Free at Last
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Well, here's my first house/Wilson fic. It's very short, but hopefully size really doesn't matter when it comes to fan fiction. :P I was watching season 6 on DVD over the weekend and got inspired. The story starts at the end of episode 6.16 "Lockdown." Obviously, I've made some changes to the conversation between Wilson and Thirteen. Hope you enjoy
It started with a conversation—or rather a game of truth or dare—between James Wilson and Remy Hadley. It had seemed so innocent at the time. The hospital was in lockdown and they stuck in the cafeteria for an indefinite period of time. They needed something to keep themselves entertained. They would trade embarrassing information, do a few dares, and in the morning pretend that none of it happened. Unfortunately, that wasn't how it happened. He'd been telling Thirteen about finding his ex-wife on Facebook when the woman had come out of nowhere with an insane theory.
"You bought a condo for House," Thirteen said with a smug smile. "And you aren't dating because you are afraid that House will what? End up back at Mayfield? Is that really the reason or is that the excuse?"
"So does that mean you think I should call up my ex-wife?" Wilson asked.
Remy gave him a sidelong look. "Did I say that?"
"No, but I'm pretty sure that's what you were implying," Wilson said, his brow wrinkled in confusion.
Remy rolled her eyes. "And people wonder why I date women. Men are idiots. Even the supposedly sensitive ones."
"What?" Wilson asked. "What did you mean then?"
"Wilson, you have gone through three wives and countless other relationships with women, each of whom you supposedly loved," Thirteen said. "And through all of that, the one person who was consistently by your side was House. He has made sacrifices for you, though I'm sure he would never admit it. You have made sacrifices for him. The two of you drive each other mad and yet you are still together. Sounds like true love to me."
Wilson sat back against the booth and thought about that. In the end, only one argument came to mind. "I'm not gay."
Thirteen laughed. "That's the best you can come up with? Just because you haven't slept with a man does not mean that you can't be in love with one."
"You really think I'm in love with House?" Wilson asked incredulously. "Half the time I hate him!"
"Everyone hates him," Thirteen countered. "Not everyone keeps going back for more. You not only go back again and again, you seek him out. You do things to guarantee that he will be in your life for the long haul. You dragged him to his father's funeral. You saw him through his addiction and his rehab. You allowed him to live with you. You bought a fucking condo for the man, Wilson!"
Wilson got defensive. "He's done things for me too. He bailed me out of jail the first night we met. He's been there for me through every one of my divorces. He saved me from ruining my life by giving a paper that could have landed me in jail. He was with me the entire way when I gave Tucker my liver, even though he thought I was an idiot for doing it. I feel alive when I'm with him, whether we're arguing or laughing. He does things in a way that is completely infuriating but is always for my own good."
"I know," Thirteen soothed. "He does that. But most people can't see his odd brand of helpfulness. Most people wouldn't put up with the bad that comes along with the good the way that you do. Most people didn't spend the months he was in Mayfield pining and worrying about him. You love him. As more than a friend."
Wilson shook his head in denial. "No. Seriously, no. That can't… that can't be…"
"Wilson, when you were talking about Sam, your first thought was how it would affect House," Thirteen said gently. "He's your first priority…in everything."
Wilson stood up and began pacing back and forth in front of the booth where Thirteen still sat. That couldn't be right. Could it? He wasn't gay. He had never been attracted to a man in his life. Then why had he bought the Condo? Why had he bought the organ for House?
"I bought him an organ," Wilson told Thirteen. He leaned his arms against the table and let his head drop. "He told me to buy one piece of furniture that expressed who I am and I bought an organ for him. What does that mean?"
Thirteen grinned. "It means that deep down, you feel like he is a part of you. It means that you are in love with him."
Wilson sat back into the booth and sighed. "So what do I do? How does knowing this help? Because House is the straightest man I know. If the porn didn't give it away, the constant sexual harassment of Cuddy would. If he's in love with anyone, it's her."
"Bullshit," Thirteen said. "He flirts with her the same way he flirts with any woman. He makes it impossible for them to take him seriously. Either they are offended, or they think he's an amusing ass, but not seriously interested in a relationship. He uses it to hold women at arms length."
"That still doesn't mean that he's interested in me," Wilson argued.
Thirteen rolled her eyes. "He flirts with you too, you know, only without the abrasiveness that keeps those women out. You are the ONLY man he flirts with. And you don't see the way he looks at you. He shows more emotion in a single glance in your direction than he does in a week of looks at anyone else."
Wilson thought back to the way House had looked at him when he had uncovered the organ. The light in his eyes, the small genuine smile on his lips, the way he had caught and held Wilson's gaze far longer than was normal for anyone not in an intimate relationship… Maybe Thirteen was right. But what if she was wrong and he took a chance and House rejected him. He could lose everything. He told the younger doctor as much.
