Start of a holiday
Summary: sequel to Unlocked. House and Wilson go to the cabin. AU
Disclaimer: I don't own House M.D, just borrowing the characters and having some fun with them.
A/N: Sequel to Unlocked, so you might want to read that one before you read this. Please excuse me for taking certain liberties with the characters...
Just before House had sped off on his bike he'd told Wilson he'd see him at his apartment in a little while; he had something to do first and would be back within the hour. This gave Wilson the opportunity to make a quick stop of his own and get some new reading material for House. It didn't take too long and soon the oncologist was inside his friend's apartment, greeting Steve as he made himself some coffee before moving to sit on what he fondly thought of as his end of the couch. He was watching the news when House got back...
"Honey, I'm home!" The older man dumped several shopping bags onto the coffee table, raising an eyebrow at Wilson's still clothed form. "Come on Jimmy, time to strip!"
Wilson rolled his eyes, but got up and did what House wanted. "Somehow you saying that makes me feel cheap."
House huffed, stalking off to get a pair of scissors. "I told Chase we'd drop Steve off around seven and if we drive to the cabin tonight I don't want to leave too late. What's the place like anyway?"
Wilson fondly thought back to the times he'd spent up there with his family. "Well, the cabin is up in the woods and there's a lake not too far from it, even you should be able to manage the walk. My parents own a big part of the land around it and have placed a wire fence on the borders to keep other people out, I got a key for it though. With the cabin itself you're in luck; it's got electricity and there's quite a few comforts from home; shower, lights, heating, stove - even a television. It's got four bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room with a fireplace. The nearest town is about fifteen miles away and it has a 24/7 store, so we can get some food on the way." Wilson moved around the couch and checked to make sure he wouldn't bump into anything when he unfolded his wings, waiting for his friend because he knew House would like to see the actual process.
The other man quickly returned. "This is gonna be so cool!"
Wilson guiltily gazed at his friend's right side. "You'd better stand on the other side of the couch, they have the habit of coming out quite forceful."
House frowned at him but moved towards the coffee table; well out of Wilson's way. "Quit worrying Jimmy. I told you I'm fine."
Wilson nodded and turned his back to House, then he drew in a deep breath and unfolded his wings. Nearly right away his left wing fell towards the ground, but his right one stayed fully outstretched for a moment before he neatly folded it against his back. He gasped; it seemed to hurt even more than when he'd done it in his office! Closing his eyes Wilson breathed deeply a couple of times, listening to the uneven footsteps that approached him.
"Let me check that it's not hurt further; that can't have been good, popping them in and out today." House left his cane leaning against the table and gestured towards one of the wooden chairs, waiting for Wilson to sit sideways on one before gently grabbing the hurt limb; carefully prodding the wing while keeping a wary eye on the right one. "If that one comes at me again I'll pluck it like a thanksgiving turkey," he warned.
Wilson snorted and moved his right wing around in a sort of hug; his left hand grabbing a secure hold of it. He stiffened when House reached the most sensitive area again, but luckily the diagnostician had quickly seen what he needed to and put the wing down.
"It looks the same, that's good." House said as he got one of the bags off the coffee table. "I got some Vetrap at the pet store; did you know that they have all kinds of cheery colours? How do you feel about pink?"
The younger man groaned and let his head fall down on top of his right wing.
"Oh, don't worry you big wuss. Pink looks horrible on you, that's why I got you this nice colour: it brings out your eyes even better!" House said in a falsetto voice, blinking his eyelashes at him while holding out a roll for inspection.
Wilson sneaked a glance at it and saw it was dark green; actually quite a nice colour. "No white?"
House waved a hand at him. "White's boring. Besides, haven't you heard: green is the new pink!"
Brown eyes rolled upwards. "That's with babies, House!"
A big grin broke out on the older man's face. "Yup." House brought the wing close to Wilson's body and began wrapping the tape around it several times in a figure eight pattern, having only minor difficulties because of the huge size. When the wing itself was done he cut through the bandage and rubbed the end; self-adhering tape was a very handy invention indeed. Picking at the roll again he made a new start. "Lift your arms, I need to secure the wing to your back. Breath in as deep as you can while I make the first wrap," House said, waiting for Wilson to comply before making several wraps around the younger man's torso, leaving the right wing free to move. When he'd finished he took a step back and ordered Wilson to fold his right wing against his back in the usual position - making sure the other limb really was in the proper position so it'd heal all right. "Ok, you can put your shirt back on now."
Wilson pinched the bridge of his nose, his other hand balled into a fist. He knew he'd forgotten something; there was no way he would fit in his own top now! "Damn!"
House snorted behind him and grabbed his cane. "Figured you'd forget. Good thing I didn't. Check out the bags on the coffee table, I'm gonna pack my case and get Steve ready."
