Word count: 7,981
Summary: In which the boys go to a medical conference in Singapore, House has a few surprises up his sleeve, and Wilson figures some things out.
Notes: This is longer than anything I'm usually used to writing, so many, many, many thanks go to girl_wonder and savemoony for their awesome betas.
Wilson wakes up to the sound of the overhead speaker.
"Attention passengers of Japan Airlines Flight 301 to Singapore, boarding has now begun at Gate 56," a woman announces in highly accented English, before someone else (or perhaps her again) repeats the phrase in Chinese.
Wilson's head is still not entirely clear yet, sleep still lingering in his mind. He remembers that he's in an airport, that he's waiting for a plane. House pokes him on the shoulder.
"C'mon," he says. "That's us. Let's go."
Wilson pulls himself to his feet and stretches his arms over his head. Rolling his neck, he rubs at the edges of his eyes. All around him, there are signs written in Japanese, though there are some English, too. Tokyo Narita, he remembers now. On the way to Singapore. Medical conference. The airport seats aren't all that comfortable, though they're not as bad as they could be, and there's a twinge still in Wilson's back from when he fell asleep all wrong.
House is waiting, leaning on his cane in a way that can only be described as impatiently. The fluorescent lights are different here than they are in the hospital. It makes it feel like they're in another world entirely. The overhead speaker comes on again, and there's a burst of Japanese that Wilson can't parse.
"We're going to miss our flight," House whines.
Wilson laughs and slides the strap of his bag onto his shoulder. He glances at the seat, briefly, to make sure nothing's fallen out of his pockets, before following House as he makes his way down the hallway.
They get to the gate on time, and Wilson smiles at the flight attendant who puts his boarding pass through the machine. "Thank you," she says, though that's a little hard to make out with the accent.
House is waiting for him on the walkway from the airplane to the terminal, doing his best to scare away anyone foolish enough to offer assistance.
"They're just trying to help," Wilson says, as they make their way down to the actual aircraft. They fall into step, perfectly, and it's almost as if they're walking down a hospital corridor; the patterns are that familiar.
House sneers. "I don't need help." He pushes ahead of Wilson and gets on the plane first, ignoring the flight attendants standing in the doorway.
Wilson smiles extra warmly and accepts their offers of help extra graciously, hoping that his kindness somehow balances out House's nastiness, at least on a cosmic scale. Which probably isn't true, but a person can hope, can't they?
When Wilson manages to get to their seats, he sees that House has already taken the aisle seat and is flipping through the in-flight entertainment magazine. Wilson slides past him, careful about House's bad leg, and shoves his own bag under the seat in front of him, grabbing his John Grisham novel out of it first.
The cabin's full of people and noise, the hum of the engines, the sounds of overhead compartments being opened and shut, the white noise of people talking in a variety of languages, but he's tired, which means that he slumps in his chair and drifts off when House starts in on his rant about how airlines can't choose movies.
He thinks he may have felt them take off, but that could have just been him imagining it.
Wilson wakes up to the sound of the overhead speaker.
A woman is saying something in Japanese, and Wilson has very little idea of how much time has passed. His paperback novel has fallen to the floor. He reaches down to pick it up, but then he realizes House has fallen asleep on his shoulder, which is probably just the result of relaxed muscles and gravity. House's head is surprisingly heavy, and his neck is twisted in a way that will probably hurt like a bitch when he wakes up. The woman on the overhead repeats the phrase in English, announcing that they're preparing for landing.
Wilson nudges House with his shoulder, and House wakes with a snort and a blink of his eyes. It's always a little odd to see House wake up, because House doesn't really put up his walls until his brain is fully functional, and as he wakes up, his face looks kind of open, oddly soft and malleable. Not really open (Wilson's not that naive), but kind of open, which more than it is at any other point in time.
"We're landing," Wilson tells him.
House sits up straight and rolls his neck. "Did I miss anything interesting?" he asks, and his voice still sounds a little raw at the edges.
"Just the midget circus and the lesbian porn," Wilson replies, keeping his face deadpan.
House looks like he almost wants to laugh, but he puts on his mock-disappointed face instead, with a smirk at the edges. "How many times do I have to remind you that you've got to wake me up when there are midgets?"
"Sorry," Wilson says, but he's not even bothering to make his voice sound sorry.
House sighs, with extra weariness, and leans back in his seat, looking more comfortable than he has in a while. Wilson relaxes when he looks like that, as if House actually reaching a state of comfort (as rare as that is) gives him the right to be comfortable as well.
The plane lands with a gentle thump.
