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Title: The Care and Feeding of Wilsons
Author: Ceaena
Fandom: House
Genre: Humor
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: House/Wilson friendship with a ridiculous amount of innuendo
Timeline: In and around 2.16, so spoilers up to there
Notes: I wrote most of this right after 2.16 aired, from sheer amusement at the setup they so obligingly provided. I actually got around to finishing it off because I'm sick to death of the overwhelming angst they’re giving us now. Unrepentant fluff ahead.



The Care and Feeding of Wilsons


Starting Out

So you've got yourself a Wilson. Screwed up, didn't you? Sure, you can give one a drink or play with it or kick it once in a while, no problem, but they're presumptuous little bastards; give them a house key and they assume it's an invitation or something. Once one's wormed its way in, it's almost impossible to get rid of it completely; for one thing, they're obsessive about their habitats, and by the end of the first week, it'll have the whole apartment rearranged so it’s the only one who knows whether or not you're out of beer and where the extra is stashed if you’re not. Also, they look and sound so freakishly respectable that when they call a locksmith and explain that their foster son - one of those troubled teens, you know, a lot of pent-up anger issues, but we're working with him - stole their house key - probably to give to one of his druggie friends; we're trying to wean him away from the wrong crowd, but you know how that goes - the guy actually believes it and re-keys the lock for them. Luckily, they're also extremely susceptible to guilt, so they'll open the door if you pound on it while yelling about standing around outside and what it does to sore muscles. Throw in a groan or two, break off your tirade suddenly like you're having a spasm - it works every time.

So okay, you're stuck with the Wilson, and now you have to learn to live with it. The problem is that many people who take in Wilsons go into it without knowing what to expect; not everyone can handle the sort of awesome responsibility and godlike power involved. This pamphlet will give you the information you need to decide if you're able to invest the time and energy it takes to care for a Wilson and train it up to its full potential.



Visually Sexing a Wilson

At first glance, you'd think it's pretty easy to tell the male and female apart; for one, the females tend to have the kind of mammary glands that would land them at least a screen test in the porno circuit (although not rivaling the glands of certain other species, such as the Cuddy, which are highly aggressive and have been known to use them as weapons). However, most scientists remain unconvinced that the glands grow to that size naturally; at least one female Wilson was observed to fluctuate in size over the period of study, although further attempts at examining the phenomenon met with hostility from the mate. This ability to artificially enhance mammary glands just goes to prove that they aren't a reliable indicator. Sure, you can look at the hair and the clothes and all that kind of thing too, but those aren't any more conclusive, so a responsible owner should conduct a thorough sex check to be on the safe side. You know, just to be sure you're adequately providing for all your Wilson's special needs and all that crap. Also because they make the greatest faces ever when you do it.


"Okay, okay, the bathroom's all your- House, is there any particular reason you're groping my chest?"

"Huh. I can't feel any breasts, but then that doesn't really prove anything. Taping, reductive surgery, steroid abuse... Right, pants down."

"House, I am not dropping my pants just because you think putting a little effort into my appearance is- EAUUGH!"

"Sheesh, no wonder you can't stay married. That's the least sexy noise I've ever heard anyone make when someone grabbed their crotch."


Housing

Wilsons are almost invariably indoor pets. While they'll sleep outside if you don't let them in and they can catch their own food, they don't like it, and it usually makes them surly; they'll yap for hours as soon as they catch sight of you again, and it's really more trouble than it's worth. Poorly-trained ones have also been known to go feral and disappear from time to time, so it's better to keep them inside, where you can keep an eye on them at all times. If they absolutely have to go out, radio collars are an option, but they tend to make Wilsons unreasonably irritable, and most can get them off pretty easily. Plans for testing a system of tags embedded under the skin have currently been put on hold until either the legal issues have been worked out or a subject happens to get exposed to a general anesthetic.

Changes in the status quo tend to upset Wilsons, so when you first take one in, it's probably going to be nervous and easily upset. If you don't want to come home to find it throwing up in your shoes or something, it's important to smooth the transition as much as possible by offering it a warm, quiet, enclosed space to sleep in, somewhere private and secure.



"Whaaa...? House? What are... Do you always watch Care Bears at one in the morning in the room where your guests are trying to sleep, or is this another of your more subtle hints?"

