Title: Up Close and Personal: Five Times Wilson's Nieces Saw Him with House (And One Time They Didn't Have To)
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with Universal Media Studios.
Beta: painstaking work and enormous credit to lazynightowl
Up Close and Personal
1. We can't upset Aunt Bonnie
It was the most exciting day of all six years of their lives. They were junior bridesmaids. They had beautiful white dresses of satin and net--miniature versions of the wedding gown their new Aunt Bonnie was wearing--and pretty bouquets tied up with long pink ribbons. Their hair was tied up with matching ribbons, and now with the dinner over and all those long speeches finally finished, they could carry on pretending to be princesses.
They escaped the main reception hall and found a kitchen full of unused table linen and not a soul in sight. Brianna put a large white napkin around her head in imitation of Aunt Bonnie's headdress and pretended to parade up an aisle; Amanda pulled down a tablecloth to wear around her waist like a train.
Suddenly they heard footsteps right outside in the corridor, and next the door handle turned. They dropped everything, scrambled under the nearest table, and hid behind the stiff white tablecloth which draped almost all the way to the floor.
They heard voices--two men--and after a minute they dared to peek out from under the tablecloth.
"It's Uncle James and House," Brianna whispered.
Amanda craned her neck to see. "Uncle James is going to be sick!"
Uncle James was leaning over the sink, House standing to one side. The twins waited with anticipation, but he wasn't sick, and eventually he splashed some water over his face and straightened up. The men were talking, but at the other end of the room, they were too far away for the twins to comprehend.
And suddenly, to the enormous mutual surprise of both girls, Uncle James and House both leaned forward and kissed.
Brianna dug Amanda in the ribs, and Amanda poked Brianna's arm, and they watched silently agog for a minute until their uncle and his best friend pulled apart and left the kitchen.
They didn't really understand what they'd seen, but they knew instinctively that it had to be a secret.
Amanda immediately whispered, "We can't tell anyone."
"It would upset Aunt Bonnie," Brianna agreed. Their new Aunt Bonnie was a little trying. She spoke to them like they were babies and could not tell them apart, but as she was a nice person, they didn't want to hurt her. On her wedding day, too.
"And Raquel." They had both warmed to House's lovely Latino girlfriend, wearing the most beautiful dark red dress, as she had retied the ribbon in Amanda's hair when it had come loose in the middle of the service.
"And Dad would be mad," Brianna concluded; they knew that was to be avoided at all costs. They loved their father, but he did have a temper.
"He might even hit House," Amanda warned, and they both nodded solemnly. They'd been too young to remember it, but it was Wilson family folklore that their father had punched House on the nose at Uncle James's first wedding a few years ago. Mom liked to tell the story when explaining to people why she'd divorced him.
"And we don't want him to hurt House." Dad hated House and never had a good word to say about him, but Amanda and Brianna liked House. He pretended not to know their names and called them A and B, but he always called Amanda A and Brianna B, which meant he could tell them apart. And most people couldn't. He'd made a fun speech that afternoon, definitely the most entertaining of the lot. Also, he'd plucked a dime out of Brianna's ear and found a nickel up Amanda's nose.
They scrambled out from under the table, left the kitchen cautiously, and headed back to the party. They found Uncle James and Aunt Bonnie preparing to leave for their honeymoon and saying goodbye to everyone. House had rejoined Raquel and was lurking on the sidelines.
"What does it mean?" Amanda wondered aloud as they stood watching.
"I think it means that we have an Aunt Bonnie and an Uncle Greg," Brianna said judiciously.
Later that evening, Amanda boldly called House "Uncle Greg" to his face, and Brianna giggled nervously. Fortunately he merely grinned, stuck his tongue out, and plucked a whole dollar bill out of Brianna's sleeve.
2. You could join the Crippendales
2. You could join the Crippendales
"So, I guess it sucks being a cripple." Jonathan took another swig of beer. "But hey, you can carry on being a doctor, right? Unless you want a new job as a male stripper..."
House looked blank, and Wilson looked startled.
"'Cause you could join the Crippendales," Jon said, and roared with laughter. He was the only one who did.
