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02 May 2006 @ 12:09 pm
Prompt #65; Maui Gold; PG-13  
Title: Maui Gold
Author: nutmeg4077
Rating: PG-13
Words: 6319
Prompt: #65: Wilson takes House home for dinner with the parents.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. They own me.
Notes: This fic was completed before Sex Kills. After that, canon went and keeled many of the plot points in this story, so for that reason you may or may not see it as AU. At any rate, it IS set when Wilson is still living with House. I want to thank chibicelchan and cenori for being not only very helpful, but very patient with me too. Thanks girls. Also, I would like to apologize in advance to whoever submitted this prompt in hopes that some OMGAMAZING author was going to write it and give you the orgasmic fic of your dreams. Because...um...this probably isn't it.

---


If House closed his eyes, he could see James Wilson when he was sixteen or seventeen, at a time when he was not Wilson; Jimmy to his friends, James to his teachers and always, to his mother, Jamie. Awkward, skinny, pimply, a rented tuxedo a size too big on prom night. On his arm would be a big breasted blonde with childbearing hips, even as his eyes would inevitably fall on his basketball teammates on the dance floor. Maybe there was a particular one, with a name like Brad or Steve or--no, Wilson wasn't the Brad or Steve type.

It was probably a neighbor named David, someone he didn't talk to in school--a loner, with glasses, always weighed down by a thousand text books. And oh, just untamable sandy hair and blue eyes. That was Wilson's thing, wasn't it? Give me two eyes of blue softly saying I need you and all that.

House's own blue eyes opened as Wilson barged into his office one afternoon, when the raindrops slammed into the windows of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital like grenades, exploding into little rivulets that blocked House's view of the foggy parking lot outside.

Foreman, who was leaning against a filing cabinet and talking, stopped.

"You're coming home with me tonight," Wilson announced. His hands were tucked into the pockets of his light jacket, too light really for the brutal storm that showed no sign of stopping.

House glanced at Foreman, who raised an eyebrow and looked between the two men.

House pulled the butterscotch dum-dum from his mouth after a moment. "Okay. But it's your turn to get the condoms and body chocolate. You know my brands. Should I break out the ball gag or--oh, Foreman! Didn't see you there."

"I…was just leaving," Foreman said irritably.

He received an apologetic, embarrassed smile from Wilson and a sarcastic wave from House as he left House's office. Wilson turned to House and said, "I actually meant home-home. My parents' house. In Madison."

House crunched into the sucker and narrowed his eyes. "What's the occasion?"

"Dad's birthday."

"Ahh, and how old is the Deputy going to be?"

"Sixty-four."

"Great. Tell him happy birthday for me," House said, reaching for a copy of The National Enquirer ('Alien Crash Survivor Speaks!') that he had nabbed from the clinic waiting room. It meant he was done talking, no thank you goodbye. But Wilson grabbed it before him, and asked, sounding slightly desperate, "Why can't you tell him yourself?"

"I won't be able to, on account of I'm not going to be seeing him," House explained, leaning back in his chair.

"Come on."

"Your parents wouldn't want me there," House tried, reaching for his Vicodin.

"Okay, my parents love you," Wilson said. "And, I want you there."

House stopped digging through his pocket for a moment and stared up at Wilson. "I was expecting a less gay argument."

"Say yes," said Wilson, ignoring him. He twisted the tabloid in his hands. "My mom's making a pineapple upside down cake."

"Tempting," said House. "But no. The birthday for the perfect daddy wouldn't be complete without the perfect daddy's boy, which means Matt is going to be there."

"Point?"

"He hates me."

"Okay, you're actually right about that."

"Exactly," said House, getting to his feet. "I have clinic duty. Enjoy the hour's drive to Madison in this weather."

Wilson followed House down the hall, into the elevator. "You owe me. I'm collecting my debt."

"Which debt?"

"I don't know, you pick one."

At the second floor, a group of nurses got on and Wilson stopped talking, giving them all a big, charming smile. House could see him flashing the same smile to David fifteen years ago, stopping, asking if he wanted a ride to school in the crappy Mustang Wilson had told House he'd owned as a teenager. House wondered if David said yes. Maybe not.

House felt a little bemused pity for the teenage Wilson. He would have worked so hard building up the courage.

It was the finding out why it was so damned important for House to come that House decided to agree. It was the thought of the reactions from the nurses that made House say, very loudly, "All right, take me home Dr. Wilson."

Then, he added more quietly, "But if dear old dad's birthday is ruined because Sergeant Matthew stabs me with a steak knife again, it's on your conscience."

"Okay, that was an accident," Wilson said, following House off the elevator upon reaching the lobby. "And you started it, remember? You tripped him with your cane at the reception."

