Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I don't own the two sexy men you're about to read about. But if I do ever get a chance to purchase them, I will definitely NOT be sharing! LOL
Author's Notes: I have decided to embark on a little adventure. I have recently been popping in my old DVDs of season one of House and I was thinking of what I thought of the House/Wilson relationship at that exact point. So, I will be writing several oneshot fics each taking place directly after the episode they are named for. There will be spoilers for the episode mentioned, not that will matter since I'm sure each of us have already seen these eps, but I thought I'd better mention it or get scolded! Please keep in mind that I tried to push all information out of my mind except exactly what was given to us in the episode titled and previous episodes. For instance, in this episode, we do not know that Wilson is married or has ever been married for that matter. He wears no ring and never mentions his wife. Also, this will not be a series, saying that you will NOT have to read this one to read the next. Nothing that happened in this one will be mentioned or will have happened in the next. The only connection is that they will all be House/Wilson mostly SLASH fics. Hope you enjoy!
At the end of the day, Wilson waltzed into House's office with just a little bit of arrogance surrounding him. "So, I figure you can buy us dinner with my six hundred bucks."
Not looking up from the file on his desk, "Can't. Cost me three times that much to pay for the DNA test Cuddy made me pay for."
"You paid for the DNA test out of your own pocket? For what?"
"My week off clinic duty."
"Wait. Last week, when you thought you needed to cure my cousin, you were willing to do four clinic hours per week and now you're willing to pay to not do those four hours? How much?"
"Technically $800 and hour, but so far I've only paid two fifty. Maybe Cuddy'll forget the other twenty-two hundred."
Wilson rolled his eyes. "You're still buying dinner."
With a curt nod, "Pizza, beer and TiVo?"
"Sounds good. See you at your place."
Without argument, House followed Wilson out of his office.
Later, once they were both settled on the couch, beer in hand, pizza had been ordered, Wilson flipped thru the recorded list on House's TiVo. "Oo, 'Lost', let's watch that!"
"No. 'Desperate Housewives' is in there somewhere."
He hated 'Desperate Housewives'. In fact, he would pay not to watch that particular show. That thought triggered an idea. "Okay, but it'll cost you."
"It's my TiVo!"
"Yeah, but I have the remote. And I figure if you're willing to pay $800 an hour to get out of your own clinic duty, then I should be able to get something out of you to watch an hour of television."
After a long pull of his beer, there was a knock at the door, signifying the delivery of their dinner. Fifteen minutes later, greasy pizza in hand, "This could be a fun game, Jimmy. What are the stakes?"
"Game? What game?"
"The money game. Let's do it."
"Great! How much for 'Housewives'."
"Wait! There have to be rules first!"
Wilson rolled his eyes. Why did he open his big mouth? But he knew House would never give in. He was, in fact, a child at heart. "Fine. Like what?"
"Like…there's a one hour minimum."
"Since we're paying by the hour, sounds logical. What else?"
"One person wants, the other one names the price."
"Even better. Fifty bucks for 'Housewives'."
"Play 'Lost'. I'm wrapped up in the game anyway."
With a smug smile, Wilson turned on his show. "Great! What else?"
"No more than three digits an hour."
"Mmm, expensive. Can I refuse once you name the price?"
"Sure. If you're not willing to pay, deal's void."
"So I'm assuming as long as you're willing to pay the price, I have to follow thru?"
"Fine, I'm in as long as we agree not to involve anything work-related. I'm not paying your for consults."
With a nod, "Done."
"What's the duration?"
"Yeah. The game has to end at some point. When do we call it quits?"
"How about two weeks?"
"Oh, this is gonna be fun!"
Hours later, lying in bed after Wilson had departed to his own apartment, House was trying to formulate his brilliant plan. The game was perfect. It presented House with the ideal opportunity to make Wilson do exactly as he wanted to do. The only catch would be the price he had to pay. But money wasn't an object to him. He'd bet it away one day and win it back the next, didn't matter. Wondering just what kind of prices Wilson would put on his requests, he drifted to sleep, taking himself to the world where all his dreams came true.
The next day, without clinic hours, House had ample time to plan. At lunch, Wilson had made him pay five bucks for half his sandwich, barely able to contain his glee. House had willingly handed over the money, just happy to see that his friend was enjoying the game.
It was near three o'clock when House poked his head into Wilson's office. "Hey, dinner tonight? Your turn to buy."
