His sobs and mine faded into deep muffled breaths, which eventually faded into silence. There we sat on the bathroom floor, the remains of the mirror littered the tub, the amber bottle of Vicodin at House’s feet. He seemed to have forgotten it was there.

Because he didn’t want the Vicodin. It was never about the goddamn Vicodin. He wanted me. He wanted me there and not just for the sake of having me there. The way he let me hold him close when any other time he would flinch away from so much as a friendly pat on the shoulder. Never before had a I been so close to him; his warm breath puffing against my neck. It was all so strange…so intimate.

My legs were feeling numb. Time to get off the damn floor.

“House?” I said quietly, not wanting to startle him and get him all riled up again.

Just a grunt in return. He was probably too tired to do anything else.

I glanced at my watch; it was well after one in the morning. Gently shaking his shoulder, I said, “House, it’s time to get up.”

“Noooo…” he whined.

“House, we need to get off the floor. Your leg must--”

“Don’t go. Please.” His grip around me tightened to the point where I could barely breath, his stubble scratching my neck all to hell.

“I’m not going anywhere,” I assured him, rubbing circles on his back. He loosened his grip a notch and I tried not to gasp as I swallowed in chunks of air. “We can’t stay on this floor all night and we need to change the bandage on your neck.”

Something got through to him--maybe his leg was starting to hurt--because he began to untangle his limbs from around me and pull himself up to the edge of the tub. He looked very shaky and I was afraid he’d slip, fall in, and slice himself to ribbons in the sea of broken glass. I pulled him up and half-dragged, half-carried him to his bedroom, where he all but collapsed onto the bed, the springs creaking under his weight. “Don’t move. I’ll be right back,” I told him, the spent the next few minutes looking for a first aid kit and more washcloths. When I returned to the bedroom he was sitting on the edge of the bed, elbows on knees. I was a bit surprised as I had expected him to be stretched out across the covers if not dead asleep; I set everything on the night table.

“Let’s get that jacket off,” I said, looking down at him. The faintest hint of a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. Blue eyes stared back at me, looking much more awake then they did a few minutes ago.

Without a word he slipped the jacket off and toed off his shoes. I took the jacket and hung it on the back of the door. As I did--and even though he didn’t have to--he peeled off his t-shirt and made a half-assed effort to toss it in the general direction of the hamper. Bruises bloomed all over his chest and shoulders; by morning he was going to look like he had taken on a few members of The Fight Club and lost. The strange little grin remained, disappearing for only a few seconds when I began to clean the wound on his neck and change the bandage; he hissed at the pain. Taking a shower while wading ankle-deep in a broken mirror was definitely out of the question so I cleaned him off the best I could with some wet washcloths. His eyes never left my face.

“You done?” he asked with feigned nonchalance. Something was definitely on his mind and I had a weird feeling that it had nothing to do with what happened earlier at the crane collapse.

“Yeah. I’m sure a shower can wait until morning. Get some sleep.”

“I’m not tired.” The grin contorted into a full-fledged smirk.

“You were exhausted fifteen minutes ago,” I said.

“That was fifteen minutes ago. Things change.”

I tossed the dirty washcloths into the hamper and said, “Okay, I give up. What things have changed?”


His hand reached out and grabbed my belt, yanking me forward until I was all but standing over him, standing between his spread legs. “You told Sam you wouldn’t be home tonight, didn’t you?” he growled.

“Yes,” I gulped, wondering where the hell he was going with this.

“You can see that I’m fine,” he pointed out, with more than a little private amusement coloring his words.

I nodded. “You seem to be.”

“Seem to be,” House echoed with a low and deep chuckle. “I seem to be an unrelenting bastard to you and everyone else, yet you keep coming back for more. I seem to be fine right here and how, so why aren’t running back to the arms of your precious Sam?”

The room began to feel uncomfortably hot and stuffy; beads of sweat began to trickle down my back. “You need me here--”

“What for?” he snapped, and I blinked at the sudden sharpness of his words. The smirk was gone, replaced by a scowl of impatience. “What the hell do I need you here for, Wilson? Do tell, because I’d really like to know.”

His hand was still on my belt, holding me there. “I…I just…someone needs to clean up that broken mirror in your tub.” Good grief, that really was as lame as it sounded.

I was being pulled down, forced onto my knees. His blue eyes were stormy, almost grey. It wasn’t from exhaustion. It wasn’t from pain. It was from lust.

