Fandom: House MD
Authors notes: Original plot bunny donated by axmxz. Beta done by Beta Goddess Carol, under nearly impossible circumstances.
Warnings: Angst/smut/darkness. Spoilers through "Merry Little Christmas" (Sorry, UK)
Crossposted because I still need the curry.
Summary: Dr. James Wilson cordially invites you to a pity party in his office.
What was the point of feeling guilty for leaving House alone in his oxy/alcohol stupor if the bastard was just going to move into his head?
There goes the neighborhood.
He could tell House-in-his-head to shut up, but he couldn’t argue with the assessment. ’Twas the day after Christmas and he couldn’t think of anything witty to rhyme with the fact that he was sitting in his office because he didn’t want to go back to his hotel, although the danger of being thrown out for lack of funds had passed the moment he sold his soul to Detective Tritter. It was fear of a hotel bar full of lonely attractive women. Not that they couldn’t be found in hospital corridors as well. So much temptation. And now there was nothing to keep him from giving in.
Because even a pity-party needed some favors, he took out the “futility file”. For two years, Wilson had collected brochures and flyers, thinking he’d have them available when the miracle happened and House came to him for help with the pills. NA. Hazelden. Living Sober. Rational Recovery. He dealt the pink, blue and green pamphlets out on his desk like a losing hand of solitaire.
Whenever he’d managed to delude himself into believing that now was the time, House had proven him wrong. He could still see the hint of a smirk on House’s face as he looked up at him from the floor, as if to say, Still not a problem…you on the other hand…?
Exactly. He’d been to enough 12-step meetings as a hand-holding friend or relative to know the drill.
My name is James and I’m an addict.
If House hadn’t wanted Wilson to think about sex, maybe he shouldn’t have paged him for a consult just to ogle a clinic patient’s breasts.
Wilson would have sworn on the Torah, or any other holy book you could put in front of him, that he’d worn the green tie just because he liked it, and not because Marguerite might notice that green was a good color for him.
Dressing for work, he’d had no intention of asking Marguerite Cortez to lunch the following day. Sure, Wilson had been watching her struggle with the emotional weight of working in an oncology ward and thought he might be able to give her some advice, but that didn’t require a special trip to that new Italian place just off campus.
It was just a few weeks since his first wedding anniversary with Julie and a personal record for not cheating. However once he’d seen those…works of art, even if they were also works of artifice, he couldn’t keep his mind on anything else. The patient herself was out of bounds, but he couldn’t resist making the offer to Marguerite. She gratefully accepted, fingers playing with her long, dark hair. Sexy smile. Long lashes. Calm down. It’s just lunch.
“Just lunch” had featured prolonged eye contact followed by soft fingers on his forearm, making his pulse race with danger, guilt and anticipation. Plans were made for drinks at a bar that was far from PPTH, but remarkably close to a not so Super 8.
House knew what was going on. (He claimed to be receiving secret messages from Wilson’s shoes.) Wilson fended off the accusations with practiced lies, telling himself that House was just trying to stir up shit. House needed Wilson to be on the prowl the way he needed interesting cases.
Wilson cleared enough work off his desk to leave the hospital early. He planned to drive to Ocean City and pay for the room in advance. That way he could have a bottle of pink champagne on ice (to go with the mirrored ceiling) when they moved from the bar to the motel. Unless Marguerite had caught a case of second thoughts in the time it had taken to digest her pannini, it wouldn’t take more than two drinks. Most of the work had been done over lunch. He’d feigned listening attentively while imagining exactly how he was going to make love to her. All it would take to clinch the deal was a few choruses of “my wife doesn’t understand me.” It was a cheap seduction ploy, but this was nothing if not a cheap seduction. After a year, he needed to get his sea legs back and a Latina nurse with a French name, overwhelmed with stress and emotion, was as close as it came to a sure thing.
He’d made it two steps out the front door and driven forty miles down the highway in his mind when his pager went off.
“Damn,” he muttered, upgrading to “Oh crap,” when it turned out to be House looking for a consult. It couldn’t be Elyse. Paraneoplastic syndrome had been ruled out and the patient was in a coma. Maybe House had another wonder of science for him to gaze at, or -- here was a crazy idea -- maybe a medical situation he could actually help with. He could spare a few minutes.
He found House sitting on the table, playing his Gameboy. He peered into the exam room, making an exaggerated show of looking around and finding nothing.
“Where’s the patient?”
“He just got here.”
“House, I don’t have time for your games right now.”
