"Why didn't you tell me you guys slept together?"

"It didn't seem like the sort of thing I should shout from the rooftop of the hospital."

"But…wait. That's not really an answer. You could have told me, let me know what was going on." The hurt in his voice conjured images of a kicked puppy.

"I really didn't plan on anyone finding out."

"But…but why? Were you afraid of Mark finding out? You know I wouldn't have said anything to anyone, let alone him!"

"James, I'm not proud that I cheated on Mark. I know you could have understood what was going on in my mind, but I couldn't. I was confused, and trying to cope with more guilt than I'd felt since…well. You know. And it was somehow sharper because once again my guilt was wrapped up with Greg. I didn't know what to think, or feel. I felt this bright burst of hope that, that," she faltered.

His eyes fall to her hand fiddling with the knife next to her dinner plate. He thinks of the night on the hospital roof when House told him he'd sent Stacy away. He remembers that until House broke his news, he'd felt hope, too.

"You made him happy."

"I made him miserable. Again." Regret and desolation drip from her last word.

"Was it worth it?"

"I don't know. I don't want to know if it was worth it. Emotionally, I mean. Physically, it's always worth it with Greg," she finishes with a chuckle.

His eyebrows arch towards his hairline and a bemused smile breaks across his face despite his dark mood just moments before. "Do tell," he says.

She'll never know he hadn't meant it literally; it was just an innocuous phrase that seemed less out of place than most others did and infinitely better than the shocked silence he'd almost fallen into.

"You know Greg. You know how he's an obsessive doctor who knows more about the human body than is strictly normal. You also know he's travelled the world, learned ancient secrets from civilizations even most anthropologists haven't heard of. So it really isn't that surprising that he also happens to know exactly where to touch, when to touch, and with how much pressure. This isn't merely a matter of finding the G-spot; any guy could pick up an issue of Maxim and follow the map or detailed directions or whatever it is they put in magazines like that. This is something so much more incredible, so mind blowing and erotic and he throws himself into it with the same focus and intensity he does any puzzle and it's like a storm you find yourself caught in and there's no escape and you realize you don't even want to escape and he just consumes you." She's a bit breathless when she finishes.

Wilson catches himself staring at her, and is suddenly aware of an uncomfortable silence in the wake of her confession. He shifts his gaze to the candle between them, studying the pattern of the hurricane glass, trying not to process what she'd just said, casting about his brain for a way to change the subject. Failing, he looks back up at her with a slightly pleading expression he hopes would prompt her to change the subject.

She laughs, and picks up her drink. "You can't be surprised," she says before taking a long drink. "I assumed that even if you didn't have first-hand experience with Greg's skill, you would have realized that he'd have to be that good, that a man with his interests and obsessive nature would be exactly that same way in the bedroom."

"So I guess that means he's insatiable, too?" He hadn't meant to say it, was shocked to hear it aloud.

"You really haven't experienced it first-hand then?" Her tone expresses amused surprise.

He gulps, then shifts in his chair. Stacy just gave another throaty laugh.

"You thought I was gay?" he finally asks.

"James, I've been to two of your weddings; I know you aren't gay."

"Then why…wait a second! So you're saying that House is gay?!"

"I'm saying Greg is a sexual opportunist."

"So you're saying he's bisexual?"

"I'm saying that if he cares about someone and he has the opportunity to be with them…" she trails off.

"And you thought that he and I…that we…that we slept together?"

"I always assumed you had, but it's not really so shocking that you haven't, either." His furrowed brow prompts her to continue. "I mean, you are very obviously not gay, of course, and while there is a certain ambiguity about you, that doesn't necessarily mean you're bisexual."

"I'm ambiguous?"

"Oh, James." She shakes her head with a bemused smile on her face. "James, you blow dry your hair. You wear pleated pants. You have tasseled loafers."

"And you thought that House and I….that House and I, that we…" he can't finish the sentence.

