Title: The Grand Oncology Conference Dinner
Prompt: Written for wilsonfest prompt: Wilson meets a guy claiming to be House's ex in college.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with Universal Media Studios.
Beta: the wonderful bornbeautiful
The Grand Oncology Conference Dinner
House lay sprawled on Wilson's bed, idly watching Wilson move around the room, opening and closing drawers and cupboards, filling his suitcase. There seemed to be lots of bending over and crouching; House thought this was deliberate, for his benefit.
"I hope you've got enough hideous ties to see you through four days of conference tedium," House remarked, admiring a particularly fine view of Wilson's ass.
"Yeah," Wilson said, straightening up and brandishing a small fistful of ties. "Question is, which one for the conference dinner?"
"Ah, the legendary grand oncology national conference dinner," House rolled his eyes. "I forgot that's why you were going."
"Some of us actually care about our continuing professional development, House," Wilson said reprovingly. "Keeping up with the latest research, the latest news--"
"Like who's in line for the top job at Sloan-Kettering, and who's fucking who," House countered. "Keeping up with the gossip, that's the only reason to go to these things."
House gripped his bad leg, shifted his position on the bed slightly, and settled down comfortably.
"And the dinner, of course," he continued. "How oncologists manage to stage the biggest piss-up in the entire medical profession, I have no idea. I guess you all need to collectively drown your sorrows about all your dying patients. I remember you crawling back after the last one of these you went to. Which was four years ago, wasn't it? Do you need four years off to recover from one of these?"
Wilson winced at the recollection. "It's such a big conference it only takes place every two years. Last time I'd just been made department head and couldn't take the time out of the office. Brown went instead."
"Cuddy sharing the love," House said dryly.
"I am giving a lecture too, you know," Wilson pointed out.
"And the fact it's in LA has nothing to do with it," House asserted.
"The fact it's in LA in a hotel by the beach has absolutely nothing to do with it." Wilson was straight-faced as he folded up the ties neatly.
House smirked a little. "Careful you don't come back with a tan. Cuddy might suspect."
"Danger of melanoma. Not a good idea." Wilson put the ties in his case, wrinkled his brow in concentration, and said, "Right, I think that's everything."
"Great." House moved his arms above his head and stretched, linking his fingers together and pushing upwards. "C'm'ere."
Wilson glanced at his watch. "My airport cab is coming in a quarter of an hour."
"I don't need fifteen minutes." House was clear. "You're going away for four days. The least you can do is put out first."
Wilson grinned. "You fancy your chances?"
He was teasing and House knew it. House didn't reply, just closed his eyes, and a few seconds later the mattress compressed all around him with a whumph as Wilson landed squarely on top of him, keeping his weight on his hands and knees, then lowering himself gently on top of House. House tipped his head to accept a kiss, then shuddered as Wilson pressed his crotch up against his own groin.
"Yargh," he said indistinctly through a mouthful of Wilson's tongue.
"Hmmph," Wilson hummed a little, continuing to grind up against House.
They built up a rhythm, pulsing through denim and cotton, breathing in each other's scent and sweat. Then Wilson rested his forehead briefly against House's forehead, and wriggled downwards. He pushed House's T-shirt up over his chest, nuzzling House's nipples, then his hands slithered further down, running across House's ribs, down to his waist.
House sucked in his breath sharply as he felt Wilson's fingers expertly unbuttoning his fly. His cock throbbed as it was eased out from his jeans and met cool air. He was hard; he'd been semi-hard for the last half hour, watching Wilson pack, and now he was fully erect and straining as Wilson rolled him back and forth between his palms, and then ducked his head downwards.
House scrabbled with his fingers, bunching bedcover in his fists, clutching and grasping in an effort to keep control while Wilson went down on him; Christ almighty, deep in his throat at first and now shallow licking at the tip--House writhed blindly, then came with a gulp and a snort, pumping into Wilson's mouth.
House felt Wilson's throat contracting as he swallowed, then apparently reaching capacity; he spat the rest out over House's chest.
