Brandy-Coated Whispers

Swirling the heavy glass in his hands, Wilson watched through foggy eyes as the rich amber liquid sloshed around. Sliding in and out of focus, the oncologist's normally warm irises studied the alcohol. Coating the inner curve of the crystal before pooling at the bottom once again, the drink made him safe.

Sitting at the end of the bar, he'd tired to stay as far away from the smokers as possible. It was a foolish hope, and he knew it, but… he didn't care. Normally he wouldn't have cared. But for some reason, tonight, James Wilson couldn't handle it. Tonight, he felt that, if he were able to avoid the nicotine haze, he wouldn't be quite as pathetic as the regulars who frequented the bar to drown their sorrows.

Sipping from the glass, Wilson could feel the smoke seeping into his coat and hair. Could feel it dragging him deeper into his despair.

His day hadn't really been all that different from normal. House had insulted Chase once again, and Wilson had played his part. He'd talked to the Australian, tried to tell him how to deal with the diagnostician. Wilson had had this same talk with the younger doctor so many times before that he was running out of ways to re-phrase his advice. It was ridiculous really. Chase had been working in surgery for a month now, and House was still able to get under his skin.

When he'd confronted House about the abuse later in the day, the older man hadn't been any worse than normal. His remarks about the young Australian had been cutting and sadly, accurate. Their conversation had turned into an assailment of his own character and his need to help (in House's words, coddle) others.

It was nothing out of the ordinary, and really, James was used to it by now. But for some reason, House's insults cut deeper than normal today.

Downing the last of the brandy, Wilson stared at the empty glass, mourning the absence of the alcohol. Hailing the bartender for a third time, James waved the glass in the air, signaling for another drink.

Waiting for the refill, Wilson stared at his hands. As the alcohol began to work its wicked magic on his bloodstream, he couldn't stop his thoughts from straying to the pill bottle in his jacket pocket. Deep down, the man knew better than to mix meds with alcohol. But it had been hours since he had last taken the anti-depressants and so he figured that he should be fine. If not, Princeton-Plainsboro was near by. They'd know what to do.

Placing the fresh drink on the counter with a clunk, the bartender walked away. Not bothering to ask Wilson about his problems, the man went to flirt with the pretty redhead at the other end of the bar. It seemed appropriate that he should be left alone, the fresh drink his only companion.

Trying to block out the sounds around him, the oncologist tried to ignore the happy chatter of the girls behind him and the low rumbling voice of a man trying to seduce some young woman at the bar. Relishing the burn of the alcohol as it slid down his throat, James couldn't help but find the scene ironic. He'd always found bars to be depressing places, but it seemed like he was the only one there who was depressed.

Sinking lower onto the stool, Wilson rubbed sleepily at his eyes, hoping to stop the burning that could only be from the smoky atmosphere. Opening his mouth in a wide yawn that he didn't bother hiding, James squeezed his eyes shut against the smoky bar. The man only half noticed as the words that had been twisting through his thoughts all day, fell from his lips.

The brandy-coated whispers slipped into the noisy chorus of drunken chatter, and only those who knew James Wilson would have picked up on his soft voice.

"Just… just one person." The end of his sentence dragged on longer than it should have, not yet a slur but not totally clear either. "One person who would be there for me. Not treat me like… like…" Left unfinished, the thought trailed off as a distinctive limping rang out behind him.

Brushing off the sound as a trick of the alcohol's magic, Wilson swirled the amber liquid around the glass, trying desperately to keep his eyes open.

"Is that really too much to ask?" Slipping into a soft slur, James downed the rest of the drink, wondering whether or not to order a fourth.

Placing the empty glass on the table, the oncologist shook his head, speaking once again to everyone and no one. "Just a friend who really cares about me."

Wilson knew that House cared about him. He may never show it, but when things got really bad, he'd always managed to come through with some gesture or other. Never anything big, but it had always been enough. However, James Wilson never once let himself believe that House wouldn't let him down eventually. That was a luxury that he refused to afford himself even if it meant that their friendship was tainted with doubt.

Despite the fact that he knew his best friend cared, he couldn't crush the teeny part of himself that housed his many doubts. For the most part, he could keep the little voice quiet but on days like this…

The voiced would stop at nothing to be heard.

Sinking into his woe, Wilson sighed deeply as everyone and everything around him started to blur and twist in an intoxicating mixture of color and sound. He didn't need another drink, and he didn't want one either. The damage had been done.

The hand that gripped his shoulder felt like the by-product of his brandy-infused dreams. But the gruff voice that followed was more real than the alcohol that was still burning his throat. "Come on. I'll throw a pillow on the couch for you."

Through the smoky haze, Wilson could just make out the face of his best friend. It didn't matter what the other man said or did, because he would always make up for it in the end.

Squeeka Cuomo's Chart

- Originally written for the lj community Wilson Fest (Prompt: Wilson's drunken confessions.).

- Also written for the lj community alphabetasoup (L is for Lethargic).

- Katie, thank you so much. You are amazing. Thank you so much.