SYNOPSIS: This story is based on the spoiler that Cuddy will move into House's office in the Dec 2nd ep. Other than the moving in together, nothing is based on any further spoilers. Instead it's my version of how this would happen, and also deals with the aftermath of the kiss. It may get smutty, but I'm not sure yet, so I've put a mature rating, just in case (because I know my own tendancy toward smut and figured it was inevidable).

Well, here we go...


Dr. Gregory House sat at his desk, Led Zeppelin blaring out of the small speakers attached to his iPod, his eyes closed. No one who passed by would know it, but he was working on a case.

Sixteen year old girl suffering from aphasia, which House believed was just a teenage rebellion against her insufferably suffocating parents and a rash which Cameron had described, when she tried to convince her former boss to take the case, as a sort of blossoming rose shape, but which House thought looked more like week old road kill on a backwoods country road. Probably possum, perhaps groundhog, it didn't matter so much as the fact that the rash had, in the day and a half Carly Peterson had been a patient at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, grown to cover over two thirds of her curiously underdeveloped body and itched so badly she was drawing blood.

House was too deep in thought to notice the familiar face that popped into his office. "Bite?" James Wilson asked casually.

"Name five things that would cause stunted growth." House didn't open his eyes. He felt he was on to something.

"You think that's a symptom?" Wilson was always fascinated at how his friend's mind worked. Even after ten years working with the man, House's mental processes often mystified him.

"I checked her birth records. They're not lying about her age."

"You checked?" Wilson emphasized the first word with a smirk.

"I made 13 check. Focus on something important." House corrected.

"Fetal alcohol syndrome?" Wilson said the first thing that came to his mind.

"Oh, come on," House finally opened his eyes and glared at his friend. "You can do better than that."

Wilson floundered, trying to think of something House wouldn't have already come up with. That was a tall order. "Congenital hypothyroidism," he started with something easy, just to get the mental juices flowing. It seemed to work. "Amniotic Band Syndrome, Achondroplasia, Rubella, anticonvulsants, Varicella…"

"Those are birth defects," House said with frustration. "She was growing just fine a year ago then she just stopped. I'm not looking for a birth defect."

"You didn't say that." Wilson sighed. He wouldn't come up with anything House hadn't already thought of. It was nearly 7PM and House was still at the hospital. Clearly he'd been pouring over this case. "Buy me a drink and you can go on verbally abusing me until you find an answer."

"Buy me two drinks and I won't tell everyone at the bar that you still sleep with your Wooby."

"I don't!"

"They don't know that." House shoved all the papers on his desk into his backpack and grabbed his coat. He grinned at Wilson as he pushed past him and headed out the door.

Pete's was crowded. It was a Friday night. House smirked as he saw his old team, lined up at the bar. Wilson mistook this smirk for nostalgia. Drs. Foreman, Chase and Cameron were the first team House really clicked with. They were the only three young Fellows driven enough, or perhaps stupid enough to stick with him for the requisite three years.

"Who are you calling?" Wilson tried to peer over his friend's shoulder to see what number he'd dialed but House shushed him and hurried into a hidden corner. Less than a minute later, Chase jumped out of his seat, made his apologies and hurried out. House dialed another number while Wilson watched, slowly putting the pieces together when he saw Cameron grab her coat, apologize for leaving Foreman on his own, and hurry out into the chilly November air.

"Oh look. Two seats just opened up." House tossed his phone jauntily into his pocket and walked over to Foreman and the two empty seats. Wilson followed, shaking his head with respectful awe. "You're my hero."

"Buy your hero a drink." House said, banging on the bar and ordering a neat scotch, and not the generic crap. The good stuff Pete kept under the counter.

Pete obligingly poured House his usual and Wilson a gin and tonic per his request. He took Wilson's money happily and made change.

"You paged them, didn't you?" Foreman was slowly working on his second bottle of Sam Adams.

"I was going to page you, but I realized that, once they figure out it was a false alarm, they can go home and copulate whereas you'd just come back here and bitch me out."

"Yeah, well…" Foreman faded off as he drained his bottle, put it hard on the solid oak bar and walked out. He saw enough of that ass at work, he didn't need to spend his few precious hours off hanging out with Gregory House.

"That went well," Wilson snided.

"Perfectly." House propped his leg up on the spare stool before some idiot in a thee piece tried to sit down next to him.

