Tool

By pgrabia

Disclaimer: House M.D., its characters, locations and storyline are the property of David Shore, Bad Hat Harry Productions and the Fox Television Network. All Rights Reserved.

A/N: Written for the House/Wilson Porn Fest for the GreglovesJimmy community at . Also posted at House_Wilson and at . This is a two-part story. It is H/W slash.

Spoiler Alert: This story includes spoilers for all seasons of House M.D. up to and including Season 6 Ep. 22 "Help Me".

Rating: NC-17 (or M) for explicit sex and bad language.

Genre: Fanfiction: AU, slash, Post-"Help Me". G. House and J. Wilson with mention of House x Cuddy and Wilson x Sam Carr.

Part One:

Wilson heard his cell phone ringing and groaned. He hadn't been sleeping, hadn't been able to sleep, but he didn't want to answer it. It was probably the hospital with bad news concerning one of his Terminals and after the evening he'd had the night before he really wasn't in the frame of mind to face it. He reached for the offending device on his bedside table when he felt a body lean across his and grab the phone before he could. He opened an eye slightly so that he could watch her without her being aware that he was. Curling up and drawing the blanket up under his chin again, he pretended to go back to sleep.

Sam looked at the caller I.D. and frowned, exhaling sharply, answering. "He's sleeping House." She whispered.

House? Wilson's mind echoed, feeling his heart begin to beat rapidly. It had been nearly a month since he'd last spoken with his friend of twenty years. Ever since the crane disaster in Trenton the older man had seemed preoccupied, strangely busy and rarely home when the oncologist had tried to call him and set up a buddy night with him. He didn't show up at the cafeteria at lunch anymore to steal his fries and mock his team and every other person in the hospital. He left exactly at five everyday lately, never earlier, never later, even when he had a case. The odd time Wilson had been able to catch him in passing or by fluke in his office, the conversation had been very brief, cold, and impersonal, more like they were only professional associates than best friends. House hadn't called him in weeks, at all. It was so unlike him; Wilson admitted to feeling hurt by it, but hadn't confronted the diagnostician about it due to, for the most part, feelings of guilt.

He'd been the one to push House away by first paying his team to take him out so that he was nowhere around to interfere with his relationship with Sam and then by asking him to move out because Sam was moving in. Perhaps this was House's way of telling the oncologist that they weren't okay, that he couldn't forgive being rejected in favor of Sam.

"No, I won't wake him—what?" There was a pause as House was speaking and she was listening and rolling her eyes in disdain. "You're drunk, aren't you?" he heard her say at last. Wilson had the urge to pry the phone from her hands upon hearing the word 'drunk' but for some reason refrained from doing so—yet. He wanted to listen a little while longer and see what his lover would do next.

Sam listened and then smiled coldly and chuckled. "Go ahead and take them—then James will see exactly how big a loser you really are—"

Wilson sat upright so suddenly it made Sam gasp in surprise. He snatched the phone out of her hands and spoke quickly before House could hang up and do something stupid and self-destructive.

"House!" he said into the phone. "Talk to me!" Wilson cast a look so filled with wrath that Sam actually crawled out of bed to put distance between them…but not far enough away that she couldn't listen in on the phone call.

"Jimmy," the hoarse, broken voice of his friend on the other end of the phone slurred, "I'm a tool. I'm sorry. I thought I could do it, I thought I could be the man she wanted, to make her proud of me, but I couldn't. I'm just not good enough."

Wilson's full, dark eyebrows met as he frowned in confusion. "Her? Who's her, House? I don't understand."

"She dumped Lucas," House continued drunkenly, almost like he hadn't heard the question, "and then came to me and told me she did it 'cause she loved me. I was stupid to think I'd ever be good enough for her."

Wilson sat in bed, too surprised to say anything for a second or two. When the shock dissipated it was replaced with cold, dark anger for the woman who'd just managed to break his friend's heart twice in a year.

"You and Lisa Cuddy, House?" the younger man asked, just to make certain he had pieced things together correctly. "You two are together?"

"In every sense of the word," House admitted. "We've been doing the nasty since the disaster in Trenton. I thought she meant it when she told me she loved me. I was wrong. I don't know why I've bothered to stay clean. I have no one left to stay clean for."

