Title: Enough of the déjà vu
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with Universal Media Studios.
A/N: Written as a thank-you to bedawyn for a donation to the rslbdaydrive.
Beta: the truly awesome triedunture
Summary: Request was for 'an established-relationship fic where House actually tells Wilson to screw this dirty-little-secret/serial-women crap and either tell people he's in a committed relationship with House and live up to the commitment or get the bleep out of House's bed and don't come back.'
Enough of the déjà vu
Thursday night, and House had just fixed himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in his kitchen. He was taking it into the living room to slump in front of the game, when he heard a familiar knock at the door. As he was walking past anyway, he answered it.
There was Wilson, suitcase in hand. Lank hair, sheepish eyes, slumped shoulders.
"I have a strange sense of déjà vu," House said, looking Wilson up and down. "You split up with her?"
Wilson nodded, and his expression was so hangdog that House didn't say anything more, just stepped aside to let him in.
They spent the evening drinking beer and eating sandwiches. Wilson finished off the last of the peanut butter, meaning (House was quick to point out) he would have to buy another jar. Wilson didn't say anything about the breakup, and House resisted asking as they were guys, after all, and it was much more important to watch the game than start talking about stuff like that. And anyway there would be plenty of time to find out later on, after Wilson stopped looking so shell-shocked.
Wilson excused himself early to go to bed, and House stayed up to watch a kick-ass kung fu movie which started at midnight. His attention was only half on the movie, however, as he mused on Wilson's appearance on his doorstep.
Might this be the time Wilson actually stayed? Rationally, House told himself that this wasn't going to happen. They'd tried it before, it had never worked out. The familiar arrival at the door, the melancholy evening in, the brief period of cohabitation punctuated with arguments and pranks. The couple of days where Wilson had vanished to get utterly shitfaced (and worse; House had found Wilson sleeping in a gutter once, and although he'd looked fully dressed House had later discovered there was a distinct lack of any underwear under those jeans).
House had thought the pattern might have been broken after that bus crash had ended Wilson's last really serious relationship in a different way. But no. After Wilson had worked his way painfully through the stages of grief, and he and House had spent months and months rebuilding their friendship, their relationship, it had actually reinforced the pattern instead. It had given Wilson a martyr to the cause. Persuaded him that if Amber hadn't died, it would definitely have been different, definitely have lasted. Given him new certainty that he'd been doing the right thing.
There was no reason for Wilson breaking the habit of a lifetime now.
But annoyingly, House found himself hoping otherwise. Visions popped unasked for in his mind: himself and Wilson managing to live together for more than a few days at a time, Wilson finally giving up on finding the happy relationship with a women he was so sure was to be found out there somewhere...the elusive Mrs. James Wilson the fourth who would be different from all the rest...
Hope springing eternal in the human breast. House scowled at his pathetic fantasies and crushed a beer can in his fist.
He came to bed at three AM, sliding between the sheets as quietly as possible. However, it transpired that Wilson was only dozing.
"House," Wilson mumbled, turning over to nuzzle House's neck, and then clambering clumsily on top of him, kissing, rubbing. House hadn't expected this, not tonight, but had no objection to a little comfort sex. Wilson must be feeling more alone than he'd realized.
They moved together easily, each knowing well what the other liked after their many years of fucking. It wasn't exactly an erotic treat, but it seemed to give Wilson some peace and it certainly served to send House straight to sleep soon after.
As House flopped down on the pillow afterwards and drifted away, he wondered again at the back of his dulled mind if Wilson might actually stay this time.
The next morning, House woke to find the bedside clock informing him it was 10:00. House didn't worry about it; he'd diagnosed his last patient and handed her over to the tender ministrations of Thirteen, Taub and Kutner only the previous day. He figured he was due a nice light Friday rolling into a long weekend. He wasn't surprised to find Wilson gone, either; Wilson would doubtless have a round of meetings and appointments and would have wanted to be in work early. Messy breakup or no messy breakup.
House arrived at work and spent the remainder of the morning looking after his Nintendogs (which he was pursuing because it really seemed to irk Thirteen). He bowled along to Wilson's office as lunchtime approached, only to stop short inside the door. The light was off, the computer was off, and there was no sign Wilson was around. House poked around the desk: unopened mail from that morning. Wilson hadn't come into work at all.
He wandered back into the corridor and collared the next member of staff he came across, an oncology nurse. "Ahoy! Where's your glorious leader?"
The nurse muttered, "I heard he took the day off," and fled.
House stared after the vanishing nurse in surprise. The day off?--and on such short notice. It certainly hadn't been booked in advance--Wilson must have called in and requested it only that morning.
This was a bad sign. On past form, it meant Wilson was heading for a weekend bender in a strange part of town. It must have been a messy breakup after all.
House pulled out his cell and hit speed dial #1. It rolled over to voicemail. House left a short, sharp message: "Wilson, where the fuck are you? Call me."
