Lists, Part 1 (Neurosis by Sleep Deprivation)

Drips, thuds, noise, televisions, loud voices, grinding voices, one-sided conversations, loud music, incessant typing, tapping, saxophone, guitar, clashes, sex, arguments, divorce, sarcasm, quiet, children, coming, going, doors slamming, screaming, room service, maids...

Wilson sunk into the pillow. Tonight's selection: a couple of punks jumping on beds and screeching off their balcony. He wished that he could transpose some of their enthusiasm into himself as he covered his ears; useless. Earplugs helped, but only dulled the noise. He couldn't stand any of it. Couldn't stand the food, the bleached sheets, the intrusions, the disconnecting feeling, the sounds, the loneliness, the boredom, the frustration...

He massaged his temples and went in search of Advil, ibuprofen, or willow bark, whatever. Everything was running into each other. The lists, the litanies, the complaints, and the self critical verbiage; all wouldn't stop, wouldn't clear...

His concentration was waning.

Monotone.

Monochrome.

Mono; one.

One; alone.

He wouldn't touch the sleeping pills. He didn't trust them. And it would be too easy, wouldn't it? It was too similar, too much of a reminder, too much like House, numbing yourself because you start to feel. He was already numb, all he would succeed in doing is becoming unconscious, and that was more frightening. When would this cycle of thoughts end? How long had he been awake?

Call House, he was urged by a demanding voice. Three in the morning; hard to say if House would be awake, he countered. He was conflicting with himself again, he absently noticed. This was getting out of hand. But he was good at doing the automatic if it only involved himself; no one noticed this plummeting moral. Did House notice? How could he? He was busy faking brain cancer.

That incident had been the only emergence from his own suppressed and ignored thoughts, emotions, mannerisms, idiosyncrasies...He'd at least felt something, and even though it was disgust, disbelief, relief, anger, utter bafflement; he'd been thankful to feel it.

Wake up, wake up.

He lifted the receiver, dialled House's number. How many times had House woken him up at obscene hours? It was time to return the favour. He waited, the ringing on the other end grinding at his temples.

"What?" House barked, clearly having just woken up. Wilson froze. What did he call for? No words came to mind. House's anger didn't sting.

"Who the hell is this?"

Still feeling no sting, phone clicking onto receiver, dial tone, fingers dialling the familiar number again; no answer. He's probably pulled the cord clean out of the wall. Wilson wished that he wouldn't do that and considered calling House's cell but halfway through dialling decided that seeing as he still had a key, he'd appear, intrude, invade...leave this place. He couldn't comprehend a reason for coming over so late to offer to House when he got there. Maybe he didn't need one.

He'd never been more comfortable on the couch. Smells like House, smells like leather, smells like alcohol on the table, smells hospitable; feels like home, feels like it's proper, feels like how it's supposed to; sounds like the breathing of another person. The lists died quickly. The sleep came once they were silenced.