Title: Eggs, Toast and a Side of Wilson

Author: pgrabia

Word Count:

Pairings/Characters: House/Wilson pre-slash and slash/House, Wilson, Cuddy and mention of Sam.

Warnings: Spoilers for all seasons up to and including episode 7x3 "Unwritten".

Rating: M for language and smut.

A/N: This is a post-episode response to the episode 7x3 "Unwritten". It takes place the evening after the last scene of the episode. This was a second fic that came to me while writing After The Searching and I couldn't get rid of it until I wrote it.

(~*~)

He hated overly simplistic and inadequate solutions to complex problems, having his unquenchable curiosity denied satisfactory answers, and walking on eggshells to please others and maintain the status quo. All three of these conditions had been met that day and it was driving Dr. Gregory House crazy, making him want to make a hole in the wall with his fist or punt Chihuahuas like footballs across the hospital lobby. He could do neither of these—the walls were made of glass and would shatter and carve up his hand like turkey on thanksgiving and his punting leg had been out of commission for around a decade (oh yeah, and that little issue about animal cruelty was a bit prohibiting too). He couldn't even scream at and torture his team because he'd given them the rest of the day off to go home and get some sleep. That meant only one thing—he had to find Wilson.

Dr. James Wilson, head of the oncology department at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, was nowhere to be found. This was quite the feat, actually, considering the fact that House was a master snoop and a genius to boot. After an hour of searching the diagnostician—and his aching leg—gave up the hunt. It was obvious that his best friend was no longer in the building; that, or Wilson had managed to outsmart him. If anyone could do it, it was the younger man; he was brilliant in his own right and knew the way House thought almost as well as House knew how Wilson did. At any rate, the man hiding obviously couldn't or didn't want to be found and the man searching had run out of energy and motivation.

It was just about time for Prescription Passion, House's favorite soap opera, to start so he decided he might as well try to distract himself with a little TV. It was either that or the clinic and in the mood he was currently in he'd only end up yelling at the moron patients he was forced to see which would mean Lisa Cuddy, Dean of the hospital and his girlfriend, would be notified and they might end up arguing; they couldn't afford to argue. If they did, their fragile relationship might not survive.

He relocated himself to Coma Guy's room and turned on the television. Sitting in an arm chair, House kicked his feet up on the edge of the hospital bed and found the channel he wanted. Try as he might, however, he couldn't focus on the soap opera. His mind kept going back to the double date he and Lisa had gone on with Wilson and Wilson's harpy ex-wife/current girlfriend, Sam Carr the night before. He had tried so hard to find something that both he and Lisa could enjoy together, something they could have in common, because quite frankly the only thing they had in common was their voracious appetite for sex—not that he was complaining about that. The sex with Lisa was awesome—better than awesome—but if that was all they had in common, they didn't have a hope in hell of making their relationship last long-term. Not even sex would sustain them for very long. Yet, at the end of the night Lisa was quiet and sullen and had had a 'headache' and House was left more certain than ever that they were incompatible.

It had started on rocky footing to begin with. Lisa hadn't been thrilled with the idea of a double date but had given in once House told her that he'd already arranged things with Wilson. He didn't tell her that he'd wanted this to be a double-date because he'd feared that it wouldn't go well and wanted to have a buffer in the form of Wilson and Sam. It wasn't that he wanted to do anything with Sam, but he'd needed to have Wilson along for moral support. House had asked his girlfriend/boss what she wanted to do for the date but she had refused to specify anything, telling him to choose because he knew what she liked to do. That had been the wrong answer, as far as the diagnostician was concerned because, honestly, House didn't know what she enjoyed doing in her free time. He'd barely spent any time with her outside of the hospital in all of the years they'd worked together. Sure, there had been Michigan, but they hadn't dated all that much there, either. It struck him, then, that they were barely more than strangers outside of their roles at work.

At any rate, House had tried to pick something fun and carefree. He thought that go-karting was fairly safe. After all, who didn't like go-karts? Well, as it turned out, Lisa didn't—not really. It was certainly not what she would have chosen to do. That was the problem—she hadn't given House any clue of what she would have chosen to do—but he'd chosen to forget that, not wanting his frustration to taint the evening.

Wilson had been reluctant—Wilson was such a girl when it came to adventure and speed!—but he'd been a good sport about it, which House had really appreciated. His only comment had been, "I've got a bad feeling about this." Well, that wasn't news; Wilson had a bad feeling about most things. That hadn't stopped him from participating. Sam had surprised House with her enthusiasm. She'd been ready to have fun, eager to get behind the wheel and terrorize the rest of them on the track. House hadn't been able to help but appreciate her interest. He still hated her guts, but he'd been glad that someone had approved of his choice of activity.

The race had begun well. Lisa had lightened up, appearing to be trying to have fun, which had warmed House's heart and encouraged him. It soon became clear, however, that the race was going to become a cut-throat battle to win. House thrived on cut-throat, and Lisa was competitive enough to play to win. Sam had been positively psychotic, trying to take out everybody in her bid to cross the finish line first and Wilson—well, Wilson had been Wilson and had been knocked out of the race almost right away by his crazy girlfriend. He was such a dork when it came to anything fast or athletic, but House didn't mind that. It made him smile, actually.

Lisa had been next to wipe out, thanks to House who was determined to win. This was one competition where his bum leg wasn't a factor and he had taken advantage of that. He hadn't seen his girlfriend's anger at losing, the spiteful frown on her face, or the way she was rubbing her sore shoulder; she'd bruised it when she came to a sudden stop and the seatbelt roughly kept her from falling victim to inertia.

