House was riding the wave of euphoria as he and Wilson laughed and chatted at one of the tables, playing a hand of poker while the cleaning staff picked up all around them. It had been win-win all around the night of the Oncology casino benefit. House and his team had saved the little Alston boy; not only that, but House had also been right all along about Erdheim-Chester disease. That he'd solved the long-standing cause of Esther Doyle's death in the process was simply icing on the cake.
On top of that, Wilson had won the poker tournament, netting several thousand dollars after paying the bank's share for charity. This boded well for House's future comfort. So life was good. Life was very good. Not even Cuddy could dampen his spirits. Speaking of which...
"Congratulations, Dr. Wilson, Dr. House," Cuddy announced from behind them.
They both looked up at her voice. She had changed from her blue formal gown into her workday suit and pumps.
"Well, well, Dr. Cuddy," House said heartily. "Here for more poker punishment?"
"Sorry, guys," Cuddy said, smiling sweetly and putting an arm around each of them in turn, "but I'm kicking you out. We gotta move this stuff. Clinic's opening in ten minutes." She smiled fondly at them. "And you two need to get back to work."
At that point, Wilson yawned. "You do realize that we stayed up all night to save your patient," House pointed out.
"Yes, for which I'm extremely grateful. But you still have your regular hours to fulfill. Both of you," she added, gazing pointedly at Wilson.
"What? What did I do?"
"You cleaned her out at poker," House said amiably. "Welcome to my purgatory."
"Gentlemen," Cuddy said, and nodded. Two orderlies stood at each end of the table and lifted it.
"You could at least let us finish!" House protested. House and Wilson scooped up their cash just before the table was carried off. Cuddy shook her head.
"Be glad Wilson didn't ask you to throw in the twins," House leered. Cuddy raised an eyebrow as Wilson ducked away.
"Dr. House, I have a double shift opening in today's Clinic schedule--" Cuddy began, but House was already limping away towards the elevator at double-quick speed, with Wilson matching him step for step.
The rest of the day passed quickly, or at least, as quickly as could be expected for having no other patients. The Alston boy was on the mend. Once cases were solved and the patients saved from the clutches of death, House liked to turf them back to whichever service had sent them. The lackeys, who still hadn't gone home to change, were nodding off at the conference table for lack of work. House occasionally rapped his cane on the table to get their attention, just for the hell of it.
All was indeed right with the world, in House's view. He stared at Esther's file, now annotated with the official cause of death. It was now one less file taking up space in his "unsolved cases" drawer. It had been one of his longest unsolved cases. He'd have Cameron take the file back down to Medical Records tomorrow. How very odd that he was going to miss the dearly departed Esther Doyle.
Wilson found him, still mulling over the file, at quitting time. "You've solved it, House," he said, standing in the doorway with his coat draped over his arm. "The puzzle's done. Time to put it away now. Time to go home."
House looked up at the sound of Wilson's voice. "Time to celebrate," he said. "With beer, pizza and porn."
"Ah, yes, the classic American tradition." Wilson's lips quirked. "What kind of pizza am I making?"
"We're ordering out tonight."
"Why, House! You're letting me off cooking duty for this evening? How very magnanimous of you."
House smirked. "You're paying, since you amassed a small fortune last night."
"Of course." Wilson sighed, obviously resigned to the inevitable parting of cash. House rose from his chair, grabbed his jacket, and they left.
Back at House's apartment, by nine o'clock they'd eaten their way through the large, full-topping pizza; Wilson had quaffed back a full six-pack, while House kept to one drink an hour in a grudging concession to his liver. A three-fourths-full bottle of Jack Daniel's and two shot glasses sat on the coffee table between them. He was pleasantly buzzed on the combined effects of lack of sleep, beer and Vicodin. Wilson, lounging beside him on the sofa, looked loose and relaxed, about to pass out. Indeed, his eyes had drifted closed sometime over the past half-hour.
House reached over, nudging his arm with his cane. "Hey, wake up! You'll miss the show."
Wilson rolled his head and opened his eyes blearily. "Yeah, yeah. 'M awake. What's on?"
House used his cane to pull the DVD case within reach. "Cherry Luscious in XXXtra Creamy."
Wilson sat up a little straighter, his pupils already dilating. "Is this the one where she deep-throats Long Dong Silver at the end?"
"Yep. It's just starting." House set his cane back against the coffee table and aimed the remote at the TV.