"I had to, he was talking serious smack about you, bro," House insisted.

Wilson shoved the tabloid into House's hands and scoffed, "Right, it was all in the name of my honor."

"Anything for my homies!" House called after Wilson as he held open the front door for a teenage girl and her mother. House added to one of the nurses that had ridden down with them, "Ugh, that stubble. I don't care how ruggedly handsome it makes him look, it still burns. I hope he shaves before our date. "

Wilson did. He had showered and changed by the time House arrived home, and his hair still glistened damp as he unlocked his passenger door for the older man. He wore a sage-green polo shirt and jeans, no cologne, and--

"What is that?" House asked once inside the car. Wilson had already tuned his radio to the Classic Rock station for House, and the music boomed around them, ear-splittingly loud. Wilson had been rocking out on the drive home, apparently.

"Sounds like Morrissey."

"No, not that. That," House said, pointing at Wilson's left hand. "You appear to have a growth on your ring finger. Looks like precious metal. Either I need to start mining you, or you're wearing your wedding ring."

"Oh, that," Wilson replied nonchalantly, pointedly keeping his eyes anywhere but on House. "So?"

"Well, I just thought that wearing one symbolically declared your eternal love for your significant other. And that thing hasn't left the windowsill in my kitchen for the past three weeks, so I'm assuming your parents don't know about Julie yet," House said carefully. "I thought you people wore those on your right hands, anyway?"

Wilson was glad for the opportunity to change the subject. "That reminds me. No Jew jokes in front of my mother."

House made a loud, whiny noise of disappointment. "But just today Foreman told me quite a doozy involving a rabbi, a Nazi and an accountant."

"Oh yeah, is that what you guys were discussing before I walked in on you today?"

"No, that time we were talking about the Mormon and the black guy. I think that was why he left in such a hurry."

"Oh, good," said Wilson. "I thought it might have been because you made another insinuation that you and I were sleeping together."

"Pfft, that wouldn't make him leave in a hurry. He's used to those."

There was a silence as House waited for a retort, but there was none. He could not see Wilson's expression.

A flicker in House's imagination of Wilson's high school friends, a crack or two about his sexuality jokingly in passing when his eyes lingered too long on someone's ass in the locker room. Wilson might have laughed uncomfortably, played along. Maybe the same way he does as an adult.

Finally House said, "So that's why you wanted me to come so badly. To deflect any Julie-related questions you might get. I feel so used."

"That is not it," Wilson said, meaning it. "Sometimes a dinner invitation is just a dinner invitation, House."

"If it were any of your other friends, that might be true, but it's not. It's me," House said.

"I don't have any other friends. You chased them all away."

"I'm very possessive," House agreed. "No, you just didn't want to deal with your parents alone. Understandable. But why you don't want to tell them yet…hmm. That's a toughie. Mrs. Wilson and the Dep, they're very understanding. Didn't have a problem telling them about the other two wives. Then, maybe that's the point. It's not easy to be the guy with three marriages under his belt, you're probably even less eager to be the guy with three divorces under his belt."

"Let's please not talk about this."

"Okay," House agreed, even though they both knew he was lying. Another silence followed, and then House asked, "What did we get your Padre?"

"Well, 'we' got him a first edition of The Ox-Bow Incident," Wilson said. "Card's in the glove compartment if you want to sign it."

"Deputy's a western fan. I'm not surprised," mused House, opening the glove compartment and pulling out a white envelope and a small package wrapped, probably by Julie judging by the perfectly tied yellow ribbon, in delicate orange tissue paper.

"He said it was the only book he ever finished cover to cover. I looked all over for it."

"You know, there's this fascinating new invention--all the kids are doing it. It's some kind of publicly accessible system of connected computers where you can share data, and even buy things like first editions of The Ox-Bow Incident. What is that called?" House asked, putting his finger to his lips sarcastically. "Well, anyway, it would probably have been a lot easier to purchase it there. On…what is it? The interweb?"

"Yeah, we both know the flaw in that scenario," Wilson said.

"Yeah, you can't find your way around a game of Windows Solitaire," House replied. "You got a pen?"

"Actually, it's the Spider Solitaire that gives me the particularly tough time," Wilson said, then added, "Pocket. Wait 'til we get to that light and I'll--House, I can get it--"

But House had already reached into Wilson's right pocket, where he found only lint and some spare change.

"Oops, wrong pocket."

"House, if you'd wait--"

House reached across Wilson's lap, into his left pocket, and pulled out the blue Bic triumphantly.

"Oh, you enjoyed it," House sneered.

"Anyway," Wilson said, and indeed, House heard a smile in his voice, "It cost me three day trips to Manhattan and fifteen hundred bucks but I found it. It's in really good condition."

