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Bad Company

Aftershocks 22.4: A White Lie



Aftershocks 22.4: A White Lie

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TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: Ignorance is bliss, about 50% of the time.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House.
R for language and themes (gen fic).
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.

A White Lie

It's the first actual lie he's told Wilson since all this started: he pours the juice, adds five milligrams of morphine, and writes a note that claims it's only three. He doesn't specify three mil of what; Wilson will likely think it's oxycodone. If he knows what it is he'll huff and fret and probably only drink half of it. 

So House simply writes, "You need it," which is the absolute truth, and limps off to bed before Wilson can finish his sorry attempt at brushing his teeth. 

House's bed is about as comfy as a pile of rocks. His leg is cursing him as usual, and tonight his right arm and shoulder have joined in. When he does drift off, he drifts into places he'd rather not go. The floor of the apartment is rotting right through, and big dark centipedes are climbing upward through the holes, up the walls, into the light fixtures. The lights are going dim. Electrical sparks are flying.

He wakes, rubs his face, and grabs for the pill bottle.

It feels like an hour that he lies there waiting for the next wave of sleep to wash over him. It doesn't come. He thinks of a shoreline before a tsunami, with all the water pulled away. Maybe he can't sleep because something bad is about to happen. No, that's stupid. If that kind of intuition existed, he'd never have wound up crippled. 

And you'd have paid the mobsters before they killed Wilson.

"They didn't kill him."

Technically, no. They just killed your friend.

House starts to retort that Wilson will get over it, but he's never been all that great at lying to himself.

That wicked little alter ego scoffs at him, replaying the film of Wilson on his knees in the kitchen, gasping in pain.

"Fine. I'm an ass. Can I get some sleep now?"

He didn't deserve that. He never deserved any of the lousy things you did to him.

If this keeps up, House thinks he'll do one more lousy thing: he'll steal some of Wilson's morphine and knock himself out. He shifts his weight a little more to the left, tucks his left ankle below his right knee and sighs at the unexpected rush of relief. Vicodin, blessed Vicodin, kicking in at last.

Fucking useless Vicodin.

It's seventeen minutes after two. The numbers on the digital clock are glowing an evil red. 

That's the second stupid thought he's had tonight. He hasn't even been having nightmares, just one bizarre dream after another. Wilson alive and well but planted vertically in the ground, up to his ribs in a bed of white flowers. Himself riding his motorcycle and the motorcycle shrinking and shrinking until he was balancing atop a tiny, ridiculous toy. Tornadoes dancing through the city, reeling toward the apartment—okay, maybe that was a nightmare, but he had awoken before they ever hit.

Now he's shivering and his heart is pumping so hard that he can't lie on his side anymore. The pulse in his ear echoes against the pillow, making him turn onto his back. What the hell is wrong with him?

How much longer will you have a best friend? asks that vicious little voice in his head. People think that House is only mean to everyone else. They have no idea.

"He won't leave me," House insists, but that's another lie. Time's running out; the tornadoes are gathering. Wilson was all he had left, other than his job and his attractive, unreachable boss. So of course House screwed that up, left that one friend out in the storms.

You could at least go and make sure he's all right.

Wilson's out cold. House stands in the darkness where the hallway meets the living room, staring at the bed and at the empty cup on the bedside table. He's responsible for that -- for Wilson's abrupt introduction to the wonderful world of opiates. For his introduction to Martin. And Wilson, knowing that, has still drained the cup that House offered.

The table's a mess of Chapstick tubes, papers, a pen, the empty tomato-soup mug, juice cup, bottles of liquid meds. Wilson even wound up in possession of the remote control.

House doesn't know what else he could give. The efforts he has made are huge, for him, but he's not stupid. Once Wilson has physically mended, once he no longer needs assistance, he'll be gone. House has been sealing his own fate, keeping Wilson here like this, keeping him close. It's like standing on the tracks in front of a freight train. If he were sane he would move. He'd get Wilson out of here, send him to his family or something, let them—

The thought is so repulsive—Wilson's idiot relations with their hands all over him, not knowing what that means for him now—that he can't even consider it. 

House limps quietly toward the bed. Wilson's lying so still. Very, very lightly, House rests his fingertips along Wilson's throat, at the path of the carotid artery. There's a slow, strong pulse. He'd known there would be, but he'd needed to feel it and now he does not want to go. He's going to turn around, go back to his room, and try again to get some sleep. In a minute, as soon as this new surge of pain subsides a little.

There's space on Wilson's bed, which is easier to get on and off of than the sofa. He'll sit down there, wait out the worst of it, and Wilson will never know.