"I know he'd like to, just assumed you did, too."

"House wants to…he wants to…" he gestures back and forth between them, "with me?" He emphatically tells himself his voice did not squeak on those last two words.

"Greg likes sex. Don't tell him I said this, but he is a human being, after all. And when Greg cares about someone, it isn't about attraction or getting his rocks off. Those are there, too, but he's intent on making the people he cares about feel good in ways they can't get from just anyone. His amazing skill aside, it's about providing that emotional and physical bond that people naturally want. He doesn't usually want it himself, but he recognizes that others do. And he wants to give it to them. I have finally come to realize that is the only way he knows how."

James is grateful when the check comes and the end of the evening is in sight. He's noticeably distracted as he pays for their meal, and Stacy's finely tuned instincts tell her to keep quiet as they walk out into the crisp night air.

He looks sickly under the orange glow of the sodium arc lamps that line the street and she can detect emotions warring under the surface of his drawn face. She gives him a kiss on the cheek and silently turns toward her car, as uncertain as James of what to say in parting.

His sleep is fitful and terrifying, the twisted sheet around his sweaty body becoming a monstrous serpent coiling itself ever tighter in an effort to squeeze the life from his body. He awakes with a start, the cold grey light of dawn blanketing his hotel room in a surrealism rival to his fevered dreams.

His conducts his morning routine with the practiced motions built up over years, and heads into work on autopilot. His rounds, the budget meeting, and each appointment get less than half his attention.

Cuddy's confrontation does nothing to help.


Before:

"Talk to me."

His eyes are resolutely averted and his body language screams, "Keep out!" but she can't wait to have this conversation, doesn't think she'll ever feel peace until he just opens his mouth and fucking says something.

"Greg, please. I don't care what it is, just tell me."

He locks himself in the bathroom and she cries herself to sleep. Their apartment is empty when she wakes up.


Now:

"Greg, I need to talk to you. Give me a call when you can." Her tone is casual but she knows he knows her, knows he will hear the underlying threat when he listens to the message and her gut wrenches every time they do this dance. The thrill of their once-standard sparring blooms full Technicolor in the pit of her stomach and she's a little winded like she just narrowly escaped some disaster. Maybe she did.

But he calls back and she breaks the news and if the silence that meets her, that ends their call, hurts, Mark will never know.


Trust, he thinks, is a fickle thing. Conversely, betrayal is an equal opportunity endeavor that seeks to destroy regardless of age, race, religion, sex, or creed. Ironically, he's experienced far more trust than betrayal by virtue of his profession.

Patients and their families may be a bit dubious, but the title "Dr." instead of "Mr." tends to override any doubts they might have in his eccentric behavior. The fact that he doesn't trust them about anything precludes betrayal.

How many people has he trusted? His mom. Well, kinda. Wilson. And Stacy. It really wasn't a complete surprise when she betrayed him; he'd been waiting for it from the moment he let her pick a restaurant he'd never heard of. He'd asked her to move in that night and he never regretted that he didn't recognize his last night sleeping alone as such until it was over.

It was scary to trust her, mostly because he didn't have active control over it; it just happened. But the years they spent together lulled him into complacency and her betrayal was more of a surprise to him than it would have been in, say, year 2.

Trust was scary, but betrayal hurt like a bitch.

So why did he still trust her? He couldn't forgive her for what she'd done, but in the darkest corners of his mind, he understood it. What he couldn't understand was that he still trusted her. Maybe because he couldn't imagine she'd betray him twice?


He'd fought with himself for three weeks before deciding to tell her his secret. It wasn't the memory of her wounded look that convinced him; it was the unbidden image of her laughing as he pranced around the kitchen, satirizing a bizarre encounter he'd had on clinic duty, and the sheer joy of sharing a world with someone that no one else was a part of. So he told her.