"Better be, for fifteen hundred bucks," House said, sliding the card from its envelope. "So, do you ever plan on telling your parents that Julie kicked you out? Or that you left her, I was never quite clear on that."

"I'll tell them at some point."

"You're going to lie? Interesting. Lying to me, sure, but to Mommy and Daddy…."

House wanted to continue to ask questions, but it was highly unlikely that Wilson would cooperate unless he had a few shots of whiskey in him. House toyed with the possibility of getting him drunk after the party was over, but he wanted to know now.

There was another silence, only the sound of House signing the birthday card, pen scratching on the dashboard. Wilson turned up the radio and the "rg" of House's name was a sloppy flourish of relief as the silence was filled with the opening chords of Ruby Tuesday.

Some of the tension Wilson had been carrying for a long time had melted away. Though he still seemed small and somewhat sad, he also seemed in a fair mood for someone who was on his way to divorce number three. House saw through it like a glass of water, but it was just enough for Wilson to get by with his parents.

House popped a Vicodin, telling himself he couldn't do it in front of the Wilsons.

Perry Street was bent and quiet. The kind of street where the most commotion on any given day was the barks and growls of his parents' neighbor's blue healer at Mrs. Wilson's cat. House smelled barbecued chicken through his cracked window, mixed with the scent of rain, and his stomach grumbled hopefully. It was still relatively warm and the fog had faded once they left Princeton, but not a star was in sight--clouds remained settled over New Jersey and thunder rumbled somewhere, low and intimidating.

The Wilsons lived in a white split level with brown trimming--quaint and charming, with a big yard that a teenage boy from down the street kept cut and green in the summer. Tonight, it was wet and still relatively yellow from the long winter, but Wilson's nieces, nephews and second cousins chased each other around in raincoats anyway. House heard one of them shriek, "It's Uncle Jimmy!" and Wilson, beside him, sighed.

"I'm going to regret this."

"Probably," agreed House.

They sat there, staring at each other for a long while.

"Come on," said House finally, pulling his door handle. "I sense good ol' fashioned family fun. And, if you're not into that, there's probably booze."

"No drinking for me," Wilson said, unbuckling his seatbelt. "I'm not letting you drive home."

Wilson was attacked by both his nieces the moment he opened his door. They clung to him as their father approached, bottle of beer in his hand.

House hadn't liked Matthew Wilson since the moment he laid eyes on him. He was tall, thin, and pompous in his police officers' uniform then; he was tall, slightly less thin and even more pompous now, though he had traded in his uniform for jeans and a T-shirt. According to Wilson, he was the favorite son--and House had no problem believing it.

Luckily, the dislike was mutual and House didn't have to shake his hand. He got only a slight nod and a "Greg" of acknowledgment.

"Hey, where's Julie?" Matt asked, ruffling his little brother's hair.

Wilson glanced at House. "She's…busy. Couldn't make it. Where's Dad?"

"They're both out back. Come on."

The children, uncomfortable around House and his cane, ignored him as they wrapped themselves around Wilson's legs and talked over each other.

Wilson pried himself away and led House around to the backyard, the smell of good food growing stronger. House had to admit--coming home with Wilson to his mother's from-scratch meals was always a nice break from his usual diet of pizza, takeout and fast food.

House's presence was more well-received by Wilson's mother, who was short and olive-skinned with frizzy black hair turning gray at the temples. She had given Wilson his warm brown eyes, friendly smile, and Judaism. Sarah Wilson gave House a gentle hug and asked him why it had been so long since he'd been around. She seemed so genuinely delighted to see House that she didn't question Julie's absence.

At first.

"Where's Julie, Jamie?" she asked her son eventually, holding his arm and peering around the small group of people, expecting to see her daughter-in-law lagging behind as she always did.

"She's not coming," Wilson said. "She…."

But he apparently could think of no lie to tell. He trailed off and there was a bit of dawning in his mother's eyes. She nodded slowly and smiled wider.

"Well, that's okay. So Greg's your date for the night, then?"

"That's the plan," House said. "I'll be a gentleman."

Wilson, ever the master of subject-changing when it came to his wife and to House, held up his father's gift. "Where are you guys putting these?"

"It's from both of us," House added.

Wilson gave him a look but said nothing. His mother took the present and assured them she would put it in the pile, as she pointed the boys toward the refreshments.

People--mostly elderly people, presumably Deputy Wilson's friends from the Force--were milling around on the back porch. Many of them squeezed and talked loudly to Wilson who, despite his earlier promise, went right for the beer. It was chilling in a blue cooler beside the smoking grill--at which Matthew was adding spices to chicken and various vegetable kabobs.

"Do not even say anything," Wilson warned, twisting the lid off.

