It’s a week after Tritter’s interrogation that House pulls you aside and asks for a refill. It isn’t hard to say no, your nerves are still on fire and the nightmares have returned. There’s no way you’re risking a repeat session. Not even for him.
His eyes are hard when you refuse, and his right hand clutches his cane while his left is balled at his side.
“That was an order. Write the scrip .”
You try not to flinch. You’ve felt his wrath, and his cane, before, although he usually reserves the worst of it for stupidity rather than for courage.
“No.” You hold firm. “I’d rather lose my job than face Tritter again.”
Wilson usually takes care of it, in return for who knows what. There are rumours and you’ve heard things but never seen any marks. But Tritter told Cameron (and your mind shies away from the image of Tritter ‘talking’ to Cameron) that House stole Wilson’s pad and forged his signature. His apartment was filled with hundreds of pills. Maybe he was selling and maybe he wasn’t. You tend to think he wasn’t because not once has House ever shared with any of you.
Wilson’s lost everything he has. And House has let it happen. He thinks that he can ignore it and the whole thing will go away. Tritter’s aiming all around him, and the rest of you are collateral damage. Tritter doesn’t care who gets hurt, as long as House goes down. House doesn’t care who goes down, as long as it isn’t him.
So you’re not going to write the scrip. But as you study him, the way he’s standing there, strung tight, in pain, and on a knife edge you think of a way to give him relief, and yourself a little pleasure.
You go to the blinds and close them. You start unbuckling your belt.
“Not today, dear,” he says, but his eyes are riveted on your movements. The tip of his tongue wets his lips and you feel a surge of need at the sight.
The belt slides clear of its loops and you fold it into your hand. The buckle presses nicely against your palm.
“Bend over the desk,” you say. His eyes lock onto you, dissecting every thought you have. Finally he nods.
“I own your ass,” he reminds you. Then he bends over the desk, arse sticking out, head down.
You take a moment to admire the view, and then you unfold the belt. You haven’t done this for a long time – your banker friend only liked to get burnt, not thrashed. You hesitate and then he turns and sneers at you.
“What’s the matter? Did Tritter take your balls?”
The first lash wipes the smile from his face. He gasps and shudders as you catch him just right. He turns his head again and you give him another. You take your revenge on Tritter, and your father, and your mother and this man who could be another father, or a lover, or the man who screws you up worse than anyone. You hate him, and you love him, and the belt falls so many times that you lose count.
By the time it’s over House is glassy-eyed. You think you’ve taken it too far, but then he straightens and smiles slightly as he puts weight on his leg. He stands taller than he did before. You’ve taken the pain from his leg and channeled it elsewhere. It will return, it will always return, but for now there is relief. For both of you.
His eyes find your groin. You’re hard, your cock tight against your trousers. You want his touch, and fear it, but you know he’ll never give it. He belongs to another, if he belongs to anyone.
“Get Cameron to help you with that,” he says and it’s a dismissal. You stay for a moment longer and then leave, there’s nothing more for you to do.
Foreman looks at you as you go back to the conference room.
“How many strokes?” he asks and you’re dumbfounded for a minute before you realize he thinks that House has been disciplining you. The walls aren’t soundproof and it wouldn’t be the first time House had used one fellow’s discipline as an example to the others.
You open your mouth to reply but House is there, looming over Foreman – his cane prodding at him. “Don’t you have an LP to do? Get it done or you’ll find out how many first hand. “
Foreman stares at him with false bravado but then heads for the hallway. House turns his gaze on you. “Get over to the restaurant and find out what they’re hiding.” Then he’s gone.
On your way out of the hospital Wilson intercepts you. His attitude is casual but you know better.
“How’s House doing?”
“Thanks to you.”
You stop and look at him with a question.
“I heard.” And his eyes are cold, and the friendly doctor persona is gone. You are confused for a moment and then you realize that he means he literally heard through those not-soundproofed walls.
You feel a moment of fear at your trespassing and then Wilson smiles. It’s not a pleasant smile.
“You want his approval, and his gratitude. You’ll never get it. ”
How do you know? You want to ask but instead you turn away and keep walking. You know how Wilson knows.
You phone in the results from you efforts at the restaurant and House curtly dismisses both them, and you. As you put the phone back in your pocket a text comes through.
“ Same time tomorrow ,” it commands.
You’ll be there.
You go looking for Cameron.