Disclaimer: Don’t own House (...or Walt Whitman)
Word Count: 2080
Summary: He thinks he'll need to create a map to chart the unfamiliar landscape of House's body, and measure the precise angles of his touches.
Author's Note: Many thanks to soft_sweater for the great beta! Also, I should mention that I shamelessly stole a phrase from one of Walt Whitman's poems for this fic. First person to find it gets a ficlet from me on the prompt of their choice. :)
It starts, as these things often do, with a touch.
He’s on House’s couch, feeling loose-limbed and mellow, sleepy-headed in the dimness, the warm lamplight from the kitchen curving around corners, making everything soft around the edges. On TV, Norm Abram is trying to sand down the edges of a cabinet. House makes a joke about the Darwin awards and Wilson laughs, leaning forward to grab one of the last fries and trail it through a glob of ketchup, the cold neck of a beer bottle dangling from the fingers of his other hand.
He catches House staring at him as he leans back again and licks his fingers clean of the salt and grease. The flickering light of the TV is reflected in the bright blue of House’s eyes, so Wilson can’t read them, but he can see the beginning curve of a frown, the sudden stillness arresting his expression.
“What?” Wilson asks, grinning. “Do I have ketchup on my face?”
He starts to lift his hand to his face, to wipe at the offending smear, but House jerks suddenly and grabs his wrist, and something in the air shifts. It’s something in the way House is looking at him, steadily, oddly, or in the way House’s fingers are curling around his wrist, thumb brushing against the hair there, and suddenly he’s suffocating, smothered by sensory overload, a gasp escaping him as House leans closer and he can feel—the warm press of House’s leg against his, the cold wet condensation of the beer bottle numbing his fingers, House’s warm breath on his face, and he can count every one of House’s eyelashes, dizzy and light-headed, like he’s about to step off a cliff, take a leap. House might have been looking for Wilson’s pulse, recording the blood-rush echoing in his ears, counting heartbeats, but he’s not, of course he’s not.
The soft touch of House’s lips is hesitant, uncertain, but it ripples through his body electric, and sends a shiver under his skin, making his fingers flex uselessly, his toes curl inside his patent leather shoes.
The soft clink of the bottle slipping through his fingers to the hardwood floor makes them both jump, pull apart. Then Wilson is up, stumbling to his feet, righting the bottle and mumbling an apology. He has to go, turn in, early meeting tomorrow and House nods curtly, but doesn’t look up at him. He’s staring instead at the little wet spot on the floor with his brow furrowed, thumb pressed against the curve of his lower lip.
Later, in the car, Wilson licks his lips and tastes beer, doesn’t taste House, but the place where House held his wrist is like a brand on his skin.
“Wait,” he gasps, because suddenly he’s lost. There’s too much of House everywhere, too much unfamiliar strangeness, from the scratchy, rough stubble grazing his palm to the scent of House’s sweat, to the solid callused palm pressing on his own bare chest. There are alarm bells ringing in his head.
He pulls back and draws a breath, House’s hand sliding away from him, and focuses on the solid dark wood of the headboard, the distinctive lines of triangles carved into it like mountain peaks, trying to find his bearings. He can feel House’s gaze settle on him, his eyes searching him out.
“You want to stop,” House says suspiciously. It’s not a question.
“I just—need a minute,” he says, glancing at the furrows around House’s frown, keeping his eyes above House’s chest. He feels dizzy, like he’s on a precipice; if he doesn’t look down, he’ll be fine.
House opens his mouth and Wilson braces, expecting mockery, but then House seems to reconsider and shuts it again, looking at him thoughtfully. Then he sits back against the headboard, stretches his legs out and watches him, his eyes flattened to a quiet wash of grey, fingers tapping a mute rhythm into the bedspread.
And maybe it’s this, the stillness of House’s gaze, like a glimpse of Polaris in the dark, which finally orients him, and after several slow seconds, clears his head. He reaches out a hand to trace the bump of House’s knee through the soft cotton of his pajamas, and follows the lines of muscles upward, feeling ridges and curves, winding his way along the wrinkles in the fabric.
He thinks he’ll need to create a map to chart the unfamiliar landscape of House’s body, to calculate the curves of his sinews and muscles, and measure the precise angles of his touches. His fingers skirt the edges of House’s scar and House tenses, leg stretching taut, skin warping under him. Here there be monsters, Wilson knows, so he moves on upward, but he wants to kiss a border around the livid mark so he makes a note in the margins of his mind. House watches him warily as he slides closer, but he lifts his arms to support him as he leans in, his spine curving forward as he lets Wilson steal a kiss, fingers rubbing slow circles into the skin at Wilson’s waist. Wilson can feel something inside himself wake.
“It’s just—it’s all unfamiliar territory,” Wilson says, and explains his plan.
House snorts softly. “And what does that make you?” he asks, an invisible smile giving his words a teasing lilt. “Columbus?”
“And you’re India,” Wilson agrees, running his hands up the slope of muscles that make up House’s biceps, like gentle rolling hills.
“No, I’m the Caribbean, remember?” House chides. “You never made it to India.”
That’s right, Wilson thinks. Columbus had been ready to sail halfway across the world when he’d stumbled into what had been in front of him all along.
