“Do you have any idea how hot it would be to have super flexibility?”
A Heroes rerun is on and the ogling of Ali Larter is in progress. Wilson’s perception of the actual show increases exponentially in proportion to House’s running commentary regarding the female characters. “I’ve never actually thought about it.”
“Save the cheerleader, save the world,” House mumbles. “What kind of moron decided this was the best possible tagline?”
“Probably someone who knew it would capture the attention of grizzled old men who like perving on teenagers in miniskirts,” Wilson answers automatically, but House is already facing the other direction and making a comment about Hayden Panettiere.
“It’s kind of disturbing,” Wilson points out, watching the swirl of dust motes in a vagrant ray of sunlight.
“You’re only saying that because your standards are lacking.”
“You’re only saying that because you’re seeing everything in shades of acetaminophen.”
House rolls right on past that remark. “You know, Superman sees us as geeky and average. So says Bill to the Bride.” Wilson hadn’t cared for either of the Kill Bill movies, but they’d been on back to back the other day and he’d watched because of House. “Superheroes are all made super by something, but Batman is the only one who isn’t altered. He does it by choice. He’s human.”
“Seems simple enough. He thinks we’re all filled to the brim with insipidness, but worth saving anyway.”
House shoots him a long-suffering look. “That’s just crap.”
Same words, same expression he’d gotten for opening his mouth the last time House checked himself into a center, then checked himself right back out and trusted Wilson to be there to pick him up. The compulsion to lecture is a hard one to break, regardless of whether or not he’s lecturing a brick wall.
Wilson’s tried, but he can’t actually imagine a stranger, now or at any point in House’s life, making him try alternative drugs, making him do more physio, making him admit that being depressed really does bring about psychosomatic pain on top of preexisting pain. Doesn’t matter that he’s always been a little too off-kilter himself to say any of that to House very often, nor that he’s had it all thrown back in his face time after time and just gone walking right on back to his precarious little patch of moral high ground, but even so. Still. He could have. Once and a while, taken charge instead of throwing up his hands, forced him to stay off the Vicodin or stay in a facility, anything instead of prescribing because of bias and habit. No one but him can be trusted with House. That’s his own personal cross to bear and House, as usual, is right. It’s all just crap.
“No, really, if you’re a human, why would you voluntarily choose to do that?”
“To prove you don’t need superpowers to be a defender of justice?”
“He has a dungeon and a teenager in spandex. Doesn’t seem like very decent payoff.”
“His parents were tragically killed in front of him, so he decided to fight crime and make the world a better place.”
“Do you have to sermonize everything?”
“Do you have to rain on every parade?”
“Just the big gay kiddie porn one in the Batcave.”
“Well, if you put it like that, then—“
“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” House isn’t looking at him.
Even though he hadn’t actually witnessed the scattering of his last team, he did on occasion have a habit of talking to a team that wasn’t there—it’s not hallucinating, it’s conceptualizing, he’d claim. It privately freaks Wilson the hell out even though he’s seen this sort of thing manifest so many times before.
That thin throat is working again, swallowing pain pills like Skittles, and it’s as fitting a last meal as any. The J-tube does most of the dirty jobs these days.
Hepatotoxicity is such an ugly word. In the light from the television, House’s face is yellow.