Fandom: House MD
Pairing: House/Wilson (*gasp*) (and a teensy bit of House/Cameron)
Challenge/Prompt: hw_fest. House can’t have what he wants, so he takes what’s convenient.
Genre: Slash (het)
Copyright: “Pretty Things” by Rufus Wainwright, which is a horrendously waily song, but has nice lyrics.
Summary: It’s not a competition but there’s a certain something that has always been going on between them. Set at the end of season two, but kind of an AU one so I can do what I like.
Author’s Notes: Yes, I wrote House/Wilson willingly. Yes, the apocalypse is arriving next Tuesday. Anyway, since I have discovered in the many hours it took me to write and re-write this, I really do not get House/Wilson. So this is not bad, but it is not good. Therefore, I want constructive criticism. But not so constructive that it makes me cry.
Pretty things, so what if I like pretty things?
It’s not a competition but there’s a certain something that has always been going on between them.
Perhaps the whole thing is in Wilson’s head, which is a distinct possibility (he’s imagined a lot of things over the last few years), but there’s always been a certain line that fades and wavers but ultimately keeps the two of them apart. The challenge seems to be a competition to convince the other man to cross it. Temptation or jealousy or this sort of friction in their words that Wilson desperately wants to feel on his skin. Perhaps he’s just crazy or tired or desperate to think that that look in House’s eyes is actually something more than whatever it’s supposed to be.
But there are no rules to this whole thing. House’s whole strategy is just to tease and tempt him into wanting to cross their line (and God, he won a long time ago, but Wilson will not and cannot admit defeat, which is probably why Julie materialised- not that he’d ever confess to that). And Wilson’s strategy is to date and marry beautiful, beautiful women, to say I don’t need you, in the hope that one day House will decide to prove him wrong.
It hasn’t worked yet; but there’s still time.
Pretty lies, so what if I like pretty lies?
“Shouldn’t you be at home with Julie?” House enquires with not entirely bad grace, fingers barely touching the piano keys in a melody he is incapable of playing (or maybe that’s a lie and he just won’t play it). Wilson flinches and instead keeps his gaze on his white box of takeout. It’s almost empty but there are a few noodles left in the bottom that he’s been fiddling with for the last few minutes, while House doesn’t quite play the piano.
“Probably,” Wilson says eventually, so much later that it’s barely an answer. “Does it matter?”
“Not to me,” House murmurs, moving his hands up an octave and pressing down, the notes too sharp and high for the silence in his apartment, that’s rapidly growing uncomfortable all on its own. “But then she starts calling and sobbing ‘House, where’s my husband?’ and I have to pretend I have no idea and it’s all very sordid.”
“You didn’t tell me that,” Wilson says, biting his lower lip and not quite managing to look up.
“Because you already knew,” House tells him, because it’s true. Wilson always knows and he just doesn’t care enough.
“I love her,” Wilson says, apropos of nothing, when the silence has grown too long and too sharp.
Defensive much? House thinks, but he doesn’t say it. Besides, he knows how Wilson’s mouth twists slightly when he lies.
From where you are to where I am now
They could mind their distances and their personal space, but they don’t, because House ignores things like boundaries and Wilson can’t say no. So the distance between them will forever stay metaphorical, because it would be surprising to anyone outside looking in (in other words, everyone in PPTH; they smirk and gossip and watch their every move through the glass like tourists at a zoo) that they can have such detachment even while walking down the corridor, brushing at the shoulder and their steps matched. (Yes, Wilson is developing a limp. Does he worry about it? Less than he should do.)
Wilson considers saying lots of things like what exactly is it that you want from me? But he knows that it would be pointless because they both know exactly what the answer is. They both know what House wants from him and, conversely, what he wants from House. It doesn’t matter. It won’t change things. There could be a touch or a whisper and sometimes when it gets late Wilson thinks maybe he should just fuck the whole game they’re playing, break the board and skip straight to the end with the rule book in tatters on the floor.
But that isn’t the way that it works, and there’s no way to win with that method, so instead Wilson sits with his body right next to House’s and his soul on the other side of the room.
I need these pretty things
There are all these things that House needs and doesn’t need; Wilson’s company and his best friend fast asleep on the couch, big smiles and little smiles and takeout and arguments about Stacy and quarters being flicked at his head. M&Ms and bickering and patient files and CDs and late night telephone calls and there are all these divorce papers that Wilson keeps in clip folders like he wants to instantly peruse them (why would be want to?)