"You're right," Thirteen nodded slowly. "It could blow up in your face. Then again, if it works, think of how great it would be to have your best friend be your lover. And even if he's totally against the idea, I seriously doubt he'd let it come between you. He depends upon your friendship too much to throw it away."
"But if he wants something more, maybe I should let him make the first move," Wilson said.
Thirteen wanted to growl in frustration. "Do you really think a man as insecure in social interaction as he is would ever have the courage to risk his only friend for the uncertainty of a relationship? The only way he'll ever admit to having any sort of romantic feelings for you is if you force it out of him."
Wilson stared at her for a very long time. "If you are wrong, he's going to use this to torment me for years. You know that right?"
Thirteen laughed. "Of course."
"How do I know that this isn't some elaborate ruse," Wilson asked. "House could have put you up to this."
"He could have," Thirteen said with an enigmatic smile. "But he didn't."
Wilson studied her face for several minutes until he was satisfied that she was telling the truth. Just as he came to that conclusion, the announcement was made that the lockdown had ended.
"I guess we can go," Thirteen said.
"Yeah, free at last," Wilson said with false cheer. "Don't forget you owe me a dare."
"I'll get right on that," Thirteen said with a smirk before rushing out of the cafeteria.
House stayed with the dying patient until he took his last breath, even though the lockdown had ended long before then. Afterward, he made his way up to his office with a heavy heart. The time he had spent in that man's company had affected him deeply. He knew there was no way he could solve all the cases sent to him, but maybe he could solve more than one a week. Maybe… But that wasn't how he worked. He either put everything into one case or he put half his attention into two. Half of his attention wasn't good enough to save anyone. There was a reason he and Cuddy had worked out the system they had: it worked.
So even though he felt guilty watching a man he chose not to treat die from something he could have solved, he knew that he wouldn't have done things differently. House had done the only thing he could do; he chose the cases that he thought no one else had a chance at solving. It was all about triage. Take the worst cases first. If a patient died… well, that was just the way things went. The late professor's case had been solved eventually, just not in time to save him.
It was after ten when House reached his office, but he noticed that the light was still on in Wilson's office as he went past. Had the younger man waited for him? They had carpooled that morning, so it was possible. House shook his head. He'd have to reprimand Wilson. He could have gone home. House would have called a cab. Instead, he grabbed his things and put them into his backpack, snatched his jacket from the coat rack, and locked his office up. Then he went to Wilson's office and barged in without knocking.
"Ready to go?" House asked.
Wilson was sitting at his desk, and he had been staring at a requisition form for the past half hour as he thought about his conversation with Thirteen and replayed every word in his mind. He jumped only a little when House marched into his office without invitation. He was used to it by now.
"Yeah," Wilson said. He stood up and began packing his briefcase.
"You didn't have to wait for me," House said quietly. "I could have found my own way home."
"I know," Wilson said. "I had some work that needed to be done if I want to take the weekend off. It got delayed because of the lockdown. I was stuck in the cafeteria with Thirteen."
"Oh! Do tell!" House said with a lusty leer.
Wilson rolled his eyes as he pulled on his overcoat and ushered House towards the door. "It wasn't like that. There were half a dozen other people in there with us. We just talked."
"About?" House persisted. He led the way to the elevator and pressed the down button.
Wilson paused as he considered what he wanted to tell his best friend. "We played truth or dare. I had to steal a dollar from the cashier—I got caught of course—and she has to flash Taub at a later date."
"You're such a sucker," House told his friend. They stepped onto the elevator and House pressed the button for the lobby. "She could wait ten years, or forever, and still be playing within the rules of the game."
"So she pointed out," Wilson said wryly. "I think she lied."
Wilson shrugged. "Just some of the more personal questions I asked. I don't think she told me the truth. No way to really know for sure, though."
"That's the problem with that game," House said. "You actually have to trust the person you're playing with. Either that or know them so well that you can tell when they are lying. Personally, I prefer 'I Never'."
Wilson glanced at House warily as they stepped out of the elevator and into the lobby. They made their way towards the front doors and House held the door for Wilson. "I know I'm going to regret asking, but what is 'I Never'?"
"I am so glad you asked!" House said cheerfully. "It's a drinking game. Usually played with large groups but it can be fun with only two or three. One person makes a statement beginning with the phrase 'I never' and everyone who has done whatever they say has to drink. The person who said the phrase can be lying and have to drink as well. Most people get drunk enough that their inhibitions drop along with their ability to lie. It's a great game for finding out secrets."
"And you are telling me this because…" Wilson prompted.
"It's Friday night," House said with an impish smile. "I thought we might order pizza, break out that bottle of scotch you've been hording for a special occasion and play a few rounds."