"I wasn't going to," House lied. "I was more concerned about the fact that your brother is preparing the food that I'm going to be eating. Your parents don't keep arsenic around the house, do they?"

"Jim!" Doug Wilson, thin but loud like his eldest son, appeared out of nowhere; slapped Wilson's back. "How have you been? Where's the old lady?"

"So, Doug!" House interrupted loudly, feeling protective much to his irritation. "Sixty-four. One more year until that retirement, hmm?"

Wilson's father turned to House, surprised, and Wilson himself looked pretty shocked at House coming to his rescue. "Greg! Didn't see you there. How are you, son?"

House would see a Norman Rockwell calendar and think of Wilson's childhood. It was as if Doug Wilson had posed for the paintings himself--bent over a bed tucking two little boys in beside his wife, carving a turkey at the table in his police officers' uniform, teaching his son to build a birdhouse in overalls and a checked shirt. Everybody's friend, coached little league baseball, treated his wife like a lady. A drive to the Jersey Shore once a year for wholesome family fun on the beach, all that.

His small cornflower eyes were always filled with laughter, as bright as the sun reflecting in his impressive gun collection as he carried on conversations with House about everything and nothing. It ended, as it always did, with Doug offering to show House his prize nickel-plated Colt .45 Peacemaker, which had been his grandfather's.

"I can't wait," House said. Doug Wilson took off, leading the way, and his son walked at House's side, muttering, "Sometimes you really do surprise me."

"How?"

"Oh, just, you know, acting like a decent human being."

"Don't flatter yourself," House murmured, limping in through the back door after the Deputy. The interior of the house was hunter green and oak, with family photos and various framed pictures of wildlife--deer, wolves, a bear. Tonight House had to duck yellow and blue crepe paper, and Wilson almost knocked over a big banner that announced, Happy Birthday, Doug! draped over a huge table covered in fine china and fresh daffodils.

"While I'm repaying one debt, might as well get to a few more," House went on. "At this rate, I'll be in the clear by Thanksgiving. Then I won't have to get you a Chanukah present."

"Oh, that's too bad," Wilson said quietly, sarcastically, as they started up the stairs. "I was hoping to see you try to outdo year before last's."

"You sound cynical," House said, in a mock-hurt voice. "I don't know why. The coffee mug that said 'Class of 2003' was very thoughtful."

At the top of the stairs was a copper Star of David, Sarah's half-hearted repentance for not attending Synagogue as often as she should have, nailed to the wall between an array of family photos--Matt accepting his high school diploma, a boy of about nine with a soccer ball at his hip, James and Julie in their wedding regalia with their arms around each other before a pretty beach scene.

House knew the picture would be down within a week after the Wilsons found out. They had used the same 8x10 frame for every wife; House knew the other two photos were under the current one, for no real reason other than the fact that Mrs. Wilson was not the type to throw them away. Even if her son had done so long ago.

Must have been a tight squeeze for Julie…Mrs. Wilson was probably sure it would be the last companion of her son's she would have to fit into the frame. Maybe she was right, but then, House thought disgustedly, maybe not.

Doug showed House his pistol, and House kept him busy with inane questions (What's the official sidearm of the US military? What model did Steve McQueen carry in The Getaway?) and Julie was forgotten as the three migrated back to the party and ended up in a True Grit versus Rooster Cogburn and the Lady debate.

By the time the children were at the designated kiddie table, and the adults were at the elaborately decorated one, it had started to pour again. The smell of the food, carried in quickly on floral-patterned plates when the sky broke, had filled the warm house quickly; the damp people had crowded in, laughing, talking. House slouched in a corner and waited for Wilson to bring him his food, eavesdropping on the conversations of people around him.

A few more people seemed puzzled by Julie's absence. House wondered if David, too, had gotten married.

No, no...he wouldn't be in as much denial as Wilson. He couldn't be, or else it never would have worked. Maybe there had been someone, a woman. Maybe he'd try to carry out the lie. But he probably wasn't as good at pretending as Wilson was.

"Why are you keeping this up?" House said quietly in Wilson's ear when he returned, sure no one was looking. His mouth grazed Wilson's jaw as the younger man leaned closer, heavy plate of home-cooked food in his hands.

"House, I'm not going to talk about this right now," Wilson whispered back, pressing the plate into House's chest.

"You're friends with me."

Wilson set his own plate in his lap and rubbed his eyes. "Yeah, not for long. What does that have to do with anything?"

"It means you're capable of forgiveness. I know you."

"House--"

"I know you could forgive her for having an affair…you probably do. Because your wife cheating on you…that's an excuse to leave. That's a great excuse. And before, you didn't really have a legitimate one, did you?"

"House…I'm not going to do this," Wilson hissed. He gestured at his father with a butter knife. "It's his birthday. I don't…want to…burden anyone. Or make tonight about me."

