House was sitting alone in his office, still trying to get his head around the idea that his best friend was dying two weeks after he had made it clear that he would not accept any further curative treatment. Ok, so he had made it as far as seeing Wilson's point, four months of enjoying life in reasonable comfort and one month of dying in relatively little pain were better than a year of trying to avoid the inevitable with all the side effects of chemo, but still. Damn, this was Wilson! He wasn't supposed to die first! It wasn't fair! He was one of the good guys, one of those who deserved to live to 96 and have their great-grandchildren play around them! Not to mention that – well, he, House, would be left on his own, and thinking about that didn't even fill him with sadness, but just made him feel numb with grief.
He was just vaguely contemplating ways of worsening his leg pain, and if that would distract him from what was going on in his head when Wilson came bursting in, grinning and looking perkier than he had in weeks. "What the fuck, Wilson? Did you stick a Post-it into the Wailing Wall and Big Guy Adonai magically cured you or something?" "Nope, still dying, but I've got an idea!" Before House could reply to that, he suddenly found a ring on his finger. "Let's get married!" "WHAT?" He looked into Wilson's eyes. They seemed clear, and, anyway, the thymoma hadn't really had time to metastase into the brain yet. "We should have done it years ago, seriously!" Well, there was something to be said for that, but… "Why the hell now?" Wilson became serious for the moment. "I've always dreamt of a happy marriage and kids. Well, forget the kids, it's too late for that now. But the happy marriage is still a possibility, so…" He got down on one knee. "…Gregory House, will you marry me?" "Given that you've already forced that ridiculous ring onto my finger, I guess I haven't got much of a choice, do I?" "Aw, I thought you'd like it!" House looked at the ring more closely, matt white gold with some sort of braid design. At second sight it looked pretty ok. "It's fine I guess. So what makes you think this marriage will be happy? With me, of all people?" "Simple, it usually takes me about six months to fuck one up, and I've only got about four and a half left." House had to chuckle despite himself. "I like the way you think. Though, thanks to Governor Christie we can't actually get married, ever thought of that?" "Well if you had voted…" "…it still wouldn't have been enough to get a Democrat into office. Anyway, so when are we going ahead with that pathetic substitute for marriage the state of New Jersey will let us have? Booked the honeymoon yet? Where's the wedding dinner?" "So you will?" Wilson's smile was now as wide as the doorway. "Who am I to refuse a dying man's wish?" "Wouldn't be the first time…" "Yeah, but those were patients, not you." He helped Wilson up from the floor and took him into his arms. "I love you, and you're right. And I can't wait to see you in your beautiful white dress." He heard a snort somewhere near his shoulder. "Lace, I'll have you know." "Riiiiiiight… So, fine, first thing tomorrow morning we'll get the civil union licence, and 72 hours later on the dot we'll exchange vows. We've no time to lose. In the mean time, you book the dinner and I'll book the honeymoon. And it's gonna be fucking epic!"
As soon as Wilson was back out of the door, House started looking for possible honeymoon destinations, very much wishing that Googling "honeymoon with dying cancer patient" would immediately throw up a convenient package. Only that kind of stuff usually didn't happen of course, unless your name was… Alison Cameron, oh goodness… and so he had to make do with tailoring something to their needs - which was probably a better idea anyway, it certainly made him feel more in love. They'd need a place with developed, easily accessible healthcare, just in case. And one with good, clean, temperate air, because the cancer would soon begin to invade Wilson's pleural space and he'd need to be able to breathe comfortably and get as much oxygen out of it as possible. The place would have to be beautiful, of course, with a bit of history, a bit of scenery and also some plain old fun. Also, if this was gonna be Wilson's last road trip – and a road trip it was gonna be, that was for sure – it would have to be in a place with something really special on offer in terms of things to see.
Finally he settled on Norway. Accessing healthcare would be expensive there, but who cared, at least it was there and Wilson wouldn't be able to take his savings to the grave with him. Everything else just sounded perfect, cool, temperate climate, dramatic scenery, beautiful cities, and of course the 25% extra, the midnight sun. He booked two business class tickets to Oslo – more leg room, and with a bit of luck their Miles would get them an upgrade – a weekend stay in a ridiculously expensive hotel for the two nights after arrival to sleep off their jet lag, a camper van to trundle up from Oslo to the North Cape – or however far beyond the polar circle the wind would blow them – and finally two little 250 cc Honda Enduros they'd be able to take in the camper van and use for exploring. Finally he carefully plucked his molten credit card back into shape and strolled over to Wilson's office. "Right, honeymoon's booked, how's the wedding dinner doing?" "Booked, at the Eno Terra. By the way, we need a witness for getting the licence." "Fuck, I wanted to keep this between ourselves!" "Yeah, me too, but what can you do?" Well, Foreman was kind of trustworthy, right? They went over to his office. "Afternoon, Foreman, we need you to be our witness!" "Defence or prosecution? And what the hell did you do now, House?" "Nothing…" House adopted a mock hurt tone and Wilson took over. "We're getting married and we need a witness to get the licence." "Seriously?" "Seriously!" Foreman smilingly came out from his behind desk and hugged them both. "Finally! I wish you all the happiness in the world, and if I could give you more time I would! Best I can do is to let you come and go as you please now, guys, you've more important things on your mind than work. When do you want me at the registry office?"
