Note: Fevers suck. I haven't been able to work on my new love child, True Rock, due to the fact that I haven't exactly been able to lift my head. This little thing, however (look downward), I'd forgotten I'd written until I found it! Thank goodness for small miracles I guess...I feel like I have something to turn in to the teacher. Hope it's somewhat enjoyable!

Somewhere within the loft, a door creaked loudly, nearly startling House into dropping the pair of scissors he was currently employing to mutiliate one of Wilson's more frightening ties - which also happened to be his favorite. Next came a loud THUMP, which was powerful enough to rattle the wall closest to him - the one separating the kitchen from Wilson's bedroom - followed by an angry, frustrated, "Ow! - Damn it."

House chuckled, snipping off the end of the tie. He wasn't even sure what it had originally looked like anymore, just that it had been some horrible shade of pale orange with little, blue dots or - something.

"What the hell are you doing in there?" he called.

"I'm fine, thanks," Wilson called back, sounding winded.

House didn't answer, instead opting to continue on with his task. He now had all of his pieces...now to put them into action. Finally, the ugly, repulsive object would be useful for something; this was a proud day for it. Scooping them up in his hands, House made for Wilson's room, where he knew the door was closed. Taking one of the larger pieces, he dropped it in the doorway so that Wilson would see it when he emerged. He took the other pieces and dropped them, one by one, down the hall until he reached his own bedroom doorway. There he stopped.

This was a plan soley devised to get Wilson to seek him out without having to actually say anything. He used the tie in the futile hope that, maybe, it would cause emotions to run a little high...that would be helpful. Make matters a bit easier.

Wilson was going on a date. House had decided when he recieved the news that he couldn't deal with that. Not yet. And while he understood it was selfish, he didn't give a crap, because Wilson was his. Since his breakup with Cuddy, Wilson had been his. No, since he'd bailed the man out of jail, Wilson had been his. He was going to make him realize that. He knew it wasn't all in his own mind; his friend was just scared. Everytime they got closer, Wilson bolted, screaming, in the opposite direction, and ducked for cover behind some blonde woman with a nice ass. Well, not this time.

When he finished, House retreated into the living room to wait. Despite not particularly caring about what he looked like, he had put on a certain sky-blue shirt that Cuddy had once said looked good on him, then immediately ripped it off when he remembered that Wilson had always liked a certain red T-shirt he'd worn in the past. Or, at least, he'd imagined that Wilson liked it; either way - he was wearing it. He hadn't shaved or anything - that would be going way over the top. He already felt like an idiot for caring about the damn shirt.

Pulling out the wooden bench, House had a seat at his organ, and absently began to play "A Whiter Shade of Pale" to temporarily take his mind off of what he was planning to do.

The loud, piercing notes drowned out the sound of Wilson's door opening. They also drowned out his exclamation of surprise when he realized that his favorite tie was laying, seemingly scattered all over the hallway. In fact, House heard nothing at all to indicate that his plan was now in action, until -

"Gregory House!"

He would have laughed at the use of his first name, if his nerves hadn't just been set on fire. He ceased playing at once, and turned slowly to face his best friend, who stood feet from him, bits of tie dangling from his fingers. Wilson held them up, raising both eyebrows questioningly, but House noticed neither of these things, for he was focused on the attractive glow that emanated from him. His brown hair had been blow-dried as usual, but he apparently hadn't brushed through it yet, giving him a very windswept look; his face was still slightly pink from the heat. His clean, button-down was, in fact, unbuttoned at the collar, exposing some of his collarbone...which was rare. House had to tear his gaze away from it to check over a few other things - the shirt was untucked and hung loosely over casual jeans, he was barefoot, and his brown eyes were currently gleaming with irritation, which made them beautiful in an familiar sort of way. God, he was turning into a sap, but all House wanted to do at that moment was kiss him. Then he noticed that the bit of pink that was on Wilson's forehead was not due to blow-drier heat; it seemed to be due to the blow-drier itself, as the spot was almost perfectly circular. This made House want to kiss him even more, though he was definitely going to mock him for it later. Along with whatever had happened to cause that thump noise.

"Why is my tie in pieces?" Wilson demanded, snapping him out of his thoughts.

