Hiking! Now that's an unbelievably, uncool hobby! Not only because House can't do it anymore, but it is absolutely boring. Yet, it leaves him with a sour, lingering aftertaste. It reminds him of all the things he could't do anymore and never will be able to do again.

What's really bothersome about the hiking hobby is that Wilson does it with an old friend of his, Andy the lumberjack. Lumberjack is a giant, especially if you compare him to Wilson. Wilson looks like a young boy going on an exciting outdoor trip with his dad, glancing up at him with sparkling eyes. Lumberjack even wears a lumberjack shirt, heavy boots and the ever present smile in the bearded face. House is disgusted at the sight of Wilson standing close to Andy. It's Saturday morning, shortly after seven and Wilson is all prepared to go.

House dislikes seeing Wilson bouncing up and down on his feet in anticipation although he has to admit that he likes Wilson's outfit. He's wearing an old pair of jeans which fit him snuggly at all the right places, a tight-fitting green sweater disappears under a grey hoody. Lumberjack says something to Wilson who is starting to grin as Andy's claps him lightly on the back. House frowns, why does Wilson need another friend anyway? He has House, which be enough! Remember that their friendship is an ethic responsibility ... Although the term friendship isn't accurate anymore.

Strange thing is, Wilson insisted on going on these boring trips even after they changed their friendship into a relationship almost a year a half ago. At first these trips were planned as weekend trips but House had bitched and nagged about it so petulantly and persistently that Wilson finally gave in and reduced the two-and-a-half-day trip every two months to a one day trip. House still has to come up with an idea how to get Wilson to completely forget about these trips.

"House?" the concerned voice of Wilson startles him out of his train of thought, "Are you okay?"

Brown eyes look at him with worry and maybe he should live up to his reputation and be an ass and fake feeling really bad. Wilson would probably stay with him if he plays it good and … Damn! The exasperated expression on Wilson's face and the hands-on-hip-pose prove that his considerations took him too long. Wilson is suspicious and won't believe him now.

"Sure, the cripple just doesn't like to get up this early on his day off," he snarls.

"You didn't have to get up!"

"Riiight! As if anyone could go on with sleeping when you hit the bathroom."

Wilson knits his eyebrows together, this point is getting old but nonetheless it's still annoying … and embarrassing.

"You could have stayed in bed and bathed in your misery there," Wilson shoots back.

Andy the lumberjack stares at them in bewilderment. He lays a hand on Wilson's shoulder and murmurs something House can't understand 'cause the only thing he's able to hear at the moment is the rush of blood through his ears. There is no need for lumberjack to touch Wilson! Said man turns to the giant with a desperate expression on his face. House wants to vomit or beat the gigantic lumberjack with his cane but he is too tangled up in his anger that he can't decide which of the two options seems to be the best at the moment.

Obviously he has missed something, for Wilson and gigantic Andy leave the apartment with a sloppy wave over their shoulders. House is stunned. Not in a good way. Wilson leaves without kissing him? That … that … that doesn't bother House at all! Except for that it does. Regardless of their quarrels and fights Wilson always kisses or at least pecks him before he goes. Not this time though. House doesn't like that it matters to him this much, it shouldn't matter this much!

He can't shake off the feeling of loss and more than sullenly walks to the kitchen. He grabs his coffee mug and after pouring himself some of the hot liquor, opens the fridge. He smiles happily as he sees a Tupperware box with a bright red sticky note written in the distinctive handwriting of Wilson. It reads: Don't sulk too long! You know the procedure for the lasagna already and there is also new ice-cream in the freezer. Leave me some if you want me to compensate for my lack of being with you today! Yes, I do promise sex and I expect you to be as forceful as ever after my hiking-tours. It's signed James, House runs his fingers over the note; a dreamy expression on his face as he mulls over a variety of scenarios for the evening.

**************

House is restless – as always on Wilson's hiking day. He can't settle on doing anything for longer than a few minutes; playing the piano, reading, playing with his Gameboy - he even cleans up a bit. Still nothing works. House hates Wilson's hiking day, especially today. He feels uneasy, even queasy and a tad apprehensive. The uneasiness is always there on Wilson's hiking day and it has nothing to do with House worrying about Wilson. House is really not concerned; it's just that there are thousands of possibilities for accidents while hiking.

However, he arrives at early afternoon after having eaten the lasagna and without having called Wilson on his cell phone. Since he has proved how much self control he inherits - the control call is overdue … No Wilson answers the phone, not even the mailbox answers. House frowns, surely Wilson wouldn't shut the cell off completely. That wouldn't be very responsible if you consider that a cell phone can be extremely helpful if anything happens while strolling through the nature. And if Wilson is one thing, it's responsible, at least outdoors. House is severely offended by Wilson shutting off his phone.

