Fandom: House MD
Pairings: House/Wilson's Brother. House/Wilson (Also includes references to Wilson/New Girlfriend and Wilson/Amber.)
Notes: Extremely belated birthday gift for daasgrrl, inspired by a comment conversation following The Social Contract. Spoilers and allusions to most of the fifth season. Amazing beta by beta_goddess, michelleann68 and evila_elf.
Warnings: Please note main pairing. It's a story involving sex between a self-confessed drug-addict and a diagnosed schizophrenic. Possible other triggers involving childhood trauma. Read at your own risk.
Summary: Nothing could have adequately prepared him for Danny.
“My brother, House? My own brother?”
House tries to remember the last time he’s seen Wilson this angry. He suspects it might have been the time a pharm tech screwed up the pain meds for one of Wilson’s cancer kids. A nurse had caught the error before any damage could occur, but the hapless tech had been subjected to a reaming out that had left mere bystanders terrified and Wilson still hyperventilating with rage later that night.
Pretty much the way he is right now.
“She told you?”
Hardly the most important issue at hand, but the one House chooses to focus on, if only to verify his opinion of humanity in general, and Wilson’s current squeeze specifically.
“Of course she told me. She’s his nurse and she walked in on you...she said Danny was….”
It would normally be amusing to watch Wilson so tongue-tied at the prospect of uttering the phrase “sucking your cock,” except that Wilson is furious and House is wondering how he’s going to get him back after this, which raises the question of how much anyone ever has Wilson.
House reaches for the nearest pills, a few tucked into the pocket of his motorcycle jacket, giving him a few seconds to think as well as answering the urgent pain signals emanating from his leg.
He honestly hadn’t expected Wilson to be waiting for him in the apartment. Whatever comfort there is in knowing that Wilson cares enough to keep a set of House’s keys is lost in the fact that Wilson’s rage is focused on him rather than his girlfriend, who possesses the undeservedly poetic name of Aurelia.
There’s one bright side. For all his flailing and blathering, Wilson hasn’t left yet. He’s still here, apparently determined to stay until he’s vented all of his spleen or gotten some kind of answer.
House decides to sit down. If he has to listen to this, he might as well be comfortable, or at least in slightly less pain. He and comfortable haven’t been on actual speaking terms since before Amber died. Wilson’s voice is getting hoarse, but he’s still going and doesn’t look particularly inclined to join House on the couch.
“All right. I’m waiting. Dazzle me with some brilliant explanation. How the hell could you do that?”
It’s not worth pointing out that he’d had every intention of coming up with his “brilliant explanation” as soon as he got home. Now he’ll have to improvise; not easy with Wilson all up in his face, and barely enough Vicodin in his system to quell the current throbbing.
He could say he’s sorry, which he is, at least that he was caught. He could also launch into his conspiracy theory involving Aurelia’s need to protect her position as both Danny’s nurse and Wilson’s girlfriend, one being contingent on the other. If House had been successful, Senorita Ortega would have been out of two jobs.
Unfortunately, the relationship hasn’t reached the stage where House is tacitly encouraged to say all the things about Wilson’s wife or girlfriend that Wilson wants to say but can’t because of his conviction that he’s too nice to do so.
This leaves him with the least plausible thing he can possibly say, which just happens to be the truth.
“I did it for you.”
It doesn’t come out very well and Wilson isn’t getting any calmer, leading House to guess this could be the day the good-guy persona cracks completely and Wilson is finally moved to physical violence instead of the emotional pain he usually inflicts.
There’s a bottle on the table, and a swig of Bourbon helps him find the words that manage to get Wilson sitting down, if only on the piano bench.
“I wanted to give you your brother back. “
When the call came in, he’d been half-heartedly looking at porn and considering a trip to the ER in search of a case or whatever nostalgic thrill could still be gleaned from riling up Cameron. Maybe he could relieve the boredom by chewing out the switchboard operator for transferring calls to his personal line after he got rid of whoever was attempting to bother him.
“Dr. House? This is Aurelia Santiago. I work at Morningside Estate in Middlefield.“
The location got his attention as quickly as the Hispanic accent.
He immediately cut through the rest of whatever crap the Senorita was going to deliver before getting to the point.
