Wilson looks up from what appears to be an honest-to-God book to blink at House. “Excuse me?”
House, sans-cane, limps around the back of the couch to sit beside Wilson. He reaches over to pry the book from his hands; Wilson quickly realises what he’s doing and relinquishes it.
House peers at the cover. “Hm. Good Omens,” he pronounces carefully—then tosses it to the floor. Wilson looks distraught at his mistreatment of the book. House narrows his eyes, leaning in to inspect his friend’s body language.
“You’re gay,” House says again, just to see what he does.
Wilson’s terrific eyebrows draw together, but that is the only outward sign of this being anything but a typical conversation between buddies. He doesn’t look nearly distressed enough to be a closet case, but— “House, I don’t know what—“
“Oh!” House exclaims as it dawns on him. Wilson falls silent, looking distinctly alarmed. “Yes,” House says slowly. He leans back with a triumphant grin. “You’re not gay.”
“Yeah, that’s—something I could have told you, if you’d just given me the cha—“
Wilson’s mouth hangs open.
Wilson shuts his mouth, drawing on a frown like it’s some kind of armour. “No, I’m not,” he says, just a bit too fast.
“Yeeeah, you are,” House says, dismissing the denial with a wave of his hand. “What about me?”
If Wilson is continuing to sustain whiplash from House’s participation in this conversation, he’s hiding it remarkably well. Anyone else would have walked away as soon as House started to talk, but Wilson just sighs.
“I’m not following,” he says wearily.
“You never are,” House laments. He levels Wilson with a look. “Have you ever thought about me? Not having sex with me, get your mind out of the gutter.”
“It wasn’t in—“
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” House reprimands patronisingly. “Or didn’t anyone tell you about your changing body?” He sticks out his lower lip, really hamming up the sympathy. “Oh, Jimmy.”
To his credit, Wilson merely closes his eyes for a moment and swallows. House observes the movement of his jaw with what he is loath to call fascination.
“I am not going through puberty,” Wilson says, with just enough uptalk that House knows he’s in for the lecture of his life if he doesn’t interrupt. So interrupt, he does.
“I’ve sucked dicks,” House says.
That successfully derails Wilson’s self-righteous mode. He blinks rapidly. “What?” His voice is an octave higher than it should be—plain evidence that he really is in middle school, and is also a lying liar.
House holds his gaze, cool as a cucumber, nonchalant. “Mm,” he replies, then swipes his good leg under the coffee table, knocking free an old variety box of chocolate bars. “People love when you cure their diseases,” he says sagely, fishing out some kind of white chocolate concoction. Wilson nods absently, still working through House’s prior statement.
The weird white chocolate has cookie chunks in, which isn’t entirely unwelcome. House swallows it, then retrieves and unwraps another chocolate bar. He takes a bite, then considers being a gracious host. “Want one?” he says, his mouth full, waving the half-eaten bar in his hand.
Wilson’s brain seems to kick somewhat back into gear. He shakes his head. “No thanks, I’m—“
“Lactose intolerant, I know,” House finishes. At Wilson’s incredulity, he explains—slowly, in the voice he last used on a particularly dense resident: “You’re an Ashkenazi Jew. Your genes are fucked up.” He makes an amused sound. “I’m just sighing in relief that your parents aren’t cousins.” He swallows the chocolate, then adds musingly, “Not first cousins, at least.”
Wilson looks appropriately disturbed at the thought, then shakes his head with more fervour than before. “I’m not gay.”
“Really?” House says, sounding as genuinely surprised as he can muster. “‘Cause you seem real fixated on it.”
Wilson sputters. “Y—yeah, because you just randomly accused of it!”
House makes a dismayed sound around a mouthful of bad mint flavouring. “Accused? Oh, Wilson—you accuse somebody of a crime, not of homosexuality. …Not unless you think it should be a crime?” he flutters his eyelashes, pouting.
Rock: homophobia. Hard place: admitting to non-heterosexuality. Wilson: stuck. Fuckin’ Yahtzee.
Wilson travels through several expressions, then settles on exasperated. “House…” he sighs, in a manner that is somehow affectionate. He shakes his head again, then says with a little more gravity—that is to say, barely any: “You know that any saner person would report this as some kind of homophobic sexual harassment.”
House gasps. “I could turn that right back on you,” he informs Wilson sombrely. “How dare you accuse me, a bisexual man, of being a sexual harasser? You know that’s grounds for a lawsuit.”
It takes a couple moments for that to register with Wilson, but it’s very clear when it does, because he pulls his neck back like a pigeon and frowns.
“No,” he says reflexively.
“Are you denying me my truth, Wilson?” House says, scandalised. He makes a haughty noise. “I’m reporting you for biphobia.”
Wilson blinks, going through what appear to be several stages of grief, then saying, “Sure.”
They sit in silence for a moment: Wilson frowning at the book on the ground, House staring at Wilson.
Then Wilson shifts and looks up. “So.”
House pretends to have been consumed by thought rather than the shape of Wilson’s chest under the tee he has most definitely pilfered from House’s wardrobe. “Hm?”
Postponed by a yawn, Wilson says in summation, “I’m bisexual and lactose intolerant, you’re bisexual and a dickhead… what else?” The words come rather easily to Wilson; he must have been prepared on some level for his sexuality to be noticed, at least by House.
What else, indeed…? House considers it, then says, “I’m a bisexual dickhead who—” is in love with you— “wants to go to bed.” He frowns. “That rhymed. I don’t like that that rhymed. Rhyming is for… losers. Makes me feel like I’m reading a fairytale.” He snorts. “What a fuckin’ pansy thing to do.”
Wilson gets that face of his, the ‘righteously peeved’ one, and opens his mouth—then closes it again, and pretends nothing happened. It doesn’t escape House, though, who chuckles and says, “What, annoyed that you can’t tell me off for being un-PC?”
Wilson huffs out a laugh, closing his eyes as he does, in such a thoroughly cute way that House wants to kick something. He tears open another chocolate bar—Mars bar, score!—with more force than is strictly necessary, instead; Wilson watches. “I’m tired,” Wilson says at length.
“Mmm.” House takes a bite of his chocolate, chews it methodically, swallows. “Welcome to the fuckin’ club, pal.” He balls up the wrapper and tosses it in the general direction of the bin. He misses, of course. Wilson is following his movements, of course, and grimaces predictably when the shiny plastic lands next to the skirting board instead.
“I’m not going to pick that up,” Wilson says airily.
House grins like a shark. “No,” he agrees. “That would be silly. It’s, what, one wrapper? Not like it’s the end of the world. You’d have to be really neurotic to wanna pick it up.”
Wilson is silent.
House is silent. A smile stretches his mouth.
“Oh, dammit,” Wilson mutters.
House watches in smug satisfaction as Wilson stands—his shirt, ever so slightly undersized, rides a little—crosses the room, stoops, puts the wrapper in the bin. He gives House a singularly unimpressed look as he returns to stand before the couch. His hands move to his hips.
“I’d like to go to sleep, now,” he says, pointedly observing House’s unabashed occupation of a good half of the couch.
“Hmm.” House frowns at Wilson. Wilson raises his eyebrows. The moment drags on, and on, and House could say anything right now—could say it—the possibilities are enormous— “Fine,” he relents. He pushes himself off the couch, aware of Wilson’s eyes on him the whole way up.
“G’night,” he says.
“Good night, House,” Wilson says, with an oddly soft note to his voice.
House limps away.