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Housefic: Fermata

Title: Fermata
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~2k
Genre: Friendship, Pre-slash, Hurt/Comfort
Summary: Just a fluffy little fix-it fic based on House's lovely doomsday speech at the end of 7x01, "Now What".
AN: Still not happy with this, but I'm tired of staring at it so I might as well post it while it's still timely.  First House fic, concrit much appreciated.  
( fermata )

House was tired of being right.

Hadn’t he told her? Hadn’t he, at the very beginning, laid it all out for her: what would happen, how and why? It was elementary, really; history was full of examples. Time and time again, the past superimposed itself upon the present and predicted the future, mixing experiences and memories and expectations until the colours blurred and all that remained was muddy regret and he should have known.

It was her fault, because she had made him hope. But it was his fault for daring to.

It had just seemed, at the time, that if anything was going to work then this would be it. She would be the one. That was how he’d justified the risk to himself. And it still seemed that way, actually, but now that belief only made the inevitable collapse all the harder to bear.

House didn’t exactly have a long history of failed relationships, but he thought that what they lacked in quantity they more than made up for in the quality of heartbreak. Stacy alone accounted for more damage than most people experienced in a lifetime, he was sure. And now…when he had finally dared to lower his barriers again after all these years in one final, kamikaze move, it had backfired. Exactly as predicted.

Sure, at the beginning she had claimed that she didn’t want him to change. But who could really live every day with a person as broken and prickly as he was and not wish for things to be a little different? Cuddy was a manager, she had responsibilities; and more than that, she was a mother. There was only so much of his meddling that her job could take before the hospital imploded and – hadn’t he said it? – he was a crazy choice for a father.

He didn’t blame her for giving up on him, and he only partially blamed her for trying. He was the one who should have known better; hadn’t he seen it coming? Hadn’t he said?

A knock on the door interrupted his depressive spiral, but House ignored it. He already knew who it was, and he had no wish for company right now – maybe not ever again. He was finished; he was done. His last chance for happiness had offered itself up to him on a silver platter, and he had smashed it. He didn’t even have the luxury of dreaming anymore, now that the real thing had blown up in his face. What else was left?

The knocks continued, and then the shouting began, but House knew it would eventually stop. Wilson was only human, after all, and would get tired. And House had duct taped the kitchen window closed long ago.

Wilson’s own relationship with Sam had been even more pathetic than House’s own, and House was still stunned that Wilson had thought it could ever work at all – or he would have been, if he didn’t have so much experience with Wilson’s pathetic hopefulness already. Sam was different than she had been, mature and confident, but Wilson remained the same neediness-needing cheater, and it was doomed from the start. Wilson went through the ritual hotel stay after the breakup, but the fact that he’d eventually resettled back in the condo made House suspect that he hadn’t really expected much from the relationship either.

Sure enough, the noise did eventually cease, but silence fell a lot sooner than House had expected. Before he could even get properly disturbed by this, a horrible sound reached his ears: the scrape of a key in the lock.

He jumped up from his sprawl on the couch, dropping his bottle of whiskey unsteadily onto the table. He was too preoccupied to notice whether it tipped over or not.

“How…?” Full sentences were a bit beyond House, at the moment.

Wilson stepped just far enough inside to close the door behind him, and gave the room a brief once-over before settling to study House, apparently satisfied that he hadn’t gone on a destruction spree quite yet. His face settled into a familiar expression of grave concern as he took in House’s appearance.

“Cuddy,” he finally admitted. “She asked me to return them.” He dangled the spare keys in front of House briefly before slipping them into his pocket.

“So? Return them, and get out.”

Wilson didn’t bother responding to that. Instead he wandered the room and looked around, completing his assessment. House wasn’t sure what he was inspecting so intently since the only things he had moved since hearing Cuddy’s announcement had been himself and whiskey bottle. He had been so committed, so hopeful that he had actually disposed of every last Vicodin pill in his apartment; not that that really mattered, now. Nothing mattered now. As Wilson made his way past the coffee table he stopped to cap the whiskey bottle, and House noted absently that it hadn’t fallen after all.

His unwelcome guest finally settled on the couch beside him, and proved completely indifferent to House’s obvious hostility. He didn’t say anything, either, and for a long while they just sat together in silence. House reached for the whiskey again and Wilson didn’t stop him. The minutes dragged on and eventually the hostility faded and flattened, but no other emotion came to take its place.

“I’m done, Wilson.” House hadn’t intended to speak, but even as the words surprised him he knew they were true. This was it for him. “No more.”

