|Primary Characters:||House, Wilson|
|Spoilers:||Season 1, but not really|
|Description:||AU. House is attracted to someone rather surprising.|
House glanced furtively around before, with much effort, limping over to the young woman who sat with her legs crossed on a bench. He knew who she was. After all, her face had been plastered all over the city for months now, as part of an advertising campaign for a certain brand of perfume.
House wouldn’t have been able to name it, or even identify it among half a dozen other scents, but he knew the female body, intimately, or rather, in later years, not nearly as intimately as he would have liked.
Lorna Welles. At least that was her professional name. House had no doubt that her real name was Warsawski or Wupperthal or something else, equally hard to pronounce. Or it had been until her marriage to the professional wrestler Bruno O’Hara. So technically, she was Lorna O’Hara. But who cared?
The reasons House was interested in her, could be counted on the fingers on one hand. Legs, boobs – something or other. House couldn’t think of what it was right now, but there was sure to be something else about her he liked. If he looked any further than said limbs or at least body parts.
With an effort, he focused on her face. Even a woman of as limited intelligence as Lorna might pick up on what his real interest was, if he stared for too long. So his eyes wandered across her neck and settled on her face.
Pink, full lips. Beautiful eyes, set far apart, thick eyelashes, platinum blonde hair – not natural – he was a doctor, he could tell these things. Expensive dental work.
“Mrs O’Hara -”
Her doe-like eyes fastened on him in pleadingly. House almost licked his lips. Yummy. What a waste that a man who looked like a cauliflower in the face and had the intelligence of a bright seven-year-old was in possesssion of that. If there had been any justice in the world…
“I just wanted to assure you that we’re doing everything we can for your husband. Please, don’t upset yourself. We have the situation under control.”
He purposely avoided going into details about the case. All he knew was that O’Hara had been taken to the hospital after suffering a broken nose. That was all. Not exactly life-threatening, or for that matter intellectually stimulating enough for an aging man in serious pain.
“How is he? When can I go in and see him?”
“As soon as the doctor’s finished with him.”
She looked slightly puzzled and while she tried to figure out what to ask, if anything, House made full use of the moment. He shamelessly studied every inch of her. The memories might come in handy some time.
When he heard Cuddy’s heels tap-tap-tapping along the corridor, he straightened up as much as he could, smiled encouragingly, and said goodbye. He hurried away, hoping to avoid Cuddy entirely. If not, he had a couple of things he could say to her to distract her a bit. It was child’s play. Almost too easy. Unworthy of his intelligence.
But he really didn’t want to argue about working in the clinic. There was something unsatisfying about bickering with one’s boss. All she had to do was crack the whip a little and he’d have to roll over and show his tummy. Mm. In fact, the imagery appealed to him. Cuddy with a whip. He’d have to remember that one if he lost too humiliatingly in a discussion about clinic hours.
He ignored her and limped away as fast as he could.
“House. I know you can hear me.”
“Got to go. Cameron just paged me.”
To his relief, Cuddy let him go. Clearly, she was too busy to make the effort. Quitter. But at the moment, that suited him fine. He was hoping he’d have a chance to meet mrs O’Hara again. Soon. And he was betting Foreman and Chase would agree with him.
He had his chance sooner than he had expected. It turned out the boxer was back again, the next day. He’d become dizzy and passed out on his way into a car.
House didn’t find that intriguing enough to get involved, but it did mean he’d get to see the wife again.
This time, she appeared more concerned about her husband. She looked nervous and vulnerable and House felt as if he could devour her, piece by dainty piece. The big bad wolf and some careless little lamb who had strayed too far from the fold. Again he had to make an effort not to lick his lips.
She was wearing high boots and a very short skirt. If he found an excuse to stoop down, he was betting he’d catch a glimpse of her underwear. That was if she was wearing any. With any luck, she wouldn’t.
“Mrs O’Hara. We meet again.”
She blinked like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car. Clearly, the hospital environment made her nervous. In addition, House arrived at the conclusion that she actually seemed to care about her husband. Charming. Sweet, even, but for the purposes of his viewing pleasure, totally irrelevant.