Wilson was astounded; House and Cuddy had been together for just over three months and he hadn't heard so much as a whisper about it anywhere. Something like that would have spread through the hospital staff like wildfire had anyone else known about it. They had been able to hide their affair from everyone, including him. He didn't know whether or not to be angry about that, but he did know how he was feeling right there and then. Never before had the oncologist heard the older man sound so depressed and defeated; it struck ice-cold fear into his heart.

"House," Wilson said, trying to sound calm, "where are you?"

"My apartment," was the reply. "Alone, again."

"Do you have Vicodin?" was the next question.

"Oxy, two bottles of thirty," he replied. "The guy I got 'em from didn't have Vicodin."

Wilson licked his lips nervously as his mind spun with the possibilities of the kind of damage House could do to himself with that much painkiller at his disposal. It wasn't like House had found an old stash or something; he'd gone out of his way to buy them from a dealer with the intent to take at least one or two of them—or perhaps all.

"Have you taken any?" the oncologist asked as he climbed out of bed, walked past Sam as if she wasn't standing there, and went to his chest of drawers, pulling out items of clothing and putting them on quickly. "Tell me the truth—I won't be angry."

"Not yet," came the too quiet answer, "but I want to, Wilson. I should have taken the Vicodin that night but Cuddy showed up and told me she loved me, so I didn't. But I should have. I should take these now."

"No!" Wilson told him, swallowing hard to force back panic. "Look, you called me. You did the right thing…don't screw it up now by taking the Oxycontin. I'm getting dressed as we speak and I'll be over there right away. Don't take the pills, okay? Put them away where you can't see them and wait for me. House, do you hear me?"

"Yeah," came the barely intelligible response.

"Don't take anything," the oncologist said as he moved to the front door where he picked up his keys and donned his jacket. "I don't want you to pass out, throw up and aspirate on it. Promise me."

"I promise Jimmy," House told him despondently. "For you."

That gave Wilson pause for a moment. For him. House wouldn't do it for himself but for the oncologist. He was both worried and touched at the same time. He wanted his friend to do it for himself as well. Wilson was about to tell him not to hang up when the diagnostician did just that. He tried to call the diagnostician back but the other man didn't answer.

"Fuck," Wilson whispered to himself. He opened the door to leave when Sam's voice stopped him. She'd followed him from the bedroom and put a restraining hand on his forearm.

"Wait, I'll come with you—just let me get dre-."

"No!" Wilson told her coldly, glaring at her. No longer did he see the beautiful, delightful woman with whom he had been falling back in love. Instead he saw a selfish, conniving, manipulative woman-child standing there. "My god, Sam! You told my best friend, a recovering addict, to go ahead and take the Oxycontin! He could have taken the whole bottle right then and there! You're self-centered and cruel—just as you used to be and I've been stupid enough to think that you changed! Pack your stuff and leave. I don't want to see you here when I get back!"

On his way out, just before he slammed the door shut behind him he heard her calling out in her defense, "But I was just trying to protect you from being used and hurt by him again! I was trying to protect us. You're not going to fall for his lies again are you? It's the middle of the night! Where am I supposed to go-?"

The door slammed loudly, cutting her off. Wilson didn't care if it did disturb his neighbors; he only cared about getting to House before the older man hurt himself.

As he drove Wilson tried to make some sense out of what House had told him over the phone. As far as he could figure, at some point right after they had returned from the horror and carnage of the crane disaster Cuddy had dumped Lucas, the man she had just agreed to marry after being involved with for a little less than a year, and told House that she loved him. They began to date, were intimate, but at some point recently House had come to the conclusion, whether it was accurate or not, that Cuddy was ashamed of her relationship with him, wanting to keep him her 'dirty little secret' and that she had lied when she told him that she loved him. House, drunk and self-destructive, had called the oncologist for help, sounding more desperate than Wilson had ever heard him.