“You’re willing to stay here to clean up that mess instead of going home to your warm girlfriend and comfy bed?” His voice was sharp, mocking, cutting me right to the bone. His hands held either side of my face like a vice, forcing me to looking into the hurricane of his eyes. “Why don’t you tell me why you really don’t want to go home?”

“I told you--”

“You’re not telling me shit. You’re telling yourself what you want to hear and it’s all lies. You’re not here because you want to protect me. You’re here because you want to protect Sam’s precious little bitch feelings. Sam is starting to get boring, isn’t she?”

“Shut up,” I spat.

“What’s wrong, Wilson? Sex in missionary position with the lights out not doing it for you anymore?”

Shut up, House.” Christ, the heat in the bedroom was really getting unbearable.

“Getting any on the side from a pretty little nurse yet?”

SHUT UP!” I screamed in his face.

That startled him; he winced back as if trying to avoid a punch. The room was heavy with the new silence, it threatened to suffocate us both. My chest burned, sweat dripped into my eyes, making them sting. Once again his gaze met mine. The hurricane swirling in all that blue-grey was still going strong. Powerful enough to sweep us both away. That’s exactly what he wanted. What he had been planning for God knows how long. He had just been waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along so he could pull it down until it was kneeling between his legs…

“Fine, I’ll shut up” was all I heard before his mouth crushed against mine.

There was nothing tender or sweet about his kiss. It was raw, brutal, carnal. And I was responding to it. Fighting him for dominance, for control. Heat rolled off him in wave after wave as he tore at my shirt, the buttons flying off in every direction, his rough hands swarming over every inch of exposed skin they could find. I broke away long enough to pull what was left of my shirt and toss it away, then we attacked each others mouths again. It was everything I wanted, it was too much, it wasn’t enough, and when he pulled me on top of him and began to nip harshly at my neck, hard enough to leave marks, all I could do was moan his name and somewhere along the way I heard his muffled laughter.

I sat up and looked him right in the eye. “What are we doing?” I asked in all seriousness. “What the hell are we doing here, House?”

Before I knew what was happening I was flat on my back, my arms pinned above my hand. “We’re here, Wilson, because this where you want us to be.” His response was rather matter-of-fact, like he knew that I would ask the question and had been rehearsing the answer in his head for some time. “This is what you want, what you’ve always wanted, because this is something none of the women you’ve ever been with could give you. What Amber couldn’t give you. What Sam couldn’t give you then and can’t give you now.”

Our mouths met again; the kiss was strong and deep. It was clear who was in control now. He let go of my arms and began to work on the belt holding up my now obscenely tented slacks. I made a move to help him along, but he pushed my hands away, annoyed. “Don’t move,” he growled, “or you’re finishing this by yourself on the front stoop. Got it?”

With a quick nod and loud gulp, I sat back and let him continue. Grumbling to himself, House yanked the belt open and pulled it off without an ounce of finesse. Then he went to work on the buttons and zipper, more pulling and yanking and cursing under his breath until my slacks and underwear were around my knees and I was in his hands, literally. Those musician fingers of his slid up and down my length, again and again; heat began to pool in my belly and my blood turned to lava.

“You like this?” the bastard asked, as if there were any other answer besides the yes, god, yes that was screaming through my head right then. That damn smirk of his was back with a vengeance. I would have slapped it right off his face except I didn’t want his hands to stop moving, beads of pre-cum leaking, the liquid heat flooding through me. All I could do was grunt some nonsense.

“Say it,” he demanded.

I was panting, sweat rolling off me in rivers, fighting back the sweet ache of the orgasm that was building and building. And he wanted to me to fucking talk?

“Say it or get dressed and get the fuck out of here.” He wasn’t kidding.

“House!” I cried. “I like it…I like it! Please…”

From far away I heard House mutter “damn right you do”, then his hands sped up and the pool of heat boiled over and the room exploded into brilliant colors as I came. I collapsed in a pile of sweat and muscle, blood pounding in my ears. I was shaking.

His hands were on me again, but there was nothing rough about them that time. They were rubbing soothing, lazy circles across my stomach and down my shoulders; brushing sticky locks of hair from eyes. Tender gestures from such a notoriously dour and prickly man. Soft kisses on my eyelids, forehead, neck. I could feel myself drifting off.

House’s voice pulled me back into the land of the living: “Not so fast.”


“You’re not done here yet,” he said. Another storm was gathering behind his eyes.

“Done with what?” I muttered. What the hell did he want now?

Me,” he replied, then brought my hand to his crotch.