“Sure you do. Hot Lips isn’t getting out of here for at least forty-five minutes.”
“Margo Channing, Rene Magritte, whatever her name is.”
Wilson performed his best impression of an innocent man being falsely accused, complete with aggravated sigh and crossed arms, and turned to leave.
“What do I have to do to get you to be faithful to your wife?”
Slowly I turned, step by step. If it was anyone else, he would have huffed and puffed about crossing lines, but House’s concept of “boundaries” had always been fuzzy at best.
“And when exactly did this become your business?”
“I hear it’s one of those “friend things” people are supposed to do for each other. I thought I might try it out. You buy me lunch. I save your marriage.”
“You don’t even like Julie.”
“I’m not sure you do either, but you’re supposed to love her. Said it in front of God and everybody. I believe there was broken glass involved. I’ve always thought they should reconsider the symbolism of that bit. Either way, you’ve got a problem and I’m here to fix it.”
Wilson could feel control of the discussion slipping away from him.
“And you propose to do this how?” he asked apprehensively. Knowing House’s approach to treatment, the cure for infidelity might well be a double orchidectomy. He was also intrigued and oddly grateful for the intervention. In twenty-four hours, Marguerite had gone from a new colleague to something he had to have, at least temporarily. He could already feel her hair against his shoulder as he held her in his arms afterwards. Something must be wrong with him. If House had a suggestion, he’d like to hear it.
“You think the other man’s grass will get you higher. Maybe it’s not the grass you want. It’s the other man.”
Wilson rubbed the bridge of his nose as he tried to make sense of House’s bizarrely mixed metaphor.
“If I’m translating correctly, you’re saying that I’m a repressed homosexual waiting to come bounding out of the closet, which you think is preferable to my cheating on my wife with a woman. So which pretty boy did you pick to be my ‘Mystery Date’?”
He wondered how long House intended to keep the joke going. Maybe he’d arranged for Chase to make an appearance with some test results.
“I didn’t say you were looking for a boy.”
House looked directly at him, the raised eyebrows and slight smile leaving no doubt as to exactly what he meant.
“Are you out of your mind?” Wilson tried to keep hysteria out of his voice.
“Not that I know of, but I haven’t checked in with the voices lately.”
“Have I ever given you any reason…do you really think I’m…and with you…why would I…”
Wilson realized he was babbling without uttering the simple two-letter word that would bring this entire conversation to a halt. His face began to burn. He was also starting to feel something that he absolutely shouldn’t be feeling.
“There’s a door over there. You can either walk through it or make sure it’s locked.”
His hand was slippery on the doorknob. When had he ever been able to deny House anything? If House wanted this…of course it would only be out of obligation for being the first of many doctors to hear the shouts of pain and not think of an infarction. Maybe he’d go along just to prove that House’s diagnosis was wrong. He might be screwed up about women, but not because he wanted to be with a man…any man. Not even House…wait a minute.
He turned around and discovered just how stealthy a cripple could be in getting off an exam table and limping to the door. House loomed over him, invading his personal space, those eyes…what had he been thinking about not wanting this…?
Wilson closed his eyes, waiting for a crushing kiss and rough whiskers against his skin. Instead the first sensation was the taste of a cherry lollipop as House sucked Wilson’s lower lip into his own mouth and kept it there. The pressure was gentle, tantalizing, and increased slowly until Wilson felt like he had to start kissing back or he’d explode.
As soon as he tried to take control, House released his lip and started moving down Wilson’s neck with slow, deliberate nibbles. Wilson arched his head back trying to force more contact.
“Oh god,” he gasped, finding himself trapped against the door. The only urgency evident in House’s behavior was the grip that held a fistful of Wilson’s coat.
Wilson felt his erection rising as though he were a randy adolescent. He found himself grinding desperately against House’s good leg, holding onto his shoulders for support. Then he heard his zipper being opened and felt House’s hand moving past the flap in his boxers. After the initial shock, he was strangely unafraid. He trusted House not to hurt him, which was odd since House found ways to inflict verbal wounds on a daily basis.
He clenched his teeth to hold back any further exclamations. There were still nurses and clinic patients just outside the door he was leaning against. The thought caused another twitch in his cock. Or maybe that was House’s hand cupping his balls. Fondling. Caressing. Never had so much attention been paid to that particular region.
“House…please…now…” he whispered.
“Are you crazy?”
“Don’t you know anything about male anatomy…?”
