Pairing: Gen, though there are a few past references to Wilson/Amber.
Spoilers: Set in the current season 5, but before Simple Explanation. Slight mention of an event in Season 4, but if you know the major plot point at the end of that season, you're fine.
Disclaimer: House and all of its characters are sadly not mine. I am only borrowing them for sake of hurting and then comforting.
Author's note: Written for the 2nd sickwilson_fest fic challenge on livejournal. Prompt #27: Wilson has an embarrassing but non life threatening STD and tries to hide it from House.
I intended this to be pure fluff humor. Then a little angst crept in. I'm proud I finished something before the deadline I was given as my writing muse has been MIA for...well, this is the first House fic I've finished since Take as Directed, so it's been a while :)!
It had been embarrassing enough when he had to go to Cameron.
He'd given her credit, though. He'd dropped his pants and she'd examined him, her eyebrow only arching slightly as she maintained her professionalism.
"I'm surprised you came to me," she admitted. "You could have gone to Cuddy."
"Cuddy is still a direct link to House," he muttered. "Somehow it would get back to him. I just know it."
"And seeing me won't?" Cameron asked.
"The ER is a big place," he explained. "Easier to…" he trailed off.
"Misplace a file?" Cameron finished. "I can't misplace anything, but I can do my charts a little later this week. House is everywhere, you know."
"Not everywhere," he corrected. "Just in places he has no business being in. The rest of the world bores him."
"I guess." She stepped back. "I'll need to take a sample, of course. And I'll run your blood to check your white-blood-cell count. How long have you had the fever?"
"Since yesterday," He admitted. "The discharge started a few days ago, along with the pain when I urinated. I brushed it off, thinking urinary track infection. Made a note to see Cuddy, then I got busy…"
"Then the orchitis happened, I assume?"
Boy did it ever, he thought. If House got a hold of that piece of information, he'd never hear the end of it. "This morning, yes," he admitted. "It's embarrassing, to say the least."
Cameron shrugged. "Yes, but you have avoided the last symptom if you'd...never mind. We've all done stupid things. You'll have to notify all your recent partners, unless you know exactly who…" she trailed off.
"I do. And trust me. You don't want to know."
"That I'm sure of." She scribbled down a few notes. "Look, I'll let you know when I get the results."
He found a pill bottle on his desk when he finished his rounds. Panicking for a second (and not really knowing why), he was relieved to simply find it was azithromycin from Cameron, along with a note that read "Saved you a trip. Find me if it doesn't improve."
He was very grateful for Cameron's tact and relaxed. He should have known better.
"Why would Cameron write you a scrip for azithromycin?"
House was sitting in the corner of his office, obviously waiting for him to get back.
"Don't you have a patient to take care of?"
"Taub and 13 are searching his apartment." House got up, limping his way toward Wilson's desk. "Now the real question isn't why Cameron wrote you a scrip, but why she delivered it herself."
"Because she's nice," he countered.
"Of course Cameron's nice. But this is still a little much for someone that she has no romantic leanings towards…unless…" He studied Wilson for minute. "No, you've been been laid recently, but so has Chase. And Cameron isn't the type to juggle two boy toys."
Wilson ignored the comment. "Azithromycin is used to treat many things," he pointed out.
"Of a bacterial nature," House corrected matter-of-factly. "Something serious enough to go see Cameron."
He crossed behind the desk to sit in Wilson's chair, sliding his cane along the desktop. "That means whatever you needed was too embarrassing to admit to Cuddy. Which means it involved dropping your pants."
He wasn't about to give in. "Cuddy was in a meeting. And Cameron wasn't. There was no pants dropping involved. It's a simple throat infection," he lied.
"No it isn't," House countered. He pointed his cane at the half full mug of coffee still sitting on Wilson's desk. "You drank coffee this morning. You avoid coffee like the plague when your throat bothers you."
House knew him so well it was a wonder more people didn't think they were dating. Of course, most people around here knew House and his inane ability to know things he has no business knowing. Made him a great doctor, but a taxing human being.
Normally he'd have no problem with House's behavior, brushing it off as normal, turning it into a joke. But if House got to the bottom of this, they would be no joking between friends as all the jokes would be purely at Wilson's expense.
Not very fun at all.
It was times like this he missed Amber even more. Though, if he admitted it, her sympathy would have turned into anger based on his current predicament. And he'd probably have found himself single again.
Single again…that was what got him into this mess in the first place. He blinked. House was staring at him, obviously waiting for an excuse.
"I needed the caffeine," he answered, the words sounding pathetic to his own ears.
"You drink tea when your throat bothers you. In fact you drink that healthy, crappy tea with all those extra addictives you claim boost your immune system but really just gets you to shell out an extra buck-twenty in the coffee shop. Besides…" House studied his cane for a moment, "if it were simply strep, why wouldn't you come to me instead of Cameron? I'm hurt…bros before hos, you know."
