SUMMARY: Some drugs aren't worth the trouble.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, House
RATING: 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.
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.
"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.
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.