Prompt: Someone knocks out two of Wilson's teeth.
A/N: Written for sickwilson_fest on LJ. Spoilers for anything up to 6.10 "Wilson". Thanks to rslworks for the awesome beta!
Disclaimer: I don't own them. *sigh*
James Wilson stepped out into the crisp, December air and smiled up at the full moon. The freshly fallen snow muffled the usual hustle and bustle sounds of the city and he was content to simply enjoy the fleeting moment of peace.
"Sometime tonight would be nice, Wilson!"
He closed his eyes as his best friend's voice broke the quiet of the evening. "Alright already," he called over his shoulder in the direction of the warm, noisy pub and the doorway where House stood. "Keep your pants on."
"That's not what you said the other night!"
Wilson shook his head and began the lonesome two-block trek to his car. He understood his friend's leg ached in this kind of cold, but really… he had somehow been able to walk the two blocks to the pub. What was the big deal about the two blocks back, especially with the added numbing sensation of alcohol in his system? Then again, if House had agreed to accompany him, it would have been just their luck that his cane would have slipped on a patch of ice and Wilson still would have been the only one walking, but with the additional weight of another person.
He rounded the first corner toward his destination and could picture House grinning, settling at the bar and ordering one more drink for the road on Wilson's tab. Sometimes life just wasn't fair.
A soft rustling noise to his right drew his attention and he peered down the cluttered alley he was passing. All he could make out in the soft moonlight were rows of dumpsters, empty boxes, and other bits of refuse. Dismissing the noise as either the wind or a rodent on the hunt for food, Wilson hurried on.
He reached the next corner and turned right, wincing as the wind began gusting directly into his face, making his eyes water. He squinted against the biting cold and could just make out his silver Volvo a few feet ahead. He quickened his step again, ignoring the sounds of stray papers and plastic bags rattling past him in the gusty breeze. He was a mere foot from his sanctuary when a noise rose above the rest.
"Stop right there!"
Startled, Wilson whirled around and saw a tall, bulky man in a tattered wool overcoat and black knit cap emerging from a recessed doorway. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up and he very slowly took a step backward.
"I said stop!"
The attacker raised his right hand and Wilson's mouth went dry as he found himself staring down the barrel of a very large gun. Without conscious thought he raised his hands, palms up, and tried to remain calm.
"Give me your keys."
A million thoughts raced through Wilson's mind. Should he comply? Should he try to run? Should he make a move for the gun? What would he do with it if he got it? He certainly didn't have the frame of mind to use it.
The gunman took a menacing step forward. "I'm not asking again!"
Wilson reached a shaking hand into his coat pocket and wrapped his fingers around his keys, his thumb brushing against the panic button on his key ring. Should he?
"Don't even think about it," the other man growled.
Of course, he would be robbed by the Amazing Kreskin.
Wilson pulled the key ring from his pocket and held it out to his assailant, gritting his teeth with the effort to still his trembling hand. No need to show his fear if he could help it.
The bulky man snatched the keys away and shoved Wilson so that he went sprawling backwards, crashing into the trunk of his car. "Wallet, too!"
Wilson nodded, his eyes drawn to the gun that seemed to be looming much closer than before. He kept telling himself that everything would be okay if he did everything his attacker said.
He really hoped he wasn't lying to himself.
House cursed under his breath as his cane slid on a patch of ice and he barely managed to remain upright by grabbing the nearest parking meter. He took a moment to straighten his jacket and to tie Wilson's wool-lined cap tighter around his head. Although he'd teased him mercilessly about how dorky the earflaps looked, House was currently enjoying his friend's pragmatism-over-fashion sense of style. Deciding he was as bundled up as he could be, House began walking again, this time keeping a better eye out for any more malevolent patches of ice.
The farther he walked from the pub, the colder and angrier he grew. How could Wilson be so inconsiderate as to make him hike two blocks through snow and ice? He knew how bad the cold made his leg ache and how tricky it was to navigate icy sidewalks and streets with his cane. Sure he'd said he be right back with the car, but House had downed a drink and been forced listened to the drunk next to him regale him with his life's story. That should have been enough time for a turtle hauling a semi to get back to the pub. He wearily leaned against a street lamp and tried to breathe through the screaming pain in his leg. When he finally made it to the damn car, Wilson had better have a good reason for taking his sweet time. Otherwise, there was going to be hell to pay.
