Chapter Fourteen

Clinic drifted by Wilson quickly and it wasn't because he was enjoying himself; he was simultaneously dreading and anticipating coming out to House, and he was determined to do it before the day was over. However, he knew House was too intelligent not to realize just what his sexuality implied for them. He doubted House would treat him like another Cameron, but he just couldn't hope for anything more, even if he saw potential or would swear that House often seemed to want to push their friendship further. If he didn't want to deepen it, though, and Wilson asked . . . Thomas had hurt him and that was nothing compared to how he felt for House.

When he made it to his office with the intention of getting some paperwork done before he went over scheduling meetings with patients, future and current alike, for tomorrow, he saw House standing on the balcony. House was on his side so the partition hid half of him, but he was looking into Wilson's office with an expression that meant either Wilson better get out there and talk with him or he'd start tossing pebbles. In fact, he was bouncing pebbles in his hand with a smirk on his face already.

Wilson allowed himself a second to stare and smile softly, then cleared his throat and peeled off his lab coat before going outside to join his friend.

When Wilson pushed open the glass door, House dropped the pebbles and then climbed casually over the partition to be on Wilson's side. Wilson noticed that Thirteen and Chase were in the differential diagnosis room, sitting next to each other and facing them, drinking out of mugs.

House turned to the wall facing the horizon, elbows leant against the cement while he stared outward and Wilson stood by him, planting his palms on the cool wall and looking outward as well.

The temperature was on the hotter side of warm, but the very slight breeze balanced that out. The sky was bluer than Wilson had seen it for awhile, or maybe he just hadn't been paying attention lately. Nary a cloud in sight, and the dull thrum of traffic lulled around them.

"Been waiting for you for, like, ten years," House aired.

Wilson scoffed. "I was doing my clinic hours."

"For ten years?"

Wilson got the distinct impression that maybe they weren't talking about today or House's impatience for Wilson doing his job. He chanced a look at House, but he was still staring at the sky.

"The test results came back," House revealed after a small silence and Wilson looked away from House to study the scenery. "He doesn't have neurosyphilis."

"You don't sound very surprised."

He felt House shrug against his arm and Wilson turned to stare at him again, studying his relaxed profile. With the way he was leaning, Wilson was taller than him. The quiet, warm late-afternoon air swirled gently around them and House's lengthening hair twirled a bit.

"House," he began, swallowing the nervousness that settled in his throat and forced his heart to pound in his ears. House turned to look at him, eyes meeting his calmly and a completely relaxed expression on his face. Wilson's chest tightened. "I'm gay."

The word fell between them and it felt like a wave, strong but almost relaxing, crashed over him. He'd never said it aloud before and now he had-to House.

House's expression didn't even change. "Full time?" he asked.

Wilson chuckled and felt his grin stretch his cheeks. He ducked his chin a little but kept his eyes on House's. "Yeah, full time," he answered. "I just . . . I guess a part of me hoped that if I found the right girl, I could . . . I don't know; switch? That if I loved and cared for her enough, it would . . . stop." He let out a sighed and realized how pathetic he sounded.

House nudged him with his shoulder a bit flirtatiously and Wilson tilted his head, the tightness in his chest loosening and filling with warmth. House's smirk melted a little into something softer, but then he looked back out to the sky so Wilson couldn't see the smile anymore.

They both stared at the ground beneath them for a few moments and Wilson felt increasingly . . . peaceful, which was odd because out of all the scenarios he'd planned in his head before actually coming out to House hadn't ended with contentment or the airy feeling of calmness. House pushed himself into a standing position and matched Wilson's posture casually, hands planted on the wall so that the sides of their pinkies brushed. Wilson focused on their hands instead of the sky.

"So, did Thomas have seizures in med school too or are the symptoms really this new?"

Like a record with a scratch, the mood almost screeched. "What? Did he-"

"I figured it out."