She blinked again, this time to clear her sight. Oh, please. House could see that her big, beautiful eyes were filling up with tears. Brother.
“Please. Don’t distress yourself. Here. Let me -”
He managed to wriggle onto the chair next to her and put his arm around her, while digging around in his pocket with the other. There should be a tissue there somewhere. When his fingers made contact with the soft paper, he remembered why that wouldn’t do. He’d spat the brown part of an apple into it, the other day.
Well, nothing to be done about that. Besides, this could work to his advantage. Lightly, he let his fingers brush away the tears that were staining her cheeks, then pulled her closer. By pressing her against his chest, he was getting a good feel for her chest area, which was the whole point of the exercise.
Boy, was Chase going to envy him. And Foreman. And –
He let his hand continue up to her hair and began to pat her in a way he hoped was comforting. At the same time, he let his other hand slide down to her thigh. He was hoping she’d be too distracted to notice what he was doing. This was far too good an opportunity to waste.
She was trying to say something and reluctantly, he pulled back a little, to affect an interest in whatever she might have to say.
“He was bleeding.”
House forced himself to pay attention and managed to drag his gaze away from her cleavage. What had she said? Oh, right.
“Your husband? I see. Where?”
“Where? In the ambulance on the way here.”
“No, from what part of the body was he bleeding?”
“Oh. Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s anything serious. He might have taken a knock to the face lately or -”
“Yes. He has. But not today. Last night. In a match.”
Duh. Unless she liked to come at him with a frying pan. What did she think boxers did anyway? Fine embroidery?
Suddenly, the door to the examination room burst open and House could hear someone coming in his direction, fast. Someone who was huffing and puffing worse than the big, bad wolf. Before he looked, he knew who it had to be. Clearly, mr O’Hara, the boxer, had made a surprisingly quick recovery.
“Hey, you. Get your hands off my wife. Now. Pervert.”
Surprisingly quickly, House was up and running, or as close to running as he was capable of. He knew he wouldn’t get very far, but he was hoping for – well, anything, that might distract the man. If he was lucky, someone might call security.
Before he got much further, he ran into someone and was forced to stop his headlong rush. He looked up and saw, at last, a friendly face.
Dr Wilson had been looking for his friend House. Most days, they’d have lunch together and Wilson didn’t have anyone else to sit with today. He should have known House would be up to something. Wilson studied the scene before him and was able to deduce more or less what had happened. House, ogling and pawing at that boxer’s wife, and the husband showing up unexpectedly.
With a mental sigh, he prepared himself to bail House out. Again. Like so many times before.
House was thinking quickly. If he didn’t come up with an explanation fast, he’d be smashed into a pulp. He was always saying that pain, from another source than his thigh, actually helped. But not something like this. He found that he definitely didn’t want to find himself the target of that big brute’s aggression.
Staring at Wilson, as if seeking inspiration, a glimmer of an idea sprang up in his mind. Right. That should do it. So he put his arm around Wilson’s neck and pressed his face to his friend’s cheek.
“Listen to me, mr O’Hara. I’m afraid there’s been some kind of misunderstanding. I was merely trying to comfort your wife. She was upset. Worried about you. I was reassuring her and – that’s when you showed up. There. You see, mrs O’Hara. Just like I told you -”
“You bastard. Don’t even try. You think I’m an idiot?”
House concluded that this was merely a rhetorical question and in any case he had no intention of answering it truthfully.
“Mr O’Hara. I’m very sorry for the misunderstanding, but I really had no intention of -”
“Save it. Come back here, you chickenshit. I’m going to show you -”
Encouraged by Wilson’s immobility, House had a desperate inspiration, and without waiting for O’Hara to make good his threat, he pushed on.
“You have absolutely no reason to be jealous. We can clear up this misunderstanding right away. You see – I’m gay. This is my lover. My colleague here. James. Tell him, baby.”
O’Hara was still advancing on him.
“I knew you were a chicken, but this is pathetic. Just tell me you’re sorry and I’ll just clobber you once.”
“No, really. We are lovers. Live together and everything. In a minute we’ll be laughing about it.”
