Summary: One day, Wilson wakes up as a woman.
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. They belong to Fox, David Shore, and Bad Hat Harry
Original Story: When He Was A Girl by usomitai
Notes: Many thanks to my betas zulu and savemoony, who made this story infinitely stronger and also rolled their eyes and laughed in my face when I said I wasn't going to write genderfuck for this challenge.
When He Was A Girl (You'll Be A Woman Soon Remix)
One day, Wilson wakes up as a woman.
Well, to be perfectly precise, he wakes up uncomfortable and achy, feeling like his organs just reorganized themselves, his head throbbing in pain.
He stumbles into the bathroom, hand on the porcelain sink, and when he looks into the mirror, everything becomes so much clearer. There's a woman staring back at him from the other side of the glass. A woman with his eyes, his hair, his mouth.
It's disconcerting, to say the least, and not just because he'd woken up female, not because his body had changed its physical sex overnight, but also because of the vaguest hint of recognition he feels when he sees her, like he's seen her before.
He dreads telling House. Of course he dreads telling House. This was the sort of thing House would never let him live down for the next couple of lifetimes and then some.
But Wilson needs his help, and when he asks, House comes over without asking too many questions. He only subjects Wilson to mild amounts of humiliation. It's almost nice of him.
It turns out House can be helpful when he wants to be, curious, focused, and determined. He gets caught up in the work, in solving the puzzle, and while Wilson's been the puzzle before, this is the first time he's wanted to be.
Later, he falls asleep over a medical textbook, and when he wakes up, House's hand is unnaturally gentle on the back of his neck. And even though Wilson knows he hasn't actually become someone else, he feels more and less like himself when House touches him, though he can't explain why. It's too much to untangle, the way everything's knotted up inside him.
"Your hair is thicker," House says, turning away.
The next day, House finds an answer and Wilson sleeps with him. It's stupid. It's monumentally stupid. But Wilson's selfish, and he likes the way House looks at him, the way he used to look at Stacy, with a weird mixture of blatant lust and hidden affection.
The idea lodges itself in his brain in the dim light of morning along with the faint memory of House's hands on this skin. He lets it grow, develop, during the rest of the day, because House keeps ogling him and making lewd remarks. Wilson finds that he likes the attention, in a sick, twisted way, finds that he wants to see if he can leverage this in their perpetual game of one-upmanship. He spends too much time thinking about whether or not sex breaks down any of House's walls.
But in the end, it's House who instigates the whole thing. "Sure, wanna fuck?" he asks, waggling his eyebrows after Wilson tells him that he clearly needs to get laid more often.
"Okay," Wilson says, because he's thought about it all day, and if he was being honest with himself, he'd say that this has nothing to do with his new body and everything to do with waiting for House to ask.
House groans, vaguely pained, when Wilson slides onto his lap and kisses him, like this is tearing something out of him he didn't want to give up. When he touches Wilson, he touches Wilson like he's a girl, like Wilson's soft and fragile and delicate. Wilson's not, though. This body's not. He knows what it's like to be on the other side of this.
All his reactions are different as House thumbs his nipples, licks at his neck, bites at his ear. Everything's inside out and backward, foreign, exotic, strange, new.
His orgasm hits like a wave, his body clenching and spasming, and he wants to ride this feeling forever, just like this.
He finds out he's pregnant from one of those home pregnancy tests, after he wakes to a roiling stomach three days in a row. He sits on the cold tile of the floor, test clenched tightly in hand and decides to abort, because this isn't him, can't be him. He's not ready for this. House is less ready for this. And Wilson can't let himself think about raising a child by himself, no way, no how.
The clinic waiting room is occupied but not full, and he ends up next to a girl who can't be older than sixteen, her nose stuck in a magazine with Justin Timberlake on the cover. She looks impossibly young, and her shirt is pulled too tight over her distended belly. It reminds Wilson, too vividly, of when his mother was pregnant with Isaac, the way it felt to know there was a brother growing inside her, the way it feels to know there's something growing inside him right now.
He leaves quickly, hands in pockets, the endless pit of his stomach wider than it ever was before.
"I don't care what you do with it," House says when Wilson tells him.
"You wouldn't," Wilson says. "That would mean admitting that you give a shit about anything other than yourself."
