Title: The Secret Life of James Wilson
Pairing:House / Wilson
Rating: PG-13 to NC-17
Word count: ~ 15,600 altogether, story is divided into 8 parts
Beta: Many, many thanks to 2801rosie!
Disclaimer: Don't own them and don't make money with it!
Warnings: Supernatural elements! Very alternative universe – if this is not your cup of tea, you better leave now!
Summary: House always suspected Wilson of hiding something important from him. He finally decides to find out just what it was; discovering more than he expected.
House always suspected Wilson of hiding something important from him; he just didn't have an idea what it could be. Since he couldn't figure out how to find out without making Wilson suspicious and closing off, he didn't press the subject. All these years he's had an uneasy feeling, bordering on fear of losing Wilson to something he didn't even know. That's why he monitored Wilson as close as possible and became an expert in the art of reading Wilson. It took House many years before his patience eventually paid off, in a way he couldn't have predicted.
When Julie threw Wilson out of her life and he retreated from his shelter in House's apartment to a cold and lonely hotel-room House knew that something was changing in a rather dramatic way. The pranks weren't so bad that they could have driven Wilson away; he had suffered through worse things.
Wilson withdrew more and more from House, cancelling their bowling dates and watching movies together on a regular basis. He never said he didn't want to see House but even their lunch-dates became irregular. Their usual banter began to feel forced and awkward and Wilson acted skittish and snippy. He always looked exhausted, like he didn't get enough sleep. Every attempt House made to find out what was going on ended in a heated argument between them. He was feeling forlorn; a huge part of his life was missing. Not only a huge part but, he had to admit, a very important part. The part that kept him grounded, held him together, made him feel good. Wilson slipped away from House and House hated it with all his heart.
One day in spring Wilson showed up at work with a not very well hidden bruise on his left cheekbone. On closer inspection House discovered that Wilson walked somewhat stiffly and tried to stifle moans of pain in between. House barged into Wilson's office later that day, startling Wilson who was currently applying ointment on a big blue bruise at his hip bone. The jar with ointment dropped to the floor and Wilson bent down hastily to pick it up.
“Lemme see!” House demanded, suddenly getting angry. Why wouldn't Wilson tell him what's going on? Wilson's face colored slightly and he turned around towards his desk, intent on hiding there.
House could be quick if he wanted, damn it! Wilson couldn't suppress a sharp hiss escaping his mouth when House took hold of him by shoving his fingers through Wilson's belt-loops, pulling and snarling, “Let me have a look.”
Knowing that struggling wouldn't help him anyway Wilson dropped his chin to his chest and lifted up his shirt, exposing the bruised flesh. He hid his face behind long strands of hair and muttered, “It's nothing House.”
“Right. That's exactly what it looks like. Didn't want to waste make-up here like you did on your face?”
Wilson flinched; he didn't expect anyone to recognize the bruise in his face. He really thought he had applied the make-up very well; he had gotten quite accomplished in using it over the years. Even House never noticed before but somehow House mutated into a very patient and accomplished bloodhound. Wilson couldn't play the bruises down, he knew that much. Still he had to get House away from this train of thought.
“I … I got in a fight yesterday,” Wilson stammered, hoping that House didn't see the blush creeping into his cheeks, screaming “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”.
“That much is obvious. What happened?” House prodded.
Oh shit! Wilson had to make up a lie and if he was bad at anything than it was definitely lying. Nonetheless he blabbed on, “There were two men, harassing a young woman and no one wanted to help her. So I jumped in and … they weren't very fond of my intervention.”
Wilson shrugged with his shoulders sheepishly, praying for House to buy the lie. House snorted to show his acknowledgement of the story but otherwise kept quiet and examined Wilson's stomach with his eyes. He didn't touch Wilson though, they never touched. Accidentally their shoulders brushed often enough while they walked next to each other. The no-touching was an unwritten rule between them, especially direct skin-on-skin contact which was strictly forbidden. They never even exchanged a handshake; they feared touching each other and avoided it like the plague. Why they feared it neither of them knew, the rule was simply set.
Maybe House would have believed Wilson if he didn't try so hard to appear casual and normal. Anxiety exuded from him although Wilson's attempt of hiding it behind a stoic mask was unnerving. House took the hem of Wilson's shirt and shoved it up, with it revealing more bruises. Wilson squirmed and shuffled his feet nervously, watching House from beneath his eyelashes. House's pulled his fingers out of Wilson's belt-loops; his fingertips were hovering above Wilson's bare stomach and his breath was hitching. Suddenly he pushed at House's shoulders, causing him to stumble a step backwards. Guilt fluttered briefly over Wilson's face, then he snapped, “I'm okay House. Don't make a fuss out of it!”
House was taken aback by the unexpected push. Shortly before this action his fingertips had tingled and something like little electric bolts seemingly wanted to built up a connection between his fingers and Wilson's stomach. It was … odd but not unpleasant. To conceal how much he was thrown off balance he stated, “You don't punch anyone. You snap or throw a bottle but you don't beat someone.”
“If I'm attacked and have no other choice I fight back. I'm an experienced fighter.” Quickly Wilson added, “We were three boys at home. Fisticuffs occurred often enough.”
“You want me to believe that you, as the baby in the family, got into fisticuffs with your two elder brothers and therefore became an accomplished street-fighter?” House asked incredulously.
Wilson rolled his eyes and crossed his arms above his chest. Of course House would mock him. Despite of being annoyed that House saw him as some kind of a wuss, a small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. He appreciated House's concern about his well-being and couldn't deny the fluttering feeling in his stomach when House's fingers had hovered above his skin. It had scared him beyond belief.
Wilson changed the topic abruptly, “Want me to buy you lunch?”
“Sure,” House replied, much too quick for his own liking. Their last shared lunch had been a week ago and until a second before House didn't realize how much he missed it. House oppressed a goofy smile from appearing on his face; instead he hobbled in the direction of the door, beckoning Wilson over with a curt nod of his head. Wilson smiled and followed. He held their conversation light, doing his best to entertain House with the newest hospital gossip. House played along, putting Wilson in the dark about his decision.
House's mind was made up. He would find out about Wilson's hidden secret, whatever it took! Fortunately he didn't have a difficult case at the moment and could put most of his energy into implementing his plan. He hacked into Wilson's computer – bless the Internet for teaching all kinds of useful stuff – but no secrets were hidden there. Except that Wilson ordered a lot of things like holy water, fragrances and other esoteric stuff from a shop called “Mysteries”. Was Wilson going to convert from Judaism to a New-Age pseudo-religion? House shook his head; this was certainly weird but not helpful.
He browsed through Wilson's credit card bills but found nothing out of the ordinary. No new girlfriend, the divorce was through and settled. Since Julie cheated on Wilson and had a good job she waived the alimony. It was frustrating, everything seemed to be normal. Of course House knew that it was far from normal and he wanted to get to the bottom of Wilson's behavior now. He couldn't explain why the pressure of doing so became so strong that he had to do something about it.
So, his usual approach didn't reveal some life-shattering event in Wilson's life. Time for the direct route. Discretely House followed Wilson after work. Wilson worked late and went straight to his hotel-room. House checked into the room next to Wilson's, regulated the TV's volume in such a way so that he wouldn't miss if Wilson was leaving. He listened to Wilson running a bath and seemingly, soaking there for an eternity. Images of Wilson resting in the bathtub were floating through his mind, his jeans becoming too tight around his crotch. All attempts at chasing off the arousing images failed and with a grunt House pulled his zipper down, hissing when cool air swirled around his erection. He finished himself off in record-time to his most favorite inner image of Wilson on hands and knees while he was pounding into him. Afterwards he cleaned himself up as good as possible, thinking that it might have been better to bring a change of clothing with him.
After the bath Wilson ordered from room service, ate and watched TV. It wasn't even ten when the TV was clicked off and the bedsprings creaked as Wilson lied down. House was disappointed and shortly mulled over driving back home. Given that he had already paid for the night he decided to stay.
He did exactly the same for the next six days and nights in a row. A bag of clothes and some toiletries found their way into his room on the second night. It was always the same: Wilson worked late, drove to the hotel, bathed or showered, ate something and went to bed early. House was getting restless and bored out of his mind. Observing Wilson proved that the man was more boring than he had thought. Yet, he was intrigued. Especially when Wilson declined to come over to House because he was busy.
The most outrageous thing was that Wilson lied to him, telling him he was going to a charity event one evening. House wasn't only frustrated, he was boiling with anger and … felt rejected. Anger won the upper hand quickly because he didn't want to deal with the feelings of hurt and vulnerability. He was over his despair of never getting Wilson in the way he wanted him and settled for friendship instead. At least he told himself that he had come to terms with his unrequited lust and desire for his best friend years ago.
On the sixth night, just as House considered going over to Wilson's room and demanding to know why he had lied to him, he heard the door of Wilson's room opening and closing. Quickly he walked over to his door and looked throughout the peep-hole. Wilson was wearing black jeans, black sneakers and a thick black hoody. A black back-pack was slung over his shoulders.
