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Distress Call 1.2: Safe



Distress Call 1.2: Safe

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TITLE:  Distress Call 1.2: Safe
SUMMARY:  The meaning of "safe" depends who you ask.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House
  R for language and themes (gen fic).
WARNINGS:  This is a very alternate universe. Adult themes and adult language.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Never will.
NOTES: The stories from this ficverse are numbered by chapter and scene, rather than by day as we did before. 

A link to all chapters is here.

The mud feels different, like it's hardened while he slept, and that strangeness is what begins to wake him. 

He finds himself looking not at the now-familiar dirty brown sky, but at something clean, beige and well-lit. Curving panels, a ceiling. What the hell, House thinks -- and all at once the memory returns. Damn. Rescued. Just what I didn't need. 

There's a thin sheet thrown over him, but other than that, he's nude. His leg isn't hurting much; he licks his lips, feels the feathery numbness that means he's been heavily dosed with painkillers. Polyfentalide is nowhere near that effective. Must be merstellin.

His clothes are in a tangled filthy heap, about a meter away.

Moving his arms, he's surprised to find an IV and no restraints. His would-be rescuer must not have scanned him very thoroughly. Yet.

"Where the hell am I?"

"Safe," replies the doctor, gently, like he's talking to a child. 'Safe' doesn't mean a damn thing; it isn't even true. 

"Asked for a location. Not an opinion."

It looks as if the two of them are inside a small shuttle. That must be how they got off the surface of Mud World. He doesn't remember the flight. He remembers the idiot saying, 'I'm a doctor,' and he remembers laughing because that was perhaps the least comforting thing anyone could have said to him. And then there was a little relief from the pain, and a whole lot of darkness.

"Why are we still in the lifeboat?" The little craft's side hatch is open, the ramp down. Outside, he can see the bare walls of a larger ship's docking bay. He himself is lying on a body sled, mere inches off the floor.

"I'm not strong enough to move you again," sighs the doctor. "I barely got you into the shuttle. That was ... about five hours ago. You've had fluids, blood replacer, drugs."

"And the leg?"

"Cleaned up a little. It needs a lot more. I ... passed out, though. Had to rest."

For the first time, House really looks at his captor. The guy is young, his brown hair an oily, uncombed mess. His eyes are dark and dull, his lips gray. There's mud all over him except for his hands and forearms. He's slouched in the shuttle's only chair, and he's got an IV bag tethered around his neck, with the needle in his own right arm. He's so pale he almost matches the white wall behind him. How this pathetic creature ever pulled an object of House's size across Mud World and into a shuttle -- it's unbelievable.

"You're too manly to call for help?" House really does want to know. "Or too stupid?"

"There's no help to call," murmurs the idiot, and his head lolls back against the wall, and he's out again. Great. Just great.

But the doctor seems harmless for now, and apparently he's alone. Maybe going to sleep isn't such a bad idea after all.

He wakes again, with the whole right side of his body throbbing, and his leg -- he can't even think of a word to describe that. It must have been a few hours; the drugs have definitely worn off.

"Hey," he calls to the slumped figure in the chair. "Hey, you."

No response. For a moment House wonders if the man is dead. No; his chest is moving. His lips are pink now instead of gray. That's good. Maybe. It's good, as long as the guy will give him more drugs and not ask too many questions. It's good, as long as no one shoves House into a physioscanner.

House is going to die, but he could make it easier on himself. He could be nice, pretend to be grateful for being rescued, so that he can get the relief that he needs.

He won't. He's never lived that way and he's damn sure not going to die that way.

Something stinks, and he hopes it's just the filth on his discarded clothes, and not infection setting into his leg. Except, he reminds himself, it doesn't matter. Dying anyway. And oh, fuck, it hurts. Hurts doesn't actually come anywhere near to covering it; if he didn't know better he'd think the bone had shattered. He wants to scream but he's afraid if he starts, he won't stop. 

House finds a box of plastic syringes on the floor at his side, picks it up and flings it. His aim is true: the missile strikes the center of the sleeping man's chest, making him jerk upright with a shout. 

I said," House pants, "Hey, you. Moron."

"What's wrong?" asks the moron, which just proves House's point, because it's obvious what's wrong. "And my name," says the moron, "is James Wilson. I'm a doctor."

"Told me that already. You look like a corpse."

"Yeah," the guy replies, while he removes the IV line from his arm and the empty bag from around his neck. "I feel like one, too. This drip was embalming fluid."

He tries to stand and his knees buckle; he has to catch himself on the arm of the chair. Perfect. The guy had meant it about not being strong enough to get him out of the shuttle. 

"Lemme guess," House groans, trying to take his mind off the agony. "Your ship ... had a fit of automated compassion. Yanked you out of hybersleep to come save my sorry ass."

"Obviously ..." says Wilson, "... my ship had never met you." He leans over, wincing, and picks up the syringes. "I'll take this as a hint," he says. Carefully, he shuffles the few steps over and sits on the floor beside House. He pulls a clear vial from his pocket and draws up a dose.

"That's all?" House rasps. He could throttle the guy. "Six mil of merstellin won't --"

"Narcophilin. Much more than six mil of that, and you'll be painlessly dead." Wilson pauses, looking him in the eye. "But you know that, don't you?"

"I know a lot of things," growls House, but he holds still for the injection. Narcophilin is what he wants, a painkiller so strong that most doctors fear it, skittish about side effects and addiction. This doctor is either smarter, braver, or more reckless than most. That, or he knows I'm dying anyway.

"You're right," says the idiot, "about the hybersleep. The auto-wake kicked on when my ship got your signal. I'm ... I've definitely been better." He pauses as if to gather his wits. "There was a malfunction in the cells. I'm ... recovering."

