A/N: I started putting this story up on in chapters, and people were put on chapter alert, so while I condensed the story to a one shot, I still wanted to be able to post it there for all the people who waited for it. Which meant cutting out the sex scene, which had been mentioned in the original summary. I've written a companion piece for the sex scene, titled "Push You Down", so the smut has been preserved, just moved so this story could go on ! Isn't it fun when we comprimise? :P
o/~She said I don't know if I've ever been good enough I'm a little bit rusty, and I think my head is caving in And I don't know if I've ever been really loved By hand that's touched me, well I feel like something's gonna give And I'm a little bit angry, well o/~
The headaches had come in sudden bursts since Amber's death. They were like thunderstorms in summertime, appearing without warning and then leaving just as unexpected after some minutes or even hours. And it made sense, considering he'd had his skull cracked open less then two months ago.
A lot of good that had done him.
Here he was, sitting in his apartment again by himself. The TV was on, but it was just background noise to keep thoughts from assaulting him. Though tonight it seemed like they weren't going to float away and assimilate into the sounds of a laundry detergent commercial.
It was getting much harder to pretend he wasn't lonely. He knew Wilson needed the space after what had happened, but he also knew that he didn't know how much longer he could take being shut out of Wilson's life. No woman had come between them before, why should that change now?
Something had changed, however. And that something didn't stop with the fact he hadn't spoken to Wilson in nearly two months. Now House himself was questioning everything about his own interpersonal relationships. It was stupid. He shouldn't let anyone have that kind of control over him. But this was Wilson. The one person he'd managed to have a lasting friendship with, for almost twenty years.
In the grand scheme of things, people had a very short shelf life in House's universe. They came, they tolerated him for a bit, then they got tired of his bullshit and left. For the most part he was fine with that. After all, he was the self proclaimed biggest bastard in the world. But one person had held on, and that one person was Wilson.
He was mostly indifferent to the concept of love. Sure, it sounded nice, but the real world didn't work like that. People believed they were in love for their own motives or to fulfill their own emotional needs. Very few people ever truly loved someone for selfless reasons. Maybe no one did. Who was he to say? He didn't even know if he'd ever loved or been loved. If he had been asked who he thought truly cared for him, the first person he would've named was Wilson. When he thought about it, that was probably the closest he'd been to love. Closer then even with Stacey or any other woman he'd had a romance with.
If you could call most of his relationships with women romances. The vast majority of them had been more like fuck and run. Why he was even equating his relationships with women to his friendship with Wilson he didn't know. They were two totally different things. Weren't they? Right now he wasn't sure of anything, which caused a skittish feeling to run down his spine.
The truth was just below the surface and for possibly the first time in his life this was a puzzle he didn't want to solve.
And yet, he'd give just about anything to have Wilson sitting next to him on the couch right now. It was cliched and stupid and confusing, but he actually understood the meaning of heartache right now. Whether he understood it or not, his heart ached for his friend and feared they had moved beyond the point of reconciliation.
He was the world's biggest bastard and tonight he was the world's loneliest bastard.
o/~ This ain't over, no not here, not while I still need you around You don't owe me, we might change Yeah we just might feel good o/~
"We aren't friends...I don't know if we ever were."
The words echoed again and again in House's throbbing head. He sat there on the floor of Wilson's now empty office, back against the wall and his leg aching from staying still too long. Almost an hour had passed since Wilson had left, but he hadn't moved. For him it seemed like the world had stopped and froze in this moment of sorrow.
It wasn't as if this had never happened. It was a truth in House's life that inevitably the people who came into his life would get tired of him and leave hurling words like "narcissitic", "sadistic" and psycho-drama phrases like "commited to misery." That was fine. Maybe sometimes it hurt a little, but life was full of pain. And alot of it was metted out without rhyme or reason.
And yet through all that, for nearly twenty years, James Wilson had been the exception. Until today.
When Wilson returned to work House knew there might be a little hard feelings. He wasn't so self absorbed that he didn't realize that Amber never would have gotten on the bus if it hadn't been for him. Wilson would probably blame him for her death. If he was really honest, he blamed himself in a way too. He'd spent alot of sleepless nights in the last month trying to decide where fate met his culpability. So sure, the boyfriend of the deceased was going to have hard feelings at first.
Only the hard feelings weren't about the reason Amber got on that bus. They were about the twenty years of friendship he had shared with Wilson. That surprised knocked him off his feet. Not that he hadn't been called self destructive before, that was nothing new, but for Wilson to take the stance he had enabled too much bad behaviour? That he couldn't stay and continue to feed his need for misery?