Fine, as if he would care anyway! House makes himself comfortable on the sofa, making up plans for the evening. Wilson will pay for that with a very long foreplay. House smiles slyly, bringing Wilson to the edge and not allowing him to jump is a skill he has practiced to perfection. Wilson hates him sometimes for this skill, as much is clear. Yet, when House allows him to go over the edge in the end it's always spectacular and afterwards he seems to almost crawl into House's skin, nestling against him in sheer bliss.

House turns on the TV and switches channels quickly. He has already hopped to another channel as the queasy feeling increases rapidly. He switches back, blinks twice, feeling his breath getting knocked out of him. He squints at the screen, not trusting his eyes. There's a live-report flickering and Wilson and lumberjack are currently the center of attention. Apparently a dam broke and flooded a normally dry riverbed which is often used by hikers. It's a big rescue mission due to the fact a lot of hikers use that riverbed. Many have already been rescued, many are still missing and some are trapped like Wilson and Andy. That's the point where House recognizes Wilson and Andy's situation fully. They are in the middle of the riverbed sitting on a huge rock, water flowing around them quickly. Next thing that registers with House is that Wilson is the only one who is sitting. He has Andy's head in his lap who is obviously unconscious. The rock isn't very large and Wilson has trouble holding Andy there. He looks like a wet cat, hair plastered around his head, the darkness of his eyes an intense contrast to the pallor of his face.

A helicopter approaches the two men; a rescue basket with a paramedic attached is attached to a long rope. Wilson helps the paramedic get Andy on the basket and straps him in. The wind from the rotor blade of the helicopter is causing the water to slosh around them. The helicopter leaves without Wilson and House is still frozen to his spot on the sofa, breath coming in fast little gasps. The helicopter will be back in no time and rescue Wilson. He is repeating this line in his head like a mantra over and over again. It does nothing to help him calm down, his heart feels like it's going to be crushed and it hurts.

Suddenly a loud noise grabs the attention of House, the rescue team, and the reporter. Wilson stands up in alarm, eyes going wide in utter shock, panic written all over his face. The reporter starts to babble incoherent nonsense, the rescue team starts to shout orders and run around like a hamster on a wheel. A big wave rolls in Wilson's direction who protectively wraps his arms around his torso, not able to do anything else. House cries out as the wave hits Wilson and sweeps him away.

*********************

House is still sitting on the sofa an hour later, desperately hoping for the reporter to tell him that they have found Wilson. House doesn't register that he's been sobbing and crying for the last hour; tears are flowing down his cheeks and snot is dripping from his nose. He is trapped in a very bad dream, hoping frantically for it to end. His head hurts from all the crying, he is hyperventilating and his heart wants to jump out of his chest.

He can't think, he can't feel anything else other than pain, more pain his leg ever gave him and will be able to give. He's lost and as forlorn as any human being can be and he's cold, so fucking cold. He shivers violently; the trembles only increase in their vehemence as he tries to stifle them. In a surge of anger he loses all self-control and smashes the coffee table into the TV. Eventually there is blessed silence. House sags into himself, puts his face in his hands and cries harder than he's ever done before in his whole life. Never before had he felt this much pain, it feels like his heart is going to be cut out of him alive.

Through the fog of pain he notices the ringing of his phone at the moment the answering machine takes the call. House hears the voice of a very stressed Cuddy saying, "House, if you are at home, pick up the phone! I don't know if you heard in the news that Wilson has had an accident … he will be brought in via helicopter, they are on their way. We don't know in what condition he will be but he's alive, that's for sure. Thank God for that!" A light hiccuping noise indicates a teared up Cuddy, "House, if you hear this, call yourself a cab to get here, don't drive on your own. We don't need you in an accident too."

House's legs buckle somewhat when he hauls himself up from the sofa. His voice sounds foreign to him as he speaks with the taxi company. He wipes the tears and snot off his face and decides to wait in front of his building. This will at least save two minutes; two minutes earlier he'll be at the hospital to see Wilson. The one and only person who really matters to him, the one person he's devoted to.

***********************

House reaches the ER almost at the same time they bring Wilson down from the roof. The powerful wave of relief that rushes through him as he sees Wilson alive and awake and waving shakily towards him, is nearly overwhelming. The nurses and doctors heave Wilson from the gurney to a bed, quickly cutting off his clothes and draping blankets over his now naked body. The nakedness would be a total turn-on if not for the many freshly forming bruises. House limps over and stands beside Wilson's bed at his head. A big bruise is starting to form on Wilson's left cheekbone and as he croaks, "Hi there," it is House's undoing. He doesn't care about his reputation anymore; he simply leans down with brightness shining in his eyes and tenderly kisses Wilson.

"Hi yourself," he squeezes out in a much too high voice.