House pushed off from his resting spot and rounded the next corner. He looked down the street and frowned as he saw Wilson pressed up against his Volvo with another man – possibly Popeye's long-lost relative – in his face. Neither of the two looked in his direction so House quietly shuffled closer, shifting his grip on his cane in case he needed to use it as a weapon. The closer he came, the more frightening the situation appeared, especially when he was finally able to see the gun in Popeye's hand. He quickened his awkward pace until he was just coming into striking distance. He heard Wilson's attacker say something about a wallet and decided he'd better act fast.
With his loudest voice, House shouted, "Hey, Wilson! What's taking so long?"
Popeye whirled around, but his gun never wavered from Wilson's face. His lip curled in a sneer as he saw the cane and came to the conclusion that a cripple posed no threat to him. "Back off, old man. This ain't got nothing to do with you."
"Actually it does," House countered as he surreptitiously tried to gauge Wilson's current state. The moonlight highlighted his friend's pale features and he could just make out the fine tremors plaguing the oncologist's hands. "You see, that's my chauffeur you're trying to rob."
"House," Wilson whispered pleadingly, terror obvious in his brown eyes. "He's got a gun."
"Why yes, Wilson, I realize that. However that's no reason I shouldn't be on my way home to get nice and warm."
"Last time I'm warning you, old man. Get out of here."
House desperately wanted the man to stop pointing his gun at his best friend. Sure, the oncologist could be annoying but even at the peak of giving his most self-righteous lecture Wilson didn't deserve to be shot. If anyone was going to dish out pain, it should be a certain cranky cripple and not some random thug. This was how House rationalized the overwhelming surge of protectiveness he felt coursing through his veins. If he could just get Popeye to point that gun somewhere else, he'd beat him senseless with his cane. Maybe a good insult would do it. "All those years of steroids rot your brain, big boy? I said I'm not leaving without my driver and my car."
Popeye growled as he swung his gun away from Wilson and took a step toward House. "I warned you!"
Having gotten the opening he'd been waiting for, House ignored Wilson's shout and jabbed the end of his cane directly into the gunman's solar plexus. He followed it up with a wicked swing into the man's shin, smiling at the loud crack he heard. He pulled back to deliver a final blow but his foot hit a patch of ice and he went crashing to the ground. The hard landing stunned him but Wilson's cry of pain was enough to spur him back into action. He rolled over and saw his friend lying on the ground, curled on his side and clutching his face. Popeye was nowhere to be seen, but the keys to the Volvo now rested by Wilson's feet.
House crawled over to his friend, making sure to pocket the keys along the way. He placed a gentle hand on Wilson's shoulder, frowning as his friend flinched away from the contact. "It's okay, Wilson. He's gone."
"Unless he found an invisibility cloak somewhere, then yeah, I'm sure." He gently squeezed the trembling shoulder beneath his hand. "Sit up so I can check you out."
"Okay," Wilson panted, still riding an adrenaline high. "But I'm keeping my pants on."
"First time you've ever said that," House snorted as he helped his friend lean against the car. He scowled as he took in the amount of blood and bruising on his friend's face. Popeye better hope their paths never crossed again.
"Um, that's a lot of blood," Wilson paled as he stared down at his hands.
"Duh. Facial injuries bleed a lot. What did he do to you, exactly?"
Wilson's brown eyes clouded for a moment. If possible he paled even more. "He hit me in the mouth with his gun."
"Well at least he didn't shoot you with it. Trust me, that hurts like a bitch." The diagnostician glanced down at Wilson's rumpled and stained coat and pants. "He hit you anywhere else?"
"I don't think so." Wilson shook his head to clear it. "It all happened so fast…"
"It's over now," House gently reminded his injured friend as he carefully tilted the younger man's head so that the moonlight lit up his face. "Open your mouth." His patient obeyed, revealing a large gap in the upper row of his teeth. "Crap."