So it had been down to Sam and him. Both of them refused to lose to the other. This wasn't just a friendly race. No, it became a symbolic battle between rivals, the man who didn't want to share his very best friend and the woman who had managed to squeeze her way between them, weakening the intimacy that had been building between House and Wilson. Neither had thought about it in those terms—at least, not at the time—but that's exactly what it had been. It had fanned the flames of their competitiveness, making the race become vicious. In the end House had won but using any means available—that being his cane which he used to unplugged the power cord at the back of Sam's go-kart with it, killing her chance of winning. He'd sailed across the finish line victorious. It hadn't bothered him that he'd had to cheat to guarantee his first place finish; after all, all's fair in love and war.

His elation had quickly evaporated when he'd climbed out of his go-kart to find Lisa stewing over her loss and bruised shoulder, complaining that she'd had enough with their evening and hinting that she wanted to go home. House had been annoyed enough—almost—to tell her to go home and sulk while he went out to eat with Wilson and Sam. Once again, however, he'd swallowed his anger and words and pretended to be understanding. Besides, Sam had been seriously pissed at him for cheating her out of a victory and was putting a downer on Wilson's mood as well. So House had taken his girlfriend to her home and Wilson had gone home with his, the double-date turning out to be a miserable failure. House had felt like he was the bigger failure. No matter how hard he'd tried, he just hadn't been able to please Lisa.

House had tried to make it up to her by cooking her a delicious Vegan late night supper (he'd made for himself a turkey sandwich with meat that he'd had to introduce to Lisa's fridge) but she had turned her nose up at it, muttering that she was too tired and sore to eat, and had gone to bed. By the time the diagnostician has eaten his sandwich and downed his glass of water (all Lisa allowed in the house was soy milk and he refused to even touch it) and cleaned up the kitchen she had fallen soundly asleep. Tired and frustrated, House had gone home to his apartment to sleep—except, sleep evaded him. All he could do was analyze what had happened, what had gone wrong, and what he could have done differently to plan something Lisa would have enjoyed.

House had known as he laid there in the dark that he and Lisa didn't have a hope of making it. Alone he'd been able to admit that to himself. He hadn't had Lisa's beautiful body to look at and touch to help him delude himself into believing otherwise.

House turned the TV off and replaced the chair and remote control where he'd found them before leaving Coma Guy's room. It was nearly four o'clock and he decided he would duck out early before Lisa found him and dragged his ass into the clinic for a couple of hours. Once in his office he quickly packed up his laptop, P2P and IPod into his backpack, donned his leather jacket, slung the backpack over a shoulder, tucked his helmet under his left arm and left, locking his office door behind him. He limped down the back stairwell rather than take the elevator to the lobby and risk being spotted. He really didn't feel like being with Lisa, professionally or personally, just then. He needed time to be alone and think some more. What he really needed was Wilson to use as a sounding board for his anxieties and questions. Where was the oncologist and what was he doing?

In the parking lot he limped up to his motorcycle parked in the disabled space he'd fought and manipulated hard for with his boss long before she became his girlfriend (even though he was legitimately disabled) and clipped his cane into its built-in holder. He pulled his helmet on over his head, climbed onto the Honda Repsol, and started it up. He savored the sound of the engine and revved it a couple of times. House looked up as he began to back the bike out of its spot and saw the figure of the Dean of Medicine striding towards him quickly. She had that determined look on her face—the one that said 'House, get your ass into the clinic!'-the one he'd been hoping to avoid. He knew that he should probably wait for her to reach him and talk to her. That was the responsible, mature thing to do. However, after Lisa's little temper tantrum the night before, he felt she owed him an irresponsible, immature moment. Accordingly he pretended he didn't see her and took off. He sped through the parking lot at twice the advised speed and ducked into traffic, not looking back.

Not bothering to check his speedometer House wove in and out of traffic with ease and then let loose when he hit the freeway. Speed was his drug of choice now that Vicodin was banned from his life. The feel of the wind against his body, the sense of flying free invigorated him, helped him forget, at least for a little while, his cares. Unfortunately, it was a temporary stop-gap and once he pulled into his parking space at his apartment building and shut off the engine he found the oppression of doubt, fear and frustration fall upon him like a hot, scratchy blanket once again.

Lisa had acted that morning like nothing had transpired the night before, although she had left the little dig that next time she would plan the date. It had rubbed against his raw nerves the wrong way, but he'd gritted his teeth, threw on what he hoped was a convincing smile of adoration, and let it go. He'd needed her help in finding a legal loophole to force his patient to accept treatment and hadn't wanted to upset the apple cart, so to speak. Later, after the patient had agreed to have the surgery to remove the mass causing her illness, she'd found him in the observation gallery watching the surgery underway. It had annoyed him a little, as it always had, to have her track him down and follow him around like he was a child that needed constant supervision. He'd taken a deep breath and told himself that things were different now. She wasn't trying to keep him under constant surveillance. She wanted to be near him because she loved him. Unfortunately, it didn't feel all that different.

She'd tried to encourage him about the solidity of their relationship. Obviously Wilson had told her about House's concern over their lack of common interests. Lisa had told him that having things in common wasn't necessary for the health of their love and that it was boring, anyway. She'd pulled out another flimsy solution to the problem—that it was the fact that their relationship was uncommon that made it exciting and strong. Then she'd told him that he made her better. That had been the assertion that had bothered him most, that had convinced him that she was just as uncertain about them as he was.

It had been a bold faced lie. House knew he should have called her on it but his need to keep the peace with her, to keep this charade they were living afloat as long as he possibly could prevented him from doing so. He walked on eggshells. It's all he'd been doing since the night she'd told him that she loved him.

What had been the lie? Well, all of it, really, but more specifically her assertion that he made her better. Over and over again throughout all of the years they worked together Lisa Cuddy had repeated told him that he made miserable every person he came into contact with, that he made people worse for knowing him. She'd said it so many times that it almost became her mantra, one that Wilson had tried a time or two as well. Now that they were sleeping together she had a change of opinion, especially one as strong and deep-rooted in her core belief about him for over a decade? He knew he was good in bed but not good enough to alter a belief that long-standing after a couple of weeks of dating.

