Fandom: House MD
Vague spoiler for "Insensitive"
Notes: Thanks to michelleann68 for beta.
Warnings: MOODFIC! Written in a really, really bad place. A little evil, a little meta, a little schmoop.
Disclaimer: Ficcers, shippers, and nice people READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. I take no responsibility for anybody's feelings or reactions.
Summary: House finds something nasty on-line.
“Now I know why your dry-cleaning bill is so high,” House said, without bothering to look away from his computer screen.
“Because I actually give a damn what I look like?” Wilson asked, wondering what version of Dr. House’s psychotic neighborhood he’d wandered into now.
“It must be hard to get that much spunk off your suit.”
Wilson had thought, ok hoped, that sleeping with House might offer a bit more insight into the workings of that twisted mind. At the moment, he was thoroughly baffled.
“House, I’m sure you’re making sense on your planet, but since I left my universal translator back on the Enterprise…”
“I’m talking about that on-line circle jerk you had with Lyons and Schuler. I thought that sort of thing only happened in chat rooms with guys named HardRod21. It was bad enough when it was just you and Lyons going at it, but when the Kraut showed up and whipped it out I couldn’t tell who was getting their prostate massaged and who was getting the reach-around.”
“All right, that’s enough,” he bellowed, no doubt playing right into House’s game, whatever that was. He’d also thought that becoming intimate might give him some shield against House’s cruelty, an equally forlorn hope.
Wilson had written a paper on a new regimen of therapeutic methods combined with lower doses of chemo for breast cancer patients, just the kind of “touchy-feely” approach designed annoy the hell out of House, which was one reason Wilson hadn’t mentioned the paper to him, even when it was chosen to be published in a the Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, as well as being featured on their website. The other reason was that his article piggy-backed on the initial research done by Dr. Trent Lyons at the Mayo Clinic.
Lyons had been nothing but gracious and supportive, even sending supplementary case studies and reading each draft of the paper until Wilson was satisfied enough to submit it for consideration in the Journal. Lyons published frequently and was a favorite speaker on the “cancer circuit” and therefore a natural target object of House’s disdain.
Once the article was posted to the ASCO website, Lyons was kind enough to write a follow-up lauding Wilson’s work with eloquent praise. Being polite, Wilson had replied, thanking Lyons for the kind words and for the ‘privilege of toiling in the same vineyard.’ He’d thought it might sound a bit fulsome, but by that time he'd already hit the 'send' button. Then Dr. Hans Schuler, from the University of Frankfurt, a friend and acolyte of Lyons, added his own positive remarks. Wilson felt obligated to thank him as well.
In all honesty, he’d loved working on the paper, thought it was the best thing he’d ever written and basked in the approval of a man he considered an inspiration and a mentor. Dr. Schuler’s additions to the dialogue ignited a warm glow of smugness, because Schuler now considered him an equal to Lyons and not merely a ‘wunderkind’, a word that had rankled for years, even if Schuler meant it as a compliment.
In less than five minutes, House had reduced his triumph to masturbatory self-indulgence.
Why did House have to drag everyone down to his level of misery? Wilson wasn’t sure how much longer he could love a man with so much self-loathing. Maybe there was still a chance to reclaim his pre-House life.
Not sleeping with House wouldn’t mean not loving him any more. He needed to figure out what had set off House’s appetite for destruction after weeks of relative calm. It couldn’t possibly be something as trivial as an article and a few online exchanges, even if the whole thing had gotten a bit smarmy.
How the hell did House even know about the paper? House’s interest in Wilson’s career seemed to extend only as far as having a reliable source of Vicodin prescriptions and the occasional consult in order to rule out cancer. He certainly wouldn’t waste his time logging on to www.asco.org. On the other hand, House loved to spend hours on-line, stalking his friends and imaginary foes, especially when he was supposed to be doing clinic duty.
“You googled me?”
“I was getting carpal tunnel voting for Jason and Liz in the ABC.com poll. Jason/Sam is still ahead, but I certainly managed to give those Jammers a run for their money. Liason will triumph!”
“I thought you hated Jason.”
“Some one has to get Liz away from that pill popper and Jason is the Borg Boy to do it.”
Wilson wished he could just let this become a conversation about House’s other addiction, but he refused to be distracted. “So you found my paper and ...”
“Nope. I found this.” House turned his monitor around triumphantly. Wilson walked toward the desk, wondering what photo-shopped monstrosity might have turned up under his name. There was a particular resident he had suspicions about. Once he was close enough to see what House had been looking at there was a strong temptation to leave immediately. This was something he’d truly never wanted House to see.
The snippy tirade he’d just experienced was nothing compared to what he could expect in response to a picture of himself and Dr. Cameron together in formal clothes. Cameron’s dress was designed to create the illusion of cleavage and served its purpose admirably. House’s computer appeared to show Wilson with a possessive hand on Cameron’s bare shoulder and Cameron with an especially alluring expression on her face.
