SUMMARY: It's 10:30 in the morning and there's nothing on TV.
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.
It's 10:30 in the morning and there's nothing on TV. After flipping through the entire cable package, Wilson turns on the DVD player with a loud, huffing sigh. It's not like there's anyone around to hear him.
House had been paged to the hospital early this morning. He'd awakened Wilson at 6:15, his helmet tucked under his cane arm and an expression on his face that managed to both be apologetic and pissed off at having his sleep cut short. Wilson was vaguely aware of the IV line being removed, and he had mumbled something resembling "It's okay, House," before drifting back to sleep. And he'd slept surprisingly well, considering his face is wrapped up tight as a brand-new mummy. When he'd awakened a couple hours later, Wilson found a small bottle of ginger ale and two cans of Ensure chilling like fine wines in an ice bucket on the end table. A Post-It told him "Meds in Schweppes. Drink up, metalmouth." Since then he's downed all three beverages and made one trip to the bathroom.
Wilson scratches absently at his abdomen, only belatedly remembering that the itch is coming from the splenectomy incision. And now that he's scratched it, the itch gets deeper and more insistent, as if the healing tissue was suddenly reminded how angry it should be at what was done to it—pounded to a pulp, cut open, stapled shut, staples pulled out during his last hospital visit (how nice that he was already there). Wilson tries manfully to ignore it, and suddenly a host of other itches demand his attention: the collarbone; the left hand inside its brace itches both inside and out; the bruises along his thighs; his right big toe; above his left ear. He'd grit his teeth but they're already clamped together, so he scratches at his toe with his other foot and focuses on the TV. Oddly enough, the scratch to the toe seems to satisfy all the other itches, too, enough so they're dismissable.
No wonder House hadn't wanted to give his DVD player back—the 5-disc changer makes it possible to watch an entire season of Kung Fu without getting up to change discs. Which is an excellent way to spend the day, especially after a night he'd rather not think about. Wilson turns on the captions and settles back. House hates captions, but House isn't here.
Wilson decides he rather likes the feeling of finally being by himself. On his own. Left to his own devices. In control of his own space.
That feeling lasts about an hour.
He starts to regret being alone when his stomach rumbles. Two cans of Ensure just aren't going to cut it, and he doesn't know how long House will be gone. Wilson looks longingly across the living room and into the kitchen. He can't see the blender; it must be tucked in next to the refrigerator. He can see the bananas on the counter. He knows there's tofu and fruit and frozen yogurt in the fridge. There's also House's leftover fried chicken (better yet, he's pretty sure there's a couple boneless pieces in there) and mashed potatoes. If he added enough of the gravy and maybe a little milk and warmed it in the microwave and blended the shit out of it...Wilson's mouth starts watering and he has to tilt his head back and swallow to keep from drooling. It could work. It could be drinkable. Even if it's gross, it'll be different.
He rolls carefully out of bed and starts across the living room. Just as he reaches the kitchen doorway, the phone rings. And rings. He turns to watch the answering machine—there's no way he's picking the thing up.
House's voice comes through the little speaker. "Wilson, get up. You're going to have a knock on the door in about ten minutes. You're gonna want to open it." There's a clatter over the line as House hangs up his office phone as obnoxiously as possible, and then the machine beeps.
Wilson looks into the kitchen, then back toward the door. It won't take him ten minutes to shuffle over there, but there's not enough time to do anything in the kitchen, either. He decides to head for the door, and he spends five minutes leaning against the now half-empty bookshelf, thinking House had better not be messing with him.
As promised, the knock resounds through the apartment, loud and cadenced. Shave and a haircut, two bits. Trust House to forget to tell him about the secret knock.
He cautiously arranges himself behind the door and peers through the peephole. His eyes widen as he sees Jerry Watson taking up more than his fair share of the hallway. He smiles as best he can and steps back to pull the door open.
"Hey, Doc," Jerry says as he steps inside and closes the door behind him. He sets a backpack on the couch as he quickly surveys the apartment. "Daaamn, man. Doc House warned me I'd have to do a little picking-up, but he didn't tell me he was a slob."
Wilson looks around at the books strewn around the floor and the remains of the broken lamp in the corner. He wonders briefly if this is what House had come home to the night Tritter 'visited,' but he quickly corrals his thoughts in a different direction.
"We had a party," he says, and Jerry starts laughing.
