Disclaimer: I do not own House, Wilson or any other character from the House series. It's all Fox and David Shore's and they won't share with me.
This will be a rather long story, so please rate and review and come back for the updates :)
Again: English is not my native tongue.
Thanks to mitfordgal for the beta and the formatting help.
The rain fell hard outside and the raindrops against the window drummed in time with the tune Gregory House twiddled on his piano. The room was dark, but he was too much in thought to turn on the lights. A bottle of whiskey and a glass were on the top of his piano and the liquid swirled with every key he played. Every now and then lightning flashed and dipped the room in a ghostly light for a second. The crashing thunder followed almost instantly, but House kept his eyes shut. He reached out for the whiskey glass and had it already up to his lips when he noticed that it was empty. After a deep sigh he opened his eyes, put the glass back and reached right for the bottle. He wanted to get drunk tonight, no need to put it off until later.
Greg House loved the weekends. No people around: no patients, no doctors, no so-called friends. There was no reason to be nice to anyone. Not that he would be anyway, but it was good to have these quiet hours just for himself. He gulped down some whiskey and laid his fingers back on the keys. The usually cool wood was warm, he had been playing for hours. His back and his leg hurt and he looked around for his Vicodin and swore when he remembered he left it in the kitchen earlier. He took another sip of whiskey instead, closed his eyes and started playing again.
Usually the sound of the piano and the swift movements of only his fingers while the rest of his body remained still let his mind drift off and left him with thinking of nothing.
It was that peaceful and calm state House was longing for today, but he felt restless, like something was missing.
James Wilson closed his office door. He was tired and it was finally time to go home. He had not planned to stay this long, but one of his patients with terminal cancer had worsened tonight and he wanted to try a new pain medication to give her some relief.
"Wilson!" Cuddy walked up to him.
"Cuddy. Something wrong?" Wilson saw she was worried about something.
"Do you have any idea where House might have gone?" she asked a little breathless when she reached him. Wilson lifted his eyebrows.
"Home?" he said. "It's 11:30. Saturday night!", he added when she kept looking at him.
Cuddy shook her head. "I know. I tried to call him at home all evening. He didn't answer the phone." Wilson shrugged his shoulders.
"Suppress your number and call him again. He is at home. Where else would he be?" He turned the key and started to walk down the corridor. "Why did you call him anyway?" Wilson wondered what Cuddy had to talk about with House. Something private? House would have told him, wouldn't he? Wilson felt this funny feeling stirring in his stomach again. If it wasn't about House he would have thought it was jealousy, but now this could not be.
"Clinic. I need him in the clinic tomorrow. I had three doctors call in sick and can't do without his help." Cuddy looked desperate. "You have a key to his apartment. Could you please check if he's home?"
Wilson paused. So this was it all about: work. He took a deep breath. House's home wasn't exactly on his way, but then there was nobody waiting for him in his place. "Okay. I'll check and tell him to come here tomorrow, but I can't promise he'll be here then."
"Thank you!" Cuddy put a hand on his arm for a second when he nodded and hit the elevator button.
The lights were reflected on the wet street. The rain had finally stopped and the streetlight shone bright in the fresh air. It'll be a sunny day tomorrow, Wilson thought as he looked up to the stars. The clouds were all gone. He loosened his tie a little and ran a hand through his hair. This was a habit he only allowed himself in his non-working hours.
There was no light coming from the windows and Wilson looked at his watch. It was past midnight, but he couldn't imagine that House went to bed already. He knocked on the door a few times, but there was no answer. After another unanswered knock he pulled out the doorkey from his pocket that he always had with him, but never had to use it before without Greg's knowing. The door opened slowly and he looked into the dark. It was all quiet, but he thought he caught a faint smell of whiskey. "House?" Wilson closed the door and waited until his eyes had adjusted to the dark. "House?" he asked again, a little louder this time. "Are you home?" Wilson went to the living room and saw a shape lying on the piano. Gregory House was still sitting on his stool, with his forehead resting on his folded arms on his piano. "Greg? Are you okay?" With a few quick steps he reached his friend and laid a hand on his back.
"Sure," House grunted barely audible. "Jimmy?" He lifted his head a little.
Wilson frowned. "Who else do you think would come and check on you?" House shrugged his shoulders and his head fell back on his arms.
