The hard, hollow sound of wood against wood sparked a combination of excitement and dread. This contradiction of emotion was characteristic of much of Wilson's interaction with House. He was perpetually torn between the exhilaration and aggravation of being House's friend and sometimes lover. Tonight the craving for a shift in the monotony and drudgery of his life won. He did his best to gather his strength and wits about him and pulled open the door.
House pushed past him and without a word of greeting began opening and closing drawers.
"What are you doing here House?" he asked, curious.
"You know the fact that you're living out of a suitcase after being here for months does little to add to the quaint homey vibe of hotel living. Then again, it makes my work a lot easier," House said as he stuffed the clothes Wilson had carefully lain out for the next day in the suitcase and zipped it up.
"What are you doing here House?" Wilson persisted, taking in the sight of House wincing slightly as he pulled the now stuffed and closed suitcase to the floor.
"God, that weighs a ton. What do you pack up your entire hair care arsenal every morning before you go to work?"
"It makes it easier for the maids to have everything packed up. What are you doing here House?"
"You're worried they'll walk off with something so you keep everything locked up in the suitcase, got it. Do people actually like that quality of hiding the true motivation for your actions?" House asked taking a seat on the now empty bed.
"Hmm…considering that's what you do, and nobody likes you, I'd have to say no. Of course, you could tell me your motivation behind coming here and confuse me further."
"I thought it was obvious, I'm kidnapping you. Come on Jimmy."
"What? Where are we going?" Wilson asked, slightly exasperated, but pleased. House was many things, but boring was not among them.
"Well it's not kidnapping if you come along willingly." Wilson shot House the 'I'm serious, tell me what the hell is going on or I'm kicking you out' look, and House relented. "Oh all right, you're coming back to my place. You're no fun as a hostage," House pouted.
"That didn't work out so well the last time House. We were miserable," Wilson was unsure of whether he wanted to go with House or not. He needed to know what exactly House was offering.
"Yeah, well you know what they say about misery and company," House quipped as he patted the spot next to him on the bed.
"Ha, if that were true, you'd never be alone," Wilson said taking a seat. "I have a bed here. I'm not giving that up for a lumpy couch," he said seriously.
"I'm not asking you to," House replied just as seriously.
The hand on his thigh felt so good, Wilson could feel himself getting lost in it. He knew it was pathetic how good the simple act of being touched felt. It had been too long. The intimacy and closeness of that touch gave him some of the answers he sought. He could feel the penetrating blue eyes watching, waiting, already fixed on the exact position Wilson's eyes would be in when he looked up again. When he did, he was surprised to find that the steely determination or apathy he so often found in them were absent and replaced with a sincerity and vulnerability he rarely saw.
"People shouldn't live alone when they're depressed," House said in a voice so tinged with emotion, the admission within those words was unmistakable. "Especially, not in a hotel room with colors that clash as bad as one of Chase's outfits," he joked to recover.
"So, in the last 24 hours you've gone from trying to kill me to trying to kidnap me, and I'm supposed to just go along with this?" Wilson wasn't sure why he was still feigning protest. They both knew he was going wherever House led tonight.
"Oh please, I wasn't trying to kill you," House said matter-of-factly.
"Doesn't change the fact that you could
have. Amphetamines can be dangerous House."
"Don't be such a drama queen. I did not try to kill you. Do you honestly believe that I didn't check your medical records first? All I did was force you to tell me what I already knew. That's why you're really mad isn't it? The whole friendship equals free reign to psychoanalyze schtick is only fun when you get to play Freud."
Wilson knew he should have known, but the reality that House knew was too much. He felt detached for a moment. He heard yelling. It was him. He was yelling.
"You had no right!" he heard his own outraged voice say, but his heart warmed by what House wasn't saying. He cared. He cared to find out what was going on. He cared to try to make things better. The puzzle of the yawn had long been solved. This wasn't about a puzzle. This was about Wilson. He paused, letting the calm return. "You could have just asked."
"Yeah, but sneaking behind your back and then forcing you to admit what I already know has a higher success rate. You tend to have a funny definition of relevant when it comes to sharing things about yourself, go figure."
"It was a long time ago," Wilson said quietly, turning in on himself as he remembered his darkest days.
"I know," House said in a tone that conveyed that he didn't just know of Wilson's suicide attempt, but that he knew what it was like to be there.
"You know?" Wilson asks with a tinge of incredulity. He had his suspicions, and there was Christmas Eve to consider, but to hear House admit it aloud was something different.
"Are you really that surprised? Yes, I know," House replied darkly.