He lets House’s nimble fingers unbutton his suit pants as he uses his thumb to trace the line of fine blond hair leading from the waist of House’s pajamas up to his navel. His fingers quiver as they pass over the flat planes of House’s chest, as they brush past the grey-blond hair there. When Wilson’s thumb hesitantly, slowly, circles around one of House’s nipples and presses down, House seems to take a breath, the slick slide of his tongue against Wilson’s stilling, and he pulls back to stare at Wilson, assessing perhaps this huge thing they’re about to do, eyes wide and dark and vulnerable. Wilson thinks the lines on his map are going to be shaky, drawn in his unsteady hand, but then he realizes it doesn’t matter, they can redo it, they have plenty of time. And then he’s aware of House’s fingers sliding briefly under the waistband of his briefs to push them down, and of his doing the same to House’s pajamas, layers of clothing coming away between them.
Wilson has a moment of complete, absolute panic when their cocks touch for the first time, but House curls an arm around his back preemptively, and moves a steadying hand up the arch of Wilson’s spine.
“What’s this, then?” he murmurs into Wilson’s ear, fingers skipping over vertebrae. “A mountain range?”
“Possibly,” Wilson assents, and exhales a breath into the pale smooth skin of House neck, measuring in his mind the scar he finds there, recording the texture of the mangled skin with his tongue. He is rewarded by House sliding down along the headboard to the mattress beneath him, so that Wilson can lie comfortably between his legs, and the friendly friction of House’s hips against his sends ripples of excitement through him.
“Tectonic,” Wilson mutters, and when House chuckles, Wilson can feel the sound all through him, the in-and-out of House’s chest.
House snakes a hand between them as Wilson shifts above him, and when he reaches the hair at Wilson groin, he says matter-of-factly, like he’s dictating observations, “Tropical undergrowth: overgrown, humid, teeming with bacteria.”
Wilson huffs a laugh into House’s ear. “That is disgusting,” he says firmly.
He feels, rather than hears, House’s hum of agreement, and his scratchy smile against his cheek. And then House’s fingers wrap around his cock and he had to bite back a grunt. It has been so long since someone else touched him; the sensation is at once startling and welcome. House strokes him a couple of times, grip sliding along Wilson’s shaft, though it’s not necessary, he’s already hard. But he thinks House is doing some exploring of his own, perhaps keeping a tally of unfamiliar things, like muttered curses and indrawn breaths, and the choreography of movement under someone else’s skin.
When House pulls his hand away, Wilson thrusts experimentally against House’s stomach and tries to get used to the strange feeling of their cocks sliding against each other. It’s odd, but not displeasing, and Wilson thinks that maybe some things require little direction, and the shocks of pleasure running through him and the heavy harmony of their breaths can show him the way.
It’s not hard to find a rhythm after that and Wilson finds himself sinking eagerly into House’s bruising kisses, feels the scrape of teeth on his lower lip and concentrates on the slide of skin on sweaty skin, the desperate sounds he thinks he can hear in the back of House’s throat, the feeling of his fingers twisting the bed sheet under them as he tries to hold on, hold on.
House comes first, with a gasp and his fingers digging into Wilson’s shoulders, eyes wide open like he’s seeing stars. Wilson feels the warm wet between them and the tiny shivers that run through House where their bodies are touching.
“A volcano,” House whispers into Wilson’s ear when he catches his breath, and Wilson chuckles softly, and thinks of up-heaving foundations and cataclysmic changes, of shuddering beneath.
He lets go.
“Hey,” he calls out, walking into the office and closing the door behind him. He squints a little in the dimness; House has closed all the blinds except the ones by the balcony. He has left these slanted open so long lines of afternoon light can stream in at angles, warming the room but keeping it dark.
He hears a shuffle of clothing from the corner and turns to see House stretched out on the recliner, blinking at him blearily and suppressing a yawn with his hand.
“Whaaat?” House asks, and Wilson smiles at the way the vowel sounds, elongated by House’s tiredness.
“Just wanted to wake you up,” he says, teasing and House frowns at him but shifts over to make room.
Wilson sits down and puts his feet up, stretching out next to him, resting his head against the folded crook of House’s elbow. House turns on his side and moves a little further to give him more space.
“You need to lose some weight,” he grumbles, poking the softness of Wilson’s stomach.
Wilson makes a noise of disagreement and House chuckles quietly. “Oh, relax,” he says, eyes drifting closed again, moving in a little closer. Wilson looks at the details of his face, the furrows and textures, spiky stubble and salt-and-pepper hair, and traces a finger along the angle of House’s arm, the blue button-down worn old and soft.
“Why are you asleep in the middle of the day, anyway?” he asks quietly.
“You and your stupid hairdryer,” House mumbles, his breath tickling the soft shell of Wilson’s ear. “Did you come here just to bother me?”
“Yes,” Wilson says seriously, and then, because he’s feeling adventurous, “Let’s take an early day.”
House cracks his eyes open at this. “You’re voluntarily abandoning all those bald sick children?” he asks, sounding surprised.
“Only for a little while,” he promises.
“Cool,” House says, smile lazy and indulgent. “Let’s go party.”
Wilson snorts. “I was thinking more like an afternoon in.”
“You want to go home?” House asks, and he sounds tired still, sleep weighing down his words.
Wilson is about to answer when he notices that House’s t-shirt has ridden up over his stomach, and the effect is to make him look even more disheveled. He reaches out to pull it back, smoothing down the fabric, fingers ghosting over skin he has come to know intimately, like his very own. He thinks of the long, meandering path that has brought him here, full of wrong turns and dead ends, and so much time spent walking in the wrong direction. But he thinks that finally, he may have found his way.
“Yeah,” he says, catching House’s eye. “Let’s go home.”
Thanks for reading!