Amanda and Brianna looked at each other, embarrassed. Dad had had a few drinks. They knew he didn't mean to be nasty, but they could also see he had no idea how to deal with the situation.
It was the first time they had met House since this ghastly thing had happened to his leg; the sight of him limping and leaning on a cane had shocked them both. They were 14, they didn't know any other disabled people, and had no idea whether it should be talked about. They did know, however, that their father was being very rude.
"Jon..." Wilson said awkwardly.
"Oh, come on, lighten up." Jon waved an annoyed hand. "Hey, how many able-bodied people does it take to change a lightbulb?" When everybody looked blank, he answered, "One."
Amanda and Brianna exchanged agonized glances.
"How many drunk fucking idiots does it take to change a lightbulb?" House said evenly. "None; drunk fucking idiots will never see the light, whatever you do."
Jon glared at him. "I'm not drunk, just having a bit of fun."
"Your sick, twisted, warped idea of fun is not remotely amusing." House's expression was stormy. "And whether or not you're drunk--which you are--I'm glad you admit you're a fucking idiot. I've always had that opinion."
"No need to be rude." Jon was indignant. "I didn't think losing a leg and getting dumped by your girlfriend would mean you'd lose your sense of humor--"
"We need to go," Wilson interrupted firmly, standing up, ignoring the fact that neither he nor House had finished their main course. "Amanda, Brianna, lovely to see you. Jon--I'll call you."
House hauled himself to his feet, grabbed his cane, and followed Wilson.
Amanda and Brianna sat silently eating while their father fumed. They were sorry lunch had been interrupted but glad Uncle James had brought it to an end before Dad and House had actually come to blows.
They'd just finished dessert, maybe half an hour later, when Brianna noticed a medical textbook on the chair that Uncle James had been sitting on.
"Dad, look," Brianna waved a hand. "Uncle James left his book behind."
Their father looked across and snorted in annoyance. "We'll leave it at the hotel reception desk."
"No, we can go up and give it back to him now," Amanda said, jumping to her feet. Brianna did the same.
"Be quick," their father said brusquely, and they took the book and headed for the reception desk. The man on duty told them that James Wilson was in room 303, and they took the elevator to the third floor.
Amanda knocked on the door. As they stood outside, Brianna said, "I hear water running. Maybe he's in the shower--"
The door suddenly opened, and Wilson looked out at them in surprise. "Oh! I thought you were room service."
He had damp hair and was wearing a hotel-issue, white, fluffy bathrobe, and had obviously stepped out of the shower. But oddly, they could hear the shower still running in the suite bathroom, and faint sounds of movement on porcelain...
"You left your book," Amanda said, holding it out. "And, um, we wanted to say sorry about Dad."
Looking uncomfortable, Wilson took the book and said, "Thanks, um, nice of you to bring it back, and don't worry about your Dad. I can't chat, I'm just in the middle of--look, it was great to see you both, I'll see you sometime--"
Amanda and Brianna chorused "bye" as their uncle shut the door. They hurried back to the elevator. Brianna pushed the button and said what they were both thinking. "There was someone else in there. You think Uncle Greg's staying in the same room?"
"And taking a shower? Now? After they left the table, what, half an hour ago?"
They looked at each other with wide eyes. They both remembered well what they'd seen under the table at that wedding a long time ago. And they both now had a much better idea what might have been going on.
3. My opinion as a doctor
3. My opinion as a doctor
The twins were not overly enthused when their father announced he was marrying again; they thought Mimi was a cheap tart who dressed too young for her age and was far too thin to be healthy. Actually, they rather thought she was looking not quite so skeletal recently and wondered if that was the reason for the wedding, but if so Dad was not admitting it. Anyway, it could have been worse. At least Dad had waited until they were sweet 16 and all grown up before foisting a stepmom on them.
The wedding was very small, a dozen or so very close friends and family gathered to celebrate with dinner and a fine cake in an upmarket Trenton hotel. Uncle James was there, on his own, affable and smiling and asking the girls about their college plans. Amanda cheekily asked him if he had a girlfriend at one point but he laughed them off.
