SUMMARY: Do not take internally.
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.
Wilson doesn't know what they used, but he's certain it was in the milkshake.
He hadn't recognized Tweedledee, in the gold-and-maroon striped hat and the polyester apron and the dorky glasses. Only now, too late, does he realize why he'd felt a chill that had nothing to do with the cold paper cup.
He's going to die now. He's survived everything else, and now it's death by Dairy Queen. He's sweating and his head is swimming and his gut is on fire and his fingers are numb. He staggers out of his bed and through the darkness, and barely makes it to the toilet before the vomiting begins. It's more than his wired-shut jaws can take and that leads to awful consequences, the curdled acidic liquid running through his nose as well as his mouth. He tries to remember not to breathe until it's over, but it's so hard, so hard. It feels like drowning.
He's not aware that he's making noise, but he must be. He's woken House, who is talking loudly to him and taking hold of his face. House is not being gentle. House is never gentle when he's panicked, and he's definitely panicked. A drawer gets yanked open, beside the sink. There's a glint of silver in House's hand and Wilson realizes it's a small pair of nippers. House has done the medically responsible thing; he's made sure that there's a way to cut the wires if the need should arise.
It hurts like hell when House does it, and by the time it's finished, about thirty seconds later, Wilson's vomiting again.
"Wilson. What's happening? Tell me."
The moment he can manage it, he does.
"Poisoned," he says, and his voice is raw from the vomiting and his sinuses are burning and he's going to die from this. "I don' know wha' they used," he gasps out, and begins to dry heave and it hurts so bad he thinks he might black out. His chipped vertebrae make it feel like he's being stabbed in the back.
"We're going," says House, and it's obvious what he means: Hospital. Now.
It hurts too much to lean on House, so he has to make his own way out the door, but he's aware of House moving with him, so close that he can feel the brush of House's clothes. Pajamas. House isn't even bothering to get dressed, or to put on his shoes. They take the 'Vette because it happens to be parked nearest the door of the building. For a moment Wilson's surprised that House is giving him preference over the car, knowing that he will probably puke again in a minute. He'd laugh if he weren't dying.
They're moving before he can even settle properly into the seat. He knows they're speeding insanely and for once he doesn't want House to slow down.
There's an indefinite stretch of time during which Wilson can only feel the pain, and the motion of the car, and the cold wind on his face. His eyes are watering, but House isn't making any cracks about him being a crybaby; he really must be dying. He gasps as a callused hand rests on his throat, checking his pulse. But it's all right; it's just House.
Then there's House's voice, apparently on the phone and shouting orders to someone in the ER about Wilson, ready, poison, crash cart, unknown—
And then Wilson's throwing up again, all over the floorboard of the Corvette, and House—
"Hang on. Almost there."
"Was the milkshake," croaks Wilson. "I didn' recognize the guy. He wasn' wearin' glasses before. Or the dumb—" He gasps and clutches his stomach and waits for another wave of nausea to pass. "Dumb hat an' apron. Can't believe I din't know."
"You saw one of those ... one of them. At the Dairy Queen?" House is staring straight ahead; they're within sight of the hospital.
"Yeah. Only, didn' know it then. It hurts, House. Oh God. Oh shit, it hurts." Wilson's leaning back and trying to breathe and each breath is torture because the vomiting has ravaged his body. That, and he's been poisoned.
There's another silence and then the sickening sensation of the car turning sharply once, twice. They're slowing down and his stomach is lurching with every change in direction and speed.
"Wilson," says House, as they come to a halt outside the ER, "there were only two girls working there tonight."
There's a rattling, squeaking noise and Wilson glances over to see a gurney move into place beside the car. The next thing he knows, House is there, opening the car door and yelling at the ER staff. Then House's hands are wrapped firmly around his right elbow, urging him out of the car and onto the rolling bed. It's hard to do, but House needs him to move and so he tries. The bed's been lowered and all he has to do is scoot over. There are firm hands on his hips, moving him, and Wilson curses, fighting the urge to kick out. It's just House. Just House.