“I know plenty…I’m a…”
“Yeah, an oncologist.” House made it sound like a disability. He had taken his hand out of Wilson’s pants and was pulling him away from the door by his coat lapels. He used his “lecture” voice as though Wilson were one of the Three Stooges and had just come up with a completely idiotic suggestion during a differential diagnosis. “Do you know how excruciating it would be if you came and then I fucked you?”
Wilson’s coat had already come off and he was slipping out of his shoes (the ones he’d unfairly accused of lying) when the words sank in.
“Anal sex immediately after orgasm. Very painful, especially for your first time. I know you’re a masochist, but I don’t think that’s what you had in mind.”
“I didn’t have anything in mind. Wait a minute…you think you’re going to…”
“Any idiot with five fingers can give you a hand job. That’s not going to keep you from making dates with every sad-eyed lady of the lowlands who comes to cry on your shoulder, is it?”
Normally he prided himself on immediate comprehension of House’s rants, but today he felt like he was translating in slow motion. He had to absorb the words and let his brain formulate a reaction to the insanity. Not only did House want to have sex with him, but he wanted to do it right now, which meant…
“We’re going to do it here?” he asked, risking one of House’s “stating the obvious” jibes.
“We’ve got everything we need, it’s convenient and you don’t seem to be objecting aside from that ridiculous look on your face, which is kind of cute.”
Wilson knew he could stop this, but the message hadn’t gotten through to his hands, which were busy unbuckling his belt.
“If you’re afraid of sullying the purity of the examination room, don’t worry. It’s seen worse. You don’t even want to know what Foreman and Brenda have done in here.”
“You don’t want to know what I’ve done,” he snapped back, letting his pants fall to the floor and sending his boxers after them. It wasn’t quite true, but he needed to cover himself in some kind of dignity while he was naked from the waist down with an obvious hard-on and House was still fully dressed.
“How do we do this?” He tried for a certain insouciance to cover his concern about House’s leg.
“You bend over the end of that table, spread your legs, and, oh yeah, try and relax.”
“Romance you can get at home. That’s not what we’re here for.”
Wilson wasn’t sure what he was here for. If House wanted him, even on a whim, there had to be a better way. He could at least make some attempt at seduction. But that wasn’t House. This was House. And this was Wilson. Half naked with his ass sticking out, unable to see what was happening behind him. Unable to see House’s body, he realized as well. He could hear moving about, drawers being opening, more movement and then the ominous sound of a zipper.
House’s hands were surprisingly gentle as he ran them over Wilson’s buttocks and he was enough of a gentleman to warm up whatever lubricant he was using before attempting anything invasive. Fingers danced up and down the crack of his ass, never landing for too long, but making it clear what was going to happen. Wilson wanted to call a “time out” to ask himself what the hell was going on. Had he ever thought of House that way? Or himself for that matter? House was usually right about people, no matter how painful the truth turned out to be for everyone involved. But he didn’t have time to think it through because his body had developed other ideas and had no intention of letting his brain sidetrack them with a lengthy discussion.
“House…” he said, trying to indicate that he did want this, and that he wanted it now.
Unfortunately it was House’s game and the rules stated that Wilson could only squirm and wait for House to decide he’d been teased enough. When he did, the first finger slid in with authority.
It was like nothing he’d ever felt. A wound, a burn and an explosion of pleasure hitting his body at the same time. His mouth opened in a scream that he tried to keep silent as his body opened to the next finger. He was barely aware of House’s hand enfolding his cock, which coincided with the moment when House removed his fingers, replacing them with something that was considerable larger. Longer. Thicker. Much, much thicker.
Wilson had to muffle this scream in the meager cushioning of the exam table as House entered him slowly. He tried to stay present and catalogue the sensations in case anyone asked him, “so what was it like getting butt-fucked by your best friend?” but rational thought was impossible once House started thrusting, finding the spot that caused Wilson’s whole body to galvanize with pleasure. He broke out in a sweat, gasping as House began stroking his cock.
It was too much. There was barely time to press his face into the table before he was coming in House’s hand and House was coming in his ass and this couldn’t even be happening, but it was.
Coming back always took a while. He usually tried not to talk immediately afterwards for fear of saying something stupid. This time he outdid himself.
“You’ve done this before?”
“Sorry, honey. I know you always wanted to marry a virgin.”
“Trust me. You’re lucky at least one of us knows what he’s doing. All that crap about boys coming of age and discovering each other is just that: crap. Normally I don’t even take on newcomers, but I decided to make an exception in your case.”