Wilson heaved a sigh of relief and walked toward the bags, recognizing the names on them. He took out the contents and lay them on the couch; House had gotten him several warm sweaters in grey, green and dark brown as well as some shirts - all several sizes bigger than what he normally wore. Perfect! When he emptied the last bag a grin appeared on his face; it was a black trench coat. The oncologist was a bit surprised though; House hardly ever paid for his own lunch and was always borrowing money from him and now he'd done this! There was no doubt in Wilson's mind that the clothes had been a gift; House would have let him known quite loudly otherwise that he expected his money back. Deciding upon a green sweater he put it on; the sleeves swallowed up his hands, but at least his wings weren't squashed. He checked himself in the mirror near the door; there was no way he would be able to go to work like this - people would immediately see something was off with his back. He was putting the other clothes back into the bags when House returned, carrying a large suitcase and putting it near the door. That had been quick. "Did you pack your toys? Batteries, charger, yo-yo?"
House frowned at him. "You know, if I were suspicious I'd say you're afraid of me getting bored." House snatched an empty bag off the coffee table and walked to the kitchen; Steve noticed his owner coming in and stood against the bars of his cage, squeaking in high tones to let House know he wanted out.
Wilson followed him and leant against the doorpost, just watching as his friend opened Steve's cage and allowed the rat to climb up onto his shoulder. House started speaking to Steve in silly tones while gathering up his pet's toys and food; preparing his `little boy' for the big sleepover with Chase. Steve patiently sat on the man's shoulder, occasionally nuzzling his owner's cheek; every now and then rewarded with a gentle scratch behind his ear.
Wilson wasn't surprised at how tame Steve had become: the diagnostician had spent quite some time with him and the rat was even capable of performing some small tricks. The younger man shook his head as he remembered one of their movie nights; he'd just entered the apartment and House had been flipping through the channels, Steve sitting on his shoulder. Hanging up his coat Wilson joined them on the couch, but just when he sat down Steve had hopped off of his perch and scurried toward the door. He himself had looked a bit bemused as the critter disappeared out of view, starting to worry that he hadn't closed the door all the way when there was a strange scraping noise. House had just stretched his neck to see what was going on while Wilson had been planning to get up, but then Steve appeared in his line of vision again; dragging his key ring in his mouth towards his owner's feet, squeaking when he couldn't climb up the couch with his heavy catch. House's eyes had been filled with a smug pride when he picked up the keys and Steve, handing both over to Wilson and telling him to get Steve a treat... Indeed, a very tame rat.
House quickly finished his packing for Steve and made one last tour of his apartment - a final check.
Meanwhile Wilson checked the fridge and got out all the things that would spoil in their absence, which wasn't much since it was House's fridge; that man lived on take-out and peanut-butter sandwiches! The oncologist rummaged through the cabinets for the bread; they might as well take it with them.
House returned to the kitchen already wearing his dark grey coat; Steve's head was popping out of the front pocket and the rat was making soft squeaking noises. House carefully removed Steve from his pocket and put him back in his cage. His gaze shifted to the bag on the counter, then to the living room and the diagnostician frowned; the knuckles of his right hand white from the hard grip he had on his cane.
Wilson frowned as he saw House's jaw clench all of a sudden, a sign the oncologist had learned to interpret as either House worrying over something or being silently angry. Following the older man's gaze he moved forward and was tempted to place one hand on his friend's elbow, but instead all he did was jerk his head towards the front door. "Come on, you grab Steve, I'll get the other stuff."
House nodded tersely, jaw unclenching as he walked off with the cage. "Don't forget a pillow!" He reminded Wilson, waiting at the door for him before locking it and moving towards the car.
House placed Steve's cage on the backseat along with his cane while Wilson put the bags and his case in the trunk. Then he crawled behind the wheel of his friend's car, waiting for the oncologist to join him and watching as Wilson fussed a bit with the pillow to get it behind him just right. He looked at the younger man; the black colour and the length of the coat were doing a good job in hiding the huge wings, it was only when Wilson was sitting like he was right now that his back looked a bit strange. "So, care to tell me what you are, exactly?"
Wilson gave him a look his often had when he was bickering with the older man - his face dead serious, but a twinkle in his eyes. "What do you think I am?"
House leered at him. "Am I in trouble with the Big Boss?"
Wilson shrugged. "If he exists no doubt you are. Though I know as much as you do on that front."
The diagnostician's eyes narrowed as he put the key in the ignition and started driving. "You're not an angel."
"And you're not a people-person. Glad we cleared that up."
"Come on, Wilson, if you won't tell me I'll just have to guess, won't I?" The diagnostician got a gleam in his eyes and was pleased to see the brown eyes staring at him in horror. Good: Wilson remembered the last time they'd played the guessing game.
Wilson quickly shook his head. "Avians; that's what we call ourselves."
House smirked. "See, that wasn't so hard, was it?"
The oncologist sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Three weeks..." he muttered, but House heard him. "Can you at least wait with the interrogation until we're at my father's cabin?"
"Spoil my fun." House huffed and started vigorously drumming his fingers against the steering wheel.
"That's what I do." Wilson agreed amicably.
House scrunched up his nose and started humming off key for a while, casting a quick glance at his right too see whether his tactic was working. Wilson didn't seem even a tad annoyed and was tapping out his own beat on the dash. The older man leant towards his friend. "You're supposed to complain; say that you find me annoying."
Wilson gave a half-shrug. "Sorry to disappoint."
Inwardly House was having fun and he continued humming for several more blocks, just to be sure.
