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22 January 2007 @ 03:53 am
Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In - House - PG-13  
Title: Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In
Rating: PG-13
Summary: ‘Things would not be normal. Things had never been normal.’ The difference is reactions.
Fandom: House
Pairing: House/Wilson
Spoilers: Up through ‘Words and Deeds’.
Word Count: 1,252
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by David Shore and FOX, among others. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

The title of the story and the lyrics come from the Modest Mouse song of the same name, off of the album ‘Building Nothing Out of Something’.


Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In

Whenever I breathe out, you're breathing it in.
Whenever I speak out, you take it all in.


The bottle is on the floor when Wilson walks through the door and into the room. It gleams plastic and silence up at him and he almost kicks it away but he has a second thought, instead slipping it into his pocket. It sits there like a tumor, cancer of the memory, and even as an oncologist he doesn’t know how to make it go away nicely.

House sat in a jail cell and sat in a medicated haze and sat believing that everything would go back to normal again; Wilson stands in House’s living room and stands with a feeling like anger and dread and stands knowing that House was wrong.

Things would not be normal.

Things had never been normal.

House-normal was avoiding problems and hurting people who cared about him and being sure about things no one should be sure about. It was also sitting on that couch, watching that television, laughing about those things; he didn’t know if that normal would go away as well.

Wilson decides to dust because his nose twitches into a sneeze when he runs a hand on the piano. And after he dusts, he does the week-old dishes in the sink because he doesn’t want House to deal with more rodents than Steve McQueen. And after he washes the dishes, he wonders why the hell he came back here in the first place.

In all reasonable thought, he should be bitter and angry and upset. He is bitter and angry and upset, but he also wants to put the pieces back together and start themselves over again, because he knows that House will not be the first one to make that move, and that feeling trumps the others.

It’s guilt.

And that is just what House wants him to feel.

He lingers in the bathroom for a moment, looking in the mirror and running his hands over his face. He feels tired, and is tired, and he feels sick, and is sick. He is worn to the physical and emotional bone, and yet he is still trying to do good, because that is who he is, and he suddenly wishes that he were someone else.

It would have made it awkward, though, if he were someone else, because House walks through the front door and demands, “Where the hell are you?”

“Bathroom.” Wilson walks out to meet House halfway. House looks rough, a night of hard sleep away from home with only his lying Vicodin to keep him company, and Wilson feels the stab of guilt again, but only until House shoves him against the wall, in an awkward fashion because of the leg. “What is this? You’re mad at me?”

“You’re in my house.” His breath smells like hamburger and addiction when he stands so close, and Wilson can only shake his head, which makes House push tighter.

“I was keeping it while you were… away.” The last word lingers between them, and House lightens his grip slightly. It was like a game of give-and-take, only Wilson didn’t want to play games. “I didn’t know when you’d be back. Someone had to feed your rat.”

House’s mumble of, “Not the only rat here,” goes unheard by Wilson, which is probably for the best, and finally he lets go with a sneer. He doesn’t pull away, however, and they are nose-to-nose. “You would think that since I’ve lied to you about everything, and hurt your poor little feelings so badly, that you wouldn’t want anything to do with me.”

Wilson isn’t quite sure how to respond, so he doesn’t, and eventually House gives up and walks to the bathroom, his gait a little heavier than Wilson remembers. He can hear the bathroom door close and the sound of pissing and mouthwash being gargled.

When House comes back, Wilson is on the couch, staring at his hands and trying not to notice the prescription bottle digging into his side. House sits at the piano bench and they are silent.

“I’m sorry,” Wilson says, just as House says, “I’m an ass.” They both look at each other, and suddenly things are alright again. House says something funny, and Wilson laughs, and things are alright.

Tritter never happened, the push and fall never happened, the rehab never happened, the jail time never happened. House never tested how far Wilson would go, and Wilson never went too far and broke.

Only they did. They did, and they both remembered everything, but they played it down and they told themselves that they forgot.

Everybody lies.

House pulls out a twelve-pack of beer from the fridge, bought sometime back when things were ok and they weren’t proving that everybody lies, and they drink and drink and Wilson loses track of how many he drinks. House stacks cans like a pyramid on the table and tells the punch line to a joke he hasn’t told yet; Wilson lets his head rest against the arm of the sofa and drapes his feet across House’s lap, resting on the good leg.

Out of nowhere, in the middle of a story about a patient who decided self-induced vomiting would cure hot flashes, House asks, “Why do you think I’m better than you?”

Wilson opens his eyes and looks at House, who looks at the cans. “Why do you ask?”

“Cuddy said you think I’m worth more. And Cuddy told you it, too. So you went and told Tritter. A parrot is a parrot is an idiot.” House knocks over the top can with his index finger, and it bounces to the floor, landing identically to the bottle now in Wilson’s pocket.

“I’m not an idiot, House. You are worth more to-” House doesn’t let him finish. He pushes Wilson’s legs off of his own and they knock into the table, crumbling the rest of the tower. Amid cans tumbling, House says, “To who? I don’t have anyone, Jimmy. You may think you only have ex-wives who’ve left, and ex-patients who’ve died, and ex-anythings who’ve cared, but at least they are just that. Ex. I have nothing to show for the way I treat my patients. Nothing ex, nothing pre.”

“House, I-” This time, he was interrupted by House pulling him into a sitting positing by the front of his shirt, faces touching but breath no longer like addiction and instead like alcohol and stubbornness. House says, “You were willing to give everything up for me. Stupid.”

Wilson doesn’t know who initiates the kiss, but they are fumbling with their lips together and noses knocking. It is not a beautiful kiss, if it can even be called a kiss, but both men release the tension in their shoulders and Wilson wraps his arm around House’s neck and pulls him closer, running his tongue over House’s lips.

“Shouldn’t,” House pants, hands already fumbling at Wilson’s buttons. “Drunk.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

They both agree.

Wilson stands first and helps House to his feet. Clothing is thrown off whenever it can be as they make their way down the hall toward the bedroom.

“You’re not better than me, you’re the same as me.” They fall to the bed and House lets out a soft sound of pain when his leg hits Wilson’s the wrong way. “And we’re the same as Cameron. We need to heal to be healed.”

“Don’t talk about Cameron.” House’s stubble is rough and burns on Wilson’s chest as he makes his way down. “Don’t talk about us.”

Neither of them talks about anything.

::
 
 
 
Topaz Eyes: H/W-don't wanna push thistopaz_eyes on January 22nd, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
Very nice. I like how you use repetition in the beginning to indicate that the Tritter arc in some ways feels like a dream; and towards the end how you use concrete imagery to home in on what's real.