Author's note: Wrote this based on a great prompt from my pal Anne (aka MystryGAB): What if Wilson had moved in with Cuddy, not House, in S2 after his wife cheated on him? I took that and modified it a bit (Wilson runs to Cuddy after House kicks him out). Those expecting anything deep will be disappointed. It's just fun. I really like the idea of clueless S2 House being insanely jealous but acting almost in the opposite of his own best interests.- atd
"You're still mad at me," House said, sliding into the booth opposite Wilson in the hospital cafeteria.
"No," Wilson said. "I'm not."
"You've been avoiding me ever since I kicked you out of my apartment."
"I haven't been avoiding you. I've been busy. Treating patients. You should try it sometime!"
"I know you had this fantasy of us getting closer—bonding as we folded laundry together or something," House said. "But let's face it, the whole Oscar and Felix thing never works out in real life. Besides, I always suspected those two guys secretly hated each other anyway."
"House, I'm not mad at you! In fact, I agree that, for the sake of our friendship, cohabitation was probably not a wise move."
House squinted at him.
"So all is forgiven?"
"There's nothing to forgive. . ."
"In that case. . ."
He reached across the table and grabbed half of Wilson's BLT, took a large bite.
"I don't forgive you THAT much!" Wilson said.
"Aha! I knew it! I knew you were still mad at me."
"House, I'm not mad. I was just hoping to establish some new groundrules."
"I'm afraid you're stuck with the old groundrules," House said, grabbing some chips off Wilson's plate.
"Plus ca change . . ." Wilson said, in mock exasperation.
They both chuckled. There was a pause. Then House looked down at the table and said, somewhat docilely.
"So are you. . .okay? I mean, you wanna talk about it or something?"
"Wow. You must be feeling guilty if you're asking about my feelings," Wilson teased.
"I didn't say I would actually listen to your response. But if you want to prattle on, I can pretend to be here for you."
"I'm fine, House. Truly. Actually, I've been leaning on. . ."
Just then, Cuddy materialized at their table. She was carrying a to-go bag and seemed to be in a rush.
"See you at 6:30?" she said to Wilson, as she breezed toward the exit, her high heels clomping efficiently against the linoleum floor.
"I'll be there," Wilson called after her.
"What the hell was that all about?"
"Cuddy is driving me home," Wilson said.
"Home? What home? You're moving back in?"
"Not my home. Cuddy's."
"Why is Cuddy driving you to her home?"
"Because I'm staying there."
"Where's Cuddy staying?"
"Also at her home."
"You're staying at Cuddy's house," House said skeptically. "With Cuddy?"
"I had no place else to go, as you well know," Wilson said.
"Why not a hotel?"
"Why stay at a hotel when I can stay with a supportive friend?"
House ignored Wilson's emphasis of the word supportive.
"So wait . . . how long have you been there?"
"Two days now."
"And you're. . .sleeping in her bed?"
"No, you idiot. I'm staying in the guest room."
House was trying to wrap his brain around this scenario.
"And you two do what? Get mani-pedis together? Exchange recipes?"
"I don't know. We just. . .hang out. Watch TV. Talk. She's being a friend."
"Yes, just friends."
"Huh. So what does she wear?"
"What does she wear?"
"Yes, while you're sitting around, talking, watching TV, and hanging out, being just friends. How is Cuddy clad?"
"She's 'clad' in jeans and a shirt, I guess."
"Never her nightie?"
"Ummm," Wilson thought about it a second. "I don't think so."
"So you are yet to see her in her bedtime attire?"
"I guess once she came into my room to tell me there was an extra blanket in the closet and she was wearing a robe."
"A see-through robe?"
"No. I'm pretty sure it was flannel, actually."
"Bummer," House said.
"So what did you and Cuddy do last night?" House said, hunkering down on the couch in Wilson's office.
"She did some budget reports and I finished my book," Wilson said.
"And this morning?"
"We had breakfast together."
"What was she wearing?"
"Why are you so obsessed with what Cuddy is wearing?" Wilson said.
"Because I have a penis. What was she wearing at breakfast?"
"A business suit."
"Lame," House said, disappointed. He was smelling the wax fruit on Wilson's coffee table. He began scratching at the paint of a wax apple. "So. . .that's it? You haven't accidentally seen her coming out of the shower? No, whoops, I thought the shower was unoccupied?"
"Stop vandalizing my fake fruit," Wilson said. "And it's not a porno film, House. It's one friend doing another friend a favor."
