There were too many occasions, on too many days that Wilson found himself asking, 'Can this day possibly get any worse?'
Then House moved in and he stopped bothering.
Because the answer was always 'yes'.
Like now, for example. Wilson sniffed and grimaced at the smell of burnt popcorn as he stepped over a cane-battered smoke alarm.
'Hey,' House greeted him without taking his eyes from the television.
'Hey,' Wilson walked into the kitchen, wincing as he trod on popcorn kernels, and all but crying out loud when he saw the sink overflowing with dishes, and oddly enough, burnt popcorn.
He grabbed two bottles of beer and trudged back into the living room, handing one to House as he sat down beside him.
'So, what's going on?' he nodded his head at the coffee table littered with binge evidence.
'Pity party. Welcome,' and House threw out his arm in invitation.
Wilson nodded. 'What are we celebrating?'
House looked back at the television. 'Tried to kiss Cuddy earlier. In her office. Got shot down in flames.'
Wilson raised his eyebrows at the TV. 'Wanna talk about it?' he asked.
'Okay.' Wilson concentrated on his own beer.
'You know Wilson,' House drawled, 'sometimes, no means yes.'
'Are you referring to me or Cuddy?'
Wilson waited a full minute before he caved. 'So, what happened?'
'Well,' House took a long pull of his beer; 'I was summoned to her majesty's office for…for…' he trailed off, looking confused, 'Actually, I really have no idea what for.' He shook his head. 'Anyway, I happened to notice that while I was staring at her twins, she was staring at mine.'
He looked away from the TV long enough to give Wilson a leering wink.
'Your what?' Wilson scrunched up his face.
'You have twins?'
'She was staring at my chest, Wilson. Don't be a dick.'
Wilson stared at said same chest and suddenly knew where House was going with this.
'You have a pretty impressive tear in your shirt', he said pointing somewhere in the vicinity of House's left twin.
'And you have hideous ties,' House retorted nastily.
Wilson looked down at his tie and shrugged.
'Anyhoooo,' House said loudly, 'ignorant as I was of that fact, I leaned towards her. She leaned back.' He lifted the bottle back to his lips, giving Wilson just enough time to spoil his dramatic pause.
'Leaned back away from you? That might have been your first clue.'
'Fuck off, Wilson. I was kinda committed at that stage so I kept going. When she opened her mouth, I really thought I was in there but then she sort of screamed. And not in a good way, not in a "God Greg, yes, more, please, yes" way but more like "What the fuck House, get out of my office, you creep"', House looked into space, 'or it may have been "pervert."' He shrugged. 'Semantics.'
Wilson was enjoying this show so much that he wished House hadn't burnt all the popcorn.
'And', he threw his arms out in a 'continue' gesture.
'I don't know...something about personal hygiene, inappropriate behaviour and clinic hours. You'd have to ask the bats nesting in the hospital rafters to decipher the rest.'
Wilson twisted his mouth to the side. 'What are you going to do now?' he asked
House shook his head. 'Don't know.'
'What were you thinking? What on earth possessed you to try kiss her in her office?'
'David Attenborough. On his show last night, he was talking about the mating rituals of Vervet Monkeys. When males and females are attracted to each other, they mimic each other's behaviour. Apparently this is
a common trait of higher order primates…soooo, when I stare at Cuddy's chest, it's because I'm attracted to her. Ergo, when I saw her staring at my chest…well, you can fill in the blanks.'
'You're taking wooing advice from monkeys now?'
'Yeah, my follow up was going to include sniffing her ass before peeing around her desk. Oh, and maybe some poop throwing. You think maybe I should have opened with that?'
Wilson raised his eyebrows. 'I think we'd be having this conversation in an entirely different location if you had. One with bars.'
'A jail.' After a pause Wilson added, 'I hope you've learned something.'
'Yeah. Red penises.'
'I assume you're not talking about Cuddy.'
'Vervet Monkeys. The males have red penises and,' House turned to look at Wilson, a big grin spreading across his face, 'blue balls.'
'Ah', Wilson grinned back, 'Another trait you now have in common.'
He heaved himself off the sofa and went foraging in the kitchen, returning with two glasses and a bottle of bourbon.
'Cheers', he held out a filled glass to House, who raised it, emptied it and settled back with a wince.
'How come you're home so early?' Wilson asked during a commercial break.
'Blew off my clinic hours.'
'Well, that showed her.'
'I may have said this already, but fuck off, Wilson'.
'Pity she's not here now, she'd never be able to resist you. I see you've improved on the 5 inch rip by further decorating your shirt with…what is that? Korma sauce?'