"Jeez," House gasped.
"Sorry," Wilson said insincerely.
Wilson hoisted himself into a sitting position, straddling House's hips. He reached to undo his own fly. House watched, and if he hadn't just climaxed himself the sight of this would have brought him off for sure on its own--Wilson with half-closed eyes, cheeks flushed pink, jerking himself off over House's body. House reached out and covered Wilson's hand with his own, grasping Wilson's swollen cock and rubbing back and forth. Wilson leaned back on his heels, cried out, and came all over House's chest, mingling with the sticky fluid already there.
Wilson then toppled over to collapse next to House.
"'Nough to see you--through four days?" Wilson's voice came in pants.
"Huh." House could still barely speak himself. "Take--four days--just to wash this stuff off."
Wilson laughed hoarsely. "Better you than me--don't want to get changed, have to go in a minute--"
The beep of a car horn outside. "My cab," Wilson realized, and he hauled himself up with a groan. House watched through half-shut eyes as Wilson buttoned himself up, closed the lid on the suitcase, and grabbed his jacket.
"See you, House." Wilson bent over him for a brief kiss. A tremor ran through House's body as he tasted his own come. "Don't trash my apartment."
"See you, Wilson," House muttered, and as Wilson picked up his case, he added, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
Wilson paused and looked at House, but didn't reply. For a few seconds he just looked quietly sad. Then he nodded, just barely, before heading out of the door.
Alone, House lay back and shut his eyes. He hoped Wilson wouldn't do anything stupid at this conference. It was bad timing; Wilson was barely a month out of a very intense relationship. He'd gotten through the initial excessive misery, and seemed to be coping relatively well now, but House feared some dumbass short-lived painful rebound fuck was on the horizon. A four day conference was just what he didn't need right now.
Wilson thought a four day conference was just what he needed. Get away from the hospital for a few days, away from Princeton. Be forced to socialize with other people, meet new people, be exposed to cutting edge research, and have absolutely no time at all to think about his life over the last few months or anything else. He'd miss House, of course, but to be honest a few days away from House every so often was no bad thing. Especially with a send-off like that.
Wilson gave his paper the afternoon of the first day of the conference, and it was well received. He was pleased with how it had gone, and that it was over with; now he could relax a bit and enjoy the next few days.
Quite a few people gathered informally for dinner in the hotel restaurant on the first evening. In the hotel bar afterwards, a man he hadn't met before came up to him. Very tall, very thin, very curly blond hair. He proffered a hand. "Dr. Wilson? Hi, I'm Rick Cornfeld."
They shook hands. Firm shake, strong fingers. Greeny-blue eyes and square-set shoulders, in a well-cut suit and a heavy casual shirt with several buttons undone at the neck.
"Pleased to meet you," Wilson said politely.
"I enjoyed your paper earlier. You work at Princeton Plainsboro, right?" Rick asked. "I was wondering if you knew Gregory House."
Wilson's jaw dropped in surprise. "House? Um, yes. He's a friend of mine."
"No shit," Rick exclaimed, and they exchanged what a small world remarks.
"So how do you know House?" Wilson asked, a little cautiously. A lot of people knew House. That didn't mean they liked him. Actually, it usually meant they didn't like him.
"From Hopkins," Rick said, and Wilson's jaw dropped again. House had gone to college and then med school at Hopkins. Wilson had known House a long time, but not that long. He'd never met anyone who'd known House that far back. Not even Cuddy.
"Quite a few years ago, then," Wilson probed, and Rick nodded.
"Oh yeah. Haven't seen him since. I was a few years ahead of him. He used to copy my work all the time."
"That sounds like House," Wilson said wryly. "So you were... friends?" Had he ever actually met another friend of House's before? He rather thought not.
"We kinda fell out," Rick shrugged. "Guess he copied my stuff one too many times. I went off to do my internship, last I heard of House he'd been chucked out of Hopkins and gone off to Michigan, and I lost track of him after that. But I saw his name on a journal article a couple of years ago and it said Princeton Plainsboro, and I thought ah, that's where he ended up. So how is he, anyway?"
