It's sad, really, Wilson reflects to himself as he strings up the last garland of Christmas lights on the tree in House's apartment. Sad that he, a thirty-five year old divorced oncologist, has literally no one to spend the holiday season with except an arrogant asshole like Gregory House.
Not that Wilson doesn't love House, in his own odd way. And Wilson truly believes that House loves him back, because sometimes he'll catch a glimpse of something almost unidentifiable in House's blue eyes, or a fleeting bit of affection in the way House calls him "Jimmy."
Now that he thinks of it, Wilson hasn't really celebrated a Hanukkah for years, despite the fact that he's Jewish. His entire family is either estranged or unreachable during the holidays, and his friends from the hospital generally spend the end of December with their own families. So Wilson is always left spending Christmas with his cynical Scrooge of a best friend; persuading him to "at least buy a Christmas tree, for God's sake," both of them getting drunk off spiked eggnog and mulled wine. Ending up sprawled across House's couch, watching A Christmas Story on TBS before passing out from the booze—now there's a Christmas.
It's these joyful thoughts, Wilson thinks wryly, that keep him going on December 25 every year. He's just standing back to admire his handiwork of decorating the tree he forced House to buy when the Vicodin-popping Grinch himself staggers through the door.
Wilson, about to greet him and offer him a drink, instead stares speechlessly at House. He's wearing a Rolling Stones tee under his winter coat and blue jeans—nothing unusual there—but sitting on top of his scowling face and cropped brown hair is a bright red Santa hat, complete with little white bobble at the end.
Wilson starts to laugh. House glowers at him, slurring his words. "Shut up. I'm pretty drunk already."
Wilson pushes his lower lip out in mock-disappointment. "Aww. You mean you didn't wait for me before you started knocking back shots and complaining about your pathetic life? I'm hurt, Greg." He grins and pours House a glass of eggnog, not that the man needs any more hooch.
House accepts the glass and, out of habit, reaches for the bottle of rum on the kitchen counter.
"Don't. I already spiked it."
House frowns, leaning down to sniff his glass suspiciously. "What are you talking about? There's hardly any rum in here. Here's how you spike a Christmas drink." And before Wilson can protest, House is grinning wickedly and tipping the entire bottle of Captain Morgan into the pitcher of eggnog.
Forty minutes later, the two men are completely trashed. About ten minutes ago, one of them—Wilson can't even remember which one—had the brilliant idea of playing truth or dare, so now here they are, sitting on the couch with drinks in hand.
"You can go first," House tells Wilson, rapping him on the shoulder a little too hard.
Wilson laughs unsteadily. Who knew eggnog could get you so wasted? "Okay. Alright. Uh . . . what was your first impression of me?"
"That's a stupid question."
"Well, I couldn't think of anything else! . . . Just answer it, goddammit."
Now House is laughing, eyes unfocused. "Jimmy, you really don't want me to answer that." He looks over at Wilson, whose brow is furrowed. "Yeah, I do. Just say it."
House laughs even harder now, both because of his alcohol-induced lightheadedness and what he's about to say. "Alright. I maybe thought . . . you were . . . y' know. Not exactly . . . straight?"
It takes Wilson perhaps a full minute to completely understand House's words, but when he does, his eyes widen and he starts to stammer out angry defenses. This only makes House laugh even harder.
"What? How—I—I'm not—"
"Oh, calm down, Jimmy, I know you're not. I never said my Gaydar was reliable. It was just my first impression, all those years ago. It didn't stick, especially since you've now established your reputation as a panty-peeler." Wilson is almost too drunk to catch the bitterness in House's voice. Almost.
Wilson relaxes. "Good. Because, you know . . . I never even thought about it."
"I mean, I never even wanted to . . . to kiss a guy. Or anything."
"Yeah. I know." House suddenly grins. "Hey Wilson?"
"Yeah?" Wilson turns to look at him, blinking.
Surprised, Wilson laughs again. "Yeah. Merry Christmas, House," he manages to say before his laughter is cut off by House's lips on his.
For the first few seconds of the kiss, Wilson doesn't exactly pick up on what's going on. Even if he was sober, he reflects later, it would have been too much of a shock to understand immediately. Then suddenly, everything clicks and he's kissing House back, his hands tearing away that stupid Santa hat and sliding down House's back to dip under his t-shirt. House tastes like rum and eggnog, unsurprisingly, but there's something else, too: something . . .
. . . Almost unidentifiable.
Struck by this thought, Wilson opens his eyes and is surprised to see that House's are open too, staring into his as their hands explore and their tongues battle. All of a sudden, seeing House's eyes makes the kiss much more real, and Wilson jerks away, panting. He stares, eyes wide, at the TV where A Christmas Story is still playing, unable to look at House.
They sit there in silence for a good fifteen minutes, catching their breath and watching a movie they've both seen a thousand times together. Finally, Wilson looks up at House, who has an alarmingly calm look on his face, contrasting greatly to the nervous wreck that Wilson is. Vaguely, Wilson wonders if House was just drunk, if he didn't even mean to kiss him.
Deciding that there's nothing else for it, Wilson clears his throat.
"So was this your way of telling me that you're not getting me an actual Christmas present?"
House looks surprised, at first, and then starts to laugh. Before long, Wilson is laughing too, both of them too drunk at this moment to worry about anything that could go wrong.
And so Christmas ends in the same way it does year after year: Wilson asleep, passed out and using House's chest as a pillow as A Christmas Story continues to play. But before House can fall asleep, he takes Wilson's hand in his, smiling slightly and closing his eyes.
The room is illuminated from the soft glow of the tree's lights, and as sleep finally engulfs them both, their hands are still entwined.