A/N: The dates will be the death of me on this one – after some research, I have discovered that Wilson and House are 10 years apart. HouseWiki says Wilson and House met in '91 at the conference, but that would make Wilson 23 at the time, which makes 0 sense because he evidently graduated medical school at about the same time most undergrads finish their bachelor's. So ignore the ages and the dates for the most part; assume they met in '91 and Wilson was an acceptable age to be married, divorced, and a med school graduate. This also screws up the dates as to when Wilson became head of oncology and House was hired, etc, etc; please just ignore it all for me
This concept started off as a first chapter to a story I'm planning on writing titled Six, about the sixth time that Wilson witnesses House truly laugh, though that one doesn't have a happy outcome. I wanted to elaborate, thus: this. Some of the chapters may be short, some may be long… depends on the memory. Enjoy!
Note: Riverside Park is present-day Six Flags New England.
Monday, May 31, 1993
"You've never been on a rollercoaster," Wilson said monotonously, raising a single eyebrow in disbelief at House. It was Memorial Day, it was Massachusetts, it was Cape traffic backed all the way up to the Mass Pike, and it was humid. So humid, in fact, that House was hanging out the passenger-side backseat window, his tongue lolling as if he were a disgruntled schnauzer.
"Nope," House yelled across the turnpike. An old couple in the car next to them looked over, unamused. He began to moo. Stacy turned back from her place in the passenger seat, sending a death glare his way. House shrugged. "They're sending us to the slaughterhouse, you know," he said. Stacy rolled her eyes and cast a look at Bonnie, Wilson's second wife, who simply laughed as she changed lanes.
"They don't even sell burgers here," she said. "I think we're safe."
The men had known each other for almost a year and were still learning new things about each other, though House never failed to surprise him. A rollercoaster, as far as Wilson was concerned, was something everyone had experienced by the time they were twenty-five, let alone thirty-three.
"I thought you lived here," House called to Bonnie, his head still out the window. Now a family of four had their eyes on him, probably under the impression he had some sort of mental illness or retardation. Without thinking, he screwed up his face and stuck his tongue out.
"I did my undergrad at UMass," Bonnie responded.
"So why are we still on the turnpike?" he called back. "We should've gotten off at the last exit."
Silence. Then: anger.
"You knew how to get here?" Wilson asked incredulously. "You knew we missed the exit and you didn't say anything?"
Stacy's voice clipped the end of Wilson's statement, their voices overlapping in an ugly clash of tone. "We've been sitting in this traffic for an hour, Greg!" Stacy howled, dumping her head into her hands.
"Jesus, James," Bonnie growled over Stacy's voice, turning back to glare at her husband for a brief moment. "Give me a break, will you? It's been a few years since I frequented Western Massachusetts, alright?"
"Get off here," House instructed, pointing to a sign that said Route 20. "We'll take the back roads."
"How do you know the back roads?" Stacy demanded.
House shrugged. "It must be my animal instincts," he ruminated, and mooed again.
Bonnie did as she was told, and shaved another hour off their ride by doing so. The traffic was almost as thick as the air, and they'd been in the car for at least three hours. Memories of the open beach and rolling waves of their vacation were almost tangible in the confines of Wilson's '89 Volkswagen Jetta as they headed inland.
When they arrived at Riverside Park, House leapt from the car as if he'd been kidnapped, running in circles for a few moments and shaking his legs out. "Next time we're going to be trapped in a nonmoving vehicle for that long, sedate me," he said, jogging by Wilson.
They entered the gates of the park and newfound aggravation settled over the group, as Memorial Day weekend obviously hadn't been the best choice of times to attend an amusement park, let alone the entire state of Massachusetts. Stacy and Bonnie, though, still seemed excited, and tugged at the hands of their partners as they walked toward the largest rollercoaster in sight, titled Black Widow.
Wilson turned to House, expecting to see a look of disdain that mirrored his own. Instead, he saw something akin to a small child setting out cookies on Christmas Eve. Wilson searched for the word
"Hey," Wilson said, expecting to jar House from his reverie. Instead, House turned to face him, the mixture of fear and awe still plastered across his Caribbean Sea eyes.
"This thing's massive," House said quietly, giving the ride a quick up-down. He turned back to Wilson. "How on earth is this architecturally sound?"
Wilson laughed as if it were a rhetorical question.
He tried to mask his cackle with a violent cough. "I… usually leave that up to the experts," Wilson responded carefully, trying not to be too insensitive to his friend's obvious fear. "You know… leave the engineering to the engineers, the doctoring to the doctors."
"I took an oath to do no harm. This is practically asking for suicide."
Wilson raised an eyebrow and looked toward the ladies for help. They were at the point of no return – their conversation had entered the land of preferred moisturizers and makeup brands. He sighed heavily and clapped House on the back a couple of times. "I spent almost the entirety of my summers on the Zipper. If I can survive that, you can survive this expertly designed amusement park ride." House's face was blank. Wilson paused. "You don't know what the Zipper is? It's when they lock you into a cage and it rolls around on a vertical conveyor belt and flips you around." House looked terrified. Wilson nodded. "That is asking for suicide. They should make you sign a waiver before you get on that thing."
House stared absently at Wilson. "And this is your way of trying to convince me to get on that." He stabbed the air above him, pointing to the towering death machine above him.
They were next in line. House wavered, stepping back as the ride attendant urged them forward.
"House," Wilson called sternly over his shoulder, "don't be a pussy!"
The older man considered this, and then smiled and followed them into the car.
The car was fairly small, with only four seats: two up front and two in the back. Wilson and Bonnie took the front, and House settled in the seat behind Wilson, Stacy at his side. "Are you okay?" she asked lowly, her voice serious. House nodded.
"What, do you think I'm a pussy?" he asked loudly. Wilson shook his head in dismay in front of them.
The lap bar came down and House grabbed the handles in horror as the ride jerked to a start, pulling them up a giant hill. Wilson made mundane conversation with Bonnie. House did not understand the normalcy of it all – was it not human nature to prepare for certain death when you put yourself in a highly unnatural situation?
When he blinked, he was at the top of the hill. A split second later, a murderous cry was ripping through the lighthearted air. They were accelerating, faster, faster, and the ridiculousness of it all struck House in one beautiful moment as they neared the next hill.
As they careened down that one, he laughed harder than he had in years, nearly breaking his neck as he tossed his chin into the air.
Wilson, mid-ride, cocked his head to one side and froze. His senses appeared to be in overdrive – he could smell the evergreen trees and hear the rush of the river off in the distance. Bonnie was screaming elatedly next to him, Stacy was giggling. But directly behind him, Gregory House was howling with laughter.
Wilson turned around, one eyebrow raised, as the ride careened over another hill. He met House's gaze and felt a smile creep onto his lips.
"This is fucking awesome!" House managed between cackles. And Wilson turned around and laughed, throwing his hands in the air as they descended back toward the earth.