Title: Out and In
Summary: House lists. Wilson listens. An entry in the Positively House/Wilson slash challenge
Words: @ 1200
Disclaimer: House, M.D. belongs to David Shore, Universal Television, Heel and Toe Productions, and a lot of other people who are not me. I'm not making any money from this.
Thanks: to srsly_yes for her wonderful beta work.
At 12 pm, right after he’d discharged his patient, House spied Wilson in the cafeteria sitting across from some sweet young thing in scrubs. Wilson had the charm going full throttle.
House sat down with them and grabbed a large handful of fries off Wilson’s plate. “Abraham Lincoln,” he said, interrupting their conversation and jostling the girl.
Wilson leveled a pointed, warning stare at him. “My mother’s orthopedist, Abraham Lincoln Rabinowitz,” Wilson said.
The ingenue’s mouth fell open.
“His father was a civil war buff,” Wilson hastened to explain.
House cocked his head. “I don’t think so,” he said, and left. With the fries.
At 2 pm House spotted Wilson in the lab, frowning over a sheaf of papers. He threw open the door. “Alexander the Great."
Wilson glared. “Is that supposed to have something to do with Mr. Singh’s lab results?”
House paused. “Nope,” he said, and sauntered out.
At 4 pm House waited across the hall from the Oncology conference room. When the meeting began breaking up he opened the door and announced, loudly, “Alan Turing.”
Sidebar conversations broke up. The cute new doctor at Wilson’s elbow took a step back.
“Hematology,” Wilson said drily. “Down the hall and take a left.”
At 4:30 pm Wilson came in during the differential and participated with great interest. House was tempted to keep his fellows in the office just to annoy Wilson, but they really did have a brand new case to treat.
When they finally left Wilson turned his back to House and fiddled with the coffee things. With his face practically buried in the cabinet he asked, “Why did you give me the names of three famous tortured geniuses who died prematurely, one by his own hand?”
House rolled his eyes. He hated it when Wilson got emo.
“E. M. Forster.”
Wilson looked at him questioningly, but House remained silent.
House sat down the conference table, looking absently at the whiteboard. Something—some noise or something moving or ceasing moving in his peripheral vision made him look up.
Wilson had stopped, stock still, in the middle of the hallway. A moment later he spun on his heel and strode back inside.
“Bayard Rustin,” he said, pointing a finger at House as if it were an accusation.
“Bayard Rustin? How the hell do you even know who he was?”
Wilson rocked back on his heels, looking smug. “You were expecting me to think of Eleanor Roosevelt, maybe, or Ian McKellen? Stephen Fry?”
House snorted. “I had you pegged for Rock Hudson or Cole Porter.”
Wilson frowned. “Seriously? Not even Adam Lambert?”
House shrugged. “Not really your decade of music.”
Wilson sighed but didn’t argue with that. House was surprised Wilson even knew Lambert’s name.
“So,” Wilson said, “we’ve been friends twenty years and you’re only now coming out to me as—what? Gay? Bisexual?”
“Either or,” House said.
“If it’s that big a secret, why tell me at all?”
“Because,” House said, and paused. He hadn’t thought this would be so awkward to say. “Because I only figured it out a couple days ago.”
“I see,” Wilson said, and there was a gentleness in his voice that House hadn’t realized he wanted to hear until it was there.
House waited a beat, but Wilson didn’t say anything further. Instead, Wilson was beaming.
“What, no questions? No far-fetched interpretation of what this means about my psyche?”
Wilson nodded slowly, seeming to come to some kind of decision. “What brought about this revelation?”
House swallowed. “I was in the locker room. Saw someone in the shower and it came to me that he was beautiful. I wanted…well. You can imagine what I wanted.”
Wilson’s smile grew brighter.
“What?” House snapped.
“I saw you, you know. Watching me in the mirror.”
He hadn’t thought Wilson could see him there. It had been so strange. There had been little things before, the fantasy image of Wilson at…certain moments, but coming into the locker room showers and seeing his best friend there in the spray had been like seeing him clearly for the first time. Afterwards he’d gone back to his office and everything that he’d seen a million times before had suddenly seemed sharp-edged and new. He’d had to tell Wilson. It was all he could do not to tell everyone.
Wilson pulled a chair over and sat down beside House, a little closer than usual. “Hachiko.”
House tried to place the name. It took a moment. “Are you comparing me with a dog stupid enough to spend its life in a train station waiting for its dead master to come back?”
“Not you,” Wilson said, smiling again. “Me.”
“I fell in love with a guy twenty years ago,” Wilson continued. “I haven’t looked at another man since.”
“What about your wives?” House asked, carefully avoiding any discussion of love or commitment. This wasn’t the time for that. “Your girlfriends?”
“Different…different railroad line at the station,” Wilson explained. House thought back over his obsession with Wilson, which had run all through his relationships with women. It made an illogical kind of sense. He hadn’t loved Wilson any less while he was with Stacy.
“So,” House said, “you’re a little left of Billie Holiday and Alice Walker, a little right of Angelina Jolie. Not bad for role models.”
Wilson nodded a little doubtfully. “I prefer Sir Alec Guinness, but sure.”
“Guinness hated what he was,” House objected.
“Yeah.” Wilson rubbed the back of his neck. “He was the product of a culture that taught him to hate himself.”
House considered this. “So are you,” he pointed out.
“Yeah,” Wilson said again, softly, “and so are you.”
House nodded. Maybe that was why it had taken them so long to get to this moment.
“Do your parents know?” he asked.
Wilson nodded, his jaw set. “Yes.”
House decided to put off exploring that very interesting reaction.
“So…” House said, breaking the growing tension in the room. “So, if I’m Alexander the Great--”
Wilson rolled his eyes and muttered, “of course.”
“—and you’re Janis Joplin, where do you see that taking us?”
“Nowhere,” Wilson said promptly, “since Alexander was dead for centuries before Joplin sung a note. But if you could see your way towards George Takei, I could find my way to Brad Altman.”
House frowned. It wasn’t a good analogy since both he and Wilson had loved women. Also neither of them was Japanese. Or a TV star. Or a runner. Still…
“I can live with that.” House, thinking of the lounge, nodded at the office door. “You want to play foosball?”
House slipped a tentative arm around Wilson’s shoulders. It tingled. Putting his arm around someone had never felt like that before unless they managed to cut off his circulation. But this wasn’t that kind of tingle. He pressed Wilson against his side, feeling bone and muscle under the starched shirt.
It felt right to have him there.
“What do you want to do?” he asked. He’d be content to sit like this staring at nothing. He’d be content to do anything so long as he didn’t have to let go.
Wilson turned his head. House hadn’t realized how close their faces were like this.
“What do we want to do,” Wilson corrected.
He could feel the little puffs of air as Wilson spoke, smell the coffee on his breath. House brought his face closer. “Let’s find out.”