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In My Darkest Dreams

Chapter Text

"Everybody's looking for something."

"About time you joined me," Wilson snaps. "I've been waiting forever."

House is puzzled. He looks around. They're on the hospital roof. House can't quite remember why he came up here in the first place, and he's certain Wilson hasn't been here that long. He thinks he saw Wilson just an hour before, leaving his office, but he can't remember. He had been too caught up in the diagnosis.

Wilson's sitting where House always sits, on the low wall. He's resolutely not looking at the ground below him (unlike House, who always looks down).

"Why?" House asks finally, when he realises that Wilson won't elaborate.

"I want you to see it," Wilson answers.

House looks around again, wondering what he's supposed to see. The hospital roof looks like the hospital roof always looks. Boring, mainly. House likes it up here because it's quiet and lonely and gives him time alone, away from everyone. He can't fathom what Wilson wants to show him.

"See what?" he demands, exasperated.

"See this." Wilson pushes himself backward, off the wall. House stands, shocked for a long moment, not knowing whether this is some sort of sick prank. He almost wants to laugh. Until he hears Wilson land. It's a sickening sound, a mixture of a splat and the cracking of hundreds of bones. House rushes to the edge, and sees Wilson several storeys down, blood from his head splattered in a morbid halo around him.

Dead.

House's breath catches in his throat and he tries to look away, but he can't. Wilson's arms are bent at unnatural angles and his legs, bones pulverized from the impact, are rubbery. One is bent up underneath him and the other is curved sideways, away from his body.

House opens his eyes and groans, heart racing, head spinning. Bad dream. He limps off to the bathroom to piss. Maybe he'll take a bath; his pyjamas are pretty sweat-soaked. He splashes water on his face, washing the bad dream out of his eyes. He yawns and decides against the bath. He'll just go back to bed. He glances in the mirror and something catches his eye. Something out of place behind him.

Wondering what it was that he saw, he turns and goes to the living room.

There's an empty bottle of scotch on his coffee table. That's odd, House thinks. It was half-full when I left it. That's not what caught his eye, though, so he keeps looking. His Vicodin bottle is empty, and House may be a drug addict, but he knows how much he takes and how much he has left. And it definitely wasn't empty when he went to bed. He wonders idly if he had finished them off in his sleep, some strange form of somnambulism, but he doubts it. He's never sleep-walked before. He looks around, trying to remember what it was that had caught his eye in the mirror.

He sees it suddenly.

Wilson's arm, stretched out on the floor and just peeking around the edge of the sofa. Idiot must've fallen off the couch in his sleep. House shakes his head, wondering vaguely how exhausted Wilson must have been if he didn't wake up upon hitting the ground. Or maybe he hit his head during the fall. House makes his way around the couch and stops.

There's Wilson, lying on the ground, a puddle of vomit next to him. House rushes over, tossing his cane out of the way at the last moment, and gets down on his knees, feeling for a pulse.

There is none.

House suddenly knows why his bottles of scotch and Vicodin are empty.

It doesn't matter.

Wilson's dead.

House's eyes flutter open, and he groans again. He should know better than to fall asleep in his chair in his office. He swivels around and cracks his back. He rolls his neck to get the crick out. He blinks a few times and yawns, then looks out the window and notices that night has fallen meanwhile. He checks his computer's clock. 8:12. Way past time to go home.He gets up and grabs his backpack. He notices with a glance that Wilson's light is still on.

It's late. Clearly, Wilson's working too hard. Time to distract him.

House changes direction and heads to Wilson's office. He knocks perfunctorily. No answer, not that he particularly expected one. Wilson's notorious for not noticing when someone's knocking if he's deep in work.He opens the door, looking immediately towards Wilson's desk. Wilson's slumped over his desk, and House snorts. His back'll hate him for that in the morning. House considers leaving Wilson there, just to prove that paperwork is painful, but he's feeling kind today. He walks over to the desk and shakes Wilson's shoulder.

Wilson doesn't awaken. House frowns. His hand slides off Wilson's shoulder, and he grimaces.

His hand is wet.

He raises his hand to his eyes.

His hand is wet with blood.

His fingers move immediately to Wilson's neck, searching for a pulse.

There is none.

House looks Wilson over, trying to figure out cause of death. No discolouration on his lips, so not suffocation. No bruising, so not a broken neck.

House finds what he's looking for. A blow to the head. Bled out. House runs his fingers over the wound, feeling bile rise in his throat. Wilson's skull is caved in, and bits of brain ooze like warm jelly out from between the skull fragments. There is a magnum champagne bottle on the desk, its base slick and black with blood.

House's eyes open, and he gasps, shooting into a sitting position. He looks around blearily, trying to remember where he is. Clinic. Well, clearly he should know better than to fall asleep on one of the clinic beds.

"House!" Wilson repeats. "You okay?"

He breathes a sigh of relief. "Yeah. Sorry. Up late..."

"Internet porn," Wilson finishes, rolling his eyes.

House yawns and stretches. "So, is Cuddy looking for me?"

"No. I am."

"Show's not on for another half-hour."

Wilson shrugs. "I know that. Not the reason I'm looking for you." He leans against the closed door and raises an eyebrow expectantly.

"Well?" House prompts finally.

Wilson says nothing, just goes over to the drawers full of syringes. He pulls out a couple. Epinephrine. House watches curiously, not following Wilson, who uncaps three needles at once, and before House can react, jabs them in his arm. He grimaces; three needles at once is hard to manoeuver, but clearly he doesn't care about this.

He shoves the plungers down.

"I want you to know one thing," he says calmly. "It was because of you."

He falls to the floor. House slides off the exam table and finds his pulse. Racing. He can't count the beats, they're going so fast. House straightens Wilson out and finds his pulse again, hoping it has slowed down. It hasn't.

Suddenly, it stops. House calls the code and rips open Wilson's shirt. He begins chest compressions, stopping occasionally to breathe into Wilson's mouth.

Nurses rush in with a crash cart, and House grabs the paddles, squirting a dollop of gel onto each of them. "CHARGING! CLEAR!" he shouts, applying them to Wilson's chest. Wilson jumps, then falls flat again. House searches for a pulse.

None.

"CHARGING! CLEAR!"

Wilson jumps, falls flat, doesn't move. There's still no pulse.

"CHARGING! CLEAR!"

Nothing. It's been four minutes.

"CLEAR!"

Five minutes.

House is desperate by now. Wilson can't stand this long without any oxygen. He'll be brain-damaged. Severely brain-damaged.

He doesn't care. He doesn't care how Wilson comes back, he just wants Wilson to come back.

"CLEAR!"

Wilson's still form is mocking him. Reminding him that this is, in some strange, twisted way, entirely his fault. House ups the voltage again, shouting, "CLEAR!"

Six minutes.

One of the nurses runs out. House doesn't care. It has nothing to do with Wilson. He wills Wilson's heart to start again. Come on, you fucking idiot! Start! Live, you moron. Why did you do this? Why? How is this my fault?

"CLEAR!"

The door opens again. House glances up at Cuddy, who is staring at the scene with disbelief.

"How many times have you tried to restart his heart?" she asks calmly. As if one of her doctors isn't lying dead on the floor. As if one of her favourite doctors, one of her friends, isn't lying dead (not dead! He's not dead, he's not!) on the floor.

House doesn't answer, just charges the paddles again. "CLEAR!"

"This is the eighth time," the other nurse, the one who had stayed in the room, says.

Wilson still doesn't stir. Still doesn't have a pulse.

"CHARGING! CLEAR!" House shouts desperately, a note of panic, a half-formed sob, in his voice.

They wait with bated breath to see if Wilson moves, but he doesn't.

House begins charging the paddles again.

"Time of death: Two thirteen p.m.," Cuddy intones. "Put the paddles away, House. It's over."

House doesn't move, and Cuddy shuts the machine off and gently takes the paddles away. She helps him up and leads him out, fighting him all the while. He needs to see his friend. He can still save him.

"No!" House tears at Cuddy's sleeves. "I didn't... Shit! G- get atropine! We can still--"

"House. It's too late."

House's eyes fly open. He takes a few deep breaths to calm his racing heart, looking around his bedroom. Just a bad dream. That beer-Vicodin-scotch combination probably hadn't been the brightest idea. Never was, but it usually didn't give him dreams this bad.

He stretches and glances at his clock. Past seven. Might as well get up now. He walks out of his bedroom, glancing at his couch where Wilson's sleeping after yet another break-up (House really, really doesn't understand why Wilson keeps moving in with them; he just ends up on House's couch).

He moves around, purposefully loud. He finally has the chance to avenge himself for all those mornings when Wilson blow-dried his hair or clipped his toenails or made placenta and whale blubber smoothies for his hair in the blender.

He slams the cupboard doors open and shut, bangs the mug down on the counter, whistles and sings obnoxiously loudly, and in general is a nuisance.He peeks back in the living room. Wilson hasn't so much as shifted. House raises an eyebrow. Wilson isn't a particularly light sleeper, but he isn't very heavy sleeper, either.

Come to think of it, Wilson's chest isn't rising and falling, either. House frowns and goes over to take a pulse.

There isn't one.

House feels his own heart stutter in panic, and spares a thought for prophetic dreams, but turns his attention quickly to Wilson. His body's cooling.

He's definitely gone.

House's eyes slide open.

"You're an idiot," Wilson snaps. "You nearly killed yourself."

"That was the whole idea."

"You wanted to kill yourself?"

"I wanted to nearly kill myself," House replies, although at this point, he doubts that. Weird dreams. The brain, shutting down. It's all that was. Some chemical reactions. This is it. Neurons firing from nowhere to nowhere as my brain was starved of oxygen. Wilson's fine, I'm fine...

Wilson debriefs him on their patient, adding: "Maybe you didn't want to die, but you didn't care if you lived!"

"You insisted that I needed to see for myself." House is beginning to think that maybe that hadn't been such a great idea to begin with. And, after all, how many times does a guy really need to die?

Doesn't matter. I didn't see anything. Nothing worth mentioning, at least. Just some strange, completely uninterconnected images as my brain went through the dying process. There's nothing there. Nothing out there.

He asks after the knife-in-the-socket guy, suddenly needing to talk to him. After all, House was right.There is nothing there. Wilson dying can't be heaven. Could be my own personal hell, though, House realises.

"He died almost an hour ago. Apparently it's bad to electrocute yourself days after suffering massive internal injuries."

House relishes Wilson talking, no matter how ordinary what he's saying is. Wilson talking means Wilson's alive, and this is real. This is real, this is real, this is real. He's learned one thing during his brief sojourn into death.

He can't live without Wilson.

"Why did you need to talk to him? Did you... see something?"

I didn't see anything. Wilson doesn't need to know what I saw. He doesn't. He absolutely doesn't need to know this.

Anyway. I saw nothing.

He tries to distract with the eosinophilic pneumonia, but Wilson won't be deterred. "House?" And he looks worried, looks curious, and House lies. He saw nothing, after all. Just neurons firing.

Wilson doesn't have to know about it. So, there's nothing to talk about, nothing to tell him about.

He saw nothing, after all.

Except for Wilson dying, that is.

But that was just the chemical reactions of death.

House tries again to distract Wilson again, and Wilson's half-distractible, but he keeps returning to the near-death experience. Nothing as in nothing as in nothing, and that's it, and would you please stop asking already? I saw nothing. Nothing I'm going to tell you about. Nothing I want to think about ever again.

He flexes his hand, and it hurts, and the pain feels good. It reminds him that this is real, this is real, and Wilson is there. He is there, and he's talking, and he's not dying or dead.

After all. House saw nothing.

"Just looking at you hurts. I'm going to order up some extra pain meds."

And suddenly, it becomes very, very important that he tells Wilson something. I didn't see it because it was a message from heaven, because that's just stupid, but my brain was clearly trying to bring up the more important things.

Wilson's the most important thing in my life.

"I love you."

Wilson raises his eyebrows and keeps writing. Just the damn pain meds. He doesn't love me. He can't, not if he keeps doing this to himself. To me. How many times do I have to watch him die? How many more times do I have to be told that House is dead again? How can I keep doing this?

House panics. Damn. Shit. He's... he doesn't believe it. No... he's rejecting me. He doesn't want this.

He doesn't want it.

It's fine. It's fine. I just wanted him to know that I do love him.

Just not like that.

Right. Not like that. Good thing Wilson doesn't love me, because then it would be awkward.

Because I'm not in love with him. Right.

Chapter Text

"Everything about this house was born to grow and die"

ABOUT SEVEN MONTHS LATER

Amber is dead. Wilson is looking in on House, so she must be.

A string of thoughts from the previous day or so run through House's brain as Wilson walks away. You think I should risk my life to save Amber's? Wilson's gonna hate me. I don't want to be in pain. I don't want to be miserable. And I don't want him to hate me. Why did you get so drunk, alone, at five in the afternoon?

He doesn't remember. Not exactly why, anyway. But something prickles in his subconscious. He's gotten what he wanted, he supposes. Amber is out of the picture. No. She isn't. He's going to hate me. And she was right. I was right. I do deserve it, in a way.

"I'm so sorry."


House gets out of the cab and walks into the funeral home, slowly. He has a blinding headache, he's nauseated, and he's still not terribly steady on his feet. Not that he has been for the past dozen or so years, but the skull fracture is doing a number on his balance. He trips and very nearly falls flat on his face, but Cuddy is there to catch him.

"What are you doing here?" she whispers. "You haven't even been discharged!"

He closes his eyes for a moment and braces himself against a nearby wall. "I'm paying my respects to the woman whose death I caused." He looks down. "And to my best friend." That part is nearly inaudible.

Cuddy nods and straightens House's tie, then envelops him in a gentle hug, pulling him away from the wall. "It wasn't your fault. You did everything you could."

House swallows, nods, and leans on Cuddy on the way to his seat. Wilson was right; I should have been alone on that bus. All alone.

He's too busy trying to keep from puking to listen to the eulogy. Afterwards, he watches hordes of people crowd around Wilson to console him. Cuddy's there, hovering nearby, as well as all of House's fellows, past and present. The gang's all here. They hug Wilson, and he does a good job of keeping himself together, but any idiot can see he's torn up inside. Completely lost. House stumbles over to him, staring at him from a few feet away, willing Wilson to look at him. When he finally does look at House, Wilson's eyes go out of focus. House takes a step forward, extending his left arm, needing to comfort his friend. When Wilson's gaze hardens into a glare, House jerks back as if shocked, and he slowly nods and makes his way outside.

He trips and falls onto his knees in the grass. He can't even scream at the pain tearing his wasted thigh apart because he's vomiting on the ground. Once he's done heaving, a strong pair of arms hoists him up into a standing position.

"I'll give you a ride back to the hospital," Foreman says.

House glances back toward the building. Wilson, who is standing with his arms crossed, watching, makes no move to help him walk to Foreman's car.

A week later, House is discharged and ordered to stay at home for as long as it takes him to fully recover. Cuddy doesn't specify what he's supposed to be recovering from, but he assumes she doesn't just mean the head injury. It doesn't matter; she's willing to give him as much time as he needs. House just wonders if it will ever be enough.

For three days, he can't sleep. Every time he closes his eyes, he sees Amber, lying in her casket, heavily made-up to hide the facial contusions, or how she looked at the moment of impact in the bus crash, hair haloed around her head, neck snapping forward, eyes wide with panic and confusion. Or he sees Wilson's cold glare, telling him in no uncertain terms that he is unwanted. Sometimes the image morphs into a sickening combination of the two that makes him want to tear his eyes out of his head, or vomit, or scream at the top of his lungs that nothing is as unfair as this.

He tries calling Wilson on day four of his mandatory sick leave. There is no answer, so all he can do is mumble "I'm sorry, Wilson" into the phone when the generic woman's voice on the other end tells him to leave a message. He hangs up the phone and doesn't notice he's crying until he feels the leg of his pyjamas dampen with tears.

He does the same thing every few hours for the next several days, only half-realizing he's repeating himself. It doesn't matter; Wilson needs to know. Wilson didn't deserve to have everything he'd cared about destroyed. Nobody deserves that.

Wilson will never forgive him. Never.

House feels completely numb; the throbbing in his head and leg are just background noise. He hasn't done anything but sleep fitfully for the past week, waking up on the couch damp and itchy with sweat, half-forgotten snatches of terrifying dreams playing in front of his eyes until they're other-half-forgotten, too. He's stopped shuffling to the bathroom when he feels sick from the withdrawals; he hasn't eaten in days so there's nothing to bring up. He sits on the couch and dry heaves, head between his legs, drooling onto the floor. When he realises he's too dehydrated to sweat or cry anymore, he goes to the kitchen and gulps down glass after glass of water until he can stop puking it back up as it hits his shriveled, bone-dry stomach.

He stares at his piano, wondering why he ever played. What's the point in playing when there are people dying in bus crashes? He wonders. The thought doesn't make sense, even to him.

House writes a short letter. All he can manage is ten words. And then he finds his lock box. In this state, it won't take much morphine to do the trick, but he fills the syringe all the way anyway. He's too weak from the effort of getting the box off the shelf to tie the tourniquet. Normally, he wouldn't need it, really, but he's so dehydrated, so cold all the time, that his veins have receded, constricted. He sits on the floor, leaning against the couch, and flicks at the crease of his elbow, then makes a fist, trying to bring a vein to the surface. He hears a series of sounds, but can't identify them over the swishing of blood in his head. He ignores them and reaches for the tourniquet to try again. If he can't raise a vein, he can just inject it into his carotid artery, or maybe his heart. That should do the trick. He ties the tourniquet as tightly as he can manage and sees a vein struggle to dilate. It plumps up sufficiently and he rests for a moment, aiming the needle carefully.

"House!"

The syringe is plucked from his fingers. House stares at his hand, confused, then lolls his head back against the couch, looking up through drooping eyelids at Wilson.

"Oh, God," Wilson mutters. "The syringe is full, House."

House tries to say "I know," but he can't get his vocal cords to work. He nods instead.

Wilson goes to the kitchen and presses the plunger down, squirting the morphine into the sink. And then, he sees the note sitting on the kitchen counter.

"I'm so sorry," it says. "I didn't want him to hate me."

Wilson rushes back to the living room and sits next to House on the floor, holding him tightly.

"I don't hate you, House. I just. . ." He sniffles a little, burying his head in House's neck. "I needed some time. I couldn't stand to be around you, because you reminded me so much of her, but I never hated you. I never blamed you. God knows I tried to."

House tries to work up enough saliva to swallow, tries to ungum his lips and tongue. He can't, so he settles for letting Wilson hold him and accept his apology.

"You stink," Wilson says after a long while, then finally looks him over. "God, House. Have you really just been sitting here for almost two weeks?"

He suddenly looks terrified, and, bracing himself, hoists House up and onto the couch.

"You're going to take a bath, while I order some food. Lots of food. Lots of high-calorie food. And you're going to eat until you feel like exploding."

House nods and tries to stand, but can't even come close.

"Stay here," Wilson says, and goes to run a bath. When he returns, he helps House up and to the bathroom. "You're not going to try that again, are you?" he asks.

House shakes his head, and this time, manages to speak, albeit softly. "You love me again."

"I never stopped," Wilson says, setting House down on the toilet to remove his clothes. House has easily lost twenty pounds– not that he had much fat to lose to begin with. His ribs, collarbones, and shoulder blades poke out eerily. His muscles are trembling and starting to show signs of atrophy. His face is sunken, cheeks further hollowed.

Wilson orders practically everything off the menu of their favourite Chinese restaurant, and when House mentions that he probably won't be able to keep any of it down, rings Cuddy and has her bring a few doses of an anti-emetic, as well as a few grocery items. She's more than happy to help, considering the circumstances.

As House shovels a vast pile of lo mein into his mouth, Wilson informs him that he'll be moving in while House recovers. He somehow manages not to sound condescending or pitying when he does so, and House manages to not sound too relieved when he agrees. Wilson helps House shave and brush his teeth, and that night, when Wilson helps him into bed, he passes out almost immediately and sleeps for fifteen hours. He is far too exhausted to dream.

Over the next few days, they slip into a routine: Wilson wakes House and helps him into the bath, then goes to make breakfast. He forces House to eat eggs, bacon, pancakes, and oatmeal, and drink a glass each of orange juice and milk. Wilson insists on doing some basic PT and massage therapy on House in the mornings, to get some blood flowing back into his muscles. House is uncharacteristically quiet, and doesn't complain. He grunts when too much strain is put on his right thigh, but is otherwise almost completely silent. They eat lunch and dinner while watching TV, and House sleeps ten hours a night. Their conversations are strained and superficial for the most part at first, but eventually they return to something resembling normalcy. It takes just over a week for House to start feeling more like himself again. He's back on the Vicodin and can manage to get himself into the bath tub and brush his own teeth, but Wilson still insists on continuing the PT for just a little longer.

All in all, Wilson is happy to help House. It keeps his mind off Amber during the day, at least, and most nights he's too exhausted to think. Occasionally, he'll wake himself up crying, not remembering the dream, but knowing it's been about Amber. He wonders if he'll ever really get over her, or if by the time House no longer needs him there, he'll be able to function on his own. But for now, he realises there's nothing he can do but take things one step at a time, and he's content with that, for the most part.

Cuddy calls him up one night around ten, about two weeks later– there's been a bad pileup with lots of injuries and the hospital is short-staffed. Could he come in for just a little while and help out in the ER? After checking with House, he agrees to come in. He leaves immediately and House gets into bed. He's not feeling tired, but he's gotten used to going to sleep early. He takes an extra Vicodin, closes his eyes, and tries not to think about anything.

Chapter Text


Chapter Three

"Gotta keep yourself alive, gotta leave on time."

House wakes with a start. He glances over at the clock: 1:01. A.M. He drops his head back onto the pillow with a groan. He just fell asleep, too. He shuts his eyes resolutely and tries to clear his mind.

No go. Something prickles at him. Some... uneasy feeling. Wilson.

House snorts and turns over, mindful of his bad leg. Wilson is fine. He's just helping out in the ER. Wilson is always fine. Almost always, anyway. Nothing to worry about. Sleep. He needs sleep, not half-assed thoughts about Wilson and some vague unease. He shuts his eyes. After an interminable time (a glance at the clock tells him seven minutes), he sits up. Damn.

He really can't shake this feeling.

No.

Wilson is fine. Nervousness. So unscientific. A vague feeling of something wrong.

He falls backwards onto his bed.

It's more than that. It's his mind piecing together what it already knew. So the unease... it is nothing, he tells himself firmly. Just an excuse for his insomnia to flare up.

Five minutes later, he's sitting up and reaching for his phone. There is no way he's going to go to sleep if he doesn't check that Wilson is fine.

Wilson's cell phone rings. And rings. And rings. And rings.

Four calls later, House calls Amber's apartment instead. And then Wilson's office.

Nothing.

Damn it!

House slams the receiver down and grabs his cane. He dresses quickly and gets on his motorbike, still telling himself it was nothing, it was nothing, he wasn't... it was nothing, Wilson is fine. He's fine.

Really. Nothing wrong.

He's speeding along the highway at (quick glance at the speedometer) 80 mph because Wilson's fine and there's absolutely nothing wrong with him, really, absolutely, nothing wrong, absolutely, no way in hell, nothing could be wrong. Wilson is fine, Wilson is probably saving some bald kid's life or filling out charts in his office.

88 mph. House starts rehearsing what he'll say to any cop who stops him: "I'm a doctor, there's been an emergency, you have to let me go, yes, here you go, my AMA card, now, please..."

But there is no emergency because Wilson is fine. Wilson is fine is fine is fine is fine is...

Wilson. Is. Fine. There is nothing wrong with him, nothing, nothing. House accelerates, watching the speedometer ease over 90, but there is no need to speed, because there is nothing, nothing to worry about, Wilson is just doing paperwork and he is fine absolutely fine Officer, please, there's an emergency but there isn't because Wilson is fine and of course I haven't been drinking, no, the Vicodin in my pocket is mine, no, I'm not DUI, please, Officer, I'm a doctor, there's an emergency, I know, I'm sorry, I was on the road when I got the call, pulled over, took it, yes, thank you Officer...

But it's all in his head because there's no officer and there's no trouble and Wilson is fine and the speedometer is showing 95 now, he's never done 95 on this bike and goddamn it's dangerous, and his heart is pounding (from the ride, from the ride, 95 on a motorbike is a bit dangerous even for him, he tells himself, because it's not because of Wilson) and Wilson's okay, really, there's nothing wrong with him. The wind is rushing in his ears, rushing by him, because the speedometer's still showing 95 and maybe even trying to climb to 96; he really should ease off the throttle, but no, because he has to get to the hospital.

Wilson's just doing paperwork. Curing cancer. Being the good, screwed-up oncologist he is, just doing what he's always done, and House... House is swerving to avoid that tree, nearly toppling over, goddamn, 95... 95 so fast so fast and the hospital's still so far, has this highway always been this endless?

Hasn't he passed this store already on this ride? And why isn't he there yet? He's so far...

Wilson's... fine.

