|Primary Characters:||House, Wilson, Cuddy|
|Description:||House and Wilson are still together, but someone else appears on the scene.|
House woke up slowly. He had a feeling something had changed. Two things, in fact. One, he wasn’t in quite as much pain as usual, and secondly – someone else was lying beside him.
The events of the day before came back to him and he had to suppress a smirk. This really was something. He and Wilson lying together like this. How about that?
Gingerly trying to avoid causing even more pain to his thigh, he turned over to face Wilson. When he saw that his friend – correction, lover – was still asleep, he had to suppress an urge to wake him up in a rather brutal way reminiscient of camp. Under the circumstances, that might be a bit too – cruel.
Instead, he glanced at the clock radio on the bedside table. It was still early. If it hadn’t been for that thigh of his, he’d be able to enjoy a full night’s sleep, with or without sex. He tried to will the pain away and in the end, he reached for the bottle of Vicodins that had to be in his pants pocket, right there on the floor.
Wilson’s voice stopped him before he’d reached far enough.
“Good morning. I guess it wasn’t a dream, after all.”
House didn’t know what to say. He didn’t do this type of – enamored bliss. His usual reaction would be to sneer or quip about what had just happened. Strangely enough, he didn’t feel like that either. In the end he rather tamely echoed Wilson’s greeting, but other than that, remained quiet. He still wanted those Vicodins, but he was rapidly becoming aware of wanting something else, even more.
In the end he decided to hold off on the painkillers. After all, they weren’t going anywhere and the target of his other urge might.
So he reached out with his other hand and for a while neither of them spoke again.
Afterwards, Wilson got up, apparently giving him his privacy to get up without a witness to his clumsy flailing.
House could hear the shower running and after a while, appetizing smells began to come from the kitchen. By then, he’d managed to get up and found his cane, but he remained uncomfortably aware of his disadvantage. He hurried on into the bathroom and after having a shower and a shave, he went into the kitchen.
Again, he almost had to bite his tongue so he wouldn’t say something sexist about Wilson’s almost feminine domestic skills. If he kept this up, it wasn’t going to be any fun. Oh, right. There was still Cuddy and his three stooges.
Wilson wasn’t offended when he suggested that they make their separate ways to work, like they usually did. It wasn’t that House felt particularly ashamed of what they’d done, it was more that he wanted to keep everyone guessing. More fun that way.
Maybe three weeks later, House happened to overhear some of the nurses talking about someone who apparently was doing someone. He couldn’t hear who it was, so he just filed the information away for future reference.
Today he was lunching alone. He and Wilson had decided to limit the times they were seen together, just for the time being. It wasn’t as if they always sat together in the cafeteria.
He caught sight of his team, sitting together a few tables away, and decided to join them. Time for a little more amusement at their expense.
Balancing the tray, he tried to lean the cane on the table, but failed. No problem. He’d get Chase to pick it up for him, if he could just beat Cameron to it. That girl really had a wish to help the entire world, one way or another. Loser. But since she was also a hottie, that didn’t really matter a whole lot.
“There you are. Foreman, go get me some dessert. Chase – tie my shoelaces. Cameron, unbutton your coat. No? What’s the world coming to? The hired help no longer obeys their betters.”
House rolled his eyes in an exaggerated way, while really, he had never expected either one of them to fall for his attempts so sucker them. Well, maybe Foreman, hoping to get paid afterwards. Whatever.
He thought they were looking at him rather oddly, but he didn’t really pay attention to that. When he was done, he got up, making a show of how hard it was for him to get to his feet. If he was lucky, Cameron would fall for that and remove his tray. To his delight, she did. When she bent over to pick it up, he managed to catch a glimpse of her cleavage.
Mm. Quite a good day, so far, he thought to himself as he left the cafeteria without looking back.
He didn’t feel quite as well, when he overheard some interns laughing about someone who seemed to be sleeping with a colleague. What really bothered him was the way they broke off in mid-sentence when he walked by. But – that didn’t have to mean anything. Most of those kids never talked in front of the senior staff, unless you forced the words out of them. Still, he couldn’t suppress the slightest twinge of doubts. What if they were talking about him and Wilson?
