Pairing: House/Wilson FS, House/Cuddy FS, eventual Wilson/OFC, possible House/Cuddy
Warnings: graphic violence and non-con, sexual content, mild language
Summary: House experiences the worst nightmare of his entire life when he is brutally assaulted. Can Cuddy and Wilson help him get through it? Can he survive the aftermath of the attack?
By the time Wilson returned pushing the gurney, House appeared to be sound asleep, lying down on the sofa. He frowned, biting his lower lip as he considered his options. He hated to wake him when he had just fallen asleep, but he knew better than to think that he could lift him onto the gurney by himself.
Positioning the gurney beside the sofa, he crouched down in front of his friend, reaching out a hand to gently shake his shoulder.
"House...come on, I need you to wake up for a minute..."
House awakened with a start, cringing back away from Wilson's hand in a way that made the younger doctor wince. "What...? Don't..." he mumbled, his breath catching in his throat.
"Just me, it's all right..." Wilson soothed him softly, doing his best to ignore the implications of House's half-awake words, at least for the moment. He had to get him to a room and get his physical needs taken care of before he started thinking about the other types of injuries House would be dealing with. "I just need you to get up on the gurney, okay? I can't..."
"Of course it's just you, Nurse Nancy," House grumbled as he struggled to sit up. "Who else would it be?" The sting was taken from his smart remark by the groan of pain he bit back as he sank back down onto the sofa, unable to pull himself up. He glanced grudgingly up at Wilson, a sheepish, slightly sullen expression on his face as he realized that he was going to need his friend's help even to get up at all, and perhaps his mockery had been a bit...premature. "A little help, here?"
"Nurse Nancy to the rescue," Wilson muttered, sliding an arm cautiously around House's shoulders and helping him to sit up, moving slowly so as to jar his injuries as little as possible. "Okay...let's get you on your feet, now. It's just for a few seconds..."
House flinched, one arm bracing against his injured stomach, as Wilson bore his weight and helped him get to his feet. "Can't...can't do this..."
"Yes, you can."
Wilson kept his voice mild, gentle, as he turned his friend around so that his back was to the gurney, and helped him first to sit on its edge, and then to lie down on his side.
"There we go, see? That wasn't so hard."
"You wouldn't really know, would you?" House retorted. "And I'm not dying, so quit talking to me like I'm one of your five-year-old patients."
"Quit acting like a five-year-old patient and maybe I'll get the message."
House just glared up at him as Wilson carefully drew a thin hospital blanket up over his friend's shoulders, careful to cover the damage, leaving the top of the sheet bunched near House's face, to shield his features from any curious eyes they might happen to pass in the hallway. This particular floor was usually fairly deserted at night, and Wilson was confident that they would get to the nearest empty room without any trouble; but just in case, he wanted to be certain that House's privacy was preserved.
Wilson picked up House's cane and laid it on the tray beneath the mattress, then wheeled the gurney into an empty room just barely out of sight from the nurses' station, going immediately to the blinds and closing them, before locking the door and then, finally, turning on the light. He realized all at once that his heart was pounding and his palms were cool and damp as he slowly made his way back to House's side.
He really, really did not want to do this.
He walked around the side of the bed to face his friend - and froze, when he got a good look at House's face. Now, in the much brighter lighting of this room, he could see dark bruises forming on his face, the evidence that in addition to the other abuse he had taken, House had been dealt a brutal beating.
His expression was strangely blank, his mouth set in a thin, flat line, his eyes wide and staring at the far wall, and he appeared to be almost in shock. He was clutching the thin blanket in one hand, holding it up around the level of his throat, and Wilson noticed with dismay that he was visibly trembling. Perhaps the reality of what had happened to him was just now sinking in for House.
Or perhaps, he was simply in dread of allowing his friend to see what had been done to him.
Wilson crouched down in front of him, so that his eyes were level with those of his friend. He held his gaze for a moment, waiting until he could tell that House was finally focusing on him.
"You know," he pointed out softly, "I'm sensing a little bit of a problem with this arrangement."
House swallowed hard, a trace of humor in his eyes despite the gravity of the situation, as he replied in a self-deprecating tone, quietly mocking his own fear, "That would be your challenge, Wilson. Figure out a way to perform a physical without moving the blanket."
"I don't think that technology's been invented yet." Wilson's voice was gentle, compassionate, as he gave his friend a reassuring, sympathetic smile.
"Well, why don't you go invent it...and I'll just be waiting right here," House suggested, his eyes suddenly averted, a pitiful note of hope in his voice, mingled with sorrowful resignation - because he knew that no matter how badly he wanted to, this was not something that could be avoided forever.
Wilson said nothing, just waited a long moment, until House let out a shaky sigh of reluctant acceptance. Taking the quiet sound as permission, the younger doctor reached cautiously for the corner of the blanket House clutched in his hand, gently prying it from his trembling grasp and pulling it down to rest around his waist.
One step at a time, Wilson...just...take it slow...
"Okay...I need to take your shirt off, all right? I need to get to that stab wound, get it cleaned up and bandaged so you don't lose any more blood. All right?"
"You don't have to explain to me why you need my shirt off, Wilson," House snapped, then added in a mockingly suggestive tone of voice, "Unless it's a case of you protesting just a little too much."
Wilson shot him a dubious look that told him how very not amusing he thought his comment was.