She was surprisingly calm. He'd prepared himself for a total meltdown and possibly three more weeks of sleeping in the office before she could forget what he'd said and attempt to return to life as normal. She'd smiled and said, "I know."

She knew? How could she know? While publicly crowing every attribute he valued, boasting every achievement, he knew deep down that he wasn't all that different from everyone else. And this…well, this just wasn't normal. And she knew?

Every couple experiences a phase, passing or not, in which one or both partners grow bored with the sex. They were competitive professionals in ruthless fields; their sex life was bound to suffer the consequences, get a bit routine sooner or later. If he weren't so perceptive (funny how that was one of his prized attributes), he never would have known she was bored. And then Little Greg wouldn't have failed him so spectacularly.

It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that limp-dick syndrome means something isn't right.

So she knew and she let him stew about it for three weeks, forcing him to confess and she knew. She fucking knew. He'd be angry if only she hadn't pounced on him right there, attacking him with such hunger that they never even finished taking their clothes off.

Their sex life took on a life of its own after that and who knows how long it would have lasted if…well. No sense thinking such things. Better to think about the time he took her slowly from behind in the kitchen, her bent over the counter with her skirt shoved up around her waist and her panties pushed to the side, the way her body reacted to his languorous strokes while she fought to keep her voice level on the phone with her client. He was so proud to bring her off several times before the call ended, the client never suspecting a thing. What would the other partners have thought of that little episode? Or would she be protected by client/attorney privilege?

Give and take. That was what they needed from each other in sex, in living together, in everything they'd ever experienced, right down to every verbal and non-verbal exchange from the moment they met. It was their key to happiness and he was bewildered when that wasn't enough anymore.


But betrayal…well, that sure packs a punch, huh?

He had worried that she would laugh, or be repulsed. Anything but understanding. Through all the fear and doubt, it never occurred to him that she might tell Wilson. He can never know if he would have confided in her if that had been a concern. He wouldn't have told her about Wilson's incredibly bad day at work and admitted that he wished he could help make it better. He definitely wouldn't have let her don a white Oxford shirt and horrendous striped tie before slipping bare into her ass and murmuring in her ear all the things he couldn't tell the real Wilson.

And now Wilson won't talk to him. Won't even look at him. Good thing he cried all his tears the first time she betrayed him.


Wilson flops down in the middle of the couch and runs his fingers through his hair. He is embarrassed that he's embarrassed and if he hears House's laughter in the back of his mind, who's going to say anything about it?

He reaches his right hand out and picks up the remote. He doesn't need to look at the cushion next to him to locate anything; he's always taken great care laying out the items he'll need for the job. A white hand towel that matches the large bath towel he's sitting on is spread on the cushion to his right. When he first lays everything out on the hand towel, the remote is furthest from him, the washcloth that completes the set is in the middle, and a pump-type bottle of shea butter closest to him. He is nothing if not thorough.

He starts the DVD and with the very first artificial moan he's lowering the volume and looking around the apartment as if all his neighbors are hiding behind furniture and plants and knickknacks, just waiting to catch him watching porn and touching himself in ways his rabbi warned him against before he even knew how good touching himself could feel.

After convincing himself the local news station isn't camped out behind the potted fichus tree, he focuses on the porno and loses himself in the stimulation his left hand provides. And if the demanding guy in the movie sounded like House when he said "Spread your legs," no one has to know, but Wilson reserves the right to freak out after his spectacular and uncharacteristically messy orgasm.


"Were you serious?" His voice is rough around the edges as though he hasn't spoken in a long time. Maybe he hasn't.

"James," she sighs. "I don't know what to tell you. Nothing I say will be what you want to hear."

"I want an honest answer to my question. Were you serious?"

"If I say yes, you will hyperventilate and then lock yourself in your own little world for God only knows how long. If I say no, you will yell about honesty, force me to say yes, then hyperventilate and lock yourself into your own little world for God only knows how long."

"So it's true."

