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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter SIX 
11th-May-2007 09:40 am
longtripalone
Summary:  Wilson is given an unexpected opportunity to prove his friendship to House.  This story is my own attempt to make sense of the unsettling disruption of the House-Wilson dynamic in Season 3, so mention is made of many of the S3 plotlines and character development.  House-Wilson-Cuddy angst, hurt/comfort, introspection--my usual gig.  ;)  x-posted
Rating:  PG
Chapter One 
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five

A/N:  Wow.  The response to chapter five was... frightening!  All that hostility reflected at poor, sweet Wilson.  And all those overwhelming pleas to 'fix' it!  So, in answer, I present to you unadulterated fluff... errr, I mean 

CHAPTER SIX:  GOOD NIGHT

 

Wilson opens his eyes and stares at the ceiling.  Again.  Not even any tiles to count in this damned hotel.  He turns over, struggling against the tangle of the sheets—testament to his restless night.  His eyes focus on the clock.  12:52; not possible, been lying here at least half the night.  He closes his eyes and tries not to think.

 

Five minutes later, when his cell phone rings, his eyes fly open as his weary brain tries to place the jarring sound.  He grabs for the phone, sees the lighted caller ID display.  House.  Wilson pushes the talk button.  “Yeah, House, what is it?”  He hopes his voice sounds sleep-heavy and annoyed; that’s the tone he’s trying for, anyway.

 

“Did I wake you?  Figured you’d be up worrying yourself silly over my boo-boo; I’m disappointed,” House drawls.

 

“Sorry to hear that,” Wilson says.  “Personally, I’m thrilled to be awakened at one o’clock in the morning so we can have a conversation about my sleep habits.”  Or lack thereof.

 

“Actually, I had a reason for calling.  See, I’m watching this movie—and who’d have thought singing bears could be boring, by the way—and it’s at a commercial, so thought I’d let you know the dressing’s soaked through on my hand, just in case you wanted to stop by in the morning and change it or something, but if you want me to wait for the nurse—”

 

“House, shut up!  Don’t you ever take a breath?  Soaked through?  With what?”

 

“Well, it’s red.  And sticky.  I’m guessing it’s blood.”

 

“It shouldn’t be actively bleeding at this point.”

 

“I’ll let it know; I’m sure that once it hears your professional opinion, it’ll stop immediately.  G’night.”

 

“House, wait!  Don’t hang up.  Listen, elevate your hand, wrap it in a towel or something.  I’ll be right there, okay?”  Wilson is already standing, turning on lights, searching frantically for clothing.

 

“If you’re sure it’s not a bother.  Wouldn’t wanna disturb your sleep or anything.”

 

“Yeah; got it.  You’re all about my welfare; I’ll make a note.  On my way.”

 

Wilson dresses hurriedly, and makes a quick stop at the hospital to pick up a suture kit and wound-care supplies—no telling what House has done this time.  Wilson’s too experienced to ask—at least not over the phone.

 

When he arrives at the apartment, he decides to forego any formalities; he uses his key and lets himself in.  House is lying on the couch in the living room.  He’s got his right hand propped up on a couple of pillows, and Wilson can see, even in the dim light, that the blood’s already coming through the towel.  Wilson reaches instinctively for the injured hand.

 

Gloves!” House barks harshly, pulling his hand out of Wilson’s reach; the quick movement elicits a sharp wince.  “MRSA, you idiot,” House says more quietly as he gingerly repositions his hand on the pillows.

 

“Thanks; wasn’t thinking.”  Wilson gloves up and unwraps the soiled dressings, placing them in the biohazard bag.  The bleeding’s slowed, so Wilson takes his time examining the suture line.  “You tore a couple of stitches,” he tells House.

 

House lets his mouth drop open, pretends to be shocked at the news.  “Nah!  Ya think?”