But he shook the feeling off. So what? He could sleep with whoever he wanted, and he certainly didn’t care what those kids thought about him. In fact, this could work to his advantage. Some girls liked to try to ‘convert’ a gay man. Others might let him get closer, in the mistaken belief that he was harmless. All kinds of possibilities occurred to him, as he continued on his way to his office.
Half an hour later, he decided he’d drop in on his latest patient. Thie case was actually quite cool. Nothing of life-or-death magnitude, but still interesting. Especially if they could get the poor woman to regain consciousness.
He was reluctant to give up the digital game he was playing, so he stopped outside the door to the patient’s ward. It was standing slightly ajar, but clearly Chase, Cameron and Foreman were standing behind the curtain around the bed, so he couldn’t see anyone.
He was just entering his name in the Hall of Fame, when he overheard something that made his satisfaction over winning over himself dissipate instantly.
“I heard it was a guy.”
Chase’s Australian twang held a note of astonishment, but House thought he detected a smirk too.
Two seconds later, Cameron’s goody two-shoes voice chimed in.
“That can’t be right. I mean, this is House we’re talking about.”
Was that it? House had expected a long sermon on how wrong it would be judge someone on the basis of his or her sexual orientation. He was almost a little disappointed in Cameron, but he shouldn’t have been.
There it was.
“Besides, even if that’s true, why should it make a difference? He’s entitled to a little -”
Good sex, he was hoping she’d been about to say, but he never found out, because at last Foreman pitched in.
“I heard that too. And when you think about it, it can only be one person. Right?”
It might have been his imagination, but he thought he heard Cameron indignantly drawing breath to protest. In any case, protest she did.
“Oh, come on. Dr Wilson is just as – partial – to women as House is. It’s just a rumor. Someone’s idea of a joke. I don’t think House is sleeping with anyone.”
Chase’s voice returned, sounding elated, or so House thought.
“I’m betting twenty bucks it’s Wilson.”
He barely had time to finish, before Foreman cut in.
“That’s not fair. I’m the one who thought of it first.”
“So you should have made the bet first.”
“Ok. I’m betting ten bucks it’s you, Chase. Come on, you know how he’s always going on about you and the way you look.”
House almost snickered at that. Good one. The boy clearly took after his boss. Who would have known he’d be such a good student?
“Forget it. That’s not even a serious bet. If it had been me, I wouldn’t have admitted it anyway. Try again, Foreman or I win. Unless you’d like to bet, Cameron?”
“This is so disrespectful.”
What a doormat that girl was. Someone should put her out of her misery.
“Ok, I’m betting it’s that friend of his – what’s his name again? The guy with the daughter, who wasn’t his real daughter?”
“Fine. How much?”
“I refuse to believe it’s a man. So – I say it’s Dr Cuddy. Put me down for twenty too.”
So she had it in her, after all? Who could have guessed that about Cameron?
But deep down, House was wondering how this rumor would affect his standing at the hospital. To his knowledge, there was no policy that banned sexual relations between members of staff, though some old prudes on the board might disapprove. But it was no use worrying over that in advance, so he decided to return to his office and await the results of their findings. No need to do all the work himself, when he had those three to do it for him.
For a couple of days, he did nothing about the situation, not even warning Wilson about it. But at the end of the third day, the rumors had reached Wilson’s ears. To House’s surprise, Wilson took it better than he’d thought. He pretty much echoed House’s own sentiments.
In the cafeteria the next day, House decided he might as well confront the team, turn the tables on them, figuratively speaking, though if he did turn over the table, he was betting he could make Cameron believe it was an accident and get her to clean up the mess.
“So, I hear you’re trying to make a killing at my expense. Who’s winning?”
Cameron and Foreman exchanged glances. House could almost read their minds. ‘How did he find out about that?’ ‘Did you tell him?’ ‘Is he talking about our bet?’ And things like that. It really didn’t take a genius to figure out the way their minds were working. Not that he wasn’t one.
Just as he’d expected, it was Cameron who caved first.
“We – it’s just that we heard a rumor and we were wondering -”
He was enjoying her stupefaction. As if he didn’t know what they were talking about. He just loved making her say it out loud.
“About – never mind. It’s stupid.”
She glared at Chase, who didn’t even notice. His eyes never left House’s face.
“No. Go on. I’d like to know what you’re saying about me.”