"It doesn't change anything, James. Greg is the same man he was before our dinner last week. He's the same man he always was."

"You have a way of permanently changing men and never recognizing it."


"So, I had a little chat with Stacy. She tells me you want me to fuck you."

The spray of coffee is impressive; he couldn't have hoped for a better reaction. It speckled the wall in mock-Rorschach glory, covered the desk and all the stupid little things on it. A few drops seeped into the hideous tie and left dark-brown stains that looked a lot like Wilson's eyes. Well, not Wilson's eyes right now, because right now Wilson's eyes look…different. Wider. Lots more white showing than usual.

"It's ok if she's lying; women are known to do that from time to time. Either way, I won't think you're any more gay than I always have."

He bends down over Wilson, effectively trapping the man in his chair. House ignores the panicked breath whistling from Wilson's chest. His pink tongue darts out and just barely touches a stray drop of coffee on Wilson's jaw before he stands upright and heads to the door, theatrically proclaiming "I prefer my own coffee."

Wilson has his meltdown that afternoon.


Sex with Stacy is one of the most gratifying things he's ever experienced. He'd never loved someone so completely before her. Before Stacy, sex was about fulfilling a primal need. After Stacy, sex was painful. Literally. His leg was a constant casualty in even the most clinical of sexual situations, getting bumped or jarred or, on one particularly memorable occasion, poked by a high heel.

In the years following their break-up, he'd learned that impersonal, passionless sex was physically more bearable, particularly if confined to blow jobs from the occasional hooker. When he slept with Stacy 5 years later, he was exultant to learn he could still satisfy her the way he always had before the infarction. He was also shocked to learn sex had been mentally painful in the intervening years.


Wilson is eager and clumsy and this is nothing like he'd imagined. When he'd rested his hand on Wilson's thigh, he'd pictured the heat and passion he was witnessing now, but he'd imagined it would be more…subdued. Wilson is clawing at his collar and it would be damn funny if it weren't so…disappointing.

"Wilson," he says quietly, yet forcefully. "Stop, Wilson. Just…Wilson..." Wilson is deaf with lust and House finally clamps his fingers around Wilson's wrists and twists his arms down, forcing Wilson back a step and shocking him into the best imitation of a statue House has ever witnessed.

"Wilson, have you ever done this before? I mean," House quietly continues, "with another man?"

Wilson continues his statue impersonation and House releases his wrists, which fall limply to Wilson's sides. Wilson clears his throat and gives a finally gives a small shake of his head.

"So you don't know what you want." It isn't a question, though Wilson meekly tries to protest.

House turns away and limps toward his bedroom. "You know where the door is. Be sure to lock it on your way out."

"House," Wilson tries to stop this sudden nightmarish turn of events. "House, I know what I want. You even said it: I want you to fuck me."

House turns around and regards Wilson carefully. He shakes his head sadly and repeats, "You know where the door is. Leave your key behind."

Each man grieves privately in the following weeks.


"Fix it," Cuddy demands.

Wilson stares at her vacantly, then turns away.

"Wilson, I'm telling you, you have got to--"

"Did it ever occur you that some things I just can't fix?" he blurts out. "Every time House does something wrong, says something too inappropriate for your comfort, acts in some way you can't understand or tolerate, you come crying to me and expect me to make everything all better for you! Well, this is your damn hospital, he's your damn employee, so you can damn well fix it!"

"He's your best friend," she says quietly.

"Was. He was my best friend."


Cuddy embarks on her 6-day vacation with only the tiniest guilt that she's leaving her unsuspecting substitute to deal with the hell that is a cold war between House and Wilson.


"I know what I want. And I'm sorry I lied to you about what it is; I didn't really know myself." Wilson waits for House to slam the door in his face and is surprised when House merely closes it firmly. He listens to House move away from the door and turns to leave until he thinks he hears House returning to the door. A distinct "click!" kills the last shreds of Wilson's hope. The odd scratching noise that follows doesn't fit into Wilson's frame of reference.