Point taken.

I shoved him on his back and he put up no resistance. His cock in my hand, sliding up and down, it wrenched a groan from him that was pure hunger, pure need. I can’t take my eyes off him, fascinated as he became slick with sweat, bathed in a fine sheen of it, a bright red blush creeping up his neck and face. He was coming undone, all because of me. I was doing this to him. He was vulnerable, exposed, he was letting me do this to him and he’s letting me see him this way. Now that I’ve seen I want to see it again and again. He threw his head back, moaning and cursing and panting my name, getting louder and louder until he was finally pushed over the edge, shouting “Wilson…Wilson…FUCK!”, his hips snapping up, coming all over his belly and my hand.

He laid there, shuddering and gulping for air, staring off into space like he didn’t know what hit him. I did that to you, I thought with a smug grin and curled up around him, waiting for the moment to pass and for him to tell me it was time to leave. But that didn’t happen. He didn’t push me away, he just wrapped an arm around my back and fell asleep.


“What are you going to tell Sam?” House asked.

I was sitting at the end of the bed, having just cleaned up the mirror mess in the bathroom. House was sitting up on a pile of pillows. I wasn’t looking at him but I knew he was watching my every move.

“I don’t know,” I answered.

“Are you going to tell her about this?”

“I don’t know.”

Hmph,” he grunted, sounding a bit amused. “In other words you’re not going to say a damn thing about it and let the guilt eat you from the inside out. Is it starting to eat you up yet?”

“Shut up.”

“How about now?”

“Just shut the fuck up, House.”

“It’s almost six. You should run home, grab a shower and start playing dutiful boyfriend again. Unless you want to stay here. You up for it again? I wouldn’t mind hearing you scream my name at the top of your lungs again, even at this early hour. I’m sure the neighbors would love to wake up to the sound of that.”

“I should get going,” I said, standing up. My shirt was missing three buttons. I’d tell Sam that House ripped them off while we were fighting over the Vicodin.

“You're going to be late even if you hurry. Will you tell your patients that you were late because you overslept after you and your best male friend spent the night jacking each other off?”

“I don’t think so.”

House chuckled and said, “When you think of this night--and you will--try not to be too damned obvious about it. Moaning my name while you’re fucking Sam isn’t a good idea. Women tend to blab about things like that to each other and it spreads like wildfire.”

I didn’t say anything. I just started walking towards the door.


I stopped and didn’t turn around. “What?”

“Let’s say you go home and find that Sam has smashed a mirror in the bathtub. Are you going to clean it up?”

“No,” I said, and walked out.

Just before I closed the front door I heard House’s voice: “I didn’t think so.”

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Foreman filled me in on House's meltdown earlier in the evening, about how he had opened the ambulance and found House and his dead patient. About how upset House had been. The screaming match. How he was afraid House might finally go off the deep end and hurt himself.

That was all I needed to hear.

I could see pale golden light in the windows as I pulled up to 221B. Not bothering to knock I tried the door and was surprised to find it open. The lights were on in the back of the apartment where the bathroom was. House was sitting on the floor, staring at something in his hand. A bottle of Vicodin was at his feet. He looked like he had been run over by a truck--filthy, covered with scratches and bruises, a bloody bandage on his neck. It wasn't until I had stepped onto the room that I noticed the bathroom mirror in a million pieces in the bathtub and a huge hole gouged into the wall; the remains of one his clever hiding places.

"You're not going to leap across the room and grab them out of my hand?" House asked, still staring at the two white pills in his palm.

"No," I replied. "We should change that bandage on your neck and get you cleaned up."

"You're not going to stop me?"


"It's such a Wilson thing to do. Why won't you?" A note of surprise tinged his voice. He hadn't expected me to answer the way I did.

I rummaged around for a washcloth and said, "Taking the drugs was your choice to begin with. It's your choice if you want to go back on them."

"Right now I don't see any reason why I shouldn't," he grumbled.

"Why do you say that?" I asked, wetting the washcloth and honestly wanting to hear his answer.

"You and Sam. Cuddy and Lucas. Perfectly happy little couples without me in your lives to mess everything up." There was a faint clicking as he tossed the pills from hand to hand. "I promised Hanna she would be fine and look where that got me."

Sitting down beside him I asked, "Who's Hanna?"

"My patient. The one that died tonight despite everything I did to save her." House was getting irritated but made no attempt to swallow the Vicodin.

