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20 November 2006 @ 09:06 pm
A Song To Keep Us Warm (House/BSG, House/Wilson)  
Title: A Song To Keep Us Warm
Fandom: House/Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Pairing: House/Wilson
Rating: PG-13
Summary: House and Wilson and New Caprica
Notes: Sequel to Breathe, Keep Breathing. This one, unlike the last one, actually assumes knowledge of BSG up until early season 3. It's also more of an actual crossover, with special guest appearances by Doc Cottle and Laura Roslin, as well as a cameo by Tigh. The title and all the lyrics come from Radiohead's Exit Music (For a Film).

wake, from your sleep

House wakes to the sound of the wind snapping against their tent. Wilson's gone to work already, leaving an empty space on the bed, but House is getting used to that, mostly (though he'd be loathe to tell Wilson he had to get used to it at all). Sleep still clings to his eyes, and House rubs them with the heel of his palm before sitting up.

It's especially windy out today, and House knows he's going to regret getting out of bed even before he does. Frakking leg. Across the room, the candles on Wilson's shrine flicker and dance, and House sullenly hopes they blow out. He hobbles to the table in the kitchen area, glad to see that Wilson's left breakfast behind on the table. One, because he's lazy and two, because it's a small reminder that Wilson hasn't decided to run off and get married again. (House doesn't like to dwell on that, the fact that there's a time when Wilson might leave, might not feel obligated to stay anymore.)

Though it should be quiet (no wireless, no annoying neighbors, no Wilson moving about) as he eats, it isn't, the wind continuing to rattle the fabric. Their tent is not great and not horrible. It's better than the cramped cabin they had on the Sargon, but that's not saying much. It's bare, empty, because decorations are hard to maintain, and besides, Wilson's the one who really cares about that sort of thing. House dresses slowly, glancing at the small, partially cracked mirror they've set up in what passes for a bathroom. The one thing you could say about the Sargon, at least, was that they had actual toilets.

The walk to the medical tent isn't long, but it's uncomfortable. His leg doesn't like the cold, and his cane likes to sink into the dirt, throwing off his rhythm. When he gets there, Cottle's standing outside smoking a cigarette, and Wilson chooses that exact moment to stick his head out of the tent, catching House as he's trying to sneak in.

"You're late," Wilson says, shoving a folder into his chest. "Get to work." House misses the time when they didn't actually work in the same department (but it's all the same department these days). That and when they were too disorganized to do actual paperwork.

Wilson goes back into the tent, leaving House with Cottle outside. "Men," House says to Cottle with an exaggerated eyeroll and a conspiratorial tone, wondering how the other doctor will react. Whether he'll laugh or shake his head or call House a jackass. Maybe a mix of all three. (That's what Wilson would do, House knows.)

Cottle finishes his cigarette and flicks away the butt. "What makes you think I give a frak?" he asks before heading inside himself.

sing us a song

It's raining, and Wilson closes his eyes, listens to the soft pitter-patter of it on the ground, against the tent. He'd missed this, out in space, more than anything else. On Picon, it had been wet, but not cold, and when he thinks of home, he always thinks of the sound of rain, lulling him to sleep. They've spent more than a year on New Caprica (more than they spent in space), but sometimes (when everything seems too small, when he expects to see gray walls everywhere he turns), sometimes he still misses rain.

The air smells vaguely like spring, choked with moisture, and Wilson breathes it in, letting it fill his lungs. House is ranting about something, a patient he saw today, a young man who'd broken his arm jumping off the back of a truck. Wilson half-listens, the familiar sounds of House's irritation lingering, but not quite sinking in. There are things that have changed, since the destruction of the Colonies, but it amuses Wilson to see that House is not one of them. He's still House, still Wilson's voice of reason when everything else is spinning out of control, still the bane of Wilson's existence when he wants to be.

