Disclaimer: Fox owns House, Wilson, and the rest. Spoilers for "Babies and Bathwater" (kinda), rating about PG-13. There is no sex. It was just sort of me doodling around with the idea that the discussion in Wilson's office might have been a bit of breaking point for both House and Wilson.
Reconciliation of the Gods: A Story in Which Nothing Happens and There are No Resolutions
Things were different when Wilson came back. Subtly different, but it was there. House would have been hard-pressed to ascribe exactly what 'it' was, since he was badly versed in emotion, sensitivity, and other such diagnostic tools.
Wilson hadn't said anything House didn't already know, but apparently Wilson had said some things Wilson didn't already know.
House barged into Wilson's office three weeks after House had barged into Wilson's office while Wilson was packing his things. He didn't often go to Wilson's office. For one thing, it was much too close to the offices of the other board members and for another, House tended to get blinded by the glare of Wilson's golf trophies in the afternoon sun. Mindful of this, he went in the morning, entered without knocking, and sat down without being invited.
Wilson, who was charting -- one of those subtle little differences that House had failed to identify before now -- ignored him.
"I think you should get divorced," House said calmly and compassionately.
Wilson's head jerked up. His expression was classic disbelief before it hardened into mulishness.
"Maybe I don't want to get divorced," he said.
House heard the challenge in his voice and prematurely congratulated himself on ignoring it. It felt good, so he followed through.
"You said your marriage sucked. Are you working on it?"
"Maybe I'm tired of getting divorced," Wilson said, which meant the answer to House's question was no. "Maybe having a sucky marriage is better than getting another stupid divorce and then having another marriage that's going to suck and then another stupid divorce. I bet I can skip one, maybe two sucky marriages if I just sit tight in this one for a little bit." He was in classic Wilson Defense Posture -- hands on hips, hair flopping over his forehead.
"I think you should get divorced," House said again, still calm and compassionate. He was highly impressed with himself. "And I think you should not get remarried. I think you should talk to someone about why you need needy women and then you divorce them."
"I do not --"
"You're terrible at marriage," House interrupted, raising his voice for the first time. He reasoned that he had been calm and compassionate twice and deserved a little rousing passion on behalf of his friend. "You pick the wrong women, you don't communicate, you avoid confrontation, you're a womanizer, and you like the idea of marriage better than you like the reality. And," House added, because he was on a roll, "you're ashamed to express anger. Which is actually one of your more interesting pathologies but I really think it's hurting your relationships."
Wilson had puffed up and deflated repeatedly during House's speech and now his voice was as hollow as the look in his eyes.
"Why are you doing this?" he murmured, almost without moving his lips. "Was General Hospital boring this week?"
"Because it's what a good friend does," House said seriously. "I haven't been one lately. Or, well, ever. I'm turning over a new leaf."
Wilson looked at him sharply. "How many Vicodin have you taken today?"
"One," House admitted reluctantly. He'd been keeping mum about the thrice-weekly massages, the daily modified yoga stretches, and the deep breathing, which he told himself was practice for tantric sex. He wasn't quite sure he was ready to admit to himself, let alone anyone else, that changes had to be made and why. He never wanted to see that look on Wilson's face again, or the desperation in his voice, and that wasn't something he could say aloud.
But Wilson didn't ask. He just nodded slowly and House imagined he could see the gears pumping in Wilson's head.
"And, in my attempt to establish myself as a good friend," House said, reaching into the pocket of his lab coat and finding the two pieces of cardboard, "Monster Truck Rally." He waved the tickets. "I got the cheap seats this time, in case you punked out on me."
"You don't want to take Cameron again?" Wilson asked dryly.
"Well, she does have a better rack than you," House conceded, "but she's stingy with her cotton candy."
"What if I'm turning over a new leaf, too?" Wilson asked. "A James Wilson puts himself first kind of thing?"
"Then I'd say it's about time," House said slowly, knowing he deserved it. "As long as if doesn't affect you letting me finish your cotton candy."
Whatever Wilson meant to say next was pre-empted by their beepers going off consecutively, first House's, then Wilson's. House checked the display.
"Foreman's multiple myeloma," he said grimly.
"Yeah." Wilson shrugged his coat on as House pushed himself to his feet. He grabbed the door and held it for House. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" he asked with faux casualness as he adjusted his pace for House's stilted gait.
"That Cuddy's breasts look especially fantastic when she's quivering with righteous anger?"
"Well, there's that, too," Wilson admitted. He turned his head to look out the glass wall separating them from the outside world. Sunlight fell over his face, turning his hair two different colors and washing out his face. "I was just thinking the last few weeks have been weird. And now they're not. Well, they were, but -- you know."
"Don't you have a patient to save?" House asked, pushing through the door of the ICU ward. He knew exactly what Wilson had meant. 'It', whatever 'it' had been, was gone.
"My patient? When I handed you the file, he became your patient."
"When we found cancer, that made him your patient."
"Isn't he Foreman's patient?"
The invisible rhythm was back, the snark was strong, and it was a good day to take over the world. Together.