menolly_au: (lacrosse)
[personal profile] menolly_au
Title: Two, To Share
Pairing: House/Wilson
Rating: PG-13
Words: 9000
Contains: Fluff and fluffy angst

Summary: After the events in A Coffee House in Princeton Wilson finds himself facing an unexpected crisis, and has to juggle the needs of both his brother and his new partner - Greg House.

Notes: This is a sequel to A Coffee House in Princeton

Greg House moved in with him a week later.

Looking back Wilson realised that they'd never really had a discussion about it. They'd gone out a couple of times - to the monster truck rally and the latest Bond movie - both times had ended with House staying the night at Wilson's apartment and then House had just turned up with an overnight bag for the weekend and never left.

It wasn't what his parents would have approved of in a courtship, but then Wilson had already had several of those, including one that ended in a disastrous marriage to Sam. He'd cheated on her with a guy, and she'd found out. He wasn't ever sure if she was more outraged at his adultery, or the fact that he'd had sex with a man rather than another woman.

It also probably wasn't the best time of his life to jump into a relationship, especially one with a doctor whose license had just been suspended, who was subsequently unemployed, and who had what could only charitably be called a 'challenging' personality. He'd just found his brother again, and Danny was very fragile. He was in Mayfield under a Doctor Nolan's care, a safe couple of hours away, but Wilson still felt his presence back in his life. He visited Danny three times a week, an activity that House alternately mocked and enabled, but had yet to share in. His life was crammed full with work, and with Danny whereas House had nothing but time on his hands.

Life with House did have some advantages though. Well, lots of advantages if he thought about it. He'd been lonely for a long time. Just how lonely he hadn't realised until House moved in with him. If he got home from the hospital late there was House - snoring away on the couch, some stupid 'reality' show or other playing on the television. House would wake up; make a snarky comment about Wilson's patients, or the hospital, or the colour of Wilson's ties. Then he'd shift over and make room for him. But not too much room. Then they'd watch the stupid show together and House would end up with his hands all over Wilson and nine times out of ten that would lead to sex and that was fine with Wilson too. More than fine. Spectacular even.

So, life with House was good. Most of the time.

Then there was tonight.

He'd come back from visiting Danny and entered his apartment to find a poker game in full swing. House had dredged up a card table from somewhere and a cascade of junk food and poker chips littered its surface. House and some vaguely familiar faces were sitting around it.

"Wilson!" House yelled out at him as he entered. "Good, we need some more snacks. They're in the kitchen. I can't get up. I'm about to beat the pants off Chase."

Wilson sincerely hoped that they weren't really playing strip poker. He looked at the young man seated across from House. Recognition dawned on him.

"You work at Cuddy's Coffee Corner." Not surprisingly he and House hadn't been back there since House had been dismissed. House had been right, their coffee really was lousy.

"Robert Chase," the youngster said in a broad accent of some kind. British maybe.

"James Wilson," he said politely in return as if he was a stranger in his own home.

He looked around the rest of the table. The young woman looked familiar too.

"Allison Cameron," she introduced herself. Oh yes, he remembered. House had said something about Chase going out with her. Right now she was staring between him and House, a strange expression on her face.

"So you two are... together?" she asked, blushing a little.

"Yeah, he ties me up every Friday and has his way with me," House said. "You did suggest that I date him. Who knew he'd turn out to be Christian Grey in disguise?"

"Can we get back to the game?"

Wilson recognised the man who had been in nominal charge of House at the coffee shop. He had his arms crossed across his chest and his face was fixed in an expression which suggested he was not at all amused by House's antics. Or maybe he'd had some bad sushi for dinner. It was difficult to tell really.

"And the guy with the stick up his ass is Eric Foreman." House completed the introductions cheerfully.

"I didn't know you were having anyone around today," Wilson said. He felt a bit like a housewife in some terrible fifties sitcom, but he'd been looking forward to just unwinding with House tonight. Having to deal with virtual strangers hadn't been on his agenda for the evening.

"Must have slipped my mind, dear . Mi casa es su casa."

Wilson thought that since it was his 'casa' he should have been the one to say that. He rubbed the back of his neck as he regarded the group. Well, he didn't really mind House having his 'friends' (his mind put a mental question mark on that description) over. He would just have appreciated a little warning that this was going to be poker night.

And House had pointedly not invited him to play.

Why hadn't House invited him to play?

"Why didn't you ask me to play?" he asked. Sometimes the direct approach was the best one with House. The chances of getting a direct answer weren't great, but occasionally a miracle happened.

House had turned back to the game. He spoke without taking his attention off his fellow players.

"It's just a coffee shop thing, sweetheart . My former comrades and I are united against the tyranny of Cuddy's reign of terror. Those who haven't suffered as we have wouldn't understand."

"Uh huh. How long did you last at that place again?"

"Fifteen days," Foreman said, his face still set in that 'bored' expression of his. "And he called in sick for three of those."

"It's not the length of the sentence it's the thickness that counts." House's face creased up in confusion. "No, wait - that's dicks."

Wilson threw his hands up. "Okay, okay. I don't want to take this conversation any further. He eyed Cameron who seemed unfazed by House's crudeness.

"So, about those snacks?" House turned hopeful eyes on him. Wilson supposed he was lucky that House had apparently run out of endearments for him before he got to ' schnookums '.

