black_cigarette (black_cigarette) wrote,
black_cigarette
black_cigarette

Aftershocks 26.5: Conundrum

TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: Doctor Wilson seems to mock him ...
CHARACTERS: OMC
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.
SPOILERS: No.
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.



Conundrum


Xenophon still isn't holding his attention, so Martin puts down the book once again.

He piles pillows -- huge, cool, down-filled pillows -- against the headboard of his bed so that he can recline there, much as Doctor Wilson probably reclines in bed these days.

James Evan Wilson. What a curious creature. To all appearances, merely another soft-boned white-collar animal, wagging his tail as he's led about on a leash of other people's expectations. And yet for his friend he'd chosen Gregory House. It didn't make sense.

Martin picks up the remote and turns the television on. He keeps it on CNN, leaving the volume all the way down so he can read the scrolling words at the bottom of the screen, but not have his thoughts interrupted.

Osama bin Laden has just released another tape.

People are dying by the dozens in some part of Mexico where the water won't stop rising.

A hurricane is heading for Texas, again. Category five.

A Florida real estate mogul has drowned in a boating accident. Martin smiles at the easy gullibility of the media. Those kinds of men don't have accidents. He turns to the Weather Channel, continuing to think while he waits for the eastern seaboard forecast.

He still hasn't reached a good conclusion about Doctor Wilson.

Back when he first began observing Greg at the hospital, Martin had assumed that the mundane-looking Wilson was some sort of sycophant. He had at first glance seemed to be the sort who would cling like a parasite to one much better and brighter than himself.

That idea could not stand in the face of the things Martin saw as he continued to shadow them. There was Greg's possessive snatching of Wilson's food, and the familiar way they had argued. There was the frustration written clear on Greg's face as he watched the other man's retreating back; the visible threads of a connection of some kind. Visible enough that -- particularly after Martin had his little talk with Michael Tritter -- Doctor Wilson had become his chosen target.

The choice had been right. Greg had paid.

That was supposed to have been the end of it. Georgie Reno would get his money, and Greg's odd little bond with Doctor Wilson would be ruined beyond repair. Greg and his friend would avoid one another, as the acid seeped into the fissures between them. Martin had only been mildly sorry that he wouldn't be around to watch.

But something else had happened, quite impossibly, while Martin was halfway around the world. Greg took the man home. Kept him like a pet. Why?

Martin picks up his pad and pen from the night table, and idly begins to doodle. He makes a rectangle that becomes a lopsided shape -- a brick.

He tears off that page and begins again, drawing a face with high cheekbones and a gently curved mouth. Can he recall what that nose looked like before being shattered? He thinks he can. There was an oddly elegant slope about it, like so. James Wilson had been quite attractive, really. Perhaps the two of them were -- no. He rejects the thought the instant it forms. Sex is sex; Greg could get that anywhere. Sex wouldn't be enough to explain Greg's plea. Don't kill him. Martin, don't kill him.

Nor would sex explain why Doctor Wilson failed to learn the lesson Martin offered. What insane folly would cause him to place himself literally in Greg's hands? Wilson knew perfectly well that everything that had happened to him was Greg's fault. The doctor ought to hate his "friend" for that and instead there he was, walking back from the park --

Two tiny silhouettes flow from Martin's pen, the slightly shorter one leaning its right shoulder against the left shoulder of the taller figure. Why? Had the doctor gone hypoxic after they left him in the alley? Had his brain been damaged so that he did not recall what Greg had done to him? No, that couldn't be the case. Martin would have learned about that during his insurance inquiries.

Martin sighs, and draws a long, narrow cylinder beneath his sketch of the doctor. To one end he adds a flange and a plunger, drawn back. To the other end he attaches a needle, large-bore.

Anything could go in there. Push the drugs in, pull the truth out. The mechanics are simple enough.

The only trouble is that stance, the way Greg stood guard over the man. Perhaps Martin should have heard it from the start: Don't do this. Not to him.

All it meant to Martin at the time was that he had chosen his target well, as he always did.

Combine that with a hospital bed in Greg's own apartment, and it means something else entirely, but what? What power does Wilson have over him? Has Greg done something particularly naughty, something only the good doctor knows about?

No, no, he chides himself. Don't be obtuse. If it were blackmail, Greg would have let Wilson die rather than paying such a hefty price for him. Martin looks at the sketched face again and decides to make the hair a little longer, brows a little heavier, eyes a little darker.

The Weather Channel is right back to the story they were running when Martin tuned in, meaning that he has missed the eastern forecast. Once more he will have to wait while they obsess about the hurricane. He forces his attention away from the pad of paper, determined to regain the focus that this puzzle has stolen from him. Most problems are so simple for him, but this one -- there's something he's missing. Without meaning to, he looks again at the drawing he's just made.

Doctor Wilson seems to mock him, looking up from the page, his intelligent eyes yielding none of the answers Martin wants.

"Oh, my dear Wilson," Martin sighs, "what is it you see?"

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