"So now you're solving your cases in your sleep?" Cuddy asked incredulously.
House shrugged, leaning back into her comfortable office couch, his cane dangling between his fingers. "It's a living, right?" he said with a grin. "Maybe I could go on Conan or something."
Cuddy shook her head slowly, as if arguing with herself. She pressed her palms against the top of her desk. "But you dreamt of John before I even handed you the case," she said. "How is that even…?"
"Here's my theory," House said with a flourish of his hand. "Either I make a habit of fantasizing about battlefield amputation." He frowned. "Not likely. Or," he pounded the tip of his cane against the carpet to punctuate his words, "I. Am. So. Psychic."
"You're a freak of nature, I'll give you that," Cuddy growled, but was interrupted when her office door swung open, revealing Dr. Wilson. "Hey, how did House know about the Marine before I handed him the case?" she demanded of him.
Wilson blinked, glanced at House, and then ventured, "He…saw him in waiting outside your office when he arrived? House would have known he looked familiar but couldn't quite place him. Went to his office, went to sleep, almost figured it out in his dream." Wilson shrugged. "Just a guess. By the way," he gave House a thumbs-up, "cool superpower. Though I'd rather fly."
Cuddy turned back to House, her mouth hanging open. "I can't believe you. You saw him!"
"Now she'll never want to dissect my brain for science," House accused Wilson, looking up at his towering form. "What are you doing here anyway?"
"I'm always here," Wilson said glibly. He took the folders from under his arm and held them out to Cuddy. "I need you to sign off on—"
House levered himself up off the couch, cutting off his friend. "I'm going to get some real work done," he announced. "I'll be napping in my office, curing cancer."
"I'll notify the Nobel committee," Wilson sighed as he watched his friend limp away.
House woke up with a jolt, nearly knocking his headphones off his ears. He was reclining in his office's Ikea chair, his feet propped up on the matching stool. Wilson was knocking at the door, gazing at him through the glass.
House swallowed, trying to get the weird dry feeling out of his mouth.
"Hey," Wilson said, pushing the door open with something like triumph. "I figured out how you dreamt of Sergeant Kelley before Cuddy gave you the case. You must've seen—"
"He was outside Cuddy's office. I couldn't remember how I knew him, so when I went to sleep, my brain supplied more data," House finished for him, pulling his headphones around his neck. Then he paused. "We didn't just talk about this with Cuddy?"
"No," Wilson said slowly, drawing the O out for several seconds. "Should we?"
Another long pause. "Let her think I'm a mind reader," House said, swinging his legs off the footstool with some effort. "Maybe she'll stop thinking about me covered in lime Jell-o."
"Okay, first, gross. Second, did you just have another premonition?" Wilson got a small smirk on his face. "Because I'll tell you, that's pretty cool, but—"
"You'd rather have the power of flight," House finished. He groped for his cane, which had fallen to the floor.
Wilson stooped to get it for him. "How did you know?" he asked, expression disbelieving.
House's blue eyes went bright like they usually did when he was weighing probabilities. "Could be a lucky guess. It's what most people would pick," he said with a tilt of his head. "Or maybe I know you well enough to know that you relish the combination of freedom and easy escape. Or I could be totally reading your mind." He mock-gasped. "Jimmy! For shame! Stealing Cuddy's perverse fantasy."
Wilson rolled his eyes and was about to retort (with some lame pop culture reference, House imagined), but his pager went off. The younger doctor glanced at the screen and sighed. "I've got to go. Will you be around later tonight?" he asked, heading for the door.
"Yeah. Got to wait for some tests to get back," House said. "You?"
"Come on, Sylvia Brown." Wilson gave him a tired smile. "I'm always here."
"Beige motel rooms will do that to you," House shouted at his retreating back. But as the door swung shut, his brow furrowed, trying to remember something he knew he'd forgotten.
With a firm stroke of his right hand, House crossed LUPUS off the white board. Outside, the full moon was climbing in the dusky sky. "Tests came back negative," he said loudly. "So what's next, people?"
