Title: Punch Drunk Love

Author: Mary Ann Summers

Rating: PG-13

Prompt: Helpful hint: Wait unitl you're sober before trying that again.
Fandom and Pairing (if there is one): House, House/Wilson

Genre (fic, poem, art, etc): Fan Fiction

Summary: House gets drunk and Wilson fixes him up. H/W Fluff

****

When the phone rang in the middle of the night, Wilson didn't have to wonder for a moment who was on the other side of the line. And when he brought the reciever to his ear he didn't have to ask House what he needed. The slur in his friend's voice was enough to tell him that his chauffer services were needed yet again. The phone hung up before he could get a location but he had a fairly good idea where House had spent his Friday night.

He rolled out of bed and stumbled into a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. A brief glance at the clock told him it was one in the morning. Apparently House had topped himself off earlier then normal. With a sigh he grabbed his car keys and headed out of his apartment. Thankfully spring was in the air and it was borderling on pleasent outdoors. Still, he'd much rather be sleeping instead of driving around in the middle of the night.

There was a small joint two streets over from House's building called Slim's. It was close enough where House could walk from his apartment to the bar and get completely drunk without having to worry about leaving his bike behind to fetch the next day. That was a great plan, but it meant that Wilson had become the new taxi service to get drunk House back to his apartment. Or in most cases, back to Wilson's apartment where he could dispense hangover cures as needed.

Wilson sighed as he parked his car outside Slim's. The little bar was aptly crowded for a Friday night. As he opened the door he curled up his nose at the scent of cigarette smoke hanging in the air. At least it was cleaner and better lit them most of the places he'd picked House up at over the years. He pushed through the bodies, glad this bar wasn't much bigger then your average McDonald's, until he met the eyes of the bar tender. The young bartender, a handsome man in his twenties, gave one jerk of his neck toward the back of the establishment, recognizing Wilson right away as the man who took the grumpy jackass with the cane home.

As the bartender indicated, House was at a little table off in the far corner of the bar. Through the dimly lit space Wilson could see him spinning the shot glass through fingers that were nimble even when intoxicated. He went up behind his friend, laying a hand on his shoulder. The other man didn't react, the only movement was the shot glass coming to a stop.

"Okay House..." Wilson directed. "Time to take you home."

"Mmmkay." House agreed in a thick voice. He wasn't so drunk he had lost his sense completely, or else he wouldn't have called Wilson to bring him home. All he wanted right now was a nice, fluffy bed or couch to lay down on. Rising awkwardly, he stumbled a little on his bad leg as he gained his feet, but Wilson was right behind him. As always.

Wilson stayed behind House to keep him hobbling in a straight line as they headed out of the bar. He resisted the urge to reach out and put his hand on the small of his friend's back to guide him along. This was definetly a time that House would not appreciate that. As they approached the bar, however, he immediatly wished he had done it when House bumped into a huge man in a Nike baseball cap.

No, huge wasn't the right word for it. This guy was like a refridgerator in a t-shirt and the face beneath the ball cap was not a happy one at all.

"Watch where the hell you're going!" Nike guy snapped at House and turned back to the bar.

"Easy," Wilson grabbed House's arm to pull him back from the fridge-in-a-shirt's space.

House tottered for a moment, then regained his balance. He seemed to be gathering himself for a moment and Wilson was glad to see that. House was tall, but this guy could cream both of them with one hand tied behind his back. Hopefully they would escape without incidient. And for a moment it seemed that they would, until Wilson hear House's voice beside him.

"Mmmm...wrestling," House blinked up at the screen for a moment, then glanced over to Nike guy again. "Isn't that a little homo-erotic?"

"What did you call me?" Nike guy turned around.

House only had a chance to open his mouth before a fist the side of baseball mitt was slamming into his face. He fell back against Wilson, who grabbed him awkwardly under the arms while trying to stay on his own feet. Taking one step back, he steadied House on his feet and managed to keep either of them from falling to the floor.

"John!" The bartender snapped. "Now what did I tell you about hitting people?"

Wilson didn't want to see what John's reply would be, instead putting his arm around House's waist and dragging him out of the bar as fast as his crippled leg would allow. There was no shame in running from a fight, he decided as he opened the door and helped House find his way into the passenger seat, continuing to glance over his shoulder to make sure no one had followed them out. He scrambled into the driver's seat and locked the doors just to be on the safe side.

