Pairing: none really, House/Wilson friendship, some House/Cuddy friendship
Rating: PG-13 to R in places
Warnings: violence, scary themes, disturbing subject matter
Summary: Following Amber's death, House is afraid that Wilson will never be able to forgive him -- but Wilson's real reaction is far more frightening and disturbing than he ever would have expected. Wilson wants to hold on to the only meaningful relationship left in his life -- by any means necessary.
Not surprisingly, despite his exhaustion, House found it nearly impossible to sleep. He drifted in and out of consciousness throughout the night, kept awake more often than not by the agony that radiated from his right thigh throughout his entire body. He was shaking, nearly feverish with pain and cold, his jaw aching from the painful stretch of the gag in his mouth.
His every sense was strangely heightened by the fact that he couldn’t see his surroundings. When Wilson came in the next morning, he was instantly roused from his half-asleep state by the soft sounds of his approaching footsteps. Immediately, House felt overwhelmed with shame as he remembered that he had once again pissed himself, unable to maintain control through the all-consuming agony that used up his every last ounce of strength.
Wilson’s gonna be mad… he’s gonna be so furious with me… oh, God, please don’t… please, no…
At least the anti-nausea medication Wilson had given him had kept him from throwing up anymore. House tensed, struggling to silence the soft moan of pain that escaped his lips as Wilson crouched beside him. He flinched when Wilson grabbed a handful of his hair and jerked his head up, leaning in very close to speak in a low, calmly threatening voice.
“If you scream… if you make a sound, House… the gag’s not coming off for a week, do you understand me?”
House nodded as best he could, willing to do whatever Wilson wanted if he’d just give him some small measure of relief. Wilson released his hair and carefully unfastened the gag, setting it aside. House winced at the pain as he closed his mouth, swallowing slowly – but he didn’t make a sound.
“Good… good boy…”
House felt a rush of shame at the unwelcome emotions that rose to the surface at Wilson’s unusually gentle, affectionate tone. Hot tears sprang to his eyes, and he was almost grateful for the blindfold that concealed them from Wilson’s scrutiny. It had just been so long since anyone had shown him any kindness at all; and in spite of everything, coming from Wilson, that kindness meant more than it would have from anyone else.
That might have had something to do with the fact that Wilson was the one person with power over his entire existence at the moment – but House was too emotionally and physically on edge to care.
Every thought faded away into mindless fear, as House suddenly felt Wilson’s hand resting over his exposed scar. He froze, not daring to move, terrified of doing something to cause Wilson to carry out the implicit threat of that gesture. Wilson’s voice was chillingly patient and gentle, as if he was speaking to very slow child, as his free hand slid under House’s shoulder.
“I’m going to help you sit up now. If you fight me, or try anything stupid, House…” Wilson’s hand tightened slightly on House’s thigh, and he couldn’t hold back a panicked whimper of pain and fear. “… but you won’t, will you? You’re going to be perfectly still and obedient and cooperative. Aren’t you?”
House nodded desperately, not daring to utter the pleading words that filled his mind. His shoulders shook with relief when Wilson released his thigh and moved to the head of the mattress to carefully unlock the iron shackles that bound House’s wrists above his head. The cool air on his abraded skin was a blessed relief after days spent locked into the painfully tight cuffs, unable to so much as move; but House was careful to keep perfectly still, unwilling to do anything to make Wilson change his mind about this small – and probably brief – mercy.
“Okay… come on, let’s sit up…”
House made himself as pliant and cooperative as possible as Wilson braced him with one hand on his shoulder and the other on his arm to help him sit up. House immediately felt light-headed and nauseous, and nearly collapsed, but Wilson gently supported him, holding him up, one hand running soothingly up and down his back. House’s arms ached with the tension of holding the same position for so long, and he wasn’t sure they’d work if he tried to use them at the moment, but it felt good to have them free, even just for a little while.
“It’s okay,” Wilson murmured in a hushed, intimately affectionate tone. “I’ve got you… you’re all right…”
House felt utterly confused and off-balance, torn between his anger and humiliation at the way Wilson had treated him for the past few days, and a completely irrational gratitude for the gentleness and concern he was currently being shown. Just the simple affection of Wilson’s touch on his back was enough to bring him to tears.
You’re losing it… you know you can’t do this… can’t let him play you like this… but he is, and you’re losing it… and if you lose it now, you lose everything…
“You need to eat something, House.” Wilson’s stern voice broke through his racing, feverish thoughts, and House struggled to focus. “I know you don’t feel like it, but you have to keep your strength up. I’ve got some water and food for you here… and I want you to eat it and drink it all. If you cooperate and do exactly as I tell you… I might have time to give you a bath before I go to work. Okay?”
House felt his face flush with embarrassment at the reminder of the current soiled state of his body and the bed on which he lay. He nodded slowly, his head submissively bowed in a silent indicator that he would be obedient. Although he felt too nauseous to eat, he knew better than to defy Wilson again on the same issue which had resulted in such violence the night before.
And besides, he had to admit that Wilson was right. If he didn’t eat, he’d just continue to get weaker and more helpless – and lose any chance he might have of getting out of this nightmare.
He tried his best to ignore the lurching protest of his stomach as Wilson fed him from a steaming bowl of vegetable soup, giving him bites of bread in between, and a large glass of ice cold water. Despite the dangerously queasy feeling in his stomach, House had to admit that the food tasted good after days without eating. When it was gone, Wilson placed the dishes aside and resumed gently rubbing House’s back.
