|FORWARD IN REVERSE
Author: G.E Waldo PM
A story of being and time. Not really a time travel thing. Not sure what the hell it is though . Summary: Wilson's present and possible past and House's present and Wilson-altered past. An exploration of what is/was/could-be & could-have-been. Pre-slaRated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - J. Wilson & G. House - Chapters: 3 - Words: 34,659 - Reviews: 27 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 02-17-08 - Published: 02-03-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4050510
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
FORWARD In REVERSE - Part III
A story of being and time. (Not really a time travel thing. Not sure what the hell it is though).
Summary: Wilson's present and possible past and House's present and Wilson-altered past. An exploration of what is/was/could-be & could-have-been. Pre-slash, slash, humor, angst, character death - but not REALLY!
Pairing: Wilson/House/Younger House.
Rated: M, NC-17, Mature, Adult.
Meaning takes time. It takes work.
Weeks went by and Wilson had forgotten all about John House.
Greg tried to also, but Wilson could see the trying painted all over his face. Greg's face, that normally glistened; engrossed in whatever they were laughing about or what medical procedures they were discussing, was now primed with whatever dark shadow his father promised to inflict. Greg's eyes would, every-so-often and without warning, shift their attention elsewhere, beyond Wilson or the room or the cheeseburger. Wilson would see tiny lines of tension, a crinkle of worry between his brows, a stiffness of the shoulders. A countenance briefly removed from the circumstances; an uncertainty settling over him. Wilson did his best to distract him and most times it worked.
He was delighted to see Greg House laugh and enjoy himself. So rare in the other, but so part and parcel of this Greg's composition.
One night there was a fire in the Rodeway's storage room and Wilson and the rest of the guests were evacuated to the street. Wilson's room was largely un-touched but the acrid stink of combusted organic and melted poly-vinyl-chlorides left it's sour musk on everything. The electricity had also gone out and there was water damage to most of the first floor.
Wilson was homeless. He would have called Greg for a lift to another hotel if Greg had a telephone. The fire inspector allowed patrons back inside to hastily gather their belongings and Wilson set out at eleven PM carrying his two suitcases to walk to Greg's apartment.
Just over an hour later a sleepy-eyed Greg answered his apartment door in his boxers.
Wilson set his suitcases down on the tiny landing at the top of the rickety stairs. "Fire at my hotel. I'll find another place in the morning, but can I stay here tonight?"
Yawning, Greg reached down and grabbed one of the suitcases. "Sure." He, working on automatic, dumped his stuff out of the top drawer of his dresser to make room for Wilson's things. Wilson didn't own much and it all fit nicely with room to spare.
Wilson immediately remembered that Greg's bed wasn't the two piece type. It was an older fashioned model that had a simple spring assembly with a mattress thrown on top. "I'll sleep on the chair cushions." He said. They would be comfortable for one night, though not quite long enough for his six foot frame. His feet could hang off the end without too much discomfort.
"I'll take the cushions." Greg said in a tone that brokered no argument.
Wilson didn't know what to say to this considerate offer. Then impulsively, "We could share..."
Greg eyed him coyly. "I have a lecture in the morning."
"I have...self control."
One corner of Greg's mouth turned up slightly.
Wilson readied for bed, crawled under the covers and made himself behave. In fact, it was dreamy being nestled up against Greg's warm body. Sleep came easily and he relished that tomorrow he would wake up in the same manner.
When Greg's irritating radio alarm went off at seven-twenty, Wilson allowed himself the treat of spying as Greg dressed. When he heard the Kawasaki start, rev up and speed away, Wilson turned over and went back to sleep. Greg would be gone most of the morning and it would be difficult to look for another hotel without the motorbike to ferry him around. And he didn't have to work until five-thirty that afternoon. Plenty of time left to savor Greg's smell on Greg's pillow in Greg's bed.
By eight-fifteen Greg returned, stripped off his clothes, climbed back into bed with Wilson, telegram-ing in person an explanation: "Lecture canceled. Professor's sick. No sub'."
Then naked House was all over Wilson like white on rice.
Wilson hadn't been treated to wake-up sex for a long time. Not since divorce number three. But this wasn't a quick and then make coffee morning sex. It was Gregory all sweet and submissive and letting Wilson do exactly as he pleased.
What Wilson pleased was to lay on Greg and kiss him hard and deep, let him up briefly for air and then mercilessly dive in again. What Wilson pleased was to suck his nipples and bite his stomach, listening with intense pleasure as Greg gasped, groaned and sweated. Wilson loved that he made Greg's young hips buck convulsively, his mouth hungry and insistent, his cock loaded and charged with desire.
Wilson listened with lustful gratification to Greg's lungs ceaselessly pumping as he pressed his body down on him. He wanted to be Greg's sex partner-lover-master! He wanted to consume him, drink him in, swallow him down, capture his soul with his flesh, possess his roaming mind, seize his injured, stubborn, and mystifying gentle heart. Wilson wanted to unmask everything and then wrap himself around the laid bare delicacy of Greg's deepest self.
What Wilson wanted even more was for Greg to say words other than the spurt of babbles sprung from mindless lust. Wilson yearned to hear his name from Greg's pouting lips, wet with his saliva and parted with desire for him. Only him.
"I want you." Wilson vocalized in a low, sonorous murmur, in mindless need for him like a starving carnivore. Wilson's flesh cried out for this man. It was a call from the wild. It was raw craving, impossible to ignore. Like a long forgotten instinct. Ancient; uninhibited; dominant.
Wilson slowed his sexual ministrations, then stopped for a moment, pushing himself off Greg's body...not too far.
At the sudden suspension of favors Greg, luxuriating in the sexual bath, opened them wide and looked up at Wilson looking down on him.
"I'm insane for you." Wilson whispered with heart wide open to what this was becoming for him. The volatile power of it was slowly taking over good sense. He knew he was falling deeply, deeply in love with this man. He knew that if he didn't soon stop and pull back from the driving madness, ultimately he would not be able to.
Greg licked his lips and Wilson couldn't keep his eyes of his tongue as he ran the pink edge of it over those polished ivories.
"I know." Greg answered very quietly, but said nothing more, biting his lip at the torrid heat burning in Wilson's dark chocolate irises. Then he craned his neck, reached up and captured Wilson's lips again for a series of quick kisses, paused and waited. He was asking permission to continue because he had not given the answer he knew James wanted. Wilson assured him by covering Greg's mouth with his own, soon forgetting about what it was he wanted. Instead he kissed and nibbled his way down to Greg's hard, mouth-watering cock...
Greg watched him mesmerized, astonished, enraptured..."A..are y-you going to-?" He asked between disbelieving, transitory words that fought their way through the storms of his helpless panting.
Wilson had wanted to do this since he'd followed him to the shower that first day (And long years before that too).
Greg was flushed with need, his eyes pining for it, his hands, entwined in Wilson's hair, begging for it.
"Yes." Wilson whispered, looking up at Greg - so beautiful to him, so overflowing with sexuality and so fucking vulnerable that Wilson almost came.
Wilson took Greg in his mouth, then - in a hurry - wanting to please him quickly, tease, suck and deep-throat fuck him. Make him insane too. Wilson sucked and tongued Greg with endless undulations until he was clawing at the covers and moaning. Until he came with a cry - almost a sob - and bucked, arching his back and gulping air until he collapsed to the hot sheets. "...fu-u-ck...James...just...it's s-so...g-good..." He said.
Wilson, pleased with his work, crawled back up Greg's perspiring body. "Here, baby..." He whispered so softly it was nearly inaudible, maneuvering Greg's fist around his own engorged, dripping and impatient cock.
He said James... Wilson continued to kiss him again and again and Greg obliged, stroking steadily until Wilson came hard, groaning into the dip between Greg's neck and silken shoulder. Then he kissed him one last time and finally rolled off, laying limply beside him. A hot breeze from the window played over their bodies, taking some of the sweat away.
Wilson raised his head weakly. "Was the window open the whole time?"
"Yup." Greg said, fumbling for cigarettes and a match on his bedside table with shaking fingers.
"So anyone walking by could have heard us...?"
"Would have heard us fucking up here, yup."
Greg laughed. "Contrary to what some in your generation thought, pretty much everyone does it eventually."
"I'm only thirty-eight."
Wilson got up showered and made coffee. He listened to Greg in the shower and wished the curtained stall was big enough for two, but it was not even big enough for one.
Greg stepped out along with clouds of steam that condensed on the walls nearest the tiny bathroom. He had a towel wrapped around his waist which was like wearing, (for all intents and purposes as far as Wilson was concerned), a sign that read: "Please remove towel and fuck me right now."
Wilson smiled at the thought. Later...
"Coffee?" He handed Greg a cup. They sat on the bed, Greg in his towel and Wilson in his new jeans and smooth bare chest and talked about their plans for the day. And, an ever present topic in Greg's mind, sex.
"So, you're saying you wanted to knock my teeth out,.." Wilson summed up Greg's reaction to him during that first meeting in the shower. "..not because I was coming on to you, but because I was bugging you?"
"Thanks for clearing that up. A bit of an over-reaction don't you think?"
Greg lit and puffed on a filtered smoke. "Right, and following a guy half your age into a shower is regular stuff?"
"Are you regretting I did it?"
"That's not the point."
Wilson shook his head and drank the hot coffee. He'd switched brands and the new stuff was crap. "What is the point?" But he was not unhappy about the conversation. This back and forth with Greg House was caffeine for the soul.
"The point is you're either straight or gay or bi or none of them."
"That's the point? How about the fact I've been married before, three times, to women?"
"So three divorces. Then you're in denial or just very confused."
"I'm not confused. I loved my wives. I also love fucking you."
"That just proves that whatever love is, it's conditional."
"What are the conditions?"
"Unpredictable. They always change. I'll bet you never thought you'd be divorcing all those wives or fucking a twenty-four year old male med student after escaping your former life."
Wilson rubbed his eyes. These discussions, however stimulating, sometimes left him with a headache. "Well, no, to be honest, I didn't see any of that in my future." Neither this in my past. "Answer me this," Wilson said. "You're not gay, I'm only gay about you. Is this confusion or are we just abnormal?"
"Confusion for sure. Define abnormal."
"Something other than the usual. Irregular, outside the rules..."
"Hmm. Gay, straight, Bisexual, Trans-gender-ed, Abstinent,...what rules are those?"
"Are you saying sexual orientation is limitless?"
"Isn't it?" Greg set his empty coffee cup on the carpet and dropped his spent cigarette in it. He let his towel drop and lay back on the bed.
