1Greg House slid behind his desk and booted up his computer. His background, a parody of the caduceus with the snake wrapped around a middle finger, popped on. "Where do you want to go today?" he muttered. Cameron's diary? Nope, no way he could stand reading yet another weepy "Dear Diary, a really special patient passed away this morning" or, worse, another "Dear Diary, why doesn't House like me" entry. Wilson's email? Gee, now that was always filled with cool stuff like Online Oncology Journal and mawkish messages from former patients along the lines of "Dear Dr. Wilson, my family and I will never forget the caring you showed during my long illness..."
"Five minutes of that and I'll be losing breakfast all over my desk, although it might be fun to send an email back to one of 'em saying 'Dear Mr. Smith. What you don't know is that I fucked your wife while you were in radiation. She wasn't that good. Warmest regards, James Wilson, MD.' "
Having arrived horribly early this morning, he was on the prowl for something-anything-to occupy him until lunch. It was either this or break into Wilson's office and superglue the locks on his desk. Not a nice thing to do to a friend. Besides, Wilson had threatened to poison him if he did that again.
He browsed, hacking easily through patient files, personal email, and official hospital crap. "Boring, boring, sick and twisted but still boring-oh, what do we have here?"
House's eyes lit up. "Oh, Cuddy, you should really learn to password-protect your files." He stopped. "Oh wait. You did." He whipped a piece of paper out of his top drawer. "This week's password is Fungrrl123. First Partypants and now this. I'm spotting a trend." He typed in the password and entered the Holy Grail of Hacks: a folder marked "Cuddy-Private".
9/26: It happened again. I had another erotic dream about Wilson and House. This time, Wilson was lying across House's desk, naked and slick with sweat. His eyes were closed, and I could hear his harsh panting as House leaned over and kissed his throat, slowly, slowly making his way down Wilson's heaving chest. Wilson wrapped his legs around House's waist and arched his back and then the dream ended. Oh God, why am I having dreams about them? I don't think I can ever look them in the eye again!"
House made a choked noise deep in his throat. "Just dare me to not have fun with this one!" he crowed, picking up the phone. He looked down at the front of his pants. "Down boy. Jimmy's not for you. Be good and I'll buy you a nice hooker with big, expressive brown eyes and you can pretend."
Little Greg thus lectured, he set about the serious business of making trouble. "Cuddy, this is House. I need you to meet me in my office. Department business. Yeah, as soon as possible. Thanks."
James Wilson was catching up on his charts when House limped into his office unannounced.
"Come on , Jimmy, I need you now," he announced by way of greeting.
Wilson looked up. "You could buy me a drink first, " he sighed, putting the chart aside.
House rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah, but if I give you the drink first you won't put out. Now come on." He herded his friend out the door with his cane.
"Hey, has anyone ever told you that thing hurts when it makes contact with the kidneys?" Wilson allowed himself to be herded to the edge of House's desk before asking, "What are we doing?"
House cocked his head. "Waiting."
House held up a finger. "The click of Prada heels worn by the devil. Wait for it...wait for it...NOW!" He bent Wilson back across his desk and leaned over so their faces were almost touching. He placed his hands on the oncologist's chest and slid them slowly down his sides.
"Okay, House, what's so-oh God!" Cuddy stood half-in and half-out of the doorway, frozen, mouth open like a dead trout.
House straightened up quickly and arranged his features into an expression of horror. "Cuddy! We-um, Wilson has a backache and I was just-adjustments-the angle, you see, is-" He trailed off, willing himself to blush. Inasmuch as Greg House did not know the meaning of humiliation, he thought he did a pretty fine job of faking it.
Wilson righted himself, speechless. Unable to think of anything suitable, he busied himself by repairing the damage to his hair and clothes.
House blinked innocently.
Cuddy took a deep breath. "Backache," she repeated dumbly.
"Oh." She struggled to regain touch with the Chief of Medicine side of herself. "House, you wanted a meeting with me, or...?"
House blinked again. "Oh...right, it was. Well, I was wondering if I could talk to you about my clinic hours, but it can wait." Gleefully, he forced himself to drop his eyes from Cuddy's test-pattern expression. Oh, this was good-this was really good!