"Your mother knows."

"Greg."

Wilson moaning House's first name--a rare occurence in and of itself--in such a stern, warning tone, had a sobering effect on House. He looked away from Wilson and they both ate in silence then.

House had to admit that Matthew knew his way around a grill, and even if the chicken did contain rat poison, the citrus pepper marinade was probably worth the painful death. He was almost through with his second helping when he took a deep breath and said to Wilson, "If you didn't want to be the guy with three divorces, you shouldn't have been the guy with three wives. Meaning you should have stopped, after the first one. Maybe you should have stopped before then. Lie to me, lie to your parents. But stop lying to yourself."

Wilson stared at him. House had said it casually, as if the words held no real meaning, while he polished off his corn on the cob. He ragged on Wilson all the time--and Wilson accepted it with a roll of the eyes and a shake of the head. It was one of the things they just...did.

And maybe it was the buzz, maybe it was the stress, but Wilson didn't roll his eyes or shake his head. This had, apparently, gone beyond a jab at Wilson's marriages. He stared at House and nodded slowly, his eyes turning to the floor. He wore a sort of kicked-puppy expression that, rather than make House feel bad and want to hug him, made House want to knock him over and beat the look off of his face. Out of guilt or out of real frustration at Wilson's reaction, House wasn't sure. Maybe both.

"No secrets at my dinner table, boys," Wilson's mother said from across the room, smiling.

House looked at her, leaving Wilson speechless and sad beside him. "Sorry, Mrs. Wilson. I was just asking your son where his wife got off to tonight." Payback for the look, payback for the guilt.

Wilson's abused expression morphed quickly into one of horror and outrage. He stared at House with wide eyes, as everyone in the room became focused on the two men in the corner and began talking all at once.

"Yes, where is Julie?"

"Haven't seen her in a while."

Trapped in the corner House had chosen for the both of them, Wilson had no choice. He stared at the floor, took a deep breath, looked ready to impale House on his vegetable kabob, and smiled. It was a wry, barely-there smile, simultaneously amusing and just a little creepy.

"Julie and I are...getting a divorce."

Silence, like a blanket. People stared at Wilson, exchanged glances with each other--how many people knew? How many here had guessed, and how many had been right? There'd always be the joke, the, "Oh, he's been married three times? Hey, you don't suppose he's...."

Most importantly, how much was House going to owe Wilson for this one? Maybe he'd be buying that Chanukah present after all.

Mrs. Wilson, now wearing the same exact maudlin expression as her son had just been, caught House's eye and shook her head sadly. For her son's failure in relationships or for her son's failure in choosing good friends, House did not know.

"Let's open some presents, mm?" House exclaimed then. Several people started. Wilson was still smiling, looking at the floor and shaking his head. It took a moment for his mother and his brother to begin piling gifts onto the table before the Deputy, who looked a little disappointed but not very surprised.

Still smiling brightly, Wilson leaned close to House. The older man leaned in and their hands brushed as Wilson whispered between his clenched teeth, "I hate you."

"That's too bad, Jimmy," said House, trying to look hurt. "Because I love you."

"When you're in God's deepest hole in hell, say hello to--"

"This one's from Jamie!" Wilson's mother exclaimed suddenly, and her son stopped talking. Wilson pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes shut. House, still smirking and despite his earlier vow, quietly popped open his pill bottle and slipped one into his mouth.

There was an obligatory "oooo" from Wilson's mother and a look of mild surprise from Wilson's father when the $1,500 book was revealed.

"The Ox-Bow Incident!" cried Doug, still sounding confused. House glanced at Wilson, who was now staring at his father with a weary smile on his face. "My favorite…oh, son, it's torn right here."

The book, as Wilson had said, was indeed in very good condition. But the dust jacket looked a little worn, had a small rip on the spine, maybe a centimeter long.

"It's a first edition, Dad," said Wilson, and he tried to sound cheerful but House was probably not the only one who caught the irritation in his voice. "It's almost as old as you. It's not going to be perfect."

"Wow!" cried his father forcefully. "Thanks, Jim-bo!"

House, mentally reminding himself to mock Wilson for this later, could tell the effect of the expensive, thoughtful gift from 'Jim-bo' was lost on Doug; especially in comparison to the brand new .44 Magnum from his eldest son.

It was somewhere in the silence and rustling of wrapping paper and gift bags that followed, that Wilson's patience snapped.

"Happy birthday, Dad," he said. He got to his feet rather noisily, his chair clattering on the linoleum and his plate clanking on the table. "We're going to be shoving off. Early morning tomorrow."

Maybe Doug and Sarah had met David, and they would have had their suspicions. Maybe they masked them with the same stretched smiles they were wearing as Wilson kissed his mother on the cheek and left his father's birthday party with a bang of the front screen door.