He needs saving, needs saving, there's something wrong, House knows it, just like he knows that hoofbeats, for him, mean zebras, or maybe unicorns, but not horses, just like he knows his medical mysteries. Because Wilson can't be fine, not when that puzzle-picking part of House's brain is nagging at him, Wilson isn't fine. Wilson... there's something wrong, House needs to save him. It's a total role-reversal but House knows it's something physical he has to save Wilson from and that he can do, that House can do, with a cane and an attitude, he can stop anyone from hurting Wilson, unless Wilson's hurting Wilson, and then House is fucked, because House, for all his medical brilliance, is no shrink.

And he's still not there, why isn't he there, and why isn't Wilson calling him back, and why is this highway so endless?

He knows he's passed these buildings before, and these signs, and that one odd crooked tree and he can't get there he can't get there Wilson... needs help, he needs it, House needs to give it, and he can't because he can't get there, he's just...

Screaming.

He's screaming, matching the roaring in his ears, and there's a voice, he knows that voice, he knows it... and for the first time in his life, he wonders if God is talking to him, because he's all alone on this highway and there's only wind and his screaming, so there should be no voice, and it's not in his mind, because he knows he hears it, it's a voice, a real voice... It can't be God-- he must be hallucinating (or those are the same thing; he's never quite sure), which is fine; hallucinating he can handle. He's had that before.

"HOUSE! Snap out of it! House!" There's a note of panic in the voice, and that scares House. "Come on, House, let the dream go. Come on!"

Dream?

Dream.

He knows the word. His eidetic memory supplies Freudian, medical, and general English definitions for the word, including page numbers of various dictionary and textbook editions. Dream. It's...

"House, it's a dream! A nightmare! And you're going to hurt your leg, tossing around like this. C'mon, House!"

He wakes with a start. Worried brown eyes are staring at him. "House, are you okay?"

"Bad dream," House murmurs. "Thanks for waking me."

"Bad dream?" Wilson echoes. "House, you screamed loud enough to wake me up. Me and half of the neighbors, I think. And you're covered in sweat."

House glances down at himself. "Yeah. Need a shower. Go back to sleep."

Wilson bites his lip. "Hey, wake me if you need anything, okay? Even if you just wanna talk about it."

House doesn't have the energy for sarcasm, and anyway, it's never worked on Wilson, so he just nods and looks about for his cane.

"Oh, I think you threw that," Wilson remarks, retrieving it from the other end of the room. House managed, even in his sleep, to avoid a window, for which he supposes he should be grateful.

Wilson shuffles out to the couch, yawning and saying at the same time, "Really, if there's anything, House... You scared me with the screaming."

House showers quickly and changes his damp bedsheet.

He doesn't sleep any more that night.


Wilson enters his room quietly, around eight in the morning, and collects House's dirty bedclothes from the night before.

"How'd you sleep?" House asks, before Wilson has a chance to ask the same of him. Not that he won't anyway.

"Okay," Wilson says, motioning for House to hand over his pillowcases. "You?"

House shrugs, and sets about pulling the cases off his pillows. They're due for a wash. He tosses the cases to Wilson and gets out of bed, swallowing a vicodin en route to the bathroom. He takes a piss and brushes his teeth while Wilson gets the laundry started, and then returns to his bed, smoothing the covers down and lying on top of them. Wilson enters a moment later and wordlessly begins massaging House's thigh.

Once the muscles are loosened sufficiently, he begins aiding House in his stretches, working on some basic range of motion exercises. "Wanna tell me about the dream?" he asks, casually.

House bites his lip, grunting as he pushes against the pressure Wilson's applying to the bottom of his foot. "It wasn't really scary, now that I'm awake," he says, simply. "You know how dreams are."

Wilson nods, taking hold of House's knee and stretching it off to one side, then the other. "I used to have this nightmare as a kid, where I'd be in a swimming pool, just swimming, but I could never get out of the pool. Whenever I'd try to grab hold of the side, it would get farther away."

"So what happened?"

Wilson braces himself against the bottom of House's foot again, and House pushes back against him. "It always just sort of faded into another dream. Or I'd wake up. I joined the swim team in jr high and haven't had the dream since."

"Somehow, I don't think that'll help," House mutters, and Wilson stops the stretching and begins a light cool-down massage.

Wilson raises an eyebrow, but only says, "I'm gonna go make breakfast."


Walking down the corridor, light stolen by the night, only a tiny glimmer of illumination provided by the moon dancing across the floor. He can barely see where to put his feet. And fast. Shuffling down the hallway, heart clattering so hard in his chest that he figures it must be audible to everybody, clinging to the walls, eyes darting back and forth, sightless in the almost-pitch-blackness, and he needs to get there now. Should be there already. Should have been there, waiting. Should never have left. Should never have gone home, gone out, gone away, should never have left him alone and the only sound he can hear is his heart pounding in his ears and his blood racing through his veins and his breathing, harsh and wet and without echo because the air is stale and useless and isn't doing his lungs a bit of good. Unvoiced, 'hhhhhh... hhhhhh... hhhhhhh... hhhhhhh... hhhhhhh...' as he's racing down the hall, panting, blood still spinning around in his brain, tight and painful, aching in his veins and there's too much. Too much of everything except light, and when did this hallway get so long? He can see the door off in the distance, around a corner and it's miles and miles away and he'll never get there on time; he's too late already but he can only go so fast and the floor must be moving forward with him because he's not going anywhere and he can't find his footing and there's a THUMP and he slips, falling, screaming, and his scream sounds like a fire alarm in his ears as he lands flat on his back and wakes up, still screaming, and tears are streaming down his face.

There's a crash and the slap of bare feet on hardwood, and Wilson bursts into his room, crashing to his knees at House's bedside.

"House! Are you okay? What happened?"

House is panting, a pained-sounding whistle punctuating each inhalation, hair dripping, fists clenched, eyes wide as the tears continue to spill down his cheeks and suddenly he collapses onto his side and vomits on the floor. Wilson peels him off the mattress, climbing onto the bed with him, pressing himself up against House's side with one arm around his waist and the other hand on his chin, turning his head to look into his eyes. Finally, House blinks and swallows, eyes focusing.

"Are you okay?"

House nods, still not able to speak.

"Nightmare?"

Another nod and House has finally caught his breath. "Did you break something?"

Wilson looks puzzled for a moment. "I... must've knocked over a lamp when I was--"

"No, before that. I thought I heard a thump."

"Oh. I... yeah. Dropped a book on the floor."

"Thanks. You woke me up before the bad part."

"Before the bad part? House, you screamed so loud I'm shocked there aren't cops outside telling the murderer to come out with his hands up. You scared the shit out of me. Again."

House nods, realizing at the same time as Wilson does that the bed is a lot more damp than sweat alone could cause.

"Shit." He pulls back the covers and looks down; his pyjamas are soaked with urine. "Need a shower."

He's still trembling as he slides his legs off the side of the bed, avoiding the vomit puddle.

"House, seriously. Are you gonna be okay?"

"Yeah. Just... need to get cleaned up. You go back to sleep."

He limps off to the bathroom and takes a long, hot shower, rinsing out his mouth under the spray, and tries to convince himself that the tears that have started up again are a purely biological reaction to stress and sleep-deprivation. When he gets back to his room, the vomit's been cleaned up and Wilson is curled up, asleep under fresh sheets. He lays down on the bed, on top of the covers, and stares at the ceiling until daylight comes pouring through the window.

Wilson wakes up an hour after dawn, eyes flitting across the unfamiliar room.

"Hey," House says. "You fell asleep in here."

Wilson nods, remembering. He watches as House grimaces and rubs at his thigh. "Must've hurt it thrashing around." he says, unnecessarily.

Wilson nods, yawns, and sits up, then begins massaging House's leg softly. He figures he'll do a little extra massage this morning. House's muscles are rock-solid and quivering.

"What was the dream about?" Wilson asks.

"I don't know."

"You don't remember?"

"No, it's not that," House says, figuring that since he's not actually revealing anything that Wilson doesn't already know, it's safe. "It was just really vague. I was running from something, or to something. Or both."

"I hate running dreams."

"I used to love them," House mutters, groaning sharply as one of his quadriceps muscles finally loosens up.

Wilson bites his lip and moves his hands to a different area. "So, what do you want to do today?"

House thinks for a moment. "I kinda want to watch Forrest Gump."

Chapter Text


Chapter Four

"Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight."

Twelve minutes. It has been twelve minutes since he paged Wilson. For the fourth time. Seventeen minutes since his fifth phone call. Four minutes since the ninth phone call. Thirty-eight minutes since the first call, and twenty-five minutes since the first page. Forty-two minutes since House woke up, went out into the living room, and realised Wilson had left. House is observant like that.

The phone rings and House tells himself that his leg isn't the only reason he doesn't lunge for the receiver. He waits until the third ring to answer.

"Hey, Wilson," he says casually.

"House." It's not Wilson on the phone, though; it's Cuddy. "You need to come in. There's been an accident."

House doesn't speak; dread runs through him leaving a cold feeling in his stomach.

"It's Wilson. He's... it doesn't look good."

House rolls over in bed. "Fuck."

He's sweat-soaked and panting for the third time this week. And it's only Tuesday. He sits up and pulls off his t-shirt before climbing out of bed. His pyjama bottoms and underwear are a lost cause, but at least he didn't piss himself this time. He strips naked and throws on his old terrycloth robe, then ventures out into the living room.

Wilson's on the couch, snoring softly. His blanket's fallen on the floor so House picks it up and spreads it over Wilson, tucking it up around his shoulders. Only because if Wilson's cold he won't sleep well, and if he doesn't sleep well he'll be grumpy. If he's grumpy, no pancakes in the morning.

Wilson sighs and shifts slightly, and House allows himself a small smile as he lowers himself into his armchair. He goes back to bed a couple of minutes before Wilson's travel alarm clock is set to go off, thinking that it's kind of ridiculous Wilson bothers– he's on sabbatical and has no appointments or obligations, except to House. He may as well sleep in.

The next night House doesn't bother trying to sleep at all. He waits patiently in his bed for an hour after Wilson settles down on the couch for the night, then creeps back down the hallway. He makes himself comfortable in the recliner with a bottle of bourbon and a glass and pins his eyes on Wilson.

Around three-thirty, as House's eyelids are beginning to droop, Wilson again manages to dislodge his blanket. House glances up sharply, rolling his eyes. Wilson ought to start stapling the blanket to is pyjamas. House sets his glass down on the floor and stands, hobbling over to the sofa. He uses the handle of his cane to hoist the blanket off the floor, and stands for a moment, just watching Wilson.

Wilson's sleeping as peacefully as House has ever seen, hair matted from where he'd been resting his head on his hand. House shakes out the blanket a bit and drapes it back over Wilson, leaning over him to tuck it in between his butt and the back of the couch. Wilson groans and turns over onto his back, trapping House's hand under his waist. House pitches forward but manages to catch himself by pressing his left knee into the couch cushions. His forearm brushes against Wilson's crotch and House's stomach flip-flops as he realises Wilson is hard.

Wilson's hips twitch up a little and he groans again, so softly it's barely audible over House's suddenly ragged breathing. House is frozen in place and, if not for his leg he might remain there for another few hours. He slowly extracts his hand but lets it hover over the slight bulge in the blanket. After a moment, his hand twitches away and he makes his way back to the recliner in a daze.

Just a reflex erection, he tells himself. It's good. Means Wilson's healthy. Nothing to do with me touching him.

H e goes back to bed an hour before Wilson's alarm goes off, figuring that Wilson's banging around in the kitchen and bathroom will wake him before he gets into a REM cycle. Naps are definitely the way to go, he decides.


House digs his bottle of caffeine pills out of his underwear drawer and swallows a handful, chasing the pills with a Vicodin and a mouthful of the coffee he's just brewed. He takes the thermos of coffee into the living room and sits down in his chair with a book.

Halfway through chapter twelve, he notices Wilson has stopped snoring. he sets his book down and walks over to Wilson to look at him closely. His blanket's fallen off-- again.

"Jesus Christ, Wilson," he mutters, plucking up the blanket and tucking it around Wilson for at least the fifth time in two weeks.

"What are you doing?" Wilson asks blearily, blinking up at House.

"Just, uh, got up to get a glass of water. Your blanket fell off."

"Oh. Thanks. You know, that hasn't happened for awhile. I usually kick off my blanket all the time."

House shrugs and looks around, not sure what to do now that Wilson's awake. He can't exactly return to his post, but he certainly doesn't want to go to bed. Wilson yawns, though, so maybe he'll go back to sleep quickly.

"Well, goodnight," House says after a moment of awkward silence.

"Night," Wilson replies, stifling another yawn.

House takes the opportunity to use the bathroom; after half a thermos of coffee his bladder is practically screaming for relief. He swipes a couple more caffeine pills from his bedroom and by the time he pokes his head back into the living room Wilson's asleep again. He sits down in his chair and clicks on the lamp, picking up his book. Somewhere around chapter twenty, he realises how quiet it is in the room. Too quiet. No soft snoring from Wilson.

House glances up sharply and watches Wilson for a moment– of course he's capable of breathing quietly– but after several seconds and no motion at all, not even the rise and fall of Wilson's chest, House tosses down his book and thrusts himself out of the chair.

The sudden movement jerks him awake. "Damn it," he mutters, and notices what time it is. Wilson's alarm will go off in ten minutes; he can catch a quick, dreamless nap and be good for the next few hours. He creeps to his bed and lays down, knowing Wilson will wake him up by drying his hair.


"Wilson! You've been in there for an hour!" House bangs on the bathroom door. "Okay, I held it in as long as I could. I need a piss, so cover yourself up."

House opens the door, hands on his fly. He stops when he sees the bathtub. The water is nearly to the rim. Underneath the murky surface lies Wilson.

"Shit. Shit!"

House plunges his arms into the now-lukewarm water, slipping his hands underneath Wilson's arms. He braces himself and hoists Wilson upward. Wilson's head flops and turns toward House, bloated blue skin brushing against the inside of House's elbow. Water cascades out the side of the tub and House slips, falling hard onto his ass. Wilson sinks back under the water. House rights himself and tries again, tugging on Wilson's far arm and flipping him forward. He pulls hard on Wilson's wrist and drags his upper body over the rim of the tub. With another tug, Wilson's lower body slips out easily, and he lands on top of House, drenching him, crushing his leg, pinning him to the floor.

House does his best to ignore the blinding pain as he moves himself out from underneath Wilson. it takes considerable effort, as Wilson is not only dead weight (bad choice of expression) but also much, much heavier due to the water in his lungs and stomach. House kneels, rolling Wilson onto his back. A mouthful of water spills out from between Wilson's lips and House latches on, exhaling hard. Wilson's cheeks puff out. The air won't go in; Wilson is completely waterlogged. House turns Wilson's head to the side and places both hands on his chest, pressing down sharply to try to force some of the water out. It doesn't work. He puts more weight into it, grunting as he slams his palms into Wilson's chest.

Not even a drop of water is dislodged as House drives a palm into Wilson's solar plexus.

"Shit, come on, Wilson!"

I n a last ditch effort to drain the water from Wilson's body, House stands, picks Wilson up by the waist, and holds him upside-down, hoping gravity will do the trick. He doesn't notice the urine now coursing down his leg as Wilson's butt presses into his bladder.

Chapter Text

"It's really such a pity to be looking at the board, not looking at the city."

House wakes up early, soaked from head to toe, and searches the closet for clean sheets. There aren't any– laundry day isn't for another two days, but it looks like he'll have to do it early this week. And possibly buy some rubber sheets. Or adult diapers. This is getting ridiculous.

He curses himself out for falling asleep while waiting for Wilson to do the same, and steps into the bathroom, stopping as he sees the tub. He doesn't believe in premonitions, and Wilson's always been fairly coordinated, so he really shouldn't worry. He shakes his head, turning on the shower facet. House showers quickly, knowing that if he takes his time, Wilson will be banging on the bathroom door complaining he's going to be late for whatever it is he has to do, as if he doesn't have all day to do it.

He steps out of the bathroom, wearing only a towel, just as Wilson's padding down the hall.

"You're up early."

House shrugs. "Couldn't sleep. Nothing new."

Wilson nods and heads into the bathroom, closing the door behind him and starting up the shower. House starts to limp back to his room, but something stops him. It's nothing he can put his finger on, but he can't put it out of his mind. He stands there, halfway between the bathroom and his bedroom, and, after a moment, turns around. He leans against the wall, facing the bathroom door, listening. All he can hear is the vague hiss of the shower running, and, against his will he's getting nervous. Until Wilson starts singing 'Hey Big Spender,' that is. House lets out a quiet chuckle and slides down the wall until he's sitting on the floor. Only once the shower stops and the hair dryer starts, does he go back to his room to get dressed.

They spend the day watching old black and white movies and snacking on chips and salsa before House gets bored and breaks out the chess set.

"Checkmate," House says, smugly sliding his rook down the board. "Best of five?"

"You've already beaten me three times in a row."

"Best of seven?"

"What's with you and chess, anyway?"

"It's an intellectual game."

"So's Trivial Pursuit."

"No. Trivial knowledge has nothing to do with intelligence. Besides, I only have the first edition. Questions nobody's known the answers to in a hundred years." House shrugs and begins picking up his pieces, arranging them on the board. "It's either this or 'Murphy Brown' reruns on TV."

Wilson makes a face. "Seriously, what do you do for entertainment when I'm not around? Play chess against yourself?"

"Hey, it's a guaranteed win. Course, when I play against you it's a guaranteed win anyway."

There's a knock at the door, and Wilson gets up to answer it without bothering to consult House. He opens the door and stands, shocked for a moment. It's Mrs Myers, the mother of one of his terminal patients.

"Uh, hello," he says, shoving his hands in his pockets and pulling them back out again. "Can I help you? Would you like to come in?"

"Oh, no, that's alright," Mrs Myers says brightly, but wearily. "I just wanted to come by and tell you how grateful I am for all the work you've done on Ricky. You've really helped us out and I can't imagine what we would have done without you."

Wilson smiles, blushing slightly. "Ricky's a great kid," he says. "He deserves the best."

"I just wanted to drop this off for you," Mrs Myers continues, leaning over to pick up a casserole dish she's set on the floor. "It's a chicken casserole I made myself. Old family recipe."

Wilson takes the dish, lifting up the lid to inspect the food. "It smells great. Thank you. Listen, I'll bring the dish to work with me on Monday so you can pick it up at Ricky's appointment."

"Oh, that won't be necessary," she says with a wink. "Goodbye, Dr. Wilson."

Wilson closes the door behind her and takes the dish into the kitchen. "Want some chicken casserole?" he shouts to House. "Looks good."

"Nope," House yells back. "That Slim Jim didn't really agree with me."

Wilson shrugs, serving himself up a plate and carrying it back into the living room, where House has finished setting up the chess board.

"Go ahead," House says, gesturing at the board. "I wonder who'll win."

"Shut up." Wilson takes a hesitant bite of his casserole, makes an expression that says he's very impressed, and begins practically shoveling it down, absently moving a pawn.

"Pace yourself, Wilson. Your metabolism isn't what it used to be."

"Good food that I don't have to cook, pay for, or fight you for? I'll take what I can get."

House moves a pawn and gestures at the board again. Wilson rolls his eyes and moves a knight.

"Isn't that lady's kid terminal?"

"Yeah. He's got three, maybe four months. You should have some of this. It's really good. Kind of a... nutty flavour."

"You never cease to astound me. I tell a patient he's gonna die, he takes a swing at me. You tell a patient her kid's gonna die, she makes you a casserole. And goes to the trouble of finding out where you're staying so she can bring it to you personally an hour before dinnertime. Seems a little suspicious to me. Hell, if I was her I'd have poisoned the noodles." House nonchalantly slides a bishop down the board.

Wilson takes a deep breath and sets his plate aside. "You're being ridiculous, House. She's a sweet lady. She brings Ricky's nurses plates of cookies. None of them have dropped dead yet– oh. Do... do you have any aspirin? Got a... uh. Headache." He rubs at his head, closing his eyes.

"Cabinet in the bathroom, where it always is. Make a move first."

"What?"

"It's your turn."

Wilson shakes his head and moves his queen directly into the line of fire, then stands and heads to the bathroom.

"What the hell was that?" House yells after him. "It's no fun if you're basically gonna forfeit."

"What?" Wilson asks, returning with a few tablets. He swallows them with a swig of beer.

"Put your queen back and make a different move."

"I, uh... I'm not feeling so good. Can we play another time?"

"You just don't want to face another defeat. Come on."

"No, I..."

House looks up sharply as Wilson gasps and falls off the couch, unconscious. House drops to the floor, kneeling over Wilson. He slaps him in the face.

"Wilson... You're taking this whole psychosomatic thing a bit too far. I was kidding about the poisoning. Wake up."

House presses two fingers to Wilson's neck but he can't get an accurate pulse reading because Wilson starts convulsing.

"Fuck!" House rolls Wilson onto his side, straddling him to hold him there and keep him from bashing his head on the coffee table. It's pointless, though, as Wilson goes limp. House tries for the pulse again, feeling none. He shoves Wilson onto his back and begins chest compressions, then plasters their mouths together, exhaling deeply. He tastes the chicken on Wilson's lips and pulls back as if he's been slapped.

"Nutty flavour. Wilson, you idiot."

He pulls his cell phone out of his pocket and dials 9-1-1. "Need an ambulance to 221 B Baker, stat. Bring amyl nitrate, sodium nitrate, and sodium thiosulfate. Patient has acute cyanide poisoning."

House wakes with a snort, and finds himself draped across Wilson's lap, drooling a damp patch onto Wilson's crotch, staring blankly at the end of John Carpenter's The Fog. Wilson's arm is resting across his waist. House sits up, blinking quickly, and looks at Wilson.

"Why didn't you wake me up?"

"You've been having a little trouble sleeping. I figured it couldn't hurt to let you drool on my pants. They're washable." Wilson yawns. "Listen, I'm starting to fall asleep, myself. You're obviously tired. Why don't you go to bed?"

House nods and heads to his bedroom. He listens to Wilson heading down the hall, and a chill runs through him briefly as he hears the sounds of Wilson puttering around in the bathroom. House changes into his pyjamas and stands outside the bathroom door. He doesn't have to wait long before Wilson exits. They exchange goodnights and House heads into the bathroom to brush his teeth.

After an hour or so trying to get to sleep, House ventures out into the living room, sits across from Wilson, and watches his chest rise and fall.


Chapter Text

"Don't want to argue, I don't want to debate, don't want
to hear about what kind of food you hate."

The vegetables came from the farmer's market. Locally-grown, no pesticides, completely organic. He washes each one thoroughly, carefully inspecting each individual Romaine leaf for dirt and insets, gently rubbing at the tomato skins, brushing the mushrooms carefully to remove the outer layer of skin.

The sausage is browning nicely, crumbled into little pieces that crackle in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. The noodles are boiling away, and the garlic bread is warming in the oven. He examines the jar of spaghetti sauce to make sure the seal hasn't been broken, then opens it and pours the contents into a saucepan. He runs a finger around the lip of the jar and tastes the sauce, nodding with approval, then leaves the pan to heat up on the stove while he puts the salad together, drizzling oil and vinegar over the top.

He drains the pasta and dumps it into a bowl, pouring the sauce over the top and spooning on the sausage. Finally, he carries the food to the table, adding serving utensils. He uncaps two bottles of beer and sets one at each place setting.

"Wilson!" he bellows. "Dinner's ready."

He double-checks that the stove and oven are turned off and takes his seat at the table as Wilson comes in, eyebrow raised.

"Food? Real food?"

"Yep."

"Linen napkins? Tablecloth? What, did you spill syrup on the table and decide a tablecloth would be easier than cleaning it up?"

House scoops some salad onto his plate, pointedly not looking up.

"Yeah, that's it, Wilson. And all my paper napkins were dirty." He stabs a piece of lettuce and shoves it into his mouth, eyeing Wilson as he serves himself some salad and a piece of bread.

Wilson takes a bite of each, chewing slowly. The bread is much too salty and the dressing on the salad is badly balanced and barely detectable. And he's fairly certain House used the wrong kind of vinegar.

"Do you like it?" House asks.

Wilson sees the shadow of a hopeful smile on House's face and doesn't have the heart to tell him no.

"It's good," he says, shoving another forkful of the bland salad into his mouth. Maybe if he eats the salad and bread at the same time, the flavours will combine into a more tolerable... no, that doesn't work either. Maybe the spaghetti will be better. It's pretty hard to fuck up spaghetti. Then again, five minutes ago he would have thought it was impossible to fuck up a salad.

He scarfs down the food on his plate (so he doesn't have to taste it for as long) and rinses it down with a deep drink of his beer. While he's serving himself a small portion of the spaghetti, he resolutely ignores the fact that House is watching him closely, that same hopeful smile almost making its way onto his face.

Wilson takes a bite, trying not to wince. It doesn't taste terrible, in all honesty. But House hadn't drained the grease off the sausage, which is mostly burnt. The noodles likewise had been cooked far too long and are mushy-- one of Wilson's biggest culinary pet peeves. The sauce, having come from a jar, isn't too bad but it certainly isn't his favourite brand.

"You don't like it, do you?" House asks softly.

"No, it's not that," Wilson says. "It tastes fine. I'm just used to pasta that's a little... firmer."

There. Constructive criticism so he doesn't sound like he's being patronizing.

