Don't have much more to say about this than repeat the summary: Fast forwarding to February. It's Wilson's birthday. Fluff. Sequel to Clothes and The Man.

Disclaimer: Don't own, never will.

*

His apartment door closed a little too sharply, and the backpack impacted the wall with undue force before sliding to the floor with a thud. His coat almost choked on the hook as House headed for the kitchen for a beer to drown his irritation.

The fridge greeted him with light.

Why should it be happy and not him?

"I got screwed." He informed the sunny interior.

When the glow didn't diminish at the news, House slammed the door closed and went empty-handed to his couch.

The chatter from 182 channels didn't help either.

Only one nagging bastard might have calmed him.

This was Friday, February 27th. Tomorrow was Wilson's birthday, but workplace etiquette called for occasions falling on weekends to be celebrated before the event. In this case, today.

And as usual, the oncology department ignored the hints from its brown-haired head's head, and held a party.

By afternoon Wilson's office looked like one of his patient's hospital rooms, full of cards and gift shop teddies littering his bookcase. A tray of cupcakes balanced on the corner of his desk which House promptly helped himself to when he came through the door.

On the other side, lined up like soldiers were three tall slender gift bags. A quick hover proved each package contained a bottle of wine. Before he could read an exposed tag, Wilson shooed his hand away.

"House, leave those alone. Unlike some people, these gifts will be opened."

"And when will that be? Should I bring my own glass?"

"I'll be sharing it with someone when the time is right, but not with you." The forest of eyebrow hair wiggled for emphasis.

When Wilson's brows twitched, wedding invitations were sure to follow.

"Three women gave you wine." House deduced.

"Uh…Not exactly, but close." Wilson stretched and relaxed into his chair.

"You're saying it's not three? Women? Or wine?"

"You're right about the wine." Wilson tightened his mouth into a line, and then buried his head into a folder.

House knew a dismissal when he saw one but it didn't prevent him from checking the tags.

A folder swatted the back of his hands, knocking them away.

"I've got a meeting in five minutes. Can you wait to snoop through my belongings until after I go?"

"What kind of challenge would that be?" House questioned.

"Oh, I don't know, one based on, 'Don't ask, don't tell?' If I don't know you're prying into my life, we can pretend this is a normal friendship."

"Deceit is boring."

"But it would be…refreshing." With a sigh, Wilson began to lock his folders away. "Look, we're friends, House. I just need…a few more.

"You might as well know, I've been dating. An obstetrics nurse, Chelsey, she gave me one bottle, and Nadia, Debbie's replacement in accounting. The other two bottles are from her." Wilson had a goofy grin on his face as he pulled a card out of one of the bags and read, 'Don't know which is your favorite – red or white. Let's experiment.'"

House heard sirens going off in his head.

"Excellent choices, Wilson. A pheromone filly whose hormones are jacked up taking care of babies all day, and tranny, 'Nad's,' Nadia, formerly known as 'knock it back' Ned, who needs to shave twice a day. What about me?"

Wilson blinked as his mouth opened slightly.

"I mean, how bad is my company that you can't wait to make better choices?" House ran the words back through his head, checking to see if he made a good save.

"It's not the same, House," Wilson spoke softly. "I'd like to celebrate my birthday differently this year." He winked, "Unwrap a present or two.

"It's not like we bother to do anything special when Februrary 28th rolls around."

"How many times have I said bro's before ho's." House spat with irritation. He sounded like a blithering idiot to his own ears. He had to get a grip. "Besides, your birthday isn't until tomorrow. How do you know, I didn't plan anything this year?"

"Oh, call it an educated guess, backed by over a decade of experience." Wilson shrugged, then added, "And that's fine, it's always—"

"I planned on giving you your gift this evening when you came over. Did you forget it's movie night?"