They signed the register four days later and got on the 19:00h to Oslo – upgraded to First between Miles, smiles and the heart-wrenching motivation behind their journey – the next day. "What made you go for Norway?" "It's perfect, believe me! History, scenery and loose sexual morals. We'll french the face off each other in strip clubs!" Wilson cocked an eyebrow. "We could have that in Atlantic City. I don't think they care much there either as long as you keep stuffing Greenbacks into the strippers' thongs." "It's still different in Norway. Beautiful place, and we'll be able to celebrate the midnight sun with a decent drink, which is more than can be said for Fairbanks." Wilson chuckled and snuggled himself into the crook of House's neck. He was already getting lighter, his bulk was less than it had been four weeks ago during the chemo session. "How's your appetite?" "For fuck's sake, House, I'm supposed to be the mother hen here!" "I know, but right now you're the sick puppy. So how is it?" "Good, as ever. Not puking anything back up either." He shrugged. "Cancer cells are greedy bastards. I could eat twice as much as I do and they'd still stay ahead." "Well duh, that's why they're killing you!" "Exactly!" They asked the cabin attendant for more Akvavit, which they had both taken an enormous liking to almost immediately after departing from Newark. "To love!" House proposed. They had already drunk to road trips, being silly together one last time and not caring, so that one seemed to be the natural progression. "To love!" They clinked glasses, gulped the shots back and kissed. The attendant, tall and blonde and Scandinavian, and with an Abba accent, smiled. "Honeymoon?" House smiled back, slightly sozzled. "Yup, and my hubby has about four months to live, so we're making the best of it!" The attendant's smile faltered for a moment; she didn't seem quite sure if he was joking, and, in case he wasn't, what she should say. Wilson, also less than sober at that stage, gave her a reassuring smile and squeezed her hand. "It's true. But it's ok, don't worry. I can deal with it." And at that particular moment, he didn't seem to be lying. "Right, sir… That's good…" The attendant, Marit according to her name badge, was slowly recovering her composure. She gently put a hand on Wilson's shoulder. "You'll be our special guests today. If there's anything you need or want, and I mean anything at all, just let me know!"
They hadn't made much use of that offer by the time they got to Oslo, but it had certainly made the journey that bit nicer. Wilson gave Marit a one-armed hug on the way out of the plane, his other hand being busy with his carry-on, and House gave her a smile and a wave. "Thanks, we'll e-mail your HQ about you. In a good way, that is." She smiled back. "It was a pleasure!" Hello Norway! On all their journeys, mostly on business, sometimes together and sometimes apart, neither of them had ever made it there, so for the moment they just gawked out of the cab window on the way to the hotel. Wilson kept asking the driver for the names of places they were passing and jotted them down for subsequent exploration. House, who was dog-tired and whose leg was screaming for a hot bath, a comfortable mattress and a memory foam pillow, hoped to fuck that he wasn't intending to go to all of them. Finally they got to the Hotel Continental, where House had booked the Honeymoon Suite with a view of the Royal Palace. "Ah, and now for a couple of hours of shut-eye!" he enthusiastically exclaimed, throwing his jacket and bag over the nearest available chair. Wilson was indignant: "A couple of hours of shut-eye? I'm in Norway for the first time in my life, and I'm pretty sure the last time, too! I've four and a half months to live; I'm not gonna fucking waste any of that with getting shut-eye!" Shit! House suddenly realised he was putty in his dying husband's hands. "Please?" "No!" "Ok, compromise, cos my leg is really killing me. Let's get some room service and fire up the Jacuzzi, and then let's have a lie down just for half an hour. I promise, that's all it'll be. I just won't be able to walk otherwise." Wilson chuckled weakly. "A cripple and a dying guy on tour. I'm pretty sure there's a road movie in that somewhere." "More a Lifetime TV movie really. I'll sell the idea to them when you're dead."
