If I'm going out, at least it'll be on a high note.
Rating: NC-17, Slash
Summary: In which Wilson has a bad day, House helps make it better, French Maid outfits are not actually worn, innocent scotch is abused, handcuffs are not actually purchased, Julie has a new haircut, House is not actually getting fat, a phone is destroyed, and Wilson sacrifices a tie to a good cause.
Notes: Originally I intended for this to be a nice little PWP for a challenge on house_slash. The characters declined to cooperate, or for that matter to shut up. Consequently we have a much longer fic, though there is still a nugget of tie!pron goodness at its center. Also, written before Kids aired; I'm never sure how much these things matter, but I figure it has to mean something from at least a characterization standpoint.
Warnings: There is sex in this story. It is kinky if you were born in or before 1923.
Disclaimer: House, characters, and concepts are property of FOX Broadcasting Corporation, Heel and Toe Films, Bad Hat Harry Productions, and NBC/Universal studios. I'm only here because the bunnies give me no choice, and as I am making no profits and claiming no rights, would appreciate not being swatted.
Blame: I blame the characters, I do.
Thanks: To canthlian, ladysorka, & writingrose for Alphas, to catalase, musikologie, lifeisame, & ouri for Betas, and to hobviously for being a Goddess of Emergency Editing Consults.
Also, I finally did it: this story is too big for LiveJournal. I'm going to post a bit of the beginning here, or you can just go directly to it at either the House Fan Fiction Archive or The Archive at the End of the Universe (choose the high contrast skin or click on the print-friendly version).
House knew his living room sofa wasn't as comfortable or inviting as it could be; hell, that had been one of the selling points when he bought it. He liked it, but most visitors didn't seem to feel the same way. There was something about the way the leather slid, or how the cushions shifted and occasionally gaped in ways suggesting they might be carnivorous. Or maybe the problem was its somewhat awkward size and placement, which, unless you sat in it sideways like he usually did and was doing just now, left a vaguely ominous space yawning behind your back. In any case, it didn't inspire them to linger, which suited him fine; House wasn't really the sort to encourage guests, for the most part. The rare exceptions to this 'leave me the hell alone' policy either honestly didn't seem to care about it, like Wilson, or else were so used to putting up with his personality quirks that his furniture quirks were just part and parcel of the package. Besides, the entertainment room, despite the fifty thousand game consoles, was a lot more comfortable than this, for the people he really liked. The only reason anyone would have to stay in this room was the piano, and the number of people he would play it for was even shorter than the number of people he'd welcome into his house in the first place.
Wilson teased him about that, sometimes, or at least he had before. With everything else that was going on right now, House thought that maybe Wilson was grateful for that bubble of space House had created around himself, and for the way that being around House included Wilson in that protective sphere almost by default. House screened all his calls and ignored most knocks at his door, and had trained nearly everyone at work to avoid him whenever possible; the more time Wilson spent around House, the less time he had to endure the polite condolences from people who had heard, or the pitying or speculative stares. After the first time House called someone on those stares--it was a divorce, after all, not a funeral--they evaporated in his presence, to mostly be replaced by glares at him and him alone, but he could handle those just fine. He was used to it. His team, in a pleasant surprise, had managed to figure out at least that part of what was going on right away, which had been convenient, to say the least; with Chase the gossip, Cameron the sympathy girl, and Foreman the respectable one all quietly mentioning that Wilson was spending more time around House in order to avoid having to deal with anyone else while his latest marriage broke down, no one was coming up with any ulterior motives.
Not that House was entirely sure they would, at that point; the gossip about his supposed relationship with Wilson had burned out years ago, back when they actually were just friends. He was starting to wonder if anyone would believe they were really sleeping together now, if word got out--or would they just go, "Oh, that's old news. Wasn't true then and probably isn't true now. Stop beating the dead horse," and move on to speculating over, say, Wilson and Foreman instead?
Actually, that was a fairly disturbing mental image, so he forcibly shelved the thought before it caused him to lose the level of the video game he was playing. Under mildly different circumstances, he wouldn't even have been camped out in the living room the way he was--between his new patient, his new patient's family, and Cuddy's fury over the complaints of his new patient's family about House's treatment of his new patient, he felt that it would be fully justified to break out one of the ultraviolent games on the big TV, rather than messing around with space monkeys on the portable player. And whatever else people might say about what he normally wore to work, it was damn convenient to be able to just peel off a few upper layers and be down to a basic t-shirt, jeans, and socks. He'd thought about getting a start on dinner, but that seemed like a bit too much work for the moment, and besides, Wilson had left work early for another meeting with Julie and the dueling divorce attorneys, and House was kind of hoping by being in the living room, he'd get a chance to surprise Wilson and see what he looked like before James put on his, "I'm okay, I'm fine, don't ask me about it," face. Which House knew he wasn't, of course, and it particularly sucked because House couldn't even find a proper target for his anger on this one. Julie was being as reasonable as she could be, all things considered, and she and Wilson seemed to have settled into a sort of highly strained politeness in all their dealings since the night Wilson left their house and showed up on House's doorstep with the assorted baggage of three broken marriages, four changes of clothing, a childhood of too-high expectations, assorted toiletries, and five years of unrequited lust. Or love, if you wanted to believe Wilson's side of things, for all that he never used the word. House... wasn't as sure of which was true as he once had been, and had for the moment shelved that debate, waiting on further evidence.
It wouldn't really have mattered, though, if Wilson and Julie had been communicating only through highly stylized haikus at that point--and there was another image to make him almost lose his place in the game; did "our marriage no longer works" have seven syllables, or eight?--because whatever the causes, however mutual that final agreement had been, however reasonable Julie was trying to make herself be about this and however understanding Wilson was forcing himself to be, it was still... something dying. Awkwardly, and not before its time, House thought, but he'd said it before and he'd probably say it again, given the stupidity of the average person he dealt with: there was no dignity in death, and that was true of a person or relationship. Or, he thought, glancing down at his right leg, a group of muscles in your thigh. Wilson's marriage had been a part of him, and now it was choking out its last breaths, and House wasn't anywhere near naive or egotistical enough to think his presence in Wilson's life was going to make it all better. Maybe a little better, if he was lucky, but there was nothing, really, that could take away all the hurt, nothing that could short-circuit the grieving process there and make it all okay. Not and still leave him James Wilson, anyway; the way he handled things was too much a part of who he was, and that loyalty, however misguided or stupid it might have sometimes seemed, was probably one of the main reasons House had finally trusted Wilson enough to let him in--into his life, into his home, and lately... if not into his heart, then at least into his aorta. Or maybe, if you were feeling optimistic, one of the pulmonary veins. Definitely not a vena cava, though; whatever else you wanted to say about Wilson, House was pretty sure he was oxygenated.
(Comments are welcome there or here or emailed or anywhere, really. Bonus points if you include haiku.)
Crossposted to assorted places. Eventually. I plan to stagger them a bit.