They chatted for a few minutes about House; Wilson told Rick briefly about House's infarction a few years before, how he'd ended up as a cripple, and Rick expressed appropriate shock and commiserations. They discussed Wilson's paper a little, and Wilson found out a bit more about Rick. Then other people interrupted, and Wilson moved on to talk to someone else.
Wilson remained aware, however, of the lanky blond man across the room. He tried to imagine a college-age Rick, hanging out with a college-age House. It was frankly rather difficult. Somehow Wilson had always envisaged House as a loner with no friends at all before he'd met him, but of course this couldn't possibly have always been true.
Late that evening he wandered out of the hotel and down to the beach. There'd been a lot of sand and sea in his life recently, until it had all come to a crunching halt a month ago. He was quite pleased by how little he was thinking about all that. The conference was proving an adequate distraction, after all.
The following day Wilson was sitting on a convenient sea wall, looking at the waves sparkling in the distance, shirt sleeves rolled up and sunning himself happily, when his cell phone buzzed. "Hey, House."
"Wilson," House's voice sang out down the line. "Is that seagulls I can hear? Shouldn't you be indoors listening to someone droning on about the latest ways to prolong the lives of your sorry sick patients?"
"It's lunchtime," Wilson said defensively. "I'm three hours behind you, remember?"
"Whatever," House switched to business. He had a new patient who might have cancer. He described the symptoms and concluded, "You took your laptop. If I email you some scans later, will you be able to pick them up?"
"Hotel rooms have internet access. I'll take a look after the afternoon session," Wilson promised. He glanced at his watch; time to head back. Then he remembered Rick. "Hey, I met someone who used to know you at Hopkins."
"Really?" House snorted. "And I thought I'd killed them all off. Who survived the cull?"
"Rick Cornfeld. Remember him?" Wilson slid off the wall and started walking back towards the hotel entrance.
"Fuck!" House sounded genuinely stunned.
"He claims to have been a friend of yours," Wilson said, his tone droll. "And I thought I was the only one, House; frankly I'm hurt."
"That's a name I haven't heard for a very--long--time," House said slowly, ignoring the quip. "Ricky Cornfeld. What the hell is he up to these days?"
"He's a surgical oncologist in deepest Texas," Wilson pushed his way through the hotel revolving doors and headed inside.
House snorted. "Surgical. Figures." There was a pause. "He had a surgeon's hands... long fingers."
Wilson was right outside the conference room now, people were streaming past him on their way inside, but he couldn't possibly end the conversation there after a remark like that.
"Um... were you good friends?"
"You could put it like that." House paused again. "Right up the point I came back early from a lecture that got cancelled, and found him in bed with a fresher piece of ass."
As Wilson gaped, speechless, House added abruptly, "Tell him to fuck off for me," and hung up.
Wilson singularly failed to listen to much of the next session. He then ran into Rick during the afternoon coffee break. "Hey," Rick greeted him, friendly, smiling.
Wilson looked at Rick through new eyes; this was no longer an old past friend of House's, this was an ex. An ex who'd cheated on House and hurt him, to the extent that House was still smarting about it now, years later.
He responded, "Hey," but his tone was more reserved than Rick's, and he saw Rick had picked up on it. Rick frowned a little, obviously confused.
"I talked to House," Wilson said, a little hesitantly.
"Oh?" Rick looked surprised.
Wilson dropped his voice. "He told me why you two--um--fell out."
Wilson watched as Rick absorbed this information, then looked back at Wilson with slightly narrowed eyes. Rick tilted his head to one side and ran a hand through his hair; Wilson could see he was re-evaluating Wilson, just as Wilson had been re-evaluating him.
"He told you that? You must be... closer to House than I realized," Rick said eventually.
Wilson shrugged a little. "And you must've been, too."
