SUMMARY: Is one peaceful meal too much to ask?
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.
We Interrupt This Program ...
It's dinner time. What that means is that Wilson slowly sucks a yogurt/fruit/protein smoothie through a straw, while House devours a plate of fried chicken that he picked up on the way home. He sinks his fangs into a drumstick, tilts back his head and makes lascivious noises of pleasure.
"This is soooo good, Jimmy. You sure you don't want some?"
Wilson's lets his middle finger express his thoughts about that. His stomach rumbles, unsatisfied with its rations as it has been every day for the last two weeks. At least he isn't both hungry and dirty anymore. The latest gift from House had proved as useful as it was tacky. Between that and the shower chair he'd been all right.
He'd still had to force himself to stop trying to scrub away that invisible layer of grime. This time he knew what it was, and knew for certain that he didn't want House asking why he'd nearly stripped off his skin. Wilson decides not to think about that, in favor of thinking about just how much he'd like to kill House right now. That chicken smells like the food of the gods. House could be merciful and eat in the kitchen, but no. Why do that when he can inflict such gratifying torment?
Wilson says nothing, and heaves a harsh sigh through his nose.
The center of Wilson's tongue is irritated, rubbed slightly raw by the constant use of straws stuck through that gap where his tooth used to be. He has been finding ways to relieve that problem, wiggling the straw so that its end will rest in different spots. But no matter what he does, he finds it a little painful to attempt to eat and talk.
He pulls the TV remote out from its hiding place beneath his blankets. Pimp My Ride is on; he turns up the volume.
House jiggles his left leg, bouncing the heel against the floor. He eyes the remote as if it has just committed some unforgivable crime, but he doesn't move to snatch it away. That's just not right. The sun rises, the sun sets, and House wants the remote control; these are the laws of nature. Briefly Wilson wonders whether gravity will now switch off and he will find himself levitating above the bed, and the bed floating upward from the floor.
He tosses the remote at House, watching to make sure that it doesn't rise like a balloon and bump against the ceiling.
At first it seems that things will return to their current version of normal. The remote falls as it should. House grabs it and—turns the TV volume way down instead of looking for something better to watch. Not right, not right, Wilson thinks. Oh, House, not now. He glares sideways at House and redoubles his efforts at drinking his dinner. If he could do it without removing the carefully placed straw from his mouth, he'd tell House to turn on Comedy Central or the Cartoon Network or anything he didn't have to think about.
Not that his request would matter. House has set his food (what's left of it) on the coffee table. He's leaned back against the sofa cushions, scowling upward at nothing. That's almost never a good sign. Not now, House. Whatever it is, just ... not now.
"Did he remind you of me at all?" House asks. At once Wilson finds that he's no longer hungry. His skin feels cold, and then hot, and then cold again. He wants to shoot back What the hell kind of question is that? but of course there are wires and a straw to contend with.
House watches him as Wilson numbly removes the straw, trying to think of anything to say that won't make things worse than they already are. It's too late. It's always too late, when House surprises him like this. Wilson's face always gives him away.
"That would be a yes," House says. "Of course he reminded you of me. He reminds everyone of me. Except in the cases where I remind people of him."
"Oh God. House." Wilson breathes in, sighing like a weary pack animal and resting his hand over his eyes. "It was—a physical r'semblance. That's all." He pauses. "Don' tell me yer related?"
"No. But my mom thought we should have been."
"Don't be shtupid," Wilson snaps, as well as he can snap through his clenched teeth. In the force of his frustration he can't speak as clearly as he'd like. "Yer blamin' y'self fer genetics? The hell'd you think it means? Nothing."
"You don't understand," House says, in a quiet tone that Wilson recognizes. It's the same way House sometimes sounds when he's lost a patient. "I could've been just like him."
"But you aren't," Wilson replies. For one absent moment he thinks about the fact that he still doesn't know his captor's actual name. House won't speak it, as if it were a curse too terrible to hear. It's almost funny; they used to call the rehab lackey Voldemort, He Who Must Not be Named—but he was a Care Bear by comparison.
"But I could've been," repeats House, as if the possibility alone were proof of guilt.
"An' yet you aren't." Wilson guides himself back, away from his emotions and into this more familiar territory. "The potential is more important than the choice?" he asks. If he stays calm he can enunciate pretty well, despite the lisp, the way all the edges of his words are softened. "I own a gun. Doesn' mean I'm a murderer."
"You own a gun?"
"Julie 'as paranoid." Wilson thinks for a moment before continuing, "So're you."
"You don't get it. Would you want to live with it? Knowing that he picked you out? Saw himself in you?"
"You ever think," asks Wilson, slowing down so that he can use the words he wants rather than the ones that will be easiest, "mebbe he's delusional, as well's psycho? 'Cause las' time I checked, you got your kicks savin' lives."
"It pays well," says House.
"So's murder, which you could also do. Yer smart enough. You could get away with it."
"How do you know I don't?" There it is, that eternal, wicked sense of humor, clawing its way up from the abyss. Wilson decides to toss it a lifeline.
"If you liked killin' people," he says, "you'd've offed me years ago." It's hard for Wilson to smile, but he tries, and House almost smiles back.
Better yet, he picks up the remote and starts changing channels.