It surprises him when House wraps an arm around his torso, pulling their bodies together, and rests his chin on the back of Wilson's head. It still fills Wilson with a certain kind of awe, to have this sort of casual touch from House. It's not something he does lightly, Wilson knows. It's not something he does for people he doesn't care about. (He knows this because he remembers HouseandStacy, the way he would give her light, fleeting touches that Wilson hadn't seen before or since.)

"You and your frakking rain," House says, voice muffled by Wilson's hair. He sounds more annoyed than angry, and it makes sense, the way House needs to push away, even as he's pulling in close.

Wilson tries to hide his smile, but he can't quite do it. "Yeah," he says, letting the sound of it (pit-pat, pit-pat, pit-pat) fill him again. Behind closed eyelids, he can almost imagine he's home.

and you can laugh a spineless laugh

House is sitting at the front desk (chair, whatever) twirling his cane when he sees the front flap of the medical tent open, and the former president of the Twelve Colonies step in. She's holding the hand of a small boy with big brown eyes who coughs adorably into his fist.

"Is Doctor Cottle in?" she asks. She smiles warmly, and House kind of wants vomit from how gentle and motherly it is.

"Nope," he says, not looking at her. He keeps on twirling his cane, hoping that it will piss her off.

Much to his dismay, she doesn't react to his rudeness, doesn't stop smiling. "Then perhaps you can help me instead." There's steel in her voice this time, House notices, but the tone is still too pleasant, still too nice.

He decides to keep pushing. "Nah, probably not. All the kid has is a cold. Which means you don't have to waste my time." He's telling the truth, but he can already imagine Wilson yelling at him for his lack of tact. Oh well, he'll just have to make it worth it. There's something about her that reminds him of Cuddy, and he itches to see if she'll react in the same ways.

"I'm aware of that," she says, and her eyes have gone sharp. Her voice is still oddly soft, and in that way, she's different. If it were Cuddy, she would have gone louder. He stops twirling so that he can focus on her. "If Dr. Cottle comes by again, will you give him this?" she asks, handing him a folded sheet of paper, and he realizes that there's a reason for this visit that she doesn't want people to know about. The kid's just a cover, and House wants to figure it out, dig underneath and find out what's going on.

But, then again, he's fairly certain he knows what it is, anyway. "Of course, Madam President," he says, rounding out the last two words with as much sarcasm as he can muster (and that's quite a bit of sarcasm).

Her smile falters for a moment before it rights itself. "Thank you," she says. Much to his surprise, she sounds like she means it.

Later on, House reads the note before giving it to Cottle. It's in code he can't quite puzzle out, something about babies and goddesses, and the fact that he can't figure it out pisses him off.

Cottle refuses to give anything away, though, even under House's best prodding attempts, so he reluctantly lets it go. (For now, at least.)

before all hell breaks loose

The first time they treat a Cylon, House can't stop hovering. Wilson knows that it's just House's fascination with the unknown, his obsession with new puzzles to figure out, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. Cottle tells him to frak off as he pulls on his surgical mask. Wilson's watching as well, but he knows better than to get in the way, something House hasn't quite learned to master yet.

It's one of the male ones, dark skinned and bald, and they'd brought him in after the explosions in the transport hanger. Burns and burns and bullet wounds. (They break like us, Wilson thinks as he watches, and it unsettles him, the way the lines between them and us are beginning to blur.) Its blood is red on the table, red on Cottle's latex gloves, and it's probably human in none of the ways that count.

"He's twitching," he hears House mutter. "He shouldn't be twitching."

The Cylon on the table begins to spasm, and a few medics rush over to help hold him still. House's eyes are narrowed, focused, studying, and Wilson can practically see his mind turning, working, analyzing. Cottle's yelling something, but Wilson's not really listening. He can't pull his eyes away from the body as he watches the spasms subside, as life (whatever it might be) fades from its eyes.

"Downloaded," Cottle says, close enough that his voice shakes Wilson out of his reverie. He's wiping his hands on a towel, leaving behind spots of red on the white cotton.

"What?" House asks. He tilts his head to the side to stare at Cottle.

