".....but you're not thinking it through." Greg House's voice rang in the small room. He shifted in his chair, licking at the pudding cup lid as he picked out the major points of his argument. "It's not so much that he or she can't, it's how much could he or she if he or she could."
"Can we pick a gender, I'm getting confused," Wilson said from his sprawl on the couch. The oncology lounge had gotten the promised TiVo but neither doctor had flicked on the set. Afternoon sunlight filtered in through the window, casting a soft amber glow over them. House paused in his eating for a moment to really look at his friend. Wilson lay on his back, his right arm behind his head, his left over his belly. His eyes were closed, and for the first time House noticed there were lines around them, signs of strain in his usually unflappable companion.
"Let's be sexist, and say male," House suggested. "You wanna pudding? It's the new sundae topping kind."
"Sure, why not?" Wilson opened his eyes in time to catch the little plastic container before it smashed into his nose, then half fell off the couch to snatch the spoon flung in his direction. "Thanks," he said with a sarcastic glare.
"Back to the problem. So first, why can't he?"
Wilson licked the film of pudding off his own lid, dark eyes unfocused as he concentrated. "Well, appendages of course. It's not designed for his physiology. But if it were," he raised his voice to talk over House, "I think he could manage."
"Okay, so now the equipment fits the subject and the job," House reiterated, "then you have to decide how much would be the average."
Wilson studied the gleaming mound of pudding on his spoon, shaking it slightly before popping it in his mouth. House couldn't help smiling at the image. If it hadn't been for the dark smudges of exhaustion under his eyes his friend would have looked like a twelve year old boy. "Depends on how tired he is, how many people he had to watch suffer, how hard it's gotten for him in recent years, I guess," Wilson said and dropped the half full dessert onto the coffee table. He pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes and drew in a deep, shuddering breath. House, his own empty pudding cup forgotten, pushed himself out of his chair and limped across to where Wilson lay. He moved Wilson's leg over and sat down. He could say something comforting, he could reach down and drag Wilson into his arms and hold onto him, he could explain in detail the process his own heart was going through as it broke. Instead he sat quietly watching Wilson breathe, feeling the heat of his friend's body and knowing Wilson could feel the heat of his own.
"You gonna eat that?" House asked a minute later when Wilson lowered his hands and stared at him.
House smiled. "Let's say he's not tired. Let's say he's spent the weekend with his best pal and they were lazy for two entire days."
Wilson blinked, his eyes glittered for just an instant, then he blinked again and the sadness began to dissipate like fog with the morning sun. "That would make a difference, I guess," Wilson conceded. He picked up his pudding cup. "If he was happy and we've already established that he was capable......"
"Yes, we have." House reached out and intercepted the spoon of chocolate pudding before Wilson could eat it. He raised both eyebrows at Wilson's sigh, then grinned as Wilson let go of it. "So, I need your answer," he said thickly, licking chocolate off the spoon and then his bottom lip.
Wilson sat up, carefully positioning himself so that he and House were leaning against one another, his head nearly touching Greg's shoulder. Silence and time ticked away. House relished the feeling that the world outside the door had vanished as he and Wilson sat there. What seemed like a lifetime later Wilson sighed again and raised his head, staring at House with deep chocolate eyes, "I'd have to say, given all the variables -"
"What the hell is going on in here?"
Dr. Lisa Cuddy flicked on the overhead florescent lights and stared at the two doctors huddled together on the couch. House shot her hard glare but Wilson merely slumped back against the cushions. "Weren't they budgeting a bell for you to wear around your neck like the other cows?"
"Shut up House," Cuddy ordered. Her slate gray eyes softened when they fell on Wilson. "I'd heard Dr. Wilson wasn't feeling very well at the moment."
"Spies! This whole place is full of gossiping women!" House ranted, shaking his fist and dropping his spoon. "What kind of operation are you run-"
"Shut up House," Wilson ordered. He scrubbed a hand over his face and blew out a breath. "I'm okay. Really," he added when Cuddy continued to stare at him. "House plied me with pudding and," he shot House a fond look as he got to his feet, "philosophical conundrums." He shrugged and moved passed Cuddy. "I'm okay."
House stared at the closed door for a moment before shifting his gaze to Cuddy. "What? You thought I was in here molesting him?" Cuddy had the grace to look away. House redoubled his glare.
"So what was the philosophical conundrum?"
House pushed himself to his feet and limped across to the fridge for another pudding cup. "An age old question, really," he said, tapping his spoon against the plastic cup. "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Cuddy scowled, turned on her heel and stormed from the room. "Ah, alone at last." House glanced at his comfy chair but something more basic made him sit on the couch in the still warm spot where Wilson had just been. He sighed, picked up the remote and knew he'd accomplished at least one important thing today.
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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 Fox Television, 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.