"You know where the kitchen is. Deal me in." He sat down next to Chase and grabbed half of House's poker chips as a stake. House made a grabbing motion back but Wilson guarded his prize carefully. He'd had plenty of practice. House scowled at him.

"Just for that you're on the bottom tonight," he said.

" Really don't want to hear it, House," Foreman said. "Ever."

"Speak for yourself; Cameron's hanging on every word."

Wilson stole a look at Cameron and she did in fact appear to be enjoying the by-play, her expression was more one of resigned amusement than shock.

"Foreman's right, we don't want to hear it," Chase put in, staring determinedly at his cards. "Can we just get on with the game? I've got first shift tomorrow. You may be able to survive by bludging on Wilson but the rest of us have to work."

House glared at him.

"Not bludging mate , your boss lady gave me a nice fat check not to turn up at your place of employment.

"So you're just sitting out the year until the medical board decides whether you can be a doctor again?"

Wilson wasn't sure what had gotten under Chase's skin but clearly something had. Wilson hadn't pressed House on the whole medical license thing. House hadn't shown any indication of wanting to talk about it, or indeed what his plans were for when the year was up. He'd been let go by Princeton General and, as far as Wilson knew, he hadn't made any approaches to other hospitals. Not that there was much point until his license was restored. Word on the street was that there wasn't a lot of point even then - this was far from House's first run in with hospital authority and after a point genius only got one so far.

"What's the matter - worried that I might be coming after your job?" House retorted.

"Pretty sure I'm safe from that threat." Chase looked at his watch. "I'm going to call it a night. Like I said, I have to work tomorrow."

Nobody protested and in short order both of their other guests left and House and Wilson were left alone with the debris of the game.

"Well, you sure know how to break up a party," House grumbled. "Another hour and I'd have cleaned them all out."

"Oh, I'm pretty sure your sparkling personality accomplished that." Wilson looked at the mess on the table and decided to leave it to House to clean up.

House glanced at the table and then went over to the fridge, grabbing a beer for both of them. He threw Wilson's to him.

"How was little brother?"

Wilson rubbed the back of his neck. It was a difficult question. Danny was at least occasionally talking to him now, but he was having trouble adjusting to being at Mayfield. Life on the streets hadn't been easy for him, but at least he'd been able to set his own schedule. The routine at Mayfield seemed to be unsettling to him, and he was constantly getting into trouble for violating the rules. Doctor Nolan said it would take time.

"He doesn't like it there. He got into a fight with one of the other inmates last week and they've put him back to 'level one'."

"What the fuck does 'level one' mean?"

"They have this system - different levels get you different privileges. The best is six I think. New inmates start at one." Nolan had explained it to him but Wilson hadn't been convinced it was the best way to treat adult patients. Danny wasn't even allowed to make a phone call while he was on 'level one'.

House didn't look impressed either. "What happens if you go into the negatives? Can you flunk out of the loony bin? Or do they just give you a straitjacket, throw you into the white room and forget about you?"

"Not funny, House." Wilson sat down on the couch and took a long drink of his beer. "I keep expecting him to be gone when I go there to visit him. Mayfield isn't a prison and he's there voluntarily, he can sign himself out anytime he wants to."

House sat down next to him, their shoulders touching.

"If you're not happy with that place you can always move him. You're paying for his treatment. Or I can put the squeeze on them. I could have my people speak to their people." The last was said in his best 'godfather' accent and Wilson smiled despite his mood.

"I don't think putting a hit on his doctors is going to solve Danny's problems." Wilson sighed.

"Or you could turn the whole problem over to Mom and Pop Wilson. Have they even been to see him yet?"

Wilson took another drink of his beer and shuffled around on the couch, leaning into House who put his arms around him, holding him close.

"They came once. I don't think they realised how different Danny would be. He didn't say much to them."

His parents had made sure that he was going to be there when they visited Danny. They hadn't stayed long, and they had shown no interest in coming to visit Wilson's apartment in Princeton. He'd mentioned that he was living with someone and that had been enough to dampen any enthusiasm they'd had for an extended visit.

"My other brother, Matthew, has been married for fifteen years and has three kids. They see a lot of his family." He didn't mind, not really. Matthew had always been their favourite.

House's arms tightened around him.

"My Dad is an asshole," he offered. "In addition to not really being my Dad."

Wilson screwed his head around to look at him and House shrugged.

"Yeah, my Mom got around. We can compare fucked-up families one day."

"Not today." The last thing he wanted to do was talk about his parents while he was here, being held by House.

"Suits me," House said. Leaving one arm around Wilson he grabbed the remote with his free hand and switched the TV on, flipping through the channels until he settled on a monster truck rally.

Wilson watched the trucks lurching around the track for a couple of minutes and then leaned back against House a little.

"When I said I liked Monster trucks I didn't mean I wanted to watch them every night."

"You gotta better suggestion? Girls Gone Wild in Prison is on cable. Of course, you'd like Boys Gone Wild more..."

Wilson leaned into House again. "We don't have to watch television to get porn." Wilson was pretty sure House had gotten the point but just in case he ground his hips against House's groin.

The television snapped off.

"Time for bed!" House said brightly. "And when I say bed..."

Wilson smiled and pushed himself up off the couch. House quickly followed him and began moving towards the bedroom. The couch was okay for some quick action but Wilson's king size bed was much more comfortable.

