The phone rang.
The phone rang again.
He'd fallen asleep with the cell phone clutched in his hand and it took him a horrible moment to remember that. He sat up and answered. "Hello?"
"Hey." They said.
Wilson closed his eyes and took an equally deep breath. "Hey." He said. "How are you?"
"I've been better."
Wilson shrugged off the blankets and rolled off the bed, stumbling in the darkness for the elusive light switch. His fingers rammed against it and light shone bright, temporarily blinding him. He blinked a few times as he spoke. "Hey, House...God, House, I'm…"
Wilson shut his mouth.
"You're right, my legs been hurting all day and it's been because of you…"
"I'm so sorry."
Wilson shut his mouth again.
"I know that you're sorry. I played your messages. I also know you don't really think you did anything wrong."
"Shut. Up. Shut up until I finish talking or I'm going to hang up on you."
Wilson shut up.
House listened to the silence a bit, then continued. "So…This woman, who you may or may not have slept with and frankly it doesn't interest me one way or the other, this woman was probably good. For us, I mean. If there's this thing you need from women…well then it's not my place to get in the way of biology."
Wilson blinked a few times, trying to work out House's meaning.
"I mean…" House continued. "If you have an urge or a want or an itch you just go ahead and scratch it…and I'll be at home. At our home. I'll be waiting for you and…just, you know, set them up and knock them down." House seemed to realize that didn't make sense. "Just fix them, pat them on the head and send them on there way…and then come home to me. That's what we'll do."
Wilson paused a moment, but House seemed to have finished.
"No." He said, clearly.
"What?" House asked.
"Because, that hurts you."
House said nothing for a long moment, then said in a very low voice, "I like a lot of things that hurt me."
"No. You're not giving me permission to hurt you. I won't accept that." Wilson ran a hand through his hair. "I messed up, but we don't have to scrap this whole thing and start over."
"No." Wilson stressed firmly. "We were on the right track. We were really close…"
"Close to what?"
"Close to not being so royally fucked up all the goddamn time. Close to being really, truly happy together. Remember… that's what I always wanted, not some bleached blond bimbo from a hotel bar. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to do my job well and save who I could and I wanted to come home and I wanted to eat dinner with you and I wanted sleep at night next to you and I wanted to get up in the morning and make coffee because you're a lazy bastard…"
"No. Shut up. I talk now. I wanted to make breakfast and go to work again and do my job and watch you do your job and be so fucking proud of you and come home and watch movies on the coach or do nothing but sit there and watch you play the piano. I wanted to be dragged to some bar to listen to some guy I'd never heard of sing songs I'd didn't know and I wanted to drag you places. I wanted you at Thanksgiving when I was so in love everyone could tell and I wanted you at home all the nights you had to work late and I wanted you that night at that stupid conference in that stupid hotel bar but you weren't there. And I wanted you so bad I messed up. I messed up worse then I've ever messed up before. And I'm so sorry. I was wrong. Yeah, I didn't do anything, not really and I was still wrong but, baby…" And he had used that word again. He shook it off. "I can make it right. I can fix it. Just give me a second chance and I promise. I can do it. I can stop hurting you."
Wilson had to take in a long breath..
Silence on the line. He couldn't even hear the sound of House breathing.
Wilson let out a sigh and sank onto the bed, blinking back the wetness in his eyes. He waited. Waited for the next argument. The next rebuttal. He rubbed his head.
There was a knock on the door.
He didn't hope, because he wasn't letting himself, the same way he didn't look for a familiar car in the lot of that airport. He merely noted that the knock was heavy, as though someone had banged on the door with more then just his hand. His body moved automatically, walking across the room, undoing the security latch and opening the door.
It was House.
He had one hand in his pocket and was staring at the floor, his cap pulled low over his eyes.
Wilson opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out.
House pushed past him into the room, throwing the cell phone onto the bed. The door slammed shut, echoing in the quiet building and suddenly he was being grabbed, hard, by the collar of his shirt and shoved against the door.
His head slammed against the wood and he remembered this, he remembered…
House glared at him.
"Don't call me Greg ever again." He said.
And House kissed him.
It was hard and good but mostly it was right.
Wilson's fingers fumbled for the power button before the phone dropped from his hand.
Thanks so much to everyone who read, reviewed and spoke kindly about me here and in other forums. To those who gushed about the format. Thank you. Take it. Steal it. Warp it to your own fevered imaginings. Consider this an open sandbox, as they say or the "Phone Tag Challenge." I'd be honored. If you wrote, posted and sent me the link, I'd be ecstatic.