Title: Unlocked

Author: embeer2004

Summary: House finds out a secret Wilson's been keeping. AU

Genre: general/fantasy

Disclaimer: I don't own House M.D, just borrowing the characters and having some fun with them.

A/N: It's just a bunny that wouldn't go away until written, so I thought I might as well post it in case someone else would like to read it. It's an AU set in the beginning of season 3, alluding slightly to things that happened in the previous seasons. However, any consequences of the 2nd season finale have reverted back already. Please excuse me for taking certain liberties with the characters… (there's also a second A/N at the end of the story to explain something)

XxX

"Come on, Wilson! I know you're in there and you know that I know what you're doing in there, so just hide the stuff for a minute and let me in already!" House bounced his cane on the floor a couple of times – excited. He was still feeling the happy buzz that came from solving one of his cases and wanted to tell Wilson all about it, but the boy wonder wasn't really cooperating with his plans. House knew he was in there – he could just feel the oncologist's presence behind the closed door. When there was still no response the diagnostician harrumphed and limped off.

House wouldn't give up that easily though and moved as quickly as he could through his office, over the balcony wall – hopping the last few steps to the glass door. The blinds in front of it were drawn, but as usual, Wilson had forgotten to lock it.

"You really should learn to lock this door if you want to keep me out, Jimmy!" He said in a sing-song voice and his blue eyes darted around until they spotted the figure awkwardly sitting in the middle of the couch. The older man blinked and reached for his vicodin bottle, assuring himself that he hadn't unconsciously swallowed all of the pills and was now experiencing some wild hallucination.

Wilson looked up, brown eyes startled, body frozen in place. The younger man's shirt lay discarded on the floor, giving House a good look at the two huge white wings coming out of his back.

Locking the door behind him, House slowly approached his best friend, baffled. He opened his mouth a couple of times before finding his voice again. "I thought you were – you know…" He gestured towards the desk where Wilson sometimes rolled joints for his patients. The diagnostician slowly shook his head; he must have fallen asleep in his comfy chair – this was all just a silly dream. His gaze narrowed and, moving most of his weight to his left leg, he started prodding Wilson in the ribs with the tip of his cane as if poking an interesting bug with a stick just to see what it would do.

Wilson huffed and pushed the cane away. "House!"

House returned the cane to his side and moved until he was standing right in front of his friend, left hand reaching towards the feathers. "Just humour this sleepwalking cripple for a moment…" he muttered more to himself than to than to the oncologist.

Wilson quickly drew back to the end of the couch, trying to evade House's probing fingers. He ended up hitting the armrest with his wings and released a painful gasp – face draining of colour. "Don't even think about it House, leave them alone!"

Groaning, House closed his eyes for a moment and rubbed one hand hard across his eyes, but when he opened them again the scenario hadn't changed. He looked suspiciously at the figure before him. He'd had dreams before in which he realized he was asleep and when he'd had the hallucination there was this oppressive and hurried feeling about it. This didn't feel like either of those times, it felt – normal.

"Somehow this is real, isn't it?" He lowered himself down on top of the table and started fiddling with his cane. When next he spoke his voice was a low rumble, softly accusing. "And you wanted me to see this…" House was the only one that came in via the balcony and while Wilson had grumbled about being sure to remember to lock the door in the future, his negligence to do so now told House what he wanted to know.

Wilson avoided his gaze, worriedly biting his bottom lip. When he answered his voice was soft – timid. "Maybe… yes?"

House inhaled deeply, forcing his mind to accept this new information. He lowered his head and rubbed the handle of his cane against his forehead. That short moment just before Wilson had looked away he'd seen uncertainty in those soft brown eyes – uncertainty and a hint of fear. House didn't like that. That's when he realized something, and, raising his head, made a decision. He'd known Wilson for nearly ten years and they'd spent so much time together that his friend couldn't have just been pretending who he was; he'd only hidden the what. This was still Jimmy sitting before him, his co-conspirator and best friend. The older man shifted a bit and nudged Wilson's knee with his own. Had Wilson looked up at that point he would have seen a glimpse of fondness in the blue eyes – a rare occurrence. "You wouldn't happen to know if Cuddy's been hiding a black set and a pointy tail, would you?"