The other doctors want to usher House away but one look at Wilson's frightened face let House plant his feet on the ground and shake his head. He explains more or less patiently that he will stay exactly where he belongs and that he won't stand in their way. The doctor seems to want to start a fight but gets interrupted by a pleadingly looking Wilson, "Let him stay? Please?"

Nobody is able to resist Wilson while making puppy eyes and this doctor is no exception from the rule. The exam of Wilson results in a slight hypothermia and a lot of bruises that will hurt much during the next two weeks. Nothing severe though, Wilson has been damn lucky!

House collects some spare clothes from Wilson's office and helps him to dress. When they are finally finished House takes a step closer, standing between Wilson's legs now. Wilson looks up at him, still visibly shaken from all that happened. House leans his cane against the bed, pulls Wilson in close and wraps his arms around the still slightly shivering Wilson. He pets Wilson's hair with one hand; the other hand has an almost painful grip around the shoulders. Wilson responds with an equally crushing lock-grip around House's waist, emitting light sniffling noises. Wilson reluctantly looses his grip after a few minutes and looks up at House again.

"I heard they brought Andy in too. I'd like to see him before we go home."

That's so Wilson-like that House feels torn between smiling and rolling his eyes. Can't this guy do anything other than worry about someone else? Like about House or … well, sometimes about himself? House sighs, "I'll ask where he is, you stay put and snuggle back under the blanket."

In a blink he has the needed information and they are on their way to Andy's room. Wilson is still white as chalk and not very steady on his feet but stubbornly insist on going to see Andy and affirm to himself that his friend is alright. Thank God that lumberjack only has a light concussion and some bruises. How Wilson was able to haul that heavy body up on the rock is beyond House's understanding. The wife – House didn't even know that lumberjack was married - is thanking Wilson over and over again, making him flustered and embarrassed. That's an entertaining view for House and it also provides some color to Wilson's pale face.

After five minutes House cuts in to the heart-to-heart-talk demanding, rather unceremoniously, to take Wilson home. That earns him a disapproving look from Wilson of course. As House gives his hand to Wilson his expression softens and he tentatively lays his hand into House's, bidding their Goodbye to lumberjack and his wife. As they walk out of the hospital their hands stay intertwined. House notices Wilson stealing shy glances at him at this show of affection, even so he doesn't comment on it.

*********************

Eventually they arrive at home where House immediately tucks Wilson into bed. Wilson is a bit surprised at first but complies quickly. Fortunately for House, Wilson didn't notice the smashed coffee table and the equally smashed TV. Wilson wears flannel pajamas, curled up tightly in two thick blankets as House enters the bedroom carrying a bowl of soup. Wilson smiles his deep dimple showing smile and House makes a gruff growl before going back to the kitchen and getting a cup of tea for Wilson. While Wilson eats and drinks House hits the bathroom, changes his clothes and settles in bed also, scooting as close to Wilson as possible.

After having finished his meal Wilson crawls between House's legs, huddling against him. House encircles him from behind, strong arms hold him and Wilson feels safe for the first time this day. He's savoring the heat of House's solid body, the sheer presence of House. He enjoys that House and he are able to sit here together, curled up in a warm and fuzzy blanket.

"I'm sorry for worrying you," he admits softly.

"I wasn't worried," House retorts grumpily. After a short pause he adds, "I was scared shitless."

"Me too," Wilson chokes out. He's trembling again, finally breaking down from the pressure of his life-threatening experience. House turns him in his embrace so that Wilson is more or less sitting on his lap, legs almost tucked up to his chin. He gently wipes away the free flowing tears from Wilson's cheeks, stroking his hair in a soothing manner. House doesn't care that he's sobbing himself again either. Only thing he cares about right now is being able to hold Wilson in his arms, being able to kiss him, being able to talk to him, being able to see him alive. An eternity passes by as they sit there together, reassuring themselves that they are okay till the sobbing finally subsides.

"I think you should search for another hobby."

"Any suggestions?"

"What about chess? I've heard it's a fairly harmless hobby," House says.

Wilson's answer is a low chuckle, "That's not really my thing, I have to admit."

House lifts Wilson's face up before he pleads with a serious expression, "Just … don't leave me, okay?"

Wilson is startled by the sincerity of House and answers, "I won't and I'm really sorry for upsetting you."

"Geez, even now you can't put yourself first!" House exclaims, exasperation clearly audible in his voice.

Wilson says nothing for a while, then out of the blue complains, "House, I'm cold!"

"Huh? Is this meant as some kind of a hint?"

Wilson stares at him, hunger flashing up in his eyes before he kisses House. "Want to make me feel all warm and fuzzy?"

House squints while looking at Wilson's greedily flashing eyes. It's not easy to surprise him but … "You are … you're hurt!"