Foreman picked his head up from his folded arms. "Could still be blood clots," he said, his voice rough with weariness. The team had been there since the early morning, and unlike House, they didn't have the benefit of midday cat naps.
"The scan was clear," Cameron reminded him. She was frustrated; they all were.
"The scan was inconclusive. Clots would explain the pain," Chase argued. "I think we should go back in with the sonogram."
House grabbed his cane from where it hung on the whiteboard and quirked an eyebrow at his fellows. "Better than sitting here on our butts all night," he said with a nod. "Do it."
Chase and Foreman rose to comply, but Cameron said, "What are you going to do when that scan comes back clear too?"
"Oh, you know me so well," House said in a sickeningly sweet voice. Then, in his normal rumble, "I'm working on it. Don't wake me up until you've finished the sonogram. I'll be in Wilson's."
"Why there?" Chase asked. "Are you thinking cancer?"
"I'm thinking his couch would be a nice change from sleeping in a chair," House called over his shoulder as he hobbled out of the diagnostics office with a wave of his hand. "Go, be free."
"It's called lucid dreaming," Wilson said around a mouthful of baby spinach. He was shoveling his salad in his mouth like he hadn't eaten all day, which, knowing Wilson, he probably hadn't. "You're dreaming, but your mind is aware of it. Everything's clearer, more precise."
House took pity and only stole his bottle of iced tea and a bag of Fritos.
Wilson didn't even try to snag them back. He just sat on the edge of his desk and watched House uncap the bottle and drink greedily. "Maybe if you could control the dream, you would be able to figure things out faster," the younger doctor suggested. "Like when Peter Parker had to learn to use his spider sense."
"Maybe the only way to arrive at the answer is to let the dream run rampant," House retorted, stretching out like a cat on Wilson's couch. "By the way, I won't know until you leave me alone and let me get some shut-eye."
"Hey, there're plenty of beds you could crash on. You came here to my office. I have ten more minutes to eat my dinner. I'm not wasting that by walking to the cafeteria." He continued to root around in his salad, stabbing at a crouton. "You can get your beauty rest as soon as I'm done."
House snorted to himself. "You've got a patient undergoing surgery soon. You should be getting ready. You shouldn't be eating." He raised his head off the armrest slightly to stare at Wilson. "You shouldn't be here."
"It's my office!" Wilson repeated.
House ignored him and glanced at the cold bottle in his hand. "And you hate iced tea. It's only here because I want it to be," he said slowly. "I'm having a lucid dream."
"No, you're not," Wilson said, shaking his head and spearing another handful of greens.
But House was on a roll. "You didn't even try to stop me from taking your food. Like you expected it," he continued.
Wilson rolled his eyes. "Yeah, you're right. Your behavior should still shock me after all these years. You always take my food."
"If I'm in REM cycle right now," House glanced at his wristwatch, "and I should be if I fell asleep when I got here, then I should be able to control this dream."
"Okay, if this is a dream, make something happen," Wilson countered, setting his plastic bowl of salad down on the desk and crossing his arms over his chest.
"I'm going to solve this case," House said, struggling to sit up. "Hand me that book." He used his cane to point at the reference manual on the top of the bookshelf.
Wilson pinched the bridge of his nose in agitation, but reached up to get the book anyway. House grabbed it out of his hands and flung it on Wilson's desk.
"I'm going to open this book to a random page," he said, "and whatever entry I point to, that's what the patient has."
"Wow," Wilson deadpanned. "I wonder how Mr. Stevenson will react to the news that he might be pregnant. House, this is insane."
"It's brilliant," he argued. "My mind knows what's wrong with this guy. Somewhere, locked in the twisted machine of the human brain, we have the answer. We just need to find the key." He looked up at Wilson, who was still chewing. "These dreams are the key."
With no more fanfare, House flipped open the heavy book and stabbed his fingertip against the page.
Wilson glanced over House's shoulder. "Lupus, huh?"
"Fuck." House slammed the book shut, his mouth twisted into a scowl. "It could have been anything but lupus."
