Chapter 9:

Wilson stood on the tennis court staring into the sun and trying to see where the ball would land. He quickly changed his direction, backed up and swung the ball cross-court. Months had passed since the incident with pneumonia and Cuddy's tumor. Thankfully they caught the tumor early and after 1 round of chemo, she had been declared cancer free.

Though the arrangement had been for Lucas to move out once Cuddy was healthy again, he ended up staying and moving from the play room to Cuddy's bedroom; her wardrobe merging with his. They had managed to patch things up after what had happened between them and were now taking their relationship slowly; enjoying each other's company and Rachel rather than what others (Cuddy's mom for example) thought.

Things between Cuddy, House and Wilson had slowly begun to get back to normal. As Cuddy's own happiness with Lucas and being cancer free grew, so did her happiness for House and Wilson. They had begun to become friends again, with the normal Cuddy-House banter daily and both of them coming to Wilson for a place to hide (House) and advice (Cuddy).

When Dr. Rodriguez, who was a younger doctor around Chase's age, in Pathology came up to him one day and asked if Wilson wanted to join him in a game of tennis, after having heard that Wilson used to play in College, the oncologist readily agreed. He had remembered using tennis as a good way of getting out his frustrations with school or his family and thought it might be a good way now.

Unfortunately, Wilson wasn't in college anymore and no longer in shape while his opponent was. Rodriguez had decided not to keep score, thankfully, but Wilson still tried to make sure that he reached and returned every single hit. It helped to create a lot of good volleys and leaving the older man worn out.

He finally had to admit defeat and told Rodriguez with a sincere smile that he would have to quit after the next volley but he'd love to play again. The younger man let out a warming laugh but nodded his head in agreement while he waited for Wilson to get ready for the next and last serve.

The ball flew up in the air, the racket hitting it with a resounding thwack and sending it soaring towards Wilson's torso. Wilson stepped back to avoid getting hit with the ball, not realizing there was a stray ball from the couple playing in the next court over behind him.

He straightened up and quickly took a step back effectively getting out of the way of the Ace. His left foot landed on top of the ball, his ankle twisting painfully and popping underneath him. With most of his weight on his left leg, the rest of his body fell hard onto the hard court; his knee connecting first and scraping as his upper body pushed it into the ground.

Rodriguez was on his way before Wilson had even hit the ground. He had noticed the action the other man was taking and knew it wouldn't end well. "James?" He asked, concern coloring his deep Spanish accent as he kneeled down on the ground next to the pained oncologist. He gently grabbed a hold of Wilson's shoulders and rolled him over onto his back. "Are you alright?" He asked while he scanned his eyes over Wilson, assessing his injuries. The couple whose ball had caused the accident came running over to make sure Wilson was ok and were kneeling next to Rodriguez.

Wilson grimaced and clenched his teeth. "Yeah, I'm ok." He answered as he gingerly pushed himself to sitting.

"I'm not so sure about that," Rodriguez answered as he moved down to inspect Wilson's ankle and bleeding knee, "unless you plan on hopping your way to your car. You're ankle won't be able to take any weight and we need to get your knee cleaned up."

Wilson waited for Rodriguez to stand up and hold out his hand for him to grab. One man from the other group came around and mimicked Rodriguez' actions. The oncologist blushed but with the heat from the day no one noticed; he hated needing this much help especially from strangers. He reached up his hands and grabbed the two that were held out, allowing his blood pressure to adjust to the change of direction and balancing precariously on one leg.

When they decided that Wilson wouldn't pass out on them, the two men ducked under his arms and helped him over to a bench on the side of the court. Wilson stretched out his left leg on the bench, wincing at the sting he received from his knee.

Rodriguez began to get ready to clean out the scrape and asked for the other person to see if they could get an ice pack from the main center but Wilson stopped him.

"No, don't bother." He said, grabbing the attention of both men who looked at him like he was crazy. Rodriguez had his cell phone out, dialing the number of an ambulance service. "I think I'll just go home, take care of everything there. Thankfully it's my left leg and I can still drive." He reasoned.

"Will Dr. House be there to help you?" Rodriguez questioned, deciding whether or not he actually wanted to comply with Wilson's request.

"Yeah." Wilson answered, carefully making sure to leave out that House won't be helping him get inside. He wasn't about to put that much pressure on House's bad leg since it was more than likely that Wilson wouldn't be able to do much moving around tonight which meant that House would.

"Alright though I still think we should call an ambulance and get you checked out at the hospital." Rodriguez grudgingly agreed before he gathered their tennis equipment and asked the other two to help him get Wilson to his car.

"I'll be fine, believe me. If Dr. House thinks I should go to the ER then I'll go but I really don't think there's any need." Wilson answered, grimacing as he moved and stood up making sure he didn't place any weight on his leg.

The trip to the car was painfully slow since Wilson wasn't able to walk too fast with his injured ankle. When they got to the car he thanked his two helpers for their patience and waved off the apologies he received in turn before they left. He leaned against the passenger door and opened the driver door, gently climbing in and hissing when he managed to bend his ankle trying to get the injured leg in the car.

"I'm going to stop by and check on you tomorrow." Rodriguez warned as he came up to the driver's side and closed the door.

"There's no need for that." Wilson placated as he started the car, anxious to get the AC going.