House stares down at his own plate obviously trying to hide his disappointment. He suddenly stands, picks up the bowl of spaghetti, and dumps its contents into the trash.

"What are you doing?" Wilson exclaims.

"Tastes like shit."

"I'm still hungry!"

"No kidding. The way you inhaled that salad it must have ended up in your lungs instead of your stomach. But at least you didn't have to taste it."

"I was eating fast because I was hungry."

"It's okay," House says, tone rapidly changing from anger to disappointment. "I've never been any good at cooking. I just wanted to do something nice. Obviously, that didn't work out. I don't know why I even bothered."

He's back to bordering on angry again, and the mood changes are making Wilson dizzy. He doesn't know what to say to avoid making this worse, and he's relieved when House leaves the room.


House limps heavily into the living room, cranky over last night's dinner fiasco. He can't let Wilson cook, but clearly his attempts are wasted.

Wilson's already on the couch, but House barely spares him a glance.

"House," Wilson begins hesitantly, slightly worried about sparking another sudden mood change. "Uh... I was thinking about last night..."

"Well, don't," House snaps.

"No, I know it means a lot to you. Would you like me to teach you how to cook that?"

I'll learn how to cook it the way he likes it, the way he wants his food. And this way, I can make sure nothing happens to Wilson while he's cooking. But... it's showing weakness. I'm showing that I don't know something. I can't. I'm not weak.

"So you can make fun of my inability to cook pasta?"

"No," Wilson says patiently. "Just, I know cooking isn't easy if no one's taught you."

"All I need to know is how to read," House answers sullenly.

"It's not the same," Wilson assures him. "The best recipes I have my Nana taught me. Whenever I visited her, when I was young; we always cooked something together. I got to put on my favourite striped apron and she'd show me the best way to cook something..."

"Yeah, yeah, I get it. You had a positively lovely childhood. Bully for you," House snarls.

Wilson reviews his story and realises how radically different House's childhood was--always moving around, abusive father, living on military bases. "House, I was just trying to show that you have to be taught when spaghetti is done or how to mix a salad dressing. C'mon. I'll show you."

House sighs and agrees, and a few hours later they're eating a delicious spaghetti dinner and House has several pages of handwritten notes on how to cook various meals.

About halfway through the last episode of their "L-Word" marathon, House stifles a yawn. His eyelids start to droop soon after, and finally, with ten minutes to go, he begins snoring softly.

Wilson shuts off the TV and shakes House's shoulders.

"Come on, House. Time for bed."

House cracks open his eyes. "Mmmm."

"Get up. Come on, now."

"Nuh. Don' wanna move."

"Well, I can't sleep sitting up."

"So go to my room," House snarls, irritated.

Wilson sighs, drapes his blanket over House's legs, and heads off down the hall, muttering about narcolepsy. At least House is sleeping; that's a rare occurrence these days.

House closes his eyes and listens to Wilson plod to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Another couple of minutes and he figures Wilson's in his pyjamas, probably shutting off the light, snuggling under the covers. He wonders if ten minutes is enough time for Wilson to fall asleep. Just in case, he waits twenty before creeping into the bedroom and slipping under the covers. He shifts over until his arm is pressed against Wilson's.

Within minutes House falls into a blissfully dreamless sleep.

Neither of them say a word when they wake up in the morning curled up to each other, House's head resting in the crook of Wilson's neck. They grunt their good mornings and head into the bathroom to prepare for the day. More specifically, House hangs out in the bathroom while Wilson gets ready. He does manage to brush his teeth and pee while Wilson gets undressed and steps into the shower. House doesn't flush the toilet so as not to scald Wilson, but shuts the lid and sits down.

"You gonna be okay today?" Wilson asks, shouting over the shower faucet.

"Yes, mommy. Don't worry about me; I can stay home all by myself."

Wilson chuckles. "Remember, no parties, no girls, and I want you in bed by ten."

"You're going to work for eight hours. Oh, and I'm not six."

"Only mentally."

"I'll be fine."

"If you need anything, just call. I'm just doing some paperwork and scheduling things, no appointments or anything. I can come right home."

House starts at the word 'home,' thankful that Wilson can't see him. "Seriously. Not six."

"House, you're recovering from a head injury. Things can happen."

"I'll be sure to call you if I forget my own name."

Wilson shuts off the shower and grabs a towel off the rack, wrapping it around his waist before stepping out of the tub.

House goes into the kitchen to prepare Wilson's lunch while Wilson gets dressed, handing it to him as he heads out the door. He almost feels like kissing him on the cheek and saying "have a good day at work, honey." The thought both amuses and nauseates him.

At lunch time, Wilson opens the Tupperware box and gives the contents an odd look. His newest secretary raises her eyebrow. "What is that?" she asks finally, watching him prod it with his fork.

"Uh... it looks like... green beans and chicken. I think. House cooked my lunch for me. He's been cooking my meals for a while. I guess it's because of the fight we had about him stealing my food. I don't want to discourage this bout of humanity." Wilson shuts himself up before he reveals all sorts of odd personal details to the new secretary.

"House? Is that the... y'know..." She makes the universal sign for cuckoo.

"House isn't crazy," Wilson says icily. "Well, mildly. But that's probably because he's a genius. He's not certifiable."

The secretary (Wilson tries to remember her name, but it isn't coming to him) raises both eyebrows. "Oh. But the rumors..."

"Are just that," Wilson says harshly. "You'll learn soon enough not to listen to everything you hear around here."

There is shocked silence for a few moments. The secretary has blatant disbelief written all over her face. Wilson sighs heavily and apologizes. House--the normal House, not this sleepless (because that's all he is--sleepless) House--would have told him it was his pathology, his need to be liked that has him apologizing profusely for snapping.

House hasn't made a comment like that in three months. Not a single one. He's made far fewer in the past five months.

Wilson pushes those annoying numbers out of his mind. After all, there's absolutely nothing wrong with House. Nothing wrong whatsoever. Maybe he's been a little more sleepless of late, but that's nothing to be worried about.

"You must be very fond of him," the secretary offers. "I'm sorry. I just heard that he's going crazy."

"He's just sleepless," Wilson says firmly. "And the massive head injury he sustained, and then exacerbated trying to save my girlfriend's life, isn't helping."

He plasters on a fake smile, and the secretary leaves.

Wilson doesn't think about it anymore, because, after all, there's nothing wrong with House, so there's nothing to think about. And even if there had been something wrong, House had slept all through last night. He'd been fine. Wilson doesn't mind sharing a bed if it'll help House. God knows he's shared his bed with dozens of people over the years.

House, meanwhile, putters aimlessly around his apartment. Even with Wilson there during the day it wasn't terribly entertaining, but now with him having returned to work, House is bored shitless. He's read every book in the place, which is saying a lot, considering there are thousands. And almost none of them are fiction, anyway. The vast majority are medical texts, which, while useful, really aren't all that entertaining the fourth time around. He plays the piano for awhile, but even that loses its appeal fairly quickly.

Normally, he'd take a nap to pass the time, but he actually slept well the previous night and isn't tired enough. And if he takes a nap, he knows he won't be able to sleep later on. He sits around wondering what people who don't have jobs do all day, and figures that most of them probably go to school or spend time with family or friends. Maybe play sports. None of those options are exactly viable for House.

He even considers hopping on his bike and going for a ride. The weather's beautiful, but he has a feeling his helmet would aggravate his skull fracture, or at least give him a massive headache. And with all the idiots on the road, he isn't a fan of riding unprotected.

He busies himself for another half hour by getting Steve out of his cage and lounging with him on the bed. He likes Steve. House never had pets as a kid. With all the moving around his family did, caged animals weren't really an option. His dad was allergic to cats and most of the places they lived were either too small for, or didn't allow even small dogs. When House was twelve, he found a baby robin at a park. It had fallen out of its nest and Greg couldn't put it back; the tree was too tall. So he took it home and cared for it, under his mother's supervision. When the bird died a week later, he dug a small hole and buried it near the place he'd found it. Back at home, he hugged his mother and cried.

"It was just a damn bird," his father had told him. "No use crying; it won't bring the thing back. Animals die all the time. People die all the time. Toughen up."

"You wouldn't cry if I died?" Greg had asked, wiping at his nose.

"It was just a damn bird," John had repeated.

His dad had everything wrong.

House puts Steve back, giving him a crunchy rat treat for good measure, and then goes for a walk around the neighbourhood. He watches the kids playing in the park and wonders what his own kids would have been like, if he'd had any. Probably miserable, just like he was. He counts himself as lucky that his own dad was away as much as he was.

An absentee father is better than an abusive father, but no kid should have to have either. I had both, and, well, look how I turned out.

He sighs, rubs his thumbnail across his eyebrow, and finds a park bench to sit on. A few mothers spot him and watch him closely for a few minutes before ushering their kids away. He sighs again, feeling a deep sadness settle over him. It's not as if he's going to hurt their kids. Hell, he might end up saving their lives one day

Probably a good thing I don't have any, he thinks. But maybe if I'd kept Hector I'd be able to get away with going to a damn park.

House has never been one to let anyone scare him away from doing what he wants, though, so he sits there for another half hour or so, a part of him wishing he could swing or play on the monkey bars. He hears the grass rustling behind him and figures it's probably another one of those overprotective mothers coming up to ask him what the hell he's doing staring at her precious little gift from god. Instead, Wilson sits down next to him.

"Hey," Wilson says. "Decided to go for a walk?"

House nods and looks at his watch. It's only two; far too early for Wilson to be back. "What are you doing out of work?"

Wilson shrugs. "I called to check up on you and you didn't answer. I got worried. Saw you sitting here as I drove past."

"Must've forgotten my phone," House says. "You can go back. I'm fine."

"Nah. I finished up most of what I needed to do today. Hardly be a point. You want a ride home?"

"It's only a few blocks. I've been sitting around the house too much. May as well walk back," House says, standing. He leans backward, stretching his back. "I'll see you back there," he says, and begins walking.

Wilson watches him for a moment, and then jogs up to catch him. "I think I'll walk, too. I can pick up the car tomorrow."

House nods, and the two of them stroll leisurely over to the sidewalk, heading home.


Chapter Text

Chapter Seven

"I can't drive fifty-five."

House closes his eyes and moans against that sweet, hot mouth, digging his fingers into silk-smooth skin as that slick tongue invades his mouth, those warm, soft hands running up his chest to tease his nipples into firm, sensitive points. And then, oh god, that mouth trails down his neck, down his sweat-dampened, heaving chest, over his quivering stomach, and then those gorgeous, pliant lips slide around the head of his cock. He comes immediately, spilling himself onto that tongue, fingers tangled in locks of soft, feathery hair, hips jerking.

He moans himself awake and realises, to his horror, that he's spooned up to Wilson, whose lower back he's just ejaculated all over. The tip of his still-hard cock is poking out from under his waistband.

Shit. Shit, what do I do?

Slowly, carefully, he gets out of bed and goes to the bathroom. He wets a cloth with room temperature water and brings it into the bedroom, dragging it gently over Wilson's back. He wipes up a few drops from the sheet, then returns to the bathroom to clean himself up. When he curls back up to Wilson, he falls back asleep in minutes. He doesn't wake up as Wilson strokes himself to a shuddering, silent orgasm.


House, having actually slept most of the night, wakes up before Wilson. He feels better than he has in years, and whistles as he putters around the kitchen, putting on a pot of coffee and preparing Wilson's lunch. When he hears Wilson get into the shower, he pours him a cup of coffee and leaves it out on the table, then puts the sandwich he's made into a bag and sticks it in the fridge. By the time he's cooked some bacon, eggs, and instant pancakes, Wilson's out of the shower.

"S'yours,' House says, gesturing toward the cup of coffee and handing Wilson a plate of food.

Wilson raises an eyebrow and sips out the coffee. "House, this is cold."

His lip twitching once or twice in annoyance, House picks up the cup and takes a drink, himself.

"Just because it's not hot enough to actually melt your tastebuds, doesn't mean it's cold. It's perfectly drinkable. The eggs, on the other hand, will get cold if you don't eat them fast."

Wilson rolls his eyes, sitting down to shovel eggs into his mouth.

"You could stick that in the microwave for me," Wilson suggests, eyeing the coffee. "Since you seem to be feeling unusually generous this morning."

"Don't be ridiculous," House says. He picks up Wilson's cup, pours a bit of the coffee out into the sink, and freshens it with some from his own cup. "There. Should be warmer."

Wilson squints at House for a moment before taking a drink and deeming the coffee hot enough, but just barely. "Sugar?"

"Bad for you," House says, but tosses Wilson a single packet of sugar anyway.

"So's the coffee, but I get your point."

When Wilson's ready to leave for work, House hands him the lunch he's prepared and announces that they're having stroganoff for dinner. Wilson doesn't have time to argue, as he's handed his briefcase and ushered out the door.


This is good. I start sharing the bed with House so he can sleep, and now I can't.

Wilson can't help himself; he rubs himself against the erection pressing against his tailbone. He chokes back a whimper and squirms away from House far enough that he has space to roll over onto his other side. He watches House's eyes twitching beneath tightly-closed lids. His jaw is clenched, muscles flexing intermittently. Wilson casts his eyes downward, drawing in a quick breath at the sight of two hard cocks centimeters apart, peeking out from two pairs of pyjamas. He presses his hips forward once and has to bite his pillow at the contact, gritting his teeth harder as House's hips jerk forward in response.

He keeps his eyes on House's face as he continues thrusting, watching and listening for any indication House is about to wake up. He knows from experience that skin is much more sensitive when one is asleep, so he figures that, for House at least, this won't take long. He reaches under his pillow and finds the handkerchief he stashed there two days ago. He lays it out over the sheet, still watching House closely. After another few moments House groans and ejaculates onto the cloth. Wilson whimpers and picks up the handkerchief, bunching it into a ball so it doesn't drip as he rolls out of bed and tip-toes to the bathroom.

He locks the door behind him and brings the handkerchief to his face, inhaling deeply. He shudders, cock twitching as he lowers his sleep pants, un-balls the handkerchief, and wraps it around his penis. He fists himself hard and fast, leaning against the door. He comes quickly, further coating the cloth, which he hides at the bottom of the laundry hamper.

It's not my fault, he thinks to himself as he washes his hands and penis. He watches me like a hawk twenty-four hours a day. I've got no time to myself; I can't even jerk off. A guy's got to let off some steam.

The thought doesn't make him feel any better.

He gets back into bed and House jerks awake, staring at him.

"Where did you go?"

"Just to the bathroom," Wilson says hastily.

"Oh," House mutters. "I thought you went out. Must have been a dream."

"Nope. Just... needed to pee, is all."

House stares at him a moment, contemplating, then nods and lays back down. "Must've been a dream, I guess" he repeats. "You going out, I mean. I thought I heard a car."

"Maybe you did, but it wasn't mine." Wilson shrugs, then says, gently, "Go back to sleep."


"House, I'm leaving for work!" Wilson calls as he hears House puttering about the bathroom. He's mildly worried about leaving House alone when he hasn't slept well in ages, but he pushes the worry out of his mind. Nothing's wrong, after all, and House had been fine the past two days.

"Okay!" House calls out.

Wilson nods in satisfaction and goes to get his keys from their usual place. He frowns. They're not there.

Must've left them in my jacket pocket, or maybe my briefcase. Wilson looks around, searching through his pockets, his briefcase, around the couch, on the coffee table, and the kitchen.

"House, have you seen my keys?"

"Yep," House answers, wandering into the kitchen. He pours himself a cup of coffee and finds the bottle of Vicodin he keeps in the kitchen.

Wilson waits for House to elaborate. When House continues to say nothing more, Wilson sighs heavily and asks, "Where?"

"Can't tell you that, now can I? What would be the point in hiding them?"

Wilson pinches the bridge of his nose and wills himself to remain calm. "House, why did you hide my keys?"

House raises an eyebrow. "Hm? Oh. It's a game of hide-and-seek. I hide, you seek. Except, I'm not so good at the hiding part anymore, not with my leg, you see, so I hid your keys instead. This way, you still get the fun of seeking, without me hurting myself." He smiles happily at Wilson, then goes about fixing a quick breakfast.

"Hide and seek? Are you crazy?"

Stupid question. Is he crazier? No, this is just one of his games. One of those stupid pranks. Like the time he stuck Wilson's hand in warm water. Wilson begins considering what he can replace House's Vicodin with in retaliation.

No, I'm not getting sucked into this game of his again. "House, I'm going to be late for work. We can play childish games later. Gimme my keys."

"No." It's not spoken with childish glee or obstinance, but with absolutely unmoving, serious firmness. "I'm driving you to work today. I'll be ready in fifteen."

"What? House! I have consults, patient meetings..."

"And you'll make it in time if you stop bugging me."

Wilson holds out his hand and beckons. "Keys. Now."

"No."

House ignores all of Wilson's demands for his keys. After a few minutes, Wilson gives up. Just another game of his. Stupid game. I'm not going to get angry over this, I'm not going to get angry over this, I'm not going to get angry over this...

House emerges from his bedroom finally and heads out the door. "Well, don't you want a ride?" House calls.

Wilson splutters. "A ride? It's my damn car!"

"Well, should come along then, shouldn't you?"

House gets in the driver's seat and by the time Wilson gets in, House has started the car. Damn. Can't find out where he was hiding my keys.

Well, at least we'll get to the hospital fast. House always drives as though there were no policemen anywhere. Or pedestrians, or other cars.

House eases onto the road, and Wilson waits patiently for House to slam his foot on the gas and see exactly how fast he can get to the hospital.

Instead, House lifts his foot off the brake and ever so gently applies it to the accelerator. The car slowly climbs to twenty miles an hour. Wilson gapes at House. Even he drives faster than this, and House always made fun of Wilson for going too slow.

Wilson reaches for the radio's knob to turn it on.

"Don't," House says immediately. "Did you know that the radio can really distract a driver?"

Wilson's jaw drops. This was not like House at all. House was... crazy, not cautious.

"Well, if..."

"Don't," House cuts him off. "Conversation can be more distracting than the radio."

Wilson pinches himself. This has to just be a very strange dream he's having. Because House never acts like this.

House's cell phone starts ringing, and Wilson waits for him to pick it up and drive one-handed.

House doesn't pick up the cell phone.

"House, your phone..."

"Apparently, drivers using cell phones are a major factor in a great deal of accidents," House informs him blandly, continuing to ignore his ringing phone. "It would be irresponsible of me as a doctor to use one while driving."

There are numerous answers to that, but the only think Wilson can think of is 'What the hell is going on?' Not that House would tell him.

Wilson's cell phone starts ringing. Wilson immediately reaches to pick it up.

"Don't," House orders. "Hearing a one-sided conversation is also fairly distracting."

He's driving five miles per hour below the speed limit.

Wilson begins asking House what he was doing, but House cut him off with a reminder that conversation was distracting.

House finally, finally parks the car in the handicap spot (one of the few benefits of arriving with House) and turns to Wilson. "Now you can talk," he says generously.

"House, you drove all the way in at twenty miles an hour. You wouldn't answer your phone, wouldn't let me answer mine, wouldn't turn on the radio, and wouldn't have a conversation. You hid my keys. What kind of game are you playing?"

"Keep Wilson Guessing," House quips. "Now go. I'll pick you up at..." He thinks for a moment. "Well, whenever I decide to."

"Wait, you're not coming in? Why did you--"

"Just wanted to go for a drive."

Wilson chews his lip for a moment, thinking that, apart from his little trip to the park, it has been ages since House left his apartment. He's probably itching to get out and go anywhere he can.

"Alright. I'll see you later, then," Wilson says, collecting his things and getting out of the car.

Chapter Text


Chapter Eight

"If you really need me, just reach out and touch me."

"Okay," Foreman says, sipping his coffee. "So what causes bleeding problems and pulmonary embolism?"

"Nothing," Kutner shoots back automatically. Foreman's asked this same question half a dozen times already.

"Do better." Foreman rolls his eyes. "Come on. Give me something to work with."

"ITP?" Thirteen ventures.

"Doesn't cause clots," Taub counters. "TTP?"

"Fits with the neurological dysfunction and fever," Foreman says. "Check for red cell fragmentation."

"What about DIC?" Kutner asks. "He's a likely candidate with the head trauma."

"He's got a clotting problem," Taub reiterates.

A gravelly voice from the door suggests they "do an aPTT and a PT, test for antithrombin, FDPs, and coag. Factors V and VIII, and check his mouth for petechiae."

"House. You're supposed to be on medical leave," Taub admonishes.

"Medical leave is for sick people," House returns, crossing the room ad grabbing Thirteen's coffee. He takes a long sip, sighing exaggeratedly and smacking his lips. "I'm not sick."

When House sets the coffee back down, Thirteen pushes it away anyway.

"The only reason Cuddy called it 'Medical Leave' is because it looks bad when your best doctor is clinically insane," Foreman reasons.

"Seriously?" Kutner blurts.

"Oh, don't act surprised," House says. "Fine line between genius and insanity, and all that. Seriously, though. Run the tests. Oh, and while you're at it, can someone point me in the direction of the nearest Head of Oncology?"

"Wilson's not in his office?" Taub asks.

"If I'd found him there, chances are I would've stopped looking. Call me crazy." House pauses and snaps his fingers. "Oh! That's right; you already did."

Wilson, as it turns out, is in the cafeteria eating a t-bone. House walks past him from behind, swiping Wilson's plate and sitting down across from him.

"I see you only splurge on undercooked red meat when you think I'm not here to share with."

"Drat. You've foiled my cunning plan." Pure deadpan. "Now give me back my steak and go home."

"What happened to the lunch I packed you?"

"I traded it to Mays for his Ho-Hos and half a banana." Wilson rubs the back of his neck, sighing heavily. "Nothing against your cooking, House; I just wasn't really in the mood for turkey. Now. Steak?"

"Not good for you, Tubby. Ever heard of cholesterol?" He reaches into his pocket and tosses Wilson a protein bar, then snags Wilson's silverware and tucks into the steak.

"No fat, no sugar, low sodium, seven grams of fibre, 18 grams of protein, 100% daily value of 24 vitamins and minerals?" Wilson asks, peering at the label.

"If I didn't look out for you, who would?"

Wilson gawks for a moment. "This coming from the drug addict who somehow survives on a steady diet of hydrocodone, potato chips, and condensed soup? Besides, this wouldn't fill up a nine-year-old. I need some substance to my meals."

"So go get the other half of Mays' banana." House shrugs, picking up the remainder of the steak as he stands. "Got a patient to interrogate."

That day, they go home early. House tires easily lately, and Wilson is trying to keep his afternoons free in case of something like this. House is exhausted even after only a half-day, and after dinner he tells Wilson he's going to take a bath and then go to bed.

House sits on the toilet, dick in hand, trying to conjure up a fantasy. He's already tried the magazines he keeps stashed in the linen closet. No dice. He's been rubbing, stroking, and imagining for nearly 15 minutes. Nothing's working, and finally he gives up, tucks his flaccid penis back into his pants, and goes to bed.

He dreams he's on his knees, drilling into a soft, slick, tight hole from behind, gripping a narrow waist with one hand. The other hand reaches around, tucking itself between a set of thin, quivering thighs to grip a hard, heavy penis. He jerks his hand away quickly, pulls out, and flips his lover over. Wilson grins up at him, wriggling around on the bed, stroking himself and reaching out to House with his free hand.

"What's the matter, House?" Wilson taunts. "Don't you wanna fuck me anymore? Don't you want to stick that gorgeous slick, hard cock in my hot, tight little hole?"

"No!" House blurts. "I can't."

"You know you want to. You know I turn you on."

"No."

"You're still hard, House. Every time I groan or squirm or buck my hips, your cock twitches and leaks. See?"

Wilson doubles the speed of his stroking, whimpering and arching his back, and House shudders, hand twitching toward his dripping cock.

"No. I-- It's not... it's not right."

Wilson frowns, his eyes suddenly filling with tears. "Don't you love me anymore? If you loved me you'd fuck me."

"Of course I love you, Wilson. Of course."

"Kiss me, House."

"Okay."

House leans forward and presses his lips against Wilson's, a whine escaping him as Wilson's tongue finds its way into his mouth. He feels Wilson's hand wrapping around their cocks, pressing them together. His hips thrust forward and he can't resist that feeling. Within minutes he's panting, ass clenching erratically, and he's coming all over Wilson's tight abdomen.

"Oh god, Wilson," he moans.

Wilson stills, watching as semen pulses through the cloth of House's pyjamas.

Oh god. He's dreaming about me.

That thought drives Wilson over the edge, and he scrabbles for the wad of tissues, pressing it over the head of his cock just in time to catch the first hard spurt.


"So," House says upon waking. "I'm going back to work."

Wilson blinks up at the ceiling, turning to face House. "New case?"

"Eh. Team's been working on it for three days. They're obviously in need of my expertise." And maybe working will keep my mind occupied... I don't know what's worse, the nightmares or the weird sex dreams. He figures the fact that they're about Wilson is just a proximity issue; he hasn't had a girlfriend since Stacy, and his unconscious mind knows Wilson's there, next to him. Therefore, the sex dreams are about Wilson, because he can smell him, feel him, maybe hear him. It's not a big deal, he tells himself. If Wilson wasn't here I'd be dreaming about Carmen Electra or Cuddy or the last hooker I hired or whoever. Doesn't mean anything.