“You're Wilson’s brother’s nurse. Why are you calling me? Is Wilson there? Did something happen?
The possibility of something being wrong with Wilson was cause for a blip of panic that House couldn’t keep out of his voice.
“Not James. It’s Danny. He wants to see you.”
That was interesting.
Wilson’s initial enthusiasm for having House meet his brother had gone exactly nowhere. The last piece of information Wilson had volunteered was that Danny was being released from New York Mercy. House’s assumption that the prodigal Wilson son was being welcomed home, complete with fatted calf, turned out to be wrong. Wilson told him that his parents had found a “facility” in Middlefield, NY.
It didn’t take Google Maps to figure out that Middlefield was a long way from the malls of Paramus, New Jersey, where Chez Wilson was located.
Whatever medical regimen Danny was on might be enough to get him out of the psych ward, but that didn’t mean he was getting his old bedroom back. No wonder Wilson didn’t want to have House visit his brother. He had to know what House would think of the arrangement and how he would judge Wilson’s parents for them.
He left without a word to the team. Let them find a way to amuse themselves and divert Cuddy if she came in on the warpath.
The ride gave him a chance to work through the pieces again and find an odd reassurance in one fact: Danny Wilson knew who he was.
Even after the hard-won rapprochement, Wilson was still being a bit stand-offish. Only once had he been willing to pretend to be drunk enough to accidentally end up in House’s bed, but at least he still talked about House to his crazy brother. That was a good sign.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson clearly believed in the healing power of suburbia. The street in Middlefield looked as mind-numbingly safe as the one where Wilson had grown up.
House had been brought there on a few occasions between Bonnie and Julie. On one particularly memorable Pesach, he’d been able to give Wilson a hand-job on his childhood bed while his niece and nephew were looking for the afikomen.
Julie had put an end to all that. She’d somehow managed to enlist Marilyn and Herman as allies in her battle for Wilson’s soul, even if she didn’t know about the struggle for his body. She lost in the end, but by then the damage had been done and House was persona non grata at all festive Wilson occasions. House had no problem mentally condemning them for sticking their son in a glorified nursing home instead of having him come back to live with them.
He grunted his way up the front steps and pushed a button to announce himself.
Once the door was open, House took in the most relevant details, starting with dark hair, full lips and cleavage.
“I’m Aurelia. Danny’s very excited to meet you, but you have to be prepared. He’s heavily medicated, but he’s still…”
“Where is he?” House interrupted, not wanting to be prepared. Preparation was another euphemism for bullshit.
“Upstairs,” she replied, with a very unsubtle glance at his cane.
She took the opportunity to drone on about how the “facility” only had six “residents,” each with their own room and homemade food, as if House might also be in the market for a place to warehouse an inconvenient relative.
They reached a room and she poked her head in without knocking, House noticed. No privacy for the inmates, or rather, “residents.”
“Danny,” she said, in the lilt some parents use for children. “Dr. House is here.” She nodded him toward the door, and House went in.
Frankly, it wouldn’t have mattered if he’d let Aurelia “prepare” him. Nothing could have adequately prepared him for Danny. It was Wilson. Well, not completely Wilson. Allow for a nose that was a little beakier, thanks to Herman, and eyes a few shades lighter than Wilson’s deep brown, but for the most part: Wilson. To be exact, the Wilson he’d met in New Orleans, with the almost too pretty to be masculine features and the gaze that could make you desperate to know what he was thinking.
The ravages of over a decade on the streets, including likely malnutrition and god knows what opportunistic infections picked up along the way, had the odd effect of creating a Wilson who was both young and old. One who seemed to be listening for something he couldn’t quite hear. Presumably the antipsychotics were suppressing the voices. Maybe Danny missed them. There was some twitching as well, mostly in the extremities, most noticeably in the left hand.
He needed to sit down. The bed didn’t provide much support, but it was better than nothing.
Having recovered from the initial shock, House was in the unusual position of not knowing what to say. Danny was fully prepared to take care of that.
“I want you to fix me.”
The voice was rougher than Wilson’s, no doubt from years of screaming variations on “Hey, I’m walking here!” and going unheard. That could drive a guy to converse with the voices in his head. At least they acknowledged his presence.