"Don't worry, Doc, I'll get this cleaned up before I leave." Jerry strides down the hall and back, not-so-subtly checking the layout of the place. "Heard about your food poisoning. Must be a bitch barfing like that."
Wilson grunts, "Yeah." He turns and heads toward the bed. He needs to sit, and he needs to do it right now.
Jerry watches him closely, but Wilson knows he won't move to help until asked. It's one of his best attributes.
"You're moving pretty good, Doc," Jerry says as he follows Wilson. "You do your PT yet today?"
"Why're you here, Jherr?" Wilson asks as he scoots farther back onto the bed, a complicated process involving shifting weight between each ass cheek and his right arm.
The big nurse heads into the kitchen. "Doc House asked me to come," he says loudly, his voice reverberating.
Wilson snorts through his nose. He's rather pleased to discover that snorting doesn't hurt this morning, so he does it again. "House doesn' ask for anythin'," he calls back.
"You hungry?" Jerry opens the fridge and surveys the contents. No doubt he's spotted the blender and the recipe binder. "Doc House said I needed to replace your elastics, but we can do that after you eat."
"Was gonna blen' up the chicken," Wilson replies.
Jerry turns and grins at him. "With the mashed potatoes and the gravy?"
Wilson shrugs as far as he can without disturbing anything. It isn't very far, but it's enough.
"That's...nasty." Jerry screws up his face, imagining the taste. Then he pulls the leftovers from the fridge. "But you're the boss." He opens the gravy container and then promptly puts everything in the microwave. At Wilson's look, he says, "It's all congealed. I'd rather pour it."
"How much he pay you?" Wilson presses while the microwave runs.
Jerry fidgets a little, then asks, "When were your last meds?"
The microwave dings, and Jerry busies himself with Wilson's fried chicken smoothie.
"You takin' a sick day? How much?" Wilson doesn't like to talk so much, especially with his face wrapped like this, but he can't believe House managed to get one of the more coveted nurses in the hospital to come make him lunch on company time.
The kitchen is filled with roaring as Jerry starts the blender. The powerful motor barely hesitates under its unusual load.
As soon as the apartment is silent again, Wilson says, "Jherry."
A cupboard bangs shut as Jerry retrieves a tall plastic cup. Exasperated, he says, "Yes, I'm taking a sick day, all right? Doc House called me this morning, at home, said he'd pay cash for two hours of my time." He's blushing furiously as he drops a straw into the smoothie and hands it to Wilson.
Jerry looks sheepish, with the blush and a hunch of his shoulders that doesn't really do much to make him look any smaller. "Five hundred."
Wilson takes a sip of the smoothie to cover his shock, which works pretty well, given that the taste of the thing is rather shocking, too. It's salty, and creamy, and warm, and it's weird and kinda gross but dear God, it's fantastic.
Jerry looks up at Wilson and spreads his hands wide. "The wife'll kill me if I use any more sick days, but I got a baby girl, Doc. Today's goin' in her college fund."
"Okay," he says and nods, just a little.
"You won't report me?"
"Wha's to report?" Wilson cocks an eyebrow and tries to look innocent. "Yer sick."
Jerry smiles and visibly relaxes. He nods, pointing his chin at the cup in Wilson's hand. "How is that?"
"Disgusting. An' delicious. Get me some milk?" The fried chicken smoothie might actually make him full for a change; he can already feel the mashed potatoes sticking to his ribs, as Nana would say.
While Jerry's in the kitchen, he starts talking, as Jerry likes to do. "When Doc House called, I was shocked, I tell you. He asked, 'What'll get you to take a sick day today?', and I said, 'A thousand dollars.' I figured he was jokin' or something, but he said, 'A hundred,' and I went, 'Shit, he's serious,' so I said, 'Eight hundred,' 'cause I can't be all desperate, you know? And he said, 'Three,' and I said, 'Six,' and he went, 'Five,' and I said 'Done.'" He hands a glass of milk to Wilson and settles down on the couch to let him 'eat.' Jerry shrugs, his eyes sparkling. "I'd have probably done it for two, but I wanted to see how high he'd go."
Wilson smiles back, just a little around the straw. Good for you, Jer, he thinks.
Jerry stands back up and starts picking up books from the floor. As he puts them back on the shelves, he says, "Did I tell you about my daughter? She's Princeton material, we can tell already..."
Two hours. Some PT, some meds, a weird lunch and a little of Jerry's rambling conversation. Wilson's surprised to discover he's actually looking forward to his day.