He knew her name. He had just referred to his late patient by her name. Biting back my surprise I started to clean through the layers of dirt that covered him. An angry-looking scratch ran down the side of his nose. "Tell me what happened, House."

His eyes met mine. The blue was dull and flat and filled with pain, the whites where bloodshot to hell; he was beyond exhausted. "Didn't Foreman fill you in?"

"Just what happened after you arrived in the ambulance. Tell me what happened before that...when you were with Hanna."

"Her leg was crushed. She was determined to save it. I tried to save her leg but couldn't. That leg was coming off one way or another. She begged and pleaded with me to save her leg. Cuddy tried to talk her out of it but Hanna wouldn't listen to her. But Hanna would listen to me. Do you want to know what I told her, what I said that convinced her to let me cut off her leg?"

"Yes, I want to know."

Looking back down at the pills in his hand, House said, "I told her that if she didn't let me cut off that damn leg she'd end up like me, miserable and alone."

My heart shattered like his mirror. I grabbed his wrist. He made a feeble attempt to pull away, never taking his eyes off those goddamn pills.

"Do you really feel that way, House?" I asked quietly. "Do you really think you're that miserable?"

"Yes," he answered, his voice barely above a whisper. "I know I am."

"How can you say that?"

"Because it's the truth." His hand clamped around the pills, like he was daring me to pry it open and take them from him. "I used to be a good person, a good doctor. Now look at me: I'm blubbering mangled mess on the bathroom floor, trying to scrounge up a few pills because I think it will make me feel better. Hanna wouldn't let me within fifty feet of her if she could see me now."

"You did everything you could, House. You know that."

"It wasn't good enough, was it? Hanna is still dead and I'm still a pathetic bastard who's going to die miserable and alone."

With my thumb I gently stroked the inside of his wrist, hoping to calm him a little. Instead he tensed up even more, like he was expecting a blow. Like he was expecting me to scream and yell at him. Like he was expecting me to agree with all the terrible things he had been saying about himself since I got there. He was on the edge, teetering, ready to fall and break apart unless I pulled him back right then and there.

"House," I began, "if you're all alone, why am I here with you now?"

Something had to give and it did. The dam holding back his emotions broke, letting it all coming rushing forth in a flood. Tears streamed down his haggard face as he threw the pills down the hall. "Damn it....Damn it!!" he cried as all the pain, anger, frustration, anguish rushed to the surface, out of his control. His face red and blotchy, his body shuddering with sobs, he was now beyond words, only able to sit there and cry.

I took him in my arms and he didn't try to fight it. His hot tears soaked through my shirt and soon my tears began to mix with his. "You're not alone, House," I said between my own sobs, my fingers threading through his hair. "It's're not alone."
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Walter Kovacs

Jackie Earle Haley drawings

A/N: This is the sequel to Belong.


He had been understandably dazed and exhausted when I helped him get dressed and brought him back here, barely saying five words along the way. The closet we were sleeping in was small, almost too small for the both of us as well as a bit stuffy, but it was nice and dark and that’s what really counted. We could certainly put up with it for another night or two.

The need to protect House, to make sure he was okay swelled up in me, ready to burst. I hugged him closer, as if he could ever be too close. He was curled up around me, his face buried in the crook of my neck, pretty pinning me in place. Fine with me, I thought and rubbed the back of his neck. He was still dead to the world while I was wide awake. But I wasn’t going anywhere just yet; no need for a clock to tell me that sundown was still forty-five minutes away. I threaded my fingers through his coarse hair, enjoying the feeling of it, like a cat’s tongue.

The first night in our forever. I wondered if House ever thought about how long forever is, about all the things we can do together now that nothing stood in our way. No more pain. No more addiction. No more annoying ex-wives. No more alimony payments. Nothing. Just the two of us. Wonderful, I thought and grinned like an idiot in the pitch black of the closet.

A low groan from House as he began to stir, his beard scratching my neck.

“Wilson?” He sounded tired and confused. His grip around my tightened.

“It’s okay, House,” I assured him, running my hand up and down his back in what I hoped was a soothing gesture.

It seemed to work as I could feel him loosen up a bit and let out sigh of immense relief.

“Not dark yet?” he asked.

“In a little while.”

“Are we sleeping in here again?”


“Can we at least get some damn pillows and blankets in here?”

I laughed quietly and promised that there would be plenty of pillows and blankets just for him.

“Damn right,” he muttered, then brought his hand up to my cheek as he began to work his mouth against my neck, his tongue tracing out patterns against my skin.