Just like he doesn't know that you didn't go to the track tonight. You really think it was a good idea not to tell him?

House would tell his damn brain, out loud, to shut up—but he doesn't, because he doesn't want Wilson to wake up.

You didn't tell him what Martin did to you, either. 

Yeah, well, he'll ... get around to that eventually. He doesn't want to, but he will.

You also didn't tell him that nobody ever warned you. Did you?

No. Oh God, he didn't, did he? In his own mind it was so obvious that he'd never have thrown Wilson to those wolves. It had been obvious, so he'd never actually told Wilson how it happened and—shit. No wonder Wilson's starting to break things.

He thinks you're such a reckless, heedless asshole that you gambled with his life. And lost. You idiot. Now you want him to forgive you?

He's sitting there staring at Wilson's messy hair and broken nose. He's so cold he feels like he's just fallen through the ice on a frozen lake. This thing had never, not once occurred to him before now. Wilson probably thinks it happened like it does in the movies. The bad guys threaten, the good guy calls their bluff, and then someone gets hurt. House himself had thought it worked that way, so why did he stupidly assume Wilson knew?

And Wilson has to know. House is a jerk, yes, but he'd never have knowingly let this happen. The moment Wilson wakes up, House will tell him. It might help. It might be the only thing that can.

What's really unbelievable is that Wilson's still here at all.

The room is spinning lazily, the bed rocking sideways like a boat. House has to lie down. He can't think anymore, so he'll just stay here with Wilson. Just for a while.

  • I don't know that thinking of a shoreline before a tsunami would induce sleep for me, but I like that House thinks of it. I loved his inner dialog here. And this line made me so sad for him, How much longer will you have a best friend? asks that vicious little voice in his head
    This piece conveys so much of how topsy-turvy House is feeling, racked with guilt and love for Wilson; that he needs to check Wilson's pulse and curl up next to him in bed...those small, simple little impulses seem so powerfully evocative here.
  • Greetings!

    Not sure what to say really, other than... no, not really sure what to say at all. In a good way, tho'. Promise. :-)

    Didn't House tell Wilson that he didn't know? I thought he did too. Wow. Channeling the man more than I thought. Hmmm....

  • People think that House is only mean to everyone else. They have no idea.

    The pain from House comes as true as Wilson's physical pain.
    Hurting chapter, but so well done.

    Also... House and Wilson laying in the same bed? I can't help it, this warms my heart.
  • People think that House is only mean to everyone else. They have no idea.

    Oh, House.

    In the last chapter, I wanted to kick him hard for eating before Wilson, and now this. Clearly no one is harder on House than he is on himself. But out of this turmoil has come the moment of revelation that's been missing all along -- that House had no warning, that he didn't allow this to happen to Wilson. Such a simple thing, but it packs such a wallop.
  • The moment Wilson wakes up, House will tell him.

    Will he, though? With that tsunami imagery, House's instincts warning him that something's coming, I wonder if something really *is* coming that will distract him and disrupt his plans enough to cause yet more problems between them.
  • Those last few lines just make me want to burst into tears.

  • I am so in love with chapter - concervsations that House has with his alter ego and his description of Wilson unchecked trust.

    Does House really believe that Wilson thinks that he would do something that would intentionally hurt, almost kill him? That's deep but it follows from that scene in Resignation where Wilson was very suspicious of House's expresso coffee gift.

    Totally awesome!!
  • House doesn't know what else he could give. The efforts he has made are huge, for him, but he's not stupid. Once Wilson has physically mended, once he no longer needs assistance, he'll be gone.

    OMG, that thought actually crossed my mind this morning -- what will happen to House when Wilson can be on his own again? House is so good at dealing with Wilson's physical suffering (both as a doctor and man deeply experienced in pain himself), but it is such a reversal to have Wilson be bitter and volatile and House be the one desperately pulling together every bit of patience and calm he has in him to soothe the poor battered lamb.

    Oh, House, you are doing all you can, but is it enough to heal the emotional wounds? *is a bit vicariously devastated*
  • Heh. I'll admit to wanting to kick House a bit, but yes, he is hardest on himself, so now I feel bad. As I probably should.
    You four (four?) write the most brilliant metaphors. I'm constantly in awe.
  • More prescience, now that we've seen Amber as a hallucinatory manifestation of House's cruel subconscious. House has internalized his father's disappointment, and he is indeed hardest on himself. It only makes it worse that he believes that he is only being honest.

    I have a real soft spot for the two of them sleeping in the same bed (as at least one of you has probably guessed ;)). But I have a feeling that a rude awakening is on the way.
  • *hugs House* That's all I can say :( I want to give him so many hugs.
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