Wilson sat back in his cushy office chair and tapped his pen against his chin. "Hmm. So, you want to go to dinner and I have to pay. But I can make you pay me in order to have dinner with me. Oh, I really do like this game." House hid his amusement as he watched the wheels turn in Wilson's head. "So, we had pizza last night, so tonight we'll have Chinese. And of course I'll have to buy the beer. I guess I can't technically charge you for more than an hour for takeout, so…forty bucks should do it."
With a smile, House walked to the desk and dropped two twenties on Wilson's desk. On his way back out the door, "Great! I made reservations for seven at 'La Mezzulana' under your name. See you there." The door clicked behind him and his only regret was not seeing the open-jawed look that he knew was on his friend's face.
At six forty-five, Wilson walked into the well-rated restaurant and checked his coat. He scanned the foyer for House and when he didn't see him, decided to be seated without him. As he glanced over the menu, his determination to get back at his friend grew. But in the past four hours, he had come to the decision that he wouldn't let House know he was aggravated. Yes, he would most likely drop a couple hundred dollars for the dinner he'd charged only forty for, but he could live with that. He wouldn't let House think he'd won this round. Instead, he would play the game to win.
Promptly at seven, House showed up looking much unlike himself. He was nearly clean-shaven, his shirt and suit were pressed and he was wearing a tie. Wilson glanced over the menu with an approving, "You clean up nice."
House had, in fact, gone above and beyond his normal. But his eyes were focused on his friend. Wilson, forever clad in slacks, dress shirt and tie looked as though he'd taken an extra few moments to dress for dinner. His gray, pinstriped suit was perfectly tailored over is bleach white dress shirt, making his attire look sophisticated yet effortless. Rather than his normal hideous ties, he'd somehow managed to pick one out in the perfect shade of emerald green. "You look good too. Green works with your eyes."
With a raised eyebrow, "Wanna compliment my shoes, too?"
Taking a sip of the water already in front of him, "That would be rude since I haven't actually seen them, wouldn't it?"
Seemingly uninterested, "I suppose. I'm starving. Look at your menu so we can order." House watched as Wilson's attention turned back to the menu and momentarily wondered whether he was making a mistake. Trying to focus on his meal choice, he told himself that he had plenty of time to change his mind.
The waiter appeared at their table, ending their silence. "Can I get you gentlemen anything to drink?"
Wilson was about to answer when House interrupted, "Yes, earlier I brought in a bottle of Glenlivet."
Wilson was shocked. "You brought my favorite Scotch?"
Trying to play coy, House perused the menu. "They don't serve alcohol here, you have to bring your own and they'll serve it. I wasn't gonna have you paying fifty bucks a plate while we drink beer."
House eyed his friend over the menus. "I am not sweet."
"I know. I was being sarcastic."
Their meals came and went, the conversation was uncommonly chatty but pleasant and the alcohol seemed endless, at least on Wilson's end. While House sipped the glasses he was brought, his friend gulped them down in abundance. As the night grew on, House's inner smile grew, especially when Wilson added dessert to the bill.
As his mostly drunk best friend scraped the bottom of his dessert plate, House dropped the bomb he'd been waiting for. "So, I've got two tickets to the symphony tomorrow night. Wanna go?"
"You hate the symphony."
"I love music. And what do you care? You love the symphony!"
With a little bit of a slur in his voice, "Do I have to pay for my own ticket?"
"Nope. I won 'em in a poker game."
"Nice." As if a bulb went off in his drunk mind, "Hey! I want in on your next poker night!"
House rolled his eyes. "Fine. Game usually lasts about three hours. Twenty-five bucks an hour and you're in." Like a child at Christmas, his eyes lit up. "Now, tomorrow night…symphony. Yes or no?"
His head tilted to the side like Charlie Brown trying to find a coherent thought. "Hmm. Seventy-five to get into the poker game, not including what you'll win from me…Hundred should do it."
Damn. He was a little more coherent than House had given him credit for. But silently he admitted to himself that the price could've been two hundred and he would have paid up. He dug out his wallet and pulled out a crisp hundred-dollar bill and dropped it in front of his friend. "Done." And now for the bomb, "Did I mention it's tickets to the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center? We'll need to leave a little early."
Wilson was stunned. How could he have been so foolish to think that going to the symphony would be something simple after his takeout dinner had turned into a suit and tie formal affair? But even with his brain swishing in alcohol he remained calm on the outside just as he'd promised himself he would earlier in the evening. Trying to sound relaxed, "You know you'll have to wear a suit again right? You don't just go to Lincoln Center in jeans."
"I do own more than one suit you know."
"Yes, but is it cleaned and pressed and has it gone out of style since the decade you wore it in?"