“I know.”

That surprised him too, but House couldn’t be bothered to snap and fight for answers any more. He looked to his right and found Wilson looking as serious as he ever had, about anything.

“I’m not going anywhere, House.”

House didn’t reply, but his mind began to whir. It was true that Wilson hadn’t left yet; but who could predict the future? Wilson wasn’t done; he’d keep looking, keep trying. Who could say he wouldn’t find someone who would put up with him? Who could say he wouldn’t find another House-with-breasts, another Amber? And when he did, House knew he would be shoved back down to second place, because that’s what always happened. He’d done it himself, with Cuddy. Romantic partners always came first.


House tried to ignore him, but Wilson got hold of his shoulders and forcibly turned him to face him. Reluctantly House dragged his eyes up to meet Wilson’s soft brown ones.

“Maybe I’m done too.”

House wasn’t sure what to do with that statement, other than label it a blatant lie and move on. But Wilson still looked disturbingly serious, and House couldn’t quite manage to brush it off. Maybe because he did want it to be true, impossible though it was. He wasn’t sure he would survive the blow he had just received, but he knew he wouldn’t withstand a similar one from Wilson. Maybe, just this once, being gullible was better than knowing the truth.

He nodded once and closed his eyes, wanting Wilson to disappear. He needed to deal with the current disaster and figure out where he stood now; he didn’t need to be worrying about the only other significant relationship in his life at the same time.

“House,” Wilson pushed again, and House wanted to punch him. His lingering apathy convinced him it would be wasted effort and counterproductive to the goal of making Wilson disappear, since the irritating man would probably yelp and flail and generally become even more annoying and House just didn’t need that. When no further prods were forthcoming, House figured Wilson had realized the futility and slowly began to relax.

The silence stretched on, and under its weight House fell into a dreamlike immobility. His world shrunk until nothing existed outside his body, the fabric of the couch where he pressed against it, and the whiskey bottle in his hand. There was no Cuddy, no Wilson, and the longer he stayed still the more he doubted that there was even a him.

And then a foreign warmth settled against his forehead, drawing House back into his body and anchoring him. Slowly, reluctantly, he opened his eyes and found Wilson’s face looming far too close, forehead resting against his own. Brown eyes caught blue, and House couldn’t look away.

“Trust me,” Wilson said, far too close and far too breathily, and even through his haze House realized that proposition was a bit ridiculous. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Since this one-sided conversation was clearly going nowhere, House closed his eyes again and tried to recapture his earlier detachment. Wilson, however, had different ideas. The weight against his forehead disappeared, but moments later a different, softer weight settled against his lips. It took a long moment for House to realize it was a kiss.

His eyes snapped open and found, to his relief, that Wilson was hovering a bit farther away this time. Not much, it was true – the man’s face was still within a foot of his – but it was progress of a sort.

“What…” House had definitely meant to say more than that, but it seemed full sentences were beyond his grasp once again.

“I don’t know,” Wilson said, “but it doesn’t matter. I’m still not going anywhere.”

House blinked at the audacity of that. The guy kisses him and then essentially tells him that rejection is meaningless? Not to mention the timing. “I can’t—”

“You already have.”

House’s mouth actually fell open slightly as he tried to work out just what tangle Wilson’s mind had worked itself into now, for any of that to make sense. Clearly, he didn’t ‘already have’ that sort of relationship with Wilson. He didn’t think he could miss that sort of detail, no matter how busy he’d been.

Wilson seemed to take pity on him. “You don’t have to ‘let me in’ or take a risk on me, House. I’m already in, and I’m not a risk. I’m not going anywhere.”

House stared, the words only slowly sinking in. “So…what? You kissed me to make a point?”

Wilson smiled, but had the decency to look a little guilty. “Yeah. But it can be more than that too, if you want. Eventually.”

House gave him a flat look. “You realize that’s the kind of pick up line that will get you a pat on the head and a visit to a shrink.”

Wilson’s grin widened and he shrugged. “Whatever works. At least you’re talking now.”

And that was true. Actually, House had felt almost like himself there, for a minute. Well, his preoccupied-with-Wilson self, but considering how much of his daily life he spent in that state, there was hardly a difference. Now it was all coming back, Cuddy and her unfulfilled expectations and his shattered hopes, but Wilson’s hand was on his shoulder and it all didn’t seem quite as bad as before.

But it was still pretty fucking awful.

