Summary: The interpretations of oscillations, and the data gathered therein.
Fandom: House, MD
Pairing: Gregory House/James Wilson
Original story: The Geography of Touch by shara_i.
Notes: Thanks go to the speedy and thorough turnaround on shutterbug_12's part, and for the encouragement from emblem and thedeadparrot.
“But you’re not listening to me, are you?”
It wasn’t like he really needed to, not when Wilson gets to monologuing like this, but just try telling him that and not see him cry or at least throw a hissy fit afterwards. House had drifted in and out for the past fifteen minutes, knowing Wilson just wanted to get words out and didn’t really need House included in the conversation, so he could just tune off. If there was a particularly interesting riff in Wilson’s tone he’d tune back in, and if it was a false alarm and Wilson was just covering an old composition on the married surgeons who still looked to him as a relationship mentor he’d go back out.
House snapped his yo-yo up into his hand before flicking it down again. “I’m so not listening it didn’t even register you asked me a question.” Wilson was someone who didn’t need the sort of tonal attention most people did to begin with; each and every word wasn’t something he needed to listen to all the time. It was more like the maroon phase in John Henry Giles’ discography with tone and feeling more urgent than the specific sounds made by the instruments. But, again, try telling Wilson that.
“So what have I been talking about?”
He started to rewrap his yo-yo’s string. “Your new girl. The one that can’t manage being a professional.” The way he’d been going on about her – never mind the distancing vocabulary to try to keep House from noticing the concern he’d been broadcasting – House knew she was reverberating on every string of pathos she could pluck whether she knew it or not. This would have been all right if he had more of an ear for this sort of thing, but leave it to Wilson to have pitch too good for his own good, constantly retuning himself to fit her range. And it wasn’t like House didn’t know to listen in for that.
“She’s never worked in a teaching hospital before and you’re not making it very easy for her.”
Okay, that was a fair criticism, but in his defense it wasn’t like she was making it much of a challenge for him, which only would’ve made him try harder but he’d know she’d be able to stand it. “Was I supposed to?”
“Yes.” Wilson’s range of cadences for the simplest answers never failed to astound House when he was in a mood to be astounded, but now it was just annoying when he just wanted to get this conversation over with right now. The intensity of the sound was the disruptive part to it right now; it busted up the waveform flow of the previously soothing monologue about Lalor’s troubles. Go ahead, blame the different pace and setting of her new job for the difficulties adjusting because, even though she was enjoying herself outside of work, things were bleeding over and making her sloppy. And of course trust Wilson to first step in and do what he could to make her more comfortable with everything from coffee to dinner and a show, and then to try to defend himself to House about it. On one level, he could appreciate the effort Wilson took to conducting everything and ensuring everyone in his department was in harmony with itself and the rest of the hospital. But right now, a minute into a new monologue about dialogue, it was getting on House’s nerves.
Wilson’s pitch shifted; House started to pay attention to the words. Good golly, Miss Molly, he was actually apologizing for his behavior.
House didn’t blink. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry, you know.”
“Who said anything about love? We’re talking about clinical trials here.”
“Love and-or the bottom line at the end of the quarter.”
“Which is exactly why I need be nice to her until she gets a boyfriend of her own. And we’re already off the market, so that’s out.” His voice was ringing clearly, cleanly, and that finally got House onto the same frequency.
Another set of Kegels around Wilson and all House got for his trouble was a staccato hiss, a pause, and a renewed enthusiasm in the thrusts. Not that it wasn’t welcome – far from it, they’ve been going right where they’re supposed to and he’s really started to roll with the pitch and slide his hands down Wilson’s triceps and hold on as hard as he can – but he couldn’t stop himself from what started as a sigh that came out as a much harsher release of sound right when Wilson grabbed his cock. Of course Wilson’s quiet about that; he’s the quietest fuck House has ever had.
Wilson pushed House’s free leg up to get better leverage and slammed in even harder, stroking in time with a tighter grip, and he still didn’t say a single word. They were ridiculously sweaty and House almost expected to hear something wet as his thighs rub up against Wilson, and maybe suggesting this during a whack of humidity wasn’t the best idea but on the other hand, damn but did it even harder take his mind off the weather. Wilson groaned once, deeply, and that’s all House had, not a whimper but a bang as he started to shudder and gibber his way to orgasm as Wilson pulled and pounded him through it and into his own, just a heaving sigh to signal his own little end.
Finally, Wilson started to make some noise again, panting softly and quietly as he tried to get his breath back as he pulled out of House – the echo sounding clearly and then fading – with a sigh and a shudder before flopping down next to him. He’d gotten over the surprise for Wilson being aggressive in bed and started to really get into that about a minute and a half into their first proper fuck. What he hadn’t really gotten comfortable with was Wilson being quiet in bed. Sometimes natural human variation was an utter bitch: he knew Wilson wasn’t loud, had practically gone spelunking in the depths of knowledge his exes had, and it didn’t please him at all. Not one little bit, not when he’d gotten used to taking pride in sounds that came together to make an utterly honest love song.