"I'm sure in some countries a porn video with a fully-loaded pizza is considered not just a birthday but a village feast day. However, I need to pass. Didn't you check your email? I sent you one saying I had to cancel." Wilson looked uncomfortable as he pointed to the bag, "I'm going out with Chelsey."

"Then Saturday."

"Uh…Going out with Nads, I mean, Nadia."

"If you value your nuts, cancel any plans for Sunday," House drawled.

From his chair Wilson barely controlled his hands from covering his crotch as he surrendered. "What time?"

*

So now House had to wait until the end of the weekend, but the good news was it gave him time to go out and buy another gift.

His first one was one hell of a screw up.

The deluxe left-handed corkscrew seemed like the perfect present at the time, but he had to get clever and send it anonymously with an unsigned gift card that left only the slightest hint who the sender might be.

Jesus Christ Amighty, what had he done.

He requested the card to say, "Happy Birthday. Since you are a lefty, are you interested in switch hitting?"

What imperfect timing. The gift would arrive tomorrow before Wilson went out that evening with the fair but hairy Nadia. Wilson was sure to think the corkscrew came from her/him.

Wilson was never going to consider that he sent the gift. Not when Nadia could provide a two-for-one special.

House ran his hands through his hair.

Screwed by his own corkscrew.

*

On Sunday, Wilson arrived on time, with a slight variation on last month's scenario. Pizza in his right hand and a six-pack in his left.

House was going to order in, but didn't complain. Wilson would pay either way.

They sat eating and tipping back bottles, waiting for the other one to speak first.

Deciding to play the genial host, House started off the conversation, "How did it go this weekend with the clock ticker and the cock tickler?"

"I canceled."

"Both? What happened? One of your bald kiddies took a turn for the worse?"

Wilson rubbed the back of his neck. "Hard to think about dating when there are signs that it's the 'end of days.' There was a package by my door when I got home after work. By the way, thank you for the birthday present."

"Haven't given it to you yet."

"Yes you did. Don't you remember ordering? If not, it's consoling to know that the memory goes first, and not the—"

House jumped in quickly to derail Wilson's thoughts, "What makes you think I sent you a corkscrew?

"I never said anything about a corkscrew." Wilson accomplished an innocent and smug look at the same time.

Busted.

"What made you think it came from me?" House asked, trying to regain some ground.

"There was a card. At first I thought it was from Nadia, but the packing slip's date was January and our first evening out wasn't until February. I started thinking…who would know my birthday and that I'm left-handed? Actually several people at the hospital, but the card threw me. So, I asked myself--"

"Speaking much to yourself, lonely guy? You should have gone out with someone long before this." House deflected, but to no avail.

Wilson continued as if he never heard House interrupt.

"I said…how would House figure out who sent it? What would he do?" Wilson coolly stared at him. "And then it came to me. This was exactly what you would do."

While their eyes locked onto each other's, Wilson removed a card from his shirt pocket. "What possessed you to write this note?"

House thought. Why did he write it? A lot was riding on the answer.

Rising to his feet, he motioned Wilson to do the same.

Wilson obeyed.

House commanded, "Close your eyes and wait here."

Just as Wilson began to get impatient with House's latest game, he felt a warm, light pressure on his shoulders. Finally, a gruff but velvet voice told him to look.

From the corner of his eye he caught the flicker of two candles in a cupcake suspiciously devoid of frosting, sitting on the coffee table.

But his attention was swiftly drawn to House who stood before him in his blue cashmere robe. He looked down and saw he was wearing an identical brown one draped loosely, enfolding him. Without thinking, he slipped his arms into the sleeves. It felt inviting, and warm, like an embrac….

"Oh."

"Get it now, Wilson?"

"Got it, House."

Blue and brown eyes silently speculated how to proceed.

Wilson breathed, "You know I was never serious about Chelsey or Ned. It was only--"

"To make me jealous? Well, happy birthday, Wilson. Blow out the candles, and tonight let's see how many of our wishes come true"

*

XOX

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