May 14th, 2007

house and wilson bros before hos

Fic: Triggers


Life's funny in that rational thought can't always overpower what it should. Man says to himself over and over and over that mind betters matter every time, but things don't always work out that way. Panic attacks, for instance. Sometimes the common-sense part of the mind, whatever part that is as you don't see it labeled on a medical diagram (parietal lobe, temporal lobe, hypothalamus, small-section-that-prevents-owner-from-jumping-off-a-bridge), goes on the fritz. Then you're afraid of what you know you shouldn't be afraid of—and it is, all told, pretty damn frustrating.

Wilson has panic attacks occasionally. They are not fun, and he would much prefer not to have panic attacks occasionally. He would much prefer not to have panic attacks at all.

He doesn't know for sure what sets them off, but they've been around for awhile, a few in high school even. He hasn't had one in front of House before, and he isn't inclined to. He thinks having a panic attack in front of House would be even less fun than having one anywhere else.

Unfortunately, what with things not always working out the way they should, Wilson gets unlucky.

He's sitting on House's couch some Friday evening; he's got his feet up on the coffee table, and House is sprawled beside him drinking a beer with his feet on the coffee table too, almost a perfect mirror image, in that special way that should be creepy but isn't because that's the way good friends tend to operate. They're watching the end of a Hitchcock movie he caught on TBS because he's had a shitty day, but he knows that he can almost count the seconds until House changes the channel. House has never been able to stand Vertigo for long, but Wilson's always liked it. Something about old movies appeals to him. House has always ventured the notion that he might harbor an unhealthy attraction to Jimmy Stewart, but he shoots that down.

They're not talking, and neither of them has said a word for half an hour, because they were bickering over House's latest insane scheme. House called him a spineless shit-faced saint or something along those lines (possibly cruder), and he said something about House needing to build relationships with actual human beings and maybe needing to have more than a drink with the nutritionist. Things escalated from there, but they'll talk again in an hour or so. House'll start playing the piano sometime, and afterward Wilson will probably go back to the hotel.

But then House turns to him abruptly, with a look on his face that Wilson doesn't see very often, and sets into a new spiel. He's seriously angry, angrier than Wilson thought he was before maybe. Who knows? Maybe it's a combination of the day's stress and the fact that he thought he could get away without taking the antidepressants. He can feel pressure building up in his chest, and before he knows it he is finding it difficult to breathe, which is eerily familiar.

He bends down and puts his head between his knees a little and tries to breathe deeply. There are a few tears sliding down his cheeks—that's what always happens to him, and it's the most embarrassing part. His eyes are heavy, and there's an ache forming in his stomach. His heart's racing. He wonders if he has the presence of mind to take his pulse. He's not in any danger but he is curious.

He's still fighting to breathe normally when he realizes that House left the room at some point, because House has returned. House pushes a glass of cold water into his hands and says a grumbled something about drinking it slowly, along with another hard-to-follow remark about calming down, and Wilson's shoulders are shaking and his fingers are trembling so he can't hold the glass properly. House takes it back, sets it on the table where their feet were minutes ago.

"I'm okay," Wilson says, but that's ridiculous. His voice keeps cracking and his heart keeps racing and he isn't sitting up yet.

"You're an idiot," House says, and House is, as usual, right.

When he does calm down, half an hour later, and his heart rate returns to normal, he doesn't meet House's eyes and House makes no effort to look at him. They exchange a few clipped sentences—does he do that often or only to impress the chicks, well he's done it a few times, has he identified any triggers, probably stress but he's not really sure. They're watching the end of the movie like it's continued to hold their interest.

Wilson drinks the water eventually, though he would prefer alcohol. House wends his way to the piano bench once the glass is drained, where he plays quietly for awhile until Wilson dozes off, his plans to return to the hotel forgotten, his clothes from work rumpled and his briefcase abandoned by the door.

He shifts Wilson on the couch when he's snoring, loosens his tie and then decides to remove it altogether. Though it's not something he would normally do, he unearths a blanket from the hall closet and covers Wilson up.

Wilson, in the morning, vaguely remembers someone standing beside him, hesitantly smoothing the hair from his forehead. But the sensation is hazy and could be nothing but a dream.

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