If only he'd called Wilson the night of the disaster, maybe he could have spared the older man the pain he was in now. Damn Cuddy! It wasn't enough to lead House on only to hurt him by springing her relationship with Lucas on him, oh no! She had to push House away and treat him like crap all year and then when the man was tired and hurting and vulnerable she had to flaunt those breasts and that ass in his face, dump Lucas the night after she accepted his proposal of marriage and string along the diagnostician only to end up hurting him again. Did she really not understand how her fickleness and manipulation destroyed his best friend? Was she that blind to everybody else's needs but her own? Or was this some kind of sick little game she was playing with House…her way of getting back at him for the years of aggravation and rebellion she had suffered through as his boss? Wilson would take care of House now, but he would be certain to take care of her in an entirely different sense later.

You haven't done much better by House, Wilson's conscience reminded him. Pangs of guilt hurt his chest. It was true. He had been thoughtless and uncaring to his best friend over the past five months or so. The oncologist had fallen into the same selfish behavior patterns he always did when a woman entered his life. He hadn't seen his own tendencies until after Amber's death, during that period of mourning and self-imposed exile from his friends and associates but most notably House. He'd been too proud to acknowledge to House that he had finally had that epiphany about himself. He thought he'd learned his lesson until Sam came into the picture and he forgot everything about his behavior again, falling into the same trap—and if Sam hadn't been gradually showing her true colors over the months culminating in tonight's cruel and selfish treatment of House, Wilson knew he'd still be in denial.

He was guilty, but he knew it and he was about to make amends for his stupidity. Wilson wondered if Cuddy, whatever it was she had done to send House reeling this time, would have the character to feel remorse and try to make amends as well. Wilson didn't really want her to try. House was better off without her, with his association with her being as impersonal and infrequent as possible.

Wilson parked his car outside of House's apartment building at 221 Baker Street, as he had countless times in the past. He got out of the Volvo and ran up the short walkway and stairs that led to the building's entrance. Making short work of the stairs to the second floor Wilson directed himself to apartment B and rapped loudly on the wooden door with his knuckles. There was no response from within so he continued to knock until he heard the drunken call of the apartment's occupant saying something about a key. The oncologist got the hint and pulled out his key that House had given him years ago; he unlocked the door and opened it, stepping inside. It seemed like the only light on in the apartment came from down the corridor that led to the bathroom at the end and the single bedroom right next to it. Wilson took off his jacket and threw it over the back of House's well-used leather sofa.

"House?" the oncologist called out as he strode towards the lit up bedroom. "It's Wilson! Are you okay?"

In the bedroom he found the older doctor sitting on the floor clad only in royal blue boxer shorts and trouser socks, his legs splayed out in from of him and his back against the bed. His head hung so that his chin nearly touched his chest. Between his legs were a nearly empty bottle of bourbon and two amber pill bottles, one of which was missing a cap. At first Wilson mistook the diagnostician for being passed out, but when he hurried to his side, kneeling next to him and lifting his chin House's heavy blue eyes opened and moved to look at the oncologist blearily. He blinked several times, trying to get his eyes to focus but Wilson knew he'd drunk way too much for that to happen tonight—or, rather, this morning, since it was nearly one o'clock.

"Jimmy?" House slurred questioningly. Was he so wasted that he couldn't be certain who his friend was? "Is that you?"

Wilson sighed, frowning in concern and wondering just exactly how much he'd actually drank; he worried about alcohol poisoning among other things. One thing was certain: Wilson knew he wasn't going to get a straight answer to anything until the older man slept off the booze.

"Yeah," Wilson told him softly, his hand brushing across House's forehead and cheeks as he felt for his temperature; the diagnostician's skin was cold and clammy, not a good sign at all. "It's me, House. Can you tell me how much you've had to drink tonight?"

The older man stared at him blankly and said nothing, as if the speaking centers of his brain had suddenly shut down.

"Do you understand me?" Wilson asked him, keeping a professional detachment to his voice. "House, did you take any of the Oxy? Come on, I need you to talk to me. Did you?"

Again the drunken man said nothing. His skin was very pallid. Wilson lifted his limp arm and felt his wrist for a pulse. It was slow and thready. He watched the rise and fall of House's chest, not pleased with how slowly he was breathing. His suspicions of alcohol toxicity were not relieved. He wasn't ready to call for an ambulance yet, but he was definitely going to observe his friend closely for any further depression of his respiratory and cardiac rates.