Wilson ogled him. "I'm really tired." He wished to hell he wasn't. Greg was ready to start up again but his own penis was hiding in his shorts.
Greg smiled seductively. "Sure? I've classes tomorrow and work all week,...opportunity window is closing fast."
Wilson took his jeans and shorts off and lay on top of him but Greg, in a move so fast Wilson hardly felt it until he was on the bottom, flipped him over and was pressing his gentiles into Wilson's crotch.
Wilson decided he liked this position. "How about love?" He asked.
"Thought you'd never ask." Greg said and began to kiss him. Wilson stopped him. His penis wasn't ready to come out and play yet. "No, I mean, what about the emotion?"
"Oh - god! Me naked on top of you and you're still on that?"
"I'm almost forty."
"Thirty-eight." Greg pushed himself up on his elbows to ease their mutual breathing and considered. "Fine. Love is feelings, mind-set, philosophy and has nothing to do with sexual desire."
"Love and sex are separates? How do you figure?"
"Bobbie, Carl's new waitress..."
"She could stick her finger up your nose, but in nine months would that get you a baby?"
"No and gross."
"Wrong protrusion, wrong orifice. Wrong organs for baby-making."
"I'm sure this is going somewhere. Either that or you're comparing sex, specifically sex with me, to a perfect stranger picking my nose."
Greg smiled down, all dimples and laughing eyes, and Wilson's chest fluttered with how sexy it looked on him. "I'm saying organs have specific and non-specific uses." Greg explained further. "It might not make a baby but she could still pick your nose."
"This is not turning me on and - what??"
Greg tried again. "Okay, A she-male and a womb-man-"
"Guy on the top floor, chick in the basement. The other one's the other way around."
Wilson shook his head and blinked, trying to sort all that out. "I don't want to be but I think I'm there. Are we talking after-factory alterations?"
"Nope. Straight off the line models."
"A she-male and a womb-man are having sex. Which one's gay? Which one's straight? What are their orientations?"
Wilson admitted, "Kind of a grab bag. Interchangeable parts. Orientation means nothing? So organs have no real influence over sexuality?" Now he was confusing himself.
"Organs have functions, not feelings. It's choice." Greg kissed him. "See? I kissed you instead of picking your nose. Choice."
A car pulled up on the street. Greg, pulling his lips away from James's good looks and supple mouth, glanced through the curtain with mild curiosity.
"Oh - Christ!" He said, jumping up.
"Oh, is He here?" Wilson joked, but Greg had gone white, so he sat up too. "What the hell is wrong?"
"My dad's here." Greg searched for and found his shed jeans stepping into them quickly and not bothering with boxers. Any other time it would have given Wilson over to indecent fantasies but he was too freaked by Greg's freaking to daydream about it for more than a second.
Greg ran around the apartment, opening and slamming shut the drawers on his dresser. He found his most respectable shirt and slipped into it, buttoning it as fast as possible. "Fuck!" He said aloud. "Son-of-a-bitch!" Greg stopped and stared at Wilson sitting calmly on the bed. "What the fuck are you doing?! Get dressed and get your ass outta' here!"
Greg didn't have time to formulate an answer. "I forgot he was coming. You made me forget. Shit!"
It was true. It's what Wilson had been trying to do, but the way Greg said it made it sound like dirty scheming on his part. "What's the big deal? We're friends..."
Greg threw his dirty clothes in a garbage bag and shoved it under the bed along with his wacky-tobaccy paraphernalia and empty whiskey bottles. "Here." He tossed Wilson a quilt obviously made by ma-ma. "Make the bed look like it didn't just partake in sword play."
In all of a minute Greg had transformed his whiskey bottled, Mary-Jane-roach-littered, cum-spattered bachelor pad into a tidy sitting room for the serious student awaiting a visit from dear ol' dad.
A knock at the door had Greg in conniptions but the silent, eye-popping, white knuckle, terrified kind. When Greg swung the door open, Wilson half expected to see a Sasquatch in fatigues standing at attention on the other side.
But it was just Lieutenant Colonel John House. And not dressed in his military uniform but a striped, short sleeve, tie-less dress shirt and shapeless draw string pants the color of straw. "Greg." Was all he said.
It occurred to Wilson that this tall but not overtly overbearing middle-aged man with the greying temples was the horror show that for weeks Greg had been dreading.
House, this is God.
"Dad." Greg said in a tone striving so painstakingly for polite, Wilson winced.
"Can I come in or have you got a girl in there?"
Greg turned around and froze, staring at Wilson with horror. Wilson looked down at himself. He had forgot to put on a shirt. He cleared his throat. Too late to do it now. He opted for second best and stood to introduce himself, walking over to John House in as manly a fashion as he could...fashion. "Sir. I'm James Wilson. I'm a friend of Greg's. Med' school..." Wilson realized John House was staring in a fixed manner (just like military Colonel would), and he began to babble. "...us, together,..professors and...learning." He coughed to clear a nameless, growing fear. "Um, school."
Greg rubbed his forehead as though he'd just been stricken with a migraine.
"Uh, huh." John House said. But he stared at Wilson's naked chest with questioning eyes. "You're a little old for school, son."
Wilson thought he had never been so politely called a liar, and glanced down at himself. Yup. Still half naked. "Um, sorry, I was about to take a shower." Shut up, shut up!
Greg was even whiter now.
John House dismissed Wilson for the moment and asked Greg, "How'r ya', son?"
"Good. I'm good." He stepped back so his father could enter. John House entered and, finding no chairs to sit on, opted to lean against the kitchen counter. "So how are studies?"
Greg crossed his arms and leaned against the counter also but, Wilson noticed, at the very other end. He got the impression that the counter wasn't near long enough to suit Greg. "Fine. Applied for a fellowship."
"Is that the disease thing?"
Greg nodded, "Yeah, yeah, umm, I think my chances are good."
John House nodded.
In a manner so casual it seemed an after-thought, "Where's mom?" Greg asked.
"She's waiting in the car."
For some reason Wilson was so bothered by the weirdness of that he asked, "Is she okay?" She must be ill if she couldn't make it up one set of stairs to visit her son whom she had not seen in what must have been two years.
John House's answer was polite but he sounded irked that the question had even been asked. "She was tired, Greg. She said she'll call you tomorrow."
"I don't have a phone." Was Greg's short answer.
The air in the place was becoming so thick, Wilson found it difficult to breath. And Greg's manner, so UN-Greg, Wilson thought he'd stepped out of the room for a moment and when he'd returned, found his Greg replaced by a timid, bland imitation. Greg seemed unable to formulate any thought that required more than a few words. His characteristic verboseness had scattered like nervous mice.
"Then she'll write." John said and that appeared to cut short the discussion of Greg's mom.
Wilson sniffed the air. He was certain a flaming spear had just been thrust into the ground between John and Greg House. Greg was no longer white but an unhealthy grey and, though it was subtle, Wilson was positive, harshly unhappy. Wilson felt the bewildering urge to flee.
Greg licked his lips. "Sure." Capitulating the first direct hit to his father.
John House suddenly stepped away from the counter and wandered the tiny room. Greg tensed like a kid caught with a stolen candy bar. He nervously watched his father circle the room.
Wilson felt like he was watching two cautiously respectful beasts, like a cobra would respect a mongoose, dancing around each other, looking for a weak spot and ready to strike. Wilson's emotions were fluctuating crazily and he felt an impulse to step into the middle of it, blow a whistle and call a time out. It was weird and uncomfortable and a little frightening.
John sat on the bed, glanced out the window.
Wilson had not failed to notice that though his father had mentioned his wife waiting in the car, Greg had not, as anyone normally would, gone to the window to see her sitting in the car, and perhaps wave or something to his adoring mother. Unless she didn't adore him and if that were true, as soon as John House made his departure he, Wilson, would adopt him.
Greg stayed planted against the kitchen counter, watching his father with tired, anxious eyes. Greg was enduring this visit, Wilson saw. He was suffering through it. There was a ugly and twisted dynamic happening here, and Wilson had been thrust to its center, coldly introduced to something he had no understanding of or control over. He felt exposed and naked (though he had finally donned a shirt). But other than a nervously tapping finger, he didn't twitch.
Marine Dad, remote Mother and miserable son. These three made the Family of House. It was an absurd, irrational, neurotic, lopsided Greek tragedy.
Wilson felt terribly sorry for Greg.
John House pursed his lips, smacked them disapprovingly, looked across the room at Greg and with cool calculation asked, "You boys been sharing more than homework in here?"
Wilson's blood congealed. The audacity - the sheer brashness of the man! - to presume to question his twenty-four year old son about his private sex life. And not only his sex life, but insinuate that if it existed, then it was (in his unforgiving judgment) disgusting, dirty and immoral. Wilson felt like throwing up.
That Greg and he had been intimate was, in Wilson's opinion, irrelevant to the extreme. It was none of the man's goddamn business what Greg did in his bed. It was none of anyone's business!
Greg didn't answer, but his face told Wilson that he had known this was coming. Diplomacy was closed, the war was on.
Greg's silence seemed to fuel John House's determination to break his son down, scrub the filth from him with a potato brush dipped in lyme, rinse him off and stand him up straight again. Greg would then be - in John House's shirt buttoned, bed made just right clean-marine style - proper again. Less human and heart-crushed, but acceptable.
Greg didn't look at his father. He didn't speak.
Wilson's heart was pounding so hard he was sure they could all hear it. He was furious for Greg and wanted to knock the bastard's teeth in. But instead he tried more diplomacy. "Mister House, Greg and I-"
John House threw him a look that would have stopped the tides. "You think I don't know my own son? I can smell a Russian's fart at five hundred yards. You think I don't know the stink of rut?"
Wilson was flabbergasted. "What Greg and I do is-"
Greg suddenly came to life and said to Wilson, "Be quiet! Just...be quiet."
Wilson was too angry, and too protective of Greg, and too in love to ignore his father's cruelty. Determined to answer on Greg's behalf, "Greg and I,...we're not, ...he's not-" But stopped when Greg shouted, "Shut the fuck up, Wilson!"
John House, by his sanctimonious, satisfied look, had scored a hit. Greg looked sick. His insistence that Wilson keep quiet was all the evidence John House needed that his son was screwing a queer. Probably living with one. Probably fucking one every night of the week. Probably even wearing girls clothes and high heels and dancing the dance of the queer and the queen and bringing shame on the family. As expected.
Confession by denial. Guilty by silence. It was the military way.