As Wilson steps out of the gate, he realizes that everything is in English. Which isn't exactly surprising, he knows that English is one of the official languages of Singapore, but it still puts him a little off-balance, still makes him wonder if he's actually still in Asia.
It's a quick trip through immigration and customs (customs is literally a door labeled "Nothing to declare"), and they head toward the taxis.
Outside, it's dark, and Wilson catches sight of a clock hanging from the ceiling, displaying the time as 00:24. His watch is thirteen hours off, or maybe eleven. He's not quite sure which. He sets it to the current time, and as he spins the hands around the face, he thinks that it feels a little like he's leaving something behind. (Princeton and New Jersey and the United States, maybe. It's yet another reminder that he's not home anymore.)
The air outside is thick and hot and humid. It feels a little like suffocating to breathe it in. His lungs don't feel like they're getting enough oxygen. Sweat beads on the back of his neck and on his arms, and he rolls up the sleeves of his shirt to his elbows. House doesn't look as bothered by the heat, but he's always been a bit cold-blooded by nature.
They grab the first taxi available, and on the way to the hotel, House chats with the taxi driver in Chinese, even though Wilson knows he speaks decent English. It's probably House showing off and relishing the chance to talk shit about Wilson in front of Wilson's face without Wilson actually being able to understand what he's saying. Wilson wouldn't put it past him.
The driver laughs, a deep, rumbling sound, at something House says. House smirks smugly. Wilson does his best to pretend they're not there. It's easier that way.
They arrive to the hotel in good time, and the whole check-in process happens in something of a haze.
It's a little surprising, how much traveling takes out of you. When Wilson finally gets to his hotel room, he barely manages to stay awake long enough to change before he collapses on the bed.
He doesn't dream.
Wilson wakes to the sound of the air conditioning.
It's a low hum in the background, just only breaking up the silence of the room. He stares at the ceiling and, for a second, wonders where he is. A hotel, that's obvious. But which hotel?
He blinks a few times and stares up at the ceiling as everything pulls itself together again. Singapore. Medical conference. Right. The farthest Wilson had been away from home before he was twenty-two was Canada, and the foreignness of being out of the country had always thrown him for a loop whenever he went farther than that. He wonders if it's easier for House, who's already been everywhere. Maybe it's harder for him, all of the places mixing together in his mind.
Wilson checks the hotel clock, pale blue numbers glowing in the darkness of the room. 3:22. The conference doesn't start until nine. He could get up right now, if he wanted to, but it would probably mean falling asleep early tonight.
He rolls over and tries to fall asleep again. It kind of works.
Wilson wakes to the feeling of sunlight on his face.
It's not the kind of sunlight he sees a lot of, at home. It's gray and smothered, a muggy sort of sunlight. He rolls out of bed and stretches. The clock reads 7:31.
Breakfast starts at eight, so Wilson showers and dresses as normally as he can, the way he would back home. But the bathroom is all wrong, (cold marble, where there's supposed to be white ceramic) and it screws up his morning routine. Not a lot, he's become more flexible since his first divorce. (Though in those days, he was a mess anyway, and starting his days wrong was just another thing to add to the list.)
When he's ready (checked the tie, the hair, the shoes) at 7:54, he knocks on House's door. It's the next room over, which makes it easy. House sticks his head out the door, unshaven, hair a mess, and wearing jeans. "Oh, it's you," he says, sounding disappointed.
Wilson rolls his eyes. "You know, I'm sure you have a hot date with a hooker this early in the morning, but I recommend waiting until we're done with breakfast. Sex on an empty stomach is never fun."
"Well, you would know," House says, and the expression on his face isn't the usual mocking one. Oh, the mockery is there, the expression is just a little more examining than most. Wilson shrugs it off as one of those traveling things. Maybe House is feeling off balance as well.
Breakfast is held in the restaurant on the second floor of the hotel. The spread is an odd multi-cultural buffet. There are dumplings next to the scrambled eggs, croissants next to the white rice. Wilson grabs a little of everything. House grabs a lot of everything.
When Wilson raises an eyebrow, House shrugs and says, "I'm a growing boy."
Wilson shakes his head and laughs. It's good to know that there are some things you can count on, no matter where you are.
Breakfast is quiet, mellow. Not everyone's internal clock has adjusted yet (Wilson's hasn't, either), and so a lot of people come in with tired eyes and a general air of sleepiness. Most of them mingle amongst themselves, making small talk. A few recognize House (though whether it's from pictures or just that instant recognition of his attitude, Wilson doesn't know) and try to talk to him, but he usually dismisses them with a sneer and a derisive remark. Wilson smiles apologetically as they leave.