House sighed, tossed the apple in the air, tried to catch it with the back of his neck. It fell with an alarming thud to the ground.
"Wilson, you are a discredit to your gender."
"What part of Cuddy and I are just friends don't you understand?"
"The part where you're full of shit," House said, smirking. He was now using the toe of his Nikes to try to kick the apple back up, soccer style.
Wilson rolled his eyes, didn't respond.
"So you and Cuddy. . . talk?" House said. "About feelings?"
"Yes," Wilson admitted. "We talk about feelings. I know this is hard for you to grasp, House. But people do share feelings sometimes. And Cuddy has been very supportive."
"Do you ever tear up during these little heart to hearts?"
"House, I'm not going to dignify that with a response."
"I'll take that as a yes," House said. "That's actually good, by the way. Women can't resist a man in tears. It's a real panty peeler."
"I'm not trying to seduce her."
House had the apple wedged between two shoes. He kicked it skyward and it sprung up high in the air. He tried, unsuccessfully once again, to catch it in the small of his neck.
"Damn," he said. Then added: "I always suspected that all those wives were just a front for you being secretly gay."
"I'm not gay! And put the apple back in the bowl. It's not a soccer ball."
"Then why aren't you trying to. . . peel Cuddy's panties?"
"Because I'm still hoping I can reconcile with my wife, you insensitive ass."
House glanced at him.
"She cheated on you. Why not cheat on her? Tit for tit, as it were."
He threw the apple at Wilson, who fumbled it a bit, but managed to catch it.
"I assume this apple is meant to represent Cuddy's breast?"
"A poor substitute to be sure . . ."
Wilson squinted at him.
"Why is it so important to you that Cuddy and I hook up?"
"It's not important," House said, overly casual. "The thought just amuses me. Don't tell me it's never crossed your mind."
"Of course it has. I'm married. Not dead."
"And you have the perfect set up: Lonely, depressed guy, seeking comfort from his hot, single boss. The script practically writes itself."
"And again I say: Not making a porno film."
"You're not even making a Disney film," House muttered.
"Look, it's too big a risk," Wilson said. "For one thing, I might lose a dear friend. For another, she's my boss."
"I have it on good authority, she's worth the risk," House said.
"Whose authority?" Wilson said, suddenly interested.
House looked startled for a second. He recovered.
"Just an educated guess," he said.
"Also," Wilson said. "I don't want to take advantage of her. She's doing me a favor."
"Very noble of you," House said. Then he smiled.
"I know the real reason you haven't tried to hit that."
"Oh, this oughta be good."
"Because you know you'll be denied. You are strictly in the friend zone with her."
"The implication being that you're not?" Wilson said, defensively.
"Have you seen us together?"
"All you do is bicker and fight."
"Exactly. Heat is heat, my friend. And Cuddy and I generate enough heat to fry an egg. An ostrich egg."
"Well, then it's too bad you're not split from your wife and kicked out of your best friend's apartment so you can't move in with her," Wilson said, testily.
"Alright," House said, raising an eyebrow. "Settle down."
As he sat home (alone) that night, all House could think about was Wilson and Cuddy. For some reason it was really getting under his skin that they were alone together. He didn't want them getting closer, having inside jokes, some kind of secret roommate language. (Even the casualness of Cuddy's "See you at 6:30?" had bugged him. So informal, like the ritual of a married couple.) And like hell Wilson wasn't try to sleep with Cuddy—or at least see her naked.
It was driving House nuts.
At about 9 pm, there was an annoyingly loud knock on Cuddy's door.
Cuddy frowned, paused the DVD she and Wilson were watching and answered it.
"Can Wilson come out to play?" House said, leaning against the door frame, smirking a bit.
"What are you doing here, House?" Cuddy said, slightly annoyed.
She looked impossibly sexy in a ribbed tank top and jeans. Wilson hadn't told him about the tanks tops. Lying bastard.
"Just checking in on my favorite roomies," House said. "May I come in?"
But he walked through the door without waiting for her response.
House looked at the TV screen. It was paused on a still of Hugh Grant's face.
House picked up the DVD box.
"Notting Hill?" he said to Wilson. "Really? You seriously need to grow a pair, my friend."
"Hey, I like that movie," Wilson said.
"My point exactly."
"Care to watch with us?" Cuddy teased.
"Uh, I'll pass. What's there to drink around this joint?"
He flopped onto the couch next to Wilson.
