Disclaimer: Not my property. I mean no harm in borrowing these characters.A/N: Thanks to my LJ beta, user "starlingthefool." I welcome concrit and feedback. I really enjoyed writing this story. Thanks to everyone who followed it. Special thanks to everyone who offered feedback - I appreciate your thoughts and encouragement.
Wilson stood in House's bathroom, peering at his reflection and raking his fingers through damp hair. He mumbled under his breath, cursing his feeble willpower and House, who he had left in the shower, lathered in soap and humming into the spray.
This morning, propped up on one elbow beside House, he had considered leaving, slipping out of bed and back to his hotel room. Wilson had uncurled his finger from House's hair, certain that House didn't expect romance, promises, or notes left on his pillow, scattered with endearments and signed 'With love'. His certainty had crumbled, however, when he'd felt House's arm curl around his waist and soft, warm breaths flow across his shoulder.
Wilson had watched the numbers change on House's alarm clock, flipping like miniature panels on a train station schedule. At half-past eight, he'd slid out from beneath House's arm and groggily searched the closet, pleased when he had unearthed one of his own button-downs from a pile on the floor—a souvenir of his brief stay as House's roommate, he'd assumed. Before escaping to the shower, he had reached into the top drawer of the bureau and pilfered a pair of gray socks and boxer-briefs, which House apparently hadn't noticed.
Of course, House had concentrated his waking efforts on ambushing him in the shower. Wilson had gasped and sputtered a mouthful of water as House's hand had wrapped around him. He had done his best to discourage him, muttering concerns about missing the morning rounds, but House had locked an arm around his waist and leaned into him. He had braced himself against the wall, his back pressing against House's front, and felt House's lazy touches develop into firm, steady strokes. His own weak protests had dissolved into groans when House had bit lightly on his earlobe and triggered a hard, sudden release onto the tiles.
Now, Wilson hurried to dress. As he buttoned his shirt, House padded out of the bathroom, a towel secured around his waist. He stood behind him, ghosting kisses behind his ear.
"I'm already late, House."
"You left me in there with a hard-on." House emphasized his point, rubbing the hard curve of his erection against Wilson's ass.
Wilson fumbled with a button on his sleeve. "I have a meeting with a patient in a half-hour." He rolled his eyes at the waver in his voice.
"Are you sleeping with this one?"
"Then your patient can wait."
Wilson spun to glare at him. "She has cervical cancer. Her problem is a little more urgent than yours."
Without a reply, House retreated into the kitchen and made a noisy show of rifling through the breadbox and rattling the toaster. As Wilson knotted his tie, he crossed into the kitchen and peered around House, who hovered close to his toasting bagel.
"Any more of those left?"
House tossed the remaining bagel into the trash and smirked. "Nope."
"Great," Wilson said, throwing up his hands. "Thanks."
When House's bagel popped, he made a grab for one of the halves.
"Hands off." House scolded, slapping his hand. "You shouldn't keep your cancer chick waiting. She has urgent needs, you know."
With a huff, Wilson gathered his jacket and stalked out of the apartment, ignoring the loud crunch as House gnawed on his breakfast.
An accident on Elm forced him to detour through commuter-crowded side streets and spend fifteen minutes stopped in traffic. His stomach grumbled as he drummed on the steering wheel, imagining the morning spread in the cafeteria—an array of fruits, cereals, pastries. Food cravings, however, surrendered to anxiety when he rushed into the hospital's lobby, thirty minutes overdue for his meeting. He began rehearsing a convincing, professional apology and headed for the stairs. As he contemplated a tactful way to translate 'horny cripple,' the sound of his name made him turn his head.
A nurse behind the counter of the reception desk waved at him. "Dr. Cuddy wants to see you," she said.
"I have a meeting with a patient," he said, his feet still carrying him toward the stairs. "I'm very late."
"She said it's important."
Wilson huffed, stalking through the Clinic doors and into Cuddy's office, failing to knock before barging into the room.
"Dr. Wilson," Cuddy announced as she stood behind her desk. "You remember Jane Mesko?" She extended her hand to a blonde woman seated opposite her.
The woman shifted in her chair; Wilson recognized her as his cervical cancer patient. He sighed inwardly, stepping toward her and assuming a polite, apologetic smile.
"I'm sorry, Jane. I—"
"Of course, I'm very sorry. I was held up by unforeseen circumstances."
Cuddy threw him a skeptical look, raising her eyebrows and crossing her arms.