"This isn't a dream," Wilson reminded him in a smug way.
"Obviously, or it would be Dr. Jessica Alba ruining my day instead of you," House snapped back.
"House," Cameron called from the doorway. The two male doctors looked up at her. "Scan came back clean. What a surprise." She sighed. "Any other ideas?"
House frowned, ignoring her for a moment to swing his attention back to Wilson. "Why did you buy iced tea?"
"Uh…" Wilson glanced at the woman in the doorway. "I think your dying patient tops the list of priorities at the moment."
"Foreman is thinking maybe an infection of the—" Cameron tried.
"You never buy iced tea!" House continued. "It's always bottled water."
Cameron took a deep breath and spoke louder this time. "The infection could be spreading while the—"
"Maybe the cafeteria was out of water," Wilson said as if speaking to a child.
"Then why didn't you get a Sprite or juice? Why this?" House waggled the half-empty bottle in front of his friend's face.
"Hey!" Foreman shouted over Cameron's head into Wilson's office. "Dying guy. Anyone else interested? We were thinking of maybe fixing him."
"Be right there," House grumbled, pushing away from the desk. He pointed an accusing finger at Wilson as he left. "But you are not off the hook, mister. When I get a handle on these mental powers, I am so controlling you."
Wilson slurped a tomato into his mouth and waved goodbye to House with his fork.
"Surgery went okay?" House asked when Wilson came into the diagnostics office some hours later, still dressed in his pale peach surgical scrubs.
Wilson shrugged and helped himself to the coffee that Chase had just brewed. House sat perched on the glass table, a sheaf of test results in his lap. He'd just sent the fellows away to test for any rare blood disorders the first round of tests may have missed.
The hallways were quiet. He could hear the wind in the trees by the balcony.
"It was touch and go for a bit, but we got her through," Wilson said, adding two little plastic cups of cream to his coffee. "How's your Dream Patient?"
"Decidedly not dreamy," House said with a scowl. He held up the crackling scans to the light to look at them once more. "I tried to catch a few minutes of rest, but I couldn't get to sleep. Thought I'd just do this the old-fashioned way and cure him on this plane of existence."
"Good to see you back to your old self, and not obsessed with my beverage choices." Wilson blew the warm steam from the rim of his red mug.
House glanced up. "It was weird. I like weird."
"It's not so weird to get a craving for something once in awhile," Wilson pointed out. "Haven't you ever thought, man, I could go for some broccoli with cheese sauce? Except the only time you've ever had broccoli with cheese sauce, you didn't like it?"
House shook his head. "Always hated vegetables disguised in yummy sauce. It's like a big, edible lie that your mother has been telling you forever." He turned back to his scans. "Breaks your heart, really."
Wilson didn't say anything, but House could see the small smile playing on his lips before he sipped from his mug. The younger man turned and looked through the vertical blinds at the night sky. The moon was out of House's sight, but its bright glow was touching everything. Almost midnight, then.
House flipped through the patient's chart again.
"Don't worry," Wilson finally said to break the silence. "You'll find the answer. You always do."
"Not always." House frowned at his friend's back. "You're usually the first one to remind me of that. Or you and Cuddy take turns for tag team matches." He cocked his head to the side. "Am I asleep?"
Wilson scoffed and turned from the window. "I'm offering you moral support, so I must be a figment of your imagination. Very nice."
"It was more the mental image of Cuddy in wrestling gear that made me think dream. Or nightmare, depending on how it pans out." House regarded him for a moment, then held out his hand, palm raised up. "Come here," he said in a low voice.
Brown eyes blinked once, slowly, before Wilson moved forward, set his cup on the table, and let House take hold of his wrist.
"The real you would have asked me what I was doing," House muttered, rolling the delicate bones of Wilson's wrist against each other.
Wilson gave a sharp laugh, his eyes rolling towards the ceiling in exasperation. "For the love of god, House, I'm not—"
"'I'm always here.' Why did you say that earlier?" House demanded, grabbing the elegant handle of his cane in his free hand.
