Title: Musical Interlude
Word Count: 2,282
Summary: After a storm puts House's iPod out of action, he finds a different way to get his music fix.
Warnings: AU, House/Wilson pre-Slash; probably OOC as well. One shot.
Authoress Note: This is my first attempt at a 'House' fic. I probably don't have the characters down very well, but it's the best I could do – I've only seen the first season. Enjoy! Also - I'm sorry for the poor fomatting, but I'm not very good with these sorts of things...
House liked storms well enough – they did whatever they wanted, regardless of protocol or "appropriate bedside manner." House pursed his lips, eyes flashing with the flicker of late autumn lightning.
Cuddy had nailed him – again – for inappropriate behavior during clinic hours. The half hour tirade was only survivable because, 1) she had been wearing an extremely fetching, low-cut blouse, and 2) because House had managed to sneak one of his iPod headphones into his ear. He would have attempted his portable television as well, but figured that she was only on anger level 3 – enough to glance over a white cord trailing down the side of his neck and mysteriously disappearing into his jacket, but not quite enough to look over an episode of "General Hospital."
This storm was promising to be really entertaining, too. It was already close enough for the thunder to shake the windows, and the rain was coming down hard and heavy. A flash of lightning lit the entire room, followed almost immediately by another roll of thunder. House glanced longingly at his iPod. The battery had run out just as Cuddy had huffily dismissed him from her office. He was regretting his choice of having decided to listen to it now – he really wanted a baseline blaring to match the intensity nature was putting out.
House had just decided 'full charge be damned,' and reached for out for his beloved iPod when the unthinkable happened.
The thunder and lightning were simultaneous, a sight and sound worthy of Moussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain." House could feel every hair on the back of his neck stand on end, electricity humming in the air like a demigod.
The lights flared, a pulse like a sunspot, and just as promptly went out completely.
It was only a few seconds before the backup generator kicked on, but already the scream of scared patients, nurses and doctors filled the air. Quickly enough, a more professional mind kicked in for those on duty, and House watched dully, a little too dazed by nature's little show to be of any help as nurses and doctors began thundering up and down the hall, checking on equipment and calming everyone down. House blinked, and glanced back out the window to the sky. The storm seemed to have reached its climax with that little stunt – all that was left was a soft, contented-seeming rain.
House swiveled back to his desk, suddenly extremely intent on listening to the pounding of timpani, and reached for his iPod once more.
It shocked him the minute he lay his index finger against its smooth surface.
House hissed in surprise, and stuck his finger in his mouth. Brow furrowing, House leaned over his desk to examine his charger. Something wasn't right.
He reached out again, hesitated, berated himself mentally for being a sissy, and grabbed the iPod. Wincing but not pulling back when he got shocked once again, House experimentally tapped the iPod control face, wanting to turn it on.
He tapped it again, more forcefully.
He sat, glaring at the small electronic device – the expensive, important to his mental stability electronic device. A good ten seconds went by, House's blue eyes never leaving the dark screen. And then House pushed on the iPod controls once more. Hard.
Later, when he could laugh at this situation, House would be very proud of his self control. By some miracle, he hadn't chucked his iPod against the wall. He did, however, swear.
Wilson, with his impeccably good timing, was just passing by House's office. Before the "-ck!" had fully left House's lips, Wilson was inside, stance tense and alert.
"What? What is it? What's wrong?" Brown eyes darted over House's face, trying to pinpoint a problem. House waved the iPod around threateningly.
"This!" He said, slamming it down on the desk irritably and with more force than was actually necessary. "The damn storm fried my fucking iPod!"
Wilson blinked. And blinked again. His head came forward, mouth slightly agape, arms wide at his side.
"Oh, that's really attractive, Jimmy." House said as he fished in his pocket for a vicodin. He'd been so absorbed with the storm and his iPod that he'd nearly missed his next dose. Nearly. A second's silence to dry swallow, and then he continued. "That look will really go over well with the cancer kiddies if it sticks."
"You're…agonizing over your iPod when the hospital just went through a power surge!" Wilson managed to splutter.
"The power's back," House said dismissively, and Wilson spluttered some more. "It wasn't off long enough to cause any real damage. Besides, that's why the nurses are here – to fix things like this. That, and for an excuse to cop a quick feel in a dark hallway. Why were you out there, Jimmy? A little early evening fun?"
"I was going to check on my patients!" Wilson nearly shouted, but his cheeks were tinged red. "Why aren't you –" House cut him off.
"I already told you, this kind of thing is the nurse's job. Besides, I've got no case, and I don't dare go out and try to calm the stricken masses," here House put a hand to his chest theatrically, "I might just manage to make things worse!"
Despite himself, Wilson grinned. He quickly covered it up by smoothing a hand across his face before letting it settle on the back of his neck.
"Well, if you're fine, then I'm just going to go see if I can help –"
"Sit down." Wilson, startled by House's serious tone, looked up into intense blue eyes.
"You know," Wilson mumbled even as he shuffled over to House's guest chair, "we both should be helping – we could get into trouble…"
"Shut up about that already, James. I'm already in trouble. Either way, I also just happen to know that we're currently over-staffed with nurses." House watched Wilson settle uncomfortably into the chair through half lidded eyes. "Some poor sap was called in after me today. Caught something about 'sapping the money dry by over hiring' or something like that. So, let's just give those nurses something to get paid for." There was a nervous chuckle from the man across from him.
"I'm bored." House said without preamble. Wilson looked up, caught that half lidded, calculating gaze, and quickly looked back down at the desk. His eyes rested on the iPod, blank metallic screen a stark contrast to its white shell.
"I would say you could listen to some music, but –"
"Exactly." House nonchalantly lifted his leg up on the desk, and eased back into his chair. He looked over at Wilson, who looked back at him, eyes wide.