House shook his head.
“You’re schizophrenic. It can be controlled, not cured. Take your pills and be a good boy. Looks like mom and dad have you set up for life. Maybe you can get a day-pass for Tisha Baav.”
“NO!” An arm flailed and House couldn’t help seeing an extreme of one of Wilson’s gestures. “I want to go home.” Both the longing and the anger were practically tangible. “You fixed someone like me.”
“I diagnose a lot of people.”
“My disease. She had my disease. “
“Look, there’s some new research, but…”
“Jimmy told me. My disease.”
Suddenly it came back to him. What was her name? Lucious Lucy? Lucy Palmieri. Wilson’s disease. A one in a million shot, but still…He’d need blood, and a way to check the eyes for the tell-tale rings, and a very detailed medical history that offered heretofore unknown tidbits about his Wilson. He was about to start the questioning, but Danny had gone somewhere else. Somewhere House didn’t want to go.
“You killed his wife.”
What could he say to that? No, I killed his girlfriend. Get your facts straight, crazy boy. Probably not.
Why would Wilson tell his brother that, anyway? House could only theorize it was because House had done such a good job of isolating Wilson from any other possible friendships that he had no one else to talk to.
“She was pretty.”
If Wilson’s account was correct, Danny could only have known wife #1, unless Wilson had also been conveying the beauty of his lost Amber and Danny’s disturbed mind had conflated the two.
House knew Wilson still felt obligated to spend time with the stranger who had been his brother, time he should be spending with House. He could give Wilson back his brother and get Wilson back for himself at the same time. Like winning the daily double.
Just then, Nurse Santiago came in, again without knocking.
“I need his files,” he announced curtly.
“I don’t have authority to do that.”
“You didn’t have authority to call me in the first place, but you did. Why?”
“Danny ask me.”
She was getting tense, the accent getting stronger and word endings being dropped.
“But you didn’t tell James,” he said, forcing himself to use the first name as though it were typical, rather than unheard of.
“ Danny ask me not to.”
Nurse Santiago was getting herself tangled up in her moral obligations, not unlike someone else House could think of.
“You’re sleeping with Wilson, aren’t you?”
“No! It’s not like that. We’re just…”
She wasn’t even trying, beyond a perfunctory attempt mostly to protect Wilson from House’s wrath.
House tried not to be sick. Wilson was Wilson. What else did he expect?
He looked to see how Danny was taking this: with what appeared to be great indifference. Something on his computer was far more interesting.
“When does Wilson visit?”
“Wednesday and Friday. We go out on Friday night.”
That hurt. Friday was their night, when Wilson was being agreeable. Few things had given House more pride than getting Wilson drunk enough to skip Julie’s carefully orchestrated Friday night dinners. If he could find an alternate diagnosis for Danny, he might also put Carmen Miranda out of work as both Danny’s nurse and Wilson’s chimichanga. That would make the trifecta.
“I’ll be back on Monday. Make sure you have the files for me.”
The accident had been yet another example of his piss-poor luck, which House was starting to think must have started in the womb, if not earlier.
He did have to admit that the shrink scam was brilliant, including setting up those persistent calls (from one of his hookers) for Wilson to track down and “solve” the mystery. It was touching how much Wilson believed House could be “fixed” with a little psychological blood-letting, unless he thought about it for too long, at which point it just became annoying that Wilson was so sure he needed fixing.
It was also disheartening how easily Wilson had folded when House confronted him with the accusation about Aurelia. He didn’t even have the decency to be ashamed or acknowledge that he’d betrayed House yet again. No surprise there. House was tempted to invoke Amber’s memory in an effort to guilt-trip Wilson over his latest romance, but that would have been a bit hypocritical, even for him. Solving the mystery was the only way to break this thing up.
On Monday, he went back to Middlefield, riding carefully to compensate for the wind and icy patches as much as for the additional Vicodin he’d taken for the residual pain from his elbow injury. He had the equipment in his backpack to quickly rule out Wilson’s as well as enough blood vials to conduct the tests for his top ten list of other possibilities.
House did the blood draws himself, taking careful note of Danny’s hands. Delicate fingers, like Wilson’s, but with roughened skin. There were calluses on his fingers, similar to the ones on House’s own hands. He looked around, but didn’t see an instrument.
