Title: Somewhere Between the Heavens and the Earth
Rating: Hard R
Warnings: See the rating.
Summary: They're down to first names and this is less about the heat than about how they fit together, how they fill the space. They speak in codes because being direct is overrated anyway, so when he comes in the door and House skips hello and moves onto the subject of what's for dinner, there's a hello in there somewhere.
Disclaimer: If I worked on House, I wouldn't have time to write fic.
Notes: Thanks to my beta, stephbass, and my friend Arqueete for the song.
Somewhere Between the Heavens and the Earth
It's the comfort he missed. A series of words and actions and filling the space with a warmth. He decides Jimmy is a space heater when he hears the key in the lock, the thudding of luggage on the floor. He's smirking when Jimmy walks in, travel-weary with hair rumpled over his forehead and House wonders if he got much sleep at all on the plane (and thinks oh well because he won't be getting any tonight, either).
"There're dishes in the sink. S'your night." It's a hello in his sense of the word and it leaves Wilson smiling tiredly and half-carrying, half-dragging his luggage into their bedroom. (Funny things, pronouns. He's been changing things from "his" and "mine" to "our" and he isn't sure how he feels about it, except maybe it feels good when it becomes "our" bills.)
"Yeah, I missed you too." There was a time where Jimmy wouldn't have gone so far as to say it and there was a time House wouldn't have been so sure he liked it. But times are different and Wilson doesn't ask why the hell can't House just do something for once, and House doesn't frown at the TV. It isn't that he likes it. (The only thing he's sure he likes is when his hands are dragging over Jimmy's skin and when the lights are low and there's sweat and heavy breathing and the world ends in a crash.)
There's water in the sink and he grins, triumphant. He's pushing himself off the couch and leaning in the doorway of the kitchen by the time Jimmy is dragging a cloth over the wet dishes.
"You didn't leave me any food." It's short and his arms are crossed over his chest and he watches the way Jimmy's hair falls almost to his eyes when he looks up.
"You could've made some yourself, you know." He raises his eyebrows when he says this and starts to put the glasses away. (There aren't many plates but there are cartons of Chinese food and a pizza box in the trashcan.)
"And take your job?" He moves into the kitchen to open the fridge and take a beer. Jimmy peers over his shoulder. He can feel the heat against his back, even if it isn't much more than a warmth, but he leans on his good leg and he thinks that he isn't going to get much sleep tonight, either.
"You drank my juice?"
"That's my job." He's smirking over his shoulder as he shuts the fridge on Jimmy, opens his beer as he limps back to the couch. The exasperated sigh behind him is tired and a little frustrated and he wonders how far he can push Jimmy as he falls onto the couch. "L Word is on tonight."
There's no reply from the kitchen but soon he hears the sink running and cupboards opening. His mouth waters because food is coming. Watching TV means smelling it and he doesn't like that as much as eating. (It's anticipation and something he can't have when he wants it.) So he gets up, smacks Jimmy's ass on his way to the bedroom, grabs an old T-shirt and his pajama pants. Jimmy smacks his ass as he walks to the bathroom.
The water's hot in the shower and it burns into his leg and he grunts, leaning against the wall. The tiles are cool and he stays like this, hot and cold, until his shoulder his numb and his skin is red. It's when he's rinsing the soap from his skin that he hears the door open. (They don't lock each other out because there's no need anymore.)
"Are you almost done?"
And it's at those words that he grins because he didn't go into work and he hasn't had a chance to mess with anyone all day. (He thought about calling Jimmy a few times, but it's never as much fun unless he can see him squirm.) He opens the curtain and sticks his head around the edge, dripping water onto the floor but he knows Jimmy will begrudgingly wipe it up later.
"There's room for you."
But Jimmy is rolling his eyes (after a hesitation that makes House's eyes flash for a moment) and then glaring at him, hands on his hips and House tires hard not to laugh at him even though he's dripping and wet and naked and shakily maintaining his balance in the stall of the shower.
Jimmy's pulling the door shut when he leaves and House doesn't spend much longer in the shower, runs a hand through his wet hair when he gets out. He sits on the seat of the toilet to dry off because his leg is throbbing and the Vicodin is in the living room. His hair still feels damp when he leaves the bathroom, steam leaving its fingerprints on the mirror as he limps out.