"Hold still," House commanded as he felt along the cold asphalt and dirty snow surrounding them.
"What is it? What are you doing?" A renewed surge of fear was creeping into Wilson's voice.
"Nothing, just hold still." No way he was going to tell his image-conscious friend that his two front teeth had been knocked out until he found them. At least then there would be a chance they could be reimplanted. On the last snowdrift within reach, his fingers brushed across the smooth enameled surface of one tooth and then a second one next to it. He gave a triumphant shout as he carefully plucked the teeth off the ground, making sure that he only touched the crowns and not the roots.
"Aha what?" Wilson demanded.
"I didn't want to tell you before I found them."
"These." House held up his hand, revealing the two bloody incisors grasped between his fingers and thumb.
"Oh, God," Wilson groaned. "I don't suppose those were his?"
House rolled his eyes. "Sure. And it's just a coincidence that blood is gushing from your mouth. You still keep your patented James Wilson's Emergency I-Can-Survive-Anything Kit in your trunk?"
Wilson scowled, obviously a little miffed about the last time he'd been forced to reveal his kit to House.
"I'll take that as a yes." House grabbed Wilson's left wrist with one hand and held out his teeth with the other. "Hold these for a second, and make sure all you touch is the crown. Whatever you do, don't touch the roots. Got it?" Wilson nodded and nervously held his teeth while House opened the car trunk and rummaged through the contents. He grabbed a handful of gauze and a bottle of water. He knelt next to Wilson and pushed the bottle into his right hand. "Rinse. And don't you dare spit out all that blood anywhere near my shoes." Once his friend had obeyed, House smiled darkly. "Okay, now comes the unpleasant part."
Wilson glared at him. "As opposed to the rest of this lovely night?"
"Oh yeah. Put the teeth in your mouth and gently suck them clean."
House rolled his eyes. "You want your two front teeth for Christmas? Sorry, Hanukkah? Put them in there and suck."
Wilson hesitantly obeyed, wincing at the taste.
House rolled his eyes. "Don't be such a baby. And make sure you don't use your tongue."
"First time you've ever said that," Wilson echoed House's jab from earlier.
House rolled his eyes. "You can damage the roots if you're not careful. Think they're clean now?"
"I feel like I just swallowed half the street so I would say yes."
"Okay, move the teeth so that they're resting between your bottom lip and your gum." House handed his friend the gauze pads. "Press this against the sockets and bite down. The pressure should help the bleeding."
Wilson followed House's directions and peered up at his friend with a 'what now?' expression on his face.
"Give me your iPhone."
"I'd rather give you my thanks," the younger man mumbled through the gauze.
"Idiot. I need to find the closest emergency dentist." Wilson handed it over and House quickly found a listing for the nearest location. "Great," he muttered. He knew the teeth needed to be reimplanted within sixty minutes for Wilson to have the best chance to keep his them. Unfortunately the dental office was a little over an hour away and he had no idea how long it had been since the teeth had been knocked out.
"What's wrong?" House studied his friend's battered face and saw the panic swirling in the usually calm brown eyes. "House! Tell me what's wrong."
House ignored Wilson's request as he beamed down at his friend with his most mischievous smile. He jerked his head in the direction of the Volvo. "So, how fast do you think this thing can go?"
Wilson reclined in the dentist's chair and marveled at how relaxed he was. Oh sure, the local anesthesia and nitrous gas pumping from the mask over his nose were helping, but he was positive the real relief was due to the fact that he was no longer breaking the speed of sound while his Volvo squeezed through impossibly small spaces. After that harrowing trip he was sure that even sitting in the electric chair would be relaxing.
"Good news, Doctor Wilson," the oral surgeon, Doctor Conrad, greeted him as he entered the room and placed a set of x-rays on the light box. "X-rays show no damage to any of your bone structure and no significant damage to your sockets."
Wilson breathed a sigh of relief which somehow morphed into a small giggle. God, he hated nitrous.
Conrad perched on a stool and looked at the container of doxycycline in which his patient's teeth were now soaking. "You should thank your friend for his quick thinking. Keeping avulsed teeth from drying out is key to successful reimplantation."