He hated when Wilson was right. Other than the simple black suit he was wearing, he believed he only had one other suit in a somewhat unattractive brown. But then it hit him. "Are you trying to get me to go shopping with you?"
A casual shrug then, "Maybe."
"You pay for half the suit and I'm in."
Without a moment of hesitation, that he would later blame on the alcohol, "Then I get to pick out the colors."
He suddenly felt like a teenage girl going to pick out a prom dress; some part of him felt giddy letting Wilson help to choose his clothing. But on the outside, he remained cool and collected, "Nothing weird. Remember that you'll have to sit next to me."
"Nah. I was thinking probably blue. It'll bring out your eyes."
The waiter chose that moment to present the check and House noticed the blushed hew on his friend's cheeks as he realized the waiter had overheard his last comment. The bill was held out to House, who didn't miss a beat. He nodded across the table. "My boyfriend's paying tonight."
With a mumbled, "Of course, Sir," the waiter quickly handed the bill to Wilson and scurried away.
Wilson's cheeks were bright red as he half scolded, half laughed at House's comment, "I can't believe you just said that. I think you've scarred him for life. You do realize we can never come back here now, right?"
House rolled his eyes. "Just pay the damn bill so we can go."
Wilson dropped cash in the small black folder before standing to leave, wavering just slightly. His hand went to his temple, "I don't think I should drive."
"If you hadn't sucked down half a bottle of scotch, you might be able to."
"I'll ride home with you and crash on your couch."
"Might as well. It's formed to your body anyway." On their way out the door, timing it just as they were walking by their waiter, "Why do you have your own apartment, anyway?"
Shrugging casually, not even noticing House's motives, "'Cause your junk takes up all the room in your place and it's cheaper than a hotel room."
"But not a storage space." They walked outside and he stretched an open palm in Wilson's direction. Wriggling his fingers, as if asking for something to be placed in his hand, "I took a cab. Where'd you park?"
Wilson dug in his jacket pocket and handed over his keys before pointing to his car. They were halfway across the parking lot when Wilson stepped in front of his friend and stopped him with a hand on his chest. "Are you asking me to move in with you?"
Stepping around his momentary road block, "Nope. Just trying to figure out why you haven't just done it on your own already."
After he was seated in the passenger's seat, "Ironically, because two guys sharing a one bedroom apartment usually have a little bit of a different relationship than we do. And every once in a while, I actually do like to sleep in a bed."
House grinned in the dark car, loving how Wilson just fell right into his plan. He thought momentarily about voicing his invitation to share his bed, but with a ten minute drive left before they arrived home, he knew his friend would have too much time to think before then. The invitation would have to be last minute for it to work.
Just as House knew he would, Wilson disappeared directly into the bathroom when they arrived home. House listened for the sound of retching and was not surprised moments later when the sounds came. His friend was a lightweight.
He changed into a pair of lounge pants and a t-shirt and dry swallowed a couple Vicodin before heading back to the bathroom door. Tapping lightly, he paused before entering.
After wetting a washcloth, he handed it to his friend before repeating his actions with another, keeping the second in his hand. "I can't lift you. Get up." Wilson struggled to his feet and willingly went the direction House pushed him in. Once they crossed the threshold into the bedroom, "I'm not undressing you either." He tossed a pair of lounge pants and a t-shirt in Wilson's direction and watched as they fell to the floor. He rolled his eyes as he left the bedroom.
He limped into the kitchen, his cane tapping beside him. He took his time drinking a bottle of water before tossing the empty bottle in the sink and grabbing two more. The thought of the possibility of this being the biggest mistake of his life ran thru his mind once more before he shook it away and headed back in the direction of the bedroom.
Halfway down the hall, his friend stood in front of him clad in clothes that were noticeably a size too large, his hair tousled. House swallowed hard as he tried to ignore the twinge of attraction he got from the disheveled look. Jutting his chin toward his bedroom, "Go to bed."
Wilson made a move to step around him, but House stopped him, his cane creating a minor barrier. "You feel like shit. You said yourself you like to sleep in a bed." He caught the confusion in Wilson's eyes and knew he had to bring the moment to reality. "Most of all, I'm not getting out of bed every time you throw up to make sure you don't pass out." Without further argument, his friend moved back toward the bedroom.
After he plopped down on the side of the bed, House handed him the first bottle of water and some acetaminophen. "Here, drink up. Fight off the dehydration and headache early." He watched as Wilson chugged the bottle of water and hated the fact that it almost seemed sexy. Every part of him wanted to push the other man back onto the bed and ravish him, but some part of his mind kept his body in check. It couldn't happen that way.