Cottle takes that moment to light up a cigarette. "Consciousness goes back to the resurrection ship. Put into a new body."

(Time is a circle, Wilson thinks as House pesters Cottle for more details, and he wonders what it feels like to not fear death.)

there's a chill, such a chill

Wilson is shivering, pulled up tightly into a ball underneath the covers. When House places his hand on his forehead to check his temperature, it's hot, and Wilson flinches, pulling away, pulling further into himself. House resents him a little for that, but he understands. Wilson coughs in his sleep, dry and brittle.

Outside, there's shouting, a Cylon raid, though it sounds far enough away that House doesn't pay much attention. It happens too often these days. He hobbles around the bed to the other side of Wilson and sits. The bed dips under his weight, and Wilson's rolls over to face him.

House almost wishes he didn't have to be here, didn't have to watch and feel vaguely helpless. It's just strep throat, but Wilson's body is still running a fever, still fighting it. House has never been good at being selfless, and he still hasn't quite managed to learn, hasn't even really tried (though, there are times when he wishes he'd had, because then he'd know what to do in situations like this).

A too-hot hand curls around his, and he sees that Wilson is awake, bleary eyes staring up at him. "Hey," Wilson says, voice soft so as not to hurt his throat.

Something in House unwinds, ever so subtly, to hear him talk (even though he knows Wilson's not dying, not even close). He should probably say something gentle, comforting, (or at least that's what Cameron would say) but he can't quite form the words, so he doesn't. "Go back to sleep," he says instead. "You look like crap."

"Yeah, okay," Wilson mumbles. His eyes drift closed again, his hand still clutching House's, and House thinks that maybe the right words weren't necessary at all.

we hope your rules and wisdom choke you.

Wilson is putting stitches into a patient when she comes in. A Cylon. One of the Threes, they said. It's the first time he's seen a healthy one up close, and he notices that she's tall, as tall as he is, and her skin is flawless and smooth. It's striking in contrast to the dirt, the lines on the faces of the humans he sees day in, day out (in the mirror, too). It unnerves him, reminding him of who she is, what she is.

He remembers the documentary she made about the crew of Galactica, but he doesn't really remember what he thought of her at the time. Probably nothing. Forgot her as soon as he saw her.

"There was a man here earlier today," the Cylon says, an odd accent rounding her words. "Older, gray beard. About yea tall." She indicates a height with her hand. "Have you seen him?"

Wilson knows who she's talking about. He'd come in earlier that day with chemical burns and claimed they were from cooking. But his hands had smelled of gunpower (Wilson knows this because House had a gun, and he remembers the way the smell would linger after House went to the firing range), and the burns on his arms weren't from oil, weren't from anything the humans used for cooking. Wilson had known better than to question it, though. He simply treated the burns and sent the man on his way.

Perhaps he shouldn't have done that. Perhaps he should tell this woman(machine) about the burns, about the smell of gunpowder, about the way the man favored his left leg (Wilson remembers this because it reminded him of the gait of House's walk, the uneven pattern of it), about the way he'd coughed into a gloved hand. It would be effortless, he knows, and it would mean better accommodations, better rations, favor in the eyes of the Cylons. He'd get a lot for (almost) nothing.

"Sorry," he says instead. "Don't remember seeing anyone like that around here." He smiles ruefully and shrugs, wondering if the sheepish look works as well on Cylons as it does on humans.

It probably does, because she nods and leaves without another word.

pack, and get dressed

"Be ready," Cottle says, and House blinks at him.


They're taking a break from treating patients, and Cottle's lighting up a cigarette. House is watching because he has nothing better to do (depressing, but true). Cottle stares at him with calm, unwavering eyes. "Galactica's coming back," he murmurs, quiet enough that his words won't be picked up by Cylon ears (or whatever). "Be ready."

House blinks. It wasn't completely out of the question, a rescue by Galactica, but it seems sudden to hear it now, after four months. He feels a little stupid for not seeing the signs earlier (they were there, he knows, now that he thinks about it, but he hadn't put them together, hadn't thought enough about it). He considers what it'll be like to live out in space again. Probably the same as it was before. "I'll be sure to wear my prettiest dress," he says.

