Wilson looks up at the mirror again and touches the tiny puncture marks on his neck.
"Callie, where's House?"
"Admiral House is not on board."
No. Of course he isn't.
In the mirror, the twin red pinpricks are already fading, healing rapidly. Wilson presses them with his fingertips and they vanish in his skin's flush. Even last night's cut on his arm is precise, clean, careful. Whatever all this means, the things House does and doesn't do, Wilson will sort it out later.
He turns the shower on, steps into the warmth and steam, and does his best to stop thinking about it.