"I'm drunk", he mumbled and closed his eyes. He felt much better now that Wilson was here with him. The nausea had subsided, but the drowsiness remained.
"How long have you been drinking today?" Wilson thought of how Cuddy had tried to reach House all night. He looked around and saw two empty whiskey bottles on the floor. "Did you drink them both tonight?" The pure thought of that made Wilson's head spin. House didn't answer, but he turned his head a little, so he could get a glimpse of Wilson. The moonlight came in from the window behind him and House could only see his outline, but it was enough to reassure him, that he wasn't dreaming.
Wilson rubbed his chin. What was he to do with House now? Just get him to bed and call Cuddy in the morning to tell her House wouldn't be there? But there might be a slight chance to get him up on his feet again and have him help out Cuddy tomorrow. Of course he would feel miserable, but that will teach him not to empty two bottles of whiskey.
"Drink it up", said Wilson and handed House a glass he had fetched from the kitchen.
House looked disgusted. "That's water!"
"It's water and aspirine, to be exact. Drink it up." Wilson still held the glass in front of House's face.
House lifted his head. "Do you know what acetylsalicylic acid can do to your stomach lining?"
Wilson didn't move. "Do you know what two bottles of whiskey can do to your brain?" he answered coldly. For a split second House thought of throwing the glass at Wilson. Who was he to tell him what to do? But then a cloud darkened the moon and he could see Wilson's worried expression. He reached for the glass and drank the cloudy liquid down. Then he grimaced. "Whatever that whiskey is doing to my brain, it tastes much better than this."
"You better quit with the whiskey for today. Cuddy needs you in the clinic tomorrow." Wilson had decided to go for it right away. Just as he had expected, House's face became rigid.
"So that's what this is all about." He felt like someone dumped cold water onto him. His head suddenly became clear again. The cozy feeling of not having to do or think anything left him. He couldn't quite explain why, but he felt betrayed. Of course Wilson had only come over to deliver Cuddy's message. But then what else had he expected?
"Listen Greg, I'm sorry." Wilson started, but House cut him short.
"That's just fine. I know you jump when Cuddy calls. She's next on your list, isn't she? Had all the nurses and now you go for her!"
Wilson lifted a hand in defence, but House started shouting now. "Now sweet Cuddy needed a doctor for her stupid clinic patients and you thought you would be her hero if you could get grumpy old House to help her out. What a great idea! But you know what? I won't show up! And you get out of here - right now!" He knew none of it was true, but he wanted to hurt Wilson.
"Alright." Wilson nodded and turned around. There was no way he could argue. He had tried to many times. House would not listen anyway. Whatever was bothering him was going on for weeks now. He would jump and shout at him whenever he could. They had not had a good laugh in weeks and he missed it. He was halfway to the door when he turned around to look at his friend. House lay huddled onto his piano, his head buried in his arms again.
House felt lousy. Where did this desire come from that made him want to hurt Wilson so much? He always found the right words; he knew it when Wilson cringed. When this whole thing started about two months ago, Wilson had tried to argue, then changed his strategy to hurting House back. A few days ago he had stopped to respond to these attacks at all. It hurt House more to see Wilson so beaten than anything else, but still he couldn't stop. He felt like crying, but just the thought of sitting crying at the piano made his anger rise. He sat up and a flash of pain leapt through his leg and back. "Get me my pills!" he barked at Wilson.
"Get them yourself!" Wilson shouted back.
House clutched his leg with both hands. "I am sick. What about your Hippocratic oath?" He had not had any Vicodin in hours and felt the cold sweat on his forehead. Why hadn't he noticed before? The whiskey must have kept the withdrawal symptoms from surfacing. Was Wilson still in the house? He tried to listen but the rushing blood in his ears muffled every sound.
Wilson stood at the door, unsure whether to leave or to help House. He was so sick of shouting and fighting. He had seen the vicodin bottle on the kitchen table and assuming that House had been at the piano all evening, he had not taken any pills.
"Wilson?" House's voice sounded calm now and Wilson went to the kitchen to get some water and the pills.
When he came back to the living room, House knelt helplessly on the floor and was struggling with his cane. He obviously had tried to get up, but his leg had not supported his weight. Wilson went over to him, wanting to help him up, but House's growling stopped him.
"I wanted to help you, but you seem to prefer sitting on the floor like a toddler." Wilson stretched out his hand with the Vicodin and House snatched it from him.