Any bad behaviour that Wilson had been involved with had been on his own freewill and some of the best times they'd had together. There hadn't been a gun to the onocologist's head. Every drink, every prank, every scheme, he had consented and chosen. He could've walked away at any time. But he didn't, he had chosen to come along for the ride.
House was not a sentimental person. He acted out inappropriatly to express his emotions. He was obsessive, cocky and not afraid to say the things people only thought but never said. Truthfully he didn't care who he offended or what sacred cows he stomped on. The people that mattered were used to it and the ones that did mind could quite frankly kiss his ass.
Wilson, on the other hand was compassionate and sympathetic. He spent his career holding hands and making speeches about precious time. Granted, he was on anti-depressants and could be a total maniuplative bastard when he wanted to be, but for the most part James Wilson got along with the outside world. He toed lines and played by the rules for the most part.
They were total opposites, but they worked. Until now.
Didn't Wilson see that he had been part of all of the happiest moments House had in the last twenty years? And that he he'd been there for all the horrible moments in House's life too? He was a constant, someone who could be counted on no matter what. And in the past four months House had come to realize that. He didn't just want Wilson, he needed him. He had needed him all along, all these years, but he had never allowed himself to admit it.
If he admitted it now, would things change? Could the only relationship he'd ever really cared about still be saved? It was these questioned that weighed heavily on his mind as he sat in his friend's office, former office, and listened to the rain patter softly against the windows like the tears he was unable to shed.
o/~ I wanna push you around, well I will, well I will I wanna push you down, well I will, well I will I wanna take you for granted, I wanna take you for granted, yeah I will, I will Well I will o/~
At the sound of his name, House turned his head to find Wilson standing in the doorway of his office. It was late at night and this floor of the hospital was usually deserted, but it wasn't unusual for either of them to work late. Most of the time when they both there late they ended up going out to eat or get a drink after they were done. The only unusual thing was that Wilson didn't work there anymore.
Wilson strode towards him, an intent look on his face and his brown eyes burning beneath his thick brows. House felt a flutter of anticipation rise in his chest, wondering if he had come to take back everything he'd said. To tell him they'd always be friends, that nothing had changed between them. That House was forgiven for Amber, for being a bastard, for being narcisstic.
When they were within an arm's length from each other, Wilson rested his hands on House's shoulders. He pushed the older man hard, forcing House to make two awkward stumbles backward until his back was up against the wall.
"Wilson?" House asked, more then a little confused.
Instead of responding, Wilson continued to push him back against the wall. He lifted his chin slightly and caught House's lips in his own, kissing him hard. House flailed for a moment, startled by his friend's actions, but after a moment finding his hands moving to rest on the other man's back. It was unexpected, yes, but it really wasn't unwanted.
Their bodies pressed together tightly as their tongues began to mingle and soon House wasn't sure who was kissing whom now. And it didn't matter. Tingles of electricity shot up his back and he could feel himself becoming more aroused by the moment. This was right. It made sense. It had been there all along. And judging by the bulge in Wilson's pants, he felt the same way as well.
Then as suddenly as Wilson had appeared in his office, House found himself jerking awake in his own bed. He was alone and his body was covered in a film of sweat. His breathing was a little harder then it should have been, and he didn't need to look down to realize he was every bit as aroused as he had been in the dream.
Laying back against the pillows, he looked up at the ceiling and tried to straighten out his head. He was too confused and feeling too awkward to enjoy his arousal. Instead he let it slowly bleed out of him as he tried to convince himself the dream was all about him missing Wilson. But who got a boner dreaming about a friend they missed?
He remembered something he had said to Stacey, when she was asking him a question. Was he gay? No, but it would make sense. He had no girlfriend, all the time he spent with Wilson, the sneaker obsession. And now, laying there in bed with a half boner from an erotic dream about his best friend it rang true more now then ever before.
When it came down it, the simple truth was he loved Wilson. It was hard to him admit, and almost impossible for him to express. But it was the truth. James Wilson was the only person, male or female, that House had ever loved in this way.
It was right.
It made sense.
It had been there all along.