John House stood and approached his son, not as a father but as a colonel before the ranks. "Your mother will be sick over this."
First the mortar. Now the victory in burning flesh. Wilson had the sneaky suspicion John House had used this tactic on his son before. Mentioning the mother was a point blank dirty shot.
John House shook his head in a "I Figured So" way. "I'll break it to her when we get home. I'm disappointed. What the hell has gotten into you?"
Wilson thought: nothing and no-one but me.
"Nothing that a nice bath wouldn't fix." Greg said quietly.
John House glared for a few seconds but said nothing more to his one and only son before slipping through the squeaky door and descending down the wobbly wooden stairs. Greg did not go to the window and watch them drive away. What he did do was calmly open the fridge, grab a beer, pop the tab and had a drink. He gulped half of it down in a few swallows.
Wilson realized that he'd fucked everything up somehow. "I'm sorry-"
"Yeah." Greg said. "If you'd kept your mouth shut, he would have let it go. He was testing me out,..see if I'd fulfilled his worst fears of me while he'd been away. He was ready to let it go until you opened your mouth."
Greg wasn't using the word Dad, Wilson noticed."I was just trying to-"
"I know. It doesn't matter. Thanks for trying."
"What do you mean by "let it go"? Was this,..was he-?"
"He had no idea we've been fucking. It was a guess, a shot in the dark. He just wanted to make me squirm. He's a marine. He has to be in control of every situation." Greg finished his beer and popped another. "Well, he won that one I guess."
Greg was not upset, or was drawing on every remaining reserve of strength to appear that way. Wilson asked, "What are you going to do?"
"Not gonna' do shit. I don't give a fuck what he thinks."
Wilson knew that probably wasn't true. A son's dad is the first and most influential man in a boy's life. If the dad fucked his fathering up, the kid lived with it the rest of his life. "But, your mom..."
"He won't tell her and even if he does, she won't believe him."
Wilson was grieved to his marrow to hear Greg's next and final word on the matter. Speaking of his mother who had declined even seeing him, "She's mostly on my side."
That evening, Greg disappeared and was gone for three days.
YOU REALLY DON'T NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYBODY.
Wilson didn't see Greg, not at his apartment or at the bar until he finally showed up one night at Carl's after Wilson's shift was done. Wilson's relief at seeing him could have been photographed.
Greg seemed his old self. Almost as usual. Over the next couple of days it became apparent that he had shook off his father's visit like rain off a hat. Out of curiosity and with Wilson on the back of the Kawasaki, he drove to the Rodeway to check out the fire damage. The place was dark and no real clean up had begun.
Wilson said, "I checked the phone book down at the corner store. There's a couple of hotels not too far from here, and a motel out on the highway that's the right price."
Greg nodded but did not drive to any of them. Instead he drove to and parked in front of Nana's Café, beckoning Wilson inside. "Come on. I'm hungry."
Wilson bought them both lunch of Reubens and fries. Greg sipped a coke to help wash it down. "So I've been thinking. Maybe you could just crash at my place for a while?"
Wilson hesitated, but not because he didn't love the idea. He wanted to make sure of one thing. "So...should I go buy another bed or...what?"
Greg lit a cigarette. He smoked too much. And drank too much. And drove his Kawasaki too fast...
But he was sexy, smart, endlessly interesting and gorgeous and Wilson wanted him so badly he could taste it more strongly than the damn Reuben.
"Maybe when we wear mine out." Greg answered.
Wilson imagined that wouldn't take too long at all. "Has this anything to do with-?"
"Sex? Fifty percent." Greg finished and answered the question all at once. "Thirty percent I like your cooking."
"What's the other twenty?"
"Thanks - that's a relief. Just as long as it has nothing to do with the fact that you like me."
Wilson ordered coffee from the waitress and Greg a piece of cherry pie. There was one thing about earlier that week during the battle between the two Houses that Wilson wanted to understand. "Why didn't your mom come up?" He hoped Greg wouldn't be too pissed at his nosiness.
"Dad told her not to."
"And that's it? He speaks, she jumps or doesn't?"
"They've been married twenty-five years. He's a marine lieutenant colonel. Eats hookers and homosexuals for breakfast. She's the wife of a marine lieutenant colonel. She's timid, quiet, nice, bakes cookies for local soup kitchens. Sends me knitted scarves in winter and cotton socks in summer and little white bibles through-out the year. She loves my dad, she loves me, and she has no backbone at all. That's her world."
"You love her though?"
"Of course, she's my mom." Greg answered as though that was explanation enough. Not unsurprisingly, John being his dad wasn't enough. Not by a hell of a mile.
"Will you see him again?"
"I'll hear from him. He'll make me pay for being the terrible, fag-shagging disappointment that I am."
"Make you pay? But he already" Wilson did little rabbit ear quotes in the air, ""won", didn't he?"
"It has to be real or he didn't win anything. That was just a cold war, Jimmy. An illusion. Practice."
How seriously fucked up. Wilson sipped his coffee. "Is this "payment" coming because of me?"
"No. Always because of me."
"What do you think he'll do?"
"Make my life miserable for a while somehow."
"You don't seem worried."
Greg shrugged. "Meh..."
And one last query that about something that, at the time, had made no sense what-so-ever. "What was the bath tub comment all about?"
Greg finished his coke and pie. "Jeeze, enough already. My dad's an ass hole, okay?"
John House's deep assholishness manifested itself one day in an announcement from Greg over a Wilson home cooked breakfast. "Dad cut me off."
Wilson was so surprised to hear about John House (in truth he had done his best to thrust the thoroughly disagreeable man from his mind), that he stopped chewing his toast for a moment. "What do you mean?" He asked through a spray of jam coated crumbs.
Sitting on the bed with his plate, Greg bisected a runny egg yolk. "I mean he cut me off. No more money." He dipped his toast and sopped up the yellow delight.
"Are you saying you won't be able to finish or go to Boston?" Wilson was ashamed to secretly hope for just that.
"No. The funds for the last tuition went through just fine. I mean living expenses. He was helping with that. Now he's not."
Wilson was really beginning to hate the fucker. "You'll be fine." He'd make sure of it.
"I'll have to get another part time job."
Wilson knew it would be a struggle for him to get studies done, attend lectures, write his final papers, plus find time for those occasionally necessary things like sleeping, showering and eating in between thirty-six hour straight intern shifts. "I'll make it up."
Greg shook his head without even considering it. "No you won't."
Wilson stared, a trifle miffed at his stubbornness. "I've been living with you for over two weeks and you haven't asked me for anything. I've got the money, I can afford it."
Greg was reluctant, and ashamed that he needed the help, but knew he hadn't a choice. It was either that or forego sleep for the next seven months. "Okay. Thanks."
"No problem." Wilson grinned. "The fringes at Hotel Gregory are worth every penny."
Wilson was terribly grateful for Greg's offer to stay with him. The sterile, depressing hotel room was no home away from home. Greg's apartment had become his peaceful refuge in the present out-of-control circumstances of his life. Most nights, one or the other worked, studied, interned, or worked some more. And some nights and the occasional afternoon, they'd have hot, sweaty, gropping, lusting, incredible sex.
How much money Greg needed was a paltry sum for Wilson with his two jobs plus tips.
"Thirty a week will do it." Greg had told him.
Wilson gave him sixty to give Greg some wiggle room and insisted on buying the food too, since he was the one who was going to cook it.
Wilson kept the tiny fridge and cupboard stocked. He purchased a very small wheeled cupboard with a cutting board built-in on the top and pushed it into the only naked corner of the kitchen, banishing the dry goods from the counter into it's interior. He made simple and delicious meals. The way Greg dug in, he wondered when the last decent meal had passed into the man's stomach without having first soaked in it's own juices in a tin can for a year or so. Wilson had announced. "No more scotch and peanut butter sandwich dinners."
With Wilson's help financially, and his sexual ministrations almost nightly, Greg seemed to relax and fell into a routine of study and spending time with Wilson. Which Wilson appreciated very much. And Greg's dad's looming peripheral shadow seemed to fade from Greg's world also. About which Wilson was delighted.
That night he initiated one of his favorite love-making routines by pushing Greg flat on the bed, sticking his head playfully under the edge of Greg's t-shirt and nibbling his stomach. Greg habitually reached for the whiskey bottle he kept beneath the bed. Wilson took it from his hand. "You won't need that." He kissed his lips. "I want you to remember everything I do to you tonight. And I'm going to do so many things to you." And he undressed him one article of clothing at a time, deliberately drawing out the process, until Greg was nude. They made love for hours.
As Wilson awoke the next morning, Greg nudged him and Wilson groaned. Greg's penis was ready again after a night of idling, but Wilson's was still in shut down and parked in the garage. "Goddamn, you're insatiable." He said as Greg rolled on top of him.
"Who followed who into the shower?"
Wilson smiled, so very glad that he had, and he playfully flipped Greg onto his back and kissed him, trying to stifle a yawn. "Classes today?"
"Um-huh." Greg tried to steal kisses from Wilson's kips, but Wilson pulled back and raised himself onto his elbows, studying Greg's face with intense interest and admiration - he simply loved it.
Greg sighed impatiently. "Are you going to fuck me or what?"
"Of course I'm going to fuck you. Seriously going to fuck you. But I have a question."
Greg went limp. "Oh, here we go."
Wilson smiled at him adoringly but then his smile fell and he quietly asked, "What did he do to you?"
Greg's contentment ran away from his face.
Wilson waited as he watched Greg's features shift a little, and he knew Greg was deciding whether to answer or shove him off and have himself a beer instead. He also suspected that John House had abused Greg somehow. Wilson had always suspected that Greg House had been mistreated as a youth. A man with so much difficulty interacting socially or opening up or trusting anyone can hardly have experienced a healthy childhood, boyhood world travels not-with-standing. Something about House had always struck him as "off". As so with this young Greg as well.
Greg shifted beneath him, emotionally uncomfortable with the trail the conversation was taking. "Does it matter?"
"I want to know if someone has hurt you. Or is hurting you."
"There's nothing you can do about it."
"You don't know that for sure."
Greg sighed. "You're interrupting the best part of my day to talk about the worst part of my life."
"I'm irritating and pushy and demanding as well. But I'm also laying on top of you ready to screw your good-looking brains out."
Greg bit his lip. "Fine. But if I tell you, will you get on with fucking me like an rowdy orangutang?"
Wilson frowned at Greg's chosen image of his screwing skills but, "Ye-a-h. Sure."
