Rating: A hard R
Characters: Wilson, House
Warnings: Graphic descriptions of violence
Disclaimer: I do not own House, nor anything like it. Please do not sue.
Summary: No one realizes that Wilson is a dangerous, shrewd, cunning, quick-witted man with a secret that would scare the crap out of everyone if Wilson ever revealed it. And right now, he's a little frayed.
Initial fic inspired by housefest:
Thank you so much to the wonderful karaokegal and diachrony for the amazing beta!
Staring blankly at my day planner, I thought suddenly, It's been two months and six days since my last weekend out. It was quite a realization; this was the longest hiatus since I was twelve.
I was beginning to think I should never have taken up with Amber, even though the girl had seemed like a perfect partner. She was cold and manipulative, willing to do just about anything to get what she wanted, much like the man I'd initially considered bringing into my pastime. Just me, House, one of his whores and my box of sharp toys. I had a special place in my heart for working girls, so tough on the outside, so soft inside.
I bit my lip, tasted blood. That train of thought was not going to help me relax.
My problem was getting past Amber's need for attention and position in her world; she could hardly be Bonnie to my Clyde if she insisted on respectability. I wasn't going to broach the subject of my weekends in cheap motels with the downtrodden and soon to be bloodsoaked unless I was mentally prepared to help her join their ranks. Besides, I hadn't killed someone that close to me since med school; I was not up to a situation that delicate in my current state.
As a result, I wasn't busy teaching her the ins and outs of my true calling – we were only sharing the ins and outs of the bedroom, and her wrists and knees had been black and blue for weeks. While that was diverting in its own way, she took up every spare moment of my time and I was beginning to give under the pressure, slipping up like a novice still feeling out his boundaries.
Of course, House was sure to notice eventually. I had no idea what I would do when he did.
"Wilson!" The yell was accompanied by a clatter against my deck window. I gritted my teeth, then took a deep breath.
"I never lock it, House!" I picked up my fountain pen, pulling Wilson's mannerisms into place. "You'd just break in, anyway."
The door slid open. "Why aren't you out there with your munchkins of death?" House lurched into my office, a sheaf of papers clutched in his free hand.
Internally, my ears pricked. House had been idling without a patient for two days, and he must have gotten wind of yesterday's - well, explosion might be a bit too bombastic a word to use. Let's call it an incident. That is what Cuddy had had me sign, anyway. An incident report.
My mood darkening even further, I muttered, "I don't think I have to tell you." It was likely that House had gotten more than one anxious visit from Cuddy in the past twenty-four hours. The last thing I needed right now was House bringing that sharp analytic eye to bear on me.
Hunching further over my paperwork (Wilson would be embarrassed about this, right? And why did I have to ask?), I successfully avoided House's approach until he tossed his own stack of paper over mine. The top sheet was a release of liability form, signed by Karen Stanton, LPN and James Wilson, MD.
"So Dr. James Wilson actually does have an angry bone in his body!" House collapsed into the wooden chair across from me, blue eyes wide in exaggerated surprise. "I'll have to talk to this Karen person, find out how she got your goat."
Carefully, I picked up the papers and moved them to one side. "I don't want to talk about this." That would just encourage him to worry at me even more, but hopefully it would give me enough time to decide what to say. Manipulating House was like defusing a nuclear weapon while surrounded by vats of nitroglycerin, in a van rocketing down a bumpy dirt road. One wrong move and you were blown down to the chassis, bare for all to see.
The metaphor brought me back to two months and six days (and ten hours and fifty-one minutes) ago, and the nagging itch in the back of my head intensified.
"That's never stopped me before," he declared, eyes wide.
"That's never stopped you, period."
There was a pause. House cocked his head to one side to catch my attention and held it, solemn. "What happened?"
My grip on the pen tightening, I jerked my head toward the liability form. “You obviously know what happened. She disagreed with me on a patient decision, and it got heated.”
That blue stare was like a scalpel, aimed directly at my secrets. “That's the official version, but I'm not buying it. You don't need a liability release form for an argument.”
I shifted my shoulders and muttered, “If it were, your office would be wallpapered with them by now.”
A tiny smiled curved the corner of his mouth. Looking back at him, I wondered if he'd blinked at all since the beginning of this staring contest. Only a corpse has a steadier, more potent gaze.
At that thought, an image flashed across my mind from my last outing, of frantic dulling green eyes in a flayed face. I'd taken his eyelids first, so he'd been forced to watch.
The pen in my hand snapped, sending a spray of black ink across my paperwork.
That broke the staring contest. Watching a rivulet of black curl down one finger to collect into a shiny drop, I said quietly, “House, get out. Please.”
It was the wrong thing to say, but at least it was still a Wilson thing to say.
House stood and leaned aggressively on my desk. The earlier amusement had completely left his face, leaving it drawn and concerned. “You grabbed her so hard you left bruises, Wilson. What the hell is going on with you?”
This was bad, very bad. To buy myself time, I pulled out my handkerchief and mopped at the ink on my hands. Rather like blood, it wasn't going to clean up that easily.
Neither was House. Surprising me completely, he reached forward and covered my hands with his own long fingers. I stilled, looking up at him.
“Wilson,” he breathed. If I were an average man, I could drown in that gaze.
Something clicked in my head, finally, and I had a solution to both of my problems.
I took a calculated, shuddering breath, and said bleakly, “My brother is dead.”
House pulled back as though I'd pushed him away. “How do you know?” His voice was as gentle as it ever was. “You haven't seen him in over a decade.”
Bait taken. I shook my head minutely. “I got a letter yesterday, postmarked California. I don't know how he got all the way to San Francisco, but he wrote that he was on his way to jump off the Golden Gate.” The image that last sentence flung up across my inner vision was just as distracting as my earlier flashback: bodies like sacks of meat, pulverized bones and gashed skin stripped naked by the plunge into the rock-hard waters of San Francisco Bay. I wondered what the jumpers thought during the seconds-long fall, and was struck with a sudden urge to strap a camera to my next playmate and find out for myself.
Shaking the thought away, I snuck a glance up at House, hoping the improvisation was working.
He stood withdrawn, hands clasped around his cane. Thank whatever gods kept me alive – his customary discomfort with emotion had put me back in charge of the situation. I made a mental note to stop by the Wilson house on my way out of town to give my “parents” their instructions. I leaned back in my expensive office chair, letting it creak as it took my weight. The sound broke House's reverie, and he glanced around the room, avoiding my face.
“I'll tell Cuddy,” he said, the tone almost light. “How long will you be gone?”
Relief coursed through me. Freedom, I thought, a snarl underlying the word. I kept it from my voice with an effort. “A week, maybe two.” That should be enough to sate the beast in my chest for quite a while. I could even pull out one of my spare passports and visit Calcutta again. My hands tingled at the prospect.
Brow furrowing, House inquired, “Why so long? They're not going to find him.”
I reached up to rub the back of my neck, the Wilson-like gesture coming more easily now. “I – need to know what happened to him. Where he lived,” and here I gave a calculated pause, “and why he jumped. I just have to know.” I shrugged, a seemingly helpless motion. The irony amused me; I was in better control now than I had been for over a month.
House nodded, a sharp movement, and turned to leave. As he moved toward the door, he called back over his shoulder. “Don't get in trouble out there!”
I hid my smile behind a hand. Don't worry, House. I won't.
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