"Wilson, I'm hurt. With everything that's been going on lately, I was afraid you might be running low on caring. I thought you could soak some up subliminally while you slept, but then you had to go and ruin it all by waking up."

"Has it occurred to you that it's a lot easier for me to be caring when I'm not in jail for homicide?"

"Look, it's okay to depend on other people once in a while. Go on, Cheer Bear wants you to cheer with her."

"I don't even like Care Bears."

"Don't be ridiculous. Everyone likes Care Bears. Except me; I'm more of a My Little Pony kind of guy. What can I say - I'm all for anything that encourages a new generation of lesbians."

"...This is the point where I would assume that I'm having a really screwed-up dream brought on by too much stress, except that would mean that my subconscious wants us to be discussing the effect of My Little Ponies on sexual orientation, and I'd rather the problem was external. Lesbians?"

"Bunch of girl ponies all living together in a big commune, protected by a magical rainbow. Sounds pretty conclusive to me."

"Oh, and rainbows coming out of the Care Bears' stomachs is so much better?"

"Nah, it'd just be a waste if those bears weren't reproducing. Look at those hips."

"Except the males are all eunuchs. God, why are we having this conversation? Just go to sleep. Actually, forget it. I don't care if you sleep, just let me."


Feeding

Wilsons are omnivores, and they require a highly scientific, carefully calculated mix of vitamins, minerals, and MSG in their diets to meet their daily needs for growth, activity, caring, and snark. Not that any of that is relevant to you in any way, as Wilsons will take care of their own food. In fact, you don't even have to buy supplies; Wilsons will bring home their kill and cook it themselves. The only concern you as a Wilson owner should have about its diet is its tendency to overindulge. Oh, sure, a Wilson trying to survive in the wild might need the extra calories, but once they're domesticated, those calories become superfluous and could lead to unhealthy weight gain; it's your responsibility to make sure your Wilson stays in top condition. Luckily, they're pretty lax about guarding their kill once it's cooked. This is one of the unexpected perks of keeping a Wilson around and should be fully exploited. Seriously, they like to feel useful; it's part of that whole needing need thing. The mouth says no, the eyes say yes and all that.


"You know, if someone has food on their fork and is in the process of bringing it up to their mouth, most people would assume that means it's been claimed and would refrain from knocking it off and eating it themselves."

"Not bad. Is there anything you can't cook?"

"...Food for myself?"

"Oh, well, that's okay then. I wouldn't have asked for that anyway."


Grooming

Oh, you don't have to worry about that one either; Wilsons keep themselves clean. Meticulously clean. In fact, it's up to a responsible owner to mess them up a little just to give them something to clean instead of getting neurotic over which brand of shampoo gives their hair the most body. This can be more difficult than it sounds, actually; oh, sure, you can always get them paged to the clinic to take care of projectile vomiting, but they're pretty fast learners (and dodgers, for that matter), so it's not a sure bet. Most owners will probably have to come up with more creative ways of supervising their Wilson's grooming process; this may take several tries before you hit on methods that are consistently effective, and you'll need to change them up constantly to keep them from losing their effect. Don't be afraid to experiment.


"You've got... on you."

"So that's how you get so many patients to thank you for telling them they're dying; you don't actually tell them anything. You just stand there and make vague hand gestures, and they all assume you're propositioning them. Where?"

"Your hair and shoulders. Here... God, House, is that lice?"

"Stop cowering, Rapunzel; your flowing auburn tresses are safe. It looks like... the somewhat desecrated remains of my sea monkeys, actually."

"Sea monk... Oh, is that what you did to my mouthwash? When I saw something floating in it, I just emptied it out over your hairbrush without looking at it too closely. Actually, that was three days ago, and you've only just now ground sea monkey corpses into your scalp. Somehow I'm not surprised."

"At least I'm sure my hair is hair. God knows what all those chemicals you pour on yours have mutated it into. Besides, those sea monkeys live in Epsom salts, borax, and soda, and they eat dried yeast. You're telling me they don't deserve a little minty freshness? And here I thought you liked animals. Hey, if I leave these in and scratch my head a lot, there's no way Cuddy's putting me on clinic duty."