Each step had to be taken with the utmost thought and extreme care. The risks of any other course were not worth it. If, in the end, he found the final step couldn't be made, then he would still have their friendship, a friendship that absolutely could not be jeopardized. This relationship was all he had; he couldn't bear to lose it.
In an effort to distract himself, he clicked off the lights and moved around the room to his side of the bed. He heard the silent chuckle in his mind as he wondered how Wilson would react to having a side of House's bed. A few minutes later, he was lying beside his friend and couldn't fight the warmth he felt radiating from the other side of the bed. He closed his eyes and forced his mind to clear and his body to relax into sleep.
The next morning, House woke to the strange feeling of an arm flung across his chest and a leg crossed over his left. Instantly he struggled with the decision of whether he should try to get out of bed without waking the man who had him pinned to his own mattress and pretend like nothing had happened or to let him wake on his own and find himself in his current position. Deciding that a few moments wouldn't matter, he remained still and enjoyed the comfort only he could understand.
It had been a long time since he'd let his heart feel any connection to another human being. Love had come and gone in the past, long before his injury. But the wall he'd built to protect himself since then had not only blocked the possibility of physical injury, but also emotional. He didn't know how much more pain and hurt his soul could handle, but he did know that he was scared of finding his breaking point.
Somehow though, as many times as he tried, he couldn't seem to stop the skip of his heart, the twinge of his nerves or the flop in his stomach when he allowed himself to relax with his best friend. It was these facts that made him realize that the wall he'd built was merely a one-way mirror. His heart could see out into the world and find love, but love could never find him in its own reflection. Ever so slowly, though, he could feel his mirror begin to crack, fracturing the barrier between himself and the love he longed for.
Lost in his thoughts, he barely felt the rousing beside him. He watched as his friend's eyes fluttered, opening to let the morning light take over the dark of night. House was ready for him to jerk away like a hand from fire, but instead he was graced with the blushed tone that rose to Wilson's cheeks as he slowly shied away. He began to mumble an apology about being tired and drunk before House cut him off. "It's okay. Next time you're gonna be my personal heating blanket, though, remind me to turn down the heat so I can save money on the bill."
Wilson rose enough to grab the bottle of water from the beside table and gulp it down giving House the opportunity to throw back a couple Vicodin before heading to the bathroom. Over his shoulder, "Before we leave you're making breakfast."
With a chuckle Wilson quipped, "Twenty bucks."
Before the door shut, "Don't care."
It was near lunchtime before they found themselves lost in a sea of men's suits and a rainbow of shirts and ties. Two more bottles of water and a second dose of acetaminophen had put Wilson in a decent state and the entrance into the store had formed a giddy smile on his face. House fell back, following his friend like a lost child, hating the fact that he was actually in a store to try on new clothes. But the look on Wilson's face as he picked up color after color and held it up to his face, scrutinizing even shade, made it worth it.
As the younger doctor glanced over yet another table of shirts, House asked, "Aren't we doing this backward? Shouldn't we pick out the suit first then pick out a shirt and tie to match?"
Sounding preoccupied, "No, you're getting a charcoal suit. I'm just trying to decide on the shirt color so I can pick out the tie."
"Charcoal? Isn't that black? I already have a black suit."
Holding up another shirt, a deep ocean blue, "Charcoal is dark gray, beautiful with blue." A few more seconds passed before a huge grin came over his face. "Perfect."
An approaching salesman shook Wilson from his gaze, "It is quite the perfect shade. Wonderful choice. Can I help you with any other selections?"
The two men exchanged handshakes and polite introductions before Wilson answered, "Yes. I'd like him fit for a two-button non-vested suit in charcoal, possibly a faint pinstripe. Do you have anything we could look at?"
House stood to the side, enjoying how picky his friend was over the suit that he would be wearing. When he finally settled on the style, he left House to be fitted while he went in search of the perfect tie.
With measurements taken, and Wilson having completed his shirt and tie hunt, the pair decided to get lunch and swing by Wilson's apartment for him to get his suit while the tailoring was done. House plopped down on his friend's bed while he rummaged thru the closet. Casually, as if it were the natural course of events, "Pack an overnight bag. I booked us a room for tonight in the City."
Wilson turned, "It's only a little over an hour. We could just drive back."
"You want me to cancel the room?"
"When did you even have a chance to book it? I didn't even say I'd go until late last night and I've been with you even since." House shrugged. "You booked it before you even asked me? How'd you know I'd say yes?"
