Categories > TV > House

Secret Lies

by Macx_Larabee 0 reviews

Paranormal AU. Nine years ago, his brother disappeared for no known reason. Now he's back and Wilson is finally getting the truth...

Category: House - Rating: R - Genres: Angst, Drama, Fantasy - Characters: Gregory House, James Wilson - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2006-11-05 - Updated: 2006-11-05 - 17530 words - Complete

Secret Lies TITLE: Secret Lies
Part of the Denuo AU
AUTHOR: Macx and Lara Bee
PAIRING: House/Wilson
DISCLAIMER: not ours. Wish we could have them, but whoever all owns them, we're not trying to infringe on anything. All rights are with the creators of the
show, the studios, whatever.
The Denuo universe was created by Lara Bee and myself. More stories from different shows can be found here:
Macx's Voice of Warning (aka Authors' Note): English is not our language; it's German. This is the best we can do. Any mistakes you find in here, collect them and you might win a prize The spell-checker said everything's okay, but you know how trustworthy those thingies are.....
WARNINGS: paranormal element, slash (duh!), crossover with the M7 part of the Denuo AU

Summer had passed without any major events or catastrophes. There had been the usual mysterious illnesses that were referred to Dr. Gregory House, the familiar arguments and fights with Cuddy, annoying the colleagues, stealing food from Wilson at lunch, and having his lover home for most nights of the week. Aside from the nights when Wilson was on call, he normally spent the evenings and nights at House's place.
By and by the most personal belongings of Dr. James Wilson had made their way over from Wilson's apartment to House's. His clothes were in House's wardrobe and hamper, his toiletries were in the bathroom, and James himself was in House's bed. It was still something both men had to get used to. Wilson himself didn't have a problem with living together, but House had been alone for the past years and having another human being around him like this was new ground. New old ground.
Work hadn't changed. The rumors of them being together had made rounds, people had looked, had gossiped, but then the storm had died down. Foreman's disapproving looks had withered away, but there was a lingering animosity. Wilson felt it when it came to consults. Foreman still answered to them, but he was
colder, more distant, and he never stayed long after consulting.
Oh well. It didn't bother House and Wilson had long since developed quite a thick skin in this kind of business. Some other colleagues seemed to have trouble with the image of them being an item, too, but since Wilson and House kept their private life private - and since it had mellowed House a teensy-weensy bit - no one had much to complain about.
With autumn came the rain and House grumbled more when he couldn't ride his bike. It was one of those days that had started with rain, continued with more rain, and by nightfall, it was pouring even more. House had had a few clinic hours and nothing else. His latest case had been discharged the day before and he hadn't felt like paperwork. He left that to his sidekicks. With no bike to ride he had sat down and started to read his journals. There was a large stack he still needed to go through.
Outside, thunder joined the rain and the sound of heavy drops beating against the window panes mixed with the soft music playing in the background. It was perfect weather for cuddling and making slow love, too, but aside from the fact that House really needed to keep up with his medical journals, there was the fact that Wilson had some office work to do, too.
Dropping last month's issue, House found his eyes drawn to something else. It was the file he had snatched off Wilson's desk, the file about the research his lover was doing together with Dr. Jackson from Salt Lake City. Ever since their brief trip to Salt Lake, House had avoided talking about the paranormal factor in their lives. He was a paranormal, Wilson was an ally. Well, House was a no longer functioning as a paranormal. He was a paranormal by birth, but his abilities were neutralized. He hadn't missed them so far.
Picking up the file he studied the folder, then opened it.
Wilson was busy reading through some files Nathan had sent him. It was a ton of material, some interesting, some superfluous, some important, some redundant. There were printed test results, CDs to view, reports to browse, and it all was both time-consuming and highly interesting.
A thick folder landed squarely on what he was currently reading, almost upsetting his soda. He looked up and frowned mildly at House.
"I want it."
Wilson looked at the folder and his frown deepened. "Why?"
He knew exactly what his lover was talking about and he wouldn't fall into the trap to ask how he had come upon these research papers, as well as the correspondence with Dr. Jackson. When it came to Gregory House, nothing was impossible.
"Oh please, Jimmy!" House looked exasperated. "Don't you think I know what this is about?"
"You read it, so I suppose you do know."
"Right you are. I know! Why didn't you tell me?"
"It's just a paper, House! Research."
"And why are you researching into that direction? I'll tell you why! Me!"
"Not everything revolves around you."
"No? I didn't get that memo."
"This isn't a clinical trial. You are not my guinea pig!"
"I want to try it," House insisted.
Wilson stared at him in exasperation. He got up and pushed past his lover to get another soda. "You do not."
House followed him. "What? You know me so well?"
"Yes! You do not volunteer. Gregory House doesn't take experimental drugs or turn himself over to be tested on."
House gestured at the papers. "I want it."
"I told you why. Just ask yourself why you researched painkillers for paranormals and you have the answer."
Another eye-roll. "I repeat: not everything revolves around you."
"And I repeat: it does. This does. Now gimme."
"I'm not some kind of drug dealer. I don't have it on me."
"So get it for me."
"I'm not using you! That's final!"
"Why?" House demanded.
Brown eyes flared. "Because you're a drug addict! You see a new drug and you want to try it."
House's face drew into a smirk. "Of course I am. And of course I do. I'm also a doctor, and, to bring up that old saying, I know what I'm doing."
Wilson rose, facing him. "You don't."
"I know what I have now, Jimmy. You know it, too, or you wouldn't be slaving over some miracle drug for paranormals in pain. You know I can't live without the drugs, but with them I can't function as a paranormal."
"You don't want to function as a paranormal," Wilson simply stated.
"What if I do?"
That had the younger man blink. He almost drew back a little. "Why?"
"Do I need a reason?"
Hands on his hips, Wilson's whole body language was answer enough. Nevertheless he added a soft sigh and a "Yes."
"Then just scribble some down for whatever review board this is going to."
"That's the whole thing, Greg. No one's overlooking this. Nathan and I are working in theory. We have a very talented chemist who helps us with the drugs, but nothing of this is fit for a clinical trial using volunteers."
"You only need one." House spread his arms. "Here I am."
"You sound like a broken record."
Brown eyes flashed a warning and House suddenly turned serious. He leaned back against the table, briefly studying the floor, then met his lover's expectant eyes.
"I'm an addict. I need the drugs to manage the pain," he said calmly. "I can't function without them. Not in any capacity. I know all about the dangers, as you do, too, or you wouldn't be trying so hard to make this workable so hard. If there is a painkiller that doesn't eventually lead to an addiction, to liver and kidney, maybe even stomach damage, if there is such a thing, then I want to try it."
"Even if it sets free your powers once more?" Wilson asked softly.
He nodded, holding the surprised eyes. "Yes."
"You made it quite clear at the beginning of our relationship that you're not a guinea pig."
"I'm still not. I'm a volunteer, Jimmy."
Wilson chewed on his lower lip, arms now crossed in front of his chest. House seemed serious enough, but he knew his lover too well to fall for that. If House wanted something, he could be a saint, he could be completely serious, he could be professional and courteous and whatever else was required to get it.
"I'm serious," House added into the silence.
"That's what I'm afraid of. Greg, you don't know the risks."
"I'm willing to take them."
Wilson's inner alarm started to twitch. "Why?"
An eye-roll was his answer. "We're back to the whys," House muttered. "Because drugs make the addict happy! Satisfied?"
"No. Tell me the truth. Don't lie."
"I never lied to you."
Wilson's brows rose. "You want a list?"
"That was... obfuscation... circumventing the truth..."
"Like the loan for the motorbike?"
House sighed theatrically. "This isn't about a car or a bike or food."
"No, it's about testing an unknown substance we only have paperwork about on you. I'm not doing it, Greg!"
"I'm old enough to make that decision myself, Mom."
"You're not. You are an addict!"
"And you're repeating yourself once again."
"Then give me a reason!"
House sighed and evaded the intelligent brown eyes. "My dose doubled in the last 12 months."
"I know that."
"I can't go a day without it."
"Know that, too."
House frowned at him. "You need it spelled out to you?"
Wilson tilted his head. "Actually yes."
"My body has learned to adapt to the medication, Dr. Wilson, and it will simulate more pain to get it. I went a week without it and not only broke my own hand to manage the other pain, I was ready to kill in the end, just for relief," House's voice was cold, clipped, precise, and very, very controlled. "I need something else, abilities be damned, because this is killing me. Clear enough for you?"
Wilson gazed at him in amazement at the confession that, while brief, also told him so much more. "Yes, it is," he said quietly.
"So gimme."
"Like I said, I don't have it. And you only get it under special circumstances... should Dr. Jackson actually approve of this."
"What? Conditions now, too?" House exclaimed, almost whining.
"Yes. Take them or leave them."
"Don't I get to hear them first before I sell my soul?" came the sarcastic quip.
"No matter if the new drug works or not, you won't go over forty milligrams of Vicodin again."
House's eyes widened in true amazement and not just a little shock. "That's two conditions!" he protested.
"No. Just one."
"I don't even get a chance to win this?"
Wilson smirked. "I learned from the best. Take it or leave it."
"I need to consult with my lawyer."
"Your lawyer will kick your ass into doing it, so just say yes, Greg."
House glared at him. "You drive a hard bargain."
"I know who I'm talking to."
"All right, all right. You get your insane wish. But if I won't be able to take the 40 milligrams, I'll be back to my old dosage."
Wilson only nodded.
House rubbed his hands and smiled. "Go call Dr. Jackson. I'm ready to rumble."
The younger man chuckled. "But I'm beat and I want some sleep. We're not going to start this right away. You're a doctor. You know it."
"Awww..." Blue eyes glinted.
House walked over to him, trapping Wilson against the shelf behind him.
"What do I need to do to make this happen faster?"
Wilson grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him even closer. "I'm not corruptible, Dr. House."
"But kissable."
And their lips met, House demanding entrance, which Wilson only gave too willingly.
"Yeah, very," he rumbled. "Kissable and sexy and fuckable..."
"Sex won't get you this faster," Wilson murmured.
"But I can try."
Another kiss, harder, rougher, even more demanding, and Wilson leaned a little into the contact. House's eyes were filled with lust.
"Is it working?" he teased.
"Something's working," Wilson replied, arms sliding around his lover's waist.
"I can feel that."
House attacked the smooth neck, making Wilson sigh his approval. Leaving a little bite mark he smirked as the younger man yelped.
"You want them gossiping again?" Wilson asked.