He added, "I'd be happy to discuss your treatment and address any concerns you might have." He swept his hand in the direction of the door.
The patient nodded curtly, clutching her handbag as she rose from her seat.
Cuddy stepped around her desk and stood beside Wilson. "My apologies, again, Mrs. Mesko. I'm sure that this will never happen again. Dr. Wilson is very dependable." The remark made Wilson feel sheepish, and he dropped his eyes to the carpet.
As the patient turned and started walking toward the door, Cuddy leaned close to Wilson and spoke in a hushed tone. "If you want to adopt one of House's charming traits, learn to juggle or play a musical instrument, something that doesn't affect your patients." She returned to her desk, absently rearranging papers as she added, "Or me."
Wilson left without comment and joined his patient outside of the office. He initiated polite chit-chat while he led her to the fourth floor. Despite his in-depth study of scuff mark patterns, he was uncomfortably aware of her eyes drilling into the side of his head. He shuffled with his keys outside his door and, feeling flustered, quickly retreated behind the barrier of his desk, sinking heavily into the chair.
He sifted through his desk drawer for her patient file. "Ah, here it is," he said, slapping the file onto the desk.
The patient gave an insincere, tight-lipped smile as she sat on the couch, her posture unnaturally stiff.
Wilson inhaled deeply, like a diver poised over the deep end, and plunged into a familiar speech. "It's best if we go over your options. Radiation therapy would—"
A frustrated sigh overtook his words as his door swung open. When his eyes fell upon House, waving a set of large X-ray films in his direction, his head fell into his hand.
"Need a consult," House said, advancing into the room.
"I'm in a meeting, House." His eyes overlooked House's outstretched hand and flickered from House's face to his patient's, which began to contort into a sharp, angry expression.
House leaned onto his cane, his hand falling to his side, his head tilting. "It's funny," he said, pausing for a staged chuckle that made Wilson squirm. "When I got up this morning, I noticed a pair of my—"
Wilson stood abruptly, propelling his chair into the bookshelves behind him. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Mesko. You'll have to excuse me for a moment."
Hot air rocketed from his nostrils. He gripped House by the elbow and dragged him onto the balcony, ignoring his patient's glare and House's smug, lopsided grin.
"Hey, go easy on the cripple." House tore his arm from Wilson's fingers.
"You," Wilson pointed a finger close to House's face. "You made me late, made me miss my meeting. I'm not going to 'go easy on you'!"
House propped his cane against the wall. "You never had to stay the night. You could have left any time, showered at your homey hotel, but you didn't."
"I never could have lived with myself if I had damaged your ego," he spit, his voice loaded with sarcasm.
House ignored the jab. "You wanted me to come in. You never even locked the bathroom door. It was practically a welcome mat."
Wilson threw his hands into the air and let them fall with a slap against his thighs. "Of course! How could I forget? Closed doors are invitations to you."
"And that shower was too cold, by the way. I set the temperature next time."
Wilson fought back a grin, gently shaking his head. After a silent moment, he nodded to the films in House's hand. "What do you need?"
House extended the films. He took them, holding them above his head.
Beside him, House bounced the tip of his cane against the concrete. "Late game tonight."
Wilson continued to squint at the film. "I didn't think you'd be able to stand the Yankees for two nights in a row."
"I barely saw five minutes of that game."
"Not my fault. These could be granulomas. Did you test for histoplasmosis?"
"No signs of calcification. And I'm out of chips."
"You're out of beer, too. I finished all your Yuengling last night."
House puffed a burst of air through his nose. "Then bring that, too."
Tossing House a sideways glance, he lowered the films. "It could be cancerous. Did you do a bi—"
Suddenly, House's balcony door swung open. Chase leaned out, holding on to the door jamb. "Biopsy results are in. It's cancer," he said, and ducked back into the office.
House screwed up his face, peeking at Wilson through one eye and clearly bracing for a proverbial slap on the wrist. Wilson stared at him, realization dawning, and wagged his finger at him. "You did do a biopsy, because you already had a theory. You didn't need a consult."
House sighed, snatching the films in his hand, and carefully hoisted himself over the divider.
"House," he called, his voice gentler, laced with unspoken understanding.
House turned his head, one hand on the door handle.
A tiny, half-grin teased the corner of House's mouth as he nodded. Wilson mirrored the gesture. He spun slowly toward his office, passing through warm beams of sunlight. As he resumed his discussion with his patient, practiced words flowing automatically, he let his eyes flutter toward House's balcony and caught himself hoping for another interruption—or two, or five—before the day's end.