"Wait, I'll be back." With that, Wilson rose and unsteadily made his way to the bathroom.
While waiting, House allowed himself a small, real smile. Yes, it had been a good forty-eight hours, all things considered, and really, there was nothing better than to end it by getting half-plastered and watching TV with Wilson. If he had one last day on earth (if House ever admitted it), this was how he'd spend it.
Though tonight the porn itself was, in House's mind, actually boring and predictable. But because it was mindless, it was all right to watch when half-tanked, and House didn't really want to think anyway. At least, not with his brain; it was nice for another kind of buzz, too, one that would end later on in bed. Alone, of course. Whatever Wilson did after, he never really cared, though he figured it was probably the same thing. Anyway, it was an old routine, a familiar one they'd followed for years.
Wilson returned, still a little wobbly on his feet; he sat down just as the activity was heating up on screen. Cherry Luscious had bottle-blonde hair that tumbled over her shoulders, boobs out to here and legs up to there; not exactly House's ideal of attractive, because he liked his ladies brunette and somewhat smaller in the bust, but passable enough. Definitely Wilson's idea of pretty, though; Wilson intently followed the action as Long Dong got worked up and went down.
After about half an hour of various moans, groans, gyrations and contortions on the screen, the buzz from the last shot was starting to wear off, leaving only the porn, Vicodin and sleep deprivation to carry it through. This evening, the porn wasn't doing that much for House, either; a half-hearted arousal at best, maybe not even enough for later on.
It was obvious, though, that Wilson was feeling it a lot more. House watched him squirm on the couch, trying to be surreptitious about it and failing miserably. Wilson stared straight at the screen with his lips parted as Cherry Luscious wrapped her glossy red mouth around Long Dong's dick. Wilson's own erection was glaringly obvious through his charcoal wool slacks.
This was strange. Normally Wilson wasn't so frisky when they watched girlie movies. Maybe he wasn't getting it somewhere else after all. Not that that mattered...but watching Wilson fidget and shift almost constantly finally wore him down.
"Oh, for Pete's sake!" House finally snapped, turning to reach for the bowl of popcorn on the coffee table. "If you need to jack off, there's a perfectly good--"
His head whipped around in shock at the metallic clunk of a belt buckle unfastening beside him.
Bathroom down the hall died on his lips.
House froze. Oh good Lord—
Any smart-assed comment strangled in his throat because his breath caught at the soft, telltale whisper of a descending zipper.
He stared, fixated for a moment; his jaw was slack as Wilson lifted his ass off the sofa cushions to push his wool trousers and cotton briefs past his hips and down to his thighs. Wilson settled back down just as quickly with a strangled groan, his bare skin on the couch leather, wrapping his left hand around his erect—well, erection.
Stunned into speechlessness, House simply blinked, his mind still blank as Wilson's fist lazily slid up and down the shaft.
In profile, Wilson leaned back against the headrest; his dark eyes were hooded, and a faint blush bloomed on his cheeks as he shifted on the leather seat cushion to make himself more comfortable.
Another small sigh escaped Wilson's lips, and the sheer wantonness of it startled House out of his trance. Wilson used his thumb to spread the opalescent bead of pre-come over the head of his dick, and House swallowed reflexively.
House opened his mouth at last, trying to say something, anything, but nothing came out. Instead, House's gaze flickered back and forth between Wilson's face—Wilson, whose eyes were now shut tight and whose features were twisting in building tension—and Wilson's lap, where he fisted faster and faster.
A fine sheen of sweat broke on Wilson's forehead, and House could hear his breath whistling through his half-parted lips. God, Wilson's lips were just that slightly fuller, just that little bit redder, and House licked his own suddenly dry ones.
Hell, his whole mouth was as parched as a desert right now.
He also knew instinctively that if he moved--if he reached for a beer, or even shifted in his seat--everything would unravel. And to his shock, he wanted to see where this was heading: whether Wilson was just putting him on, or if this would reach its inevitable conclusion before Wilson came to his senses.
But with the expression on Wilson's face—all attention focused squarely on his lap--House felt sure that this was not a joke. This was something else entirely, something serious, desperate and laced with something else he couldn't define. What, he didn't know—and it didn't matter at the moment. Because House felt his blood rushing southward, as Wilson's rhythm gained momentum and his hips began to thrust in time with each stroke.