Breeding

Breeding Wilsons is a difficult prospect, as it's rare for them to conceive. This might be related to the aforementioned difficulties in sexing a Wilson; it's possible that a lot of them are just having gay sex and not realizing it, which is all well and good if you ignore the whole "continuation of the species" thing. Makes the gay rights activists happy, though.

Since Wilsons have never bred in captivity (although it's unproven that most females don't just devour their young before anyone else sees), it's unknown exactly how many young are in each litter. We're hoping just one, because most Wilson owners probably couldn't deal with more than that. We're also hoping that they're green, with big glowing eyes and pyrokinetic abilities, because that would just be
cool.

Most Wilson owners put more effort into preventing mating than encouraging it, but even if you're masochistic enough to want it, it's still not that easy. Generally speaking, the problem isn't getting male Wilsons to mate; the problem is that they refuse to have
procreative sex, since it would mess with their nomadic mating instincts (despite this reluctance, they are remarkably resistant to the suggestion of neutering and tend to become hostile when the subject comes up). Getting one drunk is the usual solution in these cases, although this can be risky (if a Wilson is that drunk, the only thing he's likely to get up is the contents of his stomach). Interestingly, studies show that amount of rational thought in Wilsons appears to be linked to the location of their pants; once they're removed, what logic the Wilson was originally capable of drops off the scale and only returns once the pants are back on, a quirk that could be exploited by Wilson owners looking to breed. There is a theory that Wilsons have removable brains that plug in through one of the body's orifices and are stored in their pants pockets, but thus far, studies are inconclusive.


"Hey, Wilson, lemme see your pants."

"Let me just check the database... Oh, I'm sorry; my pants are with the doctor right now. If you'd like to make an appointment, I'll find an open time."

"I can do a consult."

"Sorry - patient confidentiality. Seriously, the only difference since you examined them this morning is that I'm in them."

"And now I want you out of them."

"...I can't even begin to tell you how wrong that sounded."

"Really? I bet the nurses can. WILSON, I WANT YOU OUT OF THOSE-"

"House!"

"Look, those pants don't really care about you anyway; they'll be gone as soon as that middle-age paunch sets in. You're better off without them. Seriously, let me see them."

"..."

"If it'll make you feel better, there's a women's bathroom right down the hall. They have doors on the stalls and everything."

"Oh, yes, thank you. Going to the women's restroom to remove my pants is so much better."

"Oh, come on. What are the chances that anyone's going to walk in who hasn't seen you without pants before?"

"Better than you're evidently giving me credit for, anyway."

"That's right, they have been hiring again, haven't they? Fine, you can leave them on. Just let me rifle through the pockets."

"If I ever need to make you pay back the money you've borrowed from me, I'm just going to sue for harassment. Conveniently enough, I have an entire nurses' station full of witnesses to back me up."

"You say that, but you keep lending me money you know I won't pay back because you want to keep me around, even though you also know I'm going to harass you. That's gonna hold up great in court. 'Yes, Your Honor, I did pay him to harass me, but I didn't want him to!' "

"Of the many, many things wrong with that statement, I could point out that I'm not a soprano, so you can stop with the falsetto."

" 'I told him to stop, but he just kept - God, I feel violated! Oh, then I paid him $3,500, which he used to buy a new plasma HDTV.' "

"Do you want to go through the routine where I point out that I never gave you money for a new TV, or should I just go ahead and write the check?"

"Well, since you're offering..."

"...Here. HEY!"

"Don't worry; that was just a bonus for being such a good customer. You'll get your money's worth later."

"Just as well. You wouldn't be very competitive charging $3,500 for a slap on the ass, and then I really would be stuck supporting you."

"Hey, some of us are worth it. I also only take payment in advance; this doesn't count until after it's been deposited. By the way, you'll be in the clinic this afternoon, right? Just curious."


