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Bad Company

Aftershocks 6.1: Up and Around



Aftershocks 6.1: Up and Around

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TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: On his feet for the first time in nearly a week.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House, OMC
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.
  • Greetings!

    Love the Jerry's acknowledgment-by-not-acknowledging and gentle-but-firm manner.

    And absolutely ADORE how he gave House back his own!!! :-D

    Yeah, I can totally see House's heart attack. Hopefully it is a good thing they are starting the stages at different points... will it make a difference in the long run tho'? Again... not to minimize the horror of what the patient goes through, but it's the family and friends that are frequently left to suffer alone.

  • Greetings!

    And yes, sometimes the switching of roles can be the most difficult thing of all... especially such big and long-held roles as the two that Wilson and House have played for so long....

  • Geez!! this is awesome!! The way that slow pace of Wilson's healing is captured beautifully by his first visit to the toilet with the help of Jerry. I love the way Jerry distracts Wilson from the pain and his humiliation by talking about his own trauma interspersed with sports-like prodding. And the ending where we learn that it is House who has manuevered everything so that Jeery can be Wilson's nurse. I just love seeing how much House truly loves Wilson.

    Also, I wanted to mention that there's a lot of movement in this piece. It's almost as if we're in the room following behind as Wilson makes his way to and from the bathroom. Just totally made of awesomeness!!!
  • Having spent the past two years in clinicals, helping people to get mobile for the first time, after whatever catastrophic event placed them in the hospital to begin with, and knowing the importance of such mobility, I have to say......You nailed it! Which one of you is a nurse??

    Back to the fic, the last paragraph, where House wishes he were in the bed, brings it all back 'round again.

    Every chapter has a different tone, and that is why this is so special. You guys really knew what you were doing. To bastardize Gestalt "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
    • OH, the one of us who wrote this is excited and very pleased that we got this part right! The medical aspects of this stuff can be rather...daunting.
  • Hey, I'm a big fan of all of your different work! I REALLY love these little stories. Bad Company was actually one of my favourite House fics! You guys nail the characters dead on. I completely agree with how you think Wilson is stronger than many people think and you guys are doing a phenomenal job showing that!

    I usually don't comment on stories.. so this is a treat lol. i know you like it when we guess who wrote it... I'm taking a guess that nightdog_writes wrote this one... just a hunch.
  • Wow, my heart was racing with House's, and I knew Wilson was fine! I haven't been playing the guessing game, but I'm going to put in for Deelaundry this time. Something about the first paragraph suggests it.
  • "He forces himself to watch the whole thing..."

    Alas. House realized what he needed to do to get through this. Just like how Wilson wanted House to handle the thing that he broke, now House himself wants to see and experience everything Wilson is going through maybe in an attempt to share Wilson's burden.
  • Jerry sounds like a wonderful man and an excellent nurse. I really love him. ♥ And Wilson needs someone to lean on, physically as well as emotionally, and Jerry provides just what he needs -- so how perfect is it that he's there because of House?

    The twin references to Wilson being lifted into bed are just terrific. First, "practically lifted," with Wilson grateful for the assistance and seeing/trying to see the whole thing with a wry sense of humor, while House thinks he's "like a child," frail and vulnerable.
  • *hugs Jerry, even though her arms probably won't fit around him*

    All the OCs in this story are smoothly real, and it is nice to see the Good Guys' team fill out a bit! Jerry's kind professionalism was just what Wilson needed, I think. It's still a bit heart-rending how House is working with all his has behind the scenes to set things right, and yet there is still so much to repair. I felt so badly for him when he slunk back to the elevators...
  • Your heart goes out to Wilson as he labors with Jerry, wanting his privacy, & feeling decrepit . Then it's a double punch, seeing it all again through House's eyes as he forces himself to watch like some sort of self-recrimination. That he can't take the image of Wilson as a child was moving and it's awful, I know, but I find Wilson's speech as he's talking through the wired jaw, sweetly endearing. That Jerry's got to be a behemoth.
  • I like Jerry :D I like him a lot.
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