House only smirked more.
Outside, the rain was no longer beating so viciously against the panes. It had slowed a little, but there was no sign of it stopping within the next minutes. Many people finally hurried home, drenched already or getting drenched not much later as they tried to get to the next bus station or into their cars.
Inside the apartment, two men lay entwined in their embrace, bodies warm against each other, resting. House felt each breath of his lover, each beat of his heart, and he splayed his fingers against the curve of his ribs.
Snuggling against the nude, spent form, feeling so pleasantly exhausted and sated, too, House let his thoughts taper off.
He was brought in on a Saturday, screaming and kicking and cussing and fighting the restraints around his wrists and ankles and torso. His brown eyes were wide in terror and hysteria, his hair long and wild, and his unkempt appearance said 'street person' quite clearly. The doctor on duty tried to calm him down, but he only fought harder, screamed louder, the more people crowded around him. So he was admitted to the psych ward. His clothes were removed and burned because they were old and used and rather dirty. Washing them would only have made them even more threadbare. A nurse tried to wash him, but he fought her so much, they had to sedate the man before they could rinse off the dirt of so many weeks on the street without a decent shower.
'Paranoid schizophrenia' was written on his chart and he was left in the care of one of the hospital's psychiatrists.
Until Dr. Gregory House stumbled upon his file.
House was bored.
That was nothing new.
House was also extremely frustrated and it wasn't sexual, which also wasn't new. His sex life was just fine. He was getting laid, he did the laying, and the object of his lust happened to be close by or around most of the time. Not that any of the sex happened inside these sterile walls, but he liked entertaining nasty or kinky day dreams about James Wilson when he was frustrated and bored. No, the frustration came from the excess of stupid people coming into the clinic with stupid symptoms and simple diseases. He wanted a challenge and there was none. Anyone could diagnose whip-lash or sprained joints, there was no fun in gastritis, otitis or any other form of itis. Tachycardia had him briefly interested in one patient, but that had been treated quite quickly.
So yes, he was frustrated and bored because work was dull.
Dullness resulted in bad moods, bitching, more Vicodin than necessary, and Wilson giving him those silent looks that let House know that the other man was reaching his limit. It was funny how House calmed down around Wilson, how the oncologist could balance his unbalanced moods. They weren't the most harmonious couple and House would have been scared if they were, but something made this work. Something about Wilson gave him... stability. Not really that, but something like it. He was that calm center, that rock in a stormy sea, and House could let himself fall for just a moment.
But Wilson wasn't attached to his hip 24/7, so he had moods at the clinic or the hospital.
It was when he browsed through the fun cases at the psych ward that he came upon a John Doe who had been admitted a week ago and who seemed to puzzle everyone. Puzzling, flustering, throwing someone in a loop, yes, that looked good.
House began to read the file he had hacked into. Wilson would have another one of those looks ready when he found out - and he would - but House didn't care. Hacking was fun.
John Doe, no age, no address, probably a street person. No personal effects, no money, nothing. His clothes had been burned after being searched. He had been found in the park, apparently delusional, running from the police, screaming when people touched him, kicking at whoever came too close. They had tasered him, called the paramedics and when he had woken in the hospital, the whole screaming hysteria and terror had happened again.
House pursed his lips in thought. It sounded like Victoria Madsen, aside from the continued screaming. She had had brief episodes. So he scanned the diagnosis for rabies and found no test done.
"Figures," he muttered.
The diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia, but somehow the mass of conflicting symptoms didn't fit. He was sensitive to light one moment, the next he was fine. Like Victoria. He had episodes of screaming fits, especially around people. A lot of people. The psychiatrist had noted down that one person with him in the room was fine, but the more there were, the more he reacted, right down to trying to claw his eyes out or tearing at his hair. But it also wasn't just the number of people, it happened with individuals, too. One nurse had to be removed from his case because she was barely inside the room and he was flipping.
Sedating him 24/7 was no answer, but for whatever reason, no one had tried to diagnose what the man had. No CT, no MRI, no PET, no ultrasound, no blood tests. Nothing at all.
House got up from his chair, file in hand, and determinedly limped out of his office.
He wanted that case.
"Rise and shine, kids!"
Chase looked up from the crossword he was tackling and Cameron turned away from the coffee maker, holding a fresh mug of coffee. Foreman was nowhere to be seen.
"New case?" the Australian asked.
"Fresh off the griddle."
"We should wait for Foreman," Cameron said as she walked over. "He'll be here any minute. Clinic duty."
House limped to the whiteboard and uncapped the board marker. "He can catch up. He's a bright boy." With that he began writing.
"White male, in his mid to late thirties. Symptoms are extreme sensitivity to sound and light. Can't stand to be around people. Delusional, apparently paranoid schizophrenic, symptoms of severe pain with no apparent source. His doctor thinks he's seeing things that aren't real and admitted him to the psych ward."
"But you don't?" Cameron asked, sipping at her coffee.
He gave her a grin. "No."
"Medical history?" Chase wanted to know.
"We don't know it."
"Has anyone interviewed the patient?"
"He's not coherent. Screams when he's awake and sedation keeps him under only so long. People drive him crazy." House grinned again. "I can empathize with that."
"Has anyone asked the relatives? Family? Friends?"
"He's a John Doe. No ID."
"Street person?"
House turned to Foreman who had just entered the room. "Homeless."
"Rabies?" Chase immediately asked.
House smirked. "For us to find out. No one's done anything with him, aside from lock him up and shoot him full of drugs to knock him out. Go forth and collect blood samples, do an MRI or his brain."
"You're thinking brain tumor?" Foreman asked.
"I'm not thinking anything without any proof. Right now we have nothing but someone who hasn't been checked from head to toe. He's been classified a nutcase."
"And you like nutcases."
House smirked more. "The more the merrier."
Chase rose and walked toward the door, followed by Cameron. Foreman was the last to leave and House capped the marker, pleased. Finally there was something to do!
"Blood came back negative for drugs, other than the ones we administered to sedate him," Cameron reported a few hours later. "No signs of any blood disease either."
"MRI's negative for brain tumor or any injuries to the brain," Foreman added.
House pursed his lips, thinking. He gazed at the whiteboard.
"We might want to get him off the sedatives, see to what he reacts to, when he reacts, and so on," Chase proposed. "We only know he's screaming his lungs out, but no one can really tell what the stimuli are."
House nodded. "Do it. Take him off slowly. Keep the restraints. I want detailed notes on what he does."
Dr. Allison Cameron had been on the psych ward floor a few times, as an intern mostly, but never to treat a patient. She, Chase and Foreman walked through the corridor toward the single room John Doe was kept in and a nurse accompanied them inside. The man was sedated, restrained to the bed, and dressed in a standard issue hospital gown. His hair was long, a brownish color, and he hadn't been shaved in about a day. His face was narrow, appeared hollow, and there were bruises under his eyes - eyes that roamed behind the closed eyelids.
Chase walked over to the drip and closed it, taking the man off the sedatives.
"Who do you think he is?" the Australian asked as he looked at the nameless stranger.
"Homeless guy," Foreman answered, but there was a thoughtful expression in his eyes.
"I just think it's strange that no one's ever brought him into any kind of psych ward before," Cameron went on. "If he is schizophrenic, why has no one ever noticed him?"
"Do you notice them?" Foreman wanted to know. "Do you want to notice them? Maybe he hasn't been schizophrenic for long. Maybe it's not schizophrenia and something is wrong with him on a neurological level we haven't found yet. Maybe it's recent."
Cameron looked at the man again, noticing the more pronounced eye movement. His fingers twitched.
"Sedative's wearing off fast," she remarked.
And then those eyes snapped open. Dark brown, wild, slightly blood-shot. Thin arms tugged at the restraints and the upper body arched.
"No!" the man whimpered. "No, leave me alone! Go! Please go. No!"
His voice rose and he kept crying and begging, then suddenly the tone of voice changed into a screech. His eyes rolled, his body arched more against the restraints.
"Blood! No, don't! Kill. Killed her. Demons! Blood everywhere! Why me? Why me?"
His cries rose in pitch and the words became more garbled. He didn't seem to pause, just went on and on, begging and pleading, and screaming his lungs out. The cords at his neck stood out, his face was reddening more and more, and his teeth were bared like a wild animal's.
Foreman moved quickly, pulling out a syringe from his coat and shooting the contents into the IV line.
There was a last whimper from the man, then he relaxed again. Chase quickly restarted the sedative drip.
"Psychotic episode. Classical one, too," Foreman muttered.
"But look at him," Cameron gestured at their unknown patient, "he's still agitated. He might not be moving, but his mind..."
And he was active. His eyes moved frantically, like in a dream phase.
"Maybe we should hook him up to an EEG," she continued. "See how active the brain is."
Foreman shrugged. "Not that it will tell us anything, aside from how active the brain is."
"But if his brain's that active with sedatives, it can't be a psychotic disorder," Chase threw in.
They were by now walking out of the room and toward the elevator.
"With psychosis, things are never simple," Foreman told him. "You can never be sure completely how much is psychological, how much physiological. With him on the street, who knows what he might have picked up."
"We checked him," Cameron interjected. "He's clean."
"Maybe now. What do we know of his past? Nothing. He might have been down with something nasty before he became homeless. Maybe he was a successful businessman, traveled the world, then his luck ran out and he ended up where he is."
Cameron shot him a peculiar look, but Foreman ignored her.
"Maybe he had an infection a year ago on the street. Maybe two years ago. We have no idea," the neurologist continued. "There's no history."
"We had no history for Victoria Madsen," Chase only said.
"We had one after House removed the pin from her arm," Foreman simply said and opened the glass door to Diagnostics.
"So we run him through an MRI to see if something pops up?"
Foreman grimaced. "You can only get lucky once."
"Oh, you can get lucky quite often," House's voice interrupted their discussion, smiling that wide, Cheshire cat smile as he limped into their meeting room through his office. "In my case, I get lucky at least twice a week."
Foreman's eyes narrowed, but he didn't comment on that quite open invitation for a discussion of the more sexual kind.
"So, what do we have?" House asked.
"A nutcase with no symptoms other than screaming and raving when we take him off the sedatives?" Chase asked, sounding a bit frustrated.
"He was off for a minute, woke, and it started all over again," Cameron added. "There wasn't even a moment of clear-headedness. He just stared at us, then screamed."
"So would I if you were the first I'm seeing after waking up," House quipped.
"He was agitated even before we took him off," Chase added. "It's not normal."