Wilson didn't cave in though, still tapping his fingers while he looked out the window. He frowned suddenly and looked at House and the older man thought he was finally ready to give in, but instead the oncologist looked thoughtful. "You're driving awfully sedate; for you I mean."
House jerked his head towards the backseat, casting a quick glance in the rear-view mirror. "Got a kid in the back. I couldn't get the seatbelt snug around him so I'm being careful. Didn't think you'd start complaining about finally driving responsibly..."
Wilson snorted. "Not complaining, just - surprised."
A comfortable silence fell between them and it was only minutes later when they arrived at Chase's apartment and got out of the car. House got Steve from the back while Wilson took out the bag with Steve's toys and food. The oncologist hesitated, looking at the older man. He turned a bit and gestured to his back. "Can you see anything off?"
House started walking to the front door. "Nah, but don't be surprised if Chase looks a bit funny at you. If you roll up your pant legs you got that flasher look pat down."
Wilson shook his head. "Not happening House."
The diagnostician rang the door bell and started cooing a quick goodbye to Steve, touching the critters nose through the bars. When the door opened he quickly straightened up and adopted a nonchalant pose.
Chase looked at them, holding the door open all the way. "You wanna come in?"
House tapped his cane on the ground. "Better not, we need to get going." He held out Steve. "I trust you to take good care of him." He nodded at Wilson, who handed Steve's stuff to the intensivist. "He likes playing fetch and running in his ball..."
Chase put the bag down next to him, looking amused. "You taught your rat to play fetch?"
"And some other tricks," Wilson informed him, "beware of your wallet."
House ignored them. "His favourite snacks are the strawberry flavoured yoghurt drops and cucumber, he gets some every day. Cheese is fine, but only once a week - don't want him getting chubby."
The blonde man held the cage in front of him, studying the grey rat before him. Beady eyes were staring back at him, small nose twitching. "Too late for that," he muttered.
House considered whacking Chase on his shin, but decided not to; he couldn't risk the wombat dropping his little boy. "I'll come pick him up in three weeks time." The diagnostician looked uncomfortable for a moment, looking anywhere but at his employee. "Thanks," he muttered and immediately turned around, limping back to the car.
Wilson looked at his friend's departing back and waited until the diagnostician was out of hearing range, then he focused back on the startled figure in front of him. "He's very fond of Steve; no matter how he got you into this, he trusts you with him." He wondered if Chase understood the implication.
Chase looked at House who was waiting in the car before meeting scrutinising brown eyes. "Don't worry Dr. Wilson; I know and I'll take good care of Steve." He poked a finger between the bars and tried to attract Steve's attention, making a soft chirping noise.
"Good, see you in a few weeks..." Wilson nodded at the intensivist and looked at Steve who was curiously inspecting the finger intruding his home. "Be a good boy for Chase, Steve!"
The oncologist walked back to the car, a bit worried about Chase seeing anything weird now his back was turned even though House had told him the wings weren't obvious. There was no comment however from Chase and he heaved a relieved sigh. He got in and raised his hand at the blonde man, watching as Chase waved back before going inside.
Wilson picked up his pillow and got it behind his back once more, glad that this had gone all right. It made him feel safer knowing he wouldn't draw any curious stares. He looked at his friend, who was staring at the closed door. The younger man knew he would have liked to take Steve along, but House had once said that Steve couldn't stand long trips; something about snotty noses and listless behaviour. "He'll take good care of him." He assured his friend.
House drew his gaze away from the door, starting the car. "I know." He said pointedly as if Wilson was a fool to even suggest him being worried.
They had stopped at Wilson's home to pack his case and ordered in some food before leaving for the cabin. The ride had gone smoothly and House had only made three short stops to stretch his legs. The final stop they made had been at the 24/7 store in the last town for some supplies and for some reason House had insisted they bring some marshmallows along. With Wilson's directions they'd found themselves at the fence of the Wilson property just after one in the morning...
Wilson reluctantly got out to manage the fence, shivering as a fierce cold wind hit his face. House seemed to enjoy his misery, stalling as long as he could before actually driving through. Shooting the diagnostician a dark look, Wilson closed the fence and got back into the warmth of the car. A couple of minutes later they were parked right in front of the cabin, getting their stuff out of the car and going in...
Wilson looked around the cabin; aside from some accumulation of dust the place was exactly the same as the last time he'd been here. He smiled, remembering happy times when his family had still been complete. Unwanted his gaze was drawn towards the bedroom area, falling on the first door to the right; the smile slipping off his face.
House looked around as well, eyes landing on the stone fireplace and shifting to the lounge chair next to it.
Wilson saw the pleased look in his friend's eyes. "Bathroom is the second door to the left, your room will be the first on the right. If you take care of the groceries I'll make up our beds. Should be a sweet deal for you since it takes you ages to make your own bed." The oncologist took House's suitcase from him and handed him the large grocery bag he'd been carrying. Then he went to turn on the radiator; the place was freezing!
The diagnostician just grunted and moved off to the kitchen which was located to the left, only divided from the living room by a small counter.
