I had no intention of writing anything any time soon, but then I made the tactical error of reading nightdog_barks' nanofic, There's A Hole In My Head (Where the Rain Comes In) a couple of days ago and it... followed me home? You know how it is *g* Just a ficlet, unbeta'd, crit very welcome, but I may screen anything substantive if/when I post to the comms (because I compulsively tidy for visitors).
Title: One and One and One is Three
Pairing: gen, Wilson, House
Word count: 1,000
Summary: Things are finally working out for Wilson. Maybe.
Notes: A riff of sorts on nightdog_barks' tiny-yet-disturbing There's A Hole In My Head (Where the Rain Comes In), but essentially stand-alone. Slightly cracky, but it makes sense in my brain. Which is only fitting. Title taken from a Beatles lyric. Thanks as always to my f-list for being there ♥
One and One and One is Three
It was all finally coming together.
Danny had taken well to the new course of medication; when Wilson had seen him that morning he had seemed almost… normal again. Dazed, but lucid. They had talked, or rather Danny had talked - about the nurses, the food, when they were going to let him go - and for once everything Danny said had made clear, unequivocal sense. He was still physically and emotionally battered from the years lost to the street, but he was there. Wilson could almost believe he was going to get his brother back.
He'd had a phone call, too, that afternoon, and this one was from House. It was mostly a long litany of complaints, followed by demands for information regarding the state of his staff and his department, but in between Wilson had managed to extract all the things he needed to know. No, he wasn't hallucinating any more. Yes, he felt fine, but he was on the verge of being driven crazy just by virtue of being stuck there. Maybe he'd be out in another week, if they didn't succeed in the meantime.
Wilson fell into bed that night knowing something that almost felt like peace.
When he awoke the sun was in his eyes, way too bright. Not the sun; the lights. He turned on his side as always, reaching out towards Amber even though he knew she wouldn't be there, expecting to feel cool fabric beneath his fingers. Instead, his forearm caught the edge of the bed, and his hand closed on empty air. Confused, he blinked and rolled onto his back again, then slowly dragged himself up to a sitting position.
Amber's bedroom was gone; the soft mustard walls and white wood paneling had been replaced by a sickly pastel pink that stretched unbroken from floor to ceiling around him. The sheets were crisp and clean, but the bed was large enough only for one, and there was no headboard. Beside the bed was a small chest of drawers that had all rounded edges and appeared to be bolted to the floor. Instead of a T-shirt and shorts he was wearing thin cotton pajamas in a faded shade of blue.
Before confusion was able to give way to panic, the door opened and House walked in.
“Hey, Wilson,” he said, with a casual, familiar smile. Wilson stared at him.
House walked over easily to the bed, without a limp, without assistance of any kind. Then he folded his arms and cleared his throat as though he were waiting for something, although for what Wilson had no idea. His gaze instinctively traveled down to House's right thigh, but he could make out nothing through the coarse denim. At least House's clothing was more or less right; jeans, plus sneakers and a rumpled white T-shirt. It was just everything else that was wrong.
“Come on, it's always the same, showers first, then breakfast. Move. I have to change the sheets today.”
His tone was firm, but not unkind. Wilson just sat there, struggling, numb. House looked him over again and his voice softened.
“Are you okay?” The concern sat oddly on House's features, its strangeness only accentuated by the lack of stubble.
“House?” Wilson raised a hand wonderingly, then stopped and brought it to his own face, where the short bristles were harsh against his fingertips. He didn’t understand. It was like some form of bizarre follicular transfer. However, his gesture seemed to set House back on track.
“You know if you miss breakfast they're not gonna hold it for you. And you can't take the pills on an empty stomach. I'll help you shave later, if you want. Now come on.”
Since the only thing that was clear to Wilson right now was that House wanted him to get out of bed, he did so. Unexpectedly his right leg buckled beneath him and he had to grab at the nightstand to keep from falling. There was no pain, just an unaccountable weakness. With a sense of creeping inevitability he saw the cane hooked over the nightstand's outer edge, and when he reached for it he noticed the rough, matching calluses on his hand for the first time. The floor was hard and cold, and so he shuffled into the scuffed tartan slippers beside his bed. They molded to his feet as though from long wear.
“Okay, I'm up.” There were too many questions; he'd have to settle for the basics. “House. Where are we?”
House looked at him curiously from across the other side of the bed, his head tilted, and inexplicably that made Wilson feel a little better. But when House spoke, it was careful, cautious.
“Uh… your office? Or wait, maybe it's my office. You tell me.”
“Not funny. Does this look like anyone's office to you? Where's my apartment, why are you acting so weird, and what in god's name is going on?”
“Wow,” House said, clearly impressed. “Those new meds are good. Doctor Cuddy… uh, Cuddy will want to hear all about it when she gets in. Your brother, too.”
With Wilson out of the way, House moved to separate the pillow efficiently from its cover before going on to the top sheet. It was too much to endure; Wilson leaned over and grabbed him by the arm to make him stop. With the speed of well-honed reflex, House twisted immediately, decisively, out of his grasp. Then he faced Wilson across the bed, both hands out in front of him in a defensive stance. His eyes were startlingly blue.
“Just calm down,” he said, relaxing his posture slightly when it became obvious Wilson wasn't about to launch a full-scale attack. “Everything's okay. You're safe.”
Wilson tried again, enunciating each word slowly and distinctly. “Where… am… I?”
Again there was the considered choice of words, the hesitation. “You're at the hospital, like always.”
“But not Princeton-Plainsboro.”
House sat down on the half-stripped bed, fascinated, his job seemingly forgotten for the moment. “Yeah, that's good, that's right. But I'm not the person for this, okay? You need to talk to Cuddy. I'm just here to look after you, make sure you don't get into too much trouble.”
“Which hospital am I in?” Wilson insisted. But by then he knew with icy certainty what the answer would be.