He did too, except he already knew, more or less. Besides, Cameron was clearly almost wetting her pants and even Foreman, who seemed to have thick skin, looked a little rattled. Life could be sweet sometimes.
“Well? If Cameron can’t bring herself to tell me, maybe one of you can? Chase? Let’s hear it.”
Chase didn’t even hesitate. So it was true. What a wuss. He actually got off on obeying orders. Such a disappointment. In that case, Foreman would be more fun to play with.
“There were some rumors going around about you and that you were – seeing someone.”
“Really? Me? Seeing someone? Whatever made them think so? Do you know?”
House was chuckling inside. He couldn’t wait to hear more.
In the end, it was Cameron who caved, as he had expected. Too easy to guess. Not enough of a challenge. Maybe he’d better talk to Cuddy about hiring another flunky. In the meantime, he’d settle for hearing what they had to say about him and Wilson. How close they were to the truth, if at all.
“Someone was saying you were – involved with – a man.”
“Is that so? Now there’s a shocker. Any reason why they think so?”
Cameron didn’t even have to think about that one. House frowned. Was he that easy to read?
“Well, there’s the way you walk. As if you’re not in as much pain anymore. And you sometimes -”
Foreman decided it was time for his input.
“Sometimes you’re almost nice to us. It’s been weeks since we last heard a sexist or racist joke.”
“Oh, that. You could say I’ve learned a new type of pain management. Go on. What made these people believe it would be a man – if I’m seeing someone. You do realize I might just be playing you?”
Foreman’s face clearly told him he did realize, but he also looked as if he wasn’t at all ready to give up the idea that his boss actually was sleeping with someone. House wondered what had given them away. He couldn’t think of anything, so to throw them off, he decided to attack instead of parrying.
“What’s the matter anyway, Cameron? Jealous? Now I get it. Wouldn’t it be a blow to your pride if I chose someone else over you? A guy even?”
Cameron didn’t even look upset. So he’d blown that one.
“No. I’d be really happy if I thought you were in love with someone.”
“Oh, come on.”
His disgusted tone didn’t seem to bother Cameron at all. It was as if nothing could blow a hole in her armor of benevolence. House took it philosophically. He still had Chase and Foreman to bait.
He turned quickly and faced Chase.
“Or is it you, Chase? Everyone knows you get off on humiliation and you have to admit I’m the best. Would you like to take on whoever it is I’m supposed to be doing – over the honor of being my little playmate? That is, if I’m sleeping with anyone.”
Chase’s face clouded over and House felt a slight rush of satisfaction. Nothing to write home about, but at least it was something. That left Foreman. Now, what could he think of to tell him? Mm. Well, why not?
“Maybe it’s Cuddy? Did anyone bet on her?”
For a second, he glanced at Cameron, but he wasn’t finished with Foreman yet, and besides, Cameron usually wasn’t that much fun anyway.
“What if I’m just feeling a little better? Ok, who’s winning? Besides, my personal life is exactly that. Personal. That’s why they call it that. Personal.”
He gave up on Foreman. His guess that his old friend was his new lover was a good one. It just wasn’t correct. There wasn’t anything else he could say to Foreman at this point. Besides, this might be a good time to get to Chase, while he still thought he was in the clear.
“Oh, by the way, did she spank you?”
Chase blinked and against his better judgment, he replied.
House made a face. If he’d had any respect for Chase to begin with, he’d have lost it by now. What a loser.
“Cameron, of course. What? Didn’t you know, Foreman? Your brother and sister here have committed incest. Well, I’d better get going. Maybe I’m going to commit incest with your mom – Dr Cuddy. Maybe.”
The three younger doctors stayed at the table, exchanging uncomfortable glances. When would they ever learn it was no use trying to get their own back with House? Three against one was a serious disadvantage, for the three of them. At least when the person they were taking on was House.
House only made it as far as the corridor outside, before Cuddy intercepted him.
“House. In my office now.”
“Aw, miss, what did I do now?”
His imitation of a school boy didn’t even make Cuddy smile. She looked so uptight, she wouldn’t laugh even if she found his remarks funny. No matter. He would find them funny. An audience wasn’t really a requirement for his amusement.
She closed the door behind her and walked over to her desk and sat down.
