Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters mentioned herein.

Summary: No one understood that he wanted to help, he really did, but sometimes it was just too much… mention of suicide and strong language. Major Wilson angst. One shot.

The Pain of Caring

Seeing the two of them together, anyone would instantly understand the roles: a needer and a giver, a dependant and a nurturer, a loner and a friend. Anyone would understand the dynamic, and come to learn that it worked for them. At least, it seemed to.

Anyone watching would feel sympathy for the first man- lonely, jaded, crippled. They might not even spare a passing through for the second, the shadow- supportive, patient, caring. And if they did notice him, their only thoughts would be admonitions: take care of him, you hear? He needs you.

James Wilson had always been there for Greg House and Greg House had always taken his presence for granted. But James had tricks up his sleeve and a hole in his heart. And no one understood that he wanted to help, really he did, but sometimes it was too much and sometimes he was so tired that he just wanted to scream at Greg to shut the fuck up and storm out of the room and cry his heart out of his chest and never see Greg's blueblue eyes ever again…

James smiled patiently, indulgently, as Greg radiated misery. No one knew who was truly in pain. No one knew who needed help more… until the pill, that is. Until his Fall.

Until James couldn't take it anymore and sneaked his friend's Vicodin and swallowed half a bottle just to make a point. And if he died, so be it, maybe that's the only way Greg would learn his lesson.

It was James in the ambulance and James with the tube in his stomach to pump out the poison. And it was James who had to bear the humiliation of being alive the next morning, who had to wake up and face the inquisition and puke undiluted bile in a bucket for what felt like hours while the entire world watched. All this to make a point. And in a sickening twist of fate, it was Greg House who sat by his side and patted his hand and told him that suicide wasn't the answer. Although they both knew that if not for James, Greg would have killed himself years ago. They both knew who truly wanted to die.

James had only done it to make a point, right?

And when he couldn't throw up anymore he switched to crying, big gasping sobs that hurt his throat and tears that seared his eyes with their heat. And when Greg put his arms around his friend, James couldn't help thinking that the roles were not truly reversed, that he was comforting Greg as much as Greg was comforting him, and how Goddamned unfair it was that even after a fucking suicide attempt, he couldn't get a bit of pure sympathy. Couldn't get Greg to truly reciprocate the comfort. This would just fade away and things would go back to normal.

He had done it to make a point. And the message wouldn't go through.

He cried harder, not caring that Cuddy was watching them- not caring about anything, least of all who saw. He pressed his fingers against his eyes in a vain attempt to disappear and felt the tears drop onto his palms, his entire body heaving and trembling, and no one in the world understood why he was so devastated.

Suicide attempt due to martial problems, yes?

No. Not Julie. Fuck Julie. He didn't give a damn about her. Julie wasn't worth this much- only one person was worth this much.

Only Greg House.

James was crying so heavily that he bit through his lip and the blood ran, hot and metallic, down his chin. Greg wiped at it absently and James pushed him away, hard- hard enough that the crippled man fell to the floor and stayed there in shock.

"GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!" James shouted. "YOU DON'T FUCKING UNDERSTAND!" His voice dissolved back into tears. When Greg got slowly to his feet and hugged him again, he didn't have the strength to pull away. "I tried to fix you," he whispered into Greg's shoulder. His voice broke, sounded shattered. "I gave it my best. I'm sorry."

I'm sorry.

The crying was good; it felt like release. The screaming would help too, if his throat weren't burning so badly.

But the pills would have been better, would have been more of an escape. And the little tantrum wasn't proving the point that his death would have.

Just a little understanding, for Godssakes. Just for once to be getting the sympathy and not to be giving it. Was it that hard to grasp?

It must have been. Because nobody got it.

He was crushed. He was shattered. Worst of all, he was still here.

Things returned to normal quickly and the next week James was back to work, back to life- back to protecting Greg. He discovered that it all could be done without feeling. He ceased to empathize with Greg's problems and offered only skin-deep pity, but Greg didn't notice the difference. So James went through his days utterly numb.

It wasn't a comfortable numbness, though; it was the equally painful absence of hurt, death by his own apathy, drowning in absolutely nothing at all.

And still no one understood why. Why he did it. The point that he needed to prove.

Sometimes the shadow needs concern. Sometimes the savior needs compassion.

...the end...

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