Get Used to It
Pairings and Characters: Established H/W, the rest?
Disclaimer: House MD and related characters belong to David Shore and Fox, not me.
Summary: As a follow up to "Can't I Have Both?" House and Wilson begin to date, only to realize how surreal it all seems. On top of that, the duo realizes how differently they have come to terms with their sexuality and therefore, how they differently they planned on treating their new relationship.
As Wilson entered the restaurant, he could not help but smile to himself in utter glee and disbelief. The room was dimly lit with candles shining on every table, and the house lights set to their lowest setting. The atmosphere itself was very cozy, and as Wilson continued to walk into the restaurant he noticed couples at nearly every table, dressed slightly formal from slacks and a tie to a nice blouse and high heels. The host greeted Wilson with a cordial smile.
"Hello, how many?" he asked, continuing to smile at Wilson.
"Two tonight," he responded, holding up two fingers.
The waiter glanced around, looking for a female companion – or any companion for that matter. Wilson shook his head slightly and responded.
"My friend's running a little bit late. Can you still seat us?" Wilson asked cautiously.
"Oh," said the waiter, recovering, "yes – yes of course, right this way, sir."
He led Wilson to a small booth in the corner of the restaurant, making the table lit by not only the candle on the table, but by the moonlight which managed to peak in through the blinds over the window. Wilson's smile grew bigger as he remember that wonderful moonlit night prior which was the entire reason why he was at this restaurant now, waiting on House. Perhaps the moon was their spotlight, or even their source of guidance...
Wilson thanked the waiter as he slid down the cushioned seat of the booth, placing his trench coat alongside him as he moved. As the waiter walked away, Wilson took the solitary time to check his appearance. His black slacks remained unwrinkled and clean, matching the cleanliness of his equally black shoes. His suit jacket completed the black outfit, while his white shirt underneath remained pure and unstained. Most significantly, unlike a typical day at the office, Wilson had decided to wear a simple, deep blue tie. Perhaps it had been unconsciously done to match House's eyes...
Again, Wilson found himself chuckling with sheer happiness and disbelief. He'd never done anything like this before, whether dating a woman or not. Not to mention he'd never felt as absolutely blissful about being with anyone, compared to how he felt now in his solitary booth, waiting for House. It was all so new and strange to him to have a partner which fit to him like a glove in such a bizarre manner. He had always had a very twisted friendship with House, therefore Wilson knew he could expect nothing other than a very twisted relationship. But Wilson also knew he was ready for it; he'd waited for four years.
Wilson slowly broke out of his thoughts as he glanced anxiously at his wristwatch. Ten minutes had passed since he'd been seated and there was still no sign of House.
"Typical," Wilson muttered to himself. Had he really expected things to be any different?
"'Typical' what?" a growling voice to Wilson's left. Wilson jumped slightly from excitement and being startled, but he recovered quickly to glance up and see House towering over the table, smiling slightly at Wilson's reaction. Wilson began to chuckle yet again as he gestured for House to sit down. As House obeyed, placing his cane at the end of the booth, Wilson took in House's unique wardrobe.
For what seemed like the first time in his life, House was wearing black slacks with a matching black suit. The formal wear almost made up for his hair, which was as scruffy as ever, and his unshaven face. Nonetheless, Wilson couldn't complain about House's appearance; it successfully impressed him, but not to the point of being overwhelmed. Overall, it signified to Wilson that this event meant something special to House while simultaneously reminding him that he was still Dr. Gregory House.
"Nice of you to stop by," Wilson quipped, giving House a sideways smile.
"Figured you'd be in the neighborhood," House said, continuing to settle into his seat.
As he finished shifting over, he overdramatically placed his elbows on the table, hands at his chin, as he stared deeply at Wilson. Wilson felt himself blush slightly as a ridiculous smile formed on his face for possibly the fifth time that night.
"So... now what?" House said, his chin still resting on his hands.
"Well," Wilson said, fumbling for something to say, "we talk."
House raised an eyebrow.
"Y'know... about our likes and dislikes," Wilson suggested lamely. He knew he was making it seem as though he'd never been on a date before, but to him, this entire situation felt like something entirely new and unfamiliar. Wilson had to mentally check himself, remind him: House is just like anyone else you've dated... why are you suddenly so awkward?
House broke into a laugh, sitting up from his deep recline on the table. "Wilson, you've known my 'likes' and 'dislikes' for the past four years."
Wilson placed his head in his hands embarrassedly, "I know, I'm sorry. It's just – it's just that I haven't done this before." As soon as he said it, he knew he'd made a mistake. House was bound to attack him for it any second now...
"Hey, you're the one with a track record. So now you're claiming they don't exist? Awfully selfish of you," House responded as wittily as Wilson had predicted.
He sighed before he attempted to correct his faux pas. "House, you know what I mean."
"And if I don't?" House dared Wilson to speak his mind.
