“Spring is supposed to be nice.”

“What – so you mean that when spring’s around, people get so high on the lovey dovey crap, that they won’t mug each other?”

Wilson shot House a look, although its impact was lessened by the fact that the area around his eye was rapidly turning a bluish purple, or perhaps even a blackish purple. House couldn’t decide.

“I was just walking home, minding my own business,” Wilson said. “So why me?”

“Yeah, ‘cause muggings usually only happen to people who are unpleasant and stick their noses in where it doesn’t belong.”

Wilson rolled his eyes, and then winced, because the movement hurt. “If that was the case, you’d get mugged every day.”

“Oh, ouch,” House said, pretending to be hurt.

He swabbed the area around Wilson’s eye, and then continued onto the nose and mouth, all of which were bloodied. The shirt had already been discarded and sent to the trashcan; Wilson had told House in no uncertain terms that he’d never wear it again. House felt it was a waste of space to keep a shirt no one would use, although he thought the blood splatter wasn’t that bad.

Still, his heart had sped up when he opened the door to find Wilson, bruised and bloody, outside.

“’s it bad?” Wilson asked.

House looked down at him, taking in the whole picture of the blackened eye and the bloody nose, and the bruise on his ribs, and he wondered why he thought the pathetic look was a bit—cute.

“You’ll be up chasing girls in no time,” House said.

“Women,” Wilson said. “You’re the one who chases after seventeen-year-old girls.”

“She chased me, not the other way around,” House said.

“Yeah, and you really told her no.”

“You’re worse than Jiminy Cricket,” House muttered.

“Thank you,” Wilson said, as though it was something to be proud of.

“You’re good to go,” House said, getting up. His leg ached, and he paced this way and that to get the blood pumping again.

Wilson sat up from the couch, touching his own face gingerly.

“I don’t suppose you have a mirror?” he asked.

“I don’t suppose you could go five minutes without looking at yourself?”

Wilson glared at him. “You know, I was just mugged. You could show some sympathy.”

“Do you know me?” House asked.

Still, he stepped closer to Wilson. There was a part of him that wanted to comfort Wilson, but that part was squashed down by the part that screamed, I don’t have any idea of how to comfort anyone. He didn’t do comfort; that was Wilson’s forte. Wilson was the one who could get people to say thank you after delivering a death sentence. House was the one who usually got a punch in the face, not unlike the one Wilson had received from his assailant.

“You’re fine,” House said. “Or you will be. Take an aspirin, go to bed. You’ll look like you’re part racoon for a few days, and then you’ll be off to find ex-wife number four. Or five. Which is it again?”

Wilson glared at him again by the end of his little speech. “You’re such a great friend, House.”

“That didn’t sound very honest,” House said.

“No, everyone lies,” Wilson said.

He started to head towards the door, but his movements were slow and lingering as he reached for his coat. It hung from his fingers when he turned around to House, face open and perhaps a bit frightened. It was a look House had rarely seen on Wilson.

“Can I stay here tonight?”

One of House’s eyebrows rose. “Afraid of the dark now?”

Wilson studied the floor and sighed. “Forget it.”

He started to put the coat on, wincing as his bruised ribs protested at the movement.

House gave a put-upon sigh and with a roll of his eyes, he said, “Fine. Stay. But you’re making breakfast in the morning. Those pancakes of yours.”

Wilson smiled slightly, and removed his coat once more. House settled on the couch and after a few moments, Wilson joined him. The TV showed the umpteenth season of Scrubs, which House watched on and off, mostly because of the Janitor and Dr Cox.

By the end of the episode, House looked over at Wilson. The latter’s eyelids had dropped and he was sleeping, light breaths coming from the slightly open mouth. His chin rested on his chest, and he looked like a beaten little boy with the bruises.

A surge of protectiveness passed through House as he thought of what he wanted to do to the asses who’d done this to Wilson; the ones who’d placed that flash of fear in his eyes. Wilson might not always be as good and perfect as he wanted the rest of the world to think he was, but he was not supposed to be scared.

Wilson woke up by reflex as his head nodded down, and he looked over, a bit disoriented, at first the TV and then at House. He blinked slowly.

“Fine,” House said, sighing. “We’ll go to bed. Can’t have you missing out on your beauty sleep.”

“You don’t have to,” Wilson said. “I’m fine, it’s early.”

House was already getting up. Wilson looked tired, not only from the day’s excitement, but from working too hard for too long without enough sleep. If he was here to sleep, he might as well actually sleep, rather than just nod off to the TV.

They brushed their teeth, in a very strange, comfortable way that felt as though they were more than just friends, more than just one buddy helping another out. Wilson stood behind House, brushing sleepily, and House watched him through the mirror.

Wilson turned the couch into an uncomfortable bed, and House headed into the bedroom. Popping a Vicodin, he pulled the cover over himself and tried to sleep.