Wilson was clinging to a post-erotic euphoria, but inching close enough to reality to worry about what anyone in the clinic might have heard. Maybe they could pass it off as a patient’s reaction to an injection. It was easier to contemplate the cover-up than what had just happened. He got up slowly to avoid dizziness and to give himself time to assess how sore he was. Not as much as he would have thought. House knew his stuff.
“What happens now?”
“I pronounce you cured. You put your pants on and go home. I’m sure you’ve got that maneuver down to an art. And don’t forget to call Margie. You need to tell her you’ve had a religious conversion and seen the error of your ways. Or that you were in a car accident, which might be more believable.”
“Nurse ‘oh it’s so sad watching the little cancer kids die’. Unless you want me to call her for you?”
He’d completely forgotten about Marguerite the minute House had kissed him. Maybe he really was cured.
Three days later he was at House’s apartment wanting more.
Wilson expected to find the engaged, nearly playful friend who been able to screw him standing up in an exam room. The House who eventually answered the door was more like Greta Garbo without the accent. Elyse had been diagnosed and treated. Without a new case, work was just an invitation to tedium. Boredom exacerbated pain. More pain meant more pills.
Four days earlier, Wilson would have nodded sympathetically and asked if House needed anything before leaving. Today he needed something and only House could give it to him.
“Marguerite wants a rain check,” he said solemnly. It was less than a lie, but more than a threat. Even detached with painkillers, House got the message. He ushered Wilson into the bedroom for a graphic lesson on the effect of opiates on male sexuality. House told him what it took to produce a reaction when the pain and painkillers were ganging up on him, if it could be accomplished at all. He mentioned that Stacy had gotten tired of being in that position and predicted that Wilson would, too. Wilson took it as a personal challenge, experimenting with his mouth and hands until he felt House’s erection rising against his tongue. For a second, he planned to show off his newfound skills by trying to finish the act, but that wasn’t what he had come here for.
House didn’t look particularly happy with the demonstration, but nodded.
“All right. I hope Julie appreciates what I’m doing for her.”
Wilson lay on his stomach, legs spread in anticipation, but unable to shut off the worry. How could he count on House to keep fucking him when the pills were his true love? The next day he started the file. He hadn’t yet learned how futile it was.
“He’s taking too much Vicodin.”
“Which you’re prescribing for him,” Cuddy answered, her voice expressing rising annoyance, “because he’s in pain. And he’s in pain because…”
“I know why he’s in pain,” Wilson snapped.
This was dangerous territory for both of them. House had demanded that Cuddy turn responsibility for House’s pain medication over to Wilson as a condition of his return to the hospital, a vindictive move, designed to remind Cuddy that he blamed her for his disability and would never completely trust her medical judgment again. Wilson had accepted the burden and now he was breaking his part of the bargain by throwing the numbers in her face.
“It’s double the amount he was taking when he first came back to work.”
He watched guilt and nausea flit across her features and hated himself for putting them there. She smoothed nonexistent wrinkles from her skirt as she paced the office.
“If you think it’s a problem, why not just cut down on the prescription?”
Because we’re having sex so that I won’t cheat on my wife, and he sometimes has trouble getting it up because of the pills, so I want him to take less. And oh yeah, I need to cover my ass, so you have to be the bad guy.
That would go over well.
“Why now?” she asked. The emphasis made him wonder if she knew what had happened after John Henry Giles walked out of PPTH on his own. Wilson had made another visit to House’s apartment, thinking that vindication and a successful diagnosis might be conducive to a lecherous frame of mind.
House had invited him inside for beers and John Henry’s greatest hits. Wilson sat on the couch watching House enjoy the music with his eyes closed and a nearly blissful smile. It occurred to Wilson that he’d be willing to give up the sex if he could see House look that relaxed and happy more often.
Before Wilson could congratulate himself, House opened his eyes. He appeared surprised to find Wilson sitting there with his tie loosened and a Molson in his hand. Wilson smiled back, raising his bottle in a toast to House’s success. The grin he got in return lit up House’s eyes and made Wilson’s heart beat a little faster.
“You want to move this into the bedroom?” House asked in a low voice that banished Wilson’s better angels completely.
He nodded, reaching towards House’s face, only to have his hand batted away like a child pilfering cookies.
“Get the hell out of here.”
“What?” Wilson’s head jerked as though he’d been slapped.
“I’m not your fucking charity project and I’m too damn tired to screw you tonight. Go home and fuck your wife.”