Wilson nods and rolls out of bed. He's quickly joined by House at the bathroom sink, who spreads some toothpaste onto his toothbrush and looks at him quizzically.

"You think it's a bad idea," House states through a mouthful of foam.

"No," Wilson says slowly. "I just... are you sure you're ready?"

House shrugs. "You'll be there."


"I read something once," House says, walking into Wilson's office. "A couple moves to America. They don't speak any English. They have a daughter and decide to name her the most beautiful word in the English language. Know what they picked?"

Wilson raises an eyebrow. "No. What?"

"Diarrhoea. Imagine, naming people after digestive issues."

"Pretty soon they'll be naming people after diseases." Wilson shakes his head, scribbling something down in a chart.

"Why not? They name diseases after people."

"You should name your first-born Conjunctivitis."

"Not as good as Diarrhoea. Just... doesn't have the same flow," House says, deadpan. "So, this patient. Eighteen years old, with trauma-induced DIC. Had a stroke and pulmonary embolism. Oh, and amnesia, but that's probably on account of him falling and whacking his head."

"And you... need a consult?"

"Nope. But if I'm talking about work, then this isn't a personal visit. Gotta keep up appearances, right?"

"What do you think is wrong with him?"

"No idea," House says, scratching his chin. "No TTP, no ITP... Factors V and VIII are low, but no hemophilia, which makes sense, considering he's throwing clots... I ordered STD tests."

House's pager goes off, and he glances down at it. "Damn. Apparently the patient's arms are being uncooperative. Gotta dash."

After House berates his team for not figuring out their patient has gout, he orders a round of colchicine and announces he's going home.


House is curled up to Wilson, clinging onto his arms.

It's no secret House is a chronic insomniac, and that it's flared up pretty severely recently. But sleeping next to Wilson, House had actually made it through the night without any trace of a nightmare, unless wet dreams count. And if sharing a bed is the ticket, then Wilson is more than willing to oblige.

For the past few days Wilson has been trying to figure out House's increasingly erratic behavior. He can't figure out the exact cause or content of House's nightmares, but he's guessing that it has something to do with the bus crash.

The sudden clinginess confuses him, though. House very rarely shows affection of any sort, and if he does it's barely noticeable through the thick crust of sarcasm. He'd caught glimpses of it when House was with Stacy, and a few previous girlfriends, but nothing close to this.

Not that Wilson thinks House is being sweet and loving; this isn't close to any normal person's idea of real affection. This is different, even for House. Especially for House. The thing that makes the most sense to Wilson is that he's part of some grand seduction plan that House has concocted. He remembers House pulling something akin to this when he and Stacy first met. House is only ever cautious about pursuing relationships when they're with someone he actually cares about. Tonight, Wilson figures, he'll help things along.

He can tell House is still awake, watching him.

He won't go to sleep until after I do.

Why are you looking at me like that, Wilson? Just go to sleep. I don't need you picking me apart.

Wilson moves in closer and shifts downward so they're face to face. He hears House swallow.

He's just getting comfortable. Don't freak out. Don't make too much of this.

It's okay, House. I won't hurt you. Can you trust me?

Wilson hesitantly rests a hand on House's waist, moving it up slowly until he's gripping the back of House's shoulder.

"What are you--" House begins.

He's cut off as Wilson's lips press against his own, just once, gently. When House lets out a barely-voiced whimper, Wilson leans back in and kisses House again, this time glancing his tongue across House's top teeth. House shudders a little and forces his jaw open, moving his lips slowly, cautiously against Wilson's.

What do you want from me, Wilson?

House closes his eyes, figuring this will be easier to go along with if he can't see what's going on. He forces himself to just feel and when Wilson deepens the kiss, he follows with less reluctance. House relaxes enough to let go of Wilson's arms and wrap his own trembling ones around Wilson's back. He remains passive as Wilson carefully rolls him over and straddles him.

Is this okay?

Don't hurt me.

Wilson pulls off his t-shirt and helps House out of his. He applies gentle, closed-mouthed kisses to the side of House's neck, across his shoulders, down his chest. He moves with glacial slowness. House hasn't said a word, has barely reacted at all, seemingly just along for the ride. But his body is reactive. House's hard penis is nestled between Wilson's butt-cheeks, the head of it poking against Wilson's balls as he moves downward, curving his back to lap at House's nipples.

He shifts down between House's legs, dusting more soft kisses over House's abdomen, and rests a hand over his crotch, rubbing slowly back and forth, feeling House's penis twitch beneath his fingers. There's a slight damp patch in House's pyjama pants. He whines and jerks his hips forward as Wilson presses down harder.

Wilson tugs down the front of House's pyjamas and underwear and House's eyes slam open, locking on Wilson's mouth just as it wraps around the head of his penis.

"No!" he blurts, sitting up to force Wilson off him.

Shit. He's freaking.

This is too much. I can't give you this, Wilson. To himself: Say something. Anything.

"Look, I know you're lonely since your girlfriend died, but this is pathetic even for you."

Anything but that.

He's so relieved it's too dark to see the hurt expression on Wilson's face.

He's just scared. He doesn't mean it.

"Sorry, House."

"I'm gonna go wash your spit off."

House climbs out of bed and makes his way to the bathroom, limping heavily. he turns on the shower and strips, frowning down at his still-hard penis.

Yeah, betray me. Just like everyone else.

He steps into the shower, soap-slicks his hand, and masturbates quickly and angrily, telling himself that this is a perfectly natural biological reaction. It's been a long time. Months, in fact, so it's no surprise that a little rubbing and kissing got him turned on.

He braces his forearm against the shower wall, biting down on the back of his hand as he ejaculates across the tile. He cups his hands to splash water over his semen, starting to feel nauseous as it swirls down the drain. He makes it to the toilet just in time.

When he returns to his room, Wilson isn't there.


"Hemorrhagic skin infarcts," Taub says, sighing heavily as he sits. "It's consistent with DIC."

"Were we questioning the DIC diagnosis?" House asks, bored. "What I'm more curious about is the gout. What causes gout as a symptom?"

"It could be chondrocalcinosis instead of gout," Thirteen suggests.

"Not that the tests would indicate. And he's eighteen, not eighty-five."

"He also says he's itchy," Kutner says.

"So get him on some Benadryl."

House makes a grab for the chart, looking it over. "He didn't receive a transfusion upon admittance."

"So?" Foreman asks, eyebrow raised.

"So, he had a gushing head wound. He was bleeding profusely for at least a half hour before he got here. And yet, his blood pressure was completely normal. Not to mention that the kid's been eating fistfuls of aspirin for his headaches. No way his blood would have clotted. His pressure should have been in the tank. Explain that."

"He's... an alien?" Kutner asks.

"Get an erythropoetin level on him, stat, and syphon off a pint or two of blood so his heart doesn't explode."

Wilson picks up his tray and steps into the cafeteria line, piling some salad onto his plate. Serving himself some fried chicken, he glances at House. He can tell House is biting his tongue, trying not to say anything about Wilson's meal choice.

One plate of fried chicken won't kill him, House tells himself, scooping whatever 'food' is in front of him onto his own plate. When they get to the register, House silently hands the cashier a few bills and heads to a corner table. Their conversation, on the surface, is typical of them, but both of them are slightly uncomfortable. They can see it on each others' faces: the conversation is strained. House steals a few fries from Wilson's plate in an attempt to achieve some sense of normalcy. Wilson rolls his eyes and offers a half-grin when he does for the same reason.

They leave the cafeteria grinning, House sharing old clinic duty stories. Wilson puts his tray away, bumping House's shoulder, and promptly slips in a puddle of soda. House reaches out to grab him, but Wilson falls hard, directly on his face.

"Shit," Wilson says, sitting up and rubbing his jaw, which is red and beginning to swell.

House reaches a shaking hand down and helps hoist Wilson up. "You okay?"

"Fine. Just a bruise. I need to change my clothes." Wilson indicates his trousers, which are stained with soda.

"You should get that X-rayed, make sure it's not broken."

"I didn't fall hard enough to break anything. It doesn't hurt that bad. Don't worry about it."

House stares at him for a moment, scrutinizing his jaw. He touches the bruise and Wilson winces, pulling away. "Yeah. Doesn't hurt at all," House says. "Come on. We're going to radiology."

"Seriously, House. I'm fine. Look, I don't have any more appointments today. Your patient's stable. Let's just go home. I can do my paperwork there."

House clenches his jaw. "Fine. But if that gets any worse, we're getting you an X-ray."

"Okay," Wilson concedes.

House reaches into his pocket and pulls out his Vicodin bottle, signalling Wilson to hold his hand out. When he does, House shakes a pill out onto his palm. Wilson arches an eyebrow and, upon receiving a pointed stare from House, swallows the pill.

House insists Wilson ices his jaw, and keeps a careful eye on his watch so he knows when to take the ice away. By bedtime, the swelling has gone down a lot, but a dark bruise has formed. Wilson takes a couple of ibuprofen to keep the swelling and pain down during the night, and settles down on the couch to sleep.

Chapter Text

"I never realised the passing hours of evening showers,
a slip-noose hanging in my darkest dreams."

House wakes up, rolls over, and looks at the clock. It's close to ten am and he's actually managed to sleep through the night. Smelling breakfast, he figures Wilson's out in the kitchen, probably doing a crossword puzzle as he drinks his coffee. House heaves a sigh, relieved, and stretches luxuriously, wondering what he'll do today. He feels energetic after his night's rest, and thinks maybe he'll try to do something a bit more active than sitting around watching TV.

I should go shoot some pool. And then maybe bowling. Or to the batting cages. Maybe the driving range. Yeah. Maybe all of it. Maybe I can get Wilson to come. It's been awhile since we hung out outside the apartment.

His leg's behaving itself for now, but he won't know for sure how it'll hold up until he puts some weight on it.

Then afterwards, maybe we can kick back with some beers, maybe play a few games of chess.

He rolls out of bed and, sure enough, his leg holds. Amazing what a little rest will do.

"Socks. Grey, grey, or grey?" He whistles a little tune, grabbing a pair of socks out of a dresser drawer. He tosses them onto the bed and pulls open the underwear drawer.

"Underwear... blue." He puts the underwear on his head and rummages for a t-shirt.

"Dum diddle dum... Hmmm. Skulls? No. Beatles... Nah. Hmm. The Who... Maybe. Where the hell did this come from? Dun a duhhhhhhh... Here we go. Aerosmith. Definitely an Aerosmith kind of day."

He tosses the shirt and underwear onto the bed next to his socks and goes to the closet. He opens the door to a flash of green cloth. At the bottom of the green cloth is Wilson, hanging from the clothing rod.

"No. No."

Twenty-five years of medical training and experience go out the window as House feels his heart stutter. He can't breathe and after a moment he realises he's covered in a cold sweat.

Move. Doctor mode.

He raises a hand to Wilson's neck.

Still warm. Maybe there's still time. Please, let there still be time.

He wraps an arm around Wilson's torso and lifts him to put some slack into the tie. He manages to undo the knot and lays Wilson on the ground, flat on his back.

Wilson's skin is a sick blue-grey and there's a terrified expression on his face. His eyes are open wide, dotted with petechia.

Strangulation. Good. Not good. Better than a broken neck. Nothing I could do about a broken neck.

Already panting with exertion, House kneels at Wilson's side, tilting Wilson's head back, pinching his nose, and opening his mouth. He seals his mouth over Wilson's and exhales deeply, one hand resting on Wilson's sternum. Wilson's chest rises.

Trachea's still intact.

House locks his fingers together and begins chest compressions to the rhythm of 'Another One Bites the Dust.' 100 BPM. More breaths, another set of compressions. Still no pulse.

"Come on, Wilson. Don't do this to me!" Why did you do this to me?

He continues with the CPR, knowing there's nothing else he can do. There's no time to find a phone and he doesn't keep a defibrillator in the apartment.

Why did you have to leave me? Why here? Why did I have to be the one to find you? What did I do that was so bad?

Everything.

I know I didn't show it enough, but I appreciate everything you've done. I'm not perfect but I can be better. I can change.

It's going on five minutes and House is getting exhausted. His arms are trembling wildly and his leg is burning. He pointedly avoids looking at Wilson's eyes. As long as he can't see the flat, blank stare, as long as he doesn't notice that the light does not glint across those dried out corneas, there is still hope.

Six minutes, now, and even if Wilson... stopped breathing (died) just before House found him, he's into brain damage territory.

I can take care of you. I'll spoon feed you, bathe you, push you around in a fucking wheelchair. Just fucking breathe!

House doesn't even notice that he's openly sobbing, tears and snot sliding from his lips into Wilson's open, stale mouth at each breath. He throws his full weight into the chest compressions, feeling Wilson's ribs shift and bow, and finally crack under the pressure.

I can't press any harder, Wilson. Did you think you had nothing to live for? Things are bad, Wilson, but I can be there. I can make it better. I can fix things.

"Come on, Wilson. Breathe! Don't do this to me. Don't leave me! I c-- I can't... I can't do this without you. (I can't live without you.)Don't leave me!"

He's shaking so badly now. He knows he can't physically keep this up forever, but he can't -- won't -- stop until that blank stare gains life.

"House. House!"

Wilson?

He flinches and looks down. Those unblinking eyes are still flat and blank. He raises a quivering hand to Wilson's neck but he can't feel a thing beyond his own pulse throbbing through his body, making his fingertips twitch. He holds his breath and rests an ear on Wilson's chest. There's no heartbeat, but Wilson's voice resonates through his head, making his skin vibrate.

That's... not possible.

"House!"

He's shaking so hard now, that he feels as if he's in a tumble dryer, arms flailing, head flopping around, and when he opens his eyes again, Wilson's kneeling over him, hands on his shoulders, shouting his name.

"Come on, House. Snap out of it." Wilson says, voice calm. "You're scaring me, buddy."

House blinks, reaching a trembling hand up to touch Wilson's face. It's warm and alive. He grabs Wilson by the shoulders, rolls him onto his back, and kneels over him.

Are you real?

Are you back?

He leans over and looks into Wilson's eyes. They glint even in the dim light, and they look terrified.

Please be real.

Please don't be so scared.

Wilson's skin is slightly tanned and healthy looking. House runs his fingers over Wilson's neck, and there is no bruise.

What... what is this? What are you doing?

His pulse is strong and quick. He peels Wilson's shirt up to his armpits and rests a hand on his chest. His heartbeat is strong. The ribs are intact.

Is that supposed to feel this good?

House systematically runs his hands over every inch of Wilson's body, examining him closely. He skates his hands down Wilson's legs, over his crotch (he doesn't miss Wilson's sudden sharp inhalation),

I'm here, House. God, I'm here

up his stomach and chest, down his arms. Wilson just stares, bewildered, but doesn't try to stop him.

Please don't stop

Finally satisfied, House collapses on top of Wilson, wraps his arms and legs around him, and lets his relieved sobs carry him off to sleep.


"You look like crap," Kutner says as House walks in.

"Just for that, no bagels for you." House raises the bag he's carrying, taunting him, then tosses the bag onto the table. He sits down and swats at Kutner's hand as he reaches for the bag. "So, got the results on the epo test?"

"It's low," Thirteen says, digging around in the bag and grabbing a blueberry bagel.

"Which makes no sense." Taub takes the bag from Thirteen, swatting casually at Kutner's hand as he again tries to steal the bag. "Considering all his other blood levels are high." He passes the bag to Foreman, having taken a plain bagel.

Foreman doesn't bother with a bagel, just tosses the bag to Kutner, who greedily nabs a bagel. House takes it from him and takes a huge bite, then hands it back.

"Ew. Who eats an onion bagel for breakfast?"

"You bought them," Kutner says, pouting.

House mumbles something around his mouthful of bagel. Seeing four confused faces, he repeats himself after having swallowed. "The kid has polycythemia vera. Start him on hydroxyurea and aspirin, and send him home."

"What?" Foreman says. "Most People don't get PV until they're in their Fifties."

"Most people don't get it at all. Test him for all the other myeloproliferative diseases you can think of, if you want to waste your time, but he's got erythromelalgia. Classic symptom. Either way, he's gonna need to be on hydroxyurea."

The team exit the room, leaving their bagels behind, and House drags a chair out onto the balcony to stare at Wilson through the glass.


Foreman finds House a few hours later and tosses him a case file.

"Hey, need a consult," he says. "Patient presenting to the clinic with severe abdominal pain. None of the usual suspects. No food poisoning. I ran a tox screen and got an abdominal ultrasound. Both are clean."

House glances into Wilson's office, sighs, and opens the file.


"So." Wilson prods at his baked salmon with a fork, pondering. "I've been thinking."

"That's good, Jimmy. Don't want that brain of yours to rot."

Wilson rolls his eyes. "Look, I know you've been having nightmares. And considering you've never really slept well..." he sighs, gnawing on a piece of asparagus. "I thought maybe we could try getting you on some anti-anxiety meds. I don't know if it's the emotional trauma from the bus crash or the head wound, but either way, it might help."

House stares at him for a moment, silently forking some fish into his mouth. "Head wound's mostly healed. You think I've got PTSD."

"It's not out of the realm of possibility. Look, it doesn't say anything about you. Millions of people have PTSD. They deal with it. You ignoring this isn't going to help anything."

"I don't have PTSD."

"Well then what is it?"

House scrapes his fork across his plate. "It's nothing. People have nightmares, night terrors, whatever. All the time, with no explanation.."

"And anti-anxiety meds usually help. Your nightmares aren't random or occasional. They don't happen a few times a year. This is every night. You need to do something about it."

"I wake up for a few minutes. It's not interrupting my sleep that much. It's not affecting me when I'm awake."

Wilson stares at him with a raised eyebrow.

"Okay. I'll stop eating cheese for my midnight snack. That should help. Can we drop this?"

House stands, scrapes the remainder of his dinner into the garbage can, and pulls out his spare pillow and blanket. He drops them on the couch for Wilson and goes to bed.

A phone call wakes House from a deep sleep. Keeping his eyes closed, he fumbles for his phone in the dark, flips it open, and holds it more or less in the vicinity of his ear.

"Wha–?" he manages, sucking on his teeth a little to work up enough saliva to ungum his lips.

"House. Foreman. Listen, we need you to come in."

"Patient crash? You can handle it," House mutters sleepily, rubbing his eyes. "Kutner's an excellent defibrillist. Just make sure there's no water or oxygen tan--"

"The patient's fine, House," Foreman says. "It's--"

"Go away." House moves to hang up the phone.

"It's Wilson," Foreman shouts hurriedly. "A cop brought him in. He's filthy, delirious, and we can't figure out--"

"I'll be right in." House hangs up the phone, yanks his clothes on, and bolts out of the apartment.

He manages to nearly break the land-speed record for a motorcyclist, not bothering to shut off his bike or put it up on the kickstand when he gets to Princeton-Plainsboro. He just lets it fall in the ambulance bay and hobbles at top speed to the ICU. When he approaches the door to Wilson's room, Foreman blocks his way.

"Let me in! I have to see him!"

"I'm sorry, House," Foreman says, shaking his head. "He didn't make it. There was a rat bite on his hand. Rabies."

House wakes with a start, climbs out of bed, and goes to the living room. Wilson is asleep on the couch, snoring softly. House doesn't wake him. He reaches under the sofa, slowly extracting his lock box, then sits in his recliner and prepares a syringe of morphine.

In his cage on the kitchen counter, Steve springs up, sniffling excitedly and climbing the bars of his cage, thrilled as always to see his master.

"You're the only one who's always happy to see me," House says to him, opening the cage. Steve pokes his nose out, smelling House's extended hand cautiously, then climbs onto it. House cradles the rat against his chest as he goes back to the living room and sits down. Steve climbs up his chest to sit on his shoulder, nosing at his jaw and ear, nibbling on the hairs at the back of his head.

"Unconditional affection," House whispers. He turns his head to look at Steve, and is rewarded with a tiny rat kiss to the end of his nose. He nuzzles Steve's head with his chin and reaches up to scratch him behind the ears. "Or do you know what love is? You're always happy to see me, no matter what I do to you. Even if I forget to feed you, or..."

He trails off and plucks Steve up off his shoulder, letting him rest on his forearm. Steve happily buries his head in House's armpit and House smiles sadly, picking up the syringe.

Wilson wakes the next morning to find House asleep, tear tracks on his cheeks, cradling his dead rat.

Chapter Text

"I wanna jump but I'm afraid I'll fall."

Returning to his office after checking up on the patient, House reviews the case. The patient seems to be getting better, but PV is incurable and typically fatal. He's about to plug in his Ipod and try to relax to some music when he hears Taub and Kutner enter the conference room, talking quietly.

"What if we just pushed him down the stairs?" Kutner asks.

House jerks his head up, listening carefully.

"There are security cameras everywhere. It has to be subtle, and it can't be at the hospital. Maybe we could just load up a syringe of morphine and jab him."

Who? Me? Why would they . . .

"They'd do an autopsy. Young doctor, suddenly dropping dead? You don't think they'd drug test him? Going along with the gout thing, why don't we load him up with colchicine? Knock out his white count and then expose him to something?"

Not me. Couldn't be. They know I take morphine sometimes. They know I keep it at home. House stands quietly and moves closer. They don't notice him.

"That's good. Really good," Taub says. "You don't think House would figure it out?"

"You kidding me? The man's a wreck. He can't concentrate on anything. And with Wilson gone, he'll be completely lost. Won't be able to function. Hell, he'll probably kill himself. There's nothing to worry about."

Wilson? Why would they want to kill Wilson? Everybody loves him.

Taub watches House closely from a safe distance. House is sprawled out on his yellow recliner, legs up on the ottoman, cane clutched tightly in his hands. He's sleeping fitfully, eyes screwed closed, forehead wrinkled, grimacing. He's not rubbing his leg; it's not pain. Taub's seen House's in pain sleep often enough. He contemplates waking him up; on the one hand, House'll be pissed if he interferes, but on the other hand, he doesn't want to see his boss in pain (physical or emotional). When House is in pain, he's a nightmare all his own.

So he continues watching, intermittently glancing at the paperwork in front of him. Even from the next room, Taub can see the sweat glistening on House's forehead, frizzing and curling his hair. House is thrashing his head around, panting, whimpering, and Taub decides this has reached critical mass. If he doesn't wake House up now, bad things will happen. He's not sure what bad things exactly, but definitely something.

He gets up out of his seat, striding into the next room just as House begins muttering 'No, no, no' over and over, volume growing with every repetition. His voice is shaky and he sounds utterly lost. His eyelashes are damp either from sweat or tears, and behind his eyelids, his eyes dart frantically from side to side. Taub cautiously reaches out and clamps a hand onto House's shoulder, shaking him gently. House doesn't wake up, merely whines, and Taub shakes him harder, sighing with relief as House's breath catches and his eyes slit open.

There's blinding pain, and then there's nothing.


"How does one accidentally smash someone else in the head with a cane?" Cuddy asks as she marches into House's office. "And what body part did you threaten to cut off to get him to say that?"

"He was making fun of your ass," House says, glancing up from the computer screen and giving a noncommital shrug. "I told him bigger is better but he just wouldn't believe me. I had to hit him to get him to see reason." His eyes go back to the computer screen as he delivers his next sentence with less obvious sarcasm. "Don't worry. His manhood isn't big enough for me to threaten." A quick look in her direction. "He can still be a good doctor without either of his hands, right?"

Cuddy rolls her eyes and takes a seat across from House. "You're making too big of a deal about this for it to be nothing. Tell me what happened," she asks, concerned.

"Nothing," he answers blandly.

"Wilson says you've been having nightmares."

"Wet dreams. I was thinking about you and got smothered to death in your cleavage. Hence the screaming."

"House."

"What's the damage?"

Cuddy sighs. "He's got a nasty bump and a headache. I've sent him home for the rest of the day."

"He's lucky I was half asleep and lashing out reflexively," House mumbles. "I'm violent but uncoordinated when I get interrupted mid orgasm. If I'd meant it, his skull would have caved in."

Cuddy nods, defeated. "I understand you not wanting to tell me what's going on. But you need to get this under control. See a shrink, get laid, do whatever you want, but you need to take care of whatever this is. Go home, and don't come back for a week."

Before he leaves, House makes sure his entire team knows that they're not to show up to work for the next seven days. If he can't be around Wilson, neither can they.

"God, it's been a long day," Wilson says, closing the door behind him. He hangs his jacket on the back of a chair and collapses onto the couch. House doesn't look up from the piano, where he's effortlessly laying down Dr John's version of 'Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu.' With his eyes closed. He's not singing-- that would require too much effort– but he's mouthing the words, bobbing his head, tapping his left foot loudly on the floor.

Wilson stares on, impressed as always. It's a rare treat for him to hear House jamming unrestrained. Occasionally he forgets just how good House is on the piano.

"I ordered pizza," House suddenly says, over the top of the music. "They've got four more minutes to get it here, or it's free."

Wilson flinches slightly at the abrupt announcement. "Good to know."

"Hope you like fungus. I ordered extra mushrooms."

Wilson hates mushrooms, and House knows this.

