Neither man was really surprised when House showed up at Wilson's door the following night – with a mere five minutes of his twenty-four hours to spare

Neither man was really surprised when House showed up at Wilson's door the following night – with a mere five minutes of his twenty-four hours to spare.

Wilson opened the door for him with a silent, knowing smile, and House self-consciously averted his gaze as he stepped past him into the hotel room. He stood there awkwardly in the middle of the room for a few moments, giving Wilson a questioning, uncertain look, unsure as to what he should do next.

Wilson gestured toward the loveseat in the corner, suggesting mildly, "Have a seat."

House nodded once as he obeyed without hesitation. Once seated, he crossed his arms over his stomach in a subconsciously defensive gesture, warily looking up at Wilson, clearly wondering what was going to happen next. Wilson's response to his obvious suspicion was a warm smile of affectionate amusement as he moved to sit down beside House.

House was unresponsive, but unresisting, as Wilson placed a strong hand behind his head and leaned in to kiss him softly on the mouth, his tongue pressing insistently past the yielding barrier of House's lips and teeth. Wilson allowed the kiss to last for a few moments before drawing back to meet House's eyes with a smile of quiet delight.

"I'm glad you came," he confessed softly.

House swallowed slowly, the taste of Wilson's mouth lingering in his own, the feeling of Wilson's steady hand still resting at the back of his neck setting a strange, fluttering sensation in his stomach. His eyes lowered as he spoke in an unusually quiet, subdued tone.

"I, uh… never knew you were gay. Never suspected. Not once, in fifteen years."

Wilson let out a warm laugh. "You really should have. Three failed marriages tell you nothing?"

"They told me that you're incapable of being faithful to any woman."

"Yeah." Wilson's smile faded into a more solemn expression, and he waited until House met his eyes again. "Any woman." He was silent for a moment, watching as House's eyes widened in understanding, allowing the impact of his words to sink in before continuing.

"Anyway," he added finally with a casual shrug. "I've known for years that you were bi."

House returned the shrug, feigning a complete lack of surprise. "It's not like I've made any effort to hide it. I just… happen to prefer women, usually."

Wilson's hand tensed slightly on the back of House's neck, and he abruptly kissed House again, with more aggression this time, catching House's wrist and pinning it when he raised his hand to touch Wilson, not releasing him or ending the kiss until House was gasping for breath.

"And me," Wilson stated, a little breathless himself, eyes gleaming with an unmistakably possessive light, eyebrows raised knowingly as his hand brushed across the swiftly swelling bulge in the front of House's jeans..

House nodded, holding his gaze as he swallowed hard. "Yeah," he admitted. "And you, apparently."

Wilson smirked, clearly satisfied with House's reaction. "And you're supposed to be the observant one. It was obvious to me, almost as long as I've known you," he teased. His smile faded a little, something darker and more intense forming in his expression as he added, "It took me a little longer to recognize your… more… specific needs. Thing is," Wilson went on, looking away for a moment. "I've got some specific needs, too. And I really think this arrangement will work out well for both of us."

Still unusually quiet, House did not question or argue. He just sat there, staring expectantly at Wilson and waiting for… something.

He wasn't really sure what, exactly.

"I get tired of being Mr. Nice Guy sometimes, House," Wilson admitted. "I can't control the outcome of my work. I try to save my patients… try so hard to help…" He looked up at House, a deep sorrow in his eyes. "They still die." He shook his head sadly, looking away again. "And until now, I haven't had much control over the outcome of my relationships, either. There's so much in my life that's… that's out of my hands. I just feel like I need to… to control something, you know?"

He turned back toward House, his free hand resting on his thigh, sliding slowly upward as he met his eyes with an intent, searching gaze.

"Me," House concluded in a hoarse whisper, his eyes lowering momentarily to Wilson's lips as the other man moved closer.

Wilson nodded slowly, his hand at the back of House's head rubbing his hair. His other hand on House's thigh squeezed gently, and then slid upward and inward. Wilson smiled when House drew in a sharp, trembling breath, his eyes closing and his body tensing at the increased contact. His hand tightened possessively in House's hair, pulling gently as he leaned in close to whisper against House's ear.

"I need you, House… and you need me, whether you want to admit it or not. This can be so… sogood, for us…"

He kissed House again, pushing him back against the loveseat and holding him there, and House's body immediately reacted to the gentle restraint. He pushed upward against Wilson, returning his kiss with fervency, his back arching upward in a desperate attempt to increase their contact – but Wilson playfully pulled his body away from House, smiling against House's lips before deepening the kiss.

