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08 February 2007 @ 02:23 am
you’d be disappointed (three things james wilson never said, and two he did) - House - PG-13  
Title: you’d be disappointed (three things james wilson never said, and two he did)
Rating: PG-13
Summary: In order to change things, you have to know what to change.
Fandom: House
Pairing: House/Wilson
Spoilers: Up through ‘Needle in a Haystack’.
Word Count: 1,212
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.

you’d be disappointed (three things james wilson never said, and two he did)

Everyone's afraid of their own life
If you could be anything you want
I bet you'd be disappointed, am I right?
Lives - Modest Mouse

The floorboard squeaks under his weight and he looks down. Black socks with gold tips made of thick wool against the starkness of the hardwood floor between the door and the bed; it is seven steps from the door to the right side of the bed, twelve if it’s past two in the morning. Smaller steps mean Julie is less likely to hear him, but he knows, every time, that she stirs just a little too much to be sleeping when he finally slides between the sheets, so there’s no real point.

It’s twelve steps tonight, and Wilson counts them under his breath, just incase it’ll help this time.

Clothing goes in the hamper, Julie reminds him every morning, not on the floor, but the hamper is six steps away when he fixes his mistake after waking and eleven when he avoids making the mistake at night; he strips next to the bed and tries to nudge the clothing under the skirt before settling next to his wife.

The space between them itches at his skin, and he turns to face the closet, away from her, blankets pulled to his chin. The clock in the room marks him guilty as it chimes half-past-three, and underneath that, he hears, “Good night, James.”

He is worn out from a day where two patients were told they had less than a year to live, where two stacks of paperwork had been tackled, where he had yelled at a nurse for something he didn’t even remember anymore, where he and House watched television for hours and drank beer and laughed. There is a headache building pressure just behind his eyes, and he has to be awake in three hours.

He thinks, “Good night, Julie”, he really does. But the words just don’t come out as he falls asleep, unaware when his wife gets out of bed and takes the eight steps to the bathroom to cry.


It is his jaw that hurts when it finally happens. Wilson rubs it for a moment, giving House a confused and angry look as he limps away, cane making a horrible hollow sound on the tiles. Worried and amused hospital staff look on as Wilson tries to collect himself in the hallway, and gives up, returning to his office to ice his jaw and think his thoughts in peace.

Cameron cuts him off in front of the elevator. “I heard.”

“News travels fast.”

“Why?” It’s quite clear what she’s asking; it’s not clear how to answer her.

“Because he’s House, and because he does things like this.” Her eyes flick involuntarily to his jaw, and he can see pity on her face that he does not want to see. “I did something, so he does something. It’s cause and effect, Cameron, nothing more.”

She crosses her arms over her chest and says, “Normal people don’t punch unless they have to.” He wants to tell her, “House isn’t normal”, but he doesn’t. He also doesn’t tell her that he’s done writing Vicodin prescriptions, for good this time, because as far as she knows, he hasn’t written one since before the rehab.

He does tell her, “I’m fine, really.” He adds, as an afterthought, “Do you have a case now?” When she nods, he nods as well. They get into the elevator together in silence. Wilson pushes the button for his office, and also the top floor, and she looks confused. “He’ll be on the roof.”

He gets off the elevator when it’s his floor, and when she tries to follow him, he stops her. “Talk to him.”

“He never listens to me.”

“Fine, talk at him then. Just…” He furrows his brow. He doesn’t want to tell her to fix what he did, because he doesn’t want to give her an impossible task. He has nothing he can say, so he lets the doors close and walks slowly towards his office, touching his jaw gingerly.


“Right there. God, Jimmy, your hands are good.” House moans.

“Your mouth isn’t half bad either, you know.” And Wilson wishes he would go back to using it.

Wish granted.



Wilson hears the sound from the living room, and when he sees House curled up on the floor of his bedroom, hands clutching his leg, the bad one, and eyes closed tight, he can’t move. This is painful for him to watch, his friend writhing in front of him in agony, and it was painful for him to watch, because he had never seen House succumb to this degree before.