Sighing, Wilson wrapped his arms around the diagnostician and carefully lifted him to his feet, being cautious not to strain his own back in the process. Wrapping one of House's arms around his shoulders he basically dragged the older men around the end of the bed to the side of it where he set him down onto the mattress and laid him down. Carefully Wilson removed House's socks and then rolled the floppy man onto his stomach with his face turned to the side nearest the edge of the bed in case he vomited. Wilson didn't want him to aspirate on it. He pulled the comforter up over him to just below his shoulders. With that done, the oncologist went and picked up the pill bottles; he dumped the contents of the lidless one and began to count the pills to check to see if there were any missing from the total thirty listed on the label. All thirty could be accounted for, which was a relief. He then ascertained that none had been consumed from the second bottle before taking them to the bathroom and dumping the Oxycontin into the toilet and flushing it away. He returned to the bedroom and checked on his friend again. His condition hadn't worsened, but that didn't mean that it still couldn't. There was no way the oncologist was going to leave House alone.

Wilson didn't even want to leave the room but he was thoroughly exhausted and would have crashed on the lumpy leather sofa in the living room had he felt more assured that the older man was going to be alright. He looked at the other half of House's queen-sized bed that was unoccupied. It wasn't like he and House hadn't slept in the same bed before, but usually it was because they both had been dead drunk and one carried the other to bed then passed out as well.

With a sigh, the oncologist shrugged and began to remove his shoes, socks and pants, leaving himself clad in his t-shirt and white 'tighty-whities', as House had mocked his choice of underwear in the past. Wilson turned off the overhead light and turned on the small bedside lamp to provide some light to work by should House get sick and need his help. Wilson set the older man's alarm clock to go off in one hour, just in case he dozed off, so he could be sure to reevaluate the diagnostician's status; he then moved to the other side of the bed and crawled in beneath the blankets.

He lay there next to his best friend in silence, just staring at House's back as it lifted and arched slightly with every inhalation and then lowered again with each exhalation. His breathing was still quite slow, but wasn't yet in the danger zone so the oncologist forced himself to relax a bit. In the quiet he thought more about the ending of his relationship with Sam. It appeared to have ended so rapidly, on the spur of the moment, but Wilson knew that appearances were deceiving. He'd sensed his own resentment building deep inside of him shortly after House had been forced out of the loft. It had been borne of Wilson's thinly veiled guilty feelings and was 'hidden' by his incredible ability to live in denial of what the reality of a situation really was. He'd begun to be conscious of his resentment the day he found out Sam had failed to tell him that House had called him to tell him that he had two tickets to a monster truck rally taking place in Camden. The only way he'd found out about this deception was when he had heard Chase talking to Foreman, Taub and Thirteen about it the morning after he'd gone with House to take it in. Wilson at first had felt hurt that House had invited along Chase rather than him, until he asked the Aussie about it and learned about House's unreturned call.

Wilson had gone home and asked Sam about it, which she promptly had denied ever having taken place; the oncologist knew that Chase had had no reason to lie to him about it, but Sam did. She was openly against Wilson having contact with House because she was certain that House would only try to interfere with her relationship with Wilson when they were together. Wilson had put up with her paranoia and had gone along with her wishes because he knew it was possible that she was right about that; he didn't appreciate being deceived by her, however. From that point on he'd began to question everything Sam told him when it came to House and had caught her twice more in lies, which he'd never let on to.

He'd resented her for deceiving him without guilt, for treating him like a child who didn't know how to take care of himself and choose his own friends. The straw that broke the camel's back had been her response to House's call for help that she'd intercepted earlier that evening. He simply couldn't be with someone as callous and cruel as she was. Instead of feeling upset about it, however, he actually felt relieved. The blow up he'd known was coming had finally come and gone, and he could finally relax and move on. He could work at fixing the damage that had been done between the older man and him.

Moans from House disturbed his musings and Wilson quickly checked on the older man. They had come from him in his sleep, but otherwise he was still doing alright. Wilson was becoming more convinced that the older man was going to avoid alcohol poisoning but in the morning he was going to be one sick, miserable puppy.