"Make yourself at home, House," Cuddy said, ironically.
She walked into the kitchen, opened the fridge.
"I have Prosecco or sparkling water."
"I'm assuming Wilson did all the beverage shopping."
"You can judge my beverage choices or you can have a drink," Cuddy said.
"Luckily, I brought my own," House said.
And he pulled a flask out of his pocket.
"Three shot glasses, barkeep!" he said, banging on the coffee table.
"What is that?" Wilson said, skeptically.
"You can bet your ass it doesn't sparkle," House said.
Cuddy gave Wilson a "should we?" kind of look.
He shrugged concedingly. She got the shot glasses. House poured three shots.
House grabbed the remote, turned the power off on the DVD player.
"Whoops! Did I just turn off the power? I meant to un-pause it. I sure hope you guys didn't lose your place in the movie."
She sat down next to him on the couch. House was now wedged between Wilson and Cuddy.
They clinked glasses.
House took a swig of his liquor (it was bourbon, not that either Wilson or Cuddy could distinguish one hard booze from the other), put his feet up on Cuddy's coffee table (she promptly swatted them off) and grinned.
"This is cozy," he said. "Maybe I'll move in, too."
"You wish," Cuddy said.
"Nice tank top, by the way," House said, shooting Wilson a look.
"Thank you," Cuddy said, quizzically.
Wilson raised his eyebrows, as if to say: "Hey, she doesn't usually wear that."
"I never understood the appeal of Hugh Grant," House said, picking up the DVD box. "I think if I spent five minutes in his presence, I'd want to kick him in the 'nads. No offense," he said to Wilson.
"Why would I be offended?"
"You're the same type," House said. "Only slightly more tolerable."
"I am not!" Wilson sputtered.
"Cuddy? Break this tie."
"No comment," Cuddy said, smiling a bit.
The bourbon continued to flow and they moved onto the appeal of Julia Roberts—"delightful" Wilson said; "Looks like she'd give good blowjobs," House said—and then got Cuddy talking about her favorite male actor ("Harrison Ford") and then they began gossiping about an affair between two male nurses on the third floor.
They polished off House's bourbon, moved onto Cuddy's Prosecco.
They were all moving away from tipsy and toward drunk, and the laughter was flowing as freely as the sparkling wine.
House kept putting his hand on Cuddy's thigh and she kept swatting it away, but she finally gave up and just let it rest there.
"Let's play a game, shall we?" House said mischievously.
"Let's not!" Cuddy and Wilson said, in unison.
"Lisa Cuddy: Truth or Dare," House said, ignoring her.
"Forget about it."
"Truth it is!" House said. "Once and for all: Who'd ya rather? Me or Wilson."
Cuddy leaned back on the couch, rolled the Prosecco in her mouth, and gave a girlish giggle. She was drunk enough to be enjoying this attention and not consider the consequences.
"I see what this is about," she said. "You and Wilson have some sort of bet to see if I'll publicly own up to our little tryst in college, right?" She turned to Wilson. "Yes, it's true Wilson. We did it. Satisfied?"
Instantly, all the air seemed to get sucked out of the room.
Wilson's mouth dropped open. House's smirk turned into a full-fledged evil grin.
"You. . .wait. . .what?" Wilson said, shaking his head like a dog with a flea in its ear.
Cuddy realized what she had done.
"Oh shit," she said.
"Oh shit, indeed," House said.
"You didn't know?" Cuddy said meekly.
"I had no clue. You and House–had sex?"
"Just once," Cuddy said, quickly. "A long, long time ago."
"And yet, I remember it like it was just yesterday," House said, loving every minute of this.
He watched his best friend absorb the news. And he watched Cuddy's face adorably turn several shades of crimson.
Then he popped up.
"I gotta pee," he said. "And by I gotta pee, I mean, I'm going to politely give Wilson a moment to digest this bit of intel."
And without asking, he made his way to the master bedroom.
"Whoa," Wilson said to Cuddy, scratching his head. "I'm shocked."
"Really? You're that shocked?" Cuddy said.
"Mostly I'm just shocked that House kept it from me."
"You and me both," Cuddy said. "Speaking of House, what do you think he's really doing in the master bedroom? Makes me nervous."
And she got up and made her way down the hall.
As expected, House was snooping. He was just about to open up her night table drawer.
"Get out of there," she said, again swatting his hand away.
"Just wanted to see how the other species lives," he cracked.
"And hand it over," she said, holding out her palm.
