A/N: I've had most of this chapter written for a while now, but sorting out the ending has taken me ages! I'm glad to be writing again and at least the fic is finally finished.
As ever, thanks for any reviews/comments!
House stared at the minute hand of his wall clock as it slowly moved towards the twelve. He was half hoping Wilson was going to be late so that he would have an excuse to call off the 'wedding'. He had spent most of the day sat on the couch wondering if he had done the right thing in accepting the proposal. He had no idea why Wilson wanted to marry him.
Just as the clock began to gently chime the hour, the door suddenly opened which startled House in his agitated state. Wilson didn't notice as he bounded in to the apartment, slightly breathless from running from his car. Wilson sat down next to House after he deposited his cell phone, keys, wallet and pager on the coffee table. It was only then that House turned to look at Wilson.
"Sorry I'm late. Traffic was really bad." Wilson explained.
"You look..." House eventually responded after he took in Wilson's appearance. Wilson was wearing different clothes from that morning. The black jeans and soft charcoal grey sweater he now wore were in complete contrast to House's old, battered sneakers which were still on his feet. He had also showered, had a haircut and was freshly shaved. House then leaned in slightly to smell a mix of shower gel and cologne on Wilson's skin. House couldn't resist the overwhelming urge to run his fingers through Wilson's hair and kiss him senseless, but he froze when Wilson placed two small boxes on the coffee table. He had arranged them so the blue leather one was near House and the other wooden box was in front of himself. He shook his head and swapped them around before swearing under his breath and returning them to their original places.
"I'm ready now." Wilson smiled excitedly at him, but House wondered if he was ready for what was about to happen. His heart was pounding in his chest, nervousness making his body suddenly feel ice-cold. He could easily tell Wilson that he had changed his mind and he would no doubt understand. He looked across at Wilson and saw all the effort he had gone to, not only with his appearance, but with choosing the rings too. He didn't want to hurt Wilson or be the cause of his disappointment as it clearly meant so much to him. All he wanted was to be with Wilson and he deserved to know that.
"Me first." House said as he took the ring box nearest to him and opened it. In it was a simple yellow gold band. He took it from the box and examined it. It had that day's date engraved on the inside which made him smile. They were both terrible at remembering important dates such as birthdays. This way, there would be no excuse to forget their anniversary. He took Wilson's left hand and put the gold band on his ring finger. House then pulled Wilson close to him, so that his mouth was next to his left ear and took a deep breath.
"I love you." He whispered. It felt as if he was sharing his most important secret with Wilson. He didn't need to tell the world how he felt about Wilson. The moment was perfect, just the two of them together.
Wilson cupped House's face with his free hand. He then gently kissed House before smiling against his lips. He then moved back and turned to the coffee table retrieve the remaining ring box. The ring was platinum and like Wilson's was engraved with the date. House noticed that it looked old, antique even. He liked the idea that it might have a history and his wearing it was just another chapter in it's life. The band was slipped on House's finger before Wilson took House's hands in his. He made sure he was looking directly into House's eyes before he began to speak. He wanted House to be absolutely clear about the sentiment behind his words.
"House, I promise to..."
"Don't, just...don't." House interrupted. He didn't want Wilson making promises of fidelity. Even though he had not given House any reason to think he had been unfaithful so far, House had accepted the possibility of it happening in the future.
"Wait you haven't even heard what I have to say yet!" Wilson kept his tone deliberately light, but his expression changed when he saw how sceptical House looked. "Please. I've spent all day thinking about what I want to say to you. What you need to hear." Wilson squeezed House's hands with his own, hoping that House could see how sincere he was.
"Okay." House reluctantly nodded his head, his curiosity winning over his better judgement. Wilson also nodded his head and took a deep breath before he spoke again.
"House, I promise to always tell you the truth. No matter what. In the past I've flat out lied to you or omitted to tell you the truth because I thought I knew better." House was pleased to see that Wilson was rueful. "But I know that was wrong of me to do so and the very least you deserve is complete honesty. You might not like what you hear, but you won't have to question my motivation." Wilson confessed.