“I just heard from our legal department that O’Hara is not pressing charges. Apparently, he is under the impression that you are gay and that you really were trying to comfort his wife. Lucky for you. And lucky for O’Hara that he isn’t in a profession that requires too much brains.”
“What do you mean?”
Cuddy gave him a look that clearly told him not to try anything. As always, House ignored her.
“Oh, please. We both know it isn’t true that you’re gay.”
“Do we now? And who are ‘we’?”
“Don’t start. But now that we’re on that subject – you’re seeing someone.”
“Who? Me? You’ve got to be kidding me. Do you see the women lining up for me?”
“You’re not complaining anymore. You’re not grumpy. Once in a while, you smile. You are involved with someone.”
“Did it ever occur to you that I might be acting this way just to keep you up at night wondering?”
“No. Not you. You’re dating someone. Who is it? Let me see – it’s not dr Cameron, is it? Of course not. That would be unethical, right? Hm. You’re not bringing prostitutes to the hospital. I’d know that.”
“I have my sources.”
“Then get your sources to tell you who I’m screwing. Hey, I know what this is. You’re jealous.”
Cuddy’s expression froze. He could tell he’d scored a point there. Normally, he wouldn’t press that advantage too far, but this time, he just couldn’t stop himself.
“How dare you?”
He could see her hands clutching the chair behind her desk so hard her knuckles turned white. It was clear that she was struggling to remain calm. Taking a deep breath, she continued.
“I just thought I’d let you know about the O’Hara situation. You’ve been informed, so you can go.”
When he was already outside, he recalled the look in her eyes. She wasn’t just angry, she was hurt. For once, he almost regretted what he’d just said.
After the door had closed behind House, Cuddy let out the breath she’d held in for so long, blinked to clear her sight and tried to relax. It wasn’t working. Why did she always let House get under her skin? Invariably, he left her feeling this defenseless. She should have learned to deal with him years ago.
Angrily, she blinked away a few tears and sat down. She was his boss, but even after all these years, she still let him do this to her. Not anymore. She’d – This time she’d – But it was no use. She broke off her train of thought and returned to the stack of papers awaiting her attention.
House returned to his office, rifled around in his top right desk drawer, and found his portable tv and turned on the channel with his hospital soap. For once the onscreen drama failed to draw him in, even though Dr Steve Richter and male nurse Damon Craig were fighting over the same woman – lovely patient Lola Delgado, while jealous Dr Jeanne Stanton was plotting her revenge against the madonna-like seductress.
House rarely dwelled on the past. It only served to rub his nose in his disability and losing Stacey and basically all the crap he’d had to take in the past ten years. When he turned thirty, he’d realized it would all be downhill from there, but he hadn’t had any idea of exactly how right he was.
Sure, this thing with Wilson had been a pleasant surprise, but all in all, he’d much rather be alone and 25 again. No, wait. That would mean starting from scratch and being forced to do all the gruelling hard work a young intern had to and that sucked big time. Of course, even then he’d been good at finding shortcuts.
But what really bothered him this time was Cuddy. They’d been at each other’s throats seemingly for as long as he could remember, but he knew it hadn’t always been like that. There had been a time, which he could recall, if he made the effort, when they’d been close, in fact, when their relationship had been sizzling, red hot.
But the road had forked and she’d picked administrative duties – and had become his boss – which might have been one reason she’d chosen that option in the first place – and he – had ended up where he was today.
Did it really have to be that way? Was it really necessary to make her pay for their breakup over and over again? At this point, he couldn’t even remember whose fault it had been. Not that it mattered. It was ancient history.
Or that was what he’d believed. Then again, there had been the way she had risked incurring the wrath of the board, by chosing him over Vogler. And there had been plenty of other occasions, when she’d covered for him and risked her own hide for his sake. Why?
His vanity would have him believe it was because he was such a brilliant diagnostician, but if he was being honest with himself, he knew what it really was. She still cared about him. And so he’d just had to go and throw that back in her face. You’re jealous.
Yeah. What if she was?
Part of him wanted to forget he’d ever had this moment of clarity and return to his normal attitude. Looking out for number one. Having as much fun as he could, while he still could. And, most important of all, doing all he could to reduce the pain in his thigh.
