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Distress Call 2.1: Side Effects



Distress Call 2.1: Side Effects

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TITLE:  Distress Call 2.1: Side Effects
SUMMARY:  Some drugs aren't worth the trouble.
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. 

The lights are glaring so brightly that even when he shuts his eyes, the thin lids offer little relief. He sees red heat, with a white spot in the center like the core of a star.

It dims as a shadow falls over him. House looks up into a stranger's face, the face -- he remembers now -- of the man who dragged him out of the mud.

What the hell is going on? he wants to ask, but he can't ask because there's something in his mouth, a metal something, like a speculum, holding his jaw open. The IV is still in his arm, a drip going; maybe simple fluids but maybe not. This horror is what he's been waiting for since the moment Wilson said, 'I'm a doctor.' Doctors are the worst, insane in their arrogance. They find out what you are and then they investigate, all in the blessed name of science.

This doctor, his eyes full of cool curiosity, reaches down and adjusts the device, forcing House's mouth open a little wider.  He leans in, holding a dental mirror that bumps against House's teeth. Wilson shakes his head, snorting softly.

If only he could move, House would break the man's neck. Too bad he can't move. Oh hell. Oh, fuck; he can't move.

Wilson straightens, smiling at him. "The scanner told me all your stories," he says. "I think I ought to write them in a book."

House's hands and feet feel numb. Paralysis; numbness in the extremities; what kind of drug? What's in that IV?

The doctor has gloves on. And a surgical tunic, flawlessly white, but no face shield to cover that lopsided smirk. Why bother preventing an infection when --

"I know what to do with you now," says Wilson. He picks up a scalpel from an array of instruments on a cart by the bed. "I found the reports from Arkhedia. Such beautiful experiments. Did you know they proved that your kind don't really feel pain?" The graceful, curving blade shines in the monster's hand.

"And you're dying anyway," Wilson says, and smiles again. His teeth are perfect.

He brings the scalpel down to the center of House's chest. The tip feels like a snowflake falling on his skin. He can feel it. No anesthesia. This soulless fucking vulgaris is about to --

Wilson moves his hand. The snowflake presses downward, melting, searing through the skin.

"House! House!"

The bed is shaking. Crash? No. He remembers now. Noise, there's noise -- his own voice, screaming. The room is a blur, whiteness and shadows, too bright and he can't seem to focus.

The bed's not shaking; he is. Being shaken, held by the shoulders, and -- no. Fuck that.

There's a shadow bending over him, its outline resolving into the face of the doctor, who's trying to hold him down.

House punches, feels the snap of Wilson's teeth, watches the man fall. Immediately House tries to get up, get away, but the pain forces his surrender. The wound in his leg is like a bug in a spider's web, sending its vibrations through every strand, in all directions. The only thing that doesn't hurt is the incision in ... the incision ...

He runs his hand across his chest, feeling the sweat, the pounding pulse, and ... nothing. No incision. 

This isn't the shuttle anymore, either. He's in a clinic, a place full of antique equipment, chalky gray walls. 

"House," says a tired, panting voice from the floor, "punching the doctor is ... not the best way to get treatment."

Wilson staggers upright, rubbing his jaw with a bare hand. No gloves. His tunic isn't white. It's dark brown, long sleeves rolled partway up. "I'm ... going to assume that was one hell of a nightmare," he says, turning away to pick up a syringe from the table near the bedside. He leans on the table's edge, catching his breath.

"Don't touch me," House tries to snarl, but the words shrivel into a sad croak. "I'll kill you."

"Really?" Wilson tilts his head to the side, studying him. "How bad is the pain?"

"You ... have to ask?" It even hurts to speak, his throat is so dry. "I slept ... how long?"

"Six hours. I had to put you under and ... clean up your leg." He pauses, massaging his jaw again. "There was ... there was a lot of dead tissue. It had to come out."

"I knew that." House's eyes water as another shock of pain rolls through his body. "Gimme the damn drugs. Merstellin. You give me more narcophilin, I'll hit you again."

House can see Wilson's instant comprehension. He puts down the syringe and readies another, drawing up nine milligrams from a blue-tinted vial. Merstellin's less potent than narcophilin, and less treacherous; it won't induce those vivid nightmares.

Wilson approaches again, needle at the ready. The hard stab House expects -- payback for that punch -- does not come.  The hands on his skin are steady and kind, and the needle-sting is nothing. What he feels is relief, the shards of pain being swept beneath a soft, heavy rug.

"I want to see it," House says. "Now." Wilson complies, raising the head of the bed so that House can have a look at the damage. 

Oh hell. He knew; really he did, but to see it is a whole other thing. Fucking wreck.

"Get out."