 

Wilson ignores the sarcasm.  He’s just noticed that there aren’t any dirty plates on the coffee table—just a half empty bottle of ginger ale.  “What’d you do about dinner?” he asks idly.

 

“See, that’s the thing about Vicodin—perfect appetite suppressant.  Drug reps should really mention that; they’re missing out on a huge segment of the market!”  House grins.

 

“Want something to eat now?”  Damn it, House; if you’re infected, your body’s gonna be burning calories like wildfire!  Not like you can afford to lose any weight, either.

 

“Roller coaster in my stomach says no; thanks just the same.”

 

Wilson sighs.  “Wanna tell me what happened?” he asks as he readies the suture kit.

 

“Damned thing was throbbing.  Figured some ibuprofen wouldn’t hurt; you know, that whole synergistic effect thingy they told us about in med school?  So I get the bottle, only then there’s the entire childproof cap issue to deal with.  Have you ever met anyone who could ‘push’ and ‘turn’ and ‘squeeze’ all at the same time?  I haven’t… well, maybe a couple of three year olds, but then that defeats the whole purpose of childproof, don’t you think?”

 

Wilson steals a sidelong glance at the bottle of Vicodin on the side table.  Definitely more than a few pills lighter than it was when I left.  Explains the good mood.  And the babbling. “House.  Focus.  The hand,” Wilson says patiently.

 

“Oh yeah.  Anyway, so there I was, going through all these digital gymnastics with my non-dominant hand, and my right hand just automatically says lemme show ya how it’s done, and the next thing I know, the bottle’s open!  And my hand is bleeding.  Case of taking the good with the bad, I guess.  Or is it the bad with the good?  I’m always getting that proverb confused.  Or is it a moral?  ‘Cuz I’m not real clear on that, either.”

 

“The only thing I’m clear on right now is that I’m sorry I asked.  Really sorry.  Let’s just get this done.”

 

Wilson cleans the wound.  As careful as he is, he can tell that it’s still quite painful for House; he’s supporting House’s hand with his own, and he can feel the muscles, the tendons tightening with each touch.  House refuses the numbing agent; Wilson nods agreeably at him and injects the lidocaine anyway.  He successfully ignores House’s dirty look, and commences the suturing. This is the first opportunity he’s had to see how severe the injury really is, and he finds himself thinking that even if there’s no contamination, House is in for a rough ride.  He knots and clips the final stitch and begins to rebandage the hand.  As he reaches the index finger, House gasps and involuntarily yanks his hand back.  Wilson looks up in surprise, then remembers that Cuddy had mentioned possible nerve damage.

 

“Damn, that hurt!” House says through clenched teeth.  “Guess that answers any lingering doubts about nicking a nerve.”  He tries to smirk, to make light of it, but finds himself dropping the smile as he looks into Wilson’s sympathetic eyes.  “It’s okay now; I’m fine,” he says shortly, and looks away.

 

Wilson gently finishes the bandaging and stands wearily, pushing his hands into his aching lower back.  “Unless you need anything else, guess I’ll clean this up and be going.”

 

House watches Wilson straighten the supplies.  “You can stay,” he says abruptly.  “Happen to have an unoccupied couch.  Or… it will be, once I get done occupying it.  Only people out this time of night are drunks and docs.  The latter usually ‘cuz of the former.  We patch up their victims and then we patch them up so they can go out and send us more victims—it’s this big circle.  You ever think about that?  Now there’s a true synergistic relationship.  Or is it symbiotic?  I think it’s symbiotic.  Anyway.  We keep them in business so they can keep us in bus—”

 

“House.  I get it.  I’ll stay.”  Wilson can’t help himself; despite the grim nature of House’s ramblings, he’s laughing.  God, I’ve missed this.  House is still… House.

 

“And meant to tell ya, you did a lousy job with the stitches; scar for sure.”

 

“I failed sewing class in Home Ec; so sue me.  Or call a surgeon next time; I hear they live for house calls.  Pardon the pun.”

