SUMMARY: Of all the unexpected things ...
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House.
RATING: 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.
Wilson floats slowly into consciousness, not because he's hurting (he's not, and it's so nice) but because something has changed. His entire right side, the one with the good hand and no broken clavicle, feels strangely warm. Also, something is resting lightly over the crown of his head. It doesn't feel threatening, but it's pulling him quietly out of sleep, as his brain tries to connect these new sensations and attach some kind of meaning to them.
It resolves itself when he realizes that there is a hand laid softly on his shoulder. The warmth is that of a long, solid human body that has formed an arc against Wilson's side. The pressure on Wilson's crown is a chin resting there. It's definitely House; who else would it be? But it is strange in the extreme. House has certainly never done anything like this before.
House says nothing, but digs his fingers firmly into Wilson's shoulder and draws an unsteady breath. He's waiting for a reaction, it seems; waiting to see whether he will be allowed to stay and to ... do whatever it is he's doing. Wilson lies still, bewildered. His arm's wedged between House's body and his own, and what with that and his injuries he can't move much, but oddly—despite his recently acquired claustrophobia—he doesn't feel trapped. At this hour, the dark room seems secure and forgiving, ready to keep whatever confidences it's offered. Wilson decides that whatever this is, it'll be okay. He mumbles the only thing he can think of.
At first it seems that House won't. For about a minute neither man moves or speaks.
"They didn't tell me," House says, finally, and he sounds like he's dying of thirst. "You know that, don't you? No warnings. I didn't know." His chin is still hooked over Wilson's head and so it's easy to hear the strain, the tightness in his throat. In truth, Wilson didn't know there'd been no notice given before the violence began. He had desperately hoped that it was so, but he couldn't make himself ask. If the answer had been that threats had been made and House had ignored them ...
"Every day," House continues, "someone wants to know how you're doing. Someone; my team, Cuddy. They think I'm being nice. House gives a damn, let's have a parade." There's a pause, harsh breaths, and then a low rasp of grief: "They don't know it's my fault. Oh God. Wilson—"
And then House is trying to shield him, as if the roof were caving in. House's damaged right leg stretches over Wilson's knees; an arm reaches across his chest, hopelessly seeking to shelter him from the bomb that has already dropped. That heavy head is pressing into Wilson's neck, into his cheek, and he doesn't need to see the sorrow on House's face. He can feel it. Some part of Wilson's mind numbly tries to understand what's happening. Is he dreaming? No. Is there a logical reason why House would—no. Yes, actually, he corrects himself. There's a very good reason.
He turns his face slightly toward House, taking what's being given. House is brokenly choking out phrases, thought they'd kill you, no warning, I didn't know, I'd have paid. I'd have paid. Wilson.
It's blinding, this sudden rift that has opened up in House's iron curtain. The shock and numbness burn away like cobwebs in the fire. He wriggles his elbow until House notices and moves just a little. Just enough to allow Wilson to work his right arm beneath House's side and wrap it around his back. House has fallen silent again, but Wilson has already learned the things he really wanted to know.
It is House's fault that he's in this sorry state, and then again it isn't, and sometimes it matters who's to blame. Sometimes it doesn't.