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Title: Snapping Shots Between Heartbeats
Fandom: House M.D.
Word Count: 1000 (ten connected 100-word drabbles)
Rating: PG-13
Pairings: Canonical pairings. House/Wilson friendship.
Summary: When it's getting dark and you need slow shutter speeds, that's what you do. You try to click the shutter between your heartbeats, because your pulse bumps your whole body and shakes the camera. A series of snapshots set from 6X16 “Black Hole” to 7X23 “Moving On.”
Spoilers: Potentially spoilery speculation for the season 7 finale
Author’s Note: Big thanks to blackmare  for the title and summary as well as for helpful concrit along with that of nightdog_barks , readingrat , and barefootpuddles; and to jezziejay , as always, for encouragement.

First Time

“I like what this says about you, Wilson.”

“Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” fills the high, bright space of the loft’s living room, surrounding him with waves of shimmering sound. He closes his eyes, fingers flowing over the keyboard with unerring confidence, as the harmonies reverberate in the marrow of his bones. Wilson will be back home soon, and there’s a dish of thyme-scented lamb and root vegetables braising in the oven and a new episode of Desperate Housewives on tv tonight.

For the first time since the infarction, he dares to hope that everything is going to be okay.

Second Chance

 “If you're gonna be an ass, be an ass.”

He’d broken the news quickly, bluntly, afraid of chickening out.

He can’t believe that he, of all people, was fooled by the lack of visible reaction. He knows now that it was shock, not indifference and certainly not acceptance, that had kept his friend’s features carefully blank.

Sam moans, wrapping his arm more securely around her softness, and presses back insistently against him. But even as he moves inside her, brushing his lips against the back of her neck and fondling her again-familiar breasts, all he can see is House’s face.

Three’s Company

“You were thinking about Wilson while we were having sex? That's so cool! So was I.”

He says it because she’s given him an opening he can’t resist, but more importantly because it’s imperative that he inform her right away, in no uncertain terms, that Wilson was in his life before this – whatever this turns out to be – and will be here after. Besides, sooner or later, the harpy gnawing on Wilson’s tender flesh will spit him out again, and House will have to console Wilson in his own way.

He has no idea when, exactly, that stops being true.

Fourth Down

“I've come to realize that I love you even more than I thought I did.”

In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t the greatest possible opener. And in addition untrue, since he had already purchased the ring before reviewing her files. But he certainly had no reason to expect such a violent reaction.

Wilson takes another long sip of Scotch and rubs his free hand roughly over his face. He wonders whether this fight can possibly be all House’s fault for concurring with his conclusions.

Then he recalls the flicker of genuine panic on her face when he suggested she get pregnant.

Fifth Wheel

“Good… because he’s coming to my birthday dinner.”

Anyone with half a brain could have predicted that this would not end well. House has been on his best behavior all evening, but there’s only so much he can stomach.

What on earth had possessed Wilson to go along with Cuddy’s cunning plan to force his best friend to share a meal with her mother? And why is he here now, blatantly egging the old bitch on instead of at least pretending to be House’s wingman?

He stirs the coffee one last time before carrying it carefully into the dining room.

Day Six

“You just need to give me a little more time.”

He hasn’t gone out once since the challenge, with House or anyone else. After he’s fed Sarah and administered her shot, it’s simpler just to stay home.

Wilson knows that House doesn’t give a crap about his sex life, except inasmuch as it interferes with their… whatever it is they have, or had. Anyway, he already has companionship enough. Sarah nestles against his chest, her soft white fur tickling his chin, a raspy purr thrumming through her body. He strokes her absently, wondering why his life feels emptier than ever.

Seventh Heaven

“Do not screw this up.”

Deep down, House knows that Wilson is right. At some point he is just going to have to face his fear and be the man that she needs him to be.

But he can’t do it alone.

House clenches the pill in his palm, breathing deeply, feeling the sweat break out on his brow. At last he tips his head back, closes his eyes, and swallows. For a moment he’s lost in a heady rush, flying high like Icarus before the fall. Then he steadies himself and squares his shoulders to enter Cuddy’s recovery room.

Eight Seconds

“Cannonball!”

His hands are trembling too hard to drive.

Those were the longest eight seconds of his life, and since he’s spent twenty years of it watching his best friend recover from bullet wounds, electric shock, and drug-induced respiratory arrest, that’s saying something. For those eight seconds Wilson forgot to breathe, and the dizziness he felt when he saw House’s head emerge triumphantly from the water was only partially due to relief.

House was drunk, he was high, he was staring seven stories down into a faceless crowd.

But he’d smiled. No way he hadn’t recognized Wilson. No fucking way.

Nine Lives

“You’re a lot of things, House, but you’ve never been a sadist.”

He can tell that Wilson doesn’t believe he’ll go through with it, right up until the moment that he does. Cuddy, on the other hand, has already left the room. He watches Wilson head after her, briefly imagines the two of them attempting to console each other on his bed – or in it.