"Nothing with this guy is normal," House murmured, thoughtfully looking at what he had written on the board.
"So what now?" Foreman wanted to know.
"Now we do it all over again. We missed something, people. I want to know what it is. Clinic's calling for me, so off you go. Grab a needle or another pointy instrument and poke him some more."
Clinic duty was always dull and never really exciting. Today's two hours were no different. He had a mother who was concerned about her kid being hyperactive because she was eating so much sugar and drinking only sodas. Then there was someone else who blamed chocolate for his acne problem. The one that came right after another pimply teenager -- who had a serious infection in a rather private place due to an unprofessional piercing -- was a coffee addict who thought the black liquid was stunting his growth.
House hid out in one of the empty exam rooms for the last ten minutes, his daily quota of idiots way past its limit.
"Heard you have a new patient," Wilson remarked as he sauntered into the meeting room and sat down in one of the chairs.
He wasn't wearing his white coat and his sleeves were rolled up. House nodded as he studied his lover, noticing with an inner smile that Wilson seemed relaxed, in a very good mood, and rather open. A good day then. He couldn't say the same about himself. The new case was bugging him somehow. Everything seemed wrong.
Wilson studied the whiteboard. "Conflicting symptoms. You even tested for leukemia, I see."
"He's clean," House only said, limping over to the seated man. "Clean as a whistle, so to speak."
"And he's homeless?"
"Yeah. Straight off the streets. No drugs, though. A bit undernourished, bad diet, but aside from that nothing serious. No parasites, no alcohol, no dermatological problems. He took good care of himself."
"But he's delusional."
"Overreacting to sight and sound, screaming and hysteric."
Wilson frowned. "About what?"
House twirled his cane. "No idea."
"Ah, I see. You don't visit patients." There was a mild smile.
House gave him a brief, dark look. "I do, too. But he was in the psych ward for over a week before I got my hands on his file -"
"And I wonder how you did that," Wilson mumbled.
"- and no one bothered to take notes," House finished, another mild glare directed at Wilson.
"Maybe someone should."
House took the John Doe file off the table and held it out to the oncologist. "Cameron did."
The younger man raised his eyebrows and then browsed through the papers. "He's screaming and ranting about a woman and blood and demons?"
"Sounds like some psychological problem."
House shook his head. "It isn't."
"Because of the other symptoms?"
"Yes." Again, he twirled the cane.
Wilson got up and walked over to the whiteboard. "Photophobia," he murmured. "Photophobia is a symptom of another underlying problem, like corneal abrasion, uveitis, or a central nervous system disorder," he recited. "Light sensitivity can also be associated with retinal detachment, contact lens irritations, sunburn and refractive surgery."
"We tested for that," House told him, now sitting on the table. "No meningitis, no retinal detachment, and he isn't wearing contact lenses. No surgery recently either. He has no scars."
"Photophobia often accompanies albinism, total color deficiency, botulism, rabies, mercury poisoning, conjunctivitis, keratitis and iritis. Certain rare diseases can cause photophobia. And some medications are known to induce light sensitivity as a side effect, including belladonna, furosemide, quinine, tetracycline and doxycycline."
House smirked at his lover. "Someone read all the right books," he teased.
"I take it you tested for all of it?"
"Of course. I have them potty trained," House remarked.
Wilson smiled. "Of course. So... noise sensitivity. On its own, it might be magnesium deficiency. It's also accompanied by nervousness, irritability, mental depression, confusion, twitching, trembling, apprehension, insomnia, muscle weakness and cramps in the toes, feet, legs, or fingers."
"But he isn't magnesium deficient," House only sang. "We also tested for barbiturate abuse, Bell's Palsy, Benzodiazepine abuse and Williams Syndrome. No lucky draw."
Wilson looked thoughtful. "He was also evaluated by a psychiatrist?"
"As far as you can call that an evaluation," House scoffed. "He flips the moment he's off the sedatives. No one can talk normally to him. He starts fighting the restraints and the moment they come off, he wants to claw his eyes out or tear the skin off his face." He tilted his head, looking at Wilson. "You have an idea."
"No really."
"Then unreally?" came the little taunt.
"Nothing you'd want to hear, House."
"Tell me anyway."
Wilson sighed and rubbed his neck, looking indecisive.
"Spill," House growled.
"This might not be up anyone's alley to diagnose," was the careful reply.
Another hesitation, then Wilson sighed. "There are people with heightened senses," he finally said.
"Which is nothing new. Some people see better, some hear very well, others have heightened taste..." House interrupted.
"Not like I mean. Extraordinary senses of perception like those I'm thinking of are rare. It's hyper-senses, extreme sensitivity. Senses beyond normal..."
"Paranormal senses," House said levelly.
He frowned.
"I never met anyone like that before, but I read about them. They're called Sentinels. It's a genetic thing."
"It usually is," House murmured, but he was interested. His eyes were intense, his expression attentive.
"Sentinels can develop all five senses to the extreme, though one with all five is rare. Usually it's one or two."
"So you think he's one of them? Two senses?"
"The symptoms fit. Uncontrolled and unchecked, sentinels are known to go mad because of the overload. He can't stop the overload on his own. Normally they have help, a Guide, but this one, living on the street, might not have one."
House was silent for a moment. "So what about his people aversion?"
"He might be sensitive to smell, too," Wilson answered.
"Even when sedated?"
A shrug. "It was just an idea. The whole thing... it is so out of the ordinary, with no medical symptoms at all, he might just be a paranormal case."
"What if he isn't?"
Another shrug.
"Had many paranormals here?" House asked pointedly.
"More than you might guess, not enough to worry me."
"But no cancer patients."
They had established that already, months ago.
Wilson tilted his head, giving his friend a quizzical look. "What are you getting at?"
"How can you diagnose a paranormal as being paranormal?"
"Question of the ages," was the sigh. "Aside from the fact that he tells you that he is paranormal, there are few ways to be really sure. One is to have a magic-user, like a witch, telling you that she can sense his powers. That normally only works with other magic-users. Shamans can do it, too; or Seekers. Spiritwalkers can tell you if they see a spirit animal with the patient. Since I don't have either the ability nor the manpower to run a paranormal diagnostic system, I rely on them telling me."
House tapped his fingers against the solid wood of the cane. "He can't tell us. He can't tell us anything. The moment he is off the sedatives, he overloads on something. It's either psychological, physiological, or paranormal."
"Or a mixture of all," Wilson threw in.
"Which would make this even harder," House agreed.
"If it's input from the outside, there has to be a way to dampen it."
House nodded. "But we don't know what it is that hurts him. Cameron was there when they took him off the sedatives and she said he took less than a minute to react."
"Grace period."
"A very brief one."
Wilson turned to him, hands on his hips, frowning mildly. "If those are real pain signals from a physiological wound..."
"He has no wounds, inside or outside. We checked."
"Then it's his mind."
"And the mind can be paranormal."
"So, as an ally, what do you think?" House queried.
"As an ally I wish you were an active Diagnostic," Wilson replied quietly, face serious, the dark eyes holding House's blue gaze calmly. "Because then we would know."
He was drawn between a scathing remark, sarcasm, and ignoring the words. He could do neither. Instead House looked at his lover, felt something inside of him tremble with the thought of once again being able to use what he had been born with, that gift of diagnosing people on a paranormal level, and finally he shoved it violently away. It would never come back. Vicodin took care of that.
"We don't," he only said curtly. "And I'm not. Anything else, Dr. Wilson?"
If Wilson was hurt by the harsh tone of voice, the cold inflection, he didn't show. "I could call some friends."
"For example."
"What about that pain drug you two are working on."
"I told you, it's not ready for a long time."
"But it might work?"
Wilson looked thoughtful. "Maybe. We don't know what he's reacting to. The pain relief induced by analgesics occurs either by blocking pain signals going to the brain or by interfering with the brain's interpretation of the signals, without producing anesthesia or loss of consciousness. If this is a paranormal matter and you can block whatever his ability is, he might become coherent."
"So it might not be pain but an overload of signals, like your Sentinel." House raised an eyebrow. "Or me."
"You are both, Greg. You block your pain with a strong analgesic, which also dampens whatever receptors in your brain are responsible for your Diagnostic abilities."
"A win-win situation," House replied with a rather nasty smile.
Wilson only gave him that Look and again something inside of House trembled. It wasn't with excitement or fear; it was something else. Whenever they hit that subject of him and his neutralized abilities, his addiction to pain medication, something in Wilson seemed to broadcast his displeasure, his disappointment, his need to help, without him being consciously aware of it as it appeared. House reacted strongly to the unheard criticism. Either with sarcasm or silence.
Now he rose abruptly as an idea sparked in his mind. Wilson just shot him a quizzical look.
"See ya," House only replied and limped out of the room, a man on a mission.
He stood outside the single room, studying the man restrained and sedated inside. John Doe looked almost peaceful, but even under sedation, his eyes roamed behind closed eyelids and now and then he twitched a little. The nurses checked his vitals on a regular basis and exchanged the IV bags. House was there when one such exchange happened and the moment the nurse walked into the room, the agitation grew. He quieted down the moment she left again.
House remained where he was for a while longer, then limped inside, studying the unconscious man. Again, the agitation was more pronounced, but not as bad as with the nurse. The heart monitor showed a faster heart rate, too.
Finally he drew the blinds shut and locked the door to keep them from having unwanted interruptions. Taking a syringe out of his coat pocket, he went over to the patient and injected the clear liquid into the IV. He threw the used syringe into the appropriate waste bin, then removed the second IV that was feeding the man chemical drugs to keep him in a kind of semi-coma, and waited.
It didn't take long, just like Cameron had said.
As he watched the man in the bed very closely House noticed every sign of waking up in him. The man stirred and stretched a little, his movement coming to an abrupt stop when hindered by the padded restraints. Blurry eyes blinked open and the man looked around, apparently disoriented.
"I don't know what stuff you gave me, doc, but that shit is really kicking in," a rough voice, hoarse from screaming a lot, rasped.
"Good shit," House agreed, stepping closer.
"Yeah, I can see that," the man answered. "Hospital, huh?"
Dark brown eyes bore into House's blue ones. It was like looking into a deep, dark pool and House found himself momentarily fighting down the initial shock of meeting the stranger's gaze. Those eyes were a lot clearer than any mad man's he had ever seen. There wasn't a shred of insanity, just a kind of knowledge, an awareness that went a lot deeper than most people's.
The man suddenly frowned. "Why are you so shocked?"
House blinked, trying to fight down his utter surprise at the sight of those eyes.