"Well, we need to figure out when you'll be able to play again." The other man smiled. "Take care of yourself and please consider going to the ER." He suggested before he walked away, heading to his own car.

Wilson made it home without incident and made his way into the building, thankful it had an elevator. Since it was the middle of the day on a Wednesday, the building was virtually empty excepting those that had odd schedules and hours to keep so no one was available to offer assistance; not that he'd accept it if they were.

The first thing he heard when he entered the condo was House's voice yelling, "I'm hungry! What are you making for dinner?" Even through the pain he managed a smile at that.

"You're making your own dinner, and mine, tonight!" Wilson called back, leaning on the wall as he limped heavily into the living room.

"But mom-" House began until he turned his head to look at his partner. "What the hell happened to you?" He asked as he got up and went over to Wilson who was trying to make his way to the couch without putting weight on his ankle which had become badly swollen and would no longer hold his weight.

"Fell playing tennis. Sprained my ankle, scraped my knee." Wilson summarized as he leaned into the older man, allowing the deceptively strong diagnostician to take most of his weight.

House got Wilson onto the couch and then quickly limped into the kitchen to pull out a bag of frozen peas. "Just because your name is on the tennis balls, doesn't mean you can actually PLAY tennis you know?" He called out.

"Wilson makes a lot of sports equipment House!" Wilson called back, grimacing as a fresh wave of pain emanated from his foot.

House sat down on the coffee table, ignoring his Girls Gone Wild show behind him, and placed the bag of peas and a towel next to him. With the gentle touch of a doctor he grabbed Wilson's leg and placed it on his left thigh. "Time to take off the shoe." He said cheerily though his eyes relayed the unspoken apology for the pain it will cause.

Swiftly, House untied the shoelace and proceeded to take it fully out of the shoe. He knew that with the degree of swelling in Wilson's ankle had foot he wasn't going to be able to get the shoe off with it there. He pulled up the tongue of the shoe to be able to get the tennis shoe off as easily as he could, then without remorse or hesitation pulled the shoe off with one hand while the other held onto the injured ankle.

Wilson cried out in pain at the action as it slightly jerked and pulled his extremely painful ankle. He bit his lip to keep in the whimper that threatened to follow as two tears streaked down his cheeks.

House felt guilt and pain stab his heart at his lover's pain but kept focused on gently removing the sock and examining the swollen and bruised joint. A few whimpers escaped Wilson's lips while House prodded and manipulated his ankle and foot, checking for the feeling of grinding bones or the pop or snap of the ligaments. He frowned when he thought he could feel something but couldn't be sure.

When he finished, House placed the towel and then the pack of peas over Wilson's ankle, allowing the bag to conform to the shape of the swollen joint. He stood up and walked into the bedroom, changing from his sweats to jeans and grabbing a pair of jeans and a fresh t-shirt for Wilson knowing he wouldn't want to go anywhere in his sweaty shorts and t-shirt.

He walked back into the living room to find Wilson leaning his head against the back of the couch, his eyes closed and his face scrunched in pain. House tossed the items onto Wilson's lap causing the oncologist to snap his eyes open and stare at the articles of clothing before turning a confused look House's way.

"Get changed, we're going to the ER." House told him as he sat down in the armchair diagonal from the couch.

"House, no, I'll be fine." Wilson argued weakly. He began to change knowing that he'd lose the argument and that it would be great to get out of his sweaty clothes.

"I disagree." House countered. "I think you may have broken your ankle."

"May have?" Wilson asked as he grudgingly took off the frozen peas and stood to slip off his shorts.

"Can't tell." The older man answered as he came over to allow Wilson to lean into him while he got into his jeans. Thankfully this pair was baggier than the others so his shoed foot slipped easily through the leg.

Wilson frowned at his answer but stayed quiet realizing that it had been a small blow to his friend's ego to admit that he didn't know 100%.

Once he was ready, Wilson began his steady, painful limp towards the front door where House was noisily searching through the hall closet.

With a cry of triumph House pulled out a shorter cane and handed it to Wilson to use. Wilson gave him a curious look. "It was one of my first canes but it was too short." House answered as he turned around to grab Wilson's keys off the table. "Come on, hurry up. I don't want to be stuck at the hospital all night because you're moving as quickly as an 80 year old grandfather." He scolded jokingly as he ushered Wilson out the door, closing it behind them.

When the boys walked back into their condo Wilson was sporting a pair of crutches, a heavily bandaged left ankle and a compression wrapped knee. The doctor had determined that Wilson had sprained his knee when he fell and didn't see a need for any stronger wrapping since Wilson wouldn't be able to put weight on his leg for the next 3-4 weeks at least, due to his severely sprained ankle.

Wilson collapsed on the couch in exhaustion, leaning his head against the back of the couch and closing his eyes. It had been a busy day and he was ready for a good meal then bed. He felt gentle hands lift his leg and place a couple pillows beneath his ankle and then the cold of a bag of frozen peas over on top. He smiled as he let out a contented smile, feeling House place a gentle but loving kiss on his forehead.

He smiled when he remembered the doctor telling him the results and his groan of despair. The oncologist remembered the last time he had hurt his ankle that badly and it hadn't been fun! House had whispered in his ear, "Don't worry Wilson. This time you have me to take care of you!"