As they neared the door House stopped and rubbed at his leg.

"You okay, old man?" Wilson asked. He never tired of reminding House that he was eight years older than Wilson.

"Very funny. Went for a run this morning, must have overdone it. You'll have to do all the work tonight. I'll just lie back and think of Gravedigger."

Wilson's cell went off at three the next morning. He blearily scooped it off the nightstand, ignoring House's half-hearted attempt to snatch it out of his hand (presumably to throw it out of the nearest window.) The nursing staff had standing orders to call him if any of his patients took a turn for the worse during the night. It was okay for House; Wilson was still a working doctor with responsibilities.

He froze when he saw from the caller ID that it was Nolan from Mayfield phoning him. At three in the morning. Danny.

He had a moment's impulse not to answer it, to turn away from his brother's problems as he had all those years ago. Instead he pushed himself out of the nice warm bed, and away from House, and shuffled out of the room. Whatever the problem was, ignoring it wasn't going to make it go away.

Ten minutes later he was pulling his clothes on as quietly as possible and simultaneously looking for his shoes. Danny had fallen down a flight of stairs, breaking his arm. Nolan wasn't sure why he'd been wandering the hospital in the middle of the night - or why he hadn't been spotted and hustled back to bed - but Danny was distressed and asking for Wilson.

On the one hand that was a good sign - on most of his visits Danny had seemed almost indifferent to his presence, on the other it meant that Wilson had to go driving up to Mayfield at three in the morning.

"Wilson?" He looked at the bed. Only a mound of bed covers could be seen, with just the top of a head sticking out. House wasn't one to enjoy being woken in the middle of the night. "You going to the hospital?"

"It's Danny. He broke his arm. He's asking for me, I've got to go to Mayfield." He grabbed his overnight bag and started stuffing some things in it. One good thing with House being awake - he didn't have to go for the stealth option.

The covers were thrown back and House emerged from his cocoon. He didn't get up; just stared at Wilson blearily.

"What about your baldies?" House's charming name for his cancer patients.

"I'll call in from Mayfield; tell them I'll be out for a day or two."

"You're staying up there?"

"Just until Danny is settled. I might see about transferring him somewhere closer." He'd already been less than impressed with Mayfield. This latest incident seemed to be a total screw up. "Might take some time to sort out."

"You want me to come with you?"

He paused in his packing, looking back down at House. He hadn't really expected the offer. Even though they were living together he hadn't quite thought they'd reached the stage of being interested in each other's family. If he took House up on his offer it would be nice to have the support there - or as much support as House was able to offer anyway. But then he'd also be juggling Danny and House, and if House rubbed Danny up the wrong way... or if Wilson's parents decided to come and visit Danny and House was there... Well, things could get complicated.

"Thanks, House, but I've got it. Don't want to drag you up there for nothing."

House just grunted. Wilson couldn't tell if he was disappointed or not. He finished gathering his things and stood by the bed for a moment.

"Aren't you going to kiss me goodbye?" House fake pouted and Wilson smiled and bent down to do just that.

"I'll call you when I get to Mayfield," he said as he straightened up and grabbed hold of his overnight bag.

"Call me before ten and I'm throwing your hair dryer in the toilet," House responded, pulling the covers back over his head.

"'Bye House," Wilson said. He thought about adding something sappy like 'love you' but they hadn't quite gone there yet. He got a muffled grunt in response.

On the way to the door he grabbed his hair dryer from the bathroom. No need to leave temptation in House's way.

It was three days before he judged Danny stable enough to leave. There had been some doubt about whether Danny had been trying to commit suicide, or whether he'd just been out of his room wandering. Wilson was pretty sure from talking to Danny that it had just been an accident.

Nolan had been apologetic about the circumstances of the accident, but he'd pointed out to Wilson that without locking the residents in their rooms at night, it was impossible to completely ensure that nobody wandered where they shouldn't, and when they shouldn't. While Wilson could see that, his previous doubts about Mayfield being the best place for Danny solidified the more time he spent there. The place just looked foreboding and it appeared that few attempts had been made at modernising it. The patient's lounge sealed the deal for him. An old upright piano which no-one was allowed to play, and a table tennis table which lacked both nets and bats. Danny had once been a lively energetic child, bright and eager to get into anything he could. He wasn't the same now - but Wilson couldn't see him recovering in a place like Mayfield.

He'd made some calls and found a place in Princeton that could take Danny. Their aim was to transition their patients back into independent living, or semi-independent living, as quickly as possible. They had a half-way house that they would place Danny in as soon as they judged him ready. Wilson would be able to see him more often, and possibly have him to stay with House and himself - if he could talk House into it.

His plan was to go and personally inspect the new hospital, and if it met with his approval he'd go back to Mayfield and get Danny and take him there himself. He'd rung his parents and, not surprisingly, they'd been happy for him to continue making decisions about Danny's care. He'd also talked to Danny about the move. Danny had been withdrawn and uncommunicative but he hadn't raised any objections.

As he neared Princeton his thoughts turned to House. He'd rung him of course, but House had seemed distracted on the phone and unwilling to talk for long. Wilson wasn't sure if he was annoyed that Wilson had left him alone. It seemed unlikely - House wasn't the clingy type - but he couldn't think of another reason that House would be distant. He'd been half expecting demands for phone sex every night, despite the circumstances of Wilson's absence.