"Do I know you?" John Doe wanted to know.
"Nope," House found himself answering. "Never seen you before."
He grabbed the chair and pulled it close. He studied the too thin body in the white hospital bed. For all his unkempt looks - despite every effort of the nurses to make him clean and presentable - there was something refined there, something very intense. It hid under a scruffy exterior and it was sharp and quick.
"Tell me your name."
"My name?"
House smirked. "Well. If you wish I can of course continue calling you John Doe or 'hey you', but somehow I have the impression that's not what you want."
There was a long silence before House received an answer.
"Derek. My name is Derek."
"Well, hello Derek, nice to meet you and all. Do you by any chance happen to have a surname, too?"
"Most people do, doc. I just don't want to tell you."
"Only fair," House agreed. "So let's just play it your way for now. I am Dr. House, your diagnostician."
"Wasn't aware I needed one."
House smiled almost amiably. "You didn't, according to those paperpushers and shrinks that swarmed all over you. You'd still be here, screaming your ass off at whatever it is you're seeing in that shaggy head of yours."
Derek smiled thinly. "If it wasn't for you?" he guessed.
"Damn right. So, since we finally got the introductory rounds all cleared up, does the term ally tell you something?"
If House hadn't been such a good observer he might probably have missed the slight twitching of the eyelids.
"Hm," he sang, "so what about paranormal?"
The twitch was much more noticeable this time.
"You know then," he continued the one-sided conversation. "If you have problems why didn't you contact an ally?"
Derek was silent. The intense eyes studied House as if he was the enemy. Maybe he was. Maybe paranormals who ended up on the street were just as wary as every street person who suddenly found he had a run of good luck. Good things never lasted.
"If I had wanted to talk to one, I would've, doc. I just didn't want to," he finally replied.
"There are many things you don't want, Derek. Take me, for instance. I don't want this leg. Know what? I got it. Gotta live with it. I also don't want to work clinic hours. My boss disagrees and because I'm such a push-over, I do clinic hours."
Derek grimaced at that, clearly not believing him.
"I also don't like Brussel sprouts. And I can't stand sick people."
"You're a doctor."
"Doesn't come with a sudden love of patients."
Another long, silent look. The man wasn't moving, only his eyes were. "I see. So you can't stand me."
"On a broad basis, with you being the patient and I'm the doctor, no. But you are interesting. You are not like others."
Derek smiled humorlessly. "I'm a paranormal."
"No, you have interesting symptoms. Well, you had. I solved the case." House sounded self-satisfied.
"You diagnosed me."
"But you can't treat me."
House shrugged. "Probably not. But coming back to the original question: what do you want if you don't want ally help?"
"Get rid of this goddamn headache, for starters," Derek answered, and his eyes slid shut while he grimaced in pain.
House raised his eyebrows in surprise - the pain drug wearing off already? Not even his own well-adjusted body worked through a dose that quickly. Interesting.
Something slammed against the window with a loud flutter and a sharp screech and House whirled around, cane already in hand. A large black raven flapped its wings against the glass, croaking insistently and banging its beak against the window repeatedly.
"Let her in," Derek whispered, voice tense with pain.
"It's a bird."
"I know what it is! Let her in!" At House's raised brow he added a pained, "please!"
House limped over to the window where the raven had calmed down, tilting its head and watching his every step. When House reached for the window and stopped for a moment, the bird flapped its wings again, and House had the distinct impression of intelligence and impatience in those black button eyes.
"She a familiar?" he queried, sliding open the window and moving quickly back against the wall as the blur of black wings and feathers rushed past him
"Yeah," Derek answered relief very obvious in his voice now. "Somehow she's dampening the pain and the..."
"The voices?"
"No voices, doc. I don't hear voices. I'm not a psychopath, you know? I'm just a homeless guy who passed out because of to little to eat and too much to drink."
"You weren't drunk, Derek. You were screaming insults and clawing at your own face, hissing and biting like an alley cat, and your blood sugar was low enough to almost send you into a coma, but you weren't drunk."
"So I wasn't. Whatever."
Derek petted the bird. The lines of pain were still visible, but the pain was gone. He even looked a bit younger. The raven was nudging him gently, making soft noises as it settled next to him.
"Are you a Sentinel?"
That got House raised eyebrows. "A Sentinel?"
He shrugged. "Was worth a try. Then again, you might not know what a Sentinel is."
Derek smiled tiredly. "I'm no Sentinel."
House studied the man with his raven. Derek met his gaze, those intense eyes studying him again.
"What about the bird?" he finally asked the paranormal.
"I need her."
"She can't stay."
The raven croaked indignantly.
"This is not a zoo," House growled, glaring at the bird. It seemed to glare back. "If anyone sees it here, you're both out."
"She can hide."
The bird snuggled close again.
House snorted. "Where was she all the time?"
"Probably hiding. She couldn't get in."
House studied the thin features. Finally he turned and limped over to the door. "As long as the bird's invisible..."
Derek's eyes followed him. "She will be. So... when can I get another shot?"
He smirked. "I'll prescribe you some."
"Dr. House," Derek called and stopped the diagnostician from leaving. "Are you an ally or something else?"
House's smile was cynical. "I'm not an ally, Derek. Never was."
With that he closed the sliding door behind himself and called for a nurse.
"You what?" Wilson blurted.
House leaned back in his comfortable chair and propped up his leg. "Gave him a strong pain relief. It worked. He's lucid. He talks. He's smart. And he's a paranormal."
He had instructed the nurses to set up a regular round of shots for their patient to keep him neutralized as much as possible, without sending him into respiratory arrest or have him puke all over the place from painkiller overdose. For now there was no diagnosis in the man's chart and House knew he would have to come up with something, but there was also the fact that Wilson was an ally and that was right up his alley, so to speak. He did the cover-ups and made up the lies, not House.
Wilson sat down hard and shook his head. "Damn, you were right."
House smirked. "I usually am."
That got him a mild grimace. "Right," was the answer that had just the right amount of disbelief in it. "So what now?"
"Now it's your turn, Mr. Ally. I diagnosed him, it's your playground now. He's not sick. He lives on the street, has a pet raven, and he seems to be empathic or even telepathic."
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, he was found on the street, has no home, the raven's quite obvious," House started to tick points off on his fingers.
"No, the mind-reader part," was the exasperated interruption.
Another knowing smirk. "He can at least sense emotions. He overloads on people around him, not the environment. He's not a Sentinel or at least he doesn't know the term."
"Not an indicator that he isn't one," Wilson replied, thinking hard.
"Which is why you should do your job and talk to the guy. When Cuddy gets her hands on his file, she'll have him out on the streets again in no time. He's not sick, Jimmy. He's overloading and he needs a little bird to help him stay sane." House gave him a pointed look. "All in your job description, hm?"
"Yes, it is," Wilson agreed and rose slowly. "I should talk to him, introduce myself..."
"That would be a good idea."
"Want to come along?" Wilson offered.
"What for? My work is done." House stretched a little, smiling widely.
"Love you too."
Wilson smiled briefly, then left the office. House remained behind, the flash of warmth that had coursed through him at the words lingering on.
Wilson stopped dead in his tracks, staring at the man in the bed. Brown eyes not unlike his own looked back and the narrow, pale face with the shadow of a beard looked back.
"Hello, Jamie," Derek said softly. "Long time no see."
Wilson was still frozen and he felt his mind blank, his heart miss several beats. His mouth was open. He knew he looked like an idiot, but he just couldn't work with the input.
"Derek," he finally stuttered.
"You... oh my god... it's you!"
Derek smiled. "Apparently. And my big brother is working at a teaching hospital. Figure that. I thought you'd end up somewhere great."
That little jab finally managed to break the paralysis and Wilson walked over to the bed, feeling his whole body shake with emotions.
His brother.
His younger brother.
His brother who had gone missing so long ago, who had disappeared from one day to the next...
"H-how..." he managed. "W-why? Why did you leave?"
"I had my reasons."
"What could those have been?"
Derek sighed. "I had a fight with Dad."
"About what?" Wilson demanded. "What was there to fight about with Dad? I mean, our parents are the most free-minded people I ever met! They never harassed you about your girl-friends or your choice of friends."
"No, just my choice of a future."
Wilson blinked. "What choice?"
"I wanted to go to the Army. Marines. I wanted to be with the armed forces. Dad flipped. Mom, too."
Wilson was silent. That much he figured his parents would do. They were leftovers of a time when free love and world peace was the greatest of them all. Hippies inside and out.
"You broke Mom's heart," he whispered. "She thought something had happened to you!"
"Something had," was the quiet reply.
There was a flutter of wings and the raven came out of its hiding place on top of the single wardrobe. It hopped toward Derek's fingers and he petted it as best as possible with the restraints.
"This happened," he said. "My abilities broke through."
Wilson stared at him. "You... you inherited the gene?"
"We all did in a way. All three of us. But with me it was... triggered." Derek sighed. "Since you're here I'm guessing you're the ally, huh?"
"And House is...?"
"A friend."
That got him a fine smile. "Ah. Well, since you're my ally here... maybe you want to know more?"
"Not because I'm an ally!" Wilson argued. "You're family! Damnit, you're my brother! Why did you leave? Don't you think you could have worked it out?"
"I ran. I didn't leave, I ran away. I was eighteen, Jamie. Dad and I had a major fight over this Army thing. I left, angry and furious. Maybe it was the emotions, maybe it was just a crappy day, but by the time I was off and running I was getting these flashes... They got worse and worse. I didn't even make it to the recruitment office downtown. You have no idea what's it like to go from zero to everything in no time flat. No pills, no pot, no crack, nothing can give you that. All those drugs are pleasant compared to this."
"Why didn't you come home?" Wilson asked softly. "Why didn't you ask for help? Our family... we know, Derek!"
"I couldn't think straight. I mean, grandpa is a latent empath and he has hunches and he knows when we were lying, but this..." He gestured weakly, wrists twisting in the restraints, "Jamie, it's everything. It's a total meltdown. I can feel what others feel. I can sense them, every little kernel of emotions. And I get these flashes..." He sighed and stared at the ceiling. "There are moments, like looking through someone else's eyes. I can see and feel what this other person sees and feels. And it's... frightening."
Wilson stared at his brother, horrified. "Derek..."
"I was going mad, Jamie. I was mad. For a long time there was just the world of those voices and feelings and seeing things that aren't mine to feel... It's painful. I lived in constant pain, until I found her."
Wilson looked at the black raven who met his gaze calmly. "She's a familiar."
