By the time they went home that evening, the unsettled, fluttering sensation in House's stomach that had started when Wilson mentioned punishment had increased to a rather over-powering feeling of nausea. He was quiet and tense as he got into Wilson's car and allowed him to drive home, barely speaking during the ten minute drive.

Wilson, on the other hand, seemed perfectly at ease.

His mood was cheerful and light, and he wasted no time in filling the silence between them with humorous remarks about other members of the hospital staff, and the most amusingly ignorant of the clinic patients he had seen during his shift that day. House was momentarily suspicious, but Wilson's good humor seemed too genuine to be an act.

Is it possible that he's forgotten? After all… I didn't do anything wrong, anyway… not really. Maybe he's just decided to let it go this time…

When they got home, House watched television in the living room while Wilson prepared a delicious meal of pasta and chicken and some kind of sauce that House was fairly certain he had invented himself. House even deigned to go so far as to offer a compliment at the end of the meal – or at least what passed for a compliment coming from him – as he set his fork down and leaned back contentedly in his chair.

"That… didn't suck."

Wilson quirked a single brow upward as he gave House a look over his last forkful of pasta. His tone was less than sincere when he replied.

"Thanks."

House smirked at him as he rose from his chair and turned to leave the kitchen, intending to return to his comfortable seat on the sofa and more mindless entertainment.

"Just a second…"

House froze, his back to Wilson, as his stomach sank to somewhere around his knees. He closed his eyes, holding his breath as he waited for Wilson to continue.

"I cooked. It's only fair for you to help clean up."

House paused a moment, considering, before turning to face Wilson again, a bemused half-smile on his lips at Wilson's implied command.

"I get it," he remarked as he crossed the room toward the sink with an air of resigned acceptance, subtle amusement in his voice as he began to fill the sink with hot, soapy water. "This is awfully convenient for you, isn't it? The only reason you initiated this unconventional relationship in the first place was in order to force me into involuntary servitude, isn't it?"

Wilson smiled at House's conclusions, shrugging slightly. "It's the only way I'd ever get you to do your part around here, so what choice did I have?"

House picked up the dishes from in front of Wilson, then added his own to the stack, letting out a deep, shaky breath with relief that Wilson's decision for his punishment had been so lenient. It made sense, he thought, considering how minor an offense he had committed; but still, Wilson was proving to be not nearly as intimidating as he might have liked to be.

House smirked, speaking over his shoulder as he dumped the entire load into the basin of hot water.

"Gotta say… your punishments aren't all that original, Wilson."

Almost immediately, House felt the heat of Wilson's body pressing against him from behind, trapping him between Wilson and the sink; and a gentle but possessive hand closed lightly around his throat, drawing his head back slightly. House's stomach lurched, his hands rising from the soapy water but not venturing far, merely hovering over the edge of the sink full of dishes as Wilson's lowered voice, enticing and frightening at the same time, rumbled softly in his ear.

"Who said this was your punishment?"

House swallowed hard, feeling Wilson's smile against his skin as he felt the motion of House's throat under his hand. Realizing that Wilson had merely been waiting to catch him off guard – and had succeeded in doing just that – House said nothing. Wilson's tone made it clear that there were no words he could offer to free himself from the consequences of his earlier defiance.

"Doing the dishes when I've cooked dinner is nothing more than your fair share," Wilson reminded House softly, his free hand edging around House's waist to rest splayed against his stomach. "When you're finished… then you'll be punished."

The subtle intimacy of Wilson's touch made House's heart beat accelerate, and his mouth go dry with mingled anticipation and fear. He closed his eyes for a moment as Wilson shifted closer to him, pulling House's body gently back against him and allowing House to feel the pronounced bulge in the front of Wilson's slacks, the evidence of just how much he was enjoying his own dominance – or perhaps, how much he was looking forward to House's punishment.

Wilson's voice was hushed as he instructed softly, "You will finish cleaning up the kitchen… and then, you will come into the living room for your punishment." Wilson paused a moment, glancing over his shoulder at the rather minimal mess the two of them had left. "If it takes you any longer than thirty minutes to complete this chore, your punishment will be increased. Is that clear?"