The conference itself is like every other conference Wilson has ever been to. There are subtle differences, obviously, but those are just surface. Underneath, it's all the same.
Most of the material that's covered is boring and uninteresting, not really worth the effort of traveling half-way around the world. It's more about the networking, anyway. The medicine is just the excuse. The only reason they're here is because Princeton-Plainsboro wants their most (in)famous doctor to make an appearance. (House had been surprisingly easy to convince. Wilson thinks that maybe he wanted an excuse to get away from the hospital -- and the clinic -- but wanted to admit he wanted to get away even less.) The other attendees are a wide spread of various people from all over the world, looking for international connections. It's kind of impressive, but that doesn't mean it's not boring.
During the talks, Wilson only half-listens, picking up maybe every other point being made. House doesn't bother listening at all. This suits Wilson just fine. It means he doesn't have to listen to House be insufferable about ever single thing the speaker gets wrong. The morning session only lasts three hours, but it seems longer.
When they break for lunch, a few of the other attendees invite House and Wilson to meet up with them to a restaurant somewhere else in the city, but House declines for both of them with a look of pure disdain.
"What?" Wilson asks, as soon as they're out of earshot. "They seemed nice."
House shoots him the same look. "They seemed boring."
"You hang out with me," Wilson argues. "I'm boring."
House snorts, and the expression on his face is the one he gets when one of his fellows has just made an absurd suggestion, dismissive yet vaguely amused. "You can pretend to be, maybe. That's one of your stupid compulsions, to be normal, to be like everyone else. You'd love it if you were boring. But you're not, and you hate it."
Of course, it has to turn into a fairly standard argument between the two of them. Wilson argues back, because that's what he does. "You, on the other hand, love being different. It makes you special. It makes you better than everyone else, because they're all the same, and you're different."
House looks him straight in the eye, dead-on, and Wilson can see something there, anger, possibly. "Of course, you're the one who has to examine everyone's faults in order to make yourself feel better about your own. You can't stand to see how screwed up you are, so you take it out on everyone else."
There's a response, just on the tip of Wilson's tongue, that sounds a lot like, Actually, you're the one who does that. But he's tired of this, tired of getting into the same arguments over and over again, and he's hungry. He sighs and looks away, concedes. "Where do you want to go for lunch?" he asks, changing the subject.
"We could go for some cheap Asian food," House says, going along with it. Their voices sound dull, bland, resigned, now, the fight's gone out of both of them.
"I don't have any cash on me," Wilson says. He does have a two hundred in American dollars, but he hadn't thought to convert them, so they're pretty much useless.
House rolls his eyes. "It's on me," he says, sounding very put upon, as if Wilson had just asked him to be nice to someone.
Wilson finds his lips quirking into a smile, almost against his will. "Don't make it a habit. People might start taking advantage of you."
House fake-glares at him. "What happens in Singapore stays in Singapore." There's a threat in his voice that's not very serious, (and there's a look in his eye that Wilson doesn't quite get).
"My lips are sealed," Wilson replies, and the faintest outline of a smile appears on House's face.
They find themselves on the street in front of the hotel. It's a wide, busy street, with shopping centers and more hotels lining each side of it. They're tall buildings, modern and new. It reminds Wilson a little of Fifth Avenue, but it's not quite the same (nothing is quite the same here). The sidewalks are wide, in order to accommodate the number of people walking down it, mostly tourists and foreigners just by the looks of them.
The weather is still entirely too humid, and Wilson just really wants to get back into air conditioning, but House is being picky.
"There's a McDonald's over there," Wilson offers as they make their way down the street. There is. Or, at least, there's a sign for one over there, bright yellow arches on a red background.
House has a 'please, God, help me' look on his face. "Jesus," he says, "You don't have to be such a tourist."
This could turn into an argument really quickly, but Wilson isn't in the mood for another one so soon after the last. He sighs and goes along with it.
They eventually settle on one of the food courts in one of the shopping centers. The shopping centers are basically malls, and Wilson has no idea why the city needs an entire street of them. The food court is somewhat dim, busy, jam packed with people, but they make their way through it fairly easily, mostly because of House's cane (or maybe just his attitude). Almost all the food stalls around them are Asian, though there's some pizza as well, which amuses Wilson to no end. Wilson has no idea what to choose, so he lets House do it for him. The place House picks seems almost random, but House insists that there's a reason. House orders their food for them, and Wilson carries it. Empty tables are scarce, but they do manage to get a good one in a corner. The food is good, some sort of noodle soup, though that may be just because Wilson's hungry enough that he doesn't care.
