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Bad Company

Aftershocks 26.1: Water Flowing Underground



Aftershocks 26.1: Water Flowing Underground

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TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: And you may ask yourself -- well ... how did I get here?
CHARACTERS: Wilson and 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.

Water Flowing Underground

The call comes through at 11:20, only minutes after Wilson's started his audio book again. He’s been listening to it all morning but has to take frequent breaks to give his body a rest. Laughter is the best medicine, except when it’s jarring bones that haven’t quite healed.

He loves this book, though; so silly, so peaceful—three men and a dog going down a river. That it was written a hundred years ago and an ocean away does nothing at all to diminish its charm.

His listening has fallen back into the cadence of the British narrator, and it takes him a few minutes to even register the urgency in House’s voice coming out of the answering machine.

“…it. Pick up, Wilson! C’mon, c’mon, I need you to pick up.”

Anxious, angry—he can’t even parse everything that’s in that tone, but it speeds his heart rate up a notch. He pauses the audio book and then stretches quickly for the phone—his cell is right next to him, but House’s land line is on the other side of the bed—wincing when his back and collarbone protest.

“Don’t email me. We have to talk, now,” House barks. “Pick up, goddamn it!”

Wilson fumbles the receiver, and it slides into the sheets. Another twinge or two from his back as he twists, hand groping under the covers until he finds it. He’s breathing fast, from the exertion and discomfort and the stress in House’s voice, which echoes for a brief second, between the answering machine and phone: “Wilson!”

“’M here, damn it, here; keep your fuckin' shorts on!” He doesn’t like to curse usually, but fucking hell, why is House scaring him like this?

“What took you so long? Tending to Little Jimmy? You’d better not have touched my Buxom Babes; you’ve got to get your own subscription.”

Wilson sinks back into the bed and groans. “Puttin' it through the shredder soon as I hang up on you.”

“You wouldn’t,” House replies confidently. “The cover girl looks too much like Ex-Mrs. Wilson the First. She might want to put you through the shredder, but you couldn’t do it to her.”

“Didja have any reason for makin' me answer the phone? Or just trying to give me 'drenaline poisoning?” Wilson hits the handsfree button on the phone, drops it into his lap, and reaches for his water bottle.

“Oh, that.” House’s voice is a bit muffled; Wilson shifts his legs to turn the receiver the right way up. “I need your help. It’s urgent.”

Enjoying the cool water sloshing around his teeth, he lets House hang for a moment.

“Wilson?” House calls nervously, and Wilson swallows, then snorts. Let the bastard squirm for getting him so worked up.

Relenting, as always, he replies, “’M here. What’s so urgent?”

“I hate them. They’re idiots, and I hate them.”

Wilson begs the ceiling to give him forbearance. “S'not a crisis; it’s yer worldview. Been yer worldview for—forever, s'far as I know.”

“But, see, today, their idiocy and uselessness has reached an apex never before seen or even imagined, so I need you to take them off my hands before I kill them and wind up in prison. Who’d make your smoothies then?”


“See? See my point? I’m sending them over now. Keep them for at least four hours, and if you can teach them the difference between pulmonology and cardiology while they’re there, so much the better.”

“Who're you talking about? Med students? Thought you weren't allowed to talk to 'em any more.”

House snorts. “Med students. Good one. Hey!” His voice simultaneously rises in volume and becomes more distant; he’s obviously yelling at someone across the room. “Wilson thinks you’re acting like first-years, and I’m inclined to agree!”

There’s an indistinct rumble, and a sharp “Yeah?” from House and then a loud clunk. Wilson sighs and drinks more water. He doesn’t even bother trying to interpret the other indistinct sounds that periodically drift into his ear over the next few minutes, just looks longingly at the nice little speakers at his bedside and daydreams about floating down the river from his audio book.

He’s trailing a finger through a refreshingly cool current when House comes back on the line. “Foreman and Chase will be there in fifteen.”

“A'right,” Wilson replies, but House has already hung up the phone.
  • This chapter was so sneaky, moving smoothly back and forth from peacefulness to anxiety to humour to anxiety again... You really like tormenting us readers, don't you? (We like it too.)

    I've always wanted to read that book. But now I particularly want hear the audiobook version :-)
  • (Anonymous)
    I bite. What's the book?
  • Oh God, Wilson sounded so happy listening to his audiobook. He was in bed relaxing and happy thinking about floating down a river. I feel the need to add for some reason, the word - ALIVE! Then House calls him in a state of panic. I am afraid, really afraid because our beloved writers are evil - I mean diabolically evil. So I'm thinking something's up and it's not gonna be good.
  • (Anonymous)
    Did Martin call the hospital to threaten Wilson? Leave my boys alone, damn you!