"Then excuse me for being the first guy on earth to fall in love with his best friend – his best male friend at that."
"Hasn't stopped you."
"You're... unique," Wilson said pathetically.
"I love it when you talk like that," House said, only a slight sense of sarcasm in his voice as he gave an exaggerated sigh and slid back into his position with his hands resting on his chin.
Instead of giving House his typical stare, Wilson felt himself breaking into a strong laugh.
"House, this is so surreal!" he said, throwing his arms out so the backs of his hands rested on the table's edge. "Never, in all four years of knowing you, had I expected that one day I'd be sitting across from you on a first date struggling to find something to talk about."
"We're not struggling," House said, creating an exaggerated pout, "we're just getting started. Besides," he said, lowering his voice in a finishing tone as the waiter began to approach their table, "there's a first time for everything."
"Hmph, apparently so," Wilson muttered as the waiter arrived at their table, ready to offer drinks.
House and Wilson fell into an animated conversation long into the night as they patiently waited for their food to arrive. As always, their conversations traveled at the speed of light, bouncing from one absurd topic to the next. As their food arrived, silence fell across the table for the first time, only as a result of food filling their hungry mouths.
"So," House said in-between bites, "going to keep in touch with Amber?"
Wilson looked up from his fettuccini alfredo with slight confusion. He swallowed, picking up his napkin to dab at the corners of his mouth.
"Is that all you can talk about?" he asked testily.
"Hey, I'm a jealous guy," House teased, his mouth full of salmon.
Wilson let out a small laugh for the umpteenth time that night, twirling his pasta as he smiled. He looked up at House, choosing to ignore the topic of conversation House had attempted to tread on.
"I just can't believe this," Wilson said at last, setting his fork down on the side of his plate as he spoke. House threw him a slightly worried sideways glance as he temporarily stopped chewing.
"You're happy about this, right?" he asked slowly, still not chewing the food in his mouth.
"Yes, of course I'm happy!" Wilson brushed away House's underlying concerns. As he finished his sentence, he saw House resume chewing.
"It's just," Wilson continued, "I've never been so hung up on a person on a first date before. I've never sat and thought to myself, 'Wow, it's finally happened' or, 'I can't believe that there's a mutual bond – that time matched itself up to bring us together.' I've never thought like that before and suddenly, that's all I can focus on! It's always been about making or creating the pair through slowly getting to know the person – not finally bringing out into the open what had been there for years. I've never thought to myself with relief, 'Good, it wasn't just some crazy notion I had: it's real.' I've never had to, and now," he finished his speech with yet another disbelieving laugh, "here I am."
House simply remained silent and scrutinized his partner, slowly taking in his daunting speech. Wilson saw his silence as an opportunity to add on.
"For the record, I refuse to believe that this disbelief hasn't passed through your mind..."
"That doesn't mean I want to talk about it," House grumbled, although he flashed a quick, guilty smile. "At least this way we get to the sex faster," he said, raising his eyebrows dangerously as his eyes widened in silent laughter. Within the next split second, Wilson could've sworn he saw House give him a small wink. He jumped slightly in surprise, shook his head rapidly and stammered in response.
"D – did you just.. wink at me?"
House shrugged, "Never could do it before."
"It's just.. so unlike you," Wilson said, still trying to grasp the bizarre concept.
"Yeah, well, now you get my romantic side," House said, flashing his blue eyes once again.
"Wow, that'll be a first for everyone," Wilson teased.
"Oh shut up about pretending Stacy never existed," House argued.
"We never really hit it off..." Wilson reasoned, attempting to cover up his implicating sentence.
"Gee, I wonder why," House said sardonically.
"Oh no, now you're going to analyze me."
"You get all the fun stuff," House whined.
"House, don't---" Wilson began, holding up a hand behind another fit of laughter. "You're mocking me; stop."
"Oh, but it's so fun," House continued to whine playfully, "I never got the chance before."
"I've never done this before," Wilson responded, gesturing to the cold fettuccini in front of him.
"Hmm, what happened to your wives?" House asked, turning his head slightly sideways to give Wilson an x-raying stare. "They fall off the face existence?"
"I meant with..." Wilson turned slightly red as he stared at his food, struggling for words that wouldn't offend House, "with another man."
"Pfft," House quickly brushed off Wilson's comment, "like it's any different."
"Should be less complicated," Wilson said, playing on the comical stereotypes.
House smiled quietly, "Yeah – it's just you and me; can't get any more complicated than that."
Wilson smiled, picking up his fork once again to finish off his cold meal.
The duo fell into content silence once again as they finished eating, and the conversation failed to pick up until their plates had been carried away and Wilson sat in anticipation for the bill.
As he gazed out through the blinds of the window, Wilson couldn't help but think about the sunrise destined to come and the new day that would be brought with the new light. This led him to think, with a pang of newfound nervousness, of a question which needed to be asked.
"House..?" he began, turning his gaze to House's face.
