He was certain he remembered reading several times that should an elevator could not actually plummet to the floor, he was certain he'd seen an article recently that pointed out the fallacy in Hollywood's obsession with dramatically shot close up's of helpless victims caught perilously in the grips of a fatalistic drop. It had stated, with facts and figures no less, that there had never actually been a recorded case of a lift's safety and breaking mechanisms actually failing.
Still, it doesn't stop your heart from climbing into your throat when the floor disappears beneath your feet, when it suddenly rocks back up again forcing you to your knees as it bucks and wavers, the lights flickering as the walls screech and buckle around you.
The cane was no use, it rattled to the floor, the noise lost in the din as they both scrambled for a hold on the smooth walls, his hand finally closing round the handrail as with a final jolt and the receding echo of a deafening roar burning in his ears the floor stopped its tempestuous vibration beneath his knees.
House looked up, senses askew, his balance at odds with the angle of the lift which had settled at a slant, his cane hitting the shallow end at the same time as the back of Wilson's head.
A string of profanities followed, vehement and profuse in their sudden spirited anger, house felt the impact of it in his stomach, could almost feel it himself, or maybe it was just the throb of sharp, unadulterated agony that stabbed through his leg as he forced his breath to calm, his blood like white hot fire in his veins that stopped his automatic reach to the pocket where the comforting rattle of pills reminded him that comfort was just a dry swallow and a ten minute wait away.
It could have been a minute.
It could have been an hour. Time was an irrelevant mess measured only in the pounding beat of his heart, racing and nauseating.
Blood on Wilson's fingers, an unsurprised grimace of pain as he pulled them back from the growing stain that was slowly seeping into his hair. He could hear his voice, but whether or not Wilson was actually talking to him he couldn't fathom. "What the hell was that?"
Of course it was rhetorical; they were both in the same lift.
His hand finally closed around the bottle of pills, every thought and nerve focused on his thumb as it prised off the top with a pop, his hand shaking as he raised it to his lips.
Whether he took two or three, he couldn't know, couldn't feel what was in his mouth but relished the burn as he swallowed roughly.
"Wilson?" He was embarrassed by the tremble in his voice and he cleared his throat to excuse himself.
"'m fine." He sounded pissy. "You okay?"
"Peachy." He closed the lid and thrust the bottle back into the depths of his pocket before struggling to stand, one hand braced on the floor, the other gripping the handlebar as he pulled himself upright, stumbling and rocking into the wall of the lift, his centre of gravity off kilter. He leant back against the wall, eyeing the straight lines of the corners and the roof, his brain warring with him, it felt the fun house at the fair and his stomach roiled.
He edged his way along the wall, leaning heavily into the lean of the lift, stepping with great care over Wilson who had yet to bring himself to stirring. His fingers traced the edge of the doors, for a momentary instance they moved towards the buttons in some sort of Pavlovian reaction or muscle memory. He closed his fist instead.
A grunt and a groan and Wilson was up, discovering the same fairground attraction quality of their current location in much the same way House had, his shoulder taking the brunt of his slumping connection into the wall.
"What...?" He looked accusingly at the wall, his hands splayed against it as he frowned and straightened up.
"Bomb." The word slipped out of his mouth as soon as his brain stirred it up, hand smoothing down the seam of the door, thumb catching on the rubber as he turned his blank stare to meet Wilson's bewildered gaze.
For a moment he could see he'd forgotten about the head wound, brow furrowed and eyes sliding from his face.
"A bomb?" said in much the same response as if he'd said 'Kraken'.
"Hmmm." He used his especially ingratiating tone, reserved especially to annoy Wilson in moments when he really should be clarifying matters rather than confusing them. Upon reflection it probably wasn't the best time. "The lift rose after it fell." He stated simply, as though that alone should explain it all even though the astounded look on Wilson's face in his peripheral vision told him he was clearly ten steps ahead of him.
"Let me look at that." He stopped his perusal of the lift door, one limping step and his shoulder collided with the wall again, bringing him level with Wilson and his perturbed gaze. "Go on, give me a spin." He twirled his finger in a flamboyant fashion, noting that as he did so his wrist hurt, the action lost and ignored to the point that he actually had to reach out and physically turn Wilson's head until he was met with the sight of fresh blood.
It was never a pleasant sight to see but after a while a clinically detached air dulls the normal human response to gore, expose someone to one subject over and over again, no matter how disturbing or twisted or violent, and even the most docile and sensitive of people become immune.
But an open wound on your best friend. He'd never get used to that, or the sudden lurch of his heart dropping in his chest.
'Suck it up.' He set his inner monologue to stern as he tipped Wilson's head forward, his fingers in his hair, holding him in place as he shook his head.
"Are you serious?" classic Wilson, speechless to incredulous with no steps in between. Where was the reason, where was the logic?
"Of course I'm serious." He stated matter of factly. Where was the methodical step by step process that had already led House to his conclusion? "Need me to spell it out for you?"
The silence said it all and he heaved in a deep breath as he gripped the other man's shoulder, spinning him and waiting the necessary couple of seconds for balance to be regained before he whipped the pen torch from Wilson's front pocket, its light achingly bright under the one remaining halogen bulb. Wilson flinched and house had to fight the urge to grip his fringe to stop him from recoiling.
"Didn't watch the news this morning did you?" He huffed.
Wilson sighed and rolled his eyes, earning himself a rather tight hold on his chin. "I was otherwise engaged at the deli, trying to track down milk to replace the entire litre you drank before I'd even managed to get out of bed."
"Excuses, excuses." He released his face, not entirely happy with his pupil response but woefully unable to do anything about it right now. "Credible threats to downtown area?" he posed his question, tucking the torch back into his lab coat with a sharp, smart movement.
"Someone called in a threat to the hospital?" Wilson spluttered, and House could see the scoffing argument forming on his lips. "If there had ac..."
"Of course no-one phoned it in. You really think we'd have been able to stroll into this lift, that we'd even been allowed near the building?" He threw him a particularly withering look. "It was just a news report." He lapsed, leaving the rest of his retort unsaid.
"Then how do you know it..."
"We were bounced upwards." He stepped backwards, rocking uneasily on his good leg, returning his uneasy gaze to the task of assessing their situation.
Another thing Hollywood lied about was the ever present escape hatch in the ceiling.
"I don't get it." Wilson stated plainly, straightening and not letting his penetrating leave House's face. He could feel his eyes all over him.
"The concussion of air as it travelled up the lift shaft." Of course he was going to have to hold his hand through this one.
"I didn't feel anything."
"Of course you didn't." He placed his hand on the door, leaning forward to press his ear against the metal. "You were too busy doing your best impression of the Enterprise coming under attack."
Wilson huffed, his hand going to the back of his head once again.
"There's nothing explosive in the lobby." He continued, cutting off whatever it was Wilson had opened his mouth for. "Gotta be something some wannabe freedom fighter strapped to himself in a search for God and glory."
Wilson rolled his eyes and shook his head, ready to dismiss whatever he said as fantasy.
"You reckon the door will open." He motioned with his hand, leaning forward to take a step up the incline to the door, but he stopped, back flush with the wall.
"Not yet." House muttered, very aware of the feeling of Wilson's heart pounding in his chest, thumping out its rhythm into the palm of his hand from where he'd stopped him in his tracks. "Gotta think." He met Wilson's eyes, darker in the half light and dulled with concussion and pain but there was confusion there, his eyes reading his face and the line of his body as he traced the line of subtly shifted weight until with a dawning realisation he finally noticed what house had been aware of all this time they'd been talking and he stared with predictably fear tinged awareness at the smoke that was drifting in beneath the door.