Common Health Problems

Wilsons are surprisingly disease-resistant for all the time they spend indulging their martyr complex by hanging around sick people and letting said sick people exude germs all over them; you can have one for years without ever dealing with anything that presents stronger symptoms than easily-ignorable whining. However, if Wilsons do come down with something that requires actual attention, they're likely to try and hide their symptoms, since they know that showing sign of weakness is just asking to be picked off by predators. Actually, they have a point with that, but it also means that a Wilson owner needs to pay careful attention to any changes in their Wilson's behavior to see if it's hiding something (more than usual, anyway). It also means that if symptoms do present themselves, it may not cooperate with attempts to diagnose and treat the problem, depending on the extent to which the Wilson feels the treatment is more threatening than the disease. Don't let that bother you; it's for their own good. Any enjoyment you get out of it is purely coincidental, of course. Note that the Wilson, being sick and therefore in a hyper-suspicious state, may distort the situation and assume its owner is being deliberately antagonistic. This is a shameful and flagrant perversion of the facts, but it may lead to the Wilson lashing out unexpectedly as a result. Owners should proceed with caution.


"Whaa...? Oh. You're back."

"I've been back. What kind of housewife are you, anyway? It's after six and you're here snoring on the couch when you're supposed to be slaving over a hot stove in the kitchen where you belong. What happened to the woman I married?"

"Presumably she ran back home to her mother after the first time she got sick and you decided to deliver her medicine by flinging pills at her from across the room."

"Oh, you can't tell me you're still mad about that. Come on, that was yesterday. Well, and the day before. A couple of days before. Anyway, you were contagious. Do you a lot of good if I got sick too."

"Of course. How fortunate I am to have a friend with such deep, thoughtful concern for my wellbeing. How was work?"

"Funny you should ask. For some reason, the clinic was crammed full of Brazilian immigrants who were under the impression that there was a Portuguese-speaking doctor who would be happy to treat them. All day."

"Really? Lucky you happened to be there."

"Cuddy sure thought so. You do realize Global Immigration Services is consultants, not a mail order company, right? Actually, that would explain a lot about the wives."

"How foolish of me to think that locking my cell phone in my briefcase after having just reset my combination would be enough to keep it safe. It must have been the raging fever making me delusional."

"You say that like it's an excuse. ...Huh, you do still have a fever. You ought to take your medicine."


Training

Training is a good example of those little complexities that make Wilsons more interesting than other pets. While they're relatively smart and can be trained to recognize commands easily, their free will is surprisingly tenacious, so how they respond to said commands varies depending on the situation, how much stress they're currently under, how annoyed they are with their owners, how much alcohol you've poured down their throats, and the location of their pants (going by that little theory mentioned earlier). Luckily, Wilsons are generally creatures of habit, so once you've had time to feel out your Wilson's usual patterns, you can get a rough idea how it's normally going to respond and go from there.

Training is actually where most Wilson owners really screw it up. Training sessions should be relatively brief but frequent; Wilsons get bored when they feel like they aren't being challenged. Also, most people will use positive reinforcement to get the Wilson to obey their commands. Most people are
idiots. Wilsons get so much positive reinforcement from the world in general based on outward appearance and status that they really aren't all that interested in performing tricks just to get a little more. Oh, sure, they think they are, but again, they'll lose interest before you know it. Negative reinforcement annoys them, but it's also something different; they'll respond to your command to get you to stop, but they'll also be interested, and as long as they're interested, they'll stick around (although a smart owner will throw them the occasional bit of positive reinforcement to keep them from being pushed too far outside their comfort zone, since that usually makes them rebellious). Once you've got your system worked out, all that's left is to train the Wilson to respond to your commands the way you want it to.

Some commands are easy.



Heel

"For some reason, the clinic receptionists seem to be under the impression they should call me when they want to get rid of you. Give me the Magic 8 ball."

"Hmm... It says 'Reply hazy, try again.' Hey, give that back! You could be jeopardizing the future!"

"How many patients did you scare off using this thing?"

"Seven. I was going to have some real fun with the thirteenth, but you got here too soon."

"I've told you before, your incantation takes too long; you need to leave out the part where you invoke the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet. Is there any reason the receptionists are calling me instead of, I don't know, Cuddy?"

"Probably because I made Cameron suggest it to them. They trust her more than they trust me. Which is silly, really, considering I'm her boss."

"And the point of that was...?"

"It got you down here, didn't it?"

"While I'm flattered that you evidently missed me so much you couldn't wait until the end of your shift to interrupt my work, I'm pretty sure there's an ulterior motive in there somewhere."