"Yes. I found her. She was a baby. She was just barely able to fly and I don't know where she came from, what nest she fell out of, but she saved my mind. With her, things quieted down. I tried not to be around people anyway because when she left, the images came back. When it didn't work, I tried the dope again. She keeps weaning me off it," he laughed, "but bad habits die hard."
"Your blood tests came back negative for drugs," Wilson heard himself say.
"Yeah, well, the last time I smoked some pot was a while back. That was my downfall. I didn't have anything on me when she was gone, looking for food for both of us, and the images overwhelmed me."
"What did you see?" the oncologist asked softly.
"A murder, Jamie. I saw a rape and a murder and I was there."
Wilson swallowed hard. He noticed that Derek didn't say whether he had seen it through the eyes of the victim or the killer.
"You lost it."
Silence descended between them and Wilson just looked at the man he hadn't seen in over ten years. Derek had lost a lot of his youthfulness. Twelve years had passed and Derek had gone through hell. He was too thin, too pale, his face was lined and he looked so tired and worn.
"The painkillers helped," Wilson whispered.
"Kinda. Your guy House... he knows his stuff. Good stuff, too. I take it he knows pain, too."
"Yeah." Wilson ran a hand through his hair.
"And he knows how to take it away."
Their eyes met and Wilson shivered a little. "It didn't take everything you feel away," he stated quietly.
"No, it dampened things. I can still sense emotions. Like yours, big brother. When you think of him. When you look at me." Derek smirked. "There's a connection between the two of you, right?"
Wilson felt his defenses flare. "So what?"
"Hey, to each his own. You live on the street, close to mad, for so long... and you learn tolerance. You like him? Fine. You like broken?"
Wilson's anger flared again, but he kept it under a lid. Derek smirked.
"I can feel that, you know."
"He is not broken!"
"He's in pain. He takes painkillers. He's not an ally. So if he isn't but knows about us, he's a paranormal. Is he?"
Wilson's lips became thin lines.
"Oh, yeah, I forgot. Ally code of honor. Don't talk about others. But I already know." The smirk grew. "He is a paranormal."
"So what if he is?" he challenged.
Derek shrugged, thin shoulder moving under the hospital gown. "Don't care. Can you take these off?" he asked and nodded at the restraints.
"Not before I get the case files in order. You're still classified as violent and aggressive, Derek."
"Then un-classify me. That's what allies do, right?"
Wilson felt himself bristle a little, but years with House had given him a very good deflection mechanism.
"Yes, it's what we do. And if you had come to an ally, this might have been avoided."
"I didn't need one of you for years," Derek shot back. "I'm fine. I can handle this. I don't need anyone poking and prodding at me like some weird new toy!"
Wilson blinked. "What are you talking about?" he wanted to know. "No one would! Allies are there to help, to make this easier!"
Derek exhaled sharply. "I know," he murmured. "I don't trust them."
"You don't trust me?"
"As an ally? No."
Wilson clenched his jaw. "Then why ask for help?"
"I'm not!"
"You want to be released, right? You need my help."
Again two pairs of brown eyes battled silently. This wasn't a happy reunion. This was a battle of wills.
"I'll see what I can do," he finally said and turned to leave.
He stopped, steeling himself.
"I'm sorry I hurt you by running away," Derek said slowly. "But I can't make up the years or atone for the pain. It happened. We have to live with it."
"Yeah," was the quiet reply. "We do."
And then he left the treatment room. He had work to do, ally work, and he had to cover his tracks. For all his childlike joy to see his missing brother again, part of him cried in disappointment, in pain, at the way Derek had reacted. Of course, knowing he was a highly sensitive paranormal alleviated all of this a little, but he was also Derek. He was the little brother he had looked out for. He was the one who had left without a word. He was the one he had been looking for, hoping to find a trace, just catch a glimpse of him.
Now he was back and Wilson's emotions were all over the place.
House wasn't insensitive, he simply chose to ignore certain things in life, like emotions or other people. He didn't trample them, but he also refused to approach someone with kids gloves on. There was a difference between humanity in general and Wilson in particular. There was a line he would never cross with his best friend and lover when it came to verbal insults or remarks.
So when Wilson came home that evening, after meeting with their paranormal nutcase, House's James radar started shrilling loudly. He hadn't seen his lover ever since Wilson had gone to visit the man in his role as the local ally. House hadn't thought anything of it because covering who and what the man was was most likely time consuming.
Looking at his lover, he noticed the pale face, the haunted look in the chocolate brown eyes, and the way he almost carelessly dumped his things. That he went straight for the fridge for a beer was another sign that something was wrong, as was the fact that Wilson had come to stay with him tonight. He was on call and his own apartment was much closer to the hospital. Those times he usually stayed there.
House remained where he was, in his couch chair, remote in one hand, the TV running an old movie.
Wilson took a while to emerge from the kitchen. His tie was undone, the top-most buttons of his shirt open, and the haunted look was even more intense.
"It's Derek," he whispered.
"The nutcase?" House queried. "Yeah, he told me his name's Derek."
Wilson's hands clenched around the bottle. For a moment House feared he would break it. Something was completely off. This was almost as bad as Brenda's death and that had been the ex-wife dying of cancer, in Wilson's department. They were talking about a homeless paranormal with hyperactive senses.
"Derek... he's... his name is Derek Wilson, Greg. He's my brother."
And things clicked completely into place. The brown eyes. That depth, that look, that intensity. A thinner, much more life-worn version of James Wilson. With more lines, more pain, shaggy hair, and the boyish good looks long gone...
House remembered the revelation that night when he had followed his friend to the rather lived-down area of Plainsboro, how he had found him sitting on a low wall, leaning against a cast iron fence, among street people, the homeless, standing out like a sore thumb. It wasn't a crime heavy area, but still not the most recommended to sit for a while and brood when you looked like money.
There was nothing he could say, nothing that came to mind. He just looked at his lover, saw the raw pain in every line of his body.
He finally got up and limped over to Wilson without the aid of his cane, taking the bottle from his hands. Wilson reacted way too slow and too late to stop him from taking a gulp.
"Greg! Vicodin!"
"James! Beer!" he mimicked.
It got him a dark look.
"Hey, I need to work through the shock, too. It's not everyday that you get to know your lover's streetbum brother."
"He's not..." Wilson stopped. "Okay, so he is. But... he's also a paranormal. He's fully developed..."
"You checked?" House smirked a little, playing with the bottle.
Wilson's eyes narrowed a little.
House settled down next to his lover. He set down the bottle, resting his elbows on his knees as he watched Wilson out of the corners of his eyes.
"What am I supposed to do now?" James asked after a while. "He's back... and he's back in my life... as a brother and a paranormal. I need to call Mom and Dad... I need to call Martin. They have to know... and I need to cover up his medical history..."
Wilson sounded overwhelmed, close to a panic. His words were rambling. House reached over and interlaced their fingers.
"You need to calm down," he murmured, voice deep and even and very tender.
He tugged gently at the hand.
"Calm down and get things into perspective."
"I have them in perspective!"
"No. You're panicking."
Another tug. Wilson resisted briefly, then leaned against the taller form.
"Panic feels good right now," he whispered, a breathy laugh escaping him.
House did a rather uncharacteristic thing for him: he gathered his lover into his arms and held him tightly. Well, maybe it was uncharacteristic for anyone outside these private walls, but not when it came to House and Wilson on their own. House harbored a lot of tender, gentle feelings for his lover that no one would ever see him express anywhere but here.
Now he pressed his lips against the tousled head, whispering his lover's name.
Wilson made a dry, choking sound that was almost a sob.
"What am I going to do, Greg?" he asked plaintively.
"For now? Not get drunk. Grab a shower, come to bed," House murmured. "I swear I won't molest you," he added with a smile.
Wilson chuckled, still plastered against him. "I'm not sure I really want you not to."
House blinked, hands running over the shirt-clad back. "Wild hot sex won't change anything."
"No, it won't."
Wilson slipped a hand under the black t-shirt House was wearing, his hand rubbing over the warm skin of the stomach, then higher. House felt a shiver of pleasure run through him. Wilson pushed himself up and caught his mouth in a kiss, filled with need and desperation. It wasn't unlike the time Brenda had died and the mourning had come in form of very hot sex. House wouldn't be a full-blooded man if he said no to any form of sexual satisfaction, especially looking at the man in his arms. Just thinking about Wilson underneath him, aroused, flushed, in the throes of passion would do the deal.
If Wilson needed this, he wouldn't say no. It wouldn't change the pain or the emotions, but it went a way to help with coping.
House let his own hands wander and explore. "Bed," he murmured.
He didn't look forward to having sex on the couch. It didn't agree with many body parts, including his leg.
Wilson murmured his agreement and they relocated quickly, ending up in the large bed. James leaned over him and brought their lips together. House opened up under his lover's insistence, wrapping his arms around the warm body above his. Wilson sighed softly and then claimed his lips hungrily while increasing his caresses. House cupped the younger man's head, holding him in place as he deepened the kiss.
His lover finally pulled back and House let him, looking into the brown eyes filled with want and need. He carded his hands into the soft strands hair.
"Greg," Wilson whispered. "I want you."
Before he could utter so much as a question, Wilson was kissing him yet again, displaying a need that came from his still present panic and fear.
House slowly rolled them around until Wilson lay underneath him, and House began to kiss and caress his way down the lithe body. Clothes were lost, one piece after another. It wasn't a smooth process, especially since House's leg got into the way of 'smooth', but it didn't shatter the mood. If at all, it stoked the fire. Wilson's soft moans and gasps filled he room, and House slid a hand into the loose boxer shorts, stroking over the hardening length. Wilson's hips pushed up, trying to get into more contact, and he made a soft noise of protest when House let go to remove the last piece of clothing.
Stroking languidly over the muscular legs, he watched as Wilson spread them wider. Leaning over the younger man, House kissed him again, feeling teasing hands run over his sides. Closing a hand around the hard length, he moved it slowly. Wilson gasped into the kiss, then groaned when House got more serious. Concentrating on the playful teasing, House watched his lover as he writhed slightly, opening his legs more. Long fingers mapped the texture of skin, then slid lower, rubbing, massaging, fondling, while House's lips were fixated on Wilson's hard nipples. He bit them gently, drawing a cry out of his aroused lover.
"Greg," came the whimper. "Please..."