House nodded slowly, able only to utter a single, choked syllable, barely over a whisper.

"Yes…"

Damn it.

Wilson knew him too well to allow him to stall by taking as long as possible in the kitchen – a desperate plan that had occurred to House a moment before Wilson forbade it.

"Good." Wilson abruptly released him, taking a step backward, leaving House leaning against the sink for support as he struggled to catch his breath. "I'll be waiting."

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

"This isn't fair."

House's voice was low, subdued and sullen at the same time, as he stood in front of Wilson in the living room – exactly twenty-eight minutes after Wilson had left him in the kitchen.

"I didn't really do anything wrong."

"You agreed to this arrangement of ours," Wilson reminded him gently, looking up to meet House's eyes as he calmly rose to his feet. "And that means that you have to be respectful at all times; and if you're not… you have to accept the consequences. It just… comes with the territory." His voice softened as he added, "I told you I'll be pushing your limits, House – and you're not always going to like it. This is punishment; you're not supposed to like it. But, if it's really too much for you… you can always use your safe word."

House was silent, his eyes averted, biting the side of his lower lip as he struggled visibly with the decision. He tensed when Wilson edged nearer to him, placing gentle hands on his sides and tugging him closer, patiently waiting until House looked him in the eye to speak again.

"But… I'm pretty sure you can take a lot more than what I have planned for you tonight. I'm pretty sure you can take a lot more than you think you can." His hand trailed down from House's side to his hip, and around to trace idly along the waist of House's jeans. His voice was quietly enticing as he dropped his gaze and concluded slowly, "It all comes down to… how much do you trust me?"

House was quiet, swallowing hard, his head lowered. Finally, he let out a soft sigh.

"I trust you," he admitted quietly.

Wilson's dark eyes shone with relief, his shoulders falling slightly. "Then… you're ready to accept your punishment?"

House nodded, not speaking.

Wilson raised a hand to the back of House's neck, pulling him down into an impulsive, grateful kiss, before withdrawing slowly. His smile faded as he squared his shoulders and took a step back, allowing his hands to fall from House's body, and leaving House feeling strangely bereft of his touch. Wilson's voice hardened, taking on a commanding tone.

"I'm going to leave the room for a minute. While I'm gone, you're going to take off all your clothes and wait for me here."

House hesitated before nodding once, his eyes downcast.

Wilson made his way into their bedroom, going to the locked bottom drawer of the dresser where he kept various toys and other items integral to their new lifestyle. He gathered the things he needed, then made his way back out into the living room.

House was standing, facing the bedroom door with his hands clasped in front of him in a weak attempt to maintain some semblance of modesty in spite of his nakedness. His face was flushed with embarrassment, and everything about his posture spoke of uncertainty and self-consciousness. Wilson walked to his side, pausing to lay down his supplies on the sofa, only keeping one item in his hand as he closed the distance between them.

House drew away in alarm when Wilson raised a soft, padded blindfold toward his face.

"No…"

"House." Wilson's voice was sharp. "That's not an option. Be still."

House hesitated, his tension visible in the taut muscles of his athletic frame, before he finally surrendered with a sigh of resignation, relaxing slightly and shifting almost imperceptibly toward Wilson.

"Fine," he muttered. "Get it over with."

Wilson smiled as he tied the blindfold securely over House's eyes, trailing a reassuring hand down his side in a gentle caress.

"Good…"

He murmured his approval as he walked to the couch to retrieve a pair of steel handcuffs, lined in soft cloth padding to prevent the restraint from being painful. Wilson took House's hands and guided them gently behind his back before moving around to stand behind him and locking them firmly into the cuffs. House tensed slightly, his hands balled into tight, trembling fists, but he did not utter a word of protest.

"Very good…"

Wilson praised him softly, his hands trailing up from House's bound wrists to rest on his shoulders, guiding him back a few steps so that he was standing beside the sofa before leaning in to issue a quiet command.

"Now… get on your knees."

"No. Don't think so."

