Chapter 6 (final): Birthday Wishes
"Oh, for God's sake." House snatched the bowl from Wilson's hands, mixing vigorously. "You stir like a wuss."
"I do not!" Wilson grabbed the bowl back. "The batter's just very…delicate."
Eva smiled as she passed the kitchen on the way to her bedroom. "You kind of do stir like a wuss, Dad," she called out.
Wilson frowned as House, victorious, took the bowl back in possession. "What did I tell you about enabling your Uncle Greg?" he called after her.
House rolled his eyes and nodded towards the other ingredients on the island. "Relax. You can work on the frosting."
Wilson sighed and moved to his relegated position. "I can't believe we've come this far," he said softly, beginning to empty the cream cheese into another bowl. "Two whole months since Sam…it's crazy, isn't it?"
"Hey, none of that sappy crap," House warned him, pausing to shake his spoon in Wilson's direction. "It's your kid's birthday. Happiness and joy required."
Wilson couldn't help but grin. "Look who's talking!" Taking House by surprise, he sauntered back over and licked the batter from the spoon. "Mmm," he groaned. "Delicious."
"Excuse you!" House's mouth hung open in mock disapproval. "Even if you don't get salmonella from that, the kids are the ones who'll be getting sick from your germ-infested mouth." He tossed the contaminated spoon in the sink and grabbed another one from the drawer. "Not that I always disapprove of you licking things."
A spine-tingling touch from Wilson was all it took for the batter to be forgotten on the counter, and their eager lips to find each other.
"Um, guys? How do I look?"
House and Wilson, unfortunately now used to these interruptions, reluctantly pulled away to assess Eva's outfit.
"You look great, honey," Wilson assured her.
"The boys will be all over that dress," House agreed, not bothering to mention that it was a little too pink for his taste.
"Good," Eva said, relieved. "How's the cake coming along?"
House retrieved the bowl of batter and continued mixing. "We would've baked two for you by now if Wilson didn't move like a freakin' turtle. It's also his fault that he's completely irresistible, thereby slowing down production."
Eva giggled, and Wilson rolled his eyes. "Everyone will be here soon," he cut in, smiling despite his attempt to change the subject. "You need help with the decorations?"
"Nope, I've got it. You guys keep baking…and doing whatever it is you were doing." Eva grinned as she skipped away into the living room, and House jabbed Wilson with his elbow. "You heard the kid. Frosting, stat."
"Don't worry," Wilson said, heading back to his station. "I've got you covered. Hah! Get it? Frosting, covered?"
"Good Lord. I should've told Eva you're an irresistible nut job."
"At least I'm still irresistible."
"And that," House said with a smile, "is why you're my Wilson."
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
Two months. It had taken ages for Wilson to close his eyes and not be haunted by Amber's eyes and hair and lips, and here Eva was, bouncing around the living room just two months after her mother's death. Wilson wasn't quite sure how she'd made it to this point, and there were times, especially at night, when he detected the slightest hint of sadness in her smile. But considering how far they'd all come, he was proud. He was proud of Eva's strength, he was proud of House's progress, and he was proud of keeping his promise to Sam.
Sometimes, when he was lying awake in bed at night and listening to House's steady breathing, he'd contemplate the bizarre reality of their new little family getting through life together in the condo. They were so different, and yet it struck him how much they were the same. Eva had lost Sam, he'd lost Amber, and as much as House chose to hide it, Wilson knew that the passing of his father had left its mark. It used to make Wilson sad, reflecting on death, but somewhere along the way he'd realized just how much more support they all received just by being with each other.
When he'd lost Amber, he'd been alone. Sure, there were the grief counseling sessions, and Cameron and Cuddy had visited every now and then. But no one had been particularly close, and by pushing House away, he'd only isolated himself in his pain. And while their eventful road trip to his father's funeral had provided House with a shoulder to lean on, he'd never really taken Wilson up on the offer.
Eva was different. She'd had time to prepare for Sam's death, which her therapist said would help ease the grieving process, and Wilson supposed that was true. But he was much more inclined to give most of the credit to the family that they'd built together.
Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar.
It had taken some time, but slowly they'd learned to adjust to their new lives – House and Wilson to caring for a grieving child, and Eva to living with two father figures instead of a mother. Her therapist had encouraged them to talk to her about their own experiences, and as she learned about how they'd dealt with the passing of Amber and House's father – the stories about the latter admittedly embellished for Eva's sake – Wilson could tell that Eva felt connected to them, to two people who truly understood what it meant to lose someone. He knew that they could never completely erase her pain, but he was grateful that they were able to relieve any of it at all.
After the funeral, he and House had joined forces in juggling Eva's initial grief with getting her life back in order. Wilson had taken care of the practical things, like taking her to therapy and transitioning back to school, while House had grudgingly searched IKEA and Target for pink décor. (Wilson still liked to argue that House had, in fact, enjoyed the shopping spree, to which House simply flipped him the bird). With a little help from Cuddy, they'd turned Eva's bedroom into a princess' dream castle, and when Eva could finally fall asleep without crying and had actually screamed with joy at the life-sized Patrick Dempsey cutout they'd managed to find, they knew they were finally on their way. She'd even begun calling Wilson "Dad" instead of James, and two months later, she was doing more than okay.