He’s hurt Cuddy at least as much as he meant to, but the way he’s disappointed Wilson is much, much worse. And yet it still won’t be enough to break them.

Somehow it never is.

Tentative Steps

“Take care of him.”

He’s hardly in the hospital for Cuddy’s last few days since most of the time he’s over at her place, helping her pack, or keeping Rachel entertained so that she isn’t underfoot. The need to appear cheerful, certain, and supportive allows him to hide his own hurt, doubt, and fear even from himself.

But once he’s seen her off, there’s no avoiding it any longer. He feels almost overwhelmed by so many new responsibilities. Not to mention one old one.

House sticks his head in the doorway of the office of the Dean of Medicine. “Lunch?”

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
writerdot
Apr. 10th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes yes. I love this. I was going to quote my favorite parts, but that was the whole fic. lol.

I will say that I LOVE the idea of Wilson ending up the Dean of Medicine. The ending to this would pretty much make a perfect series finale.

Great job! Loved it!

flywoman
Apr. 10th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
*smile* The thing I love about writing drabbles is that you can forget the filler and just concentrate on the good stuff.

Thanks very much for your comments!
blackmare
Apr. 10th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
Have to agree, I never would have thought of Wilson as Dean of Medicine, but wow. Yeah, that would be a fitting end for the series, IMO.

I like the changes a lot, and am delighted that my picspam post may have sparked this, or at least given you a hook to hang it on.
flywoman
Apr. 10th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Your post definitely inspired this - specifically, the idea of portraying the moments between the big moments in their turbulent friendship. Thanks very much again!
cuddyclothes
Apr. 10th, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
Excellent! Applause! Sorry my concrit was completely bass-ackwards. I love these drabbles!
flywoman
Apr. 10th, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
LOL. Not a problem. Very glad that you liked this!
barefootpuddles
Apr. 11th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
Once again, I love these. What a nice way to link all these episodes together into a coherent whole by using House and Wilson's thought process.

Wilson would make a perfect Dean of Medicine. Like Cuddy he would give in to House, but always question him. And the rest of the hospital staff would love him even when he said 'no' to them because. he has that way of gentle appeasing people with simply a charming smile. I bet he would be great and bring in the large donations too.
flywoman
Apr. 11th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
Yes, I see Wilson charming them out of their checkbooks, too :).

Thanks so much for your feedback.
bumblebadcat
Apr. 11th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
And we mustn't forget that Wilson must be heading for a burnout/breakdown as an oncologist. He seems to be so weighed down by the losses...the empathy he has for his friends extends to his patients, which - while not a bad thing - takes its toll. And let's face it - when your chosen field of expertise comes with a higher percentage of deaths than other fields, being clinically depressed just makes everything harder.

Everytime I've read a fic that has Wilson taking over the position as Dean of Medicine, it just makes more and more sense. It would be a great plot point for the series, or at least, a logical part of the conclusion.

Love these drabbles.
flywoman
Apr. 11th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
I do think that Wilson might do better to redirect his people skills and desire to help people, given his ongoing problems with depression, and making the transition from a beloved and respected department head to Dean would make a lot of sense.

Thanks very much for your comments!
chocolate_frapp
Apr. 11th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
I love these! but there should be one more:
"These Go To Eleven".
flywoman
Apr. 11th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
LOL. Maybe you should write it!

Thanks very much for your comments.
jezziejay
Apr. 11th, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous - and beautifully done. I love something different about them all - House's true feelings about Wilson asking him to leave the condo, even the worst ways they have of hurting each other not being enough to 'break' them (found the image House had of Wilson and Cuddy consoling each other in bed very interesting, given that House's last thought was with Wilson in this snapshot, and not Cuddy) and Wilson as the DoM. But mostly, I loved Three's Company - I've read several pieces which take this quote and give it a more meaningful context, but your one is the one that rings most true for me.

...because it’s imperative that he inform her right away, in no uncertain terms, that Wilson was in his life before this – whatever this turns out to be – and will be here after. YES!!

I know I've said it countless times before, but (again) I adore how you take these almost insignificant canon threads and weave them into very credible possibilities.

Hearts for this and you, doll.
flywoman
Apr. 11th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you :). As you know, "Three's Company" was one of the first bits I wrote (along with "Eight Seconds"), and the contrast between the two over half a season is devastating, at least to me. I hope that we get a happy ending!
teamhilson
Apr. 13th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
Wow. That was just amazing. And please, oh please, can the show borrow your idea and boot Cuddy for Wilson as DoM? Pretty sure that would make me all kinds of happy.

But he’d smiled. No way he hadn’t recognized Wilson. No fucking way.

Three sentences, but so damn perfect.
flywoman
Apr. 13th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
And please, oh please, can the show borrow your idea and boot Cuddy for Wilson as DoM?
*crossing fingers*

But he’d smiled. No way he hadn’t recognized Wilson. No fucking way.
That's one of my favorite bits, too.

Thanks very much for your comments!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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