The door of Wilson's office was thrown open with a nerve-jangling bang. "Why don't you admit that you're desperately in love with me?" House demanded without preamble. Wilson sat at his desk; it wasn't even nine in the morning and the man was already elbow-deep in paperwork.
If Wilson was surprised at the question, he didn't show it. "And why don't you admit you're desperately in love with me?" He looked up from the computer monitor, midway through a memo.
"I'm not." House's tone seemed to imply this was contrary to someother people. House settled himself into a chair and propped his feet on Wilson's desk, knocking over some of the tacky kitsch in the process.
Wilson spared an annoyed look for the offending knickknacks. "Neither am I." He went back to the memo about rescheduling the next departmental meeting. "So glad we cleared that up." House watched Wilson's fingers dance across the keyboard, debating his next offensive. "You know, feelings are healthy and natural." He adopted the same tone his counselor had used the one time Stacey'd actually talked him into going to therapy- that had only happened once.
"Huh." Wilson's attention was still on his work, which annoyed House in the extreme. "I didn't realize you had a third specialty in psychiatry."
"Oh, I'm all about the touching and feeling." House debated whether he should continue the feeling line, but opted to stay on target. "You should express your feelings." He sniffed philosophically. "Not healthy to keep it all bottled up."
Wilson remained impassive; years of friendship had taught him it was futile to try and hurry House to the point. "And if I had any, I'd share them." He grimaced at something he'd typed and backspaced, starting again.
"Oh, please," House grimaced, "you can't tell me after Friday night that you don't have feelings. More specifically, feelings for me." Now he had Wilson's undivided attention.
"I beg your pardon?" Wilson turned to him. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Sounds interesting, though. Do continue." His was genuinely puzzled and not just a little suspicious. House could see that he was desperately replaying last Friday though his mind, trying to piece together what House was talking about.
House pulled an exaggerated face of exasperation and disbelief. "Don't tell me you don't remember. Just how much tequila did you drink?"
The suspicion was fading from Wilson's face, slowly replaced by panic. House already knew Wilson couldn't remember the entire evening, not with the amount he'd put away. But it was fun watching Wilson run into the blank spot where memory was supposed to be and wonder just what the hell he'd done. "House, I didn't do anything," he started slowly when his memory failed to produce anything too incriminating. "If you're mad about the glass," –Wilson had knocked one of House's shot glasses off the liquor cabinet, breaking it- "I'll replace it…"
House shrugged the comment away. "It was ugly anyway." It'd also been a gift Wilson had brought back from a convention in Toronto. "You really don't remember?" he asked again, still disbelieving.
Wilson shook his head slowly. "I guess I did have a little too much…"
House sat up, resting both hands on his cane. "If that's what it takes for you to make a pass at me." He said it almost apologetically.
Wilson's jaw dropped for half a second, but then he started laughing. "Jesus, House, you had me going there. I was sure I'd gotten married or robbed a bank or something." Wilson's laughter slowly trailed off as he realized that House wasn't laughing along. "I mean, you don't expect me to believe that I actually…" House nodded a fraction, his eyes mirthless. "Bullshit," Wilson swore emphatically. House said nothing. "Bullshit!" Wilson repeated, louder, in response to House's silent reply. "There's no way that I made a pass at you." His face was twisted with horror at the thought. Suddenly he decided the disarranged knickknacks bothered him greatly and he set about putting them to rights, with hurried movements, as if he were being timed.
House fiddled with his cane, twirling it around his fingers like a majorette. "Though you'd be the first to remind me my love-life is somewhat lacking, I can still tell when someone's trying to get into my pants. And you're not exactly subtle." His eyebrows shot up his forehead as though he were recalling just how unsubtle Wilson had been.
Wilson pushed himself violently away from his desk, as if that were his biggest problem, and stood. "Okay, I don't really remember what I did. I dunno- maybe I told you to, to blow me, or something." Wilson blushed a little just saying it now. House had always thought it ironic that, despite his philandering, Wilson was a bit of a prude. "But I'm sure I didn't mean anything seriously. You were pretty drunk, too," he pointed out defensively. He started rolling up his shirtsleeves, only to roll them back down again in a minute.
House spread his hands to ward off Wilson's protests. "I'm willing to look past the innuendos. Wouldn't be the first time." He paused to let that sink in. "But your, uh, actions were impossible to misinterpret."
Wilson started pacing in the confined space of his office, finally coming to a stop by the window. He peered out the blinds with intense interest of dubious veracity and toyed with the cuffs of his shirt as if he were thinking of rolling them up again. Finally, he turned back to House and visibly braced himself. "What actions, exactly?"
House rose and examined Wilson's library with seemingly idle curiosity. "Let's just say you attempted a tonsil exam," he answered wryly. He pulled out a book, rifled through it and set it back on another shelf, either not knowing or caring about the alphabetized order.
Wilson winced and slapped his hand to his forehead in an almost comic gesture of incredulity. "I, I don't remember any of it." He sounded plaintive and a little lost. "I can't believe that I…crossed the line like that." He straightened a bit. "I apologize, House. And I promise it won't happen again. I had too much to drink, and I know that's not an excuse."
"Save your apologies," House dismissed Wilson's attempt. "You've practiced this one too much, anyway. What we need to talk about is the underlying cause here. Way more interesting." House stroked his chin in the way psychiatrists and evil geniuses always did in movies. "Tell me about your relationship with your mother."
"My relationship with my mom is fine and you know it," Wilson snapped, annoyance breaking the contrived penitence.
"So grabbing me by the ears and sticking your tongue down my throat was indicative of nothing?"
"God," Wilson sighed heavily, and sank down onto the couch, elbows on his knees and hands creating a visor to save him from looking at House. "I don't know, House. It was just stupid. Can't you just let it go?"
"You can just tell me, you know. I've suspected for years, actually. You spend just a little too much time in my office, buy me all those lunches-"
"Not my idea!" Wilson objected, but House ignored him.
"I think you may have some unresolved issues here." House leaned on the edge of Wilson's desk, crossed his arms and gave Wilson a considering look. "Really, you'd feel better if you just said it. Let it out." The accompanying gesture was vaguely reminiscent of the chest-bursting thing from Aliens. "Just say it."
Wilson tried to counter, "House. I am not-"
"I guess you already have let it out, but you might want a version you'll remember."
"Own it, Jimmy, out and proud," House pushed further.
"Fine!" Wilson exploded. House regarded him calmly, blue eyes reflecting none of what he was feeling. Wilson took a deep and halting breath. "Christ, I'm not happy about it, wanting my misanthropic sonuvabitch best friend," his mouth twisted around the words, as if they tasted bitter. "I believe it's what you'd call a cruel joke." The outburst over as suddenly as it started, Wilson sank back into the deep couch cushions, boneless and weak.
The silence that fell between them was profound. Finally, though, House broke it, calling softly, "Hey, Wilson?"
Wilson abandoned the careful examination he been conducting of his loafers. This pair was particularly ugly. "Yeah?" His voice was faint and his face pale and uncertain. His right hand twisted his left ring-finger, absently fidgeting with a wedding band he no longer wore.
House reached out and deliberately knocked over one of the figurines Wilson had so carefully arranged. "You do know I'm kidding, right?"
"About…?" Wilson blinked, not quite catching House's drift.
House shrugged expansively. "About all of it. You got shitfaced, watched the last half of Dances with Wolves and passed out on my couch. End of story." He turned, walked to the door and paused. "We're still on for lunch, right? I was thinking Mexican." He made his exit, leaving a slack-jawed Wilson staring after him.