SUMMARY: Wilson marks time in a blank-walled room.
CHARACTERS: Wilson, OCs
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 beginning of the second part of the Distress Call Universe. Links to all chapters of this wild AU are here.
He's fine, really. Well -- aside from the lingering stun-gun migraine, and the hunger, and the bits of Nutro-Bar stuck in his teeth, and the way he feels like a bug wrapped in spider-silk just waiting to be eaten. Aside from all that, Wilson is fine.
House was wrong about the addiction.
At the point when the sensor blips showed up, when they knew they'd been spotted, House hadn't ... hadn't fed for around twenty hours. Wilson had been taking some time to himself in the library at the end of his day, relaxing a little. He'd hoped that such a quiet, normal interval would help to blunt the intense strangeness of giving over to the vampire a little later on.
They never got around to their nightly ritual. Neither one had wanted it, knowing that in four more hours they'd both need to be very awake indeed.
Therefore, by the time the Silver Bay picked them up, it had been twenty-four hours since Wilson's last ... dose. Then another, what? Four hours out cold? And twelve or so more before Jerome showed up, which made thirty-six. More or less. It's not as if Wilson's got a clock in here.
Jerome left again, Wilson guesses, four hours ago, so that makes forty. No junkie goes this easily for forty hours without a fix. House was wrong, or maybe lying -- a possibility that can't be ignored.
Not that Wilson doesn't feel the cravings. Who the hell wouldn't want to be tranquilized, to sleep through the boredom and fear? It would be good to feel that warmth course through his body, easing the migraine and everything else, but it's not going to happen, and he's all right. He's fine.
Perhaps he's not as fine as he'd believed.
He guesses that they bring him "food" every four hours or so. It's the only way he has to keep track.
The Nutro-Bar chronometer -- Wilson has managed to choke down only a few bites of this latest one -- now gives him an approximate time of forty-five hours since that last, blessed dose of voracin. The tightness in Wilson's chest and the dryness in his mouth could be mere stress reactions, severe ones brought on by a severe situation. The rapid pulse, the light sheen of perspiration, the way he's starting to shake, all could be explained the same way.
What can't be so easily dismissed is the growing drive to find relief by finding a certain crippled haemovore. The images fill his mind, such persistent images of fangs sinking into his skin. It's not getting better, but he can cope.
Okay, maybe he can't cope.
For unexplained reasons (the only kinds of reasons that seem to exist here), the latest meal they've brought him is actual food, some bread and bland soup and a piece of unfamiliar, sweet-smelling fruit.
He has left the tray untouched, preferring instead to pace the small area of his cell, trying to burn off the horrible energy, the suffocating fear that refuses to let him rest.
When he'd last been able to calculate anything, Wilson had guessed that it was fifty-five hours since House had last bitten him.
He's well beyond calculations now. Doesn't matter how long it's been. His skin prickles and itches; his head is pounding all over again; he can't breathe, or think, or stop shivering. All that matters is getting to House, if House is even still alive, which, oh God, oh God. House is probably dead. That's why they won't tell me. Scanned him and found the fangs and he's dead now.
Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck. Nothing left to lose, oh God.
"You fucking bastards," Wilson says softly, testing the words. He says it again, a little louder, then again and again, each time raising his voice until he's calling it out, yelling it into his barren cell.
Some small, distant part of his mind pleads with him to stop, stop before things somehow get even worse, but it's no use.
"You bastards!" Wilson screams, "You fucking bastards!" and oh God the words feel so good; they relieve some of the horrible pressure, and so he keeps screaming, pacing and screaming, even as that small, distant part of his mind falls silent and curls up in a tight, terrified ball.
"What did I save him for? What did I save him for, so that you could kill him?" Wilson finds himself standing at the door to his cell and he pounds on it, smashing at the window with his fists. "What did I save him for? You tell me -- what?" The words leap out of his throat and the Novaglas window throws them back in his face. "You fucks," Wilson howls. On the other side of the Novaglas, he can make out shadowy figures -- guards. On some deep level, almost submerged beneath his panic and rage, Wilson knows he's gone too far, that he was in control and now he isn't.
He finds he can't bring himself to care.
"You bastards," he breathes, and starts pounding the door again.
"You did the right thing, Chen," De Santos says. On the hallway monitor, the prisoner is still pacing in his cell, back and forth, talking to himself -- and occasionally them -- as he goes. She watches as he stops for a moment at the sink, splashes water on his face and neck. He doesn't seem to notice that his t-shirt is now wet, but resumes his pacing.
De Santos' two security staff, Edward Chen and Joe Sebastian, watch with her.
"Is he faking, d'you think?" Chen asks. De Santos watches a moment more. God knows she's seen a lot of weird-ass shit in her years as a security officer, including prisoners who'd fake a case of the Scarlet Plague if they thought it could get them special treatment. This ... doesn't feel like a fake-out, though.
"Only one way to find out," she says. "Get Dr. Royston down here."
"Room scanners show rapid pulse, hyperventilation, hypertension, signs of arrhythmia," Royston mutters. "Patient exhibits paranoia and extreme anxiety." The security staff watches over his shoulder as the doctor checks off the readings.
"He needs to be tranked," Royston announces authoritatively. Behind him, De Santos catches Sebastian rolling his eyes. She frowns at him, and he instantly assumes a more serious expression. Not that she can blame him, though. Royston was an emergency hire on Phoenix Four, taken on after Doc Fitz had contracted neuro-storm syndrome from a passenger's unregistered cephaloslug. The idiot had managed to sneak his slimy pet on board -- a security lapse that still makes her angry -- and the fact that they'd had to settle for this fool only makes it worse.