Hopeful brown eyes finally met his straight on. "Does this mean we're all right?" Reflexively Wilson stretched his wings, immediately regretting it as there was no room. House watched as the oncologist seemed to go from pale to a shade of grey and hurriedly shifted forward, lips just a thin line.

Now that they weren't being squashed anymore did House notice that something was off with the left wing. The right one was help up high, neatly folded against Wilson's back, but the left one lay limp on the couch. House frowned, deciding to skip all the questions he really wanted to ask – nodding towards it. "What happened to it?"

Wilson rubbed a hand around the back of his neck, a sheepish look on his face. "Bumped it into the night stand… They have the nasty habit of popping out in my sleep if it's been too long since I unfolded them."

House sent him a look reserved for idiotic clinic patients.

"Don't give me that look, I know, all right? And I've been regretting my stupidity ever since it happened. Trying to retract them so I could get dressed this morning was nearly enough for me to call in sick, but then I remembered the board meeting and…" he trailed off, muttering something about patients under his breath. "Anyways, I was in a bit of a rush this morning so I didn't manage to get a look at it yet. Even pulled in it was starting to drive me nuts, that's why-" He gestured with his hand, pointing out his state of undress.

House put his cane next to him on the table. "Back is always difficult to check yourself. Mind if I take a look?" He sat up straight, adopting a faux professional attitude. "I'm a doctor you know."

Wilson rolled his eyes, but didn't hesitate – turning a bit so House had better access and trying to hold out his wing for examination. "Go ahead."

House went to sit behind his friend, left hand reaching out. "Tell me if I hurt you," he warned before carefully taking hold of the outermost part, supporting the trembling limb. Wilson trustingly allowed him to spread it out and House could feel him shiver slightly as his long fingers glided over the soft feathers. The diagnostician couldn't stop the small smile from appearing on his face. How did Wilson retract these magnificent things into his back? What happened then to the bones he was feeling?

Wilson gasped all of a sudden – wing reflexively trying to jerk free of House's grip.

"Easy there, Jimmy. Let me see." House reaffirmed the grip he had on the limb and moved some feathers out of the way, spotting the purple-black colour of what was no doubt a very painful bruise. He continued his examination, spotting bits of blood where the bruise was darkest. "More like you smashed it into the night stand…"

Wilson gasped as House probed a particular sore spot, body tense from the strain of trying not to pull away again.

All of a sudden House noticed movement from the right, but he was too late to ward off the other wing. He winced as it forcefully hit his right side and was sorely tempted to pluck a couple of feathers from the limb in retaliation until he saw the horrified expression on his friend's face.

"Are you all right? I'm so sorry!" Wilson quickly returned the wing to his back and tried to turn around completely, but House wouldn't let go of the left one and prevented him from turning by pushing his right hand against his shoulder. So instead the younger man turned his head as far as he could, worried eyes trying to figure how much pain he'd just caused. "I'm so sorry House, I didn't mean to lash out at you…"

House snorted, taking his hand from Wilson's shoulder and feeling his own side. "I'm gonna have a lovely bruise there, but otherwise I'm fine… Buy me dinner and you're forgiven. You didn't hurt it as well with that stupid move, did you?"

Wilson shook his head. "It's fine…"

House quickly finished his check of the left wing and was satisfied he'd seen all that he needed. "Gonna let go now," he warned before slowly guiding Wilson's wing back to the couch. He then stood and limped the few steps to Wilson's desk, found the first aid box in one of the drawers and got out some antiseptic bandage spray. He hobbled back to the couch and, easily finding the broken skin, applied some to it. Finished, he sat back on the table – taking his cane in his hands again and moving it from one hand to the other.