In any case, Wilson's initial worries about bringing a preteen girl into their lives were long gone. He'd never doubted that House loved him, but House's bonding with Eva made him all the more aware of just how much that was true. His lover's signs of affection may not have been as open as his own, but they were there. He saw them every time House offered to tuck Eva in (so that Wilson could "get to sleep early"), agreed to sit through romantic chick flicks ("At least the dudes are hot"), and followed up with Eva's therapist ("I don't want you blaming me if she ends up in the psych ward because your guy's an idiot"). Eva's own attachment to House was apparent as well, and Wilson knew that each time she offered him a smile or a hug, it moved the diagnostician more than he'd ever be willing to admit.
Once, Wilson had woken up in the middle of the night to an empty bed, and upon further inspection had found House leaning quietly against Eva's doorframe.
"She was mumbling in her sleep," he'd muttered. "Kept me awake."
But Wilson knew better.
Store in the refrigerator after use.
Frosting completed, Wilson set his cooking utensils down and joined House by the oven as they waited for the cake. Their hands found each other, and with their fingers gently laced together, they leaned contentedly back against the island.
Wilson gave his lover's hand a squeeze. "Have I told you lately that I love you?"
House smirked. "Are we quoting song lyrics now?"
"I mean it. I couldn't have done all this without you."
"Tell me about it. You'd end up with a burnt cake and a torched condo."
Wilson placed his free hand on his hip and smiled, waiting patiently. Finally, House gave in. "I never thought I'd ever have a family," he admitted quietly.
Wilson rested his head on House's shoulder. No more needed to be said, but the ringing of the doorbell made them snap back to attention, and they heard Eva scurry across the living room. "They're here!" she shouted.
Taking a deep breath, they braced themselves for the inevitable onslaught of unruly kids and ear-splitting choruses of "Happy Birthday."
"I don't believe in God," House muttered, "but if you want to pray, I think now's the time to do it."
"House, c'mon," Wilson called from the kitchen. "Get in here and help." The sound of running water filled the room as he and Cuddy began the massive after-party cleanup.
"Can't. Busy." House was mainly busy staring down at Rachel's sleeping form on the couch, trying to figure out how to move her so he could use his own damn sofa. One preteen birthday party and 15 squealing kids later, he was ready to collapse.
"The cake was great," Cuddy tried, and House rolled his eyes as he limped back to them. "Flattery is not going to get me to do the cleaning," he said flatly. "That's Wilson's job." He poked Cuddy's leg with his cane. "I'm not really sure why you're still here, though."
"I'm still here because Wilson needs a hand and you're being a lazy ass." Cuddy sighed as she took the next bowl from Wilson, drying it with a dishrag. "Could you at least clean up the rest of the place? There are paper plates and napkins all over the floor."
"But I'm a cripple!" House whined.
"Then switch." Cuddy held the dishrag out to him, and he narrowed his eyes before leaning his cane against the counter and taking it from her. As she grabbed a large black garbage bag and left the kitchen area, House tossed the rag between his hands, waiting.
"Good party?" he said finally.
Wilson handed him the pitcher he'd just washed, eyeing House for a few extra seconds to make sure he was doing his job. "You always knew how to throw a good party."
"As if you were ever sober enough to remember. But yeah, I'm sure Chase and his strawberry allergy would agree."
Eva emerged from her room, wearing pajamas. "Can I help?"
"It's your birthday," Wilson reminded her. He glanced over and smiled as she hopped onto a stool and begun to munch on a leftover cookie. "Did you have a good time?"
"The best. The cake was sooo good!"
"Chocolate with a dash of love." House returned the pitcher to its proper cabinet. "What'd you wish for, anyway?"
"House, it's bad luck if you say your wish out loud," Wilson chided. "Everybody knows that."
"Oh, that's all superstitious crap."
"Maybe if I write it down, it won't be bad luck?" Eva suggested.
"That might work," Cuddy said, returning to the kitchen. "I think you guys are good to go in the living and dining rooms."
"Thanks, Cuddy," Wilson said. "I think we can take it from here. You need some help with Rachel?"
"If you can help me get the door, I can handle the rest." Cuddy came over and ruffled Eva's hair. "Happy birthday, kiddo. It was great meeting all of your friends."
"Thanks, Aunt Lisa. And thank Rachel for me, too."
"I will." Cuddy leaned down to kiss the top of Eva's head and gave her a smile before following Wilson out of the kitchen. "Make sure your Uncle Greg behaves!"
Eva giggled, turning back to House. "Everyone always tells me to make sure you behave." Then, remembering, she grabbed a legal pad and a pen from the corner of the island and began scribbling.
"Here." She handed the pad to House. "I'm going to bed. Good night, Uncle Greg."
"Happy birthday," he replied, and watched her walk back to her room. Then, tossing the dishrag to the counter, he looked down to read her wish.
"I didn't wish for anything. I just said thanks for you and Dad."
House took a deep breath and let a small smile spread across his face. Wilson returned, eyebrows raised. "What's that?"
"Just something to make me all warm and fuzzy." House set the pad down. "Wanna call it a night?"
"Of course you'd stop helping now that Cuddy's gone."
"I didn't mean sleep, genius."
Wilson couldn't help but smile. "We still haven't finished washing the – "
"You know, I could easily take our porn out of hiding and start jacking off, but I kind of like you a little better than Girls Gone Wild – which, by the way, is a major compliment."
Seconds later, they were collapsed on the bed, fumbling to unbutton shirts and pants between kisses and groans.
"Am I still irresistible?" Wilson asked playfully.
"You're my Wilson," House repeated, and the loving tone of his voice was enough for Wilson to know it was true.
Disclaimer: Frosting recipe taken from AllRecipes.