"Oh, and ham, too. And sausage."

"That's nice," Wilson says. "But I'm not kosher and you hate mushrooms more than I do."

"Oh, foiled again," House says, somehow managing to snap his fingers between chords without missing a beat. Or a note, for that matter. "Actually, I was in the mood for plain cheese."

Six minutes and a song later, the pizza arrives and Wilson pays the delivery guy anyway, even tossing in a few bucks extra for a tip. House strikes one last chord and lets it ring before hauling himself off the bench and sitting next to Wilson on the couch.

"I should kick your ass for paying the kid," House says, grabbing himself a slice. "Not only was he late, but this cheese is already partially congealed."

"You like it that way."

"True, but most normal people don't. What if I was some lunatic who'd murder an almost-innocent delivery boy over coagulated dairy? People have killed for less."

"I'll be sure to send them a letter of warning, lest this spur the Great Pizza Boy Massacre of 2008."

House laughs at this, nearly choking on crust, and glances over at Wilson for the first time since he got there. He squints, looking Wilson up and down. Boring, predictable old Wilson in his black slacks, white shirt, green tie, expensive French shoes.

"What?"

"Just thinking that it's odd that you've been here for at least ten minutes and this is the first time I've looked at you."

Wilson raises an eyebrow but says nothing, and House looks away quickly. He shoves the rest of his pizza slice into his mouth and limps off to the kitchen, grabbing himself and Wilson each a bottle of beer.

By the time he gets back, Wilson's turned on the TV and begun flipping through the channels. He settles on Discovery, taking the beer with nothing more than a questioning glance. House doesn't look at him again, doesn't take another slice of pizza. He sits, staring at the TV screen, elbows pressing into his knees, beer dangling from his fingertips between his legs.

"In all the years I've known you, I've never seen you eat just one slice of pizza," Wilson comments.

"In all the years I've known you, you've never stopped making subtle hints about my state of mind, appetite, or level of insanity," House counters, but his tone lacks any mirth or even sarcasm. "I wasn't that hungry."

"You feeling okay?" Wilson asks. Better to be direct.

"Fine. Just watch the damn show."

It's way too early to go to bed, but all House wants to do is go to his room and hide. Or maybe go ride a rollercoaster or start breeding Dalmatians. Being here, in this room, next to Wilson, is not conducive to a calm, relaxed state of mind, and he's not sure why. Here, he's getting anxious. Claustrophobic. He feels trapped and maybe even a little bit scared. He just wants to run away, but at the same time, inexplicably, he wants to grab Wilson in his arms and never, ever let—

"House?" And Wilson's looking at him intently, like he's been staring at him for at least a few minutes.

"Yeah, what?" And House realises that he's panting, and sweating. His throat is dry.

"Are you sure you're okay?"

He looks at Wilson, and his chest is heaving now, and it feels like he's deep sea diving and his tank's low on oxygen. So much pressure, and his vision's swimming, and he can't get any air into his lungs.

"I–" he begins, and can't finish because he's wheezing and there isn't any air in this room. He can hear his heart pounding in his ears, can feel it jumping at every pulse point and it's too fast; he's almost vibrating because of it.

Wilson's fingers are on his neck now, not even pressing down, just resting there because his blood pressure's so high that his carotid's expanded to the size of a fire hose. Any higher and Wilson could just look at him and know his pulse. And there's that fucking green tie, laying innocently over the folds in Wilson's shirt, mocking him.

"House, you need to calm down," Wilson says slowly, trying not to sound alarmed even though he's terrified.

That god damn green motherfucking tie. Now it's underwater because tears are streaming down House's face and pooling in his eyes from the effort of trying to breathe. He swears that his trachea's compressed to the size of a coffee straw. Little droplets of saline are being sucked past his lips on every ragged, heaving inhalation, and suddenly they're both on the floor because House has his hands on Wilson's shoulders and is forcing him to lie flat by straddling his chest. He's tearing at that fucking tie, yanking at the knot and ripping it out from underneath that crisp, white shirt collar, pulling so hard Wilson's getting rope burn around his neck. He's too stunned to fight back and he's had the wind knocked out of him anyway, and now they're both heaving for air as House struggles to his feet and takes a few halting steps one way, then another before making his way down the hall as fast as he can and dropping that stupid fucking green tie into the toilet. Wilson's on his tail as he jams down the lever and the water starts swirling around and House watches the tie get sucked most of the way down the drain before the pipes start backing up. The water rises, wide end of the tie floating up to the top of the bowl and House would scream if he could breathe but he can't, so instead he turns around and slams his fist into the wall, over and over, collapsing against it.

Wilson's still standing there in shock, but after the third or fourth time House's hand hits the wall, he grabs him by the wrist and slips his shoulder up under House's armpit, dragging him into the bedroom. He drops him on the bed and pushes his head down between his knees and when House can finally breathe again, Wilson finds himself enveloped in long, crushing arms with a sopping wet forehead pressed between his collarbones.

"I- I- I..." House stammers, hiccuping, "guh... f-f-fuck-king panic at-t- uh... tack."

"Sh, it's okay," Wilson says softly, rubbing House's back in what he hopes is a soothing manner. "Come on, slow, deep breaths."

It takes a few moments, but House finally lets go of Wilson and leans forward with his elbows propped on his knees. Wilson goes to get him a glass of water, which he drinks in one long pull. He doesn't taste the dissolved granules of temazepam.

"Do you want me to stay in here?" Wilson asks, setting the empty glass on the nightstand. House nods and begins getting undressed for bed.

Chapter Text

"Every second of the night, I live another life."

"Have a banana," Wilson says, entering the living room. He's eating a banana of his own, and tosses House another. House catches it, sneering.

"Where'd you get bananas?" he asks, looking it over.

"The store," Wilson replies, sitting next to House on the couch.

House tosses his banana from hand to hand, watching Wilson devour his. He sticks his tongue out, having eaten a skin-string. He removes the string from his tongue and flicks it onto the table.

The flash of tongue, the bits of peel hanging delicately over Wilson's hand, and the way he chews the fruit slowly, as if he's counting each careful mastication, every pass of his tongue over the banana, has House hard in his pants.

Wilson notices-- of course he does– and reaches a hand down to rest on House's crotch, rubbing and kneading. House gasps and squirms, then peels his own banana– Wilson's finished his– and breaks off a large piece between his teeth. He leans over and offers it to Wilson, who takes half into his mouth and rolls it around on his tongue, mouth open so House can see. House can't help it; he launches himself at Wilson, tackling him sideways and biting at his neck. Wilson laughs, but soon the laughter turns to coughing, and then, a look of wide-eyed panic as he begins choking on the piece of half-chewed fruit. His feet slip and slide on the floor, hand gripping his neck, and House springs up, wrapping his arms around Wilson's abdomen.

He performs the Heimlich maneouvre, pounding his fists into Wilson's solar plexus, but to no avail. Soon, Wilson loses consciousness and slumps to the floor. House can no longer support him, so lets him drop onto his back. He straddles Wilson, throwing all of his weight into pressing on his abdomen. Bits of unswallowed fruit are flying out of his mouth as he pants for air.

He wakes himself before he wakes Wilson, and feels urine beginning to dampen his underwear, so he heads to the bathroom to clean up. He sits on the toilet, too weak in the knees to stand, and peers down at himself, horrified, as he sees his penis is streaked with white, still-warm ejaculate.

He cries.

"Are you okay?" Wilson asks, a few minutes later as he joins House in the shower. "You got up before the alarm went off."

House nods, scrubbing his face harder than is probably necessary with a double handful of lather. He sticks his head under the water, hoping the scrubbing will hide the tear-induced redness of his eyes. Just in case, he quickly opens his eyes, and soap trickles in. He hisses.

"Shit." He rubs at his eyes, scrubbing under the spray, then shakes his head. "Soap in my eyes," he explains, then steps out from under the water to lather up his body and make room for Wilson.

Wilson tries to make small talk while they finish getting ready, but House is nearly silent as he goes about his morning routine. He doesn't even know what to feel about the dream. Disgust doesn't begin to cover it.

This isn't worth it, he tells himself. I'm so paranoid about Wilson dying that I can't even enjoy him being around. The thought doesn't shake his fear, though, and he merely resolves himself to do a better job of protecting his only friend.

House is in the cafeteria when he receives a page from Wilson: 911, Ex. 1. He rolls his eyes and tosses the remainder of his lunch in the trash, heading for the clinic. He approaches the door to the examination room and pauses, hearing Cuddy's voice.

"Hold still. You won't feel a thing."

There's a bit of clanging around, and some muffled shouts. House tries the door; it's locked.

"Hey, let me in!" he calls. Obviously, Cuddy and Wilson don't have the situation under control.

"Go away, House," Cuddy yells back. "I've got it."

More clanging, more screaming. The screams get louder, more frantic. More terrifying. The screams are coming from Wilson.

"What are you doing to him? Let me in!" He pounds on the door, but to no avail. The screams are getting more intense by the second. House slams his shoulder into the door. It doesn't budge. He beats at the door handle with the handle of his cane. "Cuddy! Stop it! Security!" he bellows, and a huge security guard comes running.

"Get that door open!" he demands, ramming his shoulder into it again. The security guard grabs House by the armpits and hauls him away, kicking, screaming, thrashing his cane around.

The screams stop.

Cuddy opens the door, carrying a bloody scalpel. Her hands, face, and clothes are covered in blood. House can see Wilson, restrained against the table. Wilson's clothes are on the ground, which is literally covered in blood. And all of his skin is gone, except around his wrists and ankles where the restraints are. It's been stripped from his body and is lying in bloody puddles on the floor. His eyes, lid-less, appear to bulge out of his skull, and House can see strings of muscles crisscrossing his face, reminding him of pictures in anatomy books... Only, it's bloodier; blobs of blood coagulate over the surface of what's left of Wilson's body, severed vessels still oozing out blood in a thick, dark paste. All of the loose flesh of Wilson's lips and cheeks has been removed completely; his mandible and all his teeth clearly visible under the thick coat of blood. His ears have been sliced cleanly off the side of his head, as has the cartilage of his nose. And sitting on top of a large pile of skin is Wilson's scalp, hair tangled together, slick and dark. Wilson's lidless eyes turn to look at House, who vomits all over himself as Wilson finally dies.

House goes limp against the security guard as he loses consciousness.

House wakes up groggily, with Wilson straddling his waist. He's on his side and Wilson's full weight is on him, pressing his shoulder into the mattress.

"Off," he manages after a moment, and Wilson jumps off him and runs to find his medical kit. He locates his penlight and dashes back to House. House looks at him, bewildered, as Wilson grasps his jaw and clicks on a penlight.

"Look straight ahead," Wilson instructs, and House does, too confused to resist. Wilson shines the penlight into his eyes.

"What happened?"

"You had a seizure," Wilson says, and holds a finger up for House to follow. "Have you ever been diagnosed with epilepsy?"

"You've read my chart."

"Have you had seizures before? I mean, besides during the deep-brain stimulation."

House shrugs. "A few times. Just PNES, not a big deal."

"You had another nightmare? PNES are usually stress-induced."

"I don't really remember. Seizure must've scrambled my brains. Go back to sleep, okay? I'll be fine."

"Are you sure? Did you hurt yourself?"

"I think you bruised me, holding me down. Don't you know better than that?" House reaches into his pocket for his Vicodin and tosses back a couple of pills.

"Considering you were an inch away from splitting your head open on the headboard, it was a risk I was willing to take. And anyway, I didn't have any weight on you until after you stopped moving." Wilson puts his penlight on the nightstand and stands with a groan. "Are you okay?" he repeats, carefully enunciating each word.

"I'm. Fine."

"I think we should get you in for an MRI, just to be sure," Wilson says after a moment.

"Because of one little seizure? Don't bother."

"No, because of the seizure and the insomnia. If there's a physical cause for it--"

"Fine," House says quickly. After all, maybe there is a physical cause. If I find out what it is, maybe I'll finally be able to get some sleep. Or maybe I'll die.

"I'll schedule you for the next available slot," Wilson says, standing. He offers a hand out to House, who takes it after a moment and stands on a pair of shaky legs. "Come on, I'll make dinner. You can finish your nap on the couch."

House allows Wilson to make a meatloaf, but insists on putting it in and taking it out of the oven himself. They eat in silence, staring blankly at a bland and barely amusing comedy on tv. The grains of temazepam float, invisible, in House's beer.


"Oh, God, House! Yes!" Wilson is screaming. His back is arched, head thrashing, fingers digging into House's shoulders as House pounds into him, hard and fast. House ducks his head down, kissing Wilson lazily in counterpoint with his dizzying thrusts. Their sweat mingles. Their hair is soaked, the sheets are soaked, and House doesn't even need to lube his hand to stroke Wilson's cock. It's so hot in the room.

"Oh God. Oh God! Fuck me! Harder!"

Wilson is trying his best to push back against House's hips and up into his hand, and somehow it's working. House catches a glint of dark brown eyes, pupils huge in the dark, and suddenly those eyes are filled with pain, then shock, then... nothing. Wilson's body goes lax and House doesn't need to check his pulse to know that he's dead.

House feels his heart breaking in his chest, and he's sobbing, tears flowing freely into Wilson's slack, dead mouth.

"I love you, Wilson," he cries out, collapsing on top of the shell of his former best friend as he ejaculates, penis twitching inside Wilson's loose, relaxed, still warm rectum.

He wakes up, walks to the bathroom, and vomits, semen dribbling down his leg.


Wilson is at work. House has tried to keep himself and his mind occupied, but he's exhausted. Every time he blinks, it seems his body tries to pull him into a deep sleep. He's been fighting it for hours, drinking coffee by the pot-full, energy drinks by the case, and downing amphetamines. He's considered getting a PI to look in on Wilson, but he knows he won't be able to trust anybody. He can't even trust his team. They've got it out for Wilson. It's not safe for him, alone, at work. But House can't just keep calling. He's phoned four times already to ask questions he doesn't need to know the answers to, just to make sure Wilson's okay. He wishes he could put some sort of tracking device on him, but the best he could really do is to set up a webcam inconspicuously in Wilson's office. And anyway, if something happened it'd be too late by the time he got there. House needs to be at work, with Wilson, where he can keep an eye on him.

He knows he can't do anything. And so, he sets about trying to distract himself. He cleans the bathtub– who knows what kind of microbes were living in there? He does laundry, polishes his piano and does the dishes. His hands shake so hard that he drops a few and breaks them, so he bends to pick up the pieces, then sweeps up the rest. By the time he's done with his chores, his leg and back are killing him.

Pain.

Pain is always the best distraction. He can't sleep when he's in pain, and he can't think. All he can do is feel the pain.

He grips his cane in both hands and brings it down, hard, across his thigh. The pain takes his breath away; he can't even scream, just drops to the floor clutching his leg as tears stream down his face. As soon as he can manage it, he drags himself up and crouches against the wall. He's completely lost track of the time and slid down into a sitting position when Wilson gets home.

Wilson stares at House in shock.

"House, what's going on?"

"I don't know," is the muttered reply.

House is simply sitting, staring at the floor, a look of utter fear on his face.

"Do you need... What can I do?" Wilson asks.

"Just... don't leave." House finally glances up at Wilson, eyes shining, still terrified. He blinks and shudders. "I..."

"I won't leave," Wilson assures him. "Come on. Let's get you into bed."

"No!" House blurts. Practically a shriek. "No. I..." He begins backpedaling, knowing he sounds ridiculous. "I'm not tired," he finishes lamely.

"House, you haven't slept for more than ten hours this whole week. At least come and lay down."

"I don't want to."

Wilson sighs, crossing the room to sit next to House. "It's the nightmares. You don't want to sleep because you'll have a nightmare."

"I'm not tired," House repeats, stubbornly.

"Okay... How about a ten minute nap?" Wilson asks. "You won't go into REM sleep in ten minutes. I'll wake you up."

House considers this. "No. You'll... you won't wake me up. You'll wait too long."

"House..." Wilson sighs again, rubbing at his forehead. "I don't want to do this, but either you sleep, or I'll have to sedate you."

"Do you promise to wake me up in ten minutes?"

"Of course. But this can't keep happening. You can't sleep for ten minutes a day. And I can't be there to wake you up constantly. You're going to have to deal with this at some point."

"I know," House mutters, staring at the floor between his sneakers.

"Have you given any more thought to the anti anxiety meds?"

House just shrugs and leans against Wilson's shoulder. "Can I sleep here?"

Wilson frowns. "Your leg has to be hurting, House."

He nods. That's why he's still sitting on the floor the pain is the only thing keeping him awake at this point. "Maybe... maybe you can massage it?"

Wilson looks at him, eyes full of concern. "Okay, but not here. On your bed. I'll massage your leg, and I'll wake you up after ten minutes."

House sighs and holds a hand out. He knows he won't be able to stand on his own, not after smashing the cane across his thigh and crouching against the wall until his leg literally couldn't hold him anymore.

Wilson stands and takes his hand, helping him get to his feet and limp to the bedroom. He then helps House out of his clothes and finds a tube of sports rub to lubricate the massage and warm House's muscles. Once they're situated as comfortably as possible, he pours some of the cream onto his palms and, starting at the knee, begins carefully massaging House's leg. He simply strokes the skin at first, drawing his hands across it lightly, and then more firmly, working blood to the surface and soothing the twitching muscle fibers. Then he begins digging slightly deeper, putting a few pounds' worth of pressure on House's thigh and rubbing in small circles, never letting his hands leave the skin. House's breathing slows soon after Wilson begins, and within only a few minutes, he is asleep, snoring softly.

Wilson keeps up the massage, working in his fingers next, and continues with the thigh until he finally feels the muscles loosen. He washes his hands quickly and then grabs a bottle of lotion to continue the massage on House's calf and other leg. He's certain those muscles are aching, too, from the strain of compensating for his thigh. He warms the lotion and smoothes it onto House's legs, then carefully uses his fingers to unknot the abused muscles, keeping his touch light and even so as not to wake House.

He fully intends to wake him after ten minutes, but only after the massage is finished. House had previously seemed to do okay as long as Wilson was in the room. Maybe this time, as long as Wilson is awake and actively touching him, House can get some decent sleep.

Wilson re-thinks the sleeping pill idea. House obviously had either figured out what he was doing and avoided drinking anything that may have been contaminated with the temazepam, or he'd been having nightmares and simply couldn't wake up. That can't be good for him, psychologically. But House needs to sleep. Wilson decides that now is definitely the time to try slipping House some anti anxiety meds as well as the sleeping pills, if he won't agree to take them on his own.

When he wakes House ten minutes later, as promised, the man looks more calm and relaxed than he has in weeks. They discuss anti-anxiety meds and House vehemently refuses.

They'll just make me not care. Something bad is going to happen, and I want to be anxious about it, he thinks. He wants to be prepared for the worst, even if being prepared just means knowing about it ahead of time.

When Wilson brings him a glass of water, he refuses that, too, knowing that he's sneaky enough to try and dissolve a Valium in there. It had taken him a few days to catch onto the sleeping pills, but he's not going to be so easy to fool this time.

Wilson tries again later, at dinner time. He figures he probably can't get away with cooking the pill into House's food; it might change the chemical structure of the medication. But he's much more sneaky about it, crushing the pill ahead of time, when House isn't looking. He pours orange juice into the cup with his back turned. House only drinks half of the juice, complaining it makes his throat feel funny. He figures that even if Wilson did manage to get some drugs into his glass, he didn't stir the juice so most of the medication is probably still stuck to the bottom. What he doesn't know is that Wilson stirred the pills into his mashed potatoes. Wilson gives him a glance, barely-contained frustration flitting below the surface, and gets House a can of soda from the fridge.

That night, House curls around Wilson in bed, pleading with his brain to let him stay awake. He feels some sense of relief that, tomorrow, at least, he'll be able to return to work.

He dreams Wilson is massaging his leg again, slowly dragging his fingers up the sensitive insides of his thigh. He shudders and squirms, and can't help but groan. The featherlight touches are maddening, and before long, he finds himself hardening. He's naked, which seems perfectly normal, and he's only a little bit apprehensive when Wilson wraps those wonderful fingers around the base of his dick and flicks his soft, pink tongue across the head. Wilson grins, a cute little shy smile, and then dives in, lips meeting his fist. He reaches up with his other hand to roll House's balls around, reaching behind them with one finger to lightly brush at his perineum. House bucks uncontrollably but Wilson can handle it; Wilson can handle anything.

Another moment and he's ready to come at any time. He just needs a little more. Something, anything, to tip him over the edge. He places his hands on Wilson's neck, encouraging him to suck just a little bit harder, or touch him more. He thrusts forward perhaps harder than he means to and Wilson gags a little. Oh, he mutters, doing it again and again, tightening his grip on Wilson's neck. There's more gagging, more choking sounds, but Wilson isn't fighting him. He doesn't fight him at all until House finally whimpers and ejaculates down his throat, and then they both go limp. Wilson isn't breathing.

Wilson watches House closely. He can't tell what's going on, whether it's good or bad. It seems good enough on the outside House grinding his dick hard into the side of Wilson's leg, panting as he does. But those little sounds he's making, those little frightened whimpers, can't be good. Wilson shakes his shoulder, trying to rouse him, not caring about the erection digging into his hip until House comes spectacularly against him, dampening his pyjamas. He settles down immediately after that, dropping off into a deep, hopefully dreamless sleep, and Wilson doesn't dare wake him to clean him up. It would be cruel, if he's not about to have any more bad dreams. And even this one didn't seem so bad. Maybe Wilson misinterpreted the noises. It's possible. He'll let House deal with crusty underwear in the morning sleep is what he really needs right now.

Wilson resolutely ignores his own hard-on and wraps his arms back around House, falling back asleep within minutes.


"House. Wake up. Gonna be late for work." Wilson shuts off the alarm and rolls over, prodding House in the shoulder. "Come on."

House grunts something and rolls over to face away from Wilson. Even through the haze of sleep, he feels uncomfortably sticky and crusty. His body is covered in dried sweat, underpants crusted stickily to his skin, eyes crusted shut. He reaches a hand up to his face and rolls his eyelashes between thumb and forefinger, wiping crud away until he can open his eyes.

"Sleep well?" Wilson asks, voice travelling slowly, hazily toward House's ears.

House grunts again. This time, the word 'fine' passes his lips. His ears are plugged up, and he pulls on the one not pressed into a pillow until he hears a pop. Even the inside of his nose feels sticky, as if a spider had spun webs in both nostrils. His tongue feels hot, dry, and swollen, clinging uncomfortably to the roof of his mouth, and his lips and teeth are gummy. He rubs his face against the pillow, and his hair rustles against it, stiff with dried sweat.

House pushes himself up off the bed and heads for the bathroom, limbs leaden, stiff, as if he hasn't moved for days. He looks in the mirror with disgust. He's definitely lost weight; his face is sunken and dark, circles under his bloodshot eyes. He turns on the shower and undresses while the water heats, leaving his pyjamas and underpants in a pile on the floor. He brings his toothbrush with him into the shower, brushing slowly but thoroughly as he lets the water carry away the various dried-on fluids.

First time I sleep through the night in months and I'm less rested... He shakes his head and sets his toothbrush in the rack, then grabs some soap and begins scrubbing himself furiously. He doesn't remember the dream he had.

He doesn't even glance up when Wilson steps into the shower. "You look exhausted."

"I'm fine," House says, stepping out of the spray so Wilson can bathe.

"Any more nightmares?"

"I'm fine," he repeats, handing over the soap and moving to rinse himself. He shakes his head, sending tiny droplets of water flitting across the bathroom as he steps out of the shower, wrapping himself in a towel. He sits on the toilet, watching Wilson run the soap over himself, glancing away only when Wilson washes his genitals. He tells himself he's granting Wilson some privacy, but really, he just doesn't know how to deal with the stimulation. After a moment, he stands, dries his face on a clean hand-towel, and grabs his electric razor, trimming his overgrown beard into a mere five o'clock shadow.

His muscles tense as Wilson shuts off the water and steps out of the shower, prepared to spring forward and catch him, should he slip. But Wilson doesn't slip, just grabs a towel off the rack and begins drying himself methodically, then hangs up his towel and walks naked back to the bedroom. House follows him there and they get dressed in silence.


"Could be stomach cancer," House suggests. Foreman's clinic patient hasn't shown any signs of improvement over the course of the week House was suspended. They'd pawned the case off on Cameron and, unable to find anything, she'd given the patient back when House's department collectively returned to work. Only two new symptoms had cropped up: fever and bloody stool.

"It's not cancer," Foreman says. "Cameron tested him for every different kind of cancer that would cause these symptoms. She got a consult from Wilson."

House glares, at no-one in particular. "I'm assuming he's already on antibiotics?"

"Yeah," Taub replies. "But they're not doing any good. Obviously, this isn't a bacterial infection."

"We'll never be able to find a viral infection," Kutner says. "And he's already been tested for parasites. Fungal?"

"It's in his brain," House says suddenly. "Something in his brain is telling the body's nerves that his abdomen hurts. Or telling it to cut off blood flow to his intestines, resulting in necrosis. We need to get a brain biopsy."

They all stare at him for a long moment.

"House, that doesn't make any sense," Taub says, very slowly.