"Do you... think we're ready to tell the hospital about this?"
House put his hand on his chin and thought for a moment, gazing out at the window as Wilson did previously.
"They'll find out eventually," he said in a matter of fact sort of voice as he shrugged.
"Yes but—" Wilson paused, "are you ready for them to find out?" Wilson could feel the tension his question had caused both at the dinner table and within his heart. He knew House's answer would be different from his own personal choice, yet he had to ask – he simply had to know.
"Yes," House finally answered. He looked up into Wilson's worrisome brown eyes. "Are you?"
Wilson could only close his eyes and sigh as he sank into his seat. "There's our first obstacle," he said quietly. He knew he ought to be ashamed of his choice, but he knew he had to prioritize and that his personal comfort came before anything else. If House truly loved him, he'd be able to accommodate, whether he wanted to or not.
House sighed alongside Wilson, sliding his hand down the side of his face. "How can you be ready to date me, but not be open about it?"
Wilson shifted guiltily and uncomfortably in his seat. "I'm still getting used to it... I guess..." he said, his voice trailing off.
"Well hurry up," House said.
"I might say the same to you," Wilson said as the waiter passed by, handing the bill to Wilson's outstretched hand.
House raised a curious eyebrow.
"You're paying for our next date which should run to about..." he read the bill, his brown eyes growing wide with shock, "$150.00 not including tip." He lowered the bill from eye level so he could give House his annoyed stare.
"What'd you order? The caviar?" he asked exasperatedly.
"Salmon," House replied as he began shoveling the apple pie doused in whipped cream that was sitting so temptingly in front of him. Wilson rolled his eyes and scoffed.
"What?" he then argued at Wilson's reaction. "You expected me to turn into a whole new person? Maybe wearing frills or something?"
Wilson sighed yet again, "No, of course not. I guess I'm just---"
"Still getting used to it," House interrupted between a bite of apple pie, "yeah, I know."
Wilson smiled despite himself, "And that's why I'm dating you – not someone else."
"Free apple pie?" House said, waving a piece of pie on his fork.
"No: free understanding."
House chuckled with a mouthful of pie.
They left the restaurant several hours later and several servings heavier, carrying their coats at hand to face the cool, evening breeze that awaited them outside. They stood together underneath the awning which extended to the sidewalk, supported by two bronze colored poles. It created a canopy, blocking their view of the few stars which could theoretically be seen despite the city lights. Wilson shivered as he slid on his trench coat, pulling it tight around him. House copied him, yet did so without shuddering from the weather. The two then stared at each other, both knowing that this was the moment to make a move, yet both remained frozen; either from the cold or from nerves was open to interpretation.
At last, House stepped forward, within several inches of Wilson's cold face. He grasped Wilson's shoulders, running his hands firmly down Wilson's sides as he continued to shiver slightly. Wilson could only gaze at the glittering sidewalk as House continued to massage his arms and shoulders. He enjoyed the feeling – it gave him security and a sense of unity, but he still maintained a fleeting sensation of self-consciousness which prevented him from looking House compassionately in the eye and planting that passionate kiss on his lips that he desired to give.
In his mental torment, he felt his body give a half step forward as he raised his head slightly. House sensed his movement and attempted to finish the gesture that he knew Wilson intended, but instead fell forward slightly due to Wilson's hesitation. House was forced to compromise his small lunge forward by wrapping his arms around Wilson in a tight yet awkward hug. Wilson's arms were still at his side, and as he stood there being embraced by House, he knew he'd made things entirely worse by showing his hesitation rather than following through. He also knew House would torment him about it in the near future.
As House's arms fell from their embrace, he took a half step back from Wilson and began to scrutinize his friend. Wilson could sense a small twinge of doubt forming in House's mind. Wilson shook his head quickly, raising one reassuring hand to House's face.
"I love you," he heard himself whisper. "Just... not here, okay?"
House blinked heavily at Wilson's secret, attempting to comprehend the beautiful words that had passed through his lips followed by the words of concern and self-consciousness that would probably continue to be stated for at least the next few dates.
House felt himself nod emphatically, smiling despite the frustration that was bubbling inside him. He knew the best thing to do was to let Wilson come to terms with his paradox of discomfort by himself, but he wanted to help – he wanted to move things along. His understanding of Wilson prevented him from simply grabbing the sides of his face and entering a passionate, swooning kiss.
It was also clear to House that Wilson's self-consciousness would continue to be a barrier for as long as it took for Wilson to accept their relationship as entirely real. As a result, it would be a matter of time before he could take Wilson in his hands and physically respond to Wilson's whispered confession. Frustration ran high as House slowly backed away from Wilson, giving him a small wave good night before limping off into the darkness to find his car. He'd simply have to hurry along the process. After all, hadn't he told Wilson to "hurry up"?
"Heh," House chuckled as he started his car engine, "Wilson's in for it tomorrow."