SUMMARY: Wilson makes a decision.
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.
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.
A Secret Weapon
House notices every card and every present in Wilson's room. He has to touch it all; he picks up each item, inspects it, reads the notes—and says nothing. He doesn't treat it like junk even though most of it really is. He doesn't clear away everyone else's sentiments and toss them aside. He doesn't make room the way he usually would for his own sharp thoughts, his own place in Wilson's domain.
He puts everything back where he found it. House's back is turned, but the tremor in his hand is audible when the get-well cards rattle against the table's surface. He thinks he hasn't been caught, thinks Wilson's still sedated from the surgery, so Wilson shuts his eyes again and waits. Instantly he's dozing, drifting lazily until he hears House sit down.
Wilson knows him. He knows that moment of hesitation when House asks if he's okay. His voice is soft and faltering and he can't find much to say. He's worried; it's kind of funny and kind of satisfying—almost as good as discovering that, at long last, it's possible to take a deep breath without pain. That simple relief is the best thing he's felt since all this happened.
There's fear in House's eyes when he holds up his offering, an electric razor. It's silver and black and it would look out of place among the pastel-colored things Wilson's been given. Other people send roses and carnations, plush animals, balloons; leave it to House to bring something Wilson actually needs. Leave it to House to be so afraid that his own little gift won't be wanted.
Wilson could almost laugh. Of course it's wanted. It's the best thing anyone has brought him.
House sits there in silence a while, busying his hands, running them over the body of the razor. House always used to watch him so carefully, reading him, looking for any number of things. Hidden secrets, signs of approval, or the body language that occasionally gave away Wilson's lies. More recently it seemed House was always searching for weak spots, places to attack. One way or another, he was always watching, but not now. Now his gaze falls away, slips downward, rests instead on the object in his hands.
If Wilson wants to, he knows he can destroy House now, crush him in a way that would never have been possible before. He can do it as easily as breaking an egg: This is all your fault, you bastard. You did this to me. Go to hell. There's a part of him that wants to say those things and watch House flee the scene, hunched over his cane, unable to look at anyone. He deserves that. He does.
Except that he doesn't.
"... but your beard is bad," says House, looking up at him again. House is trying to smile, but the plea in his expression is unmistakable.
House has brought a real gift, the kind he never, ever gives. This isn't a gag or a toy; it's something he absolutely means. That shouldn't be enough to please Wilson, but right now, it is. He's known House too many years to ignore the significance.
All House wants is a nod, another word or two. He wants permission to leave the gift and get safely away. For a second Wilson thinks again of the strange new power he has gained, of how easily and terribly he could punish House.
But that's not what he wants—God help him, but it isn't. He wants that nice shiny razor, wants to feel clean again, wants to know that House gives a damn, cares enough to stay. He wants his friend, who knows what really happened.
He can't help it that the careless jackass who put him here is also the only one he truly wants to talk to. He can't stop the affection that overtakes him at the sight of House, desperate to hide and yet sitting here with all his armor stripped away. He can't stop the urge to make House come closer, to make him handle the thing he broke.
Wilson's eyes linger longingly on the razor, and he decides to see just how much more House is willing to give.