With the exception of Wilson's parents, who were staring at each other worriedly, all eyes were on House.

He stood. Even with Wilson as pissed off as he probably was right now, House was looking forward to never letting him live this down. "Thank you for the…wonderful evening, Mrs. Wilson. Deputy. Happy birthday."

"You come look at the Peacemaker any time you want, Greg," said Doug, reaching out to shake House's hand.

"Oh, I sure will."

House found Wilson pacing on the front porch. It had not stopped raining--water still fell from the sky and the gutters noisily, rapidly.

"It was a good gift," Wilson said defensively out of nowhere.

"You're right. Big, shiny, official weapon of Dirty Harry's choice versus a raggedy, sixty-year old stack of paper stapled together," House tipped imaginary scales with his hands.

"I thought it would be this grand gesture," Wilson said, shaking his head. He stopped walking, fell down in a green lawn chair. If he noticed it was soaked, he didn't seem to mind.

"Oh, we both know this isn't about you buying Daddy the worst gift on the planet," House said, crossing the deck. He leaned against the house and looked at Wilson cautiously.

"Of course it's not. It's about you being the worst person on the planet. Ever."

"Ever? That's an exaggeration," House said. "What about Hitler?"

"You know, I don't think that even Hitler would have intentionally humiliated me--"

"Yeah, I don't think Hitler would actually be hanging around with your family unless you were shivering and naked on a…." the dark look on Wilson's face made House stop talking. "I was going to make a concentration camp reference. But I did promise no Jew jokes."

Wilson sighed, closed his eyes again. He was quiet for a long time, and then he removed his wedding ring. For a moment House thought he was going to throw it, but instead tucked it into his pocket and stood.

"You're right. About Julie. It was a good excuse to leave," he said. "I…it was what I was waiting for."

"I know," said House after a moment. He was surprised at Wilson's admission of this, but even if he had been expecting it he probably would not have had much more to say.

Wilson snorted. "You know, some day you and I are actually going to talk and I will have a heart attack and die because it will be just that surprising."

"What do you want me to do?" House asked. "Hold you, stroke your hair, cuddle you and give you comfort?"

Yes.

Wilson rolled his eyes. "Let's just go."

House nodded slowly. "I have to get my coat."

Back inside, House could still hear the laughter and festivities in the dining room. In the living room, Mrs. Wilson was seated at the couch, a picture frame in her lap.

She looked up and smiled, surprised.

"My coat," House explained, lifting it off of the overstuffed armchair where it had been thrown with everyone else's. As a second thought, he grabbed Wilson's, too.

"Take care of my son for me," Wilson's mother said. She had flipped the cardboard backing off the frame, and now, looking at it more closely, House recognized it as the wedding frame. An 8x10 photo was face-down on the coffee table before her. "Three wives. Everyone's always asking me why he can't stay in relationships."

House glanced around and nodded slowly, surprised and a little uncomfortable.

"Three wives," she said again, carefully picking up the loose photo. She shook her head. "'But he's not a failure at relationships, I tell them. How long has he known Greg?'"

She slipped the picture into the L frame, locked the cardboard back down. Then she crossed the room and held it up for House to see.

House didn't recognize the picture. Yet it was he who was immortalized in it, standing beside Wilson in his tuxedo before the same stretch of blonde sand and cerulean sea as Wilson and Julie in the picture beneath this one. Groom and best man. They were standing close: Wilson's hands were in his pockets, House's were on Wilson's forearms. They were laughing, House couldn't remember what about.

House looked at Mrs. Wilson, a little taken aback. "Jimmy, and I...are not...."

"No, I know. Of course not," she said with a laugh, looking down at the picture. "It's just a lovely photograph, don't you think? You look very happy togeth--you both look very happy."

House nodded slowly.

"Where are you going for Thanksgiving this year, Greg?" she asked then.

"I…don't have any plans yet."

"You should come here. We'll have a nice family dinner," she patted his arm. "You boys drive safely."

Wilson waited for House against the garage, his face tilted up, letting the rain soak him to the core.

"You're mom thinks we're doing it," House called over the sound of water slapping the driveway. The rain was letting up just a little, fading from downright violence into a drizzle.

Wilson snorted; gave a small, ironic laugh. "Yes. Okay. Half the hospital and now my mother."

House shrugged into his jacket and looked around, mostly because he didn't want to look at his friend just now. "Does that bother you?"

Wilson's head snapped in House's direction. House, pretending to examine a rock painted like a ladybug in Mrs. Wilson's garden, could just make out Wilson's slightly parted mouth in the warm, apple juice glow of the streetlight.

Finally, he asked, rather lamely, "Does it bother you?"