There's a plate of food—chicken, he thinks, with some sort of brown sauce slathered over it (and a bottle of Vicodin)—sitting on the coffee table, new medical magazines strewn about. Pillows are dented in and the channel has changed. He takes his seat and the remote and turns it back—a monster truck show, in a few minutes. His feet are on the table and the plate in his lap when Jimmy walks by, shirt slung over his shoulder and a tired line etching his forehead.
He'd feel sympathetic, but his name doesn't start with "C" and end in "ameron." And anyway it doesn't fit his M.O. And he likes it that way, he decides as the water turns on again in the bathroom and the announcer comes in loud on the speakers. It's thirty minutes into the show—and about twenty demolished cars—later when the water stops and there's a plate in the sink waiting for Jimmy. (There was a second's hesitation where he remembered the slow walk to the bathroom and maybe, maybe he should give Jimmy a break, but then he shrugged it off and dropped the plate with a plunk.)
The sound of the hair dryer is different at night. But it's still annoying as hell. He cranks the volume on the TV and the sound of smashing metal fills the apartment. There's an old couple that lives upstairs, and he wonders if he's waking them up. He takes a sip of his beer and leans back against the couch.
Jimmy's out of the bathroom and in his pajamas, and House can't get it out of his mind, like it sometimes happens, how funny he looks when he isn't wearing a suit. His hair is neatly positioned on his head and he grunts as he sits, drags a hand through his hair. It's just an old sweatshirt and some flannel pants, but every time it catches him off guard. When the commercial music reaches his ears, he realizes he missed the show.
"Took you long enough," he utters, darting his eyes away now as he crosses his arms across his chest, stares back at the TV.
"Yeah, well, I had to clean up some stuff in there since no one else in this house does." He sounds tired, House thinks. Beat. His fingers twitch to reach over and trace the curve of his arm and his lips part, mentally tasting Jimmy's skin. "I'm thinking about calling Lady. We—" The pause draws his attention and he catches the burn of Jimmy's glare. "—could use some help around here with cleaning." A roll of the eyes is all he gets and a sigh is what he gets in return. "I'm going to bed."
This catches House's attention because for all his abrasiveness, he was looking forward to sitting on the couch and idling half mocking what's on TV. And then making out. He looks sharply up at Jimmy as he stands, presses his face into his hands, then drags them back through his hair. There are bags under his eyes and his shoulders slump as he heads to the bedroom. As he passes the sink, he calls out over his shoulder, "I know you don't really care, but I'll do the dishes in the morning. 'Night, Greg."
He stares at Jimmy's retreating back and then snatches up his Vicodin. He cuts off the TV and tosses the remote onto the couch, limping his way through the kitchen. It's when he gets to the sink that he pauses, looks at the dishes, then back at the bedroom. There's a moment where he almost reaches over and starts the water running but then he decides there are better ways to cheer Jimmy up that don't include washing dishes and instead he continues on his way and leans against the doorframe.
Jimmy is sitting on his half of the bed, facing the wall, arms on his knees and his face in his hands again. And he thinks for a second that it's kind of nice to have Jimmy back on that bed. A few nights and the other half of the bed had gotten cold. (He wonders if Jimmy's bed was cold at all those nights, but that's possessiveness and the curve of Jimmy's shoulders quell any of those thoughts.)
"You just got home."
He jumps on the bed but doesn't turn all the way around. "And I'm exhausted. It was a long trip." Short, breathless. Jimmy should only sound that way when he's under House.
"You've been on longer." His hands are on his chest and he's pouting like a child, but he doesn't care.
"So I can't be tired now?" His tone is annoyed and House is pushing the boundaries but damn it.
"What's bothering you?" It's an invasive question, direct. It's what drives his feet forward, however haltingly, as he comes into the room now, stands over Jimmy. He barely looks up and makes a gesture at the floor.
"Nothing, Greg. I just want to relax for a while, that's all. Can I go to sleep now?"
"You could've gone to sleep when you came in here. You're still up." Now he gets the disgusted look and he feels a little satisfied—that's a normal response. He sits now next to Jimmy, their shoulders brushing in the quiet twilight of his bedroom, illuminated from the lights on the street.
