A/N: So, I was watching S2E23, the one where Crandall shows up and House is having increased leg issues. And then he calls Ingrid, who gives him a leg rub in his office, and Wilson walks in…and mistakes it for a blowjob…and then he keeps looking with this, hm, eager expression on his face. And when he realizes that House is not getting a blowjob, he pouts. Seriously. That was a definite pout. So I wrote this fic in response. Hope you enjoy!

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Wilson had long since lost his flinching instincts. Having House barge into his office without warning at least four times a day had inoculated him against the effects of startlement. As such, he merely made a show of letting one side of his mouth twist in resigned annoyance, set his pencil down, laced his fingers together, and looked at his best friend poised in the doorway.

"You stared."

Wilson's head bobbled, his customary reaction when House made an incomprehensible remark. "You stared back?"

House smirked and came the rest of the way into Wilson's office. "You don't have the slightest idea what I'm talking about, do you." He pushed the door shut and limped to one of the guest chairs with his cane hooked in the crook of his elbow.

Wilson shrugged. "Oddly enough, not an unusual occurrence."

Once House had arranged himself in the chair, he crossed his arms, cane cradled between, and fought the smug grin that tugged at every facet of his expression. "You thought the hot masseuse was doing naughty things to me on my desk, and you stared." His eyes drifted to a corner of the ceiling, contemplative as a classical philosopher. Or a madman. Whichever. "In fact, I distinctly caught a pout when you realized how innocent our activity was."

Wilson's head bobbled again, but this time, he was just speechless. Eventually, House's eyes dropped back to him; he had to say something, or else risk House coming to some hare-brained conclusion of his own. "Any guy would stare if he walked in on a blowjob. It's not personal."

That knowing look still occupied House's face, and it made Wilson queasy. He hadn't meant to stare. Honestly, the shock of thinking that House was sitting there, right in front of him, getting…no. Wilson refused to admit that for a split second, the notion had turned him on. That he had hoped, in one fractured moment of insanity, that maybe House would let him stay and watch. That the thought of that…watching…

Oh. Crap. Wilson tried to be unobtrusive about glancing at his lap and turned it into part of his feigned exasperated sigh. "House, it didn't mean anything. I was surprised. I was still processing – "

"You like to watch?" House smoothed the edges of his button down and Wilson couldn't help frowning as House's palm ghosted over his crotch. "Voyeuristic fantasy?" He looked at Wilson and grinned. "Why, Jimmy. You kinky little slut."

"House – "

"Seriously." And for a second, House actually did attempt sobriety. "You went from eager beaver to moper in half a second flat." He shrugged off something uncomfortable about the conversation, then offered, "I'm not saying there isn't a certain part of me that gets all warm and fuzzy at the thought that you got turned on watching me get some from a hot masseuse. I'm just wondering if it was a fluke." He met Wilson's eyes again; something dark fizzled behind cobalt and Wilson swallowed to see it. "Was it?"

Wilson's mouth went dry. "Uh…" Usually, he could deal with House's antics and inappropriate comments, even the fake flirting. The way House stared at him now, though…it left Wilson's brain muffled. He couldn't come up with anything coherent, much less snarky. "I haven't…thought about you…like that…" Wilson's fingers twittered against the desk and he blew an anxious breath out from between slack lips.

"Fluke, then." House didn't get up to leave, though, and his gaze was no less piercing. Wilson fidgeted under it and pretended to have an email that needed checking. "Fortuitous timing, though."

Wilson shot a glare at him but he didn't think it came off as convincing.

House merely returned it with a feral grin. "So, you haven't thought about me like that before." He made a faux thoughtful face, his mouth scrunched up and one cheek puffed out. "I bet you're thinking about it now, though."

Wilson stilled his bobbling head and replied, "Go torture someone else, House. I have work."

House merely smiled and gave this little hm-hm sort of chuckle.

That didn't bode well. Playful House could not be trusted. Wilson inhaled a long, slow breath and squinched his eyes shut. "House…" When he opened them again, he froze.

"You're staring again."

"You're being obscene." Wilson countered.

House shrugged. If his hand weren't casually laying between his legs, the gesture might actually have been beguiling.

As it was, Wilson just flushed to his very pores. House wasn't doing anything, his hand wasn't moving, but the intent behind it… Wilson tore his eyes away and tried to work up enough saliva to swallow around the lump in his throat. "This…this isn't funny, House."

"Who said I was joking?" The moment Wilson looked at him again, House's fingers tightened ever so slightly.

"House…please don't." Wilson couldn't keep the hurt, lost tone out of his voice. House was going to drag him through metaphorical mud for this, and Wilson had yet to even come to terms with finding him attractive in an accidental moment. Wilson added another whispered, "Please. I can't deal with this right now."

"I'm not joking," House snapped. "Quit giving me the kicked puppy look."

Wilson's chest stuttered as he drew a breath and looked away, blinking through stark knowledge that House was on the verge of humiliating him worse than ever before. That this wasn't a laugh between friends – that House was going to turn it into a cruel taunt despite his assertion that he wasn't joking. Everybody lies, right? And House was good at being mean for his own amusement.

A rustling on the other side of the desk drew Wilson's attention, and he started to find House leaning toward him, his hands planted in the middle of Wilson's paper work. Wilson recoiled half a foot before he could stop himself, but he tried to remain still after that. House appeared earnest for once, and slightly terrified. "Wilson, I'm not joking." The sentence contained an abundance of air so that Wilson felt the words hit his face and slide off the planes of his cheeks.

They stared at each other, squared off over a small mountain of files and shared years, both of them breathing too heavily, eyes wide, waiting for the other to make a move and save them the embarrassment of being rejected by his best friend. They were so alike under the surface. Both of them remote, both afraid to take a chance, to be vulnerable in untested waters. Afraid that the tenuous connection they had fostered over time would break under the strain of admitting that they might gravitate to each other for reasons other than proximity and inside jokes and easy banter over Chinese food. If they were wrong, it would ruin the best thing that either man had going for him.

It didn't matter in the end. Neither of them had guts enough to close that last bit of distance. The slope was too steep, too slippery; a physically crippled diagnostician and an emotionally crippled oncologist would never survive the fall. House withdrew a few inches, his head bowed to stare at Wilson's files between his splayed fingers instead of at Wilson himself. Wilson looked at his computer monitor and breathed shallowly through his mouth because his sinuses had suddenly clogged. They each glanced in the other's direction but their gazes couldn't find a point in common. House bit his lip and straightened, then retreated out the balcony door, his steps too quick, too desperate to be somewhere else.

Wilson slumped into his chair and watched House disappear over the divider, relieved in one sense and disgusted in the other. Some little niggling sense that had tickled him for years was finally out in the open. Their association with each other was anything but casual. And now that they knew, they would remain cowards on opposite sides of a desk, stealing miserable, lonely glances whenever no one esle was looking. Because anything else was just too dangerous. Anything else could ruin them, and neither could afford to take that risk. Happiness was a dangerous thing, after all. It gave people so much more to lose.

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