"Nice place you have here, Doc." He runs a finger down the middle of the side table, drawing a faint line in the dust as he walks by. "So you're a professor or something?"

"Chit chat. Something neither of us needs," House grumbles. He limps his way over to the couch and sits down heavily. "Time is money in your profession, right?"

"In every profession, I'm told. My name's Tony," the man says, "in case you wanted to know."

"I didn't." House pulls out his pill bottle and downs two Vicodin dry. "You're circumcised?" House asks.

"Yeah." Tony leans against the piano, all lean lines and sharp clothes. "The girls warned me about you." He gazes at House questioningly. "Most customers aren't switch-hitters. They usually stick with what works."

"The girls don't work anymore." He eyes the form of the man standing before him. "Your profile said you were six-two."

A sheepish grin, a wink. "Maybe it's more like six even, but what's a few inches between friends?"

House grabs a tumbler from the coffee table, taking a long draught. "I should've asked for the pun-free model," he says when he finishes his slow sip. To himself, he mumbles, "Six foot is better anyway."

"Better for what?" Tony asks with a pout.

"Nothing." House waves a hand in the air. "What's off limits?"

Tony considers for a moment. "I don't do bareback," he says finally. "Everything else is fair game."

"Kissing?" House asks with a raised brow.

Tony laughs. "This isn't Pretty Woman. It really doesn't tear at my soul. Kissing is fine."

House nods to himself, still studying the stranger's face. The resemblance is eerie.

The man is younger, of course, and a bit thinner. His hair is a little long, but that's an easy fix. The eyes are brown, the mouth is properly curved, the cheekbones are spot on.

He takes another swig of smoky scotch. "There are going to be rules," he says slowly.

Tony takes his tone for hesitation instead of methodical thought and soothes, "Hey, whatever you're thinking of, trust me, it's not that weird. I've seen it all; you can't shock me."

House glares up at him. "First rule: no talking. When you walk through that door," he points to the green slab with the glass, "I don't want to hear a word from you."

"What, is my voice too grating?" Tony asks with a grin.

"It's the wrong tenor." House takes another sip. "Don't turn on any lights. Also, you'll need to trim your bangs. And you'll wear this." House kicks a shirt box from under the table, and it skitters to a stop at Tony's feet. He bends to retrieve it, pulling off the lid to find a crisp dress shirt, slacks, a tie, and a bottle of aftershave. He examines each item with interest.

"Wow," he drawls. "So your fantasy involves…an accountant?"

House shakes his head and looks out the window, a distracted look on his face. "No, a doctor."

Tony raises an eyebrow. "Well," he holds up the striped tie, "McDreamy he is not."

"I'm not paying for you to look McDreamy. Or Steamy." House rubs at his forehead with the palm of his hand, then gestures to his lame leg. "And you'll have to work around this."

Tony gives a sly grin. "You want me to play nurse, then?"

"No," House deadpans. He draws a wad of folded bills from his jean pocket, squirming uncomfortably on the sofa to fit his hand in. "Beginning next week, every other Thursday at eight."

"Why not start tonight?"

"Tonight's no good. You're not who you're supposed to be."

Tony takes the money and surveys it with a practiced eye instead of unfolding it and counting. "This is only half."

"You get the rest next Thursday, plus another two hundred," House says, leaning back into the leather cushions. "You can't tell anyone the details of this arrangement. Not your boss, not your friends, not your priest."

Tony snorts. "Got to love doctor/patient confidentiality." He closes up the box and grabs his jacket from the coat rack. "So, should I just keep calling you Doc?" he asks.

"You won't be calling me anything, remember? Rule number one." House turns on the television, already ignoring his guest. "And you'll answer to 'Wilson,'" he says, and waves the man away.

In the dark, House can't really tell the difference. The clothes help: the bright white of the Oxford, so familiar, and the musky scent of mid-range aftershave. He threads his fingers through the brown locks, tugging the other man's head over his crotch impatiently.

"Come on, Wilson," he groans. "Suck me."

It's familiar territory for House; it doesn't differ that much from getting a blowjob from a woman. The hair he's yanking is shorter, but a mouth is a mouth.

Maybe if he pulled his pants all the way down his legs, he'd be able to feel the rough cheek against the skin of his thigh. But House doesn't want to show the scar. Not yet, anyway.

"Harder," he says, soft and quiet, almost a gasp. Embarrassing. "Come on, harder," he demands louder.

Tony hums deep in his throat, and that earns a stern reprimand: "Keep your voice down." Then, to continue the fantasy, House adds, "The neighbors might hear you, Wilson."

A small lick or nip of teeth, anything unexpected or off the beaten path, House isn't too keen on that either. House nearly pulls out a handful of brown hair when he dips his head to lave at House's balls.

"Don't do that," House says breathlessly. His body shudders with pleasure, but still he says, "Don't."