“A little early for that, isn’t it?” I asked, even as I tilted my head to the side to give him better access.

“Never too early,” he muttered as his mouth became more insistent, the nipping and sucking on my neck getting more intense.

Another groan filled the air and at first I didn’t realize it came from me. I felt his fingertips trace the planes of my cheek, trace the shape of my lower lip before they worked their way down my neck to my shirt. Those skillful fingers made short work of the buttons, undoing them without even looking. My shirt was pushed open and those fingers of his were all over every exposed inch of my skin. Another groan from me only seemed to fan the flames of his craving as his hand skirted lower and lower from my chest to my belly, finally stopping to grab my crotch.

I grabbed his wrist, stopping him before he could shove that wandering hand inside my pants. He looked up, irritated at the interruption. Both of us could see quite clearly in the dark and I could see very well that his eyes were stormy with lust.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he growled.

“Stopping you.”

“What the hell for?”

“You do know the rules have changed now, right?” I said.

“Since when?”

“Since last night.”

He scowled. “How does that work?”

“I made you what you are, therefore I’m in charge.”

That revelation seemed to amuse him more than anything. With his scowl twisting into a wicked grin, he asked “Is that a fact?” with a snort.

“It is.”

Those words were barely out of my mouth before House swung his leg over my hips, straddling me, and had my arms pinned above my head.

“Since when did I ever give a fuck about the rules?” The lust stormed back into his eyes with the strength of a Category 5 hurricane. He was the wind, I was the seaside shack and I was about to get blown off my foundation, leaving behind nothing but a concrete slab.

“Since never,” I answered, my voice weak and shaky.

“Exactly. And just what makes you think I’m going to start now?”

“I thought--”

“Do us both a favor for the moment, Wilson, and don’t think.”

I made a feeble attempt to struggle and he laughed.

“Willing to hurt a cripple to make your great escape?”

“You’re not crippled anymore,” I reminded him.

“I’m still missing a muscle in my leg. Unless that great big hickey you gave me last night will magically make it grow back, the scar is still there and it always will be.”

“Does that bother you?”

“No. Do you want to know what does bother me?”


“Your nagging questions.”

He bent down and claimed my mouth with a brutal kiss. My eyes fluttered shut as his tongue slipped past my lips. He paused long enough to rip open my pants; I swore I heard a faint tink as the button hit the wall. Then he picked up right where he had been interrupted: his mouth crushing mine and his hand down my pants, those long, talented fingers wrapping around my cock and stroking up and down the length. His attack on my mouth continued, it was like he was starved for this and maybe he was. My brain began to short-circuit as his hand managed to find every sensitive area, every last nerve that was quickly sending me into a frenzy, reducing me to nothing but a bundle of raw sensations. He just kept stroking and stroking and I could feel every last ridge of his fingertips, every twist of his wrist, every flick of his thumb across the head. The pressure was building and building and I would have begged for relief if I could have spoken but all I could do was just lay there, shamelessly groaning and writhing underneath him as he fucked me with his hand and fucked my mouth with his tongue.

Every lit fuse eventually reaches its destination and blows something apart; I was no different. I cried out, my voice bouncing off the walls again and again as I came. From far away I could hear House’s voice but it was only jumbled nonsense that was drowned out by the roar of white noise that was exploding in my head.

Slowly but surely the everything swam back into focus. The first thing I saw was House and his smug grin.

“Welcome back, sunshine,” he said, without even making a token effort to hide the gloating in his voice, and gave me a chaste kiss on the mouth.

“Sure,” I muttered. “Thanks.”

“You’re quite welcome.”

“And you’re an ass.”

“You just figured that out?” House and his damnable smirk looked down at me. “You should have thought of that before deciding that spending the rest of forever with me was a good idea.”

“I never said it wasn’t.”

“Of course not. That would be admitting defeat and you’re just too damned proud for that.”

“If you say so.” I wasn’t the mood to argue with him. There were more important things to worry about, like getting my fill of both blood and him. “The sun’s down.”

“Good,” he said, getting to his knees. “Lets go.”

I grabbed his shoulders and pulled him back down and said, “Not so fast.”

He tried to protest but his words were cut off when I thrust my hand between his legs and squeezed.

With my own wicked smirk I looked him right in the eye and declared, “It’s my turn.”