And… there are the pretty shiny morphine needles that catch the light when he throws them in the trash and that Wilson pretends he can’t see but House sees the tightening at the edge of his eyes and hears the words he doesn’t say. It probably isn’t healthy to have a friendship where they are apparently frank and open but in fact they never say the things that they’re supposed to.
Or perhaps because that’s how they’ve set out their boundaries. Neat, straight(ish) lines but no one really knows how far they go and neither of them have yet figured out how difficult it would be to actually physically cross them.
Around the planets of my face everything’s a sign of astrology
[Two months ago, Wilson sits on the roof of the hospital and stares up at the night sky and catches his lower lip between his teeth and counts stars to resist the helplessness he feels. House has this downward spiral going on which Wilson can do nothing about because he’s pussy-whipped when it comes to House and he’s tried standing up to him and giving up on him and it doesn’t pay off because he can’t do it with any conviction or keep it up long enough.
Stacy failed. Her attempts were admirable, but ultimately it was all going to end in tears, and Wilson could have told her that, but decided not to. He’s never liked her (and it isn’t jealousy unless he wants it to be). Although you would think that being let down once would leave her with enough sense not to try it again. Obviously not. There is something about House that makes you want to throw yourself in his path to be trampled to death, fuck the consequences and all that. Wilson has murdered three marriages into dust for House, casually and in a curiously detached sort of way.
It is too early in the morning and entirely the wrong place for self-pity, even though James’ throat hurts from not shouting and he has no idea what to do right now. Curiously, he was never warned about this sort of situation. Reflecting that this was someone’s oversight and he’d really like to be told how to fix it all, he watches the wind blow the last remains of Stacy’s cigarette butts across the concrete and wonders if this means that he’s won after all.]
From where you are to where I am now is its own galaxy
“Are you avoiding me?” House enquires.
“Yes,” Wilson replies, tone tired. “Hence the reason I’m sitting in your office.”
House wants to shout at him, but that might imply that he cares, so he doesn’t. He grips the handle of his cane too hard for a moment, swallowing hard, then smirks.
“Well, bonus points for knowing where you are,” he says dryly. Wilson glances at him, an almost apprehensive look on his face, then manages half a grin, far too uncertain. House wonders when it all changed, and why. Perhaps it was one divorce too many. Even though, House has to think with a sense of pride, it wasn’t his fault this time. This was entirely Wilson’s fault, and whoever-his-wife-was (House doesn’t have time to learn names, and certainly doesn’t have to remember them).
Wilson is still blaming House though, and House can feel his friend pulling away from him, emotionally, if not physically. Perhaps they’d be able to talk to each other about this, if they were normal people and actually capable of talking properly without shouting. Which, just in case anyone around is still confused, they’re not. They’re not normal, they’re not sane. They’re just them, more fucked up with every minute that passes.
Stop blaming me House thinks furiously. Wilson continues to sit there, studying his fingernails, and once again House kicks himself for picking a best friend with absolutely no form of telepathic ability.
Be a star and fall down somewhere next to me
Inside his head, where it’s relatively safe, Wilson informs House that he is sick of waiting, and he will not be able to hold on much longer. He tells him that he cannot take the silence and the tension and the game much longer, and he will crack from nearly fifteen years’ worth of avoidance any day now. Any minute.
Inside his head, where he’s trying to find a quiet corner to work a few things out, Wilson tells House that he- he bites his lower lip, unable to think about what he really means. He loves him. He doesn’t. Wilson knows enough to know that his love is essentially worthless now, and handed out far too often. Too many ex-wives and ex-girlfriends and maybe a few ex-boyfriends and he even fell for a couple of one-night-stands. But whatever the hell it is that he feels for House, it’s lingered, and that’s really all he can say that his affection has going for it. It hasn’t faded. And it won’t.
Inside his head, where it’s too noisy and confused and tangled and full of Julie’s desolate screams and House’s frustrated sighs, Wilson tells House that he won a long time ago, and he’s his for the taking, if that’s what he wants. Because that has to be what he wants, right?
Inside his head, where a migraine is rapidly developing itself, Wilson tells House that, right now, he needs to know where he stands.
Outwardly, though, all he says is: “I suppose that it could be paraneoplastic syndrome.”