Looking back at the door, Wilson casts his eyes down in defeat. The shining object on the floor is an something he recognizes, but shock has robbed him of the name. In its place, he visualizes putting the object into a lock and turning it, then twisting a doorknob and opening the door. He just finds himself unable to actually do those things.

He takes his own key from his ring and slides it under House's door, picks up House's key, and heads home. He spends the drive reliving the ecstasy of discovering their friendship is still alive, and the lack of rehearsal makes his excuse to the building manager a bit weak. At least the guy doesn't point that out as he opens Wilson's door for him.


When House steals his lunch from the fridge in the lounge, Wilson smiles non-stop for the rest of the day.


All the awkwardness he'd feared is absent. With the passage of time, he comes to the conclusion that without Stacy's revelation, something would have come between them at that time; they were ripe for it. It was a pattern of their friendship and he cannot blame the impetus any more than he can blame the clouds when the water is finally too much to hold and so it rains.

And if they know things about each other they wouldn't otherwise, no one is going to say anything because not talking has always been a mutual point of excellence.

They are laughing and House can't remember the last time he was this happy. Wilson's eyes crinkle with joy and he should look ridiculous gesturing wildly with a fry in his hand like some crazed conductor with a deformed baton, but he doesn't.

So he kisses him.

To his credit, Wilson doesn't hesitate to return the kiss, and if he notices that he throws House off-guard by adding his tongue into the mix, he doesn't show it.

Wilson's elbow is planted firmly in the ketchup on the plate, now tilted precariously on the couch between them. His concentration is torn between the kiss and the plate of fries and he finally breaks the kiss to move the plate, trailing ketchup from his elbow across his pants leg in the process.

"Looking for an excuse to get naked?"

"I kinda figured that was gonna happen, anyway," Wilson replies with a knowing smile.

House kisses him again while deftly popping the buttons out of their holes, pushing Wilson's shirt off his shoulders and smearing more ketchup on both Wilson and the couch.

Wilson recalls Stacy telling him that it is like House consumes the person he's with, and now that House is guiding him down the hall and into his bedroom, Wilson finally understands. He couldn't stop this if he wanted to.

Wilson lands on the bed a bit ungraciously, but House is too busy pulling his pants off to care. He throws Wilson's pants into the corner, then stares intently into Wilson's eyes.

"Are you sure?" "Yes." without a word between them.

House's face transforms from guarded hope and scrutiny to pure predator. Wilson gulps, acutely aware that all he is wearing is a thin pair of boxer shorts, and he suddenly wonders what kind of underwear House has on.

He loses his train of thought as House pulls his T-shirt over his head; Wilson has seen House's body before, but never in this context and he finds himself intrigued by the other man's thick shoulders and lightly hairy chest. He reaches up to run his hands across the planes of House's torso and makes a small sound of protest when House blocks his hands.

"Nuh-uh," House's sing-song voice rings out. No touching until the Main Event," and Wilson can hear the capital letters.

"House," Wilson begins, "I…"and then he falters, unsure what he is thinking or how to express it. When House begins to unbutton his fly, Wilson is seized with panic and violently turns his head away, staring resolutely at the strange hand statue on the bedside table.

House lays down beside him on the bed and a very small part of Wilson's brain registers the calculated positioning during which House was sure to brush his jeans-clad leg against his naked one. House is trying to assure…no comfort him and the realization shocks Wilson beyond anything he's ever experienced before.

"Wilson," House says in a slightly softer tone than he would use in the hospital. "Look at me."

When he gets no response, he gently presses the tip of his tongue against Wilson's carotid artery and runs it down to his clavicle. Wilson's whimper could mean anything, but House takes it as an encouraging sign and rests his hands on Wilson's hips, drawing him closer while demonstrating some of the more obscene things his tongue can do to another's skin.