Except none of it was working today. All he could think about was the way Cuddy’s eyes had looked when he’d taunted her. For the ten zillionth time.
As if on cue, his thigh began to hurt even worse and without thinking, he reached for the bottle of Vicodin. He poured three of them into his mouth, swallowed and waited for the effect to kick in. It was taking longer and longer to work.
In the meantime, he tried all he could to distract himself. Stared at the tiny tv screen, switched channels to a football game, chewed on some peanuts, that tasted like styrofoam, began to consider calling for that masseuse, then gave up and limped out into the corridor.
He found Cuddy still in her office, determinedly browsing some papers stapled together. Either she’d learned to speed read or she wasn’t actually reading the print at all.
She looked up, then hastily looked down again and he could see her cheeks flushing, with anger, he thought. After the way he’d treated her, it wouldn’t be for any other reason.
“Hey. I know I’m going to regret this, but – I’m sorry.”
Again, she looked up, eyes boring into his, looking, not irritable or resigned, but vulnerable. For once, his mind didn’t get to work on finding some way of playing a prank on her, he just wanted to – yeah – as if she’d let him, after all the shit he’d put her through.
He could see her studying him, closely, as if trying to determine what he was after. And rightfully so. He was the one who had given her reason to react that way. No matter what he’d said about her, she was no scheming, calculating, vindictive bitch. He was all of that, except – possibly – a bitch. A jerk was more like it, in his case.
“Ok. What do you want now? Tell me so I can get on with my work. I’m not saying you can have it, just – get on with it.”
She sounded so drained he could tell his constant bickering had been wearing on her. The years had taken their toll on her too, but as if that wasn’t enough, he’d been eroding away at the spirited young girl she’d been when they first met.
“Lisa – I admit that I was – out of line, and I’m sorry about it.”
“House – just spit it out. I can’t deal with this right now. Is it the clinic? Fine. You’re excused. I’d rather do it myself, than be forced to argue about it all day. And sleep with whoever you want. I’m glad someone is willing to put up with you. Even if it is Cameron.”
“It’s not Cameron.”
“Ok, fine. Whatever.”
He shuffled closer and by transferring the cane to his left hand, he was able to clumsily place his right hand on hers.
For a second, she looked into his eyes, then she snatched her hand away as if it had been burned.
“What is this? Did you make a bet with someone? Wilson? I’m not going to help you play another prank on me. Go on. Do what you want to do. I’ll handle he clinic.”
“No bet. I just realized that I’ve been acting like a real asshole for these past years. Trying to make you pay for the leg, for me losing Stacey, for – I don’t know – the war and the state of the economy. I’m trying to say I’m sorry. For what I said before and for everything I did to make your life miserable.”
Again, she gazed straight at him, but before long, she began to squirm and she looked away.
“What happened to making me pay for -”
“I guess I realized it wasn’t your fault.”
He let his hand trace the line of her cheekbone, then trail down to linger on her lips. Clumsily, he fumbled for the visitor’s chair, but couldn’t find it, so he just dropped to his knees, feeling like an idiot, but not even caring.
“House – get up. This is -”
She got up and grabbed his arm to pull him to his feet. For a moment, they struggled to stay up, then House found his balance, and holding on to her with one hand, he pulled her closer. He tilted her face up, then covered her lips with his.
At the back of his mind he became aware of a warning bell going off, but he determinedly ignored it. Mm. He’d missed this in all the time he’d let his stupid, pointless anger stand in their way.
Eventually, they let go, struck by their consciences. Cuddy’s glance strayed to the clock on the wall. She gasped, began to pat her hair, then snatched up her cell phone and keys.
“I have to go. There’s a meeting with the board in – one and a half minute.”
Stunned at what he’d done, House merely nodded. Slowly he came to his senses. This would have consequences, he knew that, but at the moment, he wasn’t willing to deal with that knowledge. He wouldn’t give this up again, not for anything.
On the other hand, he also knew that he wasn’t willing to give up what he had with Wilson either. What a mess.
It was almost four in the morning. House and his team had been fighting to keep a two-year-old child alive, while they figured out what was rapidly dehydrating him and – killing him. At least three disparate sets of symptoms combined to make diagnosing the case even harder.
The boy had been admitted around ten thirty the following evening, already in a bad way, but despite frantic efforts by the ER staff, his condition had rapidly deteriorated.