And make it past your colour TV
Stacy is getting divorced. House hears it from Cuddy who’s been dealing with the sobbing-drenched phonecalls all day. She sounds more than a little frustrated, but House doesn’t care. It is not entirely his fault that Stacy’s marriage has failed, in the same way that it is not entirely his fault that Wilson’s marriages always fail. Wilson apparently hears it from Cuddy too, and pouts in that frustratingly adorable way that he has. Yes, House thinks bitterly, because I am suddenly going to go and find Stacy and beg her to take me back after all the things I did to her.
He feels curiously detached from the whole thing, which isn’t normal for him, because he does his best to get involved and broken with everything that happens around him, even if it is not his business, but he doesn’t even call Stacy up to demand the details from her, to ask which straw it was which broke the metaphorical camel’s back. Although he knows that if he did, Stacy would tell him. She’s stupid like that.
House watches his soaps all day while Chase and Foreman bicker behind the glass and Cameron gives him looks that unsettle him. Wilson is avoiding him and House can’t bring himself to care why, because he’s taking enough morphine as it is, without worsening the situation.
This time will pass and with it will me
“I can’t do this,” Wilson says, slowly and carefully. House looks up, eyes startlingly blue, and, instead of making a joke or biting Wilson’s head off with razor-teeth of sarcasm (Wilson’s imagination has certainly become much more flowery over the last few months), he just waits. Turning the terrifying force of his full attention on him, everything about him screaming you’re going to cross the line. What Wilson can’t tell is whether House is egging him on, or pushing him away. It isn’t raining; the weather is obviously not in the mood to play pathetic fallacy with them, and the song on House’s ipod isn’t even particularly self-pitying. It’s just… a song.
The world is obviously trying to tell Wilson that it isn’t the time or the place to do this, to say words that linger bitterly in the back of his mind, stewing in their own self-indulgent juices. This afternoon he signed away a healthy amount of money and a marriage. House doesn’t care and Wilson feels unbelievably nauseous. He’s running out of time, he knows it, before he loses House through his fingers and the things he has to say will no longer matter, because House will not listen to him. Will not care enough to listen.
Wilson wonders vaguely if it’s already too late. House is looking at him with an entirely unreadable expression on his face and Wilson feels the creased words in his head fold themselves back up again.
“You bastard,” he says quietly. House offers him something that’s almost a smile.
And all these pretty things
He did it to Stacy, and now it is Cameron’s turn. At least, that’s how Cuddy will see it tomorrow when she starts shouting. Wilson will take it as a personal insult, will assume House did it because he couldn’t open his mouth this afternoon and say three little words. I give in. Hell, maybe it is. House wouldn’t put it past himself. Foreman will tut and roll his eyes like an old woman and Chase won’t notice anything because he is way too good-looking, but he is also extraordinarily dense most of the time.
Cameron will not think that he had a motive, because she is like that. She says that she hates him, but they both know that she doesn’t. And Wilson may refuse to give it all up, but Cameron has little pride when it comes to him, and it’s the work of a moment for House to convince her that, actually, she never stopped obsessing over him. House tells himself that this has nothing to do with Wilson, because if it did, then that would make House weak, and he is not weak. He’s physically crippled but not emotionally.
House wins a private bet with himself because Cameron actually does taste like strawberries, just like her packaging basically said that she would. It’s almost boring except for the part where it isn’t. And perhaps he should feel guilty and perhaps he should think I really, really should not be doing this, but if he can’t have what he wants, then he’ll take what’s convenient.
And don’t say you don’t notice them
Wilson is angry, and he is hurt, because if it’s Cameron, then it means that it means something. Morphine and co-workers. He is sick of watching House fall apart in this irritatingly obvious way (I am breaking into pieces and you are going to watch me, step by fucking step), sick of caring that House is falling apart in this irritatingly obvious way, and sick of falling apart just to match him. Not everything has to be about House, except that it sort of does.
What the hell do you think you’re doing? dies on his lips, as does are you fucking punishing me now? and you are such a bastard. There is absolutely no point in saying any of those things, because House has answers and eye-rolls and snickers for all of them. He could pretend to be angry on Cameron’s behalf, but House would see through that in a second. Wilson doesn’t give a damn what happens to Allison, to be frank, because he is ultimately selfish. Besides, she’s so saccharine she makes his teeth ache.
“So?” is all that he demands, when it becomes apparent House isn’t going to announce anything further.
“You said it was inevitable,” House replies distantly. Wilson can see the line between them, strong and white and he could maybe step through it and snap it into jagged little pieces. It’s not the game, but fuck the game. He’s stood still long enough. And if it’s too late, then at least he tried.
So he moves. And House’s lips say well, this is different, but his eyes say what took you so long?