SUMMARY: Wilson does a necessary job.
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. Links to all chapters are here.
For the first time since he awoke there, Wilson goes back to the hyberroom. The bodies aren't corrupted yet, having been so thoroughly stabilized by the sterile, airless cold of hybersleep, but it's just a matter of time. They've got to be put back into their cells, and the cells turned on again, before ... before what naturally happens begins to happen. It's a simple task, but not a pleasant one, and he's been putting it off for a while. He has stopped procrastinating mostly because at the moment, it seems easier to deal with the corpses than to keep sitting there in the clinic with House, the honest-to-God vampire. Haemovore. Whatever.
Death, at least, is well-known to Wilson, a family member he doesn't like but whose presence he has always accepted. Whereas House has turned out to be a thing so alien that his very existence is enough to exhaust Wilson's mind.
It's funny, but now that he's dead, Doctor Rupert Norfolk looks pleasant. The high forehead with its thinning gray hair seems grandfatherly, beneficent. His large, arched nose suggests a strong character, a sharp wit. The firm line of his mouth has relaxed, easing into an indulgent smile.
You'd never know, thinks Wilson as he seals Norfolk back into the hybercell that killed him, what a pompous ass the man was. He imagines what would have happened had it been Norfolk and not himself who found House. Norfolk might well have killed the haemovore outright, but more likely he'd have simply allowed House to die, and then brought the body home for scientific study. God, the awards he could've won for that stunt.
"Goodbye, Rupert," Wilson murmurs, and steps away from the closed cell. I'm afraid I won't miss you.
He can see this place now, in a way he couldn't before. Going into the cell, he'd been heavily drugged, sedated; coming out had been that waking nightmare that obliterated almost every rational thought. It's so different now, peaceful in a surreal kind of way. The lights in the hyberroom are mellow and low, designed to go easy on the eyes of the newly awakened. The clear tops of the cells make them look like glass coffins, like that Old Planet fairy tale about the princess awaiting the kiss of life.
Wilson thinks of the story as he stands over Doctor Ulman. Even now, she's lovely, her dark hair loose and shining, her lips a gentle, rosy curve. To look at her, you'd think she could wake at any moment, and oh, how he wishes that were true. Her company now, her voice, would be a priceless source of solace. It's not that he ever really knew her; she was a soft-spoken woman who glided easily around the edges of his world, moving in other directions, always away from him.
It was probably just as well. Wilson had been in a marriage contract during the whole of their acquaintance -- a contract that he's certain has been voided in his long absence from home. Julie had never once even sent him a note, and he was deeply unsettled to discover that he didn't mind; it eased the guilt he felt when a new woman touched him on the shoulder, smiled at him, issued a silent invitation.
There were several women who'd done that, but Sarah Ulman wasn't among them. He wasn't close enough to touch, and he doesn't do it now. He watches his own reflection slide across the glossy surface as the lid lowers back into place. Hollow, he thinks, staring at his ghost-self, translucent and distorted by the curve of Novaglas.
By the time he reaches Sutherlin's cell, Wilson has nothing left. He can't summon a single feeling for the tall, burly man he met only once, long enough to shake hands. Either I'm a rotten human being, he thinks, or it's just evidence of shock.
Shock, he decides. It's shock.
Figuring out what went wrong will not be easy. He'll have to search the computer directory, find the hybercell histories, and then sift through the reams of information. Wilson's smart enough to do it, and he's certainly got enough time, but he doesn't have the heart. Not yet.
Wilson walks out of the hyber-room and doesn't look back as the old-fashioned doors swing shut behind him. This whole ship is an absurdity, a quirky mixture of the modern and the antique. If he could control the damn thing, he might even enjoy himself here. The place has a decadent luxury about it; the corridor floors are polished stone, the walls covered in rare wood paneling. There are even a few well-aged pieces of art. The fixtures in the master suite's bathroom are plated with genuine gold.
That's where Wilson's headed now. He needs another shower, to soothe the lingering aches in his body. To wash the last of the mud-planet stench out of his hair. Next he needs food, even if all he can keep down is the bland soup that's helping him recover from hybersleep.
And then, having fortified himself, he'll check on House again. He'll attend to the living. The dead will have to wait.