"How did-oh, never mind," Wilson muttered; he'd seen enough of House's epiphanies that he knew how he figured things out was complicated and unimportant at the moment. House pushed against his shoulder a bit persistently and Wilson glanced away from their hands and at how close House was; he was even turning his head to look at him, obviously not bothered by their closeness.

Wilson looked back to the horizon. "No, he never had seizures. He . . . He wasn't ever really sick that I can remember. He was a lot happier then, though. Playful, even. I was the one who was always . . . under pressure. He always had some way to make me feel better, though. Massages, these . . . aromatic candles and colour schemes; feng shui and herbal tea . . ."

He frowned when he thought of a much younger and happier Thomas Mueller; the man who was House's patient was hardly the same, except for his go-with-the-flow behaviour. He knew House was still looking at him, so he continued. "He was always calm and easygoing, really. I didn't even know he was a Nazi until I met his brother and his mom. Of course we weren't openly going as boyfriends-neither of us were ready to admit that-but . . . Well, I'd thought it was strange he told me to tell them I was Protestant."

He furrowed his brows and remembered seeing his family for the first time; the swastika tattooed proudly on his brother's arm; the SS on his neck. He should have realized then that they wouldn't have lasted and maybe he had, but . . .

"We were going to run away together. I had everything packed. We were going to move into this . . . dumpy apartment and commute to school; finish up a semester and a half, graduate, and just . . . move to Florida. But he didn't show, and . . . I had to tell Sam why all of my stuff was gone when I got home. We tried marriage counselling for a few weeks but . . ." He scoffed and shook his head, knowing House was probably internally calling him a sap. "We were stupid," he admitted.

House's hand slipped over Wilson's and the warmth shot up his arm. He didn't intertwine his fingers; just rested it there, his warm palm against the back of Wilson's hand. After a few seconds, House stroked his thumb along the side of Wilson's palm. With his throat drying, Wilson turned to look at House to find him staring at their hands as well.

House finally looked at him, chin still lowered, and his gaze was tangible. He slid his fingers underneath Wilson's hand and then pulled it gently off of the partition and turned so that their torsos faced each other as well so they didn't have to turn their heads to stare at each other. He dropped his hand but the skin was still warm, and House kept staring at him, blue eyes clearer and more vivid than Wilson ever remembered them being.

House jerked his chin at something behind Wilson. "We should finish this gay discussion in your office," he said in a low voice and a slight tilt to the side of his mouth.

He knew Thirteen and Chase were probably staring at them and wondering what they were discussing and why it necessitated them standing so close to each other. Wilson realized House was hitting on him and he blinked rapidly, clearing his throat. "Right. Of course. Yes. In my office," he stuttered, then turned around and went through his door.

It was darker inside. His eyes had to adjust for a second and he walked towards his desk listlessly, not really quite sure what else to do. He felt House's hand on his shoulder briefly; a fleeting touch. He sucked in a shaky breath and then turned around so his back faced his desk and he knew he was shaking. Or, well, maybe he wasn't, but it felt like he was.

House stared at him, just an arm's length separating them, and then he took a step closer. Wilson tensed in anticipation but House must've misinterpreted because he stiffened too and then raised his eyebrows in question. He looked vulnerable-as vulnerable as House could get-and Wilson really tried not to smile at him, but failed.

For a few long seconds they just stared at each other, quiet and comfortable, and Wilson knew they were going to cross a line they had probably crossed ages ago; a line he hadn't even seen the other side of since Thomas. Oh, he'd been with men since then-one night stands, quick sex-based affairs that lasted a little more than week, but nothing serious. He hadn't been in love with a man since then; hadn't contemplated being in a relationship with one. Then again, he'd met House right after the fiasco that was the aftermath of Thomas and his divorce so he hadn't had a chance to love anyone else.