Like House would ever let him forget to be thankful. But he nodded in agreement anyway and winced as another giggle slipped out.
The surgeon chuckled. "I see the nitrous has started to kick in." He palpated his patient's upper lip and cheeks. "Feeling numb?"
A nod and a giggle.
Conrad placed a warm hand on Wilson's shoulder. "Good. I'll be back in just a few minutes and we'll get started."
Wilson tried to give him a thumbs up but his hand seemed to weigh a ton. He sighed in frustration and groaned inwardly as yet another giggle popped out. He really hated nitrous. At least House wasn't back here with him, because he was sure he would never hear the end-
"Glad you find this night so amusing."
Of course House would find his way back to the exam room. So Wilson did what any frustrated, drugged patient in his situation would do: he giggled.
The older doctor moved into his line of sight and Wilson found himself staring up at a pair of highly amused blue eyes. "True friends share their drugs."
"Just one little sniff."
"Go 'way, 'ouse."
"My, aren't we being selfish."
"Okay, Jimmy, I'll leave."
Wilson nodded thankfully and closed his eyes.
Oh no! He quickly checked his pockets but discovered they were empty. Opening his eyes, he was greeted by the sight of House waving his iPhone at him.
"I hope you have a text messaging plan on this baby because everyone in your address book is about to get a copy of this picture." The older man patted his shoulder before he limped from the room, whistling 'All I Want for Christmas' down the hallway.
"I'm not hungry," Wilson repeated for the third time from his supine position on the couch.
"You need something in your stomach with the antibiotics," House insisted.
"I don't feel like cooking." He draped an arm over his eyes and hoped his friend would take the hint that the conversation was over.
The older man sighed and rolled his eyes. "I'm offering to make you food. Are you really going to pass that up?"
Wilson peeked out from under his arm. "You? Cook? For me? Did I miss the part where the surgeon said I was dying?"
"Hey, I have cooked for you before."
"No, not for me. You cooked because you wanted a new obsession to help you get over Vicodin."
"I don't remember you complaining about the reason when I took up cooking. Oh wait, maybe it was hard to do since you were so busy scarfing all of it down."
Wilson groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm sorry, okay? It's just… it's been a long night, I'm in pain, and I'm tired." When House's demanding gaze didn't falter, he threw up his hands in submission. "Okay, fine. Why don't you surprise me with something?"
"You're impossible," House growled, but his tone lacked any anger. He tossed a bottle of ibuprofen to Wilson.
"I already took some."
"You just said you were in pain."
"It's not that bad."
Blue eyes narrowed threateningly. "You're not playing masochistic martyr on my watch. Take the pills."
Wilson popped two more pills in his mouth and washed them down with the glass of water House had brought him earlier. Seemingly satisfied, the older doctor disappeared into the kitchen, but an air of tension still hung in the room. House had demanded Doctor Conrad write a script for painkillers, but Wilson had adamantly refused. There was no way he was going to bring temptation into their home, not when House had been doing so well overcoming his addiction. His friend had called him moron, idiot, stupid, and imbecile, but no name-calling or level of pain would make him jeopardize the other man's health.
Sighing, he closed his eyes and was lulled to sleep by the sounds of his friend moving about in the kitchen.
It was cold and silent. Wilson was alone, his heartbeat racing in his ears. Only he wasn't alone. There was a snake – big, shiny, and lethal – staring him in the face. Its mouth opened and moonlight glinted off two large, intimidating fangs. Wilson was transfixed by the creature; helpless to move as he stared certain death in the face. A strange hissing sound filled the silence, growing louder and louder until Wilson thought his eardrums would rupture. Then he another sound, familiar and comforting, representing safety.
House! House was here! He would know what to do.
The snake tensed, debating which target it should strike. Wilson's sense of relief turned to panic. What if the snake struck House? He couldn't live with himself if he let that happen. "No!" he yelled as he tried to grab the snake's head, nearly crying in frustration as the animal's slick scales slid through his hand. "House!" he yelled in warning.
The snake was wrapped around the other man now; it's head raised and fangs bared.
"House!" Wilson wanted to run but his feet were rooted to the spot. "No!"