"Okay, then. Why did you ask me this morning?" House found this new, sudden openness between them exhilarating.
"I could imagine us years from now, as old men sitting on a couch, arguing over which show to watch and what to eat for breakfast. I've never let myself do that before." Wilson readily admitted. "So why did you accept?"
"Same reason you asked me." House replied as he smiled at Wilson.
"You're stuck with me." Wilson squeezed House's hands in reassurance and understanding, as he said the words House found difficult to say aloud. "You can try to push me away, but I'm not going anywhere. Friend, lover, partner, spouse. Any of them, all of them. I'll take it."
Wilson released his hands so House took the opportunity to draw Wilson closer to him to share a brief, but tender kiss. As Wilson moved away, he did a double take when he saw a bottle of Champagne in the kitchen from the corner of his eye.
"You bought that with your own money?" Wilson asked incredulously as he pointed to the bottle.
"Yes." House responded, rolling his eyes. "Annoyingly, you remembered to take your wallet with you." He added. Wilson then stood up with a big grin on his face and headed to the kitchen.
House was unsure of how Wilson would react when he saw the glasses next to the Champagne. Instead of flutes, there were two tumblers. They had been the only decent glassware he could find in their apartment. The only other choice was using coffee mugs which he knew Wilson would've mocked him for. House was pleasantly surprised to see Wilson chuckling.
"I do have Champagne flutes, but you wouldn't let me take them out of storage." Wilson commented.
"I didn't think we'd ever need them!" House protested.
"It's okay, don't worry." Wilson quickly replied as he opened the bottle and poured them each a drink.
House watched Wilson take a sip of champagne and set his glass back down on the kitchen counter. There was a small, content smile on Wilson's face when he looked down at his left hand as sunlight glinted off his new yellow gold ring.
"We could make it official. Do this again in public if you want." House said quietly. Although they weren't legally married, House felt as if he really was married to Wilson and he now wondered why he had ever panicked. It didn't feel at all oppressive or confining. Instead, he felt a sense of safety, as if he didn't need to worry about the future so much. He knew there was still the possibility that it could all go wrong between them, but he felt far more optimistic that it wouldn't. House then understood that was what Wilson needed to feel too. He continued to watch Wilson as he considered House's proposition.
"This is what I wanted." Wilson eventually responded as he looked up at him. House didn't doubt his honesty and simply nodded his head.
"So since I arranged the reception, it's up to you to organise the honeymoon." House said changing the subject.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you." Wilson said. "I made a couple of calls this afternoon and we both have Monday off work."
"You are a genius!" House exclaimed, his face lighting up with glee at the thought of extra time together. "So, are you going to tell me where the honeymoon is?"
"I thought you might want to guess first." Wilson answered with a mischievious smile on his face.
"You want me to do a differential on..." House trailed off, changing his mind, mid-sentence. "...okay then." He pondered for a moment before he continued. "You don't like long plane journeys and we need to get back here by Tuesday anyway, so Vegas is out of the question."
"Yes." Wilson rewarded House with a kiss for his correct guess.
"You thought somewhere nearer to home would be better." House added as he gauged Wilson's reaction, but his perfectly blank face gave nothing away.
"All we really need is a nice room. We don't have to go far for that." Wilson then gave House another kiss.
"It's not as if we'll go sightseeing!" House stated with an exaggerated wink which made Wilson laugh.
"Where we're going has a huge bed, a big screen TV and an amazing cook." Wilson continued as he stepped even closer and reached out his left hand to gently tug at House's t-shirt.
"And it just happens to be available this weekend." House added after they shared a slow, lingering kiss.
"We have such good luck." Wilson replied as he led House out of the kitchen and toward their bedroom.
"If I knew you were a cheapskate, I never would've married you." House joked.
"Ha! I knew you only married me for my money!" Wilson joked back.
House's laughter was abruptly cut off as Wilson kissed him passionately and closed their bedroom door.