"It makes more sense that he's got a clot in one of the nearby arteries," Thirteen suggests. "We should do an angio."

"That wouldn't cause bloody stool," Taub counters.

"It might if the clot is a symptom of a bleeding disorder."

"Hell of a long shot," House says.

"And the brain thing isn't?" Thirteen argues.

"It makes sense! If there's a misfiring in his pain centre, or demyelination--"

"No." Foreman shakes his head. "We're not cutting into this guy's head because he has a tummy ache."

"I'm your boss. Do it, or I will."

"You'll never get Cuddy to sign off on it."

"Fine, then I'll do it without her permission. This guy needs a brain biopsy!"

"House!" Taub yells. "No. He doesn't."

Kutner watches their argument, staying out of things until he has an idea. "What about doing a barium enema? He could have Intussusception."

"Now that makes no sense," House says, and he's bordering on hysterical. "That's a baby thing."

"It's a mostly baby thing," Foreman tells him, as calmly as he can manage. "Plenty of kids and adults have it, too."

"House. Let us do the barium enema. If it comes back clean, we'll reconsider a biopsy," Thirteen says.

House is trembling now, eyes darting around the room. "Fine. Do whatever the hell you want. I need to find Wilson."

He launches himself up out of his chair and makes a dash for Wilson's office. He's not there. He pages Wilson; he isn't going to run around the whole hospital looking for him, so he sits in his office and waits for Wilson to call him. Five minutes pass and he's getting nervous. He calls Wilson's cell phone and there's no answer. His mind starts running through all the things that could have happened. There could be another mad gunman loose in the hospital. Wilson could have gone out for lunch and gotten mugged, or been in a car accident. He could have fallen down the stairs because he was in a hurry and didn't want to wait for an elevator. Anything could have happened to him.

He glances into his conference room and finds it empty. He'd go look for Wilson himself, but he's too out of breath, and he's crippled. He pages his whole team, and when they arrive a few minutes later, he shouts at them to find Wilson. There's definitely hysteria in his voice, now, and Kutner immediately dashes out of the room to find House's friend.

Thirteen goes to House and feels his pulse– it's racing, and he's breathing hard, fast, and shallow.

"Ativan," she says, and Foreman rushes out of the room. He returns a moment later and hands off the syringe. Thirteen jabs it into his arm and is about to push in the plunger when Wilson runs into the office, closely followed by Kutner.

"Wait!" he says, and Thirteen retracts the syringe. She hands it to Wilson. "Can you guys leave us alone for awhile? Go run some tests or something," he says, and kneels down next to House.

The team exit, and House calms considerably in Wilson's presence, finally able to draw in a deeper breath.

"I'm getting you in for that MRI now," Wilson says.

House stands up and silently follows him down the hall. Halfway to Radiology, House collapses, exhausted from lack of sleep and his panic attack. Wilson helps him into a wheelchair without complaint and wheels him the rest of the way there. He helps him out of his clothes and into a pair of scrubs, noticing not for the first time how frail House has begun to look. He's thinned significantly, but it's more than that. There's a particular pallor to him that can't be explained by just a lack of sunlight and fresh air. His hair has gotten thinner and more grey, and his movements are jerky, slightly uncoordinated. He helps lift House onto the MRI table and removes the wheelchair from the room, then goes into the booth to begin the test.

House rests, listening to the pounding noises of the machine, and feels himself beginning to drift off to sleep. Wilson notices, too, and begins talking to him over the speaker system. As much as he wants House to sleep, if he has a nightmare while in the MRI and begins thrashing around, he might hurt himself and the results would be unreadable.

Apart from the residual damage from House's skull fracture, the MRI looks completely normal. Wilson puts in a consult request with a radiologist to be certain, and takes House home.

Chapter Text

"Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
with tangerine trees and marmalade skies."

House feels the ache of weariness deep in his bones. I'm 49, he thinks. I'm too old to do this to myself. The thought depresses him greatly, but he knows that he's middle-aged. His body's not up to handling full weeks without any sleep. Almost any sleep.

Every time he shuts his eyes, he sees Wilson dead. Wilson hanging. Wilson drowned. Wilson as a zombie. Wilson with his head cut off. Wilson's body, cut into a thousand pieces. Wilson blue from strangulation. Wilson with his face beaten in.

His eyes are puffy and red-rimmed, and the bags under his eyes have grown huge in the past few weeks. His team is sending him strange looks, and he knows Foreman is checking all of the tests he orders to make sure they're not insane.

He doesn't care anymore.

He fears every time he leaves Wilson alone, the next he hears of him, Wilson will be dead.

No. I can't sleep. I'll see him dead. See him dead. Nothing's working... LSD. I can't sleep while I'm on it, but it'll relax me a bit. I'll see music.

He gets up shakily, worried for a moment that his legs won't hold him up. He knows he still has acid somewhere. Has to. There's some in that drawer...

He roots around in his drawer. There has to be some. He's so desperately tired, so scared of seeing Wilson dead again. He can't... oh God, he feels the panic rising again, and searches faster. He needs that acid. Needs to get away for a bit.

His fingers close around the bottle he hid his LSD in. A drop in his eye, and... He blinks. It burns, burns badly, but that's okay, he doesn't mind the burn. He feels worse pain almost all the time.

He turns on his music. He wants to see music, wants the pretty shapes and the strangeness of the tunes lull him to a somewhat restful state. He stretches out on the ground, props his bad leg up, and watches a purple shape expand and contract, shimmer and wobble. He reaches for it, wants to catch it, be part of the music. He can't quite hear it right, that note, it seems off, but he knows it's not, can't be. The shape's pink now, and he stops reaching for it, watching it go from rose-pink to baby-pink to hot-pink to red. Spins through the reds, cycles, cycles, hey, look, blood-red... no, no blood, no blood, not blood, and it's changing, spinning out of control, slipping into purple again, right through purple into blue.

He sighs and watches his sun-yellow sigh join the blue, morph to green together. So peaceful, lying there with the music and the colours, oh, the colours, the green shimmering and wobbling and spinning around him. Not asleep yet, but he's so peaceful. The ache in his bones is gone, and he's at peace with the world.

The music changes suddenly, jarringly, and so does the colour, drops straight from green to orange, morphs into a giant bouncing orange around the walls. The glass cracks under the giant bouncing orange, and suddenly, there's a little gondolier on it, who looks just like a miniature version of Wilson, singing loudly in Italian, some opera, really belting it out, and riding that bouncing orange. The orange changes colour, goes rainbowy. A gay orange, House thinks. A pride orange! An orange from the Gay Pride parade. Boing boing boing and the gondolier's song turns sultry and his expression orgasmic.

Dark blue wafts around the gay rainbow orange, and the gondolier-Wilson turns angry and disappears and there is the sound of the door opening.

House looks up, grouchy. He was so close to sleeping, and now he can't; there's someone to deal with.

Wilson stands there, a knife in his chest, blood dripping onto the ground, and House wonders if he's going to have to fight to keep his carpet again. Matching blood stains, how cute.

He pinches himself. It's just another dream. A dream, a dream, it's a dream, he's finally asleep and he has that stupid dead-Wilson dream again. He'll wake up in a minute.

Wilson moves and suddenly it shifts. There are bullet holes in him, four, five, minimum, his clothes are soaked through with blood. House's eyes widen. "No, no, no, no, no, no," he chants. Not a dream, it's real, has to be real, and oh God, it's Wilson, with bullet holes in him, dripping blood, drip, drip, drip, drops of crimson soaking into his carpet.

The gay orange is gone, too. And so's the music.

It's not real, not real, it's a hallucination. He hasn't slept in so long... Must be a hallucination, a tired mind trying to force him to have sleep by torturing him with dead Wilson even when he's awake.

Wilson turns off the music and faces House, who's staring up at him with shock on his face.

"House!" he says. "House! What's wrong?"

And Wilson shifts again, and this time his face is blue and purple and contorted, and there's an angry red mark around his throat... strangled, House decides, by the shape of the bruise on his throat... Wilson's talking, saying something, gasping, gasping, he can't hear it, not clearly.

"House, did you take something? House!"

Wilson's worried, because House's face is covered with sweat again, and it looks a lot like one of those nightmares he's been having. "House!" he says urgently.

Wilson shifts again, he's carrying his head in his hands. Blood's fountaining from his head and his neck. He has a wicked grin on his face. "House," he taunts. "House... What's wrong, House? It's just me..."

Wilson starts at the sharp, pungent smell of urine. He glances down and sighs heavily. There's a growing stain on House's pants, drizzling along his leg. Whatever House is seeing or hearing has to be terrifying him. House doesn't even seem aware that he's pissed his pants. He scrabbles at his chair, trying to push it back from the desk, and falls onto the floor.

"Oh, House," he murmurs. "C'mon. Snap out of it. Are you dreaming? Or did you take something?"

Wilson shifts again, this time, his skin is falling off him, he has no eyes, and there are maggots crawling around on his skin. House is a doctor and has seen plenty of just plain disgusting things, but nothing beats this. He screams. And screams.

Wilson's shocked. He has no idea what to do, not when House is screaming wordlessly in pure terror. He finally wraps his arms around House cautiously, not sure if it will help, trying to ignore the public-bathroom smell. The screams only get louder, more shrill and high-pitched, breaking as House abuses his vocal cords. Wilson pulls House out of the way of the puddle of piss on the floor and sits behind him, trying to hold him steady with his arms and legs. House is thrashing his head from side to side, flinging his arms in any direction he can, so that Wilson has to dodge elbows to the face. He can't hold House's arms down, not when he's this scared, this far gone. At this point, he can't even pin him to the floor.

The blue waft of door opening strikes House again, and there are more people. Something that looks like Kutner, although Kutner's four feet tall and doing an Irish jig. And Thirteen. She's a thirteen. A one and a three next to each other, and her face in between. And there's Taub, who's towering over him, fourteen feet tall and looking concerned.

"What's wrong?" they ask as one.

"Get him away!" House shrieks. "Can't you see the dead body? Get him away!"

Kutner stops doing his Irish jig and morphs into a Riverdancer. No, a whole row of them, dancing with perfectly synchronised steps, kicking their legs high in the air. "Dead body? There's no dead body here!" he cackles wickedly. "No dead body here, House!"

House backs away as much as he can with Wilson's arms around him. "Yes there is!" he sobs out. "It's on me! Don't you see it?" He thrashes his head backwards and just misses smashing Wilson's nose. "Get. Him. Off!"

Thirteen suddenly becomes a thirty-one, and she smiles wickedly. "House... there's nothing there but Wilson."

Now it's a zombie Wilson, all green and decomposed and worms going in and out of his ears and nostrils, and zombie Wilson's hugging him. Hugging him and teasing him, cackling, "I got you! I got you! Stop screaming. I got you! House, I got you now." He claws at zombie Wilson and shrieks. Green skin comes off, peels off the zombie, and blood the consistency and colour of mud falls out, not even dripping, just tumbling to the floor. House pushes at the zombie, tries to shove him away, but his hands go right through Wilson's chest because Wilson's a ghost zombie.

Wilson winces when House claws into his arm, breaking skin and drawing blood, but he tries to hold on anyway. And he holds on while House pushes at him, yelling gibberish. He looks at House's team. "There's nothing you can do."

Thirteen folds her arms obstinately. "Apparently, there's nothing you can do either. He's still screaming."

"What the hell did he take?" Kutner asks quietly.

"Stop dancing, you fiend!" House screams at Kutner. "You poisoned me!" he adds, turning to Wilson. "You poisoned me!"

"Answer your question yet?" Taub says wryly.

House is still screaming and clawing at Wilson, and there's nothing Wilson can do.

Wilson shifts again, and now he's a mummy, a few strands of hair still sticking to his skull, somehow. House sobs in terror, still screaming, still clawing at those mummy arms, and the linen comes off and it's scary, so scary, so very scary, he has no idea what to do.

Wilson's brow furrows as he hears House panting and his breath catching and holding. House is having difficulty breathing, and Wilson realises with a sinking heart that it's another panic attack, not just the psychotic break or hallucinations or whatever's going on in House's tormented, sleep-deprived brain. He reluctantly lets go of House and pages the nurse's station: 911 Diagnostics Office Haldol. He just hopes they won't ignore it because it's Diagnostics.

House's scream returns, even with the odd choking. Wilson bites his lip.

"There's nothing you three can do," he says firmly. "Go deal with your latest case. And report to Foreman today; I don't think House is in any shape to work."

They're reluctant to leave, and stand there looking at each other, at House, at Wilson, trying to think of something, anything, to do to help House.

"Get out!" Wilson finally yells, and the fellows scatter like startled birds.

Wilson's shifted again, fallen apart into a thousand pieces. House shrieks. The pieces are climbing about the room. A finger there, an eye here, a random toe there. His neck, with that paisley tie still tied around it, starts tap-dancing on House's desk.

Wilson breathes a sigh of relief as a nurse rushes in with a syringe in her hand. She injects House, and Wilson feels the tension drain out of him as House calms down.

He thanks the nurse and dismisses her. She leaves without a word, without even a last glance at House to make sure he is alright.

Wilson goes to the desk and notices a bottle. He recognizes that bottle, knows that's where House keeps his LSD. He snorts. A bad trip. Doesn't sound like it could happen to House, who downed drugs with alarming frequency. Wilson wonders idly what it was that set House off. He shakes his head. No way to know. He picks up the phone and dials Cuddy.

"Cuddy, I'm taking House home. He's not doing very well, and I'm not comfortable letting him drive."

"Will you be back?"

Wilson glances at House, who's half-asleep on the floor, whimpering slightly. Wilson wonders if he's still seeing things. Shouldn't, with the Haldol. But the Haldol does nothing for lingering terror.

"No," he says firmly. "I can't leave him alone. I'm worried about what he'll do if no one's with him. I'll have my secretary shift my appointments around."

He hangs up and manages to get House to his feet. "C'mon, big guy, we're going home."

On the way out, he swipes some more Haldol from the clinic.


"Where's House?" Foreman asks immediately.

The fellows look guiltily at each other. "He's gone home," Taub finally says. "Wilson took him."

Foreman looks at them with concern. "What happened?"

"He was screaming. Just screaming bloody murder. And we went in, and House screamed at us to get the body out of the room. But there was no body, nothing. And he yelled at Kutner to stop dancing. Called him a fiend," Thirteen recounts. She sounds slightly amused by this.

"Can't say I disagree," Foreman mutters.

Thirteen shoots him a disapproving look. "And he just screamed and screamed. Then he had a panic attack, which was when Wilson kicked us out."

Foreman looks worried. It's such a strange look on him that the fellows are taken aback. Foreman never looks worried, no matter what House does.

"We have to tell Cuddy," he says finally.

"Wilson should be the one to tell Cuddy," Taub contradicts.

Foreman shakes his head. "If Wilson had any intention of telling Cuddy about this, he would've done it a lot sooner. When House stopped sleeping and started coming into work high on amphetamines. Wilson's been coming with him into work every day for weeks now. He's not going to tell Cuddy anything."

Chapter Text



Chapter Thirteen

"So shut your eyes, kiss me goodbye, and sleep, just sleep.
The hardest part is letting go of your dreams."

Wilson strips House down and helps him bathe. House is so out of it from the bad trip and the Haldol that he doesn't even put up a token protest. Wilson wants to hug House and never let him go, protect him from whatever demons are in his head, torturing him for the past several weeks.

He helps House out and dries him off, puts him in a pair of boxers and gets him in bed.

"Sleep," he murmurs, running his hand through House's thinning hair. He tucks House in and leaves, pausing in the doorway to cast one last look at his friend.

He goes to wake House at eight the next day. House hadn't screamed the entire night, which Wilson attributes to the Haldol. House is curled into the fetal position and staring at the wall blankly. Wilson sighs and calls Cuddy.

"How's House?" Cuddy asks immediately.

"Not well. He's still sick."

"Are you staying with him?"

Wilson nods. "Yeah," he says finally. "I don't feel comfortable leaving him."

House spends the entire morning curled up, staring at the wall as if it contains the answers he's seeking.

Around noon, Wilson forces him to sit up and spoon-feeds him soup. House eats it silently, without being difficult. Once he's done, he slides back down in the bed, curls up, and once again, resumes staring at the wall.

As Wilson leaves, he notices House sucking his thumb and hugging his blanket.

As soon as he's done with his lunch, Wilson consults his psychology textbook. He flips through it for nearly an hour before finding something that fits House. Regression. Patient returns to a childlike state to avoid dealing with problems.

The thumb-sucking alone suggests that. Not to mention the fact that Wilson had to spoon-feed him. And the complete lack of sarcasm throughout the past two days.

Wilson closes the book with a shaky sigh. It could just be a one time thing. The textbook says that it's not an issue if it's not a usual occurrence.

Wilson enters House's bedroom again around six to feed him dinner. As soon as he puts the plate down, House wraps his arms around Wilson. Wilson stops him before House can climb in his lap--whatever age House's brain has regressed to is definitely a much lighter age– but hugs House back tentatively.

His grip strengthens when House doesn't claw at him or push him away. House buries his face in Wilson's neck.

He doesn't let Wilson leave his presence until morning.


"Where'd you get those scratches?" House says when Wilson wakes up.

House has been awake for some time, just watching Wilson, who's still curled up to him. Wilson looks at his arm, and the gouges House doesn't remember giving him two days before, during his trip.

"Oh, just... you know, clinic patient. Kid didn't want me to give him a shot," Wilson says, hoping his sleep-slurred speech will hide his obvious lie.

House nods and rolls out of bed. "Stay there," he says, and leaves the room. After a moment, Wilson hears him shuffling and clanging around in the kitchen. He returns a rew minutes later with a bowl of warm, soapy water, one wet hand towel, one dry one, and a small first aid kit, all balanced on a tray.

House takes his arm and gently washes the scratches with the soapy water– they're quite deep and Wilson, having been tending to House since the event, hasn't had the chance to clean them. Once the dry blood has been scrubbed away, House uses the wet towel to rinse off the area and then examines the scratches.

"You're lucky they're not infected," House says quietly, drying the area with the other towel. He opens his first aid kit and rubs some antibiotic ointment on the scratches, then covers them with a large square of sterile, non-stick gauze and seals it with medical tape. "All better," he says with a small smile. "Can we have Cheerios for breakfast?"


Cuddy looks up at Foreman. "What test did House order now?" she asks wearily. "Has to be bad if his team is here, too."

"Nothing," he says. "He didn't even come in today." He looks piercingly at Taub, Thirteen, and Kutner.

Thirteen launches into her story again. Cuddy listens with a sinking heart. House was worse off than any of them believed. She nods as Thirteen concludes her story.

She turns to Foreman. "He's been ordering crazy tests, hasn't he?"

"More than I send to you," Foreman confirms. "I can talk him out of some of the tests, point out there's no medical reason to do that, but it doesn't always work. Those are the ones I give you. He wanted to do a brain biopsy on someone with abdominal pain a couple of days ago. We talked him out of it, but it was a close thing. He's been... he's not been well, Cuddy. He's been coming in high on amphetamines."

"Why haven't I heard about this before?"

Foreman looks uncomfortable.

"Wilson," Cuddy guesses, with an exasperated sigh. "Wilson came to you and told you that it's not serious and he has it under control." She snorts. "House is going crazy, and Wilson's still doing his damnedest to protect House."


"I've heard some interesting things about House," Cuddy begins. Wilson groans and sits down in one of the chairs. He glances back at House, who is sitting obediently in the nurse's station, eating an ice cream sandwich from the cafeteria.

"He's fine. Just a bit sleepless."

"Apparently, he's sleepless to the point of hallucinations. And he's had at least two panic attacks his staff have seen." She drops her voice and leans forward, placing a hand on Wilson's arm. "Wilson. He's going crazy."

"No. He's not," Wilson says quietly but firmly. "He's just not sleeping well. A bad bout of insomnia. It's nothing more."

Cuddy tries to approach this more patiently. "James," she says softly. "House has been coming in high and stoned. He's been ordering crazy tests. He apparently tried to brain biopsy someone with abdominal pain. You've been taking him early more and more often. There's something wrong."

"He's just having trouble sleeping," Wilson says obstinately. "It makes him cranky."

Cuddy pinches the bridge of her nose. "James. He's... he needs to be admitted to a psych ward."

"No! He's not crazy. He's just tired. I won't let you put him in a psych ward."

Cuddy shakes her head. "Wilson, it's not your decision."

Wilson glares at her. "Yes. It is. I'm his medical proxy. You're not going to convince him to do it, and you can't get any lawyer to declare him mentally incompetent for now and force someone else to make that decision. That someone else would be me, his medical proxy, and I'm not going to let you do it."

Cuddy sighs. She recognizes Wilson's "protect House" mode quite well.

She won't be able to get him to budge.

"I'm going to have to suspend him indefinitely," she says quietly. "Until you realise there's something seriously wrong and can make it right."

Wilson nods and turns on his heel. House may not be allowed to work, but Wilson refuses to leave him home alone if he can help it. He'll just make sure Cuddy doesn't notice that he's in the hospital.


"I'm gonna go get another beer," Wilson announces. "Want one?"

"Yeah."

Wilson goes into the kitchen, grabs two bottles of beer, and promptly drops one. It shatters on the floor, bubbling out foam.

"Don't move," House commands, and he's in the kitchen faster than he has any right to be. "Can't even trust you with my beer," he continues in an attempt to hide his concern. "I'll clean it up. You'd just cut your hand off."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, House," Wilson mutters as he slinks back into the living room.

House crouches down, feeling the muscles (What's left of them, he thinks bitterly) in his right leg stretch and strain as he leans to pick up the glass. He tosses the pieces into the nearby trash can and grips the countertop, standing up with a wince. He stands there for a moment, sharp pain coursing through his leg. When he's fairly certain he can walk without screaming or collapsing, he grabs a roll of paper towels, peels off about half of them, and drops the pile into the puddle of beer, mopping it around with the end of his cane. That done, he thoroughly sweeps the floor, this time bending at the waist to pick up the dust pan.

"Don't walk in there without shoes for awhile," House announces as he sits slowly back down on the couch. He tries to rub his thigh inconspicuously, but of course Wilson notices.

"Overdo it a little?"

"S'nothing."

Wilson places his hands on House's thigh, rubbing gently.

"Is this okay?"

House shrugs noncommitally.

Why wouldn't it be? Guy helping out his friend. That's what friends do, they tell me.

Wilson rubs a little harder, remembering a time not too long ago when House was barely comfortable shaking hands, let alone allowing someone to rub his leg. Someone who wasn't being paid to, anyway. Wilson moves his thumbs in tight circles, pressing firmly along the whole of House's thigh. Times like these it isn't the damaged area that hurts so much; it's the remaining muscles overworking to make up for the weak spot.

House squirms a little: part physical discomfort, part mental discomfort, part burgeoning erection.

Great. Getting turned on by Wilson, of all people. How long's it been since I got some?

Again, Wilson seems to notice.

When did he get so observant? Not good. This is so not good.

Wilson's hands are near the top of House's thigh, now, skirting the bounds of impropriety. His touches are getting lighter, more cautious, and House is holding his breath as a shaky hand rests on his crotch. He pushes it away.

"That part of my body works just fine, thanks," he snarls, inching away and shooting a glare at Wilson before turning to face the TV. He resolutely ignores his erection, succeeding for all of ten minutes before he has to hobble to the bathroom. He turns on the tub faucet and masturbates quickly into the toilet bowl. By the time he's finished, the tub is filled, and he strips and climbs in.

After another ten minutes Wilson comes in. In his haste, House had apparently forgotten to lock the door.

"Come in here to peep at me?" House spits. "Go jerk off in the other room."

"I need a piss and there's only one bathroom," Wilson says, voice aggravatingly level.

"Oh, I'm sure," House says, uncertain as to why he's picking a fight. "I'm gonna believe that after that stunt you pulled on the couch."

"I took a risk, House," Wilson says calmly, unzipping his pants and easing out his half-hard penis. He aims at the toilet bowl and tries to relax. "Something you do all the time. You of all people should be able to recognize a risk blowing up in someone's face."

Finally, Wilson loosens up enough to urinate.

"I may take risks but I certainly don't grope the people I'm supposed to be treating. That's over the line, even for me."

"Fine. I made an error in judgement. Maybe I just figured you were into it. Logical assumption, I'd think, considering that when I was touching you, you were hard in your pants."

Wilson shakes off, tucks himself back in, and makes a big show of ripping off some toilet paper and cleaning semen off the rim of the bowl.

"What, so hard you can't even aim right?" House taunts, completely ignoring what Wilson's just said.

"Actually, I was cleaning up your mess."

Open mouth, insert dignity.

"I never said you could touch me in the first place," House mutters.

"You didn't stop me."

"Yeah, not until I realised it was all just a plan to molest me."

"As soon as you pushed me off, I stopped. What 'molester' does that?"

"So you admit it!"

"Oh, get your head out of your ass. You liked it, and that scared you."

"I did not like it."

"Funny way of showing it. 'I hated that, so I think I'll get a huge boner and go whack off with the bathroom door open, muttering my best friend's name under my breath.' Yeah, I'm sure it was pure torture."

I didn't say his name... Did I?

"So you were spying on me?" It's not a question.

