SUMMARY: Wilson has some time to think it over.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, Chase
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.
Wilson stares at the door and tries not to wonder what the hell will happen next.
He made it through the night, barely, with the aid of more drugs than he really ought to be taking at this point. He had kept waking up with this awful feeling as if he were wrapped up in cotton, a thin layer of padding between himself and his horrible dreams. Once morning had come he'd slept in earnest, the combination of daylight and Chase (and a little more oxycodone) serving to push back his terror far enough to let him rest.
It's afternoon now and there's nothing on TV, nothing left to do around the apartment since Chase already made breakfast (such as it was) and cleaned up the kitchen.
Wilson has already showered -- and had to resist, once again, the urge to scrub himself raw. He's brushed his teeth as well as he can, combed his hair, put on loose, clean clothes; he's all dressed up, but where could he go? He stands at the window and looks at the sidewalks, the buildings with their cheery window boxes full of marigolds. Martin's out there somewhere. There might be more guns, another limo ride. Is it better to be a moving target, or a sitting duck?
House would know; House knows Martin. Unfortunately.
Chase seems to be at loose ends. He hasn't suggested that they play any games, hasn't tried to make small talk, and Wilson's glad for that. House must have told Chase to sit and stay, instead of coming to work, and how unfair is that? A man should know if he's being asked to risk life and limb.
It's not fair, but Wilson's not going to tell him, either.
Chase has taken up residence at House's desk. He's working on something on his own notebook computer, an article perhaps, or letters to loved ones in Australia, or oh, what the hell does it matter. Wilson can see the computer screen and he's somewhat relieved that Chase isn't surfing for porn. How wrong is it, Wilson wonders, that I've got all this time to waste and I don't even want to think about sex?
He doesn't want to think about anything, really, and he curses his brain for its unwillingness to shut up.
House hasn't called, except for that thing at some ungodly hour last night, when the ringing phone had woken Wilson into an instant state of panic. He hadn't bothered explaining to Chase that House has been having nightmares. House thinks he's been hiding that unpleasant fact, but Wilson knows. If he doesn't tell Chase, though, it's not because he's guarding House's secret. Already there are a dozen unasked questions flickering behind Chase's calm gaze. It's bad enough.
Wilson turns away from the window, climbs back into bed and wonders whether sleep will come again.
Sleep does not come, but it's time for General Hospital anyway. In spite of himself, Wilson turns on the TV. The phone still doesn't ring. Wilson decides not to hate himself for wishing that it would.
Whatever it is that's between him and House, he can't name it. He's already tried every word he can think of, even the ones he dislikes, and none of them fit.
What fits is an image from a campy horror flick he saw as a kid, in which the monster could be shot, burned, crushed, stabbed in the back, or anything else you could imagine -- and it wouldn't die. It would slow down for a while; it would wail in ghastly agony; it would drag its sundered limbs back to its body and reunite by supernatural force.
There is no name for that, and that's how it is with him and House.
He holds up his right hand to the lamplight, inspecting the bruise and the little red cuts where his knuckles met with House's teeth. It was a fantastic right hook, and he's not the least bit sorry; it was so satisfying to watch the bastard reel in shock as his lip began to bleed. It's about time House bled a little. Being shot by a stranger didn't count, not for House, who has so little fear of death. But if Wilson drew blood, that was a whole other thing.
House doesn't need to know this yet, but the thing he's afraid of is not going to happen. Not now and not ever.
It's something Wilson had tried to imagine in the months after Tritter compelled House to fight authority and damn the torpedoes. House's case had been dismissed, but Wilson had remained on trial, with House's fury looming over him like a sinister hand. He had dreamed of building another life, far from this place. In the weeks before he'd been taken, he'd gone so far as to reasearch other hospitals, other towns, other states. As if he really would have done it.
He's given up telling himself that lie. There are other sanctuaries, but none where he could stay for long. House knows him, knows all the weaknesses, all the dirty spots, all his lies and betrayals. All the things Wilson would inevitably take with him wherever he went. House knows all the worst of it, and still House is there. He had abused and neglected Wilson for months, but he'd always been there. When it really, desperately mattered, House had still taken him home.