Cuddy drew herself up. "Oh, okay. Wait. Fine. You know where I live-I mean, where my office is." Still shell-shocked, she turned and click-clicked from the scene.
House dropped soundlessly into his chair. "Oh shit, Jimmy, this is one to tell the grandkids. Not that you'll have any at the rate your marriages are tanking." He laced his hands behind his head and went into full-on gloat mode.
Wilson gestured wildly toward Cuddy's retreating back. "What the fuck was that all about?"
House shrugged. "Therapy."
"Sure." He pulled up Cuddy's diary entry and gestured. "It seems the staid Dr. Cuddy has visions of more than sugar plums dancing in her head."
Wilson leaned over House's shoulder and read. He collapsed bonelessly into the spare chair. "Cuddy? Has sex dreams about us? About you and me?"
House wiggled his eyebrows. "Unless you know another House and Wilson who work here." He sighed. "Oh, this is going to be more fun than the time I recorded her singing 'Son of a Preacher Man' in the locker room and sent the .wav file to everyone."
Wilson rubbed his temples. "House, did you sustain a rare birth injury that completely obliterated your sense of professional courtesy or did you lose it somewhere along your life's odd and twisted path?"
House twirled his cane expansively. "Siggie Freud, you old rascal, I wish you were here to help us debate this."
Wilson shook his head, exasperated. "Well, if you've had your fun with me and my body, I actually have work to do. P.S. Leave me out of your scheming from now on." He turned and departed for-well, wherever it was hotshot young oncologists go when not being molested by their best friends.
"Was it good for you, Jimmy?" House yelled to his retreating back, causing several passersby to stop and stare.
Wilson didn't look back.
"Call me!" House shouted. He glanced at the frozen passersby. "He won't call," he said sadly.
House awoke at 6:00 the next morning, groggy from the unaccustomed hour and the extra Vicodin he had taken the previous night to stop his leg from singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
He rubbed a hand over his eyes and heaved himself out of bed. "Six a.m. is like Bigfoot," he decided. "People have told me it exists, but I never believed it until now."
He gimped his way toward the kitchen, pausing at the couch where Wilson slept peacefully. The younger man's hair was mussed from sleep and his lips were slightly parted. He had kicked the blanket off sometime during the night and goosebumps were raised on his calf. House leaned over and pulled the blanket back up, gently tucking it under Wilson's bare shoulder. The skin near his neck was warm and redolent of soap, cologne, and Wilson's own scent. Mesmerized, House brushed his fingers against the area, feeling the slow, steady pulse beating just under the smooth skin. Wilson arched his neck and sighed softly in his sleep.
House pulled his hand back. "This isn't high school," he whispered to his johnson. Shaking his head, he made his way to the kitchen where he rooted through the fridge until he found a container marked "James Wilson spit in this-do not eat" and ate it. Leftover chicken kiev. Not bad. Still hungry, he dove back into the fridge and excavated a dish marked "Tissue sample to be tested for ebola" and ate that. Chocolate hazelnut cake. Very not bad.
Hunger sated, he took a moment to consider why he always stole Wilson's food. Sure, it was excellent cooking, which was a good reason. Sure, it irritated Wilson, which was an even better reason. But wasn't it also a way to feel closer to Wilson, like sharing something with him?
House shook his head. "Congrats, Greg. You've scaled the summit of abject girliness and also managed to score a gold medal in total personal fucked-uppedness."
I am not going to look at Wilson on my way to the john he thought, looking at Wilson as he limped past to catch a shower before Dr. Hair Fetish locked himself in.
House arrived at the hospital at 7:30 and tried to ignore the shocked glances of those he passed.
"-not at this hour. He barely makes it in by-"
"-poor Dr. Wilson finally kicked him out-"
"-maybe aliens replaced him with a-"
Wondering if anyone in the hospital ever actually worked, if so when, and if not how patients ever recovered, House slid behind his desk and eagerly hacked into his new favorite folder. Sure enough, a new entry. He cracked his kuckles and leaned forward to read.