With his hands crossed behind his head, "Because I have two tickets. Who else was I going to go with? We do everything together. Besides, you never say no to me."
With a raise of an eyebrow, "Huh. Maybe I should start. I don't like being so predictable."
House rolled his eyes. "Just pack the damn bag."
Wilson mirrored the eye roll before, "Yes Dear."
House smirked at the sarcastic term of endearment. He'd always been a nickname sort of guy, but never one to use pet names. But somehow everything was different with Wilson. He found himself wondering how it would sound to hear Wilson's voice utter sweet nothings in his ear. His mind wandered, marveling in the thought of running his hands through locks of brown hair, breathing in the clean scent of soap mixed with intoxicating musk and spicy vanilla.
He was lost in his own fantasy world when the sound of his name pulled him back to reality. "What?"
"You were staring at me. What's up with you lately?"
Deciding to test the waters, and hopefully temporarily feed his desires, he rose from the bed and crossed the room. He stepped dangerously close to his friend and dared to rest his left hand just above Wilson's hip. He watched as the pupils of brown eyes dilated, creating an involuntary spark. The twinge in his groin reminded him that he was playing a dangerous game but he couldn't help the pleasure he felt in how his hand melded to Wilson's hip and the satisfaction of the fact that his friend was not pulling away. With a little more huskiness than he'd originally planned, "What's the matter, Jimmy? Afraid I'm gonna jump you?"
He watched as Wilson gulped hard and nearly croaked, "No."
With a tilt of his head, he smirked, before stepping away and disappeared into the living room, leaving a speechless Wilson frozen still.
Their conversation had been minimal since their bedroom encounter, but the intermittent silence had not been uncomfortable. House slept during their short trip, hating car rides and had only waked when Wilson nudged him to find out which hotel he should be going to.
The shock on Wilson's face as they walked into the Trump International Hotel was priceless. House pretended to ignore his friend and proceeded to check them in, feeling just a little bit like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. They weren't in the penthouse, but the room was rather lavish and Wilson didn't hide his shocked appreciation. House pushed the thanks away, trying to pretend that his motives weren't about making Wilson happy, but inside he knew that was exactly what he had wanted.
He flipped thru the stations on the television once Wilson went in to take his shower, feeling the pressure of the upcoming night lie heavy on his chest. It was tonight or never, at least in his mind. Lying back on the highly uncomfortable sofa, he closed his eyes, welcoming the peace of sleep.
The hand on his shoulder pulled him from his slumber as the fresh scent that was Wilson intoxicated his senses. His eyes fluttered open, met with the bare, muscular torso of his friend, the band of his boxers peeking out above the unbelted waist of his black slacks. When his eyes rose to brown, Wilson finally spoke, "Come on. Time for a shower."
House rose without a word, fearing his voice would betray him. He glanced only once over his shoulder, giving himself one more moment to take in the male beauty that stood in front of him, before entering the bathroom.
He made the conscious decision to be fully dressed before leaving the bathroom, giving himself ample time to think about his next move. When he exited into the bedroom, Wilson's eyes moved in his direction from the television. With a shy glance down at his feet he mumbled, "Well?"
Wilson stood, simultaneously clicking off the tv. "Well what?"
Only a little aggravated, "How do I look?"
"Well, since I picked it out, I absolutely love the suit."
"You look great, House." He took a few steps toward his friend. "What's up with you lately? You've never cared what I thought before."
Ignoring the question, "I bought you something." He moved to his suitcase while Wilson's eyes followed him.
Stretching his first word, "Thaaat's not an answer to my question, and only adds to your weirdness, but okay."
House handed him a small black box and watched as Wilson flipped it open. "You bought me new cuff links?"
"Yeah, you know, at that suit store this morning." He took the few steps to close the distance between them. "Here, let me help." Wilson stood in stunned silence as House changed out the old cuff links for new. "What? You buy me stuff all the time. Can't I buy you something without you going into shock?"
Wilson shook his head, trying to pull himself into reality. "First with the dressy dinner, then the bottle of my favorite scotch and now the symphony and new cuff links?" He paused before asking, just above a whisper, "Are we…dating?"
House ignored the question long enough to finish with his task, then tossed the box onto the bed. With his eyes on the floor he asked, "How much?"
"How much what?"
Blue eyes rose to meet brown, "How much for one night?"
His adam's apple rose and fell. "One night?"