He resented the fact that she'd lied to him to manipulate his thoughts and feelings about their relationship. He knew that no relationship could stand with lies being passed along for freely and casually as they were between them. He lied about agreeing with her and by changing his behavior around her and Lisa lied about his impact on her being a positive one. Worse yet, she had told the lie after a disastrous date the night before when she'd been displeased with what he had done to try to please her.

He loved her, but no matter what lies and platitudes she came up with to make him feel better and try harder, he would never please her. It was only time—and that time seemed to be coming nearer at an accelerating rate—before she would tire of making excuses for him and waiting for him to be the man she wanted, and he would grow frustrated with never being good enough and biting his tongue until it was a bloody piece of ground chuck. At that point it would be over, just as he'd predicted.

House dreaded that day, because when it came he'd be alone again. He wouldn't have Wilson either because the oncologist would still be with Sam by the looks of things. House had been wrong. He wouldn't outlast anyone or anything. Wouldn't it be better to end it now, before both he and Lisa had betrayed themselves to the point where all they really did have in common was hatred for each other?

Another question came to him as he made his way up to his apartment: Why didn't the thought of calling her up and ending it drive him to despair and heartache like he thought it would? The more he thought about doing it, the more at peace he felt. That was wrong. He loved Lisa—didn't he?

Depositing his jacket and backpack at the front door and then locking it, House went first to the kitchen and opened the fridge. He grabbed a bottle of beer and a slice of left-over pizza. After warming the food he then took his snack to the sofa and sat down. By habit he grabbed the remote control and turned on the TV, channel surfing until he found something interesting on The Discovery Channel. He ate and drank as he watched, trying to turn his brain off for a while. When he found that it wasn't working he took his dirty plate and empty bottle to the kitchen and then grabbed the remaining bottle of beer from the fridge, guzzling it down.

He was just about through his second bottle when his phone rang. For a second he considered answering it. It was likely Lisa wanting to know where he was and what he was doing and right about then he simply didn't want her to know. He needed to think without her trying to pacify him with more twisted clichés. He allowed the answering machine to pick up so he could screen the call.

"(The sound of heavy breathing followed by House's voice) Lisa, what? You mean you've already started recording? (muffled female voice in background) Oh, uh, hi, you've just interrupted—ouch! Don't do that!—I mean, I can't come to the phone because Lisa and I are having wild, kinky sex so leave a message. (Lisa Cuddy's voice: Greg!) Ouch! I told you—what? (more muffled Lisa) Yes I'll change the message. Relax! Would I lie to you?" The initial beep sounded and then the caller began to leave a message. House quickly realized that it wasn't Lisa on the other end of the line; it was Wilson.

"House, Cuddy said you weren't at her place, you're not at the hospital so if you're there pick up the phone. I really need to talk to you. It's…it's very important. Come on, pick-up. Okay…look, I took the day off to do some serious thinking about my life. What I have to talk to you about concerns Sam and me, and you and the fate of our friendship."

House alerted at Wilson's mentioning of their friendship. He hated talking about potentially emotional issues but his friend sounded very somber and there wasn't much of anything that meant more to him than their friendship. He limped quickly to the phone and picked it up before Wilson could hang up.

"Yeah?" he said into the receiver. His heart was beating rapidly with anxiety.

"House, good, you're home," Wilson said, sounding relieved. There was something else about the tone of his voice that was different than usually but House couldn't decide what it was. "We need to talk."

"So talk," House told him, curious and nervous.

"I can't discuss something like this over the phone," the oncologist told him. "I want to meet with you."

"So come over here."

"No, that won't work either," Wilson objected. "I want to meet on neutral ground."

House frowned in confusion. Neutral ground? What was with that?

"Wilson, what the hell is going on?" the diagnostician demanded, trying for annoyed but sounding more like afraid instead. "Why do you want to meet on neutral ground? Are you ending our friendship?"

"Please, Greg, I'll explain when we meet," Wilson responded pleadingly. His use of House's given name only increased the older man's anxiety. Something was wrong—very wrong—and it concerned his bitch girlfriend and him and their friendship. What else could it be about other than Sam had given the ultimatum—dump House or she dumps him and Wilson had chosen to dump him. It made House sick to his stomach. Nearly twenty years of friendship only to end because of a blonde harpy who would end up gutting Wilson before she was done with him.

Sighing House answered, "Where?"

The younger man gave him directions to get to him. House jotted them down on the palm of his hand since he couldn't find a piece of paper to write on.

"Got it," House confirmed. "I'll be there in twenty minutes."

"Thank you, Greg," Wilson told him before hanging up. He'd used House's first name again. Something was definitely wrong. House sighed silently and then went to the door. He grabbed his helmet and jacket and headed to his bike.

Wilson's directions led him to a spot along the D&R Canal near Province Line Road in the Lawrenceville Township. It was a quiet park area that at seven in the evening was pretty much deserted except for the odd jogger or bicyclist. The diagnostician found his best friend seated on a park bench staring off into the middle space, deep in thought. Wilson wore his McGill sweater with a white tee underneath and a pair of faded jeans with tan colored sneakers. The heavy breeze blew his hair around a little. House was struck by how relaxed and casual he looked; he had gotten used to seeing his friend only at work lately (not counting that disastrous double-date the night before) wearing his usual office attire.

The older man couldn't help but notice how attractive the oncologist looked, but of course he always found Wilson to be attractive. Sometimes he had to look away from the younger man to keep himself from thinking about things he wanted but would never have; the longing was painful and something House tried to avoid. It was difficult to do that because as much as he wanted to move past what couldn't be, he couldn't keep away from the object of his desire for long. He needed to see his friend as much as possible. Wilson was like oxygen—something House couldn't live without.

