James Wilson could not get warm. He had wrapped himself up as tightly in the comforter as he could, but still he shivered until his teeth rattled, until he winced to hear himself whimpering softly, until House rolled over heavily beside him and suggested that he shut the hell up and go to sleep already.

Wilson tried to retort, but somehow the words didn't quite make it out of his mouth in the right order. After a second, House's weight shifted again, and then Wilson felt a cool, firm hand being laid with surprising gentleness on his forehead.

"Wow, Wilson, you're really hot." House switched on the lamp on his bedside table, dragged himself out of bed, and limped away. When he returned, he yanked the covers out of Wilson's clutches and began fumbling with the buttons on his pajama top. "Help me take off your clothes."

"House," Wilson groaned, weakly trying to push House's hands away, "I'm not in the mood."

House only smirked and undid Wilson's drawstring.

"Knock it off, I'm sick," Wilson protested feebly.

"Yeah, I got that. Have I ever mentioned my mad diagnostic skillz? Come on," House leered as he patted the mattress encouragingly, "roll over."

"What? You have got to be kidding me," Wilson shuddered.

"Wilson you moron," House huffed in exasperation, "while I'm as turned on by the red-faced, glassy-eyed look as the next guy, I really am just trying to get your clothes off so I can cool you down." He brandished a wet washcloth in front of Wilson's nose.

"Oh," Wilson responded sheepishly, and turned himself over onto his belly, still shivering. Cheek pressed into the pillow, he shifted his hips so that House could pull off his pajama bottoms and allowed his arms to be freed of first one sleeve and then the other. He felt something slipping lightly down his back, leaving a shimmering sensation behind it.

"All right," House said briskly, "roll back over and take these." He handed Wilson a couple of aspirin and a glass of water, which he helped him hold to his lips while he swallowed. Then he pushed Wilson back down against the pillows, dipped the washcloth in the basin of water he'd brought, wrung it out, and began sliding it over Wilson's skin.

Wilson closed his eyes as the lovely cool cloth caressed his face and arms, then glided over his chest. When he opened them again, he felt strangely detached from his own body, as if he were floating just above it, watching House care for him with a surprisingly concerned expression on his face.

At last the antipyretics took effect, and the shaking eased. House helped him back into his pajamas and stripped the comforter off the bed, replacing it with a lighter blanket. When Wilson protested, he shrugged, switched off the light, and curled himself around the younger man's body, lightly stroking his hair away from his damp forehead.

"You know," House murmured in his ear while reaching down and squeezing his ass suggestively, "it's a well-known fact that sex can help break a fever by making you sweat."

"Shut up," Wilson mumbled, and nestled back against him as he drifted into sleep.