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HOUSE MD FIC: Bad Influence (4/5)

Headers and Notes in Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Wilson woke facedown, sprawled awkwardly on top of his still-made bed, with the worst hangover of his life. He felt like someone had flattened him with a steamroller, extremely slowly, starting with his head. He was, he gradually discovered, still fully clothed except for his shoes, which were in a haphazard little heap on the floor next to the bed, laces loosened but still partially tied.

The sun was shining straight through the window; he was already late for work. In the bathroom, he peeled off his sticky, reeking clothes with a grimace but allowed himself only the most perfunctory of showers. It was when he was rubbing lather onto his face for a hasty shave that he noticed the raw scrapes on his right knuckles.

House was fast asleep on the sofa, stretched out under the sleeping bag that Wilson hadn’t so much as seen since moving in and stowing it at the back of his bedroom closet. He was wearing one of Wilson’s old McGill t-shirts.

Wilson cleared his throat, annoyed. “I’ve gotta go to work.”

The other man stirred, yawned, and cracked open one eye. “You don’t mind if I sleep here, do you?” Without waiting for an answer, he rolled over, clutching the sleeping bag more tightly around his shoulders.

Wilson pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “Fine. Don’t forget to lock the door on your way out.”

As he stalked towards the door, House twisted his head back to murmur, “You were somethin’ last night, Wilson. A changed man.” He smiled, eyes still closed. “Give my regards to Patterson.”

***

The nurse on duty met him at the elevator as he lurched out, still trying to straighten his tie. She shoved a pile of folders into his unresisting arms. “Your eight-thirty left, but your nine o’clock is still waiting – I let her into the exam room. And the rest of these are Dr. Patterson’s – he called to say he wasn’t coming in.”

He suppressed a groan – bad enough that he was late, but to get all of Patterson’s cases dumped on him too? Was this some kind of petty payback for the prank he’d pulled the other day? “Really? Did he say why?”

Leslie shrugged. “Personal emergency. He didn’t specify.”

His knuckles smarting, and the faintest shadow of a memory beginning to stir, made Wilson pause. “But… he’s okay?”

“I don’t know.” She stared at him curiously for a second, a question half-forming on her lips, then gave him a small shove in the direction of Exam Room One.

***

Between his killer headache and the seemingly bottomless pile of case files, the morning dragged on like a bad dream. And Wilson was plagued by the growing conviction that there was something critical he was forgetting, something that he and House had done together after leaving Claire at the party. Figuring that he wasn’t likely to be able to hold down any solid food anyway, he decided to skip lunch and drive home to try to catch House before he left.

When he got back to his apartment, Wilson found House dressed in his own clothes again, sitting at the kitchen table and dunking mini chocolate doughnuts into a muddy glass of milk. “Hey,” the other man greeted him with his mouth full. He held out the paperboard box. “Doughnut?”

“No, uh, thank you. House… Patterson didn’t make it into work this morning.”

House chewed, swallowed, and grinned at him. “I know.”

“You know, how do you know? House? What happened last night? Did we…” he took a deep breath before forcing himself to forge ahead. “Do I remember us driving by Patterson’s place?”

House jerked his chin towards Wilson’s knuckles, still angrily raw. “You tell me.”

Wilson felt the blood drain from his face. “What are you saying, that I hit him?” he demanded, appalled.

“Hit him?” House chuckled in admiration. “You beat the shit out of him.”

He staggered back a half step. “But… well, what were you doing?”

House smirked back at him. “Holding him down.” The duh rang in the air as loudly as if it had been spoken.

“Jesus, I can’t believe this!” Wilson sank into the nearest armchair, covering his face with his hands. It had been years since he let his temper get the better of him… decades

“Wilson, don’t worry.” When he looked up, peeking between his fingers, House was smiling fondly at him. “I’m not going to tell anybody.”

Tell anybody- House, he’s my colleague!”

House shrugged and wiped his mouth with a tattered paper napkin. “Well, he’s not going to tell anybody either. He knows you’d kill him if he did.”

“What?”

“Or if you didn’t kill him, I would.” House looked away, then straight into Wilson’s eyes. “I told him so myself.” He tapped the box, now devoid of anything but crumbs. “While I was out getting the doughnuts.”

Wilson stared at him for a few seconds, mouth working. All the air seemed to have been squeezed out of the room. House just sat there with that smug look on his face, as if he fully expected to be congratulated.