"You definitely got a break there." A mischievous gleam appeared in the blue eyes. "You know, I've had some practice splinting wings in my youth from the occasional bird flying into the window – wanna let me have a go at it?"

Wilson huffed, gingerly shifting around so he sat facing House again. "The minute you didn't freak out I knew something like this had to be coming."

House tapped one finger against his chin, pensively squinting his eyes. "Well, I do seem to remember this time you ran smack into the clinic door. Notice any similarities?"

Wilson's turned wide unbelieving eyes on him. "You tripped me with your cane!"

House tried giving him his best innocent look, failing miserably at it. "Ah really? I must have forgotten that bit…" Then in the split of a second he turned serious again. "I don't know how fast you heal, but you need to give it some rest – it really should be splinted."

Wilson slumped. "Great, just what I need. Once the splint is on I won't be able retract them and if I can't retract them I can't wear any kind of top for work. Yeah, sure I could wear one of those huge oversized raincoats if I want to come across as a suspicious psycho doc – damn!"

House gently squeezed Wilson's knee. "Take some time off, Wilson. Now would be the perfect time to go to your father's cabin – you always said it was quiet and isolated up there: fresh air… no people to hide from…"

Wilson gritted his teeth and ran a hand over his face, offering one last protest. "My patients…"

"Your staff is capable of holding the fort for a couple of weeks. The only thing for you to do is retract those things one more time today and let me see about immobilizing your wing when we've reached my place. I'll even buy you that 'psycho' raincoat. With a pillow stuffed behind your back I'm sure you'll manage to find a comfy position for the trip, so how about it?" House didn't even wait to hear Wilson's answer and excitedly made his way to the glass door, peeping through the blinds to make sure none of his team were out on the balcony. "I'll just go and have a word with Cuddy about time off for both of us. Lock it this time, Jimmy." And then he slipped out.

XxX

Wilson smiled fondly as he locked the door; it hadn't been a conscious decision on his part to keep the door open earlier, but he was glad he'd been caught – and very relieved at the way House had reacted. He ran one hand over his face thinking back on his own reaction; he couldn't believe he'd hit his best friend! The rational part of his brain realized it had been a reflex in response to the pain, attempting to rid of the source, but the other part shouted at him that he should have been able to stop it in time. He'd make it up to House, Wilson decided; answer his questions, buy him dinner, let House needle him about whatever he wanted – for a while at least…

The cold had slipped in when House had opened the door and Wilson shivered a bit – still shirtless as it hurt more when his wings were retracted and wanting to avoid it for as long as possible. He rubbed his arms, shooting a dark look over his shoulder at the left wing awkwardly hanging down his back. Unbidden the image of a seagull with a lame wing came to mind and he furiously shook his head. Damn House and his bird analogies!

Speaking of House… Wilson moved over to his desk and got out his prescription pad. If they were going away for several weeks House would definitely need to bring enough vicodin with him. Pondering eyes fell on the small figurines strewn over his desk. Distractions; if he wanted to have some sanity left when they came back he definitely would need to make sure House packed some of his toys. Otherwise the diagnostician would come up with other ways to stave off his boredom and Wilson just knew that would not bode well for himself. The oncologist heaved a relieved sigh, glad his dad had had the foresight to get the cabin upgraded so it had electricity. And unless someone had broken in and raided the place somewhere in the last three months since his parents had been there, there should be a television as well. Yeah, they'd manage…

Wilson didn't have to wait too long before there was tapping on the glass. "Open up Jimmy!"

He let his friend back in and instantly knew House had been bickering with Cuddy again. There was as much a spring in his steps as a man with a limp could manage and his eyes were twinkling merrily. Having a battle of wits always improved his mood and their boss gave as good as she got, no doubt enjoying it as much as House. Though lately House seemed to be in an especially good mood when returning from Cuddy's office – one time Wilson had even caught him humming.