"What?" Wilson asked, his face still disbelieving. "I was just joking around with you and Cuddy..."
"Cuddy wasn't there when you said it for real." House tightened his grip on Wilson's bare wrist. "I'm dreaming."
"I was about to say," Wilson huffed, "that I was joking around with you and Cuddy has me scheduled for every weekend shift for the next month, so it's true." He pulled his arm out of House's hand. "I'm not a dream."
"Yeah, you are," House said hotly. He swung his cane up behind Wilson's legs and caught the other end with his left hand, effectively hemming him in. The wood rested against the small of Wilson's back, forcing him closer. "You actually brought up the iced tea, when the real you would have gladly forgotten about it."
"Again with the tea," Wilson sighed.
"And the broccoli and cheese?" House asked, staring up at Wilson's pinched face. "My love-hate relationship with green vegetables? You're in my head. You're my dream. Mine."
Wilson stood stock-still, not even breathing. House realized how close they were, sharing their personal space, with Wilson standing between his knees.
Nothing like reality. Except it smelled like Wilson, and it breathed like Wilson, and it felt like Wilson, but it couldn't be.
"The handbook," House said in a low voice, nodding towards the fellows' desk. Wilson dutifully reached over to grab it. The cane fell away.
"Go ahead," Wilson said, holding the book out to him, his face blank.
"Quick, gimme. I might wake up soon." House flipped it open and pressed his hand against the page. His face fell when he read the heading. "Lupus again," he groaned, throwing the book to the floor. "Why the hell won't this work?"
"Huh." Wilson said simply, not moving though the cane was back at House's side. "Imagine that."
The older doctor raised his head from the cradle of his hands and looked up at Wilson with a suspicious gaze. "Why the tea?"
"You know why." He brought his left hand up to touch House's temple, trailing the fingers lightly over the fragile plane of the other man's skull. "You know."
"House, seriously, wake up," Chase said in a harsh whisper. He nudged the sleeping man with the toe of his brown leather shoe, and House's blue eyes flew open with a start.
"I slept?" he asked groggily.
"Uh, yeah. For quite a while. We did the blood tests." The Australian doctor waved a folder above House's face. "They came back negative."
House yawned and reached his arms out for a full-body stretch that lasted for several moments. Sleeping on the floor wasn't ideal for his back or leg, but it had served its purpose. Although, he thought, it didn't do a damn bit of good. Just a lot of Wilson talking his ear off. Not a lot of life-saving. He sat up slowly, rubbing his hand across his eyes.
"House?" Chase prompted. House looked at him like he'd never seen him before in his life. Then the look passed and he just appeared angry.
"Are you going to sell tickets to the Cripple Stands Up Show, or are you going to give me a hand?" he barked. Chase quickly bent down to grab House's left hand, the one not occupied with the nearby cane.
As he pulled himself up using Chase's arm as leverage, House grunted, "Okay, so all the cool blood disorders are out. How's the patient?"
"Getting worse. His kidneys are shutting down." Chase finally got House upright and steady. "Foreman and Cameron are with him now, explaining the results."
"Fantastic," House said. He held up his wrist to check the time. Not quite midnight. "Wilson out of surgery yet?"
"I don't…what does that have to do with the case?" Case asked, jamming his hands in the pockets of his white coat.
House shook his head. "Don't know," he said with false cheer. "But apparently, I'm supposed to." He paused. "Maybe I do. I already know."
The young blond doctor watched him hobble to the door. "Do you even care that Mr. Stevenson is going to die?"
"Gotta go!" House called over his shoulder.
He nearly slammed into Wilson coming around a corner in the hallway. The younger doctor was wearing the peach surgical scrubs from his dream.
"What's the matter?" he asked, seeing House's wide-eyed look.
"It's lupus," House said, leaning heavily on his cane to catch his breath.
"It could be anything but lupus," Cameron cried. "The tests were negative!"
House paced around the glass conference table, gesturing wildly with his free hand. "Who did the tests?" he demanded.
