The Way You Call Me House

"House," Cuddy would say.

"House," Cameron would say.

"House," Foreman would say.

"House," Chase would say.

"House," Wilson would say.

They never called him Greg, or even Gregory. It was always House- just House. But at the same time, though the one word was always the same, it never fully was.

Cuddy called him House in that slightly grating, middle-aged female voice of hers that could make board members and lawyers' legs shake, but only ever seemed to make House's hurt more. She never could keep a tone of annoyance from creeping into the word, even if she wasn't feeling particularly hostile towards him that day.

Cameron- well, more often than not she called him House in a soft, slightly pitying tone that bespoke her attachment to broken people.

House's name from Foreman's mouth was like an expletive, and from Chase it varied. That slight Australian accent twisted the single syllable subtly, wryly, adding more inflection to the name, but never so much as Wilson's voice could.

When Wilson called House, sometimes he was annoyed, like Cuddy. Hell, it wasn't just sometimes, it was most times. But unlike Cuddy, his annoyance was tempered with tolerance, a wall of patience that, if House ever crossed, would affect a tell that the sarcastic limper could always detect and, if so inclined, remedy.

Sometimes Wilson spoke House's name with pity in his heart, though he always tried not to show it. He knew how much his friend hated it. And it had to be allowed that "House" had left his lips a number of times in a tone akin to the dirtiest swearwords.

But those weren't the tones he normally used. People wondered why no one called House by his first name, and to be honest, everyone who knew him shared that curiosity at one point or another. Yet only two people ever really knew the answer.

Wilson had a way of saying "House" that was more familiar than a first name, more personal than a nickname. The way he called his friend House spoke, every single time, of the wars they'd fought with- and against- each other, of the years they'd spent being friends, of the years of friendship to come, of all the memories of times past spent calling each other by the familiar monikers. "House" coming from Wilson's lips was not the same as "House" from any other's: it was a first name, a nickname, and endearment, all rolled into one neat package of sound, and no one else would ever be able to say it just the way he did.

And honestly, at times when they were alone together, just talking in his office of watching TV at House's apartment, and Wilson would turn his head and say, in that slightly breathy way of his,

"House-"

House wouldn't have Wilson call him anything else.

A/N: When I was reading Sherlock Holmes for the second time, I always wondered why Holmes and Watson never called each other by their first names. Victorian social standards could be argued, as could years of habit, but standards changed and they could have broken habits had they been so inclined. I thought there had to have been some reason why two of the closest friends in history could not- or would not- use each other's first names. And as I was watching House today (as I'm sure you know, based off of the famous detective,) I realized that it wasn't really the name itself, but who said it and how that made all the difference and turned an impersonal last name into a word that meant so much more, but only between those two friends. I also realized House and Wilson share this same bond, and so this fic was born. I hope you enjoyed it, and anyone who has ever wondered the same thing I did now has at least food for thought towards their answer.