black_cigarette (black_cigarette) wrote,

Aftershocks 36.2: Counting Flowers on the Wall

TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: Just one more thing that wasn't in Chase's job description.
CHARACTERS: Chase, Wilson
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.

Counting Flowers on the Wall

Wilson's been playing solitaire for three hours now, blankly staring at his laptop, moving his fingers, flipping the digital cards. His eyes are red and he's slouching as if he's worn out or in pain, but he seems not to want to sleep. Or talk. Or eat, which is ... probably to be expected, under the circumstances.

Not that Chase knows what, exactly, the circumstances are. He knows -- based purely upon physical evidence -- that Wilson punched House, but not why. He knows that House left, with what looked like a travel bag slung over his shoulder.  He doesn't know where House went or how long he'll be gone.

He doesn't know why Wilson won't talk and is instead staring with dead eyes at the computer screen. Solitaire. How appropriate.

"I need drugs."

"What?" It's not that Chase didn't hear him; it's just that it's the first thing Wilson's actually said to him in what feels like years. 

"Hurt m'self." He closes -- almost slams -- the laptop computer. "If 'm gonna sleep, I need oxy. Seven mil'grams."

Chase is going to remember this and he's going to tell House, just in case. Seven milligrams is a lot. Either Wilson really is in that much pain, or this has to do with whatever else is going on, and there's no way Chase is going to ask Wilson about that. The man's already hit House; Chase would prefer not to be next in line.

He brings the cup of ginger ale and lets Wilson measure the dose himself. It's closer to eight than seven, but Chase says nothing. He settles on the sofa, pretending to read that horrible book he brought with him. As soon as he leaves this place, he's going to throw it out; millions of happy readers can, in fact, all be wrong.

"Sorry," breathes Wilson, just before raising the cup to his lips.

"For ... being a jerk tonight, I presume?"

Wilson finishes his drink before he answers, "Yeah."

"Do I even want to know what's going on?"

"Doubt it."

"If you don't eat something, House will make me pay for it in blood."

"Provided I tell him." Wilson just looks tired now, exhausted, like a man who's been driving for eighteen hours and is still too far from home. "Sorry. This's not yer job, shouldn' be yer problem, but I din't know who else to call. Gimme an Ensure; I'll choke that down. Eat somethin' real in the morning."

The look on Wilson's face, and the fact that he's not getting out of bed to do things for himself, answers at least one of Chase's questions. The extra oxycodone was definitely necessary.    

House hadn't needed to tell Chase to sleep on the sofa. There's no way he would take the only other option, and lie down in House's bed. 

"I'll need a couple blankets," he says, and Wilson points to the hallway closet. 

"Pillows're in there too." 

"Thanks." Chase finds what he needs quite easily, and resists a vague temptation to do a little snooping while he's at it. He catches the thought and figures he's been working for House for too long. He's done far too much breaking, entering, and rooting through other people's stuff.

The one pillow he finds is lumpy and threadbare, but it'll do. It smells like the closet, like aged fabric and cedar. Through the open bedroom doorway he can see the big, soft feather pillows House has.  Chase could put a fresh case on one of those, but that would feel entirely too weird.  He remembers changing the linens on his mother's bed, after. The pillows had still held her scent for months and he never could figure out if it was a comfort or a horror. Eventually his father had thrown them away, and young Robert hadn't even known whether to be angry about it.

Carrying the old blankets (very old blankets; he notes that Wilson has all the best ones) to the sofa, Chase thinks about that and hopes that nothing's dying here, now. 

"You get my old bed tonight," says Wilson, the faintest smile forming at one corner of his mouth. "Trade ya. You take th' nice comfy hospital bed, an' the meds an' wires an' ... all the shit. I'll sleep onna sofa."

He's slurring a bit, the drugs and the exhaustion combining to soften all his edges.  

"Sorry," says Chase, "but I know a good deal when I've got one."

There's a faint sound of footsteps in the building's entry hall. Wilson looks at the door, eyes widening, freezing in place like a startled rabbit. The steps fade; it must have been one of the neighbors passing by.  Chase watches Wilson catch himself, pushing back whatever fear this is, making himself breathe again. This is new and it's troubling. Never before has Wilson seemed afraid for House to come home.

Not even wet and naked Carmen Electra. House's words come back to him like a shock wave; he'd been too puzzled to pay much attention at the time. Maybe it's not House that Wilson's afraid of. What the hell happened here?

Chase picks up his book again, wrinkling his nose at it as if it were day-old roadkill. Who needs The da Vinci Code when real life has become so insane? He throws it into the trash can by House's desk.

"Good call," mumbles Wilson. "Hated that book."

Chase doesn't reply, but he does go and re-check the lock and deadbolt, wondering all the while what it is, who it is, that he's trying to keep out.

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