"We're in New York City. No one knows us. Tomorrow we can forget the whole thing if you want. One night; tonight. I won't make you do anything you don't want to." He paused, letting the information sink in. "Name the price."
Wilson took a moment to register what was going on. He struggled with trying to figure out whether his friend was being serious or simply reeling him into another scheme. Deciding that it must be the latter, he made sure that House didn't get away cheap this time and crossed his arms over his chest, "Well, the limit is three digits an hour right? One night, we'll say five hours. I wonder what the going rate for hookers is these days? Let's just pick a nice round figure. Thousand bucks for the night should do it."
House nodded and reached for his wallet, pulled out the crisp hundred dollar bills he'd gotten from the bank a few days ago just for this moment and handed them to his friend. With the money still in his outstretched hand Wilson spoke, "Wait. You're serious?" House nodded again, this time his eyes filled with vulnerability. Wilson stuttered, "You mean…you're willing to…give me a thousand dollars to…to act like your…boyfriend for one night?"
House took a deep breath. This was it. "Yes."
The silence was deafening. House didn't dare breathe, let alone move. Finally, after eternity passed, Wilson whispered, "Why?"
"Because I need to know."
His brow furrowed, "So this is a puzzle to you? I'm a part of some equation in your head that you need to solve?"
House glanced nervously at his feet then the walls and finally the ceiling before replying. "No." He wanted to two-letter word to be enough of an answer, but he knew it wouldn't be. "I need to know if I feel this way just because I can't have you or if it's because it's real. I don't know how else to figure it out."
Wilson inched just a little bit closed to House and asked, "What do you feel?"
House let his head fall all the way back. He knew this wasn't going to be easy, but he didn't realize how hard his friend would make it for him. But the importance of the outcome weighed heavy on his heart. No question would go unanswered if it meant he would reach his goal. Far from the wishy-washy person Wilson was, he tried to find words his friend would appreciate. "We do everything together. I've come to expect it." He forced his eyes to find Wilson's. "I need you. I just don't know how much. What I do know, is that I'm lonely without you."
Wilson felt the sincerity in House's voice. "I can't promise you anything."
His heart skipped a beat with hope. "I'm not asking you to. I'm only asking for tonight."
Wilson folded the money in his hand in half, debating whether he should just give it back. He had no idea what he was doing. In all of the things he thought House would pay him for in their little game, this was not one of them. Whether this was a joke or not, whether he was being cleverly played by House's masterful hands or whether this was serious, he had in fact named his price and House had paid. According to the rules, Wilson had to follow thru. With a sigh, he slipped the money into his pocket. He wasn't sure how to proceed, so he went with humor, an emotion House seemed to always appreciate. "So, do I get dinner after the show?"
Relief flooded over him, the smile on his face evidence of his reprieve. With an evil hint in his voice, "Let's just say that this is a full-service date. A once in a lifetime chance."
With a glance at his watch, "Great, then looks like we have just enough time for a drink in the bar before heading out."
They were seated at the bar, the air between them as natural as ever. It was only House's heart that felt different. It was easy for him to slip into date mode. No one could deny that he was always good to the person he dated. Granted, he hadn't been on a date in quite some time, but some things never changed. When the bartender stood in front of them, he ordered both of their drinks without hesitation.
After a sip of his drink Wilson said, "Thank you for my cuff links. I really like them."
"Welcome." He sipped his drink then, "Thanks for tonight."
They fell into a short silence before Wilson finally asked, "Can I ask you a question?"
"Wouldn't be fair if I said no."
"How long have you felt this way?"
"I don't know. I wish I had a better answer, but I don't."
"It's fine. I'd rather you be honest." He drained the rest of his glass before getting up. "Going to the bathroom before we leave."
House nodded. Once Wilson was a few feet away, he yelled, "Hey Wilson." He waited for his friend to turn back. With a grin, "Nice shoes."
Wilson chuckled as he walked away and House enjoyed the view as he did. Turning, he paid their tab, surprised when the bartender started a conversation. "How long have you two been together?"
"Huh. A long time." Well, it wasn't really a lie.
"Well, if you don't mind my saying so, you got yourself a nice catch."
House nodded with, "I know."
A few minutes later, he felt the tap on his shoulder. As they walked out of the hotel, Wilson slipped his right hand into House's left causing the older doctor to stop in his tracks. "Seriously?"
He was surprised to see Wilson blush as he explained, "If this were a…normal date, I would hold the girl's hand."
