Title: Wilson's Hour
Characters: House, Wilson
Word Count: 1000
Summary: Wilson reflects on what House did for him.
The previous vignettes, in order, are: Visiting Hour, Happy Hour, Midnight Hour, Fifty-Minute Hour, Random Hour, Painful Hour, Dark Hour , Desperate Hour, Witching Hour , Lonely Hour, Dinner Hour, Legal Hour , Honorable Hour, and House's Hour .
Thanks to blackmare
for not throwing this vignette--and
me--out the nearest cyber-window! :) And btw, there are twenty vignettes total--five more to go.
Once House leaves, Wilson heads outside. As he walks across the well-tended grounds to a bench beneath a tree, he nods to several inmates returning from the tennis courts.
House isn’t too far wrong about the whole country-club aspect, Wilson thinks with wry humor. Although we are lacking a golf course.
Wilson seats himself on the bench, and allows his mind to wander. In the months that he’s been here, this has become a favorite spot for him. Usually, it allows him to forget, for a while, where he is and why he’s here. But today, that’s exactly what he wants to think about.
He’s still in awe of the side of House he’d seen today. The man who’d come to see him had been thoughtful and compassionate. He’d willingly put Wilson’s needs ahead of his own. That means a lot to Wilson; he knows House, so he knows that House analyzed this, debated it, tore it apart from every angle. And—believing it would cost him his own life—House did it anyway.
He was ready to exchange his career, his freedom for mine, Wilson thinks wonderingly. When he thinks something’s right, nothing stands in his way. He wanted to protect me, and he was ready to make the sacrifice.
Wilson remembers the first time he’d seen such strict adherence to a personal code, and had learned about that moral imperative that compels us to protect those we care about. He’d just turned five years old.
His parents had gone to a barbeque with friends, leaving him in the care of his twelve year old brother. They’d left strict instructions that Jimmy wasn’t to ride his bicycle in their absence; his father had removed the training wheels just days before, and the little boy was still trying to get the hang of riding without them. Wilson remembers, with a grin, that David had told him he looked as if he were pedaling down the street in the middle of an earthquake.
Almost as soon as their parents were out the door, Wilson had started in on David. He wanted, badly, to learn to ride that bike before Mom and Dad got home. He wanted to surprise them. And finally, his brother had given in.
They’d practiced about twenty minutes; young Jimmy was feeling pretty confident, and he’d yelled to David to let go of the seat. The next thing he knew, he was in his brother’s arms, being carried into the house.
His brother told him he must have ridden over a rock, and turned the handlebars the wrong way; he’d fallen from the bike, hitting his head on the pavement. Fortunately, there was no obvious damage to either him or the bicycle, and he and David made a pact that the accident would forever be their secret. Half an hour later, without warning, Jimmy threw up.
David ran straight for the Home Medical Encyclopedia, and learned about concussions. When he told Jimmy that he’d have to call their parents and tell them what had happened, Jimmy’d cried, and sworn he was okay. And he might’ve had David convinced, too—if he hadn’t vomited again while his last, emphatic “fine” still hung in the air between them.
When his brother picked up the phone, Jimmy had begged him to say that it was the ‘flu; a friend of his had just gotten over it, and Jimmy knew it involved an awful lot of throwing up. His brother ignored him and made the call.
When their parents got home, Jimmy watched, wide-eyed, as his brother stood there, tall and straight as a man, and took all the blame. Wilson remembers that he’d tried to argue, to tell his parents that he’d been the one who’d insisted on taking the bike out.
“Don’t listen to him; he has a head injury. It’s making him talk nonsense,” David had said seriously, sounding like a grown-up.
Wilson’s parents had grounded David for two weeks—the same amount of time the doctor had forbidden outdoor play for Jimmy. And each day, when David would get home from school, he would gather up all the blankets he could find. He’d build a cave, or a castle, or even a pirate ship with gigantic sails. Then David and Jimmy would go, together, on the most exciting adventures. And David never once got mad at Jimmy for the unfair punishment he was suffering.
Wilson smiles now, thinking back on that childhood demonstration of protection and self-sacrifice. More than that, though, David had also given him his first lesson in doing what’s right. And today, he’d seen the adult version demonstrated, from the unlikeliest of sources.
Oh, he’s always known that House has a strong sense of personal responsibility, to do right by the people and things he cares about; what he’d forgotten is that his unique friend tends to cloak it well. House has never felt the need to announce his gestures of love.
I told Ambegley that I’m the big brother in my relationship with House, but that’s only because House never had a chance—or maybe I never gave him one. He’s always been the one who needed me, and we both just accepted that.
Wilson thinks back on all the times he’s been there for House, and admits to himself that perhaps, once in a while, he’s felt a little resentment that his concern hasn’t been reciprocated. And then he realizes that maybe he’s been wrong to feel that way; maybe Wilson simply didn’t recognize the concern. Nothing from House ever comes wrapped in the traditional package.
House reminded me of something today, something David taught me thirty years ago. I should’ve known that with House, caring isn’t about remembering to make a phone call, or showing up on visiting day. For him, it goes a lot deeper than that; it’s knowing when to do the right thing. It’s doing the right thing, and consequences be damned.
House calls it an evolutionary incentive. Wilson calls it a moral imperative. But, Wilson realizes, it all comes down to his own words— the words House had echoed back to him when he’d visited House in rehab: That’s what friends do.
Wilson's going home! :