For the next four hours Wilson dosed between the alarms to wake up and check on House once an hour. By five-thirty A.M. Wilson set the alarm clock to wake him at seven-thirty so he would remember to call in to the hospital and let Cuddy's assistant know that neither he nor House would be in today. He then left a message for his own assistant. After making the calls, Wilson had gone back to bed and allowed himself to sleep until House began to stir around eleven-forty-five.

Wilson heard the short groans and panting beginning to come from the diagnostician. Those sounds didn't bode well, he knew. He jumped out of the bed and hurried to the bathroom. Finding a basin under the sink he grabbed it and hurried back to House's side just as the older man began to vomit over the side of his bed. Wilson managed to capture most of it in the enamel-coated basin. When he was fairly certain that House was done spewing for the time being he took the basin to the bathroom, emptied it into the toilet and then flushed it away. He rinsed out the basin. Grabbing a couple of face cloths from the linen closet in the hall, he wet them with hot water and wrung them out before returning to House's side with the basin and cloths. He used one cloth to clean up the small amount of vomit that had hit the hardwood floor and then used the other to gently but thoroughly wipe clean House's face . He returned to the bathroom to rinse out the cloths and hang them to dry before throwing them into the laundry hamper. He brought a Dixie cup with a mouthful of mouthwash in it. There was little else worse than the taste of vomit.

By the time he returned again, House had rolled himself over onto his back and had one of his arms draped across his eyes to block out the offending daylight coming in the window and assaulting his eyes. The oncologist moved to the bedroom window and drew the room darkening curtains closed, lowering the light level in the room for House's comfort.

"Wilson?" House said softly, his voice little more than a growl from the irritation the alcohol had caused in his throat. "What are you doing here and why are you in your underwear?" Slowly House sat up and Wilson handed him the mouthwash. House frowned but used it, spitting it out into the basin. Wilson set it aside.

He stared at the older man and sat himself down on the edge of the bed next to his best friend. He wasn't certain if House seriously didn't remember calling him last night but the opportunity offered him a chance at amusing himself and lightening the atmosphere regardless. He forced a frown and a look of hurt on his face, concentrating hard to keep his voice from betraying him.

"You—You mean you don't remember?" the younger man sputtered in faux-disbelief. "Jesus, House! Tell me you're joking!" He had to bite the inside of his cheek until it really hurt and bled a little to keep himself from laughing. The pain caused his eyes to water, an unplanned but serendipitous bonus. He reached out to brush his fingers across House's cheek ever so slightly. "You don't remember calling me over, telling me that you needed me? You don't remember what we shared?"

House's eyes widened in genuine surprise and he slapped Wilson's hand away from his face. He tried to scoot away from the oncologist. The expression on his face was so funny and yet so endearing—it took everything in him to keep Wilson from breaking out in laughter.

"You're shitting me," House growled, a mass of confused emotions. "Tell me you're shitting me!"

"I knew you were drunk, but I didn't know you were that drunk," Wilson replied, moving further onto the bed, heading towards House again. "It was wonderful waking up in bed with you…I thought we shared something special, but now you're telling me you don't remember a thing?" The oncologist had to turn his body away from House because he couldn't hold back the grin any longer; he knew it would look as if he turned away in pain and hurt, and his body jerking slightly with his silenced laughter would make it appear like he was crying. Tears from his laughter began to roll down his cheeks, which was absolutely perfect. The only disadvantage was that he couldn't see the expression on House's face to judge whether or not he was buying the rouse or not.

He could hear the rustling of blankets behind him and then out of the corner of his eye saw the diagnostician's feet and legs swing over the side of the bed as House moved to sit on the edge of the mattress, close to but not touching the younger man. Wilson quickly forced the grin off of his face and replaced it with a frown instead, hoping that it looked somewhat realistic. He knew this was cruel, but he also knew that if the tables had been turned, House would have done the same or worse shit to him.

House was rubbing his scruffy face with both of his hands, cursing softly under his breath.

"Fuck, Wilson!" House said when he looked over at the oncologist. "You're not—not crying are you?"

Wilson covered his tear-streaked face with his hands to keep House from seeing the smile that he could quite hide. "I thought it meant something to you," he mumbled into the flesh on his palms. "It meant something to me! Damnit, House, I even dumped Sam…!"

House sighed loudly, shaking his head incredulously.