9/27: It happened again last night. God, how couldn't I dream after what I saw yesterday? This time it happened in the conference room during a meeting. House was sitting next to Wilson and he started touching him. First he ran his hand up Wilson's arm to his shoulder. Then he slowly started to rub Wilson's back, massaging the tight muscles until Wilson moaned with pleasure, leaning into the touch. That's when House leaned in and softly whispered "James". There was an incredible heat between them, with House treating Wilson like a fragile work of art. I can only imagine House using such gentleness with Wilson. It was such a contrast to the neediness of my last dream. That's what made it so erotic. What's wrong with me?
"Nothing wrong with thinking me and the Boy Wonder are hot together," House mumbled. "Maybe you and my dick can go into therapy together. Now, let's see what we can do to make Dr. Cuddy's dreams come true."
He checked the calendar. Was it-? He was never sure, considering he hadn't been to one for so long, but he was almost sure that the third Thursday of the month was-
At 10:30 House burst into Wilson's office. "Chop chop, Jimmy. We're gonna be late."
Wilson looked up. "For...?"
House rolled his eyes and gave his friend a "duhhhh" look. "The monthly department head meeting."
"When was the last time you even went to one of those?" Brown eyes narrowed suspiciously. "And why now?"
"Because as head of the diagnostic medicine department it is part of my duty." House snagged Wilson's jacket from the chair and tossed it to him. "And as head of oncology it is part of your duty. Now hurry up or we won't get good seats. She always gets there early."
They arrived in the conference room just after Cuddy had seated herself. Making sure she was watching, House planted one hand on Wilson's lower back and steered him to the seat next to Cuddy. Back of the room. Excellent.
"House? You're at a meeting?" She looked discomfited.
"Amazing, isn't it? Almost like I got religion or something."
Cuddy turned away, fiddling nervously with her necklace as the rest of the department heads filed in and the meeting started.
As soon as Dr. Richards of the lab started in, House made his move. Casually, he reached over and touched the back of Wilson's hand. Cuddy jumped. Ah, so she'd been watching. Wilson jumped. Ah, so he hadn't. House moved his hand slowly up the oncologist's arm, taking secret pleasure in the feel of toned muscle under the starched white dress shirt.
Wilson leaned over. "House, what the fuck?" he hissed.
Wilson knew House far too well to buy the big blue eyes routine, but he tried it anyway. "You look tense, Jimmy. Your back acting up again?" He let his hands roam from the arm to the shoulders and started to knead gently.
Cuddy was sitting up straight, ostensibly enraptured with the workings of the lab, but House caught the sidelong glances. Hm. Maybe sidelong stares would fit better. There was some definite color in her cheeks.
Wilson squirmed. "House, stop molesting me!" He kept his tone low, but House noted with glee that Cuddy was still listening.
"Relax. I'd never hurt you." He leaned close to Wilson's ear and went in for the kill. "James."
Oh, score, direct hit. Cuddy's eyes widened and she turned away, hand tangled in her necklace, compulsively twisting the links.
House grinned mentally. He had rattled Cuddy's cage and managed to feel Wilson up. Two birds with one stone. Maybe coming to work wasn't so bad. The problem was, much more body contact with St. James of Princeton and House would actually be coming at work. He allowed himself to rub a few more circles on Wilson's back and then dropped his hands.
As soon as the meeting was over, Cuddy fled without bothering to thank the staff or remind them of the next meeting.
"Okay," Wilson said as they headed for the elevators, "want to tell me what that was all about?"
House punched their floor. "Don't tell me public displays of affection are against school rules."
Wilson folded his arms. "Are you still messing with Cuddy? God, House, let it go. It was one dream."
"You are unbelievable!" Wilson said incredulously.
Unfortunately, the elevator doors opened to their floor at that moment and Wilson was faced with many of the same onlookers as had witnessed the scene from yesterday.
House pulled a face. "It was only a backrub, Wilson. Don't get too serious about me." He looked at the gawkers. "Really, it's for the best. I'll only end up hurting him."
Wilson threw up his hands and stalked into his office. House followed. "Come on, Oncology Boy. Lunchtime."
Wilson eyed him. "Can I trust you not to grab my ass in the cafeteria?"
"Yes, but only because Cuddy hasn't dreamed that yet."
"Just in case, we eat here." he opened his small refrigerator and tossed a few containers on his desk.
House frowned. "Hey, I thought I ate your lunch. Where'd you get these?"
"I knew you would, so I made two lunches. The real one-" he poked his fork at the containers on his desk "-and the decoy that you ate this morning." He opened the bowls and tossed House a fork.
