SUMMARY: This may not be a bright idea, but they don't have a better one.
CHARACTERS: House, Wilson
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: Part of the Distress Call universe. Links to all chapters of this story are here.
He finds his vampiric companion in a small lounge-type room that's tucked into the middle of the upper passenger deck. Strange; he hadn't noticed this before; he'd thought it was just another cabin. He'd still think so, if House hadn't left the door cracked open.
"Go away," says House. He's watching a nice, large etherscreen that's built into the left-hand wall. Built into the right is what looks like a bar.
"House, what are you -- wait. Is that --?"
House doesn't look up at him. "SpiderWars. Shut up and watch or shut up and leave. You'll note that either way, you need to shut --"
"Shelob's on the roster?" Wilson blinks, his eyes adjusting to the darkened room as he reads the rankings that flash across the screen.
"You know about --"
"Only the most crushingly amazing octopod ever built." Of course he knows; he's a man, isn't he? Wilson scouts around the lounge for another chair, since House has already taken the mouldacliner. "Well, other than White Venom."
"White Venom? Pfft. Belly-up in the last round. Two legs sawed clean off."
"He can stand on six." Wilson pulls the second-best chair into place beside House, because that's where he'll get the clearest view. A blue 'pod and a yellow one are squaring off, saw-pincers revving into a screaming whine.
"Six legs are plenty," House agrees, "unless three of 'em are joint-locked."
"Tell me this thing has a replay. Please."
The announcer blares on, identifying Yellow and Blue as Orb and Wasptiger.
"Probably. I'm not backing it up for you, though. You can watch later, instead of boring me." There's something weird about House's tone, something sort of ... friendly, despite the words; he also looks a little --
"House. Are you ... stoned?"
House pauses the ether feed, looks at him, and actually smiles. Shit. This can't be good. "You're stoned, aren't you?" He leans in and sniffs the air. "No alcohol, which means ... tell me what you took."
"Nope. Then I'd have to share."
"You're already on enough merstellin to --"
"Put me to sleep. I wanted to be awake and not miserable, a goal I had attained until you showed up."
"You can't just ... just drug away all your problems!"
"I can try." House reaches into his pocket and pulls forth a little rattling vial. "You're still here. Guess I didn't take enough."
Wilson has no doubt that House has taken more than enough of whatever it is. He holds out his hand. "Give."
His head a little bowed, House does it -- handing over the pills like he's giving back a toy he stole. Wilson has to squint in the darkness to read the label, which is ...
"Turenate sulfa? You're taking -- you're insane!" Mixing that with merstellin is one of the worst possible ideas. "Can you even stand up? You're coming with me to the clinic before you end up comatose from --"
"OH, SHUT UP. Different damn species, remember? You'd be comatose. I'm ... merely vegetative. And happy, until you ruined it." He sticks his tongue out like a five-year-old kid.
Forcibly, Wilson calms himself. "You're ... you're sure about this."
"I'm a GMD, you moron. I think I know my own species. We react differently and we're way less annoying than you."
"So the reason Callie isn't squawking about this is ... is because you'll be fine."
"Callie doesn't know. She doesn't monitor in here. And I'll be fine as soon as you shut up." He reaches out and jabs his finger into Wilson's stomach. "Better yet, Doctor Worry-pants, go raid the stash of booze in the kitchen. I promise I won't tell Dad."
Wilson finds himself looking hopefully at the bar right there in the lounge, but it seems to be empty. House confirms the diagnosis, shaking his head.
"Well," Wilson muses. "Will you ... pause it until I get back?" He can't believe he's really going to do this. Is he that easily swayed?
House's grin is full and toothy and a bit disturbing. "Anything," he says, "for the idiot who saved my life."
It's not that he's so readily manipulated, Wilson decides, scanning the rows of shelved bottles in the kitchen's tiny bar. It's just that ... House may have a point. They're stressed in ways that no human being, or vampiric pseudo-human being, ever ought to be; their future looks like a universe of horrors; they're stuck with one another when they don't even get along.
A little alcohol might help.
His eyes light on a narrow, dark bottle with a red-and-gold label in a graceful alien script. Opening it, he inhales with caution, catching a layered scent of earth, ripe fruit, caramel, warm spices. A cordial? A whiskey made from some exotic grain?
Taking a tumbler from the cabinet, he pours out just a sip. It's dry and soft, potent, smooth as cream.
This, he thinks, should do the trick.
Wilson fills the bottom of the glass and starts to drink on his way back to the lounge.
House can smell liquor the moment Wilson walks in the door. "That's more like it," he says, inhaling deeply. "High alcohol content. And it's not even swill, unless my senses deceive me." He reaches for the bottle, which Wilson jerks away, out of reach.
