Title: Beating The Hell Out
Disclaimer: : House M.D., its characters, locations and storyline are the property of David Shore, Bad Hat Harry Productions and the Fox Television Network. All Rights Reserved.
Characters/Pairing(s): House/Wilson slash, relationship established.
Genre: Sick!Wilson; drama, hurt/comfort.
A/N & Warnings: Written for the S'mores Challenge for Camp sick!Wilson at the Sick!Wilson community on . This may or may not be incorporated into another story I'm considering writing later on but for now in a one-shot and stands on its own. May contain triggers for those who have been abused. The prompts were belt, crickets and veranda swing.
Rating: T for adult subject matter and the mentioning of child abuse.
House found Wilson sitting alone on the senior Wilsons' veranda swing. It was a warm night and the temperature inside the family cottage by the lake was at least ten degrees hotter than outside in the evening air. Wilson and he had been borrowing the place from the oncologist's parents for two weeks of R & R that summer. Wilson had been quiet since discovering the old box of junk in the loft of the log-cabin styled vacation retreat earlier that evening. The older doctor had debated over dinner whether or not to bring the subject up and had decided to wait until after they had eaten. Wilson hadn't taken a bite of his meal and had gone for a walk, asking House to give him a few minutes to himself. The look in his lover's eyes when he had made that request had quieted the older doctor's objections. After Wilson had returned he'd sat down on the swing and stared out towards the lakefront, lost in morose thought. That's when House decided he'd given him enough time and space and it was now time to talk.
He sat down right next to Wilson, their bodies close enough to feel the other person's body heat without actually touching. Crickets in nearby grass sang out loudly against the country quiet. The oncologist hadn't looked up with House's arrival. His dark brown eyes looked sad and haunted at the same time, which unnerved the diagnostician to no end. There was a lot he didn't know about Wilson's childhood; his lover had never been able to talk about everything that had transpired in his formative years. Whatever it was had to have been quite traumatic for the younger man; House knew all about having a traumatic childhood.
"Are you going to tell me about the belt?" the older doctor asked quietly with his gravelly baritone voice. He didn't believe in mincing words, having found that it was usually less painful in the long run to get directly to the point. He wanted to wrap his arms around the younger doctor and hold him close, but since he didn't know what had happened to Wilson as far as the belt was concerned, he felt it was best to restrain himself for the time being.
Wilson sighed softly and half-shrugged, still avoiding eye contact. "It happened a long time ago. It was nothing, really. Hardly worth talking about."
"That's why you turned white as a ghost when you saw it in the box, you couldn't eat, and you've been moping around like your dog died or something," House retorted, trying to sound sarcastic but his words lacked the sharp edge they usually held.
The oncologist was quiet for a few moments and House thought that he wasn't going to get an answer. It startled him when Wilson spoke up again. His voice was soft and hollow, devoid of emotion.
"You once asked me why I had so much trouble admitting to myself that I was in love with you," he began. "I told you I didn't know why, but that was a lie. The truth is stranger than fiction in many ways. Ever since I was thirteen I knew that I liked boys just about as much as I did girls. That was quite the taboo for a good little Jewish boy about to celebrate his Bar-mitzvah. I was becoming a man, a son of the Covenant. My father had spent years drilling into me every stereotype of what a red-blooded man really was, and one thing he was not was gay or bisexual."
House listened in silence, nodding every so often in encouragement. This was a huge demonstration of trust that his lover and best friend was showing him; he had no intention of interrupting or disrespecting this moment.
"At the party following the religious ceremony I got tired of receiving hugs and kisses of congratulations from all of the old women and the punches in the arm and slaps across the back from my father and his friends so I snuck out for a few minutes and sat in the parking lot of the hall to think. My best friend Aaron saw me and followed me out. We talked about how stupid the party was, whether or not the Yankees were going to win the World Series, how ugly my older brother's girlfriend was. It all started innocently.
"I'd always had a crush on Aaron, but I understood it for what it was for the first time that night. To my complete surprise he didn't try to beat the shit out of me when I risked everything and kissed him," Wilson smirked bitterly at the memory, shaking his head. "On the contrary, he kissed me back quite enthusiastically. It was the best first kiss anyone could have had. That is, until my father appeared above us from out of nowhere. Neither of us had heard anyone approaching, but then again we were distracted."