As he approached the bench Wilson broke out of his musing and looked at him. He smiled with both his eyes and his mouth. House felt his breath catch for just a moment and he chastised himself for that reaction, reminding himself that he was with Lisa, and he loved her. The problem was, he was in love with Wilson, had been for years, and probably always would be. House couldn't bear the thought of Wilson breaking their friendship. He'd forced himself to be satisfied with their platonic connection when he'd wanted more because it was still a connection with the younger man and House hadn't been willing to risk alienating his best friend by asking for anything more.

Then again, if Wilson was going to dump him then he had nothing to lose, did he?

With a small groan House sat down beside his best friend and extended his aching right leg out in front of him. He rested his hands on the handle of his cane which he'd planted in front of him.

"So talk," House told him, swallowing the lump in his throat. He hoped his nervousness wasn't apparent but if anyone could read him it was Wilson.

Meeting House's crystal blue gaze with his warm brown one a small smiled played with the oncologist's lips.

"Thanks for coming," Wilson told him with a nod.

"You said it was important," House replied. "Besides, there was nothing good to watch on TV anyway. What's up?"

Sighing, Wilson glanced away briefly. "After we got home last night Sam and I sat on the sofa for a while talking. It wasn't a pleasant conversation. She was still sore over losing the go-kart race to you because you cheated. I wasn't really in the mood to argue with her about you once again but she wouldn't let it go. I realized just how much she hates you."

House snorted softly. "That surprises you? I've known that she hates me about as much as I hate her from the first moment we met."

"Yes," Wilson agreed, nodding, "I knew she didn't like you, even though she's always argued that she does…but I didn't realize how intense her antipathy for you was before last night. I asked her why she hated you so much, especially since you were no longer living in the loft anymore and you were busy now with your relationship with Lisa so we weren't hanging out as much as we used to. What she told me surprised me, quite frankly."

House sat back on the bench. "And what was that?" he inquired, not certain that he wanted to know but too curious not to ask.

Wilson's eyes met House's again and to the diagnostician it felt like he was trying to get inside of his head and read his soul. It was a little unnerving while at the same time exciting.

"She told me that she didn't like having a rival for my affections," was the answer, spoken softly. "I demanded to know what she meant by that. Sam laughed at me and told me that I was either blind or stupid if I didn't know. She then told me that it was as obvious as the nose on my face that you're in love with me."

House felt the color drain from his face. He hadn't expected anything like this. Sure, he had known that Sam suspected the truth but he'd never in a thousand years expected her to come out and tell Wilson. For a moment he panicked and didn't know how to respond to this revelation. Should he admit it, tell his best friend that it was true that he was in love with him since it was now out and a topic of their conversation? Or should he deny it and mock the idea of it? There was no way Sam had proof of it nor would she find any if she tried.

"And you believe her?" House asked as nonchalantly as he could. It was neither a denial nor a confirmation. He tried not to divert his gaze and tip off to Wilson that he felt uneasy and thus it was true. That was risky, however; Wilson knew how to read him quite well and it was possible he wouldn't be able to keep himself from betraying himself in his eyes.

"At first," Wilson responded, tilting his head slightly, "I didn't. I laughed at the mere idea. I told her that you were straight and that you've been in love with Lisa for quite some time. She was the next one to laugh, telling me that just because you like girls doesn't mean you can't like boys, too. She told me to think about it, and then went to bed to read for a while. I stayed up for hours, unable to fall asleep because I couldn't stop thinking about our conversation. I thought back to our interactions throughout the years, the good and the bad. The more I thought about it, the more I recalled little things you've said and done that could indicate that you could have more than platonic feelings for me. Your possessiveness of my time and attention and jealous behavior with every woman I've dated or married; your need to have me come back after Amber died. Your over-protectiveness of me when I started seeing Sam again and your initial attempts to break us up combined with the long looks you've given me sometimes and the way I've caught you staring at me for no reason at all seemed to add up. She began to make sense."

House said nothing, paralyzed with fear. Now he did look away from his friend. He had no idea what to say. He could lie, but he didn't like lying to Wilson. Deep down he wanted Wilson to know, to figure it out without the diagnostician having to tell him anything. That would leave him the out of plausible deniability should he need it. He wondered if he would, though. Wilson certainly wasn't behaving like a man who was angered or creeped out by the idea of his male best friend being in love with and desiring him.

"So I asked you to meet me here so I could ask you straight out and get the answer directly from you," the younger man continued evenly. "House, is it true? Are you in love with me?"

He didn't need to see Wilson staring at him; he felt those chocolate brown eyes boring into him like lasers. This was it. He had to decide whether he should risk losing his friend for good and admit to it being true or play it safe, deny the accusation and keep his friend but never know if there could have been more between them. And then there was the fact that he was with Lisa now, although he knew that his relationship with her wasn't going to survive.

"House?" Wilson prodded gently when the older man didn't answer right away.

Closing his eyes and swallowing hard House pushed through his fear and murmured, "Yes. I am." He could open his eyes. He was too afraid of the look Wilson would give him when the disgust and dismay took over. James Wilson, lady-killer extraordinaire, a man who had over half of the nursing staff at PPTH in love with him would never share House's feelings for him. The moment House had dreaded since the day he'd realized his feelings for his friend went much deeper than mere friendship had arrived. "I'm…sorry," he added after a brief pause.

He started when he felt Wilson's hand come to rest on his back and gently rub circles through his clothes. This wasn't the reaction House had been anticipating.

"House, look at me, please," the younger man requested gently. House shook his head no. He simply couldn't bring himself to do it. He wished he wasn't lame in one leg because all the diagnostician wanted to do at that moment was to run away and pretend this day had never happened.

"Are you afraid of what I'm going to say or do with this information?" Wilson asked him, still rubbing circles. His touch felt so good to House that he found himself arching his back a little to get closer to the other man's hand somehow. Lisa rubbed his back sometimes, but it never once felt as good as this.

A sigh was followed by a simple nod from the older man. He didn't trust himself to speak in his state of confusion and fear.

