Summary: House/Wilson oneshot slash. House plays an April Fools Day prank on Wilson...or does he? Takes place after "Fall from Grace," spoilers.
Disclaimer: I don't own House, I don't own Wilson, and I don't own April Fools Day (though my parents were worried I might be born on it).
Fools In Love
There wasn't any reason for Wilson to think it wouldn't be a normal day. Yes, the fact that it was the first of April registered vaguely in his mind, but he didn't really think about it.
And when he arrived at his office, it did not immediately occur to him that it was, of course, a prank.
He turned the key, opened the door, and stared blankly at the sight before him.
Flowers were overflowing from every surface. There were about five or six bouquets on his desk, another on his chair, three on the table next to his sofa, and more squeezed into the few free spaces on his bookshelf.
Wilson's first emotion was confusion. He wasn't seeing anyone right now, and none of the nurses had been friendlier than usual to lead Wilson to think they might have a crush. He picked the giant vase of red roses off his chair and looked through them for a card, but didn't find one. A closer inspection of the various bouquets on his desk did not yield anything helpful either.
The oncologist furrowed his brow at the sheer bizarreness of it all. Why? It wasn't Valentine's Day...yes, it was April Fool's Day, but this didn't really seem like a prank. No, if it were a prank then there would be a card—from a person who didn't actually have romantic feelings for him. But that wouldn't really be that clever a prank. It would cause confusion if Wilson approached the addressee thinking the flowers were from her and confronted her, but it wouldn't really be that funny.
So why? Was it some sort of weird joke or did Wilson actually have a secret admirer who just happened to choose April 1st as the day to proclaim her love? And in either case, why wasn't there any sort of clue has to who sent the flowers?
Whatever the case may be, Wilson didn't really have time to linger over it. An accident on the highway had caused him to arrive a few minutes late and he needed to get to his rounds. As Wilson donned his lab coat and left the office, he decided to put the flowers out of his mind.
When Wilson returned to his office after his rounds, it was to find House sitting on his sofa between a couple of the bouquets.
"Your office looks like a florist shop," he commented as Wilson walked through the door.
"I've noticed," Wilson replied, moving one of the bouquets so he could see his computer monitor and pull up his appointment schedule. He glanced at House, who had taken one of the flowers and was now pulling off the petals.
"He loves me, he loves me not," House murmured as he worked, barely loud enough for Wilson to hear.
Wilson smirked. It had occurred to him that his best friend might be the one behind this—who else would break into his office?—but why would he? A prank? But what about the flowers was a prank? All right, he was dwelling over them, but he didn't really mind them that much. They were pretty and they smelled nice, so they weren't causing Wilson any pain and suffering like House's normal pranks.
Maybe there was more to come later. Maybe the flowers were just the beginning of some scheme his best friend was planning...or maybe they were a decoy, there to distract Wilson from whatever House really had in store for him.
The now petal-less flower House had been playing with landed on Wilson's keyboard. He looked up to see his friend about to exit through the balcony doors.
"What was the verdict?" Wilson asked.
House studied him a moment. "Not sure yet," he said eventually. Then, "Lunch?"
Wilson glanced at his watch. "It's 10:00. I have two appointments and a department meeting."
"After?" House probed.
Wilson hesitated. He wondered if lunch would be another part of House's prank. Or, if the flowers were really from someone else, he would use lunch as an opportunity for a completely unrelated April Fools joke. Really, did he even want to find out?
Or was House just asking to eat lunch with him like any other normal day?
"Fine," Wilson agreed. "I'll come by your office after my meeting."
Everything seemed normal as Wilson and House went down to the cafeteria, picked out food, and found a table, but Wilson kept waiting for something to happen. It was April Fools Day and House was a practical joker. He wasn't sure whether it had anything to do with the flowers or not, but he could feel something was going to happen.
"What is with you today?" House asked eventually. "You look like you're waiting for the table to explode."
"Knowing you, that's a very real possibility," Wilson replied. "House, what's going on? What are you planning?"
"Nothing," House said innocently. "After your bitching last year I decided to tone things down."
"Well let's see you try making sense of a chart that claims an eight-year-old girl has testicular cancer."