Greg cleared his throat, turning his head to look out the window at the end of the bed. He didn't turn his eyes back to Wilson for his entire narrative. "He wasn't home much but when he was things were his way or the highway. No mistakes. Don't fail, don't screw up, or you spend a night sleeping in the yard with one blanket to keep you company or..." Greg cleared his throat again. "...get a bath in ice-water. With real ice."
Wilson listened with a churning fire in his stomach and a knife through his heart. You. Not once had Greg said I. He removed himself from the picture as he spoke. Wilson found it difficult to breath at the heart-rending image of Greg as a boy being humiliated and physically tortured (isolation in the dark and cold, and ice-water baths are tortures), because he had made a "mistake".
Wilson forced the question passed the ache in his chest and the lump in his throat. "What kind of mistakes?"
Greg, eyes on the bright outdoors, "Forgetting to rake the leaves, not cleaning my room like my mother asked, being late after school, talking back, not making the team..."
"Jesus H. Christ. How old were you?"
"Started when I was about five..."
Old enough, Wilson thought, for a boy to start forming his own opinions.
"...lasted until I was thirteen or fourteen."
Tall enough, maybe, and strong enough to tell the prick to fuck off. Wilson decided: Yes, he really hated that fucker."And your mom,...?"
"Sometimes she could talk him out of it, most times not."
"Why didn't she take you and leave?"
Greg looked at him like he was from another planet. "And go where? She was a woman with a child and no job skills other than being the wife of an overbearing marine who, asshole or no, adored her. Dad provided a good living."
Wilson thought, No excuse. No excuse to stand by and watch your husband torture your son for nearly ten years. "What happened after that?"
Greg looked tired now and was breathing erratically. But he still did not look back at Wilson. Greg related cold facts like a stenographer. "Nothing. He'd tell me to do something and if I didn't want to do it, end of confrontation. Later...mom had sort of a nervous break-down. I wasn't living at home then. I tried to reconcile with him to help her."
Wilson ended the questions and instead kissed him tenderly. Used sweet kisses to tuck the memories back down into the dark place where Greg kept them. John House had abused and humiliated his only son and the damage was evident.
But wasn't everyone damaged? Wilson thought of his own missing brother. Yes, all people were hurt in some way sometime during their lives. But there were degrees. Was one a fender-bender or a train wreck? Greg, Wilson thought, fell somewhere in between.
Of Greg's father, Wilson said, "I'd like to kill that son-of-a-bitch." For Greg, Wilson kissed him all over and then made love to him.
I ASSOCIATE WITH YOU THROUGH CHOICE..
When Greg's dad's money stopped coming, as he said it would, Greg disappeared again. Wilson, not so much bothered by these disappearing acts (other House used to do that occasionally. It was his way of taking a break from people), but was bothered by this one because it was finally made clear to him where Greg went.
This time Greg came home around two in the morning. Wilson woke up when he heard the door creak open and the rustling of shedding clothing. Soft light from the fridge glowed through his eyelids. He heard a beer can open with a fizz and the gurgles of Greg gulping it down. Greg had been drinking a lot more lately. The fridge closed and stumbling, uncertain feet made their way to the bed. Wilson felt the bed dip and shake as Greg climbed under the covers and wrapped his chilled, damp limbs all over his own warm skin, making him shiver. It had rained almost all night and Greg had evidently been out riding in it.
By the odor of alcohol, wet clothes, drying sex and a woman's perfume, that's not all Greg had been riding. Wilson felt a jolt of shock, pain and jealousy at the revelation that Greg had just spent most of the evening having sex with a woman. That Greg had slept with a woman didn't matter that much but that he'd slept with anyone did. Anyone else.
Wilson listened to Greg's breathing even out as he fell into a deep whiskey lubricated sleep, and to his own heart beating fast with resentment. Greg was straight. Wilson knew that. He shouldn't be surprised that the urge to bed a woman would surface in Greg from time to time. But all the same it hurt.
"Have fun last night?" Wilson asked him over coffee the next morning. Morning being eleven-thirty. Greg was busy zipping up his jeans and slipping one of a dozen T-shirts that he owned over his mussy hair. He ran a few fingers through it and for him that was enough fussing.
Wilson had watched Greg once or thrice as he tried to shape and tease his hair into a more behaving, less child-like style. Then Wilson would watch, amused, as the hair slowly rebelled, returning to its untamed state. Wilson didn't mind. It lent Greg an almost-not-there tilt of neediness. Greg was so assured, so independent and self reliant, Wilson was most times afraid to step over that invisible circle Greg took everywhere he went that announced to the populace: Leave me the hell alone - I'm fine!
Greg gathered his papers and books. "It was okay."
Wilson put his cup in the sink and turned, leaned against the counter, crossing his arms. Defensive posture, he knew, but he felt defensive. And angry. He knew he shouldn't ask, shouldn't push it but couldn't help his mouth. It seemed to be moving to its own purpose. "Who was she?"
Greg paused, sensing the fight coming like an deer smelling the cougar. "A friend." A very clipped, House-ish answer.
Wilson heard the elevated irritation in the words. Wilson knew from experience that Greg was silently preparing a quick and brutal defense. So Wilson just nodded, dropping it.
Greg gave him a look Wilson could only describe as half-satisfied/half sorry. "I don't remember us exchanging rings." He said quietly with no hint of sarcasm at all.
Wilson nodded again. Of course that was true, they were just having sex. Greg was not his lover. Wilson corrected it - Greg was his lover. He wasn't Greg's. He wasn't anyone's. Wilson was just the unexpected, useful and sometimes fun room-mate who really liked fucking Greg. That is, whenever the urge presented in both of them at the same time.
This was a lust affair.
"Don't go falling in love with me." Greg warned, but not unkindly, and lit a cigarette.
Wilson followed suite, looking at him and not being able to help the disappointment pass over his own face. He was in love. No denial or doubt. "I can't help it. We're living together and you take off to bang some woman while sleeping with me. I deserve some consideration. Unless I'm just here for the rent money." He looked at Greg, challenging him to speak the truth. "Am I that? Just rent money and an convenient fuck?"
Greg sighed. "Why does this have to be such a heavy deal? Can't it...just be fun?"
"It's gone beyond that for me. I think...I think I love you."
Greg caught the words and the expression on Wilson's face, gleaning that it was truth. "You shouldn't." He said, somewhat sadly, but not elaborating.
"Why? Because your dad was a mean son-of-a-prick who tortured you? So somehow you believe that means you deserve to be unhappy? He didn't love you. So you think you must have not earned it, or were born imperfect or just weren't good enough? It's not true. He was a fuck! He was wrong!"
Greg heaved a huge sigh. "Christ, what is it with you? You should have gone into psychiatry, you love talking it all the time."
Wilson asked, "Why did you stop at the bench that day? Sit down beside me? Talk to me?"
Greg shifted his cigarette from his hand to his mouth and looked off out the door's screen window. He shrugged. "My feet hurt."
"Give me a real answer please."
Greg looked at him and sucked in the deadly smoke. "You were a mystery; a puzzle. I wanted to figure you out."
"You think there was more? Maybe the gods or Fate or Santa Clause brought us together, that we were meant to be, all that shit?"
Wilson butted out his own cigarette in the sink. "I don't know. But something sure as hell brought me to you. I can't explain how or why and even if I knew and told you, you'd never believe me or you'd humor me but secretly think me crazy."
"Oh, well that clears it right up." Greg almost laughed but set his lip instead.
Wilson asked, "You don't feel anything for me? Nothing? Not a good ache in your heart or even a bad one? I'm just Wilson: pretty good fuck; gives you money; makes tasty meals?"
Greg licked his lips. "I...don't...I think I feel...something. I don't know what...I'm...it's...fuck..." He sighed again, tired of the emotional confrontation. "But I can't do anything about what you feel." He moved to the apartment door. "I...don't know what else to tell you."
Wilson decided to say what he'd been wanting to since meeting John House, Prick-Dad. "Your dad's convinced you that you're worthless. So now, to prove wrong a man who's opinion means shit, that you're not who he says you are, you're going to sleep with every pussy you can get your dick into? That hurts you, not him." Lastly, "And it hurts me."
"If this living situation isn't to your liking anymore, we can make a change." Greg said, challenging Wilson to call or fold.
Wilson nodded again, looked at his bare feet. "Sometimes things happen that we can't prevent. Or control." Like me loving you beyond what normal reason would dictate. Like you screwing someone else while fucking the person you're living with who's hopelessly in love with you. "And, no, I don't want to move out."
"Don't try to keep me confined to a picture in your head or make me into something you need but nothing I want."
"Never." Wilson said. "Please be careful. I don't want to lose you. I'm not sure I could live if anything happened to you." Even to his own ears, it sounded melodramatic and a little ridiculous.
"Gotta' go." Greg gathered up his back pack and prepared to leave. He paused at the door, then leaned over to where Wilson was standing and planted a kiss on his mouth. It was so unexpected Wilson almost jumped. It also made no sense.
"Greg." Wilson stopped him one last time before his lover made good his escape. "Stop fucking every skirt who'll have you. Stop trying to prove to your macho marine dad that you're just like him. I'm thanking God every day that you're not. And I'm sorry saying I love you makes you uncomfortable. But this time I'm not going to hide the way I feel. I won't make that mistake again. Your father's the fuck-up, Greg - forget him. I love you. Let that mean something."
Greg House. Wilson was nuts for a man who made him crazy.
The second time Greg disappeared and came home smelling like a woman, Wilson didn't say a word. The pattern went on for several weeks. Then it seemed to just...end. Greg stopped going out, and again seemed content to have his fleshly needs taken care of by Wilson's more than anxious mouth, hands and cock.
Guilt can be your friend.
One day there was a knock at the door and when Wilson opened it, he felt the urgent need to hide the beer and run.
Greg's dad, dressed in civilian clothes, stared at Wilson. Greg, thank god, was not there but doing another thirty-six hour intern shift. He would come home, Wilson knew, drained. Then peel off his clothes, climb into bed and sleep for twelve hours or more. Wilson would join him at the appropriate hour of the evening (or just whenever he felt like it), and wrap his arms around him. He'd softly kiss his shoulder, gently rub his back or caress his stomach but not so to wake him up. Only to make him feel good. To extend affection and receive the pleasure of giving it to him.
It was a sensual apartment-bound holiday. A right-damn paradise on a sagging mattress.
Wilson stared stupidly but at least he was fully dressed this time. He stood there with a book in his hand and his reading glasses tipped on the edge of his nose. Finally he got a few syllables out, "Mister House..." His voice squeaked a bit and he hated that he sounded nervous.
