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Bad Company

Aftershocks 1.1: How Wilson Got Away



Aftershocks 1.1: How Wilson Got Away

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TITLE: Aftershocks: A Story in Shattered Pieces
SUMMARY: Always going in the wrong direction for the right reasons.
Wilson, one OFC, two OMC, and Oreo
RATING: R for language and themes.
WARNINGS: Details the aftermath of events in Bad Company, a rough, violent story. Aftermath isn't always pretty; may distress some readers. Adult themes and adult language.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Never will.
NOTES: The pieces of this shattered story are numbered. The first number signifies the number of days that have elapsed since the orginal event in Bad Company; the second number signifies when the fic occurs during that day.

How Wilson Got Away

"Your fly's open, Doctor," he says, "and you can call me Mycroft."

Grey Eyes' words are still racketing around in Wilson's head when he's heaved out of the limo and onto the cold concrete. They bounce and carom, shiny little pinballs along his neural pathways as he tries to make sense of them. The fact that he can do nothing to break his own fall doesn't help with his comprehension, and he hits the ground with a thud. The pain is excruciating; broken bones, bruised and lacerated flesh scream in agony, and for a moment Wilson thinks he's screaming too. Through the pain, he's dimly aware of the limo door slamming shut, and the purring roar as the big car pulls away. He can't be sure of that, though. Nothing's clear right now, except for a primal urge that's ringing desperate alarm bells in his mind.

Trick or treat. Coming back for me, Wilson thinks through a bitter fog. Something they'd do. Come back and hurt me some more.

He lays there for a moment, then slowly, gingerly raises himself on his forearms. He's not sure if it's a good or a bad thing that he doesn't pass out. A few feet away, his wallet lies splayed open, limp and empty like the skin of some small flayed animal.

Get away, the primal urge whispers.

It's hard to think in a straight line; his thoughts are scattering like charms from a broken bracelet. Very carefully, he begins to crawl deeper into the alley, away from the street.

Get away. Hide.

Every movement is agony; every breath causes his body to resonate with pain. The fractured ribs grind and scrape together, the broken collarbone makes it virtually impossible to put any weight at all on his left arm, and so he tilts awkwardly to the right like an unbalanced top. There's a terrible, dull ache deep in his gut letting him know he's probably bleeding to death internally, but he can't stop now. There's only one overriding concern, driving everything else into a blurry, humming sea of background noise.

Get away.

Wilson continues crawling, inch by searing inch, deeper into the alley. His breath saws in and out of his throat in rasping gasps; occasionally a whimper escapes his battered lips but he tries to stay quiet. If he makes too much noise they might find him.

If they find him they'll take him back to the barn.

The gravelly concrete pokes hard little nubbins into his forearms and knees, but it's a tiny little hurt, lost amidst all the other big hurts and so he ignores it. His mouth is so horribly parched; he'd sell his soul right now for just one single sip of water.

Has House already sold his?

He shoves the thought away. He needs to keep going as long as he can. Already black dots are starting to trace little photo-negative comet trails across his line of sight; he's not going to get much farther.

Just a little more

He has to stop, he has to. His back is hurting so badly his legs feel numb and half-paralyzed, but he keeps going. He's aware on some level that he's dragging himself through garbage, through puddles of rainwater and oil slicks. Wilson hovers for a moment over one of the rain puddles and attempts to lap at the water, but he's in the wrong position and his broken jaw won't allow him to purse his lips to try drawing it up.

So fucked, he thinks, and the words slide around his brain like so many loose buttons. So, so fucked. He puts his right elbow in a pile of what must be dog shit, but it translates to Wilson's brain as cow flop and lends new impetus to his tortured efforts.

Shelter. Hide.

Wilson manages, after a halting, crab-like fashion, to crawl a few more feet. Then he really does have to stop, because even though he's flat on his belly, his cheek pressed into the rough, dirty tarmac, he's falling a long ways down into a sickening, swirling tunnel of darkness.

When he passes out, he's crept deep into the alley.

"Come on, Oreo," the young woman says wearily. "Do your business. Be a good boy."