"Fine," she snaps. "Chen and I will cover you. Sebastian, get ready to open the door."
"Wait!" Royston backs away, shaking his head. "I can't go in there! You've seen him! He could be dangerous!"
De Santos grits her teeth. "Which is why Corporal Chen here will be right next to you. If the prisoner makes any threatening moves, Corporal Chen will stun him."
"No." Dr. Royston shakes his head again, more emphatically this time. "The first time you people stunned him it triggered a severe case of blast shock. Another stun and I'd have to explain to Captain Jerome why it was necessary to admit him to the infirmary."
"Then what do you suggest we do, Doctor?"
Royston looks around at the assembled security staff.
"Well ... " he begins, then falls silent.
The corridor is silent; from inside the cell, De Santos can still faintly hear the prisoner shouting.
"I don't know," Royston says at last. "Can't you ... knock him out without us going in? Pump the the room full of anesthetic gas?" This time Sebastian doesn't bother to hide his snort of amusement.
"Dr. Royston. This is a passenger liner. This is not a prison transport. Sno-White Compound is not a standard component of holding cells on passenger liners." Although perhaps it should be, De Santos thinks, and makes a mental note to bring it up with the Captain. "We're going in," she continues. "Doctor, get your autotrank ready. Sebastian?" The corporal nods, his right hand hovering over the red button.
"Good." Terry De Santos smiles at the doctor as she flicks open her holster-guard. "And we'll try not to shoot your patient."
Drugs, is De Santos' first thought.
Wilson is pale, his hands visibly shaking. He's gasping, his breath sawing in and out of his lungs, and his pupils are blown so wide the brown is almost completely lost.
"Did you even bother to run a tox screen?" De Santos asks, keeping her voice low. So far the prisoner is just standing there, staring at them, but if this guy's on something that could change at any moment.
"Of course I did," Royston snaps back. "And it was clean."
The answer doesn't satisfy De Santos, but she lets it go for now. More important things to worry about. Chen is keeping his stunner trained on Dr. Wilson as Royston moves slowly forward.
"Come on now, Dr. Wilson," he says. "You need to calm down. I've got something that will do just that -- "
By now he's close enough for Wilson to see the autotrank, and De Santos curses as the prisoner's eyes widen.
"No!" Wilson howls. "That's how you killed him!" He backs away, retreating until he hits the edge of the bunk, then scrambles onto it. He's gained the high ground, and out of the corner of her eye De Santos sees Chen start to bring his weapon up, aiming it squarely at Wilson's chest.
"Red light!" she shouts. "Hold your fire! Red light!"
Chen obeys instantly, lowering his stunner.
"You killed him!" Wilson pants out, and shit, he looks like he's going to stroke out at any moment. "You fucking assholes, you killed him!"
"Oh, this is just great," Royston mumbles. De Santos ignores him.
"Killed who, Dr. Wilson?" she asks.
"Don't act like you don't know," Wilson snarls. He's flattened himself against the wall, arms outspread as if he's using the wall as a brace. "House. You took him away and then you killed him."
House? What the hell?
"Dr. Wilson," De Santos says. She speaks softly, as she would to a frightened, injured animal. "Dr. Wilson, I can assure you -- Mister House is very much alive."
A glimmer of hope rises in the prisoner's eyes, only to disappear as the mania takes hold again.
"Liar," he spits out. "All of you." His voice starts to rise. "Liars! House is dead! He's dead!"
"That's it," Royston says. "I'm notifying the Captain. I can't be held responsible for this situation."
Neither De Santos nor Chen turn their heads to watch him go. The prisoner is scrubbing at his face, muttering to himself. It sounds like he's chanting "dead," repeating the single word in a bizarre singsong.
"Dr. Wilson," De Santos says. "Dr. Wilson!" He peeks at her from between his fingers.
"Dr. Wilson, Mister House is not dead." She can hear Royston through the open door, Captain Jerome's gruff voice answering. "I saw him this afternoon -- he's alive, and he's all right."
"Don't believe you," the prisoner whispers.
"It's true," she says firmly. "Now why don't you come down from there so we can talk?"
Wilson lowers his hands slowly. His face is wet, and whether it's from sweat or tap water or tears, she isn't sure. His hands tremble, the way hands will do when the body has run out of a substance it needs. She senses that Royston has re-entered the cell.
"Captain says to take him to House," he says. He sounds bewildered.
"There, you hear that?" De Santos soothes. "Come on now, Dr. Wilson. Come down from there and I'll take you to Mister House myself."
Wilson's right foot begins to slide forward, but then he hesitates. "He's really alive?"
"I give you my word," De Santos says, and at last Wilson lowers himself to a sitting position on the edge of the bunk. He doesn't resist as Chen and Sebastian haul him to his feet, or when they turn him around and pull his arms behind his back so that De Santos can cuff his wrists. This close, she can smell the rank musk of sweat and fear rising off the man in waves.
"So what are you on?" she asks, genuinely curious. Her men turn him around again, and he looks at her, seeming to not comprehend the question. "What's the drug?"
"I told you he's not on any drugs." Royston sounds angry, so De Santos decides to let it go.
Doesn't matter anyway.
Whatever he's using, it's obvious that Dr. Wilson can't live without it.