“You pawned your guitar,” he muttered, logging the symptom on his mental whiteboard . There were signs of injections older than whatever he’d been getting at Mercy and the shadowy scars of at least one suicide attempt. Wilson hadn’t mentioned that, so it could have been after the disappearance, but it was impossible to dismiss the image of Wilson rescuing his baby brother, possibly more times than Wilson wanted to remember, maybe as many times as he’d rescued House.
House put those thoughts aside and called for Nurse Santiago, who he assumed was hovering just outside the door. When she arrived, he gave her the vials and dispatched her to a local lab with a list of tests to be run on the blood.
She didn’t look happy, either with House’s attitude or the assignment itself. Aurelia had to know that if there was an alternate diagnosis she could lose her comfy spot on the Wilson family teat, along with her grip on Wilson himself. He wondered exactly what kind of hard luck story she had to go along with those stupendous tits. Wilson might think he’d broken his needy women pattern, but House knew better.
With the blood on its way to be tested, and Wilson’s brother’s keeper out of the way, House turned his attention to a medical history form, the same one that had produced such mirth in the Munchausen’s patient. He glanced at the first few questions and tossed it aside. Anything medically relevant would be in the file.
“So what was it like growing up Wilson?”
Danny was still sitting on the bed next to House, and now he fixed him with that look that was both penetrating and not all there.
“You want to know why Jimmy is perfect and I’m the screw-up.”
House wondered if he had physically flinched at the ease with which Danny was able to say “Jimmy.” It hadn’t been House’s decision to limit himself to Wilson’s last name until he noticed the recoil the first time he tried his own “Jimmy” during a quiet moment of afterglow. Rarely had a man gotten dressed and run back to his wife so quickly. House got the message and never attempted it again, banishing “James” as well.
“Wilson is so far from perfect,” he growled.
“Jimmy keeps secrets. He doesn’t make scenes.”
For not making much sense, that made a lot of sense. Wilson was the “good son.” The worse Danny’s behavior had gotten, the more he probably felt he had to live up to those expectations. But where was Mr. Wilson or the older brother? House felt like he needed his own Robert Langdon to help untangle The Wilson Code.
“What kind of secrets?”
Why was Danny smiling like that and when had Danny’s hand gotten so close to House’s leg? Maybe Wilson wasn’t the only one in the family with those tendencies. What if “scenes” had to do with something other than Danny’s illness?
He planned to press the point further, only Danny seemed to have lost the thread and was rambling about Wilson’s wife again, although as far as House could tell, it was still Amber and shouldn’t Wilson be over her already?
It was almost a relief when the candidate for Mrs. Wilson #4 showed up to announce that the lab was sending Danny’s test results to House at PPTH the following day, with her tone implying that as far as House was concerned, visiting hours were most definitely over.
House spent the night perusing the curious case of Daniel Stephen Wilson, complete with the kind of fastidious childhood medical records that signaled either obsessive, overprotective parents or just a typical upper-middle class suburban family who actually cared about their kids.
If there was a glaring example of emotional turmoil in the Wilson home, it wasn’t to be found in the documentation of six-year-old Danny’s chicken pox, or the fact that he had an allergy to bananas.
The plot took its turn for the tragic around the time Danny would have been hitting puberty, with the reports of behavioral incidents at school and the ensuing novella’s worth of psychiatric testing leading to the diagnosis of schizophrenia. That should have been the pat conclusion, fade to black, roll credits, but of course the story didn’t end there.
Whatever Danny heard when he had his “episodes” was too seductive to give up, and “the patient” refused to cooperate with his drug regimen, leading to a pattern of institutionalization and occasional incarceration until the final disappearance, the one for which Wilson was so eager to blame himself.
Then came the surprise twist ending a/k/a The Return of the Brother.
Except, of course, that the doctors at Mercy had done their own testing and arrived at the same conclusion. It was up to House to save Danny from the benign horrors of the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, but by three in the morning he’d knocked off nearly half a bottle and he still had nothing.
House fell into his usual approximation of sleep, imagining how seductive it must be to have voices in your head promising to always love you and how hard it would be to let go even after they turned on you. House knew a thing or two about the price of constant attention, and what he would or wouldn’t pay for it.
