He stood in the back yard, twenty feet from the door to the basement room. Away from the street and prying eyes of the neighbors. Nobody could see him just stand there, enjoying, feeling, wanting more. The sensation of the cool misty rain brushing against his face was unlike anything House had ever experienced. It was like hundreds of fingers caressing his skin. All he could do was stand there and let the rain fall and the humid air fill his lungs. He wasn't ready to leave the wonderful feeling of the rain behind just yet.

Wilson stood under a tree and watched his friend. The soft glow from the nearby streetlights made the drops of rain in House's hair glitter like jewels. All night long he had been watching House take in his new world, his new life. House was taking in everything, seeing it all through a new pair of eyes. Wilson was reminded of a child playing with a pile of toys. The world was House's toy now and he wasn't going to share it with anyone except him.

What happens now? Wilson found himself wondering. Where do we go from here? Would House be willing to renounce his inability to accept change? Several weeks had gone by since their new life had started and so far Wilson had no complaints. He didn't mind staying in the basement bedroom for a few more days, or even a few more weeks. But now that there was so much more to see and so much more they could do…and House didn't have the burden of his leg to deal with anymore. Wilson made a mental note to start looking for a better place to stay and ways of getting out of New Jersey in the near future if House didn't start looking first.

"Wilson," House called out. "Come here."

Wilson stepped back out into the rain; he had been in such a rush to leave he had forgotten to check the weather. Now he was paying for it with sopping wet clothes and soggy socks that squished with every step.

"Can we go inside now?" Wilson asked with a huff as he walked up to his friend.

"Not yet." House closed his eyes. "Doesn't that feel nice?"

"What feels nice?"

"The rain."

Wilson grumbled, "The rain is wet. It feels like I'm getting soaked."

"Still concerned about your precious wardrobe. I'll bet you're worried about your manicure and blow dryer, too. It's time to leave such frivolities behind."

"Good clothes are still good clothes. Money is still money, and I paid good money for this wardrobe and it's getting ruined."

"Forget your wardrobe for two seconds and get your ass over here."

"Okay, okay," Wilson muttered under his breath, then spoke up with, "What is it?"

"Can't you feel that?" There was an undercurrent of reverence in House's voice, something he saved for when and only when he was honestly impressed with whatever had his attention.

"It feels like I'm getting rained on," Wilson replied, letting his displeasure at being stuck outside in the lousy weather slip through in his words.

"Then you're not feeling it right." It was House's turn to grumble as he grabbed his friend's arm and nearly yanked him out of his shoes. "Now get over here, tilt your head up and feel the rain."

Wilson stood there and let the rain continue to fall on him. He tilted his head up and felt nothing but rain continuing to soak him to the bone. He could feel his friend's fierce blue eyes watching him, waiting for him to acknowledge that yes, staying out here in this lousy weather is a wonderful idea and lets do it more often. Keeping silent, he just stood there and hoped House would give up trying to prove whatever point he was trying to make and say they were going back into their warm, dry room.

House didn't. Instead he said, "For years I was either wracked with pain from my leg or numb from everything else with the Vicodin. There was no middle ground. All the little things I once enjoyed got pushed aside and forgotten about. All because I was too busy chasing after you to keep my Vicodin bottle filled so I could keep the pain from driving me crazy. It's kind of hard to stop and smell the roses when you're too stoned to even notice that the roses are in bloom. You can't enjoy something so natural and soothing as the rain falling on you without worrying about slipping and falling on your bad leg and spending the rest of the day in agony, can you?"

"I wouldn't know."

For a steep second Wilson worried that House would take that as an insult.

"Consider yourself lucky," was all House said quietly before he went on: "I don't expect you to know what it was like living with that bum leg of mine, because you can't. And you won't. I would never wish anything like that on you. But I think you might be able to understand what it's like to be freed from such a burden. With all that behind me now I can catch up on all the little things that I've been missing. Does that make sense, Jimmy?"

House waited for Wilson's response as he watched his friend tilt his head back again and let the cool drops splash against his skin because Wilson wanted it to happen.

This time it wasn't a burden or inconvenience for Wilson, it was a pleasant, gratifying awareness. Something he had never noticed before since he couldn't be bothered to notice it. Or because he was too worried about his precious wardrobe and shoes to let some water fall from the sky and touch him. Wilson pondered that just as he knew House was pondering at how they were so different yet so alike. Like House, Wilson had never stopped to smell the roses. His excuse wasn't a bum leg. His excuse was that he didn't have an excuse. There was no reason for him to not notice the roses in bloom. He just didn't.

House and Wilson could now feel all the raindrops they wanted. But there were still some things neither of them could have, or have back.

"Are you going to miss the sunshine, House?"

"Yes," House answered without hesitation. "But I'll get over it. Everything has a price. It's a fair trade as far as I'm concerned. What do you think?"

With the rain trickling into his eyes, Wilson said, "I'll miss the sun. I'll miss the blue sky. But I suppose as far as trade-offs go, it's not so bad."

"Nope."

"You'd do it all again, wouldn't you, House?"

"Yup."

"Figures," Wilson replied with a chuckle. Then he turned to face House and said, "I haven't done anything like this since I was a kid."

"Neither have I," House said, and Wilson thought he could hear the regret tinge those words. "I hope you and your clothes don't mind a few more rainy nights."

Wilson smiled. "It's going to rain whether I want it to or not. I just hope you don't mind the shopping trips for new shirts and shoes."

House laughed, and Wilson was looking forward to hearing more of that in the future. "Another price to pay. Another fair trade-off." He stepped up to his friend and slipped his arms around Wilson's waist. "The sun, the rain, all of it…I'd trade it every last thing I have in the world to make sure you're with me."

Before Wilson do the polite thing and say thank you, House crushed his mouth to his friend's mouth. House didn't want pleasantries, he wanted the taste of his best friend on his tongue. He wanted the knowledge of what he would be willing to give up for his best friend to make Wilson weak in the knees. He wanted to claim Wilson as his. He wanted Wilson to know he belonged to him. And he wanted to know that he belonged to Wilson.

Too caught up in House's embrace to notice the steadily increasing rain and the mud soaking through his shoes, Wilson let House fiercely and shamelessly kiss him until the passion of the moment became dizzying. The need, the want, it dominated him. Right then and there he knew House meant what he said about giving up everything to make sure they would be together. As he felt Houses fingers thread through his drenched hair and surrendered himself completely to House and his kisses and his adoration.

The roar in his ears was like a train after House broke the kiss and began talking to him. House's voice sounded like coming from the other end of the street.

"What?" Wilson mumbled as the world began to swim back into focus.

"Let's go inside."

"Finally tired of the rain?"

"It's pouring, our clothes are ruined, and the sun has to rise sometime."

"Can't argue with that," Wilson said, slinging his arm over House's shoulder as they started to the door.

"I'm nothing if not logical."

"That's one way to put it."

"How would you put it, Jimmy?"

Wilson waited until they were at the door to answer. "You're a puzzle. A puzzle with many pieces. Logical is just one of the many pieces that fit you so well."

--The End