No Price for Guessing

House is late. It's not uncommon; neither it hasn't happened before. And yet, Wilson is slightly worried. He's worried enough to drop by to figure out what takes him so long.

Since his breaking up with the constitutional lawyer of PPTH, Stacy Warner, House had found solace and satisfaction in his work that became almost an obsession. Which, admittedly, is also something to be concerned about. One day being a workaholic will take its toll on Wilson's closest friend, most likely a lot faster than his addiction to pain medication and his unhealthy way of abusing himself by drinking too much bourbon in the evening.

So he decides to check on him, because that's what Wilson is best at. To care and to worry about people who doesn't want to be checked on. He knows that House will pour out snappy and mocking remarks all over him when he shows up, but he can't help it.

When Stacy left, it had been up to Wilson to pick up the pieces that had been a shattered and mourning House. As much as his loyalty is one of his outstanding traits, he's not sure if he can take a broken House a second time.

He doesn't answer the door which is strange. It sets off Wilson's inner alarm clock. Obviously, he hasn't been out of the house; the motorcycle is parked right on the sidewalk as usual. In his mind, House is laying on the floor in his own vomit, cringing and whimpering for help that doesn't come.

Driven by the horrible worst case scenario in his mind, he nervously fumbles for the keys in his pocket and unlocks the door.


"House?"

Nothing. There is, however, a sharp and yet familiar smell lingering in the hallway and the living room. Could it be that he had a hooker invited and had forgotten about the time, made her stay through the night so he won't be feeling lonely?

The significant bouquet of bodily fluids and sex diminishes as Wilson passes the room straight to the kitchen. Coffee is running through the machine and makes him widen his nostrils. How he could go for a hot, reassuring mug of fresh coffee now to shake off his concern!

He withstands the impulse to take a mug out of the sideboard by mustering all of his willpower. On a related note, he finds a plate of scrambled eggs (cold) and some waffles (still crisp) on the table. Why on earth did his friend prepare for breakfast (he never did when Wilson used to crash at his place after his divorce and had no place else to go) but didn't finish? It looked like he had to leave in a hurry. As if he had been interrupted.

Perhaps it was the hooker's way to say thank you for fucking me nice and slow and treat me like a human being? One of the advantages of having a reputation as a jerk is that you can be surprising on an intimate level now and then.

But where was she? And, more importantly, where was House? Had he been kidnapped and beaten to death, the victim of a crime too awful for words?

He tries again, his voice timid and his nerves on the verge of going hay-wire. "House? I shall call the police, no matter where you are. This is serious. Cuddy will make you do clinic hours for the rest of your miserable life."

An arduously stifled snickering noise from the bedroom down the hallway catches Wilson's attention. Reluctantly, he switches off his cell phone.

All of a sudden the feeling of making a fool out of himself grows into absurd certainty. He should have known better. House was playing some of his pranks which he ironically refers to as "a little friendly reminder."

This time, he had gone too far.


Furiously, Wilson heads for the bedroom, his hands clenched into fists, his cheeks flushed with anger as he enters.

The place is a mess.

Clothes are flipped all over; on the chair and at the end of the French bed. On the nightstand at House's bedside, Wilson detects a pricey bottle of champagne that's nearly empty, flanked by two glasses, one of them upside down.

The smell in here is more prominent than in the entire apartment. It takes ones breath away in its clear intensity.

Plain for him to see, there's a tube of lubricant placed nearby as if to apologize for the untidiness in the room and the musky scent of sex.

He chokes and points his index finger towards the smug face of his friend's. Oddly enough, there's something else beneath his self-satisfaction. Wilson is tempted to call it something close to exhilaration. The hooker must have been as classy as the sparkling wine. Dom Pérignon like in the movies. House definitely is a child. He is, however, a closet romantic as well.

"You… you-…"

"…and you are rather unexpected", House points out with a smirk as he props up on his elbow and leans against the bed frame. His hair is disheveled, his eyes are sparkling, and he even looks kind of roguish like Wilson hasn't seen him in years.