When he pushed open the door of his apartment he was annoyed to be greeted by the sight of a floor cluttered with discarded clothes, books, and other paraphernalia. A small collection of empty beer bottles sat on the coffee table, and looking through to the kitchen he could see dishes discarded on the bench top. He hadn't expected House to keep the place immaculately clean but nor did he expect to find his apartment turned into a dump after a short absence.

In the back of his mind something prickled. In the short time he'd known him House hadn't ever left a mess like this for Wilson to deal with. He went towards the bedroom, calling House's name.

"In here," came the reply. He ducked into the bathroom to find House stretched out in the bath, the bathroom air thick with steam. He must have the water about as high as he could stand it.

He was about to make a remark about the mess when he took a close look at House. The man didn't look well. Wilson was accustomed to seeing people in pain, and House was in pain.

"House?" He came forward, crouching near the bath. "Are you okay?"

"Done something to my leg. Hurts like hell. Heat seems to help a bit." House's sentences were clipped. If the water was helping it wasn't by much. Wilson could see there was a discarded bottle of Tylenol 3 by the side of the bath, nearly empty. There was also a half empty bottle of whiskey which he chose to ignore.

"I don't think scalding yourself is the best treatment. Have you seen someone about it?"

House pulled a face. "I may not have a medical license at the moment but I'm still better than some random doctor in a primary care clinic."

"Physician, heal thyself? Not the best plan, House." As he talked he was assessing House. It was obvious he was in pain. Putting it together with his distractedness when Wilson had called from Mayfield and it was plain this had been going on since Wilson left. Maybe it was just muscle strain, maybe it was something else.

"Finish your bath and I'll examine you."

House leered at him. "Oooh, Doctor Wilson. You sound so sexy when you say that!" he trilled in a falsetto. "Can you lay your hands on me?"

"Can't wait." Although he suspected that even if he did 'lay his hands' on House he wasn't going to be getting any tonight.

He left House to finish his bath, but he wasn't surprised to see House come limping out only a few minutes later. A towel was draped around his waist, and he was dripping on the carpet.

Wilson forced down his reaction to the sight and gestured House into the bedroom.

"Lie down on the bed." He ignored the subsequent leer and dirty comment and focused on House's legs. "Where's it hurt?"

"Right thigh." The response was quiet and House looked away from him as he said it.

He pushed up the edge of the towel and felt the muscles of House's right thigh. The skin didn't feel inflamed.

"There's nothing to feel. Not there anyway - go up a bit higher and you'll hit pay dirt," House said.

"I've only been away a couple of days, House."

"Little Greg has been lonely."

Somehow Wilson doubted that House was really interested in sex right then. He could feel the tension under his hands and hear the strain in House's voice.

"I don't like this, House. You shouldn't be in this much pain from a muscle strain. I think something else is wrong. We need to get you to the hospital and do some tests."

"I'm not going to go and sit around an E.R for hours waiting to see some wet behind the ears intern because I've got a sore leg. Don't be stupid, Wilson."

Wilson went over to the closet and started pulling out some clothes for House. "We'll go to PPTH - I can pull some strings and get you looked at quicker. I assume you don't want to go to General."

Princeton General was where House had worked before the incident that had put his medical career on hold for a year. From what Wilson could gather over and beyond the whole 'medical license suspended' thing House had not left there on good terms.

"I'm not exactly popular at PPTH either. Do they know I've moved in with you?"

"I haven't mentioned it."

House regarded him narrowly. Wilson could almost see the gears working in his head. Even being in pain couldn't stop House diagnosing.

"Do they know you're gay ?"

"I'm pretty sure it's common knowledge by now."

"But you've never brought a boyfriend there have you?"

"None of my partners have need hospitalization up to now. Hard to believe I know." He threw the clothes on the bed. "Come on, get dressed and let's go."

House continued to sit stubbornly on the bed and then sighed and grabbed the clothes. "You're sexy when you're being all forceful, Doctor Wilson."

"You should see me with a stethoscope."

As House slowly got dressed Wilson churned over possibilities in his mind. Maybe it was just a muscle strain, maybe House was right and it was nothing.

Somehow he didn't think that House would be that lucky.

A harried young female doctor examined House in the ER. The ER was crowded with the usual assortment of drunks and accident victims and House was off in a far corner, squeezed in by the staff responding to Wilson's shameless use of all the charm he could muster, and the vague promises of future professional favours.

"It's probably just a muscle strain," she said after a few seconds of examination. "Take some ibuprofen and if it's not better in a few days come back and we'll do some imaging."

"Or you could measure me up for a coffin," House snarled, jerking his leg back from her grasp and hissing through his teeth at the pain. "Where did you get your medical degree? From the internet?"

"I don't think a little muscle pain is going to kill you..." she glanced down at his admittance form, "...Mr House."

" Doctor House," Wilson put in smoothly before House could make things worse. "Doctor Raynor, I really think it would be a good idea to get an MRI at least. He's in a lot of pain, and has been for a couple of days. There was no trauma to the leg - nothing to precipitate this."

She sighed and pushed back her hair from her face. On one level Wilson sympathized - he had been in her position as the harried doctor trying to sort the hypochondriacs from the genuinely ill. But every medical instinct he had was telling him something was wrong. The fact that House had even agreed to come here, and hadn't stormed out yet, meant that House thought there was something wrong as well.

