SUMMARY: He wishes they'd just wake him up when it was over.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House, Cuddy
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.
When he wakes, the first thing Wilson thinks of is an illustration of the ghost of Jacob Marley, in a book he'd seen as a kid. Marley had bandages wound around his head and under his jaw, holding it closed; that's exactly how Wilson feels. He's well past dead and he can't open his mouth.
Also, judging by the smell of the place, he's not in House's apartment anymore.
"Please tell me that din't happen," he whispers through his teeth, as he opens his eyes enough to see that, sadly, it did happen. He's in the hospital, and the pale light coming through the windows is turning the dark room faintly blue. The memories spiral downward upon him like buzzards. He swallows, and it feels like his throat has been scoured with sandpaper. Everything hurts, but not nearly as bad as it did a few hours before. His jaw has been re-wired while he slept, and since he's sure that process would have been agonizing, he's glad to have been unconscious at the time.
He would love to simply pass out for, oh, a year or so. How wonderful it would be to let everything go, to heal while he slept.
His right arm is still rigged up with an IV. He wiggles his fingers and they touch a small plastic object that he recognizes immediately. It almost makes him smile; it's the morphine button. He gives it a click before turning his head to look around the room.
In a second bed to his left, a familiar shape is sprawled, pajama-clad and sleeping. Good idea, House. Just stay asleep. Wilson can do that, too; he can sleep. If anything goes wrong, House will know.
Wilson presses the button a few more times and lets himself drift away.
"If you're gonna puke that much," says the low voice next to Wilson's head, "you're really supposed to get drunk and stupid first."
Wilson's far too groggy to have any kind of a comeback. Also, he remembers why he was throwing up in the first place, and it's making him want to do it again. The floating pieces of dream and reality swirl around and settle inexorably into a coherent whole.
He wishes he could go back to the way he was before last night, recalling only the mundane violence. Failing that, he wants to believe that the toxic milkshake was real and the other thing—the thing that happened in the barn, the relentless, invisible hands and the vicious wet mouth—was the nightmare.
But it's far too late for that. He has used up his quota of delusions. The only real question now is whether anyone knows. His gut twists at the thought.
"House," is all he can manage to say, and he hopes House will fill in the blanks.
"I haven't seen that much vomit since I went to Mardi Gras." House is sitting in a chair beside the bed, looking at him the way House looks at a particularly interesting x-ray.
Wilson squeezes his eyes shut and brings his hand up to cover his face. He feels the red heat creeping over his skin. He hopes like hell that he didn't get delirious last night and talk (scream, whimper) about ... that. The last thing he needs is for the whole hospital to be spinning out more rumors about what happened to Poor Doctor Wilson. There's enough of that going on already.
House continues, in that flat tone he has, and answers the question Wilson hasn't asked. "As far as the hospital's concerned, you had an upset stomach and the vomiting just aggravated your injuries. All your tests came back okay. You'll probably be released this afternoon."
"Wha's this?" Wilson mumbles, fingering his jaw. "Feels diffrnt."
"You've still got the horizontal wires anchored into your jaw," says House, "but for keeping your mouth shut, I had 'em replace the metal with elastics." The corner of House's mouth curves upward. "Just as effective for preventing your lectures, but easier to cut in an emergency."
Wilson's not sure whether to be glad when the door slides open, interrupting House's insults. It's Cuddy—probably the only person who dares to venture into the lion's den.
"How's the nausea?" she asks, and she seems to be asking them both, which is odd.
"He's a lot better," House replies. Cuddy isn't satisfied.
"And you?" she demands. "You don't think anyone told me you were sick? If there's something I should know—"
Wilson gives a questioning glance to House; House glares at him.
"I wasn't feeling well, but you remember my car? The fast, red, gorgeous chick magnet? Wilson," he gripes, "barfed in it. You'd have been sick, too. Admit it."
Cuddy looks at House, then at Wilson, who can see a whole series of subtle calculations going on in her eyes. He wonders if she can read his own plea: Just don't ask questions. Not now. Just don't.
Maybe she does understand, because she nods silently and turns back toward the door.
"House?" asks Wilson, once Cuddy is gone.
"I played pretend, okay? I told the staff it was a stomach bug and that we both had it. Big deal." House gets up and limps over to the door, looking at that instead of at Wilson. He's still shoeless and in his flannel pants and t-shirt from the night before. "Go back to sleep. I've gotta get dressed and go avoid some other patients."