"See, you're getting whiny about it," House explained. "And since when you whine, I get a headache, I've stopped." He leaned back in his chair and gave an innocent smile that Wilson did not buy for a second.
Wilson looked House over carefully, but he wasn't as good at reading people as his best friend was. "Did you get me those flowers?" he asked suspiciously.
"Of course," House answered without hesitation. "Who else'd get you flowers?"
The younger doctor was surprised at House's immediate honesty, but it raised his suspicion rather than easing it. "But you just said–"
"–Not as a prank," House said, rolling his eyes. "Maybe I sent you those flowers for a different reason."
"Then why didn't you put a card with them?" Wilson asked. "I've been spending all morning trying to figure out whether they were from you or some new nurse that has the hots for me."
"Because you knew they were from me," House answered. "Obviously. A nurse with the hots for you would have left a card with her name; how else would she expect to bed you?"
Wilson just rolled his eyes. "Why, then, House? Why would you—in your words—turn my office into a florist shop?"
"Maybe I was trying to tell you something," House suggested.
The older man shrugged. "Maybe...now that Cuddy and I are broken up and you and Sam are broken up...maybe we could take this messed up friendship of ours and...turn it into something more."
"What?" Wilson stared at his best friend, certain he must have misunderstood.
"Maybe," House continued, looking Wilson in the eye. "I was trying to tell you I have feelings for you. Feelings that go beyond friendship." House's hand reached across the table, but instead of going for something off Wilson's plate, as usual, it grasped the younger man's hand.
Wilson stared down, too shocked to jerk away.
"Maybe I was trying to tell you that I'm in love with you and want to be with you. With you with you," he elaborated with a squeeze of Wilson's fingers. "Maybe I'm sick of being alone and know that the only way I could ever have anything with the one person I really love is to tell him how I feel and just hope he feels the same way."
Wilson and House just stared at each other for a second, Wilson's brain working a mile a minute. Something was telling him he was supposed to say something, give some sort of a response, but he couldn't seem to speak. Even if he could, he had no idea what he'd say. This was the last thing he ever expected to hear from his best friend and he had no way to respond to it.
After what felt like fifteen minutes but was probably only fifteen seconds, House pulled his hand away from Wilson and grinned at him. "Gotcha."
And Wilson's brain caught up with him and he rolled his eyes, looking away from House. He'd been joking. He'd lied to Wilson, this whole thing was a prank after all.
"You should have seen your face," House commented, chortling. "You literally didn't close your mouth for like a minute. You totally believed me. Seriously, Wilson, what day is it again? We were just talking about April Fools Day and I still got you. Hey, did you know that 'gullible' is written on the ceiling?"
"All right, all right," Wilson said, annoyed. "Very funny, House. You're a genius. I've got to get back to work." He picked up his half-empty plate and carried it to the trash before heading for the elevators, neither knowing nor caring whether House was following him.
He didn't even know why he was so irritated. As far as pranks by House went, this one really wasn't bad at all. Better than having a rented car of the same make and model as his waiting in his parking spot after work or waking up to find that all his silk ties were missing and had been replaced with a tie featuring Scooby Doo eating a hot dog.
Really, this prank hadn't cost him any money or public humiliation. Maybe House would tease him about it for awhile, but House always found something to tease him about. So why did he feel so aggravated right now?
Was it because...maybe...part of him had been hoping House was telling the truth?
That certainly hadn't been what he was thinking when House was telling him his made-up feelings. He'd been too shocked to process any sort of a reaction to them. But now that he'd had more time to think about it...well...yes, a part of him (a very small part that he spent as much time as possible repressing) wanted House to have been telling the truth when he said he was in love with Wilson.
Because Wilson knew he felt the same. He would never admit it out loud, and he would jump into the arms (and bed) of any woman he could find just to try and deny it, but deep down Wilson knew he'd developed romantic feelings for his best friend over the years. He couldn't say exactly when they'd appeared; it had probably been gradual, but when he lay in bed at night, or when House flashed him a rare genuine smile, he knew the feelings were there. Feelings of deep and desperate yearning for something he knew he could never have, something he was afraid to even want.
He knew he wasn't supposed to want House. He was supposed to want beautiful women like Sam, and white picket fences and kids and barbecues with the neighbors on summer weekends.