After a moment, House pulled his mouth away with an effort, gasping for breath as his piercing, pensive gaze locked onto Wilson in a searching expression. Wilson frowned, arching a single brow in a silent question.

"So this is how the game is played, then?" House finally regained his breath enough to ask. "You call all the shots? You decide how much I get, and when? I'm like… your property now, or something?"

Wilson immediately froze, and House's stomach dropped at the cold expression of anger in his eyes. He knew he was at a distinct physical disadvantage, and in his experience, looks like the one Wilson now bore did not usually lead to anything but physical or emotional pain. He couldn't imagine that Wilson would actually hurt him; still, he couldn't help but flinch when Wilson's hands clenched around his wrists and shook him slightly.

"This isn't a game, House!" Wilson snapped, his voice trembling with frustration. "This is real. You've been on some kind of self-destructive rampage for the last few years, and it's long past time someone took you in hand before you manage to succeed in destroying yourself, and anyone who cares about you!" He emphasized the words with another shake, ignoring House's slight wince with an effort as he concluded, "This is deadly serious – and I'm not going to let you treat it like a joke!"

Wilson didn't want to relent. He was angry, and frustrated, and wanted it to be absolutely clear to House just how serious the matter was. However, his friend's visible anxiety was more than he could stand at the moment. He wanted House to respect him, and the role he was taking on… but he didn't want House to be afraid of him.

Slowly, Wilson backed off, releasing House's wrists and sitting up straight again on the couch, drawing in a deep, shaky breath in an attempt to regain his composure. He glanced at House with uncertainty, and his heart sank when he saw the way his eyes were averted, the anxious set of his taut shoulders as he slowly sat up again, deliberately leaving a full foot of space between the two of them.

"So…" he began in a hesitant, subdued voice. "… that would be a 'yes', then. To the… property thing."

Wilson softened with a sigh, turning toward House again and resting a gentle hand on his leg. House tensed, but did not pull away.

"House… no," Wilson assured him with quiet urgency. "I don't want this to be anything like that. We're only doing this at all if you agree to do it, and you have the right to end this arrangement and walk away at any time." He paused, amending softly, "I hope that you won't… because this is for your own good." He waited until House looked up cautiously to meet his eyes before stating in a voice of quiet intensity, filled with love and trembling with unshed tears, "You're falling, right before my eyes, House – out of control. All I want… is to catch you."

House's eyes went wide with startled amazement, and he swallowed hard, looking away before Wilson could notice the suspicious sheen in his eyes. He didn't argue or agree with Wilson's words. After a moment, however, he nodded slowly, once, and glanced up at Wilson with an almost timid, questioning look, the right side of his lower lip caught anxiously between his teeth.

Wilson suppressed the shudder of need that expression aroused in him, struggling for the control he knew he would need to maintain for this conversation. He looked away from House as he rose to his feet, turning his back momentarily.

Just have to keep my eyes away from… certain things… for now, he reminded himself. Just have to focus on what really matters here. There'll be plenty of time for… other things… later…

"This is the way it's going to work," he began in a voice of quiet authority, turning back to face House with his arms crossed unyieldingly over his chest, though not quite looking at him. "You haven't exactly been making the best choices lately. I'm not sure at this point that you can. So… I'll be making the choices for you from now on." He raised his eyes to meet House's solemn gaze, making sure that he understood as he added, "All of them."

House let out a quiet scoffing sound, rolling his eyes. "Right. Like that's going to happen…"

As he spoke, Wilson swiftly closed the distance between them, and House's words were broken off with a startled yelp when Wilson grabbed his hair and pulled his head back, glaring down at him in warning as he spoke in a hard, commanding voice.

"Do not speak until I'm finished." He twisted his hand slightly in House's hair, and House winced, biting back a soft cry of protest. "You will not interrupt me again. Is that clear?"

Wilson held his breath, well aware that this was the first, small test of their arrangement, and wondering what the result would be. House seemed just as aware of this, and hesitated, his fists clenched into fists at his sides, his entire body tensed with indecision. Finally, he responded in an uncharacteristically quiet, restrained voice.

"Yes… yes, Wilson. That's clear." He hesitated before looking up to meet Wilson's eyes with an intent, piercing stare that, in combination with the submissive words, sent a shock of arousal straight to Wilson's groin. "I'm sorry."

Wilson was quiet for a moment, maintaining his hold on House just long enough to make it clear that he didn't have to release him – before releasing him, turning his hold on House's hair into a gentle caress.