House shifted closer, looking down at the floor for a second before meeting Wilson's gaze again. It was surreal, almost-a few hours ago, Wilson had been with Sam and kissing Thomas and yesterday, House had been in a relationship with Cuddy. In fact, Sam was probably still at the loft packing.

"So . . ." House dragged the word out slightly, biting down on his lip and shifting his weight onto his other foot so that he was even closer to Wilson. Wilson wondered if House was nervous. "How does it feel to have The Big Secret off your chest?" he asked quietly, fingertips trailing down the side of Wilson's arm with the barest touch; it sent shivers along his skin.

"Liberating," Wilson answered, shifting closer to House. "A lot less stressful than I imagined," he continued quietly, ducking his head slightly and eyeing House's lips.

House leaned forward and Wilson bent his head upwards to catch his mouth, but then House pulled his head back slightly, brows furrowed as he looked past Wilson's shoulder. "Stressful," he repeated.

"Oh God. Now? Really?"

House either ignored him or was so lost in his epiphany he hadn't heard him because he hurried out of his office, the door not shutting completely as he left.

Wilson stood there for a second, then scoffed and raised his eyes heavenward with a head shake. He moved to walk around his desk to go to his chair and the door slammed open, making him jump about a foot in the air.

He barely had time to register the fact House had burst into his office before his lips crushed against Wilson's, hands splayed against his cheeks with his cane hooked over his own wrist. Wilson stumbled slightly, the small of his back hitting the edge of his desk, eyes wide open so he could see House's were squeezed shut, and his heart belatedly skipped a beat then hit his chest so hard it was almost painful. House's lips were slightly chapped and his grip on his face a little tight, and the edge of the desk had probably left a bruise.

It was the best kiss of his entire life.

House pulled away and Wilson almost fell to the floor; his knees were weak. He didn't, though; just let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.

"Thank you!" House chirped as he quickly left the second time.

Wilson stared at the closed door for an indeterminate amount of time and forgot how to breathe.

Grinning, House moved through the halls seamlessly, even with the limp. He was sure that his smile probably scared the crap out of every nurse he passed, but he really didn't care. The lights seemed brighter, the colours more vivid, and his day just infinitely better that he couldn't care less that some random radiologist scowled and called him an ass under his breath. House had no idea why he said it but he didn't care because he'd kissed Wilson and he'd been waiting to do that for years.

The fact that he could just kiss Wilson whenever he wanted now made his stomach flip. Any time he wanted, he could just go into Wilson's office and make out with him. Or squeeze his ass and lick his mouth in the elevator. Or corner him in the clinic and nip at his bottom lip and whisper something seductive in a low voice. So many possibilities were now open to him and he intended to take advantage of that as much as possible.

He breezed right into his patient's room to see Nathaniel listening to his iPod and Sarah (he finally remembered her name) standing beside Thomas, holding his hand comfortingly and smiling softly at him. She looked at House and scowled, slipping her hand out of her husband's, and pursing her lips. "Knocking would've been appreciated," she informed haughtily.

House's heart clenched angrily at the sight of her openly affectionate face directed at a man who hated her guts, and then, without preamble, he grabbed her purse from the bedside table and jerked it open.

"I beg your pardon!" she screeched and reached for it, but he pulled out the bottle of ginseng he'd seen the first time he rummaged through it and shoved the purse into her hands.

He held the bottle in front of Thomas' face and rattled it. "Lemme guess-you take more the prescribed dosage?"

Thomas furrowed his brows. "What are you talking-"

"You're stressed. All of the time. Boo hoo. So you do something about it. I'd put money on the fact all the tea at your house has ginseng in it too. And you probably pop these like candy." He tossed the bottle in the air and caught it again. "You stay stressed and the pills and the tea don't work, so you take more and more and more . . . And then you overdose on it and give yourself seizures. Some bright young doctor you would've been."

"Wait, so . . . all of this was caused by over-the-counter herbal agents?" his wife asked with both of her eyebrows raised and a few blinks too many.