House's look of affront didn't deter Wilson.
'There are noodles in your beard,' he further critiqued. 'Go like this,' Wilson barred his teeth and House did likewise. 'Yes, green stuff on your teeth. Which is quite remarkable considering I have never seen you actually eat anything green. And your breath…'
He leaned into House, who held his breath.
'Well, I bet it smells like nothing on earth.'
'I bet it smells just like my dinner'.
'Yeah.' Wilson looked at the empty take-out containers around him. 'Nothing on earth.'
House ran his tongue over his teeth and went fishing in his beard. Upon finding the noodle, he held it up triumphantly to Wilson. And popped it in his mouth with a satisfied 'Yummm.'
Wilson looked suitably unimpressed. 'I see your problem with Cuddy. Kissing you would be disgusting.'
House smirked and stretched his legs out on to the coffee table, spilling containers, which then proceeded to leak left-over sauce onto the hardwood.
Wilson refused to be baited. 'Cure your patient yet?' he asked
'Nope', House answered.
'Wow, two failures in one day. How's your ego coping?'
'Fine, thanks. Thinking of going line dancing with your self-righteousness.'
Wilson rolled his eyes and twirled the glass in his hand.
'Can I help?' he asked.
'With what?' And House did genuinely look puzzled
House stared incredulously at him for so long that Wilson bristled.
'What?' Wilson asked, as if he didn't already know.
House turned his mouth down and shrugged.
'What I mean', continued Wilson, after sighing for emphasis, 'is that we do our thing where you talk about you patient and get no-where. And then we get sidetracked down some blind alley and I say something obscure, which you then turn into an epiphany. You get up and race for the hospital – in a cab' – he stressed, nodding at the bottle on the table, 'just in the nick of time to save the day, and the patient. Still wearing the torn shirt. And tonight's dinner.'
House nodded, somewhat soothed.
The bourbon gave Wilson a nudge. 'Why do you let him ridicule you like this?'
Well, not so much nudged – more like overtook.
'I'm a good doctor. What makes you think I couldn't diagnose her?' he asked
'Well,' House drawled, 'for a start you can't even diagnose the right sex. Her is he. And then there was the time you thought the patient's cancer was herpes, and the time you thought another patient was cured of cancer, when it was, ironically enough, herpes. What is it with you and herpes? It's like it you can't stay away from each other. And then there was the time…'
'Enough, House,' snapped Wilson, immediately responding to the poke of a stick that House loved to prod sore spots with. He really hated it when House gleefully reminded him of how his personal judgement clouded his professional conduct. The only thing he hated more was his own tendency to over-react to it. 'I see your ego is back,' he snipped.
'Turns out your self righteousness is the only part of you that won't put out.'
'Well, it has to bought dinner first, you know, made to feel special.'
'I bet', said the bourbon or Wilson - one of them - 'I bet that I can cure your patient before you.'
House looked at him levelly. 'What are you? Drunk? Stupid? Both?'
And when Wilson just shrugged, he grew suspicious. 'What do you know?'
'Nothing', answered Wilson truthfully.
House MD was running out of patience with this but Gambler House wanted to know the stakes. 'And if you win?'
'Oh-ho, that's easy', Wilson surveyed the wreckage around him, 'If I diagnose your patient first, then you have to clean this place everyday for a week. And that includes dishes – washed, dried and put away – plus vacuuming, laundry, floor washing, grocery shopping.' As an afterthought he threw in, 'And cooking.'
House pondered this. 'Washing your boxers and socks would be disgusting', he stated.
'Kissing you would be disgusting,' Wilson threw back.
House twisted his mouth to the side. 'Okay then, if I win…if I win, you have to kiss me. And that includes tongue – washed, wet and putting out – plus nibbling, biting, licking, sucking.' As an afterthought he threw in, 'And groping.'
A sober Wilson would have had the good sense to refuse such terms but a drunk Wilson was, well…drunk, and amused. He also wondered if maybe he should stop drinking now, but what the hell - he'd already placed a long shot bet with House - it wasn't like there was anything stupid left to say. He refilled the glasses with a shaky hand.
'Of course, I reserve the right to exchange the kiss for a cash prize.' House took the offered glass.
'How much?' asked Wilson warily.
'Two hundred bucks.'
'Done. Although I would happily have paid at least twice that not to be kissed by you.'
'Really? I didn't think you were capable of turning down any action, regardless of origin.'
'I do have some standards,' Wilson sniffed with that peculiar sense of drunken dignity.
'Higher than a pulse?'
They raised their glasses.
'Bottoms up,' toasted Wilson.