A/N: In honor of House finally coming back on, here's a fluffy little one-shot I wrote over Easter. Knowledge of Jesus Christ Superstar is a plus, not a must. Enjoy!
It was three months since the Tritter disaster, and there hadn't been a single phone call. Probably. A Restricted number had shown up a few times on his cell phone, but as soon as Wilson picked up it was always just a dial tone.
He would sort of like to think that House was reaching out to him, or at least considering it... but he knew it was probably not to be. The stupid screwed-up friendship that he now realized should have come first - before the law and before his feelings and, yes, before House's own good even... it was probably gone forever.
It was three months without a word beyond necessary professional interactions - which there were fewer and fewer of; House could get very creative on finding second opinions when he needed to. Wilson wasn't lonely; he had more friends now than ever, people who actually wanted to make plans and meet people and make them feel at home. He wasn't lonely, just... different.
Not that that was a bad thing, he always told himself. He'd already noticed that his gait had developed a funny little drag to compensate for House's limp when they walked. God only knew what other changes, less visible and much less benign, House had been wreaking on him gradually and without his knowledge...
So he wasn't unhappy, exactly. He wasn't pining. He wasn't. It just... ached sometimes. All right, all the time. It was a great big hole inside that hurt like hell whenever he let himself notice it, but the answer to that was just get on with his life and not let himself notice.
This is fine. I'm fine. My life is working.
He didn't even realize where he'd stolen all those surly little one-liners from. He became nicer, nicer than he'd thought possible, sometimes ate lunch with the stupidest person he could find, because a person did not have to be cold and brilliant for you to share a laugh with him. So there. His pendulum was swinging hard, and he didn't even realize whose trajectory it was following.
He was fine. After a brief period of banging his head against the brick wall of House's pride, he'd given up and settled in for the long haul. He was fine. This was life now. Not worse, just... different.
So when his phone rang and the caller ID said House - at 8AM on a Sunday no less - Wilson knew something must be wrong. He picked it up right away and tried not to sound panicked. "Hey what's up."
"Hey. Uh-..." Slight pause. "You're out of breath. Did I disturb you in the midst of, you know, making nice to Little Jimmy or something?"
Wilson blinked. That's what I get for caring. "I-..." He swallowed, hard, and tried to retrieve his verbal riposte. One sentence, and already he was flustered? This was just embarrassing. "Little Jimmy can wait," he said at last, smoothly. "What's up?"
"Come over." House was a little intense, a little challenging... but only a little. It was almost the way it had always been.
"Now? But what's...? House, why are you even awake? This is like the crack of dawn for you." And you still have a bead on his sleep schedule, Jimmy. Yes, you've really moved on.
"Well, your people might not keep track of this, but it's Easter," House quipped, so fast that Wilson knew he must have been expecting the question. "I'm going to show you true religion and save your soul."
He sighed. "House, seriously."
House sighed back. "Seriously I have beer and Jesus Christ Superstar, and you are totally going to watch it. Come on over."
Even after three months Wilson remembered enough to be wary. "Come on. What do you really want?"
There was a silence. Wilson could feel icicles forming up on the phone cord as House said: "I wanted to feel like an idiot, rather than a lonely idiot, when I perform my one single quasi-religious gesture of the year. Forget it. Happy Easter."
House was tossing his phone up in the air and catching it. Toss. Catch. Toss. Catch. Toss-
Even faster than he'd expected. "Are you really that scared of going to hell?"
A soft, patient Wilson-sigh. "I've turned over a new leaf, House. You're an ass, but now I do things like, oh, I don't know... give people a chance. You really want to hang out?"
"Yeah." House looked at the table, where he really did have beer and Jesus Christ Superstar, and just to keep Wilson's suspicions down ordered: "And bring me something to eat."
Typical, typical House. Wilson grumbled the whole way to the bakery, where he picked up an obnoxious bunny-shaped easter cake to go with their Chinese food, which he phoned in so that it would arrive just when he did.
House didn't open the door for him or the delivery guy. This meant he was either annoyed, exhausted, or his leg was hurting. He'd sounded playful on the phone and it was too early for him to be worn-out, so he probably-
No, Wilson told himself firmly. You are off of House-duty, permanently. Let him take care of his damn self.
He noticed there was a candle burning on the desk. He glanced to it as House set the movie up and said, "You don't actually mean this to count as a religious gesture, do you? You told me they sing."
House looked up from his lo-mein with wide eyes. "Music can be holy too, Jimmy. Give God a chance."
Wilson shut up and opened a beer, figuring that whatever House's game was, it would eventually become apparent on its own.
Whatever it was, though, House seemed content to take his sweet time about it. He sat and ate and watched... and sometimes, though he didn't seem to notice, hummed along.
Wilson noticed that and it occurred to him that maybe, for once, there was no ulterior motive. No game. Maybe House really did have this bizarre ritual, and maybe sharing it really was a gesture of some kind.
Occasionally he would drop some comment, like "So when did your people stop wearing those totally rad hats?" or "The chicks kinda dig the white robe thing, don't they... what do you think Cuddy'd say if I wore that to work?"
Wilson was trying, trying to stop overanalyzing everything House said. He was trying to just act natural and hang out with his friend, to let the movie distract him from his anxious, unpleasant thoughts...
