The first time Wilson had been inside House's apartment he had been taken aback by the beautiful piano sitting just off center dominating the space. He had never heard House play and had mistakenly assumed that it was only there for decoration or shock value. It had been months of pizza nights, movie marathons and comfortable banter before Wilson had made some comment or other about the idleness of the instrument and what a waste it was to have something so beautiful trapped with someone who had no interest in it when House had simply walked over and began to play 'Mary had a little lamb.' Wilson had burst out laughing but even he knew that the piano was sounding perfectly tuned considering he had not seen it played in all the time he had known House.
Wilson's questioning eyebrow was answered as House, in a rare moment of genuine excitement, winked at the skeptical oncologist and began to play one of the most exquisite and complicated pieces of music Wilson had ever heard. It had been like being drawn warmly into an embrace as the music floated all around him, intoxicating and kinetically charged with a sense of intimacy that made Wilson feel almost guilty for listening in. If someone were to ask him now when things had first changed for the two of them, when House first truly accepted his friendship it would have been in that moment.
As he sat there, several years and several divorces later, Wilson couldn't help but wonder how he had gotten to this point. How did a man who had been married three times and had countless affairs wind up alone with a crummy apartment he didn't want to spend time in and more than a little drunk on his best friends couch. More to the point how the hell did he finish up laying there wishing he was most definitely NOT alone in his best friend bed?
Wilson knew better than to hope that House would ever feel the same way but tonight he had crossed an invisible line and now there was no going back. House had once told him, during a drunken late night conversation, that music was his way of letting out all the feelings he couldn't or wouldn't express. Wilson was fairly sure that was a secret he wasn't supposed to know because House never mentioned it again and if anything he played for Wilson more since than ever before. House was never very forthcoming about his feelings or about himself really but as much as he was allowed Wilson tried to catch glimpses of the real Greg whenever he could.
So tonight, after both having lost a patient, they had sat in companionable silence with a couple of bottles of whiskey and then House had sat down at the piano and played a few songs Wilson had always liked. As the night got later and the mood mellowed House had slowly moved into a soft soulfully melody that had torn at Wilson's heart and brought to mind the confession House had made a while ago. As House played out the sorrow and frustration they both felt Wilson had inched closer behind him and before he could stop him self he had reached out and clasped his friends shoulder.
For a second House flinched and his fingers faltered. That in it-self almost brought tears to the oncologist eyes. House was seldom comfortable with being touched even before the infarction, afterwards it had taken a long time before he would even shake hands with someone, now it was understood that if he didn't initiate it than it was unwelcome, even Wilson was cautious about breaching that boundary but to invade his personal space while he was feeling emotionally exposed was unacceptable. However after only the briefest of pauses House had picked up the song and continued to play.
When Wilson moved a little closer standing behind his friend House had lent against him. The movement was so slight that had Wilson not already been paying close attention he would not even have noticed but encouraged by this progress and way too much liquor Wilson had done something unforgivable. As he wound his arms around his friend torso from behind he felt the man tense and the music come to an abrupt halt. As House tried to turn and confront him Wilson had bent his head and captured angry lips in an all too brief kiss before being pushed back abruptly.
The look that Wilson received was filled with confusion and anger and something that he thought might have been longing but then all the walls were up, the mask was in place and House stated in that cutting edge tone,"You're drunk! I'm going to bed before you realize exactly what you just did"
Wilson tried to say something, anything, but he couldn't seem to make his mouth form any of the needed sounds. He went to follow his friend and try to make amends but was shut down.
"Look, Wilson, just lay down before you fall down, we can not talk about it in the morning and you can make bad attempts at not explaining yourself since you probably wont even remember."
That had been almost four hours ago. Wilson was fairly sure he had drifted off to sleep once of twice but his mind kept thinking about how he hadn't really had that much to drink and regardless of what House thought he didn't want to forget what had happened earlier, he didn't want to forget the way House had felt in his arms or the fact that for one brief moment he had been the comfort and security that Greg had needed.
After pacing around the lounge room for another fifteen minuets Wilson decided that maybe, if he could get it said, out loud, just this once then he could go back to the way things were. House would be dead to the world by now anyway so he figured this was his best shot. He walked slowly down the small hall holding he breath in anticipation of any sound that would indicate his friend was awake. He opened the door that lead to House's large master bedroom and stage whispered.
"House, are you awake?……..I need to talk to you…….Greg?"
There was no answer so after a moment he decided it was safe to go on.
"I glad you're asleep because it will be easier to do this without you interrupting to mock
me…..Um, well, I guess you would probably like to know what that kiss was about, well
I want you to know that it was not a rebound thing, in fact I haven't seen anyone since,
well since my non date with Cuddy, I know I know, I'm pathetic…….the real reason is
I've gone and fallen for someone who is perfect for me, except that she is a HE which is
new for me and that he is my best friend…….Oh boy am I glad that you are asleep for
this, even with you bum leg I'm pretty sure you would kick my ass……. I didn't mean
for this to happen, I didn't even realize until after Julie had kicked me out, I should have
been more upset but somehow it didn't seem that bad since I was here with you. I just
want you to know that I'm sorry I surprised you and I'm sorry that I did it while your
guard was down but I'm not sorry I kissed you and I'm not sorry that I love you, because
for what it's worth I do love you Greg……… Anyway, I though that if I said it out loud
maybe I would be able to pretend that tonight didn't happen and at least I wont mess up
the only real relationship I've ever managed to hold onto."
Wilson let out a heavy sigh and began to shuffle back towards the door wondering how differently it might have gone had House really been awake to hear his confession. Then it happened. The voice he had come to know so well in a carefully measured tone striped him of his last ounce of pretence.
"So did it work?"
Wilson froze solid to the spot making a vain attempt to disappear into darkness in the hopes House was just talking in his sleep but as the color rose on his face he realized it was now or never.
"Wilson, I know you're still there, it's not a hard question, did it work?"
"Did…did what work House?"
"Did saying it out loud make it easier to not be in love with me anymore?"
For the longest moment not a word was said, Wilson went back over the last statement searching for any trace of disgust or ridicule, any hint at how House felt about what he had heard. Wilson still had no answer when House spoke again, this time in a voice so tender and honest Wilson would have sworn it was coming from someone else.
"Because if it really works, if it makes it easier to pretend that things are still the way
they used to be and you don't want or need anything more than friendship well….I have
something I need to tell you too Jimmy."
In that moment things changed forever. It took James Wilson a total of five seconds of stunned silence to process the significance and depth of what had just been said and as the implications and possibilities came flooding into his mind he was ready to fling himself into the arms of the man he never thought could love him in return. As if reading his love's thoughts House held out his hand.
"If you don't get over here and kiss me properly this time I will kick your ass…But hey, you land on my leg and I'll kill you."
Laughing easily for the first time in a long time James Wilson grasped the outstretched hand of his best friend and, if James had anything to say about it, soon to be lover. In the same synchronized rhythm that flowed when they walked side by side the two men leaned in for the first of many heart melting soul saving kisses and if he didn't know better James would have sworn he heard the sweetest music.