Pairing: Slash, House/Wilson
Summary: House has a fit of possessiveness. Wilson copes.
Notes: Written for the Labcoats, Suits, and Ties challenge on the HouseSlash LJ comm. Also, written before Kids aired, for what it's worth--I don't think it makes a whole ton of difference in this one.
Disclaimer: House, characters, and concepts are property of FOX Broadcasting Corporation, Heel and Toe Films, Bad Hat Harry Productions, and NBC/Universal studios. I also have no idea how to actually do that with Tetris, but I do have theories.
Thanks: To Canthlian, Cristin, & RosaleenDhu for alphaing, & to Catalase, Lanthano, and Tris B. for betaing.
Despite the stereotypical high-intensity portrayal of the job, being a doctor involved more periods of bored waiting than almost anything else. House was okay with this; if he was waiting for test results or for patient status to change or just for his team to turn up with something, he could fully justify that he was working, really--it wasn't his fault nothing was going on. This, he knew, drove Foreman completely insane, but it brought out one of Chase's best features, as far as House was concerned; whatever his other sins, at least Chase was self-occupying.
So it didn't bug House that he found himself mid-morning with nothing at all to do except play video games, even if he'd beaten all of his more complex ones and was stuck playing Tetris for the billionth time this year alone. Luckily, he was an intelligent and inventive man, and had just about succeeded in getting the little geometric shapes to stack into the form of a sideways 'HELP'--he'd rejected other obvious four-letter words as juvenile, and thus best saved for occasions when Cuddy might be peering over his shoulder--when a much better kind of entertainment, in the form of Wilson, appeared in his doorway. Unfortunately, this meant he had to pause just short of getting the shape of the 'P' right, and since he was on Level 8, breaking his concentration now probably meant he'd have to start over again. Fortunately, Wilson was worth it.
Or usually worth it; today he looked considerably more annoyed than he typically did, and House suspected they might have to go through some actual intensive conversation to get to the witty banter. Plus, he didn't look nearly strained or furtive enough to have finally caved on his self-imposed 'no fooling around at work' rule, which House usually endorsed. He would have been perfectly happy to break form every now and then, though, even if doing so would severely increase their chances of getting caught, and therefore revealing that after his last divorce, Doctor James Wilson hadn't just given up on dating but on women altogether.
At least, House hoped he had. He had to admit to more than a touch of paranoia there, but he figured it was probably justified, given history, and had decided that if he couldn't quite bring himself to implicitly trust in James, he might as well get proactive about the whole thing. He had a sneaking suspicion his efforts in that direction were probably what had brought Wilson here today, judging by the fact he was wearing his suit jacket and not a labcoat, and the way he didn't linger in the doorway, but instead immediately strode over to House's desk. House took a moment to ogle him on principle: dark suit, red tie, and those French shoes that House had teased him about once, before Wilson had shown him other, better French things he could do.
Wilson took a deep breath, his expression tight, and House gave him his best, 'I am attentive to you and not at all undressing you mentally' look, which probably wouldn't have worked even if Wilson couldn't see through him most of the time. Cameron had once confidentially told him that instead of conveying whatever it was he was trying to, he usually seemed to be going, 'I can't wait to see what stupid thing is going to come out of your mouth next.'
Really, it was probably for the best that the two of them hadn't worked out.
House didn't know what the mix of all those thoughts did to his already dubious expression, but suddenly Wilson, who had been staring at him, exhaled that deep breath he'd taken. He shook his head slightly, looked down at his shoes for a second, and then looked up again with a faint smile.
"One of these days," he told House, "I really am going to kill you. And by then you'll have done so much wrong you won't even know why."
"I'll probably die apologizing for the wrong thing," House agreed, nodding. "So what is it this time?"
"As if you didn't know," Wilson said, looking briefly heavenward.
"Humor me," House said, tipping his head to one side and relaxing enough, now that the prospect of yelling seemed greatly reduced, to risk a smile.
Wilson sighed, and gave him a look somewhere between exhausted and exasperated. "You sewed a 'Property of Greg House, Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital' label into my suit jacket."
"You noticed," he said, casually, leaning back in his chair and swiveling it slightly from side to side.
"What if someone had seen it?" Wilson asked, just about three degrees short of demanding.
House shrugged. "Say you borrowed one of my jackets."
Wilson rolled his eyes. "For one thing, we don't have comparable tastes. For another, you're not my size."