He watched as Judas writhed in the dirt screeching out a song about how wrenching it was to have to sell your best friend out to the police.
And yet, somehow, his own clever comments to Tritter notwithstanding, Wilson didn't catch on until House asked, perfectly neutrally: "What's he thinking?"
His stomach flipped. Oh.
"Because I say," House continued, "That even if you take the most charitable view possible, it's faulty reasoning." He numbered the points in the air with his cane: "My friend is pissing off all the wrong people. I'm worried that the cops are going to come for him. Therefore, I should... turn him in myself?" He reached for his beer again. "And that's if you take it as a given that he didn't do it just because he was pissed about Jesus not listening to him."
There was a loud buzzing in Wilson's ears. Of all the ways he expected them to work through their problems, a direct (or as good as) conversation was just not among them. Talk frankly? To House? Did he have a death wish?
On the other hand, House had set the whole thing up and he'd even taken the first step himself. Running out now would be a huge slap in the face, and if he really wanted to make things better between them...
He rolled the beer between his hands slowly, staring at it. "I'm glad you're taking it for granted that his intentions were good," he said slowly. "You're right about that."
"Yeah, yeah. Road to hell." House shrugged it off. "Cmon. Spill."
"House, there's no easy answer," he said with as much confidence as he could muster.
"Take a guess."
"I don't... maybe he just thought things were spiraling out of control... that somebody else could put a check on-... " he grimaced. "- Jesus, when his friends couldn't."
"So you don't think he intended any of... you know..." He threw his arms wide and lolled his head forwards for a brief pantomime.
"No! God, you don't -... come on."
"I'm just trying to understand here," House pressed, sounding somehow mild and dangerous at the same time. "You think he was hoping for the best. Hoping that turning Jesus in would somehow result in Jesus going free… while at the same time scaring him into behaving like a good little boy, the way Judas had been telling him all along."
Wilson chose his words carefully. "Maybe he didn't plan anything. Maybe he was just terrified for Jesus because he saw the kind of danger he was in, and he had to stop him by any means necessary. Maybe he was desperate and it didn't occur to him that it was likely to result in exactly the thing he was trying to prevent." All of a sudden he couldn't help himself and said: "And maybe he assumed that Jesus was going to use his head for a change, and toe the line, instead of being a stubborn ass and refusing to make any damn compromises!"
House paused the DVD and gestured to the lone figure all in white. "Compromise? Come on, Jimmy - it's Jesus."
How many times now had Wilson told himself the same thing, and wondered in retrospect what the hell he had been thinking? "People make mistakes, House," he said at last. "People hope for things when they should know better. What can I tell you."
"Mmm." House let the movie run for awhile without saying anything else.
Wilson didn't feel so well as he watched Judas unravel completely. How had he forgotten this particular part of the story: that Judas went and killed himself because he couldn't live with the guilt?
He held his breath as the hanging finished up, mentally begging House not to say or ask anything.
For once, House granted his wish. Without speaking, without looking even, he reached over and put his hand on Wilson's knee.
Wilson wondered if he was imagining it - House never touched him. More to test if it was real than anything else, he put his drink down and laid his hand atop House's.
House didn't pull away. He was still and quiet all through most of Jesus's trial, until he suddenly tsked and said, "You know, Pilate is trying to help him, but he's not giving the guy anything at all to work with."
Wilson's jaw dropped when he saw where this was going. "Yeah, if only he'd played along," he agreed slowly. "You know, made some gesture... some kind of insincere apology maybe... he could have gotten away with everything in the end."
"Yeah. That would definitely have been the smart thing." House sat back and folded his hands behind his head. "Well, what can you do - Jesus was good, but nobody's perfect..."
Wilson certainly hoped that there was no afterlife, and no Jesus, because if there was then House would definitely be getting a dose of fire and brimstone for this. He so didn't want to answer "Well, almost nobody"… but in the end he couldn't resist. House had obviously been waiting for it, and they laughed together. Tentatively.
A bit later, House opened a fresh beer and handed it over. "You know... it was almost entirely his fault, though. Jesus's."
Yet another surprise. "Mm. Do you think he's... sorry?"
House nodded towards the TV, where Jesus was hanging from the cross and gasping out his last couple of breaths. "Looks pretty sorry to me."
Although he knew he was now pushing his luck, Wilson couldn't resist suggesting, "Hey, maybe sometime I'll have a genuine religious experience, and get to talk to Jesus directly. "
"Mmm..." House cocked his head, considering. "You might be one of the Chosen people but I still don't see it happening. Sorry."
"Eh." Wilson shrugged. "Just a thought." The movie was over and he stood up, determined to quit while he was ahead. "Gotta go. Happy Easter, House."
House held out his hand as if in benediction. "Go in peace."
Wilson went, if not in peace then pretty damn close.
The next morning at work, Wilson stopped by with bagels. He didn't even care that he felt like a dog marking its territory. He just walked right on in to the conference room, put the bag on the table, and waved at House through the glass of his office.
As he left he heard House emerge, and Cameron pounce on him immediately. "What happened - did you two finally make up?"
"Yup. We spent all yesterday holding hands and talking about Jesus."
House unwrapped his bagel, Cameron called him an ass, and Wilson headed off to break his lunch date with the blank-eyed cardiologist from the fourth floor.
Will update other stuff soon. Lemme know what you think!