Author's Notes: Thanks go out to all the folk who were so encouraging after my first House fic effort, and to Aurelia Priscus, who bounced bunnies with me and in so doing brought this one back to life after I thought it was safely dead.
House was dressed for bed--boxers and a ratty AC/DC t-shirt that he refused to throw out--when the phone rang. Reluctantly, he shifted his gaze from the 11 o'clock news to the insistently bleating device and stared at it as if he could divine the caller just by looking.
It was almost certainly the hospital. He'd told them to call him if they needed him, which was practically an invitation to be woken up at two in the morning. House supposed he ought to count himself lucky that it wasn't even midnight yet. Still, he let the portable handset ring, hoping he'd be able to ignore the message.
No such luck. How did you lose a sixteen year old boy, anyway? The hospital did have security cameras and the kid had just had a lumbar puncture. He wasn't going to be moving particularly fast.
Sighing, House got a grip on his cane and levered himself out of the chair and hobbled into the bedroom. For a moment he leaned against the doorframe and just looked at the man curled up under the covers. Even in his sleep, James kept strictly to his own side of the bed. It had taken him months to train his body not to shift about as he slept. Neither of them had gotten much sleep while he learned. Every time he knocked up against Greg's leg House awoke with a gasp, and every gasp woke James, hypersensitive to any sign of pain.
House had been prepared to give up on sharing a bed, but James was determined. Lovers didn't just sleep together, he insisted, they slept together.
Well, neither of them would be getting as much sleep tonight as they'd like. House made his way over to the bed and lowered himself down to sit on the edge by his lover's hip. "James," he said, shaking the man's shoulder a little. "James. Wake up."
Wilson stirred and rolled over onto his back. "You do realize," he mumbled, cracking one eye open, "that I was sleeping, right?"
"Would I have told you to wake up if I thought you were already awake?"
"I hate you," Wilson rubbed his hand over his eyes and made a visible effort to gather his thoughts.
"No you don't," House said, smirking a little.
James caught the expression on his face and snorted softly. "Smug bastard."
"I have it on good authority that my parents were legally married."
"I notice you didn't argue the smugness."
House cast his eyes over James's sleep rumpled from. "Why shouldn't I be smug?"
That got him a smile. "What's going on?" Wilson asked, pulling himself into a sitting position.
House scowled. "Foreman called. I need you to drive me in."
Wilson sighed heavily and swung his legs out of bed so that he was sitting shoulder to shoulder with his lover. Ruffling a hand through his hair, he shot Greg a sidelong glance. "How recently have you taken one?"
"Ten minutes. I was just waiting for it to kick in before coming to bed."
"You know, some people are safe to drive on Vicodin."
"And I'm not one of them," House reminded him. He pushed himself to his feet and turned back towards the living room. "I've got to get my pants on."
"Hey," James called, stopping him. He stepped up behind Greg, slid an arm around his waist and rested his chin on the man's shoulder. "You know I'd rather you wake me up than have you get in an accident on the way to the hospital." He turned his head a little, brushing his lips over Greg's throat and jaw line.
House's lips curved just a little. "The irony alone would be painful."
Wilson chuckled, the warmth of his breath floating over House's throat, and patted his stomach gently before releasing him and stepping away. "Go get your pants on."
"Now there's a reversal of our usual dialogue," House threw over his shoulder as he passed back into the living room.
Forty minutes later they pulled up in front of the hospital. Wilson slotted the car into his parking spot but left it idling. House opened the passenger door and maneuvered himself out. Pausing before slamming the door shut, he leaned down and caught James's eye. "I'll try to be quick."
"I know," Wilson said, smiling tiredly. House shut the car door and headed out across the parking lot. Living eternally in hope, Wilson left the car running, as if burning gas would help his lover move faster.
A minute later, he was desperately wishing he'd turned the engine off. Lisa Cuddy, just arriving in the lot, paused and turned towards him before he could even get his hand to the keys to silence the vehicle. She made a beeline for the car and peered in through the windshield.
Silently cursing whatever had kept the administrator at work so late, Wilson thumbed the switch to lower the power windows. Cuddy put a hand on the side of the car and leaned over. "Dr. Wilson? Why are you here?"
The emphasis told him she'd seen Greg. Wilson couldn't help but wonder what he'd said. Opening his own mouth, he prayed that whatever emerged would sound good. "I couldn't sleep. I thought driving around might help." Okay. That wasn't so bad.
"And you're wasting gas in the parking lot because...?"
Think fast! "I'm so used to coming here that I guess the autopilot came on," Wilson said, trying for a note of sheepishness. "I just wanted the heater running while I figured out what solution for insomnia to try next."
Cuddy didn't quite look like she believed him, but he widened his eyes and blinked innocently and saw the doubt slowly fade. "Try warm milk," she advised after a moment.
He shrugged. "I hate the taste."
"Better that than lying awake all night. Good night, Dr. Wilson."
"Dr. Cuddy," he nodded and powered up the window as she crossed the lot back to her own car, closer to the doors than his was.
When she was safely out of sight, Wilson let his head fall forward to thump against the curve of the steering wheel. "You owe me for this, Greg," he muttered...then chuckled. He'd have fun collecting, later.
They were already missing sleep, anyway.