SUMMARY: On his feet for the first time in nearly a week.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House, OMC
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.
Up and Around
"Morning, Doctor Wilson," the nurse chirps as he slides the door closed. The chirp is particularly odd, coming as it does from Jerry, who is built like a college linebacker. He had, in fact, been a college linebacker—Wilson learned this the first time Jerry had single-handedly—although gently—hauled him from a gurney to his bed.
"Hi, Zherr," Wilson greets him.
Jerry steps up next to the bed and lowers the railing, helping Wilson into a sitting position. "You ready for this?" he asks as his big hands wrap around Wilson's calves to help his legs over the edge of the bed.
Wilson breathes out in a heavy sigh. Already his back is protesting, and with the way his legs are dangling he can feel the knots of deep bruising on the backs of his thighs. But his catheter had come out a couple hours ago, and a trip to the bathroom is absolutely necessary. He glances around Jerry's bulk to the window. "C'dju...close 'e blines more?"
Jerry nods and moves to comply, covering the door and blocking the hallway view completely. While he's doing it, Wilson resists the urge to natter nervously. He knows he needs to get out of bed, but he hasn't moved under his own power since his crawl up the alley.
As if he senses Wilson's tension, Jerry starts a one-sided conversation as he pulls the blinds closed. "I don't blame you for wanting these shut, Doctor. First time they got me up after my surgery, I didn't want anybody to see me."
"Hm?" Wilson asks, knowing that's all the encouragement Jerry will need to talk for a good half-hour. He's grateful for the distraction.
Jerry steps close to Wilson's right side and keeps talking. "Got in a car accident, broke my pelvis. I couldn't wait to get back on my feet, but that first time I thought I'd buckle, or piss myself, or both. Took three nurses and an orderly to get me up." He leans down, tucking his shoulder under Wilson's armpit and drawing Wilson's right arm over his trunk of a neck. His left hand wraps around to Wilson's hip and he slowly pushes Wilson off the bed.
He ignores Wilson's indrawn hiss of breath as they straighten to a stand. Instead, Jerry's hand hitches a bit lower, so Wilson could practically sit on his forearm.
"'Course, Mom insisted on being there," Jerry continues as Wilson leans into him. "My mom's not a crier, but she went fuckin' nuts when she saw 'em haul me up. Talk about embarrassing, when they have to call somebody to sedate your mom."
Wilson feels rather than hears Jerry's soft chuckle and tries to move his feet in something resembling a walk. His back and collarbone both protest; all the bruises he's been lying on have awakened to join the chorus. Fortunately, the rib plates seem to be doing their job and his ribs don't seem to mind (any more than usual) how he's panting with exertion.
Jerry keeps talking about his accident and rehab as they slowly work their way toward the bathroom door. Every so often he breaks the flow of his story to interject encouraging comments to Wilson in a tone he undoubtedly learned on the football field, pushing Wilson to keep moving.
By the time they reach the bathroom door, Wilson's knees and hips have loosened up a little and he's walking like a seventy-five-year-old instead of a ninety-year-old. Jerry doesn't quit talking, even when he undoes Wilson's gown and helps position him at the toilet, and Wilson is grateful again, this time for Jerry's good-humored professionalism.
Wilson leans more heavily on Jerry on the way back to the bed. He likes leaning into Jerry's solid weight; the size of the nurse is somehow reassuring, sheltering. He's briefly surprised at how much a 20-foot round trip has taken out of him.
Jerry practically lifts him back into bed. "Gonna need more of your own power next time, Doc," he says. "They want you down in physio soon, so tomorrow you gotta get out of bed yourself."
"Thnks, Zherr," he murmurs as Jerry hooks him back up to the IVs. He clicks his PCA as soon as it's placed near his hand.
"Rest up," Jerry replies softly before Wilson slips back to sleep. "I'll be back in a couple hours."
House rounds the corner and stops abruptly when he sees the blinds covering the entire length of the glass wall to Wilson's room. For a moment he's frozen to the spot as his stomach flips forward and his heart skitters backward. Totally closed blinds could mean a number of things, a number of very bad things; a medical thing, a psychological thing, a Martin-come-to-finish-him-off thing. For a moment House's mind is stuck on a loop, an earworm buzzing in his ear insisting Wilson's okay, House fixed it because he paid.
He looks again and sees the faint outline of two figures rising to a stand next to the bed. The morning sun slants through the windows and casts them in silhouette, one slim and bowed, leaning on the hunched-over bear of the other. House's left leg threatens to buckle under him with relief as he recognizes what's going on, and he steps cautiously to the side to lean on a pillar.
Jerry had been one of the few nurses who hadn't minded caring for House after the shooting, and he was one of two who House hadn't minded caring for him. His size and height made him the ideal candidate, so Jerry had been the one sent in to get him out of bed. When House swore a blue streak at him, Jerry had simply crossed the great hamhocks that passed for his arms and swore back, informing him in no uncertain terms that he was going to walk if Jerry had to drag him. It was why House had pulled whatever on-Wilson's-behalf strings he had left to get Jerry in Wilson's room.
The twin silhouettes move slowly at first, agonizingly slowly, as Wilson's first steps are more bent-over shuffling than anything else. House's face twists in empathetic pain as he watches his best friend hobble like an arthritic old man.
He forces himself to watch the whole thing: the halting progress toward the bathroom, the wait as they disappear, the trip back to the bed that he knows feels twice as long. He doesn't allow himself to turn away as he sees Wilson's feet barely skimming the floor, nearly carried as he is by the big nurse. He finally turns away after Jerry lifts Wilson like a child into his bed.
It's not right. It's where House belongs, in the hospital bed. Wilson should be the one who's whole, and healthy, and watching. House turns away and starts back toward the elevators. His morning visit will have to wait.