"Would it help if I told you that I didn't figure out my own feelings until I watched you walk through that front door at Mayfield?" Wilson asked him. "That evening I went home feeling emptier than I had before in my life. All I wanted to do was drive back up there and pull you out of that place and tell you that…that I was in love with you."

House's eyes popped open and his heart skipped a couple of beats. He couldn't believe his ears and he wondered if he wasn't dreaming this or if this was a psychotic break of some kind and that he would wake up or snap out of it to find that none of this conversation had ever really happened. It was impossible. James Wilson could not be sitting there next to him at that very moment telling him that he was in love with him too.

"It scared me shitless, House," Wilson told him after a moment. "I've never felt this way for any other man before in my life. Sure, I guess I've thought about it, been tempted before. The thought of being with another man was kind of exciting in a forbidden kind of way—but I'd never actually been in love with a man before you. I forced myself to push my feelings for you away because it seemed ridiculous to think that anything could happen between us. I knew you loved Lisa. After all, you hallucinated having sex with her, not me. And then there was my pathological need to look good in the eyes of others and my fear that if anyone knew I was in love with you it would destroy other's respect and belief in me as a doctor. When Nolan approached me about taking you in after your discharge I nearly freaked out. I couldn't say no because I cared about you and you needed me but saying yes meant I'd have to fight to hide my true feelings every single day and I didn't know if I could do that."

Finally finding the courage to do so, House lifted his head and looked at Wilson. "You did one hell of a job," he told the younger man, "right down to reuniting with the wicked witch of the east. Kicking me out of the loft was a nice touch as well."

Cringing, Wilson nodded and said sheepishly, "I know. The day I presented you with the organ…I almost told you how I felt. I thought you might have caught on with the gift but I was wrong. The fact that you hadn't persuaded me that I had to move on. You would never want me like I wanted you. So when Sam contacted me…I saw it as my only way out. If I hadn't started seeing her again I would have done something stupid, like blurt out to you that I was in love with you. I figured that would destroy our friendship—and I couldn't bear the thought of not having you in my life, even if only as my friend. I never meant to hurt you, but I did. When your friend Juan was staying with you—"

"Alvie," House corrected him. "What about him?"

Wilson smiled ruefully, glancing furtively at him. "I was so incredibly jealous. I had visions of the two of you…"

"As lovers?" House finished for him, amazed. "Seriously? You were jealous of Alvie? Wilson, there wasn't anything going on between us. He was this messed up kid I befriended—"

"I know, I know that now." The oncologist shrugged. "I just wanted you so badly and couldn't have you so when I found out he was there…I know I was being an idiot."

"Why didn't you check up on me the night that Hannah died?" House asked him nervously. Their eyes met and they sat staring at each other for several seconds before the silence was broken.

"I don't know," Wilson answered, shrugging. "We weren't really talking. I knew you were angry at me for asking you to move out and I felt so incredibly guilty…I was afraid you'd turn me away and I don't know what I would have done had that happened. I fucked up, House. I have no other excuse. I fucked up…and Cuddy didn't."

House gazed into the chocolate depths of Wilson's eyes, overwhelmed by what was happening. The man that he had loved for years had just confessed his love, too. It seemed too good to be true—and it was, because House had committed himself to Cuddy, and Wilson was with Sam.

"I…I can't just hurt Lisa…" House told him, stammering. "And Sam…what about her…?"

"I told Sam the truth this morning," Wilson told him. "I told her that I wasn't in love with her because I 'm in love with you. I thought she would be shocked and angry…but she wasn't, not really. She was hurt, frustrated…but she behaved like this was no surprise to her and that she'd seen it coming. She packed a couple of bags and left. She even kissed me and said that if you were the one I would be happy with, she didn't want to stand in the way."

House whistled softly. "Wow! That's unexpected."

"I know that you're with Lisa. I know you're in love with her," Wilson told him. "I can't ask you to dump her now that you've finally gotten together with her…but I'd be lying if I told you that I didn't wish you'd leave her for me."

"Wilson, I—"

"It's okay House," Wilson told him, cutting him off. He looked crushed, like he was going to be sick, but there was no anger in his mannerisms or voice. "You don't have to explain. But at least it's in the open now—at long last. Just promise me one thing—that this won't end the friendship we've had. I had to talk to you about this…but I don't have any expectations. I'm happy with just being friends. I'd be happier if we were more but-"

"Please, Wilson—"

"—having you in my life in any capacity is—"

When it became apparent to House that Wilson wasn't about to allow him a word in edgewise, he decided to communicate another way. Lightning fast he closed the distance between them and shut his best friend up by covering his mouth with his own; his one hand went to the back of Wilson's neck while the other one went to the middle of the oncologist's back and pulled their bodies together. Passionately he kissed his best friend, a kiss desperate and needy. How could he think about staying with Lisa in a relationship doomed to fail and risk losing the love of his life and a relationship that had lasted nearly two decades and would only become better by this than worse? What did he owe to a woman who believed that manipulation and control made her a better partner over him? Who wanted to change him because he wasn't good enough for her as he was? It would be insanity, and despite popular belief and a temporary aberration, House was not insane.

Wilson was kissing back with the same intensity. It wasn't rough; there was no power-play or animal-like wildness—just the fervor of long-denied love and desire. It was deep and gentle and loving, overflowing with emotion and want. They only parted out of the need to breathe and when they did they rested their foreheads together and lost themselves in each other's eyes.

"What about Cuddy?" Wilson asked in a whisper, panting.

"When you called I was considering calling her and ending our doomed relationship," the diagnostician told him, gulping air as well. "I'm tired of walking on eggshells and caving in to her demands to make her happy. I need to be myself—but she doesn't want me, she wants to change me into the new improved me, House model three-point-oh. You want me for me. I love you."

The brown eyes staring back into his were wet and Wilson was smiling. "I love you too, House. Please come home."