When Wilson entered the room he'd given his friend a melancholic feeling crept up on him; it had been David's and until now no one else had used it. The oncologist sighed, wondering where his brother was or if he was even still alive. People always told him that eventually he would have to accept the fact that he'd most likely never see David again, but he wasn't ready for that yet; maybe he never would be. He considered moving House to another room instead, but quickly dropped that idea; Wilson couldn't explain it, but somehow he got a strange feeling of comfort from putting his best friend in this room.
When he got back to the living room he noticed House was still in the kitchen, leaning against the counter with a pained look on his face, rubbing his thigh. The moment the diagnostician noticed him he quickly tried to straighten up and pretend he was just lazing about, but the oncologist wasn't fooled. "Cramping?"
Icy blue eyes glared at him, but Wilson knew better than to think the anger he saw was directed at him. So instead he just stood there, meeting his friend's eyes dead on; arms crossed over his chest, eyebrow raised, waiting...
The older man looked down at his leg and let out a frustrated sound. "At least it had the decency to wait till now."
Wilson nodded towards the lounge chair. "Chair or bed?"
House stiffly stepped around the counter, his cane wobbling a bit beneath him. He jerked his head towards the chair. "Chair's closer."
The oncologist stepped up to his friend, standing close to House's left side; silently offering support. The older man didn't reach out, but neither did he push Wilson away or comment when the younger man put an arm around him; steadying him as they slowly made their way to the chair. When House finally sat down he started furiously rubbing his right thigh.
Wilson squatted in front of him and grabbed House's wrist, stilling the movement. He held House's gaze until the diagnostician leaned back in the seat; hands clenched beside him, eyes focusing on anything but the other man. Wilson carefully started massaging around the scar, fingers feeling the angry contractions, patiently coaxing the muscles to relax. It took a couple of minutes for the spasms to stop and just as Wilson removed his hands from House's leg the older man briefly touched the back of his hand, letting him know that his help had been appreciated.
House waited a moment before gingerly raising himself from the chair and after a hesitant step he limped off to his room. "I'm going to bed." He muttered gruffly.
Wilson watched him go. This was part of it as well; he would never ask outright whether he could help and House would never thank him verbally. Instead his friend let other gestures speak for him: a touch, a look, leaving one of his treasured cherry lollipops on his desk at work...
Wilson went to his own room, frowning at the bed when he realized there was only one way he would be able to lie in it; the young man sighed - he hated sleeping on his stomach!
The next day, House was awakened by the shower running. He groaned; if Wilson was going to blow-dry his hair he would find the damn thing and throw it into the lake! He rolled over, hiding his face in the pillow and trying to fall asleep again. It didn't work though - it never worked. He checked his watch: just after nine. House rolled over again and looked around the room. There wasn't very much in it: a bed, a nightstand, a cupboard with most likely some bedding and a small desk. Some books lay on top of it, but he couldn't read the titles from where he was.
He decided to leave his warm nest and stumbled into the kitchen, still wearing his long pyjama-pants and a T-shirt, following the smell of coffee that Wilson had obviously already brewed. Helping himself to a cup he limped to what he decided would be his chair while they were here. Blue eyes focused on the fireplace; he was really looking forward to the night - and the marshmallows he would sucker Wilson into roasting with him.
The sound of running water stopped and was replaced by a familiar noise. Rolling his eyes House left his comfortable perch and stalked to the bathroom, taking his coffee with him. He opened the door and stopped dead in his tracks. He didn't know why he was surprised seeing Wilson's wings; after all, it was the reason they were here, but for a small moment he was. He was more surprised however that Wilson was using the blow-dryer on his right wing; the white feathers were plastered tight to the wing itself, some however were sticking up like the needles of a hedgehog. His friend had removed the wrap holding the left wing to his body, causing it to droop slightly.
House scrunched up his nose at the burnt crisps smell he always associated with wet bird. Transferring his cane to his left hand he found the outlet and pulled out the cord. "You didn't get the left one wet, did you?"
"Hey! I was busy with that!" Wilson turned around, his right wing fanning out and brushing against House's arm.
An evil gleam appeared in the older man's eyes and before Wilson had an idea what he was up to he had pulled out one of the protruding feathers. "Just let it dry naturally, the noise is driving me nuts! Now let me see whether you got the other one wet as well!"
Wilson's wing quickly returned to a tightly folded position on his back and the oncologist turned huge disbelieving eyes at him. "I can't believe you did that! No, wait, I can believe you did that. That stung like hell, why did you take it?"
House shrugged nonchalantly, sticking his price behind his ear since he didn't have any pockets; it wouldn't have fit in anyways. "I warned you, be glad I'm not pulling out some more; I could make a real neat feather duster with a dozen or so extra..."
The oncologist took a step back, trying to protect his wings from him. He held out one hand, palm upwards, fingers beckoning. "The Indian look doesn't suit you and my wing did not hit you, it brushed against you - big difference. So give it back!"
House shook his head. "Nuh-uh. It's mine now. I'm thinking of hanging it off my cane - like a good luck charm. Besides, what would you do with it now? It's not like you can stick it back in there!"
Wilson ran a hand over his face and made a frustrated noise. "House!"
The diagnostician gave him his best puppy-dog expression. "Jimmy, come on... let me keep it?"