"Did any of you happen to read the back? The back that specifically says the amount you're supposed to take and not to exceed the limit? Then again, what do I know? I'm just a doctor that didn't drop out."

Thomas stared at him, and Sarah glanced at Nathaniel, who must've taken out his earbuds when he'd seen House take his mother's purse. They were all staring at him in surprise, and a few moments later they all looked at Thomas, whose expression was blank. He didn't really look like a man who had just been successfully diagnosed.

Thomas frowned and his brows knitted together. "I've been poisoning myself," he stated and he made a weird noise somewhere between a choke and a sigh. "So . . . What do I do?"

"Stop taking it and deal with your stress the old fashioned way-by jacking off in the toilet. That should make everything as right as rain. You'll be back to your loving family and won't have to worry about dying for many, many, many years to come," he told him with a meaningful glare, then turned around and started towards the door, tossing the pill bottle in the garbage.

"Wait, Doctor House," Sarah called and he turned around to face her. She smiled at him and she looked so different with a smile stretching across her face he might not have recognized her if he'd bumped into her at the store. "Thank you so much. I can see why they say you're the best. I'll make sure to express my gratitude to the Dean personally."

Sarah beamed at him, Nathaniel nodded upwards at him in thanks, and Thomas stared at his lap because his family wasn't currently staring at him. He looked absolutely gobsmacked and maybe even a little disappointed.

House smirked. "By the way, I totally made out with Wilson five minutes ago. It was epic," he boasted just because he could, it would annoy Thomas, and he was insanely happy about the fact they'd kissed. He saw Thomas' expression twist into that of a child who just found out Santa didn't exist, and he chuckled darkly as he left the room. "Zeig heil!" he shouted with a little arm pump and the door shut behind him.

Fluorescent lighting surrounded them, only making the window opening into Thomas' room appear to be a door into another world. The lighting in there was a bit more muted and shadows coloured the corners. Thomas was sitting up straight, still there for some observation, while his family sat on the bed, all three of them engaging in a thumb war.

Chase put his hands in his pockets as he watched it and he knew he was frowning. Taub stood beside him, hands also in his pockets, but he didn't seem to really be bothered by the scene in front of him.

"He hates them," Chase informed, feeling sick even as he said it.

Taub sighed as Nathaniel stood from the bed and raised his hands towards the roof in victory. Although they couldn't hear him, he seemed to be very vocal about winning. He began doing an odd sort of tribal dance around the foot of the bed and Sarah laughed. Neither of them were staring at Thomas, and as soon as they'd looked away his face had fallen into an expression of complete desolation. He slumped back against his mattress and scowled.

Chase swallowed. "You know, I don't get it. Why stay with them? You know he won't leave them. He could go somewhere, disappear, and be happy for once in his life. But he won't. It's like . . . it's like he's punishing himself."

Taub shrugged nonchalantly. "Maybe he is. Or maybe he's an idiot," he settled.

"Doesn't that bug you?" Chase asked, watching Thomas grin happily as soon as his family turned to him. Even thought he was studying him closely, he couldn't find the falseness behind the expression. He would have believed it himself had he not known how fake it was.

"Of course it does," Taub admitted. "Not everybody gets a happy ending. Did you expect that Jewish girl to come in for an unprecedented visit and them to ride off into the sunset together?"

"No, of course not. But there's a difference between not getting one, and choosing an ending you know you'll hate. On purpose."

They all grabbed hands and started another thumb war, and it sickened Chase how blissfully unaware the two of them were that Thomas couldn't stand them. Nobody could keep up a fa├žade forever, especially not one that was a continuous lie. One day he would slip and they'd find out; one day he would break their hearts and it would be all for naught. He would get nowhere.

Or maybe he wouldn't slip. Maybe he'd manage to keep it up until he died.

Neither ending seemed preferable.