Wilson began to tremble slightly; he licked his lips repetitively between swallows. House had a good idea of the direction the story was about to go in. He allowed himself to reach for the younger doctor's hand and grasp it gently. He was relieved when the other man didn't pull away.
"My dad told Aaron to go back to the party; he wasn't his son so he had no authority to punish him. Me, on the other hand…he picked me up by the collar of my shirt until my feet weren't touching the ground. I didn't actually start growing in height until I was fifteen so I was considerably shorter than Dad. I could barely breathe and I knew that I was in deep shit, but I never expected to receive what I did next. He dragged me behind the hall where body could see what was happening. He dropped me to the ground; when I tried to stand up, he round-housed me in the mouth and knocked loose three of my teeth. I lay on the ground, stunned; when he kicked me twice in the gut I vomited all over myself. I hadn't known pain until that night. He was screaming at me about how ashamed he was to have a fucking faggot for a son. He called me every offensive name in the book.
"House, we're talking about my dad. The man is a walking, talking Teddy bear! You've met him. He had never beaten on me like that before. It was like he was possessed and I was terrified."
"He was more like a fucking grizzly bear," House muttered, his crystalline blue eyes flashing in anger, his until his fingernails dug into his palm. "Goddamned bigot! I don't care if he is your father—he had no right to hurt you like that!"
Wilson averted his eyes at that outburst and House silently berated himself for the outburst. He hoped Wilson didn't shut down because of it.
"You're right," Wilson agreed, his voice barely more than a whisper. "The worst part was what happened next. He took off his belt—that belt—and I readied myself to be whipped by it, but he didn't do that. Instead he…he…wrapped i-it around my n-neck…," he began to struggle with his words as the horror of the moment from so long ago filled him anew some thirty years later. "He b-began to tighten it around my neck until I-I c-couldn't b-breathe!"
House tensed when he watched Wilson's eyes glaze over and his skin pale considerably. The oncologist pulled his hand away from the diagnostician's as both went up to his throat. He was crossing that invisible line between memory and flashback. Seeing his lover in such distress made House want to hunt down his so-called father and give him a little taste of his own medicine!
"Wilson," he said softly, wanting to stop him from reliving the horror so vividly.
The younger doctor was not deterred. "He told me that it was his right to kill me for my sin if he was so inclined. He told me that this is what happens to little fags and then warned me that if I ever touched another boy like that again he'd finish strangling me. I blacked out, I think, because when I woke up I was in my own bed, at home. My mother was with me. My dad didn't talk to me again for over three months. During that time he sent me-." Wilson stopped mid-sentence, panting lightly, his trembling becoming shaking.
House knew he had to stop this now. There would more time in the future to pursue the topic further but for right now his lover couldn't take much more. He grabbed both of Wilson's hands and brought them down from his throat and then pulled him into a bear-hug. Wilson didn't resist and allowed himself to be held.
"It's okay, Wilson, I've got you," he whispered into the oncologist's ear. "Just relax. It's over Your dad can't hurt you anymore. I won't let him."
It explained the night terrors, the nightmares that the younger doctor would never talk about, the passionate denial he had gone through before finally accepting the fact that he was in love with House and had been for years and his insistence that they hold off in telling his parents that they were lovers. House had an idea of the kind of place where Wilson's father sent him after terrorizing his son like that; from the way his lover's heart beat rapidly in his chest and sweat soaked his clothes it had to have been the next thing to hell itself.
"They told me I was a sinner," Wilson sobbed into the older doctor's shoulder. "They said they had to beat the hell out of me before I turned into a full-fledged homo. They told me it was to purge my soul…."
"They were wrong, James," House whispered soothingly; he only used his lover's first name while making love or in moments like this, when he needed him to know that he loved him and that he was safe. PTSD was the diagnosis the psychiatrist had given the two of them when Wilson began to show symptoms shortly after they became lovers. He wondered how many more lives had been, were being and would be scarred or even destroyed by the monstrosity called 'Conversion therapy'. Brainwashing was more like it, torturing people to stop them from being who they are and to become what somebody else thinks they should be.
"It's alright, baby," the diagnostician told him and covered his face with small kisses. "I'm here."
And he would be, no matter what horrors, flashbacks and pain the future held for them because of the past.