They stood looking at each other for a moment while people moved in waves around them. Wilson glanced down at Rick's hands; long, strong, slender fingers cradling a coffee cup. House was quite right, a surgeon's hands. Wilson imagined those hands touching House's face, body, cock.
"I could be a bad boy back in those days," Rick reflected, and shook himself like a duck shaking water off its back. "Don't suppose he's forgiven me. He's hardly the forgiving type."
"No," Wilson agreed, thinking of Stacy and the infarction. "He told me to tell you to fuck off."
Rick grinned. "You tell him from me... I found love over the operating table ten years ago, and have been living with my life partner Steve ever since."
Wilson grinned back. "Will do."
That evening Wilson found the scans in his email, and called House. "Hey. I don't think its cancer."
"Thanks for confirming what I already figured out." House was grumpy. "Damn patient started seizing half an hour ago."
"He's stable now, but its back to the whiteboard," House sounded despondent. "So, seen Ricky?"
"Yeah. He told me to tell you he's lived with his life partner Steve for the last ten years," Wilson reported. "He found love over the operating table."
"He said that? The fucking cheek." There was a pause, then House explained, "We did it on an operating table, once."
"Really?" Wilson gulped.
"Stupid thing to do," House carried on. "You'd've thought we were sixteen, dumb horny teenagers or something, the risk we took. Never been so close to getting caught in the act in my life."
A vision floated up before Wilson's eyes; House and Rick, in an operating theatre, bodies locked together. He tried to push it away, but it wouldn't go.
"I'd better go." Wilson tried to sound unaffected.
"We could have phone sex," House suggested unexpectedly, a mischievous note in his voice. He must've caught that slight tremor in Wilson's voice after all.
Wilson laughed. "I'm sitting in the hotel lobby, using a hotel computer. Internet isn't working in the rooms."
"So?" House said brightly.
"So I don't want to give the little old lady sitting next to me a heart attack," Wilson spoke quietly but firmly. "Bye, House."
As he snapped his cell phone shut, he spotted a new email alert and clicked to open it. New message from his friend Julie; latest in the saga of her messy divorce from her appalling ex-husband. He read it through and sent a sympathetic reply.
There were lots of papers that Wilson was interested in hearing on the next day of the conference. He put his head down and listened, asked questions, discussed issues, made contacts, and generally made it worthwhile for Princeton Plainsboro to have paid for him to go. It also served to clear his conscience before the grand oncology conference dinner that evening. He knew from previous occasions that he wouldn't be up to listening much to the papers the following morning. Nor would anyone else; he was glad he wasn't one of the poor suckers who had to give papers on that last day.
The dinner was huge and everyone was there. They were through the soup, the salad and half a bottle of wine, when Wilson's cell buzzed. He stood up as he answered it. "Hey, House."
"Wilson," House sounded merry. "How's dinner?"
"Started." Wilson walked a few paces away from the table. The hall was rowdy and he couldn't hear House very well. "You're interrupting my foie gras."
"Guess this isn't a good time for phone sex either, then."
Wilson smiled. "Guess not. I am back tomorrow, you know."
"I know. But I also know everybody gets laid on conference dinner night," House countered. "You sure did four years ago, anyway."
This was true. Wilson remembered her well; a gynecologic oncologist from Denver with soft brown eyes and a snub nose. He'd liked her a lot, even hoped to see her again, but she'd told him the following morning she was married.
"I think everybody is a slight exaggeration," Wilson protested.
"Nobody at your table you've got your eye on?"
Wilson glanced back at his table. "Well, there's a redhead radiation oncologist who's been giving me the eye. Should I go for it?"
House let out an amused snort. "Fuck you."
"And you." They hung up on the mutual insult; Wilson smiled all the way back to his seat.
Later--much later--Wilson sat at his table and wondered if he'd ever be able to get up again, he'd had so much to eat and drink. Main course, dessert and coffee had come and gone. Speeches had happened, which had been mercifully brief (the speakers had clearly had as much to drink as everyone else there). People were milling around, chatting; there was a general movement towards the bar, although there was quite a lot of alcohol still on the tables. The redhead radiation oncologist had vanished, which was probably just as well.