"That's the point in my being here", Wilson huffs. "People are worried if you don't show up on time. I'm supposed to check on you. Why didn't you give me a call at least to tell me you're ok?"

"Because someone else is checking on me right now. And before you ask, there's also taken care of my precious welfare. Mentally and physically."

"She's still here?!"

"Shush. Keep your volume down. You'll wake the baby."

"Baby?"

"With the most rose-colored and roundest, perfectest curved tush you've seen this side of the Atlantic. The most delicate, milky white skin you can dream of and the blondest floppy hair you've ever let your fingers slip through."

Suspiciously, Wilson raises his brow and bends forward to confirm eventual dilating of House's pupils. "What drug are you on?"

"It's not legalized yet, therefore it's unknown to the rest of us. Sorry, Wilson. I'm not willing to share."

"Apparently, you're not even willing to introduce me to your overwhelming acquaintance", Wilson scoffs. "If she's as remarkable as you say, then why hide her from me?"

House shrugs. "She's shy. I don't wanna push her."

"Speaking of which, Chase hasn't shown up for work. Your example set a precedent."

"Like I always say: 'work smart, not hard.' Seems that Chase is the only one who takes my advice seriously."

"Oh, it's so you to avoid hard work."

"Sarcasm doesn't suit you, Jimmy. It makes you ugly."

"As if you care."

"I do. I really do. You don't know how much I have changed since I met her. Want a for instance? You look starved. Why don't you help yourself to some waffles in the kitchen? My new conquest's an all-rounder and an excellent cook. Well trained, I may say."

Wilson sighs and rests his case, his shoulders sinking down in defeat. "Alright, I get it. She's too perfect not to have sex with again. I won't interfere any longer."

"You can stay if you have nothing better to do. We just need a little warm-up. I think you call it foreplay."

Possessively, House's hand skims over the outlines of the sheets next to him to rest at the bottom of the hooker's. He curls his fingers unequivocally around it and presses them deeply into the crumpled sheet where there must be human flesh underneath. The flinching shape is of a boyish frame, and Wilson feels a bit uncomfortable as he watches some sluggish movements of the jutted hipbone.

But boy, that ass makes up for any lack of female body structure indeed!

At that very moment, a premonition comes to mind that he can't get rid of. A sudden onset of blood rush makes his head flashing up like a light bulb.

"Is she-… is she of age, House? I mean… you don't sleep with-… you know the laws of this country, don't you?"

"'course I do. But I'd prefer you not tell Cuddy. I'm planning to let her know in our wedding invitation. Pity I won't be seeing her face, then. The only annoying thing about my fiancée is the accent. But we'll get to that later when it's time to do more talking, right, Princess?"

With a swift fling of his arm, he pulls away the blanket as if to do a magic trick to reveal the unknown beauty beside him.

Wilson stares at the two men; House's young intensivist is snuggling up to his friend and wantonly steals a kiss from his pursed lips before he turns to face Wilson and shows him the most gleaming smile.

"G'day, Dr. Wilson", he says in his thick Melbourne accent. "I'm sorry we were screwing with you. It wasn't my idea, honest."

House ruffles his hair. It's a disturbingly tender gesture along with the affectionate gaze he's exchanging with his new conquest. His eyes remain locked with Chase's as he addresses Wilson, feigning exasperation.

"Told you we're working on it. He'll learn. He's quick. Aren't you, my little walla-baby?"

"You promised not to tell." Chase is sulking tongue in cheek until House draws him close to his chest and puts his arms around him to reciprocate the kiss. Then, he tilts his head as if to await his best friend's blessing.

After the first shock, Wilson is not sure whether he wants to laugh or stomp his foot.

There's no price for guessing what or who House's new muse will be. Hopefully, Chase can fill this gap for as long as it makes House happy.

"Good for you", he finally says, knowing that neither of the two need nor appreciate his approval.

Against common sense, Wilson clings to the hope that House has found a companion in Chase who won't disappoint him. Chances are, he'll be lucky this time.

The combination is weird.

Entirely out of the ordinary.

Things that have always worked for his friend.