House's curiosity was triggered, adrenaline surged through his veins and he slipped out of his room. He was keen on following Wilson though he didn't know how to manage without getting caught.
Wilson stepped out and House had trouble with keeping up the pace and not drawing attention. Wilson was engrossed in his own thoughts otherwise he would have heard the traitorous and well-known sounds of House's steps. House began to feel uncomfortable, his leg started to prickle in a very unpleasant way and the surrounding darkness and silence didn't help to soothe his frazzled nerves.
After a speedy walk of five minutes House lost sight of Wilson. He sighed heavily, his leg wasn't prickling anymore, it was complaining bitterly. House took another Vicodin and looked around the gloomy street. Dumbfounded he stared at the entrance on the other side of the street. Central Cemetery of Princeton. How homey! Certainly this was a very weird coincidence. It was enough to spark his interest though.
House crossed the street and slowly walked to the entrance, expecting it to be locked. To his surprise the gate was ajar and in the distance he thought he saw a black shadow moving. His thoughts were whirling – James Evan Wilson would never take a walk alone in the cemetery at night. Never. This was fucking impossible!
House stood there in the dim light of a street-lamp pondering this crazy situation. He pulled himself together, shocked at the feeling of doing something forbidden and dangerous. He was a grown man and the cemetery was only a place where dead bodies were buried in the earth. They wouldn't complain if he searched for his supposedly best friend.
Yet, the feeling of anxiety found a hole in his heart and built itself a very comfortable nest in there. His heart hammered too loudly and too fast, blood rushed through his body at a raging pace and the grip on his cane tightened to a painful level. Nonetheless he forced himself to cross the cemetery in the direction where the black shadow had disappeared.
When he arrived at his destination his legs felt wobbly and his head fuzzy, probably from hyperventilating. Damn horror-movies for planting such a ridiculous seed of fear into his head! House leaned against a tree, trying to still his racing heart. He swept his eyes across the cemetery in front of him, deciding there was nothing to be seen and that he had had enough adventure for tonight.
Just as he was turning around a loud noise and a scream drew his attention. He spun around, his mouth suddenly dry, hoping his imagination was playing a trick on him. He heard more screams and shouts which he couldn't decipher and stared at a running Wilson who was followed by a pack of men. One of the men knocked Wilson to the ground but in one smooth and obviously practised move, Wilson jumped up and landed a hard punch on his attacker's nose. The man cried out and dropped to the grass, shielding his nose with both hands while Wilson brought down an object, ramming it into the back of the kneeling man.
Where the man had been just a second before nothing was left. He had vanished into thin air and House stood there frozen to the spot, openly gawking at the scene on display. Wilson was fighting against at least four other men who one by one seemed to evaporate into smoke.
House blinked several times, even pinched himself, but the scene stayed the same. James Wilson, ever the polite and amicable guy, was beating the crap out of a pack of other men. He wasn't doing it for the first time, that much was clear. While his moves were powerful and precise, Wilson received as many blows as he dealt. At least House got an explanation for the bruises.
The last guy from the pack had a bulky frame and growled like a wild animal as he lunged at Wilson who hit the ground hard on his back. Wilson appeared small and delicate in comparison to the other man but must be more powerful than he looked. House's mouth was completely dry, his fingers fumbled for his cell-phone when the bulky one cried out and tried to crawl away from Wilson on all fours. Wilson was coughing and struggling to get on his feet, one hand pressed against his ribs. He wavered shortly, then stumbled further on, chasing the other man. Finally he reached him, took hold and raised his left arm. House was certain he was seeing a wooden stake in Wilson's hand before he rammed it down with full force into the body beneath him.
The bulky man went 'poof' and House had the sudden urge to giggle. Wilson was hunting vampires? Geez, this was the weirdest dream he's had in a very long time!
Except that it wasn't a dream. House pinched himself hard on the back of his hand and grimaced at the perceptible sting. He closed his mouth when he discovered that the heavy pants were escaping his own mouth. His view was fully concentrated on Wilson who straightened up and took a deep breath. Even from his observation post House could see a flush covering Wilson's face, presumably from exertion. The clothes were rumpled, the hair was tousled and if it wasn't for the stake in Wilson's hand House could still pretend that nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
On wobbly legs he set himself in motion and shouted, “Wilson! What the hell was that?”
Wilson twirled around and looked at House with a terrified look on his face. He was shocked into silence by House's presence; his mind went completely blank as he stared at House out of big eyes. While House made his way over to Wilson, he wondered why Wilson was showing more signs of stress and fear now than during the fights.
Wilson was frozen to the spot, he could hardly breathe and his legs began to buckle. His heart was pounding heavily, ready to jump out of his chest, and he felt dizzy. No one was supposed to find out – ever! Especially not the one person who mattered the most to him, not House of all people! The blankness made way for reeling thoughts which didn't help Wilson's breathing-problem at all. Moving was still out of the question so Wilson stayed there, seemingly glued to the spot, swallowing hard, waiting for House to approach him.
House expected Wilson to meet him halfway but Wilson still didn't move one single step. House grumbled and cautiously walked on. He had to leave the sidewalk after a few steps and muttered under his breath. The ground was still frozen in parts, the fights had changed the grass into a slippery mud and House had to concentrate on not slipping accidentally. When he arrived in front of Wilson he was drenched in sweat and seriously annoyed. He looked at a Wilson who wanted nothing more than the earth to swallow him or at least a hole popping up out of nowhere, allowing him to hide there.
Shivers rolled up and down Wilson's spine, alternating between sudatory heat and freezing coldness. Every inner organ seemed to coil together in fear and clot in a heavy and aching spot in his stomach; his breathing came only in small labored gasps. Understanding sloshed into him like a tidal wave – his secret was out!
Deflection was the task at hand now.
House took in the deer-caught-in-the-headlights pose of Wilson, waiting for any kind of explanation. They stared at each other in silence for what seemed to be a life-time, although it couldn't have been more than a few minutes. Wilson looked as if he couldn't decide between bolting, crying or yelling. His indecisiveness rendered him speechless and immobile. Finally House's curiosity won the upper hand and he asked, “What are you? A vampire hunter?”
He wasn't prepared for the hysterical laughter bubbling out of Wilson. “What the hell is a vampire hunter? Did you watch too much TV?”
“You're holding a wooden stake in your hand! And I watched you eliminating four men by ramming it into their hearts. They simply went ... poof! That's what they always do in vampire movies,” House tried to lighten the mood. Maybe this was a prank and he didn't see the hidden cameras. He stole a peep at his surroundings suspiciously but why should Wilson's hand tremble if this was only a bad joke?
“You definitely watched too many bad movies!”
“Hey, 'Buffy the vampire slayer' was a good show,” House quipped. “You liked to watch it with me.”
Wilson averted his eyes, memories of pleasant evenings rolling back in his mind. Memories of him being huddled under a blanket on House's sofa, knees drawn up to his chin, eating popcorn and listening to House's remarks. He sighed; nostalgic thoughts wouldn't bring him anywhere right now. Aiming for annoyance he replied, “That was a TV show, House. Not a copy of reality.”
“Then why are you holding a stake in your hand?” House whispered, his face only inches away from Wilson's. When did he come so near? Wilson licked over his lips, desperately wishing for a witty reply or the stake to disappear. Oh, right! Disappearing was the magic word!
“A stake? House, what are you talking about?” Wilson faked more annoyance and even a bit of concern about House's sanity.
House's retort got stuck in his throat. Wilson was holding up both hands. Empty hands. House blinked, that couldn't be true! He was certain that he hadn't dreamt the last minutes. The only possible conclusion was that Wilson was lying to him. Again. Anger rushed back into his body, forcing him to grit his teeth and tense up. Wilson hiding something from him and lying to him was the reason for them now standing in a cemetery in the middle of the night, having this weird conversation.
House pulled himself together, then replied evenly, “That doesn't explain why you're visiting a graveyard in the middle of the night dressed like that.”
“Outside of work I don't feel the need to wear a suit if that's what you mean.” Wilson started to walk away from the spot, and down the small hill they were standing upon. House followed him cautiously.
“Hey, you could at least wait for me. This isn't good ground for crippled man!” House shouted, feeling torn between anger and a twinge of fear. He really wasn't very keen on being left alone here, not after what he'd watched earlier.
“I didn't ask you to follow me,” Wilson snapped but thankfully guilt had a strong hold on him and he waited for House. He guided House to the sidewalk, then bent down to retrieve his backpack.
“You didn't answer one of my questions,” House prodded.
“You don't need to know everything! Just leave it!” Wilson exploded, exhaustion clearly written all over his face. He took deep breaths in, trying to calm down and not shake House until he would relent and drop the subject.
Just as House was about to react to Wilson's outburst another voice stated, “Sorry to interrupt you two lovebirds but I'm hungry.”