"You could come up with something."
"I might be able to, yes, but that's not the point," Wilson said, but he sounded more resigned than annoyed, and he wandered over and leaned one shoulder against the wall, hands buried in his pants pockets.
House tried to keep his voice as casual as Wilson's posture was pretending to be. He didn't think either one of them was successfully fooling the other, though. "What is the point, then?"
Wilson took another deep breath, and looked somewhat consideringly over House's head, out the windows. "Well, I'm tempted to point out that it's taking my property and doing things to it without my consent, except I knew you were like this when I got involved and it'd be a bit late and a lot hypocritical to protest now."
Wilson's gaze cut back to him. "So, I want to know why."
House took a moment to consider, before offering, somewhat tentatively, "I wanted to make sure if it was lost it would be returned promptly?"
Wilson gave him a wry look. "Sure, by putting your name on it."
"Well, everybody in the hospital knows what a nice guy that Doctor Jimmy Wilson is," House continued on, warming to his subject now, but talking more to his desktop than to Wilson. "Surely he wouldn't mind too horribly if they delayed a bit. That Doctor House, on the other hand," he added, narrowing his eyes and trying to look menacing, "ooh, better get it back to him fast, before he finds out you have it and comes for it himself."
Wilson didn't even dignify this with a response; he just stared.
"And," House continued, drawing the word out, and then shrugged. He focused his gaze back on Wilson and finished, "I wanted you to have a reminder of who you're coming home to on hand, so to speak, in the event you should find yourself removing your clothing for some reason when I'm not around."
Wilson's eyes were steady. "Like donning surgical scrubs?"
"That wasn't exactly what I meant, no," House admitted. There was an uncomfortable weight to his chest.
Wilson looked exasperated. "House, I'm not going to cheat on you."
"You cheated with me," he pointed out. The weight got a bit worse.
"Only after my marriage had hit the point where the ship was fully sunk, and we just hadn't acknowledged it and swum to the life rafts yet," Wilson countered, and House was relieved to see he didn't look particularly upset by what House had said; it helped that tightness inside him ease. "While I don't have quite the opinion of Julie that you seem to have come out of all of this with, I'm still pretty sure you'd notice that things were getting to that point long before they actually got there. Which, I might add, despite your paranoia and clinginess, they are not currently in any danger of doing." He finished this by giving House one of those very-slightly-too-warm grins, implicit with the promise of shared affection or at least naked sweaty lust, that were probably starting to make people wonder about the two of them even if they were otherwise behaving at work.
House still couldn't help smiling in return, and he had to admit that while Wilson saying things like this didn't totally shut up that paranoid voice in his head, it did dim the volume. "Well, then, I'll stick with the idea that it'll get your clothing returned promptly to you."
Wilson rolled his eyes. "I presume that this means you've also done this to my pants and underwear."
House hesitated a minute, weighing the potential of letting him find out on his own versus the value of just admitting it all at once. If it had been anyone else but Wilson, the entertainment value of the first option would have won, but it wasn't anyone else, so he gave a little shrug and said, "And the ties."
Wilson's expression went briefly scandalized, and he straightened up. "What the hell did you do, buy one of those Made for TV sewing gadgets and go through my whole closet one night while I was working late?" At House's bland stare, he rolled his eyes again and rubbed his forehead with his hand, before sagging back against the wall again. "Christ, you did, didn't you."
"And it took you three days to notice, too," House couldn't help pointing out, "which actually I find a bit disturbing."
"What is it with my lovers chiding me about not paying enough attention to my clothing?" Wilson muttered with his hand still pressed against his face, then lowered it and gave House a sardonic look. "Wives, girlfriends, and now you, which is a laugh."
"I happen to be very stylish right now," House said, in a voice of wounded dignity.
"Which is true, except you dressed like that before it was stylish, as I recall," Wilson said, dryly.
"I was anticipating the trend," House replied, equally dry.
Wilson's lips quirked briefly into a smile. "Sure." He shook his head slightly. "Well, I suppose this means I get myself a seam ripper, buy a new wardrobe, or else put up with it and come up with some creative excuses if anyone does see and asks."
House leaned back in his chair again, starting to feel something like relief, and rather intense relief, at that. A lot more intense, in fact, than he'd have been willing to admit to. "Tell them I was bored and hyper," he suggested. "Most people around here will construct their own scenario based off that that dumps all the blame on me."