But deep down, he didn't, and deep down, he knew it. If he could spend every weekend for the rest of his life eating take-out out of white paper containers on the couch next to his best friend, laughing at some dumb movie, he'd be satisfied. Well, most of him would be satisfied. He'd be even more satisfied if, after the movie ended, he and House went to the bedroom together and made some noise, but...
No! Wilson told himself as he closed the door of his office, glaring around at all the stupid flowers which mocked him from every corner. It didn't matter what he wanted because he would never have it because House obviously didn't feel the same. So it was best to just forget about it.
Which, of course, was easier said than done. The more Wilson thought about it, the more he realized that this prank had actually hurt him. He knew House would never hurt him on purpose, so he clearly didn't know how Wilson felt, but he couldn't stop asking himself why.
Why would House send him flowers and declare love for him? It really was nothing like the types of pranks the diagnostician usually pulled. So why?
Wilson went through the motions of the rest of his day but couldn't stop thinking about possible reasons just why his best friend would play just that prank on him. The only other prank pulled on Wilson was a ten-year-old who faked a really bad coughing fit much to the alarm of her parents and the nurses, before grinning at Wilson almost exactly the way House had and saying, "Just kidding!"
It wasn't until he arrived home (half expecting more flowers in the condo) and mulled his day over while eating a frozen veggie pizza and watching world news, that a new possibility occurred to him.
It had been a very long moment of Wilson and House staring into each other's eyes between the time House said he loved Wilson and the time he said it was just a joke. And House had been very convincing in his assertion, while he'd been making it. He'd taken on a tone of seriousness rarely found with him. House had, for that moment, fooled Wilson completely.
But what if he was being serious?
Wilson wanted to tell himself no, it was impossible, but a very hopeful part of him knew it made sense. House had feelings for Wilson and told him so, hoping his best friend would feel the same and say something to that effect. And the reason he chose today, April Fools Day, was so he had something to fall back on if it turned out Wilson didn't feel the same. On any other day Wilson might not believe the confession was just a joke, but today...and going big with the flowers just backed it up. If Wilson had admitted similar feelings at the lunch table, then after having sex they could have had a good laugh about the whole thing.
But Wilson hadn't admitted feelings of love—not because they weren't there, but because he'd simply been too stunned and confused to even get that far.
And now House...well, Wilson could still be wrong, but if he wasn't, then House was feeling just as upset and rejected right now as Wilson was...probably even more so.
Wilson made up his mind in an instant. He turned off the TV, put down the slice of crappy pizza, and grabbed his car keys.
House opened the door and looked Wilson up and down. "What are you doing here?"
No smartass remark. House wasn't in a good mood. And he was slightly drunk. Not to the point of I'm-going-to-hate-myself-for-this-in-the-morning, but Wilson suspected a few more hours would do it.
"Can I come in?" he requested.
House shrugged and stepped aside, returning to his couch and pouring himself some bourbon. "Glasses are in the sink if you want some," he muttered.
Instead, Wilson sat down beside his friend, studying him.
"What?" House asked, catching Wilson's eye.
The oncologist looked down. "Nothing." They were silent for a moment, House sipping his drink and starting at the muted TV.
"How's, uh, Dominika?" Wilson asked, just to fill the silence.
"We separated," House answered shortly. He picked the bottle of liquor of the table and swished the contents around. "Ring paid for this."
Wilson nodded, not pretending to be surprised and knowing House didn't expect him to. He grabbed House's glass off the table and took a small sip before putting it back down. House watched him. "Now it's got your Wilson germs on it," he complained, taking another drink anyway.
"Yeah," Wilson said quietly. For a few minutes they both watched TV. A silent couple took joy in the wonders of Cialis before an equally silent alien abducted a Kia. Wilson did not find the silence comfortable. "House," he said eventually, looking at his friend.
The older man turned to face the younger, and it struck Wilson just how blue House's eyes were. He swallowed. "You..." he said slowly, then looked at his lap for a second before regaining his nerve and turning back to his best friend. "You meant what you said to me at lunch today."
House looked away and shrugged.
Wilson sat back, watching him. "You're not going to deny it?"