Tony does it again, of course. (Customers often say no when they mean "more please.") House pushes him away with shaking hands, strong on his shoulders. He snaps on a nearby lamp, and the scene is broken.

"I mean it. Don't do that," he repeats. "It's not something…it doesn't fit, okay?"

Tony sighs. "What, 'Wilson' wouldn't do it, you mean?"

House looks affronted, but it's hard to do with his hard cock hanging out of his fly. "What are you now, a therapist?" House shoves himself back into his pants and gets off the couch, unsteadily grasping at furniture as he makes his way to the kitchen.

Tony puffs a frustrated breath out of his mouth and leans back on his heels. His newly cut hair is mussed, and his borrowed clothes are creased and rumpled. "You don't want me to finish?"

"Money's on the table," House calls, his voice muffled while he hunts around in the fridge.

"You didn't even come!"

"Not your fault," House says grudgingly. "Took me months to find a guy with the right kind of face. You're an investment." He pulls a jar out of the fridge and struggles with the lid. "Next time, when I tell you what to do, do it."

"Sex without surprises isn't any fun," Tony says, rising to his feet and stalking into the kitchen. "This isn't about control for you. Telling me what to do every few seconds? It's going to get old for you real fast."

He eyes the jar of marmalade in House's grip. With a sigh, he plucks it from House's fingers and loosens the top.

"It sounds to me like you're not giving this dream guy enough credit," he says, handing the open jar back with an arch look. "Maybe he wouldn't lick your balls. So what? If he's as great as you seem to think, he'd do it if he knew you liked it. Which you obviously do."

House slathers a piece of bread with a generous spoonful of marmalade. He chews at the snack thoughtfully. "This is the first time a hooker had to sell me on ball-licking," he mumbles around the mouthful.

Tony loosens his necktie with a shrug. "If this is going to be a long-term arrangement, I have to do my job or else you'll get frustrated, and I'll stop getting my money. So let me do what I'm good at." He reaches into the fridge and pulls out a white carton of leftover Chinese. "You gonna eat this?"

House chews for a moment before answering. "Uh. Yeah."

Tony slowly puts it back in the fridge.

It gets better.

Tony is nothing if not thorough, and he earns every penny. He begins picking up small mannerisms, knowing by House's reactions that they mirror the mysterious Wilson.

One move never fails: Tony walks in using the spare key, stands silhouetted against the window in the dark room, and rubs the back of his neck with a tired sigh. The first time the little scene plays out, House attacks him with a savage kiss.

"Fucking tease," he growls against his throat before shoving him to the floor. Some rough grinding and an expert handjob later House is one satisfied customer.

"Goodnight, Doc," Tony says quietly before he leaves, but House is already snoring on the sofa.

"Jesus, Wilson," House whispers, pounding into the willing body bent over the back of his sofa. With both arms braced against the sofa as well, House is able to keep the weight off his leg.

From behind, the effect is even more amazing. The sweat-damp dark hair at the nape of the neck, the broad expanse of pale skin, the smattering of freckles on the shoulders…

House bites down on one of the little marks, earning a grunt from his stand-in Wilson.

"You going to come?" he demands, pistoning his hips faster.

The pretender nods, pressing back onto House's cock with an inarticulate whine. House curls an arm around the actor's chest, pinching at his nipple, pulling him flush against his chest. Tony twists his head around and kisses House with a warm and greedy mouth.

He tastes like mints, and House could easily imagine that taste on the real Wilson's tongue. That thought pushes him over the edge, and he doesn't try to hold back.

"You love this guy?" Tony asks as he pockets his night's earnings.

"Shut up," House says without any real venom.

There's an awkward night a few weeks later. They're in bed (Tony feels like he finally graduated from the living room) when the phone rings. House is in him, so they ignore the persistent ringing.

The answering machine clicks on and a man's voice floats through the house, magnified on the scratchy tape. "House, you there? It's Wilson."

Tony picks his head up in mild interest. He half-expected Wilson to be a figment of House's imagination: the perfect, unreal man.

House freezes, looming above him in the dark, his hand still wrapped around one of Tony's ankles.

A sigh on the machine. "I know you're there; it's your Thursday poker night. Just give me a call when you have time."

Tony isn't sure how events should play out now. He reaches for House's shoulders, but the older man is already climbing off him and slipping out of the room.

"Some poker night, huh?" Tony mutters to himself.

The money's on the table like usual and Tony feels only the smallest twinge of guilt when he takes it.

One night, Tony finds himself seated between House's spread legs, his back against the man's chest. All his clothes are on the floor. The shirt will need mending; buttons are hanging by little strands of thread.

House is jacking him off with one hand, exploring lazily with the other. Several times, Tony tries to reach back and play with the clasp of House's belt, maybe paw at his chest through his thin T-shirt, but House stops him every time.

