SUMMARY: It had to happen.
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's moving more and more slowly, fighting something he can't see, something dark that winds itself around him, pulling at him, tripping him. He tries, but he can't run fast enough. He can't run at all. He can barely walk.
The monster is a black hulking shape in a black room. It's an indistinct, sinister suggestion of a form, sliding toward him in his peripheral vision. If he looks straight at it he sees absolutely nothing. It overtakes him, guiding its actions by feel, holding him, silently mocking his frantic efforts to escape. He feels his hands being pulled above his head, feels the thick, soft circles of wool around his wrists. Not again. Got to get away. Not again, oh please, not again.
He can't speak, can barely even breathe; his broken nose is swollen mostly shut and his mouth is stuffed with what feels like yards of silk. The only thing he can see is that very faint, thin blue light of the small TV screen, as distant and cold as a star. Its face has turned away from him, and there are no other faces in the room. There is no one to see what is happening.
There's only Wilson and the monster, which begins to caress Wilson's stomach. Its touch feels like the legs of a spider. It will bite him, paralyze him and its venom will eat him from the inside out. Suddenly, instead of the shearling cuffs, he's caught in miles of fierce webbing, and it's getting in his nose and in his eyes. It's getting in his mouth, pulling ever more tightly, forcing the silk gag back until he chokes. The more Wilson thrashes, the more helplessly he's trapped.
He can't move at all by the time the creature begins to feed, the same way that it did before.
Wilson cries out, convulsing into consciousness. He's going to be sick again. It's far too late to stop the reaction, the churning in his gut and the metallic taste in the back of his mouth. He'll be lucky to get to the toilet in time.
They've been keeping a dim lamp lit, and the pair of nippers on the table beside his bed. Wilson grabs for them, fumbling to grip them properly with his clumsy and shaking right hand. He manages to cut the elastics—and the inside of his cheek—as he rushes to the bathroom. Sick and sore though he is, the panic makes him move faster than he has since he was taken. Adrenaline will do that.
He doesn't call for House. He doesn't want House to see him like this again. House will demand answers this time, and Wilson might tell him, and there are some things House simply does not need to know. Not ever.
There's no time to find the light switch in the bathroom. Wilson drops to his knees at the toilet bowl and lets the rest of the universe blink out of existence. He's there for two minutes, or maybe it's ten, wracked with cramps and spasms. The dream is still with him, clinging to him like that sticky, unyielding web. Clinging like that memory, that thing he can still feel as if it just happened. The thought makes him retch again, while every muscle and bone in his torso cries out in protest.
So engulfed is he in sickness and pain that he does not question it when the light turns on. It's not until the worst is over that it dawns on him: House. House is there, and has been there for a while (how long?), standing and watching. Wilson hadn't thought that his gut could hurt any more than it already did, but he'd been mistaken.
"You need to go in?"
"No hoshpital," Wilson whispers through his teeth. It hurts to move his jaw, even with the elastics cut. The taste of vomit is strong in his mouth and he's salivating, drooling as his body tries to get rid of it. He spits, and wipes his chapped lips with toilet paper. "Not crazy this time," he says. "I know I wasn' poisoned."
"Yes you were," says House. Wilson glances up. House is a mess, his shirt rumpled, a pair of sweat pants on and no shoes. House is usually a light sleeper; Wilson knows that he never really stood a chance of riding this out alone. He looks down as House approaches. "You were. Poisoned." There's a strange edge to House's tone, the sound of his relentless mind putting things together. Wilson is not ready to deal with House's contempt or his disgust or—if it even exists—his pity.
"Go back to bed, House," he croaks. It's useless. House won't do that. He won't quit, not while there's a puzzle to solve. Instead of leaving, he rummages beneath the sink vanity, bringing forth a plastic cup that he fills with tap water and hands to Wilson.
"You told me everything," House says. It's a question even if he doesn't phrase it that way.
Wilson nods in misery and busies himself with rinsing the bitter acid out of his mouth. It might be all right if House would just leave, but he isn't moving an inch. Wilson's sunk, oh God he's sunk. He can't look at House, and House will know that means he's hiding something. He's already told about the beatings and the piss and all of that, so there should be no reason for this reaction. There should be no reason he can't look up.
"You're lying," says House, but he's speaking so softly that it's not an accusation. It's a simple statement of fact. Wilson glances sideways and sees House leaning hard on the bathroom vanity, looking down at his hands. His right wrist bears a band of bruises and three small cuts where Wilson's nails broke the skin. The sight makes Wilson feel sick again. How many more nightmares, flashbacks, bouts of vomiting will it take before House connects the dots?