"Oh god, Wilson," House said softly, swallowing hard, looking like he had no idea what the fuck to say, which was probably the case. He looked sick, like he was going to throw up, and the younger man didn't know if it due to the hang-over or because of this joke; he wondered if he shouldn't come clean and confess that it was all a joke when the diagnostician stunned him by placing one of his long-fingered hands on his back and gently rubbing circles there. It was Wilson's turn to inhale in surprise.

Looking at House with eyes the size of tea saucers, Wilson had no idea what to say, either.

"I'm…sorry," House told him, avoiding the younger man's gaze in shame. "I…I was pretty messed up last night. I was in a bad place and I drank way too much. You've got to believe me…never had I intended on…this…happening quite this way." Wilson didn't think his eyes could get any larger than they already were but he was wrong. 'Quite this way'? Wilson's mind echoed questioningly. What the hell did that mean? Had House never intended their phony night of sex to happen at all, or had he intended it to happen at some point, only in a different way? What was the older man saying? This was supposed to be a joke at House's expense, but now things didn't seem as funny to Wilson any more.

He had to admit, though, that the sensation of House's gentle, comforting touch was not only unexpected behavior from him, but it felt pretty damned good. Very good, in fact. That was wrong, wasn't it?

"I didn't want it to happen when I was too drunk to remember it," the diagnostician continued, sounding quite sad, actually. "I never thought it would happen, ever. I'd given up all hope, actually. I'd always fantasized about it being a night we'd both remember for the rest of our lives. Shit. SHIT! I'm sorry, Wilson, I'm…fuck, I'm such an asshole!"

Oh my god, oh my god! Wilson thought, panicking silently. House had to be kidding! That was it! Of course! House had caught on to Wilson's joke and was trying to turn it back around on him now. That had to be what this was. Right?

"House, I-." Wilson began; he was about to come clean on the joke and call the diagnostician on his part of it when something unexpected happened. The diagnostician placed his right hand behind Wilson's neck at the base of his skull, gently massaging with his fingers as he pulled the oncologist into a lingering, tender kiss. Too shocked to do much of anything, Wilson sat ram-rod straight, frozen in place. House's brilliant blue eyes were open and hooded as they gazed into Wilson's. In spite of the fact that Wilson suspected this was a joke, he couldn't see any duplicity in his best friends gaze.

Worse, Wilson found himself starting to respond to the kiss in ways a man had no right to respond to his male best friend unless he was gay….

He pulled away from House, glaring at the older man in astonishment. He realized that he we breathing faster than usual and his face was hot to the touch. There was the familiar of pooling of blood in his lower abdomen that he had to fight, to stop. It was ridiculous, this was ridiculous! Wasn't it? House had to be pulling his leg—yet, the slightly disappointed look in his searching, questioning eyes seemed genuine.

"You're more than just a drunken one night stand, Wilson," House told him sincerely, looking afraid for the first time. "I know you're pissed at me but you need to know that."

"House," Wilson blurted out, unable to listen to any more. "This, this is a joke, right?"

A frown pulled House's eyebrows together, and he looked…well, if Wilson didn't know the diagnostician as well as he did, he would say that he looked…hurt.

"Why would I fucking joke about this?" he demanded, sounding angry, his body tensing up.

"Because it is a joke!" Wilson told him much more bluntly than he had planned. "I was joking! House…nothing happened between us last night! I was shitting you!"

House's face suddenly hardened and the mask of indifference he normally wore to hide his true feelings replaced the open emotion that had been there just a second before. Wilson could see the conflict in his eyes, though—usually House could harden his eyes just as well as he could his face but not this time. This time they expressed his confusion, anger and was that—could it be—pain?"

The diagnostician said nothing, but looked quickly away from Wilson, the muscles in his face and neck working overtime to keep the façade up.

"You were shitting me," House echoed, his voice barely a whisper. His breathing was speeding up, becoming shallower. He flexed and unflexed his fists. His eyes darted around erratically. Wilson had never witnessed him this way before and it was beginning to frighten him.

