Title: Dark Hour
Characters: House, Wilson
Word Count: 800
Summary: The night of Wilson's injury, no one's sleeping well. The previous vignettes, in order, are: Visiting Hour, Happy Hour, Midnight Hour, Fifty-Minute Hour, Random Hour, and Painful Hour.
I drove blackmare_9 and misanthropicobs a bit crazy with this one, I'm afraid. It was written at 6:45 this morning, and I bugged 'em to get it in shape so I could post it today--enormous thanks to both! They actually have lives and jobs, but they put up with my insanity anyway--amazing!
Wilson twists uncomfortably in his bed in the prison infirmary. As usual, he’s thinking too much. As a matter of fact, an insane thought has just drifted through his head—Almost worth it, getting stabbed, just to see House, know he’s all right. But the smile the thought brings fades quickly; House hadn’t really been all right, had he?
Wilson forces himself to stop thinking, and tries again to find a more restful position in the hospital bed. It’s not that his injured shoulder hurts—although it does. It’s not that he’d prefer to be on the far less comfortable cot in his cell—although he would. And it isn’t that they aren’t being kind to him here, even solicitous. The orderly who’d just been by to check on him had even called him a hero. A hero.
Wait’ll House hears that! In his book, I’m a moron for what I did. Wilson stares at the ceiling in the dark and thinks. He’s probably right. And if I were at his place right now, he’d be reminding me just how right he is. He’d tell me I deserve the pain.
Wilson smiles to himself. If he were recovering from this injury on House’s couch, he’d have to take a lot of crap from the owner of said couch. House would call him a baby. He’d toss the ibuprofen bottle at Wilson, and expect him to catch it. Then he’d stand there, watching, until Wilson had swallowed the tablets.
House doesn’t own anything as traditional as an ice pack; he’d probably offer a package of frozen carrots for the stinging in the shoulder. Or an icy beer, referring to it as ‘dual purpose first aid’. And he’d perch uncomfortably on the edge of the coffee table, watching Wilson with hooded eyes until he’d decided that Wilson was okay; wouldn’t matter what Wilson’s own opinion was. Then he’d stand up and run a hand roughly over Wilson’s forehead to check for fever, commenting that thermometers were for wimps. He wouldn’t bother to mention that he didn’t actually own one.
Finally, he’d toss an extra pillow in Wilson’s general direction, along with some smartass comment that Wilson didn’t actually deserve to be comfortable.
House would head off to bed then, yelling over his shoulder that if Wilson needed anything during the night—anything at all—the phone was on the table; call 911.
And then House would get up a few times during the night, and if Wilson happened to rouse, and find House observing him from across the room, House would mumble something about the damned leg making him restless, and he’d disappear quickly.
Wilson grins in the dark. Damn, he wishes he were recovering on House’s couch!
House stands in the darkened living room, gazing towards the vacant couch. Good thing Wilson’s not here, driving me crazy, expecting me to wait on him, see to his shoulder like I was a doctor or something. Nothing more diagnostically dull than some idiot with a shank wound.
House closes his eyes hard against the sudden image of the rusty, jagged metal piercing Wilson’s flesh, tearing its way through muscle towards Wilson’s heart.
But House discovers that his closed eyelids provide the perfect backdrop for rivers and sheets of flowing crimson, deathly white faces with impossibly large, impossibly frightened brown eyes. House decides he’d rather stare at the empty couch.
After a while, House sighs, and picks up the telephone. The switchboard operator connects him to the infirmary. The nurse who answers his call is patient with him. Yes, James is receiving antibiotics prophylactically for infection. Yes, he seems to be resting comfortably, and his vital signs are fine. Of course they’re treating him for the pain. She’ll let him know, in the morning, that Dr. House called, and was concerned. No? All right then, she won’t mention the phone call.
As the nurse hangs up the phone, she makes a mental note to tell Wilson about House’s call anyway. The eccentric, crippled doctor seems to be very important to Wilson—knowing about House’s call might cheer him up a bit. Poor James; always so sad, always so… far away. He doesn’t belong here.
House slowly recradles the phone. He limps to the closet and rummages around. He tosses a comforter and a pillow impatiently onto the couch. It’s a dumb, human thing to do, pretending that Wilson is here; House curses his own irrationality. Then he stands looking at the shapeless mounds on his couch, in a room so dark that not even he would be able to see the single tear, coursing slowly down his cheek.
In the morning, the couch isn’t empty anymore—although, for the life of him, House can’t remember how he wound up there.
And the inevitable happens: Desperate Hour