“Scale of one to ten, how bad is it?”

“I’d say fuck-off-enty, but that’s not a real num-” His sentence is cut short by a scream of pain. Wilson’s eyes scan the room for the Vicodin bottle, but House knows what he’s doing. “Won’t help. Box under bed.”

The box was cardboard and filled with a variety of things that made Wilson’s eyes go wide. “Morphine. Now.” House made a vague waving motion, and Wilson went back into doctor mode.

Wilson is tense as House relaxes, what seems to be moments too long after the morphine is coursing through his body. It isn’t until House focuses his eyes on him that he realizes he is crying.

“It’s not like I was dying, Jimmy.”

He doesn’t want to say, “I just didn’t want to lose someone else in my life”, so he settles for, “Damn, I was so hoping.” It’s a poor joke, but House has a small smile on his face, which is more than Wilson should be asking for.

He helps House to his feet and back into bed. He calls Cuddy and tells her that House wouldn’t be coming in, and he ignores the awkward, unspoken question of ‘why are you there?’.

The less the hospital knows about staying with House while on break with Julie, the better.

As he is leaving the bedroom, House calls out to him. “Thank you.” He is obviously buzzing, in a way that the Vicodin on the nightstand can’t give him, and Wilson smiles.

“Any time.”


Alcohol makes things seem uneven. Wilson braces himself with the wall, and House is playing the piano. He listens and closes his eyes and it’s almost like dancing.

He really wants to dance with House, which is silly because House doesn’t dance.

House can’t dance.

Wilson grabs another beer from the fridge and leans against the wall and watches House play.

Colors were lights and sounds and softness in the way House played.

“I like it,” is what Wilson wanted to say. But he didn’t say it, because what came out was, “I love you.”

Alcohol makes things seem uneven. House looks up at him, piercing, sober eyes into Wilson, and then he stops playing.

They don’t touch, they don’t kiss, they don’t in any way do anything expected in that unexpected situation. House limps to the bedroom and slams the door behind him, and Wilson lets himself out of the house to drive back to the hotel.

The truck comes between Wilson’s car and the hotel, and when he goes to the hospital, all he can say is, “No”.

Because what he wanted to say was only said once too many, instead of once too few.

And House dreams of anger that night, not knowing the truth.

As relevant as Tacitus: House&Wilsontabula_x_rasa on February 8th, 2007 10:18 am (UTC)
That last one was wrenching but these were all very good.
Ann: wilson.officefrakkingrackles on February 8th, 2007 11:01 am (UTC)
This was a little hard on us literal minded types. Did Wilson crash into the truck? Did he actually go to the hospital or was he taken? That would clarify.
Otherwise I liked it. Kind of a watercolor tone to the piece. Hope that makes sense.
Laura aka Zel: house_hxw_in_house_officelaurazel on February 8th, 2007 11:11 am (UTC)
*weeps emoted* it's so lovely! ç////////ç
a heartful of you: house/wilson newaheartfulofyou on February 8th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
Gah. Really, really good.
the avey tare to my panda bear: House and Wilson-- SOACG hotel roomcirrocumulus on February 8th, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
This was wonderful. I love it when authors use the writing itself to evoke images as much as the plot and dialogue-- everything down to the narration is artistic.
I Are Daffodilianfatalisticrebel on February 8th, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC)
he truck comes between Wilson’s car and the hotel, and when he goes to the hospital, all he can say is, “No”.

The way you let the reader know what happened right there is perfect.
Melawen: housemelawen_c on February 8th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
I really liked Wilson counting the number of steps in the beginning - creates the perfect mood.

The end of this hurts, but even that's alright because it's so darn good.
mari_grem on February 9th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
This is all absolutely beautiful. I love the way you separated the glimpses into Wilson's life and the characterization of him is just amazingly perfect. This was great.
Rosehouseaddict91 on February 9th, 2007 05:30 am (UTC)
Fantastic. You avoided the trap of turning this into fluff, which would be entirely out of character. At the same time, you still let it portray loneliness, which was the main theme.

Good job!