The younger man studied him for a moment, trying to look stern; one corner of his mouth twitched upwards and Wilson shook his head slowly. "Promise not to pull any more out without my permission and you can keep it."
House cackled with glee. "Rad!"
Wilson cleared his throat. "Promise, House. I want to hear you say the actual words."
The diagnostician rolled his eyes. "All right, I promise not to pull out any more feathers without your permission. Satisfied?"
The younger man nodded at him. "Very."
House harrumphed and limped of, muttering just loud enough for his friend to overhear. "Besides, what would I want with a feather duster? I still got you and Lady to do my cleaning. Oh, and stop blow-drying or I'll kidnap the thing and throw it in the lake!"
There was a sputtering noise behind him and the diagnostician smirked; he'd won on both accounts there.
House was sitting in his chair, stroking the now-dry feather. All he would have to do was make a little hole in the pen and put a thread through it so he could hang it from his cane. If anyone would ask he could always say it was from a swan, a really big swan. Or he could just tell them the truth, saying he got it from Jimmy; yeah, that would work. He wouldn't be lying and people could read into that whatever they wanted. House grinned; he could already see the confused look Cameron would have, wondering why Wilson would have given him a feather of all things?
A few minutes later Wilson appeared; dressed except for a top. The younger man was fluffing up the feathers of his right wing and scowled at him, no doubt more sore about the blow-dryer than House's stolen treasure, before moving into the kitchen to grab his own coffee, lazily leaning on the counter. "Bathroom's yours; there are fresh towels on the rack..."
House stood up and limped to the bathroom, coming back with the abandoned pile of bandages and moving right behind Wilson. Seeing the suspicious look the other shot him he snorted. "Oh, stop being such a wuss. I just want to check your left wing, you really shouldn't take this off." He held out the green tape.
Wilson rolled his eyes, but stood up straight, allowing House to rewrap the limb to his chest again. "Are you suggesting I should skip showering? I didn't want it to get wet. Besides, it should be all right for a short while..."
The older man just grunted, finishing quickly. Then he looked at the right wing. "Wilson?"
The oncologist sighed. "What House?"
"Put a bag over your wing next time."
"It didn't get wet!" Wilson defended, turning around.
House looked at him, deadpan. "I meant the other one. You smell like wet bird..."
While House was in the bathroom Wilson kept on fluffing his wing, regretfully thinking that if he had used the blow-dryer he would be done by now. Better safe than sorry; House had threatened to get rid of it and knowing the man he would do exactly as he had said. He turned his head towards his right wing, huffing, he did not smell like wet bird! He couldn't hold on to his indignation for long though as the memory of House and his childish glee popped up in his mind; the day had certainly started well enough. Wilson looked outside, so far no rain; if the weather stayed like this he might even be able to cajole House into going to the lake with him later on. Though first he first wanted to do a bit of cleaning; he wasn't particularly fond of dust clinging to every surface.
The grumbling of his stomach made him start rummaging around in the cupboards and he got out all he needed to make macadamia nut pancakes. He would have lots of time for cooking now, something he liked very much when he had the time for it. He didn't even mind that mostly likely he would be the one doing all the cooking; House's skills in the kitchen were practically non-existent and the one time he had badgered the older man about making something it had ended up being a black unrecognizable disaster. Wilson had a strong suspicion though that House had done that one on purpose; the recipe hadn't been that difficult to follow!
House seemed to sense Wilson was making his favourite food, for it was just as he finished baking the last one that the diagnostician limped back to the room and snatched one of the plates, pouring a large amount of syrup over the pancakes before making his way to the lounge chair. "Love you Jimmy!"
Wilson put the last one onto his own plate and went to sit on the couch. "How is your side?"
House rolled his eyes. "Colourful. It doesn't bother me all that much though, you see," he reached into his pocket for his bottle and shook it, "I got these little white pills..."
The oncologist frowned, setting his plate on the coffee table before him and moving to stand in front of his friend . "Stand up. I knew I should have checked you before we left."
The older man let out a whine. "But mo-om, I'm eating! And in case you'd forgotten, I'm a doctor as well; I would know if there was something wrong and I'm telling you to let it rest already!"
Wilson turned his own version of the puppy-eyes on the older man. "Let me see. If the vicodin is messing with your pain reception I wanna be sure."
House dug into his pancake, making no intention to get up. "After these pancakes. Besides, you'd need an X-ray to be sure and unless you got a secret lab in the basement there's no way you'd get one. I'm not driving to a hospital and you can't make me."
While the older man did have a point Wilson still wanted to see it. He started tapping his foot, nodding towards House's plate. "Now if you want any more of those in the near future."
The diagnostician let out a snort. "Killjoy."
A twinkle appeared in the blue eyes. "Overgrown dove."
Wilson looked at him, nonplussed. "What kind of insult is that?"
House smiled. "Who was saying anything about insults? I was just stating the facts."
The younger man wondered what House meant, but knew that the other man wouldn't explain if he was in one of his mood - no matter how much he would bug him about it. He straightened up and crossed his arms over his chest, raising an eyebrow, letting House know that his diversion tactic would not work.