Wilson moans again and presses his body closer to House, needing the contact just as much as he needs time to comprehend that he is with another man, that he is with House, and when House takes his earlobe between his teeth and growls "I won't let go until you tell me to," Wilson's body gently bucks against him. The full body contact and physical confirmation that he is having sex with another man breaks the final dam in Wilson's reserve and he lets out a long, low moan that reverberates through his body.

Wilson grabs House's shoulders and begins a slow exploration of his back, drawing one hand around to trace the planes he's seen in the low light. He marvels at the feel, the solid mass beneath his fingers unlike anything he has ever felt before and he closes his eyes to better memorize House's body.

House releases Wilson's earlobe from his bite and pulls back a bit to look him in the eye. Wilson is lost in the new experience and House feels a surge of fondness for this man whom he cares for like no other. It's love, but not in the candy and flowers or candlelight dinners sense; it is the feeling one has for their closest friend, the person who has stood by them through thick and thin and House feels indebted and unworthy and grateful and lucky and suddenly so sad and confused and happy at the same time.

He wants to make Wilson feel good. He wants to show him he cares about him, and though he feels a bit depressed if he lets himself think about all the times and ways he's never shown it before, it strengthens his resolve now, here in this moment with Wilson just a breath away from him.

House growls low in his throat when Wilson's fingers trace around his nipple and he thrusts his hips against him, seeking friction to fuel the embers in the pit of his stomach. Wilson thrusts back and House gasps at the sensation.

"You can play modest all you want, but these jeans just turned into one of Cuddy's torture devices." And with that, he stands up next to the bed and resumes unbuttoning his fly. "This is your last chance to run out of here screaming," he says in an off-hand way, and reaffirms Wilson's long-time belief that the sarcasm is most often used to mask nervousness.

So Wilson pulls off his boxer shorts.

The shock unbalances House and he nearly falls with his right leg halfway out of his jeans. He catches himself on the edge of the bed and just stares, open-mouthed, at Wilson, who is chuckling.

"Oh, you are evil," House says with a playful grin and he returns to the bed, jeans hanging by one leg as he kisses Wilson and tries to extract his ankle and foot from the bunched up fabric with his other foot. When his jeans land on the floor, he presses closer to Wilson who, until that moment, hadn't realized House wasn't wearing underwear at all.

He has just barely registered this when his erection slides across House's bare skin and the feeling is so different, so distinctly male, and highly erotic. He's suddenly consumed with the urge to see their bodies together like this, watch as his erection trails Cowper's fluid through the fine spray of hair across House's lower belly.

Breaking their kiss to look down, Wilson is surprised to see that House isn't fully erect and House reads his thoughts before he can even form them.

"Vicodin. Not you. Takes a while sometimes," then slides down Wilson's body to tongue at his nipple. Wilson's moan assures him this was a perfect diversionary tactic. He sucks on the hardened bud between his teeth, increasing the pressure every few breaths without setting a definite tempo and Wilson moans his approval and frustration at the same time. He's bucking his hips up into thin air and trying to turn his body against House's when the devil himself brings a strong hand up from the bed and firmly pins his hips into submission. Wilson whines in the back of his throat and then exhales a harsh breath that peters off into another small whine.

"House," he gasps, "House…please…." words escape him.

House chuckles around Wilson's nipple before releasing it entirely and raises himself up on his other arm, looking down on a near-desperate Wilson.

"I thought you'd be the master of Jewish foreplay," he says. "What's the rush?"

"Just…just…" Wilson continues to buck his hips against House's hand and try to turn his body to face him. He thinks the lack of friction will drive him insane and just when he's found the words to beg, House takes him into his mouth and Wilson loses all sense of time and place and words.

House takes him deep into his throat and swallows twice before pulling back until just the head of Wilson's cock is between his lips and Wilson thinks the suction is going to turn him inside out. He's panting heavily and sweat from his temples is running behind his ears and he thinks he's going to cry if House doesn't let up right now.