"Tonight's about you," he says in his ear. He's slow and careful, trailing fingertips with infinite patience. From House's half-whispers, Tony can piece together the story: it was a hard day at work, and Wilson deserves some reprieve.

While Tony shudders helplessly in House's grasp, he wonders what the real Wilson is doing tonight to help with the stress.

Another Thursday, Tony kneels wordlessly between the older man's legs, but House bats his hands away from the fly of his jeans.

"Not tonight, Wilson," he says. His speech is slurred.

Tony isn't sure if this is part of the fantasy, but he keeps his mouth shut just in case.

"Come here." House pats the cushion next to him.

He takes a seat on the sofa, wondering at this change in the script. House leans into his side casually, like a kid might.

"'m tired," House mumbles into the side of his neck. Tony reaches an arm awkwardly around his shoulders and lets him sleep, pressed tight against him.

Near midnight, he goes to leave and finds the stack of cash on the table. As if nothing's changed. He hesitates, his hand hovering over the crisp bills. But he ends up taking them anyway.

"I can't do it anymore," he complains over the elaborately drizzled coffee. "The guy is getting too weird. Who pays six hundred bucks to nap on someone's shoulder, Nikki?"

Nikki shrugs and blows the steam off her chai tea. "I think it's tragic," the woman says. "But not that fucking tragic. Take the old man's money; you need it."

"Not this bad, I don't," Tony says. "I can go back to waiting tables or something." He surveys the little coffee shop with a calculating eye.

"You were a shitty waiter," Nikki says matter-of-factly. "And you would never make the kind of money Gimpy is offering."

"I'm telling you, he's going stage a murder-suicide one of these nights." He shudders dramatically. "No thank you. The Doc can stab the real Wilson to death."

A customer in the nearby line drops a wallet with a surprised yelp. Change goes skittering across the floor.

"Oh, here," Tony says, picking up the coins and flitching a few quarters in the process. (The washing machine in his building is coin-op.)

He presents a handful of pennies and nickels to the man, who is staring open-mouthed at him. Tony's smile falters, because he's staring in a mirror. The man could be his brother.

"Shit," Tony blurts out.

"Yeah," Wilson agrees.

It's pitch black, inside and out, when the door to House's apartment creaks open.

"You're late," House says, splayed out on the couch.

Tony shrugs and runs a hand down the inseam of House's jeans in apology. He kneels, tugs at the zipper and the cloth in the darkness. House lets out a sigh and tilts his head back. His fingers dig into Tony's hair, like usual.

"Need it right now," House growls, a warning and a directive.

The touch on his cock, the wet tongue, the puff of breath. House lets his eyes close, his imagination run wild. Tony's hands and mouth are always expert in their ministrations. But he chokes back a small whimper in his throat, and House knows something's wrong.

"Shhh," he cautions. He strokes the brown hair carefully.

But there it is again, that small sound when his mouth is busy sucking at House's cock. Quiet but unavoidably there.

"Shut up," House says, angry now at the fantasy being so rudely interrupted.

Tony moans then, low and long, and House is so furious at the little slut. Who does he think he is, going off book like that and ruining everything?

He pulls at his hair hard, hard enough for the other man to cry out in pain, cock slipping from his lips.

House stops moving completely, because he's heard that noise before. Tony backs off, wiping at his mouth, and clicks on the reading lamp.

And it's not Tony at all. Kneeling there on the floor in his brown suit pants and white shirt, his French shoes and his striped tie. His lips red and wet, his hair twisted into a mess by House's hands.

"Hey," Wilson says.

House places a throw pillow over his dampened crotch, as if that will help.

"I thought you were someone else." He can't manage to say much else.

Wilson drags his fingers through his hair, trying to comb it back into place. "That much is obvious," he says dryly.

House fiddles with a loose string on the pillow. "So…?"

"I just paid some kid eight hundred dollars to stay home tonight," Wilson sighs. "I think it qualifies as the largest sum ever given to a hooker to do nothing."

"He was a hooker?" House says, his eyes wide in feigned surprise. "I thought he was just a very ineffective physical therapist."

Wilson gives him a little smile. He leans back in and nudges at the beige pillow. "Can I finish what I started?" he asks, all innocence. "Or are you going to rip out the rest of my hair?"

Friday morning, and House is struggling to the surface of wakefulness. He blinks at the bright sunlight streaming through the window, spilling across the pale blue bed sheets. He looks down at the man still asleep against his chest.

He's not sure it's real. Is almost positive it's not.

House lifts a hand from Wilson's shoulder and carefully moves a lock of brown hair from his shut eyes. Wilson shifts slightly, rubbing his cheek against House's bare skin before settling down again.

House lets out a breath he's been keeping trapped in his lungs. He lets his head drop back to the pillow. It's still early; they don't have to be at work for a few hours. He shuts his eyes and falls back asleep, Wilson a warm weight in his arms.