Not until it was close to two thirty had House finally had a glimmer of inspiration. From then on, the case took a turn for the better. To begin with, he was only testing his theory, but soon it became apparent that they were on the right track.
House had just sent Cameron to tell the distraught grandmother that her grandson would make it. It was exactly the sort of thing Cameron loved, so he didn’t grudge her the privilege. He had a feeling Chase and Foreman were in the locker room, and within minutes they’d be on their respective ways home. Hopefully, Cameron would soon be going too.
As far as he was concerned, it wasn’t the glory he was after, it was the thrill of solving a puzzle that did it for him. Anyway, it was over. He could indulge himself. Just as he was trying to decide between a couple of Vicodins or a glass of his nice booze, which he saved for occasions like this, Cuddy looked in.
He couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across his face.
“Come on in. I was trying to decide on what to reward myself with. Vicodins or a bottle of my favorite hooch. I guess it’s the hooch.”
“I heard someone saved a little boy’s life tonight.”
“Really? Was it on CNN? So, who was it?”
Cuddy smiled. He wasn’t sure, but he thought she looked relieved. As if suddenly, she was years younger. When she looked like this, it was easy to remember the good times. Before the anger and the bitterness.
“Aren’t you going home?”
“In a minute.”
He dug out the bottle, chivalrously let her have the glass, then spoiled the gesture by taking a swig straight out of the bottle, but she didn’t even flinch.
They sipped their drinks in silence, until their eyes met and one by one, they set down their glasses.
House undid her hair. With her hair like that, framing her face, she looked exactly like she had back then.
A minute or so later, she was on his lap, her skirts hiked up above her hips and she was moving in a way that obliterated the thought of the Vicodins from his mind. The pain was forgotten, and while not forgotten, Wilson was relegated to position of slightly lesser importance. Cuddy was with him, not Wilson.
Or so he thought.
Wilson had heard about House’s heroic battle against the clock, to save the little boy. Though he saw his last patient at around nine, he’d waited for House to finish his work day. He’d been looking forward to a ride home on that bike.
Then word got around, that House had one of those life-or-death cases. So Wilson had waited. Just as he was about to go to House’s office to ask him if he was ready to go, he’d been paged. One of his terminal patients had slipped into a coma. It was a tragic case, but at this point, there wasn’t much he could do, except comfort the bereaved next-of-kin.
Delayed by about half an hour, Wilson finally arrived outside House’s office. He was about to raise his hand to knock, when he happened to catch a familiar noise. Puzzled, he decided to peek through the door before entering. After all, it was standing a little ajar. Flushing slightly, he was wondering if House had started on his own.
But what he saw made his world crumble around him. Anger, grief, jealousy, frustration welled up inside him. What a fool he’d been to trust House. It had been too good to be true, just as he had feared all along.
And Cuddy – he should have known House would have better luck with her. He knew that those two had some kind of past involvement, even if House had never confided in him. Despite all the venom and the rancor between them, it was obvious that they still had feelings for each other.
Once again, he’d ended up with nothing. When Cuddy had come to him and asked him to help her fulfill a dream she’d had since she’d been a little girl, he’d found it impossible to refuse. For all kinds of reasons, he’d been too tempted to say yes, and so he had. And just like he always did, he’d fallen in love with her.
But she hadn’t returned his feelings, and neither did House. He would always end up second.
A slight noise made Cuddy and House glance towards the door. They saw a shadow pass across the doorway. Cuddy jumped off House’s lap and pulled down her skirt. She ran for the door and had a glimpse of a white coat and above that, dark hair. Despite the brevity of the man’s appearance, she recognized him.
For a second, she felt mortally embarrassed, then something clicked inside her and the insight filled her with mixed emotions. Of course. That was the reason for the latest quarrel between her and House. She’d heard a rumor about him and he’d tried to throw her off the scent by accusing her of being jealous. Of course it was true. That was why she’d allowed herself to be distracted. But now –
Besides, until this highly unexecpted turn of events, it had been Wilson she had pinned her hopes on. Now she didn’t know who to trust. House? What was she thinking? Trusting House? Was she going senile? And Wilson –
What a mess. She was about to continue on her way, to her own office and then home, without returning to House, when he took the decision from her.