"'bout time." His hands were shaking excessively now and he fumbled at the container for a while, but couldn't open it. House held it back up to Wilson who opened the bottle wordlessly, then handed him two of the pills. House threw them into his mouth and waited for them to take effect but was still shaking uncontrollably.
Wilson knelt down behind him and held his shoulders to keep him from shaking. He wished he could do anything to make it stop. "Didn't take any for hours", House mumbled and leaned back against Wilson.
"It's okay, just takes a few minutes to get better." He put his arms around Greg's shoulders to steady him and he felt his weight against his body. For a few minutes they just sat there waiting for the shaking to stop. When House finally calmed down, he slid a little deeper into Wilson's arms until his head was resting at his shoulder. There it was again: this feeling of comfort and safety. No need to think, no need to act, no need to even drink. He was cold, but could feel the warmth of Wilson's body slowly chasing away the icy feeling from him.
Wilson leant his cheek against House's. House's face was still damp from cold sweat, and the stubble felt rasp on Wilson's skin. "Jimmy?" House said softly. "I'm sorry." Wilson didn't aswer, but a smile spread across his face. He hadn't heard those words from his friend in a long, long time. He closed his eyes and savored the moment. He noticed that Greg was playing with his fingers. Where was this whole thing going?
"Jimmy", Greg whispered again after a while. Wilson turned a little to look down to House who had lifted his head. They were so close now that their lips almost touched.
"Hmm", Wilson was too lazy to speak.
"Could you take your damn knee away? It's pressing against my back."
"What?" Wilson was pulled out of his trance.
"Your knees dammit. You are breaking my back!" House shifted and tried to sit up with Wilson's arms still around him.
"Oh. Yeah, sure." Wilson took his arms away and backed off. Of course House had to push him away again, just like he always did. "I got to go." Back on his feet, Wilson felt a little more comfortable.
"I didn't say 'go away'. I said take your knees out of my back." House said harshly and was still on the floor and looked up to him.
"You got your pills and your cane. And you got your ego." Wilson took a step backwards with every word he said. "You'll be fine. I can go. What else would you need?"
House watched him reach the livingroom door. He wanted to shout: 'You! It's you that I need!' But his mouth was too dry. Maybe it was his pride as well that stopped him. Jimmy was right, his ego got into the way. He couldn't stand to be seduced by this moment. He wasn't used to tenderness. Wilson should know this. Why the heck couldn't he understand?
He lifted his cane and pulled himself up from the floor as Wilson turned around and left him alone. The nausea and the cold came back. He had more than one bottle of whiskey after all. The room was swirling fast around him and he tried hard to steady himself. House made it to the hall and saw the door close behind Wilson. Anger dwelled up inside him. He leaned against the wall and threw his cane. "Go then!" he yelled as the cane crashed against the door. "Thanks for getting the Vicodin from the kitchen!" His head dropped against the wall and he slid down to the floor. "Stupid idiot!" he cursed and wasn't sure if he was saying it to Wilson or himself.
Wilson stood in front of the appartement and heard the cane crash against the door. He wanted to run away. He longed for a peaceful place and for someone who would just hold him. A thought of his ex-wife came to his mind. Why did she left him? He really needed her now. Someone calm and understanding, not a screwed up drug-addict like House. Still Wilson knew he couldn't walk away. As soon as the shouting and cursing inside stopped, he put his ear to the door. There was no sound. An old lady opened the door across the corridor. She wore her fur coat over her nightgown. "Something wrong? Should I call the police?" "No, thank you." Wilson tried to smile at her reassuringly and she closed her door again. He was certain she would look at him through the spyhole though. There was no point in waiting any longer. He got his key back out and opened the door. House was sitting on the floor, closed eyes and his head in his palms. Wilson closed the door and leaned against it.
Even though he didn't look up, House was perfectly aware of Wilson watching him. He had not expected him to come back in, but was glad he did, although he would never admit it loudly. He lifted a hand. "Help me up." Wilson hesitated, but took the outstreched hand and pulled him to his feet. House nodded, but couldn't look Wilson in the eye. He picked up his cane and limped slowly to the bathroom.
Wilson watched him go and then went to the bedroom, straightened the sheets and closed the blinds without even thinking. He snatched the second blanket from the bed and turned around to go to the living-room.