"Do you want me to?" House asked, looking back at Wilson. "Will it change anything?" He looked away again. "If you wanted to pretend it wasn't true you wouldn't have come here tonight. So either acknowledge it and leave or acknowledge it and stay. It's up to you. I don't care." He took a bottle of Vicodin from his pocket and popped the cap off, shaking two into his palm and downing them with another sip of bourbon.
Wilson sighed. He scooted closer to House on the couch and put a hand on his shoulder, massaging small circles in the muscle.
"What are you doing?" House asked, looking at him.
Wilson didn't look back. With his free hand he took the glass from House's and had another drink before handing it back to him. "I miss you," he admitted, still looking straight forward rather than at House. "I know...when I asked you to move back in...it was partly because I was worried about you and wanted to make sure you didn't do anything stupid." He shook his head. "Like jump off a balcony or...get married. But that...wasn't the only reason. I also...miss having you around." His hand migrated from House's shoulder to the back of his neck, where it continued with its massage. Wilson leaned his head against House's shoulder. The older doctor continued to stare at him, but didn't pull away. "I know why you planned that whole thing with the flowers," Wilson continued. "So if I didn't...give a favorable response when you told me how I felt...you could pretend it was all a joke when it wasn't." He shook his head again, against House. "You didn't even give me a chance to answer."
Out of his peripheral vision, Wilson saw the movement of House's adam's apple as he swallowed. "You didn't answer," he whispered. "I had to say something. I already waited too long. It didn't work. You know."
Wilson nodded against House's shoulder. He scooted a little closer to him on the couch.
"Why are you doing this?" House asked. His voice sounded a bit higher than normal, like he was nervous. "Your own little April Fools Day prank?"
"No," Wilson said. He picked his head off of House's shoulder and let his hand fall from the back of his neck. It found House's hand and took it. Wilson looked at House. "Maybe I'm trying to tell you something. Maybe..." he smiled slightly. "Maybe I want to be with you too."
House didn't respond. He just stared at Wilson, face expressionless. Wilson watched him for a moment, and then leaned forward and nudged their lips together. Warmth spread through his body. He smiled to himself and did it again, pressing a little harder this time and receiving pressure in return. He pulled back slightly and stared into House's eyes from a few inches away.
"How do I know you're not joking?" House asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
Wilson kissed him again, taking House's bottom lips between his. He felt his best friend's hand grip the side of his face before opening his mouth against House's and slipping his tongue in. It mapped out House's mouth, warm and wet and tasting slightly of bourbon, before pulling back. "Still not convinced?" Wilson asked, slightly breathless.
House studied him for a moment before shaking his head.
Wilson sat back on the couch and sighed. "Well, I've done all I can do for tonight."
The older man said nothing. After another minute of staring at his best friend, he sat back on the couch and returned his attention to the TV, now and then drinking some more of his drink.
Wilson also sat back, pretending to watch TV and occasionally taking sips from House's drink. He still sat closer than he normally would have, his side touching House's. He didn't realize he'd dozed off until he jerked awake.
The television was off, the apartment dark and quiet. Wilson had a light blanket draped over him. He got up and smiled to himself before tiptoeing down the hall to House's room. He pushed the door open and then crouched down beside House's bed.
"House," he whispered, putting a hand on the comforter where it covered his friend's arm. "House? You awake?"
Two eyes opened to glare at him. "I am now," he grumbled. "What?"
Wilson smiled at him. Then he leaned forward and gently pressed his lips to House's, gliding his tongue between them just for a second. "House, I'm in love with you and I want to be with you," he whispered.
"And you think waking me up to tell me this will make me less likely to believe it's a prank?" House asked.
House stared at him for half a second before rolling over in bed, turning away.
"House, wait," Wilson said.
House groaned and turned onto his back. "What now?" he asked the ceiling.
"It's eight minutes after midnight," Wilson explained.
"So past your bedtime," House said. "And way past mine. Go away."
"Don't you get it? House, it's April second."
House turned back to Wilson and spent a few seconds looking him up and down. Then he sighed heavily. "Fine. Get in."
Wilson smiled, kicked his shoes off, and climbed into the other side of House's bed. He was surprised and pleased to feel a warm arm curl around him and an even warmer chest press itself against his back.
"Don't think this means I'm going to remember our anniversary," House muttered before falling asleep.