O’Hara didn’t even bother replying. His fist looked enormous and before he had time to get any closer, House closed the distance between his and Wilson’s faces and covered his friend’s mouth with his own. Driven by the urgency of the situation, he made the kiss as convincing as he could, though he could feel Wilson squirming to get away. Ignoring his efforts, House held on to him.
After a moment, he dared to glance back at the boxer, who had retreated, a look of confusion on his face.
“I guess – I guess I was wrong. Sorry about that, doc. Thank you for looking after my wife.”
“It was my pleasure. You see – I have followed your career from the start and I admire you so.”
O’Hara’s face froze into a mask, when he picked up on the flirtatious tone in the disabled doctor’s voice.
“Uh – anyway – I’ll just -”
“I hope you’re ok now, mr O’Hara. And your wife, naturally.”
“Yeah, well, it was just a bit of iron def- defi – deficiency.”
“That’s a relief.”
“Uh – yes. Thanks again.”
O’Hara turned and left, his wife hanging on his right arm. By now, Wilson had managed to disentangle himself from House’s grip and acutely aware of their audience, did his best to calm down. He knew his face was as red as that of a newborn baby and he only wanted to turn and run away, anywhere, as long as he got away from the staring nurses and – dr Cameron.
After House had made sure the O’Haras were at a safe distance, he allowed himself to relax a little. Phew.
“That was a close call.”
A low murmur was all the reply he had. The nurses were chattering, their heads close together and Cameron was standing around, her mouth partially open.
“Oh, and close your mouth, Cameron. You never know, there might be a fly somewhere.”
Wilson didn’t stop, he just continued on his way, cheeks and ears burning. This was just the worst of all the pranks House had played on him and it was also the one that hurt the most. This time, he’d had it with his so called friend.
House was just about to go after his friend and try to talk to him, maybe tease him some more, but he never got that far. Once again, he heard a familiar voice, calling his name.
“House. Stay where you are.”
Again he heard Cuddy’s heels clicking on the floor of the corridor. Suddenly, everyone else seemed to melt into the walls. Thirty seconds later, he was alone with his boss. Resigning himself ot his fate, House stayed where he was, staring futilely in the direction where his – probably – only friend in the world had disappeared.
Frowning in dismay, Cuddy stopped in front of him. The stern look on her face deepened.
“You just had to do it, didn’t you? I guess it was inevitable. We should have sent you off on a conference in California, rather than throwing you in with mrs O’Hara, but hey – who would have guessed he’d be back the very next day? Need I remind you that it’s unethical to flirt with patients, or the wives of patients?”
“Flirt? Me? I was merely trying to comfort the poor woman. She was upset and worried about her husband. It was all a big misunderstanding.”
“Misunderstanding? I know you better than that. And what was that all about?”
“Don’t play innocent with me. I saw it. Everyone on this floor must have seen it. You French kissing Dr Wilson.”
“Yes, that. Well?”
“Oh, you know, I was only being affectionate. I hadn’t seen him for ages and I thought, what the heck -”
“House. That’s enough. I’ll deal with you later. Right now, I have my hands full just trying to avoid a lawsuit from the O’Haras.”
“Don’t worry about them. I think we had a good discussion. In the end, we understood each other.”
Cuddy shook her head and turned and left. She looked off somehow. Tired. For once, House experienced a momentary stab of guilt. One of these days, his karma would catch up with him and bite him on the tail. But what the heck, you only lived once, so why not try to have some fun while you still could?
All the same, he had a gnawing feeling that maybe, just maybe, today he’d gone a little too far. Trying to quiet his conscience, he poured a couple of Vicodins into his mouth and swallowed. By now, he had the technique down to perfection. He didn’t even need any water.
Leaning on his cane, he limped towards the nearest elevator. He’d better get back to his latest case. Mildly stimulating, but there was always Cameron. As far as stimulation went, she was ok. A whole lot better than nothing.
When he’d finished his last gruelling stint at the clinic – around five thirty to be exact – he decided, for no particular reason, to drop by Wilson’s office to see if he was still pissed at him. He felt pretty good about himself. Before the clinic duties, he’d worked with his team of dedicated gofers. Not once during those sessions had he said anything racist or sexist. He’d merely managed to get in a rather subtle dig at Chase’s penchant for submission.