House found himself shifting uncomfortably in his seat, trying to relieve the growing pressure in his own groin. This was not good; there was nothing good about this little display, except that Wilson was already too far gone to care. Hell, Wilson did not even look up or startle when House slid on the cushion at an angle, to keep both the television and Wilson in his line of sight. It was like—like House wasn't even there.
The orchestrated moans from the screen finally, reluctantly, drew House's attention back to the television, where Cherry Luscious was bobbing in earnest. Disembodied hands were gripping her head and holding it firmly in place as the headless body's dick thrust into her willing mouth. Her frosted dark pink lipstick smeared on the shaft.
House forced his eyes to face front, training his gaze on the flickering screen; but he couldn't help glancing sideways to watch, either, and he couldn't hold back a quiet gasp when Wilson licked his lips. The residual wetness of saliva glistened in the diffuse light of the lamp. House could smell the heat rolling off Wilson, generously laced with sweat, aftershave, and a sharp, animal musk; he could hear the squeak of damp skin sliding against the leather, the whish of his palm pulling faster on his engorged dick. House wiped his suddenly-sweaty hands on his jeans.
Forget about Cherry being mouth-fucked by Long Dong on screen; he was hard enough to hurt just from watching Wilson come undone beside him. Worse, he felt frozen in place, unable to escape. Wilson's jaw clenched, and his free hand pressed hard into his thigh. He was panting with exertion now, beads of sweat trickling down his neck; before he realized it, House wondered what it would taste like, to lick along that wet trail on his neck and under his jaw. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to clear that image from his thoughts.
"Oh yeah, yeah, baby, get ready to drink my cream," Long Dong groaned from the screen. House opened his eyes to witness Long Dong, still faceless, stroke his dick in front of Luscious Cherry's frosted lips. Her mouth was open, her wide brown eyes gazing up longingly, her tongue flicking back and forth in expectation as she moaned and massaged one silicone-enhanced breast.
Beside him, he heard a distinct whimper, and he watched Wilson worry his bottom lip. His hair was plastered to his head, and his rhythm was different now: not steady, but jerking, harder, faster, and desperate, and his hips canted up and down to match. House knew instinctively that Wilson was close to the edge.
"Here it comes, baby, here it comes!"
On screen, Long Dong shot his wad, spurting onto Luscious Cherry's face. She groaned as she tried to catch the spraying semen with her tongue.
Beside House, Wilson stilled for a split second, and House tensed too, suspended.
"Gunh--hnnh!" Wilson groaned, and he was coming then too, hard and fast, spurting onto his shirt and his stomach, before it flowed over his hand. He bucked five or six times, gasping with each aftershock coursing through his body.
When Wilson finally stilled, spent and sated, House looked away and frowned, pursing his lips together, trying to forget what he'd just seen. The porn credits were rolling on-screen, white letters on black, but he paid no attention to them. Instead, he levered himself up off the couch, grasping his cane which was leaning against the coffee table, and left the room without a word, as quickly as possible.
He did not turn back to look at Wilson sprawled against the cushions, disheveled and panting. Something tightened uncomfortably in his chest. He had a sudden conviction that he would break, somehow, if he did look back, and that thought terrified him in some way he couldn't define. What the hell had that been about? He quickly rationalized that leaving right now would give Wilson the privacy he needed, anyway, to pull himself together.
It was only ten o'clock, still way too early in House's book to turn in, but he didn't want to go back to the living room either--not yet, not until after he'd figured out what the hell just happened. So House went through his bedtime routine almost by rote, part of him oddly detached, part of him cowering, while the rest of his mind latched onto this new puzzle. Discarding his clothes, pulling on a wrinkled but clean T-shirt and sleep pants, brushing his teeth, popping his nightly Vicodin dose; skipping the toilet for now because he still (still!) had a hard-on that was choking off the flow from his bladder. He'd have to get up later in the night. Small price to pay, he thought idly, wondering where that thought had come from.
He should have been disgusted, or disturbed, or annoyed with Wilson. Well, annoyed, certainly; now he had Wilson's sweat and jism soaking into his leather cushions along with his pee. All he needed now was the blood, spit and tears to complete the Wilson body fluid collection.
That thought alone should have been—well, icky. More icky than he found it was.
And even more oddly, he was neither disgusted nor disturbed by the idea of witnessing his best (male, only) friend masturbating right in front of him.
Rather, he was more—intrigued?
What the fuck?
It had been the beer and whiskey chasers, along with the lack of sleep, that lowered both their inhibitions. It had to be. That was the only explanation that (House wanted to) fit.