His gaze wanders over this now-too-familiar interior. He's reclining in the bed House brought in for him, with House's quilt wrapped around his shoulders. On the wall near the window there's a calendar. It features fluffy Golden Retriever puppies, altered expertly with a felt marker. Now they're suffering from mangy lesions, and they all have horns, and fangs that drip blood. Below their feet there's a wild jumble of multicolored X marks: House has been crossing off the days until the wires come out of Wilson's jaw.
If he left, he knows just how his new life would be. He'd dive into his new job, and he would lock these memories away. He'd pretend he'd never been here, never lived sad and alone in a hotel, never lied to the police or walked away from House on Christmas morning. Soon he'd have a beautiful lover, a dozen pleasant acquaintances and not a friend in the world. It's just how he is. He doesn't show himself; he doesn't know how. House, even at his worst, is the one true thing that Wilson has.
To trade that friend for anything is not a deal he can make. The grey-eyed psychopath had asked him whether House was worth all this. Of course he isn't; no one is, but it's an irrelevant question. A fifty-foot rope is worth ten dollars, unless you're hanging off the side of a cliff. House is non-negotiable.
But House, the rotten son of a bitch, can go on being afraid for a few more hours.
He wakes to the sound of the blender running and realizes that he dozed off before the end of the soap. It takes a moment for him to remember that it's Chase in the kitchen.
"Wish there was something better I could get you," Chase says, placing the huge cup on the coffee table. Wilson thinks of tomato bisque soup, and feels ill. Something in his mind whispers, Get me House; he mentally claps his hand over that murmuring voice.
"It's obvious you punched him," Chase states, quite abruptly but in a soft voice. "And I don't need to know why. But I know that you've been lying about the attack." Wilson shuts his eyes and sighs through his nose. This is so not what he needs right now.
"Don't worry. I'm not Cameron. Not going to broadcast it on CNN. I don't even want the real story. I just thought it might help to know you don't have to keep telling me the fake one."
"How?" Wilson asks, and counts on his expression to fill in the rest of the question.
"House. Not once did he ask what you were lying about. Therefore, he already knew. And obviously," Chase continues, looking around them with a faint smile, "he sides with you. I'm not saying you shouldn't have hit him," he adds, "because you must have had a damn good reason."
"I did," Wilson affirms, and reaches for his cup. "Your point?"
"I'm -- you've got no way of knowing. When you came in, he went completely insane. Security had to drag him away. Literally. I was with you at the time, but I heard all about it from the ER staff."
Wilson turns his head, not really wanting to hear this today. He doesn't figure on Chase's skill at reading people, until it's too late.
"Look, I don't want to know exactly what happened or why," Chase admits, slowly, "but. I can't help wondering. Is this somehow House's fault?"
"Yes. No." He puts down the cup and hides his eyes beneath his hand. "It -- God. If you tell him --"
"Partly. Bes' answer I can give. Unf'seen consequences. His fault, but he couldn'a known." There's an amazing relief in saying even that much. "House din't know. Tha's not why I hit 'im. Other reasons f'that."
"A whole list, no doubt."
Wilson sighs again. "He -- all I'm gonna say's he -- was tryin'a protect me. An' he picked a really stupid way." And now, says that same irritating part of Wilson's mind, we're both lying to you, not telling you about ...
He's startled out of that thought when he hears Chase softly chuckle.
"Sorry. It just reminds me of someone else I know," Chase says, and he's obviously suppressing his smile. "Who occasionally does some, ah, remarkable things. For the same reason, and with similar results." Chase makes a hasty retreat back to the kitchen and then there's the sound of water running, dishes being washed.
It's amazing how hard it can be to swallow a liquid lunch. There are strawberries in this stuff today, and they taste acidic and sour. He forces down enough to prevent nausea from the meds he's got to take, and then inspects his hand again. He can still see the cop, still hear that soft, reasonable voice. You're doing the right thing, Doctor Wilson.
Same reason; similar results. The only difference was that House chose to hit someone else.