"Cameron was just…"
"…not going to mock you when you lowered your trousers?"
"If it's strep, you could let me take a look. Second opinions never hurt."
"Funny advice coming from a guy that never gets a second opinion before treating any of his patients. Test is positive. End of story. Now, if you could get up as some of us use our desks to do actual work at."
"Test is positive, I'm sure." Wilson expected to have fight his friend further, but was surprised when House simply put his cane down on the ground and pushed himself up from the desk chair.
He limped away without a word.
To any other person, it would appear that House had given up, accepting Wilson at his word. To anyone that actually knew House, knew that House never let sleeping dogs lie.
He found Cameron at the end of her shift.
"House hasn't been…"
"Poking around?" she finished, struggling with the zipper of her coat. "Of course he has. But he hasn't found your chart. He has no right to look at it."
"Never stopped him before."
"No, but I have," Cameron said matter-of-factly. "Your life. He doesn't have to know everything." She sighed. "Or you could just save yourself the trouble and throw him off the trail by just admitting it. Easy battle would frustrate the hell out of him." Cameron gave him a tight smile. "Good luck."
"Thanks," he muttered.
Since when did House get to him this much? After getting past everything in the last few months why was having his best friend find out about this such an embarrassing and horrible thing?
House had slept with hookers. House had been exposed.
Yet House had never found himself in such a situation. The reckless Gregory House who'd certainly rolled the dice more then a dozen times in his sexual life had taken precaution.
And it made him feel like a shamed teenager.
Amber was still fresh in his mind. He missed her so much still it sometime physically hurt. Yet, he could never stop himself from smiling at a pretty face, following a set of legs onto a set of sheets. He'd been clean before. Been tested annually per usual.
He was drunk. So stupidly drunk. So far away from House and PPH and trying to move past Amber to a place where it didn't hurt. He was a doctor and yet all he needed to hear was "don't worry, I'm on the pill" to stupidly forget about the condom in his hand and give into physical passion.
The next morning, it was the most unsatisfying one-night stand he'd ever had. He was more lonely then ever, more conflicted.
He'd pushed it aside, forgotten, until the symptoms appeared. Treatable sure, but his pride had a wound on it he wasn't sure he'd recover from. He'd cheated on wives, slept with plenty of women, yet never felt as dirty as he did now.
He wondered if it was perhaps because he'd loved Amber deeper than any of the others. Despite living together, he hadn't rushed her to the altar. She'd been strong-willed, in a way a female version of many of House's traits.
And many therapists had field days with such information.
He walked back towards his office feeling drained. He tried to ignore the urge to use the little boys room, knowing it would hurt like hell. He'd started the antibiotics, but it would be a few days until they worked.
He bypassed his office, hitting the men's room. Perhaps a little pain was actually what he deserved. He stood in front of the urinal, wincing when the stream of urine he'd been holding was released.
"So….Chlamydia or Gonorrhea?"
A glance behind him revealed House, twirling his cane and leaning on a stall. Wilson turned his head back to the urinal and closed his eyes. How the hell had he….?
You could hide very little from House. You could only run so far away.
No, James, he told himself – only *you* can run so far away. You invite him in…
Into what, he countered within himself. Your stupid non-life threatening STD?
He finished urinating before answering House, leaning against the bathroom wall, pants still lowered.
"How did you found out?"
"Not through Cameron, if that's what you want to know. Cameron was strictly by the book today. I saw you sit rather uncomfortably and…" Wilson didn't even need to be facing him to know House had stopped twirling his cane. "Got lucky."
"Lucky," Wilson muttered. He sighed and pulled up his pants, turning around to look at House. He was happy that they were the two occupants of the restroom. Hospital traffic didn't lend much privacy for either the patient or the doctor. "Lucky," he repeated. "Nothing else?"
House shrugged. "It seems a little harsh to kick a guy in his already inflamed testicles."
Wilson frowned. "Why that's a rather…nice gesture."
"I am capable of them every now and then."
House twirled his cane one more time before planting it down on the tile and turning toward the door. He continued, only stopping once to throw a causal:
"Next time, let me write the scrip for Azithromycin before you swell up like a grapefruit and forever risk your manhood."
Yes, Wilson knew House. But sometimes, just sometimes, House could still surprise him. In fact, he had a feeling that this might just be the year House surprised him most of all.
Their friendship had hit a new level.
Then again, the pair of grapefruits and package of condoms on his desk the next morning could be a sign that nothing had really changed after all.
Thanks for reading!
For those curious, medical research done at these sites:
www . emedicinehealth . com / Chlamydia / page4_em .htm
www . rxlist . com / zithromax-drug .htm