Oreo doesn't want to do his business, though. The small black and white dog keeps looking around, scenting the air. His owner sighs; she shifts her aching feet and begins composing a mental grocery list as she waits. Yogurt, bread, toilet paper should've changed my shoes after work carrots potatoes yogurt wait

Her train of thought is derailed when Oreo suddenly lunges forward. "Hey!" she yelps, teetering on her heels, but the dog is straining at the leash, pulling her down the nearby alley. He doesn't stop until they're both at the blind end of the passageway.

She looks down in disgust at the man sprawled on the filthy pavement.

Another homeless guy. Neighborhood's really going downhill.

There's something different about this one, though. His suit, even dirty and torn, is obviously of high quality, and his shoes are expensive and recently shined. Oreo is whining, licking at the man's ear. "Oreo, bad boy," his owner says automatically, and tries to tug the dog away. It's not until then that she gets a clear look at the homeless guy's face. "Oh my God," she whispers, and quickly backs away, dragging the dog with her. She fumbles for the cell phone in her pocket.

"911?" Her voice is high and thin, on the verge of hysteria. "I need to report—I need to report—oh, God, there's a guy, and I think he's dead."

Wilson is vaguely aware of a warm, wet tongue on his face. His brain tries to process this, and fails. Somewhere close by a woman is crying, shouting in a thin, hysterical voice.

"and I think he's dead!" she screams, and Wilson attempts to wrap his mind around this new information.


And that's as far as he gets before slipping back into unconsciousness.

He swims back up to semi-awareness one more time when he feels people touching him.

There are hands on his arms and legs, turning him over, patting him down and straightening his limbs. Wilson screams, but all that comes out is a hissing moan; his ribs are so badly broken he can't draw a full breath.

He tries to get his hands and feet under him and skitter away, but they hold him down and that's even worse—they're going to beat him again, torture him to death while Grey Eyes watches. He'd said they'd only keep him for twenty-four hours but everybody lies.

In a last, desperate act he swings his right fist and catches one of his tormentors square on the nose.

"Shit!" the man yells, backpedaling, and Wilson flinches, waiting for the expected punishment.

Instead of a savage blow, however, there's a different response—the cold pinprick of a needle sliding into his left forearm, where someone's pushed the sleeve up.

Then he's being lifted, and Wilson rises into the air and keeps going, flying, flying into a sky so twilight blue and welcoming, away from the hurt and the pain and the constant, aching terror. Soaring away from barns and horses and cows and those grey, grey eyes.

He could fly like this forever.

  • Oh, Wilson. The mention of a small flayed animal and the presence of the dog are just perfect; Wilson's exactly like a seriously injured animal, dragging itself brokenly into a safe, dark place to lick its wounds -- or to die. Seeing him here like this, senseless with pain, crawling through dirt, reduced to his most basic instincts shot through with confused and panicky thoughts... and doing the exact worst thing he could possibly do, by moving away from the paths of people who could help him. It hurts. But it hurts so good, because things can only get better from here.
  • This is awesome and so beautifully written. Wilson still afraid that they're coming back to get him - so much of what real torture victims go through. And the dog finding Wilson makes so much sense!! And I absolutely loved this imagery:
    Then he's being lifted, and Wilson rises into the air and keeps going, flying, flying into a sky so twilight blue and welcoming, away from the hurt and the pain and the constant, aching terror

    It brought tears to my eyes. Just beautiful.
  • That part with the dog is near-genius, it breaks up Wilson's dreaming agony with a sharp bolt of realism. Very good.
  • Greetings!

    How can he ever come home again??? One wonders if it is truly a favor to bring him back... so broken... so, so broken... in all ways. Better perhaps to just let him die, but that is not their way, so they will bring him back, whether he would will or no.

    One wonders as well, if he will thank them. Ever. Or if, like House, he will have preferred to die. But it is no longer his call. Perhaps it never was his call. For all their hollow words... everybody lies.

    So... we shall see, shall we not? See what the Story shall bring... healing... or death... perhaps a bit of both... Phoenix rising on burning wings, scattering the dying embers of a former life like blackened rain....

    • We truly do love the comments and feedback, you know.


      Better to die? Perhaps you've been listening to House too long. Think of how hard you've just seen Wilson fighting to get away, to stay alive.
    • Greetings!

      Ok... my reply has turned into an essay. Is there a way to do an lj cut in a comment? Or some other eosteric way of posting my reply so that it manages to not irritate everyone in sight with its amazing length?

