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This Time With Feeling
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By Pradon

Chapter One

 

 

This Time With Feeling

 

    

A rhythmic “splish-thud” rose from the sidewalk

and quickly dispersed into the windy coolness of the

night.  He walked as quickly as he could and focused

on nothing other than the wet sidewalk in front of

him.  The bar wasn’t too far away.  What did Wilson

want anyway?

                

The day had been a relatively easy one.  Cameron

had teamed up with Foreman to supplement her

neurological studies, Wilson had called in sick, and

Chase had spent most of the day filling out charts and

following up on labs. Cuddy was away on business so

he’d had taken her absence as a providential mandate

to share his wealth of responsibility with some lucky

colleague.  He’d approached a new resident at the

nurse’s station and smoothly passed along his clinical

charts to her, smiling broadly as if he were handing

her an early birthday gift.  “Here you go.  Enjoy,”

he’d said with a magisterial nod of his head.  Once

the resident realized what had just happened she

politely declined and then more strongly resisted once

she saw he wasn’t planning on taking them back.  His

only response to her protestations had been a too

sweet, “No, I insist. Really.” As he retreated down

the hallway he thought he heard her say something that

sounded an awful lot like “sucking mouse,” but he

couldn’t be sure.

                

Wilson had called just as he’d arrived home from

the hospital and asked if he’d meet him as soon as

possible at a bar, any bar – there was something he

needed to talk to him about.  House vaguely wondered

if perhaps the reason behind Wilson’s morning call in

to the hospital had something to do with the reason

behind him wanting to meet now. House picked up the TV

remote and pressed Power. “Can’t,” he said, “It’s

Tango night at the dance studio and it’s my turn to

teach.” Wilson ignored the remark; House’s sarcasm was

just so much static to him now.  Wilson’s tone became

more insistent, “When and where, Greg?”  House knew he

wouldn’t take no for an answer.  He couldn’t remember

the last time he heard James so, so…fearful?  Was that

what he sensed in Wilson’s voice?   He flicked the TV

off and agreed to meet.  He suggested a nearby bar and

Wilson responded, “I’m already there.”  “What, you

mean you’re there now?” House asked.  “Yes,” Wilson

replied and hung up the phone.  House double-checked

his pocket.  The bottle of Vicodin clattered agreeably

against his hand.

           

He decided to walk hoping the exercise

would help relax his lower back and loosen the muscles

that had tightened up considerably after his day of

inactivity.   A bus pulled up at the stop outside his

house and for a split second he considered taking the

bus to the bar.  Bus: The great unwashed. People who

might try to talk to him.  Plenty of them to deal with

at work; he didn’t need to placate their fears nor

entertain their fantasies on his off hours now, did

he?  And what was a bus anyway but a mobile clinic?

He walked on.

                 

It had rained earlier in the day and the trees

he passed under were slowly distributing the drops

they’d caught on their branches.  He turned up his

collar to stay the drops from dribbling down his neck

and ducked his head intent on his mission.  The cool

thick night air clung to his skin.  It hung heavy upon

him and seeped through his clothing inciting a

crackling throbbing pain in his thigh.  He wondered

why outdoor pain was different than indoor pain, and

why Saturday pain was different from Tuesday pain. Why

couldn’t pain just be pain?  It’d be so much easier to

deal with if the face of your foe didn’t change so

often.  But this foe never looked the same - one day

it was a small-time hood; another day an executioner.

                 

He realized that until that point he hadn’t

felt much pain all day.  The Vicodin had seen to that.

 Sweet Mother of Vicodin.  How sweet you are.

 

He quickened his pace to try to re-configure the

pain into a minor entity, but the pain knocked

insistently as if demanding recognition.  It made his

leg feel heavier and colder than any other part of his

body. He jabbed the cane into the sidewalk punctuating

the intense throbbing with exclamation points of

frustration.  The bar wasn’t too far away now.   

                

He’d taken three Vicodin before leaving the

hospital but the walk and the coldness of the night

had conspired to dull the effects of the drug.  The

sweat that always accompanied his severest bouts of

pain began to form on his forehead, in his armpits,

and on his chest and waist.  Quickly cooled by the

evening air the sweat shot a lightning chill through

his body that terminated, as usual, in his thigh.  His

thigh was the terminus for all events, all moods, good

or bad; they somehow all found their way there

eventually.   He’d learned that it was better to try

to have no mood than to entertain any mood at all.

Pleasure or Sadness, Anger or Bliss - it all meant

pain.   Excitement?  pain  Happiness?  Sometimes

really bad pain.   Lust?  Well that actually didn’t

feel too bad but since it meant getting to know

someone – and their pain - he knew it would ultimately

lead to more pain.  Come to think of it, Seething

Anger wasn’t so bad, but it just took so much blasted

energy to maintain.  Hope?  He didn’t remember what it

felt like, so it wasn’t an option anyway, but somehow

it seemed the most painful of all.   He did his best

to live his life in the in-between: in-between

feeling, in-between pain.

 

The sound of a siren etched itself into his

mind and he half-wondered if his pain had suddenly

found vocal expression.  He paused, put his hand to

his forehead, and listened.  The siren rose again into

the air, but this time it was closer, louder.  It was

coming from behind him and he turned his head to see

where it was.  He covered his ears as the ambulance

passed him - his senses could only handle so much

overload at one time.   He closed his eyes and willed

the pain to stay in his leg and not travel up to his

head.  The siren stopped.  He quickly opened his eyes

and saw that the ambulance had pulled into a parking

lot up ahead.  Wasn’t that the parking lot to the bar?

 

He quickened his pace and pulled his jacket tighter.

The night seemed colder to him now.

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Pradon's Author Page

Pradon's other fics:

This Time With Feeling Chapter Two

A Moment in Time

Pradon's poetry:

My World

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