John House looked at him only for a second, then craned his neck inside to see if Greg was home. "My son here?"
"No. He's at...he's doing an intern shift." Then, hoping Daddy House would take the hint and leave, added "- a long one."
"Oh." Marine House's voice said nothing. His words meant nothing. John House was a sealed container with a label that said: Open only in case of war.
"May I help you?" Wilson asked, not wanting to in the least.
"It's his mother's birthday this weekend. Maybe he forgot."
Right. Wilson thought. Whenever Greg spoke of his mother, a little as he did, it was always with a shy affection and infallible kindness. No chance in hell Greg had forgot his mother's birthday.
"She'll expect him to come." John House added, the hidden implication dropped at Wilson's feet like a grenade. You, James Wilson, my son's homo-mate are not welcome.
Wilson didn't care to attend the birthday dinner. He didn't particularly care that he was not invited. "I'll be sure to tell him you dropped in." The only thing he cared about was Greg having to spend a weekend in the presence of this asshole.
As strong as he was, as determined to be independent as he was, Greg became...unsteady somehow, around his father. Wilson had seen it that first time John House had visited, if it could have been called that. Greg seemed to shrink before this cool, disapproving man. Despite his hate for his father, Greg wanted, desperately needed, his dad's approval. All sons need their father's love and affirmation.
But from John House? Wilson had only met the man twice and already he honestly didn't think Greg would ever receive it. Poor Greg.
"I'm sure he'll be there." Wilson answered.
Wilson tagged along as Greg spent Saturday morning shopping for a gift for his mother. In the third gift shop, he considered and rejected several items, then settled on a beautiful crystal carving in the shape of a rain drop fired with a blue swan in it's center. The gift was at least three pounds of lead-portioned crystal and far pricier than he could actually afford. Wilson made a mental note to up this weeks contribution to their mutual living arrangements. Greg had the helpful lady behind the counter (who praised his choice, beaming flirting teeth at him) wrap it beautifully.
Wilson did not attended Greg's mom's birthday and Greg did not ask him to go. Wilson felt sure it would have been awful anyway. He could just imagine the homo-jokes and the humiliations that would have been heaped on Greg. John House would be careful to keep such remarks well hidden from his wife. He'd denounce Greg's sexual activities and his life-style and his past mistakes and his failure to become a macho marine and criticize Greg in general, wrap it all up in neat traditional American family values, and present it to him as "Greg's best interests". It would be tense and awkward, stifling and depressing. And in Greg's family, this was something fun. If Blyth suspected anything, she'd play peace-keeper and pour everyone another useless cup of tea.
Greg returned to the apartment with a piece of cake his mom insisted he take home for Wilson. He put it in the fridge quietly, looking ill. He drank three beers and said nothing beyond "It was fine." Which meant of course it hadn't been.
With a sinking heart, Wilson watched Greg slip his jacket back on and without another word roar off on his rattling Kawasaki with the hole in its muffler. He came home the next morning stinking of booze and so drunk he could hardly walk. A different perfume this time wafted off his skin as Greg climbed into bed, wrapping his arms around Wilson and holding on as though Wilson were a human life-raft. Perhaps he was.
Wilson turned toward him and drew him into a deep and insistent kiss. Greg responded and soon they were at each others bodies like fumbling teenagers, all hands and tongues, each taking the other without remorse.
At one point Wilson rolled over on top of Greg and pinned his arms to his sides, kissing him relentlessly, wanting to sluice out the saliva and the taste of the other from Greg's mouth. He moved his pelvis in tiny circles against Greg's genitalis, determined to rub away her smell and replace it with his own musk. Releasing Greg's arms, Wilson caressed and kissed and sucked at his smooth skin until no faint hint of her odor remained on Greg's body. Until Wilson's essence surrounded and soaked into his skin.
Then Wilson did something he had never done before to Greg nor Greg to him. He, ever so slowly and with perfect gentleness, raised Greg's legs up to his sides, bending them, then pushed them until his knees were lying on either side of his shoulders. Wilson then greased his hand up with lube, and with delicate finesse, penetrated Greg's anus with one finger, then two, then three, stretching him until he started to relax. Teasing, Wilson pushed deeper and started tickling his prostate until Greg was whimpering, his body jerking from the electric-like shocks that traveled up and down his spine. A new pleasure, Wilson thought smiling, and I'm giving it to him.
It was time then, and Wilson lubed up his own cock and slowly shoved it, in by exquisite inch, into Greg's tight hot depths until his cock was swallowed to the hilt. The feeling, the rush, the sexual ardentry, the forbidden fruit high of it made Wilson moan like a slut. "Ah-h-h-h...my-god-jesus!...Greg, ..oh baby...I'm,...going to fuck you so goddamn HARD!" But take his time doing it.
Wilson began to move very slowly, pulling out, not all the way, then pushing back in. Very slowly, he began to oscillate his sips in tantalizing circles, making the movements larger until he could feel Greg's response in his convulsive tightening of his sphincter muscles. Wilson pulled out, pushed in, moved his cock in every possible physical direction so to access every previously untouched portion of Greg's insides. Then he sped up his movements, striking Greg's prostate in a steady rhythm that made Greg squirm and gasp and clutch at his strong back with both hands, clawing, fingers trying to find a hand hold to brace himself. It was instinctive reaction to the unusual invasion, the sensations for both all new and mind-blowing and hot and fucking fantastic.
Wilson quickly lubed up Greg's swollen cock and let it slide around between his own stomach and Greg's. And even that was new and amazing. Anything Gregory was worth a try. - the pay off - incredible! Like irresistible animal-brain sex. Only it was young, soft, beautiful, hot Gregory fucking. Wilson would never stop doing this to him as long as he lived. He would screw Greg at every remotely possible place and every opportunity. He would deep-cock-fuck him forever.
Wilson could hardly control himself as Greg moved and whimpered and groaned under him. With a softly primeval cry, Wilson fucked Greg faster and harder, jerking his body up and down savagely, the bed scraping back and forth on the thin carpet. Then in the inevitable home stretch of witless sexual ecstasy, Wilson pumped him as hard as possible; for all he was worth; like a man possessed. The release inside him was building and building in his balls like a roller-coaster on it's final climb, until he was tightly gripping Greg's hair so Greg could not move, or stop this or escape. Then Wilson was sucking at him, bruising his face with his teeth and yelling sexual obscenities into his mouth. With a violent shudder, Wilson came hard and long, growling in Greg's ear, "Greggreggreg,...Take my cum - all of it! Every bit - oh, fuck - take it!"
A few seconds later Greg came too with a wavering moan that made Wilson shiver with delight, Greg spilling his warm cum between their two skins. Wilson lay still, thrilling in the sensation of Greg's still twitching but spent cock and that he - Wilson - had caused this; brought Greg to this moment. Wilson loved knowing that he had thoroughly fucked him, filled him up, marked him. Owned the part of Greg no other had ever touched. Taken Greg to sexual places she would never be able to! Wilson knew Greg's flesh in a more complete and deliciously wicked way.
Wilson had planted his flag in Greg's virgin soil and claimed him in the name of his own cock. He'd screwed possessively, leaving young Greg limp and submissive.
Greg's semen was spreading out between their stomachs, binding them together and even that was a feeling like no other. Wilson would forget none of it. Not a kiss, not a touch, not a caress, not a molecule of spurting cum, not a single breath from Greg's mouth on his skin. As far as Wilson was concerned, Greg was his.
He looked down at Greg who was looking up at him with those matchless, azure, cock-sucking perfect eyes, so satiated with pleasure and so beautiful they seemed ethereal.
Wilson kissed him very softy. "I'll bet she never did that to you." He whispered.
Just looking at you hurts
The last time Greg saw his dad as far (as Wilson knew), was just before he finished medical school and five weeks before his start date at Boston General.
John and Blyth House arranged to meet Greg at a restaurant to give him a graduation present. This time Greg asked Wilson if he would come and he agreed.
Dressed in his good pants and an ironed dress shirt, Wilson felt he looked presentable enough to stare down any bull shit John House might throw his way. Greg put on jeans and a T-shirt in direct defiance of his father and the occasion. Blyth wouldn't care. John would see it as evidence that Greg had no respect for authority, him or things that mattered.
They all huddled into a booth at a local Perkins's and talked the talk of We're in a public place and this is a celebration so let's be nice and not cause a scene just this once. Blyth looked at her son as though she'd swallowed the sunshine. John was a thick cloud hanging off to the east, black with rain.
"Dear," Blyth began, addressing the apple of her eye, "tell us about your new job."
Greg explained that it wasn't really a job, just a fellowship, but a chance for him to learn more in depth the specialties he was interested in: Nephrology and Infectious Disease.
"But you get paid don't you?" Was John's question.
Greg's forehead wrinkled - the first time Wilson had noticed any lines there at all - "'Course." he answered. "Just not a lot. Nothing near a doctor's wage."
"Well, when will you?" John House valued a tidy bank account, that was obvious.
"In a few years." Greg drank his coffee, hardly ever raising his eyes off the rim of his cup. Wilson watched Greg and remembered the bright-eyed, strong, sexy confidant man he had made love to the night before. If only John House could see that man. That man, though, Wilson liked having all to himself.
Blyth never stopped smiling through the coffee's, the celebratory wine, the expensive meal that Greg hardly touched or the dessert that Greg declined altogether. Wilson picked at his food and tried to will the horrid evening to a merciful end. John House looked his way as little as possible. He did when Wilson mentioned his plans to re-enter his profession. John hadn't bothered to ask what that was and cut off Blyth when she tried to.
Then when Wilson cleared his throat and wondered aloud where the washrooms were. He had a keen desire to escape the thick distaste emanating from the elder House when ever he looked over at Wilson, which was almost never.
"Ladies's room is over there." John had quipped. Greg's face, Wilson was touched to see, darkened at his father's implied insult and he asked his dad, "How did you find out?"
John House shut his mouth and, once the excruciating celebration was closed with proper, manly handshakes, and Blyth gave her son a kiss and hug only a mother can give, the two couples parted ways.
Out in the fresh evening air, away from the tension you could cut with a cheese knife, Wilson breathed in a huge lung full to try and clear his head. He felt as though he'd just climbed off a thirty minute treatment on the Drop of Doom at Disney World.
Greg's solution to the oppressive evening was, "Let's go get drunk."
Wilson had a rare morning shift at his second job. "Sorry. Can't. Cooking for other drunks calls. Drop me off?"