And now that he knew, what was he going to do?
o/~ She said I don't know why you ever would lie to me Like I'm a little untrusting when I think that the truth is gonna hurt ya And I don't know why you couldn't just stay with me You couldn't stand to be near me When my face don't seem to want to shine 'cuz It's a little bit dirty well o/~
House was sitting in his office once again late into the night. He sat behind his desk, the top clear expect for a single file folder. One moment he'd glance at the folder like it was an old nemesis, another moment like it was the most complex puzzle he'd ever faced and had little hope of cracking.
Truthfully, it was both.
The idea to hire a private investigator to follow Wilson around had seemed like a great idea at the time. He had tried going to Wilson's apartment and appealing to him in person, only to have the door shut in his face. That had hurt like hell, and if he didn't feel the way he did about Wilson he would have told him where to go right then and there. But this was Wilson, and other longer the other man was gone the most that he realized how much he needed the onocologist in his life.
Like many great ideas, however, it turned out to be a bust. House wasn't used to that. Usually his good ideas really were good ideas. Genius ideas, in fact. This time, it seemed he had been wrong. He glared at the folder now, which contained the PI's report, hating what was in it. Hating what it meant.
If Wilson was really trying to make a break, why was he still associating with their colleauges? It seemed like he'd had contact with everyone at the hospital expect for House himself. How did that begin to make sense? Like Cameron was a better friend to him! He'd been there through three divorces, countless girlfriends, and now he was the odd man out.
Of course, if he believed what Wilson had said his last day at Princeton, it would seem that it was House he was trying to cut out of his life. Leaving the hospital was a big part of that, but he figured when he'd said he was going to leave, that he was going to leave everything behind, not just his office and House.
He closed his eyes and rubbed a hand over his face, feeling an exhausting array of emotions running through him. Of course, he was angry at his friend for shoving him away. And he was jealous that he was being excluded by the only person he could ever feel excluded by. Then there was the memory of the dream several weeks ago and the realization that he loved Wilson, in one way or another. Not that it was looking like there was going to be much chance of seeing how that particular emotion worked out.
Leaning back in his chair, House tried to think it over as a puzzle. What was going on in Wilson's mind? Usually he could read him so well, predict almost every outcome and reaction. He'd expected his friend to be mad about Amber's death, but he didn't except this outcome. It seemed as if he'd been telling the truth when he said he didn't blame House anymore for the accident. But what about the rest?
The rest, not so much. He closed his eyes again and started to dissect Wilson in his mind. He did that with patients to save their lives, but tonight he was doing it to save the best thing in his own life.
o/~ Don't just stand there, say nice things to me I've been cheated I've been wronged you, And you don't know me, I can't change I won't do anything at all o/~
For three days House spent every spare moment of his time trying to figure out why Wilson was pushing him away. Of course, the first thing he did was re-exam his role in Amber's death for the millionth time. He really did feel bad she had died, but his logical mind couldn't see how it had been his fault the bus had crashed. And he didn't want to feel guilt again, that door had to stay closed.
So after that, he started analyzing Wilson's long issues. He had depression, he'd been married three times and all three marriages had failed, and he struggled with long-term fidelty. Couldn't this whole move be a self-destructive thing? Maybe punishing himself for Amber? Or something deeper, possibly darker? Maybe Wilson was having dreams too.
Then came the personal interospection. Could he change? Correct his narcisstic, self-destructive tendencies so Wilson wouldn't feel like he was enabling him anymore? And if he did, would it even matter? Or was it too late?
But why should he have to change when Wilson had accepted him as is for twenty years? He knew he wanted to change a few things, but those had more to do with his relationship with Wilson, not actually changing himself.
All these questions were making his head hurt. He poured himself another round of Jack Daniels, hands starting to fumble a little as his blood alcohol content climbed. Getting drunk would probably fall into the self destructive category too, right? Well, Wilson could get his ass off the high horse, because he'd seen the onocologist drunk on many occasion.
He was sorry that Amber had died, but it wasn't like bad things didn't happen to people every day of the year. Maybe she hadn't deserved it, and Wilson hadn't deserved to lose her, but she was gone and he shouldn't destory the relationship with the person who knew him best over something that couldn't be changed.
And he was going to tell him exactly that.
House fumbled with the phone, glad he'd put Wilson on speed dial. Right now he wasn't sure he could even dial his own phone number, let alone someone else's, no matter how well he knew it. His heart started to pound as he listened to the rings. One. Two. Three.
"I told you not to call, House." Wilson's terse voice came onto the phone.
"What?" He blinked in surprise. "When did you get caller ID?"
"WHen I wanted you to stop calling."