“And don’t try threatening me with any of your floozies either. Who or what you stick your overactive dick into isn’t my concern.”
Wilson used every ounce of self-control not to say “But you started this,” which might give House the option to retort “And I’m ending it.” Wilson had been through enough break-ups to know this didn’t have to be one as long as he left before either of them said something even more destructive.
He’d sat in the car, considering the situation. The pills got House through the day but exacted their price in bitterness, not to mention the other problem. If it was the pain, then things were hopeless and Wilson couldn’t allow himself to believe that. It had to be the pills. He could do something about those.
“Why now?” Cuddy repeated, bringing him back to reality and his carefully prepared speech.
“He dodged a bullet on the nun.”
“He didn’t screw up and he wound up figuring out what was really wrong with her. A nun with an IUD? Who’d believe it?”
“Some day he’s going to make a mistake and kill someone.”
Cuddy shook her head and pursed her lips. He knew how much this hurt her; he was counting on it.
“What do you want me to do?” she asked, resignation evident in her voice and posture.
Maybe he didn’t have to do this. The morning after the tirade, House had agreed to treat the homeless woman over Foreman’s objection.
”The only reason we’re taking this case is because Wilson asked you.”
“Do I need a better reason?”
He had tried not to gloat.
“Can you have the pharmacy hold up his Vicodin?”
“I suppose…if I want him to take off the pharmacist’s head with his cane.”
“Exactly. He starts freaking out and you rub his face in it. Make a deal with him. Better yet, make a bet. Bet that he can’t go a week without his pills. Offer him time off clinic duty. Keep upping the ante until he goes for it.”
At the end of that week, House said the words that Wilson had been waiting for.
I learned I’m an addict.
Wilson thanked the god who had let him down so many times.
And I’m not stopping….I said I was an addict. I didn’t say I had a problem.
He barely kept his voice under control while trying to make House concede that the pills affected him at all without bringing up the real reason he wanted House to reduce his intake. House shattered him with a simple statement.
They let me do my job and they take away my pain.
At that moment, Wilson decided it was his job to make sure House got as many pills as he wanted. Always.
Things got bad and things got worse. Just when they were starting to get better, Stacy came back.
Wilson had kept in touch with her, mostly so they could take their mutual guilt out for periodic walks. The dinners had flown under House’s radar until one happened to coincide with the procurement of some primo Monster Truck tickets. House’s reaction to the knowledge that Wilson had been in contact with Stacy and never told him was almost too raw to look at and not surprisingly followed by a pill.
The next time she called, it wasn’t about getting together for dinner and memories.
“James…it’s Mark. He’s sick and no one can figure out what it is.”
He couldn’t believe he was actually considering discouraging Stacy from consulting the one doctor who might be able to diagnose her husband, especially for a reason as petty as jealousy. Greg and Stacy had been an unmistakably sexual couple. Wilson knew that any prolonged contact would eventually prove combustible in spite of anger, guilt and Stacy’s husband.
After the diagnostic drama had played itself out, Wilson went home with House to make sure he didn’t drink himself into a stupor. He accepted his role in bed as a substitute for what House really wanted. No problems that night, he noted wistfully. House didn’t actually call out Stacy’s name while he was fucking Wilson, but she was certainly in the bed with them. It wasn’t the kind of threesome Wilson had ever fantasized about.
Wilson never did get around to asking Stacy if she’d accepted the job at PPTH for the sole purpose of driving House crazy. It certainly turned out that way. He tried not to be jealous of House’s obsession because it would have meant acknowledging his own. He just kept listening to House rant about how Stacy still wanted him and trying not to hear the fact that House still wanted Stacy.
He’d had a particularly bad feeling the day that House and Stacy went to Baltimore, which was confirmed two days later when House came in early with a clean shirt and a smile. Cuddy dispatched him to glean information and it took less than an elevator ride for House to make it clear that something had happened with more to come. He seemed perfectly comfortable dropping this information on Wilson as though he really was just a friend, probably still thinking of their encounters as ongoing treatment for Wilson’s cheating. Wilson hadn’t bothered to update House on the chilly state of affairs at Chez Wilson, since he’d left the dinner party to meet House at the bar. He still loved Julie, but knew she was on the verge of a “him or me” ultimatum.
