Title: The Inside
Author: sy dedalus
Pairing: House/Wilson established relationship
Rating: T for suggested adult content
Spoilers: none
Summary: This story picks up where another of mine, Judging Distance, leaves off, this time taking House's perspective. Knowledge of the prior fic is necessary; this one won't make any sense otherwise. Warning: first attempt at writing first-person.

Disclaimer: Characters don't belong to me, etc.

The technique for this fic will be stream-of-consciousness. It's highly associative and thus often confusing. Everything House refers to has already taken place in "Judging Distance," though this fic picks up where that one left off. Quick note: House uses the word 'it' very often; 'it' sometimes means his leg. I've tried to be as clear as possible without compromising the method. Finally, the chapter title is composed of lines from Theodore Roethke's poem "The Waking."

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.

When I wake up, it's sudden like it usually is, and I have to go. He's still under me. Asleep I presume. But bacteria will wait for no man.

He's a bony pillow, I realize as I pull myself up using the couch. Drugs have me dizzy, like falling backward without the prospect of ever landing. My hand searches for the cane but I have no idea where it is, and it doesn't matter because if I don't get up now, he's going to be cleaning up a mess.

I hop-skip to the bathroom. Probably that wakes him, but I'm not in a position to care.

No regrets. I knew after two bites that it was undercooked but I was hungry and I'd do the same thing again.

But still I hate this. I don't want it. I know he's disappointed. I know he had something planned. But some part of me feels better like this than if I were fine and we were indulging. Because we didn't get it in time. I didn't get it. I still don't know what killed that kid.

I rub my gut. Kid's dad left me a few bruises there. They make me feel better too. Just a little sore, not dead like that kid, but it's something. Wilson would call me a masochist if he knew.

Stinks. But stink is diagnostic. It's a normal stink. Means still probably Salmonella. Whoopee. I'm thrilled.

And the consistency, also diagnostic. Still probably Salmonella. Still gonna get me up again and again. For all the cramps and all the urgency, not a lot comes out each time. Even with the enema, six days is a long time to fill a long intestine.

I press my side. Hernia's still in place. He was pissed about that. But he doesn't need to know everything and I had it under control. No sense in arguing.

I clean myself and flush it to hell. Already gone through a roll and a half of toilet paper. Funny. Of all the things, he moved the t.p. first when he got here. He's a bony pillow. But I'll live. Could really use a beer, though.

Need the cane, I realize in earnest once my hands are clean. Shaking again. Dizzy. Two Vicodin finally down, finally working and I feel all of them and they feel great. It's quiet now—really quiet for the first time in hours. I can sleep more deeply now that it's quiet. But I'm weak from all the fluid loss. I've got to get somewhere other than the floor first.

Door frames, walls, quick, lop-sided steps between them. I think he's still asleep. I'll take the bed. It's closer.

He didn't move the furniture in here. He knows I have it arranged as it is for a reason.

My hands take the familiar steps.

Now that it's quiet, the nerves especially, they're always the worst—now that it's quiet, my stomach feels hollow. Wish he was up. He'd bring me a drink. I've gotta sleep some of this off first to get steady again. I can tolerate it now, need to push fluids. He'll bring it when he gets up. Sometimes he's very useful.

I go to his side of the bed. It's closer to the door. Not that it matters right now. He washed the sheets. Both sides smell the same. None of the smell of his scalp on his pillow. It's a good smell. Wish he hadn't washed them, but glad I don't have to smell my own shedded skin and sleep-sweat on my side for a while.

It's faint but I can smell him on this side. He slept here last night. Didn't make the bed today. I wrestle with the sheets—then that first sweet moment when my skeleton can rest.

I pull my knees up, helps the cramping. He could've brought something for that. He wanted it so badly this morning, and again just now. No idea what he was trying to tell me. He knew I'd feel it.

He's been very quiet today for him. Not hovering like he does. Didn't think he'd ever learn. Could be mad about the hernia. I feel my side again; it's still fine.

The couch is comfortable but the bed is better, even if I don't sleep as well in the bed. It's better on the bones. And here I can have him next to me sometimes. He's a restful sleeper, same place in the morning as he was when we go to bed. He says it doesn't bother him, the way I toss and kick. Stacy always tossed and kicked back or banished me to the couch. Maybe because he's older now. Maybe it's just who he is. The vampire, the dog.

But I know that he… Whatever that word means, love. I like him next to me. Here when I come home. Beer at night with TV. Dinner better than I can make. Sex. He's patient. I'm inconsistent. Bonnie was right. He's an attentive partner. I know I give him what he needs most of the time, but I'm not always sure when it comes to... I hope it's enough. I try but more and more it's out of my hands.

I'd be useless today with or without bacteria.

I don't want to think any more.

I'm still drug-sleepy. I close my eyes. It's enough, and I can feel it coming, the sensation of falling backward forever.