House read the caption aloud, like a kindergarten student sounding out the “big” words.
“Keynote speaker Dr. James Wilson accompanied by Dr. Allison Cameron, at the opening night gala of this year's American Society of Clinical Oncology convention at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan. I like the ‘accompanied’. Sounds like you were performing a violin concerto. It doesn’t say whether you were finger-fucking her under the table during the Beef Wellington, or if you managed to wait until you got to the hotel room after dinner. Did you get her dress off first or did you have to pay her dry-cleaning bill too.”
Wilson felt his foot twitch, the physical manifestation of his fight or flight reflex, but stood still for the assault. He remembered telling House ‘You alienate people." House was taking advantage of this idiotic thing to try and drive him away.
“I asked if you wanted to go.”
“No. You said, ‘Hey, House, you want to go to the oncology thing in New York?’ knowing I’d sooner dive into a bucket of my own vomit than spend five minutes at one of those soirees. You didn’t tell me that in my absence, you’d have Cameron all tarted up and hanging on your arm.“
“Would it have made a difference?” he asked softly. House appeared to ignore the question in favor of a direct hit below the belt.
“You never could grow a beard, but you managed one for this gig, didn’t you?”
Wilson didn’t know what to say, except ‘mea culpa’ which wasn’t very appropriate for the nice Jewish boy he'd once been.
“The eminent Dr. Wilson can’t be seen alone, can he? You used to drag Julie to every fund-raiser, even when you two were barely talking. And now that you’ve lured me into your web of perversion, you’re still looking for something with tits and a twat to make it look like you’re back on PPTH’s most eligible bleeding heart list.”
Who exactly had dragged whom, Wilson wondered? He thought it had been a mutual decision, following how many years of not so subtle innuendo on House’s part and a particular breakfast on Valentines Day. He’d missed the part where he tied House to the bed and insisted on having his way, although the idea was tempting, especially if he could gag House instead of listening to his continued attack.
“You expect me to be your dirty secret, while you maintain your dubious reputation.”
Wilson told himself he would have been happy to have House attend his speech, hear the applause, see the respect he actually had within the profession. At the same time, he wasn’t ready to be the “gay head of oncology” and House would use that fact to torture him indefinitely. Wilson had to gamble that for all his bravado about not caring what people thought, House wasn’t ready to take that particular step out of the closet either.
“It’s not like people don’t know already. Cameron spent the whole night trying to get me to admit it.”
“People thinking they know is one thing. People think they know that Iraq was involved in 9/11 and that penguins can tap-dance.’
“I’ve already got three idiots on the payroll. Quota’s full.”
“I’m not the one having a temper tantrum over a picture.” House turned back to his computer. “OK, fine. You win. I was a coward, but you’ve shown me the light. Let’s walk out there, arm in arm, and skip down the hallway. We’ll tell Cuddy and Brenda and that resident with the freaky eyes. Or maybe we’ll just tell Cameron in which case the entire state of New Jersey’ll know by tomorrow. She'll be heart-broken, but we won’t be living a lie anymore.”
Wilson had stopped, because he’d run out of words and breath, only to find House looking at him with the same intense focus he applied to a whiteboard full of juicy symptoms. It was a gratifying sensation until he thought he was about to lose the bet. House’s smile was the one that said he’d just solved the puzzle and the solution was going to make him look brilliant and the needed treatment was going give Cuddy a coronary. It was a good look on him.
Still thinking he could call the bluff, he put out a hand to help House up. House studiously ignored it, using his desk for leverage until he was on his feet and taking the first step with the cane. It took only two steps away from the desk for the wince to blot out the smile.
“Maybe not so much skipping right now,” he muttered retreating back to the chair.
Wilson tried not to let the sigh of relief come out through his mouth. He’d have days to wonder if he’d actually won a game of chicken with Greg House or been completely had by the Michael Jordan of head games.
Time to retreat to his own corner and hope the next round involved dinner and make-up sex. The bound and gagged idea wouldn’t leave him alone. He hoped he’d be able to get through the three o’clock staff meeting without embarrassing himself.
“Lyons is a hack.”
“What,” Wilson had almost been out the door.
“He pimped your article because it made him look good. He needs you, not vice versa. Next time do something original and skip the mutual admiration society. I hear there’s all kind of interesting cases going on around here. Some of them even involve cancer.”
“I’ll keep an eye out for something,” he said, leaving House’s office, still not sure who’d won or if it mattered.
He had ten minutes before he was due at the meeting, but decided he could use the time to email Lyons. That new paper they’d been discussing was on hold. Indefinitely.
Then he went to ABC.com to vote for Jason and Sam in the poll. Anything to make sure Liz and Lucky stayed together. He was a selfish, pill-popping bastard, but Liz loved him.
Wilson knew just how she felt.