But Wilson had been drunker before tonight, many times; they'd watched porn together almost as often, and nothing like this had ever happened. So what had changed?
That alone was fascinating to contemplate, but he wasn't going to get the answer out of Wilson tonight. He might as well continue the evening in bed, alone.
He felt, strangely enough, an odd emptiness in the pit of his stomach at the thought.
House slipped into his bedroom, shut the door and sank onto his bed, the mattress rising to greet him, and he swung his legs over onto the padding gratefully. He was bone-tired, and lying horizontal was heaven; he couldn't do anything about his complaining leg but at least his back was calming down.
Except that his hard-on was piping up louder now, demanding its share of attention. His sleep pants tented tightly, almost painfully over the tip. Well, he already figured he would anyway, so he might as well indulge it. He hissed as he pushed the pants down past his hips, careful that the waistband did not constrict the scar on his thigh. His palm slid slowly, sensually over the warm skin on his belly, brushing the top of his pubic hair, snaking towards his groin.
Then House heard rustling, shuffling noises from the living room. He stilled, inexplicably embarrassed. That was another odd feeling; he'd never felt guilty before about jerking off in his bedroom while Wilson slept on the couch. He always assumed that Wilson did the same thing anyway after the girlie movies ended, either in the bathroom or on the couch after he retired (though wrapped up in blankets to keep the various fluids off his cushions). He assumed, and that was that; because that's what guys did as a normal and healthy response to sexually exciting visual stimuli. Guys jacked off in private, they never, ever talked about it, and it was nothing to be ashamed about. He was in bed, Wilson was outside, so where the hell was all this nervousness coming from now?
He waited, feeling his arousal dissipate somewhat as the soft movements outside his room intensified; doors opening and closing, a toilet flushing, the flow of water on porcelain.
Shuffling footsteps went past his door, stopping momentarily, and House unconsciously held his breath. He thought he heard the handle of the door turn a bit, and he tensed, suddenly terrified to think of what it might mean; but then the footsteps passed by, and he consciously let his muscles relax again. The sliver of light under his door was extinguished a minute later, and was followed finally by silence.
Several long minutes later, at last assured that Wilson wasn't going to get up again, he perked up and started over, hitting home this time; his fingers wrapping around his instantly hard prick by instinct, the weight warm and heavy and familiar in his hand. Closing his eyes with a sigh and thinking of Luscious Cherry from the film, only brunette instead of blonde; he imagined towering over her as she knelt at his feet, his own dick sliding in and out between those full, red-frosted lips. Her hair tumbled over her shoulders, half-obscuring her face, and the imagined sight of him moving in and out of her mouth only made him harder. He groaned, licking his lips with undisguised hunger. His hand matched the rhythm of his thrusts, as his fingers reached down to thread through her tangled hair, soft as spun silk against his skin; as her hands reached around to grasp his buttocks, drawing him in to the root as he arched forward...
Whole, in his fantasies he was always whole, able to stand or kneel or do whatever was required. God, yeah, he thought, his hand picking up speed. Oh God, yeah, I'm going to fuck your mouth now and you're going to let me. His free hand kneaded his good thigh. He already felt her wet warmth enveloping him, her humid breaths tickling his hair, the dampness of sweat in his groin and trickling down his chest; the obscenely wet sucking sounds from her mouth and her tongue swirling around just under there. Christ, her fingers were now tickling the sensitive skin behind his balls and he was so close, suspended over the abyss--
His eyes flew open as Luscious Cherry's face suddenly and inexplicably morphed into Wilson's, those impossibly dark eyes black with need as he stared right up at him.
What the fuck--?
He would have bolted upright in pure shock--if the imagined sight of Wilson's swollen and flushed lips, dragging around his shaft, hadn't sent him hurtling over the edge a split second earlier.
House gasped and cursed, a half-formed word on his lips as his hips bucked up violently; one, two spurts hit his belly hard and fast, the rest warm and wet and spilling over his hand. He did not notice he was gripping his own thigh tightly enough to leave finger-shaped bruises; he was simply lost in wave after wave of brilliant release consuming his entire body as he imagined emptying himself into Wilson's willing mouth.
He panted as he came down from his orgasm, his heart thudding a crazed tattoo, realizing only distantly that he was shivering under the covers. He released the iron grip on his thigh, suddenly conscious of the pressure of his hand bearing down on his good muscle. He raised his left hand to cover his eyes, blotting out any light that could have been in the room, and grimaced, though not necessarily with pain. He absently wiped his right hand against the bottom bed sheet, still feeling the texture of Wilson's hair against his hands, almost feminine in its softness.