"I wanted to make sure you were okay!"

"Does the word 'privacy' mean anything to you?"

"Not anymore!" Wilson shouts, shooting a stiff, open palm into the air for emphasis. The errant hand lands at the back of his neck, squeezing and rubbing. "Not since you haven't let me out of your sight for more than two minutes at a time. Put that way, it's no wonder I was looking for a sexual outlet!"

"Go on, then, jerk off. Take all the time in the world. See if I care. You could have left at any time. It's not as if I've tied you to the bed, for Christ's sake!"

"Fine!" Wilson yells, unzipping his pants. He pulls out his dick, wondering idly if he's gone insane, spits into his hand, and starts jerking off furiously. House gapes, unable to move or avert his eyes as Wilson, within minutes, ejaculates with a groan into the bath water. He doesn't even bother putting himself away before storming out of the bathroom.

Back on the couch, Wilson buries his head in his hands, trying to think of a word that expresses how guilty he feels. He doesn't think there is one.

Wilson starts when he hears his name called weakly from the bathroom. He goes there immediately and stands next to the tub, unable to meet House's eyes.

"I... I need help getting out," House mumbles, clearly ashamed.

Wilson nods, holding out an arm for House to anchor himself to. He latches onto the arm in a rescue hold, hand at Wilson's elbow. Wilson tightens his own hand at House's elbow, and, with some effort, House manages to climb out of the tub. Wilson hands him a towel, looking idly down at his drenched shirt.

"I'm, uh, just gonna grab some pyjamas and a blanket from your room," he says, and leaves House to dry up on his own.

After changing into his pyjamas, Wilson goes to the kitchen and grabs his bottles of Valium and temazepam out of the corner drawer. He pulls open a capsule of temazepam, crushes up a Valium, and pours the little granules into the bottom of a glass. He pours milk in the glass, stirs it, then takes it to House's room. He knocks on the door, entering without waiting for a response, and holds out the glass.

"Here," he says.

House takes the glass wordlessly. Wilson stares at him for a moment, and House takes a large sip, rolling his eyes. Wilson continues staring at him, so House finishes up the milk and hands the glass back to Wilson, who promptly leaves the room.

House lays in bed for hours, listening to Wilson puttering around in the living room. He hears the TV, channels changing rapidly. Wilson goes through the entire cycle at least twice, House figures, before turning the television off. There's a muted scratching sound next; Wilson sweeping the floor, probably. And then, after awhile, the front door opens and closes, and a car starts. House rolls his eyes and gets out of bed.

He walks outside and sees Wilson sitting in his car, apparently debating whether to leave. He doesn't notice House. Nor does he appear to notice the figure making its way toward the car in the dark. Squinting, House recognizes the figure as Foreman as he passes under a street light and stops next to the car. He knocks on the window. Wilson jumps visibly and rolls down the window.

"Yeah?"

"Hey, Wilson," Foreman says, and then reaches into his pocket. He pulls out a gun and holds it loosely, pointing the barrel at Wilson's chest. "Get out of the car."

House can't move. He tries. He tries to shout, but figures it's probably a good thing he can't; he might startle Foreman into pulling the trigger. Foreman's a lot of things, but he isn't a murderer. His motivation for trying to carjack Wilson, though, House can't figure out.

"Very funny, Foreman. House call you and tell you to scare me into staying?"

"I said get out," Foreman repeats, voice tight and low.

Wilson makes an annoyed face and puts the car into gear.

"I didn't want to have to do this," Foreman says, and opens the car door. He presses the barrel of the gun to Wilson's head and reaches around him to undo his seatbelt, then grabs him by the arm and throws him out of the car. Wilson lands hard on the pavement and rolls into the road as Foreman jumps into the car and takes off, tires squealing.

House finally gets his legs working and hurries toward Wilson just as a mattress truck barrels around the corner and smashes him into the pavement. Wilson's face somehow gets caught in the grill, his torso stuck under a front tire, and his head is ripped off his shoulders, neck shredded and spraying fountains of blood.

"House? Uh, what are you doing?" Wilson asks groggily, sitting up. He'd come back to bed shortly after House had fallen asleep.

"Shh," House murmurs from the foot of the bed. "It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you."

Wilson feels a tight, smooth pressure around his ankles. His eyes haven't adjusted to the dim light yet, but he gets the distinct feeling his legs have been tied to the footboard.

"What are you doing?" he asks again.

As House crawls up his body Wilson feels a slight tickle across one leg. Firm pressure-- House's hand, this time-- on his chest forces him to lie back down. House stares at him quizzically for a moment, head cocked to the side. He's straddling Wilson, two silk ties (Wilson's, of course) hanging around his neck. House slips one of the ties off and tucks an end under Wilson's wrist, knotting it securely. He repeats the action with the other tie, knotting it around Wilson's opposite wrist before tying both ties to the headboard. Wilson remains pliant, allowing House to do what he wishes. He can't deny that he likes where this seems to be going, and he bites back a moan as his penis begins to harden.

House is staring at him again as he tucks a couple of fingers under one of the binds, making sure it's not too tight.

"You can't leave, Wilson," he says quietly, checking the other wrist. "I have to make sure you don't leave."

Wilson realises with a start that House isn't actually awake; he's doing all of this in his sleep, probably a side effect of the sleeping pills.

"House, I won't leave you. I'm not going anywhere."

House doesn't appear to have heard this. "It's not safe out there, Wilson. You aren't safe. I have to make sure you stay safe. There are so many things that can hurt you, Wilson, but I won't hurt you."

House is slipping back down Wilson's body, to lie flush against him. He rests his head on Wilson's chest.

"I'm not leaving, House, I'll stay right here where I'm safe," Wilson assures him.

"Every time you go away, you die," House says, pushing himself upright to stare at Wilson's face. "You can't die again. Next time it might kill you."

Wilson shivers as his blood seems to freeze.

"If you die, there's no point." House gazes into Wilson's eyes for another moment before leaning down to give him a soft kiss on the forehead. He lays back down on Wilson's chest and, after a moment, his breathing evens out into a soft snore.


He crawls over the balcony wall with standard difficulty, perching on top of it, letting his legs hang over the edge. Damn wall is just high enough to be a pain in the ass, he thinks to himself. Still. He can get over it, and it sure as hell beats going around the long way. Work smarter, not harder, and all that.

Wilson's with a patient. Presumably, anyway. He's got the serious, 'I'm sorry to tell you you're dying' look on his face. It makes House pause. Wilson hates being interrupted while with a patient, but House usually ignores that.

But when he's telling them they're dying, he gets extremely angry. Sometimes going so far as to not talk to House for days.

Yes, definitely dying. Wilson's doing the whole 'we'll make you comfortable' routine now. He's not shuffling papers, which means he's giving his full attention to the patient. House scowls but decides entering is definitely ill-advised.

House watches idly. The man looks... well, shocked. Nothing surprising there. Death sentences aren't usually accepted with a smile. House wonders absently if he has to pay Wilson ten dollars.

The man stands up. Interesting, House thinks. He feels uneasy, can't quite place his finger on why, but there's something wrong, something nagging at him. This isn't the standard reaction for any cancer patient.

Wilson's eyes widen, and House leaps off the wall, ignoring the jolt of pain it causes. He limps quickly into Wilson's office, not caring how angry Wilson will be if House interrupts.

He's too late, too late. The cancer patient has a knife out and before House can get close enough to whack the man in the head with his cane, he stabs Wilson in the heart. Wilson falls to the ground, blood gushing from the wound, his eyes open and glassy in death.

House has seen hundreds of cadavers. Inevitable, when one works as a doctor (and performs autopsies semi-legally). After the first... oh, ten, a body was a body to him. An empty shell. He had learned to ignore that it had once been a human in that shell.

He can't ignore it now. Not when it's Wilson lying dead on the ground.

House is close enough to hit the man now, and the man turns, sees him, sees his face and House knows the man knows that House saw it all. The man's eyes widen but he does not move, the knife in his hand, red with Wilson's blood. House knows it'll solve nothing, but he can't stop himself. He grabs his cane towards the rubber end, raises it, and brings it round in a huge blurry arc with a great whoosh. It connects with the side of the man's skull and makes a sickening thud. The man crumples under the blow. Blood trickles into the carpet.

And it will do nothing, nothing, solve nothing, it will not bring Wilson back to life and House knows that, but still, still he raises his cane again and brings it down in that great blurry arc, that lovely whoosh, that no longer sickening thud.

House shifts his grip on his cane and rains a series of furious blows on the man. He hears bone not break but shatter under his precise swings. He is forever a doctor, not wasting energy with useless superficial wounds, but hitting precisely, evenly, strongly, breaking skin, shattering bone. His mind detachedly catalogs the injuries he inflicts even as he swings his cane. Broken ribs. Eight by now, he smirks as he brings his cane down onto the man's chest again. Broken collarbone. Broken sternum--hopefully it'll pierce something, House thinks maliciously. Broken femur. Liver trauma. Kidney trauma. House swings at the man's head again and again, ensuring that if he survives this, he'll be little more than a vegetable. As a final move, he crushes the man's windpipe.

What does he care what happens to him after this?

Wilson's dead anyway. Wilson's dead and nothing will be the same or okay or good again in his life.

His name's being called. "House! House!" He wonders for a moment which of his fellows saw this. He wonders if they saw him brutally murder a man--an already dying man--with his cane. He wonders if they saw that man stab Wilson.

He wonders if they'll watch while he picks up the man's knife, Wilson's blood cooling and coagulating on it, and stabs himself in the heart.

"House!" Maybe they called Cuddy, he thinks.

But it's not Cuddy's voice. And it's not Thirteen's voice, or Taub's voice, or Kutner's voice, and it's not Foreman's voice. It's not Chase's voice, and it's not Cameron's voice, and it's not the janitor's voice...

There's only one person with a voice like that.

"HOUSE!"

But that man's dead.

House saw him die.

"Greg!"

He wants to hear that voice, really hear that voice, more than anything. But he knows he's just hallucinating. Because Wilson's lying on the ground, eyes unseeingly open, blood flow finally ending.

"Greg, wake up! Greg! C'mon, Greg, wake up!"

His eyes snap open suddenly, peering into brown eyes. Teary brown eyes. Worried teary brown eyes.

"Wilson," he mumbles.

Wilson draws a shaky breath. "House. I was worried. You were thrashing. You threw your cane again."

House looks around. He's in his office. He must've fallen asleep in his chair again.

"Did I break anything?" he asks nonchalantly.

Wilson shakes his head. "House, what was that about?"

House shakes his head. "Nothing, nothing."

Wilson bites his lip. "Come on, tell me what I can do."

Don't you ever get yourself killed, House thinks fervently, but he doesn't voice it. Wilson doesn't need to know he saw Wilson die. Again.

"No, it's nothing. Just pain. Fucks with me even when I'm asleep."

Wilson's eyes are sad and the sorrow seems to go on forever. He's got a PhD in House, he knows when House is lying, and he knows House is lying now. But he doesn't know what House is covering up and he doesn't know how to get the answer out of House and he doesn't know what do with House, who keeps having nightmares.

That night, when House ties him to the headboard again, he asks no questions.

Chapter Text

"I dream at night, I can only see your face.
I look around but it's you I can't replace."

House drags his chair out onto the balcony. After a moment's thought, he drags the whiteboard out too. His fellows can stand; there's not enough room for the table and chairs.

Thankfully it's summer, he thinks. At least they won't freeze. He makes sure that his seat is positioned in such a way that he can always see into Wilson's office. He's not going to let that happen to Wilson. He's going to watch Wilson constantly. He frowns at the hard chair.

"Think we can get a recliner out here?" he asks the Weird Night Janitor.

"If you have a recliner to put out there," the janitor answers, "I'll help you get it out onto the balcony."

House likes WNJ, as he's dubbed him. He's not the brightest bulb in the box, but he doesn't ask stupid questions and he doesn't mind indulging House.

It doesn't take long for House to find a recliner he can steal. As usual, the janitor shrugs and moves the recliner with him, no questions asked. House and the janitor shift the recliner until House has a perfect view of Wilson's office and desk.

House sits and waits.

He watches as Wilson leaves for rounds. No need to worry about him during rounds. There are always nurses nearby. It when he's alone in his office that House worries.

Later on, Wilson is deeply immersed in paperwork, and doesn't even notice House watching him. Wilson rubs his forehead, grimacing slightly. House has noticed Wilson getting headaches lately– he probably needs to look into getting a pair of reading glasses. Wilson digs around in his desk and pulls out a bottle of low-dose aspirin. He chews up several tablets and washes them down with his coffee, then rests his head in his hands. After a few moments he sits up and rubs his neck. He's a bit pale, but then Wilson's always been a bit pale.

It's not until Wilson doubles over, clutching his stomach, that House starts to worry. If he's got the flu, and he just took aspirin, he could end up with Reye's syndrome. House hauls himself over the wall and into Wilson's office just as Wilson vomits into his trash can. House kneels down next to Wilson.

"Hey. What's wrong?" he asks, surreptitiously inspecting the vomit. Just a bit of coffee and stomach acid; he doesn't see any pills. "Flu?"

Wilson shakes his head. "I don't know what it is. I just... Maybe I'm nauseous because of this headache. It's never hurt this bad."

Wilson whimpers, trembling, half-curled into a ball as he sits on the edge of his seat. House rests a hand on the back of Wilson's neck, feels his glands. He sighs, relieved. "No fever, and your glands aren't swollen. It's not the flu."

"I know," Wilson snaps. "I just said it wasn't the flu."

"Any other symptoms?" House asks quietly, adding 'aggression' to his mental checklist. Then again, if it's not the flu, I don't know what it is. It could be something worse.

"Blurred vision," Wilson says. "My eyes are probably just tired from paperwork."

Makes sense. "You should get some reading glasses," House suggests.

Wilson leans over the trash can again and retches. Nothing comes up.

"Come on," House says. "You can't work in this condition. I'll drive you home."

Wilson nods and stands. He takes a step and stumbles. House tries to catch him and they both end up on the floor in a heap.

"I can't see," Wilson says, quiet terror in his voice. And then he begins seizing.

House makes a grab for his phone as he struggles to hold Wilson on his side, and then there's a flurry of activity as Wilson, now unconscious and still, is hoisted onto a gurney and taken to radiology for an emergency CT.

The hemorrhage is massive.

The surgery is taking much longer than it should. Coil embolization shouldn't take longer than a couple of hours at most, and House has been sitting in the waiting room for three hours and forty-seven minutes. House has spent most of this time considering why he hadn't noticed any symptoms– but then, he had. Blurred vision– that could have been Wilson just getting older, sure, but the personality changes. Wilson becoming more and more concerned about House's actions, paranoid about his sleeping patterns and behavior... House should have picked up on this instead of being worried about his own insomnia.

The surgeon finally exits the operating room at the four hour and twelve minute mark, looking exhausted and devastated.

"We coiled the aneurysm successfully," he says, "but he had a vasospasm and his BP kept dropping... There was nothing we could do."

"No. No!"

"House, you need to calm down."

"He can't be dead! He– we caught it in time!"

"House! Jesus, House, wake up!"

House falls out of his chair and looks up to see Wilson staring at him. Darkness had crept up around him while he slept.

"You've been having headaches," House says, panting. "You need a head CT."

"What?" Wilson helps House up and drags him into his office. "Why were you sitting on the balcony?"

"The weather was nice. Look, I think you might have a brain aneurysm. You need to get checked out. CT, angiogram, MRI, full workup."

"House, I had one headache in the past month. And it wasn't even a bad one. It was just because I'd been staring at paperwork for too long. I haven't had any vision changes or anything like that. I'm fine, okay?" He points to House's desk chair. House rolls his eyes and sits.

"Everybody says they're fine until they're not."

"What does that even mean?" Wilson shakes his head. "I'm a doctor too, you know. Don't you think if I was having symptoms indicative of something potentially fatal I would have gotten myself checked out?"

"No, because you've been too focused on me to pay attention to your own health!"

"I think you've got things backwards, House."

House stares up at Wilson, eyes pleading. "Please? Just... schedule a CT?"

"Fine," Wilson says. "Tomorrow. Right now, I'm taking you home and you're going to sleep."


Wilson wakes up in the middle of the night to House tying him up again. House is murmuring in his ear. "I have to protect you. Save you. You can't leave here, Wilson, you can't. I can't tell you what will happen if you leave here. You have to let me help you."

Wilson barely processes the words. He can't; they make no sense to him. They probably make no sense to House, either. Or maybe they do, he thinks. He'd never admit to this if he was awake, and he's got to be doing this in his sleep.

House finishes tying him up securely. He presses his lips against Wilson's cheek. "Do you trust me?" he asks softly, his breath ghosting over Wilson's face.

"Yeah," Wilson mumbles, groggy and still half-asleep. "Yeah, I trust you." And I do. He might be a bit sleepless of late and say weird things, but I know he has my best interests at heart. Hence all the rambling about protecting me. House wouldn't hurt me.

House is silent for a few minutes, and Wilson thinks that's it. His eyes drift shut again, and he snuggles deeper into the bed, feeling grounded by the restraints around his wrists. How long did it take for me to need this? he wonders.

House watches him fall asleep again, his face growing slack and his muscles loosening. My Wilson, he thinks. I have to protect him. He needs to be safe. They need to know that he's mine. They're not getting the message. I need mark him in a way that will show everyone he's mine. He has to be mine; I can't save him otherwise. I have to save him.

He reaches for Wilson, then hesitates, his hands hovering mere millimeters above Wilson's skin. Touching him would wake him, and he's gotten so little sleep lately. I can't add to that. He'll get sick, get distracted, and get hurt. I can't... no, I cannot put him in danger like that. I have to make sure he doesn't wake up.

He sits back and frowns, trying to think of how he's going to do this, how he's going to not wake Wilson, because Wilson can't wake up.

There is no way, House thinks, but I have to do this, so that they get the message.

He reaches into the nightstand as quietly as he can. Wilson shifts and mumbles something, and House pauses, waiting to see if Wilson will wake up. He doesn't, and House breathes a sigh of relief.

Slowly, so slowly, he slips his fingers inside Wilson's waistband and pulls his pyjama pants and underwear down, wriggling them from side to side to get them out from under his ass. It takes him a good ten minutes, stopping every time Wilson moves, but finally he gets them off completely and lets them flutter to the floor.

There's a soft, gentle, curious "What are you doing?" and House startles and shrinks back against the footboard. Wilson sounds anything but alarmed, though, and House carefully crawls up the bed to wrap an arm around him, to comfort him.

"Shhh," he coos, rubbing Wilson's stomach soothingly. "Don't worry about anything. I'll take care of you. Just go back to sleep and ignore me."

Wilson nods and closes his eyes, playing possum. If House, even unconsciously, needs to think he's asleep, he can do that. At least, he hopes he can. Dry, smooth lips settle lightly onto his own, though, and he can't help but part his mouth and lean into the kiss. House's tongue creeps out and gently runs over Wilson's lips, then prods into his mouth, exploring. It's almost chaste, the way House moves his lips and tongue. It's not lust, certainly. Far from it. But nor is it mechanical. It's obvious that this kiss is motivated by a strong emotion. Wilson's not sure what it is, but it's good. Relaxing. He actually finds himself lulled back to sleep by the smooth, unhurried rhythm.

House strokes Wilson's hair, watches it flutter over his fingertips, and then shifts, placing barely-there kisses over Wilson's jaw, neck, and chest. I wish I didn't have to do this, he thinks. But at the very least, I can try to make it feel nice for you. He sighs, looking over Wilson with a huge amount of regret making its way unhindered across his features. He bends down at Wilson's waist, settling himself as comfortably as he can between Wilson's legs, and examines the penis below him. As penises go, it's nothing out of the ordinary, nothing remarkable. It's straight, fairly thick, but not much longer than average. It has a nice shape to it, but no, it's certainly not remarkable. It's mostly interested in the proceedings, too, which House finds odd. But then, people act differently in their sleep. If he were awake, he'd fight this.

House cups his hand under Wilson's scrotum, palpating, mapping the surface of the testicles with his fingertips. Nothing out of the ordinary there, either. He leans in further and inhales deeply through his nose, noting a subtle difference between Wilson's scent and his own, a difference that has nothing to do with their brands of soap. One more soft sigh, and a whispered "I'm sorry," and House applies his mouth to Wilson's scrotum, suckling softly. He considers the tactile sensation; the softness of the skin under his lips is somewhat appealing. He runs his tongue across the skin next, noting no particular flavour. Wilson took a shower right before bed, so there is no hint of sweat on his skin. House moves upward, drawing his tongue slowly up the underside of Wilson's penis. When he reaches the tip, he recoils back; the taste there, from the small bead of fluid, is much more pronounced, and it startles him as if he'd unknowingly bitten into a lemon.

He blinks a few times and tries again, prepared this time, and when he touches his tongue to the fluid again, he realises that it's not so bad. It doesn't rank anywhere near cafeteria ice cream sandwiches, cold pizza, or bacon, but it's certainly not the worst thing he's ever tasted. He rubs his tongue back and forth for a moment, then pauses to work some saliva onto his dry tongue and slowly sucks Wilson's penis into his mouth. Giving himself another moment to get used to the sensation of that hard, smooth fullness, he begins to move, bobbing his head up and down, swirling his tongue around.

Wilson wakes up in stages, and when he's finally coherent enough to understand what's going on, and remember what had taken place when he awoke before, he looks down at House. He watches for a minute, taking in the way House is intently working on his penis with a concentration that rivals any medical mystery House has ever pieced together. He feels an unidentifiable emotion swell up in his chest– perhaps restrained hope?– and relaxes back against the pillow, closing his eyes, determined not to let House know he's awake. He bites back most of the sounds he wants to make, only letting through the occasional sleepy-sounding moan, and soon, he feels a warm, very slippery, condom-covered finger prodding at his anus. He's deeply relaxed and after a long moment, the finger slides in easily. House takes his time, avoiding Wilson's prostate (probably so as not to startle me awake, Wilson figures), just twisting and gently stretching, before adding a second finger. He spends even longer with this one, doing more of the same, before finally adding a third.

Wilson is so close, so close, but he holds back, not knowing if House is planning on making him orgasm this way, or if he wants to go a step further. But as House finally presses down on his prostate, Wilson can't hold himself back anymore and comes hard, uncontrollably, into House's mouth, thrashing his head from side to side and letting loose a whine. Once he's done, House stills completely, not withdrawing his head or hand. Wilson barely has the presence of mind to remember to fake sleep, but it's not hard considering he's about ready to pass out; he's completely drained. He distantly feels his penis slip out of House's mouth, ejaculate dribbling onto his abdomen from House's lips. And then, after another long moment, the fingers are gone.

House watches Wilson carefully, still convinced by Wilson's passivity, that he's still asleep. He breathes another apology into Wilson's chest, then rolls a condom onto his penis and coats it with a handful of lubricant. He strokes himself slowly, warming the lube, and then adjusts the position of Wilson's legs with what is perhaps excessive caution. Satisfied that Wilson won't feel a thing, he lines himself up, angling his upper body as far from Wilson's as he can, and presses forward. His penis slides in easily and he begins a slow, rocking rhythm, marking Wilson invisibly as protected property, as if the act of making love will ward off evil-doers. One phrase repeats in his head over and over, each time he presses in: I'm so sorry.

Wilson doesn't know how to feel; he can't understand House's motivations. This isn't some sick form of taking control.It's as if he thinks he has to do this, for some reason, and he thinks I'd turn him down or be hurt, he reasons. He doesn't want me awake because he doesn't want me to be aware he's doing this. He doesn't want to hurt me. Another thought jumps to his subconscious and almost makes him sick. He thinks he's raping me. God, why can't he just accept that I want this?

This theory is all but confirmed when House begins whispering in his ear a moment later, the same mantra, in time with his still-gentle thrusting: "I'm so sorry." He feels a little patter of warm droplets on his shoulder and in his hair, and realises that House is crying. A few moments later, House ejaculates with a shuddering sob and slowly pulls out of Wilson, then disappears to the bathroom. He returns, having cleaned himself up, carrying a warm, damp towel, and begins swabbing at Wilson's skin with it, taking care to clean him gently and thoroughly. He's still apologising, and that scares Wilson. With the cleanup taken care of, House makes sure all evidence is properly disposed of, re-dresses Wilson, and curls up next against him, stroking his hair and whispering more apologies into his ear until they both drift off into deep sleep.


House jerks himself awake. No. He isn't going to fall asleep. The amphetamines he took earlier aren't doing a damn thing to keep him conscious; he's merely jittery as well as exhausted. He can't risk taking any more. He hadn't had a Vicodin all day. The pain will keep him awake, and, later on, the withdrawals will. It's hard to sleep when you're puking and shivering.

But even the pain from being unmedicated isn't enough. It might have been, just due to the stress alone. But even mental stress isn't causing excruciating physical pain. He isn't merely annoyed; he's in mental agony, and apparently his brain's pain gating mechanism is taking that as his most acute, serious injury. All he can feel is terror and foreboding. He needs a distraction.