Sighing, House handed over his plate for him to put on the table and stood up, raising his shirt. Wilson winced seeing the blue and purple contusion over his friend's ribs and his instinct was to apologize for it once more, but he stopped himself just in time. He gently probed the area, seeing House clench his teeth; he didn't feel any breaks, but perhaps he should drag House to the nearest hospital for some X-rays...
House slapped his hand away. "Knock it off Wilson, there's nothing to worry about." Wilson tried to say something, but before he could the diagnostician held a couple of fingers to his temple, eyes squinting at Wilson's wings. "I can see... this big new pillow with the coolest stuffing in my near future!"
Wilson held up his hands. "Fine." He turned around and walked to his own room; his right wing was finally dry and he missed the warmth of a sweater. Returning to the living room he sat down again, ready to finish up his pancakes. He frowned, suspiciously eyeing his plate: there seemed to be a few missing. The oncologist shot his friend a dark look, but House just stared innocently back at him. Wilson sighed; he really should have known better than to leave any of his food in the same room as the other man. Well, on the bright side - at least House had left him some.
"So... in for some questions?" House asked when he'd finished.
"If I say `no', will that actually stop you from asking any?" Wilson gathered up their plates and started cleaning them and the other stuff he'd used to prepare breakfast. Hearing his friend come up behind him he turned and threw a tea towel at him. "You help, I answer. Otherwise you can just wait until I'm finished."
House scrunched up his nose and threw the towel right back at him, limping off to his room; several minutes later he came back, gameboy with him, and plopped himself in his chair. Wilson was amused; apparently House's hate for chores outranked his curiosity.
House hadn't moved from his seat while Wilson was tidying up the place, except to move more of his stuff into the living room; one of those sappy romance novels, his iPod, a new game... Wilson hadn't expected to receive any help, this was House after all; the man that hid dishes in the oven and seemed to go especially out of his way if it would mean someone else could clean up the mess. Perhaps later on he would force his friend to help, but right now he simply wanted it over and done with. When he was finally finished, he took a soda from the fridge and sat down, heaving a relieved sigh.
House looked at him curiously, laying down the romance novel he'd been reading. "So how old are you really?"
Wilson shrugged. "Still thirty-seven..."
The older man leaned forward. "So besides the wings, is there anything else? Any cool powers?"
A twinkle appeared in the brown eyes. "I can put up with you without becoming a basket case, but that's about it."
House stuck out his tongue at him. "So you're not immortal?"
Wilson shook his head. "Nope. Just think of avians as humans with wings."
The diagnostician nodded thoughtfully. "So how many of you are out there?"
Wilson palmed his face. "Always with the numbers! I don't know."
"Make a guess."
The younger man sighed. "I really have no idea. It's not like there's a place where they teach avian history or an archive that keeps count. If there are `secret gatherings' they've certainly not informed me. So as for how many avians there are in the world - your guess is as good as mine."
House frowned. "How do you know someone else is an avian?"
The oncologist shrugged. "Just do."
"Right..." The look on House's face disagreed however.
"How do you tell a man from a woman by just looking at their faces? If you know what to look for there's always something and if you're not sure you just ask in a roundabout way. My family knows quite a few avians, who know other avians and so on, so there is some way to get in touch with others."
Blue eyes narrowed. "So how many do you know?"
Wilson thought for a bit. "Personally? Twenty-six, mostly relatives."
The older man nodded pensively, fiddling with his cane. "So why isn't the secret out already? Your little accident just proved that your wings can pop out without permission, so what happens if an avian ends up in the hospital, in a coma?"
Wilson had actually wondered about that as well. "I think there's some mechanism preventing wings popping out in those cases: signalling pathways that are turned on or off all of a sudden in case of trauma. No way to test it though unless you start up an entire study and you know that's not gonna happen."
House harrumphed and was silent for a while - thinking. Wilson let him, knowing that even though the older man could never actually test it he was thinking of theories and ways to prove them.
The oncologist fiddled with his long sleeves before his gaze landed on the novel House had been reading. He picked it up, idly leafing through the first couple of pages until the older man was finished. When House looked at him again Wilson could see that he had more questions, so before his friend could open his mouth he got up, intending to fetch his dad's fishing gear. "I was thinking of going to the lake... Wanna come?"
House glanced at his cane, unsure.
"It's not all that far, about ten minutes, smooth ground the entire way and there are benches near the dock." Wilson reassured him. "I'm gonna take my dad's fishing gear; if the boat is all right I was thinking of fish for dinner later on."
The diagnostician perked up at that; then got a thoughtful look on his face before finally he nodded and rose from his seat. Wilson fondly shook his head and walked off to get the fishing gear...
House had gone along to the lake, grumbling a bit at the cold and the fact that a ten minute walk on smooth ground turned out to be a twenty minute walk on ground littered with leaves. Wilson had stayed close to his side the entire way, hovering like a worried mother hen. He'd grudgingly allowed it, seeing as it wouldn't be fun falling flat on his ass should he have slipped. When they finally got to the water front he was very relieved to see the benches his friend had mentioned - plopping down on one and swallowing a vicodin - taking in the view before him.