"Doctor Wilson..." she looked from House to himself and then abruptly scribbled something on her form. "Okay, I'm passing you onto radiology." He tone made it clear that she was only indulging him but Wilson didn't care. He had what he wanted.

"It's that floppy hair of yours," House said when they were alone again. "Makes the ladies swoon. If only they knew that gorgeous Doctor Wilson was already taken."

"Oh, I think they know." Wilson grabbed the admittance form and shoved it in House's direction. House had made him fill the damned thing out, and amongst the many questions was one asking for next of kin and what the relationship was. Wilson had firmly printed his own name and added 'partner' next to it.

House stared at it for a moment and then wiped away an imaginary tear. "Why, Doctor Wilson. I think I'm going to cry." His expression clouded over a moment later and he put an arm over his eyes.

"Pain worse?" Wilson touched his hand to the side of House's face.


"Just hold on. We'll find out what this is."

"My hero," House said dryly but he reached out with his hand and Wilson grasped it firmly.

"You're going to be okay, House."

Six hours later House had been admitted and was scheduled for emergency surgery. The MRI had revealed an infarction in his thigh. Another day or two and the leg would have been beyond saving. As it was they were fairly confident they'd caught it in time.

House was busy writing on his leg with a sharpie.

"House, I'm pretty sure that they know which leg they're supposed to be operating on," Wilson said. House was writing 'this one' in large letters on his right leg.

"Have you ever met any surgeons? Morons the lot of them."

"I'll be sure to pass on your opinion to Doctor Hourani... after he operates. House, do you want me to call your parents? They should know."

"I'll be sure to include a note about it in my Christmas card."

"It's six months to Christmas."

"You didn't say when 'they should know'."


"Drop it, Wilson." House's voice was sharp. He looked exhausted. The pain had worn him away over the last few days, and now he was facing surgery. The last thing he needed was a fight with Wilson about his parents. There was obviously some history there - the few times House had mentioned them it had been with a big 'keep out' sign. Well, Wilson knew a thing or two about complicated relationships with family. If House didn't want them to know, Wilson sure as hell wasn't going to tell them. Maybe one day House would tell him what his problem with his parents was.

Yeah, and maybe pigs would fly but it wasn't looking likely. He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck.

House looked at him and then away. "Wilson, I don't need them. You're all I need."

Wilson felt a warmth spread through him at House's words. They hadn't been together long, despite living with each other. House wasn't one for flowery speeches about his feelings and Wilson had been left feeling a little unsure of how exactly they stood with each other.

"Oh, don't go all gooey on me," House said as Wilson smiled at him. "I'm on morphine. I'd tell Chase I loved him if he was standing here."

They were interrupted by the arrival of a nurse who was there to prep House for his surgery. Exercising his privilege as an employee of the hospital Wilson stayed with him right up to the door of the operating room. Then he quickly squeezed his hand and dropped a kiss on his forehead.

"I love you too," he said softly. "I'll see you soon."

Once House was out of sight Wilson collapsed onto the nearest chair, putting his head in his hands. The last day had gone by in a whirlwind and he hadn't quite caught up but now it was beginning to hit him. His hands were trembling and his heart racing.

"Doctor Wilson?" He lifted his head at the voice and saw Sandra, his assistant, standing over him, holding a cup of coffee.

"Sandra? How did you know I was here?'

She smiled. "Are you kidding? In this hospital? I think there might be someone in the kitchen who doesn't know you are here with Doctor House but they'll find out soon."

"I should have just sent out a memo."

"That would have been slower." She sat down next to him. "How does it look?"

"They think they'll be able to cut out the clot without any permanent damage to his leg. If they hadn't found it when they did things would have been a lot worse."

"Good," she reached out and squeezed his hand. "I'm glad." She hesitated and then continued. "And, if you don't mind me saying, I'm happy that you've found someone. Even if it is Doctor House." Her smile took the sting out of the words. "Gina is going to be disappointed though, I think she had hopes for you. We told her she was wasting her time but she didn't want to hear it."

She stood up. "I need to get back to work, but if you need anything just call me."

"Thanks, Sandra."

Sandra had been one of the people he'd asked when he was trying to find out who House was. Her opinion of House had been short and not very sweet. Genius and a complete pain in the ass had been her summation.

Well, he couldn't dispute either of those. He hadn't really expected House to be able to help him with Danny but it taken him only a day or two to find him where Wilson had repeatedly failed.

He realised with a start that he hadn't thought about Danny since his return to Princeton. He needed to go and inspect the hospital he intended to move Danny to and make the arrangements. He didn't want to leave his brother in Mayfield any longer than he had to. The place wasn't a good fit for him and Wilson didn't want to lose him again. It would have to wait another day at least though, he had no intention of leaving the hospital until House was out of surgery and awake.

He thought about going up to his office and doing some work while he waited for the surgery to be over. It wasn't like he could do any good here, hanging out in the waiting room.

When House was wheeled out of surgery two hours later Wilson was still there.

House opened his eyes slowly, heavily, as if doing so was an enormous effort. Wilson looked up from the comfortable chair by the side of his bed.

"Welcome back," he said, getting up to come to House's side.

House said something that sounded like 'arghm' or maybe 'uhahm' and gestured towards the water jug at the side table.