"You're assuming that I do give a shit about anything other than myself."
In the end, it's Cuddy who convinces him to go back to work.
"I expect you back in the office at nine am sharp," she says, arms folded across her chest, staring at Wilson's new form. "I'd also recommend shopping for something that fits. People can be vicious about the way we dress."
It's probably just a slip on her part, but Wilson keeps replaying the way she said 'we' in his head until it feels like it's echoing.
He decides that if he's going to go for the clothes, he might as well go all the way. He gets the lipstick, the mascara, the foundation at CVS, a strange thrill going down his spine. He gets up early the next morning to get ready. Julie used to take forever putting all this stuff on before going to work, her hands deliberate as she pulled back her hair, as she slid into a skirt.
Wilson takes his time, watching himself in the mirror as the lipstick makes his lips darker and the mascara makes his eyelashes look longer, and it brings back a memory from somewhere deep inside himself. He was eight at the time, playing around in his parents' bedroom, and he remembers his mother's dresser, a short wooden thing with rows of neatly organized bottles in front of a large mirror. At the time, he'd been fascinated by the way his mother would apply her makeup, the way it could make her look like a completely different person, the way it made her look beautiful.
He tried putting on the lipstick first, then the eyeshadow, then the blush, but his hands were clumsy and unpracticed, and when he looked at himself in the mirror, all he could see was the grotesque red "o" of his mouth, the purple splotches above his eyes, the unnatural pink of his cheeks. He felt ugly, incapable of undergoing the same transformation his mother experienced each morning, so he washed it off, scrubbing the soap deep into his skin, before his parents could come home and see him like this.
As he looks at himself in the mirror now, his hair still short, his skin smoothed over with foundation, he thinks he looks beautiful.
He begins to start showing at four months, just the slightest bump, but when he feels it for the first time it fills him with a wonder he can't articulate. He goes to work every day and assures his patients that he's no different except for the outward appearance. He learns how to wear pantyhose without causing runs. He still sleeps with House even though it's still a bad idea.
"You're really into this, aren't you?" House says during one of their usual arguments. "I always knew you were a giant girl on the inside."
He's said things like that to Wilson before, in far meaner ways, but this tears at something that feels tender, raw and vulnerable. "Fuck you, House," Wilson snaps. "Just... Fuck you."
And even House seems a little taken aback by his vehemence.
One of the things Wilson finds out about being female is that he's better at dressing himself than he thought he would be. He'd never minded going with his girlfriends when they went shopping, because the women's section had always been more interesting than the men's. There were always different styles, colors, fashions, and Wilson liked to wander the aisles as he was waiting, liked to feel the different fabrics between his fingers as he passed by.
House handles the pregnancy better and better as time goes on. He's more willing to indulge Wilson's cravings, less likely to complain when Wilson refuses him sex because he's tired. There are even times when he could be mistaken for a doting boyfriend. Wilson enjoys taking advantage of it whenever possible.
This doesn't mean he's stopped being House, however.
"I really should have listened to my dad when he was explaining the importance of not knocking up girls," he says as Wilson vomits into a toilet bowl.
"I'm having a blast over here, too," Wilson says, spitting to get as much of the taste out as possible.
House snorts. "You totally are. I bet you've even picked out baby names."
"No, I haven't," Wilson says, because even though he's pretty sure on some gut level it's a boy, he hasn't had the nerve to name it yet. Not right now, not when everything still feels so uncertain.
One day, he meets a kid in the clinic, a tall scrawny teenager with bad acne and incredibly wide eyes.
"What's it like," the kid asks, pulling his knees up to his chest on the exam chair, "being a woman?"
The question stuns Wilson into silence. He doesn't know what to say.
The kid continues, tripping over his words, "I, um, I was-- I've never really felt-- you know. Right. The way I am. And I-- I don't know. I didn't think it was possible, but you-- you did it. You changed."
The kid looks at Wilson with pleading eyes, and Wilson realizes that he knows what he--she--is. That knowledge feels like a kick in the gut, like he's just opened his eyes, like there's a door inside himself that's finally opening up, one that's been shut for most of his life, one that he's never been able to open before. Wilson's never felt right the way she was was, either.
"It's not that simple," Wilson says, her hands curled tight around the stethoscope around her neck, because it really isn't. Never has been, never will be.
