Notes: Thanks go to Caro for the beta, but I take full
responsibility for this bit of silliness.
"House. House are you there?"
From his bed of misery, House heard his front door slam and Wilson's
footsteps in his living room. He'd feared the repeated phone calls
(which he'd carefully *not* answered) meant a visit was imminent.
"Go away," he shouted, but Wilson's head popped into the bedroom
"Hey," he said in the cheerily smug manner of the non-congested. "So
you are here. Don't go anywhere. I'll be right back."
"Do you break in often when you think I'm not home?" House called after
When Wilson returned he was carrying a tray with a steaming bowl of
soup, a glass of water, a napkin, a spoon and even a few saltines on
it. He looked sickeningly domestic.
"Are you practicing for some kind of a Donna Reed Show revival?" House
asked, "Cause you're going to need some sweater kittens and a string of
Wilson was obviously in one of his determined to be unflappable moods
because he just smiled indulgently and said, "That's funny. Here." He
put the tray down across House's lap. "Eat this."
"What's is it?"
"I'm not hungry." House crossed his arms and looked stubbornly at the
"Of course you're hungry. You left work before lunch, and judging by
that incredibly unsanitary tissue mountain, you haven't moved from the
bed since. Now eat your soup."
"I have hay fever not a cold, you idiot. If you're so desperate to play
Florence Nightingale I'm sure you can find someone to indulge you. Like
one of your nurse girlfriends."
Wilson gritted his teeth and smiled a little wider. "Okay, you want me
to leave. I get it. But I went to a lot of trouble to get you this
soup, and I'm not going anywhere until you at least try it. So you can
either cooperate to get rid of me or sit here arguing with me all
night. It's your choice." With that Wilson threw himself down in the
arm chair in the corner of House's bedroom and crossed his arms,
mirroring House's pose.
That wasn't really much of a threat. Wilson's nagging was annoying, but
he was a better distraction than television and more challenging than
any of House's video games. And, while as a rule House's misery did not
love company, Wilson was the exception. Sort of.
Still, House was worried that if he kept up his stubbornness Wilson
might try making the spoon a choo choo train or something equally
humiliating. And in truth, he was quite hungry. "Fine," he grumbled,
"if it's what it takes to get rid of you."
He sipped experimentally at the hot soup and made a face. "Before you
say anything nasty," Wilson raised a warning finger, "I should inform
you that this is my Bubbe's special recipe and insulting a man's Bubbe
is a hanging offense."
"I'd hate to insult Bubbe except that you're lying." House grinned. He
loved catching Wilson in a lie. "There's no way Bubbe made this for me.
Bubbe hates me."
"Yes, well, most Jewish grandmas don't take too kindly to anyone
calling their perfect, doctor grandson an 'incompetent, bumbling
"That's not fair. I didn't say you were an 'incompetent, bumbling
boob.' I said you were a-a-a-ah" House looked up at the ceiling,
grimaced and shook his head when no sneeze came out. "Acting. I said
you were acting like an incompetent bumbling boob because you were."
"It was my wedding. I was nervous."
"Yes, rightfully so," House muttered.
Wilson cleared his throat noncommittally. "Just eat your soup."
"No. Not until you tell me where you got it."
"I did tell you. My grandmother made it."
"Not for me she didn't. How did you get it? Did you fake sick? Did you
lie?" Wilson looked flustered. "You did, didn't you? You lied to Bubbe."
"No, I—" Wilson stammered.
"Wilson lied to Bubbe, Wilson lied to Bubbe," House taunted him.
"I didn't lie. I asked her to make a pot of soup for Julie, and I am
going to bring the rest home for her. Her hay fever is acting up too.
Although she's not nearly as whiny about it," he added.
House did eat the soup. Even though he couldn't taste much beyond fatty
and salty the hot liquid felt good sliding down his raw throat.
Good enough that he asked for a second and then a third bowl and wound
up accidentally finishing it all off.
"There's still one thing I don't get," House said after the final
"I already took the case."
"I know you did."
House narrowed his eyes, "So what else is it you want?"
"Why do I have to want something? Why can't I just be being nice?"
"Weren't you the one who told me that people are only nice to get
things from each other?"
"I was putting forth an argument you'd respond to."
"Sure you were."
"Fine. Maybe I want you to put more effort into the case, then. Or
maybe this is some kind of insurance nice gesture so that the next time
I ask for a favor I'll have already done my nice thing, and I won't
have to waste time scratching your back before you scratch mine. Or
maybe, just maybe, it all has to do with this wacky concept called
'friendship' that some of us lower life forms subscribe to."
Wilson's problem was that he was a pathologically insincere person who
hated to have his sincerity questioned. If House had more energy maybe
he'd point that out, but he didn't so he just rolled his eyes and said,
"Oh don't have a hissy fit; you'll strain something." Wilson frowned at
him, but didn't try to continue the argument. "Go make us some popcorn. The O.C. starts in ten minutes."
"Can't. I have to get home." Wilson stood, and fished his keys out of
"Oh, right." House dabbed at his nose with the nearest wad of tissues.
"Sorry I ate all of Julie's soup."
"No you're not."
Wilson stepped forward and placed his hand across House's forehead.
House had time to register that Wilson's skin felt cool and smooth, and
that his head fit perfectly into the curve of his palm like a puzzle
piece, before he jerked away from the touch to squint up at Wilson.
"Are you sure you're even a doctor? I have all-er-gies. Allergies are not an
infection. No infection means no fever."
Wilson's hands went to his hips. "I was just checking. You could have
allergies and an infection, you know."
"Well, I don't." House was feeling sullen again. He blew his nose with
a loud honking sound and adjusted his covers. When he looked up Wilson
hadn't moved. "I thought you were leaving."
"I thought you wanted me to stay and watch The O.C. with you."
"No," House felt a strong flare of irritation in his chest. "I wanted
you to stay and make popcorn for me."
Wilson pursed his lips. "I suppose that would only take a few more
minutes." He put his keys away.
"Wilson," House called out to him just as he reached the door. "I hate
your nursemaid routine."
House couldn't see his face, but he could hear the amusement in
Wilson's voice, "But you'll take the popcorn."
"I already took the case."
Wilson turned to look at House over his shoulder and smiled. "I know."