I'm trying, Wilson.

"Should it bother me?"

"House--"

Can't you see that I'm trying?

"No, I'm asking you," House said, a little harshly, but it was more frustration with his friend than anger. Wilson stood up straight. "Does it bother you, that people think that we go home every night, together, and have wild passionate sex on my kitchen counter?"

"We don't."

"We might as well."

House was surprised at himself, though apparently not as much as Wilson. Finally, Wilson said again, a little desperately,"We don't."

House said nothing, nodded a little, started toward the car. He shoved Wilson's jacket into his hands as he passed him, and this gave Wilson the opportunity to grab his sleeve. House stopped. He tried to see the fictional David, tried to see Wilson doing this to him in the very same place they stood twenty or so years before. Tried to imagine how David reacted. But he could not find David, in his mind or in Wilson's eyes. Wilson's hand burned him.

"What, you're going to kiss me now? Here, in the rain?" House asked quietly, staring down at the mud. Wilson heard him, but just barely, over the sound of the water hitting the ground. "After all these years, after...and then I pull down your mask and you're really Peter Parker underneath but you won't let me see your eyes and we make out upside down? Oh, but where's my pretty pink dress? This is such a cliché."

"Clichés happen," Wilson said, and he wouldn't look at House, either.

House gave a small snort. He lifted his head, but his eyes stayed focused straight ahead. "That should be on a T-shirt." The Wilsons' across-the-street neighbors had a toddler-sized plastic jungle gym in their front yard and an American flag above their garage.

"You're the one who's been telling me, all night," Wilson said bravely. "To stop lying to myself. Stop covering it up. Maybe I wouldn't have to if you weren't doing the same."

House didn't say anything, and after a moment Wilson shook his head and let go of House's sleeve. He was turning around. He was walking away. One was always waiting for the other to cross the line. You do it, no you, no I can't. Nothing accomplished, no letting go of illusions. They would go home and pretend nothing had happened, 'ha ha just kidding let's rent Rambo' and forget without really forgetting; just like when "nothing" had happened so many times before.

Making a loud noise of frustration, House grabbed the back of Wilson's shirt, pulled him back to him and spun him around with surprising force.Wilson was probably surprised anyway: all House could see of his face now that he stood in House's shadow was water dripping from his eyelashes and nose.

"Now is not the time to be passive," House said, half to himself, looking at Wilson for the first time. And then his mouth was on Wilson's, and Wilson's skin was salty and wet. He felt Wilson breathe in sharply beneath him. And Wilson's hands on his back, gripping the fabric of House's soaking wet shirt in his fists. The rain was almost gone, and Wilson pulled back, his breathing shallow. He looked at his parents' house, and his hands slipped down House's back, held onto his belt.

House let go of his collar.

There was a long pause, and then House said, "Let's go home and have pie."

"Pie," repeated Wilson. He let go of the belt.

"Pie...I have a sugar craving and someone had to make a dramatic exit before I got to that pineapple upside down cake."

They began walking to the car.

"There was no pineapple upside down cake."

House looked up at Wilson, waiting for him to unlock the door. "You tricked me."

Wilson shrugged. "I did."

"Now you owe me," he was immensely glad that Wilson probably couldn't see his face in the dark.

"What do I owe you?" Wilson asked, slipping into the car. "You sabotaged my father's sixty-fourth birthday."

"Hey, I'm not the one who ran out in a huff like a teenage girl," House slipped his cane into the back seat and eased in beside Wilson. They both knew that their soaking wet clothes sticking to their bodies wasn't the only reason their ride home would be uncomfortable. "One pineapple upside down cake."

"All right. 11th Street Bakery makes a good one. I'll pick it up tomorrow."

House wondered how the night would end, how it had ended once before. But there was no David, House knew now, not then. There is only House, only ever has been House. A thrilling and terrifying thought, and suddenly House felt uncomfortably exposed.

"Oh no. Homemade. I need the satisfaction of watching you slave over it......"
----
...I tried to make something unique, and simple-but-thought-provoking out of a prompt where the stories had the potential to be eye-burningly clichéd. I have very little faith in this story, to say the least, but I do hope that whoever submitted the prompt isn't too disappoined.
 