He’d managed to get up, found the cane and limped after her into the corridor.
“Did you see who it was?”
He was half-expecting it to be Cameron, which would be at least a little amusing.
Cuddy desperately tried to think of something to say. She had an impulse to say anything, whatever, just to get away from House. This was just too much for her to deal with at this time in the morning.
“Yes, it was Wilson. Why didn’t you tell me about the two of you?”
Her tone said it all. How had she guessed? Or had she known all along? But if she had, why had she – In any case, he’d better say something.
“I – Sorry about that.”
She made an exasperated noise.
“Oh, well. We live and learn. Never mind. I’m going home. I suggest you do the same. Bye, House.”
“Wait. I – I’m sorry I wasn’t honest with you about that, but – I -”
“Ok. I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation, but – ok. You and Wilson? I had heard something about that, but I thought it was just some stupid joke after you kissed Wilson that time. So, I guess the joke’s on me.”
“No. It’s not a joke. I love you, Lisa.”
House didn’t reply. How could he explain this? He loved Wilson too, just as much and in the same way. But now, he’d managed to alienate them both.
He waited, but she didn’t say anything else. She just stood there, watching him, as if she was trying to figure something out. Then it was as if she gave a mental shrug and the light in her eyes, that had gone out when she made the connection, was back.
“Don’t you think you should go after him?”
“Yes, of course. But – are we ok?”
“I don’t know. It’s too late for me to figure anything out, but – maybe. I should have my head examined, but – why not? Oh, there’s something you might not know. I’m pregnant.”
House was never ever thrown, but this time, his mouth fell open and he stood gaping, just like Cameron or one of the other members of his team. He frowned in concentration, trying to remember – but they had only just – It couldn’t be –
“I see. Congratulations. Or -?”
“Thanks. Aren’t you going to ask me who the father is?”
“So I take it, it isn’t one of those grotesque sperm donors?”
“No. You pretty much spoiled that for me.”
“No, you’re not. Don’t lie to me.”
“Ok, I’m not sorry about that, but I’m sorry if I spoiled your chances of getting pregnant. But I guess I didn’t.”
“No, I decided to ask someone I felt I could trust.”
“Ok, so who is it? Don’t tell me it’s Chase.”
“No, it’s not Chase. It’s – Wilson.”
“I asked James if he would be willing to help me, and -”
“Under the circumstances, I felt I’d better tell you.”
“I guess I had him before you did.”
“Bummer. I guess you did. The sneaky little – he never said a word about that.”
“Exactly. That’s why I asked him. Someone I could trust.”
The second the last four words were out of her mouth, she regretted them. She’d pretty much said ‘someone I can trust’, meaning ‘not you’. But House didn’t seem offended. He looked a whole different person from his usual caustic self.
“Yeah. I know. But you can trust me now, you know. I’m not going to let you down again.”
“I appreciate that, Greg. But go on now. Find James and – see if you can patch things up with him.”
“What about you?”
“I’m not going anywhere. Except home. You know where to find me.”
She stood on her toes and placed a quick kiss on his lips, then pushed him gently away.
He found Wilson sitting morosely on the couch. When he walked in, Wilson looked up, and the naked, defenseless look in his eyes made House feel an uncharacteristic twinge of guilt. Part of him wanted to just turn and run as far as he could, rather than trying to deal with all these emotions, but another part of him made him sit down beside Wilson, and place his hand on his.
“Don’t call me that.”
“You have every right to be pissed at me, but let me explain. I shouldn’t have kissed her and I shouldn’t have -”
“No, you shouldn’t have. Do you know why? Because I love you, damn you and – I love her too.”
“She told me about what you did for her.”
“She told you that?”
The mention of his relations with Cuddy seemed to bring back a little animation to Wilson’s dull, lifeless face.
“Yep. She told me you’d done it. It worked.”
“I didn’t know that. I’m glad.”
“Listen, Jimmy, I – don’t know how to explain this, but -”
“It’s ok. I understand. You and Lisa were lovers once and now – I get it. You don’t have to apologize.”
“No, that’s not it. Not all of it, anyway. I love you too.”
“But not the same way. I understand.”
“No. Exactly the same way. That’s what I meant by – That’s why it’s so complicated.”