House slaps himself in the face until he's awake enough to get off the couch and walk to the kitchen. Wilson's sharp knives are in there. They'll do the trick. He grabs a small paring knife and tears down his jeans just far enough to reveal the hideous scar on his thigh. And then he begins slicing. Slow and deep. Nearly to the bone. Along the edges of the scar at first, and then closer and closer toward the middle until he has a dozen or more criss crossing lines that he can barely make out through the blood oozing out.

He brings his lower leg backwards, stretching out the quadriceps until he feels tearing. And there it is. Pain that over rides his mental torment. He grimaces, and it looks almost like a smile.

He takes a wet paper towel and wipes away the blood, surveying his work. It's a horrible mess, and the blood won't stop. He definitely needs stitches. He has a kit lying around somewhere. But he doesn't want to use it yet. Not until he needs to, until the searing pain fades a bit. Instead, he fashions a pressure bandage out of all the sterile gauze he has lying around, and then he sits and waits, moving only to kick his jeans off the rest of the way.

When the pain starts to become tolerable, he presses on the bandage with the heel of his hand until he can't hold back tears and a choked off scream.

He knows he won't be able to hide this from Wilson for too long. Perhaps only a few hours... And if Wilson gets home while House is doing up the sutures, there'll be no explaining it. He can't possibly have slipped and accidentally sliced his thigh open fourteen times. Maybe the cuts are high enough to get away with wearing a pair of shorts around... He stops himself; he doesn't want to think about anything.

When just applying pressure isn't enough, he finally breaks out the suture kit and begins stitching up the cuts. Wilson, he figures, wouldn't be home for at least a couple more hours; he's gone grocery shopping, and plans to get the oil changed in his car, which gives House plenty of time to sew himself up and clear away the bloody mess. But he doesn't factor in the shaking of his hands, the slowness of his motions caused by the pain. Animals are programmed to not be able to injure themselves, and overriding that instinct is hard. He can't just jab himself with the needle. He isn't prepared for the mental buildup of driving the needle through his skin each time, and when Wilson shows up after he's only sutured six and a half of the cuts, he tries his best to ignore the panicked, frenzied shouts of his friend and just keep sewing.

Wilson isn't having any of it, though. He waits until the needle is no longer in House's leg and then grabs him by both hands.

"Let me," he says.

"No!" House yells, trying to pull away from Wilson and yelping as his suture is tightened by the flailing of his arm.

"I knew I never should have left you alone. Give me the damn needle, House!"

"I'll do it myself," House says, this time sounding like a petulant child.

"Hand over the needle or I'll sedate you," Wilson threatens, and House relaxes at once, setting the needle back down on his thigh. "Where's your lidocaine?"

House nods toward the suture kit on the table and Wilson draws up a syringe of the anaesthetic, injecting it carefully into the area around the cuts. After donning a pair of latex gloves and giving the lidocaine a few minutes to take effect, he takes over where House left off, doing a much quicker, neater job.

"Why did you cut yourself?" he asks.

House shakes his head, refusing to answer.

"Tell me," Wilson demands.

"Didn't want to fall asleep. Didn't want to worry. Wanted to focus," House mumbles, and it's barely audible.

"Are you worried now?"

"No," House says simply, watching as Wilson sews his leg back together. "Just don't stab yourself with that needle."

"I haven't done that since med school, thanks," Wilson says, finishing up the last row of sutures and turning to put the kit back together.

He assumes House hasn't had any vicodin, so finds his pill bottle and hands him two. "Take those. And you're taking a Valium, too. I don't want any arguments."

"I told you I'm not worried anymore." He swallows the Vicodin and chews on his lip a moment.

"Not now, no. But later on? Better to be safe than sorry."

House shrugs and Wilson goes to get his Valium and a glass of water. Just as he's swallowing the pill, Wilson gets a page. He phones back and gets all the information, then hangs up with a sigh.

"Some sort of factory accident. It's all hands on deck," he tells House. "You're coming with me."

House nods immediately and goes to find his pants, limping more heavily than usual. Though most of his leg is numb, what little muscle he had left is acutely injured, and he knows that soon, the pain will be back with a vengeance.

When they get to the hospital, House is confined to the ER triage station, where he'll be out of the way. He can still see everything that's going on, though, so he feels okay for the time being, watching Wilson dress wounds and give neuro checks to the factory workers who have head injuries. Wilson returns to the station for a moment to grab another chart.

"Bored?" he asks House, flipping through the chart.

"Nope," House says. "You?"

Wilson shakes his head and turns another page.

Cameron calls him over, sounding fairly urgent, and he drops the file onto the counter and rushes off to aid her. House scoots his chair forward and peers around the corner of the triage station. Cameron's taking her gloves off, and she's bleeding. Must have sliced her hand open on the huge piece of metal that's sticking out of her patient's torso. Wilson leads her back to triage, grabbing up a spare suture kit on the way, and as they approach, House can hear him asking her if she's up to date on her tetanus shots. She answers him with a nod and rests her hand on the countertop, palm up. Wilson examines the cut and administers lidocaine, then tells her to wait; he'll be right back.

He returns a moment later with a syringe and an alcohol swab, pulls up House's shirt sleeve, and gives him the tetanus booster.

"I know yours isn't up to date," he explains before turning back to Cameron.

He gently pries apart her cut with his index fingers, making sure there aren't any slivers of metal lodged in the cut. "Think we need to irrigate?" he asks her.

"Probably not," she says. "Smooth metal. Just stitch me up so I can get back in there."

Wilson nods and pulls on some gloves, then begins suturing up Cameron's cut. Just as he's finishing, a nurse rounds the corner, bumping Wilson's shoulder. He yanks his hand back, hissing, and quickly finishes up the stitch, then takes off his glove to survey the damage.

"Guess I spoke too soon about not stabbing myself," he mutters. "Then again, I'm not used to triage as a contact sport."

He opens one of the drawers to grab a band-aid, and something occurs to House.

"You never got that second AIDS test, did you?" he asks Cameron, very seriously.

"I..."

"You just figured the first one was enough. Well what if it wasn't?" He stands from his chair, grabbing Cameron by the shoulders and shaking her. "Your blood just got into his blood. He's gonna have HIV! I can't believe you'd be so irresponsible!" He rears back and slaps her hard across the face.

Wilson yanks back on House, startling him off-balance, and Cameron takes the opportunity to run away, glancing back at House only once she's returned to her patient.

"House! What the hell?"

"You're gonna have AIDS, Wilson," House says. "She--"

"She got all the followup tests, House. If you'd bothered to let her talk, she'd have told you that. And yes, I'm up to date on my tetanus shot, too. I'll be fine. It's just a little poke, nothing to worry about."

"I want you to stay away from her," House growls, glaring at Cameron from across the room. "She has a thing for poking people and you may not be so lucky next time."

Chapter Text

"The flames are gone, but the pain lingers on."

The thoughts won't go away. They won't leave him. Wilson is dead all around him, everywhere he looks, all he sees is Wilson dead, dead, dead. He can't think anymore. All he thinks of is Wilson, dying or tortured or dead or mutilated and he can't think anymore, not at all, it's consuming him from inside out, eating away at him, chomping slowly, his mind is shutting down.

He tries to read a medical journal but every disease he runs across, he thinks Wilson might have. After all, he might have a couple of symptoms. No, Wilson doesn't have them, Wilson isn't dead, but he is, because House saw him die, but that was only a dream, or maybe it was a hallucination, but it isn't real, so he doesn't have to worry, because not real means not real and that's that, so he doesn't have to worry. Right. He can just read this journal in peace.

But he can't because after all, Wilson could have cancer and he might have the plague and hell, he might even have TB or rabies... he could have anything and everything and why hasn't House noticed? He's a diagnostician, after all, and it's his job to notice, so why isn't he noticing this? Why does he keep missing this?

Because there's nothing to see, that's why. There's nothing there.

House tosses the medical journal aside and turns on the TV. He watches General Hospital for a bit, but then he starts thinking of Wilson having the diseases they're talking about, so he switches the channel. Law & Order has no medicine; he should be fine.

But Law & Order has murder, House realises as he starts imagining Wilson as the victim instead of the actor on the screen. He can't tear his eyes away, because it's Wilson lying on the ground.

Even if he were, it's just a show, he tells himself. It would be just makeup and fake blood and there's nothing real about it so he doesn't have to worry.

The thoughts don't leave him, though. They still haunt him. Wilson's dead...

House changes the channel quickly. But no matter what he puts it on, something, something reminds him of Wilson dead. It's crazy because Wilson's not dead, because he can't be.

House ends up watching Teletubbies. Well, staring at it, not exactly absorbing any of it, because nothing on Teletubbies can possibly remind him of Wilson dying.

He hasn't slept in four days because all he sees is Wilson dying. He remembers that 72 hours without sleep qualifies one as legally insane, and he wonders if that's why he's seeing things now or if it's just another thing going wrong in his mind and it has nothing to do with how long he's slept or hasn't slept. Because Wilson isn't dead. He's not dead and he won't be dead, so there's nothing to worry about because he's not dead. Okay? He's not dead, so you can watch General Hospital or Law & Order because it's not Wilson there, it's some actor. It's the early hours of the morning and you're watching a show with fuzzy... thingies with shapes on their heads.

At least, Wilson can't die with these fuzzy things. Not unless they bore him to death.

The bedroom door opens, and Wilson glances at the TV. He raises an eyebrow but says nothing, because after all, there's nothing to comment on, is there? Because House is fine, and he's fine, and everything's dandy, so if House wants to watch Teletubbies at two a.m., that's his choice. Maybe House is using it as a lullaby. But there's nothing weird about this, so Wilson doesn't worry, because there's nothing weird, not at all. After all, it's... soothing. Except for that baby in the sun; that's just weird. But it's happy stuff. And... okay, House has been watching these shows frequently, and yes, they get annoying, but if they make him happy... or less depressed, why should I comment?

House looks up at him. And a plethora of dead Wilsons dance before his eyes, and there's this giant lump in his throat again, because Wilson's dead thousands of times over, but he can't be... But he is, he is, and House knows it, and he can't help but shudder... Wilson's dead... Dead... absolutely dead, Wilson's dead, standing in front of him.

With a sob, House realises the thoughts will never go away. It's been so long since his first dream, since the first few dreams (how mild they seem now, how wonderfully mild), so long, and the thoughts, the dreams, the hallucinations haven't stopped. Nothing's stopped, they've just gotten worse, he sees Wilson dead everywhere. There's nothing for it, he's always going to see Wilson dead. Every time he looks at Wilson, he sees a corpse, a cadaver, a body more fit for the morgue than for his house...

Wilson will always be dead. I'll always see Wilson dead. Always. Wilson will always be dead, always, and I'll be able to do nothing to stop it. Wilson's not alive. Or maybe Wilson's not dead. How do I know? How can I know? All I see is Wilson dead, but Wilson's always here, and he's moving and talking, but he's dead, dead, always dead, why do I see him always? Am I hallucinating? Wilson's dead, so I'm imagining he's here.

No, Wilson's alive, alive, and I just keep seeing him dead. What's going on? What's wrong with me? He's alive.

He's dead. He'll always be dead. I'll never be able to look at Wilson again and see a living man. It'll always be a cadaver. A corpse.

Dead, again and again... It'll never go away.

Until Wilson actually dies, all I'll see is Wilson dying, every twisted form my mind will come up with. All I'll see is Wilson dying. Until he dies.

Until Wilson dies...

The words spur House on. He stands without his cane; he doesn't need it now. The distance is small enough that he can walk this one unaided, and limps staggeringly towards Wilson.

He wraps his arms around Wilson and brushes his lips against Wilson's. Wilson responds, somewhat reluctantly, but if this is what House needs, he's willing to give it, because he loves House and he always gives House what he needs. And really, I've always wanted House to show me some affection. Something, some measure of love, and so why am I reluctant about it? Maybe it'll help him. The textbook did mention something about contact comfort. Maybe some hugs are all he needs. And sleep.

"I'm sorry," House whispers. "I'm sorry. I can't... I have to, Wilson... James... I have to, you understand."

Wilson's worried, because the last time he heard those words from House, House was thrusting into him, crying and apologizing and... well, raping. It's House, and there's nothing wrong with him. Why am I so worried about this? House always says weird things; it's part of who he is. There's nothing wrong with him, he's just exhausted, and I should get him to bed.

There is that night, and I guess that's what makes me a bit worried, but I doubt House even knew what he was doing. He couldn't have. He must've been asleep and just... like sleepwalking. Sexsomnia. It was nothing. No reason to dwell on it.

"I'm sorry," House whispers again, brushes his lips against Wilson's again. And I am sorry, because I love him, but this is right, I know it is, I can't do this anymore. I can't keep on seeing Wilson dead all the time.

His hands go from Wilson's back to Wilson's neck, and those large, pianist's hands, roughened by years of walking with a cane, are around his throat and tightening.

Wilson's eyes widen with shock and confusion and he gasps, trying to grab some air before his airway gets completely closed off.

"I can't go on like this, James, I can't," House tells him, wide-eyed desperation bleeding through as his hands tighten. I have to kill him, I have to. I can't go on like this, can't keep seeing him dead, he has to die because I won't see him dead if he dies. I won't watch him die a thousand deaths if he dies now. I have to kill him, I have to... protecting him hasn't done anything, I have to kill him, I have to, I have...

Wilson grabs the hands, yanks on them, trying to free his airway. The look on House's face is scaring him. House's hands are strong and Wilson is growing weaker. There is no give in House's hands. Wilson wonders how on earth this can be a kink for some people. His breaths are shallow, wheezing from under House's thumbs.

"I have to kill you, you see, because if I do, you'll stop dying." Seeing me dead? I knew it! I knew he was seeing me dead.

It's the first time House has actually told him what he was seeing, actually put it into words, and Wilson falters for a moment. Just a moment, though, because the pressure on his airway increases and he yanks on House's hands again.

He tries to form words but he can't, the hands are too tight and he's barely getting any air as it is. He has to talk House out of it. But can he? Even if he could speak, if he manages to get House off him, could he talk him down? He doesn't think he can. House must really hate him.

"I'm sorry, James... I love you, you know," House tells him almost candidly, his hands ever tightening, squeezing the life out of Wilson. I love him, I love him, but I can't see him die every night. I've been watching him die for too long. It's mercy. He'll die anyway, nastily, very nastily, killed by someone... no, there's nothing for it... he has to die, he has to, it's better this way.

Why is he fighting me? Doesn't he see that it's better this way? Doesn't he know he has to die? He has to. Why doesn't he see that? Why is he fighting? I just want the best for him. He keeps dying, but he's never dead. He has to die. Doesn't he see that?

Wilson struggles, tries to step away, but House steps closer, awkwardly, but it's as though the pain in his thigh doesn't exist, because nothing's stopping House.

Why is he doing this? Wilson's thoughts are in a frenzy as House gradually increases the pressure against his throat. The bedroom...if he can get to it...maybe...he has to try...air...

Wilson steps backwards, leading them towards the bedroom, still trying to push House's hands away. But House was always stronger and now he's strengthened by mania and desperation and Wilson's got nothing against that, not even terror-induced adrenaline.

But there's one thing, one last hope, and he hopes that he'll get to the bedroom in time. Before he passes out or dies from the pressure on his throat. I might make it... might... it's close... but so far... air... air... I can't... need air... I might make it still...

Why is he fighting? Stepping away? It's for the best, doesn't he know that? Doesn't he know that it has to be this way? Why does he keep fighting me? It has to be this way. Wilson has to die. He has to. Why doesn't he see that? Where is he leading me? Why is he leading me? Why does it matter where he dies? Because he has to. I don't want to kill him, but someone's going to. A friend should kill him. A mercy killing.

Wilson reaches the dresser, House still attached to him, and one of Wilson's hands drops away from fighting House and finds the syringe of Haldol he keeps on the top of the dresser. He manages to uncap it, and he jabs it into House's good thigh, pushing the plunger all the way down.

House's hands fall away almost immediately, and Wilson removes the syringe. House collapses, and Wilson just barely manages to catch him. He puts House on the bed. Wilson rubs at his throat, stunned, gasping air in as quickly as he can. He'd... there was nothing wrong...

He can't lie to himself anymore. He'd lied through drug use and nightmares and being tied up and even being almost, sort of-raped, but he can't lie about it anymore. Not after House nearly killed him.

He tried to kill me tonight. I can't... why did he do that? Why does he want me dead? He said something... something about not seeing me dead anymore, but... why does that lead to him killing me? It makes no sense...

None of this makes sense.

House... House is crazy, insane, absolutely mad, and Wilson doesn't know what to do. His throat aches and he has difficulty drawing breath still, but he's fine. His heart is pounding and his knees are jittery, but he knows that he's in a much better shape than House.

Wilson shuts his eyes and takes a few deep, fortifying breaths. He has to commit House. He has to get House put into a psych ward.

But I don't want to put him there. I never did. He was fine. Really.

He snorts. House wasn't fine. But you've done a great job of deluding yourself.

I still never wanted to put him there. He doesn't belong there; he's not that crazy. He's not!

Then what was that?

He's been tying you up at night. He's been refusing to let you cook. He's stopped watching his soaps and usual shows and started watching PBSkids! He raped you. He tried to kill you. Why do you still think he doesn't need a psych ward?

He's insane... but it's always worked for him. Crazy works for him.

Crazy's not working for him anymore, is it? Not if he's like this. How much Haldol have you been giving him lately?

Haldol doesn't mean he's insane. He's just... seeing things because he's so tired.

He passed tired seven months ago. He passed crazy months ago. He's certifiable. He would be certified, but you don't want to put him in the psych ward.

He doesn't need to be certified. He's not certifiable! Why would I put my best friend in the loony bin? They'll just... it's not a good place for him.

Why not? Because they have nurses and doctors who can handle homicidal maniacs? Because they have access to all sorts of mood-altering drugs? Because they might actually find out what the hell is wrong with him and treat him? For all you know, he might have schizophrenia.

He's too old for schizophrenia.

Not if it's been a slowly worsening case. Whatever. You don't know what's wrong. Clearly, whatever you're doing hasn't helped. He needs antipsychotics. And he needs counselling. And you need to stop putting yourself in danger. How long until he tries to kill you again? How long before he succeeds?

This can't be about me.

He needs help. You need to give him that help. You're not helping him now, letting him live like this. You think it's helping him, staring at stupid TV shows and being assaulted, constantly, with images of you dying? Who are you trying to save here? Not him, that's for sure.

You're not helping him. You're hindering him. He needs that. He needs the help they can give him there.

He wouldn't want it.

You have proxy.

I can't do that to him. Stacy abused the proxy rights already. How can I betray him like that?

Stacy cut out the dead muscle and left him with a lifetime of pain. Conversely, she also saved his life. And he can't decide for himself. You need to make a decision.

He'll hate me for it.

So you won't make a decision about what is best for him because he might hate you for it? You're a bigger wuss than you thought. He needs help. Are you planning on letting him kill you, kill himself, or kill someone else because you don't want to do something that he might not agree with?

I shouldn't make this decision for him. He's made it clear what he wants. He doesn't want psych wards. He hates them. Why... how can I go against that?

He gave you the right to go against that when he wrapped his hands around your throat and squeezed. When he tried to squeeze the life out of you. He has no say in this anymore.

Damnit, he should! He should have a say in what happens to him.

Why? He can't... you would get a court order for someone who couldn't make decisions for himself, wouldn't you? He does it all the time. He does everything in the interest of his patient, even if his patient doesn't agree, because he knows he's right. Are you saying that you're not willing to do the same for him? That when the tables are turned and he's the patient, there's no one willing to fight for him because that's not what he would want?

How can I know I'm right?

How does he know he's right? Usually he probably doesn't, but he has a theory which fits the facts. You know how many times he's been wrong and yet he's forged ahead. The possibility of being wrong hasn't stopped him. Why is it stopping you?

Because he's my friend. Because he means more to me than other patients would. Because if I'm wrong about this, the repercussions are greater. Because...

So because he's your friend, you'll stand back and do nothing because you might be wrong? Nice to know.

It's... no, it's true. I need to commit him. Even if I'm wrong... they'll at least figure that out. But...

You can't keep doing this anymore. It's not your job. No one said that you had to do this all alone. You've been shutting everyone out. It's not helping him. Take him to the psych ward.

Now?

Now, before he comes to and does something else dangerous.

He calls Cuddy, uncaring of the fact that it's the early hours of the morning.

"What?" Cuddy snaps in his ear.

"Cuddy... Lisa," he corrects himself. It's a personal talk, requiring the first-name touch. It also has the benefit of making Cuddy realise that he's quite serious. "I need your help. House needs to be committed."

"I've been telling you that for ages, James. Why now?"

He rubs at his throat but doesn't tell her. Because it was nothing, House was insane, so he doesn't worry about it. Because it was nothing, and that's that, and no one needs to know House nearly killed his best friend.

He can still feel House's hands around his throat.

But House was insane, he's not responsible, it doesn't have to be talked about. So Wilson doesn't.

"House... he had another psychotic break. I'm worried about his health. He has Haldol in him now, but I'd like to get him in the ward before he comes to."

"Can you get him to the hospital?"

Wilson looks at House and calculates how much energy that'll need. "Yeah," he says finally. "I think I can. But not PPTH. I'll take him to Princeton General."

"I'll alert them you're coming with House and I'll have a nurse ready to help you get House from your car into the psych ward. I'll be there, too."

Wilson thanks her and hangs up. He dresses up. House is still in jeans and a t-shirt, so nothing for Wilson to do there. He nudges House until House responds, just barely, but enough to get him to walk to the car. He presses House's cane into his hands and slings House's left arm around his shoulders.

Somehow, they stumble out to the car, and Wilson puts House in the passenger seat, buckles him in, puts the cane in the backseat (in case House gets any ideas), and drives off.

He resolutely doesn't think about where he's taking House.


Cuddy's waiting for him at the hospital, standing next to the nurse. "What happened?" she asks.

"Nothing," Wilson lies. "He had another psychotic break. I stopped him before he could do any serious damage, but he's been having..." he trails off. "Getting him here drugged is easier than getting him here when he's being House, so I thought we should do this now."

Cuddy gives him an odd look but Wilson meets it, and finally, Cuddy sighs and shrugs. "Not much we can do tonight. We'll put him in a room, and he'll undergo psychological tests in the morning."

Her eyes stray to his throat, and for a terrifying moment, Wilson thinks that she knows and is going to say those words out loud: House tried to kill you tonight, but she doesn't say anything.

"I'll go with him," Wilson says finally.

"No. You go home and get some sleep. There's nothing you can do. He won't wake up, and if he does, there are nurses on duty to take care of him. You can come back in the morning and be here for him, when you're rested. You won't do him any good stretching yourself too thin."

Wilson's ready to argue with her, because he should be there for House, but he yawns as he's about to argue. With a start, he realises he's exhausted, and a night away from House could do him good.

"James," Cuddy says softly, and now Wilson's convinced Cuddy knows about everything, "I think you should get some therapy too. Caring for House these past months must have been very stressful, and I'd be a lot more relieved if you talked about this with someone."

Wilson thinks about this. He resisted putting House into a psych ward and for his efforts, he got raped and nearly killed (House was insane. He doesn't blame House for it). Maybe, though, this time, he should listen to Cuddy's advice.

And he would like to talk about the nightmares he has of House pushing him into the bed.

He's quite sure he'll have nightmares after this, too.

He thinks about none of this as he falls into his bed--House's bed, really--and sleeps.


1. Everybody's looking for something (Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams (Are made of this) (David Stewart, Annie Lennox))

2. "Everything about ths house was born to grow and die" (Elton John, Funeral For a Friend (Love lies bleeding) (Elton John, Bernie Taupin))

3. "Gotta keep yourself alive, gotta leave on time." (Queen, Dead on Time (Brian May))

4. "Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight." (Metallica, Enter Sandman (James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett))

5. "It's really such a pity to be looking at the board, not looking at the city." (Murray Head, One Night in Bangkok (Murray Head))

6. "Don't want to argue, I don't want to debate, don't want to hear about what kind of food you hate." (Weird Al Yankovic, Eat It (Al Yankovic, Michael Jackson))

7. "I can't drive fifty-five" (Sammy Hagar, I Can't Drive 55 (Sammy Hagar))

8. "If you really need me, just reach out and touch me." (Rod Stewart, Da Ya Think I'm Sexy (Rod Stewart))

9. "I never realised the passing hours of evening showers, a slip-noose hanging in my darkest dreams." (Elton John, Someone Saved my Life Tonight (Elton John, Bernie Taupin))

10. "I wanna jump but I'm afraid I'll fall." (Dr John, Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu (Huey P. Smith, John Vincent))

11. "Every second of the night, I live another life (Heart, These Dreams (Martin Page, Bernie Taupin))

12. "Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies." (The Beatles, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Paul McCartney, John Lennon))

13. "So shut your eyes, kiss me goodbye, and sleep, just sleep. The hardest part is letting go of your dreams." (My Chemical Romance, Sleep (Gerard Way, Michael Way, Frank Iero, Raymond Toro, Bob Bryar))

14. "I dream at night, I can only see your face. I look around but its you I cant replace" (The Police, Every Breath You Take (Gordon Sumner))

15. "The flames are gone, but the pain lingers on." (Pink Floyd, Goodbye Blue Sky (Roger Waters))