After a few sips of the water House laid his head back on the pillows. Wilson couldn't help watching him. It was good to see House awake again.

House's hand went to his right leg, feeling for it.

"It's okay - you won't be needing a peg leg," Wilson said. "They removed the clot, and Hourani said the surrounding muscle looked to be in good shape. He thinks you'll make a full recovery - although you'll need some physical therapy."

"Hourani's an idiot," House said but it was obviously just a token protest. His hand came away from his leg and rested on the blanket. Wilson covered it with his own.

"Don't let the nurses see you holding my hand," House said, but made no move to take it away. "They'll think we're gay."

"I think we agreed that the ship has already sailed on that one."

"As long as they know you're taken as well." House grimaced as he shifted in the bed.


"Well, I did just have my leg sliced open by that butcher. Maybe you could stop holding my hand and go and chase up some pain meds."

"Maybe you should talk a bit nicer to the only person in this room with the ability to go and do that thing," Wilson said mildly but started moving towards the nurse's station.

Once House had been adequately medicated and was stable he was moved to a private room. He slept through the transfer and Wilson left a note by his side letting him know he was going home for some clean clothes and would be back later. He just hoped that House didn't alienate everyone on this floor by the time he returned.

It felt empty in the apartment without House. He cleaned up some of the debris that had accumulated while he'd been away while telling himself that he was only doing it because House had obviously been in too much pain to think about housekeeping during his absence. He packed an overnight bag for both himself and House and threw in a couple of the games machines House liked to play - that should help keep him occupied while he was recuperating.

He made a quick call to the hospital he'd found for Danny and set up an appointment to inspect it the next day. Another quick call to Nolan and he was assured that Danny was doing well physically and didn't seem overly distressed. He hung up and ran a hand over his face. He was feeling torn between his brother and his partner. They both needed him. He'd spend the night at PPTH and then tomorrow he'd go and check out the hospital. If he was happy with it he'd return to Mayfield and collect Danny to take him to his new home the day after tomorrow. Neither man should come to harm in that time.

He found House awake and sitting up. He had a litany of complaints for Wilson - the most important of which seemed to be that PPTH lacked cable television and House needed to watch his soap.

Wilson had had to endure many episodes of that same soap, and the improbable exploits of Brock Sterling, dashing Doctor about town, who somehow found the time to father a string of babies to different women while saving innumerable lives (in a fashion that was not elaborated on) in his spare time. He wasn't sure how he was going to persuade the Dean of medicine that Prescription Passion was a basic necessity for patient comfort but he assured House he would make his views on the subject known.

Luckily he'd brought food - in the shape of takeout from House's favorite Thai place, and that soothed the savage beast a little. While they ate he filled House in on his visit to Mayfield and what he had decided about Danny.

"He'll be closer here; I can keep a better eye on him." He was still angry about Danny's injury. Rationally he knew that it had just been an accident but he'd left Danny in Mayfield and told him he'd be safe and he'd ended up with his arm in a cast. Just like when he told Danny he'd always have time for him when he left for college, and then wouldn't take his phone call on the night Danny disappeared.

"You can't be responsible for everything that happens to him."

How did House always know what he was thinking?

"I'm staying with you tonight," he said in an attempt to change the subject. House gave him a sharp look.

"And you can't be responsible for everything that happens to me either. This," he indicated his bandaged leg, propped up on pillows, "would have happened whether you were at Mayfield or here."

"If I was here I could have gotten you help quicker."

"Yeah sure, you would have rushed me to hospital at the first twinge. Don't be an idiot, Wilson." House picked up the remote and pointed it at the TV in the corner of the room. "And call your boss and get cable put on in here."

"I'll get right on that." He cleaned up the remains of their meal and unpacked the bag he'd brought for House into the chest of drawers by the bed.

"So are you going to share the bed with me then?" House asked, his eyes still fixed to the TV screen.

Wilson eyed the narrow hospital bed dubiously. "No, I think we've given the staff enough to gossip about." He leaned down to kiss House's stubbled cheek. "I'll go and organise a cot for in here. Just for tonight. Don't go anywhere."

They were ten miles from Mayfield before Danny said more than two words to him.

"Got any cigarettes?"

Wilson started at the quiet voice cutting through his thoughts. He glanced at his brother. Danny was leaning his head against the window, looking out at the passing landscape. His hair was cropped short, and stubble coated his chin. His right forearm was encased in a cast. The clothes Wilson had brought for him to wear in Mayfield hung off his frame. The hard living on the streets had left him looking older than Wilson although he was actually three years younger. Wilson felt a pang of longing for the young boy who used to follow him around, chatting incessantly, telling Wilson all the things he'd seen that day. This man was like a stranger to him now.

"I'm an oncologist, what do you think?" he said before he remembered dying of lung cancer probably wasn't high on Danny's list of priorities. Still, Wilson wasn't going to enable that particular addiction.

Danny briefly glanced at him and then away. "I think I want a smoke," he said, answering Wilson's rhetorical question in a flat monotone. Wilson sighed.

"I don't have cigarettes, Danny. And before you ask - no, I'm not stopping to get any."

There was no answer. Danny had gone back to staring out the car window.