"My wife's having a dinner party next week," Taub stated, tearing Chase out of his thoughts. "You're invited if you want to come."

Chase nodded. "All right. I'll be there."

Although that seemed to be a great way to end the conversation and to walk away, it really only accomplished the former. They stood there and continued watching.

The television played in the background as Wilson sifted through the fridge. Dusk dyed the sky red and purple, the dark colours bleeding into the loft through the windows. They'd turned most of the lights off, only leaving a small lamp on and currently the light inside the fridge shone across the kitchen. He searched for beer he knew wasn't there then tried to find something House might actually drink; there were a few bottles of water and one can of Pepsi left from the six-pack he'd bought to Sam's chagrin.

He grabbed the can and shut the fridge, smiling as he gazed across the dark loft and at House.

Although Sam had been gone before they made it here (they'd gone out to dinner at a nearby diner and rented some movies; he didn't want to chance having House and Sam accidentally meet on her way out) he hardly even noticed a difference. She'd been living with him for a little more than two months and had hardly left a mark. He knew that there would be several DVDs gone and if he checked his closet one half of it would be empty; her dresser hadn't been in his room when he'd looked in there to make sure, and some of the food was gone. Food Wilson wouldn't miss. Were he to check the bathroom, makeup and feminine products would be absent as would a few towels and washrags. Little things that he had barely noticed in the first place.

Unlike Sam, when House had left it had been noticeable. With the exception of the organ Wilson had bought him, everything he'd owned disappeared. More than half their DVD collection belonged to House, records, CDs, and even cassettes disappeared; although there was no need for Wilson to be in his best friend's former room, he'd peered in there several times and felt as if his stomach dropped out of his body every time he saw the sheet-less bed in the bare room. It wasn't only that he'd missed, though-the sound of House pacing throughout the night when his thigh bothered him; the sound of the television until well-past midnight; being woken up at three in the morning because House needed to have an epiphany . . . Sitting beside each other and eating dinner on the couch instead of at the table; the subtle jabs at each other; insults that were really endearments . . .

They hadn't discussed the kiss in his office or even their relationship, not that he'd expected it. They hadn't talked about House moving back in or if they would kiss again. They hadn't done anything except blather on about unimportant things and laugh at each other's dry and mostly inappropriate jokes, although ever since they'd left the hospital House had been touching him more; a small touch to his hip or tracing his finger across his shoulder blades as he passed behind him at Blockbuster. At the diner they'd had several lapses of silence where they'd just looked at each other and smiled as if sharing a private joke. The both of them were well aware of the fact all of the stuff he'd packed from Cuddy's place was still in Wilson's trunk, and even though neither of them had said anything Wilson had a suspicion House would stay the night.

Perhaps permanently.

They hadn't discussed topping or bottoming or whether they would make their relationship public, but knowing House he probably would, very loudly and obnoxiously, and Wilson was all right with that.

Wilson sat beside House, perhaps closer than he would've two months ago, and handed over the can of Pepsi. House frowned pointedly at it. "It takes less muscles to smile, you know," he informed.

"I'm exercising," House replied and Wilson rolled his eyes good-naturedly. "What, no beer?" House popped the tab, the hiss of it opening permeating the air.

"Sam wasn't a beer drinker." House took a sip and, with his eyes still on the television, leaned forward to put his soda on the coffee table. Wilson gently cuffed the side of House's knee. "Coaster," he reminded.

House just scoffed and sat back against the couch, ignoring him entirely. Wilson leaned forward, placing the Pepsi delicately on a coaster and then leaned back against the couch. "You're such a girl," House accused with a very slight undertone of affection.

Their hips and legs were touching. "What did I miss?" Wilson asked, watching the screen and confused enough to know something had happened while he'd been rummaging through the fridge.

"They found semen in the dead girl's ear," House told him.

Wilson turned to gaze at House's profile, light from the TV flickering on his face. "I guess she heard her killer coming."