"Because it's the ugliest thing I've ever seen," House replied at once. As soon as the statement left his mouth, he inwardly cringed; it didn't sound right at all mingling with what he'd been thinking.

"It was from a patient!"

"Is she dead?"

"Yes," Wilson said through clenched teeth.

"Then she won't mind."

"I mind!" Wilson retorted loudly. House could tell that he was going to work himself into a fury over this...that was more than he'd hoped for. Truthfully, he hadn't been certain that it had been from a patient, but he had suspected something along those lines. He almost felt bad about it. But he didn't have time to dwell on that.

"Don't do it."

Wilson opened his mouth furiously, as if he had said something very offensive, then seemed to realize that he hadn't, and closed it again, blinking. "Don't - don't do what?"

"You know what," House told him, meeting his gaze.

Scoffing, Wilson rolled his eyes at the ceiling. "Of course."

"No, it's - " House began, pausing. He lowered his gaze to the floor in between them, feeling suddenly more nervous. "I need you here tonight."

"And why's that?"

"You're going to convince yourself that you're in love with this woman, whoever she is, and, once again, you're going to kick me out to make room for her."

Wilson sighed heavily and House heard the irritation zip right out of him. He was a sucker for stuff like this. "House, it's one date."

"Which will turn into ten. She'll probably either have just been dumped by a boyfriend or have a terminal illness, and you'll eat it right up until you've decided that she's the woman of your dreams, and your life will end if you don't put a rock on her finger. But I know that'll never really make you happy, so I'm saying - Don't do it."

Wilson took a step toward him, tentatively, it seemed. House watched him. After another moment's brief hesitation, his friend joined him on the bench. Their shoulders brushed past one another lightly. House attempted to keep his breathing under control; he smelled damn good. And not in a fake, cologne-y way, but in a fresh-out-of-the-shower way, mixed with nothing other than the Wilson-y smell he'd grown to love.

"I'm not abandoning you," he said, causing House's stomach to contract, which only intensified the breathing issue. "I promise it's just a date."

House nodded. "Like I said - it'll turn into - "

"No," Wilson interrupted. "It won't. I promise."

House turned his head to get a good look at him. Of course, this made him want to scoot a little more to the left so that they would be pressed against each other, if only from the side. Any touch was always cherished...however, he was also very curious as to his friend's firm-sounding promise. Why would he readily promise that? He never had before. Wilson noticed him scrutinizing, and glanced at him peripherally.

"Look - this is the aunt of one of my patients. She - "

"See, what did I tell you?" House smirked half-heartedly. "There's your needy."

"Will you shut up and let me explain?" Wilson asked, but it was really an order. House was sort of taken aback. Smiling slightly in amusement, he nodded.

"Thanks." Wilson rolled his eyes. "I was saying that she asked me out to dinner last week when her niece passed. I agreed to one date. This is simply because, yes, she is in a bad place right now, and I was the only other person who was there through it all. She still trusts me. All I'm doing tonight is playing a part in comforting her - our conversation will most likely be centered around Rebecca. I'm not interested in...her. Or in starting a relationship."

"How do you know that until you've spent an evening with her?" House persisted, unconvinced.

"Let me repeat - I am not interested in a relationship with the aunt of my former patient."

"What about the mother? Or the sister?"

Wilson laughed softly. "She had neither of those anyway. All she had was her aunt."

"Oh God..." House groaned, dropping his head into his hands in quite a theatrical manner. "So, likewise, all this aunt had was her niece. You'll be engaged by eight o'clock."

"Right," Wilson chuckled, and added sarcastically, "I'll be home by eight o'clock."

"Won't be able to be away from me that long?" House asked innocently, looking at him again.

Wilson turned his head, still smiling a little. It faded as their eyes locked, but the moment - if it could be called a moment - was brief, for his friend simply shook his head in a fashion that could have been interpreted a plethora of ways, and stood up from the bench.

"I gotta finish up."

"You should go like that," House suggested. "It'll make you look like you just came from getting your rocks off. Then she'll get the right idea."

Wilson smirked at that, but didn't respond on his way back to his room.

House allowed himself to smile at the back of his friend's head, and, true, his eyes flickered downward a bit, but he never lingered over that area. It made him feel oddly disgusting - like he was taking advantage somehow. Wilson might be extremely attractive, but he was still House's best and only friend. He had mounds of respect for him where he had almost none for anyone else. Okay, maybe not for his ties. But that was a different story.