"Leaving already, Uncle James?" Amanda said, spotting him picking up his jacket during after-dinner drinks.
"Yes. I have to be at work tomorrow, have to get back to Princeton tonight." Wilson slung the jacket over his arm.
"You're not driving," Brianna said in a scolding tone.
"No, no. I'm getting a cab." Wilson looked at his watch. "Well, lovely to see you both again. And tell your dad and Mimi congratulations again."
He left, and they wandered back into the dining room. Their new stepmom was presiding over the cake, which was being carved into small pieces and put into neat little cardboard boxes, for absent friends and for guests to take away.
"Did Uncle James get one of those?" Brianna wondered.
"Don't think so," said Amanda. They looked at each other, then Brianna picked up a box and they left the room, walking quickly to try and catch up with him. They came out of the big main door of the hotel and looked around, and saw Wilson standing in the parking lot, out to the left side.
They started towards him, and then Brianna stopped so abruptly that Amanda bumped into her. "What--"
"Shh! It's House," Brianna said, and Amanda peered over her shoulder to see. Sure enough a car had just pulled into the lot, and Uncle James was walking towards it. But it wasn't a cab; it was a car, and House was at the wheel.
Wilson put his jacket on the back seat, then opened the front passenger door. He paused before getting in though, putting his foot up on the door-frame and reaching down to tie his shoelace. The twins could barely hear when House spoke from the driver's seat, "Fun day?"
"It was good. You should have come." Wilson pulled his laces taut.
"And give your brother another chance to deck me? Yeah, right."
"It's not an inevitable part of a Wilson family wedding, you know." Wilson tied the knot neatly. "You were right, by the way. About the reason for the wedding, I mean."
"Patter of tiny feet in less than nine months?"
"That's my opinion as a doctor." Wilson finished tying the lace and got into the car.
He shut the door, and the twins could hear no more. They could see House reach across and flick the side of Wilson's head with what looked like affection, and Wilson raise a hand to flick back, before House revved up the engine and drove away.
4. We call him Uncle Greg
4. We call him Uncle Greg
They were driving to Princeton, and driving itself was a great thrill. The car had been a joint birthday present from their father now they were 17 and had both passed their tests, and their Uncle James had chipped in some money too. It was Brianna who had the idea of dropping by Princeton to say "thank you" and show him the car.
Neither of them had been to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital before, and it was a confusing place. They found their way to the oncology department and wandered around helplessly for a few minutes before a kindly looking elderly woman with an armful of files asked if she could help them.
"We're looking for Dr. Wilson," Amanda said.
"We're his nieces," Brianna said, and the woman beamed and introduced herself hesitantly as Nora, the oncology department secretary. She walked them to their uncle's office.
"Oh, look, House's office!" Amanda exclaimed as they walked past a large, empty, glass-walled office with a conference room attached. It said Dr. Gregory House on the door.
"You know House?" Nora asked, politely curious.
"Oh, we've known him forever," Brianna assured her. "Him and Uncle James have been friends as long as we can remember."
"Best friends. We call him Uncle Greg," Amanda said, and Brianna dug her sister in the ribs.
Wilson wasn't in his office (next door to House's; how cute!), so Nora suggested they wait and left them alone. Brianna examined the posters and the sporting trophies, and Amanda picked up each of the small toys on the desk in turn. Then Amanda spotted a door ajar, leading to a balcony. It was a pleasant afternoon, so they went outside and leaned over the railing, sunning themselves and watching people down below.
Suddenly they heard a sound, and both of them turned towards the balcony door--but neither of them moved, because it wasn't just Uncle James. It was House, too.
"--guy sneezed in my face in the clinic yesterday." Wilson's voice was just audible.
"Well, if you insist on doing clinic duty." House's voice, much clearer. There came the sound of the office door slamming. Craning their necks, Amanda and Brianna could just see House and Wilson in the office through the balcony door. Wilson leaned on his desk, and House stood right in front of him.
"Cuddy will force you into it one day," Wilson retorted, and sneezed. He groaned. "I think it could be flu."
House leaned on his cane with one hand, and reached up and put the back of his other hand across Wilson's forehead. It was a surprisingly gentle gesture.