House frowned while Wilson groaned in exasperation. “Then why don't you get yourself something to eat?” House asked. Wilson whispered, “Oh, shit!” as their intruder answered with a big grin, revealing his fangs, “How very kind of you to offer me something to eat.”
Before House could even think of protecting himself he was thrown to the ground, crying out as pain shot up from his leg through his whole body. His cane was broken in two and he stared at his assailant wide-eyed. Wilson jumped between him and the other man who appeared to be another vampire. Miraculously the stake reappeared in Wilson's left hand and a wild fight escalated between him and the vampire.
House crept away from the scene unnoticed. It took him a while to reach a tree which he used as a crutch to get up from the ground. During his slow, snake-like escape he glimpsed back frequently, wincing in sympathy when Wilson was punched hard in the stomach and thrown in the air. House gasped in terror when he saw Wilson sailing through the air. Wilson must have relatives with cat-genes as he didn't fall to the ground so much as gracefully roll in his landing and immediately jumped up again. The fight went on.
House finally reached a tree and hauled himself up. He was panting again; his leg throbbed, his heart hammered violently against his ribs and tears were blurring his vision. There was no use in denying that he was scared. He wiped the veil of tears away angrily and gasped when the vampire gripped Wilson around his throat, lifted him up and cutting off his circulation.
Wilson was struggling heavily in the beginning but soon became weaker. House didn't know what to do and without further thinking shouted, “Hey, asshole! Didn't you forget something?”
It was just a second but Wilson used this second of inattentiveness promptly. He punched the vampire on the nose and rammed the stake through his heart. He didn't waste time and ran in House's direction, albeit toppling in between his run. He slid to a halt directly in front of House and spat, “You idiot! You could have been killed!”
With fierce determination Wilson pulled at the sleeve of House's shirt and rather unceremoniously dragged him behind. House had a lot of trouble to keep up with Wilson without his cane and was very surprised by the obvious strength in Wilson's grip. Between clenched teeth he forced out, “The vanishing-in-thin-air thing still doesn't indicate that you're a vampire hunter?”
“It shows that you have been at the wrong place at the wrong time! And I'm not a hunter!”
“You didn't deny the vampire-part this time!”
Wilson spun around; anger, despair and exhaustion fluttered over his haggard looking face all at once. “You shouldn't have followed me.” Tiredly he rubbed a hand over his face while keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings before he added, “Let's bring you home.”
“Hotel is nearer. And at the moment it's more my home than my apartment anyway. I rented the room next to yours,” House admitted.
Disbelief and annoyance mingled into a fascinating mixture on Wilson's face. “You creepy stalker,” he muttered. Both men stared at each other intensely, both wanting to end the contest as the winner.
House won the battle as Wilson slung one of House's arms around his shoulder. He had enough wits to not touch unclothed skin. Yet he had a hard time ignoring the tingling sensations in the parts where he was touching House through the barriers of clothes, where he was much too close to House.
“Human crutch? How very thoughtful of you!”
“I don't want to humiliate you by carrying you over my shoulder,” Wilson teased, shocking House into silence. Wilson was much stronger than he seemed to be so technically it could be possible … House's train of thought was interrupted when he discovered an amused twinkle in Wilson's eyes and a small smile forming on his lips.
“We'll see how funny it is when you're explaining to me the events of the last hour,” House ranted.
The statement caught Wilson off guard and he glanced at House saucer-eyed. With the saucer-eyed expression Wilson could give 'Bambi' a run for his money, House thought. Wilson averted his eyes quickly; there was no need for House to see the anxiety there.
Wilson hoped to walk away from the cemetery without having to fight off more vampires. He'd had his share for tonight and the last vampire had been a challenge. Without House's interruption he might not have been able to fight him off. That thought was sending an icy shiver down his spine. The icy feeling spread throughout his entire body as he thought of House lying on the ground, looking up at the vampire in fear. What if he hadn't been able to protect House? What if something had happened to him? He shook those thoughts off - he needed a clear head in case of another assault.
They reached the hotel without encountering more trouble and entered through the back-door. House leaned heavily on Wilson, wheezing from exertion, exhaustion and pure pain. Sans spoken agreement they staggered into Wilson's room where House tentatively laid down on the bed and opened the lid of his pills with trembling fingers. After swallowing two pills he closed his eyes, waiting for the desired effect to set in.
Meanwhile Wilson stowed his backpack away in a cupboard and toed off his smudged sneakers. He didn't dare to look at House – why couldn't they just pretend that nothing happened? That would be the right and easy thing to do. That way Wilson wouldn't have to explain anything to his nosy best friend. That would be great! His dream bubble burst when House asked, “If you're not a vampire hunter … then what the hell are you?”
Wilson turned around, faking annoyance and innocence at the same time, while he countered, “I think you've had too much to drink.”
House blinked, he was clearly taken aback. That was not the reaction he expected, not at all. And he didn't like the aura of arrogance that Wilson radiated. Did Wilson really think he was that stupid? Anger turned to fury and ignoring his painful screaming leg he got up and stepped right into Wilson's personal space. “Bullshit! Don't play with me! I know what I saw!”
Wilson lost his patience, his nerves were frazzled and short of ripping as he yelled, “You don't have a fucking clue what you've seen!”
“Then tell me! Explain it to me!” House shouted back.
A long silence settled over the room. The atmosphere was prickling with nervous emotions as both men panted audibly. They were facing each other, hands balled to fists, tension almost tangible. Wilson always had difficulty keeping eye-contact with House when he felt guilty and tonight was no exception. He was the first to avert his eyes and squeezed out tersely, “You're right. Those men were vampires. But I'm not a hunter. I was going to meet my, um, someone but got interrupted.”
“That much was obvious. What are you? A vampire? A werewolf? Harry Potter? What?” House exclaimed.
Wilson chuckled nervously, before rubbing his neck furiously. “I'm none of those. I … have some, um, uncommon abilities. That's all.”
House sat down on the bed with a hiss and massaged his damaged thigh before he inquired further, “What kind of abilities? Only ability I saw was that you were able to ram a stake into the heart of a vampire. And you're way more agile than I gave you credit for.”
“That's all you need to know,” Wilson answered sternly. “If you'll excuse me now. I'd like to take a shower and go to bed.”
House stared at Wilson suspiciously, then narrowed his eyes. “What are you doing?” he hissed sharply and gripped one of Wilson's wrists, stopping the barely observable movements of his hands. Wilson looked profoundly embarrassed and caught off guard.
“Did you try to use … to use magic on me?”
Wilson's face colored even more than before but not a single word escaped his mouth. Again he was rendered speechless. However, House was talkative enough for two people. Incredulity crept into House's voice as he pressed on, “You wanted to make me forget about the events of tonight, didn't you? Do you have a lightning-stick like they had in 'Men in Black'?”
Wilson must have been more exhausted than he thought because he could only stay silent and look at House from big brown eyes. Wilson was still grasping for a good reply when it dawned on House. Anger was barely concealed in his whisper, “You really wanted to use some kind of magic or magic spell … or whatever … directed at me! Did you do that before?”
At least this got a rise out of Wilson and he was able to break the silence-barrier. He blurted, “No! No, I've never used magic on you before. I swear!”
He slapped a hand over his mouth in utter shock when it hit him that he had just revealed another part of himself to House. If House wasn't so exhausted and pissed off, the sight of Wilson standing in front of him, completely abashed and wide-eyed, would tear his heart apart. In a low voice he repeated, “What are you? A wizard?”
The instinct to flee was too overwhelming for Wilson and he extricated himself from House's grip with a hard yank. Embarrassed he stammered, “I can use magic, yes. If that makes me a wizard than the answer is 'Yes, I am'.”
“Do you need the fragrances and the holy water to … to do your magic properly?”
Wilson's face changed from red to white within a split second and he spluttered, “How do you -?” He stopped himself before finishing, knowing very well how House found out. Surprise changed to anger and annoyance as he spat out, “You spied on me?”
“Of course I spied on you. You weren't going to tell me! How am I going to know what's going on with you otherwise?” House retorted. Hurt bubbled to the surface as he continued, “For how long have you hid them … your abilities from me?”
“You don't have to know everything,” Wilson answered a tad petulantly.
House lost it when he heard the petulant undertone in Wilson's voice. “For how long?” he yelled. He was rather pleased to see Wilson jump and wince; his attempt at intimidation was obviously successful.
Wilson blinked against the sudden moisture in his eyes and cleared his throat. He wrapped his arms around his upper body to hide that he was trembling, too many emotions were rushing through him all at once. He felt intimidated although he knew that he was strong, even if his body frame didn't reveal his strength. Most of the time he could take advantage of his slender and almost delicate appearance; lulling his enemies into a false security. In addition there was the fact that he could use magic and did it when necessary.