House took the few steps needed to bring their faces within inches of each other. A wicked grin came over his face. "I am not the girl here." They were so close their noses nearly brushed. He wanted so much to raise a hand to the smooth cheek in front of him and draw the pair of lips he desired toward his own, but he couldn't bring himself to end the contact of their entwined fingers. He searched Wilson's eyes for any sign of emotion, finding only a small amount of insecurity. In a breath, "But I'll still hold your hand."
The moment ended as quickly as it had begun, the two men falling into step beside each other, taking the short walk to the theater. House could not have been happier with the sequence of events of the night. Wilson had been much more receptive then he'd thought, and he actually had surprised him a few times.
Although the symphony was not House's type of music, it clearly was to Wilson's liking. More of the night than not, House found himself fixated on Wilson's reactions to the music. Halfway thru the night, in a moment where Wilson had been holding his breath, House had reached over and placed his hand on his friend's knee. He expected to feel a jerk of some sort, but none had come. Instead, his hand remained in place, every once in a while slipping to the inside of the slack-clad thigh.
At the end of the performance, they followed the crowd out the front door. House didn't waste time drawing Wilson's hand into his own and enjoyed the silence they shared as they walked back to their hotel. Once inside the lobby, House pulled Wilson in the direction of the bar. He lead the younger doctor to a table and instructed him to wait and then walked up to the same bartender he'd spoken to earlier. After a short conversation, he headed to the piano at the far end of the room.
Without looking in Wilson's direction, he took a seat and moved his fingers over the ivory keys. Playing the piano was something he did in private. He played to think. He played to forget. He played to clear his mind. He played for himself. But tonight he played for another reason. Tonight, his fingers played the notes his heart felt and longed to express. Tonight, he poured his feelings out thru the notes he only hoped Wilson heard.
A short while later, a waitress appeared beside him with a drink, letting him know Wilson had ordered it for him. Wilson rose his glass and House nodded his head, signaling Wilson to come his direction. In no time, Wilson was beside him. "Thanks for the drink."
"Thanks for the music. I had no idea you played so well."
He sipped his drink before he set it down. "Thank you. I've never played for anyone else."
He tugged at Wilson's coat, pulling him down onto the piano bench beside him. "Because some things are meant to remain special."
"Is this special to you?"
He swallowed, somewhat uncomfortable with the vulnerability he felt and showed. "You are special to me."
"Play something else for me before we go to the room."
House obeyed the request, wanting to share every bit of himself that he could. As the song drew to an end, his fingers playing the final notes, his heart longed for just one more moment. But when Wilson pulled his left hand from the keys and brought it to his lips, his moment had been fulfilled. With a gentle tug, Wilson pulled House to his feet.
Once they got to the door of their room, House pulled the plastic key card from his pocket. But before he opened the door, he turned to Wilson. "Uh…thanks…for tonight…I…it meant a lot to me."
Wilson studied him, finally registering the importance of this night to his friend. Friend. He silently wondered whether that term was appropriate any more. He'd never thought of House as anything other than his best friend, but obviously House saw their relationship as much more. How much more, Wilson wasn't sure of. Yet, still, even though House wanted more, for once in his life he'd thought of Wilson first and hadn't pressured him to give or take. House had risked his own feelings to protect Wilson's. But what exactly were House's feelings? And even if he knew what they were, how would they effect their relationship now? There were still so many questions. Yet House had only asked for one night; one night to somehow figure out his feelings, and then do what with them? One night.
He needed more answers. "One night, right?" With shy eyes, House glanced at Wilson and nodded. "Let's order some room service and a movie then."
Twenty minutes later, with jackets discarded over the back of a chair and shoes kicked off, they settled on the couch to choose a movie, deciding to forego room service for the time being. With only a few non-pornographic titles to choose from, they clicked on an action film neither one had ever heard of. Wilson yanked his tie away from his neck and swallowed hard before making his next move. In his mind, he tried to tell himself that he wasn't egging House on, but rather trying to help him figure everything out. With a deep breath, he kicked his feet up onto the sofa and put his head on House's lap. He felt the muscles tense under his face and heard the sharp intake of breath.
It took nearly ten uncomfortable minutes of silence before House relaxed, coming to terms with the fact that his friend really was giving him his one night. With tentative movements, he pushed his fingers into the locks of Wilson hair. Slowly, he let the silky waves slip through his fingers, watching as they fell back into place, seemingly undisturbed. He tried to ignore the increase in the beat of his heart as he traced first Wilson's jaw line then his ear. Breath caught in his throat as his hand roamed down the younger man's neck then over his shoulder to his chest.