Greg did and rode away. When he didn't return to pick Wilson up, he walked the half hour home and worried about Greg until passed midnight. Then fighting to keep his eyes open, he went to sleep in his clothes not bothering with the covers.
Greg returned drunk, staggering in, silent, his breathing all nasal and snort. Wilson smelled the liquor but this time no perfume. He heard the kitchen tap running and Greg splashing in the dark. He hadn't switched on the kitchen light in a vain attempt not to wake Wilson. The running water, clogged breathing and nose-snorting had already done the job. The snuffling in particular made Wilson sit up and take notice. He turned on the bedside light.
Greg was standing with his head over the sink, splashing water on his face. Wilson walked over and glanced over Greg's shoulder. The water was running red into the drain. "What the hell-?" Wilson took his shoulders and made him straighten up. Greg flinched at Wilson's sudden appearance but not at his touch.
"What happened to you?" Wilson switched on the flourescent the light above the two burner stove, bathing Greg's already pale face into a color resembling plaster of Paris.
Greg, swaying from the drink or the bloody nose, the cut above his left eye or bruised cheekbone, opened a split lip and articulated a emphatically to the point answer, "Bar fight."
Wilson sighed. "Were you the practice round?"
That for some reason darkened Greg's white face and he shook off Wilson's hands. "I got my few in." He leaned in to Wilson so he was right in his face. "I'm not a homo' you know!" And pushed away from Wilson, navigating his drunken feet on a meandering expedition to the bed.
Wilson knew why Greg was drunk. Knew why he had come to a finger's width from getting his lights knocked out. Understood Greg was hurting; his confusion which lived along-side his hate, mixed with despair, strewn with need for approval, all coated with a desperate and frustrating love for his cold, remote, military trained and polished, former physically and mentally torturing, presently verbally abusive and deriding father - John House. A caged animal looks to its keeper, first for food, then for the rare touch of a hand, then for the life behind bars it's confined to, simply because it knows nothing else.
John House had imprisoned his son in an invisible, perpetual penalty box. He was hemmed in by self-loathing that perplexed him yet fighting wildly to break out and tell his dad to take a long, high, flying fuck. Greg didn't understand any of it. But he fought against it in the only way his young and inexperienced self knew how: to get drunk, to be beat up, to become the disappointment his father has always hinted he was. Greg has been beating his fists against the bars his whole life.
Greg hated his dad. He loved his dad. He had no idea if his dad felt anything for him at all. Wilson muttered under his breath about the dad, "Fucking son-of-a-bitch."
Greg was slumped on the edge of the bed, carefully fingering his cuts and bruises and trying to remove his sneakers without untying them (without much success).
Wilson knelt down and did it for him, slipping the runners off one at a time, then his socks, laying them all neatly aside. He, being mindful of Greg's injuries, carefully slipped his t-shirt over his head, revealing the chest Wilson loved so much it made his groin ache. But he could see the many red splotches that were blushes now, but would transform into fist-shaped blue and purple bruises by tomorrow. Wilson counted seven. Some two hundred, fifteen pound steroid-fed, beer belly bar hero had pummeled drunk Greg but good.
"These are going to hurt like hell tomorrow." Wilson retrieved three acetaminophen tablets and two ibuprofen along with a glass of water from the bathroom. "Here."
Greg popped the pills in a ghostly portrait of the other House and Wilson felt a small stab of guilt. He had not thought of his House for months.
But this man, beaten up and fingers defeated by his belt that wouldn't obey his clumsy hands to unhook - (dammit! his expression said), was him, wasn't he? Wilson had given up the debate at about the same time, too. The solution was a stalemate anyway, as his own life almost had been.
Wilson gently brushed Greg's hands aside and unbuckled it for him, helping him slide the jeans off. He left the boxers on. Greg's legs were covered in red splotches too. Lots of them. "Jesus Christ, he was kicking you??"
Greg lay down. "They."
Oh my god Greg. What are you doing to yourself? But Wilson just covered him with a blanket and turned off the bedside light. He'd have to keep an eye on those bruises. For all he knew Greg was sporting a hair-line fracture or torn muscle somewhere but was too pickled to feel it just yet.
His young lover snored softly. "He's not worth it, Greg." Wilson said. "Why are you so determined to prove wrong a man who is wrong? You don't have to be like him. You don't have to be anyone but yourself. Yourself is fine. Yourself is what I love."
Sure, what could possibly go wrong?
Before either them could blink twice, the last week before Greg was to leave for Boston was upon them and Wilson was heartsick. Greg would be packing away his books and putting on his crisp, new doctor's coat and heading off to his new and interesting life. And Wilson would be cooking greasy food at Carl's.
Greg hadn't spoken about it. Not a word. Wilson assumed Greg would move there permanently and that would be it for the pleasant living arrangement.
A week before his departure, Greg stepped out into the alley behind Carl's for a smoke with Wilson. "Look," he said. "I've been thinking. Boston's an expensive town. I applied a while back for a room at the Residences."
Typical of him not to have breathed a word.
"And it would make money sense,..." Interns, which is what he would be for three years, made lousy money, "...for me to come home weekends."
Wilson almost jumped up and whooped. But instead calmly drew on his smoke. "That'd be great." He would only have seen Greg every few weeks or so had Greg opted for his own Boston apartment. Then there would have been parties, new friends, dates with women. No more tiny crappy apartment, no more sweltering summer days spent in a single room with one small window. No winter nights so icy you could see your breath in the bathroom and soon, he had feared, no more Wilson.
"And,.." Greg continued awkwardly, like a man not used to asking for anything for himself from anyone, "...maybe eventually, when you get your ID stuff done, you... could come to Boston? We could..maybe...find a place...together? Share?" Then he said very quietly for fear if the question were actually heard the "no" he was expecting would come too quickly and hurt too much. "Live together maybe?"
Wilson didn't care if anyone was watching. He didn't care if they were in a public place. He didn't give a shit who else cared he was sleeping with a man. With this gorgeous, unbelievably sexy, endlessly fascinating man. They should be so lucky!
Wilson stepped up to him and planted a hungry kiss on his smoke-flavored lips. "Of-course-fucking-yes!" And kissed him again. Greg's half embarrassed, half shy smile was so endearing it made his heart ache.
Living with Greg in Boston as he started what Wilson knew would be an amazing career and life? It would be more than great. It would be almost but not quite perfect. Perfect would be Greg never having to suffer-
Wilson paused, his thoughts freezing in the revelation of sudden knowledge so clear he felt an ass for not having thought of it before: Greg would never have to suffer! Because the damage from the infarction would never occur!
He, Wilson knew the hour and day it happened. He might not be able to prevent the actual aneurism or the clot but he could prevent the delay in diagnosis that led to Greg House almost losing his leg to massive muscle death.
- The decision to cut a third of the muscles out would never have to be made.
- The ill-advised decision to leave in the damaged nerves that would never regenerate or heal and curse him with daily agony for the rest of his life would never happen.
- Stacey wouldn't even be there to make the decision to cripple Greg. She would never be there at all. Ever.
He, Wilson would be. He'd be present at every critical moment and guide events so Greg would never have to live as a crippled. Never need a cane. Never suffer the god-awful pain.
Wilson was light headed from joy at the realization. Greg would live not only with him and be in his bed every night, but he would live in health and happiness. He would walk and play golf and basketball and run every day like he used to. Greg House would be whole again. He'd be free.
Naturally Wilson said none of this to Greg whom he had just kissed. It would remain his wonderful magic box. It would be his marvelous secret gift to his friend and lover.
Wilson looked at Greg. God, he loved him so much! Wilson felt infused with the power of what he could do for him. He would protect Greg from the tragedy that had marred his life and cut up his already fragile soul.
But in the meantime, until they were both in Boston, "I'll keep the bed warm."
"So, later?" Wilson wanted to lean in and kiss him goodbye. The tiny apartment accommodated them well enough when it came to sex and intimacy. An open, public park less so. And Gregory didn't like public affection at all. Not even from him. Not even a goodbye peck.
Greg gave his customary almost not there smile. For all his fierce independence and cocky self-reliance, he was pleased. Wilson was warmed that Greg looked forward to seeing him at the end of every day.
One year ago, sitting on that bus stop bench, terrified by the unknown world he had been thrust into, Greg had come along and, as casually as you please, rescued him without so much as lifting a finger, or really doing anything but be himself. That was House all over. Snake charmer. Naturally Wilson had grasped at the offered hand with the desperation of a drowning man and though not all the waters had been smooth, the journey had been worth every grasp and claw. Greg was now everything.
Just as House had been.
"I love you." Wilson said it though he knew the younger man would cringe. Even though they would be seeing each other in four days.
"Do you have to say that?" Greg asked, but he looked happy.
"Yes. You won't say it back?"
Greg heaved a sigh and gathered up his back pack. "You know how I feel."
Yes, he did. Greg had all but admitted to him a short while ago that, yes, he had feelings for him now beyond the friendship and the physical. "I...sort of do." Was his circumventional confession. "I gave you the run of my apartment, didn't I?"
Wilson waved as Greg walked toward his bus stop. The bike wasn't a reliable enough mode of transport to take him and his duffle bag all the way to Boston. Two years fellowship under Doctor Alan Samuel Head of the Infectious Disease Department at Boston General (an impressive fellowship for someone barely out of medical school), the first and most important medical influence of his life. Some things were still the same.
Greg would come home weekends and spend them with him in Princeton until he could arrange his new ID's and become someone else. Anything for Greg - to be with him. Anything at all. Then he would move to Boston as well and they could set up in a small apartment somewhere. Then he could get back to doing what he loved, doctoring in some way, some where. He'd managed to save the two thousand dollars from tips at his two jobs.
And Wilson had just picked himself up a small Toyota compact for a thousand dollars and was getting around just fine. Greg had offered him the use of his Kawasaki which Wilson had adamantly declined. He would not had driven that thing around for all the cash in the state lottery.
Life here - he still had difficulty thinking of this strange place and time as his home - had settled into a pleasant routine with the best moments all having to do with his young doctor friend, Greg House. He was still a House through and through, pig-headed and rude, arrogant and argumentative. And also gentle and loving and passionate and endlessly surprising. Greg lacked the experience of the other House. (Wilson's mind drifted back to him. It was becoming harder and harder to picture that other House, the memories fading. Fewer and farther between). But the experience would come.
