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Bad Company

Aftershocks 18.1: Role Reversal



Aftershocks 18.1: Role Reversal

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TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: Didn't you used to be someone else?
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House, OFC
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.

Role Reversal

House has become Wilson's father, and if that's not some weird Freudian shit, then Wilson hasn't been smoking enough cigars or watching enough trains go into tunnels.

House stands there, feet planted solidly on the floor, leaning on his cane, saying, "You're not getting the keys to the car. Not the Volvo, not the 'Vette. No way are you ready to drive yet."

"House ... " Wilson's sitting up on the edge of his bed; he already knows he's going to lose this argument and right now that hurts almost as much as everything else.

He's never been this helpless, so dependant on others before, and it's got him twisted up in knots inside because it's not supposed to be this way. He's the helper, the fixer, the one who takes care of those in need. Now he doesn't even know where the car keys are.

"Nope," House is saying. "I can see it now—you'd take your right hand off the wheel to hit the turn signal, drift into another lane and get creamed by a Hummer."

Wilson is tempted to flop back on the bed and say Oh, dad!, but there's a headache rapidly developing behind his left eye and so all he says is "cab."

"No." House's tone is flat and absolutely final, and Wilson stares at him. "No cabs. No ... " and Wilson has the sudden, unshakable certainty that the next word is going to be "strangers," but House simply turns away and pulls the keys to the Volvo from his jeans pocket, where they've been hidden the entire time.

The drive to the rehab center is made in sullen silence; Wilson knows House spent all day yesterday diagnosing a patient who'd turned out to have a simple staph infection. House is still on call today, but he's left work early and turned his pager off in order to ferry Wilson to this appointment.

At the center, Wilson is momentarily discomfited to hear that he'll be seeing Shoshana Weinstein. The name from the past startles him, but then he shrugs. The hits just keep on coming. He even manages to smile when she comes through the door; it collapses quickly into a wince, but she doesn't seem to notice.

It hurts even to smile these days.

"Dr. Wilson," Shana says, and her voice is just the way he remembered it—cool and husky, with a faintly lilting quality that wraps itself around your heart like smoke. She looks pretty much the way he remembers, too—all planes and angles, with her dark hair cut short like a wild animal's pelt and her deep green eyes watching his every move.

Strangers sometimes think she's a sabra, but Wilson knows she's a Midwestern girl from East Sandusky.

"Sh'shnna." With his jaws clamped shut, her name comes out all "zhh"s and softly slurred, the way it might be pronounced if she really was an Israeli. "Thot you wen' back t'school."

And this is something else he knows—she did go back to school, back to Tufts to get her Master's in Occupational Therapy.

"It's been fun, James," she'd said, kissing him on the cheek. "I hope you find whoever you're looking for." He'd wondered if he should ask her to marry him, but it was already too late. Then Julie had come along, and that had been that.

Shana smiles at him, amused. "I did," she says. "And then I came back here. I'm the Assistant Director of this clinic."

Assistant Director. Wilson feels like he's sinking in quicksand. Means she doesn't have to do this. God, save me from people taking a personal interest in me.

She laughs when she catches his look and guesses immediately what he's thinking.

"Don't worry," she says. "I'm not going to be your regular therapist. I heard on the news about your ... about what happened, and I wanted to see for myself how you're doing." That said, she runs a critical eye over him. Wilson submits quietly, knowing what she's seeing—a guy who's paid a visit to a dark corner of Hell and lived to tell about it. After a while she shakes her head, just a little.

"I've seen worse," she says at last, and Wilson wants to bark out "Where, the morgue?"

She's opening his folder and the moment passes. "You're staying with someone?" she asks.

Wilson looks at his hands. "A fren'," he replies softly. "Dr. Greg House."

Shana's right eyebrow twitches up. "The big guy in the waiting room? With the cane? Looks like he'd rather be anywhere but here?"

"You ... know him?" He's genuinely surprised; he'd always believed Shoshana was one of his few lovers whose existence he had managed to keep a secret from House's prying eyes. Of course, that had been the old days, the B.G. days. The days before House had realized he needed to keep a tighter leash on him.

"I know of him," she says. She's silent, reading one of the reports. "Looks like Dr. Tomlinson did a great job on your left hand," she murmurs, then shuts the file. "But with it still in that brace we'll have to concentrate on your right to begin with."

Wilson nods. It's what he'd expected.

"You're probably fine for large gripping tasks—picking things up, opening jars." She holds out her hands. "Let's see how much strength is there."

He raises his arm, grimacing a little at the pull in his back muscles. Shana's hands are large, like House's, her fingernails cut short and filed smooth, and as she takes his right hand in hers he can feel the tendons and ligaments underneath the skin, and the rough calluses from years of showing patients how to grip the rubberized handles of therapy weights.

"Squeeze," she commands, and Wilson squeezes, feeling the bones shift in both her hands and his. He wonders for just a moment if this is what House's hand would feel like.

Shana nods. "Good," she pronounces. "It's the fine motor control most people have problems with. Have you ever tried signing your name with your right hand?"

No, but House has, Wilson almost says, but Shana's already moving on.

"I don't foresee any complications," she concludes. "We'll set up a schedule right away." She smiles then, an open smile, full of warmth and remembered affection.

"It's been good to see you, James," she says. "I wish it were under better circumstances, but perhaps when you've recovered a little more we could meet again. Rosh Hashanah, maybe—celebrate the New Year, hope it's a little sweeter than the last. I'm sure my partner would love to meet you."