"I did the best I could. There was so much dead tissue; it would have killed you. I'm --"


Wilson turns away and leaves the room without further protest. Maybe he knows it's pointless to fight.

Pointless. Pointless to be angry about this, thinks House, staring at his destroyed right thigh. It won't matter once I'm dead.  Won't matter. The only thing for it is to kill the pain until such time as he loses consciousness for good. The merstellin is helping, but not as much as he'd hoped. That initial relief didn't last. What was a sharp, fiery torture is turning into something lower-pitched but no less deep, flaring upward from his leg into his spine and his gut.

If it doesn't stop soon, he's going to retch. There's not much to bring up, but it still won't be pleasant.

"Wilson. Wilson!"

No reply. Of course not; who knows where he is by now. "Intercom?" House groans, he's surprised to hear a soft chime as the system springs to life.

"Get back in here, Wilson."

And in a few seconds, there he is, the stupidly valiant doctor, striding quietly through the door.

"Not enough," House tells him. "I need nine more mil."


"Unless you want to clean up the vomit."

"Nine it is."

The man House just punched stands over him, keeping watch, taking new readings while House drifts on his magic merstellin carpet. Most people would imagine that Wilson is noble, but most people would be wrong. House knows desperation when he sees it.

Desperation is being stranded in a vacant backwater corner of the galaxy. House doesn't know where they are, but he knows the kinds of routes that Century Corrections generally flies. Wherever the hell they were when the Medusa went down, it wasn't on any of the known galactic trade paths.

"Get us into hyperspace yet?" he murmurs. Wilson shifts on his feet, pretending great interest in adjusting the clinic's monitor resolution. "That would be a no."

"The nav system isn't responding," says Wilson, at last. "It took us out of orbit of that planet and then ... froze up. I don't know where we are yet, let alone how to get home."

Just what House figured. Wilson has found himself adrift in the endless night of space, with nothing but corpses for company and no solid ground beneath his feet.  He's radiating fear like a scent, subtle and pervasive in the air around him.

Interesting, House muses, the things a man will do when he's stranded out here with his enemy. Not that Wilson knows, yet.  Right now, he probably thinks House is just a garden-variety jerk.

Soon House's organs will begin to fail, and his would-be rescuer will find himself backed into a very unpleasant corner. House will wait until that happens, and then he'll do his own experiment.

He'll find out just how desperate James Wilson really is.

  • ...huh?

    I'm glad that the initial scene was just a nightmare, but why does House think at himself as Wilson's enemy? And all those mention of creatures who can't feel pain...
    I assume they at least will be able (sooner or later) to get the engines of the ship more or less working again. But I won't even try to figure out the rest. I'm just enjoying the ride - seat belt fastened and all... ;)

    I also loved that Wilson surprised House with his caring, using a soft touch even after he punched him.
    • ...huh?

      Heh heh heh. Yes, we know. That's precisely the reaction we were going for here.

      It'll get more clear tomorrow morning.

  • intriguing :)
  • Okay, I figured out you're posting these in the morning, and decided I'd get to it early and quick to quench my thirst for more -- boy, did that backfire! Now, I have to wait a whole twenty four hours for the next part!

    Naturally, authors revel and bask in the torture of their readers (haha) by giving them just a taste of an answer. Hm. Creatures who feel no pain? That would be a really bad assumption on Wilson's part...Obviously, he can see that House IS in pain... And I'll be honest and admit that I did have a sneaking suspicion that they would become "enemies". ("Frenemies"?)

    Curious..Very, very interesting. I'm going to count away the hours.
    • One more thought: We know Wilson is definitely a doctor with what appears to be little knowledge of how to fix his ship; I wonder what House's position on the Medusa was? I feel like he may be a doctor, given by the clue early on that he knows what Wilson's doing; but then, I also feel like he may have had a position of some significance on his ship. Maybe it's because I always view House as a leader, albeit, a reluctant one at times, but I think life would be even more competitive in space. Who knows? Maybe he was so competitive, he got himself a Captain's badge.
      • We love it that this story is making you think, take guesses. All good guesses.

        We are (naturally) not going to tell you if you have any of them right, though. Because we are TEH EVIL that way.

    • boy, did that backfire!

      Hee hee hee. We'd say we're sorry, but ... welcome to the world of the Collective.

      a really bad assumption on Wilson's part

      And one that Wilson has not made, except in House's nightmare.
  • Vulgaris? *grins* So many awesome little clues.

    I love the set-up; they barely know each other, and already there's such an intriguing and necessary reason for why they are stuck in one another's orbit. Interdependent enemies! Can't wait for the next part :)
    • So many awesome little clues.

      Including one that everyone seems to have missed.

      But oh no, we're not saying which one it was.