The young House, his House, Gregory, was a House he had also never really known. One who had lived before the years of work, the collective disdain of his colleagues (not a very clever disguise for their reluctant respect but seething jealousy of Greg's genius), the loneliness (or rather the loneliness of that House - this Greg House had him). This Greg was also gentle and loving and ardent. He didn't just joke to deflect, he laughed out loud and made love to Wilson with the uncontrolled power and energy of the young. This Greg still enjoyed life. Greg had him and he had Greg and it was weird, mixed up and stressful. It was sexy and angry and amazing.
A perfect love given in the only way a human can: imperfectly. It was marvelous.
Wilson shook his mind from his reverie and waved to Greg. He was nearing the bus stop, and just in time, too, because the express to Boston was coming up the street. When an old man stepped up to Greg and spoke to him, Wilson couldn't hear the conversation. For once, Greg didn't just brush the guy off. Wilson had tried to teach him, by example if nothing else, that sometimes it paid to give people the time of day. Even if the reward doesn't always appear right away or exactly what you expected. Each time Greg had listened politely for about ten seconds, then sighed with a roll of his eyes. Sometimes Wilson launched forth into some speech or other just to see Greg's reaction that reminded him so much of...
...Greg listened to the old guy. He had few seconds, the bus was almost there. Wilson shielded his eyes from the bright sunlight. It was the wrong express. This one didn't stop here but two blocks down.
The old man stepped out onto the street, in front of the speeding bus. Wilson watched...time slowed down...Greg the new physician and healer, leaped out to push the old man out of the way of the speeding vehicle. All fourteen tons of it.
Time came to a stop. It wasn't real of course, Wilson told himself.
Greg didn't just step onto the pavement to save someone as the bus reached that very spot, it's front bumper striking his strong, healthy legs, snapping both at the knee and slamming his upper body onto it's front chassis of aluminum and steel.
The bus then DIDN'T continue to advance as Gregory's skull struck the bus's wind-shield, caving in a two square foot section. Greg was then NOT violently flipped end over broken end and then run over by the still moving vehicle, his young body twisted and crumpled beneath the bus's bottom works as the driver, one quarter of a second after seeing the pedestrian, hit the brakes with all ten tires screaming.
Wilson then DIDN"T see the huge vehicle skid as the heavy rear engine, traveling with more momentum now than the front, began to swing the back end around, now pushing the bus forward at a forty degree angle, all the while grinding up the human being under it.
Wilson didn't see any of it because, for a few seconds, his mind refused to accept the vision of its own eyes. Time had frozen.
And then it began to thaw and everything in Wilson's world changed.
One moment his lovely Greg had been walking, waving, speaking, saving someone's life.
And the next he was a bloody, twisted lump wedged somewhere near the rear end of a bus, its tires still smoking, its engine idling quietly. A death roll executed in a quarter-instant of the clock.
Before he felt his feet move and his voice call out, Wilson, the physician and the healer, understood that Greg House was dead.
His heart was under the bus also, beating it's last, because it had nothing left to live for.
It was dead too.
IT'S AN UNFAIR WORLD
The ambulance had come, not to try and save a human struggling to live, but to salvage his remains.
Wilson sat on the sidewalk, his back up against the side of a police car, parked at an angle half off the road. The police had taken his statement as witness, written the information down from his single fake ID - his fake driver's license. Then they had removed the bloodstained wallet from the back pocket of the dead young man and, in a hurried hand, written that stuff down too. The bloodied wallet was dropped in a zip-lock and tossed into a plastic bin in the trunk of a police car.
The male officer peeled off the red-stained latex gloves with a snap and threw them in the garbage.
Now a woman police officer, whom Wilson was trying to ignore, was crouched down on her heels in front of him. She was asking him questions. Not the witness type questions, but the more personal:
Did you know him? Is he your son? Do you live near here? Can we give you a ride? Are YOU all right? Maybe you should go to the hospital too. Talk to someone? That often helps.
Wilson didn't attempt to stifle the mocking chuckle that rattled from his larynx. Police woman frowned but then she was used to such reactions. She'd attended two other traffic deaths already that week.
"Who was he?" She asked. "Where's his family?"
"I'm his family!" He snarled, with blood-red eyes in a white mask of grief, as the images rolled over and over his mind like a horror movie on continuous loop.
Wilson's anguished yelling, as he tried to reach beneath the bus to help Greg, had given way to shouts of denial when his hand and shirt sleeve came back soaked in warm blood. The shock of seeing it had driven all eighteen years of his time as a physician, all training, all experience and calm knowledge, from his mind. He became an animal deprived. A creature of instinct - fear, hate, flight and rage. All of them surged through his body at once, disbanding all sensible thought.
Wilson had beat the side of the bus, tiny taps on an uncaring dead weight, until his fist bled. He screamed until he was hoarse. Wilson took the driver staggering from the bus by his lapels and shook him, screaming over and over: "MovethebusmovethebusmovetheGODDAMNBUS!"
But the driver was in shock and bleeding from his head, his eyes wide and frightened.
Wilson slumped, moaning and blubbering like the insane. The man he loved above all else in the world was gone. The only one that would be, forever. And he couldn't reach him with even one finger. He, physician and healer, man of medicine and the occasional miracle, was prostrate. Useless.
Overcome by astronomic grief, he fell.
Until the whispering crowds and the drum-pounding sirens brought him around enough that he knew he was sitting up, something hard against his back.
Until the questions. All the fucking questions while no one thought to move the bus. They left Greg under there until the coroner arrived and did his measurements, detached and unhurried, for he had all the time in the world.
Until the driver, hands shaking like leaves in a wind (with the assistance of a concerned police officer), started the engine again and crept the bus forward until Greg's body was exposed. Then the only action they deemed necessary was to cover him with a stained yellow plastic sheet so other people would not have to look and feel sickened.
Wilson wanted to lie down with Greg, wrap himself around his cooling body, and kiss him. So Greg could rest easier. He would have wrapped him up and carried him to the coroners black wagon himself. Wilson wanted to ride with Greg to where ever they would take him. If they'd let him come anywhere near.
The ambulance, not needed after all, pulled away. Siren, quiet. Lights, dark. A clear signal of a wasted trip.
Life-saving ambulances are white; used to transport survivors to a nice comfortable place called a Hospital. Even the name meant "Guest house. Inn" A place for the living.
Coroners wagons are black; not used to transport, but to haul remains, left-overs and waste. To take them to the place for temporary storage. Morgue/Mortuary: originally "a sad expression. A solemn look."
It sounded like a last gurgle in a dying man's throat. Like a mourning groan from a lover's mouth.
Wilson wanted to be with Greg. To stop what was happening to him. To hold him and love him and protect him forever. He wanted to do all these things if they would let him. But he wasn't allowed to touch Greg at all.
"Any family, sir?" The police woman was asking again. "Are you a relative? A friend?"
Wilson finally looked at her with beaten eyes. Greg and I were in love, he wanted to say. We lived together. We laughed, ate, made love, argued and had a fucking great life just beginning. All new again and imperfect and so acutely wonderful.
So curse an all powerful God who could watch so much blood spill and not flick an eyelash. Goddamn to perdition an eternal Being would never understand the horror of watching his own death approach.
With dead eyes and voice coming from a distant place where nothing good would ever exist for him again, Wilson took a shuddering breath,
"I loved him."
Police woman, finished with her interviewing the secondary witnesses turned back to her primary. But her primary witness was nowhere to be found.
When the police woman's words had begun to filter through the barrier of his profound grief, Wilson had understood her words and knew it was time for him to go.
"My primary witness is a bit shaken up." She'd explained to her partner. "Claims he knew the dead guy." She said. Both cops were standing over by the yellow plastic hump on the pavement that used to be his Greg. "Yeah," Police woman continued in response to her partner's question which got lost in the surrounding white noise of voices, doors, sirens, milling people who had no idea that the dead man under the sheet was one of the world's most extraordinary persons. The most beloved by him. But to them Wilson was just the guy sitting by the police car weeping. The relative or the friend. They didn't know. Didn't care.
"Poor bastard." Police woman was still talking about him. "He only had his Driver's ID on him. We'll get the rest when we get him to a hospital." Her partner said something back and she answered, "Ambulance guys left already. I'll transport him myself, if you want to stay and finish up here?"
Her partner agreed and by that time, Wilson, loathing to leave Greg behind; forced to abandoned him; knowing he would never be able to arrange a funeral or attend a memorial, slipped away when Police woman still was otherwise occupied. It would have difficult explaining why he had no ID other than a driver's license - a fake one at that - which they would surely discover.
"Hey." The spot where Wilson had sat against the police car was empty. Only a spot of flattened grass revealed that a person had been there. Police woman looked around. No sign of the good looking man who, crying continuously, had insisted that the dead man had been his young lover. Police woman put her hands on her hips and issued a All Points Bulletin to find him and bring him in. Her Sergeant was going to be annoyed.
Zombie-like, Wilson walked back to their apartment. His and Greg's. Escape was on his mind. Greg was on his mind more. Lovely Greg whom he would never see again, or touch or kiss or make love to. He returned to the apartment because he didn't know what to do. His shift at Carl's started at five. His car he had left back at the scene of the accident since he could hardly have made an escape in it with the police watching his every move. His other job...he couldn't remember when his next shift started there, or exactly where the place was located. There was hardly a point to any of it.
Wilson opened the squeaky door and stood in the middle of their tiny apartment, which seemed huge and empty without him. Wilson lay down on the single bed and tried to find Greg's scent on the pillows. Wilson cursed himself for having been so fastidious with the washing that he'd laundered all the dirty clothes and sheets the day before and put fresh pillow-cases and sheets on the bed that morning. The unwanted odor of Downey rose from the fabric as he lay down.
Even Greg's guitar wasn't there. Greg had dropped it off at a repair shop to get new strings and keys installed. Wilson couldn't remember which one. It hadn't seemed important at the time to know that.
He could not stop the new tears as he lay there wishing for death. If Greg was gone, if there was to be no Greg, no House, anywhere in life for him, what was there to live for?
Zero. Not a thing.
Wilson drifted off into exhausted sleep. Let the police come for him, he didn't care. Let them think him insane, he wouldn't worry about it anymore. Let them discover he was no one and nothing because, after all, he was.
He had nothing, he was nothing because he no longer had Greg, who had been his everything and his all.
Greg, baby,...I love you. I will always love you... What the hell else was there...?
Wilson could think of nothing...
was a 10
A siren, or a car alarm,...a beeping? Wilson's head ached terribly. Someone was hitting him on the head with a hammer. Someone was nearby.
