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HOUSE M.D. FIC: Familiar Rhythms

Title: Familiar Rhythms
House M.D.
Rating: PG
Word Count: 565
Summary: A companion piece to The Songs We Used to Sing by nightdog_barks , set at the end of 6X03 “Epic Fail.”
Thanks: To nightdog_barks  for permission (this was fun!) and to jezziejay  for speedy beta



He hasn’t shared this bed with anyone since Amber, and if he’d had to guess whose body would press into the mattress beside him first… well, he isn’t sure, exactly, but it sure as hell wouldn’t have been House’s. And certainly not that of this House, his hair silvered and close-cropped, his torso thickened by meds and months of inactivity. Wilson supposes, grimly, that it’s fitting in a weird way: Amber isn’t here because of him, and he is here at least in part because of Amber (and Kutner, and his father, and enough Vicodin to stun a stallion).

House is wide awake.

Wilson knows this because, although the other man has not moved for many minutes, his breathing has thus far failed to slow and deepen. He tries to remember what House sounds like when he sleeps, and realizes that the last time he heard him was when he had crashed on the other man’s couch after washing up on his doorstep along with the detritus of his most recent marriage. He had padded barefoot into House’s bedroom in the middle of the night, grabbing his cane and carrying it back to the living room for a minor adjustment, then replaced it just as stealthily. So Wilson knows that while House doesn’t usually snore, his unconscious exhalations have an uneasy heaviness that is absent now.

Back then he’d been so pissed at House at first, unable to understand why he was being subjected to stolen meals and dirty dishes and the humiliation of soggy pajama bottoms instead of the slightest bit of sympathy. Eventually he’d caught on to the fact that House was just practicing his own twisted version of the Golden Rule, and now he knows enough to go one better, treating his friend the way that House wishes to be treated.

So he hasn’t mentioned Mayfield. He provided Indian food and lowbrow television and an uncurious ear, and in the evening he wordlessly slipped two more pillows into clean cases and placed them on House’s preferred side of the bed. He knows it isn’t enough, though, and it isn’t even all he can do. What House needs now is a distraction. Wilson feels himself frowning a little as he ponders the options available to him.

Beside him, House shifts in the bed, but slowly, cautiously. Either the pain is bad enough that he’s switched out of his usual mild hypochondriac mode and is struggling to hide it, or he genuinely doesn’t want to disturb his bedmate. Wilson would like to think that if it’s the second case, it’s not just because House fears being exiled to the sofa.

Sounds on the street outside, including a dully thumping bass line, which Wilson tries to drown out by burrowing farther into the pillow. Once the car passes, he hears the rhythm of House’s breathing change, and knows instinctively that there are old anxieties being aired, remote connections being made.

“House,” he mumbles, and feels the swiftly suppressed jerk of surprise. He fumbles in the dark and pats the rigid shoulder, as if House were a skittish horse.

“Can hear you thinking all the way over here.” And then more gently, “Go to sleep.” He turns over, hears but refrains from acknowledging the soft “sorry” out of consideration for his friend’s currently fragile dignity.

Tomorrow he’ll go see Cuddy about getting House’s old job back.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 19th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
Oh, I LOVE THIS. It's wonderful -- the shift in POV presents such a new set of details, and the way this story circles back to the original fic's last line is really a lovely stroke!

♥ ♥ ♥

Going to link this now. :-D
Mar. 19th, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad :). I thought that House's stream of consciousness was so him in yours, and it was such a fun exercise to write Wilson's in parallel.
Mar. 19th, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
I am irrationally amused that someone else has fallen into the gravitational field of Nightdog's World, but all that aside:

This is a perfect companion piece. So quiet and so very Wilson in its swift but compassionate calculations.

So much love to the callback to Wilson filing through the cane, too.
Mar. 19th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
I am irrationally amused that someone else has fallen into the gravitational field of Nightdog's World
Well. Technically I fell into yours first, with "Cannonball"/"Stones Taught Me to Fly."

So much love to the callback to Wilson filing through the cane, too.
*grin* my beta loved the allusion to the "minor adjustment."

Thanks very much for your comments!
Mar. 19th, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
Loved how these two fics interlocked.
Mar. 19th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
Thank you, this was really fun to write.
Mar. 19th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
"his hair silvered and close-cropped"
Such a lovely description of post-Mayfield House. Looking handsomer than ever (if, or because, more adult).
Sorry, was there a fic after? I was distracted ;-)
Mar. 19th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
I personally find House's appearance much less attractive in the first half of Season 6 than at other times. But I understand that many fans feel differently.

Thank you for your comments.
Mar. 19th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
You know I with Dami here - I think season six House was hawt! Deranged is a good look on him :)
Mar. 20th, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
I think he looks sexy no matter what his hair looks like. Mmm...
Mar. 19th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Terrific job! I loved being able to read the two fics, one after another.

Wilson is great with his POV - so very Wilson. Worried and anxious for House, careful not to overstep the line. Always helping and weighing and wondering. Also loved the little bit about Amber and the fittingness of House on Amber's mattress.

I enjoyed your addition vey much.

Edited because I left the wrong comment in the wrong story at first. Sorry!

Edited at 2011-03-19 07:07 pm (UTC)
Mar. 19th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
I thought it was great how nightdog's piece had House's mind meandering, pulling up all kinds of not-quite-random shit in the way that it would, and it made me wonder, what was Wilson thinking about during all that? And the answer was, obviously, House. *grin*

Thanks for your comments!
Mar. 19th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
Really lovely. Thank you!
Mar. 19th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you for commenting!
Mar. 19th, 2011 11:38 pm (UTC)
Loved this - for the many reasons I've already told you, but mostly for the gentle way you've shown how Wilson learned to be House's friend, and for reminding us (should we ever need reminding) that they are friends. And it is exceptionally generous of you to name me as beta - I didn't have to suggest one single change (not even a measly typo) - all of this is all of yours. I just got to tell you that it was wonderful before everyone else did. *is proud*

Lovely :)
Mar. 20th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Well, let's face it, correcting typos is pretty much my department anyway ;). But your prompt and enthusiastic feedback on this was enormously appreciated!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )



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