Wilson couldn't shake off the feeling he was about to get a righteous scolding from House and gnawed fiercely on his lower lip. Of course he should have foreseen that House would find out eventually. A pang of guilt and regret stung him as he realized that it was only a question of time until House's snooping around brought him into the danger zone of Wilson's life. He should have left House a long time ago and yet, that was the thought which brought tears into his eyes.
Wilson cleared his throat and sat down next to House before he answered in a small voice. “I … was born into a family whose members all have magic abilities. My Dad has a highly empathic streak, my Mom is someone you would call a witch. My eldest brother is able to teleport things, himself and other people. Danny uses magic and is able to teleport himself.”
Wilson fiddled with the hem of his sweater, his eyes solely focused on his hands while he muttered his explanation. Silence stretched out between them again, only interrupted by the rustle of the comforter under them when House shifted around a bit. Very softly he said, “You didn't tell me all these years?”
Wilson looked up at House startled. Hurt, sincerity and vulnerability were displayed in House's voice and on his face. Wilson didn't want to cause those kinds of emotions in his friend but he also didn't know what else to do. House forestalled him with another question, “What are your abilities? You're the youngest. It seems that every child inherited more magical abilities.”
Wilson sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, “You wouldn't have believed me anyway. All you need to know is that I have some … special abilities. And we won't ever talk about it again.” Wilson looked straight into House's eyes, his voice suddenly getting a warning undertone. “We will pretend you didn't see a thing and you won't follow me again. It's dangerous! I can't protect you all the time!”
“I don't need protection!” House yelled. He wasn't used being described as weak and even more importantly, he loathed to be described in this way.
“If you keep following me around, you do need protection,” Wilson objected vehemently.
House hissed sharply, sweat was forming on his forehead as his leg started to cramp violently. He laid down on the bed, rolled sideways, held his leg and wished he could coerce the cramp into submission. He couldn't even loosen the grip around his leg to fumble a pill out the box. He was panting in agony and barely able to prevent himself from crying out. A heavy sob escaped his mouth, giving Wilson the push he needed.
Wilson swallowed hard, then rested his hands tentatively over House's jeans cladded thigh. House jerked but didn't push Wilson's hands away. Wilson was careful to place his hands so that their fingers wouldn't touch.
They didn't talk.
Warmth spread out from Wilson's hands, creating heat and relief. The muscles loosened up within seconds and the pain was almost imperceptible, a shallow copy of House's former agony. House's hands slipped away from his thigh and he relaxed on his side. He stared at Wilson in amazement and gratefulness. There was no doubt that Wilson had done something unbelievably with his leg. It felt as if it was packed into cotton wool, only softness surrounded it, the pain was dulled.
A small smile appeared on Wilson's face when it registered that he had been successful. “That is one of my abilities. I can mute pain for some time. It's a reason why my patients don't need as much pain-meds as others and why they react so well to my treatment. But it's also exhausting for me,” Wilson admitted.
House glanced between Wilson and his leg, again and again; it was like watching a tennis-game. He felt incredibly drained from all the things he'd seen and heard tonight.
“I'm going to take a shower. You can rest here for a while and try to forget about everything.”
Wilson stood up, got his pajamas and walked to the bathroom, locking the door behind him. House vowed to himself that he wouldn't forget a single thing and he still wanted to confront Wilson, wanted to know more. His eyes closed on his own volition and he dozed off into deep sleep.
Wilson found House sound asleep after the shower, his face softening at the sight of House, being relatively unharmed. He pulled and dragged at the comforter until he was able to cover House with it. Uncertainty was written all over his face as he contemplated what to do next. He could sleep in House's room, after all it was the room next to his own.
He carded with his hands through his tousled hair, ruffling it even more. No, he decided. This was his room and he wanted to sleep in here. To himself he admitted inwardly that it would be nice to sleep with another person in a shared bed. Heat crept up into his cheeks – it wasn't as if he was going to cuddle House. He cringed at the image of House waking up with Wilson curled around him. He would get mocked for it for the rest of his life, that much was sure! Although the image was very tempting …
With a heavy sigh he crawled onto the bed, rolled sideways next to the edge of the bed, and pulled a spare blanket over him. Deliberately he tried to ignore the warmth which radiated from House's body. Ignoring the pleasant tingling feeling was a bigger challenge for him. He willed his body to calm down and not crawl over to House and drape himself all over his best friend.
It took Wilson a long time to fall asleep as his body reacted too strongly to the sheer physical presence of House.
House woke up slowly and disorientated. The sun was filtered through the curtains, sunny stripes alternated with shady ones across the comforter. Groggily he rubbed with a hand over his eyes and rolled onto his back. His mind was still a fog and he fought hard to tear the curtain apart which separated sleep from alertness. He fumbled around for his pills because that was always his first action in the morning. He stopped midway, his hand raised but not touching anything – the pain was not normal. This wasn't his usual morning pain, this was just a brief reminder of it. The pain was muted to a level where he didn't need a Vicodin pill.
House bolted upright on the bed, his eyes snapped wide open. Wilson!
He was in Wilson's hotel room, lying in Wilson's bed in the same clothes he'd worn yesterday. The only difference was they were dirty from the crawling on the ground in the cemetery. Dried crumbs of mud soiled the bed - the maid wasn't going to be happy.
House took a deep breath. Memories of last night flashed through his mind: the cemetery, vampires, Wilson fighting against a pack of vampires. The walk back to the hotel with House using Wilson as a human crutch. Their conversation or argument, however you want to see it. And Wilson touching his leg and muting the pain.
House shivered. No, he didn't forget anything and he didn't intend to do so. He looked around, wondering about Wilson's whereabouts. The side on the bed beside him was rumpled. Did they sleep in the same bed? House was surprised; he didn't think Wilson would do that. He didn't complain though, it would explain why he'd had a very vivid dream of taking Wilson from behind, making him scream unintelligible things. It also explained why his erection was straining against the fabric of his jeans.
He glanced around the room, wondering to himself if it was safe to free his erection and solve the problem. But he didn't want Wilson to catch him masturbating while House was fantasizing about him. His eyes caught sight of a note on the nightstand next to the bed. It was written in Wilson's lopsided crawl, reading, “Don't follow me. We're going to pretend that nothing out of the ordinary happened. I'll be at work in time to buy you lunch.” He had signed the note with “Wilson” which made House's heart ache with a sudden sting. Ridiculous! House was making a fool of himself but he was disappointed that Wilson didn't sign with “James” or “Jimmy”. Of course it was absolutely absurd to feel that way.
Sulkily House rumpled the note in his hand and tossed it onto the floor. He put the comforter aside and grimaced when he inspected his clothes. They were a mess: dirty and sticky with mud and spreading stench. House decided to drive home, he didn't have any clean spare clothes left in his hotel room and he needed to clear his head. After standing up he searched for his cane but of course the cane was broken and lost. Another reason for him to drive home.
Cautiously he tested his leg - it didn't give out and no sparks of pain were surging through him. Still warily he walked a few steps and slowly a grin began to spread over his face. No pain, just a dull ache. So, all he needed in the future was Wilson doing … whatever with his hands and he could walk without a cane and way more importantly, without being in pain. After walking to the front door the grin faded gradually. The dullness waned and he was still missing a muscle so he was forced to support himself along the wall.
House entered his apartment, still lost in thought. He was frozen to a spot near the front door when he discovered the scene in his living room. Wilson had moved the coffee table and decorated a circle with lit candles. He was standing in the middle of the circle, three small bowls with smoking ingredients were littered around his feet. An exotic but not unpleasant smell was lingering in the air, reminding House somewhat of the smell from freshly baked apple-pie.
Wilson's eyes were closed tightly, his shirt-sleeves rolled up and he looked completely out of place with his suit and tie. A long and colorful robe would suit the situation better in House's opinion. At first it looked as if Wilson was nervously waving his hands in the air but after a while House detected certain patterns for the movements. Wilson was chanting something in a low voice in a language House didn't recognize right away.
After having unfrozen from his shocked state House spotted his reserve cane leaning against the sofa. He hobbled over and retrieved it; Wilson must have gotten it out of his closet and probably planned on bringing it to the hospital. Wilson wasn't aware of House standing right at his back, only separated by the sofa.
The impulse to yell at Wilson was getting stronger and stronger in House. He wanted to yell at Wilson for sneaking into his apartment and obviously performing a supernatural ritual. House felt betrayal and fury blurred his vision but right when he opened his mouth, Wilson's chants got louder and sounded more urgent, more powerful. House closed his mouth again, suddenly feeling chilly and unsure if it would do any good to interrupt Wilson in whatever he was doing.
House simply stared for a while and before he could get bored Wilson brought his hands up in front of him, the left hand with the palm up level with his navel and the right hand palm-down at the height of his chest. Short golden streaks of pulsating energy seemed to appear out of nowhere and united in longer strands, curling together and twirling, pressing themselves into a ball between Wilson's hands. The ball started to vibrate and Wilson gave a command.