A familiar figure dropped into the empty seat next to him.
"Hey, Rick," Wilson said cheerfully. He picked up his wine glass. "How's it going?"
"Hey. I was talking to someone and your name came up," Rick said nonchalantly. "They used to know you at UPenn, said you were married? I was a bit... surprised."
Wilson grimaced slightly. "I was married, then. That would've been... my second wife, Bonnie."
"Right." Rick peered at Wilson through half-closed eyes. Greeny-blue pupils glinted from behind long eyelashes. "I guess you're an even more complicated guy than I thought, James Wilson."
Wilson drained the dregs of his wine, which had been sitting around for quite a while, and winced at the taste. "Did I tell you House lived with a girlfriend for five years?"
"No," Rick's eyes opened wide again. He reached out and picked up an unopened bottle of wine from the table. "Bring your glass; we're going somewhere more private so you can tell me more."
Deep in his fuzzy brain, Wilson felt this wasn't really a good idea. It just seemed easier to follow than not. He knew he wasn't thinking very clearly, but the amount of food he'd eaten meant he didn't actually feel that drunk. Nothing like as drunk as he'd gotten with House on that night he'd split up with--but he didn't want to think about that.
They headed out of the dining room and up in the elevators, getting out on the sixth floor. Wilson initially wondered dazedly how Rick knew what floor he was staying on, but then they stopped at another door; Rick's room, just down the hallway from his own. Inside, Wilson slumped in an armchair and let Rick pour him another glass of wine. This one, fresh from the bottle, tasted better.
Haltingly, he told Rick a little about House and Stacy; how they'd met, how quickly they'd clicked, what kind of person she was. He didn't describe her role in the infarction; he might be drunk, but there was a boundary there he wasn't going to cross. He merely said that it had been a really tough time for them both after the infarction, and they'd split up about six months afterwards.
"No shit," Rick said at the end.
"Your turn. Tell me about you and House." Wilson, emboldened by the alcohol, just couldn't help but ask.
"Not much to tell, really." Rick sipped at his own wine. "I was in my third year when suddenly there was this new first year hanging round me. Bright as a button, lazy as shit, horny as hell. Twenty-one and lean and fit. Manipulative son-of-a-bitch would put out with one hand while copying my lecture notes with the other."
Wilson was mesmerized.
"He didn't need my notes," Rick carried on. "He just couldn't be bothered with grunt work. Too busy being brilliant and living it up. I didn't care, so long as he kept letting me fuck him. He only had to look at me with those blue eyes--Christ, I've never met anyone else in my life with such blue eyes--and I'd be hard, just like that." He snapped his fingers.
Wilson gulped a little. Suddenly he too was hard, just like that. He had never, ever, talked about sex with House with anyone; not with Stacy (God, no) or any other past girlfriends of House's. To hear Rick talk about it... it was a turn-on, simple and plain.
"But..." Wilson plunged on boldly, "you screwed him over."
"I did. I'm not proud of it." Rick paused. "But you gotta understand, he always made out like he didn't give a damn about me. Like it was all just a bit of fun. In public, that was one thing; but he was the same in private, too. The bastard had such a hard outer shell, almost impossible to get under. Almost never let his guard down, and came down on me like a ton of bricks if I ever did."
Wilson could believe this. Rick sat back in his chair, frowning as he remembered, and went on, "It was fucking hard to deal with. Of course, I knew he cared more than he let on--at least, I did at first. But after a while I started to think he really just didn't care. I figured that he was probably fucking around, so what did it matter if I did? It was a mistake." He shrugged. "Guess I never really understood him. Later, I thought I should've tried harder. At the time, I was sorry mainly because the sex had been so fucking hot."
There were many things Wilson could have observed. That Rick had indeed never understood House; had clearly never gotten House's insecurities and hidden depths; had apparently not seen past the surface brilliance and sharpness. He didn't say anything; he didn't want to psychoanalyze House with this almost-total stranger. He did, however, find himself willing Rick to say more about the fucking hot sex.