"I drew the blood," Foreman offered, "but the third floor lab was taking overflow for the sixth floor. We had to use the auxiliary lab."
"So who did the test?" House asked again, rapping his fist on the table for emphasis.
There was a moment where the three fellows refused to speak, glancing at each other meaningfully. Wilson, who had been leaning against the glass wall watching the proceedings, studied their faces.
"I did," Chase finally said. "But I didn't screw it up."
"We need to do it again."
"House," Cameron protested. "We ran the test twice. It's going to come back negative a third time."
"That's because this guy is one of the," House waved his hand in the air, "I don't know, two percent of lupus patients who don't show ANA antibodies."
"It's three percent," Cameron corrected. "And it's incredibly rare, not to mention—"
"Yes, I see your point. How silly of me to assume this case was odd." House stopped his circuit of the table. "Do a biopsy of the inflamed tissue. That will be more conclusive than the blood tests if our guy is in that three percent."
"We're cutting out a piece of his skin because you had a dream about a textbook?" Foreman's voice pitched high in anger. "You have got to be kidding. We need to start him on—"
"We can argue over this until the sun comes up," House interrupted, "which is much sooner than you think, or we can do things my way the first time. Now go, all of you."
As the younger doctors scattered, Wilson pushed himself off the wall with a sigh. "You do realize that you're just going on a hunch and not the facts, right?"
"On the contrary. The book showed me the answer twice in a row." House sat down heavily in a chair at the head of the table.
Wilson placed his hands on his peach scrub-clad hips. "That's just a coincidence! You probably only dreamt about it because it happened in real life. It doesn't mean anything," he said.
"It means something." House chewed for a moment on the tip of his thumbnail.
"Oh, just like the—" Wilson began, but shut his mouth with a click.
House looked over at him. "The what?"
"Nothing." Wilson rubbed the back of his neck and trained his eyes on the carpet. "It's just getting late; I'm tired."
"Go home. Get some rest," House suggested, the words leaving his mouth before he thought about them.
"Yeah. Home." Wilson smiled sheepishly and took the few steps towards the door. "I have so much paperwork to catch up on, I may as well pull another all-nighter. Tell me what happens with the patient, okay, Miss Cleo?"
The door closed behind him with a thump. House stuck out his bottom lip in thought. "You're always here…"
"Well?" House leaned over Cameron's shoulder, trying to nudge her away from the microscope. "Don't bogart the sample. What's there?"
"We can confirm the lupus," Foreman said, crossing his arms over his chest. "Turns out you were right."
"Can't wait for the parade to start," House said with mock giddiness. Then his face creased back into his normal frown. "Start him on Cytoxan and Plaquenil. Then we can all finally go home and get some sleep."
A ragged cheer came from Cameron and Chase, but Foreman just rolled his eyes and grabbed the chart.
Allowing himself a pleased smile, House made his way to the elevator, intent on finding Wilson before he fell asleep face-first into a pile of drug trial forms. The patient was cured; now for the second mystery.
When House came into Wilson's office, he found the other man at his desk, his head propped up in one hand, his eyes drooping as his pen scratched on the paperwork. He'd changed out of the scrubs and back into his shirt, tie, and slacks, though they looked a bit wrinkled.
"I was right about the lupus," House said.
Wilson put down his pen and leaned back a little. "That's good," he said, cracking his neck.
"You don't seem surprised."
"I'm just glad it all worked out." Wilson tried to pick up his pen again, but House slapped his cane over it. Wilson had to yank his fingers back to avoid getting them crushed. "What's the problem?" he asked with a resigned sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"You aren't going to lecture me on the dangers of treating a patient based on a hunch?" House queried.
"No. I'm going to do some paperwork. Maybe have a cup of coffee. Then do some more." Wilson's eyes narrowed. "Does that plan sound fine with you?"
"I need to know something about the iced tea," House said.
Wilson blew a breath out in a combination of a laugh and a frustrated sigh. "You've got to be joking. Can't you let it go?"