House ventured into the kitchen, his heart a little lighter, though his plan hadn't gone all the way through; his nerves had gotten the better of him.

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When Wilson reemerged, his shirt was tucked in and buttoned, his hair was combed, and he wore shoes. The big pink spot on his forehead had grown more noticeable and he ghosted his fingertips over it, wincing, his jacket hanging over one arm. House sat on the couch with his feet propped up on the table in front of him, an empty cereal bowl next to him. He glanced up when he saw Wilson standing there.

"What's the deal with your head?" he asked carelessly, reaching for the remote to the flatcreen so that he would be able to actually hear Wilson's brilliant reply.

"I...banged it on my hair-drier when I...tripped over a bar of soap I dropped."

"Seriously? You dropped the soap? Don't they warn you about that kind of thing in prison?" House joked. "Maybe we should put up signs around here too..."

If Wilson caught the intended sexual reference, he didn't show it. Instead he shrugged into his jacket, pulling it about him tightly, obviously more flustered by the fact that he'd revealed to House that he had actually tripped on the soap as if he were in some old, cheesy TV sitcom.

"Listen - I need your opinion."

House squinted at him. "My opinion is yes, you do look like you have a golf ball embedded in your skin."

Wilson jerked his head, flicking the jibe over his shoulder with practised ease. "I need you to...tell me if I look alright. Besides that."

House blinked. That statement was a totally unfamiliar one. Surely, Wilson was expecting some sort of sarcastic, witty retort involving all the ways in which he was the spitting image of Cousin It or something equally ridiculous. Surely, he wasn't seriously asking House if he looked good. Because in his mind, he shouted out the true answer loud and clear, but he knew that when the words crept up his throat, ready to come out, they would transfrom into something insulting. That was just how things worked in this relationship. Perhaps his thinking was that House would, indeed, utter an insult, and he would be able to measure just how good he looked by the strength or weakness of it. House had to choose his words carefully in that case...

"No," Wilson said, interrupting his internal struggle. "Don't scheme, don't - whatever. Honestly tell me what you think."

"Why?" House asked, his curiosity peaked despite himself. "Fishing for compliments, are we?"

A corner of Wilson's mouth lifted at that, and House mentally cursed himself.

"That's probably as good as I'm going to get."

"Damn it," he outwardly cursed himself. "You caught me."

"Well, you caught me too," Wilson replied, grinning. "I guess I am...fishing for compliments." He looked down at his feet, shuffling them awkwardly. The effect was too much for House, who turned back to the TV. "I just...feel like I'm losing my..." he trailed off, eventually clearing his throat. House would vehemently deny that he was clinging onto every word, if asked. "Nevermind."

House's heart jumped into his throat. Who else was around to tell Wilson what an idiot he was being, but him? Maybe this was his cue - his goal was to make Wilson realize that he was his. Right? Still? The date didn't seem quite as suspicious as it had earlier...but was he brave enough to...? He swallowed lightly, turning his head to face Wilson again, but his friend was no longer standing there. He was headed for the front doors, grabbing his keys off the rack as he went. House deflated, his courage slipping up once again.

"Have fun!" he called cheerfully to fill the hole. Wilson waved lazily without turning around, and then he was gone.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

God, was he so pathetic? This was very obviously a dream...

But that didn't mean he was going to pass up an opportunity to see his best friend naked. It didn't mean he was going to just sit there while his best friend walked up to him, grabbed his hands, and drew him to his chest...kissing his neck...openly mouthing the sensitive skin under his ear. House wrapped his arms around him, murmuring words he never could while awake. Wilson breathed softly, running a few fingers through his hair...down his back...When had he become shirtless? The contact made him shiver in the most delectable way. Wilson kissed down his throat until he reached his chest, his tongue flicking over a nipple - House arched into him silently, clutching at his back. He felt Wilson's smile against his skin, but he didn't care, he just wanted more. And he wanted it fast. This, of course, being a dream, as soon as the wish entered his mind, Wilson gripped his arms and walked him backward. They fell together onto a mattress - whose, he had no idea. His leg didn't hurt at all...he wrapped both of them around Wilson...When had they both shed their clothes? Had they ever really been wearing clothes? He didn't have long to dwell on these questions, for his best friend chose that moment to kiss him, intimately. A meeting of tongues ensued, and House buried his hands in Wilson's thick hair. Wilson rutted into him shamelessly, which House encouraged by doing the same, with vigor. Eventually, they parted lips, Wilson rested his forehead against House's, and they put all of their energy into it. They never broke eye contact...House could feel the love and desire rolling off of the man above him...God, he loved him too.