Two hours later, when House was somewhere between wakefulness and sleep, the door to the bedroom opened. Frowning, House watched and listened as the form of Wilson padded into the bedroom, and up to the bed. The side of the bed dipped as Wilson sat down, and then changed again, as Wilson laid down.

Wilson inhaled deeply, curling up, though he wasn’t under the covers. He seemed to relax with the exhale, the bed’s weight changing again.

“You’ll get cold without a cover.”

Wilson startled and sat straight up.

“What, you didn’t think I’d notice the warm lump of human in my bed?” House asked.

“I—I—I just, uh,” Wilson stammered. House couldn’t see his face in the dark, but he was fairly certain Wilson’s eyes were wide and darting towards the door, wondering if he could escape.

Then Wilson shivered, and House sighed. “Oh for crying out loud— get under the covers before you catch a cold and become even more pathetic.”

“I’m not pathetic,” Wilson said, in something that might have been an attempt to snap, but failed miserably and instead only underlined his pitiful state. He didn’t get under the covers.

“Then what are you doing in my bed?” House asked, sitting up.

“I don’t know,” Wilson said. “I just wanted—”


Wilson looked at him; despite the darkness, House could feel his gaze.

“Closeness,” Wilson said softly.

House stared at him. “You’re an idiot.”

“So are you,” Wilson said. “You stuck a knife into the electrical socket, I crept into your bed. We’re pretty even on the idiot-scale.”

“I don’t try to get close to someone who’s emotionally crippled,” House said grumpily.

“You don’t try that, because you are the emotionally crippled one,” Wilson shot back, leaning a bit closer to House. “Really, you might even call yourself emotionally dead.”

“Better than emotionally all-over-the-place, like you.”

“I just like to talk about my feelings sometimes,” Wilson said.

“You’re such a girl.”

“And you’re such an ass.”

House was about to reply when Wilson’s lips suddenly covered his. Time stood completely still, just like their bodies, frozen in that moment. Even House’s mind drew only blanks.

Wilson pulled back, eyes wide.

House stared at him, trying to get his brain to work again.

“Well,” he said finally, when enough moments had passed for it to be obvious that Wilson wouldn’t say anything. “That’s one way to end an argument.”

He had a feeling Wilson was blushing, and a part of him wanted to turn on the lights to see it. He didn’t.

“Certainly explains a lot,” House said. “The hair, and the cooking, and the looks, and the—”

“What looks?” Wilson asked, apparently having found the courage to speak once more.

“The looks,” House said. “At me. Moony-eyes. Love-struck teenager eyes.”

“I don’t give any such looks,” Wilson said.

“Yeah, you do,” House said.

“Nu-uh,” Wilson said.

“Way to show maturity,” House snorted.

Wilson was quiet for a few seconds, then asked, “Why aren’t you kicking me out?”

“Why should I be?” House asked.

“I just kissed you.”

House shrugged. “It happens. Are you going to do it again?”

Wilson stared at him. “You’re not—mad? Horrified? Grossed out?”

House gave another shrug. Now that he’d had a minute to process it, he thought the kiss had been kind of nice. Not that it had been long enough to really judge it, and there had been too little action – it needed some tongue, some movement, something more than just a quick press of lips. But still, what had been there had been nice. And besides, kissing Wilson probably made more sense than hiring hookers. He liked Wilson, although he had yet to figure out if he liked-liked Wilson. It wasn’t something he’d thought about before.

He decided to try to figure it out at once – it was a puzzle, and waiting to solve puzzles had never been House’s strong suit.

He pulled Wilson back in for another kiss. Wilson was obviously shocked by this, because his lips sat rather limply against House’s – at least until House ran his tongue lightly along Wilson’s lower lip, at which point Wilson started to react, turning his head slightly to better access House, and allowing his own tongue to venture out.

They pulled apart, and Wilson seemed breathless, not unlike what House felt.

Wilson shivered again, and House held out a part of the cover to him. “Come on. Under covers now.”

“Yes, mom.”

“I certainly hope you don’t kiss your mom like that,” House said.

Wilson was probably blushing again, and House lay down beside him. It was a bit odd, sharing the bed with someone; it had been years since the last time anyone was there on a more permanent basis than a few hours.

Wilson shifted, and his head suddenly rested on House’s chest, one arm draped across House’s stomach.

“You’re cuddling,” House said.

“Yeah,” Wilson said. “Deal with it.”

House thought of a couple of witty retorts, but none of them made it past his lips. It felt pretty good to have Wilson close, where House knew he was safe – from everything but House himself, at least. He felt his eyelids grow heavy with sleepiness. He ought to sleep, because for the first time in a long time, he was curious about what the new day would bring.

He smiled as Wilson mumbled against his chest, “Spring’s not so bad after all.”

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