"Where are you going?" House stood right in front of him. His hairline was wet.
"I'll sleep on the couch." Wilson answered and noticed how he still avoided his eyes.
"You can stay here", House said quietly when Wilson passed him.
"No thanks, I'll be fine on the couch." House held his sleeve to stop him and pointed his head to the bed. Wilson looked down at House's wet cuffs. "It's all wet." He said pointlessly.
"I've been to the bathroom."
"Eww." Wilson grimaced.
"Happened when I was washing my hands, not before."
"Why did you wash your sleeves then?" Wilson looked up to House's face. Their eyes met and Greg's face showed a little grin.
"Just to have you ask me stupid questions." Wilson's face lit up and he threw the blanket back on the bed.
He felt relieved when he came back to the bedroom where Greg lay on his back on the bed, his arms folded under his head. He had taken off his wet shirt and still had that little grin on his face. Wilson had not seen that smile in ages and for the first time he felt this whole situation could get back to normal.
"I thought you would go", said House when Wilson pulled up his blanket.
"I wanted to, but then your neighbor came out and wanted to take care of the situation. You know that old shrew across the hall. I thought it's either her or me lying in this bed tonight and I came to the rescue!"
"Lucky me," House turned his head towards Wilson. "I guess."
"You GUESS?" Wilson looked up. "She has some bones in her that could give paleontologists some answers."
"Well, with a flower-patterned nightdress you could be a pretty good stand-in." House stared back at the ceiling, grinning.
"A flower-patterned -" Wilson went silent. He gave himself a second to think of an answer, but he couldn't come up with one, so he picked up a cushion and threw it at House.
"Hey! Never fight with a cripple!" House took the cushion and hurled it back and Wilson.
"You think you're really smart bringing up that cripple thing again, hmm?" The cushion flew back.
"Ya, we can pick the weapons!" House pulled out his cushion from under his head and flung both cushions in Wilson's direction.
They fought for a few minutes before both of them sunk tired and grinning back into the sheets. "I bet the shrew is sticking with her ear to your front door", Wilson laughed.
"Sorry sweetheart!" House shouted to the door. "Not today. I got a friend over tonight."
House lay on his back again, but he tilted his head to the side to watch Wilson who was tugged up under his blanket with only his head and his hands out. He had his eyes closed and his face relaxed and House wondered again how someone as gentle as Wilson could be his friend for so many years.
It took Wilson only a few minutes to pretend that he was asleep. He knew House was looking at him and he felt nervous. He rolled over on his stomach, started to breath evenly and kept his eyes firmly closed. He still did not understand what was going on, or he did not want to understand. Wilson was aware of House's body next to him and kept thinking about holding him earlier this night when they were waiting for the Vicodin to take effect.
While rolling over, Wilson had pulled down the blanket a little. His shoulder got cold, but he didn't dare to move.
House noticed the faint shiver and pulled the blanket back up over Wilson's shoulder. Then he pulled his own blanket up and turned towards Wilson. His left hand lay on the bed, really close to his. He looked at it for a moment and then took his fingers into his hand and played softly with them like he had done earlier in the living room. He knew Wilson only pretended to be asleep. Even better. This way Wilson could stop him, if he wanted to. House let Wilson's finger slide through his and then felt how Wilson pushed his fingertips against his. When he looked up to his face, Wilson had his eyes open.
"I hate to be a poor sport, House, but I have to work in the clinic later today."
"Oh yes kill-joy, I forgot about your Cuddy obsession." House let go of Wilson's hand, but he still wore a little smile. "Is she worth it?" He made puppy eyes and Wilson couldn't resist reaching out and ruffling his hair.
"No, but I'll go anyway." House grabbed Wilson's hand and held it close to him. It seemed impossible to let go of him completely.
"Say Jimmy", he said softly. "Earlier tonight, were you about to kiss me? The second before I told you to take your knees away." Greg felt guilty for breaking the spell in that moment and if there was a way to get back into that position he would do it.
"No," Wilson answered shortly and draw his hand back.
'There is no way this is ever gonna happen!' he thought to himself. 'No way!'
Later, Wilson woke up just to find himself cuddled into House's arms. Greg's rough cheek against his chin. He gave him a light kiss on his temple, buried his face into his touseled hair and fell back asleep. It simply felt too good to free himself from this hug.