"You made a proxy lunch? Jeez, Wilson, you're anal."
Wilson smirked. "Only because you're such an ass."
As they ate in companionable silence, House had to force the phrase "old married couple" out of his pathetically overtaxed and undersexed brain.
Funny how just three days of coming to work early could make people turn on you. To be fair, no one except Wilson really liked House much to begin with, but it seemed that the quality of the mutterings as he passed had grown darker. Gone were the days of "poor, long-suffering Dr. Wilson kicked him out" and in its place were:
"-telling you, it's not really House, it's a shapeshifter, check it out, the moon's almost full-"
"-early morning treatments for some horrible disease. I'll go to his funeral, but only to make sure he's really dead-"
"-a sex slave chained up in his office-"
"-reminds me, has anyone actually seen Dr. Wilson in person lately-"
A man with a mission, House ignored it all and made his way to his office.
Bing! There it was. Diary entry #3. House leaned forward eagerly.
9/28: I think I have the power of prophecy. These dreams are all coming true and I don't know how long I can stand it. Last night I had the hottest one yet. Wilson was in the clinic exam room when House walked in. Without a word, he pushed Wilson into a chair and started to undo his shirt. There was none of the gentleness of last night's dream, just heat and need. House started rubbing oil all over Wilson's naked chest, making broader and broader circles while Wilson's nipples stood erect. Even now, I can still hear the soft pleading, although from which one I don't remember. I woke up in a sweat. I can't sleep, I can't work, I can't do anything but think about them together!
Well, this was bittersweet. Sweet because there was one more way to torment Cuddy with the love that dare not speak its name. Bitter because he'd actually have to show up in the clinic to accomplish it. Show up in the clinic and he faced the inconvenience of having to treat patients, which was definitely not what he had gone to medical school to do. House sighed, weighing a chance to touch Wilson inappropriately against explaining to Suzie Soccermom that her son had a cold and not mad cow disease. As always with House, Wilson won.
He heaved himself to his feet and limped to Wilson's office, where the man himself was having what looked like a phone conversation. He held up a finger in a "just a mo' " gesture. House slapped his cane down on the disconnect button. "What time are you doing clinic hours today?" he demanded.
Wilson blinked. "House, is there any reason you just hug up on my mom, who is, incidentally, the only member of my family who really likes you?"
"The rest of your family likes me, too, they're just shy about expressing their feelings. Now what time are you doing clinic duty?"
Wilson propped his feet up on his desk. "Jews afraid to express feelings-that would be a first."
House waved his cane impatiently. "Yeah yeah, right up there with the statistical improbability of Jewish comedians, now what time?"
"Two to four, but what-oh no! Not another damn dream!" Wilson tapped his pencil agitatedly against his desk calendar. "House, what do I have to do-get a restraining order against you?"
House shrugged. "Sure. I'll just frame it and hang it with the others." He turned and started toward the door. "Lunch at noon today?"
Wilson was already dialing the phone. "Make it 12:30. I have a meeting that might run late." He fixed House with a stern gaze. "And you're buying. I consider it combat pay."
And that, House reflected, was true love.
Two o'clock came and went with no brown-eyed oncologist in sight. There was, however, the dreaded Suzie Soccermom and her sniffly, germy three-year-old rug rat.
"Are you sure it's just a cold?" Suzie asked for the third time. "Because it doesn't sound like a cold to me."
House leaned against the wall and fished in his pocket for Vicodin. Popping two and taking a deep breath, he replied, "Let me guess: you watched the Dateline NBC about hidden killer respiratory infections in kids. You learned aaaalllll about how little Johnny-"
"-could sniffle and cough his way to respiratory failure and now you're here because little Johnny-"
"-is doing what carpet sharks do best: pick up germs and spray them all over others. Take him home. Give him plenty of fluids. He'll be fine in a few days."
Suzie glared at him, taking in his faded jeans, untucked t-shirt and three-day-old stubble. "Are you sure you're a doctor?"
House leaned his head back. "Okay, you caught me. I'm not. They gave all the doctors the day off. I'm just temping here until my dream job of crazy homeless guy is open." He peered at her thoughtfully. "I sent in my application months ago. How long can it take? Do you think I'm overqualified?"