House excitedly bounced his cane, grinning. "I just cleared it with Cuddy, she just can't say no to these cute puppy-eyes. We got three weeks of interrogation – uhm, I mean relaxation – coming up! If it's not healed by then you'll just have to come down with a bad case of the flu." He scratched the back of his head, muttering: "Need to TiVo my soaps…" He then gritted his teeth, a dark look passing over his face and Wilson knew what was coming. So before House could even open his mouth Wilson shoved the scrip into his hand and casually walked over to fetch his shirt. Then he stalled, still wanting to avoid this even though he knew that now would be the time to put away his wings so they could go.

The younger man snorted. Answering all of House's questions in the coming weeks was bound to be a bit like having a curious four year old following you around. Though if Wilson was honest with himself he had to admit that he felt relieved – lighter. He would always need to hide part of who he was from the rest of the world and that was all right because he didn't care about the rest of the world, but the one thing he cared most about knew his secret now and accepted him for who and what he was.

Suddenly House's cane was poking him in the ribs again. "Come on, Jimmy. Less thinking, more action. Time to fetch your stuff and put away those wings. I need to stop by my office and tell the ducklings not to wreck the place while mommy and daddy are away. Ha! I always thought the kids took after you most, guess I was more right then I thought!" he smirked.

Wilson raised his eyes to the ceiling in silent plea before pinching the bridge of his nose, imagining all the lousy bird-jokes House would come up with in the coming days. Preparing himself for the pain it would bring, he sucked in a deep breath and retracted his wings. Luckily the worst of the sting faded fast, leaving Wilson with a hot throbbing, and he finally put his shirt back on.

House cackled gleefully catching a glimpse of Wilson's smooth back. "That is s-o-o-o-o cool dude!" Then he opened the door and limped off to fetch his own things.

x

Some time later both of them were walking towards the parking lot. "You ok to drive?" House asked.

Wilson nodded. "I managed to get here in one piece this morning didn't I? Driving to your apartment shouldn't be a problem. Fetch your stuff, dump your bike … You can take over the driving then." The younger man knew better than to ask whether House was all right driving his car; they'd need to make some regular stops, but the diagnostician would manage just fine. Wilson blinked. "What will you do with Steve?"

They arrived at House's bike. "Chase will be taking care of my little boy. I first tried to sucker Foreman into taking care of him by telling him he owes Steve, but he got all huffy and argued that the rat never even got sick. I pointed out that Steve didn't know he wouldn't get sick and still put his life on the line for him and then he said that I put poor Steve through all that and did I really want to leave my beloved pet in his care? And he was right – he's still a bit brain-addled you know, wouldn't want him to mistake rat poison for Steve's food. Cameron was out from the start – she hates him! So that left the wombat and he's very willing to please me lately. So now we just need to drop Steve off at his place when we go to yours." House grinned and Wilson could see the blue eyes twinkling with mischief. "From then on it's just gonna be you and me…"

The fond smile that had formed on Wilson's face as House excitedly recounted the hunt for a rat-sitter sagged a bit and a suspicious feeling snuck up on him when the other had finished talking. He'd seen that specific look before and last time it had been directed at him he'd more often than not woken up on the wrong side of a prank! The oncologist sighed, mentally preparing himself for the coming weeks…

The end

A/N2: Just a little explanation as to how I see Wilson for those who are interested… I don't imagine him to be an angel in the general sense of the word – he's too naughty for that when the situation requires it. It's more like he belongs to a very rare species that has been around at least as long as mankind and has intermingled with them. They can only get children with another of their kind, but still – many have chosen to hook up with humans – causing their numbers to drop over the years. They look, age and die like humans and to fit in modern society they often decide to ignore their 'angel'-side as much as possible (just enough to prevent little accidents like Wilson had here ;).