The ball fired away from Wilson's hands, the streaks uncurled and built a pattern of small squares in the air. Wilson gave another command and the interwoven energy-carpet settled on the walls, the windows and the front-door of House's apartment. The micromesh glowed up brightly for about a minute, then faded until it wasn't visible anymore.
During all this House had kept quiet – speaking was out of the question anyway. He wasn't easily stunned but that … that rendered even him into speechlessness. Hopefully the golden streaks wouldn't decide to jump out of the wall at night and constrict around him. House shook himself; he had seen way too many bad movies!
Wilson puffed out his cheeks then let out a sigh of relief. He wavered in his spot but quickly bent down to blow out the candles and whatever was in the bowls. He packed the candles and the bowls into a bag and turned around. He squeaked when he literally ran into House who had approached him while he was packing his things.
“If you're that inattentive, it is a miracle that you haven't already been killed by a vampire.”
“I sense potential danger,” Wilson answered when he had regained control of his breathing.
“And I don't trigger your alarm-bells?” House asked incredulously.
“Something must be wrong with me,” Wilson deadpanned while trying to pass House.
House's cane snapped out and stopped Wilson's escape route rather unceremoniously. They were standing close, House holding the knob of his cane tightly in his hand and with it brushing against Wilson's shirt. The tingling feeling rushed back with a vengeance, quickly changing from tingling to burning. Both men took a step backwards, allowing space between them, blinking uncomfortably at each other.
House recovered quickly and snarled, “What did you do?”
Wilson's face flushed immediately and he decided to play dumb, “What do you mean?”
House brought down his cane with full force on the backrest of the sofa, right next to where Wilson stood. Wilson flinched and ducked his head, feeling daunted and at the same time incredibly annoyed. Damn it! He was a powerful man, a magic user and shouldn't feel intimidated by House. But there he was, looking at House with wide eyes and with trembling legs, waiting for House to read him the riot act.
House was furious again and shouted, “You used magic! In my apartment! I have the right to know what you did and -”
House cut himself off mid-rant as he discovered that Wilson's hands were hidden behind his back. Without thinking about it he smacked Wilson on a cheek with the back of his hand. Wilson's head swiveled around and he gasped in surprise. Gingerly he touched his hurt cheek and hesitantly looked back at House. He was on the verge of crying, thinking that his attempt at using a magic spell against House was in House's best interest. It would be better if he'd just forget the whole thing!
Wilson's emotions were all over the place. In a sudden wave of anger over the whole shitty situation he pushed hard against House's chest with both hands and caused him to fall over backwards. House cried out in surprise and pain which took Wilson's anger away immediately, giving way to guilt and shame.
Both men were utterly thrown off balance. That short moment when House's hand had connected with Wilson's cheek, that short moment of skin-on-skin contact almost broke down their inner walls. The walls they built up a long time ago, the walls which trapped their mutual feelings for each other. Neither man knew about the other man's feeling of course. And neither of them was going to admit that the short moment of real touch had ignited a burning desire in him.
From his position on the floor House growled, “You tried to use a magic spell against me! Again! You wanted to make me forget about everything!”
“I-It's a protection spell!” Wilson retorted in a high-pitched and desperate voice. “You'll be safe now in your apartment as long as you don't invite … invite bad people in.”
“Too late. I already did that. And now I'm throwing the one bad person I know out of it!”
House's statement stung much worse than the slap to Wilson's face. Wilson was hurt deeply; he only wanted House to be safe! He opened his mouth, closed it again until he finally choked out, “Fine!”
Wilson was barely able to see anything through the veil of unshed tears as he fled the apartment.
House didn't show up at work, instead he called in sick. It wasn't even a lie because he actually felt sick. He was … jumbled, to put it mildly. There were too many emotions he had to deal with all at once. The pain in his leg made itself noticeable again with a vengeance, reducing House to a gasping copy of himself. He took more Vicodin pills than was advisable but didn't really care. When the pain was at a high but somewhat bearable level he ran himself a bath.
The hot water helped to loosen the cramps and he relaxed at least a bit. That was when realization set in - slowly but incessantly. Realization of all the things he had seen during the last twelve hours and of all the things he had heard. Maybe he was hallucinating or had been involved in an accident and was now in a coma? House looked over to the still dirty clothes, piled in a messy heap on the bathroom floor. No, the evidence was there lying on the floor!
Yet, everything seemed so surreal. James Wilson was some kind of a wizard. That's what Wilson had said and it had been proven through his actions. House frowned; it came to his mind that maybe Wilson had used magic to make the stake disappear at the cemetery, to get House away from the truth. So Wilson had tried to mislead House more than once. House thought that he shouldn't blame Wilson for attempting to hide his special abilities from him but he did. It bothered him to no end.
After the bath and simmering with rage for a few hours House decided that they needed to talk. He didn't know what they were supposed to talk about exactly, he simply longed to see Wilson and talk to him. He tried to call Wilson in his office and on his cell-phone, even paged him, but got no response. When he nearly choked on the sandwich he had made himself as dinner he surrendered to his curiosity and called Chase to confirm that Wilson was at work. Indeed, Wilson was working and therefore House knew that Wilson was ignoring his calls.
“Fine, he can try to ignore and avoid me but it's not going to work!” House ranted. He sulked and fueled the fire of his anger even more during the evening. At nine he hauled himself up from the sofa and tried to call Wilson for the hundredth time. Wilson didn't pick up which didn't really come as a surprise. House took his jacket and left his apartment in an emotionally over stimulated state. He assured himself that he was mainly going to the hotel because he had paid the room in advance for two more days and shouldn't squander his money.
House knocked on Wilson's door at the hotel but didn't get an answer. At first he thought that maybe Wilson wasn't there but heard the low muted TV turned off completely. With fierce determination he kept rapping at the door. After ten minutes a neighbor peeked out of his door but quickly retreated when House glared at him. Almost twenty minutes later the first neighbors started to complain. It took Wilson another ten minutes before he opened the door, a deep shade of red coloring his cheeks. He hissed in a low voice, “House! Go home!”
“But dear, I want to talk. Just give me one last chance,” House whined, loud enough for everyone to hear. He even put on his best puppy dog eyes-look which always looked a tad ridiculous on him. Wilson flushed with a more crimson shade of red and cringed at the term of endearment House had used. He tried to hide his embarrassment by ducking his head while sucking in his lower lip. When House discovered that Wilson was still not budging an inch and inviting him in, he continued with an exaggerated despair in his voice, “Oh please, dear!”
Wilson hid his face behind his palms, wanting to tell House to just fuck off but his throat was too constricted with utter humiliation to get a single word out. He peeked out behind the shield of his hands when an elderly woman walked over to them, laid a hand on Wilson's shoulder and earnestly told him, “Whatever he has done, you should at least listen to him. This would be good for you both and for all the other hotel-guests too.”
She smiled warmly at Wilson and then at House. At House she added, “You're either very brave or very desperate. Whatever it is, go and fix it. You have gotten yourself a good catch, don't give up.”
She patted House on the shoulder who stared at her in bewilderment, especially when she gave him a push into Wilson's direction. Wilson gave in and snarled, “Sure, hon, et's go inside and see what you have to tell me.”
A triumphant House followed Wilson into the room and sat down on the bed. The smugness waned and he demanded, “I want to know some things. Preferably the truth. Without you using magic against me.”
All the lines including accusations like “How dare you embarrass me like that?” vanished from Wilson's brain and left him in a state of high embarrassment, shame and guilt. He shuffled his feet nervously and carded his hands through his hair, ruffling it thoroughly. Hesitantly he looked over to House and closed his eyes for a short moment in defeat. One hand rubbed his neck and with a pained expression on his face he said, “It is dangerous to have knowledge about the … magical elements in this world.”
Inwardly he begged House to understand and not press this topic further on. He got his wish but in a rather unexpected way as House growled, “If I ever catch you trying to use magic against me again I'll bend you over my knee!”
“Oh please!” Wilson scoffed while he threw his hands in the air in an exasperated gesture. “I'm stronger and much more agile than you. And I can always outrun you!”
“That … wasn't very nice to say,” House replied in a soft voice.
It had the desired effect as Wilson started and looked abashed. Nonetheless Wilson said, “House! This is not a game! Vampires, wizards, witches and other magical creatures won't be intimidated by your sarcasm or wittiness. They won't give a shit about you being crippled. If they need – or want – they'll kill you without reluctance!”
The damn silence was back again, outstretching and leaving them both with a very uncomfortable feeling. House averted his eyes, he didn't like to be reminded of his condition, didn't want to be seen as weak. And it hurt to hear Wilson talking about him as a cripple, regardless of how often he used this phrase himself. Despite of all this he longed to know more, to be a part of this unknown section of Wilson's life.
Finally he muttered, “Than explain it to me. So that I can understand why it is dangerous and why I need to be careful.”