"Just bruises, remember?"

"Do you seriously expect me to believe that you want to have sex after you nearly died?" House has a hard time to wrap his mind around this concept. Well, maybe not. Life-assuring sex – that would be a new experience even for them.

"Like I said: I'm cold."

"We can't have that," House offers a grin to Wilson.

"Glad we're on the same page here," Wilson grins back. "Now, what about you heat me up properly?"

"Didn't know that I volunteered to be your heating pad."

"Don't tell me you already quit the job!"

"I'm always open for new experiences," House retorts as he cranes his head and starts to kiss Wilson.

They meet in a sloppy kiss, tangling their tongues together. Wilson feverishly roams with his hands over House's chest while House's hands slip under the top of his pajamas, trailing with his fingertips along his flanks up and down, sending goose-bumps all over his body. Wilson is still leisurely sprawled out over House's lap, comfortably nestled against him. Soon he doesn't feel cold anymore; heat is rolling through him in long waves. He grabs for House's length and feels … not what he expected. As he registers that House is flaccid he looks up at House questioningly. House looks at him with a sheepish expression before he clarifies, "That …, um, was a rather exciting roller coaster tour today for ... my emotions. And, I, uh, I guess that I maybe took a vicodin too many. Don't think I'll be able to get it up today."

Wilson pulls his hand out of House's underwear like he is going to get burned. He sags against House; his face is burning with shame. He has been so swept up in his own neediness that he didn't realize that House wasn't the tiniest bit aroused. House does not want Wilson to feel embarrassed or insecure because he doesn't get aroused at the moment. It happens from time to time but Wilson has a harder time with it than House. He's always questioning himself if House still wants him like he always wants House.

"That doesn't mean that you can't get what you want or need."

House suddenly lifts Wilson up a bit and pulls his pajama bottoms just over his ass. Wilson gives a startled squeak at this, quickly turning into a pleasured gasp as House cups his butt cheeks in his hands. Wilson still feels awkward, it is enormously important for him to please House too and he doesn't really know what to do right now.

"I can hear you thinking. I'm fine, I have a rather enticing view here," House whispers in his ear, "enjoy it."

Wilson is already breathing faster, he's still more or less in House's lap and it's a somewhat strange position. Wilson starts to worry that House's arm muscles will start to cramp under the strain of holding his body but then House does something that makes all coherent thoughts leaving elsewhere.

Wilson's eyes are shut and any control he normally has over his body is now transferred into House's talented hands. He's shuddering in pleasure and as good as this feels he really wishes House could be in him. To be held like this, like House protects and possesses him at the same time leaves him writhing and gliding himself up and down on House's fingers which are now in him. He's arching back into House and … is surprised to feel a familiar hardness poking him from behind.

House slides them down the bed to a half lying, half sitting position. Yet with Wilson sprawled over his lap. He really didn't think that it would come to life today but who is he to complain about it? It's awkward in this position, he doesn't have much leverage and he has to hold Wilson's upper body with his other arm. House lifts Wilson's leg up, plants his heel firmly into the mattress and with one hard push glides into Wilson.

House is panting harshly but relishing in the moans of pleasure Wilson gives. Wilson's body is tingling at the different sensations coming from his back and his front. He's wheezing when he asks, "Thought you're not up for this?"

"Ever the talkative guy, huh?" House pants, "You fucking yourself on my fingers and giving these little endearing whimpering noises obviously got my dick to reawaken."

"Would you speed up if I give more of these endearing whimpering noises?" Wilson squeezes out.

House growls and presses Wilson's back even more tightly against his chest, rolling his hips as much as it is possible in this position. Wilson helps him by rolling his own hips in time to House's small thrusts, whimpering and whining until they finally get the right angle. He cries out and that's House's undoing, everything coils up in him and he's howling Wilson's name when goes over the edge. Wilson whimpers again and House gets the hint. He brings Wilson to completion who shouts House's name with a blissful sob.

After a while they rearrange their limbs on the bed. House wipes them off with a corner of a blanket which earns him an, "Eeew!" from Wilson. When House finally lies on his back his arm prickles from the strain of holding Wilson. Wilson drapes himself all over House, resting his head at his ancestrally sleeping place in House's crook. His nose is buried at House's stubbly cheek and his hair tickles House.

House stares at Wilson in awe. The sudden image of a phoenix rising from the ashes flashes through House's mind. With the difference that this special phoenix looks even more beautiful now with his ruffled feathers, er, hair, than before. House tightens his grip around Wilson's torso, he's so grateful that Wilson is alive that he'll never be able to put this into words.

"You still cold?"

"Naw," Wilson answers drowsily before he adds with an adorable chuckle, "I'm all warm and fuzzy."

End