But instead, predictably, Rick said, "So I've bared my soul. What about you? You and House?"
"It's--complicated." Wilson wasn't going to say anything more than this. He wasn't in Rick's position, reminiscing over a long-dead relationship. He and House were in the now, other people always in the mix, and he could barely explain things to himself sometimes, let alone anyone else. He put the wine glass down and stood up. "It's late, I better go. Nice talking to you."
He turned towards the door. A hand came to rest on his shoulder.
"You don't have to go." Blond curls rustled next to his ear.
Wilson shivered and turned slightly, and suddenly Rick was only a couple of inches away, and then their mouths met and there wasn't any gap at all.
Rick Cornfeld could clearly still be a bad boy sometimes. Those long surgical fingers were curving round his arm, pressing against his chest, moving towards his hip. The remembered touch of another man--another man who wasn't House--came rushing back with a vengeance.
The temptation was really strong. To find out right there and then what the hell this fucking hot sex had been like.
Somehow Wilson dragged his attention away from his dick to his brain. He thought of the life partner Steve, back at home in deepest Texas. He imagined House at college, coming back from his cancelled lecture to find Rick with another guy--he was not going to be that guy.
And above all, Rick was not Chris; nothing like him; fucking another man was not going to bring that back, nothing would.
With a superhuman effort, he pulled away, and muttered, "No."
"Don't tell me you don't want this." Rick's voice stuttered slightly.
"I do," Wilson's breathing was harsh and ragged. "But I'm not going to do it."
He didn't stay a moment longer, didn't trust himself not to change his mind. He practically dived out of the door and down the hallway to his own room. Back safely behind a bolted door, he took a long drink of water, then headed for the shower.
He jerked off under the hot spray to the mental image of House and Rick on the operating table.
House ran his fingers delicately over the piano keys, lovingly coaxing out strains of Rachmaninov. He'd play for another ten minutes, then go to bed. Wilson's plane had landed a couple of hours ago now; House was hoping Wilson would come to visit from the airport, but realized Wilson might prefer to go home and crash instead. Especially if the grand conference dinner the night before had been all it was hyped up to be.
Then there was a knock at the door; House lifted his head, and his heart. "Come in."
A key turned in the lock, and Wilson came trudging in. He was carrying his suitcase, so he had come straight from the airport after all. He had dark circles under bloodshot eyes. His hair was flat at the back and ruffled at the top, as if it had been pressed up against the back of an airline seat for too long.
"Hey," he said, his voice fatigued.
"Hey." House didn't stop playing. Wilson dropped his case on the floor, came up behind House and put an arm around House's neck. House leaned backwards a little, feeling Wilson's nose and chin nuzzling the top of his head.
"You look like shit," House informed him.
"Thanks," Wilson said, straight-faced. He moved to sit next to House on the piano stool; House shifted along slightly to make room.
"Anytime." House kept on playing, reaching out a bit further to get to all the keys. "So how's Ricky?"
"Fine. He sends his love."
"Did you fuck him?" House asked, careful to keep his tone as casual as possible.
"No." Wilson didn't sound surprised or indignant. House cast a glance sideways, and saw Wilson staring forward rather blankly, not looking at him but not evading his eye either. House felt a fist clenching in his chest, and then, as he thought it through, he relaxed. He believed what Wilson had said, and knew it had probably been a real effort of willpower.
"I could have," Wilson added. "But I wasn't going to be the fresher piece of ass here."
House got it, and smiled a little. He turned his head towards Wilson, and leant in for a kiss, without a break in his playing.
"Thought I might stay over?" Wilson asked with an air of nonchalance.
"Sure," House said easily. Wilson got up and headed off towards the bedroom. House ran off a couple of closing chords, then closed the piano lid.
A/N: Interested in the references to Wilson's newly ended relationship? That's The Story of Chris: to read, click on my username for my fic list.