Lunch passes quickly. House does steal some noodles out of Wilson's bowl, but since House did, in fact, pay for it, Wilson lets it go without an argument. They talk, a little, about how well the fellows are holding up back home, but it doesn't last that long. House seems genuinely nervous about that (not obviously, of course, but Wilson can tell), so Wilson doesn't really have the heart to tease him about it.
The afternoon is just about as boring as the morning was. House falls asleep, and through some sort of miracle, doesn't snore loud enough to be heard. Wilson's feeling sleepy as well, but he makes the effort to try to stay awake.
He pokes House on the shoulder when it ends. His watch says 4:58. "Dinner?" he asks when House wakes up.
House nods. "Yeah, sure. Whatever." He pops a Vicodin, ignoring some of the stunned looks from some of the other attendees.
They go back to the same foot court, somewhat less busy than it was earlier, and House ends up paying again.
"Not going to be a habit?" Wilson asks, stuffing a dumpling into his mouth.
"Oh, shut up," House responds, but the tone of his voice is affectionate, almost warm. Right now, they're comfortable, easy with each other, that sort of place where they don't feel the need to hurt each other. (Wilson likes that about the moment, likes the way House doesn't need to smile in order for Wilson to know that he's at least sort of happy.)
Now that he's more used to it, it feels good, to be away from home, away from the routine. The distance gives you perspective. Everything's different, and it gives you the chance to be different, too. He tells House this, and House asks him if he's found himself yet or if he still needs to go into the jungle to complete his spiritual journey.
Wilson laughs and feels younger than he has in a while. Nah, he replies. Maybe next year.
When they get back to the hotel, House invites Wilson over to watch bad Chinese soap operas, and Wilson shakes his head and reminds House that he doesn't actually know Chinese.
"You actually think that makes them any better?" House asks, looking like he's trying to hide his disappointment.
"Not really," Wilson replies. "I'm just tired. Maybe later?" The time difference is still being hell on his Circadian rhythm, no matter how screwed up it is due to the whole doctor thing.
"Fine," House says. He waits a moment, looking like he wants to say something else as well, but he doesn't, disappearing back into his room.
Wilson shrugs and disappears into his own.
The bed looks so inviting, Wilson doesn't quite manage to resist laying down on it. He stares at the ceiling for a bit, trying not to think about sleep.
His eyes drift closed, though, and he tells himself that he'll open them again in a second.
Wilson wakes to the sound of knocking on his door.
He rolls out of bed and checks the clock. 22:30. Damn. Must have fallen asleep without realizing it, because he's still in the clothes he wore for today.
The knocking gets more insistent. Wilson flips on a light.
When he opens the door, House is standing there, looking impatient. "Took you long enough," he says, before shoving Wilson against the wall with one hand (the left) and kissing him.
There are times when you don't quite realize how much you want something until it's right in front of your face, sticking its tongue down your throat, unbuckling your belt with its hands. Wilson thinks that maybe this is one of those times. He finds himself grabbing onto House's neck, House's shoulders, kissing back, wanting to kiss back.
It sucks the air out of his lungs, and it's a little like suffocating, a little like stepping out into the Singapore air for the first time.
House pulls back for a moment, and Wilson thinks that he has to look like an idiot slumped against the wall, face covered in stubble-burn, eyes-glazed, mouth hanging open and panting, but then he catches the hungry look in House's eye, and fuck it if it matters right now.
House slides a hand into his pants, pulls out Wilson's dick, and "shit," Wilson mumbles, because, well, shit. House squeezes and pulls, and it's tight and it's hot and it fries whatever synapses were attempting to work in his brain. (Sex makes him stupid. This has been a well documented fact.) House just keeps going though, keeps squeezing, keeps pulling, and it's the most perfect feeling in the entire world.
The feeling's a little like tripping, like falling, over the edge of a cliff. And it's like he's plummeting, plummeting, plummeting. Free fall. He grabs onto House's hips for support, barely feels the rough texture of House's jeans under his fingertips, because everything is tight and hot, and House's lips are on his again. It's wet and oddly gentle (he'd expect House to fight, to push, to bite). His hands are slipping, he thinks, and he starts falling again.
He comes with a muffled "fuck", and it's a little like hitting the ground. His head is buried in House's shoulder, and his mouth is full of T-shirt, and his body is still slumped against the wall. "Fuck," he says again.
When his brain starts functioning, he finds that House is still in front of him, watching. "What was that about?" Wilson asks, because it's the first thing that comes to mind. His mind is spinning with questions, but that's the central one, the one they all revolve around.
