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Bad Company

Aftershocks 16.3: The Bound Man



Aftershocks 16.3: The Bound Man

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The Bound Man
TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
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.

  • And House finally runs out of space to run. *flinch*

    Ouch. Loved the vampire analogy.
    • Pardon my immaturity, but...

      Zzzing! First post! *dances*

      *doing what he can to brighten up this dark bit*
  • You've sucked this one almost dry already. Finish him off."

    That is brilliant. Positively brilliant. It took me six tries to type that sentence because I was dumbstruck by this story. (I'm serious. XD).

    I look forward every day to reading your updates.
  • Greetings!

    The Hanged Man in Tarot represents sacrifice and transformation by sacrifice. It will be interesting to see what House and Wilson make of their sacrifices and if they choose to gain anything by them or not.

  • (Anonymous)
    house wasnt raped too, was he?
    • Yes I was wondering that too - if Martin also raped House., which would be a typical pattern for non-familial pedophiles. An NF pedophile would use House as bait to attract other victims, particularly if House has outgrown the characteristics that made him attractive to his abuser. It's really not clear though whether House has was a victim, a perpetrator or a victim-perpetrator.
      • (Anonymous)
        My interpretation from Martin's recollections earlier was that he orally raped the little boy in the meadow and then encouraged House to do it too, but House ran away. Hope we're going to get clarification on that (bats eyes).
        • (Anonymous)
          Whoops, I forgot to sign that. I also wanted to say that to me the most chilling part of that horrifying dream was Martin saying "We can do anything, we can rule the world" just like House once said to Wilson. I'm guessing that Martin actually once said those words to House? And thirty years later... (shivers) No wonder House fears he's like Martin.
  • Bejesus!!!! Good Lord, you nailed it again, especially with this line He poisoned Wilson, the voice says softly, because Martin poisons everything he touches. Yes a poison with very few if any antidotes. And House's subconscious mind knows the kind of poinson Martin uses requires touching. The entire conversation between House's ego and subconscious and is exquisitely painful.

    Sherlock and Mycroft. Didn't Martin also use that name with Wilson? This line "You learned well. You've sucked this one almost dry already. Finish him off." could be a metaphor for the H/W S3 relationship. Painful, very, very painful.

    Question: Was House used to bait Martin's prey? Was this something House regularly participated in? Please say no, because that's a level of depravity that I con't want to contemplate. Yet this line is hard to ignore "My turn," House says, and leans in. . . . No! God no! I'm not him, I'm not him—

    Then there's this beautiful description of how both House and Wilson are trapped in their respective but interconnected hells 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. Total genius!!!!

    As an Aftershock addict, I am sooooooooooo!! glad there's going to be a post on Saturday.
  • Like he told you about the gag? The same way you told, when you were fourteen?

    That's the heart of it, right there. House has been assuming that Wilson's been able to tell the whole truth about this. For all that he knows as a doctor and a friend, he's overlooked that very human reaction to protect themselves that they both had.

    This section is just terrifying but so worth it.

  • Oh no. Oh no! Oh, oh, just when things look slightly better, just the tiniest bit of hope that everything will return to normal, another slice of the story is revealed and totally dashes all that. Which is as it should be, of course, because how does everything go back to normal after this? I think, at its root, is why this story is so terrifying. It's a big black-hole unknown.
  • Love this. So much. Vampirism is a perfect metaphor for the emotional (and financial) draining House has done to Wilson for many years, the strength Martin sapped from both of them, and the sexual nature of the assault House may or may not suspect. This in particular, the way he phrased it in his dream -- Martin's obscenely wet sucks and swallows, Wilson's low moans -- makes me wonder whether House's subconscious really has reached a conclusion the rest of him doesn't want to accept.
  • I knew it was going to be bad when I saw your icon - the hanged man. A switch in perspective, a reappraisal of beliefs, and an uncomfortable confrontation with the truth.
    Still, ouch. Ow ow ow. This is the best hurt/comfort story I've ever read.
  • I don't have the words to really describe how these stories make me feel. I look forward to reading them simply because they're so well-written and tell such a compelling story, but I flinch at the same time because I know what's coming for the boys can't be happy.

    I don't care what House did/was forced to do in the past, he's not like Martin. No way, no how.
  • Yeesh! This chapter is beyond creepy!

    I love the analogy between the literal poison that Wilson felt he had ingested, and the metaphoric poison that Martin confers on everything he touches.

    The creepy scene with Martin sucking the very blood and life out of Wilson, and then House seeing his own face as perpetrator will likely give me nightmares (and I don't scare easily). I hope House doesn't lose it (well, really it would be OK with me if he does *g*) It is really disturbing the way he says "My turn". God! What kind of dark past does House have??

    I adored Cameron's sequential looks of understanding, horror and disgust! I can see it so clearly!!

    And poor, poor Wilson! Puking again. His poor jaw.......

    Thanks again, guys!
  • Praise!

    I have just stumbled onto this story and I have to say it is one of the best fanfics I have ever read...ever (And I've been at this a long time!) I am total awe of all of your writing talents (and a little bit jealous too!) Your characterization is amoung the best I've read in this fandom but it is your way with words that has me utterly blown away. It's so...perfect. I have been totally absorbed in this fic all day.

    Keep up the good work and you shall make me a very happy bunny!
    • Re: Praise!

      Why thank you! We are very happy to have helped you waste a Saturday.


      There's more on its way tonight. We said we wouldn't post on weekends, but everybody lies now and then.
  • ::whimper::
    this chapter has shook me the most of all the aftershocks so far. good stuff. well, not good... but well written. you know what i mean. XP
    • Thank you. We appreciate your comment!

      Yes, we know what you mean. We find some of this stuff very difficult to read, ourselves. This chapter? Definitely one of those. Definitely.

      Poor House. His own mind has no mercy on him.

  • Brilliant, creepy, perfect in all details. Words fail me. Poor House and Wilson. (Martin as Mycroft/House's smarter, older brother=chilling.) What's implied, unspeakable.
  • Amazingly well-written. Vampirism is an interesting analogy to make use of here - House is the perfect target.
  • But I could never stop Martin, once he had a victim firmly in his grasp. I couldn't save them.

    I really, really am spooked that House used the plural form there. The dream image of Martin sucking at Wilson's throat is also really, really horrifying. I didn't think the story could get more intensely chilling after the original Bad Company, but...
  • Oh, Yeats...Such fear and guilt, it really is all unravelling. I too loved the poison metaphor.
  • ....I am so glad I didn't read this right before I went to bed... SO vivid, I think I may have nightmares tonight...

    You guys are too amazing... I really wish I had your gift for imagery <3
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