(sequel to Time Stands Still)
"I think House loves Wilson," Miranda declares as she looks up from the game of Tertis she's been playing on her cell phone. They've been in the hospital waiting room for at least an hour now, but there's been no word yet on whether House and Wilson have survived, or if they have what the damage has been.
"Ever since you saw Brokeback Mountain, everything's gotta have some damn homoerotic subtext, doesn't it?" Tritter scoffs as he uncrosses and then recrosses his arms. He'd gone home before Alvarez had called him up and demanded they find out how the two car crash victims are faring. Tritter can think of few things he'd rather do less than what he's doing right now, but he'd been threatened with one of them.
"Just because you can't see love when it stares you in the face," Miranda retorts, smirking triumphantly. "Just because you've never been in love."
"Can you try to stop making this any worse than it already is?" Tritter fires back, reaching in his backpack and pulling out a paperback copy of Kiss the Girls.
"Hey." Miranda places her hands in the air, feigning innocence. "If you'd rather handle the new sexual assault case instead of McVee and Hamilton…" Tritter's face betrays his feelings about the question quite bluntly.
"No. Thanks. My nose is still healing from the last time."
"Hey now Trit," Miranda reminds him, "You get too touchy with people and it's kinda creepy. When you get touchy on a rape victim you can't be that surprised when they backhand you in the face." She smiles at him. "It was actually kind of nice to see her get some of her power back."
"Yeah, but my nose shouldn't have been her target. Damn this shit, I need a cigarette." Tritter stands and starts walking towards the exit doors, and his partner follows as she sticks her phone back in her blazer.
"Thought you quit."
"I did. Then I started again," Tritter says simply as he reaches the outside and procures a pack of Malboro Reds from his pocket, lighting one and taking a deep drag off of it before looking back at the short, caramel-skinned woman beside him.
"So what really went down between you and Dr. House?" Miranda inquires, and she looks over at Tritter with a look of determination – whether he likes it or not, it's story-time.
While Tritter and Miranda stand outside of the hospital, sweating in the July sun, House shivers in his hospital bed, unconscious, as he dreams. He dreams he's driving in his car, or maybe riding in a bus – maybe riding in that bus.
Then suddenly he's on a roller coaster and Wilson's on the car in the front but it's going backwards and House just watches Wilson disappear before his eyes before he feels himself lurch forward while he clings to his bar and cries out "Stop the ride, stop the ride, stop the ride…"
But the ride never stops, even when he can see Wilson falling forward, backward, off the edge.
Wilson dreams that he's back at Amber's funeral; that he's giving his eulogy and everyone's staring at him as if he's saying everything wrong and when he looks around he sees House's photograph on top of a cherrywood coffin and he realizes that it's not Amber's funeral, but House's, and he tries to run but there's something holding him down and people are running at him; he can see Tritter and Vogler out of the corner of his eye and they're all looking at him accusingly.
"You did this to him," Tritter announces, crossing his arms and his blazing ice blue eyes looking so self-satisfied. "You enabled him and now he's dead, and it's all your fault. So Dr. Wilson how does it feel? You were willing to go to jail for him, but you can't die for him."
Vogler doesn't lecture, instead he just steps forward and suddenly he's punching Wilson and shaking him and throttling him and telling him he's fired and more than that he's dead, dead just like House.
"You're gonna wish you went in a car crash too!" Vogler snaps, and Wilson's trying desperately to remember why it'd be a car crash, not a bus crash, wasn't there a bus crash, when was that? He's got it all confused… and suddenly now he's on the bus and House and Amber are standing on either side of him and he can see a dumptruck heading straight on for them and he knows this is the last moment… except it's not a truck it's a deer, and they're swerving, and he can see House fly…
"You do realize you've just given me blackmail material for the rest of your life, right?" Miranda declares as Tritter finishes telling his story. "You can't tell me you started an investigation because a man stuck a thermometer up your ass and expect any less."
"I'm surprised you haven't come up with some homoerotic explanation for it," Tritter retorts, trying to hide the flush of embarrassment on his cheeks. "That House loves me or I love House or some crap like that."
"You don't hate House," Miranda says simply.