And then he heard the reciever go down, the dial tone buzzing loudly in his ear. His heart was still pounding, now with grief, as he set down his own phone. Wilson was so dead set on getting rid of him he'd even gotten Caller ID? He was that determinded not to talk to him?
Fine. If that was the way he was going to be, just fine. Forget him.
House took his next drink directly from the bottle, a long drag that left even his whiskey immune throat burning. He coughed and wiped his mouth on his sleeve, not really caring if it hurt. Right now everything hurt. All he wanted to do was get away from that hurt for awhile, now that Jack Daniels was the only friend he had left.
o/~ I wanna push you around, well I will, well I will I wanna push you down, well I will, well I will I wanna take you for granted, I wanna take you for granted, yeah I will, I will o/~
"I don't care." James Wilson lied and hung up the phone.
The problem was, of course, that he did care. In fact, he felt bad that House's father had died. He knew the abuse House had suffered at his hands, but he also knew that man was his father. Of course he was too emotionally retarded to know how to handle the feelings that would come up with this loss. And he was stubbronly refusing to go to the funeral.
But that was none of his concern anymore, right? He'd cut himself free from House's snare and now he was living his own life, followng his own whims. No more participating in immature pranks or helping someone be co-dependant on both Wilson himself and alcohol. No more being woken up in the middle of the night because House was drunk and lonely. No more be tied to someone who seemed determinded to be miserable.
On the other hand, no more fun either.
With a frusterated sigh, he dropped his pen to the table and ran his hands through his hair. He thought he'd done the right thing, leaving House and Princeton Plainsboro behind him, but he was having one of those moments when he wasn't so sure of that. Those seemed to be happening more and more often lately.
For awhile he couldn't seem to think about House without pain, without seeing a ghost of Amber's face in his mind and knowing that he had contributed to her death. It hadn't exactly been his fault, no one could really take blame for a bus accident, but she wouldn't have been on the bus if House hadn't expected him to run out and rescue him again. Anger started to well up inside of him even now. What right did House have to expect that?
He expected it, a little voice in the back of his head reminded him, because you are his best friend. Just like you expected him to take you in each time your marriages ended.
Wilson sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. That little voice had been turning into a bigger voice every day. Obviously he didn't want to hear what it had to say. The voice he wanted to hear belonged to House. He'd even been dreaming of him lately. Though thinking about that made him uneasy, considering what he had dreamed about them doing.
Of course, it wasn't like he'd never had those dreams before, but that wasn't much of a comfort when he was supposed to be cutting this guy out of his life. He was supposed to move on. Find new friends that didn't take advantage of him and expect to be the center of the universe to him.
Which also meant he wouldn't be the center of the universe for them. No one stealing his food, pestering him while he was working, showing up randomly at his house wanting dinner. House was annoying, but Wilson wasn't so naive to deny that in his own way House looked out for him.
So why not pick up the phone and agree to help Cuddy get House to his father's funeral? His mother needed him to be there, and she didn't deserve her son's usual nonsense. Even if she had been the one who let her husband beat their son, leave scars on his body and his mind. Honestly it was hard to be sympathetic for either of House's parents, but it would do as an excuse.
"Okay, I'll do it." Wilson sighed as soon as Cuddy came on the line. "But I'm only doing it for his mother."
o/~ Oh but don't bowl me over Just wait a minute well it kinda fell apart, things get so crazy, crazy Don't rush this baby, don't rush this Baby, baby o/~
"Admit it! Admit it! Admit it!"
House kept saying it over and over again, getting right up into Wilson's face. What did he want, for Wilson to admit that he was terrified of losing his best friend? A best friend that he might even have deeper feelings for? There was no way House would understand just how badly frightened he was of losing him.
"House...stop it." Wilson growled, his hand closing on a bottle. What was in the bottle or why it was even there he didn't seem to know. His mind was on much bigger things, consumed with anger as House tried to force him to bare his soul, hand tightening down harder and harder against the smooth glass.
"Admit it!" House growled back.
Wilson brought the bottle up, fully planning to smash House in the face with it. Then there was a spilt second moment of clarity. He loved House. He could never hurt him. And he was afraid of losing him. House was right. However, this all happened so fast that he ended up hurling the bottle through a stained glass window.
The loud crash was followed by the tinkling of multicolored bits of glass crashing to the ground was enough to put both men to standstill. Wilson couldn't believe he had done that, that he had been mad enough to pick up that bottle with the intent of smashing his friend's face. And the poor window...at House's father's funeral...he could feel embarrasment start to flood into him.
