A/N Written for the sick_wilson and doctorwilson lj communities' Kickin' It Old School challenge. This is what came to my mind after overdosing on the final minutes of Episode 5 of Series 1. Or maybe it's just me being envious at all native English speakers enjoying poetry I can't. Or spending three years at school reading the Divine Comedy. The transcript comes from the clinic_duty lj community. Many thanks to my beta reader, coconut_ice22.

Cut to the clinic desk. House is again throwing candies. Wilson enters and sits next to him, giving him coffee.

Wilson: The sixth circle of Hell.

House: Confined in a sweatbox with a bloody nose and all the tissues are soggy.

Wilson: I think that's the seventh.

House: No. The seventh is -

Wilson: God, we must be fun at parties.


House and Wilson, sitting in House's place eating Chinese food, talking and laughing.

House washes his hands. He considers taking another Vicodin, but although five hours have passed since the last one, his leg isn't really hurting yet. His eyes meet his face in the mirror. He stops and stares. He looks younger, which is unreasonable since he has been sleeping poorly the last few nights. He slowly admits to himself that he looks happy. Not just happier. Happy. This is probably his best Christmas in a long time.

He goes back to the living room; Wilson will be leaving soon, it's getting late. He finds him standing near his bookshelf, absorbed in a book.

"What's so fascinating in there?"

He turns around, smiles and goes to the couch, still reading.

"I didn't know you had a bilingual copy of the Divine Comedy. With enough footnotes for a humanities grad student."

"I don't know Italian, and I wanted to read it."

"I only read a prose version of some chapters in a college course. I was looking up what the seventh circle of Hell is really like."

House sits near him. "It's good this isn't real. Otherwise I would have to hope that my soul has better legs than my body has, because I might well end up there."

Wilson looks at him with a puzzled face. "Suicidal people become bushes. What would you need good legs for?"

"I'm not going to commit suicide." The book is still open in Wilson's hands: House turns a few pages. "I'll end up running under a tempest of fire."

"This would be the punishment for… uh, violence against nature?"

"Male homosexuality. Dante must have been going to gay bars a lot. He knows more people there than anywhere else in Hell. And it's the only time he meets a damned soul he has known in real life whom he genuinely likes and respects. Look here."

"Ser Brunetto…" Wilson's eyes scroll down the page to the footnote. "Mentor and friend. Older than Dante."

Wilson closes the book. Thinks. "Are you trying to tell me something?"

"I thought I just did."

"Cameron doesn't have a chance, does she?"

House smiles. "No, she doesn't. But she's so dumb she doesn't know that yet."

"I… I should have known. I feel so stupid." He turns around, and looks at House. Intently.

"Any questions?"

"Do you… do you find me attractive? "

House doesn't answer. But his eyes don't leave Wilson's. The silence lengthens, but neither man move his eyes away.

"You do." It's not a question. "You're in love with me." It's not a question, either.

House looks at his watch. Normally Wilson would have gone home already. But nothing is normal tonight. He doesn't know what to say, so he says nothing.

Wilson hears even the words he doesn't say. "I guess you have a question, too. And I think the answer is in here."

The oncologist opens the book again, starts turning pages. Looking for something - he's apparently reading the summaries of each Canto.

"Here you are." He motions to House to sit closer. Their knees touch, and the book lies on Wilson's right thigh and his left. The soft-skinned fingers trace the six relevant lines. The diagnostician seems to have stopped breathing while he reads. And reads again. He can't believe his eyes.

He barely notices Wilson opening his cellphone. "Julie? I'm sorry. My patient got worse. I'll have to spend the night here. Yeah, I'm sorry too. See you tomorrow." The phone call is over.

"It will not be an easy conversation, tomorrow."

House's attention snaps back, his eyes still fixed on the book. "What?"

"It will be my third divorce, but only the first one where it's me calling it quits."

He lifts his eyes from the book. Wilson gets it from his hands, closes it. His face moves towards a mesmerized House. Their lips touch.

A thought flickers through House's consciousness 'This is the best Christmas of my life.' Then Wilson's lips part, his tongue starts exploring, and House stops thinking.

Finally they have to break for air. Wilson's eyes shine. "I love you too, Ser Brunetto. And I think it's time to move this conversation to the bedroom."

When we read there of how the longed-for smile
Was being kissed by that heroic lover,
This man, who never shall be severed from me,

Trembling all over, kissed me on the mouth.
That book — and its author — was a pander!
In it that day we did no further reading.

Inferno, Canto V, 133-138.

A/N At this point in the series we have no evidence of House being interested in women. I like to think that Wilson was conquered by "Amor ch'a nullo amato amar perdona" - "Love which pardons no one loved from loving". Inf. V, 102. Like many Italians, I know some parts of the Divina Commedia by heart, including everything I quoted here. I remember, at fifteen, being impressed that the only people Dante loves and/or respects in Hell are an adulterous couple (the woman is speaking in my quotations) and a homosexual man.