He lies back with a cry of pain. He's shifting all those broken bones; he wonders if this is how it feels to have been hit by a car. House's hands slip a blood pressure cuff over his right arm. The constriction of it makes him whimper, even though he knows better. He's got his eyes squeezed shut and he's trying not to sob, but the pain has swallowed him whole. When he opens his eyes, a light shines into them, and Wilson almost screams. A part of his brain is wondering why he would want to do that, when he knows exactly what's going on. It's just House, trying to save him. House is trying to save him, and it's so unfair. He's really doing his best, and it isn't going to work.
It's odd, Wilson thinks, that he's not unconscious yet. He's still sweating, and he's colder than he's ever been. He realizes that he is now inside the hospital, even though he can't recall having felt the gurney moving. He knows the sounds and the scent of the place. He knows whose hand is on his forehead and whose voice is barking orders about shock and blankets.
Then there are soft layers of cloth settling over him and House is saying something about fluids. Pillows slip below Wilson's knees, elevating his feet. A needle pierces his arm, and he opens his eyes to see that it's House putting in the IV. There is a hovering flock of staff-creatures; House scatters them like pigeons.
"Go find a room for him. A private room. Now. Bother me with paperwork and I will beat you. GO!"
There's not much noise in the room after that, and his eyes follow House as House stops chasing the staff away and leans over the gurney.
"Wilson," he says, and his tone is so strange, so unlike House, that Wilson's certain all over again that he's going to die. "There were no men working at the Dairy Queen tonight. There were two girls, a brunette and a redhead. Remember?"
"I ... no. No. There was—wait." It hurts to breathe, let alone talk. Wilson's jaw is so sore, but if House is trying, Wilson will try, too. The images flicker wildly in his mind, superimposing upon each other, and both versions seem so real. "Girls?"
"Yeah," says House, "and they were hot, which is—just plain weird, for a Dairy Queen. Do you remember?"
Wilson's breathing a little harder and his chest aches, and his back aches, and his stomach is trying to turn inside out again. "I—maybe. But I saw 'im. But—I remember girls too. Brunette—was taller. Was she?" He hopes House has the answer to this, because Wilson himself is far too confused; he supposes that it's the poison. If he's been poisoned at all, which he must've been, but he had thought he'd be dead by now.
"Yes," says House, as seriously as if he's delivering a terminal diagnosis. "The brunette was tall. And—"
"No. No, I don' remember," Wilson moans. "I'm just— want sleep." He's suddenly so weak and he's shaking again. The cold has cut right through those layers of blankets, but House doesn't seem to care.
"Stay with me, Wilson. They had aprons on, which sort of defeated the purpose of those low-cut shirts they were wearing. We got a great view when the redhead leaned out the little window, though. Remember?"
All at once, he does. He can feel it all, just as vividly as he did that night, when someone—
Wilson's thoughts vanish entirely; there is only pain and nausea and pain again. He rolls onto his right side and retches (pointlessly; there's nothing left to bring up) until he's just too weak to continue. He remembers. He remembers. There was no poison in the milkshake at all. Tweedledee wasn't at the Dairy Queen; that was all a dream. The other thing—the thing he'd thought he dreamed, and that he'd then forgotten, pushed somewhere into the distant margins of his mind—that part was real. Real. Oh God, no.
There's a low wailing noise echoing off the walls. Wilson realizes he's the one making that sound, and everyone will hear him, but he can't stop. Then there are hands on his arm again, gently stretching it out. The pinprick barely registers amidst all the other hurts. What Wilson knows is that he begins to feel different. The noise stops. The memory and the pain both let go of him.
He can feel House's hand. House's hand is warm on Wilson's forehead and he focuses on that. He can deal with that. It's the last thing he's aware of as he falls into merciful blackness.