SUMMARY: The centre cannot hold ...
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.
The Bound Man
House can't sleep.
He shifts restlessly in his bed, trying to find a comfortable position. Tonight it's not only his leg that's hurting; his right wrist still aches with a dull intensity, and he'd actually had to switch cane hands for a while today to relieve some of the pressure. Cameron had caught him that afternoon, settling an icepack on it. He'd chased her away by claiming he had sprained it during a particularly enthusiastic bout of hot sex with the person he loved most. He smiles a little, remembering the sequential looks of understanding, horror, and disgust that had crossed her face before she'd turned on her heel and stomped off.
At least Wilson's asleep; he can hear the light snores, filtered through Wilson's battered nasal passages. House shifts again. He tries to ignore the tiny voice in the back of his mind, but the voice keeps pestering him, asking the same question over and over again.
Did Wilson tell you everything?
"Yes," House grumbles to himself, and turns over.
Undeterred, the voice persists. Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure? Because that was a hell of a scare two nights ago when he was raving about being poisoned by a goddamn milkshake. And this morning? He would've broken your wrist in another minute. What the fuck was that about?
"PTSD," House mumbles. He's perfectly aware that he's carrying on a conversation with his own mind, but that's okay. Wilson's asleep so he'll talk to somebody else who's intelligent enough to keep up.
Duh, PTSD, the voice retorts. Any idiot knows that. You've got the Post and the Disorder; all you need now is that last missing chunk of Traumatic Stress. Something else happened. He was gagged so he couldn't cry out and something else happened.
"He was dreaming," House replies. "He was having a nightmare. This morning he was having a flashback. Christ, who wouldn't after an ordeal like that?"
An ordeal that was your fault, the voice whispers.
"Shut up. How was I to know Georgie Reno would turn out to be such a hardass?"
Or that he would be in Georgie's employ?
House is silent for a long moment. "Yeah. That too."
The voice leaves him alone, and House begins to think it's gone away.
He was poisoned.
House groans. "He was not poisoned. You saw the tox screen."
He was poisoned, the voice asserts. You just don't want to admit it to yourself.
"Shut up," House says again.
He poisoned Wilson, the voice says softly, because Martin poisons everything he touches.
"He didn't touch Wilson. He was the only one who didn't."
How do you know?
"Wilson would've told me."
Like he told you about the gag? The same way you told, when you were fourteen?
"Not the same thing," House growls.
He was poisoned, the voice says, circling back. And you know it, because you know Martin.
"Yeah." House mutters into the pillow, muffling his voice. "I know Martin. Aren't I the lucky one."
House opens his eyes.
Martin is a few feet away. His back is to House, but it doesn't matter because House would recognize that tall, lanky form anywhere. There's someone else there too, a half-naked man, bound to a post.
House watches from the shadows, fascinated, as Martin nips with sharp teeth at the bound man's throat and then bites down hard. The man cries out, but the sound is muffled by his gag. The man tries to struggle, but his wrists are cuffed above his head and his pants and underwear are around his ankles; he's unable to resist as Martin wraps one large hand around his jaw and inexorably forces his head back. Martin's other hand grasps the back of the man's neck and pulls him closer, holding him tight as Martin's mouth battens onto the bound man's throat like some hideous human leech.
House squints; there's something familiar about this scene, some awful sense of deja vu, almost as if he's seen this in a bad horror film ...
Someone's told him about this, about being chained to a post, defenseless. Except it wasn't a movie. It was Wilson.
Wilson is the bound man.
House starts forward. He has to stop Martin, make him stop right now—
A bird calls. It's a trilling, slurred konk-la-reeeeee! sound, and House recognizes it immediately. It's a red-winged blackbird, a bird you'd find slipping sideways, perching on a bobbing cattail. A cattail beside a creek, near a sunlit meadow. A place he and Martin and the other boy were, thirty-three years ago, when he'd stood and watched then too.
He shuts down the tiny part of his brain that's screaming at him, telling him this isn't right, he needs to stop this. But I could never stop Martin, once he had a victim firmly in his grasp. I couldn't save them. It was useless to even try.
Martin has Wilson's jaw and neck in a vise-like grip and is sucking relentlessly, pulling the life from him.
House watches, frozen. The only sounds in the room are Martin's obscenely wet sucks and swallows, Wilson's low moans as he's slowly bled to death, and that damn blackbird singing its burbling song. Wilson's still trying to fight, but he's weakening rapidly. His knees give out even as House watches, and he sags in Martin's grip. House takes an involuntary step forward.
Martin hears him, and lifts his mouth at last from Wilson's torn throat. House stares, hypnotized. Martin's lips and teeth are smeared red, and Martin is young again. So is House. His leg doesn't hurt anymore, and Martin grins at him.
The red-winged blackbird has fallen silent.
"Remember, Greg," he says, and how long has it been since House has heard that youthful voice, the voice of his brother in all but name? "Remember, Sherlock, you and me together? All the fun we had? We can do anything. We can rule the world." Wilson tries to stir, and Martin calmly tightens his stranglehold on Wilson's throat. He nods at the blood coursing freely down Wilson's neck. "Come on," Martin coaxes. "You're just like me; you always have been. You know you want this. We can do this every night."
House stands still. Sherlock. And I used to call him—
"Mycroft," House says, and Martin smiles again, eyes bright with sly appreciation.
"See? You do remember. You always were an avid student." He licks for a moment at Wilson's throat, starting at the tip of Wilson's collarbone and tracing a path all the way up to the delicate curving shell of his right ear. "You learned well. You've sucked this one almost dry already. Finish him off."
House walks forward to stand by his friend. His big brother. The one who'd always looked out for him, who'd always been there.
The one who had never left.
The iron-rich stink of blood is thick in the air.
Martin's right. Martin was always right.
"My turn," House says, and leans in. Wilson's body trembles suddenly, and he makes a gargling, coughing sound. House stops. The sound comes again; House glances up at Wilson's face, and realizes he can see all of it. Wilson's gag is gone. His jaw is wired shut.
He turns to Martin, puzzled.
And finds himself looking into his own face, his lips smeared crimson with Wilson's blood.
House's eyes snap open and he bolts upright in bed. His leg objects but he ignores it.
No! God no! I'm not him, I'm not him—
He's shaking and gasping for breath. For a moment he thinks he's still dreaming; he can distinctly hear the choking, coughing sounds of Wilson dying. The sounds get louder, and House realizes they're coming from the bathroom down the hall.
He swings out of bed and grabs his cane.
When he switches on the bathroom light, Wilson is on his knees, bent over the toilet. Puking his guts out.
Trying to vomit up Martin's poison.