You Are Receding

by Kass


This one's set after "Meaning," 3 x 01. I challenged myself to write a four-part mini-story totalling 1000 words. I have the feeling it's going to get Jossed when episode 2 airs, but for now, it's an attempt to work through some of the tensions created by the first ep of the season. Oh, and the title is nipped from Pink Floyd, as may be obvious; I figure they won't mind its re-use.


The first time House jerked off after being sent home to recuperate from the gunshot wound the absence of leg pain threw him. He wasn't sure what to do now that he wasn't compensating. After some consideration he raised his knees and braced his feet against the mattress. The unfamiliar position excited him, made the old grip of his hand new, and that was enough to distract him from fabricating pangs of ghost pain that would keep pleasure at bay.

He'd hated PT after the infarction. What was the fucking point of all those exercises when he knew he wouldn't ever walk normally again, or sprint across a field, or meander around a golf course in the almost-rain? But this time he ran until every muscle in his body trembled with the strain.

And then he came home and worked himself into a lather, sprawled across his bed or flopped on the couch (he didn't want to think of it as Wilson's couch, but the memory arose unbidden.) Best of all was the instant just before orgasm, when his legs tensed’—both of them, now, in concert’—and he didn't have to resist.

What he really wanted was to fuck without fragility. To pound Wilson (gasping in helpless pleasure, maybe begging him to keep going, oh, God, just like that) into the mattress, not worrying about whether his thigh was on the verge of spasm. But the weeks went by and Wilson didn't call, and neither did he.


He'd thought it was a good theory. But Cuddy had shut him down’—rejecting both his treatment idea for cancer guy, and the offer implicit in his appearance at her bedroom window’—and now he was staring at the slip of paper he'd torn from Wilson's prescription pad. Remembering the way Vicodin felt.

He'd be an idiot to throw away the months he'd spent clean. House knew that. Ketamine hadn't spared him the varied agonies of detox. But he couldn't shake the memory of his hallucination, reminding him that the ketamine could make him thick. Was Cuddy right’—were his diagnoses off, now that his brain had been re-set?

They'd all seen Foreman struggling to get full cognitive function back after the Naegleria last year. Cameron had been sweet about it; Chase had awkwardly ignored it; and House had needled him as often as he could. The rest of them had glared at him, aghast, but it was obvious Foreman didn't mind. House calling him brain-damaged was a kind of normalcy, one he needed, even craved.

House had always been perfectly content as an emotional cripple. He hadn't liked being a physical one much, but it was bearable. But if removing the weight of pain from his life, according to some fucked-up calculus he didn't understand, meant relinquishing the brilliance he'd made his career on...

Wouldn't it be better to return to Vicodin, which would either make his mind work again, or would help him forget its betrayal?


House was downing a bottle of water when the knock came: Wilson, hands shoved in his jacket pockets. His body language said something was up: the bastard was hiding something. Somehow that made House feel better about the stolen prescription’—which he still hadn't filled; it was burning a hole against his thigh, or would have been if he hadn't been wearing running shorts. But whatever it was, Wilson didn't confess.

House resisted the urge to stand up straighter. His slouch was hard-won and he wasn't about to stop doing it just because Wilson was looking at him.

"Just back from a run?"

House nodded, stepping out of the way to let Wilson in.

"Is that all you do these days?"

House considered the accumulated time he'd spent with his hand down his shorts, during the weeks of his medical leave, then shrugged. "I've been playing a little," he said, sitting down at the piano and rolling a few arpeggiated chords, tamping them down with the soft pedal just because he could.

There was a pause. House swung his legs around the piano bench to face Wilson again. "So," he said.

"Look. House," Wilson said, then seemed to stop himself. Holding something back, and whatever it was, it cost him.

House waited, but Wilson didn't speak. House looked at the tension in his shoulders, the way hunger warred with shame in his eyes, and abruptly changed his initial assessment. Wilson wasn't concealing anything grander than the desire to get laid.


Every thrust made House want to howl with pleasure. God, he loved having a working body, being able to balance on two forearms and two knees, getting slick with sweat. It was possible sex was better than running, and given how many times he'd sublimated the longing to go for a run, that was saying a lot.

"That all you got?" Proud he wasn't out of breath.

Wilson huffed a laugh, withdrew most of the way, and then slammed in again. House bit back a groan, not wanting this to be over, knowing Wilson's weakness for the needy sounds he made. But as if Wilson intuited House's level of desperation he reached around to palm his erection, hand-clasp just this side of cruel. House had several years' worth of practice at ignoring sensation, but he couldn't imagine bringing that training to bear on pleasure; instead he let himself fall.

House didn't budge when Wilson got up to piss, but he opened his eyes when he heard the rattle of Wilson's belt buckle. Without thinking about it, he'd expected Wilson to stay. It bothered him that his imagining was wrong.

Watching him get dressed was like watching a guy suit up in armor. The uncomfortable thought crossed House's mind that maybe Wilson was hiding something after all.

"Go to sleep," Wilson said, not unkindly, when he noticed House watching. He let himself out. House listened to the door slam, the car start, Wilson receding further into a place he couldn't reach.

(1000 words)

The End