Suddenly, Wilson ceased his movements, and rolled away.

"Hey, hey - "

Wilson lay pressed against his side, staring up at him with wide, brown eyes, and House's desire was gone. To be replaced by the heavy feeling of satisfaction and contentment that follows acts of a sexual nature. Had they already - ?

And then they changed positions...House was the one on his side, but he could feel the warm, comforting weight of Wilson behind him, holding him tightly. House nestled back into him even more, enjoying the feeling of strong arms around his torso.

"I'll never want to be with anyone but you," Wilson told him, whispering. His breath sent goosebumps up House's spine.

"No one?" he breathed back, shivering.

"Our friendship is special..." Wilson stated randomly, his voice low and gruff.

House chuckled. "You're special."

"Well, no one is as perfect as you are."

"You said that to me once..."

"I meant it."

"I know. I'm not perfect, Wilson."

Wilson pressed his lips to House's shoulder blade. "No woman will ever mean as much to me as you do. Remember that. You are perfect for me. And I'll never leave you. I love you too much..."

It was everything House had ever wanted to hear from his best friend. It was everything he reciprocated with every fiber of his being.

"Don't let go," he said, curious as to what Wilson's response would be. His friend tightened his grip.

"I can't."

House smiled. Wilson shook his shoulder gently. He closed his eyes. Wilson shook his shoulder again.

"Something else you're bursting to say?" he asked sleepily. Wilson shook his shoulder again, roughly.

"House."

"Hm?"

"House!"

"Huh...get off..."

"House, please get up!"

Someone was speaking close to his ear, poking and prodding him. His eyes snapped open in irritation, and he had to let them adjust to darkness before he could see who was assaulting him in the middle of the best dream of his life. Of course, it was Wilson. Life was pretty cruel sometimes. Then, he noticed something that made him shoot upright, his head nearly colliding with Wilson's chin. Staring for a minute longer, House practically scrambled off the couch, and over to the lightswitch, flicking it upward.

As Wilson's face was thrown into relief, it took all the will power he possessed to remain calm.

"What the hell happened?" he roared.

"Turns out you were right," Wilson replied, standing upright with difficulty. "I should have stayed home tonight."

His nose was bleeding lightly; he was pinching it to stem the flow a little; his bottom lip was split and tiny red scratches covered everything from his forehead to his chin; his shirt was torn in many places, and there seemed to be buttons missing - many buttons missing. His chest was peppered with the same scratches as his face. And to top it all off, the red circle that had been there before was now the size of a tennis ball. None of these injuries accounted for the reason he could barely stand up, however. House furiously limped over to him.

"Why did you wake me up? You expect me to kiss it and make it better?"

"Obviously not," Wilson winced. His voice was barely there - raspy at best. "I was going to just go to bed, but - you would have been angry in the morning."

"I'm angry now!"

"Not at me," Wilson grimaced. "You're angry that you had no control over this. Can you just - at least for now - help me out? Some of the - "

"Sit down," he barked, brushing past him to retrieve the mini first-aid kit from a cabinet in the kitchen. When he returned, Wilson was doing as he was told, and House felt some of the tense frustration at being surprised in this way leave him. He opened the kit, set in on the coffee table, then took a seat beside it, pulling the table closer to the couch.

"I can - "

One glare on his part shut Wilson up before he could fully form that sentence.

"Why can't you stand upright?" he asked, peering into his friend's face to gauge the extent of the damage. Up close, the cuts were a little deeper than he had originally suspected, and the knot on his head was positively throbbing. Drops of blood ran down his chin from his lip.

Wilson cleared his throat, but his speech was still raspy. "He kicked me in the stomach."

"Who?"

"Her...boyfriend."

"Did you know she had a boyfriend?" House asked curiously, grabbing one of the antiseptic wipe packages.

