He'd seen Wilson through the windows before he sent his staff off to poke and prod the patient one more time. From the shadows of his office, he watched the oncologist eating a bowl of cereal. Most people didn't eat cereal standing up.
Red mug in hand, he went out with intent to quiz Wilson about that curiosity, but the words that fell out when he opened his mouth were entirely different. i "She came into the clinic and yelled at me. Then she left. She came back and yelled at me some more." /i He took a sip of his drink, felt the warmth spread into his gut.
i "Huh. Yelling," /i Wilson stated as if revealing a universal truth, i "That might be a clue." /i
House knit his brow in thought. i ."I know what the yelling means. It's the coming and going I find interesting. It's not rational." /i Neither was eating cereal standing up, but House didn't say so just yet.
Despite his personal agenda at the moment, he was noting Wilson's physical responses to what he was saying. The way he shifted slightly, the way he didn't, wouldn't, look directly at House. House's curiosity was peaked, he just had to run Stacy out of his system before he could attack Wilson.
i "Anger's not rational," /i Wilson said plainly. There was a catch in his voice.
House walked to the low wall that divided Diagnostics and Oncology, insatiable blue eyes trained on Wilson. Catching every nuance, right down to the twitch of his left hand.
i "Some anger is, /i he countered, eyes flickering down to Wilson's feet and back up. i She could have pulled me aside, screamed at me privately /i like your wife does."
Wilson's eyes closed, and House knew by the sudden intake of breath that he'd hit a nerve. He set his mug on the wall and tapped his cane on the ground. He wasn't surprised Wilson flinched. Shocked, yes. Surprised, no.
"What are you hiding?"
"I'm not…" Wilson started. House leaned in, staring. Wilson set his bowl down on his patio table. "…hiding anything." His left hand went to the back of his neck.
"You're hiding something," House stated. Wilson's arm dropped to his side and he walked a few steps to the edge of the balcony. "Tell me."
"There's nothing to tell, Greg."
"That cinches it," House pointed, blue eyes wide with endless curiosity. "You never use my first name." He jerked his hand toward Wilson, then sat on the wall that separated them. He turned, leading with his right leg by pulling his pants to lift his foot high enough to get it over the wall.
"Uh, well," Wilson watched him scale the wall. It was a clumsy effort, but he managed. "It is your uh, your name."
"And now you're stuttering!"
He brought his left leg over and eased onto his feet. "See! That's what I'm talking about."
"I didn't ask what's wrong. I asked what you're hiding."
Wilson groaned in protest. He sat down, but stayed at the edge of the wrought iron seat. He tipped his head forward and reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose. But not before House noticed him wince.
"You know I'm going to get it out of you," House said casually as he sat down next to Wilson. He put a hand out to Wilson's arm, and Wilson jerked away from him. Brown eyes flashed, and he looked…vulnerable. House bit back a wave of nausea that came with a realization he didn't want to consider. He took a breath, and kept his eyes centered on Wilson's face. "Why aren't your sleeves rolled up? You always roll your sleeves up when you take the coat off."
"I don't…" He started to protest. His eyes dropped. His left hand twitched. "She started hitting me." He pulled his eyes back up, met House's unwavering, unflinching, unrelenting gaze. His mouth twitched, but he didn't say anything. "About three months ago…"
House blinked. His hand moved, to curl around Wilson's fingers. Wilson looked, stared, at their hands held together, for a long moment, before his eyes flashed up to House's face.
"The first time," brown eyes drifted shut. His lip spasmed. He took a deep breath. "The first time, I just sat there. Let her do it. I thought, if she got her frustrations out, everything would be fine. Or not, not fine, but we could work through everything else." His voice cracked, he opened his eyes, but dropped his head.
House reached up with his other hand to lay his palm against the back of Wilson's head. Wilson instinctively leaned into the touch. He turned and shifted and threw himself forward, onto his knees on the concrete balcony, face in House's lap, nuzzled against his good thigh.
House's hand dropped to Wilson's shoulder. "Come on. Get up. Let's get you inside." He hated that he couldn't do it on his own, couldn't stand and pull Wilson up, subtly guide him into his office.
Arms around Wilson, he guided the oncologist inside, leaving his cane propped against the little iron table. He tugged the door open, ushered Wilson inside and to his couch. He sat, and rubbed his legs. Wilson looked at him, nodded, and eased into his lap.
House leaned his head back, caught a hand in one of his, and used the other to gently stroke his fingers through Wilson's hair. Wilson lay quietly, softly comforted by the feather light caresses and the quiet strength of House's presence.
"I don't want you to do anything, House." His voice was barely a whisper, and House had to lean down to really hear him. "I mean it, Greg. Don't do anything. Don't even talk to her."
"I've never initiated talking to her. Not gonna start now," House murmured. Never mind that his mind was already creating scenarios of confrontation. No need to upset Wilson with that now. "You just rest, James. You're safe with me."
Wilson took a deep breath. House felt him tremble against his legs. His eyes closed, and he sighed, would have rubbed his face if he'd had a hand free, but his hands were where they needed to be. He licked his dry lips, then started humming softly until he was sure Wilson was asleep.
Then, he leant down and kissed Wilson's temple. "You're safe now, James. You're safe."