"Do you want to move back in with me?" House asked bluntly.
Wilson looked around the room wildly, as if searching for hidden cameras. "Not quite the subject change I was hoping for," he murmured. "What does that have to do with…?"
"You don't drink iced tea. Yet you bought a bottle for dinner because you knew I was going to be here, and you wanted me to have it. You wanted to be extra nice to me for some reason." He leaned across the desk, letting it support his weight. "And both you and Dream Jimmy have been dropping some not-so-subtle hints about your horrible hotel life. So tell me what the deal is."
"The deal is…" Wilson buried his face in his hands for a moment as if to give him some breathing room. Then he picked up his head and looked straight at House. "Yeah, I want to move back in."
House shrugged. "You said it wasn't a good idea before."
"Turns out living in the Holiday Inn Express at seventy-nine bucks a night isn't a good idea, either," Wilson retorted. "Besides…"
"Here we go." House rolled his eyes up to the ceiling.
"…I worry about you," Wilson finished anyway. "Any less human interaction and you might devolve into grunts when communicating with patients."
"But if you don't want me to, that's fine." Wilson pulled his pen out from under the cane and settled it between his left thumb and forefinger. "It was just a thought."
With fingers drumming loudly on the desk, House pursed his lips. "I'll have to think about it," he said.
"Okay." Wilson bent over his paperwork once more. "Oh, and House?"
Blue eyes lifted to meet his gaze.
"You're still dreaming," Wilson said.
House jerked awake to find himself stuffed in a near-fetal position in one of the waiting room chairs in the clinic. Foreman stood before him, both eyebrows raised to ludicrous heights.
"Want to know the test results?" he asked.
"It's lupus, right?" House croaked. His fellow nodded, and he got to his feet as swiftly as he could. "Start him on the—"
"Already on it." Foreman watched House's quick progress towards the elevators. "What's the rush?"
"I'm having a bit of a Groundhog Experience," House shouted before the metal doors snapped shut.
He barged into Wilson's office to find him in the exact position of his dream.
"A subconscious manifestation of events," he muttered from the doorway. "Or maybe a logical extrapolation of normal circumstances."
Wilson looked up. "Working on pick-up lines? Points for creativity."
"The dreams," House barked. "They won't stop." He limped his way into the office, slumping onto the couch in a boneless heap. "I feel like I haven't slept in days. I've been running around all night in my dreams, trying to cure this lupus guy. And I have, twice." He rubbed his creased forehead.
"It's been a long day," Wilson said in a calm voice. "Go home, take a warm bath, get some real sleep, not the twenty minute naps on random hospital furniture."
"Do you want to move back into my place?" House asked, his tone almost whining. "Because if you don't…"
Wilson's eyes widened slightly. "I wasn't going to bring it up until later, but yeah. I've been thinking about it. Have you?"
"I guess I have. Or maybe I noticed you've been thinking." House groaned and dropped his head between his knees as if to ward off nausea. "My brain feels like rice pudding," he said.
"You dreamt about me…asking to move back in?" Wilson asked slowly. "What, what did I say?" He dropped his pen into his desk organizer and watched House's face carefully.
"I don't know," House answered like a petulant child, clenching and unclenching his fingers around the crook of his cane. "I'm more worried about the breakdown of reality, you know."
Wilson's head sunk until his chin hit his chest. "Oh god," he whispered. "I told you, didn't I?"
"Told me what?" House snapped.
"I knew you'd react this way." Wilson shook his head. "That's why I never bothered." He gave a bitter laugh. "You and your stupid superpower dreams."
For a moment, House thought his friend might be close to tears. "Wilson?"
Wilson dragged a hand through his hair and gave House a lop-sided smile. "At least the worst part's over," he said. He stood up, nearly knocking his chair over in his haste.
House tried not to jump. "What are you babbling about?"
"I want to see," he said. "I don't care. I want to see everything." Wilson crossed the room and fell to his knees in front of House, grabbing the belt loops of his blue jeans.