 

“Wasn’t complaining; chicks dig scars; adds mystique.”

 

“And you’re such an open book that you need all the mystique you can get, right?”

 

“That’s me,” House agrees happily.  “You get what ya see!”

 

Wilson mentally rolls his eyes; he’s too tired to be baited into that particular infinite loop.  He allows the ludicrous statement to go unchallenged; his only goal now is to see to it that House is comfortable—and safe.  Like he’s ever really safe; he’s his own biggest hazard! 

 

He helps House to bed, makes sure his hand is elevated and that the Vicodin’s within easy reach.  As Wilson’s getting himself settled on the couch, House calls out from the bedroom.

 

“Hey, Jimmy, I never finished telling you about the ibuprofen!  So I get the cap off, and turns out it’s a new bottle.  And you know that hermetically sealed foil thing?”

 

“Shut up, House.  Go to sleep,” Wilson shouts.  He’s smiling as he buries his head into the ratty, familiar old pillow and falls immediately to sleep.

 
Chapter Seven

Thoughts 
11th-May-2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
Like he’s ever really safe; he’s his own biggest hazard!
lol- That is so true!

Yay, for a new story! Just caught up last night (and would have been one of the "Argh, fix it!" post if I hadn't had to sign off after reading it) and I really like how you've set up their conflict and issues and am looking forward to how this plays out.

And aww, Wilson can't fall asleep until he's checked on House and sleeping on the couch (though considering House wanted to cut down on Wilson's need to 'fix' him, I'm wondering what Hose is going to do now that he's let Wilson back in without a fight-- even though he needed the help-- once he's slightly more coherent.) Cause I know there's gonna be angst. :)
11th-May-2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
*House not Hose *headsmack*
11th-May-2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
Loved the fun, rambly House. Clueless Wilson may be growing on me. I'm enjoying the whole Buttercup ("build me up, just to let me down") phenomenon. Fluff builds strong, healthy bones, afterall. The dialogue was great, very funny. The chapter was thoroughly enjoyable. Definitely looking forward to more. :)
11th-May-2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
clueless!wilson isn't quite as much fun as speed!wilson, but he does have his moments. and babbling!house is just about my favorite thing to write. (and we all need strong, healthy bones, don't we?) :)
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11th-May-2007 03:03 pm (UTC)
believe me, when i wrote it i needed the fluff! ('cuz i have a really, really good idea of what's getting ready to happen.....)
11th-May-2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
Finally got to read that one. Feel marginally better now, less like jumping out of my skin. Maybe it's the banter. House-Wilson banter is always a good antidote for anxiety, I think. You write it wonderfully and I could hear it in my head. House-Cuddy banter, too. And the best? House-Cuddy-Wilson banter. Cuddy will be back soon, right?
11th-May-2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
we see very little of cuddy for a few chapters, i'm afraid. but yes, she'll be back a little further down the road, and then she'll be a fairly frequent presence. and i'm glad you liked the banter!
11th-May-2007 04:25 pm (UTC)
hehhehe...i probably shouldn't be laughing but I get House's bitching about child proof caps. They're impossible sometimes!!
11th-May-2007 04:37 pm (UTC)
actually, the childproof cap thing was intended to cause laughter--or at least a smile of recognition. i detest the things myself.... :)
11th-May-2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
Very good fluff (although I am beginning to get worried about House's piano playing if he has nerve damage in his finger.)