Wilson smiled and ordered up more Akvavit and a platter of local fish specialties, all of which they proceeded to have in the bath, followed by a lie down, spooning. House, as much as he was trying to stay awake, felt himself dozing off. Eventually, he was woken by a gentle kiss on the cheek. "Better? I fell asleep, too. But it's only about three-ish, so we still have some time for taking in the sights." Wilson was obviously back in mother hen mode. House turned around, smilingly. "I should be taking care of you, idiot!" "Thanks, but I like it better this way. You're pretty good at taking care of me when you have to, but this just feels more… normal I guess. And right about now I think normality is just the thing I need." "Ok…" As he got up, House looked him over. As yet, you had to know him very well to realise he was not in perfect health. His nude form was still athletic, and his skin tone was still on the right side of pallor, perfectly attributable to jet lag and lack of sleep rather than that thing in his chest, growing even as they were speaking, taking from his substance every single second, ready to take over and kill him. House turned away and distracted himself by attending to his own appearance. He didn't want to think these thoughts right now, he just wanted two weeks of perfect joy and fun for Wilson. And for himself, too, to be perfectly honest. With probably decades still ahead of him after Wilson would be gone, he'd need such memories to help him through.
They spent a fun weekend in Oslo, taking in the sights, the food and drink and, yes, also a strip club, and then embarked on their epic road trip for the midnight sun. As they steadily headed further north, away from sights and sounds and speed, and towards cool air and serenity, they felt themselves loosening up. Eventually they made it up to Lofoten and spent a couple of days just resting. They had gone to the top of a mountain near Svolvær on their little Enduros and were just sitting there, taking in the sea and the birds, when House heard a strangled sob, the kind that's been gathering for a couple of days. He drew Wilson into his arms – sadly noticing more weight loss – and gently rubbed his carotis, both pretending the moisture on their jackets was rain out of the clear, blue sky. Eventually he calmed down. "I don't wanna go yet, House…" he whispered. "I know…" "I'm not scared of death, but, shit, I feel I still have so much living to do. Look at this place! I've barely scratched the surface of this amazing planet and that's already it?" "You've seen more of it than most people…" "Still not half enough… And why did it take us so long to get our act together? We could have had decades! Adopted! Had our Silver and Golden Anniversaries and dandled grandkids on our knees." "At least we have these couple of months now. And we'd have never got our act together if it wasn't for you dying. It was the catalyst we needed." Wilson buried his face deeper in House's leather jacket. "It wasn't the catalyst I wanted." "It wasn't the catalyst I wanted either, but I guess we've just got to play the hand we've been given." "And I worry about you. What'll you do when I'm gone?" "I'll give life without you an honest try. For a couple of months, maybe a year or two, and if it doesn't work out by then, there's always the overdose option. And this time you won't be there to find me." He had thought about life after Wilson long and hard since they had left Oslo, and that had seemed like the best option out of a bad lot. "So you're actually considering suicide." "I've given this a lot of thought over the past few days and yes, I've made that option a rational consideration. I do want to try going on living first, though. There are a bunch of seedy corners of the world I haven't been to yet." Wilson smiled. "Ok, as long as you try." "It's the least thing I can do, after all the times you've saved me."
For a while they just sat there again, silently, enjoying each others presence. "I wish I could die now, still feeling relatively ok. It's not death I'm worried about, it's the last few days, the pain, my organs gradually shutting down, puking and fitting." Wilson had seen end stage cancer too often to be fooled by anything soothing he would have said to one of his patients. House drew him closer again. "I have enough drugs with me…" "No, I'm not serious enough about that. I want get the last few good weeks. After that… Well, you're my medical proxy and you know what I want." "Yeah…" House had already started stockpiling narcotics, and not for his own use. "I've given you my last Vicodin before, and I can do it again. You won't be in pain, whatever else happens." "I know…" He looked House straight in the eyes, brown hitting blue, and the trust in his gaze did things to House's heart he was sure weren't healthy. A little more morphine than strictly necessary for pain management was easily given. "Just say the word!" "I will. But not yet. We still have weeks, and I want to squeeze every last drop out of them!" They stayed up on the mountain, even as it got cooler towards evening. House had brought up a thick blanket for Wilson, who was beginning to feel cold more easily now, and wrapped it around him. "Comfortable?" "Uhu… Wanna share?" "Ok…" They lay on their tummies under the blanket facing towards the glaciers in the far distance, in eager anticipation like two kids on a scouting trip. Finally they could hear a church bell from well below in the town strike midnight. "Look…" They both looked north, where the sun was still up, only just above the horizon. They hugged and kissed. "Thanks for bringing me here", Wilson whispered. "Thanks for making me want to." They had got a bottle of Akvavit for silly money from a government store way further south, and now clinked their plastic camping glasses.
They didn't go further north, now they'd seen the midnight sun. Instead, they slowly trundled back down to Oslo, stopping by for a couple of days' fishing here and a day's exploration on the Enduros there, and managing it without visits to the ER, even though Wilson had to catch his breath more and more often now.
Getting off the plane in Newark they felt at peace.