As his hand moved over the fabric covering ripples of muscles, he realized that this one night would never be enough. He wanted this. He wanted Wilson every night, just like this. But this one night would be all he would ever have. No matter when it ended, he would still want more.
He didn't move, but answered, "Yeah?"
"What's gonna happen tomorrow?"
This was as good a time as any to get his answers. "What do you want to happen?"
He let out a frustrated sigh. "I want you to be able to look at me like I'm…not a freak."
"I don't think you're a freak. I think it's perfectly normal for a person to fall in…to develop feelings for their best friend. Some people ignore it, some act on it. You acted."
He thought momentarily of the words his friend had almost uttered. Fall in love. Had he fallen in love with Wilson? Silently, he admitted he had. "But how does this change…us?"
"I don't know, House. I think that has more to do with you than me."
Wilson finally moved, but only to roll face up to be able to look at House. "You asked for one night. You said you needed to know if this was real. But I don't even really know what this is. You said you need me, but for what you haven't said. This has everything to do with what you figured out. Have you? Figured anything out, I mean?"
He ran his hand over Wilson's face, forehead, smooth cheeks, wet lips, and wanted so much to tell him that he'd found out he loved him, that he wanted to stay like this forever. But the risks were too great. If Wilson didn't reciprocate the feelings, he chanced their friendship ending. Their friendship was the only thing that could get him through this. "I…I figured out that…I…"
"House, just tell me."
He hated showing weakness. "I can't."
"How are we supposed to have a relationship if you can't even tell me how you feel?"
Wilson sat up and brushed his hands over his face, "God, House, you are so frustrating sometimes! Just answer my damn question." He stood with his hands on his hips. "How am I supposed to figure out if I can deal with this if you can't even tell me what I need to try to deal with?"
House was shocked at the outburst, not even realizing that his friend was even considering the possibility of this lasting past tonight. He leaned forward, elbows on knees, eyes cast toward the floor. "It's real."
Wilson's voice softened. "Okay. So, what now?"
"Nothing. I wanted one night to figure it out. I figured it out. Tomorrow it'll all be over. We can go back to being friends just like we always have been. I'll be fine."
"That's what you want?"
"It's what I asked for."
"But is that what you want?"
House stood, now his voice rising. "What? What do you want me to say? You want me to say that I don't want the night to end? You want me to say that I want you beside me in bed every night? You want me to say that this is some kind of joke? What?"
Wilson gulped. "I want you to tell me the truth."
"No you don't."
His arms dropped to his sides. "Yes, I do."
House took a deep breath, trying to regain some sort of control. It was over. This would either make or beak them. But the moment of forgetting it ever happened had passed. If this were to break them, he might as well tell all.
With his words, he took barely noticeable steps toward the man that held his heart. "The truth is that I need you. The truth is that I want this…this crazy relationship. I want to date…or move in together…or both. I want you to want me…like I want you." He stood dangerously close, feeling the heat from Wilson's body radiating toward his own. With his heart pounding and his pulse screaming, he raised both hands to Wilson's face. Eyes met, locked, filled with fear, wonder and hints of desire. House's voice lowered to a husky whisper. "Tell me to stop."
Wilson swallowed hard then licked his dry lips. In almost robotic movements, he raised his hands to House's hips and inched ever so slightly in his direction. His response was barely audible. "No."
As he drew their lips together, House crashed all the walls he'd built to the ground. "I love you." Lips met in an awkward, sloppy kiss, neither knowing what to expect. House moaned deep in his throat as Wilson stepped toward him, his hands pushing up House's back. House flicked his tongue over his friend's smooth lips, begging for entrance, immediately reacting to the parting invitation. Thrusting his fingers into Wilson's hair, he deepened their kiss, realizing the real thing was so much better than his fantasy.
In what seemed like an eternity later, they parted, for the pure need for oxygen. Both men heaved in deep breaths, searching the other's face for any sign of consequence or reaction. It was Wilson who finally spoke, breathlessly. "You…love me?"
"I…can deal with that."
House was taken aback. "Seriously?"
Wilson pulled out of their embrace and pulled at his tie, keeping his hands busy. "You're gonna have to be patient with me, which I know isn't your best quality, but…yeah. I don't know how much of myself I can give to you, but…I was actually pretty comfortable tonight."
"I'm okay with that."
"Oh." Wilson dug in his pocket and handed House the money he'd given him earlier. "Here. I don't want this relationship to start with my being your hooker." He stepped back, hands on hips.
House finally relaxed and laughed. "Game over?"
"I can handle that."
"House? Let's go to bed."
"I've been dying to hear you say that."