Wilson had put his dad's fishing gear on the table and had walked over to an upturned boat a few yards away, checking it for holes. Seeing that it was all right the oncologist had dragged the boat to the water, flipping it over before slipping a noose around one of the dock poles and coming back for the fishing equipment. House had followed, shooting his friend an uncertain look, trying to figure out how he was supposed to get in and out of the boat without ending up a wet mess. With Wilson's help he'd managed though and soon they'd found themselves on the water, fishing rods out and waiting for something to bite.
Wilson had made the first catch, seeming very happy with the little runt he'd had to let go; just picking up some new bait and patiently trying again. The diagnostician himself had caught the first keeper and when they'd headed back to the cabin there were some very nice catches for that evening. House had frowned when Wilson had forced him to help gutting, but in the end it had been worth it. Then after dinner Wilson had lit the fireplace and they'd both vegged out on the couch, watching an old movie. When it had finished House flipped through the channels, trying to find something else to watch; declaring all to be boring House switched off the tv and picked up his questioning spree...
"Jimmy! Come on, one more question?"
Wilson rolled his eyes. "All right! One more question. One, House! After that I'll get to ask you something for every question you ask me - and you'll answer them if you want more answers yourself."
Blue eyes narrowed and House wondered whether he'd rubbed off on Wilson too much. "That's blackmail."
Wilson smirked. "More like a bribe. I'm not the one basically jumping out of his seat from curiosity; I want something back for it."
"What happened to feeling guilty and trying to make up with me?" House wheedled.
The oncologist didn't quite meet his gaze. "Not going to work House, I got over it some time ago."
House puffed his cheeks, not really believing that statement, especially considering the other man looked away. He considered playing in on Wilson's guilt; any other time he would have, but he didn't really mind answering some of his friend's questions and blackmail was so much more fun when the stakes were a bit higher. Besides, he could always refuse to answer if the question bothered him. "Fine. So tell me: what happens when you retract your wings? When I saw you doing it, it seemed like they were being sucked in, but you didn't gain any strange bulges, so what happens?"
Wilson turned puzzled eyes on him and seemed to think for a moment. "I can feel them in my shoulder blades when they're pulled in."
Wheels started turning in the diagnostician's head. "You mean to tell me they shrink into a compact form and turn inward? That just doesn't make sense!"
Wilson shrugged his shoulder. "It makes no sense that bumblebees can fly, but I'm sure I've seen them do it."
House harrumphed, thinking of scientists with bad models and math skills that equalled those of the evil von Lieberman. Then he thought back to what Wilson had said: fly... Could Jimmy fly? He hadn't even thought about that; seen the wings as just two extra limbs... He gestured to Wilson's back. "So, can you fly with them?"
Wilson scratched his head, looking a bit sheepish. "I was wondering when you would ask that question. Yes, I can."
House wondered what that would look like; how quick would the wings beat and how fast could Wilson go? Blue eyes twinkled with anticipation. "When your wing is healed you'll show me?"
Brown eyes filled with sad remembrance. "It'll be nice flying again; I haven't done it in years..."
House frowned. "When was the last time?"
"Just before I met my first wife."
"You never told her or the others." A statement, not a question.
The oncologist rubbed the back of his neck. "And I'm very glad I never did, especially seeing how all my marriages ended."
House didn't get it. "They weren't joined at your hip, you could have easily made an excuse about working longer or whatever..."
Wilson made a scoffing noise. "Right, why haven't I thought of that? And why are we here at all if it's so easy!" He sighed, staring into the flames. "It's easier pretending to be human..."
"But you can never forget you're not. This incident," he nodded to Wilson's hidden wings, "just proves that."
"Believe me I know..." A miserable look passed over the oncologist's face and he stood up, moving over to the fireplace and standing just off to the side with his arms crossed, shoulders slightly hunched.
The other man looked at his friend, interpreting the body language and coming to the conclusion that something had happened in the past. Something that was still bothering Wilson. He clenched his jaw, not liking the situation; he hated emotional stuff! House fiddled with his cane before standing up moving to stand on the other side of the fireplace, leaning one shoulder against the wall. He tried to catch Wilson's eyes, but the younger man refused to look up. "What is it? Spill it, Jimmy."
Wilson didn't move, just kept looking into the flickering flames. "Nothing to worry about now. It's in the past, talking about it won't change anything - isn't that what you always say? It's stupid anyways. Stupid and in the past..."
House poked him in the right arm. "All this crap you've been spouting at me to get in touch with my feelings and to talk about stuff; turns out you're a damn hypocrite!"
The oncologist looked up, anger in his eyes. "You made it perfectly clear back then that I couldn't talk to you about my problems."
House realized what the other man was talking about: the time just before Julie had admitted to having an affair. Surprise and regret filled the blue eyes and the diagnostician realized he'd pushed his friend too far that time; for it to be such a sore point had never been his intention. And yet, Wilson had still come to him that evening. His gaze turned inward as he brought up that particular conversation in his mind, trying to remember how Wilson had said it. He closed the distance between them, tentatively reaching out with his hand. When Wilson didn't bat it away he lay it on his friend's elbow, squeezing gently and keeping it there. "What if I chose concern over glibness now? What if I offer you the chance for an actual conversation?" He softly inquired.
Brown eyes scrutinized him, softening when Wilson seemed to find what he was looking for. The oncologist put his other hand on top of House's and a gentle smile passed over his face; they were all right.