There was so much raw need in Wilson's voice it simply wiped every reservation he might have had away. Languidly pumping the arousal, House looked into the deep brown eyes, reading the pleading in there. Finally he reached for the lube and Wilson rolled slightly onto his side. Preparation was as sensuously slow and torturous as the foreplay. House took his time, enjoying how Wilson reacted to every stroke, every pressure, every fleeting kiss he placed on his body, leaving him trembling and clutching the sheets, even whimpering as House moved two fingers inside him, searching for the sweet spot. A condom was thrust at him and he took it, meeting the heated gaze.
House kissed him briefly, then ran teasing fingers over the firm butt, Wilson's eyes closed and his head sank back. He gasped helplessly as House slowly entered him, as the older man tightened his hold on the twitching hips, then interlaced their fingers.
Brown eyes met blue ones, open and loving.
House didn't rush. Slow, deep strokes alternated with shallow ones, and he deliberately missed the sweet spot on every entry. He felt his lover's body vibrate with need as he took him close to the edge, only to hold him there while he tormented his senses with touches and strokes, kisses and little bites. Wilson's skin was flushed, warm, slightly slick, and his fingers clenched around House's.
His lover looked up at him with eyes that were dark and clouded, moaning his name and gripping his hands hard. House knew he was close, needed only a few more thrusts, just a little more stimulation, and that was exactly what he was refusing to give him now. Instead he nuzzled his neck, taking in the way Wilson was trembling, writhing, moaning, doing everything but openly beg. And even that didn't last long.
"Please," he whispered huskily.
"Soon," House promised, smiling at the protesting noise that left the younger man's lips.
He pushed deep once more, drawing a choked off cry next, and he felt his own hunger slowly taking over. Setting up a steady rhythm, he watched Wilson's eyes slide shut, how he bit his lower lip, felt the body underneath him push into each downward stroke, and his own control cracked badly. Movements became jerkier, harder, and soon rational thought left him as he just gave in to the inevitable.
House looked down at the man he loved with every fiber of his being.
"I love you, Jimmy. Whatever happens."
And then he let go of the hands he was holding, felt them digging into his back as he buried himself deep into his lover, the lithe body arching under him.
Wilson's cry of completion registered on his mind and he felt his own climax rush through him as he sank forward into a warm, exhausted embrace, and lips found his, kissing him briefly.
House was only aware of his own harsh breathing for a while, the relaxed satisfaction, the pleasure coursing through him, and the warmth underneath his touch. Awareness rose after a while, telling him that Wilson lay in his arms, that his lover was watching him with a soft expression on his face, and that he was tenderly caressing him.
They gazed silently at each other. No words were lost; none were needed. Wilson just snuggled into him and House let him doze off for a while. They had enough time for everything later.
He dry-swallowed a Vicodin.
Much later.
Dealing with Derek was awkward. Not for House but for Wilson. He would come to talk, but the conversations were stilted and Derek easily got him angry by saying or omitting something. Ever since he had been given the analgesic he was completely coherent. House had instructed the nurses to administer the drug twice a day and Wilson had invented a phony medical history that had even House applauded. It all sounded very reasonable and when they managed to slip it by Cameron, Chase and even Foreman, House's respect for Wilson's work grew tenfold. Everything was in perfect order, right down to the last comma, and if he didn't know any better, he'd say this was real.
It was amazing. Simply amazing. House also realized that Wilson hadn't done this alone. He had contacts, friends, he knew the right channels. It was all highly illegal and no one would have ever suspected proper Dr. James Wilson to fake anything, but House also recalled the incident of the amazing shrinking tumor. With the right motivation, Wilson was in on the 'crime'.
So now they had Derek, homeless person, with a complicated illness House had diagnosed, and who was on his way to a full recovery. Wilson only came to see his brother after hours, when the nurses didn't walk in on them or someone else happened to be around. It would have been awkward to explain his presence.
Just another awkwardness to deal with, actually, because when they were in the same room together, family and brotherhood took on a new definition.

House limped into the treatment room, noting the empty tray of food. Derek had been eating well and he was slowly gaining weight. For a homeless person he hadn't been seriously undernourished, but it had shown that his diet had been anything but healthy. He was off the restraints, too.
"So how's the family reunion?" he asked jovially.
"Awkward to say the best."
House raised an eyebrow, checking the man's vitals. "Not much going on between Fifth and Main, huh?"
Derek shrugged. "Oh, there is enough happening on the street, but that's not what Jamie wants to talk about."
He was silent for a moment, contemplating, watching House, who was watching him in turn.
"He wants me to come home with him."
"Sounds like an idea."
"He wants to give me the guest room."
House still just watched.
"And he wants to call our parents, take me home for a family Thanksgiving." Derek snorted. "Me in a suit and tie. Sitting at a real life dinner table. Making small talk about twelve missing years."
"Yeah, awkward for the best of us," House agreed.
"I'm going to be a disappointment, House. I'm not who Jamie remembers. I'm not who my parents raised. I can't be who he expects me to be. He's my big brother. You know him. He has to protect everything and everyone."
"It's his pathology."
"Nicely put. Yes, it is. He cares a lot. He loves with all his heart." Derek smiled a little. "You know that, don't you?"
House was silent, meeting those perceptive brown eyes that were a mirror of his Wilson's. "I know that," he finally said.
"His emotions can be overwhelming. Back then, before the paranormal happened to me, he was emotional, too. I could handle it then. Now, when we talk, when he looks at me, I can sense him even more. The painkillers don't neutralize me completely. Not like you."
"We're not talking about me," House said gruffly.
"In a way we are. You and Jamie are very close. When I talk about him, I talk about you, too." Derek fell silent again.
House studied the narrow face. "Tell him the truth," he finally said.
"About what?"
"About what you feel and think."
"That from a man who knows all about opening up about how he feel and thinks?" Derek shot back.
Another sigh and the dark eyes darkened even more. "I tried to talk to him once, House. I thought I had a handle on the voices, on my senses, and I saw him standing in the middle of that run-down street. But then he looked at me and I was the target of those emotions. Have you ever looked into those eyes, into Jamie's eyes, and felt like you're total scum? That you're a disappointment? That nothing you can ever do can make up for the pain you caused him?"
House was silent, his face hard.
"Yes, you do," Derek answered his own question. "You know it only too well. You look at him when you do something wrong, something you know that causes him pain, that makes you a disappointment. And I can sense it, feel it, House. It's a lot stronger than what you can ever experience."
"So you run again?" House only asked.
"It's for the best."
"Selfish bastard."
Derek laughed a little. "You know all about that, too."
"Probably. So if you run, where will you get your daily dose of drugs from?"
"Out there, you can get everything. You just have to know where to go, who to ask, what to do to get what you want."
"And what will you do for a Vicodin?" House asked pointedly.
Derek's eyes bore into his. "Ask yourself the same question. What would you do, House?"
House's features froze and the blue eyes grew colder. But there was something else there, a deep pain, a knowledge, and something so very, very personal.
He didn't answer the question.
He didn't have to.
Derek simply smiled knowingly.
"Don't be a stranger," House only said as he finally rose and grabbed his cane.
"It might be better if I am."
"No," the older man replied firmly. "It won't. You might be able to read his emotions, but I've known him the years you missed out on. He needs to know you're okay."
And with that he left the room.
Mental pressure was building; emotional pressure was close to the boiling point. No one at the hospital knew who Derek was. He was listed as homeless, as House's patient since he was still being treated by him, and aside from Wilson, no one had a clue as to what was the truth behind his 'illness'. Wilson himself was desperately trying to deal with his younger brother being back in his life and it was taking its toll. House was watching both brothers and he didn't like how Wilson was breaking up over the whole revelations.
"He saw a murder," James said when they were at home that evening.
"He told me."
Wilson ran a hand through his already tousled hair. "Do you know he saw it as the victim?"
That was new to House, too. "No."
"He's always the victim. He told me. He said it's his curse. Always the victim..."
The younger man got up and paced the length of the living room. House watched from the couch.
"I... I looked it up, House."
He raised his brows. "You played cop?"
A weak smile. "No. I went through the online newspapers. There were a few crimes, but only one murder. A woman was killed."
And Derek had been that woman, had been in her head when the killer had taken her life.
"Her name was Heather Angerer. The wife of Senator Milton Angerer," Wilson added softly.
Yes, he had heard that on the news. Big time case. House rarely felt like watching local news unless it was interesting, and that hadn't really interested him. Now it did to a degree.
"Derek saw the killer," he stated.
Wilson didn't elaborate, just stood at the open fire place, fingers playing over the mantel piece. His expression was far away, pained, like everything was his fault, his responsibility, his own pain. House knew his lover and part of it was true. Wilson did feel this pain, he did feel responsible, and he would take it all to heart, more than any cancer patient's fate. He could know someone for years and deal with death or another kind of loss just fine, but then there were those empathic moments when something small would have such a huge impact. Derek had disappeared over a decade ago, but this reunion had destroyed more in James Wilson than anything House might ever have imagined.
"Who was it?" House broke the silence.
Wilson started, turning to look at him with slightly startled eyes. "What?"
"Who was the killer?"
A soft exhalation of breath. "Angerer."
"The husband?"
Another silence. House contemplated the information.
"What now?" he wanted to know.
"I'm note sure," Wilson answered truthfully. "Derek's not a witness. There were no witnesses. It was called a robbery with a brutal murder, the killer taking the life of the woman who had been at home at the time. The senator's heartbroken, a mourning widower, father of two." Another sigh. "I know someone I could get the information to. Another ally. After that..."
"You're not a cop, Jimmy."
"Yeah. But Derek knows, I know, you know... we know who killed that woman."
"It's not up to us to catch the killer."
Wilson turned away from the fire place, restless, tired but still so much energized.
"I know," he repeated.
House watched him, not missing a single twitch or shadow crossing those pale features.
"I have to call Mom and Dad," Wilson finally said, completely changing the topic.
"You haven't already?"
A weak smile. "No. I didn't know what to say. I mean... it's hard to deal with for me..."
He stopped, then walked over to the table and grabbed the handheld phone. House just looked at him, met the uneven brown eyes. Finally Wilson started to dial, shakier than ever.
House didn't know what had woken him. It hadn't been his leg, which had behaved after two Vicodin, and he had slept through most of the night. Wilson hadn't come home at the end of his shift, calling to let House know that there was an emergency and that he would take over a second shift because of it. House had accepted that, knowing only too well about emergencies at the hospital. Only because the clinic was closed at night didn't mean the hospital quieted down.