If it hadn’t been for the incident that morning, he would have felt great. But there was that thing about Wilson. The way his face had looked right after he’d managed to pry himself loose from his friend’s arms. That wounded look in his eyes.
Not that House cared about that. Not in the least. It was just inconvenient to have the poor sod sulking. He might as well drop by and check what mood he was in. If he was still moping around in his office, maybe a motorbike ride would cheer him up.
When he arrived outside Wilson’s office, he peeked through the glass pane and saw that he was with a patient. Some poor bastard just receiving a death sentence, no doubt. At least judging by the expression on Wilson’s face.
However, when the middle-aged man opened the door and passed by, only a couple of inches from House, the look on his face was exuberant. It was as if he’d had a new lease on life. So, clearly Wilson hadn’t just delivered a death sentence. Quite the opposite, in fact.
With him out of the way, House opened the door and stepped inside. Wilson had his back to the door and was removing his white coat. House sat down on the visitor’s chair, facing the desk. Wilson turned and saw him.
The way Wilson was looking it was clear that he was still moping. Big time. He even looked as if he’d been crying. What a wuss.
Wilson’s eyes narrowed and his face froze into what might have been termed a sneer, if it had packed more punch. As it was, he looked more like a kid who had had a bad disappointment and wasn’t going to cheer up any time soon.
“I’m not talking to you. Get out of here.”
“Come on. Where’s your sense of humor? I’m assuming this is still about what happened earlier? Our little tryst in the corridor.”
“I said, get out.”
And with that, Wilson grabbed his briefcase and left by the other door. House got up as fast as he could and tried to follow. By the time he’d managed to get into the corridor, Wilson was nowhere to be seen.
Since there was no way House could hope to catch up with Wilson, he decided to go home. Assuming he’d find Wilson there, which was beginning to look a little doubtful right now. But there was no point worrying about that prematurely. He’d pick up some stuff on the way and dazzle Wilson with his – cooking skills – if you counted his elegant way of opening the cans and cartons.
Just in case, he also stopped by the liquor store and got some wine and a six-pack. Wilson would never be able to resist that.
To House’s relief, Wilson was in and he wasn’t in the doorway with all his things either, but when House tried to sweet-talk him, he ran into a brick wall.
Wilson looked as if he’d had a good think about the whole thing and was ready to have it out with him once and for all. Depending on how it went, House was all for it. A big fight to clear the air. He’d had plenty of those with women, some had even led to great makeup sex. Which, under the circumstances, was beside the point.
“You have a nerve. Showing up like this, as if nothing’s wrong. Listen to me, House. I’m through with you. This time, you went too far. I’ve had it. I’m getting out of here. There’s your key.”
Wilson tossed the key onto the table, with far more drama than House had thought him capable of.
“Oh, honey, don’t say that. After all we’ve been through.”
One look at Wilson told him that had been the wrong thing to say, and House opened his mouth to try again. More seriously this time.
“Shut up. I don’t want to hear it.”
“Hey. James. Ok, I might have been a little too -”
“You know what? I don’t care.”
“Come on. I’ll admit that -”
Wilson turned his back on him, and picked up his bags. Under normal circumstances, that would have been a mistake, but this time, House didn’t even think of it that way. He became aware of a numbing feeling of despondency. Maybe Wilson was right. He had gone too far this time. In retrospect, he realized that he had been taking Wilson for granted. Taking advantage of his kindness. All the things he didn’t want to consider, but was aware of, somewhere deep down. Still, he didn’t want to give up just yet.
He walked over to Wilson and put his hand on his shoulder, forcing him to turn around and face him.
“Ok. You’re right. I – shouldn’t have done that. What do you expect me to say? That I’m sorry? Fine. I am.”
“You think that just saying you’re sorry makes it alright? Guess what? It doesn’t. And you know as well as I do, that you’ve played hundreds of cruel tricks on me. I let you take my lunches. You pulled the old trick from camp on me – the one with the lukewarm water. That’s only one of hundreds of others. And I’ve had enough.”