"You called my place last night," the younger man began to explain, speaking rapidly to get everything he wanted to say in before…before his best friend self-destructed or exploded or perhaps simply hauled off and punched him in the mouth. "Sam picked up, thinking I was asleep, but I wasn't. I could tell from her end of the conversation that something was wrong. You asked to speak to me but she refused to 'wake' me. Then she told you to go ahead and take them, and I realized that you were in trouble, so I grabbed the phone from her. You were drunk—you sounded more desperate than I have ever heard you. You were telling me about how Cuddy had betrayed you and didn't really love you like she had told you she did the night of the crane disaster. You kept commenting on how you weren't good enough and then you told me you have Oxycontin and wanted to take it. I rushed over here but when I arrived I found you in a complete drunken stupor. I was worried that you may have drank enough to poison yourself

"So I took you to your room and put you in bed in the safety position and kept close watch over you all night to make certain you didn't fall into a coma or vomit and aspirate on it in your sleep. I did sleep in your bed—but only because I was exhausted and I didn't want to leave you alone in here unattended while I slept on the sofa. When I realized you didn't remember what had happened last night I thought—stupidly—that I would lighten the mood and pull a fast one on you—so I led you to believe that we had…well, you know. But nothing happened…Fuck, House! It was just supposed to be a joke and then I thought you'd found me out and were turning it around on me!

"But you weren't, were you?" The last sentence was spoken in a whisper.

House rose quickly to his feet—a little too quickly, causing him to suffer a temporary bout of lightheadedness. He swayed a little on his feet but then settled himself and limped sans cane to the bathroom.

"House?" Wilson called to him, rising to his feet.

The older man stopped just inside the doorway of the bathroom and looked up at the younger briefly with angry, hurt eyes.

"No," was the succinct answer House gave him before locking himself inside the bathroom.

Wilson face-palmed himself, cursing himself for once again being completely clueless and insensitive. What the hell was he thinking, pulling a practical joke of that intensity on his best friend the morning after House had been prepared to throw a year of sobriety away and perhaps throw his very life away as well?

"Way to go, James, you fucking idiot!" he said softly to himself with self-hatred. Unexpected as it had been, House had just done the one thing that Wilson had been riding him to do throughout the years—express his feelings honestly—only to be completely humiliated for having done so. He wondered if the older man would ever forgive him or trust him again. The oncologist knew that if he hadn't already killed his friendship with House, he now had.

Never had Wilson suspected that House had more than platonic feelings for him. True, their friendship had always been unusually intense and House had always behaved possessively and jealously of him and his time. He had felt that way for House's time as well, but…but to want him sexually-or even more than just sexually? You're more than just a drunken one-night stand, Wilson. House's words.

Wilson had to admit that he should have felt creeped out by that knowledge—but on the contrary, he felt strangely comforted by it.

He didn't know if he could ever fix the damage that had just been done but Wilson had to try because when it all came down to it, the truth was he needed House more than he was certain House needed him. He loved House—yes, that's right, loved—and couldn't let this stupid stunt of his ruin the best thing that had ever happened to him in his life. Wilson just wished he knew what to say.

Wilson went to stand right outside the bathroom door. "House, please come out. We need to talk."

The only thing to meet his ears was silence. There wasn't so much as the sound of a shuffling foot from within the bathroom. What was he doing in there? Wilson's mind began to run through terrifying scenarios based on what he knew House kept in there. He began to feel a sense of urgency to get in there, to get to him.

"What are you doing in there, House?" he demanded, not even bothering to try to hide the fear in his voice. "Answer me, please! House I never meant to hurt you. I wish you would have told me about this sooner! I honestly didn't know how you felt about me—I never would have made fun of it had I known!"

The tap to the sink was turned on and all Wilson could hear was the running of water. Was he actually doing something in the sink, or was he trying to drown out the sound of something? Was he trying to drown out Wilson's voice, or something that the diagnostician was doing that he didn't want the younger man to hear?

"If you don't talk to me," Wilson told him, swallowing hard, trying to force down the dread that was rising up from his belly into his throat, "then I'll have to break the door down! It's probably going to cause me great injury and a hell of a lot of pain, but so be it! For all I know you could be in there slicing your wrists open with a razor blade!"

