SUMMARY: There may have been something House neglected to mention.
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.
In his imagination, he picks up a large, heavy object -- perhaps the chair -- and smashes the living hell out of the console. Acrid smoke wafts up from the sparking innards of the computer; shards of glass and Novaplast rain down across the floor.
Those violent fantasies are attractive, but the part of him that knows better is always in control.
He's been trying to get the navigation system working, but the monitor is asking him to Enter diurnal cycle. Instead of a starchart he has a bunch of squares. Four colorful icon boxes show a sun, a half-sun above a simple horizon, a moon, and another half-sun.
This fucking thing is -- wait. Day; dusk; night; dawn. I can set the shiplights to approximate the turn of a planet. We can have days. The relief blindsides him; he had no idea just how deeply he needed this familiar rhythm. His fingers tremble as he keys in the hours. When the computer asks, he tells it that the current time is ... four in the afternoon. That, he decides, is what it feels like.
The lights don't change, but they're bright already. It'll be three more hours before he knows if what he's just done has actually worked.
It occurs to him that House slept through lunch and Wilson forgot to eat, so whatever the arbitrary hour might be, it's time for food. For House, it's also time for more antibiotics and pain meds.
Without meaning to, Wilson realizes, the two of them are establishing a rhythm of their own.
Happily, Wilson discovers that the freeze-food roast beef dinner is not nearly as bad as he'd feared. If nothing else, it's a welcome change from all that damn soup.
They finish their meal in what may or may not be companionable silence, with House scrolling through subether channels now and then.
Mondo Poetica -- a demented poetry game show -- is the strangest thing Wilson's ever seen. He's still trying to figure out the rules when House switches to Wild Wrestling Women. There's green slime involved -- not Wilson's idea of 'sexy.' House watches the writhing, slippery bodies; Wilson watches House's slipping monitor stats. House is surely aware of the problem, but he's not saying a word. Stubborn, self-destructive bastard.
"This isn't good," Wilson huffs, when he can't pretend to ignore it anymore.
"I'm fine," snaps House. He removes the sensor glove from his hand, making the ominous readouts go blank. "Leave me alone."
Wilson intends to do no such thing. It's been approximately thirty hours since that first ... incident. Call it what it was, insists a more honest part of him. You were fed upon, and you're about to let him do it again.
"Your body's not removing the toxins from --"
"I'm fine. That's if you don't count the drugs, the cath, the pain, the being lost in You're-Screwedville with an imbecile. Leave. Me. Alone." House turns his head toward the wall, his whole body visibly stiffening.
"It's a ... nutritional deficiency, isn't it?" Wilson asks, quietly. He sees House's eyes close in something that looks like defeat. "A simple matter of your organs not getting something they need."
"Let me die. You don't know what the hell you're doing."
"Funny; it seems ... weird, yes, but simple. If you really wanted to die, you'd never have bitten me the first time."
"Hadn't thought it through."
"Yeah, you did. Thinking it through took ... thirty seconds?"
"Fifteen. I'm smarter than you. I didn't think you'd really let me do it."
"I know it's silly, but let's pretend I'm a doctor, and that this information is medically relevant." His patient lifts a middle finger at him, which seems as good a sign as any. "How often do you normally require ...?"
"Daily. Once." House takes a breath, as if he's deciding whether to continue. "Our bodies don't store certain nutrients. Can't even absorb them, except ... that way. Also can't make a few key proteins on our own; it's a weakness, keeps our population down. So, not completely a bad thing." He's still looking at the wall rather than at Wilson, but at least he's talking. It's making him seem so exposed that Wilson fights an urge to cover him with blankets.
"Will your injuries increase the amount you need?"
"Probably. Yes. Have to make do with what I can get, though," he says, and his face twists in revulsion. "It's not ... it can wait."
"Don't try to tell me it's all right," he snarls, turning at last to face Wilson again. "We're lost, and I'm useless. Everything fucking hurts. I can't even get up to take a crap, and even when I'm better I won't be better, because my leg is shot to hell. We're stranded on a ship that's the medical equivalent of a cow turd. If someone does find us, it'll hardly be a rescue, because if they learn what I am they will probably kill us both. Unless they're pirates, in which case they'll kill you and sell me as a slave, a fucking novelty. See? I did think it through. Save your comforting patter for someone who doesn't know any better."
"I wasn't going to say it's all right."
"Yes, you were."
"I ... fine. Yes, I was. It's all right, in the sense that I ... I don't seem to have a problem with your nature."
"Then you're a freak. Out of any hundred of your people, ninety-eight would kill me for it."
"No, eighty would kill you for that. Of the remaining twenty, nineteen would kill you because you're an asshole. Fortunately for you," says Wilson, swallowing hard as he pushes up his sleeve, "I'm the hundredth."
"You're desperate, scared, and you've got a thing for hopeless causes."
"That's ... all true, actually." He scoots his chair up against the bedside, stretching his bare arm over House's chest. As strange and frightening as this is, it's nothing compared to the terror of being left alone on an empty, broken ship. It's nothing compared to sitting by and watching this man die. "Does it matter?"
He can feel the tension in House's body as humiliation pulls against the instinct to survive. "C'mon," he coaxes. "This wasn't on my agenda either. 5:30 p.m.: feed self to vampire."
"Haemovore," growls House, and snatches Wilson's wrist. Instantly his fangs sink deep beneath the skin. A strike, Wilson thinks, like a viper. Hazily he remembers that House did this the first time, too. It hurts only for a moment, and then House releases the bite and covers the wound with his fingers, applying pressure.
Wilson stares, wondering why House does this -- and then the feeling of floating warmth hits him, and he knows. "You bastard," he says, in sudden, drunken shock. "Din't tell me you had ... venom." Wilson's brain has a halfhearted thought of getting away, but his legs aren't listening.
Why'd I want to run? Can't remember. He feels ... good. Sleepy. The hands on his wrist don't scare him. Warm. House needs this.
House's eyes close as he extends one fang to make a cut. Doesn't hurt, Wilson thinks. No hurt. It's okay. He drifts into a soft oblivion while the haemovore drinks.