Damn, but he was absolutely sure Wilson would have swallowed, not spit; and he could smell the musky-salt scent of Wilson around him, because there was no way Wilson would not have gotten off either, he was just that good--
What the hell was he thinking?
His rational mind snapped back into place, demanding an explanation.
He lay staring at the ceiling, still panting, shaking his head to clear it.
He and Wilson had been friends for a long time. Maybe not as long as his Erdheim-Chester case had lasted; but Wilson was an ongoing puzzle.
And he liked Wilson, of course. Though he had never, ever envisioned himself liking Wilson—at least not in that way—before. He quickly quashed another mental image of Wilson, naked with his hair tousled, lips reddened and his eyes black with lust as he pulled back from House's spent dick and looked up with a satisfied smirk—drops of pearly fluid wetting his swollen lips, making them gleam—no.
No, no, NO. To his horror, he felt himself stirring again at the thought. He willed the images back to his subconscious.
Sure, they flirted and made outrageous insinuations against each other—because buddies did that all the time. Men were simply overgrown twelve year olds using more adult words than "butt-head" and "penis-face."
What other reason--? Playing some sort of prank? He'd thought they'd gotten that out of their systems after Wilson sawed through his cane. But this was one hell of a prank to play, House thought, one that no other normal guy would dare do. Not even House would go that far, at any age. Not even as a stupid hormonal teenager, to see if he could get a rise out of his buddy. (His inner twelve-year-old snickered. House told him to shut the hell up or get beat into submission.)
He was so not going there. Not on his own behalf, anyway.
But maybe—maybe it was Wilson who needed, this time round? Maybe he had actually wanted House to witness that little display? That Wilson finally felt comfortable enough to let his own guard down?
That Wilson himself was going all in?
That had to be the stupidest thought in the realm of stupid, because Wilson damn well knew House was incapable of giving in that way. House could supply a roof over his head, food on his plate (OK, so Wilson bought and prepared the food, but he did supply the flatware, cookware and cutlery), beer and movies in the evenings, all the material things. Even the camaraderie, sure. That, House could provide.
Just not the other, emotional things.
And even if he wanted to give Wilson those emotional things, he was too--
Right at that time his bladder announced it was full.
It wasn't much of a distraction, but it was enough in an "Oh, thank God" sort of way, and House felt some relief. At any rate, whoever quipped "you never drink American beer, you just borrow it" was proved right again.
House pulled his sleep pants back up and pushed back the covers, rising a little stiffly. He limped to the bathroom sans cane. There he did his business quickly by the bluish glow of the night light (Wilson insisted he have one, after running into House one night and knocking him down in pitch blackness); flushing, washing, then rubbing his eyes while gazing in the mirror. The blue light accentuated the growing gauntness in his cheeks, dusting the stubble with shadow.
Avoiding the one creaking floorboard near the middle of the hall, he started to head back towards his bedroom.
Some odd yearning, though, propelled him towards the living room. He wanted, expected, needed to see Wilson sound asleep on the couch; to know that things would go on as always. He was willing to forget tonight, if that was what it took.
Instead, Wilson was sitting up, profiled in the faint light from the streetlight, wrapped in a mound of blankets against the cold air, staring ahead at the silent television set.
House froze. How long had Wilson been up?
Then Wilson turned towards him, peering as if searching the shadows, perhaps sensing House there. He didn't say anything, just stared into the gloomy space between. Like he was waiting, almost, for an answer.
What answer, House didn't know.
He could let things continue as they were. Too close yet too distant to be friends, too practiced at tossing their verbal barbs; too used to dancing around the important things. Soothing their individual loneliness through their own habits and vices, each feeding off the other's twisted needs. House had a pretty good idea where that would eventually lead.
Or, he could call out to him. He could invite him in the rest of the way—into his room, into his bed, and let whatever might be happening between them take its form. Give Wilson what he needed for once; for tonight, tomorrow, for however long he asked.
Maybe, by going all in himself, he would find his own needs salved too.
He wasn't sure whether he should be more afraid of saying no, or of saying yes.
Wilson looked up right then, as if mind-reading; their gazes met across the distance, through the gloom.
"You're moving out tomorrow," House said, his voice flat. He turned and limped back to his bedroom, his steps creaking and lonely along the floor, and he did not look back.