"Still not boring." House commented, eyes glued to the window.
"Never." Wilson shook his head slightly.
House turned to look at Wilson, and it was time for him to have his own ephinany. His dark, shiny hair, chocolate eyes, the sweet shape of his lips. His friend was beautiful and what he wanted now was to touch that beauty, to savor it, and to maybe hold out a little hope that Wilson could find him beautiful too in some way.
Like the glass that had been broken, the confusion had broken in both of the men's hearts. Wilson was still grappling with the fact that he'd been ready to hurt House, when really he cared for him, loved him even, so much it hurt. And House, he was in disbelief of what he was about to do, but he also knew it had to be done. Now or never.
House grabbed Wilson by the tie, looking into his eyes for a brief seconds that seemed to last forever. He could hear footsteps in the hall and pretty soon they were going to have to answer for the broken window. But first, there was something he had to do, before the numbness caused by a mix of emotions faded and his usual walls went up again.
Pulling him forward, House kissed Wilson hard on the mouth. It was rough and uncoordinated, but he'd never kissed a man before today. And yet, there was a niceness, an almost natural feeling to it. Then he released his friend and looked towards the fragments of stained glass scattered on the floor under the window.
"We better get out of here."
o/~ I wanna push you around, well I will, well I will I wanna push you down, well I will, well I will I wanna take you for granted, yeah, yeah, yeah I wanna take you, take you, yeah, well I will, I will, I will, I will I will, I will, I will, Yeah, yeah, push you around, I'll drag you down, I wanna push you around Well I will o/~
At the diner they fled to after the window breaking incident, they'd been careful to avoid the subject of the kiss. House was already feeling like he'd made a mistake. The more they were over to relax over coffee and pie, and the more they were about to sort of laugh about their "never boring" friendship, the more it seemed like he'd put the thing that he cherished the most on the line for what his hormones were telling him to do.
No, he couldn't say that. At this point he could admit, to himself at least, that he did love Wilson. House had no idea how to express it or do anything about it beyound what he'd already done, but he could admit to having the emotion behind the sexual desire. Not that it was going to do him any good.
Wilson, for his part, wasn't letting on that anything was amiss. Only that it was the first time he'd had fun since Amber died. He was actually smiling again and it was the most beautiful thing House had seen in a long time. Never being able to express how he felt about Wilson again would be worth it if he kept smiling like that.
Ever the type A personality, he soon escourted House to the little motel where he'd booked a room for the night. Obviously Wilson hadn't planned on stranding him with his mother because the room had two beds. Nice sentiement, but that didn't make the arrangement any less awkward. Before that afternoon he wouldn't have thought anything of parading around naked in front of his friend, and if drunk enough, neither did Wilson in return. But now one moment of weakness, or honesty depending on your perspective, their relationship had been irrevocably changed.
"We should talk about...you know. What happened back there." Wilson began awkwardly, sitting down on the foot of one of the beds. "And I don't mean the window. I mean.."
"I know what you mean." House cut him off and hobbled over to the dresser to get a towel from the drawer. Right now a shower sounded very good. "And we don't need to talk about it."
Wilson remained silent and House hoped that would be the end of it. He heard the other man get off of the bed and he kept his gaze into the drawer, fumbling with the extra towels because he didn't want to look at him. See disgust in his face. Hear that he'd crossed the line and now the reconcilation that they'd seemed to have made in the diner after the window broke was gone, never to be had again.
And then he felt the hand come to rest on his shoulder. A light touch, one that didn't seem angry. He wanted to shrug it off, to tell him to go away, but instead he turned to look at him. Wilson's face seemed just a few inches away from his, and before he had the time to say anything, his lips gently captured House's.
This time there wasn't the awkwardness, and House could already feel the warmth pooling in his belly. The kiss lingered and burned between them for several long seconds before Wilson stepped back. They stared at each other as if they were seeing each other for the first time all over again. And, to really be honest about it, they were.
"You kissed me." House sounded more then a little surprised.
"Yes," Wilson nodded slowly. "I did."
Now seemingly given permission, House turned to face him, letting go of the towels and letting his cane fall to the floor as his hands rested on the other man's back, pulling him close. Resistance only lingered for the briefest of moments, before Wilson's arms engulfed him in return. Their mouths found each other's again like it was the most natural thing in the world.
And it was.