The snake plunged its fangs into House's neck, sending blood running down his shirt. "Wilson!" the other man called out with his dying breath. "Wilson!"
"No," the oncologist moaned.
"Wilson! Wake up, damn it!"
Brown eyes shot open and immediately winced at the bright light being directed at them. He raised his hands and tried to bat away the source of his discomfort, but a strong hand forced them down.
"Hold still," a harsh voice commanded as a penlight continued to assault his vision.
Wilson meekly nodded and worked on slowing his breathing and heart rate.
The light disappeared. "You with me now?"
The voice definitely sounded like House's but Wilson couldn't remember having ever heard so much gentleness and concern in his friend's voice. "Yeah, I'm okay now."
The other man snorted and Wilson found the mocking sound to be almost more comforting than the tenderness he'd just heard. "I wouldn't say okay, but at least you're awake. You wouldn't respond to anything for a minute there."
"I was dreaming," the younger man whispered.
"Sorry if I intruded on anything between you and Carmen Electra." The worry had vanished from House's tone and his eyes twinkled with mirth.
The oncologist smiled wearily. "Nah, not my type. Besides, I have a headache tonight."
Was that sympathy he heard now? He was pretty sure distorted reality wasn't a side effect of the ibuprofen or antibiotics. "You didn't…" His hand fluttered in the air. "…slip anything extra in with my meds?"
"Nope. I hate to break it to you, but you're always this dopey. Apparently drugs make you sober enough to realize it. How's that for irony?"
Wilson grinned and sniffed as a smell wafted his way. "Mmm, that smells good."
"My steak dinner? Yes, it does."
"Even you wouldn't eat a steak dinner in front of an injured man."
"I would, but I'm not." Wilson sat up as House retreated to the kitchen and returned with a mug of the delicious-smelling concoction. "Enjoy."
Wilson peered into the vessel and he chuckled. "Chicken and stars, my favorite."
House handed him a spoon and a napkin as he plopped on the couch. Wilson smiled his thanks as he started in on the soup, savoring each bit. When he was finished he set the mug on the coffee table gently blotted his swollen lip with the napkin. The man beside him shifted, causing Wilson to glance in his direction. Brilliant blue eyes were zeroed in on his face.
"What was the nightmare about?"
"Sex dreams are now classified as nightmares?"
"If Cuddy's involved," House contended.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Well I do."
Wilson raised his eyebrows in disbelief. "Since when?"
"Since my best friend stared death in the face tonight."
Brown eyes widened but their owner remained silent.
"I've been there, remember?"
"Yeah," Wilson replied hoarsely as he licked his bottom lip. He'd never forget that incident.
"I was… scared."
"That's it? No other emotions? No big epiphany?"
Wilson broke his gaze away from the older man's piercing blue eyes. "What do you want to hear?"
"You were afraid he would shoot me."
"Is that a question or a statement?"
"I was…" House paused and looked at the ceiling. "I was afraid he was going to shoot you."
Wilson jerked his head up, and was floored by the anguished look on his friend's face.
"I was telling you the truth before. If you die, I'm alone." He paused again and Wilson could see the maelstrom of emotions on his face. "If I'm alone… I don't want to be alone." He lowered his gaze to meet Wilson's. "I can't do it alone."
"That's why you were provoking him," the oncologist realized aloud. "You didn't want him to hurt me."
"You thought I was provoking him for what? Fun?"
"You provoke everyone for fun," Wilson stated. "You provoke me for fun. But in his case I thought maybe you were just mad you had to walk to the car."
House leaned close to his friend and spoke softly. "I would walk a million blocks through winter at its worst if it meant getting a chance to save your life."
Wilson could feel a warm flush creep up his cheeks. "I think that may be the nicest thing you've ever said to me."
"I wouldn't count on it."
"I'm about to say something even nicer."
Wilson couldn't tear his eyes away from the man seated next to him. House was so rarely emotional and, although it freaked him out a bit, he was going to enjoy the moment while it lasted. He raised a bushy eyebrow in query.
House took the mug from the coffee table and stood. "You go lie down." His face broke into a huge grin. "I'll go do the dishes."