By GeeLady

Summary: A race to a different finish. (Speculative spoilers for the preview of Nov 4th, 2008 episode).

Rating: M for Mature. Pre-slash/slash. Language.

Pairing: House/Wilson

Disclaimer: I manipulate the sexy House and others to my hearts content. No fee's, no earnings,...just fun!



"You son-of-a-bitch."

Wilson looked up from his stack of paperwork. House had burst through his door and, without warning, made with the insult.

Wilson didn't react, other than to say, "Greetings and salutations back."

"You asked Cuddy out on a date."

Wilson noticed something about House. Like - he didn't sit down as he usually would and thump his cane in good humor. He didn't crack a joke or look away from Wilson even once. He in fact stared with eyes spilling accusation and hurt.

Wilson put all of it aside to ask, "So what?"

"So you know I like her. I'm crazy about her. I kissed her and we're not talking chaste little peck on the cheek like you'd give her after a bad night of Experimental Theater, I'm talking a tongue-waggling, french-ified, deep-throated collision."

Wilson explained in a staccato fashion. "You kissed her. You've done that before. I asked her out. I've done that before. Your Regiments' position is weak."

House threw his hand in the general direction of Cuddys' office. "You know I've had a thing for Cuddy for a long time but you go ask her out like that doesn't matter to you."

Wilson sat back in his chair, linking his fingers together on his lap. "And you knew you had a "thing" for her for years and years and years, and it didn't seem to matter at all. You said nothing to her. You did nothing."

"I was waiting for the right time. Am I supposed to think your diving right in after me is a coincidence? This is sabotage."

"You're delusional. Cuddy and I are friends."

"Did you flash those big brown orbs her way a few times when you took her to Orestes's Greek Palace?"

Wilson stared up at him. "Are you still paying that idiot detective to follow me!?" Wilson shook his head. "God, House. I took her out. We had dinner. It was nice. I haven't bought the woman a ring. And if you're as interested in her as you claim, why haven't you taken her out? Or at least asked her out? Or done something in five years besides crack crude jokes about the size of her ass?"

"I'm pacing myself."



Wilson looked at him sharply. "Well?"

"With no one else in the running, . .I might stand a chance. With you in the mix, I've already lost."

Wilson dropped his eyes back to his work. "That's ridiculous."


"Yes." Wilson stood and went to his wall mounted pencil sharpener, shoving a new H5 into the hole and turning the handle savagely like he was trying to crank-start a Model T. "Here's some strategy: do something nice, House. Take her to a romantic restaurant. Pull out her chair and ask her about her family. Offer a few grains of what ever's in that icy cold heart of yours."

Wilson regretted the last crack when he saw the sudden hurt in Houses' face. But the emotion had flicked on and then off, vanishing like a firebug in the dark.

House stared down at his shoes and his cane, then back at Wilson. "I can't pull out her chair without first hooking my cane over something, getting my balance and hoping like hell I don't tip over while I'm doing the pulling out of chair thing. My complicated, klutzy execution of it kind takes away some of the romance, and my date having to pull out my chair for me doesn't exactly feed the love either.

"If I ask her about her family, she'll tell me all about summers at the farm, riding her pony Starlight, and trips on her dads' thirty foot Skiff. All real nice stories that'll pass some time and make her feel good."

Wilson sat down again, scooting his chair on wheels close to his desk, liking the feel of the solid wood between his vulnerable shins and Houses' hard cane. "See?"

"And then she'll ask me about mine. . ."

Wilson knew, instantly and without reservation, that she wouldn't want to hear about them. He had only learned a little the last few months from House and the little he knew was knowledge stained with sorrow and memories of the pain in Houses' eyes whenever he spoke of it. No, it would not be an appropriate first, or even second date topic of conversation.

House didn't look at Wilson anymore. "All I have is the history she and I share. That's it. You swoop in now with your pretty brown eyes, starched shirts and sparkling new BMW, I'm out of the running before I even get started."