Nodding once, House snatched his hand away. But he didn't move away from his best friend.
"It's something Julie said right before I moved in with you." Wilson hesitated. "Before our marriage she said she didn't want any children and that was all right by me. But then a couple of weeks ago I came home and she told me she was pregnant, twelve weeks along. That's how I found out there was someone else."
House thought for a bit. "Either you haven't had sex with her for a whole lot longer than I thought or you can't have any kids."
The oncologist shook his head. "I can't have children, not with humans."
Inwardly the older man cringed, that was indeed a harsh reminder. He'd always wondered why Wilson, who was great with children, didn't have any kids of his own. And learning this, why hadn't he hooked up with an avian girlfriend? Then again, his friend had been desperately in love with his wives and no one could help who they fell in love with. But did he really not mind not having any little whiny brats of his own? House suppressed a fond smile at the mental image of a small boy clinging to Wilson's trousers, looking up at Jimmy with huge brown eyes and begging for another go on the merry-go-round. He shook the image off; it wouldn't happen - not anywhere in the near future, probably never.
Wilson continued, unaware of his friend's musings. "But the thing is, right after she told me I thought: I'm going to be a father! And I was really looking forward to it, but then my mind caught up with me and I confronted her about it. She started screaming at me that I had been the one leading her on because I hadn't told her she would never have children with me." He snorted, then fell silent.
House didn't like this situation, he felt uncomfortable. What would other people say in a situation like this? What would Wilson like to hear? What would make him feel better? The older man sighed; he just wasn't any good at this type of thing, but brushing off his friend was not an option right now. The diagnostician slowly put his hand back on his friend's elbow. "Not your fault this time..." he said softly, waiting until Wilson met his gaze. Brown eyes seemed to search for something - finding it, for after a moment the younger man patted his hand briefly and his mood seemed to lift.
House decided it was time for a mood-cheering sugar rush: marshmallows.
Wilson dragged the coffee table closer to the fireplace so that they could both sit on it while still being able to reach their sticks into the fire. He felt a bit lighter now that he had finally told House what had bothered him so much about his separation with Julie. Sharing really worked apparently, even when the listener was someone so emotionally handicapped as his misanthropic friend. The oncologist stole a sideways look at his friend, who was rummaging through the cupboards for some sticks and the huge bag with marshmallows. Perhaps not so emotionally handicapped as he'd thought, Wilson mused, remembering the emotions that had fleeted through the blue eyes when he'd looked up. True, House often had trouble expressing them or talking about them, but he'd reached out and tried. A fond smile appeared on his face: trust House to use sweets as a remedy.
Soon they were both sitting in front of the fireplace; a marshmallow on a stick and a beer at hand. Indoor marshmallow roast; he couldn't even remember the last time he'd done anything like this, it must have been more than twenty years ago! The oncologist looked to his right; House seemed content, twirling his stick like a baton in between marshmallows. "So tell me: what's going on between you and Cuddy?"
House looked up, surprised. "Why would you think there's something going on between me and Cuddy?"
Wilson quickly took his marshmallow out of the fire before it was entirely black. "You're been having happy moods; I remember the last time that happened."
The older man raised his eyebrows. "What, I can't have happy moods? I'm `happy', so there's something going on?"
Wilson pointed his stick at him. "Exactly."
House leered at him. "She's my mistress and I'm her clinic slave."
Wilson held up his hand, wincing. "That's - a disturbing image I'm getting right now."
The diagnostician smirked. "Well, that's what you get for asking." He stuck another marshmallow on his stick and went back to roasting it a golden brown, silent for a moment; his eyes narrowed as he came to a decision. "All right. There is something going on."
The younger man looked at him, disbelief written all over his face. "Really?"
House rolled his eyes. "We're not dating or anything like that, but Cuddy let me in on something. Something that matters a great deal to her." Blue eyes pinned him in place. "That's all I'll say about it. Please keep any suspicions to yourself and don't bother Cuddy about it, she doesn't need that. You'll know eventually, one way or another..."
Wilson nodded. On the one hand he would like to know what Cuddy's secret was, but on the other he couldn't blame House for keeping the secret. So he would wait... "Fine." A mischievous gleam appeared in his eyes. "That means I'll just have to think of other questions to ask, won't I?" He turned a bit and nudged House's knee with his own. "So, when are you and Cameron going out on another date?"
House whacked him on the nose with his marshmallow and grinned when it stayed stuck to his face; he looked smug as he then stole Wilson's stick and ate the confection off of it.
Wilson let out a long-suffering sigh as he scrubbed the gooey sweet from his face and reclaimed his stick. No more questions tonight it seemed, but that was all right: after all, the holiday had only just started...
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Legal Disclaimer: The authors published here make no claims on the ownership of Dr. Gregory House and the other fictional residents of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Like the television show House (and quite possibly Dr. Wilson's pocket protector), they are the property of NBC/Universal, David Shore and undoubtedly other individuals of whom I am only peripherally aware. The fan fiction authors published here receive no monetary benefit from their work and intend no copyright infringement nor slight to the actual owners. We love the characters and we love the show, otherwise we wouldn't be here.