"Of course." Wilson hissed when the cold wipe made contact with one of his cuts - House forgot to warn him that it would sting a bit. But he knew that; they were both doctors after all. "What I didn't know was that he was borderline insane with trust issues."

"Did he kick you anywhere else?"

Wilson nodded, tapping his throat lightly.

House finished cleaning up the cuts covering his face, and lay the soiled wipe aside to unbutton the rest of Wilson's wrinkled shirt. Using another, he disinfected the cuts on his chest that he supposed were caused by the woman trying to interfere. Or maybe the guy had a pocket knife - ? He must have been frowning deeply by that point, because Wilson said quickly, "She has abnormally long fingernails."

House smiled tightly, concentrating. He purposely ignored the dark purple bruise that was blooming over his abdomen, just reaching up to his ribs. Since Wilson didn't seem to be having trouble breathing, it was not likely the injury was going to pose any serious threat to his health. And the guy hadn't kicked him hard enough to cause internal bleeding - House could tell by the amount of pain his friend was displaying, which wasn't much at all besides not being able to stand properly. That would go away in a day or two at the most.

Finishing, he tossed that wipe next to the other, and moved his hands up to Wilson's throat. With the first two fingers on each hand, he massaged lightly; Wilson tilted his head back, giving him better access. House would have stopped to admire the view - his best friend with his shirt exposing a sliver of fair skin, allowing his touch - had he not been so concerned with making absolutely sure he was alright. Not that he showed any outward signs of caring too much.

His throat didn't feel unusual. No enlarged glands. Just a bit sensitive in some areas, as proven by Wilson wincing every so often. He drew away, somewhat satisfied.

"Well, you're fine. Guy was a pansy." He was, secretly,extremely relieved.

"There's - on my back - " Wilson murmured half-heartedly.

"More scratches?"

"No, another bruise..."

"Didn't I ask you if he'd kicked you anywhere else?" House demanded through clenched teeth.

"He didn't, I - rammed backward into the bar when he - " Wilson gestured inward at his middle, his eyes strangely apologetic.

"I'll ask again - Do you need me to kiss it?" House snapped. "You can't fix a bruise."

"No, I know - "

"God, I hope somebody got this fight on tape. Maybe they'll put it up on the internet - Wimpy Guy Gets Pummeled by Wimpier Guy. What is wrong with you today anyway? You never injure yourself - you've never been a klutz - "

"I'm allowed to hurt myself occasionally then," Wilson retorted, whispering now from the pain in his throat. "It's not like I planned on getting the stuffing knocked out of me - it just happened. I was too stunned to defend myself."

House scoffed. "You wouldn't defend yourself. You're too much of a - "

"A what?" Wilson demanded, his cheeks reddening suddenly. "I'm too much of a what, House?"

"A nice guy," House responded without hesitation.

"Only you would make that sound like a bad thing."

"Not a bad thing. It just means that you need to start dragging me along, wherever you go, so I can protect you from big, bad Meanie-heads."

Wilson tried not to laugh. House saw the muscle in his cheek, and watched his mouth tighten against the urge. "Well, I'll be sure to have you on speed dial the next time I'm confronted by a Meanie-head."

House, barely aware of what he was doing, reached up to touch the knot on Wilson forehead. He pulled a face at the hard texture. "You need ice."

"You're only annoyed because you can't stand me being in pain," Wilson rasped randomly, ignoring this.

House sat back. "You're only telling me that because you're embarrassed and ashamed about this."

Wilson shrugged in a way that almost caused House to smile. "Doesn't make it untrue. You've been biting my head off since I came in."

"And that has nothing to do with the fact that you woke me up from a very delicious dream - the kind that only comes along every once in a while, and who knows when the next time will be?"

"Nope."

House scowled at him. Wilson smiled. "I'm okay with you wanting to go out and beat that guy up for me. Nobody messes with your best buddy, right?"

House couldn't help but smile slightly back at him. "What an ego, Wilson."

"I'm yours though. You can't stand it when people screw with your stuff."

The warmth that flooded his stomach at these words was difficult to ignore, but House managed to do so without changing his facial expression. Was he saying - ? He supposed Wilson did realize that he was his. They both knew it. He doubted that they both thought about in the same context, however... "Cute," he commented, rolling his eyes.