"You're an imbecile." And he is, but he's an imbecile who administers good drugs. House's annoyance level decreases along with the pain. "You could've died dragging me around. Cell malfunction would have put you at risk for heart failure."

"Yeah," Wilson admits, "I know. I'd be dead anyway if the auto-wake hadn't kicked in. Everyone else ..." He looks away for a moment before he continues. "I'm the only one who lived."

"Wilson, huh?"

"Wilson. James, if you'd prefer. So is there something I can call you?" Wilson asks, while his gentle, cold hands unwrap the bandages on House's mangled thigh. "You know -- other than 'asshole'?"

"Name's House."

"House." Wilson sits there rubbing the back of his neck, shutting his red-rimmed eyes for a few seconds. "You're an asshole, House, but I really, really need you to live."
  • oooh, I was getting ready to shut down the computer and head home, but this popped up...yay! :)

    "I feel like one, too. This drip was embalming fluid."
    Wilson's trademark sarcasm is always fun to read. I'm surprised that House didn't react to that.

    So, it seems that House had saved Wilson's life, in a way.
    Also, Wilson should've simply called him "asshole" all the time.

    I wonder what House is hiding - inside himself? inside the leg? o_0

    *is puzzled and hooked*
    • House (or House's downed ship) has indeed, however inadvertently, saved Wilson's life.

      As for the rest ... you'll just have to be puzzled a little while longer.

  • I hope this is going to be a nice long story. You've already pulled me in and I don't think I can escape.
    Loved how you even had House's thoughts very in character. Hmmm, can't wait to see what happens!

    Oh, and I'm totally intrigued to find out what House is hiding and why he thinks he's going to die anyway.

    Edited at 2008-04-22 03:23 pm (UTC)
  • (no subject) -
  • I'm already so hooked! :)
  • mmmmm, best of both worlds- House and and sci-fi. I love you all.
  • Your style reminds me of the ascerbic joy? amusement? that I used to get many years ago reading Harry Harrison. My memories may be muddling, but I feel as though the Stainless Steel Rat has just made his escape from Death World (yes, I am jumbling things up a bit, but you get the idea).

    And both of House and Wilson's personalities shine clearly through the mud-caked AU you are creating. I especially liked the detail of Wilson's IV being in his right arm, and of him selflessly hanging the bag around his own neck so he could continue ministering to House's needs rather than be tethered to a pole of his own. So cute, I just want to hug them both. Except for the death House seems to feel he is sporting! I can't wait to hear more about that.
  • This is really, really interesting. I am hooked and shall return on a regular basis and may even, should events warrant, bring camping gear.

    I kinda like the way they're sort of saving each other's lives. :)
    • camping gear

      We recommend a portable propane stove and a really good cooler. We will insist, however, that you share any food and/or booze around the campfire.

  • Gosh, this story has taken off running. Everybody's exhauted. Wilson with an IV bag and looking like death. Loved the embalming line! :) House saying he's dying??? His leg is mangled? Looks like everything I need. Now this is my kind of shopping list. :D

    The story is so refreshing. Interesting how they don't know each other. I love how you talk about the hybersleep and the auto-wake. I didn't get it until I read the comments that House technically saved Wilson. After all, he is the only one alive. I can't help but wonder why House was there and why he thinks he is dying. Can't wait to read more. So happy you guys are back! :D
    • Heh. We have made a diligent effort to get this thing started with a giant leap. Glad it's working well so far.

      There's so much going on in this ficverse, that we have no choice but to leave everyone in the dark about a whole lot of things, for quite a while.

      Fasten your seat belt.

  • Ooh. Scifi House au is interesting. I'm really interested in seeing how this pans out.
  • Love it. "So is there something I can call you? ...You know -- other than 'asshole'?" What a brilliantly, hilarious line. Unexpected for the average reader, but to those who know and love Wilson, it's a line that perfectly conveys his personality. I'm naturally VERY curious as to what House is hiding in his body and like many of the posters, I can't wait to find out why House feels doomed from the start.

    I love how House thought of Wilson as harmless. How endearing. Wilson just feels very young to me in this story. I'm curious to know their ages and the time-period in which the story is set. Again, all things I just can't wait to read.
    • what House is hiding

      *cackles with evil glee*

      Also: House thought that Wilson seemed harmless for now. Important distinction.
  • *sighs*
    I'm not sure I can read this one in pieces. It's too good for that. It will drive me nuts and you'll have to get a restraining order against me. It won't be pretty. Too bad I have no will power.

    "Obviously ..." says Wilson, "my ship had never met you."
    The banter between them even in this setting is so great and so in character. I love the little hints of plot---while cruel--- you're giving us and the character moments like Wilson risking his life to save House and House calling him an idiot for doing it.
    • Thank you!

      But I'm afraid you may go as crazy as we are, before this is all over with. Hee!

      House calling him an idiot

      Yeah. Also, it's little things like that -- House knowing that Wilson would have been in danger of cardiac arrest -- that convince Wilson that House has medical training.
  • And the plot thickens! And the readers hold their breath and cry for MOAR!!
    • There will be MOAR in the morning.


      But really, you do need to breathe. Lack of oxygen --> dain bramage, you know.
  • You definitely have my attention!
  • Wow!! Awesome chapter and my fav line " So is there something I can call you?" Wilson asks, while his gentle, cold hands unwrap the bandages on House's mangled thigh. "You know -- other than 'asshole'?"

    Just priceless!
  • Two chapters and I'm hopelessly addicted to this fic. Spot on House and Wilson and brilliant futuristic AU make me very happy =)
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