House protested, shaking his head and pulling slightly away from Wilson. Wilson caught his arm and pulled him back again, his voice like silken steel in House's ear as his grip tightened and his free arm slid around House's waist in a possessive, restraining gesture.

"You will do as you're told, House. You will not refuse to obey me. And you will get on your knees… now."

House was trembling, clearly apprehensive and very reluctant – but after a moment, he nodded slightly, relaxing a little within Wilson's grasp. Wilson drew back a little, his patient hands carefully steadying House as he awkwardly knelt on the floor.

"Good," Wilson murmured, slightly distracted. "You're doing good…"

"Yeah, I'd bet you think so," House muttered in response, and Wilson knew he was rolling his eyes behind the blindfold. "This is your fantasy, isn't it? Me on my knees and at your mercy…"

"We've already established that," Wilson conceded, a trace of amusement in his voice. "But that's beside the point." His tone hardened as he continued without hesitation, "And until I tell you otherwise, there is only one word you're allowed to say, and only if you have to. Do you understand?"

House bit his lip, and Wilson could see the inner battle he was waging with his pride; but he finally nodded once, silently submitting to Wilson's orders. Wilson's satisfied smile faded slightly as he moved to stand in front of House, and House flinched slightly at the motion, his breath catching softly in his throat as he tensed, steeling himself for whatever Wilson intended to do to him.

Wilson knelt in front of House, bringing himself down to the same level as his lover, reaching out his hands to rest lightly on House's legs, just above his knees in a gesture of reassurance. Troubled by the slight tremor he felt under his hands, Wilson stroked his hands gently back and forth, careful not to venture too near House's damaged thigh.

"Shhh," Wilson soothed House gently, his voice low and filled with tender sympathy. "Relax. Remember – I'm not going to hurt you. Okay? I promise I'm not going to hurt you…"

House nodded slightly, swallowing hard… but he did seem to relax a bit at those comforting words. Keeping one steadying hand on House's left leg, Wilson leaned in closer and turned his attention on House's exposed cock – which he was gratified to notice was half-hard already. Despite House's apprehensions, he was nevertheless clearly aroused by the position in which he had found himself.

House bit back a startled gasp when he felt Wilson's hand on his groin, slowly stroking idle circles around the head of his forming erection. His breath quickened, hitching slightly, but he did not speak or cry out at all. His trembling intensified slightly, but Wilson was fairly certain it was not a response of fear. He continued his gentle, teasing touches, alternating between even, steady strokes to House's cock, and light, tickling brushes against his balls.

Within minutes, House was fully hard.

His breathing had become ragged and uneven, and he was thrusting slightly forward into Wilson's touch, despite his obvious efforts to keep still. Wilson's low, throaty chuckle of self-satisfaction made House's face flush with embarrassment – but even that embarrassment was somehow exciting, adding to his arousal. When Wilson abruptly withdrew his hand, House couldn't hold back a strangled whimper of frustration. Before he could stop himself, he had breathed out a desperate whisper.

"Please…"

Immediately, Wilson's hand caught a fistful of his hair, jerking his head back. Blindfolded and bound, fully exposed and at Wilson's mercy, House felt intensely vulnerable as Wilson leaned down to speak in a voice of soft, cool authority in his ear.

"Shut. Up."

Wilson released him, and House could hear his footsteps moving away, though he did not go far. The sounds of rustling leather and metal on the sofa drew House's interest, but he barely had time to wonder what Wilson was doing before Wilson had returned, kneeling in front of him again.

House bit back a moan when he felt something smooth and flexible – leather, probably – wrapping around the base of his erection; then gasped in alarm when the strap was cinched tight. He felt Wilson's hands hovering around it, fastening it into place, and his heart sank when he heard the sound of Wilson rising to his feet once more.

Surely he wouldn't just… he can't just leave me like this… and… for how long does he think he's going to…?

In a possessive, dominant gesture, Wilson's hand fell to rest at the back of House's neck as he spoke with soft certainty.

"You will learn to show respect and to do as you're told, House. Your pleasure… your pain… is in my hands. And I will decide when you get either."

He said nothing else, his quiet words punctuated by the soft sound of his footsteps walking away.