And Wilson is back where he belongs. (insert BIG smiley face)
11th-May-2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
yeah--already got a whole scene in mind for the piano thing--if he lives....

hee.
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11th-May-2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
Ah, that's better - get Wilson back in the same room as House XD

I am enjoying this a great deal - I hope it has plenty of chapters!
11th-May-2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
it's already got plenty of chapters, and i'm only about half done....
11th-May-2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
Leave it to House to make things better by getting drugged up and damaging his hand some more. *shakes head and laughs* That man. I love this chapter, especially after that emotional punch you threw in the last one. This is good though. Although I gotta ask, what is going to happen when House wakes up the next day sober?
11th-May-2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
ahh--but house knows exactly what he's doing! some folks get drunk to get up their courage; house hits the pharmaceuticals instead. :)
11th-May-2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
I love this chapter. High!House rambling on about the ibuprofen had me laughing.
11th-May-2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
a variation of that incident actually happened to me about six years ago. i'd had as many oxycodone as i could safely take--leg was still excrutiating, so i decided ibuprofen might help (it truly does have a synergistic effect). i've got only one functional hand anyway (i have cp, and my right hand doesn't do a whole lot of anything helpful), and managed to stab my left hand with the butcher knife i was using to pry up the cap.

my own particular 'wilson' made me drive over to her house (at 1:30am) with my 'functional' hand wrapped in a towel--boy was that a drive to remember!

i found it much more amusing when it happened to house.... ;)
11th-May-2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting so fast, well to be honest it's never fast enough for me ! I loved that chapter, I laughed so hard every body in the room watched me half worried half bewildered. I can picture the scene very well, I love the rambling House, I love the caring Wilson, I love when it's rough and when it's fluffy, to say things short : I love this fic.
Keep it coming, pleeease !
11th-May-2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
you got it! and normally, the only day i won't post a new chapter (barring domestic crises) is on tuesdays--i don't like diluting the wonderful anticipation of the house episode with my silly fics. so you can expect a new update daily for many chapters to come!
12th-May-2007 12:24 am (UTC)
Ah, excellent. I can't thank you enough for directing me here. This chapter really calmed the nerves, too, which I sorely needed. Good ole banter, how I do adore thee. And High!Ranting!House is as delicious as Amphetamine!Wilson.

Thanks for satisfying Wilson's need to be needed, if only for one chapter, because it's so much worse to witness (when not satisfied) than House detoxing. They are a complex pair. And again, can't say how thrilled I am to see you writing again! You're one of the few who does them justice.
12th-May-2007 12:35 am (UTC)
so great to see you over here! and thank you again (and again and again) for the praise; you've no idea what it means having such encouragement coming from you.
12th-May-2007 01:22 am (UTC)
*silly grin* This just makes me slap happy.

"I failed sewing class in Home Ec; so sue me."

Oh yes, I can just see girls (and guys) swooning over Wilson as he whips up some tasty dish.

"And you know that hermetically sealed foil thing?"

I -hate- those things. Every time I open a new container of milk, I grab a knife to stab the foily thingy to little bits.

“Shut up, House. Go to sleep,” Wilson shouts.

This is the Wilson we've all come to love. =)
12th-May-2007 12:06 pm (UTC)
lol; was kinda slap-happy when i wrote it! yeah, those foil things are exasperating. never saw them on milk, though. with as much milk as we drink around here, having to remove them several time a week would drive me to a padded room for sure!
12th-May-2007 03:36 am (UTC)
Yay fluff. XD I am a closet fluff addict. Well, also a closet angst addict, but whatever works.

That was a sweet chapter. Your characters are always so--erm, always so in character. Which just makes your stories that much better.
12th-May-2007 12:07 pm (UTC)
thank you--that's one of the things i most like to hear, that i'm keeping them in character. 'tisn't always easy, and sometimes i don't succeed, but i try hard; nice to have it acknowledged.
12th-May-2007 05:01 am (UTC)
You made a few little changes and additions to the dialogue in this chapter, didn't you? I heartily approve!

And this was just what I needed to read this evening, having only just gotten home at half past midnight (really) after one of the more bizarre, stressful days I've ever had. Thanks for helping me remember how to breathe again.
12th-May-2007 12:08 pm (UTC)
you don't miss a trick, do you? and yes. ;) in the two hours before i posted this chapter i did the changes/additions--happy you approve!

you're quite welcome; catch me for a chat later--i want details! ;)