The next few hours crawled by, as House made the mistake of going to see Cuddy to ask about Wilson's day off.
"The man hasn't had a day's vacation in almost a year," she said, eyeballing him across her desk. "Of course I wasn't going to say no. No, he didn't say what he was doing, and I didn't ask. And shouldn't you be doing clinic duty right now?"
House reluctantly saw a succession of vomiting patients with one eye while keeping the other fixed firmly on his cell phone.
Eventually the phone rang, and the man in the room at the time, who claimed not to have the flu ("It can't be the flu, I just know it's not." "It's the FLU, you moron.") never did get to argue his point further, as House seized the phone and left Exam Room One without so much as a backwards glance.
"Wilson," House said sharply into the receiver, striding across the foyer towards the elevator.
"House. Hey." Wilson sounded as if he was trying to sound upbeat. "Um, I've gone away for a day or two."
"I'll be back at work on Monday. See you then," Wilson added, and hung up smartly before House could reply, or initiate a phone tracking device. Not that House had such a gadget, although he often thought it would come in handy.
Well, nothing else for it. House abandoned clinic duty and the hospital, and headed home. He threw a few overnight things in a duffel bag, got on his motorcycle, and took off in pursuit.
House hadn't known Wilson for nigh on twenty years without having a good idea where he'd go and what he'd do. There were a couple of towns outside Princeton near enough to reach easily, but far away enough that he wasn't likely to get recognized by anyone he knew. He would get blasted out of his skull, crash in a cheap flophouse somewhere, and return to work after the weekend as if nothing had happened. House mentally tossed a coin and picked the place Wilson hadn't gone to last time.
Last time. God, he really didn't want to find Wilson in a gutter sans underwear again. He hoped Wilson wouldn't get as plastered this time around. And why the hell did people always assume it was Wilson constantly rescuing House from these crazy freaking messes, and never the other way around? Wilson was just too darn good at concealing these things.
The town was a few hours' drive away, but House was swift on the motorcycle. He got there in the early evening, found a halfway decent hotel and checked in. He had a burger in a nearby diner, and a drink in a nice-looking bar. As midnight approached, he left and set out to find Wilson.
House's strategy, perfected over several similar previous occasions over the course of time, was to go to The Worst Bar In Town (which wasn't quite written over the door, but might as well have been) and wait. Because Wilson would roll in there eventually. It wasn't hard to find; a small claustrophobic basement with a ratty pool table and a broken jukebox, inhabited by large fierce men brooding over bottles and the occasional stringy-looking chain-smoking woman. House pulled his jacket closely around him, got a beer and settled unobtrusively into a table against the far wall.
The table next to him was occupied by two biker-types with unkempt beards and long greasy hair, having a most unpleasant conversation about betting on some sort of fight. House couldn't be sure what they were talking about betting on, but it sounded like dog-fighting, or possibly cock-fighting. He drank and tried to tune them out.
In the early hours of the morning House's patience was rewarded, as Wilson came staggering down the stairs and into the bar. He was wearing jeans and a casual shirt which were very scruffy by his standards. He was moving slowly and awkwardly, concentrating where he put each foot; obviously extremely drunk. It might not just be alcohol he'd consumed, either; his eyes were glassy and vacant. Actually, there might be another reason altogether he was moving carefully, a physical one; House's eyes narrowed as he watched Wilson cross the room and head towards the bar. It had clearly been quite an evening.
House prepared to get up, but before he did, his attention was caught by one of the guys on the next table saying, "Look what just walked in the door. Pretty mouth, your kind of thing, ten o'clock."
"Not seen him before. Cute," rumbled the other one.
House froze rigid. They were looking at Wilson, who was now leaning on the bar, ordering a drink. His jeans were a snug fit and showed off his ass possibly too well.
"I could do that," opined the first.
"Then let's go," said the second, and they both stood up.
House looked sideways at them. Two big bears of men. Not the types you wanted to mess with. Both wearing dark glasses despite the darkness of the room. One had old, fading tattoos clearly visible on the backs of both hands, circling up into the sleeves of his leather jacket. The other had a new red and black tattoo gleaming boldly on his neck; roses entwined with barbed wire, petals falling through spikes.
And they were after Wilson. House's stomach churned. He watched as the two men approached their prey, circling round and coming to stand one on either side of Wilson. Wilson, reacting slowly, looked up with a delayed jump; first to his right, then to his left, finding six foot of grizzly muscle and fat on either side. The bartender had vanished down the far end of the bar and was standing with his back studiously towards them, polishing a glass.
House took a deep breath and stood up, moving slowly while his mind raced. As he came up to them, he heard one of the bears say, "...with us."
"Uh, I don't think so." Wilson's voice sounded casual, concealing an undercurrent of panic.
"I don't think you quite understand," Bear no. 1 said.
And Bear no. 2 put a hand out and grasped Wilson's arm.
