The first awareness was of sand. In his hair, in his eyes, in his mouth, in places sand should never be allowed to go. He scratched, hands rubbing at his face, long before he was awake.
There was water, waves crashing on a shore. He imagined a warm, tropical beach. A net for volley ball, kids building sandcastles. Kids. That would explain the screaming.
He cracked one eye open. The world was dull, colorless. Looked like a war zone. Burning debris, burnt chunks of metal. People…he could see people in the distance. Running around, sitting, standing. Screaming.
He didn't feel like screaming. He didn't really feel much at all. Kind of like sitting back, watching a horror movie. He closed his eyes, and for a moment there was nothing. Then…it call came rushing back. Images assaulting his mind, tingling of emotions careening through him.
Sydney to Los Angeles. He'd had a bad feeling about the flight. Or maybe just wanted to stay in Oz another day or two. He'd gotten on the plane anyway. Wilson had to be back in Jersey for an Oncology conference.
Blue eyes snapped open, searching. Wilson had been sleeping when the turbulence hit. He'd woken up with a start, brown eyes wide and confused. He'd reached for House's hand without words, and that was the last House remembered, until now. Until waking up in the sand.
He remembered pain searing his leg. He'd felt the resistance in his thigh as the plane started to go down. He'd locked eyes with Wilson, and then, nothing. He must have blacked out, which let his body relax, and probably saved his life.
But what about Wilson?
"Wilson!" he screamed. The word tore at his throat, burned his ears. He struggled against gravity to sit up. His body felt heavy, uncooperative. "Wilson!" he chirped again.
The man who came toward him was not Dr James Wilson. House recognized him from the plane, he'd been a few rows a head of him. House had seen attendants carry him on board, and stash his wheelchair in the back.
"Can you walk?" the man asked. He was bald, with curious eyes.
House looked down at his leg. Could he walk? He honestly didn't know. The sand would be difficult to navigate. Without his cane, it was probably impossible. "I don't know," he admitted, because there was really no point in trying to pretend he wasn't compromised in this situation.
The man nodded, eyes shifting almost imperceptibly to scan the area, looking for something. House had seen him, he'd likely noticed House, and his cane. "I'm John Locke," he said, dipping down so House could get an arm around his shoulder.
"Greg House," House answered, followed by a sharp intake of breath as Locke pulled him to his feet. "I saw you, in the airport."
Locke nodded. "I woke up on the ground, and I could feel my legs. I don't know how or why."
He was standing, and he shifted his weight to his right side, just to see. His leg spasmed, but it didn't balk. Didn't threaten to collapse.
Locke stepped back. House stepped forward.
His foot sank in the colorless sand, but he didn't fall. Didn't pitch forward. Didn't feel like he needed to catch himself.
He glanced back at Locke. Locke smiled back at him.
"Your friend, Wilson? He's over there," Locke pointed to a group of survivors gathered near the shore. "Pulled him from the wreckage. Leg was pinned, but he's alive. Awake, and asking for you."
House was running, then. Running toward Wilson.