"Well, I also wanted to give them the opportunity to ransack your office without you there, of course."

"Oh, of course. Funny, I thought they still had those silly hangups about personal property and privacy."

"After all the music in my iPod was mysteriously replaced, I hooked it up to my computer speakers and told them I wouldn't turn it off until they found out who stole the cable and got it back so I could put some real music back on. You'd be surprised what people will do after the twenty-third time through 47 Ginger-Headed Sailors."


Others take a little more practice.


Fetch

"I realize this is probably my fault for suggesting that you stop whining about how inane all the reading material in the clinic is and go do something about it yourself if it was really bothering you that much-"

"Glad you see you're finally learning to take responsibility for your actions. Been to the lawyer yet?"

"-but I seem to recall suggesting you mention it to Purchasing, not that you strew around copies of Catullus with Oprah Book Club stickers slapped on the front."

"...four, five - hey, you missed the copy of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac I left in the pediatrics waiting room."

"..."

"It's not hard to spot. It has a 'My First Illustrated Bible Stories' dust jacket."

"..."

"While you're at it, I need a refill."


****************

House heard Cuddy before he saw her, a click-click-click of heels that could have been the soundtrack for a time bomb; the subsequent rattle of his office door jerking open was a bit anti-climatic, really. The thump of the pamphlet hitting his desk was better - the corner knocked against one of the precariously-balanced stacks of files and papers he'd been in the process of subtly unbalancing further (he'd found that playing Jenga with Cameron was infinitely more entertaining when there was an offensive and a defensive side, although he'd also found she whined less if he didn't announce it ahead of time) and sent it sliding to the floor with a satisfactory rushing sound, pages fluttering helplessly at him as though they somehow expected him to reach out and catch them before they crumpled. That was obviously today's stack, then; last week's had already had its spirit crushed.

"House," Cuddy began, in her best "I-am-the-put-upon-one-here-but-watch-me-be-reasonable-DAMMIT" voice, "when I mentioned that you hadn't published anything lately, this wasn't what I had in mind."

House picked up the pamphlet and flipped through it, ostentatiously holding it up to the light to examine it. "Yeah, me either. They completely cut out the section on leash training. The printer said it would be bad for their reputation, and there were probably laws against printing that anyway. You can have a pet manual, he says, or you can have-"

"Enough!" Cuddy cut him off, snatching the pamphlet back. "Look, I know Dr. Wilson asked for this by not having the sense to avoid you like everyone else does, but if I find out there are any more copies of this floating around the hospit- What is it?" she sighed, accepting the inevitable derailment as House continued to stare at her with far too much interest to actually be paying attention to what she was saying.

"After I mentioned the leash bit, you presented with flushed features and heaving breasts - heaving even more than usual, that is," House mused, reaching for a notepad and pen that had been half-buried in the rush of falling papers. "That's consistent with either anger or sexual excitement. Of course, when there's the option of it being either sex-related or not sex-related, it's always a sex thing, so is it the leash that got your attention, or a guy and his pet using it, or just me and Dr. Wilson using it? Give me details here; I'm thinking about expanding out into a series. Once we get your stimulus narrowed down, we can conduct further research," he leered, waggling the pen in a gesture that Cuddy didn't have to recognize to get.

Cuddy, unfortunately, completely failed to rise to his bait, glaring at him silently. It was criminal, really, House reflected solemnly, how jaded administrative work could make someone; it must be the lack of warm, positive human contact and connection that came from working closely with patients and other doctors. He considered voicing this theory to Cuddy, but before he had the chance, she shook her head and announced, "You're getting one extra hour of clinic duty for each page of that thing I find."

"True genius is never appreciated in its time," House grumbled as Cuddy turned and stalked out the door. Once she was gone, he reached into his drawer and pulled out another copy of the pamphlet. "Oh, well. If I'm not allowed to give this to people in the hospital, it can't be helped," he shrugged philosophically, fishing out his phone with one hand while grabbing a phone book with another. He browsed for a minute, then smirked and punched in a number. "Hello, Il Cuoco Italiano? Do you have an opening? Give me a reservation for two. Yeah, under Wilson. Do you have a conspicuous table in a high-traffic area? Great."
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