"Why did you say that?" He huffed indignantly, noticing for the first time that House had a nasty cut on his cheek, probably from a ring Nike guy might have been wearing. "You're bleeding..." He reached out to touch House's face, but his hand was batted away in annoyance.

"Let's just go home." House slurred.

Twenty minutes later Wilson was carefully guiding House down the hall to his apartment. Thankfully his drunken friend had slept from almost the moment the car pulled away from the curve. He was grateful that so far the only side affect of mixing alcohol and Vicodin had been a sleepy House. Though God knew what it was doing to him on the inside. Honestly, Wilson didn't want to know. He already worried enough.

Impatiently House pushed past Wilson and headed into the apartment as soon as the door was unlocked. He struggled out of his jacket and moved to drop it onto the coat rack. Instead he hit the coat rack with his elbow and sent it to the ground with a crash, carrying his jacket with it.

"Helpful hint," Wilson deadpanned. "Wait until you're sober before trying that again."

"Shutdup." House slurred and slipped out of his friend's grip. He took two shaky steps forward and collapsed on the couch. His eyes closed and he was asleep in less then a minute. As his fingers went slack, his cane dropped to the floor with a wooden thud.

Wilson stood there watching his friend for a moment, hands on his hips. He wanted to tend to the nasty cut on House's cheek now, but he decided the task would be easier done the next morning when he'd slept most of the booze off. With a sigh he spread the throw on the back of the couch over House.

"I wish you didn't do this to yourself." He murmured before heading back to his bedroom.

The next morning, Wilson slipped into the kitchen quietly and started making coffee. As he was scrambling the eggs he heard an unmistakable groan from the couch. House was an accomplished enough drunk that he didn't get the barfing-your-guts-out type of hangovers, but he did feel it the next morning when he got plastered. And as far as Wilson's opinion went, that was good. He wished that he got the type of hangovers that would make a man swear never to do it again. As of yet, that hadn't happened.

He poured a cup of coffee and went into the living room. House was sitting up and rubbing a hand over his stubbly face as if he was trying to piece together the previous night. With a sigh, Wilson thrust the cup of coffee at House. He accepted it with a steady hand, avoiding more then brief eye contact. Wilson hoped that meant that House was feeling a little sheepish about the previous night, but knew it was more likely his friend was just disoriented and trying to gather his wits about him.

Wilson left and returned a minute or two later with a washcloth, cotton balls and a bottle of perioxide. He sat the items down on the coffee table and took House's coffee out of his hand to set it down as well. Then he sat down beside House and brought the wet wash cloth to his friend's cheek, gently starting to wash the blood out of the cut. "Ow." House complained with a wince. "Bedside manor much?"

"You're lucky he didn't do more damage." Wilson pointed out. "You might have been taller, but he outweighed you a hundred pounds easy."

"He was an idiot."

"An idiot that could've pounded your face in."

Wilson set down the wash cloth and dampened a cotton ball with peroxide.

"That's going to burn," House complained, starting to edge away from Wilson.

"Yes," Wilson put his knee down on House's good thigh to hold him still. "And you deserve it."

He didn't give him another moment to think about it, dabbing the cottonball on the cut perhaps a little firmer then need be. House winced and let out a little hiss as the peroxide burned. Wilson would never admit it out loud, but he found that noise a little satisfying. It was as close to penance as House would pay when the only thing he'd caused by getting drunk the night before was for him to worry.

"There." He moved back. "Done."

"First the perioxide." House looked up at Wilson. "Then the lecture. There is going to be a lecture, isn't there? I know you enjoy giving them so much."

"No lecture." Wilson sat down next to House. "Wouldn't do any good anyways."

"Nope." House agreed, then cast a sideways glance at him. "But you love me anyways."

As he took in his friend's pathetic face, a smile started spreading across his own. Wilson leaned in and tenderly brushed his lips over the bruise that was forming on House's cheek. Yes, he did love him, and he knew it. There was no use trying to hide it. They were just finding their bearings as a couple, but they had been soulmates since that first meeting in a bar almost twenty years ago. Irony was not for the faint of heart. But neither was loving a man like House.