"Whoa!" House squirmed in his grip, but Wilson knocked the cane from his hands. "Look, if you're hurting for rent money, there are much less dramatic ways to go about this."
"Shut up," Wilson growled. "You're such an idiot sometimes." He yanked down the fly of House's jeans and pulled them to his knees.
"What the hell do you think—?"
Wilson raised his eyes, and House's breath caught at the unfamiliar fire there. "When you pay women to sleep with you, you never take off all your clothes. You pull your cock out and let them ride you, because a little zipper burn beats showing this to a stranger." He bunched up the soft blue cotton of House's boxers to reveal the jagged scar on his right thigh. "But I don't care. I want to see," he breathed.
House didn't say anything, just watched Wilson slowly duck his head and part his lips. His warm mouth touched the shining, damaged skin softly at first. Then, another brush, harder this time. House flinched.
"Hurts?" Wilson asked, his breath puffing against the leg in front of him.
House found his voice for one word. "No."
Satisfied, Wilson went back to his task, tentatively dragging his tongue against the concave flesh. The licks became bolder, and he laved at the scar like a cat. House couldn't help the twitches in the surrounding muscles, sometimes painful, sometimes not.
"You shouldn't do that," House said quietly. "You don't know where it's been."
"Yes I do," Wilson answered with no hesitation.
A hand hovered for a moment in the air before House finally dropped it to thread through Wilson's soft hair. "I'm dreaming." He sighed. "This isn't real."
"Have you wondered," Wilson asked, lifting his wet mouth from House's leg, "why you're dreaming at all?"
House shrugged. "Better than HBO?"
A sad smile crossed Wilson's lips. "Wake up, Greg."
House's eyes fluttered open, and he felt that strange feeling of being completely alert after sleep. Cameron was shaking his shoulder. He glanced around the otherwise-empty exam room. He'd fallen asleep on the exam table.
"The tests confirm lupus," Cameron told him, her face lit up with the thrill of a diagnosis.
"I know," he said. "Already started him on the Cytoxan and Plaquenil?"
She nodded. "And the patient seems to be responding to the…House?"
But he was already out the door, following the familiar path to the elevator, up to his floor, down the hall, and into Wilson's office.
Same desk. Same paperwork. Same ruffled late-night oncologist.
Wilson looked up at him. "I heard your insane hunch worked out. So the guy had lupus…" He tossed his pen onto the desk as if giving up on work. "You're either a fortune teller, or you really are solving cases in your sleep. You could telecommute if you wanted."
"I want you to move back in with me," House said.
A staring contest commenced. "You… like me sleeping on your couch?" Wilson finally asked.
"I think you do too." House stood stiffly in the doorway, examining his shoes. "Am I wrong?"
Wilson blinked. "No, not really. I'll, uh, I'll make some arrangements." He shuffled some papers around on his desk as if looking for something. "At the very least, it'll save me some money while I look for a new place."
"You have money," House pointed out.
Wilson rolled his eyes. "Fine. It'll…be like old times. A nice break."
House shook his head. "No, it won't."
Throwing his hands up in the air, Wilson cried, "Well, why move back in, then?"
House licked his dry lips. "You love me," he said.
Wilson's mouth fell open, and he looked like someone had just read his diary. He pointed a shaking finger at House. His jaw worked, but no word came out.
"Thank you," House said, "for the iced tea." He turned to leave.
"Hey," Wilson called softly. House turned to face him. Wilson shrugged and put his hands on his hips. "Am I really going to be sleeping on the couch?"
House tilted his head, his mouth turning into a smirk. "The bed's big enough," he said.
When Wilson crossed the room in three long strides, House was surprised at the solid feel of his hands on his shoulders, his lips at the corner of his mouth. Until that point, it could have all been a dream, but House knew that even his imagination couldn't have supplied the noise in Wilson's throat.
"You'll do the dishes, of course," he murmured against Wilson's neck, just below his ear, when they broke for air.
Wilson laughed into his shoulder. "Otherwise," he leaned in for another kiss, "none of this would seem real."