Wilson patted the spot beside him on the couch. Hesitating, but not for so long that it was really noticeable, House switched his position from the table to the space Wilson had indicated. Their thighs touched...Almost immediately, Wilson put an arm through his, resting his head lightly on his shoulder. House could feel his soft breaths through the material of his shirt. He couldn't breathe.

"Don't," Wilson rasped, squeezing his forearm.

"Don't what?" House asked, feeling a sense of déjà vu. Wilson probably thought he was going to push him off or pull away. Far from it...if Wilson was going to be the instigator of something like this, then it was his lucky day. His friend leaned into him further and House felt the heat of his forehead against his neck. On natural instinct, he leaned into him as well, feeling soft hair greet his stubbled jaw. He turned his head slightly, nuzzling into it.

"Watch a movie with me..."

House chuckled softly, his nerves not on fire, but frozen solid. He was numb. He barely heard his own reply; it sounded far away...like listening to someone who was trapped under a mountain of pillows. "You're not tired?"

"I'm exhausted. Watch a movie with me," Wilson pleaded against him.

House furrowed his eyebrows in slight amusement. "You're scared," he accused. "Of...what? The bad guy?" It was a lame idea, but his brain just wasn't quite working up to its full potential...

Wilson pressed into him even further, actually causing House to have to put his hand out on the cushion that wasn't occupied to keep from toppling over. "No...I just want you to - "

"Watch a movie with you, yeah, I got it."

Wilson nodded, intertwining their fingers. "So go put one in..."

"I...can't exactly do that if your goal is to fuse us together." As if he cared. Wilson could super glue the two of them at the hip, and that would be just damn fine with him. His hand was warm...he didn't want to move. But Wilson nudged him into doing so. House reluctantly got up, noticing that his friend followed his movements as if they were magnets. He leaned forward, his eyes closed, clearly wishing to submerge himself in House's warmth again, his expression one of intense concentration. House was actually reminded of someone, dying of thirst, being given a glass of water, only to have it snatched back before they got a good gulp. Almost unable to look away, House limped to the flatscreen, rumaged around in one of the cabinets that held a few movies, plucked one out, and popped it into the DVD player. Then he returned to Wilson, who had leaned back into the couch with his shoes kicked off into the floor.

He sat, not certain what was going to happen. He was relieved, and also a little unnerved, when Wilson nestled up close to his side, wrapping an arm around his middle, and buried his head into his shoulder once more. Though he was not usually comfortable with physical contact - Wilson was the exception to it all. With Wilson, the world was alright. It made sense. Relationships lasted, friendships never broke...love was real. And he was most definitely in love.

The movie turned out to be a horror film. Neither of them cared. In fact, neither of them really noticed. Eventually, House lay back (putting his feet up), and pulled Wilson along with him, so that they were both more comfortable. Wilson tucked his head underneath House's chin and quickly fell asleep. House took the opportunity to stroke his hair, combing his fingers through it slowly, leizurely; and when he had his fill of that, rubbed his back. He lifted the shirt to check the bruise that was there, and traced the area around it. He was in a daze...he just could not believe that Wilson was this close. He still smelled of the same scent he had earlier, only now it was mixed lightly with cigarette smoke and sweat.

Wilson sighed quietly; it sounded like his name. A question, if he wasn't mistaken.

"You're a manipulative bitch," House whispered as an answer.

"You're in love with me..."

"Yes."

"When?"

"All the time."

Wilson chuckled breathily, turning his head into House's neck. "Me too...Do you know why that tie was my favorite?"

For a moment, House had trouble remembering what the hell he was talking about. He asked why anyway.

"Those blue dots were the same shade as your eyes."

House's breath caught, his hand stilling over Wilson's back. Then it resumed. "You're a sap."

"I know...it was pathetic, how much I loved it. Even though I never wore it, you knew how much I loved it. That's how pathetic it was."

"Was it really from a patient?" House asked jokingly.

"Yes, it was. I never told you the story behind it."

"So tell me," House suggested, wanting nothing more than to hear Wilson's voice so close to him, feel the vibrations...the warmth.

"Alright," Wilson said, snuggling into him. "She was a little girl - six years old. You probably don't remember her, but I know you spoke with her at some point, for some reason or other...she was a very pretty girl. Very sweet. Naive. She saw the good in everybody like most little girls do, and she had no idea about life or people or - anything. Not that she wasn't intelligent, because she was. Think of Cameron as a six-year-old.