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Two more drawings

All Apologies
Looking back, I could now see that he had been waiting all day for the perfect moment. This was something he couldn’t and wouldn’t do in front of an audience; not even if there was a gun to his head. This was something private, and I understood that. House had always kept his feelings guarded and this was no exception. Still, he did choose a rather awkward time for all of this. He watched me shuffle to bed, climb in, and reach over to switch off the lamp before he said, “I’m sorry.”

Needless to say, I nearly fell out of the bed.

After regaining my balance, I looked over and noted his drawn, somber face. This wasn’t some bizarre practical joke. Gregory House, the man who never apologizes for anything he does, was saying sorry. But what he was really apologizing for I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

“Why are you apologizing, House? You haven’t done anything.”

I turned over and stretched out my side, facing him, waiting for his answer.

“I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done to hurt you,” he replied quietly.

Well, that was sudden. I blinked and said, “Okay…where is this coming from?”

With a low chuckle, he answered, “Too much of pent-up guilt. Too many years of being a complete bastard to the people I care about the most. Take your pick or choose something else completely. It’s up to you.”

Then it hit me--he’d had a therapy session yesterday. Nolan must have suggested that House assuage his guilt the old fashioned way.

House had been faithfully keeping his appointments and I had to admit that surprised me. He was fighting his addiction tooth and nail, and winning, and I was very proud of him. He knew that. So why was it that he didn’t seem to know that I had already forgiven him for everything had ever done to hurt me, real or imagined?

But just as my nightly chit-chats with Amber made me feel better, this was doing the same for him.

As usual, he was one step ahead of me. “I’m not doing this because Nolan told me to. I’m doing this because I want to.”

“Yes, you are,” I said, and switched off the lamp. “C’mere.”

It took less than a second before his head was tucked under my chin, his warm breath was puffing against my neck, his arms wrapped around me.

“Have you apologized to anyone else?” I had to ask, honestly curious.

“Not yet.”

“I’m the first?”


“Why am I the first?”

“You know why.”

I smiled even though he couldn’t see it. He was right, I knew exactly why I was first.
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Good morning!

It was a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve, the first at our new loft. I figured it called for a little something special so I cooked up a fabulous spaghetti dinner while House supplied the champagne. Then we stuffed our faces with cheesecake while we watched the countdown on television. If chowing down about five thousand calories isn’t a great way to start off a new year and new decade, then I don’t know what is.

We drank but we didn’t get rip-roaring drunk. House usually gets depressed during the holidays and uses it as an excuse to down the booze, thus starting off the new year with a bitch of a hangover. But not this year. Things are different now. For the first time in a long time he has control of his addictions and demons and not the other way around. Another great way to start off the new decade.

I figured he deserved a little treat, a nice surprise to wake up to. So I fixed him some blueberry muffins and a glass of orange juice, setting them on a tray. A bottle of aspirin was added in case he had a hangover. Feeling like a butler, I brought the tray of food and over-the-counter medicine to the bedroom.

He was sprawled on his side of the bed, drooling all over the pillowcase. For a second I thought about taking a picture with my camera phone but decided one silly picture wasn’t worth getting my ass kicked over.

“Good morning!” I declared in a ridiculously chipper voice.

His eyes flew open and took a few moments to focus. Once he realized who I was and where he was, he began to pull himself up into a sitting position. “What time is it?”

“Nearly ten. I bring gifts.”

“Gifts? Christmas was last week, you scatter-brained Jew.”

“I brought you some breakfast.”

He looked up and blinked, a wry grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. “Breakfast in bed? Seriously?”

I held out the tray for his inspection.

“I see,” he said, sounding pleased as he propped himself up on a mountain of pillows. “Just what have I done to deserve this?”

“You’ve come a long way since Mayfield,” I replied while setting the tray on his lap, then sitting on the edge of bed.

“Have I?” He tore the top off a muffin and waited for my response.

“You’re off the Vicodin, we have this new loft here…I think we’re starting off the new year on the right foot.”

“Yes, we are.”

More than satisfied with his words I made no attempt to hide my face-splitting grin.

After a huge gulp of orange juice, House said, “You know I’m going to expect breakfast in bed every day now, right?”

“And you know this is only reserved for those rare special occasions.”

“So when’s the next super-duper ultra special occasion?”

“You’ll find out when I bring you breakfast again.”

“You didn’t bring any for yourself,” he noted, sounding a bit amused.

“I’m not hungry.”

“You lie like a rug,” he snorted, then handed me a muffin.

I blinked in amazement. “What’s the occasion?” I had to ask.

House smiled. “It’s a new year, Wilson, and I guarantee it’s going to be full of surprises.”

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