Wilson narrowed his eyes and studied House over the roof of his car. "Yes, on the pizza, but we aren't using my bottle of 16-year-old Lagavulin for a drinking game. We can stop by the liquor store and buy some bourbon."
"Alright!" House cheered. "Jimmy's coming out to play!"
"I never pulled my pants down in front of a nun and let her see all my dangly bits," House said with a drunken smirk. The one drawback to playing this game with your best friend was that they knew all your secrets already and could force you to get drunk rather quickly. Of course, that meant that House could get Wilson drunk as well.
Wilson tried to glare at House but the hiccough made that almost impossible. "I hate you." He swallowed the shot that House had poured for him. "I never… I never had sex with Cuddy." For all their years of friendship, Wilson had never gotten a straight answer from his friend on that question and he was more than curious.
House stared at Wilson for long seconds. It was like time was standing still. Wilson was sure that the older man was not going to lift his shot glass. And then he did.
"No way!" Wilson slurred. "Seriously?"
House gave him a smug look and shot the bourbon. "I never kissed a man."
There was another long period of watching and waiting, as they each looked to see the other's answer. In the end, House lifted his glass and Wilson didn't. Wilson was stunned. House had kissed a man? Well, that was news to him. While he was reeling with that news, however, he didn't see the small flicker of disappointment flash through House's expressive blue eyes.
"I never had sex with a man," Wilson said quietly, knowing he was straying into delicate areas. The effectsof the alcohol seemed to fade as his heart rate and adreneline increased.
Again Wilson's glass remained where it sat on the dining table between them. Wilson was glad he had finally furnished the apartment and they had a place to sit besides that ugly orange sofa that House had bought. The empty pizza box had been shoved to the side and only the bottle of bourbon and their two glasses sat between them on the table now. Wilson's went back and forth between the glass and House's stony face. He really wanted to know the answer to this question. After his conversation with Thirteen, it seemed like his entire future rested on House's response. House's face broke into a satisfied smirk as he finally lifted the glass and drank the amber liquid.
"Well played," House commented as he leaned back in his chair, suddenly seeming a lot more sober. "And on that note, I think it's time for bed."
Wilson watched silently as House stood up and took a moment to get his balance. Then he watched as House started towards the hall leading to their bedrooms. It wasn't until House was at his bedroom door that Wilson actually spoke out.
"Will you kiss me?"
House froze. From his seat, Wilson couldn't see House's face, but he could see the tension that had gathered in the other man's body.
"I mean… You don't have to, but I thought maybe…"
House turned and made his way back to the dining table. He stopped right beside Wilson's chair and towered over him. "If you want to do this, I suggest you stand up."
Wilson swallowed the lump in his throat. "Right." He stood and House didn't back away at all, so that they were now standing only inches from each other. Wilson could feel House's breath, hot and fragrant with the oaky bourbon they had been consuming. House placed a hand on Wilson's bicep and pulled him closer. Wilson felt like his heart was going to beat right out of his chest. And then House's other hand reached down and pulled Wilson's arm to his waist. Wilson took the hint and carefully wrapped his arms around House, conscious of every place their bodies made contact. House caressed Wilson's cheek with the back of two fingers before letting his hand trail around to the nape of Wilson's neck. The gentle touch made Wilson shiver with anticipation and desire. And then House finally leaned forward and their lips met.
Wilson had kissed a lot of women in his life, and he was pretty sure that he was good at it. But each and every time he had kissed a girl, it had been just that: him kissing her. This time, it was totally different. This time, he was the kissee instead of the kisser. House took control of the kiss from the very start and never gave Wilson ground to take that control back. Not that he really wanted control. House was doing just fine in leading him where they both wanted to go. The soft caress of lip against lip followed by the teasing licks and nibbles until Wilson opened his mouth for House to explore. House possessed him with that kiss, taking everything that he wanted from Wilson, and giving back ten times more in return. It was hot and passionate, without being desperate.
House pulled away, his breathing faster than normal, and stared into Wilson's eyes. "Is that what you wanted?"
Wilson was still completely dazed and could do no more than nod.
"Or did you want more?" House asked huskily.
Wilson paused and looked away from House, staring hard at the fireplace across the room. He had only even thought about this for the first time that evening, and yet, some part of him didn't want to wait. He didn't want to take things slow and give himself time to panic or change his mind. He wanted this. It was right, more right than he could ever remember feeling with anyone else.
"I want everything," Wilson finally said.
House chuffed a small laugh. "You always were greedy. Come on."
Wilson protested even as he allowed House to lead him to Wilson's bedroom. "I'm not greedy! If anyone is greedy, it's you!"