The loneliness when he woke up alone the next morning was particularly acute, but simple enough to dampen with a few extra Vicodin.
By the time he got to work the next morning, the results had arrived from the lab. He didn’t get to look at them immediately because Cuddy was in his office, haranguing his fellows and waving a file around like some kind of deranged semaphore operator insisting that House deal with a 12-year-old girl who had the symptoms of some alter kocker who needed to quit smoking and lay off the Cheetos. Except for the part where the girl’s hair had fallen out, and no, it didn’t seem to be cancer.
It took most of the day to get that sorted out, so that he didn’t get to look at Danny’s blood work until nearly three in the afternoon and when he did, it wasn’t any more enlightening than the other records. Just the usual crap consistent with homelessness and the elevated dopamine levels that had informed the initial diagnosis.
“Damn,” he muttered, just as Thirteen and Taub came in to do a pas de doo-doo informing him that Little Miss Cueball was getting worse, not better, and his solution had been wrong.
He sent them off to do another batch of tests and picked up Danny’s file again, swearing even more graphically, this time at the lack of answers in the printouts and the pain in his leg, which had been lying in wait all day and was now “requesting” attention the way a hungry baby “requests” his 2:00AM feeding.
House popped two Vicodin and gritted his teeth as he got up. Clearly he needed a second pair of eyes on the case. Both his favorite sounding board and his actual staff were unacceptable for the job. That left either Chase or Cameron. He tossed a mental coin and since he didn’t like the result, he tossed it again until he got the answer that took him to the ER.
Cameron looked both weary and wary at his approach, but House could still gauge exactly how little charm he would have to turn on to have her back at his feet. Luckily, he was too tired to bother and decided to save the effort for the day he’d have to cadge a stronger pain prescription than Wilson was willing to write.
“Take a look,” he said, handing her the file and grimacing his way onto a gurney. He’d done his own version of a CIA redaction to remove the name and other identifying information.
“What am I looking for?”
“Something that proves all the other doctors are idiots.”
It only took a few minutes for her to attempt to singe his flesh with the patented, but generally useless, Cameron glare of moral outrage.
“Does Wilson know you’re reviewing his brother’s file?”
He considered brazening that one out by either going with “What brother?” or claiming he had Wilson’s full consent, only to realize he could no longer count on antipathy between Cameron and Wilson to keep his secrets safe.
“Nope. And if he hears it from you, you’ll never clean bedpans in this town again.”
Her eye-roll indicated that she was not impressed with his bluster, but she kept reading anyway.
“The sledding accident when he was nine. Maybe there was a lesion on the brain that triggered the psychiatric symptoms.”
“He wasn’t treated for a concussion, just a broken wrist.”
“Well, if all his doctors were idiots…”
She handed back the file and this time he made damn sure to accentuate the wince for her benefit.
Sledding accident, he scoffed to himself, getting on the elevator and pushing all the buttons so he’d have more time to think.
“Hey, House, look alive,” said Foreman, getting on at the third floor, interrupting House’s thought process. “Pauline’s vomiting blood.”
So what else was new?
“Was she having colds before her other symptoms showed up?”
“Uh, yeah. It’s cold and flu season. Everybody’s been sick.”
“Check her sputum. It’s full of fungal spores, which are also in her stomach. One of the Tineas, I'll bet. ”
Even Foreman looked grossed out as he sprinted out of the elevator on his way to confirm, but House’s attention was back on Danny.
When Kutner showed up to report that the littlest Kojak was responding to treatment, House assigned him to research every possible fungus and parasite that could induce symptoms that mimicked schizophrenia. Kutner treated the punishing workload with his usual good-natured grin.
How had he ended up with such a bunch of wusses? Even Thirteen barely fought with him anymore, having apparently shot her metaphorical wad on the right to date Foreman.
Come back, little cut-throat bitch.
If he believed in an after-life, he’d imagine that Amber was very amused at the way House and Wilson both felt her absence in their lives, albeit for different reasons.
Kutner’s list went on for five pages, but told him nothing. If the damage was done, how could he prove or treat? Was there a difference between real mental illness and something that had gotten into Danny’s brain before he was thirteen?