At last he managed to suck in a breath. “Get. Out.”

House’s smile faltered. “Wilson?”

He stood, his rage seeming to give him a size and solidity he had never known as he towered over the taller man. “Get out!”

House pushed his chair back and met his gaze, blue eyes coldly calculating. For a second Wilson felt real fear, wondering whether his new friend was about to sucker punch him, or worse. Then House gave a little shrug. “Okay.” He stood up, grabbed his backpack and sauntered towards the door.

Just before it closed behind him, he said softly, “You got what you wanted.” It sounded like a promise.

***

Wilson drove back to the hospital in a daze. He could barely believe that he was capable of the kind of violence House had described, and yet, under the influence of that much alcohol… and who knows what the other oncologist might have said to provoke him… And try as he might, he couldn’t recall another moment between asking House to make a U-turn and regaining consciousness in his own bed.

The Dean’s administrative assistant caught him on his way to the cafeteria for a much-needed mid-afternoon coffee break. “Dr. Wilson? Dr. Wasserman would like to see you when you’ve got a moment.”

Wilson swallowed and nodded, trying to feign nonchalance as he followed her. “Any idea what this might be about?”

She didn’t turn around. “I wasn’t told… but I can tell you that he was on the phone with Dr. Patterson just before he asked me to come find you.”

This can’t be happening. Patterson had turned him in. He was out of a job. He’d be lucky if the other doctor didn’t press charges. Wilson wondered whether he might be about to vomit.

Despite the dread that seemed to weigh down his limbs like lead, they arrived at the Head of Oncology’s office all too soon. Alicia knocked lightly on Wasserman’s door and then held it open for him with a smile. “Go right on in.”

Wilson unfolded a pocket handkerchief and mopped his forehead, then squared his shoulders and stepped inside.

Wasserman was on the phone, but as soon as he saw Wilson, he concluded his conversation and came out from behind his desk. “James!” he said. “Have a seat.”

“Howard,” Wilson greeted him neutrally, senses alert for some sign, any sign, of how much Wasserman knew and why he had called him in. He wiped clammy palms down the sides of his slacks as he sank onto the sofa. Wasserman sat down next to him.

“Nice work on the Franklin case,” he said. “Very thorough analysis, and then you were willing to take a chance and had the courage of your convictions.”

“Thank you,” Wilson said. He still had no idea where this was going, but the pain in his chest was starting to ease. Maybe Alicia had jumped to conclusions about the phone call. Maybe Wasserman just wanted to reassure him, an ambitious young doctor, that his successes were being noticed.

“I suppose you heard about Patterson,” Wasserman said, giving him a keen look from beneath bushy eyebrows.

And back up went his blood pressure again. “Um, no, not really,” he managed to stammer. “Only that he couldn’t come in today because of some kind of personal emergency. Is he… all right?”

“Well,” Wasserman said slowly, still staring at him, “no, apparently he’s not. That is… he just called to tell me that he won’t be with us for much longer.”

Wilson squinted at him. “You mean…”

“He’s taking another position at Yale. They have an opening this year, and apparently his wife wanted to be closer to family.”

“Oh,” Wilson said, still confused, but now cautiously optimistic that he was not about to be fired or arrested. “Well… we’ll all be sorry to see him go.”

Wasserman laughed out loud. “That’s just like you, James. A gentleman to the end.” He waggled a finger in his face. “Don’t think I didn’t notice that he’d been giving you a hard time.”

Wilson ventured a small smile. “It has been… challenging.”

His boss waved a hand. “Well, we can put all that behind us now. Point is, of course he’s no longer in contention for Chief Resident.”

He couldn’t believe that the implications hadn’t occurred to him already. “Are you saying…”

“You’re a little young, James, it’s true, but you’re far and away the best candidate now as I see it. You’re smart, you’re ambitious, your colleagues like you, and certainly your patients can’t sing your praises loudly enough. So what do you think?”

He felt himself breaking out into a fresh sweat. This was it. The moment of truth. The moment around which his ambitions had crystallized, year after year, while he smiled and subsisted on journal articles and stale cups of coffee and his now ex-wife waited for him in vain. And yet, how had recent events propelled him here? What would the kindly older man sitting across from him say if he knew?

“I’m sorry…” Wilson said, then swallowed hard and looked Wasserman in the eye. “I’m only sorry that it had to happen this way.”

He did not allow himself to look down as he reached out to shake the Chair’s hand.