      • I don't know -- I just tried to use a LJ cut in a comment and discovered that it didn't work.

        I say comment away. If it's causing a problem we can always just screen the comment after a day or two, but we'd really love to hear what you've got to say.
        • Greetings!

          Thank'ee's muchly! Hopefully, you shan't regret it. I am so ridiculously nervous over posting the essay-comment, it is quite sad.

          Anyway, in other thoughts, a couple of great quotes from this section I forgot to mention earlier. The flayed animal, is, of course, a wonderful description, and one that would so totally be coming to his mind at the mo', alas.

          "Yogurt, bread, toilet paper should've changed my shoes after work carrots potatoes yogurt wait—" the list, the shoes, the list... love it!!! (Although, should there perhaps be commas throughout the rest of the list as well as at the beginning?)

          "He tries to get his hands and feet under him and skitter away, but they hold him down and that's even worse—they're going to beat him again, torture him to death while Grey Eyes watches. He'd said they'd only keep him for twenty-four hours but everybody lies." OMG. My heart bleeds for him....

          Ok, almost done w/the polishes to the essay. I swear, i've released stories w/less editing. :lol


    • :lol LJ thinks my post is too long, so I am putting into two posts. Hope you find it sufficiently interesting to warrant the space. -K


      You are most welcome! :-) No, I haven't been listening to House too long, although he and I do have some important things in common.... I just know what it's like to live w/PTSD, and mine came from nothing even vaguely so horrible as what just happened to Wilson and it was considerably more volunteered for, as it were. (Good job on picking up the connection, however. I love perceptive authors. :-D)

      I shudder to think what life will be like for Wilson in the days to come. Watch House’s eyes sometime - the startled wariness before recognition, the ever-present calculation - and then magnify it by a factor of at least ten. Wilson’s already got the intense claustrophobia of the survivor down pat, and my heart bleeds for him going through the rest of it. Hopefully, he will have folk around him that understand. I'm lucky, although there are days when admitting that is like bile on my tongue. If I'm having a bad day, I can simply stay home, hide from the world until I'm ready to face it again. My professions allow that. His profession does not. It is canon that the only two things that matter to him are his career and his friendship with House. Will the one be enough for him until he can face the other again? And what will happen to him if he never can?

      And... now that I think of it... will he be able to face either again? There is a saving grace in loudness sometimes, which I suspect is, in large part, why House is still with us. Wilson is strong, yes, but he carries the weakness of never having openly acknowledged his wounds, the weakness of being the quiet one, the one who drowns quietly in his pain, never ‘troubling’ another w/his anguish. Will he be able to cope with the knowledge that, yet once again, his friendship with House has brought him such misery? Or will he finally choose to walk away... as it were. If he did choose that option... would House let him? Would he finally put his friend's safety ahead of his own heart and let him leave? Or would he force him to stay? Could he succeed if he tried? And which would be better for them both???

      Is Wilson really struggling to live here? Or is it merely reflex, a sort of hideous muscle memory on a larger scale? If he were in his right mind, would he still try so hard? He’s a physician and an oncologist to boot. He knows all about following the hard roads; he walks them w/his patients every day. Would he be willing to go down one for himself, and such a difficult one at that? I’m not so sure. Like many who care deeply, he seems to find it much harder to do for himself than for others. Admittedly, IF he can manage it, it would allow him some very deep empathy with his patients, which could influence his practice of the art of medicine in a very positive way. Will he find it worth the pain? I have no idea. Presumably, y’all do.

      End part I
    • part II

      There is also the not-so-tiny detail that neither one of them has any decent sort of support network to rely on. I did and do, and there still managed to be some interesting times along the way. What happens when, for the most part, House and Wilson only have each other??? The potential for extremely interesting times exists, for some exceedingly twisted definitions of the word ‘interesting’. Especially considering the criminal lack of post-event support for victims of trauma and their friends, families, etc.. Although the sick thing that just occurred to me is… Wilson, at least, does fit into a recognized category, so there is at least the potential for professionally-based support for him. Ewl. Poor sod. :-(

      And once he has survived the initial hell, it’s the long haul that can be the issue. In the beginning, one is far too busy simply surviving to think much beyond the moment. And narcs are every bit as mind-deadening as advertised. It’s afterwards that can be hard to cope with, when the life one knew is gone forever and one has to come to terms with what’s left and make some kind of new pattern with it. That’s the hard part. And then the flashbacks that come from out of nowhere, throwing one back into the middle of nightmare, just when you thought you were finally done with this particular version of hell. Wearying beyond belief some days.