House frowned, sighed extravagantly, reached into his back pocket, pulled out a red silk thong.
"Killjoy," he said.
"Pervert," she retorted.
The contemplated each other.
"How's Wilson doing out there?" House asked, still amused. "He seemed a bit shell shocked."
"He's still somewhat dazed," she admitted. Then she looked at him. "House. . .I'm sorry I just blurted that out. I had no idea you wanted to keep it a secret from him."
"Are you kidding? I've been waiting 20 years for Wilson to find out."
"Then why didn't you tell him yourself? I figured you'd be, I don't know, bragging about your conquest."
There was something slightly vulnerable in her voice and it occurred to House that perhaps she thought she wasn't worth bragging about. If Lisa Cuddy could be insecure about her power over men, there was no hope for the rest of womankind.
"I'd shout it from rooftops if I could," he said, truthfully. "I just didn't want to embarrass you."
Cuddy looked down at the carpet, smiled a bit.
Then, unexpectedly, she reached up and gave House a soft kiss on the mouth.
"What was that for?" he said.
"For being a nice guy," she said.
"Take it back," he said, smiling back at her.
"I can't," she said. "It happens to be true."
"Would a nice guy do this?"
And he leaned down, cupped her chin, and gave her a longer, deeper kiss. Her mouth slowly parted and her lips and tongue tasted ridiculously good. He was 45 but he suddenly felt like he was a horny 18-year-old. He couldn't get enough of her.
"House!" Cuddy scolded, backing up. "Wilson is 20 feet away."
"We'll have to be quiet."
And she kind of slammed him against the wall—the bureau shook—wrapped her leg around him and began grinding up against him as she kissed him, harder.
She was going to be the death of him.
Sensing they were on borrowed time, he was eager. He reached under her tank top, felt the smooth flat skin of her waist, then felt her breasts through her bra. He kissed her neck, his mouth migrating lower—then he began pulling the fabric of her bra away so he could thumb her nipples. Cuddy must've liked the way he was making her feel, because she didn't heed her own advice and let out this sort of half-whimper, half-moan.
"What's going on there?" Wilson said, on cue.
Cuddy backed away, panting a bit.
"We'll be right out!" she croaked.
And she pulled her bra back over her breasts, looked in the vanity mirror, fluffed her hair a bit, and gave House an apologetic shrug.
"You coming?" she said, jerking her head toward the door.
House looked down at his pants.
"Uh, give me a minute," he said.
"What were you two doing in there?" Wilson said, as Cuddy made her way back to the living room. "I was about to send in the National Guard."
"House was snooping," Cuddy said. "Shocker."
"I thought I heard the sound of a struggle."
"He, uh, had his hands on my senior yearbook," Cuddy said. "I was wrestling it away from him."
"Ahhhh," Wilson said. "You definitely don't want that in the wrong hands."
"Wrong hands," Cuddy said, in a distracted kind of voice. "Right."
House finally came out, looking suspiciously innocent.
"It's getting late," he said, eyeing Cuddy. "I guess I'll leave you two roomies to do . . . roomie things."
"Thanks for stopping by," Cuddy said, ironically.
House scratched his head a bit, nodded at Wilson, and left.
The next day, Wilson sat across from House in the cafeteria.
"You little shit," he said. "I can't believe you never told me about you and Cuddy."
"It wasn't my secret to tell," House said.
"Poor Cuddy," Wilson said, laughing a bit. "Did you see how red her face got? Then again, Lord knows my face would be red too, if I had to admit that I'd slept with you."
"Keep your voice down," House said.
"Don't be paranoid," Wilson said. "We're practically alone in the cafeteria." But he smiled a bit. Chivalrous House was both unexpected and charming to him.
"So what went on between you and Cuddy in the bedroom last night?" Wilson probed. "You two were gone for a while."
"What did Cuddy say happened?" House said.
"She said you found her yearbook."
Impressive lie, House thought.
"So? I always wanted to know: Was she a bookish nerd or prom queen? I never could quite figure that one out."
"Actually both. Valedictorian and head cheerleader," House improvised.
"Figures," Wilson said.
Then he studied House's face.
"And you're sure nothing else went on in that room?"
"But you tried?" Wilson said, leadingly.
"No comment," House said.
"So it looks like we're both stuck in the friend zone, huh, pal?"
"The friend zone," House said. "Right."
"A shame," Wilson said. "Did you see how hot she looked in that tank top?"