House stopped in the hall and pushed Wilson up against the wall. His mouth crushed against Wilson's and this time the passion was blazing between them as House took possession of Wilson once again. Their bodies were pressed against each other from thigh to chest and Wilson could feel the length of House's erection pressing against his hip. Wilson thought he just might spontaneously combust right there. Just when he was sure that he could stand no more, House pulled away and looked down at Wilson with a leer.
"You're right," House said. "I am greedy. And possessive. And a bastard. If we do this, it has to be all or nothing. I can't do casual sex. Not with you. Are you sure that this is what you want?"
Wilson nodded slowly. He didn't want House to think he was taking this decision lightly. He wasn't. But he knew what he wanted. He wanted House. He wanted to be his friend AND his lover. He wanted everything, just like he had said.
House kissed him one more time before pulling Wilson into the bedroom and closing the door behind them.
Thirteen watched Wilson and House walk down the hall towards diagnostics Monday morning. They paused when they reached the oncologist's office. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but she could tell that something had changed between the two men. Their body language screamed of an intimacy that hadn't been there on Friday. A small smile crossed her lips as she slipped into the diagnostics conference room before House could spot her.
The morning passed by slower than usual, but the lack of a case made it easier for Thirteen to find a few moments to sneak away. She caught Wilson returning from a consult and followed him into his office. She watched as he gingerly took his seat before looking up at her.
"How can I help you, Dr. Hadley?" Wilson asked.
"So formal!" Thirteen said with a smile. "After our conversation on Friday, I'm sure that you can call me Remy, or at the very least Thirteen."
Wilson smiled ruefully. "Alright Thirteen. I'm pretty sure I know why you are here."
"And?" Thirteen prompted.
"And…" Wilson hedged, "it's none of your business."
Thirteen rolled her eyes. "Of course it isn't. That isn't the point. Anyway, I have my answer even if you don't say another word."
"Oh really?" Wilson said. "And what exactly do you think you know?"
"I know that House is in a frighteningly good mood today," Thirteen said, ticking each item off on her fingers as she spoke. "I know that the body language between the two of you this morning is way more intimate than I've ever seen you display in public before. I know that you winced when you sat down just a moment ago. And I know that the blush that is currently covering your face means that I'm right about all of the above."
Wilson sat back in his chair and sighed. "Okay. You know a lot. But just remember, if you use this to torment House, you take your own life into your hands."
"I'm not going to torment him," Thirteen said easily. "I think he deserves a bit of happiness after everything he's been through. I think you both do."
She turned to leave, only to find her boss standing in the doorway with a scowl marring his features. "Thirteen."
"House," she replied calmly.
House stared at her, a warning in his eyes. "We have a patient. Go get a family history." He handed her the file and let her pass. He pretended not to notice the knowing smile that she did nothing to hide. He closed the door behind her. "She knows?"
"I told you she and I talked Friday?" Wilson said carefully, unsure how upset House might be with him. "Well, she's the one who got me to see… that I'm in love with you."
House's face didn't change as he slowly processed what Wilson was saying to him. Once it had settled in and he felt comfortable with it, he smiled wickedly. "Good. I guess I don't have to kill her then. Just torture her a little bit."
Wilson chuffed a relieved laugh. "You might not want to do that. If you torture her, she might just tell the whole hospital our business."
House looked away from Wilson and turned towards the window. "You got a problem with people knowing?"
Wilson stood up and crossed over to House. "No! I just thought you'd… well, you like your privacy. You want to know everything about everyone, but hate when people know anything about you." He put his hand on House's arm and tried to turn the taller man to face him.
House turned suddenly and without warning, had Wilson in his arms, kissing the stuffing out of him. The oncologist had no choice but to just go along for the ride. When House released his lips and let his lips and teeth and tongue have their way with Wilson's neck, Wilson could do nothing but moan in pleasure. He knew he should object. He knew that his office wasn't the place to be doing these things. He knew that, but he just didn't care when House was turning his body into a puddle of satisfied goo. And then he felt the sting of pain as House's mouth left a mark.
Wilson pulled away from House and held his hand up to his neck where House's mouth had just been. "Did you just give me a hickey?"
"Yep," House said unapologetically. "It's pretty high up on your neck too. I doubt even a turtleneck would hide that baby."
Wilson spluttered, "Wha.. Why… Why would you do such a thing? I have to meet with patients! How are they supposed to take me seriously if I'm walking around with a hickey on my neck?"
House grinned and shrugged. "Just thought I'd let everyone know that you're taken. See ya!"
And with that House was gone.
Wilson shuffled back over to his desk and slumped down into his chair. He fingered the bruise on his neck, sure that it was already turning purple. House was an ass.
Slowly, a smile crossed Wilson's face. House was an ass, but he was Wilson's ass now. He was pretty sure he could live with that.