House turned his head and looked at Wilson with his eyebrows raised, then he laughed, face breaking into a grin as if it had been trying to get loose for hours. Wilson couldn't help but return the smile and the laugh faded but House didn't look away. Instead he reached forward and brushed Wilson's temple as if pushing an invisible bang behind his ear. This close, even in the dark, he could see every inch of House's face clearly-every wrinkle, every thin almost-invisible scar, every flaw-but he could see every perfection too. He allowed House to trace the contours of his face with his fingertips before holding his chin with his thumb and forefinger, raising his eyebrows in question.

They kissed, lips meeting gently but with no room for misinterpretation, and unlike last time, Wilson closed his eyes. Without parting, they opened their mouths slightly to breathe in at the same time and then they nudged together, soft and barely there. Wilson tilted his chin up at the same time House ducked his head the slightest bit so that his brow rested on the bridge of Wilson's nose, between his eyes. Wilson felt shaky breath skirt across his collarbone and he ducked his head too, brushing his nose against House's to encourage him.

Their mouths met more firmly, but not at all rough, and then House flicked his tongue against his bottom lip before kissing that spot lightly. Wilson tilted his head and pointedly caressed House's mouth with his own; teasing it open slowly until their tongues touched.

The spark that shot into his belly started slow, pleasant burns that he'd experienced before, but never before had he felt the bone-deep electric bliss that overtook every inch of his skin. The rest of the world fell away as every nerve along his skin became hyper-sensitive, tingles running up and down his arms; sending waves up his spine, making him arch as the kiss deepened to slow and open-mouthed; the type of kiss that usually meant yes, he could come in for a cup of coffee.

With each thrust inward of House's tongue, Wilson let loose a tiny, barely audible moan. He would have been embarrassed if he could find it in him to care. As it was, all he could think about was the taste of House; the feel of his stubble scraping his mouth; the wet slide and persistent push of their tongues; the fact House had just made a quiet, almost-needy whine.

House's hand was at the back of his neck, holding him there and pushing him forward, and Wilson absently clutched at House's shirt, tugging him closer. They tilted their heads in the other direction, noses bumping for a moment before resuming. Their teeth clashed briefly and House's fingernails scratched at skin at the base of his head. House's hand slid into Wilson's hair and tugged on the short strands there. House scoffed a laugh into Wilson's mouth when he let out a particularly loud moan.

"Shut up," Wilson murmured before nipping at House's bottom lip.

"You like getting your hair pulled," House pointed out with a laugh. "That could be useful later."

Wilson pulled his head back and smirked. "Hmm, depends on how late 'later' is. I do have early meetings tomorrow."

"You suck," House whined, turning to the television but plopping his arm against the back of the couch. Wilson gave it less than a minute before that same arm draped over his shoulders.

"Once again-depends on what you meant by later," he replied smoothly, body still thrumming and heart still hammering rapidly in his chest.

He leant his head against House's shoulder and held his breath for a second, afraid he might pull away and not yet be comfortable with that sort of affection. House pressed his knee against Wilson's firmly, then dropped his arm on his shoulder, and Wilson let out a grateful sigh. The warm, solid presence of House relaxed him, and he breathed in his scent. He wasn't surprised that House sniffed his hair in return, although he wondered if he knew Wilson was aware of the action.

"I think I could get into that," House muttered belatedly, lips moving across his scalp. Wilson didn't imagine the fact he pressed his lips against his head and smelled him again, but he didn't say anything, despite the fact his heart skipped a beat. "So, whaddaya say? I already know who the killer is."

"There's no way."

"Fifty bucks."

"You're on."

A/N-Well, this was the final chapter. I hope you guys enjoyed. Thanks again to theletterv. Also, I've always respected the writers, but now my respect runs deeper because it is damn difficult writing medical stuff. I really don't know how they do it once a week. Also, zeig heil (I've also seen it spelled seig heil) means "hail victory."