    Wilson will really start to be suspicious if anything else like this happens. If this doesn't stop House should just tell him the truth - imagination is always worse than reality, and considering the size of Wilson's demons that's saying a lot.
  • (Anonymous)
    Oh my god, you are all so wicked smart!!! "Three Men in a Boat" read by Hugh Laurie!!! Didn't even know he read audio books! Damn...I'm going on a read trip tomorrow. How I'd love to get my hands on that. Great piece. Love the suspense. So happy House secured the house a little in the last chapter. This one was way cool the way it kept going back and forth. I hope you never end this one. I check this site about 5 times a day. Keep up the great work! I'm addicted. :))
  • Excellent, tense, writing. Once again, I'm hungry for more chapters!
  • Talking Heads! (Which, you know, is kind of funny considering Wilson's so happily listening to an audio book.)

    Another great chapter. You guys have me on edge all the time. I'm starting to become suspicious of every little thing that happens, or doesn't happen.
  • Hehee. I love Wilson's choice of audio books. (That's quite clever of you!)

    It's also clever of House to hide his panic under his irritation at his fellows. And I notice he still hasn't sicced Cameron on Wilson! :)
    • Serendipitous, we would say, that Wilson found such a relaxing book read by such a lovely voice.

      And House is quite the clever man. : )
  • "Who'd make your smoothies then?"


    Ha! House's humor is pitch-perfect, and Wilson's right there to snap back, which is also wonderful, both because Wilson doesn't always get as many good lines as House and because it means he's still feeling well.

    And isn't it just like House to expend so much energy to hide the fact that Martin's back from Wilson and then freak him out by calling so urgently about nothing? Gah.
  • I don't know if you know this, but your book reference made me immediately think of The Invention of Love, the play RSL won a Tony for. There's a seen where the three friends are going down the Styx river and they find a dog. It's really funny, and then again, extremely heartwrenching.

    Anyway, I like how House is being subtly protective. When I first read about Martin in the park, I felt like vomitting. Damn.
    • d'oh. I mean scene, not seen. whoops. And, ahaha, I just read the other comments about HL reading that book. NICE!
    • We meant that reference to The Invention of Love. We certainly did!


      Thank you for pointing that out; it's very interesting, all the connections and reflections between this 'verse and the rest of the world.
      • If you had, that would have been awesome! Because the A.E. Housman character played by RSL very nicely parallels Wilson in contrast to House in some ways. I'm thinking specifically of how much loneliness and turmoil is concealed under the facade, whereas with Wilde the eccentricities, the flouting of conventional norms, is right out there in the open.
  • :]

    Wilson's proper reaction to the British narrator obviously should have been, "Homina homina homina!"

    Okay, maybe that's just RSL's take on Hugh Laurie's voice. I bet Wilson was thinking it, though.
  • Greetings!

    "Laughter is the best medicine, except when it’s jarring bones that haven’t quite healed."

    Oh, so painfully true! Bones, tissues, many offended body parts hate the laughter as much as they love and need it.

    "“I hate them. They’re idiots, and I hate them.”

    Wilson begs the ceiling to give him forbearance. “S'not a crisis; it’s yer worldview. Been yer worldview for—forever, s'far as I know.”"


    "He’s trailing a finger through a refreshingly cool current when House comes back on the line. "

    Love this description!!! :-)

    Love the overheard conversation/fight between House and the ducklings. It is a sneaky way to solve the problem for a day. But what of tomorrow???

  • I smiled. This was nice. Wilson is having a lovely time with his audiobook...

    House is protecting. Nothing bad happens.

    Oh, crap now I'm REALLY nervous!

    It's like the PSYCHO shower scene.

  • Clever, House. Wonder what his next scheme will be to get someone to watch over Wilson the next day?
  • “I hate them. They’re idiots, and I hate them.”
    Wilson begs the ceiling to give him forbearance. “S'not a crisis; it’s yer worldview. Been yer worldview for—forever, s'far as I know.”


    I recognized the book right away (one of my favorite humorous books) but I didn't know Hugh Laurie read it... with his sexy voice... mmm. It's definitely a treat you are giving to Wilson!
    *plans to buy it*

    What I'm sure of is that you are putting into this almost as many hints to slash as the authors do. *glares* Of course I'm enjoying that!

    Anyway, back on the chapter... it's the quiet before the storm, I fear.
    Sending people to check on Wilson was exactly what Martin thought House would have done.
    The most dangerous moment will be when they go back to the hospital, then.
    I sincerely hope House is smart enough to think at good plan to stop Martin. House is a genius, after all, he could think at something!
    • I thought House said that Chase and Foreman were going to be there for 4 hours. Won't House be home before they leave? Oh shit. maybe not. These writers really are the personification of evil.
      • I hope House will be back before they leave. But I fear that won't be the case.

        Also, These writers really are the personification of evil.

    • House is a genius, after all, he could think at something!

      Ah, but Martin is a genius too.
  • (Anonymous)
    This is so wonderful! At the beginning I thought that something at the hospital was going wrong - and then it was just House being, well, House :-) And he is sending company and protection to Wilson. I hope they are playing trivial pursuit and Wilson gets to win...
  • My favorite bit in this one? The line about the phone being muffled on hands-free cos it was face down on the blanket. Such a tiny thing, with everything else that's going on at that moment, but perfectly and accurately observed and described.
  • This should be interesting :D I'm eager to see how Foreman reacts to Wilson!
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