"Yeah, I do, actually," Tritter replies, taking another drag off his cigarette and tapping the ash off the brick wall.
"No, you don't. You admire him a little and that scares you, because you don't want to see jerks win. Because you're a jerk, and you're miserable, so you don't want to believe that you make yourself miserable," Miranda replies easily, sticking her hands into her jeans and leaning back against the wall.
"Wow, what did I do to deserve all this insight?" Tritter replies sarcastically.
"Became my partner?"
When Wilson opens his eyes, the first thing he thinks is that the light really hurts, and that he must be dead. He sort of hopes House is there with him, but then feels guilty because that means that he wishes House is dead – but then he's not quite sure what he thinks because he doesn't want to be dead or alive or anywhere without House; he doesn't want to take whatever that journey is alone.
When he looks up and sees Chase looking down at him, concerned, he realizes he isn't dead and that hurts more because he can hear the words rattling around his head like beads in a castanet that House is dead and really, how could he not be, Wilson saw him fly out and oh God House landed somewhere in the trees and he must have died alone… That's what hurts most, because Wilson always swore to himself that he'd not let House ever die alone. That's what scared him most with all of House's crazy deathwish stunts and this wasn't even one of those, that's what kills him most…
"Chase? Please… What happened to House?" he asks, and then he realizes that every single part of him hurts even though he knows he must be on a multitude of painkillers, a pain that runs through his bones and into all of his internal organs.
"House is still unconscious," Chase replies, and Wilson can't quite believe him but desperately wants to. "He lost a lot of blood and he needed a transfusion, but we think he's going to be okay. You both got really banged up, though, and you don't even want to know what House's car looks like right now. But you'll both be okay, you'll just need a lot of stitches. You dodged a bullet."
Wilson blinks. He's sure he's still in a dream now.
"Chase?" he calls quietly.
"Yeah, Dr. Wilson?"
"I feel like I saw…" Wilson feels utterly confused. "Tritter, there…?"
"Yeah, he was out in the waiting room," Chase replies, "Hell if I know why." With that, Chase walks out of the room.
"So why are you so sure House loves Wilson?" Tritter asks Miranda.
"Just… when I was with House," she replies, moving to sit on the concrete and brushing away a few mosquitoes, "He kept just asking for Wilson. Pleading for him. Asking if he was okay." She narrows her eyes at Tritter. "The man was face down in a brush heap, a few inches away from getting impaled on his own cane, and his leg was all torn up – I mean, like more than I guess is usual. But he just kept asking for Wilson." Tritter shrugs, not sharing what Wilson had said in the car. It doesn't feel right to repeat.
"But why does that make it love?" Tritter asks, tossing his cigarette to the ground and grinding his boot into it. "Maybe they're just good friends."
"That's not friendship," Miranda says simply, "When you don't care if you die or not. That's love."
"If they're so in love, then why aren't they dating?" Tritter fires back.
"Maybe they just think they feel that way 'cause they're in close quarters since they work together," Miranda replies with a slight wink, "Or maybe they think their parents won't approve."
"We're still talking about House and Wilson, right?" Tritter asks, looking at her.
"Of course, Trit. Who else would we be talking about?"
Chase walks out the door at that moment and Miranda stands up off the ground, brushing off her pants and looking straight at him.
"How are they?" she asks.
"They're both in stable condition, doing well. Wilson's awake, and we're still waiting on House, but he's doing well, too." With no desire to talk to Tritter, Chase turns and walks away again.
"Dr. Wilson once said to me that he thinks House is a positive force in the world," Tritter says to Miranda. She shrugs.
"Well, he's definitely a positive force in Wilson's world," she responds, and pulls her keys out of her pocket. "Time to split?"
When House wakes up, everything's a bit blurry, and he's not quite sure where he is. The first thing he hears is a shrill noise in his ear, and he's sure it's the fire alarm and he wishes someone would turn it the hell off.
After a few moments, he realizes it's his room phone, and he spends the next few moments finding his hands before successfully using one to pick it up.
"Hello?" he barks.
"Hi, House," Wilson's voice rings in his ear. "I think we may need to start using the Corvette."