"Fever. Go home." House was gruff. "Your squeeze coming down tomorrow?"
"His name is Chris, House. And yes, he is."
"Call him and put him off. Or I will. And I'm coming home with you." House twitched his hand sideways and appeared to run it briefly through Wilson's hair. "Actually, we'll go back to my apartment. There's some chicken soup in my freezer; don't know how it got there, but it's only good for invalids, so you can eat it."
"I put that soup there last time you were ill," Wilson said, sounding both amused and frustrated. "You never ate it?"
House shifted his balance slightly as if he might turn towards the balcony; Amanda and Brianna both instinctively moved backwards. They looked at each other; then Brianna pointed in the other direction, towards the other balcony door leading to House's office. Amanda nodded, and the two girls crept out through House's office back into the corridor.
They knocked on their uncle's office door a minute later as if they'd just arrived, commiserated with him on having the flu, thanked him for the car, and left, full of secrets and speculation.
5. My harem has arrived
They'd hardly ever had reason to come to Princeton before, but one of their high school friends was attending college there, so they were visiting for a couple of days. It seemed only polite to try and see Uncle James, although they weren't quite organized enough to contact him in advance. Finding themselves with a free afternoon, they tried their uncle's home first and said "hi" to Aunt Julie, who seemed pleased to see them but also so dopey that by unspoken mutual agreement the twins didn't try and invite themselves in.
Instead they went to try and find him at work, and this time they knew where to look for his office. But he didn't answer their knock, and the door was locked. They looked through the glass next door, and saw House in the conference room, sitting at the table with three other people: doctors, in white coats, two men and one woman.
Amanda and Brianna walked into House's office and waved at him through the open door to the conference room.
He looked at them with raised eyebrows and hauled himself up from his chair. Addressing the other doctors, he said, "My harem has arrived. Carry on. I'll be back when I'm sexually satisfied."
"Your harem?" said the female doctor, who had long hair and was very pretty, although wearing a rather regrettable vest. One of the male doctors grinned; the other raised his eyes to the ceiling.
"I need more than one hooker at a time these days." House stalked into his office and pulled the door shut behind him. He tweaked the blinds shut, blotting out the faces of the three doctors, and sank into the chair behind his desk. "Does your father know you're out dressed like that?"
Amanda was wearing a short skirt and Brianna skintight jeans, both of them with long knee-high boots. They grinned at him. "No."
"Well, I won't tell him." House's eyes raked up and down their legs. "Do you hate your father?"
"No," Amanda said, and Brianna asked, "Why?"
"Because if you ever want to piss him off, I'd be happy to help by having sex with one of you," House said brightly. "Or both of you. I'm not picky. You are above the age of consent, right?"
"Uncle Greg!" Brianna admonished.
"We're 19," Amanda added helpfully.
"Keep saying stuff like that." House closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. "Tell me... tell me that you practiced kissing on each other when you were 14. I don't care if it's not true."
"Is Uncle James around?" Brianna asked, ignoring the last comment.
"He's treating some little old lady; he'll be back soon. Actually--" House opened his eyes. "While you're here, you can tell me something."
They looked at him inquiringly.
"Tell me about your Uncle David," House said. He leaned forward, resting his hands on his cane, his eyes fixed firmly upon them.
They both stared in surprise, then looked at each other, then back at House. They never talked about Uncle David to anyone; it had been drilled into them as long as they could remember. Don't mention him to anyone outside the family. But House already knew. And he was kind of family to Uncle James, wasn't he?
"You know about Uncle David?" Amanda asked, hesitant.
"Your Uncle Jimmy finally cracked and told me of his existence a few days ago." House rolled his eyes. "After all these fucking years... He didn't say much else though, so give."
"He left the family before we were born. We've never met him. Nobody's seen him in years; he might be dead by now. That's pretty much all we know." Amanda shrugged a little.
"Nobody ever talks about him. We've tried to ask Grandma and Grandpa over the years, and neither of them will say anything except that he left," Brianna clarified.
