SUMMARY: Would someone please explain ...?
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.
"Extra protein for your shake, Jimmy?" House snipes as he washes his blood off the half-peeled mango and then runs water over his cut forefinger. Wilson blinks silently at the red spirals that slip down the drain.
"Don't just stand there gawping, be useful. You want your damn smoothie, bring me the kit. That juice stings like a bitch." He's letting the blood drip into the sink, waiting.
The first aid box is in a convenient spot on the table near Wilson's bed. All his antibiotics and pain meds live in that box, so it's pretty crowded. He takes it carefully into the kitchen. House throws it onto the counter, rifles through it angrily and rips open a sterile gauze pad. He tries to tape that in place, but it's his right hand that's cut and he's having trouble unrolling the tape with only his left. He looks like he's ready to throw the tape and the knife and the offending mango against the wall. He snarls at Wilson's offer of help and proceeds to use his teeth to hold the end of the tape. Soon he manages a bandage that's functional, if sloppy, but he stands there leaning on the counter, staring sullenly downward instead of resuming the task at hand.
He has been behaving weirdly ever since he arrived with the mangoes, about an hour ago. The first hint had been the speed with which he'd shot through the door, yelling for Wilson. He had looked as if he thought the building was on fire. This is at least the second time he's seen that expression on House, in the last week or so, and it's getting worrying.
House hadn't been able to disguise the physical release, the tension falling from his shoulders when he spotted Wilson peering at him from the shadows of the hall. The signs of panic haven't returned, but House has been unusually snappy and he's barely been able to sit still. And now this. House has excellent dexterity. If he slices open his finger, it's not a matter of clumsiness. He's either in a lot of physical pain, or something else is very wrong; and it isn't pain. He hasn't taken any pills since he got home.
"Willya jus' tell me what th'problm is?" Wilson's too frustrated to work at enunciation. "An' I don' wanna hear 's'fine. Not. Even you're not's much of a jerk."
"You do know I can't save you," retorts House, bitterly. He's not looking up from the counter top.
Wilson's gaze travels quickly over House's face, and there's more information there than House probably means to give away.
"From?" he asks, although he's pretty sure he already knows.
"Anyone, you moron. Not when it counts; I can't save anyone. That's why I don't try. I never could -- I can't, and I hope you don't expect me to."
"Scarin' me now, House. S'riously." He puts his one good hand on his hip and tries to stare House down, but House still won't look at him. "Th' hell's gon' on? Tell me." He forces those words out very clearly, while fear winds like a cold snake around his ankles.
"Nothing," sighs House, quietly. "I just get -- it's nothing. You know I'm an ass." He rubs his forehead, looks up at Wilson, and the anger seems to have gone. He simply looks exhausted. He pushes himself away from the countertop and beckons with his hand. "Your strap's coming loose. C'mere."
He steps forward and House deftly begins to re-thread the sliding buckles of the sling. It isn't really necessary, but Wilson knows that's not the point. House's hand on his right shoulder, 'steadying' him, that's the point. He can feel a tremor in that hand, but he pretends that he doesn't notice. Instead, he files that information in a sheaf of mental notes he's been keeping, knowing that eventually he's going to make some sense of all this. And he's probably not going to like it -- but he'll deal with that then.