Wilson was used to dealing with difficult patients. He'd been sent into the oncology ward several times with instructions to 'go and do that thing you do with patients', but trying to form any connection with his brother was apparently an impossible mountain to climb. He tried to reassure himself that when Danny had been hurt at Mayfield he'd asked for him. There was something there; he just had to keep working on it.

"I think you'll like the new place," he said, trying not to send like an overenthusiastic tour guide. "Their emphasis is on transitioning back into independent living."

"I was living independently before."

"You were living on the streets, Danny."

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Danny shrug but he made no answer. Wilson sighed and turned the radio up a little.

They were half an hour from Princeton when Danny spoke again.

"So, this guy you're living with..."

"House." He'd told Danny about House in his visits - trying to fill their frequent awkward silences. Danny hadn't seemed to have been interested, or even to have heard him.

"When do I get to meet him?"

Wilson was surprised into silence for a moment. Danny hadn't shown any interest in connecting with old friends, and had been mostly indifferent to their parents when they had visited him in Mayfield.

"You want to meet him?" They stopped at a light and he turned to look at his brother.

Danny gave him a one shoulder shrug and a hint of a smile. "Sure. You talk about him all the time. I might as well meet him."

"I don't talk about him all the time!" He didn't think he did, surely he didn't?

" All the time."

Wilson was sure that was an exaggeration but it didn't matter. Danny was teasing him, and wanted to meet House. It was progress. He'd take it.

"It might be a while. He's... not exactly mobile at the moment."


"He's in the hospital." He quickly outlined what had happened. He kept his eyes on the road but he was aware of Danny staring at him.

"You left him to come and get me?"

"I told you I'd get you out of there and he's doing well."

Danny was quiet for a while and then he softly laughed. "Same old Jimmy. You haven't changed much, brother." Before Wilson could find an answer to that Danny spoke again. "Can we go and see him before you take me to the new nuthouse? Just for a few minutes."

Wilson glanced at him and then smiled.

"I'd like that." He took the next turn off for the hospital.

"Doctor Wilson!" He was just entering the hospital, Danny by his side, when he heard someone calling his name. Looking around he saw one of House's poker buddies - Cameron - his memory supplied, waving at him. She smiled broadly at him.

"I've just been visiting House." She looked pointedly at Danny, a small frown appearing on her face.

"This is my brother, Danny. Danny, this is Cameron - House worked with her at the coffee shop for a while."

"I thought you said he was a doctor?" Danny had edged a bit closer to him and was staring around nervously, shifting from foot to foot. Despite his earlier enthusiasm for visiting House he now seemed ready to flee.

Wilson waved his hand vaguely. "It's a long story, I'll tell you later." He turned to Cameron. "Thanks for coming to see him. I had to leave for a while." He started edging towards the elevator. "I need to get up there before he drives the nurses to mutiny."

Cameron smiled. "Oh, I think he might have already done that. I gave him one of those teddy bears with the bandaged leg that they sell in the gift shop and he threw it out of the room and hit a passing visitor."

Wilson winced but Danny let out a surprised laugh. "Sounds like my sort of guy."

When they arrived at House's room it was to find him sitting quietly on his bed. Everything throwable had been removed from his reach and the TV was silent for once.

"I'm on 'time-out'," House grumbled as soon as he saw Wilson. "They took away my remote control. Get it back for me."

"Sounds like you're lucky they didn't use restraints on you." Wilson was pleased to see him looking so alert, bear throwing aside. He moved into the room and signalled to Danny to come closer. "We were on our way to Trenton but Danny wanted to meet you first. Danny, this is House. House, Danny."

The two men sized each other up while Wilson waited nervously. He didn't know which one he was more worried about at this meeting - House or Danny. Both were unpredictable.

"So, you're the crazy brother?"

"And you're the gimp boyfriend?"

"The gimp is temporary."

"The crazy isn't."

House continued to stare at Danny for a moment and then he nodded - the nod that Wilson knew by now was his version of approval. When Wilson turned to look at Danny he was smiling slightly.

Maybe things would work out. For all of them.

Over the next few days Wilson alternated between both hospitals, as well as trying to squeeze in some work. House was healing well. He was up to doing laps of the floor on crutches. The nursing staff had adopted a 'no nonsense' approach with him, which suited House well, although - being House - he tried to fight against it whenever he could. His physical therapist told Wilson that if House ever ended up in the hospital again he'd resign rather than go another few rounds with him. So, things could be worse.

Danny was settling in well at the Trenton Treatment and Recovery Centre. The staff there were optimistic about transitioning him to a halfway house in a month or so. The more open and relaxed atmosphere seemed to suit Danny better than Mayfield although he was still withdrawn during Wilson's visits. It would be a difficult road Wilson knew. Danny had been on the streets for a long time and returning to 'normal' life was going to be hard for him. Still, there were small signs of progress and Wilson could visit him much more often than he was able to in Mayfield. He found himself looking forward to the visits, rather than regarding them as an inescapable family responsibility.

Six days after House's operation, and the day he was due to be released from the hospital, Wilson walked into his room to be greeted by the sight of two of the hospital's junior doctors sitting on House's bed. House himself was in the comfortable chair Wilson had had installed in the room. Spread around the three men were scans and copies of a patient file. House was writing something on the bedside table. With a sharpie.

"...fever, ascending paralysis, and a rash..." House was saying. "Do a lumbar puncture and come back to me with some ideas. And fresh scans - ones where the patient isn't doing a dance in the MRI."