Nodding, the older man kissed the younger again. Eventually they parted. Wilson went to his car and House to his bike. House followed Wilson back to the loft and once they were in the apartment they gave in to their need, kissing, caressing, undressing each other on their way to the master bedroom. By the time they reached the bed they were both nude.

They had seen each other sans clothing before, but never in this context so they took their time just taking in each other's bodies, mapping every part of each other, mesmerized by their erections. House worshipped Wilson with his hands, his lips, his tongue, heightening each other's arousal and need. Wilson touched him in ways that drove House crazier than he'd even been before, eliciting moans from deep within him, but he didn't care. This was Wilson. He could be himself knowing that the other man loved him completely and wouldn't judge or mock him for it (although teasing wasn't out of the question). When the arousal became overwhelming House, while being careful of his leg, pulled Wilson on top of him.

"I want you to enter me, Jimmy," he murmured, his stormy blue eyes hooded from lust.

Wilson appeared wanting but uncertain. "Greg, I've never—"

House nodded his understanding, caressing the younger man's face lovingly and answered, "I know. It's…been a long time for me. That's why I want you to enter me. I've bottomed before. I don't want this to hurt you but I need you now. Just trust me."

Wilson smiled and nodded. House lovingly guided him along and again they took their time. There was no need to rush; they had all the time in the world. When Wilson entered him House hissed initially from the pain and Wilson nearly withdrew out of his concern but House stopped him, assuring him that he was alright and that he wanted this more than anything.

Proceeding slowly, carefully, Wilson thrust into House, shallow at first but as the pleasure intensified he began to go deeper, burying his full-length completely into his partner and then drawing almost completely out before thrusting back again. House marveled at how quickly he caught on to what felt best to the him and what didn't. He was losing himself not only to the physical pleasure but the emotional as well.

"Oh Greg," Wilson murmured, his eyes nearly closed, "you're…you're so tight….nnngh…so good!" The oncologist slightly shifted his weight and angle out of instinct and began to stroke House's prostrate with every slow, deliberate thrust.

House gasped and then groaned in ecstasy, his hands gripping Wilson's hips, urging him on. "Oh yes…yes there, like that! Oh fuck, Jimmy, oh my god, yessss… faster!"

Wilson complied, increasing the speed of his thrusts accordingly. Both of their bodies were slick with sweat, their skins ultrasensitive to each other's touch. They trembled as the pressure built and they came closer and closer to their climaxes.

House's eyes shut briefly and that's when he felt Wilson take his member in his hand and begin to stroke it in rhythm with the thrusts. House moaned at the increased stimulation, knowing that he was so close and wouldn't be able to hold out much longer. He found himself involuntarily thrusting into Wilson's hand as the oncologist withdrew his cock and then thrust down over his best friend as the other thrust into him again. They were in perfect synchronicity and it was overwhelming. They were breathing hard and irregularly, both moaning and gasping and murmuring intelligible words mixed with unintelligible vocalizations as their mouths and hands continued to minister to each other. It was the most intense lovemaking House had ever experienced. He was lost in his lover and his lover in him and there were no words adequate to express how amazing it all was.

It wasn't only their bodies that were in sync but their hearts as well. This was a sharing of their souls. House had mocked the sentimentality of such a notion until he experienced it for himself in the here and now. He was now a believer, and swore never to mock it again.

They were vocalizing louder now as Wilson began to thrust into the diagnostician with greater frequency and vigor as he came closer and closer to coming, and House behaved in kind. After two more thrusts House couldn't hold back any longer and came hard, crying out 'Jimmy!' when he did. His seed burst against Wilson's chest, stomach and hand. His orgasm was so intense that he nearly blacked out and stopped breathing for a few moments. Wilson came a thrust later, keening softly in rapture, his seed exploding into House, filling him up. The oncologist collapsed onto his partner, remaining motionless except for the rapid and heavy rise and fall of his body with every breath, matching House's; their hearts raced together.

As House came down from the high of his release he came aware of Wilson on him, his arms wrapped around the older man's torso. The younger man was softening and sliding out of House. His heart ached it was so full of love for his best friend and lover. Once he had the strength to do so he wrapped his arms around Wilson and held him, never wanting to let go of him again.

Wilson came to a little while later and withdrew from House completely as he rolled off to the other man's left. He kept a leg over House's left leg and an arm wrapped around his torso, his head on the older man's shoulder and face buried in the crook of his neck.

House held Wilson in his arms and pulled him as close as he was physically able, then pulled the blankets over them both. They lay in silence for a long time, dozing and savoring the closeness, warmth and intimacy. He knew that he had never loved anyone as much as he did Wilson, and he never would again. This was it for him. This was the happiness he'd talked to his shrink about, that he'd hoped he would find with Lisa and hadn't; he was determined to never let this go. Wilson was the answer to the previously unanswered questions of his life. He'd known it all along but this was the confirmation he'd needed to make it real.

He was brought out of his contented dozing by the oncologist's voice.

"Greg?"

"Mmm?"

"I love you more than anyone else in my life." Wilson murmured to him, his breath moist and warm on House's neck.

A smile broke on the diagnostician's face. "I feel the same way, Jimmy."

"I'm sorry for running away from this for so long."

"Mmm, it doesn't matter," House assured him. "We're together now."

"I want you to know that I don't want to hide this," Wilson whispered, his fingers tracing circles in the hair on House's chest. "One thing that held me back was my fear of what my patients and colleagues would think or do if they found out that I was in a gay relationship. Then I realized that most of my colleagues at the hospital and half the rest of the hospital staff already think we're sleeping together and the world hasn't ended yet. But it was not because I was ashamed of you or anything like that. I want you to know that."

"Are you always this talkative after sex?" the older man groused good-naturedly, forcing a frown. "Because this could become an issue."

Wilson lifted his head long enough to search House's face. "Seriously?" he asked with uncertainty.

"Absolutely," House answered but he couldn't hide the smile tugging at his lips and shining in his eyes. Wilson chuckled softly and then gently kissed him.