“Hey – you were the one who asked me to let you stay. You could have had a place of your own if you hadn’t -”
“Now listen to me. I know it was you who called that guy and told him I wasn’t interested. Or something. Either way, you were the one who wanted me here.”
House was wondering about Wilson’s voice. It had an edge to it, as if he was trying hard to keep something back. Anger? Something else?
“You know what the worst part is? I was going to try to help you get away from that boxer guy. If he’d taken a swing at you, I would have placed myself between you. Tried to reason with him. My mistake.”
“Come on. You like living here. You enjoy the company. I know you do.”
There was something funny about Wilson’s eyes. As if he was keeping some strong emotion at bay. Hoping this was a good sign, House turned to pick up the wine bottle.
“Look, what I bought for us.”
Wilson didn’t even deign to look at the shopping bags. Before House had time to say anything else, Wilson brushed past him and was gone, before he could find his cane and hurry after him.
Instead of trying to catch up, House unpacked the groceries and put some of the stuff in the oven, and the dessert in the freezer. He put the wine bottle on the counter and began to look for glasses.
When it became clear that Wilson wasn’t just going to walk in, House switched off the oven, left the food in there, grabbed his cane and left.
He knew where to find Wilson. There were only a few places he could be. House didn’t think he’d be at work. That left only two places and he had a feeling about it.
Sure enough, there he was, sitting on the bench he always chose when he had something to work out or something to brood over.
House slowed down, not wanting to provoke another outburst. As quietly as he could, he approached the bench, waited a moment to see if Wilson was going to bolt again, and when he didn’t, he sat down beside him. The sun was beginning to set and the streetlights were coming on.
Wilson stubbornly refused to acknowledge House’s presence, but something about his posture suggested he’d been crying. House leaned closer and took a look. Yep. He was crying or had been crying until recently. Apparently, this was more serious than House had expected.
Wilson turned his face even more, and began to rub at his eyes. House waited.
Wilson swallowed hard.
“Want to go back? I put some stuff in the oven. Don’t worry, I switched it off again.”
Wilson made an indeterminate noise which could have meant anything. House decided to take that as an encouragement.
“So, what’s really wrong?”
Wilson turned slightly, not quite facing House, and it looked as if he was finally about to reply, but in the end, he didn’t say anything. House didn’t say anything either. His mind began to work, putting two and two together and finally, he thought he knew what was going on. The conclusion stunned him. It was a while until he was able to collect himself.
Eventually, he reached out and put his hand on Wilson’s arm. Wilson shook it off. Judging by the way his mouth was pursed, House could tell his friend wasn’t just upset, he was angry too.
“So that’s why.”
Wilson turned around completely, at last facing House.
His voice held a note of suspicion.
“Why you’re always putting up with me. Why you’re standing up for me.”
Wilson snapped at House, at last at the end of his tether.
“Why do you think I’m always treating you this way?”
That silenced Wilson. His mind set to work furiously. What had House said? Did he mean what it sounded like he was saying?
Not trusting himself to speak, Wilson looked searchingly into House’s face. For once, he couldn’t read any spite there, no hidden snigger at his expense.
House again put his hand on Wilson’s arm.
“Let’s go home. Your dinner’s getting cold.”
Wilson found himself nodding agreement. They got up and made their way back to the house. With the door closed behind them, Wilson suspiciously sniffed the air. Amazing. House really had been trying to cook. How – unbelievable.
House pushed past him and shuffled into the kitchen, where he turned the oven on again. He grabbed the bottle and two glasses and returned to the living room. Wilson was still standing there, looking awestruck.
Dropping the bottle and the glasses off on the table, House grabbed Wilson’s arm and led him to the table.
“Sit. I’ll serve you dinner. It’s the least I can do.”
Too stunned to reply, Wilson remained sitting on the couch, not quite sure what to say. When House returned he was still sitting there, the same look on his face.
House had to go to the kitchen and back several more times before the food was finally on the table and every dish was in its place.