Cottle shakes his head. "I know you don't like me, but you can't joke around about this shit." House wants to disagree, wants to make another joke, but something holds him back, keeps him quiet.  Cottle's eyes fix on him, dark and intent.

It's true, House doesn't like him. (Wilson explained it by psychobabbling at him about unresolved father issues and the need for approval, but House is getting better at ignoring him when he goes on those tangents.) "I respect you," House says. "That's worth more." It's true, just like what Wilson said is true (and he tries not to remember the long months of growing up on battlestars, the rough bluntness of his father's voice).

Cottle nods and takes a drag from his cigarette. He seems to consider everything that's been said. "There are going to be practice runs," Cottle says, looking up, and his voice is cool and steady. "Just be ready."

today, we escape, we escape

The dawn light is smothered by gray clouds, and the air is quiet and still. Wilson wakes up too early, his body tense with anticipation. House is still sleeping, and Wilson brushes a hand against his hair, leans over and presses a kiss to his lips. In the corner are their bags, packed, ready to go.

Wilson checks the clock. It's still early. They still have time. House stirs beside him, and Wilson considers waking him up. (As much as House hates it, they still have to worry about House's leg, how it will slow them down when the time comes.)

Instead, he makes breakfast. They had extra rations this week, and Wilson makes the best of it. There's the tapping of House's cane behind him as Wilson fires up their small stove, and Wilson turns as House collapses into one of the small, wire-frame chairs. He looks tired. "You're up early," Wilson says. He gives House some coffee, and the small twitch of a smile at the corner of House's mouth is all the thanks he needs.

They eat breakfast in silence. It's a little odd, because House is quiet, and House is never quiet.

"Are you ready?" Wilson asks, and House snorts.

"That's the stupidest question you've ever asked me. And you've asked me some pretty stupid things." His eyes are sharp, and his body language is tense. Wilson doesn't push (though he wants to). They have to save their energy.

They get dressed, get their things together, and wait, sitting at the table, bags at their sides. They're doctors, they know that waiting is always the hardest part, but that doesn't make it any easier. House, generally one for fidgeting, has gone past that, all the way to an absolute stillness. Wilson knows how that feels, though, the way the tension thrums under his skin, waiting to come out.

When they finally hear it, the sounds of the explosions, the yelling, they don't move, not yet, because their bodies are still waiting. They're going to have to leave soon. They have to get to the shipyard, and it's not going to be an easy trip, not with this much chaos. They're ready (they've been ready), but neither of them makes the first move.

Wilson glances at House. House glances back. An understanding passes between.

And then, together, they go out into the storm.

pen: mumdadsavemoony on November 21st, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
*clicks on 'A Good Lighter' and then 'Are You Alive?'*

*settles down*

*squees like a mofo*

Absolutely beautiful, seamless. I loved your use of parentheses as afterthoughts or truths, that's very House and Wilson. The interaction with Cottle was on the money, and yes, House would totally not dig him. Also, Laura! *Cuddles Laura!* I had to laugh that House figured out the set-up, but couldn't figure out the code. God, that would've pissed him. Nice little touch that made it feel real and imposed House and Wilson into the setting without having them take over.

Also the tone, hopeful-but-dark and melancholy, sums up pre-occupation NC to a tee. The fact that House still think Wilson's going to leave him? Urgh. Hard, and so-in character. And this was just stellar because you can take it out of context and put in it any other fic posted and it still works and still is just as powerful: He's still House, still Wilson's voice of reason when everything else is spinning out of control, still the bane of Wilson's existence when he wants to be. Ha. I chuckled at that.

So, uh, yeah. Don't stop these. No one in the House/Wilson fandom writes crossovers or AUs (let alone good ones), so this story and 'Keep Breathing' are just gems.

*goes back to paper and stops gushing now*

thedeadparrot: madam presidentthedeadparrot on November 21st, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you! This feedback made me all happy and glowy inside.