End Part 4. Go on to Part 5.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
alternatealto
Oct. 30th, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
I've run out of words to say how brilliant this story is! House's utter ruthlessness, Wilson's inability to realize that yes, House really will go farther than anyone would predict. And now the way in which Wilson's getting what he wanted is tinged with the fear that it's coming at a cost he doesn't want (and can't afford) to pay.

I'm holding my breath for the next part . . .
flywoman
Oct. 30th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
I've run out of words to say how brilliant this story is!

I have to say again that this plot, and much of the dialogue, is stolen straight from the film, so if I've demonstrated any brilliance, it is only in seeing how the events depicted could shed light on the relationship between House and Wilson.

House's utter ruthlessness, Wilson's inability to realize that yes, House really will go farther than anyone would predict. And now the way in which Wilson's getting what he wanted is tinged with the fear that it's coming at a cost he doesn't want (and can't afford) to pay.

*grin* I think you may be one of the very few to be disappointed when my ending diverges from that of the film.

Thank you for commenting!
alternatealto
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:06 pm (UTC)
I think you may be one of the very few to be disappointed when my ending diverges from that of the film.

I doubt that -- I think I'll be able to enjoy it on both levels, if that makes sense. I can see how the House/Wilson characters would fit into what is obviously the original film's plot. But I can also see how a lot of the film's plot could fit into the House/Wilson relationship as it came to exist in canon -- which is where I think you're going with this.

It's still a brilliant adaptation and I'm thoroughly enjoying it!
justjuly4
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
Great part! Poor Wilson, he only started to realize what a person House is.

"“Or if you didn’t kill him, I would.” House looked away, then straight into Wilson’s eyes. “I told him so myself.” He tapped the box, now devoid of anything but crumbs. “While I was out getting the doughnuts.”"

Sorry, I don't know how to put the quote in italics, but these lines are amazing! A promise to kill and chocolate doughnuts in one sentence. It's genius, and makes deep impression.
flywoman
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
Poor Wilson, he only started to realize what a person House is.

Yes... and also what sort of person he himself is, or at least has the potential to be.

Sorry, I don't know how to put the quote in italics, but these lines are amazing!

The genius belongs to the film writers, not me. I have seen few scenes more chilling than that of Rob Lowe's psychopath calmly discussing the idea of murder while having milk and mini doughnuts.
flywoman
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
Whoops, and of course I meant to say, thank you for commenting! :)
damigella_314
Oct. 30th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
And now of course I'm wondering what really happened last night. Although at least it is possible that Wilson beat the living daylights out of someone, there is a violent streak in him which he's keeping under firm control, but we can't tell because of the drinking/drugs.

Kind of weird no one would notice that Dr. Wilson has a hangover, but again I do not know how difficult/easy it would be to hide (maybe easier for a doctor).

I'm looking forward to how you're going to tie all of this together in just one more chapter. In fact, together with the plot, your ability to concentrate a lot of events and emotions in very few lines is probably the most impressive part of this fic.
flywoman
Oct. 30th, 2011 03:45 pm (UTC)
And now of course I'm wondering what really happened last night. Although at least it is possible that Wilson beat the living daylights out of someone, there is a violent streak in him which he's keeping under firm control, but we can't tell because of the drinking/drugs.

Good point! ;)

In fact, together with the plot, your ability to concentrate a lot of events and emotions in very few lines is probably the most impressive part of this fic.

I can take very little credit for the plot, but I'm glad to hear that you appreciate the rest of it. :)
blackmare
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not entirely sure it was Wilson who really beat the hell out of the guy, but I'm also not sure we'll ever know.

And now Wilson's stuck. He got what he wanted: he's not marrying Bonnie and he's got the promotion, and he can't let that go, but what the hell will he do about House?

FWIW, if they really did beat the shit out of Patterson? That is something I can't see canon!House doing unless someone provoked him, and I mean provoked him hard. I can see House snapping and getting very violent, yes, but there'd need to be some pretty extreme circumstances before he'd intentionally hurt someone to that extent, and I don't see where these were the kind of circumstances that would make House, in canon, get that violent.

So I'll be interested to find out whether he actually did, or whether he's lying wholesale to Wilson and he found some other effective means of getting rid of Patterson. And all House would have had to do is drug the hell out of Wilson and scrape his knuckles on the pavement and tell him a story.
flywoman
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
FWIW, if they really did beat the shit out of Patterson? That is something I can't see canon!House doing unless someone provoked him, and I mean provoked him hard. I can see House snapping and getting very violent, yes, but there'd need to be some pretty extreme circumstances before he'd intentionally hurt someone to that extent, and I don't see where these were the kind of circumstances that would make House, in canon, get that violent.