"Dad sometimes mentions him to us, when he's sad or drunk or angry... we think it broke his heart," Amanda enlarged. "He and Uncle David were like us, you know. Twins."
"I didn't know." House's eyebrows shot up. "Runs in your family, doesn't it? Any idea why Uncle David left?"
"We think it was probably because of drugs, 'cause Dad's always been very down on drugs with us," Brianna explained.
House nodded as if this made sense.
"But we don't know. We also wonder if..." Brianna's voice trailed away, and she looked at Amanda, unsure whether to spill this speculation.
The temptation to gauge House's reaction was too strong. Amanda took a deep breath. "We also wonder if maybe he was gay."
"No shit." The cane slipped sideways from under House's grasp, and he lost his balance for a few seconds. "Hmm. Well, that would upset your fag-hating father to no end."
They shuffled their feet uncomfortably, not wanting to criticize Dad.
"And just why do you think that?" House persisted.
They evaded his eye, and didn't look at each other either. They didn't want to say because otherwise we don't know why you and Uncle James don't just come out...
"There's no reason. It's just a guess," Amanda said eventually.
House looked as if he was going to pursue this point, but then his expression changed as he saw something behind them, and he said, "Here's your remaining uncle."
They turned around to find Wilson coming through the door, a surprised smile on his face.
"Amanda, Brianna, how lovely to see you!"
They greeted him, explained they were in town to visit a friend, and expressed the hope to have lunch with him. Wilson agreed and suggested they go wait in his office. "I just need a quick word with House about a case."
They went out to the corridor but lingered a little to watch Wilson sit in the armchair in the corner. They couldn't see Wilson's face when he spoke. But they saw House's reaction: a sudden, brilliant smile radiating through upturned mouth and clear blue eyes.
6. And one time they didn't have to"It's very good of you both to come to the funeral," Wilson said. "Did you know Uncle Alfred very well?"
"Not really," the twins chorused.
"We don't often visit Trenton these days, not since college, except to see Dad," Amanda said.
"And Uncle Alfred was our great-uncle, after all," Brianna added. "He always seemed very old to us. But we still couldn't believe it when Dad said he died--we thought he'd go on forever."
"Indeed, but he was 100 years old, he had a good long life," Wilson said, and looked over at the closed casket. House was hovering there, talking to a tiny, elderly woman with tightly curled, steely gray hair. "Help me keep an eye on House. He can never behave at funerals."
"Really?" Amanda asked, and they looked at him hopefully, asking for anecdotes.
"His own father's, for a start--" Wilson began, but stopped, as House had spotted them looking at him.
House ambled up to them. "Well, if it isn't the titillating twins."
He stopped next to Wilson and leaned a hand on the wall behind Wilson's head. They didn't actually touch, but they were standing much closer than two friends might have, much closer than Dad would ever stand next to any other man. It was an intimate pose; they were up close and personal, and in public, too. The twins beamed at the two men, delighted at this confirmation of the family news.
"Dad told us you were together, on the phone yesterday," said Brianna. "We've been waiting for this moment for so long."
"Ever since we were 6 years old and saw you kissing at Aunt Bonnie's wedding," Amanda amplified.
House and Wilson both stared, and two spots of pink appeared on Wilson's cheeks. "You're kidding." He frowned, wrinkles creasing his forehead. "When? Where--hang on--in the kitchen?"
"That's right." The twins nodded in unison.
"We didn't tell anyone," Brianna added.
"Good grief." Wilson sounded dazed.
"And here I was, thinking it was you two fueling my sexual fantasies, when apparently we were fulfilling yours." House looked amused. He glanced back at the casket; the gray-haired old lady was beckoning him. "Have to go; Grandma Mazur wants my help."
"You're not opening that casket!" Wilson cautioned, and House rolled sparkling blue eyes and grinned as he leaned on his cane and walked away.
Wilson shook his head, but his exasperation was tempered by open affection as he watched House go.
Amanda and Brianna looked at each other and high-fived.
A/N: Scene 1 also featured in my fic Twenty Years of Stealing My Food part 12
Scene 2 featured in Cool Uncle Greg
Scene 4 happens during The Story of Chris chapter 5