      There is also that strange, streak-of-perfection that seems to haunt physicians, or at least the ones I’ve come into contact with, either on- or off- line. For many of them, there seems to be this sense of ‘all or nothing’ about themselves and their lives and bodies. I have no idea why, other than perhaps that at some level, to do the work they do, they have to believe some of their own propaganda… and since when is a God less than perfect?

      Yes, somewhere you struck a very deeply buried nerve with this one. I'm not normally drug so deep into Story that I’m half in Musing when I comment unless I will it so, but it happened with my original comment in this section. Interesting. Will have to go think on this and the whys and wherefores, etc.. Not like I don't have ALL WEEKEND to do so. *grumble, growl, gritch* :lol ;->

      *hehehehehe* I love reader-tormenting authors, too!!! Keep it up, ladies, keep it up!!!


      PS - It doesn’t hurt that I rewatched ‘Histories’ last night… if they’d but known… ya know? (going for cryptic in trying not to be too spoilery) As much as I personally believe in ‘where there’s life there’s hope’, I’ve had to realize that sometimes it’s simply not a kindness to keep someone here. Admittedly, ideally not the call of others to make, but still…. Where does the line get drawn??? -K
      • Heh.

        so deep into Story that I'm half in Musing

        So what you're saying -- if I understand correctly -- is that this story has eaten your brain. We know how you feel. That's how we've ended up with approximately 60 fragments and ... I dread to say this, but it's true ... more on the way.

        Very interesting indeed to hear from someone who's been through PTSD. If you say we're getting it right, then I'm sure we are.

        Part of the reason that black_cigarette works is that the four of us have the same basic take on the characters. One of the things we agree on is that Wilson is much, much stronger than he appears. You are definitely touching upon many things he'll go through, and you are correct in saying that it won't just go away. But you may be underestimating Wilson; almost everybody does.

        I'd talk to you at great length about this if I could do so without giving away upcoming things. :-)
      • This story must have done something, for sure, b/c this is still larger than one post! Feel free to screen as needed... since I know it might happen, and why, I shan't be offended. -K


        "this story has eaten your brain."
        Well, hijacked, certainly. :lol I believe, and apparently many other authors do as well, inc. some of the most otherwise Mundane ones there are out there, that there is a place where the characters and stories are Real, in the Velveteen Rabbit sense, which is how one gets characters yammering in one's head at odd moments w/o other visible sign of mental illness. ;-> I usually have to intend to go to that place, that state of mind. Sometimes, I get yanked there, willy-nilly. Such was the case here. Most of the time I manage to come back to Earth before commenting, so as to avoid strange looks, which through a monitor is an interesting thing to have happen, I can assure you! ;-> Sometimes, I don't succeed. And yes, I would say that that means y'all are getting some very important things right.

        Although... one gentle correction. "Through", to my mind at least, implies an ending. There is no ending, as near as I can tell. You can get better, the terrors not nearly so common as they once were, you can approximate a normal life, but things are forever changed, and a trigger is a trigger is a trigger. You can learn to control them, tricks and tips to get through your day without screaming and with a semblance of normalcy, but odd moments will still give you pause, that moment of heart-stopping terror b/f you reimpose reality upon it. Fewer and farther between does not imply gone forever, alas.

        "One of the things we agree on is that Wilson is much, much stronger than he appears. You are definitely touching upon many things he'll go through, and you are correct in saying that it won't just go away. But you may be underestimating Wilson; almost everybody does."

        I agree with you, actually. But what I am also saying is that he has never openly confronted his fears as of yet (even in the depths of Tritter, he never, to the best of my knowledge, says WHY he is so pissed with House. Or rather, why, but not WHY, if you follow me.) and that he has now totally lost the luxury of continuing to avoid his ghosts by choosing to help others with their pain instead. One of two things will happen here... he will grow... or he will die. I don't really see a third option. No, I don't believe the man he is now is strong enough to cope with all the changes that are most assuredly coming his way. But I do believe the man he could grow into is. The questions are... will he?... and will it be enough? And how will that growth change the rest of his life? Because it will. Of that there is absolutely no question. The only question there is whether he will be sufficiently ok with the results to be glad of his life... or not.