Wilson could hardly believe his eyes. This certainly was a new House. Deep down, he was still waiting for the catch, for House to explode with laughter, telling him it had all been an even more elaborate joke than the kiss that morning.
But House did no such thing. He just sat there, watching WIlson, with a look in his eyes that in anyone else, Wilson would have taken for affection. Affection and maybe something else.
Suddenly, House closed the distance between their faces and their lips met again, just like this morning, but this time, with far more passion. Wilson’s heart made a skip in his chest, and when the initial shock was over, he began to return the kiss, every bit as passionately. This couldn’t be a joke.
At last House pulled back and studied Wilson intently.
Wilson took a deep breath, bracing himself for what was to come. Maybe this was House’s idea of a joke, after all. After he’d given himself away.
“So – that was unexpected.”
“That I felt this way about you? Tell me about it. I didn’t really get it until this morning.”
“You’re telling me. Except that’s all wrong. I guess I knew all along how you felt and I guess at some point, it sort of rubbed off on me.”
“So this is my fault?”
When he saw the look on Wilson’s face, House hastily amended his statement.
“Relax. I was the one who kissed you.”
“House, if this is just out of pity -”
“You don’t get it, do you? I don’t do pity. You know me. If I didn’t want this, you can bet your pants I wouldn’t have done it.”
“There’s that, of course.”
Wilson was beginning to relax slightly. After this morning’s disaster, he’d been devastated, thinking House had somehow discovered his secret and was throwing it back in his face.
“If this was all my fault, how come you kissed me this morning?”
House blinked, then his face was split by a wide grin.
“Ok, you got me there. I didn’t even think about it. At the time, i just saw it as a way to avoid being battered into a bloody pulp, but you’re probably right. The subconscious at work.”
House had a look of stupefaction on his face that matched the way Wilson was feeling, but that was hardly surprising, considering how crazy they both were about women. This – it simply shouldn’t be possible and as if that wasn’t enough, it seemed lightning really did strike twice. For even one of them to end up this way was unbelievable, but both of them? The odds had to be staggering.
Wilson picked up his glass and sipped the wine. It was awful. Exactly the kind of wine House would get. Not that it mattered, in another way it tasted wonderfully sweet. It was the first time House had ever bought and prepared dinner for him. Another first.
As he sat there, beginning to relax, House’s personality returned to normal. He was beginning to see the humor in the situation.
“Well, this should be refreshing. No more groveling to get laid. Size is everything, right? Show me yours and I’ll show you mine. Don’t be shy. I’m a doctor.”
Wilson’s cheeks began to heat up again. This was just too –
“Ok, that’s it. I think I’m getting a headache. Goodnight.”
“You mean a headache headache or is that ‘I’m getting a headache’ as in – ‘you’re not getting any tonight’?”
Wilson even made as if to get up.
With an exaggerated sigh, House pretended to give in.
“Ok. I take that back.”
He even smiled hopefully at Wilson, who was suddenly struck by the enormity of what they had gotten themselves into. Would he even be able to – Well, there was no point in worrying about that in advance. They’d just see where all this took them. Maybe nowhere, or maybe – somewhere else. They’d have to wait and see.
Dinner was a little dry, but Wilson wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Dry or not, it was still dinner served to him by someone else, in this case the man he’d loved for so long, half-hoping he’d never find out how he felt. Being with House would just be too humiliating.
Wilson knew he was a complete idiot and it served him right if House totally humiliated him, but this was what he wanted and it seemed he was going to have his wish.
When they’d finished their wine, Wilson got up, gave House a hand and, not very romantically, they hobbled along together towards the bedroom.
House clumsily maneuvered himself down onto the bed, tossed the cane to the floor and for once, self-consciously tried to undress. Wilson tactfully turned his back on him and began to remove his own garments.
When he stretched out on the bed, House turned over to face him, an unusually subdued look on his face.
“You do realize this could be a complete fiasco? You know how much pain I’m in, but if I take more of my Vicodins I might not be able to – Shit. I knew I should have pinched some Viagra, while I had the chance.”
Wilson smiled affectionately, albeit slightly uncomfortably.
“Let me see if I can do something about that.”
After that, neither of them said anything else.