House patted on a spot on the bed next to him to emphasize for Wilson to sit down. Wilson eyed the spot cautiously, obviously fighting with himself. He straightened up and took a deep breath before he walked over to House and sat down beside him. Wilson fiddled with his fingers on his lap, then asked smoothly, “What do you want to know?”
House collected his thoughts and asked, “If you're not a vampire hunter, why were you in the graveyard chasing and killing them?”
“I'm searching for a book.”
“You were searching a book. In a cemetery. At night,” House prompted.
Wilson rolled his eyes, “No! I mean, I was supposed to meet someone there who had information about the whereabouts of this book.”
“And … you need this book because there's a spell written in it that will erase all evilness from the earth,” House suggested.
Wilson laughed out loud and looked directly at House, “That would be awesome! But no. It's a magic book with special spells written down in it though.” He hesitated shortly before he added, “Do you really want to know the background story? It is a long and boring one.”
House shrugged with his shoulders before he answered, “We could order something from the room service. Your treat.”
“Isn't it always?” Wilson retorted but smiled.
House smiled back and observed Wilson while he dialed and gave up their orders. Wilson was wearing casual clothes which was a rare sight, even for House. He liked the casual look much more on Wilson than his “I'm all grown-up and serious' look”. The thin long-sleeved shirt was tucked into the jeans and accentuated the slender waist. House's gaze wandered southwards from the waist to the crotch and got stuck there. Wilson put the receiver down on the cradle and House's head snapped up. He reminded himself to think of other things than Wilson's appearance.
While they waited for the food to arrive they joked about Cuddy's new secretary, ignoring the tension that lingered in the air.
They more or less ate in silence, both of them lost in thoughts. Eventually House prompted, “Now tell me the long and boring story.”
Wilson fidgeted for a while and bit his lower lip in a nervous gesture before he admitted, “I … I don't know where to start.”
House put the trash from their meal aside and dumped it to the floor. Wilson followed his example and helped him. Afterwards House scooted up to the headboard of the bed, stuck a pillow behind his back and leaned against it. Wilson crawled to the middle of the bed, sat down cross-legged but kept a safety-space between them. House prompted again, “The book. Why is it important?”
“This book contains special spells. These spells can be used against a special type of, um, evil wizard. He's called The Evilarc.”
“Evil wizard as in Voldemort from Harry Potter?” House asked incredulously.
“Did you seriously read the books?” Wilson countered. A smug smile formed on his face as House began to squirm a bit.
House scowled at him and tried to hide his embarrassment rather badly. “I … listened to the audio books but that's not the point! Don't try to distract me!”
Wilson sighed, so much for that tactic. Sincerely he answered, “I always thought of the Evilarc more as a 'Darth Vader' copy. Every 340 years on solstice a new Evilarc is born. He usually lives undiscovered until his powers are triggered on his 25th birthday. The empathic people sense when The Evilarc is triggered and inform the magic society. He must be found before he turns 40. At his 40th birthday he'll gain full access to his powers. And … and that is a lot. According to the books and tales, of course.”
House gawked and finally croaked out, “That sounds … really fantastic. And weird.”
“You wanted to know.”
House took in a deep breath and shook his head in an attempt at clearing it. “O-okay. I got it. The world is in danger every now and then. How do you fit into this scenario and what about the book?”
Wilson answered slowly, unsure of how much he should tell House. Wilson knew that House shouldn't know everything but somehow he couldn't help himself – he simply had to tell House. “The Evilarc can only be, uh, eliminated with a special spell from that special book. We call the book 'The Rescuer'.”
“How fitting!” House chimed in. “Why do have to search for that book? A safe would be a good place for it if it's that precious.”
“Every time one of those Evilarcs is vanquished from the earth the book vanishes.”
House frowned and when he got no further explanation he said, “Back to my other question. How do you fit into this scenario?”
“I am what we call a seeker and The Rescuer can only be found by seekers. Within the group of seekers only the ones who are part of, um, a special pair have the ability to read it.” Wilson started to squirm and dropped his head into his hands to hide his burning cheeks.
“You're a seeker. Alright. And maybe part of a special pair. Okay. Care to explain?” House inquired further on. He was definitely intrigued by Wilson's squeamishness regarding this subject.
Wilson sighed deeply, rubbed his hands over his face, then let them slide to his lap. He looked at House, embarrassment clearly written all over his face, fighting with his inner demons. He began to talk despite the knowledge that it couldn't do them any good. “It was passed down that, as a counterpart to The Evilarc and the evilness he'll let loose on the world, there will also be a pair bonded in, uh, deep love. Said pair consists of a normal person and a powerful magic user. The magic user from this pair is the only one who will be able to read the spell and execute it correctly.”
“Wow! So, you're not just jumping from one relationship to another because you have fidelity issues, you're searching for your other half! That makes sense.” House teased Wilson. It was the only way for him to deal with this information.
Wilson grimaced and the bright shining spots on his cheeks reappeared. “I … don't know if I'm one half of this bonded pair. Every seeker can be the one and we're 340. Well, we were 340; I think we're reduced to 231.”
“What's up with the number 340?” House asked while the information Wilson had given him sunk deeper into his heart. It ached and stumbled through the next beats until it returned to a steady but fast pace of beating.
“Dunno. There are always 340 seekers born around the birth of the 'Darth Vader' copy. Usually the first seekers are born 10 years before the birth and the last ones are born about 5 years after it. I'm one of the last ones.” Wilson shrugged his shoulders, still feeling uncomfortable about telling House so much.
Wilson didn't like the idea of being part of this bonded pair. The sex-part of this bonding sounded pretty awesome if the records were any indicator but he didn't want to have the responsibility of eliminating The Evilarc. It was a scary thought! That the magic user had to be on the receiving end during the first sexual encounter to receive the seed of the 'normal' person didn't help him to feel more at ease regarding this subject. Since it was written down that the 'normal' person was always a man this would force him to be on the receiving end and-
Wilson stopped his mulling abruptly and decided that he wasn't the magical half of this pair.
He knew that there had been at least two other pairs that consisted of two men but as much as he had liked to have sex with other men during his college years he wasn't very keen on repeating the experience of being on the bottom. He had once trusted and made himself vulnerable to another man and it didn't end well, to say the least.
He shook his head and blinked when House called his name again. “Wilson! Don't space out here! What did you mean with you're reduced? And by the way, that whole story doesn't sound boring – at all!”
“Sorry, got lost in my own thoughts. Um, The Evilarc is not alone. Like the seekers there are others born or transformed around the birth of The Evilarc, although they outnumber the seekers greatly. The vampires that chased me yesterday were some of his companions. They protect him and help him to get the book before the chosen seeker finds it. They have no idea who we are but know that we are concentrated in and around Princeton. They collect information and try to lure us out into the open.” Wilson paused shortly, then continued. “They must have gotten wind of me meeting that librarian.”
Wilson shrugged his shoulders again when he gave his answer. He tried his best to ignore the danger that emanated from The Evilarc; that he was permitted to be hunted simply because he was a seeker. He couldn't show any weakness, he had to be strong – always. Sometimes he wished he simply could allow himself to let go, to be held and caressed and just feel safe and secure. Yeah, dream on!
House sensed Wilson's inner turmoil though he himself was pretty jumbled. He didn't want to think about Wilson being in danger; he wanted him to be unharmed. Yet, Wilson didn't need to see him worry. House stared at Wilson for a moment and was irritated that his voice sounded hoarse when he asked, “Why are you concentrated in Princeton?”
“Because the book is here,” Wilson answered as if this was obvious and naturally.
“And you know that because?”
“I just know it. I think it comes into existence when and where The Evilarc is born. Just like all of the seekers happen to live in and around Princeton.”
“That's … very cryptic,” House admitted.
Another silence stretched out between them, another one of these uncomfortable silences. Wilson fiddled around with some loose threads of the comforter but held his eyes downcast. He was waiting for House to tease him mercilessly or get angry or … he didn't know what his expectations were. Wilson chided himself – he shouldn't have told House all this; he was in danger anyway because he was a friend of Wilson's. Yet, Wilson had never been able to push House away from him despite the knowledge that he was a potential danger to House's safety. He was drawn to House like a bee to the odor of a flower, not able to withstand the wooing.
House had more trouble comprehending everything than he showed. There were still many things unsaid, bothering him greatly. “What happens if this special seeker doesn't find the other half of that chosen pair? Or is this impossible because no matter what they always end up together as they do in all the badly written romances?”
Wilson's head snapped up and he asked, “Don't tell me that you're reading romances!”
“Of course not! But this cliché is also applied to romantic movies,” House groused and hushed Wilson before he could interrupt him. “Even I had to watch some incredibly bad movies to please Stacy. Well, more to mellow her and then drag her to my bed.”
Wilson chuckled as he imagined House watching a crappy romantic movie, surely being annoyed and bored like hell. He tried to hide the big grin on his face behind his palm but the showing off of his dimples betrayed him. House pointed at him with an accusing look on his face, “I know what you're thinking!”