"Which is convenient, since all the blame for this one is yours." House didn't bother to argue, and after a second a small smile crept back across Wilson's face, and he gave House a look from beneath slanted brows that sped House's breathing up a bit. He knew that look, knew it belonged to the Jimmy Wilson that maybe nobody else got to see, the one who had cheerfully seduced him in the middle of a Jets game one afternoon, the one who managed to somehow make House feel warm and safe and wanted for the first time in a long time. "Tell you what--I'll let it go if you reciprocate."
"What, let you scribble 'Property of James Wilson' on my tags? I'll probably have a harder time getting lost clothes back, but sure," House said, starting to shrug out of his jacket. Any excuse to peel off clothing while Wilson was around seemed like a good one.
"Actually, I was thinking of writing it somewhere else," Wilson said, in the kind of voice that, combined with his stare, made House stop dead for a long moment, staring at James with one arm half up his sleeve. "I mean," Wilson continued, "if the point is to have the reminder there in any hypothetical situation of nakedness, why not just go for the most basic place to put the label?"
House slowly slipped back into his jacket and leaned back in his chair, contemplating Wilson's stare and suggestion. The tightness in his chest was entirely gone, replaced by a new and interesting tightness in his pants that made him fairly grateful he was seated behind his desk. "That would make using a urinal a bit more interesting," he observed after a second, starting to break into a grin.
Wilson laughed, looking away and shaking his head slightly. "That wasn't actually where I meant, but you would go there."
House raised his eyebrows and tried not to feel disappointed. "What did you have in mind, then?"
"Well, since you're a bit too practical to literally get my name tattooed on your ass..." Wilson began, then smiled, a wicked curve to his lips that matched the voice and the look, but which House had never actually seen before. It sent small shivers down his spine. "Though now that you've mentioned it, I like the other idea too. And why stop there? I could write my name on something new of yours every day. Major muscle groups, bones, organs... I've kind of always wanted to claim someone's spleen..."
Writing his name on Wilson hadn't done much to stop that paranoid voice, so House didn't know why the hell Wilson writing his name on House should not merely stop it, but also send it crawling back into the recesses of his mind. He suspected that the wave of naked lust he was currently enjoying might have had something do to with that.
But not everything.
"I'll pick up a packet of non-toxic markers on the way home," House volunteered, when he could breathe right again.
"You do that," Wilson said, and they exchanged grins again. After a long moment, though, Wilson sighed and straightened up. "Much as I'd like to follow this conversation to its logical, adult-rated conclusion..."
Disappointing, but not unexpected, and besides, with a carrot like that dangling in front of him, suddenly the prospect of doing real work for the rest of the day didn't seem too terrible. It would make the time go faster, if nothing else. "Yeah, there's that pesky work-thingy. I'm expecting test results sometime soon," House said, with a vague nod of his head towards the empty conference room.
"And I've got a patient in," Wilson checked his watch, "ten minutes."
"Want me to watch your suit coat so nobody sees the label and asks those tricky questions?" House couldn't help offering.
Wilson's eyes narrowed. "Much as I appreciate you offering to nobly sacrificing yourself upon the altar of coat-watching, I think my leaving it here would cause more questions than the label would."
"Gee, imagine that," House said, smirking.
"Were you trying to start rumors?"
"I don't have to," House told him, a bit smugly. "There have been rumors about us for years. The nursing staff starts them whenever they get bored. If I wanted to be scandalous, I'd have to hand them confirmation, and if I wanted to do that I could just drag you over here and kiss you. With the hall traffic, everybody would know even before you made it to that appointment." Given that the previous conversation had ended so well, House elected not to add that this had been the fallback plan if adding the labels hadn't worked. Wilson might figure it out on his own, but there was no reason to rush things.
Wilson rolled his eyes and headed for the door. "Yeah, and everybody knows you're the one person worse than the nurses for gossip." He paused just before leaving, turning back towards House with his fingers resting on the handle. "Chinese tonight?"
The casual question unwound the last of House's tension. "Italian. I'm cooking for a change."
"Sounds good," Wilson said. "See you at six," he added, half over his shoulder, and headed out of the office. House started to go back to the Tetris, only to stop when Wilson poked his head back in the door. "Oh, and House?" he said.
"Get laundry markers instead. They'll last longer."