And then a sharp crack rang through the air as House's cane met the side of the Bear no 1's head. He fell, poleaxed, and before Bear no 2 could react, the cane came down hard against his skull too, and he let go of Wilson's arm and went down like a ninepin. Wilson stared dumbly at the two men suddenly stunned on the floor, and House standing, glowering, leaning against a chair for support.
"Wilson, let's get the fuck out of here," House said without preamble, and turned and headed towards the stairs. He didn't need to look back to know that Wilson was following. The barman still had his back to them, and as they crossed the floor, every eye in the bar was carefully averted in another direction.
Outside, House was relieved to see his bike was still where he'd left it at the curb down the street. He limped towards it as rapidly as possible.
"Come on," House said impatiently, holding the helmet out to Wilson. Wilson hesitated. "This is not the time for a bikes-are-death-traps lecture."
"It's not that," Wilson averted his eyes.
"What?" Realization dawned. "You can't sit down, can you?" House said incredulously. Rage stamped its feet in his gut. "You fucking slut, what the hell?"
"I was having a good time," Wilson said insistently.
"Well, if you want to have a good time ever again, I suggest you brace yourself and get your ass on this bike!" House shouted, and the yell jolted Wilson into action; he pulled on the helmet and got on the bike, perching himself gingerly behind House. House screeched away and headed back to his hotel at top speed.
Somehow they arrived back at House's hotel in one piece. House parked in the lot and Wilson hopped off the bike as quickly as possible. He handed the helmet back to House.
House swung his leg off the bike and glared at Wilson. Feeling safe now from the bears in the bar, he vented spleen. "Wilson, you are beyond idiocy. What the fuck have you been up to?"
"I went to a club," Wilson mumbled. They started walking towards the hotel. "Met this guy... we went outside, he--"
"I don't want to know!" House felt like he'd been kicked in the stomach. They arrived at the hotel entrance and House pushed Wilson through the revolving doors. Wilson, wrapped in his own stupor, barely seemed to register House's presence. House dragged Wilson through the hotel foyer, his cane in one hand and Wilson's sleeve in the other. The night receptionist had the temerity to look up at them, and House glared daggers at her. They took the elevator up to House's room.
House had no sooner shut the door behind them when Wilson lunged forward clumsily and kissed House on the mouth.
House smelled sweat on lips that felt dryer and coarser than usual, and tasted beer and cheap whiskey and--goddamn--a trace of bodily fluids. Someone else's bodily fluids. Bile rose in House's mouth; he wrenched himself away and took a step backwards. Wilson lurched towards him again, and with a flash of anger, House pulled back his fist and punched Wilson on the jaw.
He had never done that before. Never, never, never, in all the years he'd known Wilson. Only in that hallucination, and that was why it had come as such a shock.
It wasn't a hard punch, but Wilson was caught off balance and his reflexes were slow. He toppled over backwards and landed on the floor with a crash. Looking a little stunned and dulled by the alcohol, he didn't immediately try and sit up, but simply lay there sprawled on his back.
House looked down at him, and it wasn't just reminiscent of the ghost of Christmas past; it was the same, with roles reversed. All that was missing was Mr. Zebalusky's empty pill bottle on the floor. And the vomit, though House was pretty sure from Wilson's pallor that would arrive soon.
He could see that Wilson was conscious and blinking at him. No harm done.
And suddenly House felt eerily calm. His brain had cleared and he could see with absolute clarity what he had to do, for his own sanity if nothing else.
House sat down on a chair and leaned his chin on the top of his cane. He gazed down at Wilson and said calmly, almost conversationally, "Wilson, I've had it with you."
Wilson's eyes rolled around to rest on House.
House went on, speaking chattily, "All these years of wives and girlfriends and boyfriends. I tell you, I've had it." His voice sharpened and rose. "You never--fucking--learn! You repeat the same damn mistakes over and over again. And we just carry on like nothing's happened. Well--not any more. Enough of the déjà vu. I am fed up of being your dirty little secret fuckbuddy."
House stood up, looming very large over Wilson on the floor. Wilson's eyes tracked upwards.
"I," House said, slowly, deliberately, "want you to give up your pathetic identikit little brunette wives, and your ridiculous clone girlfriends, and your rough-and-tumble boyfriends. And if you can't do that, then you," House pointed his cane at Wilson, "are never fucking crawling into my bed again."
Wilson opened his mouth, but no sound came out.
"You want to keep fucking me," House continued, picking up his duffel bag, "then you're only fucking me, and you'll damn well be proud of it."
House plucked his bunch of keys from a nearby table, and glanced around. That was everything he'd brought with him; he'd never unpacked his bag. He glanced down at Wilson, who was still looking dumbly up at House from his uncomfortable-looking position on the floor.
"I don't think you can do it," House said over his shoulder as he left the room.
He shut the door quietly behind him. As he left the building and felt the cool night air on his face, he felt curiously at peace.
END OF PART 1