A flash of hurt passes over House's face, before he covers it up. "Fuck you," he says, and reaches down for his cane, which had fallen at some point during the... whatever.
But Wilson gets to it first and tosses it off to the side, hoping to delay House's inevitable escape attempt. The tactic kind of works and kind of doesn't, because the loss of the cane only slows House down slightly. He doesn't even bother to stick around and get into a fight about it.
"House," Wilson says.
House ignores him and keeps limping toward the door.
"House," Wilson says again, louder this time.
House slows down, just a bit.
"House," Wilson says, with some more force in it.
House stops for a moment and glares. Wilson takes the opportunity to grab him and kiss him, before he gets any further. Clearly, the question was a miscalculation on his part. Right now, he can either blow House or talk about what the fuck is going on, and even though Wilson wants to do both, he knows he can't.
And he has his priorities.
House gives in, a little, to the kiss and the unspoken promise that this is not a rejection. "Bed," Wilson says, voice barely louder than a whisper.
They stumble together toward it, awkward because House is not used to walking backward, though Wilson is used to walking with his lips fused to someone else's.They get there, though, and Wilson undoes the fly of House's jeans as best as his fine motor control allows him to at the moment.
He manages to get the jeans and the boxers down to House's knees, sort of, and he does his best to avoid the leg. He also manages to get House's T-shirt up over his head. It's a little awkward, but that's the way sex goes, most of the time.
He shoves House onto the bed, and House lets him. (It's all wrong, and Wilson wants to know why, wants to ask, but he knows he can't, not without House pulling away.)
House is still, quiet, watching, as if he's waiting for something (and that's still wrong, because House sucks at waiting without something to distract him). Wilson leans on top of him, (carefully, carefully), and kisses him, slow and steady.
He places his hands on House's chest, feels its rise and fall. It's even, each breath, but there's a tension there, just under the surface. House is holding back.
Wilson slides down House's body, letting his lips drift over bare skin. He bites at House's hips, likes the way it feels when they buck up almost of their own accord, a quiet, stifled shiver.
This is not the first time Wilson has ever sucked cock. He hasn't done it for a while, however, but it's probably like riding a bike. Something you don't forget.
It's easy, wrapping his lips around House's erection, hollowing out his cheeks. It's familiar. He hears a hitch in House's breath and feels something that might be pride. It feels good, to be doing this, (even though it's skating the edge of something, something big and looming and cavernous).
He moves his head up and down slowly, watching House to make sure he doesn't try to bolt again. And House is watching right back. The expression on his face is one that Wilson can't identify, but Wilson can see his mind working, the way he's processing everything in that brilliant and crazy head of his. (Wilson still has no idea what's going on, right here, right now, but he's willing to deal with it.)
When House actually comes, it's with a muttered "shit." His eyes close, and there's an expression that might be somewhere between pained and blissful. Wilson tries to swallow as much as he can, but he can't get all of it down, so he spits the rest out into his hand. All of this necessitates a trip to the bathroom. His pants are pretty gross by now too.
As he washes his hands in the bathroom, he realizes that he just had sex with House. Which was something he knew, but it was it wasn't quite something that had seeped in until that very moment. Something that feels very much like dread settles at the pit of his stomach.
When he gets changed and comes out, House is sitting down on the bed, pulling down the covers. He's put his T-shirt back on, but his jeans are laying in a puddle next to the bed "Not talking about it," he says dismissively, not meeting Wilson's eyes. Wilson feels oddly relieved.
"Fine," he says. He's half-expecting House to leave, to retreat back to his own room, but House stays and slides under the covers.
Wilson gets in on the other side and turns out the light. He can feel House's presence by his side, and it's a little odd, since it's the first time he's slept next to anyone in a while.
As sleep takes him, he thinks that it feels a little like being married.
Wilson wakes up to the feeling of House getting out of bed.
He can feel the dip in the weight, the subtle change in the mattress under him, and it pulls him out of sleep. "Mmmm?" he says, because his brain hasn't entirely cleared yet, and it would probably take too much to form coherent words. He checks the clock. 4:07.
House is sitting on his side of the bed, facing away. He glances at Wilson over his shoulder. "This is the part where we have the girly talk about our feelings," he says. It's unnerving. The words are right, pure House, but his tone is all wrong. He sounds flat, emotionless.
Wilson sits up and blinks at him. "I mostly want to know where that came from." And why you've turned into a pod person.
What comes out of House is something halfway between a laugh and a snort. It's a bitter sound. "Oh, come on," House says. "there is no way you are actually that thick." There's some actual life in the way he says it, which is something of a relief.