"I was fourteen," House says, his voice cracking faintly, like dry leaves. "I was—" he damn near chokes; he's trying to breathe, trying so hard that Wilson has to look up just to see if House is all right. House is not all right, but the problem isn't medical. It's as if there are cold spirits snaking around his shoulders, constricting him. "I ..." House forces the words out, "... saw. What he—something that he—"
Oh, shit. Something that he did. This is so not good. This is House, and there aren't many things that could do this to House. Not much could possibly have screwed House up this bad, and Wilson doesn't want to think about what that means. Either House saw Grey Eyes kill someone or— or—
"Wilson." That tone means Look at me.
He gives up fighting this; he's far too sick, and House's wrist is all bruised and he will figure it out anyway, if he hasn't already. Wilson can carry a great many lies, but this one is too heavy and it is crushing him. It requires far more strength than he has.
He looks up at House, letting his pretense fall away, ready to drop the whole damn thing—every ounce of humiliation and horror—on the floor at House's feet. House's eyes are searching him over, taking in his posture, reading him. The question House isn't asking is very, very clear.
Wilson nods once, his whole face contorting around this horrible truth. For a moment he wonders whether he has interpreted things properly, and whether House in turn will understand.
Then he doesn't have to wonder anymore. House picks up his cane in both hands, like a sledgehammer, and brings it down so hard that it breaks in two across the bathroom countertop. He's gone from the bathroom before all the splinters have even come to rest on the floor. Wilson's too smart and in far too much pain to try following. He sits still, shuts his eyes and listens.
FUCK! God damn you, you fucking soulless god damn—
There's a crash from the closet, the sound of House knocking over the basket of canes as he grabs a replacement for the one he just broke. His steps make a wild staccato rhythm, moving back through the hall. He's unleashing curses like machine-gun fire. Wilson has always known that there was this kind of anger buried inside House, but he's never witnessed it before, not like this. The dark rage that came after the infarction was just as strong but not ... not the same. This is on a whole different spectrum.
—fucking viper, mother fucking bastard son (things are being thrown; there's a shattering of glass) of a bitch!
This would be frightening, but Wilson knows who House is cursing at. Something else crashes and shatters. Wilson's pretty sure it's a lamp, and House is shouting at its ruined remains.
Psycho fucking freak of nature, you want—
The words get harder to distinguish; House is moving swiftly around the apartment, his voice dropping in volume but not in intensity.
—not your fucking brother and I won't—
Wilson hears what he's certain is a fist hitting a wall, and he cringes.
—friends with Jeffrey fucking Dahmer, you fucking rapist piece of—
And then it stops, and there's only a muffled noise of House's painful footfalls, and then nothing. Rapist, thinks Wilson, and his mind fills with static. He has no idea how long he's been sitting there, strangely both hurting and numb at the same time, simply existing where he is. He's drifting in limbo, only half aware of House's return to the bathroom.
"Get up, Wilson," House says, and it's easily the gentlest order House has ever given him. He can't seem to move, though. House steps closer. "Wilson. Get up." It's gentle, yes, but this is still House and it'll be easiest to just do as he says. There's a blurred shape in Wilson's peripheral vision and he realizes it's House's hand, held out and waiting.
Wilson decides that he can do this. Although it's going to be painful, he starts to comply. His left arm's useless, wrapped in the sling, so he stretches out his right. House supports it and that helps. Wilson's not steady but at least he can stand. Funny; he can't feel his feet anymore. He knows he's sick and that he hurts, but he can't feel much of anything other than House's hand, which is holding onto his elbow.
"Look at me."
Wilson raises his head. What he sees in House's face is not useless sympathy, but hard, solid knowledge. House is giving him somewhere to focus, pulling him back to reality. "Wilson," he says, checking to see whether anyone is there. "You don't belong on your knees."
Wilson makes himself reply, and his words are strangled, like he's still got that damn handkerchief stuffed in his mouth. "I—wasn't." He sees House stiffen, waiting. "Not me," and his voice is dry and thick and he can barely breathe. "He—"
It's all Wilson can choke out, and it's enough. House's arm stretches lightly across his shoulders. House is making certain not to hurt him, not to apply any pressure to the fractured collarbone. He's leaving space between them, enough space to bring a hand to Wilson's throat and rest it there. It's a bizarre gesture, but Wilson's too far gone to question it. The touch feels protective, accepting. He leans forward, and House's hand shifts and curves around the back of his neck. Wilson can barely remember the last time anyone embraced him. The pain is returning as the shock recedes, but he doesn't care. He puts his good arm around House and simply holds on.