      *grins back*
  • Oh dear. I don't really want Wilson and House to be torn asunder by Crazy Space Battle Politics. I'm thinking Wilson represents the reigning government authority and House is probably from some rebel faction or something? Although why all of his organs are going to go into failure, I couldn't really say... was he preprogrammed to die, or does he have some kind of condition that Wilson doesn't know about?

    The whole assessment of James Wilson's desperation is a very House-like thing to do. And it makes one wonder what sorts of things he's going through if he has such rampant mistrust in Doctors--Wilson in particular. Especially since all Wilson's done since rescuing him is be a complete and utter sweetheart about it all. These AU characters break my heart a little because they are essentially House and Wilson, but they aren't close. But I guess they could be if they get through it all.
    • We are just loving everyone's guesses about this story. Loving it.

      We're dying to talk about it but we can't ... quite yet.
  • Did you know they proved that your kind don't really feel pain?"

    I am leaning toward "your kind" being more of a social statement rather than a declaration of species. House was in a correctional facilities vessel cruising the outer limits of known space. Perhaps such "criminals" are though of as being little more than animals, much like our inmates are viewed by some sectors of society. Clearly, House can feel pain, yet also sees himself as being identifiably "different". Is he aware of some sort of stigma or stereotype that would make him be seen as less than human? Perhaps human, but with a more highly evolved brain, or something? Just a guess. *g*

    His teeth are perfect.

    Back with the Warren Zevon, but that line instantly made me think of the line "His hair was perfect" from Werewolves of London, which is kinda neat. Human, and yet not so. ;D

    Beautiful reference to the spider's web. So painfully descriptive....

    nothing but corpses for company

    I love that line.

    And I find it interesting that, unlike every other fic that adresses the topic, Wilson is not only there for the surgery; he is the one who performs it. Logistically, I know you had no other choice. But from a dynamic standpoint it may prove interesting somewhere down the road.

    Thanks for posting!

    • Back with the Warren Zevon

      Heh. Yeah, we, uh ... we totally meant to do that.

      Your guesses are excellent, and we will neither confirm nor deny any of them. We're horrible -- we are having so much fun watching everyone try to figure out what's going on.

      Tune in tomorrow morning for the next installment.
    • I am voting with rnwannabe here (with the possibility that he had been given a death sentence and a disease designed to painfully kill him) It will be interesting to see what the explanation will be.
      • he had been given a death sentence and a disease designed to painfully kill him

        Now that is an intriguing idea, isn't it?


  • Oh dear, posted with my RP account, sorry. Repost!

    Ooh, and another! <3

    I have to say that Dream!Wilson creeped me out. D: But in a good way. Weirdly, the thing that got me was that he had perfect teeth and that his clothes were perfectly white. *shudders*

    I'm really curious as to why House thinks he's going to die, and why Dream!Wilson said that House and his 'kind' don't feel pain when it's obvious that House, at least, does. My first thought was that House isn't a real human but an artificial one, or that he's a clone.
    • Re: Oh dear, posted with my RP account, sorry. Repost!

      House isn't a real human ... artificial ... a clone.

      You have no idea how much we love these guesses everyone is making. Love, love, love.

  • Oh, man. So many questions to be answered!

    I'm lousy at guessing where a story is headed but am so curious about the comment about "your kind can't feel pain". Obviously, House is feeling pain. Maybe he's some kind of mutant? Or is programmed to terminate on a certain date. Hmmmm. He seems to know quite a bit about medication. Is he some kind of doctor or maybe once was and had some horrific experiences with them?

    Geez, I'm just making stabs in the dark.

    Wilson was so sweet to him, not even retaliating for the punch to the mouth. I think maybe he's valuing House's company and realizes that House may somehow be an asset to him down the road...er... in space.

    What he feels is relief, the shards of pain being swept beneath a soft, heavy rug. Love this description.
  • Damn this was full of surprises. I started squirming with the first line and by the time House woke up from the nightmare I was spent. Then I thought this isn't a science fiction story afterall and was a little bummed about that. At least, until House activated the intercom. Oh yeah! It is a science fiction story. Gosh, you got me with the nightmare sequence though. So was House being experimented on? Obviously, they got it wrong that his species does feel pain? Was it truly a nightmare or things of yet to come? Don't tell me. Just keep writing. :D Love you all!
  • Oh, gosh. I have no idea what's going on. *bites nails* I can't wait for the next installment! (Although luckily you're getting them out pretty quickly.)

    I don't think I've ever commented before, but I read all of Aftershocks and enjoyed it thouroughly, and I think this is shaping up to be even better. :D I'm so excited to be along for the ride!
  • Century Corrections huh? Interesting. Sounds like something to do with law enforcement or prisons.
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