"Jesus, House!" Wilson whooped with laughter. House glared darkly at his friend, who raised both palms in a placating gesture as he attempted, with only partial success, to stifle his next outburst.

"What?" House whispered crossly. It always irritated him when Wilson was amused by something about House in which House himself saw no humor. He rolled his eyes and fidgeted uncomfortably until Wilson's shoulders stopped shaking and he regained control of himself.

"You dirty old man!" Wilson's whisper was tinged with merriment. "He looks about 15 years old!"

"He does not!" The indignation in his voice died as, pushing Wilson out of the way, House peered around the door, standing slightly ajar, which led to his bedroom. He frowned. Wilson, sensing victory, moved to reclaim his position, and the two doctors jostled and elbowed each other like boys until they were both able to peer into the room.

Inside, fast asleep in House's bed, was Robert Chase. The Australian was curled in a fetal position, wrapped snugly in a blanket up to his chin. His blonde hair was in wild disarray: flopping over his forehead, tangled on the pillow, and one unruly bit sticking up in a jaunty cowlick. One arm was clutching a second pillow tightly to his chest ("Like it was some stupid teddy bear," House thought crossly); Chase's other hand was curled into a loose fist, so close to his half-open mouth that it looked like the kid was about to start sucking his thumb. His facial expression was sweetly relaxed and unguarded, with his long eyelashes fluttering against smooth cheeks, and his skin slightly flushed.

House scowled. Wilson was right; Chase DID look obscenely young. House was even more annoyed when the oncologist, as if he could read House's mind, raised his eyebrows and gave House a big, wide "I told you so" grin. "He's a baby," he mouthed silently at House, who made a "fuck you" face in return and moved to shut the bedroom door.

Just then, Chase stirred.

Restlessly, the sleeping blonde shifted onto his back, languorously uncoiling his lithe body with the silken, lazy grace of a cat. House and Wilson, suddenly quiet, watched Chase's hand trail down his body as it pushed the enveloping blanket down and away from his bare chest, lower and lower, until Chase's tight stomach and jutting hip bones were revealed. House wasn't sure whether the sharply indrawn breath he heard was Wilson's or his own; he wasn't sure of anything other than the searing image of Chase's hand slowly slipping beneath the loosely draped blanket that covered his groin and resting there: than the sight of Chase's other arm, now flung carelessly across his pillow: than the siren sound of his lover's throaty, unconscious sigh. There was nothing – nothing! – adolescent or awkward about the upward arching of Chase's back, about the thrust of his hips, about the way his blonde head moved against the pillow. The temperature of the room seemed to skyrocket, and the very air to thicken around him, making it difficult for House to catch his breath.

But House was House, after all, and so he tore himself away from the deliciously seductive picture Chase presented, and, smirking, prodded the glassy-eyed Wilson in the shoulder.

"See?" House said smugly, jerking his head in Chase's direction. "That's my boy."