"Hands off. I'm not letting you mix sulfa, merstellin and booze."
"I'm stoned, not stupid. Just wanna know what you found. Smells like ..." he inhales again, "... redpile bourbon."
"I have no idea." Still sipping, the fool settles into the chair beside House.
"How's it taste?"
"Divine." Wilson's got to be more desperate to get drunk than he wants House to know; he's already pouring more. The bottle he sets safely on the floor to his right, away from House's grasping hand. Redpile spelt makes redpile bourbon, subtle rich stuff with an extra jolt from the rust-colored fungus that grows on the grain. It'll kick your ass from here to Kressa Five, but Wilson clearly doesn't know about that.
"Still wanna see White Venom get that double amputation?"
Wilson leans forward and grins, and if that makes House smile back, it's just the substances coursing through his veins.
House has no idea how much time has passed. A dozen dead Spiders' worth, maybe. Doesn't matter; he's been having fun. Is having fun.
"You know my leg?" he says, while he and Wilson careen sideways out the door of the lounge.
"Ah ... it has a name?" Wilson hangs onto him like a vinemonkey that's had too much rotten shubi-fruit. House would hate that, but he thinks it might sort of be the only way they can walk. Stagger. Whatever.
"Nah, dimwit. Doesn't hurt now. See? Drugs are good." House has one crutch, on the left. Wilson has the other, on the right. Using it himself, keeping them both upright. Mostly upright. Wilson -- once he got drunk enough -- gave back the pills. Silly Wilson. Tell him you hurt and he'll fix you right up.
"I give you ... give the same thing, next time?" Wilson says, "An' you could ... play kolf."
"The hell'd I wanna do that? You think that's fun?"
"Sure, 's'a perf--perfeckly good sport." Wilson seems drunker the more he moves. Funny, funny, funny.
"What, on ... Dijeer? Old farts with s--spindly lil' sticks an' tiny shrivelley balls." House leans a little more on Wilson, who sways beneath the weight. Or maybe the ship does. The hallway. No matter; they're still moving roughly forward.
"S'what I'm saying." Wilson's slurring so bad that it comes out as "shaying." "Tiny sticks an' sad lil' balls. You'd fit right in."
"You're not nice at all, Doctor Wilson."
"Been through three, uh ... marriage con ... contracts. So. Guess I'm not ... always nice."
"What a relief. I was gonna have to -- marriage contracts?"
"Got peti -- petitioned for breach. Twice."
"Um, yeah. Delphus thing."
"My woman just ... shot me."
"Well, that ... 'd be easier. Prolly ... kinder."
House snorts at that idea. They stop to rest, leaning on the wall. Which feels weird 'cause the wall is waving like a flag in a slow breeze.
"An' the ... third wife? Contract?"
"Julie. Din't hafta peti ... file. 'Cause I died, 'member?"
"Yep." Wilson lurches forward, off the wall, tugging House along. "C'mon. Gotta lie down."
"Okay." Lying down will be good. Drugs are fun, but lots of drugs means he needs his animal. Kidney function, liver function, detox -- all require blood. "Gotta bite you anyway."
Wilson stops. Wide, wide brown sorel-eyes gaze at him. "Be ... gennle with me, House," he says, and snorts a steamy bourbon laugh right in House's face.
"Let's go," House commands, and leads the way down the bending, bouncing hallway.
From the moment his eyes open, House remembers it all. SpiderWars, turenate sulfa, being loose-limbed and free of pain. Smiling and joking with Wilson, tottering three-legged together back here to House's quarters. Wilson stretching out on the bed, contentedly wiggling his stupid stockinged feet, "Come get yer midnight shnack, y'vampire bastard."
House remembers laughing, lying down on his belly because his leg didn't hurt. One arm grasping Wilson's arm, warm; another arm wrapped warm around Wilson's ribs; pushing his nose into the crook of the elbow; a rush of pleasure that had nothing to do with the drugs.
"Is it true?" Wilson had asked, like a child wondering how birds fly. "What Norian said. If ... 'f we keep doin' this. I'll really live that long?"
I hope so.
The thought had leapt up like a candle-flame, a moment's flash before he could snuff it out.
"Stupid question," he said, and forgot all about it. He'd smiled against Wilson's bare skin, relishing the scent, the feel of extending fangs as they pierced the flesh. Alcohol and voracin had mixed in Wilson's system, paradoxically keeping him conscious even as House opened a vein. There were those soft, accepting chuckles and the clumsy pats and strokes on House's shoulder as he took, and took a little more, a flavor as heady and deep as the bourbon Wilson had been drinking.
And then he'd drifted off to sleep, deeply satiated, warm warm warm like an idling turbine -- with that strange human animal beside him in the bed. House's bed.
He'd been happy.