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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
Midnight Hour (third in the HOUR series) 
19th-Jun-2007 10:23 am
Sleep
Title:  Midnight Hour
Characters:  House, Wilson
Rating: G
Genre:  Angst
Word Count:  575
Summary:  Night looms for House and Wilson, separated by miles and bars.  Both must find a way to cope.  This is the third in the Hour series, begun yesterday morning with
Visiting Hour, and continued yesterday evening with Happy Hour.

MIDNIGHT HOUR

 

Wilson lies on the thin cot and stares at the ceiling.  Two weeks ago, they'd noticed he wasn't sleeping, and now he's on the wait list to see the prison psychiatrist; they're concerned that he's depressed, might need anti-depressants.  He knows he's depressed, and a little chemical calm wouldn't hurt.

 

But until he can be evaluated, they offer him a mild sleeping pill each night.  He's turned them down every time, save one.  And that one time, he'd discovered something wonderful, to invite sleep to come to him.  He'd vowed to save that discovery--take the pill only on nights like this one—when sleep would be impossible any other way.

 

It's a white collar prison; the security in his wing is minimal at best.  And they trust him in the infirmary, so as he lies on the cot, staring at the ceiling, he uncurls his hand to peer at the small white pill.  He's ready to sleep now.  He puts the little tablet in his mouth, and swallows it dry—somehow, that seems... fitting.  He waits twenty minutes, and closes his eyes, and then that wondrous thing happens.

 

He's no longer on a stiff, inch-thick vinyl cot with a jagged rip in the fabric that catches and scrapes at his ankle all night.  And his head isn't on a thin, unbendable pillow that won't give to envelope his weary head.  No; before the medication takes over, there's a blissful five minutes when he’s lying on a big, dark leather couch, impossibly soft, as familiar to his body as his own name.  And his head is on a pillow so forgiving that it willingly absorbs away the headache, gently cradles the painful thoughts.  And that spot that catches his ankle all night?  That's just House, rapping his shin with the cane, to see if he's awake, if he'll get up and make pancakes.  He smiles.  And then he sleeps.

 

House lies in his comfortable bed and stares at the ceiling.  They've started to notice, at work, that he's sleeping too much.  He arrives even later than usual each day, and today he'd actually drifted off during a differential.  Cuddy's beginning to bother him about seeing someone, getting some help.  He might make an appointment tomorrow, he thinks.  Or the next day, maybe.

 

But until he can actually do that, he thinks each night about the method he's discovered, to deny sleep any access to him.  He doesn't do it every night--only on nights like this one, when he knows he doesn't deserve the escape that sleep would provide.

 

Before he gets into bed, he puts the bottle of Vicodin on the table in the living room.  He leaves his cane leaning against the edge of the couch.  Then he limps to his room.  By the time he's arrived, sans cane, the pain's already begun in earnest.  So he lies there and allows it to build.  At first, it simply swirls around him, a hot, amorphic mist. 

 

But eventually it takes shape, and form--becomes strong metal bars surrounding him, preventing him from moving at all, the bars growing thicker, stronger, feeding off of each pain-hitched breath.  And when his body is aching to move, desperate to escape its own agony, and he's trapped, jailed inside the pain, he knows he's arrived.  And that low, continuous moan that can't possibly be emanating from him?   That's just Wilson, in the bathroom at some ungodly hour, with that blasted hairdryer.  He smiles.  And then he waits for the dawn.


Next up: 
Fifty-Minute Hour

 



Thoughts 
19th-Jun-2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, excellent work, kidsnurse. Very nice, the counterbalances of beginning and end. This ficverse is so real -- very well done.

Is this the last piece in a triptych, or is there more?

I'm hoping there's more!
19th-Jun-2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
I'm hoping there's more!

and i was hoping there's not. house and wilson, however, are both standing here saying... otherwise. so yeah--bottom line? there'll be more.....
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
19th-Jun-2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, these three are all wonderful. Wilson doing what he does, House punishing himself for not recognizing the depth of Wilson's friendship earlier, everything.

I love, too, that you're doing these in such small spaces. These little glimpses pack so much punch, because of that.
19th-Jun-2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
you're doing these in such small spaces

something interesting about that (at least to me)--i awaken between 5 and 5:20 each morn, and the two pieces posted in the a.m. (visiting and midnight) were both written--in their entirety--between then and waking koda at 7:00am. i go back, do minor revisions/additions prior to posting, but not much changes from what they originally "tell" me to write. i'm guessing that (in this grim place they find themselves) they're best able to convey these feelings starkly, quickly. weird, huh?
19th-Jun-2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
great glimpses, these are! I love wallowing with them. I don't want it to end, though. I think you should write one every morning . . .

really nice tone and I love this:

"At first, it simply swirls around him, a hot, amorphic mist.

But eventually it takes shape, and form--becomes strong metal bars surrounding him, preventing him from moving at all, the bars growing thicker, stronger, feeding off of each pain-hitched breath."

just so vivid! thanks for sharing!