He put off the confrontation with futility by spending a productive day lying to various employment agencies and exercising his slightly rusty Spanish on a full investigation of Nurse Santiago.
Aside from what he’d observed of her physical assets, Aurelia Santiago came equipped with a stellar CV, including a BSN from NYU. Her education wasn’t half as interesting as the ex-husband, the boy she was raising as a single parent and the (cue violins) mother who was currently undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.
House ran the stats through his personal Wilson-o-meter. Wilson might not be thrilled about sharing attention with a kid, but the sick mom would send every protective nerve ending into overdrive, including some very specific ones.
The only chance to nip this thing in the bud, or at least the stem, was the possibility of a new diagnosis and that was starting to feel as likely as drawing to an inside straight. The answer wasn’t in the file; it was inside Danny’s head.
That night in bed, he let himself think of Wilson. Nothing new there, only this time his imagination lost track of which Wilson brother was there with him. Was it Danny with his far-away eyes, or Wilson with his strong arms and soft skin, or both of them together, caressing and stroking and promising never to leave? He came with a ragged groan, grateful for the release, but disturbed by the implications.
Something was wrong.
House could sense it the minute Aurelia opened the door. She actually looked like a working nurse, one whose patient had kept her up all night.
“He had an episode last night.”
“What about his meds?”
Her expression transitioned from anger to guilt and then defensiveness, and House felt a rage rising in his chest that could only be provoked by medical incompetence. “He’s been conning you, hasn’t he? He palmed his meds and you weren’t watching closely enough.”
He was in no mood to hear her excuses. He pushed past her and got up the stairs faster than the leg should have permitted. Vicodin was good, but it couldn’t beat the temporary rush of anger-fueled adrenaline.
Danny was sitting up in bed, reading. The book looked old, like something left behind at a bed and breakfast circa 1952. He was dressed, House couldn’t help noticing, in a crisp white cotton shirt over a pair of suit pants, rather than his usual khaki/polo combo. It looked all too familiar.
He looked calm, and very in the moment. He didn’t seem to be hearing the voices, or listening for them. He didn’t even want to hear them. House could only imagine how large a dosage of clozapine it had taken to accomplish that.
“Were there restraints?” House asked, looking for any obvious signs of bruising. There were none on his face, although covering up his arms may have accounted for the long-sleeved shirt.
Aurelia shook her head. “We don’t do that here.”
House didn’t believe that for a second, especially not when Danny looked up from the book that he suspected was only a prop, and said, “Please, Greg. Get me out of here.” It was the exact voice Wilson would have used, down to the crack on “Greg,” letting him know how difficult it was to say his first name.
He addressed Aurelia again.
“Does Wilson know about this?”
Another quick head shake told House just how scared Nurse Santiago really was and how every second he stayed without blowing the whistle on the whole mess made him complicit.
He could walk Danny out of there, but what good would that do? Another home and a different nurse wouldn’t solve anything. It would just make Wilson feel more guilty and drive him further away. He doubted Wilson would even be grateful for having his parents’ bad judgment exposed.
The key was still solving the puzzle.
“Get out,” he snarled, and listened for the door shutting behind him.
“Please, get me out of here,” Danny repeated, widening his eyes for added emphasis, or maybe just to remind House how much like Wilson’s they were. He made room for House on the bed, but not enough for House to completely avoid some contact with Danny’s leg.
House tried to focus on anything but that.
“Are they hurting you?”
Danny gave him that haunted, slightly glazed look. Like Wilson with a few drinks in him.
Another bad thought.
He remembered what Danny had said about making scenes, about Wilson’s perfection. Everybody lies, but do schizophrenics lie by commission or omission?
“Where’s David?” he asked, speaking of the oldest Wilson brother, met at Wilson’s wedding to Bonnie and not seen since. By memory, less finely featured than the younger boys.
Wilson hadn’t mentioned David’s reaction to either Danny’s disappearance or his return. House could feel the adrenaline still pumping in his system as his brain raced toward the truth.
It wasn’t a fungus or a lesion. Something bad happened, David abandoned ship, Danny found refuge somewhere in his mind, and Wilson was left to pick up the pieces. House knew it was exactly the kind of thing his imaginary therapist would say, but it fit Wilson’s pathology so perfectly.