"Then I'll have to tell your team that you're a cuddler," was the response.

"I am not," House denied even as he squeezed his lover a little tighter. "I'm just too tired to push you off of me. Besides, I'm comfortable."

"Ah, my mistake," Wilson replied, laying his head back down. "I was confused by the way you don't have your arms wrapped around me in a possessive embrace."

"That's fine, Jimmy," House told him magnanimously. "Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. I won't hold it against you-just don't do it again. Can we go to sleep now?"

"Okay."

They quieted and quickly fell asleep in each other's arms.

(~*~)

Around ten o'clock that same night House was awakened by the muffled sound of his cellphone ringing somewhere in the room. The ringtone was the one he'd selected for Lisa. He groaned softly, rubbing his face with one hand. Wilson, too, was awakened by the call. They were still tangled up in each other's arms. The younger man disentangled himself from the older and rolled over to face away from him, pulling the blankets up to his ears.

"That's not mine. Can you get that, Greg?"

"Yeah," House muttered. He'd been dreading this conversation but it had to be had. It was only fair to Lisa to tell her as soon as possible that they were, as a couple, over. He pushed the blanket off of himself and rolled to a sitting position, wincing at the pain that shot up from his leg into his spine. He'd been too still and it had stiffened up on him. He looked around the darkened bedroom, the only light coming from the hallway and shining through the slit between the door and the jamb. He spied his jeans lying in a crumpled pile a few feet away. He rose from the bed and hurried to grab them. He pulled the phone out of the front right pocket and answered.

"Yeah?" he murmured into the phone and then hobbled out of the bedroom, closing the door behind him so as not to disturb his lover.

"Where are you?" Lisa asked him impatiently. "I called your apartment and got no answer so then I called your cell earlier and kept getting the 'not in service' message."

Of course she had. House had turned off his cell as soon as he'd left the hospital and had only remembered to turn it on again just after he arrived outside of the condo building; his team would be calling for him if they got patient.

"I needed a break for a while," he told her honestly. "So I turned my phone off and forgot to turn it back on until a couple of hours ago."

"I thought we were getting together at your place tonight," Lisa moped, playing on his guilt. "I was looking forward to it all day. It's not too late though. Where are you? I'll meet you at your apartment in twenty."

House sighed silently, closing his eyes for a moment. "I'm…at Wilson's."

"Oh," she responded. House could just imagine the look of consternation on her lovely face at that moment. "Um, is Sam there? Did you have dinner or…?"

"No," House answered, pinching the bridge of his nose.

"Is there something wrong?" his girlfriend demanded. "Greg?"

"Uh, yeah," House responded quickly, "I mean, no. Wilson called me up, needed to talk. Sam…Sam left him last night."

"Oh my," Lisa said, but House could tell that her concerned dismay was phony. She had never been fond of Sam and couldn't care less what happened to Wilson lately. "That's…that's…uh, is James alright?"

House smiled to himself at the irony. "Yeah, he's good…he's taking it quite well. It wasn't a big surprise, I guess." He didn't want to meet her at his apartment because he didn't want to leave Wilson and he had no intention of continuing his relationship with her. She deserved to be told right away, though, and in person.

"Uh, Lisa, I don't want to leave him right now," the diagnostician told her, allowing her to assume for the time being that it was because Wilson was upset and shouldn't be alone, "and I really need to talk to you about something. It's…it's about us. He's resting right now. Do you suppose you could come by here for a few minutes yet tonight—that is, if you still can get the sitter?"

"Greg, we're fine," Lisa started in again, trying to reassure him. "I told you, we have a special, uncommon bond—"

"It's not about the having things in common thing again," he told her. "Well, not specifically anyway. Look, I don't want to talk about it over the phone. If you can't do it tonight then I'll talk to you about it tomorrow at the hospital. It can't wait. It's serious."

There was a pause where Lisa was silent and House wondered if they had been disconnected. He checked his cellphone for a signal and saw that it was at full-strength. The problem wasn't at his end. He was about to say something more when she finally spoke up.

"I have to say, Greg," she told him, sounding quite irritated now, "this is getting a little…ridiculous already. I know you have your insecurities but I'm getting sick of having to reassure you constantly that we're doing fine."

House didn't like her tone of voice. She sounded condescending and he was in no mood to be talked down to. That was the basic reason they were not fine. He was tired of her superiority complex and having to dance constantly to please and impress her to make her happy and preserve their relationship. He wasn't a trained monkey, he was a man and it was time to act like one again.

"We're not fine," he told her coolly, his voice carrying an edge of anger although he was still calm at present. "We never have been fine from the moment you walked into my apartment and told me you were in love with me even though you wished you weren't. Now, I don't want to talk about this over the phone so if you're not coming over, I'll see you tomorrow—"

"Don't get angry at me!" Lisa snapped defensively. "I'm not the one who broke our date and went incommunicado this evening! It's late…I don't want to drive all the way over to Wilson's at this time of night. If you want to talk then come here. Wilson's a big boy. I'm sure he can survive without you for one night. It's not like this is the first time he's fouled up one of his relationships!"

House's hand tightened around the cellphone while the other one formed a fist without his being aware of it.

"You were ready to drive to my apartment yet tonight, which is further from your place than Wilson's is, when you thought you were going to get fucked," House pointed out tersely, barely keeping his volume down, "but you're not willing to drive a shorter distance to talk about? I think that says a lot about what our relationship is based on, don't you?"

"Don't you think you're being melodramatic, Greg?" she said following a snort. "What we have is based on more than just sex, but why shouldn't we enjoy that too?"

"All our relationship is based on is sex," House insisted. "We've proven that we have nothing in common. We can't agree on anything at home or at work and all we do is walk on eggshells around each other, afraid of saying or doing anything that might upset the apple cart!"

"I don't feel like I have to walk on eggshells around you," Lisa insisted almost flippantly.