The beeping,...was familiar. Vitals monitor; heart, O2 levels, BP, regulating I.V drips,...he felt needles stuck into the back of both hands. Two lines. Fluid replacement maybe. Liquid nutrients.
Hard mattress. Sponge pillow, the smell of antiseptic and sickness. Hospital bed. Recovery room?
Hospital. Where the living are brought to receive hospitality; to acquire well-ness again with their loved ones around them.
Wilson opened his eyes to the light of a room's large window.
And to his face.
No, not the young, smooth one.
"Hey buddy." The mouth opened and was speaking. "You still with me?"
Wilson answered, knowing it was an illusion created from his mind's overwhelming grief. "No." He mumbled.
"Mmh." A hand lifted each of his eyelids in turn and shone a bright light over them. "Pupils are good. No permanent brain injury we think, you idiot."
That was familiar.
A head and face came together before his aching temple and tired eyes.
Greg...House. House. The other. The older. His House but not his. The one he had known, - god - how long ago now? Year? Two?
"Greg?" Wilson asked the face who could not actually be him, but it was such an nice illusion or hallucination or what-ever-the hell. Death wasn't so bad.
""Greg"?" Illusion House asked. "Now I know you must have been brain injured. You idiot."
Wilson was getting annoyed with the insult. "'M not."
"You stepped in front of a bus! So you're an idiot."
So did you. That penetrating agony of shock and pain as he stood there, frozen, while Greg's body was flipped and split open, bones snapped asunder, finally coming to rest in a growing stain of his own blood, was a sight more horrifying than all the disintegrating cancer patients he'd treated (and watched die) put together and then some. That final image would never leave his mind. He knew that. It was indisputable fact.
The explosion of ache it had caused in his heart-turned-to-stone and severed soul would demand it's special corner of existence inside him forever. And so he could not take his eyes off this man for even a lonely breath of time. House, here in this room, in this time with his face looking down, warm and flushed with life - Wilson had to mentally pinch himself over and over to know it was real.
"You idiot. Witnesses said you acted like you didn't even see it."
Wilson wasn't too pleased with this hallucination. It was too...House for this to be heaven. God had a rotten sense of humor. Wilson shook his head to dispel the irritating illusion that kept calling him names, so he could go back...wherever, and find to a nice quiet, peaceful place to be dead.
"Stop moving! You've got a concussion and a cracked skull - you want to go back into surgery?"
At least it didn't say idiot. "Tired." Wilson managed and the illusion's expression softened. Genuine worry and concern crossed it's worn, handsome features.
"Go to sleep. I'll see you tomorrow."
Wilson nodded slightly and felt himself slipping back into slumber. He wouldn't mind talking to the illusion again, even if it insulted him all the time. Beat the hell out of being alone.
Wilson awoke to voices and a person sitting by his bedside. The hallucination kept insisting on plunking him in this uncomfortable hospital bed and torturing him with the face and voice - and smell - of Gregory House.
God had a nasty streak of sadomasochism in him too.
"Finally." Illusion/Gregory House said as Wilson opened his eyes. Sun shone through the window. He felt...better.
And the man he knew and had known as Gregory House was still there. Sitting beside him, looking at him with those older, lined, features surrounding the same brilliantly blue but worried eyes. Wilson decided to venture a little farther into this nice hallucination. "House?"
House crossed his arms, sighed. "Good to hear you talking."
The voice was perfect. The face was as marvelous as Greg's. Wilson's heart ached. He wanted this House to be real. Wilson reached out and touched the nearest arm belonging to the Greg/house/Illusion. It felt real. Warm and living.
Wilson stared with sleepy, new sight, his own eyes exploring those lined and tired features. The handsome map of House's face was so familiar and eerily, as Wilson traversed each valley and hill, also a stranger's land.
House's irises, half circles gouged out beneath them the color of charcoal, were still as blue as the moon's halo on a foggy night. The white's, though, were shot through with blood worms from many sleepless nights. Laugh, frown and stress cracks all present and accounted for. Perhaps a few new ones.
Wilson thought it possibly the most beautiful sight in all earth and heaven.
House, surprised by the unexpected touch, returned the gesture and lay the back of his left hand against Wilson's forehead. "No fever."
Wilson decided to test the illusion out a little further, being careful not to allow hope to rise too near the surface. "How long was I gone?"
"You were unconscious for nineteen days." House leaned a bit closer, over Wilson's face, looking hard into his eyes. "Scared the shit out of me."
"Well,..." Wilson said wearily, "Now you know how it feels."
All the near-death incidents, the infarction, the gun-shots - nothing House could have prevented. But the knife, the possibly deadly tainted blood,...all self-initiated death risks for hardly a sufficient reason. House stared at his best friend Wilson who he had become convinced, after the fourteenth or fifteenth day, would not wake up. He'd made Cuddy's life hell. He'd cried alone in his apartment when he had accepted that Wilson was lost. This man who he loved more than anyone in the world. Loved dearly. Completely. House set his lips, nodded.
It was as House-ish an apology as Wilson had ever witnessed. "Jeezz..." He whispered. "You're...I don't think you're...an illusion."
"No, I'm no illusion." House took Wilson's limp hand and squeezed his fingers. "Real. See?"
Wilson nodded, just a little, his head was killing him. One more question. "Did you ever own a Kawasaki?"
Weird question, House's face said. His mouth said, "No."
"Didn't think so." Wilson said. "I love your face." He added, but with words slurred from his nineteen day sleep that had carried him too far down for the comfort of those who cared. It had almost cost him his life. That had cost the life of...the one who...had not actually existed. But who he loved none-the-less. This man before him. This irreplaceable man.
House frowned and Wilson saw the concern again. "I'm okay, House." The name felt good on his lips. Trying it on for shape, Wilson said it again silently, wrapping his mouth around it a few times.
"Get some sleep, Wilson - but not too much." House turned to leave the room; give his friend some peace.
"House." Wilson called.
House turned back. "Yeah?"
"I'll see you tomorrow."
Wilson watched his friend and former lover leave the room. He lay there and thought a lot over Gregory House. Both of them. Wilson had thought he knew Greg House. Yes, he'd presumed he'd known all there was to know of Doctor Gregory House, Diagnostician and best friend. For thirteen years, he'd thought he'd known. He would now be behooved to remind himself that thirteen years was only a quarter of House's time on the planet. And ten years less than his beloved Greg -- whomever he had been. In his head, heart or coma, the love he felt for him, the grief too, was still fresh.
A lot can happen in three decades or so. A lot can happen in nineteen days, too, he was quickly learning. A shit load of happen he had not been privy to.
That other House, Greg, his far away lover and friend once visited, was confined to two possible's now. He had either been real, and therefore now buried twenty-five years, or he had been a dream. An intense, wonderful, horrible dream.
Either way, it didn't matter anymore.
Greg House lived. He loved House. Easy numbers. Wilson treasured House's heart and mind, imperfectly gentle things. Cherished the man's heart, so imbedded in flawed affection. Every warped shape of his being was, Wilson realized, rich and irreplaceable. As all are.
The next day House returned, entering the room eating a bowl of cereal. A favorite snack of his, Wilson remembered. Greg had never touched the stuff.
Delightful to hear the crunching so close to his ear. "Enjoying your cereal?"
House nodded. "Cuddy canceled that lecture by the way."
Oh, yeah. THAT thing. In the interim of being sort of dead and sort of not, and having an unforgettable sexual affair with some-House-or-other but sort of not, the lecture had slipped his hallucinating - but sort of not - mind. Wilson felt relieved for House though. "Why?"
House swallowed and took another heaping mouthful before he answered. "Something about the lecturer threatening to show up naked or something. Can't really remember because of her immediate white flag waving. I think it was her bra." He chewed happily. "She didn't want to share such a beautiful sight with the outside world is my take on it."
Insert joke here, Wilson thought. House would like that. "Yes, and we're all emotionally poorer for it." But I remember the sight and what a delightful sight it is.
House chuckled and chewed, laughed with Wilson. Things couldn't get any better than this.
Wilson reached for House's hand and, unsurprisingly (at least to Wilson), House allowed it. Wilson delighted in the customary stiffness of House's willing but dismayed fingers. Ah, there is that House-styled concern, he thought, so terribly desperate not to be noticed. Wilson saw himself reflected in the tiny blacks of House's pupils. Not often had he been this close to him. Not this one.
Wilson's eyes finally gave up the water in them. He didn't worry if he cried in front of House (as he used to worry). He gripped House's hand harder to assure himself there was nothing to cry about. Nothing bad was present.
House looked very concerned now. "Are you - ?"
Wilson shook his head a little so House did not have to finish the words.
Wilson smiled - just a crack - and closed his eyes. Sleep was coming again. A living House sat beside him so sleep might arrive unabated and he could safely go down for a while and come back and House would still be there and be fully real and life-charged, looking at him in his annoyed House-ian way. He'd probably make a sarcastic joke at his expense. It would be nothing if not music. Perfect tunes to live by, Wilson decided. Symphony House. That was more than Wilson had bargained with God for when he watched Greg die.
God came through in the end. But the price had been unconscionable.
Wilson still didn't know what had happened exactly. Frustration at House - this House - and a crazy old man's creepy and ultimately meaningless words, plus hatred of city transit buses plus anger at himself plus...did he really step in front a bus?
Well, he really had a fractured skull. That could lead to bleeding into the meninges, causing pressure build, perhaps inducing misfiring or irregular firing of the synaptic nerves, resulting in long unconscious state with extremely vivid hallucination-nightmare-fantasy.
Good theory. That plus...
...he loved Greg House, his friend. More now than ever. He'd probably been lying in this bed the whole time, while his brain played scary, wonderful, cruel, horrible jokes on him. He'd probably taken House, in a virtual sense, down into the nightmare with him. And House (so very like himself), had transformed into young, vibrant, energetic, sexy Greg and that just maybe saved his sanity. Maybe saved him.
Equally good theory.
But having House back and being back with House was real. He was sure. Pretty sure. House was equal compensation to Greg. House was Greg, and the comparison was even, and just as beautiful from either view. A priceless reward. He could not measure it. "House..." Wilson said.
House's worry came alive in three syllables, "Yeah, Buddy?" House was still holding Wilson's hand.
Buddy. Wilson could feel the concern in House's sweating, shaking fingers. He couldn't wait to later tease House about that!
But he was tired now and squeezed House's hand tightly once more before sleep brought down the lights.
"...I love you too."
Sequel: Forwards, Backwards and Somehow Else.