"Let's assume I am," Wilson answers. The dread is there, eating a hole in his stomach. His mind is working, trying to figure out that thing that he's missed, the things that he's missed. Because there's clearly something going on here that he didn't see.
House snorts again. "You're really going to make me say this out loud? Are you really that much like me?" He gives Wilson a skeptical look, but there's something else there as well, something almost desperate, and all of a sudden it all clicks into place.
"You're in love with me," Wilson says. He sighs and runs a hand through his hair. He looks at House, and this time House can't meet his eyes. Wilson knows he's right (even he can put puzzle pieces together from time to time), but he has no idea how to deal with it. He hasn't been able to quite untangle his own feelings on the matter yet, but this is House. He won't give Wilson the time he needs. Wilson needs to make some decisions now.
"You of all people should know better than to confuse sex and love," House sneers, but Wilson can practically feel him covering for something.
"Bullshit," Wilson replies. "Why now?"
This time House shoots him his 'dear lord, you're stupid' look. "Why not now? Maybe it's just the atmosphere. All that crass Asian commercialism. Such a breath of fresh air."
Wilson laughs. It's a harsh sound that forces its way out of his throat. "That is why, isn't it? So that you can write it off as a fluke if you need to. What happens in Singapore, stays in Singapore."
House stands up and starts limping toward his cane, "Are we done yet? I'm missing my next really awkward conversation about my sex life."
"No," Wilson says, letting his voice snap. "We haven't talked about what's going to happen now."
House doesn't even slow down. "Isn't it obvious? We forget it ever happened. You can claim you were drunk, if you'd like."
"So that's it?" Wilson lets his disappointment bleed into his voice. House is running away, Wilson knows. He hates that, hates that House is running away from him. And there's very little Wilson can do to stop him. This is House, after all.
"That's it," House replies. "You can't possibly think that there's going to be more."
Wilson is pretty sure that it was House's less rational logic came to that conclusion. "Why not?" He's unsure as to why there are things that
That actually gets House to stop. His reply comes out a little like an explosion. "Because you're you! It's doomed from the start! Every relationship you've ever been in has failed spectacularly."
That stings. Wilson flinches. "Like yours haven't?"
"Yeah, great point. Now you've really convinced me." House reaches into the pocket of his jeans and pulls out his bottle of Vicodin. Tilts his head back as he swallows one down. He closes his eyes to savor the feeling of it, and Wilson takes the moment to speak.
"I told myself I'd never really considered it, but I think I did, in the beginning." Wilson pauses, trying to find the right words. "But then Stacy happened, and then your leg, and then Stacy again. When you want something that much, and you know you're never going to get it, sometimes it's easier to pretend that you never wanted it in the first place." He says it quietly, but he knows House can hear him. The only other sound in the room is the air conditioning humming in the background. Wilson thinks that maybe part of him knew all along, that part of him had been waiting for House to make the first move.
House reopens his eyes slowly and looks at him. "Why didn't you try, in the beginning?" His voice isn't mocking or bitter, just serious.
"I was married," Wilson says, simply.
That gets him another snort. "Like that would have stopped you."
Wilson frowns and looks away. It's hard, getting the words out, but he tries. "It did then." He sighs. "I think I realized that it wouldn't be fling. That it couldn't be." He shrugs. "I was scared. So I ignored it and stayed with Marisa." He can remember it so clearly now, it's hard to believe that he ever forgot.
House's look becomes more thoughtful. "That doesn't mean anything in the long run." It's not an accusation, just a stated fact. At that point, Wilson's already lost. House doesn't need to fight anymore.
"Yeah," Wilson says. "I just thought you should know." He stands up and starts walking toward the bathroom. He kind of has to pee.
House grabs his arm as he walks past, which is something of a futile move. He doesn't actually have enough leverage to hold Wilson back. But it's the idea of it, anyway. Wilson stops. House's face is right there, and his look is searching. "Are you scared now?" he asks.
Wilson looks him straight in the eye, and he's being perfectly honest when he replies. "Terrified."
Something on House's face shifts, and then he leans forward and kisses Wilson. It's not a 'goodbye and thanks for all the fish' sort of kiss. It's something warmer and softer than that. Something in Wilson's chest feels so tight it hurts. But it's a good sort of hurt.
When he finally pulls away, he sees that House is half-smiling, and it's sort of happy and it's sort of sad, and Wilson understands that, the way that feels. "Breakfast?" he asks.
House's smile tilts slightly more toward the happy side. "Yeah, sure," he says. "Whatever."