Wilson started to laugh and House joined him shortly after. The laughter felt good and relieved some of the pent-up tension. House sobered up quickly when the laughter had subsided and he repeated his question, “So, what happens if this special seeker doesn't find the other half of the pair?”
“Then the power of The Evilarc will blossom and no one can oppose it. Last time this happened The Evilarc conjured up the plague in London in 1665 where over 100,000 people died.”
“But … you said the seeker didn't find the other half of his pair and … the plague vanished,” House stated confused.
“Fortunately The Evilarc is not immortal. He is a lot healthier and has a longer life-expectancy but eventually he dies. The Evilarc from 1665 was a dumb one. He conjured the plague onto London and two days later he was dead because he himself got infected,” Wilson explained with an accompanying eye-roll.
“He was able to conjure up the plague but couldn't protect himself from getting it? That's … weird.”
“You tell me. I don't know why it happened like this. But there are a lot of things I don't understand and I gave up on trying. It's frustrating though,” Wilson confessed.
“Okay. Let's pretend you find the book, what happens next?”
“I hope that I don't get killed before I'm able to contact the other seekers. We're hoping for some kind of epiphany as soon as anyone of us finds the book. I don't have a clue to the aftermath and I would be glad if I could hand the book to the rightful seeker so he can do his job. He or she will execute the spell, The Evilarc will be eliminated and we all can live happily ever after.”
Quietly House asked, “And if you're that special seeker?
“I am not!” Wilson almost shouted before he hastily scrambled off the bed. He straightened up and said in a patronizing manner, “Now that you know everything, you can go home and I can get some sleep.”
House was taken aback. Wilson's demeanor had changed rather abruptly, leaving him gawking. Just as he was about to tell Wilson that he planned to stay in his hotel-room he discovered Wilson nervously glancing at the clock on the wall. House was gnashing his teeth, knowing that Wilson was up to something and simply wanted to shoo him out.
“Okay,” he replied calmly. “But if I have more questions you'll answer them, right?”
“Sure,” Wilson lied. He was in dire need to find a way to execute this amnesia spell without House noticing – too bad that it only worked when they both were only a few steps apart.
House got up from the bed, wincing as searing sparks of pain rushed through his leg. He didn't want to beg Wilson for it but he also couldn't forget the relief Wilson's hands had provided yesterday. “That … that thing you did yesterday … with your hands on my leg – that … was good.” He looked at Wilson, permitting hope to show in his eyes, hoping for Wilson to understand.
Wilson responded with a mixture of guilt and abashment, “Do you want me to repeat it? When you, uh, fell to the floor earlier today … did … did it hurt much?”
House thought that the correct term of use would be 'being shoved and then falling to the floor' but semantics wouldn't bring him near his goal. He answered with a quiet, “Yes.”
Wilson swallowed hard, shame colored his cheeks again as he beckoned House over to lie down on the bed again. It took him only a few minutes to mute the pain to an imperceptible state, eliciting a blissful expression on House's face.
Finally he was able to shoo House out of his room, all the while checking his watch.
House got in the elevator and rode downstairs, then immediately searched for a good hiding place where he could easily keep an eye on the back door without being seen. He had to wait for less than ten minutes before Wilson quietly slipped out the door, wearing dark clothes and a long jacket with oversized pockets. House desperately hoped that Wilson wasn't going to hunt vampires again.
He left a big gap between them as he followed Wilson. Although it wasn't his intention to keep up the distance rather than Wilson walking fast. House was more than grateful the pain in his leg was dulled; otherwise he would never have been able to follow Wilson.
From the distance House observed more details, how taut Wilson's neck and face muscles seemed to be. His whole body language exuded tension and alertness, causing House to tense up in anxious sympathy. House frowned when he discovered Wilson's left hand was clutching tightly at something in his left jacket-pocket. From the shape it definitely looked like a stake. House coerced his breathing to a normal rate though he was tempted to turn on his heels and make himself comfortable in front of the TV and munch some chips. Yet, here he was, proving whatever to himself and following his best friend whom he's had a major crush on since forever. Damn! Where did that thought come from?
House's annoyance at his train of thought was interrupted when he groaned in exasperation as the destination of Wilson's trip leaped into House's view. The graveyard. Again.
The anxiety that had slumbered in the depth of his stomach awakened with a shrill scream, turning into open fear. House needed to take some very deep breaths in and out to get his breathing back under control. Stubbornly he set his jaw and assured himself that he was not weak, didn't need protection and for heaven's sake - he was not scared shitless. Despite that he was – and he knew that fact all too well.
He had to coerce his legs into cooperation and at first it seemed as if they would deny him their service completely. Finally he took the first step and then another. It didn't get any easier with each step but it was way easier to keep up the motion after he started.
House had lost valuable time as he struggled with his breathing and his legs. When he eventually slipped through the gate of the cemetery he merely caught a glimpse of Wilson disappearing behind some large tombs. The tombs just happened to be close to yesterday's fighting place, leaving House with a queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.
House walked on, ignoring the unnatural silence around him and every bit of commonsense that yelled at him to get the fuck out of here! When he had gone half the way to the tombs the silence was broken by an anguished scream, causing House's blood to freeze in his veins. Noise exploded and House recognized dumbly that his cane was shaking because the hand that held it was shaking too.
In addition to his blood being curdled every other part of his body was frozen and his feet were glued to his current standing position. His heart raced and stumbled; fear had a tight lock around his chest, strapping his ribs tightly together, constricting his breathing. He was actually aware that he was hyperventilating and hoped desperately for this to be a nightmare. That hope was shattered when he heard a woman shout, “Run, James!”
House was certain that he was going to faint when indeed Wilson appeared in his view, sprinting into his direction, cradling something small to his chest. Wilson looked back and promptly stumbled. House wanted to yell at him for being that careless but Wilson was already on his knees when a tormented scream tore the silence again. House watched Wilson flinch and press his hands over his ears; his chalky-white face glittered with flowing streams of tears in the moonlight.
The scream probably came from the woman who had told Wilson to leg it and House wished Wilson would obey that command. House heard himself giving a choked sob when he discovered the first man out of a huge pack of men going after Wilson. Wilson must have sensed something too as he spun around, saw the man, immediately turned back and finally began to struggle to his feet before he ran again.
House was still shocked and unable to move. He gawked at Wilson and his chaser, feeling nauseous and lightheaded. He was still gulping hard but the straps around his ribcage weren't loosening up. At that moment Wilson discovered House and his eyes widened in shock. House wasn't sure what Wilson was murmuring but he seemed to use some rather astonishing expletives. Not that it would be any helpful for House to know Wilson's exact words in their momentary situation.
However impossible it might sound, in one second Wilson was sprinting towards him and in the next he stood at House's side, pressing a small book into his hand.
“House, we have to be quick. Listen carefully. I'll send you back to your apartment now. Don't go out – you're safe there because of the protection spell I used. Someone will come and get the book,” Wilson stopped here because he needed to take a shaky breath in. “Please, don't search for me! I'll come to your place if I survive this.”
None of Wilson's words made sense to House so he started, “Wait! Wh-.”
He was cut off and gasped in fear and surprise as the world dissolved around him and he was enveloped into blackness. His heart thud violently in his chest; he held his eyes open, hoping to see something in the surrounding blackness. Suddenly the blackness cleared and the feeling of falling from a great height caused him to panic.
He panted heavily when he became aware of his surroundings. He was sitting on his sofa, in his own apartment, holding an ugly, old small book in his hands, wheezing. He jumped up, winced as a sudden bolt of pain rushed through his leg but kept on limping to the door. He was frozen to the spot when a loud roar vibrated through his apartment. He looked around in terror. The volume changed to a more tolerable level and he could swear that he heard someone panting, accompanied by running footsteps. He flinched as he heard Wilson's voice as clearly as if he was standing directly at his side, “HOUSE! Stay in your apartment! It's safe there! You-”
The sentence was cut off by a painful yelp, causing House to shudder. Then he heard nothing more, the connection – or whatever it had been – was broken. House waited for a minute, then another one and another one. He lost track of how long he stood in his spot motionless, perking up his ears to catch even the slightest hint of Wilson's voice. He was torn between the urge to run out of his apartment to find and help Wilson and the impulse to simply obey Wilson's demand.
Slowly his mind started to sort through the things he experienced in the last minutes. How in the hell did Wilson get him here? Was it some kind of beaming like in 'Star Trek'? All the references to TV shows caused him to cringe but he couldn't come up with a better explanation. Didn't Wilson say something about his brother being able to teleport? Of course he forgot to mention that he was blessed with the same ability! Why didn't he teleport himself too? How would anyone know where the book is now? House looked at the small book in his hands; bile was rising and anger flared up until he threw the book across the room with a furious yell. It fell to the floor near his piano and all House could do was stare at it in disgust.
