Sorry about the delay in this folks, it's something I can only write when I'm in the right mindset. Hopefully, chaptersix won't be as long in the works.


Smudges of ink from a blue biro stained House's left palm and index finger, as well as a chewed nail. He wound the pen around his fingers, watching the shattered end circling, rising and falling in its path around his digits. The tendon linked to his pinky stiffened and he lost the rhythm, his fingers tripping, the pen clattering and bouncing onto the table top, scratching a blue line onto the soft, pale pink material of the top right corner of a thank you card.

House leant his head back, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, feeling Wilson pricking at the edges of his consciousness. The scent of beer and Chinese food suffused his nostrils and the good memories that had been plaguing him forced entry again. A warm, rich world blurred with the lines of this one, then sharpened as it drove deeper. He had eaten nothing but Chinese takeout for days, always ordering enough for two though he struggled to eat enough for one. He struggled to eat at all. Nothing in the world had texture or taste anymore. It all turned to ashes.

His leg was cramped. Bolts of pain exploded from random points every few minutes, sending his hand flying down to suppress the feeling. He would grit his teeth against the pain, breathing so hard his chest hurt. He was trembling; he didn't think he'd be able to stand up. When he shifted his body weight forward, starting to transfer the balance to his feet, another jolt of searing pain hit him, sending shards spiralling through his chest. The Vicodin bottle in his shirt pocket had no rattle, all the pills were gone. House hadn't bothered to do this math – he used more than he should, he'd lost count of how many over the last 24 hours. His mind checked that the bottle had been close to empty before anyway, he hadn't taken enough to do any damage, though he didn't think it would have bothered him if he had. There was another bottle sitting on his kitchen counter.

To get to the kitchen counter, he would have to stand up. He would have to make it past the blinding ache, the knives under his feet. But he knew he didn't have to a choice. Tonight, House had to go out.

Jacket on, fresh pills taken and more stashed in his pocket, sneakers on and cane in hand, House leant his head to the cool wood of his front door. He squinted through the peephole and watched the building's entrance hall. The refracted light twisted the image, distorting the view. It made the way out seem tiny.

Screaming and shouting and cheering filled the air around House. The hard plastic seat dug into his back, making the base of his spine ache with a dull, warm pain that spread steadily with the passing time. He pressed the heel of his hand down sharply on this damaged thigh, closing his eyes to allow the familiar sting to wash over him. He took pleasure in knowing that for the most part, he could hide the severity of his pain. His cane leant against the empty seat beside him. Two tickets were in his hand, one a torn off stub and the other whole and unused.

A brief breeze whipped through the stadium and tugged at the tickets in his hand. Below him, House saw cars being crushed. Metal screeched and glass shattered. His head started to spin. Mud was thrown up from the ground to splatter the sides of vehicles and tyres span in the dirt. Loud music blasted from speakers, accompanied by wrestling-style commentary. Intricate, elaborate displays ended with trucks crunching over cars or spinning them to the side of the arena.

House snapped his head sideways, convinced he had glimpsed something, someone, in the corner of his eye. The seat remained empty. Always empty. If Wilson had been there…snippets of old conversations played through House's head. What if Wilson had come the first time, instead of having dinner with Stacy? One extra evening together, one more round of banter, one more night of bliss, probably followed by one more morning of soul searching. Maybe one more drunken event never again mentioned, that may or may not have happened. The most vivid memory House had of his whole life was alcohol being sucked off his fingers by Wilson, and he wasn't even sure if it had happened.

Pressure was building on his shoulders. Everywhere House turned, he felt people, so many people, closing him in, denying him peace. The cheering, the crunching and keening of metal, it all invaded his breathing space. Instinctively he tried to pull his body inwards, to take up less space and put some air between him and the rest of the world.

He stood, leaving his jacket thrown over his seat, and began to push his way past the people sat in his row. He smacked at their feet with his cane, mumbling for them to move, to let him out and studiously avoiding anybodies' eyes.

When he got home, the first thing House did was pull a bottle of scotch from his drinks cabinet.

House immediately noticed when he woke up the metallic tang in his mouth. Glass was crushed below his hand, one shard still stuck into the heel of his palm. He looked at the skin surrounding the fragment, perfectly sliced, with blood congealed and clotting around its edges. He pulled the shard free and the blood flow began again. It was deeper than he had expected. House levered himself into a sitting position and realised he had been lying on his living room floor. A small pool of blood stained the carpet, and he felt it crusting his face as well. A broken glass was scattered over the floor, responsible for the cuts on his hand and arm, and a scotch bottle lay horizontal on his coffee table, more than half of its contents poured out.

His cane was leaning against the mantle, on the other side of the room.

House grimaced as he wrapped a bandage around his hand, and whispered into his empty apartment, "The broken cannot be repaired, the dead cannot be raised and there's no fucking point in any of it."