It's still about three hours from breakfast, but it's the idea of it, mostly. That they're okay. That they're going to be okay. (Wilson can hope. He can try to believe that.)
House picks up his cane and heads back into his own room, to shower, to change, to get ready. This time, Wilson is willing to let him go without a fight.
He's entirely too awake right now to get some sleep himself, so he goes through the rest of the morning routine, even though it's still dark out. When he's done, he still has two hours left until breakfast. He spends it watching Singaporean television, an English channel, without really listening and feels very far away from it all. It's a pleasant sort of numbness, the kind that lets you forget about the paralyzing fear. It's not that he doesn't want this (he does), but it's hard not to think that they're hurtling toward certain doom (because House did have a point about that). And the best way to avoid thinking about it is to not think at all.
When breakfast comes around, it's almost exactly like yesterday, like nothing's changed, which surprises Wilson. (He hadn't realized how much of this, was on the surface of everything they did, hiding in plain sight.)
The rest of the day happens on autopilot, the morning presentations, the lunch (House, in a display of generosity, does accept an offer to join a few of the other attendees for lunch and manages to piss off only half the table), the afternoon presentations, the dinner (more cheap Asian food from a different food court, and Wilson pays this time).
It's all extraordinarily easy, and Wilson wonders when it's going to get really bad (he'd assumed that it would start from the very first day, but it's surprising, how much easier it is to deal with the sniping when you've already had years of practice).
That night, Wilson fucks House, and when he comes, he thinks he might be an little bit in love, too.
(Strangely enough, he actually sleeps easier knowing that.)
Wilson wakes up to the feel of another body next to his.
It takes a moment for him to remember it's just House (it's all still a little new), but when he does, he checks the clock. 7:23. Wilson glances over at House, to see if he's awake yet. He isn't (and it may just be Wilson's imagination, but he looks more content now, not really content, per se, but more content than Wilson remembers).
He gets up and goes through the morning routine one more time. By the time he's done, House has woken up already as well. "Fucking hairdryer," he mutters.
"Sorry," Wilson says, actually trying to sound sorry. It's their first morning together, but it's also not. Wilson's spent enough time sleeping on House's couch to not know how House works in the mornings. It's a little odd feeling like he knows him well, but at the same time, not knowing him at all.
He kisses House, a quick peck (like he used to give his wives in the mornings), and finishes getting dressed (tie, socks, shoes).
House heads back to his own room. Maybe to get ready. Maybe to get some more sleep. Wilson figures he'll be at breakfast either way.
They leave tonight, but the conference ends by lunch, so they have half a day to themselves. Wilson wants to go see more of the city, but he doesn't think that House would really be in favor of that.
No one actually bothers trying to talk to either of them during breakfast (the other attendees have learned that this is not a good idea), and this serves both of them just fine.
During closing speakers, Wilson falls asleep on House's shoulder.
Wilson wakes up to the sound of people.
The closing speaker has just finished speaking, and the room's beginning to clear out. One of the other attendees, Heather, he thinks (she was at lunch the day before), raises an eyebrow at him as she walks by. "Long night," House says, by way of explanation, and his expression is entirely too smug.
The conference offers a buffet for lunch, and so they go. It's being held in the same room used for breakfast, just set up with different food. It's more crowded now than it ever was then, filled with hungry doctors. He and House get odd, speculative looks as they walk in, but he's willing to deal with that, and he's sure House is thrilled by the controversy he's stirred up. Wilson makes the somewhat foolish decision to ask him if he is.
"It's great " House says, cheerfully. "Now no one will hit on you, so you don't have to fuck them."
Wilson opens his mouth and manages to make a small sound of protest before House grabs him by the tie and kisses him in front of the drinks. Wilson's fairly sure that everyone is staring at them.
When House pulls back and lets go of Wilson's tie, he's smirking. "Just making sure they got the message," he says. Wilson still has a stunned expression on his face.
The rest of lunch goes by without incident, and afterwards, they convene in House's room to discuss what they're going to do for the rest of the day. There's a great view of the city from his window, it sprawls outward, toward the mountains, a few skyscrapers sticking clustering together. Wilson stands by the window, thinking. He still feels somewhat detached from it all, from House, from this, from the world around him. Maybe he needs to get out of the hotel. See something different. Get away to get some perspective.
"I think I'm going to Little India," Wilson says, glancing over his shoulder for a second. House is sitting on the bed, twirling his cane. "There's a Hindu temple with some unpronounceable name there that I heard we have to see. You should come along."
He doesn't see House's reaction, but he hears it. "Once you've seen one Hindu temple, you've seen them all."