Now, at five in the morning, he walked into the living room to discover his lover lying on the couch, asleep, covered by a woolen blanket. House stood in the doorway, gazing at the younger man, reading so much in the lines of the pale face, the disheveled appearance. James rarely looked that ruffled. Even when he slept in his clothes or had a harrying day, he never looked so bad.
Limping over to the couch, House's eyes never strayed from the slender form. Wilson moved a little, the blanket shifting. He was still wearing the light blue dress shirt from yesterday. The tie was off, as were the shoes, but the slacks were still on. One socked foot stuck out from under the wool cover.
Suddenly the brown eyes opened and House was slightly surprised as they blinked up at him. He hadn't made a sound and had believed that Wilson was deep asleep. As it was, he was awake - or reasonably so.
"Greg..." was the rough greeting.
"I'm not the wife," House grumbled.
Wilson sat up, rubbing a hand over his eyes. He looked tense, exhausted, defeated in a way. It wasn't what James Wilson normally looked like.
"I know that."
"You don't have to sleep on the couch when you come home late."
That got House a small smile. "Force of habit."
"Bad night?" House asked as he limped over into the kitchen. He switched on the light and went to the coffee machine.
"Yes," was the only reply. Wilson had followed.
House studied the rumpled form, not pleased with what he saw. Maybe this was what Wilson felt when he looked at the unkempt appearance of a miserable Greg House, when the days were bad, when his moods were worse, when he just wanted to lash out at the world that had hurt him so much. Now the world was hurting James Wilson and House wanted to lash out again.
He reigned in his emotions and met the tired brown eyes. Wilson tried so hard not to give in to his desperation, to his own rage at something he couldn't understand, and House wished he just would. Fight, bite, lash out, hurt whatever he wanted. Yell at House if it made him feel better, hit the wall, just do something to break the tension.
But that wasn't Wilson's way.
Instead the younger man tried to smooth his hair, which failed miserably, and took out a mug from the cupboard.
And House did something that wasn't really House. At least not in the public eye. In the public he was gruff and offensive and arrogant and a bastard. He could be all of that in private, too, but there were also the tender moments. He didn't know if it had been like this with Stacy, too. Yes, he had felt love for her, gentle, tender feelings, but Wilson would never be Stacy. For one, there were no boobs. And his body wasn't as soft and curvy. But Wilson... James... he was special.
So he reached for his lover, his hand touching his hip, and when there was no discouragement, he slipped it around the waist, pulling Wilson to him. The other man moved against him, hesitant, fighting with himself, but finally he accepted the wordless support.
House leaned against the counter, Wilson firmly in his arms, feeling the solid body under his hands. His lips brushed over the pale skin and he felt James shudder a little.
"You in this morning?" House rumbled.
"Good. Get some sleep."
"Can't. I want to visit Derek."
House didn't say anything. He knew that anything coming from him would be almost hypocritical. He didn't take his own advice, so why expect Wilson to do it?
James detached himself after a while, smiling at House, but the smile never reached his eyes. Such exhaustion, such tiredness, and House couldn't but brush his fingers over the lines that weren't normally there. He cared for this man; more than for any other human being before. It was just that he couldn't voice that love very often. It was so much easier to use sarcasm and be the bastard everyone saw in him.
Wilson's eyes warmed a little and he patted House's chest, then pushed away completely. House let him go, watched him leave with a mug of coffee and heading for the bathroom.
House remained in the kitchen for a long time, listening to the sounds of the shower in the otherwise silent apartment.
House came in five minutes late for his clinic time and took another fifteen to get himself a coffee. The clinic wasn't as full as on other days and he lingered on his way to the nurse's station to grab a file.
The two hours went by as slowly and painfully as usual. The cases were boring, the people were getting on his nerves, and House's thoughts kept going to his lover. Wilson was in a bad shape, had slept little, was under so much pressure, and he still didn't slow down. He was draining himself, and House knew just what that felt like.
Been there, done that. Still miserable.

Leaving the last case file at the nurse's station he limped toward the elevator, blessedly uninterrupted by any calls from Cuddy, or patients he couldn't remember or had never met vying for his attention for some reason or other.
James was probably still with his brother and he wanted to have a peek in on the two Wilsons.
The room was empty.
The bed was made.
Waiting for a new patient...
"Nurse!" he bellowed and the nurse on duty almost started. "Where's the patient?" he demanded.
"He was released this morning," she answered.
"By whom? I'm his doctor."
"Dr. Cuddy signed the papers."
He gnashed a curse. "Has Dr. Wilson been here?"
"Yes. He asked about the patient. I told him the same thing I told you."
House was livid. He clenched his teeth and forcefully limped away from the room. He had a bone to pick with Dr. Lisa Cuddy.
"How could you do this?" House exploded.
"I released him. He's not insured, he's a homeless person, and he's fine again. I checked the case file."
Cuddy coolly met his anger, his fury, and House felt it double at her indifference. Sure, she had no clue as to who their homeless man was, but he was the doctor in charge of the case. It should have been him signing the papers!
Then there was the fact that Derek needed regular shots of analgesics, but that wasn't in his case file because it would have been too suspicious. Cuddy had done her usual job of interfering with his cases, releasing someone who was his to treat, discharge or prod with sharp needles if he wanted to.
"We're a teaching hospital!" he argued.
"Exactly. We're not a shelter or a welfare organization!"
Turning on his heels, as much as he could with his injured leg, he left the office, slamming the door after himself.
"Where's Wilson?" he barked as he ran into Chase.
"I don't know," the Australian stuttered. "I haven't seen him yet today."
House snarled. He picked up his phone and dialed Wilson's cell.
"Is something the matter?" Chase asked carefully.
"Yes. Cuddy released my patient!"
Cameron opened her mouth to say something, but House cut her off.
"Don't tell me he was okay. He was better, but not okay. He just doesn't have insurance!"
There was no answer from the cell phone and he threw the receiver back onto the cradle, angry beyond belief. He knew just how hard this would hit his best friend and lover. He needed to find Wilson, stop him from doing something stupid, like drinking himself into a stupor. At least alone. House planned on keeping him company in his alcoholic daze or whatever else Wilson decided to drown himself in.
"Where are you going?" Cameron called as he left Diagnostics.
"Away," he snapped and viciously punched the elevator button.
To their credit, neither Chase nor Cameron tried to follow or stop him.
Wilson had few places he frequented and House knew them all. Starting out on the roof, which was usually his own spot to brood, he then made his way though the whole hospital, down to the cafeteria, and finally decided that Wilson wasn't here any longer.
House cursed Cuddy all the way to his bike. He slammed the cane into the holding mechanism and revved the engine, then tore out of the lot. He had an idea where his friend was - since he wasn't here -- what he was doing, and why he was doing it. Weaving through the streets House guided the bike into the less savory part of town, a place where he had been before, following his best friend.
Stopping at the street corner Wilson had chosen the last time, House looked around. The same rolled-down grates over windows, the same burned-out street lamp... nothing had changed. A few homeless sat or wandered around, barely glancing at him.
House continued to cruise at a slow speed, sharp eyes on the people everywhere. Not all were homeless, but many were down on their luck.
Like the slender man in the gray coat, looking lost and alone as he searched the streets in a kind of fever House knew only too well. He stopped the bike a block ahead and got off, limping toward the lost figure.
"Jimmy," he said quietly.
Wilson started, eyes wide, looking surprised. "Greg?"
"He's not here."
"Derek," he said gently. "He's not here. You won't find him."
"He is! Where else would he go?"
"I don't know. Somewhere he won't be found?"
"He isn't running!" Wilson almost yelled.
"Why not?"
"Because..." He stopped and fell back against the damp brick wall. "Because I just found him. He wouldn't leave."
"How do you know? How do you know anything about him?" House demanded.
"Because he's my brother!"
"But he's no longer the Derek you knew."
Wilson pushed away. "I need to find him. He needs help. He needs medication. He needs..."
House grabbed the younger man and pushed him up against the bricks once more; hard. There was such anguish in his eyes, it hurt House deeply.
"Stop it!" he ordered harshly. "You won't find him! He's gone."
"He doesn't want to be found and you won't find him, Jimmy. He made his choice!"
"I can help him!"
"No, you can't. Not now. Maybe not ever. God, you're as bad as Cameron on her best days! The world is not a happy place and not everyone rides into the sunset. Derek is gone; he made his choice. Accept it."
Wilson trembled, eyes wide, face pale, and he looked so very young and so very, very lost.
"You have your own life to live," House added softly. "You made it the last twelve years."
"Now I know what happened to him," Wilson whispered, shoulders hunching.
"And you know he's fine. He's got a familiar that keeps him sane. He can control the overload with painkillers. You helped him a little there."
House glared at him. "You can't change the whole world, Jimmy."
"He's out there... Alone!"
"Not alone."
"He knows where to go for help if he chooses to. If he wants to, he'll come. Before this, he didn't know."
Wilson sighed shakily. "He doesn't trust me."
House rolled his eyes. "He doesn't trust the ally. Neither do I for that matter, but I'm still around. Okay, so I happen to like the sex thing, too. You're not sleeping with you brother, are you?"
Scandalized eyes stared at him in outrage. House smiled widely. Wilson just shook his head in annoyance.
"C'mon. There must be a decent coffee shop around here. I'll pay," House added at the suspicious look from his lover.
"Coffee won't change this," Wilson remarked as he fell in step beside House's limp.
"No, but it goes a long way to make it more bearable. Coffee and going home and maybe a little roll in the bed."
"Can you only think of sex?"
"I can think of many things, but it's by far the most pleasant on my mind right now."
Wilson gently bumped his shoulder, still pale and haggard looking, but the shadows were lifting.

The coffee was reasonably good, but not great. The coffee shop as such was small, a bit run-down, the waitress had seen better days, but the clientele wasn't suspicious enough for House to check his wallet every minute or two.
When they got home, House with his bike and Wilson by car, House simply watched his lover as he hung up his coat, toed off his shoes and removed the paisley tie. Then he took the phone and House grimaced as he realized what Wilson was about to do.
"Hey Mom," his lover said as the call connected. "It's me..."

House listened to the conversation, able to add most of what Rose Wilson said in his mind from what he heard James answer. When Wilson hung up he just collapsed into the chair and dropped his head back onto the backrest.
"Damn," he whispered.
House limped over to the kitchen and got a soda, wisely leaving the beer in the fridge. The last thing Wilson needed was alcohol.
"Here," he said gruffly.
Wilson opened his eyes and took the soda. "No beer?" he asked.
"Not for you."