The two residents had been distracted by Wilson's entrance and were looking like someone had caught them with their hands in the cookie jar. House threw a plush toy - where did those things keep coming from? - in their direction.

"Eyes off the prize, ladies. That one's mine. Now go! Test!"

They looked between House and Wilson with wide eyes. Then they rapidly gathered up the files and all but ran out of the room.

Wilson studied the surface of the rolling table, now covered in a list of symptoms written with black marker.

"You'll owe the hospital $200 for that table," he said. "You do know that your license is suspended and you can't treat patients? You especially can't treat patients here, where you don't even work."

"I have visiting privileges here."

"Again, suspended. House... you could get into a lot of trouble for this, those kids could get into a lot of trouble."

"Relax Wilson, it's a hypothetical case."

He rubbed the back of his neck. "I hear the medical Board just loves hypothetically investigating doctors for hypothetically practising while suspended."

House made a 'gimme' motion towards the sack of food that Wilson was holding. He'd quickly abandoned any pretence of liking the hospital supplied food and Wilson had found himself bringing in three meals a day for him, as well as assorted snacks.

While they were eating House filled him in on the case and his theories. Wilson hadn't seen House working before and it was a revelation. House had complete command of every aspect of the 'hypothetical' patient's medical results and history despite not having a copy of the file. He made connections and diagnoses out of seemingly thin air - but ones that made sense once he explained them.

House had stopped talking and was looking at Wilson with a calculating expression on his face.

"What?" Wilson asked.

"You're looking at me like you want me to do me." House looked at the full length glass windows (and who had ever thought that was a good idea?). "Better pull the blinds first or you'll scare the kids if they come back." He reclined back in his chair. "Otherwise I'm all yours."

"Tempting but sorry, I have to decline your generous offer. And I wasn't looking at you like that."

"Little Wilson says otherwise," House stared pointedly at his groin, where 'little Wilson' was indeed taking some interest. "Does my cripple-ness get your blood flowing downwards?"

"No, but you're hot when you're talking medicine," Wilson admitted.

House looked at him, head cocked to one side.

"You're turned on by brilliant doctors?"

"Yes, House. All it takes is one genius diagnosis and I'm coming in my pants. It's a character flaw, I know but I just can't help myself."

House started to say something but then stopped. He stared into space for a moment, clearly far away.

"House?" Wilson waved a hand in front of his eyes, trying to gain his attention.

House's focus snapped back to him, and a satisfied smile spread over his face.

"Get those residents back here. I know what the patient has." Wilson turned to the door to get them paged when House spoke again. "And you're going to need another pair of pants."

Wilson raked in the chips on the poker table under the disapproving eyes of his fellow players. The cards had been going his way all night. Well, he'd supplied the venue as well as most of the food and drinks so it seemed a fair trade off.

"That's it, I'm cleaned out. I don't even have cab fare." Chase threw his cards down on the table. Cameron laid a hand on his forearm. "Don't worry - I'll give you a lift, I'm going your way."

Foreman rolled his eyes at them. "As if you two weren't going home together anyway. I'll call it a night too, I've got early shift tomorrow."

The weekly poker games had resumed now that House was out of the hospital, but now Wilson was invited as well - if one could be invited to a game in their own apartment. House was walking with the aid of a cane and, according to his physical therapist, he could expect to lose the cane in a couple of weeks if he kept to his therapy schedule.

There was a new person present at the game this week. Danny was out of his hospital on a weekend pass for the first time. He had sat out the game tonight, preferring to watch, but had happily eaten the food Wilson had prepared. The bed in the spare room had been made up ready for him and House didn't seem too put out by the prospect of Wilson's brother being in their home all weekend even though Wilson had ruled out having sex anywhere but their bedroom, and that only quietly, for the duration.

There was even a glimmer of hope for House's career. The Dean of medicine at PPTH had heard of the impromptu diagnosis sessions House had conducted during his stay at the hospital. He'd contacted House with a tentative offer of a consulting and teaching position when - and if - House's license was restored. House had scoffed at the offer but Wilson knew that House was still in contact with the Dean. Medicine was a vital part of House's life, and Wilson dearly hoped that House would be open to the opportunity the offer represented.

He showed Chase, Cameron and Foreman to the door, accepting their thanks for his hospitality and their promise to return the next week and clean him out. When he returned to the kitchen it was to find Danny and House squabbling amiably over who should load the dishwasher.

Listening to their voices - the brother he thought he'd lost forever, and the man he hoped to spend the rest of his life with - he felt a wave of contentment flood over him.

"Is that a poker chip in your pants or are you happy to see me?" House asked, coming up behind him, his arms wrapping around Wilson's shoulders.

"That's it - I'm going to bed," Danny said, giving them a wide berth as he made his way down the hallway. He grabbed the iPod Wilson had bought for him off the table as he passed, making a show of putting the earbuds in and turning up the volume.

"We'll be doing it on the poker table; don't worry if there is some screaming. Your brother likes to yell." House called after him as Danny disappeared into his room, slamming the door shut behind him.

'We'll be 'doing it' in our bedroom," Wilson reminded him, turning in House's arms and kissing him. After a little while House broke apart and regarded him.

"What were you thinking about? Before? When you had that sappy look in your eyes."

"That I'm damned glad I went to that coffee shop."

~ The End

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