There weren’t even any accompanying murmurs as Wilson kicked the triangle-foam pillow off the bed and moved closer, all the better to kiss him slowly with more than enough tongue, firm and smooth. All the better for House to murmur, “And was it good for you, too?”
Wilson pulled back. “Sorry?”
“Just curious if you had fun or not.”
“Of course I – wait, what?”
It wasn’t quite a lie, not really. He actually was curious and his traditional measurements didn’t apply to this particular instance and secondary proof was always good to get. And sure, he knew how to tell from Wilson’s sighs and hisses and grunts and all the small sounds, and he was working his way to where those were just as good as the big ones he’d previously been so proud of, but some nights he couldn’t resist the chance to fluster. “I just want to hear you say it.”
“And this ‘it’ would be…”
“Whether or not you were having fun.”
“Of course I was having fun. Weren’t you paying attention?”
“There wasn’t much to pay attention to. You could try letting me know next time.” They’d had this conversation before, enough that it was as familiar as an old song on the radio. House knew that if they kept on riffing tonight then eventually Wilson would tell him if he made the effort to make noise he’d stop paying attention to what he was doing and that’d throw everything out of tune into discordant dishonesty.
“We have the weirdest pillow talk.”
“If by weirdest, you mean best –”
“With you, it’s more or less the same.” Wilson pulled himself up, stretched, and started to pad over to the bathroom. “You want me to talk dirty to you? All right,” he called out over the sink. “An elephant jumped in the mud.” He returned with a damp washcloth. “You want something dirtier?” He started to clean House up, not missing a beat. “Two elephants jumped in the mud. You want something filthy?”
House couldn’t stop himself from smiling. “If you start talking politics, I’m outta here.”
The cafeteria serving that pasta salad with bits of green and black olives and real mayonnaise that it almost never had in rotation nearly made up for the fact that there wasn’t any baked ziti left over from last night for today’s lunch. That, and Wilson didn’t have any time this morning to make something for himself, much less House, so they had the better part of an hour to do nothing but talk and complain about Cuddy’s draconian rule.
“So how did this start again?”
“Male, early twenties, complains about abdominal pain.”
“Give him some general painkillers and tell him to hire professional movers next time.”
“See, I did that, but he came back two days later with hematuria, distention, and ‘the worst fucking pain I’ve ever fucking felt, you fucker.’” House kept his voice light and face even, using the effect to nab a forkful of Wilson’s momentarily unguarded noodles.
“Right up your alley.”
“Almost.” He swallowed before going on. “The x-ray came back a little grainy for stones, so I went for a CT to be sure.”
Wilson nodded sagely. “And that’s when you found the fingernails.”
“And that’s when I found the fingernails. Fetus in fetu. Could count up to ten, blink, and make the decision it was ready to make a break for it and finally start to bust out.”
“Did you actually think Cuddy would let you keep it?”
“I’ve got the minions, the evil laugh, the mad science experiments – I just need a few Tesla coils and something in a jar on my desk.”
“And of course she wasn’t going to restrain this behavior as soon as she could.”
“What’s life without hope?”
Wilson smiled and shook his head, then nodded and looked right to House, “Oh, I’m sorry I forgot to say so earlier – I’ll be late tonight, so you’ll be on your own for dinner.”
House would need both hands at the very minimum to count exactly what was wrong with this picture, but decided to play along. He could blame it on the pasta salad later if he felt like it. “Invasion of Giant Microbes in the play area?”
“No, I’m just getting slammed with this grant proposal and don’t want to have it hanging over me this weekend, so I’ll just stay late and get some more of it done.”
Damn. Some people would always be easier to listen to than others; trust Wilson to be the proving grounds for theories about abnormal human variations. If House hadn’t gotten up so early to be bored enough to spend a good chunk of the morning reading through Wilson’s e-mail, he’d have believed him. The fact that Wilson did have a grant proposal due next week meant his vocal projection stayed steady and honest. He’d done that before when he fibbed his way out of monster trucks: using truth to project honesty about preexisting commitments even if they’ve been supplanted behind House’s back. He’d probably be taking Lalor out to Small World to help her feel better about the latest set of results from the most recent trial.
Still, reading through his e-mail did teach him Wilson had something planned for the weekend that House didn’t want hanging over either of them. And it was almost romantic how Wilson thought he could get away with lying to House – would have, if House didn’t have inside information – and more than a little impressive he could still pull it off after all this time. The fact that he always means what he says means that what comes out of his mouth sounds so real House feels he could believe him.
It’s what he’s doing about their relationship, the way he sounded when he goaded House about the coffee that morning and when he grumbled about pajamas last week – that, House knows he can believe, even if it’s not something he’s got much practice in.
“Okay.” House shrugged and stole another bite, already thinking of ways to look surprised on Saturday. “You gotta work late, you gotta work late.”