        End part I
      • Part II

        "...you are correct in saying that it won't just go away. But you may be underestimating Wilson; almost everybody does."
        One of the things that drives me absolutely batty about both episodic television and much fan-fic... the lack of consequence to major story elements. The 'ok, the story begins w/no explanations of why/the story's over, now everything is the same’! Oy!!! It is enough to make one pull out every hair one owns!!! Consequences, consequences, bloody, freakin' consequences!!! You can't escape them in real life, why on earth should fiction be any different? In fact, as fiction is a carefully controlled artifice to begin with, it should be even less different, as it were. It is immensely sad how relieved I was to read that y'all get it, and that I may relax now and trust that y’all will not butcher at some future point this amazing story that has so enthralled me . (Oh, dear. Taking a moment to Muse on that sentence, my friends that House reminds me of, and a certain conversation held bet. my sister-in-spirit and I long ago... I am reminded once more that a physician does not only know how to heal. He knows how to kill. [Hmmmm… will one or the other succumb to the temptation??? Not my story… not my affair… must wait…aaack!... stop the Muse!!! ;->])

        I'm loving this conversation also, and understand about not wanting to spoil such a well-constructed work, so please... you or any other members of black_cigarette… feel free to e-mail me at mysticphoenyxcafe at yahoo dot com, if you'd like to continue it. A more private venue wouldn't hurt my feelings any, I must admit... Wilson was right, but it's not just true for cancer, so I like to pick my conversational partners, as it were, whenever possible….

        May y’all’s Muses be ever at your sides,

        PS - “I dread to say this, but it's true ... more on the way.” Why dread? Sounds like a most nummy-wonderful thing to me!!! :-D

        PPS - When I was outside weaving and pondering this afternoon, I suddenly got the Mycroft. *shiver* And how sad.... One almost feels for the bastard. Almost.

        Y'all understand the endless shades of grey as well. My compliments.... *bows* -K
  • Having seen this develop over the months while the curtain was still drawn (and that was a wonderful privilege), the thing that struck me throughout was what grit Wilson had, and it's evident here. Even though he's been beaten within an inch of death, his hold on life is so strong. We tend to think of Wilson as the most civilized and gentle of people, and here he's fighting ferociously to live.
    • Indeed. There has to be something uncivilized and fierce in anyone who could survive an apparent 17+ years of close friendship with House, though, doesn't there?

      We love hearing from you, and are so glad you've come along for the ride.
  • (no subject) - lana_ftw
  • Wilson tunnelling back into the fear, anxiety and pain like a darkness and finally the dog comes and with it release (with the beautiful flight metaphor). Lovely & sad.
  • I actually hated to see Wilson crawl toward the alley. I know that he was responding to the primal need to get away from his captors, but I wanted to scream at him "No, Wilson! Stay on the street so someone can find you before you DIE!!" Or something like that.

    Thank goodness for the mutt.

    On to the next eagerly anticipated part...
  • If they find him they'll take him back to the barn.

    That was so unbearably creepy in a Stephen King-like way: ordinary, monosyllabic words which beat out the most horrible threat without any adornment or hope.

    I'm really nervous about the rest of this story. It would help if I didn't read it late at night, I suppose...
  • "He'd said they'd only keep him for twenty-four hours but everybody lies."

    Oh, my lord. That...that is just. Frightening and shiver-worthy and I love it.
  • This is the writing of a true Angst godess Supereme. 'Nuff said.
  • "Wilson hovers for a moment over one of the rain puddles and attempts to lap at the water, but he's in the wrong position and his broken jaw won't allow him to purse his lips to try drawing it up." What a great detail to encapsulate the whole fucked-upness of this situation. This just about broke my heart.
  • Oh no, poor Wilson :( I'm glad the lady called it in and didn't just leave him there... He must have been terrified when everyone started yanking at him, and you can really feel the just kind of fear that EVERYONE is his captors come to hurt him...

    *hugs Wilson and protects*
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