House scoffed quietly. "Please. Like I haven't caught you looking in the shower room. Must be the six minute abs." He paused a moment, before adding in a more serious tone of voice, "I'm still a doctor, Wilson. I know why you have to have my shirt off. Explaining the obvious to me does nothing to make me feel any better about the situation."
Still, in all of that - he made no move to actually help to take the shirt off. Feeling awkward and uncomfortable, uncertain what was the best way to handle this situation, Wilson cleared his throat.
"Um...do you want to...or...should I just...?"
The irritation in House's sigh could not mask its slight tremor as he raised his hand and began unfastening the buttons of his shirt. "I accept $20's only as tips," he informed his friend. "And look all you want, but keep your hands off the merchandise."
Wilson winced inwardly at House's choice of joke, wondering what it said about his state of mind at the moment, following...what had happened.
You still don't really know what happened, Wilson reasoned with himself, though the greater part of him knew it was only wishful thinking. You could be reading this all wrong. Maybe he really did just get his bike stolen. Maybe you've just seen too many movies of the week lately.
But as House finished the buttons and held his arm out for Wilson to help him pull it out of its sleeve - since he was unable to sit up, and therefore unable to gain any leverage to get it off himself - the trace of panic Wilson saw in his eyes told him that his fears were grounded in nothing less than brutal fact.
Gently, he pulled the sleeve off House's arm, then cautiously pulled the material under him and out on the other side, freeing his other arm as well. Immediately, Wilson's eyes went wide with horror as he took in the dark purple bruises that covered his friend's chest and back - most of them in perfectly straight lines, about an inch thick...
My God...the bastard beat him with his own cane!
Aware that there was little he could do for the bruising except to allow it to heal, Wilson swallowed back his shock, knowing that his reaction would do nothing to help House, and focused his attention instead on the ugly stab wound in his upper abdomen.
It was almost a relief to redirect his efforts toward a simple injury that was relatively easy to mend, rather than thinking about the other horrors, both physical and psychological, that his friend had endured. Perhaps that was why, as he neared the end of the task at hand, Wilson began to feel that sense of dread rising up in him again.
Once the wound was bandaged, Wilson stood up straight with a heavy, shaky sigh. "Okay. That's...that part down. Now...House...I really need to check out the...the other source of the bleeding. Okay?"
House said nothing, did not move at all, simply lay very still, staring at the wall in front of him - and his hand once more clutched at the blanket at his waist, holding it up in place. Wilson swallowed back a hard lump in the back of his throat, blinking back tears that sprang to his eyes unbidden, as he instinctively reached out a gentle hand to rest over House's clenched fist on the blanket.
"House." He hesitated a moment, before amending in a softer, more intimate tone, "Greg."
House looked up at him then, his eyes wide and visibly frightened, shaking his head slightly. His whispered words held a despairing tone as he replied, "I...I can't, Wilson. I...I just...can't..."
Wilson could feel his trembling, shaking the entire gurney beneath him, as he gently stroked his thumb over the back of his friend's hand, doing his best to comfort him. He had some experience with soothing panicked, traumatized individuals - even if usually they were only panicked and traumatized due to the news he had given them himself - and he employed every bit of experience he had now, in his attempt to calm his shaken friend.
"Greg," Wilson repeated his first name softly, crouching down in front of him again and holding his gaze. "It's all right. It's just me, okay? I know what happened to you...well, sort of...and I know it's impossible for you to feel safe right now...but...but nobody's here to hurt you. Okay?"
House hesitated, and Wilson could see the struggle in his eyes, as if that part of him that insisted on constantly keeping his mask in place was still fighting against the idea of admitting what had happened. But Wilson already knew; there was no hiding it, not from this man who was closer and knew him better than any other living person.
Finally, House closed his eyes, lowering his head in shame, as he nodded his acceptance of Wilson's words. "Wilson...please," he begged in a quiet broken voice that sounded infinitely wrong coming from House. "No one...no one else can know about this. Please."
Relieved, though his heart was breaking for his clearly devastated friend, Wilson assured him gently, "I promise you, House, nobody else is gonna see...gonna know. It's just me...and I just wanna help. All right? Will you let me help you? I've gotta be sure you're not..." He hesitated, a grimace twisting his features as he tried again, "Gotta be sure...he didn't..." His voice trailed off, and he gave the other doctor an apologetic look as he asked in a hushed, confidential tone, "House...did he...did he wear a condom?"
The whispered word was so soft that Wilson almost didn't catch it - and when it registered with him, his heart did a horrified flip in his chest. Suddenly, he was breathless, unable to find words. He squeezed House's hand in a wordless show of support, struggling to regain his composure.
"And...no," House answered, his voice shaking dangerously, his eyes focused downward in humiliation. "I...I don't think they did. Not...not all of them, anyway..."
Finally, he replied, his own voice barely over a carefully restrained whisper. "They? There was...more than one...attacker?"
House nodded, unwilling to raise his eyes to meet the concerned gaze of his friend. Wilson sounded utterly aghast at what he was revealing...and yet somehow, now, he could not help but reveal it.
"House...how...how many were there?" Wilson held his breath, hoping for the least horrible possible answer...but not receiving it.
"Four," House whispered, his voice aching with devastated shame. "There were...there were four men...who...who raped me."