Wilson digested this in silence.
“You love both of us?”
“Yes. I don’t know how it happened, but -”
“And you want us both?”
“Yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
Wilson still looked bewildered and stunned, but somehow, his mood seemed to have picked up. House followed up by pulling him into a hard embrace, then kissing him. He became aware of something cheering. Despite House’s earlier romp with Cuddy, he was clearly looking forward to another frolic now. At his age too. Amazing. Apparently, everything you read about Viagra was grossly exaggerated. All you needed were two lovers and the rest took care of itself.
A little later that morning, they went in to work together. Despite his earlier reservations about riding that bike, Wilson thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
It was just as well, because he arrived in his office to learn that his terminal patient from last night had passed away. Just another day at work, basically.
Right before lunch, someone knocked on his door and Wilson cheerfully called out for his visitor to enter. He expected it to be House, but when he looked up, Cuddy was standing there, a gentle look on her face.
“Can I come in?”
Wilson blushed vividly and nodded.
“I – I’m sorry about last night. I had no idea about – you and House.”
The blush deepened and suddenly Wilson was transported back to his first grade classroom. From the back of the classroom the whisper had travelled, and by the time it reached his ears, he’d already guessed what they were saying. Jimmy Wilson is a wimp. He’d been hit by a ball straight in the face and passed out, and that had been enough. Of course, his reputation as the teacher’s pet hadn’t helped either.
But none of that was nearly as embarrassing as this moment.
“Uh – of course.”
“I was going to tell you about the baby, but – well, things have been so hectic around here and with the threat of the lawsuit following House’s escapade with mrs O’Hara -”
If he got any hotter, his face would spontaneously combust. He was betting the nurses were still giggling about that kiss in the cafeteria during the lunch break. Which would about now, he calculated.
“Yes, that. I’m sorry about that too.”
“Oh, that’s ok. It wasn’t your fault.”
“So – I just wanted to tell you that – when we – I mean – you know when you helped me -”
Her face was taking on color too. Somehow, that made him feel better. He knew what she was referring to and he waited for her to continue.
“What I’m trying to say is that – I – felt it too. I just – it was this whole thing with House. Dating someone at the hospital – anyway, now he seems to have made a complete turnabout. I imagine it has something to do with you.”
Wilson nodded in acknowledgement of the implied compliment. His taming of the male shrew. It would have amused him, if he hadn’t had something far more important on his mind.
“What are you saying?”
“I guess what I’m saying is – if you’re willing to – I know how this sounds, but – and if anyone else finds out – like the board, I’ll just crawl away into a corner somewhere and die – but – if it’s ok with you -”
“You and Greg?”
“Yes, but you and me too. I mean, since it’s already you and him -”
“Oh. Yes, I’d love that. And don’t crawl away into a corner and die. If anyone finds out, we’ll take Greg’s bike and elope.”
“All three of us?”
She was smiling so warmly now he couldn’t help returning her smile. Last night, before House had returned, had been one of the most dismal of his life, but now –
“Why not? You could sit in front and I’ll be at the back.”
Cuddy grinned at the image this evoked. Or – why not a House-Wilson-Cuddy sandwich, as long as she was imagining things? Mm, indeed.
Wilson read something in her eyes, and suddenly, he’d closed the distance between them and pulled her into his arms. When you thought about it, House owed him one. If they went to the side of the door, they’d have advance warning if someone came to look for him.
Thirty seconds later, they were up against the wall – getting – reacquainted. Aferwards, they walked downstairs together. Outside the cafeteria, they ran into House.
He took a long, intense look at them, then grinned. So they were ok now. In fact more than ok. Last night he’d been a little concerned, but this went beyond his best expectations. He couldn’t wait for the day to end so they could get back to his place – or Cuddy’s. Either way, the future was looking a lot less bleak at the moment.
And only this morning, he’d discovered that Cameron and Chase were still seeing each other on the sly. That would give him endless opportunities to humiliate them. He’d think of something to get to Foreman too. At the moment, he barely noticed the dull pain in his thigh.
He made eye contact with Wilson, who was walking slightly ahead of Cuddy, then with her. Winking at them, to let them know he knew what they’d been up to, he walked out through the cafeteria door and fell into step with them. Their situation definitely had possibilities.