 
Current Mood: scaredscared
 
 
 
Gummo Bergman's "Silent Strawberries": House - kiddingmarginaliana on May 2nd, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC)
Wow, this was wonderful! I don't think it was too cliched at all. I liked the way House went back and forth between being kind and being obnoxious - I think you really showed the way his whole personality, but especially his relationship with Wilson is both cruel and loving. And I loved the coming together scene - it made my stomach tighten up (that's good - it's sort of an "I'm involved in the scene and vicariously experiencing the emotion" kind of thing for me). And then "Let's go home and have pie." is pure House. Excellent stuff.
descrimedescrime on May 2nd, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC)
Very lovely. It was understated and beautiful. I love the Wilson family that you created. I like how House vacillated between being almost kind and being a complete ass. And the moment with the mom and the photo frame and the confrontation in the rain were wonderful and almost poetic.
Jeremia H.F.avenginglyyours on May 2nd, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
"Okay. But it's your turn to get the condoms and body chocolate. You know my brands. Should I break out the ball gag or--oh, Foreman! Didn't see you there."
Heee. How could anyone be disappointed by that ?

I really enjoyed your fic - House imagining David was a really good idea and your Wilson is just... well, let's just say I like your repressed Wilson (his reaction when his father commented on the gift...).
So, hum, happiness all around !

(also, I now have the incredible urge to draw that photograph of Wilson and House >_>)
Gaffsiegaffsie on May 2nd, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
This was very good, and not clichéd at all. I really like your House, the very appealing mixture of obnoxiousness and genuine warmth.
michelleann68: WIlson lightmichelleann68 on May 2nd, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
Loved the drawing of Wilson's family and how Wilson does not quite fit into the family, like he is a little different.

Loved House working his way to get what he wanted and what he needed to push Wilson into seeing. He might of pushed Wilson in front of the freight train, but also pulled him back before he was hit too hard.

The ending wrapped it all up nicely, not cliched at all.

I really loved the gift that Wilson gave his dad, it was just another perfect way to show that no matter how he tries and how much effort he espends, he just does not quite fit into the family that raised him, beautiful.
Strictly Ornamentaldaasgrrl on May 2nd, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
Wow - you completely undersold this story. I thought it was wonderful. I loved the whole interweaving of the way the photo frame operates, and House's visions of the imaginary 'David' Wilson was attracted to and realising he didn't exist. And the kiss in the rain. Gorgeous.
ベル物 (bell): Smashing!!usomitai on May 3rd, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)
"You're mom thinks we're

Nitpick: YOUR mom, not "you're."

I enjoyed the fic vastly, despite the slew of original characters! But Wilson's family worked, the dynamics, and his dad's reaction to his book broke my heart more than anything else I've read recently.
(Anonymous) on May 3rd, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
I really liked this -- a lot of depths and details to it. The OCs were well done, and the ending was terrific, but it's the characterization of House and Wilson that really made it special. Great job.
Amy: House--Animated Wilson neck rubevila_elf on May 3rd, 2006 10:36 am (UTC)
Mrs. Wilson, now wearing the same exact maudlin expression as her son had just been, caught House's eye and shook her head sadly. For her son's failure in relationships or for her son's failure in choosing good friends, House did not know.
This and Wilson's Dad's reaction to the book were so sad :(

I don't think this story is bad at all! Quite enjoyable :D

Giuliana: damien rice: cannonballantigone921 on May 3rd, 2006 10:50 am (UTC)
Okay, I think this story ranks up there with my favorites. I don't know where to begin -- it's damn near perfect.

(btw, you should've won the house_wilson banner contest)
RoseWill (SecondSilk)rosewillread on May 3rd, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)
Fic: Maui Gold
"Cliches happen," was a nice exchange between them. Still arguing about it. And pie and cake (mmm, pineapple upside down cake, I remember my mum making one when I was about five).
Very clear scene of the party and the family. I really liked Wilson's mum correcting herself "you look happy together," to "you both look happy." And the "does it bother you?" conversation, because are two ways of answering that, but neither of them chooses either.

"I don't have any other friends. You chased them all away."
"I'm very possessive,"

Aw!
The sweetness and acceptance of how they are with each other is wonderful. And House's little speech about Wilson lying to himself. And then Wilson getting him to pick which debt he was paying off, and House not quite able to manage to pay off anything.

Wonderful.
genagirlgenagirl on May 3rd, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
This is such a great story - I did the same prompt but in a totally different way. Yours is so much better - I love it! You gave Wilson a really interesting family, so different that what I had ever imagined. Wow, this blew me away.
ghleanna: house winsghleanna on May 3rd, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
cliches happen should be on a tshirt.
awesome fic!!
Billy Pilgrimcecilydolce on May 4th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
I loved this! Loved how it was so casual at the end- not OMG dramatic, just them. It was hysterical, sweet, subtle, very well-written. :)
The Mellifluous Leaper 182: Only You -- House/Wilsonleaper182 on May 4th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)
OMGILOVETHIS.

*dies*

House/Wilson!

It's rather interesting that Mrs. Wilson assumed they were together before they, y'know, were.

But, really. It's House's fault. :P

*prints out fic and cuddles it*

*adds to memories*

*dies again from House/Wilson goodness*