Wilson spent the day feeling like a ping-pong ball, as they each found it easier to talk to him than each other. Stacy was guilt-ridden enough to fall for Wilson’s moral outrage, until he blurted out, “You’re married!” and she hissed back, “Not to you,” while looking at him suspiciously, exactly the way House would have. Luckily Stacy was too wrapped up in her own drama to notice anybody else’s.
”Picking up the pieces” after Stacy left the first time had amounted to a cross between baby-sitting and a month-long suicide watch.. Wilson was still married to Charisse when he first brought a bag of clothes over to House’s apartment. It made sense since House needed so much attention. Charisse understood, right up until she didn’t.
Wilson thought back to that time with an odd nostalgia. His desire to be there came out of pure friendship and, yeah, guilt if he was being honest. Sex, on the other hand, brought ambiguity. Every line of banter carried a double meaning.
Thanks to Radio Cameron, he knew that House had come back to the office Diagnostics singing a few hours after “walking Stacy to her car.”
He tried to push down the hurt by reminding himself that they wouldn’t be able to stay together this time either, which turned out to be true in record time. Sex didn’t equal forgiveness.
He let Stacy whimper and whine about House being a bastard and how she should have known better. Wilson made all the right sounds and kept patting her back until she said, “Take care of him, James.”
She must have felt the wolfish grin on his face.
Before he could plaster the sympathetic look back on, she stepped back, looking at him with clear-eyed comprehension.
“How long?” she asked coldly.
Wilson shrugged, allowing her to imagine an answer anywhere between “Since U Been Gone” and “Yesterday.” He didn’t care what songs rang through her head as long as she stayed in Short Hills for a very long time.
Julie broke his heart; House destroyed his spirit. The first happened in less than five minutes. The second took nearly a month.
On the first night he stayed with House, two myths were dispelled. Wilson was thrilled to say “goodbye” to the “House is only screwing Wilson to keep him from fucking other women” myth. It was the end of the “I could get some kind of physical affection from House if I didn’t have to go home to Julie” illusion that hurt when House shattered it by throwing him out of the bedroom to sleep on the couch.
And he went. Every night, at least the ones when House let him into the bedroom in the first place.
After the poker tournament, they came home together exhausted but elated. Wilson had no expectation of sex, just the closeness of two bodies sharing space, maybe a few kisses, some indication that what happened between their naked bodies meant something.
He followed House into the bedroom without invitation and started taking off his formalwear, ignoring the glower that replaced House’s relaxed grin.
“I think you took a wrong turn. It’s been a lovely evening, but the couch is that way.”
“I don’t need a teddy-bear. If you want something to cuddle, I’ll fix you up with Cameron.”
“I don’t want Cameron.”
“You didn’t think she looked hot tonight? What are you? Blind?”
“Of course she looked hot.”
Wilson hadn’t noticed the trap being set until he was caught in it.
He finished stripping down to his boxers and t-shirt before getting into bed and patting the space next to him.
Wilson had underestimated House’s capacity for stubbornness. He limped out, banging the cane for emphasis, no doubt to maximize Wilson’s empathetic discomfort.
Don’t let him get away with it. There’s no way he can stay on the couch all night.
Lying in House’s bed alone, knowing that House was out there, felt worse than any of the silly pranks House had pulled.
What’s taking him so long? That couch has to be killing his leg.
Wilson had bluffed Berman in accounting with the pocket aces, but he couldn’t win this one. He found House sitting on the sofa, feet up on the coffee table, watching a senate hearing on C-Span. House held up a bag of Doritos without taking his eyes off the screen and Wilson reflexively took one and bit into it. House’s tuxedo jacket had been casually thrown over the back of the sofa and his tie was on the floor. He hadn’t bothered removing his dress shirt and trousers.
“Out of your league, Jimmy,” House commented, using the cane to lift himself up. He handed Wilson the bag of chips as he passed him on the way to the bedroom, leaving him to spend another night on the couch. Alone.
It was the first time that Wilson allowed himself to resent House for being…House.
Wilson had forgotten how much he enjoyed being touched and held. The deprivation was starting to drive him crazy. Sometimes he even picked up the phone to call Julie. He never let it go past the second ring, but he could easily imagine groveling his way back into her arms. He resisted only because of the faint hope that he could get through House’s defenses. But he’d tried everything he could think of and things he had never imagined and still ended up on the couch.
It was wrong to be with Grace, but how could he resist a relationship where the “affair” consisted mostly of holding and being held and talking?
Getting caught was inevitable and excruciating. The dinners with Stacy all over again. How could Wilson have known that the man who refused to participate in anything that smacked of emotion would take such a hard line over a transgression that was barely more than a long cuddle?