Hmmm. My whole point about the code was that there was no code. It was just Laura asking about how Hera was doing, because Cottle would be in charge of such things. The letter would be written pretty innocuously, so that if the Cylons got hold of the letter, they wouldn't pick up on what Hera was, but House would think that it was too simple and gone a little crazy trying to pick up on a deeper meaning. I realize that it's hard to pick up on all that from House's POV, but there it is. :p

I think House would totally resent Cottle for reminding him of his father. That amuses me greatly.

Also, yeah, I think House is always in a state of paranoia that Wilson is going to leave him. Which is why, oddly enough, he is constantly trying to push the boundaries of their relationship as well, because he wants the reassurance that he gets when Wilson stays, no matter what House does to him.

ANYWAY, I don't know if I have much else to write in this universe unless BSG throws something else from left field that is way totally awesome. Maybe a few drabbles here or there of backstory, but that's about it. :(

And yay cookie! *grabs*
Tallian: House - players_tallian_ on November 21st, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
Holy crap. Please write more of this. It's amazing.
thedeadparrot: silent sighthedeadparrot on November 21st, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm not sure how much more of this I can actually write, though. Maybe if BSG this year gives us a lot more interesting stuff to play with.
(no subject) - nzhinga on November 21st, 2006 07:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thedeadparrot on November 22nd, 2006 01:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nzhinga on November 22nd, 2006 02:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thedeadparrot on November 22nd, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Shezanshezan on November 21st, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
I never imagined this could be done, so bravo! Ewxcellent.
thedeadparrot: obvious placethedeadparrot on November 22nd, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad it worked for you.
nightdog_barks: Night Foxnightdog_barks on November 21st, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed Breathe, Keep Breathing, and I'm so glad to see a sequel!

I hope you do continue this series -- it's such a pleasure to read.
thedeadparrot: porcelainthedeadparrot on November 22nd, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad to see that you've kept reading. :)

I'll probably think about writing more, but this is all I have for now, at least.
sanitylapse on November 22nd, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if I ever commented on the first one, (bad, no cookie) so I'm doubly happy you wrote more of this 'verse.

*This* is how you put lyrics into fic, *this* is how you write a believable crossover between shows that are literally worlds apart. I *love* this AU!

I've always loved this song, and it goes so well with BSG. I wish I could string my words together better to tell you how good this is and why I love it so much. It *resonates* on a very important frequency. (I apparently have River Tam in my brain)
thedeadparrot: chicken littlethedeadparrot on November 22nd, 2006 02:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I'm glad the lyrics worked (omg Radiohead), and that the crossover worked.And yeah, Exit Music has that sort of odd, dark melancholy that works really well with BSG, and I totally used it to try to get the right tone for this.
mr duck's embarrassed: raidernigeltde on November 22nd, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC)
Awesome crossover idea! Really well executed, too. Love the Cottle voice.
thedeadparrot: stranger in a strange landthedeadparrot on November 22nd, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I have lots of fondness for Doc Cottle, so I was kind of worried that I wouldn't get him right. :)
V. Wishes: house handsviciouswishes on November 24th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
Just awesome. This is probably one of the best Wilson/House fics I've read in a long time. You have a great grasp on the characters and how they'd react in the BSG world. I love how you've weaved the 'verse together and how House interacts with Cottle is priceless.
thedeadparrot: flyingthedeadparrot on November 24th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I was panicking like crazy over whether or not I could keep their voices accurate but also match the BSG tone. Also, Cottle is made of so much win, I couldn't resist the chance to have him and House go at each other.
fryadvocategirl_wonder on December 29th, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
This was wonderful. I adore outsider views into BSG and this was spot on and perfect. House and Wilson surviving at the end, each pulling each other up and keeping themselves together through their own broken needs.
thedeadparrot: house + wilsonthedeadparrot on January 1st, 2007 02:05 am (UTC)
Sorry this is so late, but thank you! I love the way people pull together when the situation demands it, and yeah, House and Wilson are so broken already that I don't think getting thrown into the BSG 'verse could screw them up much more. ;)
Lady Not-Appearing-In-This-Film: house walk ondemonqueen666 on February 15th, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)

I just found this story (and its prequel) via the_wireless and...well, anyone who likes BSG, House, and Monty Python and can write as fatastically as you needs to be friended.