I went into her room one day to make sure her meds were doing what they were supposed to...she was sitting up and giggling to herself. She looked happy. I asked her how she was feeling, and what was so funny. She said, 'He told me not to tell you.' But I managed to get it out of her, and she told me that you had been to her room. You told her that I had a collection of stuffed mooses in my bedroom - "

House snorted. He remembered the girl now. Wilson smiled against him as he continued.

"So I asked her if she liked mooses, because if she did, I could give her one. She did. But then she started giggling again, and I asked her what else had you told her. She absolutely refused to tell me. I think she was afraid that if she didn't have a secret to keep from me, I wouldn't come visit her in her room anymore. She...really liked me. Then, I'm sure you remember bursting in there and starting that ridiculous argument over who stole your peanut-butter and jelly sandwich - "

"And I explained to her that only moose-lovers would do such a thing," House added, grinning at the memory of the girl giggling her little head off.

"And you did it soley for her entertainment," Wilson said, nudging him teasingly, "Because you knew that she was nervous about starting chemo...and you figured out that she was my favorite patient, which is why you even bothered."

"Yeah, yeah," House said, rolling his eyes. "Skip that part."

"Anyway," Wilson said with a smile in his voice, "after you stormed out, shouting something about never trusting people who steal sandwiches, Jenny looked at me and just burst out laughing. I had to do the same thing. It was so obviously ridiculous, and she knew it. Once she settled down a little, she looked up at me and asked...'Why don't people like Doctor House? He's nice.' I told her that, sometimes, you were grumpy because I've never let you have a single peanut-butter and jelly sandwich. She burst out laughing all over again. Then she said that you were nice to her. And not too long after, she smiled at me, and said very matter-of-factly, 'You don't hate Doctor House, do you Doctor Wilson? You love him.'" Wilson paused then. House was still, waiting for the rest.

"I...didn't say anything. She kept on smiling at me, thinking she'd said nothing out of the ordinary...I knew she hadn't meant it in that certain way, but it...crossed my mind nevertheless. And then I nodded. She was very excited about that. Immediately, she said, 'Good! He needs somebody to love him a lot.' I told her that I did, but it was a secret. I told her she couldn't tell you no matter what, because then you would think I was stealing your sandwiches for a whole different reason. She gave me an odd look. She said, 'But he loves you too, Doctor Wilson.' She said it like it was the most obvious thing in the entire world. But since I'd told her to keep it a secret, she asked her mother if she would bring in her dad's tie for me - to give to someone I loved. The one that her dad had never liked. Her mom agreed, and did it - at that point she couldn't refuse her little girl anything, I'm sure. Jenny gave it to me the next time I went into her room, and told me that the blue on there was the same as the blue in your eyes. She thought I might like to have it."

And it was there that Wilson stopped, seemingly lost in thought. House wore the ghost of a smile and stared up at the ceiling while the back of his fingertips trailed absently up and down his best friend's arm.

"Smart kid," he eventually mumured.

"Yeah," Wilson agreed, sighing heavily. "Uh...I think my nose is bleeding again."

For some reason he couldn't quite fathom, House found that statement to be absolutely amusing. Laughing softly, he asked, "What's up with that? You said he only kicked - "

"You didn't ask if he punched me. But you're fairly intelligent, right? I figured you'd cleverly deduce that a cut lip and busted nose indicated that a fist had made contact. I doubt he's currently enrolled in karate - no way his foot could get up there."

Now only smiling, House rolled his eyes. Of course, he could have deduced that much, but - and he would never admit this to Wilson - he had been to preoccupied with fixing him up. Perhaps Wilson already knew this anyway. He supposed it didn't really matter at that moment.

"Pinch it," he instructed, regretfully beginning to extract himself from Wilson's hold. "I'm gonna get a - "

"Wait," Wilson said quickly, grabbing him before he had a chance to stand. "We could just let it blend in with your shirt..."

House looked at him, his eyebrows raised in amusement. "We could...but that would make us idiots."

Wilson chuckled, letting go and pinching his nose lightly as he had done earlier. "Fine."

And as House stood to go fetch a papertowel from the kitchen, behind him he distictly heard Wilson mutter, "That shirt was always my favorite anyway..."

He grinned.