Forgiveness carried a steep price: a prescription for morphine and the knowledge that House was using it. When the shooting happened, it was almost a relief.
Wilson would never forgive Cameron for being there when House woke up.
Did she really have that little in the way of pride and clues? As soon as House was out of surgery, she’d plunked herself down in a chair in ICU and stayed there. For all Wilson knew, she’d allowed herself to become dehydrated to avoid bathroom breaks. Wilson had been there for the first 24 hours, but then he had patients and meetings that couldn’t be avoided. Cameron didn’t. Or rather she did, but refused to do anything but sit there reading a book, looking every inch the friend she wasn’t and the lover she never would be.
He’d gone to Cuddy and somewhat petulantly inquired why Cameron was allowed to slack off while Foreman and Chase continued to run tests on their increasingly grotesque patient. Cuddy had shrugged and sighed, pointing out how much unused vacation time House’s fellows tended to accrue. Cameron was sitting there on her own time and there was nothing anybody could do about it.
“Why shouldn’t she sit in his room? Everyone knows how she feels about him.”
Wilson had to let it go. He went back to the room and smiled at Cameron as if he didn’t want to tell her exactly what had happened after her “date” with House and the exact level of contempt in which House held her adolescent affections. She smiled back, sweetly.
He stayed as long as he could, but eventually there was a page. One of his patients was coding and he couldn’t stay away. House’s stats looked stable.
“You should go,” said Cameron, all sympathy.
He went, and as if trying to play yet another prank, House chose that moment to wake up. Cameron didn’t bother to lie that House had been especially moved by her presence, but if his first words were “Where’s Wilson?” that information was never reported.
Wilson wasn’t worried that House would imprint on Cameron like a baby duck, but the fact that she’d been there and he hadn’t bugged him no end. He perused enough of House’s pornography collection to know he was still an equal opportunity employer and Cameron would never stop applying for the job.
If he’d known he’d be faced with Cameron on her high-horse implying that she was more interested in House’s well being than he was, Wilson would never have told Cuddy to keep the truth from him. Cameron’s self-righteousness made him want to push her off the balcony.
It only got worse as House kept finding reasons to throw Cameron’s increasing feistiness in his face, including admiration for what she’d done to Ezra Powell. Wilson wasn’t as comfortable with the “assistance” as House was, but certainly could see the need in certain cases, including this one. Only the fact that it was House discussing Cameron with something resembling respect made him want to turn her into the ethics board and destroy her career.
Somehow it was easier to focus his anger at Cameron than to face his own guilt for the Tritter nightmare. If Wilson had given House that one prescription when he asked for it, House wouldn’t have stolen the pad.
Once they got back from Atlantic City, it became clear what they were up against. Wilson was exhausted, hungry and his account had been frozen. All he had to cling to was the seriousness with which House had indicated his unwillingness to break their relationship, whatever it was.
House agreed to get dinner, which turned out to be overdone burgers from room service at Wilson’s hotel. Then he broke into the mini-bar and instigated a drinking game to go along with the back-to-back episodes of “Law & Order” on TNT. Since the rules included drinking every time someone said “And you think I killed him?” it wasn’t long before House was in no condition to drive or do anything else besides kick his Nikes off and lie down.
“This is my bed, House.”
“Technically it’s the hotel’s bed.”
“It’s my room. You can’t make me sleep on the couch.”
“Wouldn’t think of it. I know you’ll be the perfect gentleman.”
“No. You don’t.”
“Well, we can just hold each other, right?” House was using his “maybe I’m fucking with you, maybe I’m not” voice.
“I need cuddling too.”
Now you tell me.
“It’ll be easier with a few more clothes off.”
“Just don’t try and get into my pants.”
“Been there, done that.”
Maybe it was some weird planetary alignment or gratitude for lies told or even a calculated decision to give Wilson what he so desperately wanted to make sure the lies continued. Wilson didn’t care.
He was finally allowed to trace soft kisses along House’s jaw and throat, repeating what House had done to him to the first time and so rarely afterwards. House sighed in exasperation, looking faintly aggrieved by the whole exercise, but under Wilson’s touches he finally relaxed and stretched his arms over his head, allowing Wilson better access to his chest. Wilson took advantage, moving down to bury his face between House’s pectorals, inhaling the scent before rubbing his cheek against the soft chest hair. He traced the pattern of House’s rib cage, each segment eliciting another sigh, this time without exasperation and eventually the sighs were replaced by soft gasps. The intake of breath when he laid a hand on the jutting hip-bone told him that he’d gone too far.