"Is dead." House finished curtly, eyes still locked with Wilson's. "But now I don't need my iPod for music." Wilson's eyes got wider. He put a hand down on House's desk, mouth working frantically to try and curb what he knew was coming but he was too slow.
Wilson could do nothing but stare at House. Blue threatened to swallow him whole, filling his entire field of vision. He knew he was blushing, but he couldn't look away.
"Greg…" he said shakily, "Greg, you know I can't sing."
"Don't lie – its so cliché." House looked away first, giving Wilson time to recover. He looked back out his window, watching both the dark clouds and Wilson's flushed reflection intently. Wilson cleared his throat, but didn't look at House.
"I…I don't remember ever singing…for you." He said quietly to the iPod. House glanced over his shoulder at the brown haired man.
"Last Friday. I was just drunk enough to play 'Blue Moon.'" Wilson flinched, the sign of remembrance. "And you, Jimmy, were just drunk enough to sing."
Wilson moaned dejectedly and lay his forehead on House's desk, completely missing House's Cheshire grin.
"I asked you if I'd done anything stupid. You said no." Wilson's whole posture was one of defeat: slumped shoulders, arms loose by his sides. House had to fight the urge to ruffle the floppy brown hair.
"Everybody lies." Wilson grunted but didn't move. "Anyway, it wasn't stupid. You actually have a very nice voice." Wilson lifted his head slightly at that, brown eyes cautious.
"Are you joking?" House shook his head. Wilson raised a skeptical eyebrow.
"Alright, you were a little flat on you're A's, but I'm chalking that up to the beer. Why do you have to search for faults with yourself? You're worse than I am sometimes." Wilson laughed, cheering up a little.
"I wish I had a tape recorder for that statement. No one will believe me if I say you said it." House's eyes narrowed and he shifted slightly.
"Yeah, well, I had to say something to get you to agree."
"I never agreed." House looked at him patronizingly.
Wilson held out for an entire minute before his composure cracked. Grinning, rubbing the back of his neck, cheeks and now ears flushed in embarrassment, he shyly glanced up at House.
"Alright. Any requests?"
House shrugged noncommittally. "Since I doubt you can sing 'Night on Bald Mountain –'" Wilson snorted in amusement – "then we're left with…something by The Who."
There was a pause. When Wilson continued to remain quiet, House looked over, only to find his compatriot staring at him. There eyes locked for what seemed like years. Then Wilson looked away, past House and out to the retreating storm. For a second House desperately wanted to reach out and draw Wilson's head back so that they were looking at each other again, but quenched that particular urge down with the others of its kind that were starting to pop up with alarming frequency.
"I think…I've got a song." Wilson said quietly, and began to sing.
House always tended to avoid "Behind Blue Eyes" on principle – he told himself it was because he had always harbored a notion that listening to a song focused on one's own eye color was amazingly narcissistic, and had even commented so loudly to Wilson one day after catching him nodding his head in time with "Brown Eyed Girl." This excuse worked most of the time. But on those nights when the mixture of loneliness, alcohol, pain and vicodin didn't sit well with him, and that particular song just happened to play, he would fleetingly admit to himself that, perhaps, he refused to listen to it because it hit a lot closer to home than what he was comfortable with. Yet when the song ended, and House had wiped away the traitorous tear from his cheek, he would once again be safely behind the walls of one of his more familiar lies.
Just like the Friday before, and on all those other nights that House had managed to coerce Wilson into singing and had later conveniently forgotten to tell him about, his voice was true and steady. House tried, and failed, to look anywhere but at Wilson's face as he sang. Wilson continued to look out the window, seeming to sing more to the clouds outside than to the man sitting across from him.
To House, the song seemed to last much longer than it should have. In a distant part of his mind, he was screaming at Wilson for drawing it out, but House resolutely ignored that voice, instead focusing on the music so wholeheartedly that he almost didn't notice when Wilson looked him straight in the eye. He sang the last verse in little more than a whisper, but the words were crystal clear to House – just as the emotions in Wilson's eyes were.
"Nobody knows what its like to be the bad man – to be the sad man – behind blue eyes."
The silence stretched on, Wilson's eyes pleading and House, helpless, felt the familiar tear sliding down his cheek. This time, it was House who was too slow – Wilson's fingers were like dry ice on House's flesh, freezing and burning all at once. They, like the song, lingered longer than they should, but eventually they were gone, leaving House to feel emptier than before.
"I was wrong." He said, voice gruff from pent up emotion.
"About what?" Wilson's voice was quiet, calculated. They were working into uncharted waters, now. House looked up at those brown eyes once more, and then turned back to his window.
"…The beer had nothing to do with it. You're naturally flat on you're A's."
Wilson's laugh was quiet but heartfelt. House could hear both Wilson's relief and his anxiety, but could only smile sickly. Just as much as he had wanted Wilson's company before, he now wished fervently for him to be gone. House had a lot to think about.
So it was as if an angel of mercy had been sent down to aid House when they heard the knock on House's door. Neither had to look up to know who it was; soft and slightly hesitant could only mean that it was Cameron.
"E-excuse me, Dr. House, but – Dr. Wilson, your needed down –"
"Right. Well, I'll talk to you later, House." Both a goodbye and a promise. House merely grunted, eyes still fixed out the window as the first few streams of moonlight broke through.
Wilson and Cameron were in the elevator before either spoke.
"So." Wilson cleared his throat, and stared resolutely at the elevator buttons. "How long were you standing there?" He didn't have to see Cameron to know she was blushing.
"Long enough." They rode the rest of the way in silence.
Back in his office, House swallowed another vicodin, blatantly ignoring the voice that said it was too soon, and forced himself to stop humming.
Comments and constuctive criticism greatly appriciated!