Exactly my thought when I was trying to figure out how to adapt the plot to a House/Wilson story.

So I'll be interested to find out whether he actually did, or whether he's lying wholesale to Wilson and he found some other effective means of getting rid of Patterson. And all House would have had to do is drug the hell out of Wilson and scrape his knuckles on the pavement and tell him a story.

*grin* My readers are way too smart for my own good.
blackmare
Oct. 30th, 2011 05:21 pm (UTC)
Well, we have known House a lot longer than Wilson has at this point in the story. We know he would be very very unlikely to actually commit that kind of assault; Wilson doesn't.

If this were to happen in canon some 15 years later, Wilson would be a lot less likely to buy the story the way he does here. He'd know that House was a lot more prone to trickery than to violence.

In this case I think what most likely happened was that House did some digging, got some dirt on Patterson (most likely a girlfriend or boyfriend), documented said dirt, and blackmailed the guy. Totally canon for House to do this.

Also canon for House to screw with people's minds and want to know just how far they will go, and where their moral and personal boundaries are. Which is what this little experiment is allowing him to learn about Wilson.
flywoman
Oct. 30th, 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)
Well, we have known House a lot longer than Wilson has at this point in the story. We know he would be very very unlikely to actually commit that kind of assault; Wilson doesn't.

If this were to happen in canon some 15 years later, Wilson would be a lot less likely to buy the story the way he does here. He'd know that House was a lot more prone to trickery than to violence.


Exactly - Wilson just doesn't know House well enough at this point to judge what he's capable of.

In this case I think what most likely happened was that House did some digging, got some dirt on Patterson (most likely a girlfriend or boyfriend), documented said dirt, and blackmailed the guy. Totally canon for House to do this.

Jeez... *looks over shoulder suspiciously* I hope that people don't read all of your comments before I post the last part!

Also canon for House to screw with people's minds and want to know just how far they will go, and where their moral and personal boundaries are. Which is what this little experiment is allowing him to learn about Wilson.

YES. How Wilson reacts to what he thinks is going on would be a great source of information and entertainment for House.
blackmare
Oct. 30th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
:-D

Screen these if you like! I think I would if I were you. Just evidence that we are on the same page regarding characterization, I suppose.

And on that note, I need to be on my way. Things to do today!
flywoman
Oct. 30th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you - I am screening them temporarily, but I'll unscreen them after folks have had the chance to read the last part. I'm actually really, really relieved that we're thinking along the same lines because you are one of my main resources for canonical House and Wilson characterization. So - THANK YOU! :D
cuddyclothes
Oct. 30th, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is just so...evil! I'm glad now I never saw the movie, because it is all so fresh and horrible! It's strangely IC, if you took their characters to the absolute nth degree.

After I've read this, I'll have to watch the movie, but not until then.
flywoman
Oct. 30th, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is just so...evil! I'm glad now I never saw the movie, because it is all so fresh and horrible! It's strangely IC, if you took their characters to the absolute nth degree.

I KNOW, RIGHT? *giggles maniacally*

After I've read this, I'll have to watch the movie, but not until then.

I feel kind of bad that I'm spoiling the movie for you... although the ending's very different, so I guess that's something.
(Deleted comment)
flywoman
Oct. 31st, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
He sort of slides into amoral situations because he often doesn't have the backbone to admit to himself that he wants something.

I *love* Wilson, but he's no angel. As House says to Wilson early on in the series, as long as he's trying to be good, he can do whatever he wants, and he's very skilled at rationalizing his actions under the cover of motivations he thinks are pure. Whereas House knows his own mind and does destructive things in a very deliberate way.

House is ... scary. So is Wilson. On some level he must have wanted to beat the shit out of Patterson, otherwise the thought that he may have done so wouldn't even occur to him.

Absolutely. This ties into your comment on the last part.

The aggression is there, as is the diabolical ability to do a lot of damage, but as Cuddy once says, he keeps himself on a very tight rein.

This was what made his character so interesting to explore in the context of this fic. He *is* aggressive and destructive, but it's almost always either limited to psychological warfare or directed against himself.

Thank you for commenting!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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