House turned onto his side, the same position Wilson had seen him in so many times as he was being evicted from the bedroom. Wilson used the opportunity to lay a possessive arm over House’s body. House tensed and then seemed to will himself into relaxing. Wilson risked some gentle kisses against House’s shoulder blades and spine.
House’s neck was as much a temptation for Wilson as it would have been to a vampire, but he suspected this was a test as much as a gift. He warned his incipient erection that he would cut it off himself if it even tried to make an appearance, contenting himself with gentle kneading of House’s back until he heard regular breathing with the hint of a snore. Down, boy, he warned again, letting himself drift off into not quite sleep. He didn’t want to give up consciousness and the awareness of House asleep in his arms.
Typically, his dick decided to assert itself the minute Wilson’s back was turned. He woke up to find that it had beaten him to the punch. Shit, he thought, worried that House would wake up and think that…Oh .
House had already woken up. Wilson knew that because House’s hand was grasping his cock in a firm grip and his own hand was similarly engaged. Maybe any idiot with five fingers could give a hand job, but it nothing compared to a mutual masturbation wake-up call from Greg House. Hands moved, grips tightened, grunts and groans and curse words. Harder and faster. He forced his eyes open to see the contorted look on House’s face just before and the exhilarated relief that followed the rush of stickiness onto his fingers. Then he could close his eyes and let himself go, feeling as close to House as he had since before they started having sex.
That was why he made the deal with Tritter. Because having gotten what he wanted, he couldn’t stand to lose it. How’s that for pure motives, Cameron?
But House didn’t understand, so it was Cameron who had the privilege of bandaging House’s self-inflicted wounds. Wilson needed to hurt someone and the most likely candidate was a certain immunologist with delusions of sainthood. If House was truly lost to him forever, he was going to take it out on her. All he had to do was make her fall in love with him, maybe while they were commiserating over House’s jail sentence, and then follow his usual pattern. House certainly wouldn’t be there to stop him.
Except he didn’t think he could touch her. There weren’t enough blue pills in the world to overcome the hatred. He wasn’t sure he wanted to touch any woman. He replayed some oldies but goodies, include one of his favorite Cuddy fantasies. He told his dick it was ok. He’d take care of it in the men’s room. Nothing. Just…nothing. Maybe he really was gay. Or House had turned him that way. He knew that was impossible, but if he couldn’t get excited thinking of women…
He mentally tiptoed around the idea for awhile, trying to summon a perfect male fantasy. Was he looking for a pretty boy, not Chase or a muscular mustachioed type, something out of the Tom of Finland book he’d found in House’s stash?
Still nothing. The Slut of PPTH couldn’t raise wood to save his life. This was House’s final revenge. That was what the smirk meant.
He absentmindedly gathered up the pamphlets and flyers and put them back in the futility folder.
The door that Wilson was sure he had locked opened. He saw Marguerite standing in the doorway. She wore scrubs and looked exhausted, bangs plastered against her forehead, and bags under her eyes, but with a certain ethereal quality about the smile. Wilson smiled back and she walked into the room. She came up behind him and started massaging his back and shoulders. He let his head fall forward on the desk, feeling some of the tension he’d been carrying for so long start to dissipate until he remembered that Marguerite didn’t work at PPTH anymore. She’d transferred less than a month after Wilson had called off their rendezvous in Ocean City.
“Was it worth it?” she asked softly.
He kept his head down and contemplated the question. What if he could go back, walk out of the exam room and keep his date with Marguerite?
“Was it worth it?” This time the voice belonged to House. Marguerite was gone and House was sitting on his desk, the way he had when he commandeered Wilson’s office. At least Cameron wasn’t perched there alongside him. Wilson was resigned to House living in his head, but didn’t want any other company, certainly not her.
There was no point answering the question aloud, since House knew what he was thinking: that he wouldn’t change anything and of course it was worth it.
He stood up slowly.
“You coming?” he asked the image of House, still sitting on his desk, idly fiddling with a rubber band.
Looks like you forgot something. House pointed at the desk, shaking his head dismissively.
“I guess I won’t be needing this anymore.” Wilson tossed the file in the trash with a flourish.
He expected applause or some kind of sarcastic accolade for giving up the last of his illusions, but there was only silence.
Wilson had no place left to go but back to the hotel, and he was going there alone.