Wilson took a sip and rubbed a hand over his forehead. "I feel like getting drunk now."
"Nope, not now. Too messy. You'd just puke all over the place."
"Would not," was the sullen reply.
House studied him. "Madden NFL, Need for Speed or Ace Combat?"
Wilson blinked. "What?"
"I can also offer Mario Kart or Madagascar."
Another blink. "Video games," Wilson finally said slowly, as if he couldn't believe it.
"Yep. Best way to employ the gray matter in a different way. Brooding is so nineties." House grinned.
The younger man chuckled a little.
"Or we sit down for one of those teary-eyed movies. I think they have chick-flick marathons tonight."
"Ew, yuck," was the immediate reply.
"You like chick flicks."
"You do. You look under the short skirts, into the cleavage and comment on the pedophile notions in the school girl movies," Wilson shot back.
"That would be anime."
House limped over to the TV and switched it on. "Mario Kart it is then."
"Hey!" Wilson protested.
"You had your moment of fame to pick something. You lost. I choose."
Wilson shook his head and helped set up the gaming console. House beat him at six games out of seven, as usual. He was smug after that, as usual. And he wanted his first prize from Wilson, also as usual.
It wasn't the usual prize, though. It was lying together, holding the younger man in his arms, listening to his breathing, feeling the tension in the muscles as he stroked over the skin. House watched as Wilson struggled to keep it together, and he couldn't find the courage to say the words 'let go'. He was ill-equipped to deal with emotional breakdowns, so encouraging them... no. Not his thing.
He wished he had the ability to help; as it was, this was all he could do - hold James, give him something to hold onto, and hope for the best.
"Once on the street, always on the street. You can't get the street out of his blood. Got himself fixed and off he went again."
House had never been closer to whacking Foreman over the head with his cane. The neurologist didn't know what wounds the remark ripped open once more, but that was no excuse. After Victoria, House had thought the difference between the two men had been resolved when it came to treating people equally, no matter where they had been prior to hospitalization.
Maybe he had been wrong. There was this enormous chip on Foreman's shoulder and he kept attacking Wilson on different levels over little things.
"Cuddy kicked him out," House now remarked. "He didn't run away from our warm and loving care."
"Didn't leave a card either," was the reply.
Wilson just emptied his coffee and placed the mug back into the sink.
"At least he left sane," Chase muttered. "He was a nutcase when he came here."
"He might still be one," Foreman countered. "We just gave him drugs. The moment they wear off, bye-bye brain. From a neurological point of view..."
House tuned him out, his attention on Wilson as the younger man quietly left the room, his face blank, his whole body tense.
Well, he would catch him at lunch, steal some food, talk sense into his lover, and see what his state of mind was like. Now he turned back to the Scooby Gang, ignoring Foreman.
"So, we got a new case?"
"Uhm, no," Cameron answered.
"Good. See ya. Bye. Sayonara."
And with that he was out the door and heading toward greener pastures, or at least away from where Cuddy might haunt him.
The arrival of Rose and Arthur Wilson was a surprise. House couldn't say whether it was a pleasant or a bad one. He had met Wilson's parents before and he had gotten to know them as very... interesting people. They had both grown up in the time of free love and world peace movements, and a lot of that had stuck around till today. While they had respectable jobs, a nice house, had raised three sons, their outlook on life was that of a hippy couple sometimes. That they were also allies, and had paranormal blood in their family, had only added to their open-mindedness.
House was hugged by the whirlwind that was Rose Wilson. She was about a head smaller than him, but what she lacked in size she made up with the sheer energy output. House had once remarked that if they could bottle that, Wilson would be rich.
"You look good!" Rose went on, smiling.
She was dressed in a hand-knitted turtle-neck sweater, black pants and ankle-high walking boots. Her hair was short, graying, her face sunburned, showing some lines. She didn't look her age and she didn't behave it either.
"And you are here," he remarked.
"Why, yes. Where else would I be? Is Jamie here?"
She had come to his place, looking for her son. Why did it surprise him? The Wilsons knew about their son's choice.
"Kitchen," was the answer.
"Coffee for me," was the jovial reply and Arthur Wilson appeared, smiling, even white teeth flashing in his equally sunburned face. Retirement apparently worked wonders.
"What are you doing here?" House demanded as the Wilsons entered his home.
"Visiting our son, of course. After what happened, after his phone calls, we had to come." Rose sighed a little. "I just wish we had caught an earlier flight out of Rapid City. We could have seen Derek."
House stepped back and watched the play unfold as James was hugged by his mother and nodded at his father. Rose was fussing about him, immediately taking the rudder into firm motherly hands and making coffee, unearthing some cookies, and commenting about House's fridge contents.
Wilson shot his lover a helpless look, but House just quirked a smile. He limped over to his chair and settled down, still watching.
"Why did you come here?" Wilson now asked. "I called you about Derek. I tried to find him after he was discharged. I couldn't. You came for nothing."
Rose's eyes were serious. "No, not for nothing. Never for nothing. We came because of you, Jamie."
"This has to be hard on you, too. Harder than for us. We last saw Derek so many years ago, but you saw him now. He told you what happened and you had to deal with it alone."
"Not alone," House muttered.
Rose smiled a little. "I know you're there for him, Greg. Arthur and I are so thankful that the two of you are such good friends." The twinkle in her eye added the unheard 'and lovers'. "Derek is my son, but seeing him... listening to what happened to him... and then he disappears... Your father and I came to be here for you."
Wilson looked embarrassed, playing with the almost empty coffee mug. "Uh, thanks."
"Sundance too quiet for you?" House asked.
Arthur chuckled. "No. It's actually quite lively. We felt like a roadtrip."
"If those stupid airlines would start putting together better flight routes," Rose started, "we would have been here sooner."
"Doubt you would have made it on time," House only said.
"House," Wilson groaned, flashing him a warning look.
Rose smiled. "Probably. Tell us about Derek, what he said about his powers," she turned back to her son. "I want to know all about it."
With another warning directed at House, Wilson started. House didn't say anything, just listened, just watched, and he smiled a little to himself.
The Wilsons were so different from his own parents. John House had been a marine pilot. Tough, hardened, proud, and always so fixated on the truth. House was an only child and his father had left marks on the young Gregory House early on. Always tell the truth, never lie. It was in that early phase that House discovered that everybody lied anyway. Big lies, little lies, bad lies, good lies. Lies were part of human nature. John House didn't want any of that in his home.
Blythe House was the typical housewife to a man serving in the armed forces. She had moved with him, had never had a job in her life, always taking care of house and home, and their only child. House wondered if he would have turned out different if he had had siblings. Maybe. Maybe not.
Blythe was nothing compared to Rose, a woman who had an energy that few in her age group possessed. House doubted that anyone had ever been able to keep up with her. A free spirit, loving, lovable, energetic, head-strong, and a hippy. Yes, that was her trademark. She didn't dress like the sixties, but her mind was that of a woman who was shocked by little and liked to provoke.
Her husband Arthur was a little bit calmer; he served as more of a counter-weight to his wife than a chain. Compared to his own father, Arthur was more lenient, more open, and a lot less morally inclined when it came to raising his children. He had allowed his three boys to develop their own personalities, and none of them had broken away the moment they were of age.
Smiling a little to himself, House watched his lover interact with his parent. There were no reservations. There were no sudden changes of topic. Wilson talked about everything, even his emotions, about his feelings, about his fear for Derek, about his pain at seeing his brother suffering like this, and about his perceived failure.
"You didn't fail, son," Arthur said calmly. "You helped Derek. You did what an ally does."
"I'm not just an ally!" Wilson exploded. "He's my brother! And he doesn't trust me! I couldn't get him to trust me!"
"You can't force trust," Rose told him and she glanced briefly at House.
House raised an eyebrow. He understood the hint. Their situation, his and Wilson's, had been and always would be different, but he had learned to trust the younger man. He trusted him completely, as a man, as a friend, as a paranormal, and as a lover.
"He's my brother..."
"He's been alone for a very long time," Arthur said. "Trust is hard to come by, James. Derek knows you are an ally; he knows you as a brother. He has to deal with your knowledge of his abilities now. Let him deal with it. He might come around, come back."
House felt the urge to limp over to his lover and touch him, convey his support. Suddenly Wilson looked at him, those liquid brown eyes deeper than usual, so filled with emotions it took House's breath away. They pinned him to his spot, kept him from coming even while the need grew.
"Art, we should go and look for a hotel," Rose broke the moment. "We'll be here for a few days." She smiled at her son.
"You can stay at my place," James immediately said. "I mean, I'm not using the apartment..."
House smirked at the light blush creeping over his lover's cheeks.
"Of course not," Arthur agreed, eyes twinkling.
"I'll come with you... show you around," Wilson offered.
House pushed himself up from his seat and nodded at Rose, who gave him a gentle pat, then at Arthur, who simply nodded back.
"House? You wanna come, too?"
"I know your place," he replied with a light leer.
Wilson grimaced and grabbed his coat. When the door closed, silence descended. House still stood where he had throughout the good-byes, a contemplative look on his face. Then he finally limped over to the TV and switched it on, settling in for the wait for his lover to return.
House had fallen asleep in front of the TV and when he woke, it was to the feeling of being no longer alone in his apartment. He switched off the TV and got up. The kitchen was lit up but empty, and the bedroom was dark. The guest room held a lot of Wilson's things and right now, it also held Wilson himself.
House watched the tired and very defeated look in those beloved brown eyes as he leaned silently in the doorway. Wilson was sad, depressed about having lost his brother again, and Foreman's acid remark hadn't really helped. Inwardly House agreed with Foreman, if not as strongly as the young doctor had put it - Derek had been on the streets too long to 'come home' just like that. It probably scared him more than everything, and he probably assumed that he would only disappoint his family - his big brother - by being one big failure.
So why not admit it and be done with it, return to the environment he knew and felt safe? House sighed as he saw Wilson down the brown liquid in his glass and he stepped forward into the light, sitting down in the chair opposite his lover. Wilson didn't really acknowledge his presence, just went to another page, and he blinked back a bit of moisture.
"Tell me about him," House said softly, and for the first time Wilson did look at him.
A very small smile tugged at his lips and he turned the album so House could see the old photographs, two boys, grinning widely into the camera, beaming with happiness though they looked as if they had had a mud fight. The older one had placed one arm around the smaller one's shoulders and was holding up a fishing rod with a trout half as big as himself.
"This was Derek's and my first fishing trip. Well, it was also our last, but..."
And for once Gregory House just listened.

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