With a superhuman effort of will, House set the whiskey bottle down on the table, making sure it didn’t fall. He looked at Wilson, really looked at him. The oncologist still had his hand on House’s shoulder and seemed to be trying to convey his reliability with an unwavering, unblinking stare. Honestly, House thought it was a bit creepy, and that Wilson’s eyes were probably drying out.

Still. If Wilson was lying right now, House couldn’t tell. And it was true that Wilson had stuck by him through betrayals that should have had the most loyal friend screaming for the hills. He’d driven other people away with far less. If anyone had seen House at his worst, it had definitely been Wilson. He still wasn’t quite sure what that kiss had meant, but he knew he could do a lot worse than to try and figure it out. And maybe he could trust Wilson not to abandon him when things inevitably got messy, if only because the other man had nowhere else to go.

Wilson still hadn’t blinked.

“Okay,” House said, if only to save the idiot’s eyes. The smile he received back was blinding. When he was drawn forward into the predictable hug, House didn’t resist.

They were giving up, but they were doing it together, and that made it feel like something completely different. Perhaps this wasn’t giving up at all; perhaps this was simply realizing something that had been right in front of you all along.

Perhaps this had always been how it would end.

( -=- )



( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 26th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
Oh. My. God! *incoherent screeching* This is absolutely beautiful! (I hope this is how things end up on the show. Bittersweet and lovely!) :) I just. I love this story! The idea of them being at the end of their ropes, finally realizing that the other is still there...beautiful.
Sep. 26th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
Eee, thank you! That's the best comment I could've asked for, and within minutes of posting too! You've totally made my day. :D

I've always held onto the hope that this is sort of the way things will end...and I still do, actually. It's more or less what happens in the original Doyle cannon, after all. ^-^
Sep. 26th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. Very well written and very IC. Congrats on a great first posting!
Sep. 26th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it! Thanks a lot!
Sep. 26th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
that's beautifully written! it was a pleasure to read, and i'm always glad of a happy ending. :)
Sep. 26th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
Yay, glad you enjoyed it. I'm a sucker for happy endings too. ;P
Sep. 26th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
Welcome. Mmmm. This was lovely.

Teensy fix: ...a foreign warmth settled against forehead...--his forehead?
Sep. 26th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Oops. Fixed it, thanks!
Sep. 26th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
Fantastic first fic! (Yay, alliteration!) I loved, loved how first Wilson then House realizes that when everyone else walks away the other is still there, as it should be. Very skilled writing. I'm looking forward to reading more from you.
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
Hee, alliteration. XD That's exactly what I was going for, glad it came across. Thanks for the comment, looking forward to writing more!
Sep. 26th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
Beautiful <3

You have a lovely style. I'm hoping this is exactly how it all ends. Nothing sappy or fluffy. Just the realization that they are each other's mate (in more ways that one)and are the ones they have been looking for all along, lost in plain sight and then suddenly clearly visible. Great start!
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks! *blush* At this point, I'm thinking this is the only reasonable way to end it; nothing else would be believable (even without the HW goggles on, for once).
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
Yes, this is how it should end.
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Most definitely. Thanks for the comment! ^o^
Sep. 26th, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC)
Uhhhmmmmm AMAZING! Seriously, I love it! So true to cannon, really. With the inevitable fall that's coming (because I'm sorry but fangirling aside, House/Cuddy is totally doomed) I think we may see something somewhat similar in the show!

And first time posting, you say? You write like a veteran! ;)
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
Aaww, thank you! I'm so glad you like it, and that it seemed believable; House&Wilson are such complex characters, they're a bit intimidating to write for.

House/Cuddy is definitely doomed, always has been, and judging by the speech and the Significant Looks at the end of "Now What", I think even TPTB know it. HW is the only relationship that has lasted across all 6 seasons, so unless something terrifyingly OOC happens, it'll still be there at the end. So, yay for hope!
Sep. 26th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
They are SO intimidating! I still worry about getting their personalities right haha!

If TPTB are true to their word and keep everyone in character (That first episode aside) then that's how it will HAVE to happen. Let's hope they don't make themselvs out to be liars!
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC)
more !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Stop what you are doing and get back to your writing.
We need you more than ever.
This was so perfect.
After last night's episode (Selfish) we need something to
lift our spirits. Your story did it for me

thank you thank you thank you
Sep. 28th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
Re: more !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Haha, like a call to arms for HW fans, eh? Well I'll do my best, but's its pretty painful to watch eps at the moment. -.-

Glad I could help, and thanks much for the comment!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )