black_cigarette (black_cigarette) wrote,

Aftershocks 33.1: Groundless

TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: Nothing happened.
CHARACTERS: House, Wilson, OC
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.

Nothing happened.

House keeps reminding himself of that: nothing happened during Wilson’s surgery, or the evening after. It’s him that Martin wants to fuck with, not Wilson.

He reminds himself of that when Cuddy and Wilson bitch him out in stereo – telephone and live action – for not being at work at ten-thirty the morning after Wilson’s surgery. He reminds himself of that on the drive to work, and as his fellows try to talk to him about something or other (weekend plans or a patient, he can’t tell because he’s not listening), and during a quickly grabbed lunch.

He reminds himself of that as he spends the afternoon doing Clinic hours, because the banality of it all is almost mind-numbing enough to keep him from having to remind himself. He reminds himself of that during the three short phone calls and two emails to Wilson that he’s very carefully decided are acceptable without raising suspicion, and during his real-time over-the-phone narration of General Hospital, during which Wilson snorts and snickers and occasionally throws in a bon mot.

He reminds himself of that as his fellows try again to talk to him about something or other, and as Cuddy stops him in the lobby and gabbles about a topic he’s pretty sure – based solely on the way her eyes are tracking – that he’s been forced to suffer through a million times before.

He reminds himself of that on the drive home, and it works, it really does, all the way up until he pulls onto his street and sees the thing only half a block from his door.

The silver Jaguar.

There are goosebumps under his leather jacket, and he’s extraordinarily glad for his reflexes because that swerve should have dumped his ass on the pavement. As it is, a few yards later he narrowly avoids getting clipped as he’s cutting up onto the sidewalk. The blare of a car horn accompanies him as he hops – literally, fucking leg – off the bike and moves faster than his racing heartbeat to his building's door. Fumbling, fumbling, where the fuck are his keys? He ought to be calmer than this; there’s no way he’ll outwit Martin if he’s not calm, but damn, his keys are slippery, oily bastards.

Finally he slams through the foyer, gets the thorny keys into his condo door, turns them the wrong way, and back again. Shoulder down and then thrust back up, a body-check worthy of his days on the lacrosse field. Speaking of which, he’s got his cane in both hands; he’s not above cross-checking in this case, and nobody would call it unnecessary roughness.

The door gives abruptly, and it’s only his good leg and those excellent reflexes that keep him upright, keep him from tumbling to the floor. A millisecond to steady himself and then his eyes are up, scanning; another millisecond and the scene is flash-frozen into his brain.

There’s a broad-shouldered gray suit, back to him, looming by the hospital bed, and Wilson’s hunched over so that House can’t see his face...

He tries to shout but a strangled, half-volume “No,” is all that leaves his mouth, as his leg buckles, forcing him to drop his cane and grab the couch. Fucking useless, useless, told you I couldn’t keep you safe.

“What?” Wilson looks up. “You care ‘f I make quartr’ly estimated tax payments ’stead of ann’l?”

The guy in the gray suit – who’s just a guy, a guy with sandy blond hair and a mustache never before seen outside of pornos – looks at House as if he’s crazy, and takes the sheaf of papers off Wilson’s lap.

Wilson looks at House as if he didn’t notice his stumbling entry, as if the panic wasn’t overt and palpable and threatening to suffocate them all, and is there any way that could be true? Apparently so, because the next thing Wilson does is make calm introductions. “House, this is Brad Lundstrom, my accountant. Brad, this is my friend Greg House.”

“The un-reimbursed business expense,” Brad murmurs, and House hates him.
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