She doesn't have time to think about it for the rest of the day, because she has patients, she has a job to do, but at the end of the day, she goes back to her hotel room instead of House's apartment.
She's looked, of course she's looked, but she's never looked before, never really let herself. She stands in front of the mirror in the bathroom and unbuttons her blouse with shaky hands, peeling it off to reveal her simple, white bra.
She has breasts. They're not huge, but she likes them, the way they fit in her hands. She never was a breast man before, but she always loved the feel of her wives' breasts, even as they used to dredge up some strange, buried longing deep inside herself.
Her face has always been too boyish, but now it looks reshaped, womanly. It fits her now, fits the way she's always seen herself without knowing it. She runs her finger over a cheekbone, feels the unfamiliar-familiar shape of it. She hasn't shaved her face in months.
Her hips are wider, sturdier. Child-bearing hips. The thought makes her touch her growing stomach, makes her imagine what it will feel like when the baby finally kicks.
Wilson's gotten used to the odd looks and muffled whispers, but it still takes her by surprise when one afternoon, in the elevator, a man says to her, "Excuse me, but are you Dr. Wilson? We haven't met, but--"
"Yes," she says, anticipating the invasive questions, the uncomfortable staring, "that's me."
"You're beautiful," he says. "You should be proud. Not everyone gets such a successful sex change operation."
It confuses Wilson for a moment before she realizes that it's an honest compliment. She thinks this man might get it, on some deeper level, thinks he might understand that this may have started as a freak accident, but it's become more than that. So much more. "Thank you," she says.
She feels it kick for the first time during a board meeting, and afterward, she tells Cuddy, who smiles from the corner of her mouth as she congratulates her.
"I'm happy for you," Cuddy says too sincerely, her expression tired, worn out.
"I'm sorry," Wilson says. She's gotten more than she ever deserved, and Cuddy's a far better person than she ever was.
"This one didn't take either," Cuddy says, her voice cracking on the last word. All Wilson can do is leave a hand on her shoulder and wait for the sobs to subside.
"I'd always wondered what it'd feel like to bring life into this world," Wilson tells House, her legs tangled in House's sheets, and she can't quite believe how good it feels to say it out loud, to finally get it out there. Her stomach is huge, now, and her back aches, and her ankles are always sore, but she doesn't mind. It's a small price to pay.
"Gee, did Santa finally get you what you really wanted for Christmas?" House asks, and Wilson doesn't even mind the mocking, because part of her feels freer than she's ever felt before in her life.
"Yeah," she says. "Maybe he did." The words come out sounding a little sarcastic, but Wilson's not sure she's ever been more earnest. She closes her eyes and smiles. "I want to name him Richard," she whispers, finally admitting it to herself, just loud enough for House to hear.
When her water breaks, she's at House's, just minding her own business, and then she feels the first convulsions, and then House yells something, and then everything becomes a jumble of sounds, people, other doctors.
If she tries really hard, she thinks she can remember House holding her hand.
She wakes up to the beep-beep-beep of the monitors, her head still groggy with drugs and too much sleep.
"You're not fooling anyone," House says, irritated, as she tries to get her bearings. "I know you're awake."
Her body feels different, but that's okay, that's to be expected after birth. There's none of that reassuring weight in her stomach, reminding her this is actually real. She pulls herself into a sitting position, and that's when she realizes what's happened, the flatness of her chest, the familiar-unfamiliar thing between her legs.
"Welcome back to the bigger, stronger sex," House continues. Wilson can't keep her face from crumpling as she hears it, even though she knows better than to break down in front of House.
Sure enough, House studies her closely, his eyes narrowed in concentration. Wilson looks away.
"You didn't want to change back, did you?" he asks, sounding accusatory, and it's typical House. Knowing without understanding. "What, you were sick of failing as the happy husband and wanted to take a shot at failing as the happy wife instead?"
"Go away, House," Wilson rasps out, her throat tight and tinged with sleep. Her voice is too deep.
House does, but he says, "I named her Richard," as a parting shot as he goes. Wilson wants to punch him for throwing their daughter in her face, for just always being such an asshole, for not understanding when Wilson needs him to.
The hospital room is quiet after he leaves. Just her alone with the monitors and this familiar-unfamiliar body, the one that was never really hers and never will be again.