19th-Jun-2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
I think you should write one every morning . . .

i'd say you have few worries there, as house and wilson appear to think so as well...
19th-Jun-2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
It takes a LOT of talent to get soooooo much in to such short pieces. You certainly have my respect and my admiration. I never knew how much of a masochist I am. I keep reading these and getting voluntarily kicked in the gut. Dare I hope for more? And dare I even hope that eventually there will be some sort of at least semi-happy closure for them?
19th-Jun-2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
And dare I even hope that eventually there will be some sort of at least semi-happy closure for them?

i honestly swear to you, and everyone else, that i will endeavor to craft a satisfying resolution to this dark and unexpected trip; you've got my word on that.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
19th-Jun-2007 04:09 pm (UTC) - hmmm
If anything could be described as "subtly gut-wrenching," this would be it. Just lovely.
19th-Jun-2007 04:26 pm (UTC) - Re: hmmm
"subtly gut-wrenching,"

and they're wrenching my gut not so subtly. :( but i guess i'm having a sort of... twisted fun with it. i guess...
19th-Jun-2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
And again: Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!

I loved the parallels between House and Wilson's nights. Just makes me ache!
19th-Jun-2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
I loved the parallels

they were evocative, weren't they? and... depressing. :(
19th-Jun-2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
I'm seriously tearing up now. And I'm in a public library... damn. *swallows thickly*
How do you do this???

I love it how they both use sleep to try to connect to the other - no, you know what? I won't analyze this chapter here. I'll just read it again and then go home and hope for the best.
Thanks for the amazing story and the quick update! Hope the plotbunny isn't bugging you too much. :-)
19th-Jun-2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
seriously tearing up now

*hands wihluta a box of kleenex, and suggests she pass it around when she's finished; some of the kids above you may need it too*
19th-Jun-2007 04:40 pm (UTC)
OMG! So beautiful. I loved the parallel construction, if that's what I mean.
19th-Jun-2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
So beautiful

and depressing. let's never forget... depressing. :(
(Deleted comment)
19th-Jun-2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
Will he ever be free

working on it. but see, there's this sequel thingy that keeps rearing its ugly head, and..... all i can say, at this point, is i'm thinking it's a good thing i don't have a real job!
19th-Jun-2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. And you've answered my question, so I'm happy. (For some reason I'd thought House had lost his license.)

This evil plot bunny hath wrought much goodness.
19th-Jun-2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
I'd thought House had lost his license

that's because, at the point in the story where the loss of "the" medical license was mentioned, i still had to be deliberately vague--sorry!!

evil plot bunny hath wrought much goodness

i'm glad you think so--because i, on the other hand, feel positively... possessed.
19th-Jun-2007 05:08 pm (UTC)
Oh this was so sad. It was very good. Very good. I can't think of proper words for review. It would only pale in comparison to the actual fic, so I'll say no more.
19th-Jun-2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
I can't think of proper words for review.

how about "why are you insisting on repeatedly depressing us?" ;)

(and--on another note entirely--am i the only one who's suddenly seeing the 'dreaded red X' instead of everyone's userpics?)
19th-Jun-2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
I actually like this one a lot. I love how they are both seeing each other in their "dreams." Great job, you took a horrible thing and made it better. Thank you!
19th-Jun-2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
took a horrible thing and made it better

you might not wanna get... too happy--the story for the fourth one just now came to me, and.... you might not wanna get too happy.
19th-Jun-2007 05:34 pm (UTC)
I've been following this story since "Visiting Hour" and I planned to leave a comment just when you've finished. But this part I must say is outstanding. The pain and regret that trapped House. The moments before fallen asleep that set Wilson free. It's perfectly IC and so painful real. Great, great story even if you make me cry a lot!
19th-Jun-2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
even if you make me cry a lot!

yes... we seem have have... uh... discovered a previously unknown... talennt here. and btw, there's a kleenex box circulating somewhere up above you.. :)
19th-Jun-2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
Ohmigod. Why? The clouds that are threatening to pour open outside my window are nothing compared to the sheer amount of angst you've managed to cram into less than 600 words. Why? T.T

Poor Wilson. Poor House. Poor Wilsie! The next in this series oughta be Eloping Hour, wherein House breaks Wilson out of jail, whisking him away on his motorbike and riding off with him into the happy, happy sunset.
19th-Jun-2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
The next in this series oughta be Eloping Hour, wherein House breaks Wilson out of jail, whisking.....

okay; all together, now--can we say PLA-TON-IC ? hee.
19th-Jun-2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
More more more.

I can't really come up with anything coherent to say about these pieces.

The parallels--wow. Awesome job. It's heartwrenching.
19th-Jun-2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
can't really come up with anything coherent

'tis all right; i've got this migraine now (see above--and grab me a kleenex while you're up there), and i can't come up with anything coherent, either! ;)
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