"You talked to Cuddy yet?" Wilson had a habit of jumping right in with his intrusive questions. There was no foreplay, no gentle coddling before hand. It was right down to the dirty deed with Dr. James Wilson, wonder boy oncologist.

"You might want to work on your slow buildup." House dodged the question, but his answer came through loud and clear.

"She's still avoiding you?" Wilson furrowed his brow. It wasn't good that his two friends weren't speaking. It meant he had to become the messenger in their work dealings, and he did not like being the messenger when it came to chastising House about his work ethic. He had, however, gained newfound respect for their boss, Dr. Lisa Cuddy and what she had to deal with having House as an employee.

"The nurses have started putting up the Christmas decorations." House decided to carry on his own conversation while Wilson continued his.

"You're avoiding my question." It wasn't a question this time. It was an observation by amature psychologist Dr. James Wilson. House was his best test subject.

"And yet you keep asking them." House shook his head with wonder. Someday, maybe, Wilson would learn to mind his own business. House kicked himself for secretly hoping that day never came.

"I'm plucky like that." Wilson grinned.

"We kissed, she tried to talk to me about it, and I blew her off. Now she's blowing me off." House frowned as the words took on a double meaning. "And not in the good way."

"Have you tried to talk to her?"

House's body fell a little. "You were supposed to jump on the innuendo thing, talk about getting off."

"Sorry, dropped my script." Wilson pretended to bend over to pick something up, but stopped about half a second into it.

"What would I say to her? Sorry I kissed you?"

"Are you sorry?" Wilson couldn't help himself; he was born to butt in.

House stared at his glass. He wasn't sorry. He wasn't sure what he was. He wasn't even sure why he'd kissed her. She just looked so hurt, so lost, and he wanted to say so many things to her, things that got caught in his throat, that refused to escape his lips, things that would have changed them. He couldn't do it. He liked them. He liked the battles, the war, he liked the longing and the way she could affect his groin simply by bending over in a certain skirt, or wearing a bra just a little too dark for her blouse. He liked the foreplay. He didn't want things to change. At least not until he knew which way that change would take them.

"House?" Wilson waved a refilled scotch in front of his distant friend. As House reached out for it, Wilson pulled it away. He knew House would curse him for it, but sometimes he just had to push the right buttons. "Are you going to talk to her?"

"No," House snapped, snatching the drink out of Wilson's hand and licking up the bit that spilled on his hand.

"House…" Wilson was about to give a lecture, but House's insistence that he didn't need a lecture right now shut him up. They drank in silence, two quiet, contemplative men in a sea of loud, drunken revelers.

An hour passed, then another. House was gazing into the amber liquid of his lost count long ago drink. Wilson was shoving his way back from the men's room. "Want a lift home?" Wilson finally made it to the bar, his hair tussled by some drunken nurse who wanted him to play doctor with her in the back room, his tie pulled loose by a co-ed who wanted him to teach her a lesson. Wilson had that effect on women sometimes. It was his boyish charm, and his inability to say no to a damsel in distress, even if that distress was nothing more than a case of horniness.

"What took you so long?" House looked at his friend, amused.

Wilson cleared his through self-consciously. "Do I have lipstick on my face?" He had opted against returning to the men's room to check, fearing he would just get reaccosted on his way back.

"Lots." House snickered.

"I didn't…She was really strong," Wilson was practicing his apology.

"Am I supposed to get jealous now?" House grimaced.

"Do you want a ride or not?" Wilson had wiped the Bashful Blush lipstick off his cheeks and the tip of his nose and tossed the napkin on the bar top.

"Are you going to bring up the C word again?" House studied Wilson's face, looking for hints of a lie.

"Yeah." Wilson was too buzzed to lie.

"I'll pass." House ordered a last drink. It was almost last call and he wanted to make sure he got one more in before the end of the night.

Wilson watched as House split in two. One House was leaning a bit farther back than the other and they were both pretty blurry around the edges. His nice buzz had just shifted into drunkenness. "Can I hitch a ride with you then?"

House laughed. When he was buzzed he had a hearty, full bodied laugh. It was a nice, but rarely heard sound. "When are you going to learn to hold your liquor?"

"When you finally tell Cuddy how you really feel about her." Wilson replied, too drunk to know not to say it out loud.

"Good luck getting home." House reached into Wilson's pocket, took out his car keys and headed for the door.

"House?" Wilson called after him, unsure what had just happened, but aware that it was probably bad.