When the water kept running and there was no response from his best friend, Wilson sighed in resignation and backed up. He tried to block out of his mind just how much this was going to hurt. Taking a deep breath, Wilson turned his shoulder to the door, focused and then took a run at it. His shoulder hit the solid wood door squarely; the door didn't budge, but Wilson bounced off of it, flew backwards and ended up on his ass on the hard floor. Pain radiated throughout his body and the oncologist couldn't decide exactly where it hurt the most. Groaning, he forced himself back up to his feet and stared at the barrier between him and House angrily. There was no sign that he had even touched it. That was the problem with these old buildings—they were built to last.

Undaunted, he backed up again, a little further down the corridor this time so he could get a better run and more speed going. Taking another deep breath, he paused a moment and then ran at it again. Roaring angrily, as if that alone could increase the force of his attack on the door, he ran at top speed and slammed into the door again. This time a little more of the energy exerted upon it was absorbed by the door and the frame around it and less rebounded back into Wilson—but enough did to send him to the floor again, this time groaning in pain. There had been a solid crack as the hinges strained against the jamb, cracking it. He panted tiredly, not certain he had it in him for another try, but he knew he had to find the strength. He couldn't risk giving up on the older man now. He shuffled back to his feet and limped on his very sore hip to the spot in the corridor from which he would take a third and probably last try. If the door didn't give this time his body would.

"House!" Wilson called to him, hoping he would respond and open the door voluntarily. "You're acting like a love-sick menstruating teenage girl!" He hoped taunting him might have an effect. God knew sweet talking hadn't. "Open the fucking door!"

Again, House refused to acknowledge him. With a heavy sigh and a curse word or two, he launched for the door again, hitting it with all of his might. He heard what sounded like a bolt of lightning hitting a dead tree, splitting it in half, and the door gave way. Wilson continued to hurtle forward and nearly crashed into the sink. Instead, he was caught by the diagnostician before any further damage to his person could be done.

What damage had been done was enough; it was so intense that the oncologist literally couldn't see straight, and moaned pathetically into the feathery hairs of House's chest for the few moments it took for the strongest wave of pain to pass. He knew immediately that he had dislocated his shoulder, and suspected he may have done other serious damage as well. When he became aware of his environment he realized that his face was against House's bare chest and the diagnostician had his arms wrapped protectively around him, holding him up.

"You idiot!" House grumbled almost affectionately. "What are you trying to do, kill yourself?"

Wilson rested against his friend perhaps a moment too long. After having been so distant from House psychologically, if not spatially, for so many months, being intimately close to him made Wilson feel so good. He inhaled his friend's scent; stale bourbon, soap, yesterday's application of deodorant, sweat and that certain something that was uniquely House, the something he had always secretly enjoyed whenever around him. The oncologist began to feel the warm tingling building in his abdomen again, but this time he didn't freak out because of it. He just let it happen, perhaps because he was too wounded to bother avoiding it, perhaps because he wanted to feel it.

"No," Wilson muttered, gasping suddenly as he tried to straighten up and gain his own footing again. That movement had sent bolts of burning lightning through every nerve ending in his upper body. House still kept hold of him until the worst of the agony passed again. Wilson looked to House's face and noticed the redness and swelling around the older man's eyes, the red nose and rashy-red on his upper lip.

House had turned on the tap and refused to speak because he'd been crying and hadn't wanted Wilson to know. The only other time in nearly twenty years of friendship the oncologist had ever known the older man to cry had been after the infarction, right after Stacy had left him and then only when House thought he was all alone. Wilson had never let on that he'd witnessed it and probably never would. Nor would he ever mention this time again.

Big blue eyes stared down at him and for a moment, House had opened up to him again, leaving his soul exposed-something that before this day he'd never done with his best friend. Wilson felt both privileged and awed by it.

"I needed to know that you were okay," Wilson explained softly, finding it impossible to look away from House's gaze.

House nodded slowly, murmuring, "Oh." They were both still for a moment and then House broke the eye connection, frowning. "You did a damned good job of injuring yourself while doing it! Come on, I'll put your shoulder back into place and look you over for other injuries.

"I think you just want to look me over," Wilson quipped with a weak, disarming smile. House smirked, amused.

"I think that's already been established," he answered quietly and then helped Wilson to the kitchen.

(End of Part One)