SUMMARY: Wilson tells a story.
CHARACTERS: House, Wilson
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.
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.
House hears bits and pieces of Wilson's story. Put together, the short statement he'd whispered to the police doesn't add up to much, but it's news and it races through the hospital's gossip pipeline in record time, gaining new details every time House hears it at a nurses' station or in a hallway.
Dr. Wilson was mugged. No, it was attempted murder. A bunch of teenagers jumped him from behind, they were high on something. It wasn't teenagers, it was a group of older guys. He didn't recognize any of them. He knew all of them. They had tattoos and beards. They were clean-shaven, looked like college kids. It was a black gang, Crips or Bloods. Nah, it was Latin Kings, I read an article. They beat him with baseball bats. A tire iron. He was shot five times. There was spinal cord damage, he'll never walk again. Why? Who would do something like this? Take my word for it—it was a hate crime. He's gay? Nah, Jewish.
House sits in the hard, uncomfortable visitor's chair, watching Wilson sleep. It's been four days, and he taps his cane in an unsteady rhythm on the hospital room's floor. He looks up to find Wilson's eyes on him.
The swelling is finally starting to go down, but Wilson's face is still terribly bruised and battered, like the rest of him. House can just make out the gleam of tiny stitches above Wilson's right eye; his nose is splinted and taped. The TPN line still effectively tethers him to the bed, but the trach tube is gone at last, replaced by a nasal cannula delivering the extra oxygen he can't get on his own.
The patient chart hangs from the foot of the bedframe. House already knows every word in it, every update. It's clear Wilson is alive only because Martin desired it; still, something could so easily have gone wrong. House has a sudden, bloody vision of just one of those fractured ribs splintering—spearing into one of Wilson's lungs or even his heart. He could be sitting by a slab in the morgue right now, instead of Wilson's bed.
Wilson is still watching him.
"Wilson," he says. "Wilson, I'm—"
House's voice trails away in his throat. His gaze fixes on the floor and stays there.
He can feel Wilson's eyes on him for a long, long time. When Wilson finally speaks, it's in a low, flat tone as if he's telling a joke with no punchline.
"There was a cow," he begins, "an' a horse. But they din't have names."
House listens as Wilson tells him the real story, the true story. How he was taken off the street, how he'd been handcuffed and a bag slipped over his head like he was on his way to an execution. House grits his teeth as Wilson describes how he'd been forced to kneel before his kidnappers, as the man he knew as Grey Eyes had told him the story of a racehorse named Indian Dancer. How Wilson had been so fucking scared. How that had been only the beginning.
The words start to blur together; with Wilson's jaw wired shut he can't impart very much emotion to his voice, and somehow that makes it so much worse.
They hun' me up like they were butchers ten'erizing a side a meat. They took turns beatin' me, an' somebody mention' batt'ry cables an' oh God I was so scared. Scared they were gonna 'lectrocute me—burn me. One a them want'd t'feed me, like I was a an'mal in a friggin' cage, but Grey Eyes wouldn't let him. An' when I thought it was over it wasn't an' they broke my han'. They stomp't on't two times an' broke it.
There's a snuffling, gasping sound, and House looks up.
"He said he knew you," Wilson says, and House's gut clenches. "He said I cou'd call him Mycrof'." Wilson snuffles again, and then slow tears are rolling down Wilson's cheeks.
"I piss'd my pants, Housh," he says miserably. "I piss'd my fuckin' pants like a little kid."
House can't trust himself to speak for quite a while, and when he does, his voice is rusty as if he hasn't used it in a long time.
"And—that's all you remember?"
Wilson makes a croaking sound that under other circumstances might have been a laugh.
"Isn' that 'nuff?" he asks.