A/N: Just a short, two-chapter hurt/comfort/friendship Christmas-fic. :) Takes place sometime during Wilson's third marriage, so no spoilers for the current season... Second part will be posted tomorrow. - Enjoy! ;)

"You coming over later on, or do you want to join me right now? I'm leaving in a couple of minutes..." When he didn't get an immediate reply, Wilson slowly let go off the glass door and took a couple of steps into his friend's office. "The other guests probably won't be there before 8..."

House returned his friend's questioning gaze impassively, his expression unreadable. "Don't think I'll be coming after all… Not in the mood."

Wilson frowned at that. "Not in the mood for what?!" He gave a slight shrug. "There's food; there's booze... And everything's already paid for – by me. Can't believe you'd voluntarily miss out on that…" When the other man didn't reply anything, his frown deepened. "Come on, House… Don't do this to me. Julie has counted you in…"

"Well, then tell her to count me out again," House snapped at him.

The look Wilson gave him was an interesting mixture of challenging and pleading. "Come on, House… You really wanna sit alone at home? – It's Christmas eve…"

The other man rolled his eyes at that. "Well, what do you care? You're Jewish anyway…"

He almost would have groaned, when Wilson suddenly eyed him assessingly. He knew that look...

Sure enough; there it came:

"You sure you're feeling okay?"

"Peachy. – Now go. Say hi to Julie and… enjoy Christmas eve." Tone, as usual, dripping of sarcasm.

Wilson eyed him a moment longer, before reluctantly nodding slightly. "You want me to give you a lift to your place at least? Weather's been pretty shitty today…" He tried to sound casual. No need to mention that he'd seen House struggling to even get out of the car this morning, his leg apparently stiff and painful from the cold.

House shook his head once. "Nope. I'm good." The reply was clipped, his tone clearly telling Wilson to back the hell off already.

The younger man hesitated, before reluctantly turning towards the door. "Okay, then. But call me if, you know… – Just call me if there's anything you need."

As soon as Wilson had left his office, House let out a long breath, closing his eyes for a moment, head hanging slightly. Then he slowly turned around to retrieve the pair of crutches he had hidden behind the window curtain in the corner behind his desk earlier.

Everybody lies…

When he had finally made it home to his apartment, House immediately turned towards the bedroom. Gingerly lowering himself onto the bed, he carefully lifted his bad leg up as well, using both hands to support the movement.

Leaning forward far enough to take off his shoes was out of the question right now, so House used his left foot to force the right sneaker off. – He moaned when he saw how swollen the foot was. Again. If this new problem went on for much longer, he'd actually have to see someone about it…

He couldn't suppress a pained groan, when a shy attempt to move his leg into a slightly more comfortable position made the thigh muscle clench up even more, sending another sharp stab of pain from an area just above his right knee all the way up into his lower back.

The pain had been building for days now, ever since the first real snowfall had set in. Today it had been excruciating. He almost hadn't managed to get out of bed this morning…

To make matters worse, his knee had locked up on him sometime after lunch, and now he couldn't completely straighten the leg anymore, and he couldn't bend it beyond a certain point either, which had caused his gait to be even more screwed up than usual. Now a sharp pain shot up his leg and into his hip and lower back with every step he attempted, and he was hardly able to bear any weight at all. – This absolutely, seriously sucked…

Well, no need for Wilson to know… He'd had enough of his friend's pseudo-casual "why-don't-you-go-check-out-some-rehab" shit lately. No need to provoke another one of those lectures. Or better yet a replay of his popular speech concerning an arbitrary personal issue, his head, and the pain.

Plus, he knew that Wilson had been looking forward to the dinner he had organized tonight. He had invited some of his friends, had straightened out things with his current wife some, and was in an overall festive mood. – No sense in spoiling all that; again

When he decided to try and get up again about an hour later, he found that he couldn't. As soon as he tried to sit up, his hip shot sickening bursts of pain up into his back, and he found that he couldn't bend his upper body enough to move out of his reclined position.

This was just great… It wasn't even 9 o'clock, and he was looking towards an immobile evening and night on his bed.

Pathetic. That's what this was. That's what he was. – A miserable, lonely, old cripple that couldn't even get out of his own bed anymore. One day, he'd simply die in his own filth, and it would be a week before anybody would find his stiff, rotting body.

Merry fucking Christmas

Half an hour later, he honestly wished someone would just shoot him. His leg and hip were radiating pain constantly by now, no matter how still he kept himself or which position he chose to lie in. He had started sweating profusely, and he could feel his heart hammering in his chest. His jeans were feeling much too tight around the leg by now, but he simply couldn't move enough to take them off. He was also starting to feel vaguely nauseous, and slowly but surely felt the first traces of panic creeping up his chest.

That was when he heard the insistent ringing of his phone.

His answering machine picked it up on the third ring. "House? You there?"

Wilson. – For a very brief moment, House actually felt a little better just hearing his friend's voice…

"I… just thought I'd check in on you briefly. – Come on, pick up." A long moment of silence. Then, hesitantly: "Okay, then... Call me back when you get this."


10 minutes later another call, Wilson's voice by now openly worried. "House? I know you're home, so pick up the damn phone already!" A sigh; then: "Okay, listen. If I haven't heard from you in 15 minutes, I'm coming over."


Tbc... :)