What it did for Danny, he couldn’t say, because he couldn’t say anything. Danny had finally stood up, but before House had a chance to relax, he caught Danny looking at him. Not confused, or crazy or mildly sedated, but intensely, even -- no, it couldn’t be -- seductively.
Things that happened at home, during his dark nights of the soul were meant to stay there, not manifest itself into something that occurred in the light of day. Not like this.
He sensed that he was in danger, but the adrenaline had finally dissipated and now he felt paralyzed. Danny had disappeared when he was still in his late teens. He must have been stunning. Maybe he’d been crazy; maybe he hadn’t. Either way, he’d done what he had to do to survive.
Danny stood there, hands on hips, one knee forward, his lips slightly parted.
House tried to form the word “no,” but couldn’t.
He knew all the reasons that he should stop this. They ranged from ethical to moral and none of that mattered as much as the fact that this was Wilson’s goddamned brother and Wilson would be livid if he ever find out, but even those words, Wilson’s goddamned brother, made his mouth a little dry and his heart beat faster, especially the way, Danny managed to stretch out the moment of kneeling in front of House. It was a mini –ballet of sensuality, as he held House’s eyes with his own, so that House felt, rather than saw Danny undoing his jeans.
Despite the danger of being caught and the throb of his leg, he quickly responded. Normally, he needed a pill and lots of patience, but Danny had him quickly hard and straining against the mouth he’d been missing for so long, or was it a better one?
House felt Danny’s hand seeking out the forbidden place that Wilson knew better than to touch or draw attention to. The hand was gentle even with the roughened skin. Danny lacked the boundaries that kept Wilson tiptoeing around the scar, literally and figuratively. In so many ways, Danny was offering House what Wilson had been denying him.
He looked into those eyes until he couldn’t take it anymore. Then he was alone in his own mind trying to referee a smack-down between his better judgment, which knew something was very wrong, and his cock, which didn’t give a damn. His brain never had a chance. He gave into the pleasure: the mouth that both was and wasn’t Wilson, and the need that had been building for so long. He was gasping and shaking, exposed and vulnerable, when Aurelia came through the never-locked door, screaming to both god and Mary as though she’d never seen or performed this specific act.
After the third or fourth “madre de dios” had registered, House realized his biggest mistake was underestimating a Latina woman who didn’t want to give up on James Wilson. Cut-throat Bitch had nothing on this wench.
House didn’t know if Danny was a player or a pawn, but as he was being escorted out the door, he knew damn well he’d been set up.
“Don’t you dare try to blame this on her.”
Wilson has listened to the whole thing and the first words out of his mouth are to defend his conniving girlfriend who had no doubt manipulated Danny. Amber is probably watching the whole scene in stunned admiration.
House doesn’t want to hear a single word in defense of CTB’s replacement and he can’t bring himself to choke out an apology when he was so clearly the one sinned against.
This time he doesn’t have to.
“It’s my fault,” Wilson sighs.
“That’s a big steaming cauldron of Jewish guilt, even for a schmuck like you.”
“Danny is my baby brother,” he insists, as though House has been missing an essential point, which House suddenly realizes he might have been. Wilson’s emphasis isn’t on the word baby, or even brother. It’s on the possessive article.
“Why not David’s baby brother?” he asks, provoking a fierce glare from Wilson. House now has another mental road to rush down. Maybe David was adopted and then resented the “natural” kids and took it out on the most vulnerable. “What the hell went on in that house?”
In spite of the raised voices and the anger of the moment, House sees an expression on Wilson’s face that can only be described as gloating.
“Listen to yourself. Greg House, demanding an emotional revelation. Are you going to share a few details about yourself to get me to open up?”
“I’m just trying to solve the case,” he snarls, simultaneously wondering if another exaggeration of his father’s emotional brutality would have the tongue-loosening effect that he’s looking for. Probably not at this point. Wilson is so far up on his high-horse it’ll take a cherry picker to get him down.
“Solve the case or solve the puzzle? Help my brother or just get more information about me?”