“Good. That’s really good, House. I’m proud of you. We’re making progress, here.”
House was pathetically pleased by Wilson’s praise and affection. He nodded slowly, still not venturing to speak.
“Is that better? Would you like a little bit more? I could get you some more.”
House didn’t want anymore to eat, but now that the pangs of hunger in his stomach had eased, he was only more aware of the pain in his leg than ever. Wilson was being so gentle and concerned, and had actually asked him if he wanted more to eat, so maybe he would be a little more tolerant if House dared to ask him.
No… no, it’ll just make him angry…
House shook his head meekly, blinded eyes downcast in submission.
“You feel a little better, then?” Wilson pressed. “Not so sick?”
House bit his lip, unsure whether or not he was supposed to answer.
“Go ahead,” Wilson prompted him gently. “What is it? Go ahead and say what you wanna say.”
House hesitated, caught between his fear of angering Wilson again, and his desperation for relief from his pain. Wilson was being so calm and reassuring; surely he wouldn’t freak out just because House mentioned needing his medication. He kept his tone soft and subdued, his words halting and uncertain as he tried to form his request in the most inoffensive way possible – and he wasn’t exactly all that experienced with actually trying to be inoffensive.
“Wilson… I-I’m sorry… if I’m… not supposed to… to ask, but… but my leg… it h-hurts so much, Wilson… I… I need…”
He bit off the rest of his pathetic plea as Wilson grabbed his hair again, causing further pain to his already abused scalp and jerking his head back until he thought his neck might snap. House could feel the heat of Wilson’s breath on his face, could almost feel the taut, cold smile on Wilson’s lips before he spoke in a quiet, dangerously controlled voice.
“You still think you’re the one who knows what you need, House?”
“N-no, I’m sorry, no…” House stammered over the words, desperate to correct his mistake. “Please, no…”
“I decide what you need, House, and I’ll decide when you deserve to get pain relief! Do you understand?”
House nodded hurriedly, biting back further protests that he knew would only further enrage his maddened captor.
It didn’t seem to help.
Wilson yanked him further forward on the mattress, and suddenly House felt Wilson’s other hand closing around his thigh again. He instinctively jerked away, a strangled sound of panic escaping his throat as Wilson’s fingers tightened painfully.
“You think your leg hurts now, House?” Wilson’s voice was a menacing hiss in his ear. “You think you can’t stand it? Trust me when I say it can get a hell of a lot worse!”
“Please, I’m sorry, please don’t,” House begged him, nearly beside himself with fear and pain. “I’m so sorry, Wilson…”
Wilson eased his grip on House’s leg, but did not remove his hand completely, his voice softening as he spoke in a slow, measured tone. “When I know that you understand that I am the one in control here, and I make the decisions… then you might get your damn Vicodin, only if I decide to give it to you. So, it stands to reason that you’d better be as cooperative and quiet and not annoying as possible…” He bit off the last words in clear irritation, his hand tightening painfully in House’s hair. “Is that clear, House?”
“Y-yes, I’m sorry, please, I’m sorry, Wilson…”
Very subdued, fighting back sobs, House nodded desperately, whispering a litany of apologies under his breath. He didn’t dare mention the Vicodin again, despite the fact that his abused leg felt as if it was on fire. He was trembling with pain and terror, but did his best to hold still within Wilson’s grasp.
“Good,” Wilson murmured, a warning edge to his voice, though he seemed much calmer now.
He released his grip on his captive, allowing him to lie back down on the mattress as he set about cleaning up the mess House had made during the night, shifting his legs off the mattress long enough to wipe them clean, and wipe down the mattress as well. House was pitifully grateful for the fact that he left the gag off while he worked, and made no further verbal or physical threats. When Wilson was finished, he put the shackles back in place on House’s wrists and ankles – and House’s heart sank at the prospect of being left alone again for interminable hours.
Even Wilson’s abuse, terrifying as it was, was preferable to the endless torment of utter darkness and loneliness in this cold, empty basement.
Wilson struggled to remain calm, keeping his steps even as he closed and locked the basement door, then made his way to his bedroom on the opposite side of the house. He calmly closed his door, then sat down on the side of the bed, his head in his hands, trying to control the violent trembling of his frustration.
After a few moments, however, he lost control, rising back to his feet and angrily sweeping the items arranged on his nightstand off and to the floor. He leaned down to pick up the nearest one to his hand – which happened to be his alarm clock – and hurled it against the wall with a shouted curse of rage.
“Damn it, why did House have to mention the damn pills?” he muttered to himself as he paced the room. “I was all set to give them back to him, but no, he had to go and blow it. If I give them to him when he asks for them then he’ll think it’s because he asked for them and he’ll think that he can control me, and he has to know that I’m the one in charge here and I’ll make the decisions from now on. Now I’ve got to wait at least another day, and he’s in so much pain, and God, I can’t take this!”
With a wordless snarl he knocked the lamp off his dresser, feeling a perverse sense of satisfaction when it shattered against the wood floor. Feeling suddenly weary, his every limb too heavy to hold up, he sat back down on the side of his bed, burying his head in his arms.
He didn’t want to make House suffer anymore – but he knew he had no choice.
If he can make it through the next twenty-four hours without trying anything, or mentioning the pills, or just generally pissing me off… then I’ll give him some Vicodin. But until then… he’s got to learn to show some respect. I have to know that he’s not going to try to get away the first time I turn my back. I have to know that he’s going to let me protect him.