"What? When? Ho-"
"Yeah, about that whole just asking not being effective thing. That rule applies here."
"You can't possibly think I'm going to let that go?"
"Fine, you want to play that game, you first."
Wilson shifted uncomfortably, but soldiered on. "What do you want to know?"
"Twice. The first time was the time in high school that I'm sure you read all about. My brother had disappeared only to return with a full-fledged heroine addiction. I had always felt such a kinship with him. Watching what happened when he came home, refusing to conform, demanding my parents see who he really was. The burden it placed on them, the disappointment and hurt they shouldered. Their marriage had always been strained, it was on the verge of ending completely then. I was afraid of turning into him. I thought they'd be better off without me. I thought it might be easier for them to bury me then to have to watch me turn into my brother. I didn't think my not existing any more would really matter that much. The second time was more recent, but that feeling of just not mattering all that much, that was the same," Wilson squeezed his eyes shut as if in physical pain.
The emotional tempest borne within threatened to overwhelm Wilson. He felt a hand on his chin, guiding his face till it was just inches apart from House's. He could feel the older man's breath on his face.
"You matter Wilson," House said with gentle force.
Wilson eyes moistened and his nose stung as he let himself feel what House was saying. He rubbed his eyes, letting his fingers rest at the bridge of his nose for a moment. "All right, it's your turn, when?"
"More then twice, a few times. First time, I was twelve. We moved around a lot, my dad…" House hesitated, unsure of how to continue. "We never got along," he said finally. "Sometimes my mom got caught in the crossfire. I didn't have any lasting ties to anyone but her. The times it seemed like I was just making it harder for her…" House trailed off. His voice was quieter when he spoke again. Wilson leaned in to hear him better, and rested his head on House's shoulder. "It just felt like it might be easier for everyone, if I wasn't around. More recent times, there's that, and other stuff."
"Other stuff?" Wilson pressed unsure of whether he would get a response, but feeling like he had to try.
"What do you want me to say? Fifty percent of chronic pain sufferers are suicidal. But then, as my prescribing physician you should already know that."
"Are you a part of that fifty percent?" Wilson lifted his head off of House's shoulder so he could look at him.
"Not today. Today I'm talking about feelings with my bestest friend in the whole wide world," House said mockingly, daring Wilson to pry further.
"House?" Wilson said asking to be let in, without pushing, content to let things lie.
House was already too worked up. He took it as an affront.
"What? What do you want me to say? It sucks to be in pain, it sucks to be in pain all the time with no hope of it ever stopping. It's chronic. There's no rest, no breather, no end in sight, except death. And yeah, some days it sucks and hurts so much that if death is what it takes to end the pain, it doesn't seem like that much of a sacrifice. Gee, I'm so glad we had this chat. I feel much better, how about you?" House said loudly, bitterly.
Wilson was not swayed by House's offensive attempts. It hurt, it hurt to talk about these things and hear about them, but he did feel better. It hurt that he felt like he failed House, but he did feel better. He felt better because he had House by his side, in his bed. He felt better because he had something that was important enough to him to incite such feeling. Misery didn't love company, misery wanted company to give it a break. He was less miserable with House than without him.
"Yes, actually, I do feel much better," Wilson said matching the intensity of House's tone, but keeping the volume low. He sandwiched House's face between his hands. "Easier is not always better House. Maybe you're right, maybe some things in my life would be 'easier,'" Wilson said drawing quote marks in the air, and returning his hands to House's face "without you, but it wouldn't be a life I wanted to live. It's a theoretical easier, as in maybe in another universe if I had never met you because now that I know you, I wouldn't get over losing you. Everything would be much harder."
House closed his eyes and lowered his head for a moment. When he looked up and opened them again they bore a devilish glint. "You're just saying that because I make other things harder," House said with levity.
"Well, there's that too," Wilson said smiling.
House couldn't help but return the smile, as he rose from the bed, rubbing his thigh for a moment when he got to his feet. "Well, since you've foiled my kidnapping attempt, I guess I might as well forgo the blindfold. That way you can do the heavy lifting," he said cocking his head toward the suitcase.
Wilson grabbed his phone and wallet. "Keep the blindfold for later," he said casually as he looked around to make sure he hadn't left anything behind. He knew playing it cool was the way to drive House to distraction. Satisfied that he had everything, Wilson wheeled the suitcase behind him as he walked through the door House held open.
"I take it back. There's hope for you as a hostage yet."
"Sometimes a little hope's all you need," Wilson said as they stepped into the elevator.