It was a night like any other at Princeton-Plainsboro, except for the fact that House wasn't where he was supposed to be. But then, amended Wilson, that was typical of House, crotchety pill-popping doctor that he was. So it actually was a night like any other. Shaking his head, he entered House's office and sat in House's chair. He had been told to meet House here at precisely eight o'clock, but it seemed to be shaping up into just another one of his friend's pranks. And if he was going to be pranked, Wilson reasoned, he deserved to sit in the comfy chair.

Wilson had fallen asleep by the time House showed up, a full two hours late. House banged his cane on the desk, and Wilson jerked awake mumbling apologies to…someone. Damn, House thought—I should have kept my tape recorder on; this could be the best blackmail ever and I'm missing out!

"Oh, House. It's, uh, you."

"No, I'm Jake Gyllenhaall, and you're still dreaming." House said, pulling his cane back beside him for support.

Wilson squinted at him. "…What?"

"I'm joking! Jeez, Wilson, you have no sense of humour at night." He sat in the chair across from Wilson and pulled his legs up onto the desk, wagging his sneakered feet in Wilson's face. Wilson rolled his eyes.

"I was told you wanted to meet me here, oh, two hours ago." Wilson said, raising his eyebrows to help emphasise House's lateness.

"Huh, I got a page saying you had something to say to me. Seems like this was some kind of set up, all right, we were set up, I'm going to go now." House said, vaguely annoyed.

As House began the process of getting up, Wilson watched with an indecipherable expression.

"Actually, House, I guess I do, uh, have something I'd like to say to you."

"Oh, and you tell me that now that I've finally got out of the chair. Thanks a lot." House said sardonically, but he showed no sign of leaving.

Wilson looked down, tangling his fingers together as he tried to arrange his words in a coherent way. Finally he decided that he might as well just go ahead, as it wasn't going to sound right no matter how he put it.

"Well, ah, we're no strangers to love."

House snorted. "You know the rules, and so do I."

"See, a full commitment's what I'm thinking of. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't get this from any other guy."

Wilson swallowed, and House raised an eyebrow as he waited for the oncolgist to continue.

"I, uh, I just want to tell you how I'm feeling. I at least have to make you understand."

House sat back down and crossed his arms, mildly amused. Might as well see this through, he thought, if only to have an interesting story to tell his next patient.

"I'm never going to give you up or let you down, I'm never going to run around and desert you—" Wilson winced as House let out a loud bark of laughter.

"Let me guess. You're never going to make me cry? Never going to say goodbye?" House leaned across the desk, narrowing his eyes. "You're never going to tell a lie and hurt me?" In his black jacket and t-shirt, he seemed to blend into the dimly-lit office, a spectre of judgement.

Gathering his dignity, Wilson pressed on. "House, we've known each other for so long."

The other doctor nodded in impatience. "Your heart's been aching but you're too shy to say it, I get it, can we jump to the end?"

"Inside, we both know what's been going on." Wilson looked at him carefully. "We know the game and we're gonna play it, because that's all we've ever done."

House sat back. Wilson's words had struck an unexpected chord somewhere deep within, as much as he hated to admit it. He had always thought that Wilson, Mr. Womaniser, had been oblivious to the undercurrent of honesty beneath his constant jokes and insults.

Wilson had been watching the emotions play across House's face (he had always been poor at hiding his deepest feelings) with no small feeling of triumph. Loosening his brightly-patterned tie and consciously relaxing his body language, Wilson broke the silence that had descended.

"How are you feeling?"

"Don't tell me you're too blind to see."

Wilson smiled—he could have smirked, but he knew that that was an expression better saved for later. Carefully extending a hand across the desk, he repeated in a murmur, "I'm never going to give you up."

Taking Wilson's hand in his own, House chuckled. "I can't say I'm never going to tell a lie."

Wilson laughed. "Of course, House. We've known each other for so long; I don't expect any more from you." He looked into House's eyes, now seeming impossibly bright, and House met his gaze and held it.

"We know the game," House said, now completely serious. "And we're going to play it."