A/N: Almost done. Only this chapter and the next remaining. Thanks a lot to everyone following, and big extra thanks to those who comment!


"I expect you didn't cook dinner today either, right?"

House had let himself in, and collapsed near Wilson on the couch. It was eight pm, and his patient was finally stable, but the last thirty-six hours had been hard on him and his wrinkles were deeper then usual. Wilson hoped for a quiet night with no beeper going off.

"No, but there are still leftovers of the stew you cooked two days ago. Do you want me to heat it up?"

He didn't wait for an answer, but pushed himself on the wheelchair and went to the fridge, then to the microwave oven.

"Sure," House answered while lifting his feet onto the coffee table, "and bring me a beer while you're at it."

Wilson smiled as he did what he was told; House was wonderful in being of help without making him feel more incompetent and helpless than was unavoidable.

When he sat back down on the couch and drank a sip of his own beer, he expected House to switch on the TV; instead, his lover turned towards him and looked at him in a puzzled way.

"Is there a problem?" Wilson tried to think quickly, options passing in front of his mind's eye while House looked sadder every second. His patient? Cuddy? The team? What could have upset House so much?

"I heard about the pediatrics consult this morning."

"Yes." Wilson smiled at the recollection. "Dr. Plimsoll was right and it was cancer, but luckily a benign one. The little girl will be fine."

House's face became inexplicably darker. "Did Plimsoll need more consults over lunch?"

"No, she just wanted to thank me. She was kind, and even asked me whether she should come over sometime and make lunch for me. We discussed our favorite foods, apparently her grandma makes Latkes very much like my mother does, and..." Wilson lost his line of thought halfway through the sentence. "Oh. I see. House, don't tell me you are jealous?"

The blue eyes were steel colored, like the sky just before a thunderstorm. "Why shouldn't I be? She's young, probably fertile, and twenty years younger than I. You could finally have the children your parents have been pestering you about since you went to the prom. And she was flirting with you."

Wilson would have laughed at House's expression, which reminded him of the family dog the morning after he had been mistakenly locked out through a rainy night. But to House this was obviously no laughing matter, and he prefaced his speech with a long, tomato-and-wine sauce flavored kiss.

"She wasn't flirting, just being polite, but had she been I wouldn't have been interested. I am in a committed relationship."

House looked, if possible, even gloomier. "Has this ever stopped you? And what do you want with me anyway? I can't even properly take care of you physically."

Wilson kissed him again. "I want you because it's you I love, not Dr. Catherine Plimsoll. If I need someone young and strong to care for me I'll hire a nurse."

"She's cute, and she likes you." It sounded like an indictment.

"She's definitely cute, and she may like me, House, but I don't care about her. There's a big difference between now and when I was married: now I am in a relationship with a person I'm deeply in love with. Trust me, House, it's you that I want."

House looked at him with a face he usually reserved for surprises at the poker table. "If you're so sure, will you marry me? I did some online checks. We can drive to any place where it's legal and sign some sheets of paper."

There was defiance in his tone, as he dared Wilson to find an excuse. But all that Wilson said was "Fine. Check my schedule with Sandy, pick a date and a destination, and ask her to make the travel reservations. We can share the paperwork. I'll tell her and Cuddy what we're going to do, and you can tell your team. Feel free to tell them a few days ahead if you want them to squeeze some money out of the hospital's betting fans."

"It's… a yes?" House stammered. "No ifs, or buts, or maybe-laters?"

"No. It's been three months, and you're old enough to make your own decisions. I certainly can make mine, and I only wish we'd done this much earlier."

House looked embarrassed. "Uh. I didn't expect this, not so fast. Do you want an engagement ring? I never got married, you will have to tell me what to do."

Wilson couldn't help a touch of sadness from creeping into his dry laughter. "I'm not going to teach you anything, I was a terrible husband to three different women. All we need is a license, plus the courage to tell my parents. I'll need you to hold my hand, you know."

"Be careful if you wish for my company. If they say anything nasty I may end beating them up with my cane."

"So we're all set?"

"It appears."

"Good." Wilson relaxed on the couch, then he remembered something and smiled. "Could you go to the kitchen and bring me my cereal box? You know, the really healthy stuff."

House looked confused, but automatically did as he was told - he was used to Wilson asking him to be his legs and arms when he was too tired to climb on the wheelchair again.

"Here you are. Do you really need that healthy shit? Low fat, no sugar, all natural... the description alone makes me sick."

Wilson's fingers reached searchingly inside the box, and pulled out something small and dark and velvety, which he roughly cleaned on his trousers before handing it to House. "No, I just need this. Has been waiting here for a while, as I was sure this was the only way to keep it out of your sight. Here, it's for you."

House looked at the jeweler's box in his hands, then back at Wilson, with love and worry. "You... you have gotten me an engagement ring?"

"Not quite. Why don't you open the box?"

House did, revealing two very simple earrings, each consisting only of a small stone mounted on a minimalistic silver base. Or possibly white gold.

"Wilson, I... uh, I don't have pierced ears. Is this a leftover present from your last marriage?"

"No, it's not. Those sapphires are the same color as your eyes, not Julie's. And I can pierce your ears myself, it's easy and doesn't hurt. Pretend I'm a doctor, will you?"

House's cheeks had reddened. "I... uh... I've never worn jewelry, you know. Nor piercings. You sure it's a good idea?"

Wilson got one of the earrings, pulled it up near House's lobe, and smiled. "You'll be so handsome we'll have to tie Cameron up or she'll jump you at the ceremony. Maybe we'll have to do the same with Chase, now that I think of it."

He laughed as House reddened further and stammered something about his team having no sexual interest in him.

"The fact you are not interested in them doesn't mean I can't see the way they look at you. If your measure of beauty is attractiveness to the young, than you are definitely handsomer than I am. And if you don't mind I'd like to do the piercing now. I want to see you wear them when we make love next time."