Startled, Wilson glances instinctively at her left hand. No ring. When he looks back up, Shana's eyes are crinkled with humor, and for the first time he notices the tiny crow's-feet in the corners.

"My partner," Shana repeats. "Dina Fedorov. She teaches at the university—Latin Prose Composition and Latin Poetry of the Empire."

"Um," Wilson says.

Shana cocks her head, grins at him. "You could bring Dr. House along, if you like."

"Um," Wilson says again, helplessly.

Shana takes it in stride. "Think about it," she says. "It really was good to see you again." And with the lightest brush of soft lips against his forehead, she's gone.

"How'd it go? You were in there long enough."

House is out-of-sorts from waiting, and he settles himself into the Volvo's driver's seat with a long-suffering sigh.

"Fine," Wilson mumbles. "Wen' fine." He pauses a beat. "We're 'nvited to a party. In th'fall."

House stares at him. "What?" he says. "You've moved on from nurses, now you're picking up occupational therapists?"

Wilson schools his face into as innocent an expression as possible, and after a moment House grunts and shoves the key into the ignition.

"All I can say is they better be hot," he grumbles.

Wilson looks out the window to hide his smile.

They'll be home soon.

  • Erm, partner? Who isn't an occupational therapist? And Shana has large hands? That remind Wilson of House's? Are you sure this isn't sneaking into subtextual slash? (smiles).

    I love the direction that this chapter has taken. It is nice to see Wilson get out of the house and into therapy. He needs both.

    (Is it wrong that, as the sun sets on my part of the world, I imagine Wilson waking House by blowing his shofar? Down, Nursie!! Be good girl!!) *g*
  • Lovely contrast between House, who won't let Wilson ride in a cab because of the implied threat of strangers, and Wilson winding up getting therapy from someone he knows. Of course, he finds out he doesn't know her quite as well as he thought. :)

    The line No, but House has, Wilson almost says really got to me. That's the whole awful start of this in the smallest of nutshells.

  • Greetings!

    *hehehehehehe* Karma... and payback... are both bitches! :lol Gotta love it!!! :-D

    And again w/the assuming, tho' in a much lighter vein.*hee!* Poor Wilson... so many, many things changed out from under him! :-D

    Thank'ee's for a bit of light after the darkness.... :-)

  • I feel so empathetic for Wilson with that shocked 'um' of his - there's so much to load in an 'um,' and you really do feel how his wired jaw is affecting silver tongue in that passage. And then, to contract, or, really, as a written sorbet of sorts, his easiness with House that's already based on more than Wilson's ability with words or House's ability to dissect them.
  • Silly Wilson. All you have to do is say they're lesbians and House will be all over that. Metaphorically speaking.

    It's an interesting mix of emotions, here, from Wilson's desperate helplessness in the beginning to the surprise-turned-resignation of seeing his ex, of all people, at the rehab center, to the gentle humor of Shoshana thinking he's together with House, to Wilson taking back a tiny bit of control at the end by "making" House agree to go to the party with him.
  • As with the good episodes of canon, I love seeing the mildest hints of slash peeking through here. Yeeeeees! *pumps fist back and forth in an '80s gesture of triumph*
  • Wilson thinks House is acting like his father but it feels more like he's acting like a very protective lover. I know it's not but hey the slach tint is built into the lense.

    I loved this Wilson looks at his hands. "A fren'," he replies softly. "Dr. Greg House.". Oh and I love the visual image it inspires. So cute.

    Then his ex-lover invites him to a party with his "friend", Dr. House. I am so looking forward to the party, especially because House said "they better be hot"

    And Wilson thinking of House's hands - sorry the tint just got deeper. :)

    I love the H/W banter at the end. You can tell Wilson is getting better cause House's snark is coming back.

    It appears that Wilson wants some independence even though it's clear he can't drive a car. I also agree with House not letting him take a cab. Suppose Wilson has another dissociative episode while with a stranger. Wilson wouldn't be able to communicate and that would only serve to multiply his trauma. I know House is being protective but this time I think House is right. Wilson is still very fragile. Maybe House should take Wilson on a trip.

    Oh and the logo - was that just to show Wilson's physical and emotional dependency on House?
  • I was wondering tonight if there is such a thing as literary "bullet time" -- when authors slow down actions enough to capture fleeting moments and also are able to portray events from different angles. This story would be a great illustration of that possibly, I think, because of the patient way that subtle, important details about the characters are given a chance to glow. The present tense accentuates that too I think.

    "No." House's tone is flat and absolutely final, and Wilson stares at him. "No cabs. This line really caught me out b/c the tone of the chapter had been almost whimsical up to that sudden, dreadful reminder that there is evil out there.

    He'd wondered if he should ask her to marry him, but it was already too late. This line made me think that perhaps poor Wilson has been pining for a deep, reciprocal commitment to someone; it has never worked out that way for him but he optimistically keeps trying. To me that explains a lot about why he gives House a chance to make amends and why he doesn't want to give up on their relationship; he wants to care and be cared about. The last line about home made me sniffle a bit too.

    I am reminded of Gregorius and James in the most unexpected places!

    Yes, this was another undoubtedly odd comment written too late at night. But I'm telling you, the story is even more ominous read at midnight.
  • " "It's the fine motor control most people have problems with. Have you ever tried signing your name with your right hand?"

    No, but House has, Wilson almost says, but Shana's already moving on."

    I love that. So much. So much. Sorry, it's one AM, kind of incoherent, brilliant chapter! Positively brilliant.

    Thank you so much.
  • :D Hehe Shana wants to see some slash in the fall - who wouldn't! :D
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