Suzie sputtered. "I don't know who you think you are, but-"
"I am the guy who spent the better half of three centuries in medical school, learning my ass from a sniffling, coughing hole in the ground. You, on the other hand, have spent an equal amount of time earning a lifetime achievement award in Home Economics or Domestic Engineering, or whatever it is they call the speciality of sitting around eating bonbons all day and having torrid affairs with gardeners. He scooped Johnny/Eddie out of mommy's lap and into his own. "Better start a savings account now, kiddo. All that therapy is going to be expensive."
Suzie grabbed the kid and stormed out the door.
Three o'clock came and went and still no sign of a lab-coated Adonis. House started to pass the time by actually treating patients. Three more Suzies with three more germbuckets in tow. One college student whose genitals were turning a really cool shade of blue from the dye in his underwear. A couple of old guys looking for Viagra for their nursing home trip to Atlantic City (House stoically ignored the nurse's jibe "That's you and Wilson in 30 years"). Finally, to round it off, a man who had been bitten by his wife during an argument.
Four o'clock came and House was forced to conclude that Wilson was a no-show. Damn. He stomped past the nurse's desk, snapping, "Dr. House checking out at 4:01. Make a note of it."
He stalked up to Wilson's office and let himself in. "Hey! Where have you been for the past two hours?"
Wilson didn't even bother to look up. "Hi, Jimmy. How are you? How was your day? What would you like for dinner?" He twirled his pencil. "Answers, in descending order, would be: hi, Greg, a little tired, not bad, and I was planning to make that parmesan sole you like so much."
House planted himself on the edge of Wilson's desk. "I was in the clinic for two hours waiting for you."
"I apologize. As a doctor, I know how awful it is to treat patients." Wilson shut down his computer, gathered his jacket, and stood up. "I'll make it up to you with the sole."
House considered. "Green beans with almond slivers and butter like I like it?"
"Sure, I think we have some almonds left."
"And sour cream cake for dessert?"
"If you'll stop to pick up sour cream."
House tapped his cane thoughtfully. "Cool."
They were almost out the door when Wilson turned back. "Damn, I forgot. I need to see Cuddy for a second. You go on. I'll see you at home."
He waited until House walked out the door and padded guiltily into Cuddy's office.
" 'I think I have the gift of prophecy?' " he quoted. "Don't you think that was overplaying it a little?"
She looked up and shrugged. "Hey, this was your idea, Wilson, not mine."
He pulled up a chair. "Working on tomorrow's 'dream'?"
"Yes, and I'm running out of ideas. Maybe the cafeteria this time? Or-no! The MRI machine!" Her fingers clacked on the keys.
They snickered for a moment. "I feel bad about manipulating him like this," Wilson sighed.
Cuddy rolled her eyes. "Oh please! You feel guilty about manipulating the master manipulator? Besides, he's been dancing around you for 12 years and he could dance for another 50 without making his move. I figure a few more weeks of dreams, not to mention getting him to attend meetings, clinic duty, and actually get here on time, and we both get what we want."
"My God, you're starting to sound like him." Wilson ran his hands through his hair. "How long do you think we can get away with this?"
Wilson and Cuddy both jumped at the sound of the voice coming from the shadows. "Probably not that much longer."
House stepped out of the darkness.
"Really, you two, how stupid do you think I am?" He stopped himself. "No, that's not the real question. The real question is, what do I do about it?"
"House...Greg-" Red-faced, Wilson choked on his words.
"You-" House leveled a finger in Cuddy's direction "-will let me off clinic duty for a month. And you-" he turned his sharp blue gaze on his best friend "-well, I'll figure out what to do with you tonight. You can start with that sole."
Cuddy watched as Wilson and House walked side-by-side, as always. She smiled as she heard the fading voices echoing down the hallway:
"You love me."
"I do not."
"Yeah you do. Why can't you just admit it?"
"I put up with you. There's a difference."
Snort. "Put up with. Right. Hey-this isn't over. We need to talk about all this at home."
"After the sole, green beans, and cream cake."
"So you won't put out until I cook?"
"Okay. Don't forget the sour cream." Amused, affectionate.
"I won't, I won't." Then, almost too soft to hear. "I guess I do love you."