Wilson asked the question incredulously, brows raising high over a childly curious stare. His arms rested limply on either side of the orange cafeteria tray, his tuna on wheat sitting untouched beside the pile of chips he only picked at- the conversation was that good. Wariness washed over his features and made them stern, questioning.
"There's no way you're serious…"
"As a heart attack."
House sat forward and without hesitation took half of Wilson's sandwich, the other doctor glimpsing his thieving hand without interest because the practice was routine and the gossip was much, much more satisfying. House took a bite and chewed past a smug expression.
"Thirteen wants me."
"If that sentence ended with 'dead' or 'hanging upside down by my big toe', I might actually believe you."
"You can make fun all you want. Give it a month, I bet you anything I'll be hitting that like the fist of an angry god."
"Don't…" Wilson closed his eyes, raised his hands, and shook his head. "Do not mention 'fist' while referencing Thirteen."
"You dog." House took another bite and examined the neighboring tables. "I wasn't even thinking about things like that…but now that you mention it…"
Wilson's eyes widened in panic.
"No. No! Stop it. Stop whatever perverted little ideas that are forming, House. Just…just don't."
"What, you're blind all of a sudden? You can't see she's drop-dead gorgeous? Either that or the rumors are true and you're gay as the day is long…which explains the healthy sheen and body of your hair. I've seen you; you know how to handle a hair dryer like a pro."
"I'm not, I just mean," Wilson stuttered, unable to rattle off a defense on the spot. "I'm not gay, House, I'm just a sane and moral person- foreign concept, I know. This is a bad, bad idea and a complete and total conflict of interest. HR would have a field day."
"Those guys do need to get out more…" House pondered, regarding Wilson with a sideways glance to gauge his reaction.
"You know what I mean, House. Besides, I thought you liked Cameron. Chase said that he overheard Foreman talking to Cuddy, and-"
"And what, he asked her to prom? I didn't realize this was Princeton-Plainsboro High, but if that's how you need it explained, it's like this: Cameron is Saved By The Bell- already out on DVD, much beloved but a novelty of nostalgia at best, the kind where you look back and go 'What were they thinking?' and 'Look at everybody's hair!' Thirteen is…Degrassi."
"Degrassi." Wilson deadpanned.
"That's already out on DVD, too. And it's getting kinda dated."
"Oh…" House furrowed his brow in a pantomime of deep concentration.
"Freaks and Geeks, then."
"That's even older."
"Fine. The OC."
"So five years ago."
"Jesus fucking Christ. What's new, then?"
"Vampire Diaries." It was House's turn to deadpan.
"Hey…" Wilson held up his hands again. "…you asked."
"Why do you even know that?" House took another bite and waved his hand dismissively. "Nevermind, I don't even want to know."
Wilson nudged his chips around his plate with a finger and perfectly pulled off looking sheepish. "…I read the TV Guide."
"Anyway," House raised his voice a little, wanting to keep the focus of conversation where it belonged. "I was never interested in Cameron. I have no desire to be somebody's three-legged puppy. Besides, she seems perfectly happy putting Band-Aids on Captain Thunder-From-Down-Under's boo-boos."
Wilson chuckled. "So you want Thirteen to put Band-Aids on your leg? I think I have a box of Snoopy ones in my office. You're more than welcome to them."
House just glared but a ghost of a smirk betrayed itself beneath the dark, thick bristles that were just a day or two away from being a beard.
"Seriously, though," Wilson continued, knowing he had a small window during which he could speak and House would actually listen. "Yes, she's hot and yes, she seems to want to hang out with you for some ungodly reason…but she's your employee, and besides being young enough to be your daughter she's also sick with Huntington's. Huntington's, House. It might be fun right now but you're both going to get hurt and despite what you want people to think I know your masochism is superficial at best. You're already miserable, you like to remind everybody around you of that fact. Just…don't doom yourself."
It was a good speech, Wilson felt- perhaps one of his best on-the-spot concoctions. He waited for a response, watching House closely only to find that the other doctor was staring off into the distance, a mischievous smirk the dead giveaway that he'd tuned out at some point. Twisting in his chair to see what he was staring at, Wilson joined House in silent appreciation of how Thirteen went about ordering lunch. By the time he turned back around House was leaving but luckily hadn't gotten far. Wilson grabbed the cane as House passed by, not bothering to look at him.
The two stayed like that in a tense moment of suspended animation, the people around them slowing and fading to darkness as if suddenly the world had tunnel vision and it was just the two of them.
It was House.
It was Wilson.
…it was pointless to argue with him.
Wilson let go of the cane and solemnly picked up his half of the tuna sandwich, taking a bite with a familiar sigh that House ignored as he honed in on Thirteen.
"Relax…" He muttered, gruffly. "…what's the worst that could happen?"