"Stop exaggerating."

House stared, his face a flurry of confusion. "I though we were ex-ex-best friends? Why are you doing this?"

Wilson had not even asked himself that one, and his reasoning brain finally caught up with his impulsive heart in that he really didn't have an adequate answer.

House didn't wait for one. He turned to march to the door, a lop-sided, hitching march. A lone and wounded soldier. He stopped at the door and said quietly. "I'm fifty years old." He took a tired, battle weary breath. "I'm a drug addict and, . ."

House paused to reveal another thing Wilson had often suspected but never confirmed. Until now. ". . .and an alcoholic."

House leaned against the door jamb, biting his lip. "I'm a cripple who'll never be able to take her for long walks or have the courage to put on a bathing suit and vacation on a Mexican beach. My livers' got maybe five or ten years left on it and I'm a miserable, obsessive ass who'll never change. Who doesn't want to. I'm too. . ." He looked over at Wilson with a helpless shrug. " . . .I'm too tired to."

House stepped through the door. "Congratulations, Wilson. You win. Just like always."

The door shut behind him.


"Are you two fighting again?" Cuddy raised hands to her ears and shook her head, walking away from Wilson like he was one of two troublesome teenagers and she a frazzled mother.

"No. Not exactly."

Cuddy entered her office, dismayed to see Wilson following after her. "What??" She asked, sitting at her desk. She had case folders stacked a foot high, waiting for her to go over and sign off on.

Wilson thought he had it bad when it came to paperwork. "Um, . . look . . ." He rubbed his hands together, "House likes you."

She stared at him like a woman interrupted in the middle of a hair perm. "Not that it's any of your business but I know and s-o-o-o?"

"He kissed you." It was question that, by the third word, had turned into a statement.

"Yes. He kissed me. Again, what business is it of yours?"

"Did you kiss him back?" At her fiery expression, he changed directions a little, enough to ward off a champaign heel driven into his kneecap. "Look. House is crazy about you and I'm not sure that if you're not as crazy about him that he isn't going to go crazy and end up getting himself hurt. . .from the. . .crazed uncertainty." He looked confused. "Did any of that make sense?"


"House thinks we're dating."

Cuddy froze in place, her pen poised over the Clinic Weekly Report.

Wilson quickly specified. "That you and I are dating."

"You're going to have to pretend you're not here anymore so I can pretend you didn't say that."

Wilson felt a little hurt. "I'm not that bad. Am I?"

Cuddy sighed. "Wilson. You are a good doctor and a long suffering, enabling, occasionally manipulative jerk, which makes you a perfect match for House. But you are also a man who thinks marriage is a ride at the fairground. Don't take this the wrong way but you make an excellent friend for an insane man because you love that insane man. Wilson, I'm not in the market for a friend."

"I'm not sure I understood all of that."

"I mean, House likes me and I like him. So what?" She opened the first folder. "I'm not marrying him. We're comfortable around each other. I was hurting, he was impulsive. The kiss was nice but it didn't mean anything. I'm his boss. It can't mean anything."

"So what are you going to tell him?"


"Cuddy, House thinks he loves you."

"No he doesn't. House is just lonely. I've got plenty of experience with that and believe me, it's not the same thing." She pursed her lips. "By the way, I'm not the one hurting him. You are."

"Me?" Wilson denied it to save his stinging conscience, though he knew it was true. The whole truth and nothing but. He still didn't have an answer. Last time House had provided the answer. "You dump the person that means the most to you because you're afraid to lose him."

"You love House. He loves you. But you took me on a date. You've got him all confused. Consider that a landmark accomplishment."

"Now I'm confused."

"House thinks he loves - wants - to love me because he thinks there's no one else. He feels abandoned. You abandoned him."

"I guess I deserve that. But i-is there? Is there someone else?"

"You're just going to have to figure out the rest on your own."


Second Part ASAP