"Well I do," House told her. "Nothing I say or do is good enough. I'm tired of biting my tongue and watching everything I say around you. I'm constantly caving into your demands and desires because I'm afraid that if I don't you'll become angry or upset, we'll argue and then that will result in our break-up."

"That's ridiculous!" Lisa scoffed. "I never said that nothing you do or say is good enough and I don't get angry if I don't get my own way."

"Just like you didn't throw a temper tantrum on our double-date," House sniped. "Like you didn't end the date half-way through because you didn't want to go go-karting and you didn't win so you insisted on going home to pout. It ruined not only our evening but Wilson and Sam's as well. I did my best to please you and instead of appreciating that and being a good sport you embarrassed me and made me feel like shit."

"Well, honestly, Greg," Cuddy retorted, chuckling derisively, "did you honestly think that go-karting is my style? You should have known better than that."

"How?" he demanded. She couldn't see the anger in his icy blue eyes as they spoke, which was just as well. This 'conversation' was quickly deteriorating as it was.

"What?"

"How?" the diagnostician repeated. "How should I have known better than that? Think about it, Lisa. Before we began this…whatever it is…how often did we actually sit down and talk about something that wasn't work related or had to do with my Vicodin habit? When did we do anything that wasn't work-related? Once? Twice, maybe? Certainly not more than a handful of times and even when we did we were almost always around other people and never actually had a real conversation. We don't know each other. Except for work, we're practically strangers."

"That's not true—" she began to protest but House cut her off, tired of her attempts to prolong the inevitable.

"Yes, it is," he told her. "You know it is. I don't know you well enough to know what it is you enjoy to doing. That's why I asked you, but you refused to tell me. So I chose something and it wasn't good enough—and you made certain that I knew it. Lisa, things are not okay."

"So come over here and we'll talk about it," she practically ordered. House smirked bitterly to himself. She simply couldn't stop being the boss. She had to be the one in control, throwing the orders around and setting the standards.

"Is that an order?" House asked her and then sighed. "Will you be punishing me with clinic hours if I don't obey?" His voice was hard.

"Don't do that!" Lisa barked. "We've already dealt with that and we agreed to separate work from our personal lives!"

"So you're still ordering me around as my girlfriend, not as my boss then?" House retorted. "It amounts to the same thing. No matter where I go you get to tell me what to do and I get to obey or else we do this. Well, I'm not doing this anymore."

"Oh really?"

"I wanted to do this the mature way, face to face," House told her in disgust, "but you've left me no choice but to do it over the phone. I'm not in love with you Lisa. I love you as someone I've known for a long time and I thought that would be enough…but it's not. I'm ending this now. I don't want to date you anymore. I'd say that I'm sorry, but I'm through with lying to make you feel better."

"You—I don't believe this!" Lisa exclaimed indignantly. "You are breaking up with me?"

"Yes," he answered in finality. The moment he said it the heavy burden that had been weighing down on him since the morning after their first night together (since college, that is) lifted and he felt like he could breathe again. The relationship had felt so wrong from the start; this…this felt so right. A smile spontaneously broke out on his face and he had to repress the urge to chuckle. He had anticipated feeling like a failure—but he didn't; It felt very much like a victory to him.

"Greg, if this is a joke," Lisa Cuddy said to him, her confidence crumbling, "it's not very funny!"

"It's no joke," House told her, still smiling. Was it bad that he was actually enjoying himself now, at her expense? "We're through. I am the dumper, you are the dump-ee."

"You can't do this to me!" Cuddy screeched at him now, fury and hurt powering her protest. "Do you know what I gave up for you, to give you—us—a chance? Do you know the sacrifices I've had to make? How much I've had to put up with?"

House was about to reply when he felt two warm hands come to rest upon his shoulders followed by an equally warm body press up against him from behind. His eyes closed unconsciously and he let out a small moan of appreciation when those hands caressed his skin as they slowly slid down his arms to the elbow and then moved to his waist before two arms wrapped around him and lips began to brush against his neck.

"Greg?" Cuddy said, "Was that you?"

"Was what me?" he asked, growing distracted. This conversation was getting old, fast. He leaned his head to the side to give Wilson better access to the tender skin where his neck and shoulder met. He moaned again, only louder and felt the younger man grin against his flesh.

"That!" Cuddy answered sharply. "That moan!" She was practically screaming into the phone now and House had to hold the cell phone away from his ear a bit. "Greg—are you with somebody else? Are you…are you having sex with another woman while on the phone with me?"

"Another woman?" House answered her, unable to hold back a chuckle and then a hiss as Wilson began to suck on his ear lobe and his soft hands began to migrate southward. "Of course not!"

"You lying son of a bitch!" she raged. "You're not over at the loft comforting Wilson! You're with some slut prostitute, aren't you?"

Hearing her clear as day, Wilson stopped leaving hot, wet open-mouthed kisses along House's shoulder and gestured to his lover for the phone. The diagnostician shrugged and handed it to him.

"Cuddy," Wilson said lazily into the speaker, "Greg wasn't lying about being here at the loft, he will soon be comforting me a whole lot more, and I happen to be the slut he's been fucking. I hope I managed to clear things up for you. Good-bye." He turned off the cell phone and allowed it to fall onto some clothing lying on the floor with a light thud.

House was laughing in amazement, and he turned around to face his lover. They wrapped their arms around each other and Wilson smiled smugly.

"That—that was impressive," House told him appreciatively. "I see that you're past the baby-step stage now."

Wilson didn't reply verbally, allowing his lips to answer by joining them with the older man's in a passionate kiss. When he pulled away again he asked House, "Are you hungry? I could make something quick, like bacon and eggs with toast?"

"Mmm, I am hungry," House told him, his hands moving to the oncologist's smooth ass and beginning to knead and massage the muscles, "but not for food."

Not asking any further questions Wilson grabbed House's hand and led him back to their bedroom.

~fin~