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Equations For a Falling Body
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by Armchair Elvis

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.
- Philip Larkin.






House does not come home to a doormat covered in Final Notices and an empty
refrigerator.

His apartment, silent and empty, is the same as he left it eighteen hours ago.
He spent the night at the hospital looking at films and screaming at his cowed and purple-eyed fellows. His tiredness pulls him in all directions.

It takes a conscious effort to pull against the fridge door seal. Beer.
He slops something canned into a saucepan for his stomach and shrewdly opens a beer for everything else. It isn’t hard. The sharp, aching failure makes it easier.

When he awakes at 4AM, in shock and pain, the red-eyed look he gives his mirror likeness as the water drips from his face is enough to scatter any resolve that remains.
He paces. He finds the box.

Morphine. She lays her cool cool hands on his head.
He falls. He falls.



..........



He is shocked. At himself.

It's no surprise when House pushes him, something hard against his back.

But then hot anger flashes with the ache behind his eyes, with tomorrow’s hangover fog, and then the shock is House's sudden gasp, clatter, crash.

Now, and too soon, House is glaring up at him, there. The fright, hurt register on his face, then a very dark flash of anger.
Wilson feels really sober all of a sudden.

The anger fades. Offering his hand would be stupid under these circumstances, so he turns away slightly as House drags his anger and shame away. He’s more than able to make up for it but he doesn’t.
Wilson hears his uneven footsteps. The bathroom door slams. House takes no opportunity to pay him back now or later. There is no dry comment on his swing, no uncertainty.

He never mentions it again. Neither does Wilson.


..........


He is surrounded by green.

The air and light are hot, clean, cleansing. The stick is cool against his practiced hands. Flying drops of water, and wet, loose grass hit his legs.


All of a sudden the world spins and the sun is in his eyes and he can smell the grass. Boom. He lies there and feels the wet on the back of his neck, and feels the heat in his arms and legs, the sweat. He breathes. In, out. Far away voices ring. Laughter.


Then they’re all over him, he can’t hear, he can’t see, he’s suffocating. Black shapes. His lungs scream, and then his throat hurts because he’s screaming, too.
When he awakes to a low burn in his throat and to a strangling, nervous pain in his chest and legs, he lies on the floor, the floorboards cool under his back.

His body will not forget.


..........


The intern in Emergency who stitches his hand is a child.

The kid glances twice at the cane-wielding, disheveled man on the chair front of him. House can feel him take in the threadbare UMich sweater, the shiny new cane, the way his clothes hang off him, the wrung-out, wasted air of his body, the weary frustration.
As he reads the chart his eyes widen. House can see him mouth his name as he writes something down. Gregory House.

He feels like saying that he’ll probably need a prescription, avoiding the inevitable hassle later, but he’s so damn tired, and his mouth stays shut. No fuss, he thinks. Please.

Stacy doesn’t say anything the whole ride home, and neither does he. Maybe I should be more careful, he thinks.
That night in bed, she traces a manicured hand lightly along the bruises on his back.
Greg, she says. Greg.

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