And other than that, this fic was so good, I have no more coherant thoughts.
thedeadparrotthedeadparrot on February 16th, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! And I've friended you back. :) Anyone who also appreciates those things must surely be awesome.
Katiekaethe on March 16th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
I don't actually know the current BSG universe, but the House and Wilson you transplanted into it are perfectly themselves and perfect together. This is really a fascinating series. Thank you for sharing it!
thedeadparrot: zarek as zarekthedeadparrot on March 16th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked them. It was a lot of fun tossing them into this world, and seeing what would happen. Also, the current BSG world is awesome, so if you ever get a chance, you should check it out.
Gunbunny: kipper-bsgburntcopper on March 17th, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
Huh. Fascinating look into how it;d merge, and I like how House is always more interested in the fact that Cylons react the same.
thedeadparrot: focused!housethedeadparrot on March 17th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks. House would totally be fascinated by the Cylons and how they worked. It'd be something new to learn and explore.
Tanitani on September 6th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
I just read all the fics in this series and they're really amazing. I'm not overly familiar with the current BSG, but I loved seeing the way you transplanted House and Wilson into the universe so seamlessly. I think my favorite part of these was the mood. You really captivated me with it!
thedeadparrot: hirothedeadparrot on September 6th, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! BSG does have a distinctive mood that I was definitely trying to capture, and I'm glad that some of that came across, at least.
(Anonymous) on July 16th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
You know a fic is good when...
you're still getting Kudos for it over a year later. I wandered over here from the Crack Van, and I think this is an awesome fic.
thedeadparrotthedeadparrot on July 16th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Re: You know a fic is good when...
Thank you! I am still fond of it myself. :)
Rogaroga on February 14th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
So I read the whole thing, finally, and ♥. Seeing House in this situation was utterly heartbreaking, but with Wilson it becomes a little more yay, and I love the Roslin and Cottle cameos. House's fascination with cylon biology is spot on. I'm so happy you wrote this :-)
thedeadparrot: focused!housethedeadparrot on February 16th, 2009 07:25 am (UTC)
Thank you! I still do not entirely know what brought about this fit of insanity, but it made me happy to write it, and I'm glad it made you happy to read it. :)
flywomanflywoman on October 17th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
Different again, but great integration into life on New Caprica, and I liked the section headings, although I'm not familiar with the song.

My favorite lines:
Wilson's gone to work already, leaving an empty space on the bed, but House is getting used to that, mostly (though he'd be loathe to tell Wilson he had to get used to it at all).

Cottle finishes his cigarette and flicks away the butt. "What makes you think I give a frak?" he asks before heading inside himself.
I bet that House aspires to be just like Cottle when he grows up.

(Time is a circle, Wilson thinks as House pesters Cottle for more details, and he wonders what it feels like to not fear death.)
Because Wilson does, and this is the thought that he would have, even as House gleefully dissects the Cylon's mechanobiological secrets.

I know I'm not the first to ask, but is there other BSG or BSG/House fic out there that you think fans of your work would like as much as this?
thedeadparrot: focused!housethedeadparrot on October 18th, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
Once again, thank you! I really recommend giving the song a listen, mostly because it is gorgeous and melancholy and heartbreaking.

New Caprica is probably the highlight of the entire BSG run for me, and it was a total blast trying to work out how House and Wilson fit into that whole world that the show only glanced at.

Um, I don't have any recs for BSG fic because it's been a really long time since I read anything in that fandom, and I'm sure I've seen another BSG/House fic out there somewhere, but it was a while ago, and I don't remember where I saw it. :/ Sorry!