"Houuuu….." and he can't even say his name and then House bobs his head down again and now that suction is spread along his entire length and he can feel the tight heat coiling at the base of his spine and he wants to warn House but he can't remember how and then House pulls off him entirely and the heated air feels cold as it buffets around his moist, slick length.

"They say turnabout's fair play, but I've never been much for playing fair," House says with a wicked grin. "Never cared too much about those weird 'they' people, either."

Wilson is dimly aware House has spoken but his mind is consumed with lust and House's mouth on him and how badly he wants his mouth on him and the lust and the lack of House's mouth is killing him and…

And House is rutting against him in return, his erection sliding against Wilson's and now House has his hand wrapped around them and Wilson wants to scream and to cry and he feels that tight coil pull in on itself, building even more strength before it rips its way through his body and spurts out of him as his body jerks against House's solid form and his orgasm intensifies even as House is whispering "That's it, come for me, Jimmy…that's it…yeah" into his ear.

House's arms are wrapped around him and he's holding him tightly while steadily thrusting his hips against him. He can feel House's cock sliding across his skin through their sweat and his own release and the thought creates a picture I his mind of what they must look like together, causing an intense aftershock. Wilson shudders through it and buries his face in the crook of House's neck while tightening his embrace.

House's motions speed up and he turns his head to press his mouth to Wilson's ear, breathing harshly and grunting with the exertion of his motions. The sounds turn Wilson on like little else and his spent cock refuses to fully soften. He begins to thrust his own hips in counterpoint to House's motions, not daring to think he can achieve a second orgasm, but wanting to let House know how turned on he is by him.

"You like it?" House's voice is deep and guttural in Wilson's ear and he whimpers in response.

"Tell me, Jimmy. Tell me….ugh…tell me that you like….ugh!...you like it, want this."

"House," and his voice is thin and desperate. "Yes."

In a freeze-frame moment, Wilson memorizes the sight of House: the way his head is thrown back, his mouth open in a silent scream, his carotid artery and tendons bulging before his mouth closes, gritted teeth dampening a groan that Wilson can feel through his entire body, and then House's body trembles once, twice, then wracks against his in giant motions. The force of House's orgasm startles him and all he can do is hold on while House's body violently thrashes against him.

Wilson comes down from the experience in stages and just as he becomes aware that House his nuzzling (nuzzling!) him, House pulls his head away and looks at him, a smile Wilson has never seen on his face and he isn't sure how to read it, is scared of making too much of it. House kisses him and then pulls him for a whole-body hug.

After a few minutes in which neither of them speaks, House groans and rolls away from Wilson, continuing his roll off the bed and landing on his feet. Wilson has just registered this when House walks away.

"House? House, where are you going?" but House doesn't respond as he limps into the bathroom. Wilson is too drained to lift his head and see what House is doing, but House returns a few moments later with a warm damp washcloth, which he throws on Wilson's stomach with a loud smacking noise.

Wilson startles at the noise, but is grateful for the chance to clean up. As he is wiping himself clean, House pulls a pair of boxer briefs from his dresser and makes his way back to the bed, where he sits down and starts pulling them on.

Wilson waits for the awkwardness and is surprised when it doesn't come. He gets up and begins putting on his own clothes, occasionally looking at House and trying to decipher the other man's cryptic expression. His emotions swirling, Wilson is aware there is still time for things to get really awkward.

"Was it what you imagined?" Wilson mentally congratulates himself for his even voice and getting the upper hand from the beginning in this conversation.

"Nope."

"Oh," and Wilson tries not to sound disappointed.

"Way better." And Wilson can't keep the smile from his face. "Of course, whenever Stacy pretended to be you, she always bent over and let me have my way with her."

House is smiling as he makes his way down the hall, the image of Wilson standing there with his mouth hanging open as clear in his mind as if he'd turned to take a look.