Wilson doubts he's going to get anything out of House, but it's worth the effort. "Don't you want to go see more of the city?"
"Not really. Why do you?"
Wilson looks outside the window. "It's been growing on me." Wilson's not sure how or why, but it has.
Wilson ends up going by himself anyway. House is too much of stubborn bastard, and Wilson thinks that maybe it's a better trip with out his whining. He takes the MRT to the Little India station, and when he steps out onto the street, he thinks little like walking into another city. The buildings are short, squat, stone of some sort. Different from the street in front of the hotel where everything is glass and steel. He catches sight of some saris, hears some language that isn't English or Chinese. It's different, but in a good way.
The little map he has says that he's Serangoon Road and that the temple should just be down the street. He passes by quite a few shops that sell all sorts of weird and interesting things. It reminds him a little of Chinatown. It has that same sort of vibe.
The temple is just sort of there, on one side of the street, feeling a little out of place in the middle of a city. It's not as big as Wilson imagined, but it's still pretty impressive. The roof is filled with carved figures, painted right down to the tiniest detail. It's beautiful and strange, and Wilson sort of wishes he had a camera so that he could take a picture of it. (Maybe to show House, maybe just to remember.)
There are a bunch of tourists milling about, which makes Wilson feel a little less white and Jewish, or at least a little less alone and white and Jewish. At the front door of the temple, there's a row of shoes, all different shapes, sizes, and types, placed haphazardly there by their owners, and a sign that says in a few different languages that all visitors should take off their shoes before entering. Wilson takes his off, places them under the sign, and steps inside.
It's different, inside. Darker, less colorful, but there's still color everywhere. There are a few services going on and Hindus worshiping, praying. Wilson watches, fascinated, because he can't understand the words at all, knows almost nothing about the religion itself.
A few people are sitting cross-legged on the ground, and Wilson wonders if they're meditating or just sitting there for the heck of it. They look quiet, respectful. This their place of worship.
There's always been something calming about religious places, for Wilson (even though he barely believes himself). Maybe it's the way it feels to be cocooned in someone else's belief, to feel their faith in their God or gods. As if their faith helps ease his own doubts about himself, about the world. He feels that here, and something in him finally feels calm.
He breathes in, breathes out, and with every breath, he feels like he's letting something go (it'll break us both, it won't be easy, we won't survive it, it'll hurt). When he steps back outside, into the gray Singapore sun, he realizes that his lungs have gotten used to the thick air, the lack of oxygen. It doesn't feel like suffocating anymore.
When he gets back to his hotel room, House isn't there, but Wilson can almost hear the sound of the television next door, and it's comforting. He packs his bags, and part of him is almost reluctant to leave.
They take a taxi back to the airport, and House chats to this driver in Chinese as well. Wilson thinks that maybe this time they aren't talking about him, but that also might just be wishful thinking.
The next few hours pass by in a blur of check-in, boarding, House's suggestions for having sex in public places, and in-flight movies.
At some point, at some place in Tokyo-Narita airport, Wilson falls asleep.
Wilson wakes up to the sound of the overhead speaker.
"Attention, all passengers. American Airlines flight 168 to New York JFK is now boarding at gate 53. American Airlines flight 168 to New York JFK is now boarding."
He's still shakes the sleep from his brain when House whacks him lightly in the shin with his cane. "C'mon," he says. "We're going to be late." Wilson blinks at him some more. It's odd, the amount of irrational affection he feels towards House's annoyed face. It's just comforting to see him like that, to know that at least he has to spirit to be a complete and utter jackass.
"I love you, you know," Wilson says, and he feels every word as he says it. He pulls the strap of his carry on bag onto his shoulder, and they start walking down the corridor toward the gate, Wilson matching House's uneven gait.
House rolls his eyes, though he can't quite hide the pleased look on his face. "If you really loved me, you'd help me get into the Mile High Club," he responds with a leer.
Wilson smiles and shakes his head. "It's not as fun as it sounds. Airplane bathrooms are entirely too cramped."
House leers some more. "Why, Jimmy," he says in his best fake-shocked voice, "you almost sound as if you've tried it before." He smirks. "Flight attendant?"
Wilson winces a little. "Flight attendant," he confirms.
That gets a genuine laugh out of House, and Wilson likes that, likes hearing it, likes being the reason for it. House doesn't have enough of those (and it makes Wilson feel special, to be one of the few that can get one out of him). It's not a big thing, the laugh, but it's something. Wilson takes comfort in that.
As they board the plane, he wonders how things will work out when they get home, whether he and House will hold together or fall apart.
As the plane takes off, he thinks that maybe they'll find out when they get there.