Tiredly he rubbed with his hands over his face. Slowly and heavily he leaned on his cane , then walked back to the sofa and lowered himself onto it. He felt drained and on the verge of crying but didn't give in – not yet. One thing he was sure of – Wilson was in danger and he couldn't do anything to help him. And all that because of a fucking book!
Wilson's last words at the cemetery floated through his mind over and over again, “Please, don't search for me! I'll come to your place if I survive this.” Wilson wasn't sure if he was going to survive and House felt a big part of his heart aching. If he was honest with himself it wasn't only a big part rather than all of it and it didn't simply ache. It raced, then skipped a beat or two, raced further on, causing him to think he was having a heart attack. He pressed his hands against his heart, rocking his upper torso slowly back and forth to calm himself down. It also had the benefit of giving him something to do. Something different than choking on his own terrified sobs which escaped his mouth despite all his efforts to keep them in.
The clock ticked, antagonizing slow, laughing at his despair. House could only wait and so he did exactly that. His eyes were glued to the cruel hands of the clock as they moved on while Wilson was nowhere to be seen.
Two hours later House was at the end of his tether. Wilson hadn't shown up but he refused to think of the possibility that Wilson was dead. It couldn't be, he was sure he'd be aware if Wilson was no longer with him. Sourly he scolded himself for this stupid thought – of course it was only his inner desire for Wilson's well-being.
He had been sitting on his sofa quietly – if you don't count the sobs - for the last two hours, frozen to a standstill. He blinked, then laboredly hauled himself up to his feet and limped over to the ugly book. He glared at it before he finally bent down with a pained hiss and picked it up. He thumbed through it but couldn't understand anything because it was written in a language he didn't know. Probably a European language but one he wasn't skilled in. The book seemed to be pretty harmless, though House couldn't really say considering that he didn't have a fucking clue to the content. He squashed the impulse to throw it again – instead he started to carry it over to the coffee table.
Suddenly House's hair stood on end as some kind of electric tension built up around him, causing House to drop the book to the floor as Wilson materialized out of nowhere. House gasped; about what exactly he didn't know. Maybe because of the tension and Wilson's sudden arrival. Maybe because of Wilson's appearance – he looked ruffled, a long gash covered his forehead above his right eye and his clothes were torn in several places.
Both men began to walk to each other simultaneously, relief and gratefulness at being alive showing clearly on their faces. Finally they were standing right in front of each other, none of them sure how to cope with this situation when Wilson suddenly hiccuped. House gave in to the overwhelming desire to cradle Wilson in his arms. He spread them and invited Wilson in.
Wilson didn't waste time and with another hiccup flung his arms around House's neck while House pulled him close to his chest, hugging him and blabbing nonsense. They didn't see the golden streaks of pulsating energy building up around them, weaving a web-like pattern. They did however realize that House's hands were resting on Wilson's butt all of a sudden whereas Wilson's hands were tangled in House's hair. The most interesting part was that they were exchanging kisses; open-mouthed, tongue-included, wonderful kisses. It seemed to be the most natural thing to do.
They didn't speak, the only noises came from the smacking sounds their lips made, interrupted by occasional sighs and soft moans. In silent agreement they shuffled in the direction of House's bedroom, never losing the contact between them. House got rid of Wilson's torn shirt and roamed his hands over Wilson's naked torso. His hands tingled immediately and his eyes widened. In awe he watched little sparks of energy bustling where his hands touched Wilson's skin. The younger man shuddered and whimpered before he suddenly tore at House's shirt. He gave a frustrated mewl when it clung to House's body, denying him the desired skin-on-skin contact. House chuckled breathlessly, then pulled it over his head and threw it carelessly to the floor.
Eagerly they pulled at each other, groaning as their bare upper bodies touched. A variety of multi-colored sparks ignited between them, joining the increasing pattern of energy-lines surrounding them, adding a glittering quality to it.
They jumped in each other's arms when a big bang resounded next to them. They stayed in their embrace but searched for the noise in bewilderment, their hearts beating fast. The small ugly book levitated, strands of golden lights interwove around it until no gap was left. Seconds later the interwoven net flashed up brightly and the book had changed its appearance. It was now folded into an indigo-blue velvet cover; silvery letters were embroidered giving it a majestic look.
Wilson couldn't hinder a whimper from escaping his mouth as his worst fear became true. The book revealed itself to the chosen seeker. Dizziness, exhaustion and understanding took its toll on Wilson, causing his legs to buckle.
House wasn't slow on the uptake either. Many emotions fought within him - hurt, surprise, fear and sorrow were only a few of them. “So, you are the chosen one. Guess you need to find your other half then.” He pushed lightly against Wilson's shoulders thinking he'd gotten so close to what he'd always wanted. Clearing his throat he tried not to show his despair.
Wilson blinked before he replied softly, “Did you lose your diagnostic skills somewhere? YOU are my other half.”
House stiffened in Wilson's arms, then stared at him. Wilson began to feel awkward after a minute and nervously licked his lips. Very slowly a small smile tugged at the corner of House's mouth, pulling his lips upwards. “Didn't you say something about a bonded pair? Do we have to perform a certain ritual, like exchanging some droplets of blood to achieve a blood brotherhood?”
Wilson shook his head, tittering a bit. He also blushed rather furiously and hastily rested his head against House's chest, trying to hide his embarrassment. “The bonding happens through sex,” he mumbled.
Wilson flinched when House quipped, “Sex? Seriously? Is there something special expected?”
Wilson swore that he could feel House grin like a mad man while he ducked his head even more in embarrassment. “You … you have, um, you should …,” he trailed off, scolding himself for acting like a chicken.
“What? Blow you? Fuck you?”
“Fuck me,” Wilson whispered. He trembled all over now and House was too stunned to speak or come up with a witty reply.
“Uh, that's … unexpected. Don't know if I have all the required supplies on hand. It has been a while for me.”
“We … we just need some, um, kind of lube. I … I have,” Wilson cut himself off and let out a shaky breath. He straightened up and looked at House as he continued, “I need to absorb your seed with my body. Then the bonding will be complete. Only then will I be able to read the book.”
House had to give Wilson credit for not squeaking or running away. Only the purple color on his cheeks gave away how much this admission had cost Wilson. As soon as House tilted his head a tad and kissed Wilson again the slowly rotating streaks of energy around them picked up the pace. As if a button was pushed they continued their way to House's bedroom, losing the rest of their clothes in record time. There were still thousands of questions bouncing around in House's head but for now he pushed them aside.
Somehow they managed to crawl on the bed with Wilson straddling House above his waist. Wilson couldn't stop the trembling and the goosebumps rising all over his body, he couldn't concentrate on one single feeling. He seemed to feel every possible emotion a human being could be capable of all at once. He was gasping and trailing kisses along House's jaw, chafing his lips at his stubble while House prepared him carefully. It had been a long time, a very long time, since Wilson was on the bottom and he'd feel much better if his body didn't show his emotional turmoil that openly.
He craned his head to hide his face in the crook of House's neck but House tugged at his hair and eventually cupped his face between his hands. He coerced Wilson into looking at him. Wilson gulped and blinked whereas House searched for an answer, “Did you ever do this before?”
“Yes, but it was a long time ago and I … I …,” he trailed off while thinking “And I want to trust you. I want your permission to be vulnerable and not as strong as all the magic-crap seems to make me. I want to be held, want to feel secure in your arms but I'm scared.”
The strands of energy around them picked up the pace even more, tightening and plugging up the holes. The web of energy was finally woven entirely as soon as House was completely sheathed in Wilson. It was awkward and it hurt a bit for Wilson but they managed. Suddenly House said softly, “I got you. You're safe, trust me.”
And Wilson did. He relaxed, allowing House to guide him with his hands on his hipbones. Wilson rolled his hips slowly in small circles, getting used to the feeling of House moving inside him. All restraint went to hell when House hit Wilson's prostate gland for the first time, causing Wilson to gasp and clench his butt muscles around House's length. A yelled “Fuck!” from House and they were moving in sharp, hard up-and-down motions, groaning and loving each second of it.
The web around them threw beams of different colored lights, each one shining more brightly than the one before. It exploded with a soft 'Plop', emitting multi-colored sparks when House's climax hit him, plunging deeply into Wilson and emptying himself. The sensation within him and around him took Wilson over the edge too. He cried out House's name, shocked by the intensity of his orgasm. When he came back from his endorphine rush he focused on House's face. Pleasure still rippled through his body, shaking it and causing his and House's muscles to quiver. They were sweaty all over, drained beyond belief but feeling more alive than ever before. Before Wilson draped himself over House they smiled at each other, telling each other without words exactly how they felt for each other.
The explosion of the energy-web around them didn't go unnoticed. All Empaths gasped in surprise and relief, knowing that the bonding of the special pair was done.
Not only had the Empaths noticed the bonding but also The Evilarc and his companions. They hissed in anger, disgust and … fear.