Jimmy drags a hand over his eyes again and then looks sideways at House, stares for a few minutes. He looks back because Jimmy's eyes are searching and House wants him to find his answer. Then Jimmy's shaking his head and there's that begrudging touch of laughter touching his eyes and his eyes meet House's again.
"You'll never change."
"Nope." He leans in, presses an open mouth to Jimmy's neck, feels him shudder under his touch. "Like you'd want me to."
"I wouldn't mind seeing an empty sink tomorrow morning." His words are breathless again but this time for the right reasons and House grins against his neck, his hand reaching up for Jimmy's thigh. House drags his teeth over his earlobe, listens to Jimmy gasp.
"Will do." His words are air against his ear and now Jimmy moans softly in the back of his throat, his hands pushing House's shirt up his chest. Words are lost because Jimmy's hand is pressing at House's erection and House is grunting, pushing Jimmy back against the bed. They pull and tug at shirts until their skin is touching, hot and alive and tingling. There's a wince and a curse and a soft apology and a soft hand and then House is grunting and pushing Jimmy's hands away, toward the nightstand. He sees a smirk on Jimmy's face and decides that he's going to wipe that off, oh yes. The corners of his mouth turn up with a grin as Jimmy turns back, presses the bottle into his hand.
The anticipation is what makes this part stand out in his mind as he gets behind Jimmy, balances until his thigh doesn't throb and he can slide carefully in, watch Jimmy's hands curl and uncurl, listen to him breath and suck air in through his teeth. He's thought a few times about giving Jimmy a Vicodin, but he shoots him down every time. He isn't sure he wants to share, anyway. (He isn't sure he wants to see Jimmy lean his head back and toss them into his mouth.)
And it's now that his thoughts fade away and he's sliding his hands over Jimmy's hips and around to slip around his erection. The room is dimming around him as he feels his senses heighten and he's caught in some middle ground. Colors blur and deepen just as everything shades into one, and his breath is hitching and his mind swims. Jimmy is moaning under him, thrusting against his movements.
He grits his teeth, shuts his eyes. A groan falls from his throat and Jimmy echoes him, hands balling into fists and body arching, stopping, freezing. The grunts, muffled by the pillow, echo around the walls of the room and in House's ears. He grins, briefly, and thrusts his hips back against Jimmy's. His hold on Jimmy's hips is weak at best but there are other things to think about, if he even wants to think at all. The world is building up around him and it's Jimmy. There's no one else and it's Jimmy. And then he's grunting as he stills against his hips.
They don't look each other in the eye when they slide off the bed. House hunts around for his boxers and Jimmy goes to the bathroom. He takes two Vicodin and waits outside the bathroom, swinging his cane against the door. He rolls his eyes as he opens the door, gives House a smile. He's is moving to walk out the door but House's cane is against his chest and then House is staring down at him. He leans over and brushes their lips together. But it's brief, and then House is shoving his way past Jimmy and he's walking back to the bedroom.
He forgets about the monster movie marathon and slides into bed next to Jimmy. The house settles around them. The sound of water in the pipes is a whirl of noise. Steve McQueen scuttles about in his cage. They lay quietly for a while, body heat mingling and somehow pulling them together. And House thinks that it's so much better this way.
"You… You're just going to put the dishes in the oven, aren't you?"
Jimmy's eyes are on him and they're smiling, and House realizes with a triumph that he's won out over his mood. "Yup."
And then Jimmy is chuckling, and House is thinking that it's a pretty good sound when Jimmy looks over at him. House laughs back, turns over, throws an arm over the other man's chest. As he's settling into his pillow, their laughter dies away into silence.
"Mm?" He's tired now (he doesn't want to explain that he wants to feel Jimmy close to him), but he opens his eyes to look at his face, curious and pale in the light of the room.
"What are you doing?" The question is genuine and the sentiment is surprised and House shakes it off, turns his face back into the pillow so that he thinks he got it wet with his mouth when he opens it.
"So turn the heat up. Or put a shirt on." His voice is light and curious and on-guard and House wonders what Jimmy thinks he's up to. He rolls his eyes now (and it's like Jimmy's voice, a smile hidden in body language) and picks his head up to properly deliver a glare.
There's a gentle chuckle that rumbles under his arm. House puts his head back against the pillow and Jimmy turns on his side, slides an arm under his pillow and another onto House's side. Their breath mingles as they drift into sleep.