"Good," he murmured. "That's good." He paused a moment, sitting down beside House again and facing him. "You've agreed to this, House. That means you're going to have to learn to put control in someone else's hands. Mine."

House didn't interrupt, but the dubious look he gave Wilson said more than enough.

"I can make the incentives… incredibly good for you…" Wilson assured him, his voice softening, taking on a low, suggestive note as he slid his hands under the hem of House's shirt, stroking his stomach lightly before edging his fingers down to play at the waist of his jeans. Abruptly he gripped House's belt and jerked him closer, suggestion changing into warning as he added, "… and the consequences… very, very bad."

Though House didn't pull away, he raised his chin in a subtle gesture of defiance; but Wilson could clearly see the faint traces of apprehension in his eyes. There was a slight tremor to his voice as he softly responded.

"Suddenly you think you have the right to manhandle me anytime you feel like it?"

"No. Suddenly I do have the right," Wilson shot back in a dark, warning voice, leaning in so close that House could feel his breath against his throat. His tone softened as he added, "But you can take that right away from me. Anytime you want." He drew back enough to meet House's eyes with a challenge in his own, his voice barely over a whisper as he slowly slid his hands off of House, holding them up between them in a gesture of surrender.

"Get up… and walk out. If you want to."

House stared at him in silence for a long, tense moment… before averting his gaze, lowering his head.

"Right." Wilson did his best to conceal his sigh of relief. "Then here's how it's going to be. I'm going to help you get your life under control, break these habits that are ruining your life. You will submit yourself completely to me. Any commands I give you, you'll obey. You will tell me the truth… listen to me… respect me. There will be rewards for obedience… and punishments for disobedience or disrespect."

"Punishments?" House raised his eyebrows, visibly trying to conceal his alarm.

"I won't ever cause you any permanent physical harm," Wilson assured him. "And I won't do anything you haven't consented to. Again, if at any time you change your mind… all you have to do is walk out."

"This whole… 'you controlling every aspect of my life' thing," House said speculatively, watching Wilson closely for his reaction. "That might not go over so well at work…"

"At work, things will be as they've always been," Wilson clarified confidently. "You can keep on being an ass, and I'll keep being your tolerant, understanding friend. Any commands I give you at home, though… you'll obey them during working hours as well. Such as… the amount of drugs you take, that sort of thing."

House frowned, troubled, averting his eyes again. "I… I'm not sure…"

Wilson edged close to him again, reaching out to grasp House's arms gently, running his hands soothingly up and down them as he held his gaze and spoke in an earnest, patient voice.

"I'll never do anything that's not good for you, House – or ask you to, either. I… I want you to trust that. This arrangement can be so good for both of us, I know it. I'm just asking you… to trust me. Completely."

House's breath quickened with Wilson's nearness, as well as the soft, intent emotion in his words. House's gaze passed repeatedly between Wilson's eyes and his mouth, as the younger man gently pushed him back against the couch again, covering House's lips with his own in a firm, demanding kiss.

House immediately surrendered to the kiss, reaching out trembling hands to find Wilson's waist, drawing him closer and deepening their embrace. After a few moments, Wilson reluctantly pulled away for breath, looking down at House through anxious, uncertain eyes – clearly seeking an answer.

House opened his mouth to respond, then hesitated and closed it again. He shook his head, holding Wilson's gaze as he confessed quietly. "You… you know me, Wilson. You should know by now… what you're asking… I… I'm not sure it's possible anymore." He was quiet, apologetic, as he added, "I don't think I can trust you that much."

"If you can't… I'll understand." Wilson's voice was gentle, understanding, as he raised a hand to cup the back of House's head in a gesture that was both affectionate and possessive. "You can walk out of this anytime you want to. All I'm asking you to do… is try."

House's expression was still uncertain, and a little bit afraid, as he searched Wilson's eyes for… something. Finally, very slowly, he nodded, lowering his eyes in submission.

"Okay," he whispered. "Okay."

Wilson smiled, trying not to show how House's response delighted him. "I promise you," he whispered, his hand at House's chin tilting his head up, insisting that he face him. "You're not going to regret this."

House let out a shaky, nervous laugh. "That… remains to be seen."

"Well… then let's have a little demonstration."

Wilson's smile faded, his expression becoming solemn, as he rose to his feet. House's unusually vulnerable eyes followed him, large and watchful as Wilson took a step back and regarded him thoughtfully.

"Get up," he ordered softly.

House stared at him for a long moment, before taking his cane in a shaky hand and rising slowly to his feet.

"Good."

Wilson smiled with a slight nod of approval as he issued his second command.

"Now… take off your clothes."