“Both,” he admits, rising painfully from the couch, hoping the physical act will serve in lieu of any further lowering of his own emotional defenses. “Come on, Wilson. What happened in your happy home that made it easier for Danny Boy to take a one-way trip to Psychosis-ville? Maybe if you tell me who fucked up first, I’ll figure a way to fix your brother so he doesn’t have to spend the rest of his life enriching the over-stuffed pockets of Novartis Pharmaceuticals.”
Wilson stands up and walks toward House, reminding him of Danny’s provocative stance. For a dizzying second, House wonders if Wilson intends to hit him or try to outdo his brother’s sexual performance. Neither happens, but a single moment of Wilson’s hand on his wrist is as charged as the actual feeling of Danny’s mouth on his cock, because Danny still isn’t Wilson.
“You don’t get it, do you?” The King (or Queen, depending on how you look at it) of Denial is obviously trying to resist the same feeling. “You want me to tell you my family is fucked up? Fine. Pick a dysfunction from your favorite Lifetime movie and we’ve probably got it, but none of that happened until after Danny got sick. He’s not the symptom, he’s the disease. I wanted a baby brother and they gave me one. And look what happened.”
For a fraction of a second, House wishes he were Cameron, or Chase or Kutner, or a stray bum on the street. Pretty much anyone other than himself. Someone who could reach out and give Wilson a hug to help salve his misplaced guilt. From a purely selfish point of view, such an action might be the best way to get Wilson back into his bed, for all the good that would do tonight.
Not only can’t he offer physical comfort, his view of the world won’t even sanction the possibility of validation for such self-centered bullshit.
“Pu-lease,” he intones, in his best snotty adolescent voice. “Did they give you everything else you wanted? Ponies and bicycles? Your own set of Dynasty action figures? Your mom needed another baby to fill her empty life or maybe it was just an accident. There’s a lot of things you can blame yourself for, but Danny’s existence isn’t one of them.”
If Wilson’s parents really have been laying that kind of guilt trip on him, then House is no longer sorry for the incident at the wedding, not that he ever was.
Once again they’re here, fuming at each other, with nothing left to say, and if they aren’t going to fuck, House has nothing left to give. He suspects Wilson feels the same, even if he isn’t ready to admit it. But Wilson is smiling, and it’s not the condescending one. It’s that self-deprecating, heart-breaking smile that would have House’s panties on the floor if he were a nurse, or wearing panties.
“Thanks,” Wilson says softly. “It was nice of you to try and help.” House puts up a hand as if to fend off the accusation of niceness. “Your motives are unfathomable to mere mortals, but I know that somewhere in there was a genuine desire to help. “
“I thought I was just trying to solve a puzzle.”
“No puzzle here, House. Sometimes schizophrenia is just schizophrenia.”
After all the Sturm und Drang, this is apparently Wilson’s final thought on the matter.
“OK,” House says, in a tone that he hopes signals submissive agreement.
Wilson narrows his eyes suspiciously.
“I mean it. It’s over. Stay away from Aurelia. Stay away from my brother.”
House is poised to hear the inevitable dramatic capper, Stay away from me!, but it never
Considering how the conversation started, that has to be considered some sort of victory; a short-lived one since Wilson is heading for the door and there’s nothing House can do about it. His leg won’t even let him stand anymore, but he has one shot left as he relaxes back on to the couch.
“Get Danny a brain scan.”
That stops Wilson at the door. He turns around slowly.
“Are we talking about Cameron’s lesion?”
“I don’t think she’s patented it yet.”
“Danny’s had MRIs, CT scans, and PT scans. Don’t you think someone would have noticed a lesion by now?”
“One scan. Get Foreman to look at it. I won’t go anywhere near. Scout’s honor.”
“When were you ever a scout?”
“Talent scout for Warner Brothers.”
Wilson has his “migraine face” on, but House can tell he’s going for it.
“One scan and you have to be ten miles away from the hospital with your phone turned off,” he says, before leaving.
House pulls his legs onto the couch and lies back with his own deep sigh, deciding to temporarily forgo his next pill for the immediate pleasure of the next drink, which he most definitely deserves. In a way, he’s actually celebrating. Danny is off-limits and Aurelia has Wilson in her clutches, but at least the file is still open.
Time is on his side.