Part one of two. Please R&R.


His hands trembled as he fought with the lid of the pill bottle, and the fingers that sometimes seemed so elegant, so graceful and controlled spasmodically pulled against plastic in a random motion of frenzy. Muttered curses began growing in volume.

"Here, let me." Wilson reached out slowly to take the bottle, and just as he expected, House smacked his hand away.

"Mommy, back off." He looked at the only other person in the room momentarily, before turned back to the pills. "Stupid fucking piece of shit…"

Wilson hated this. Hated these moments when House lost control of it all, hated seeing him helpless…hated that he was the one who had to deal with it when really it was all out of his control. Uneaten pizza was on the table, turning cold and congealing. He had thought it would be like this tonight. When House asked him to come over he said "please"; that could never be a good sign. He had been jittery and tense since Wilson arrived, and it was just getting worse. "House, just let me do it for god's sake." He snatched the smooth container away and popped the lid. He handed one tablet to House, then checked the label to make sure that it really should be near empty.

"I'm not quite that self-pitying yet." House said, in a tone that was half way between snarky and snarling.

"Are you ok?" Wilson knew he hated that question, but could think of nothing else to say.

"I'm fine."

Wilson sighed. "Is your leg worse than usual?"

"Walked too much without my cane today." He spoke quietly, staring at a blank spot on the wall, half closing his eyes as the Vicodin began covering the pain in his leg with a fuzzy glow.

"You know you shouldn't –"

"And you know you should be at home with your wife."

"Then maybe you shouldn't have called me."

"Hey, it's not my guilty conscience, and it's not gonna be my alimony payments." House said sharply. "Anyway, you can go home now, I don't need you here."

"Ok." Wilson rose and stared down at House with a challenge in his eyes. "You're not going to show me out?"

House glared back momentarily, then levered himself out of the chair, putting his weight onto the cane. He took one step, accompanied with a sharp intake of breath, before lifting his cane and throwing it (at the wall or at Wilson, the oncologist didn't know) as he crumpled back onto the couch. His eyes were squeezed shut and his lip held tightly between his teeth. When he opened his mouth to draw in a ragged gulp of air, Wilson saw beads of blood. He abandoned all thoughts of going home and nervously hovered around, trying to decide what to do.

Wilson went with instinct and sat down next to him. He reached out a hand and touched Greg's cheek. "House…"

"I'm ok" was the hoarse, whispered reply.

"No, you're not," said Wilson gently.

"I just need to rest."

"You shouldn't be in this much pain. Will you let me check you over?"

House shook his head. "Give me another Vicodin and I'll be fine."

Wilson lifted the pill bottle from the table and tossed it over in his hand. He then put the Vicodin on the piano, on the other side of the room and well out of House's reach. "Now you won't be fine. Let me see your leg."

"No."

"Then you won't get the Vicodin back until you can walk across the room to get it. In fact…" Wilson picked up House's cane, which was lying on the floor just a few feet away, and moved it over to the piano with the pills. "You won't get the Vicodin back until you are so fine you don't even need a cane."

"Son of a bitch."

"Take your pants off, House."

Wilson's hands were gentle and cool, they moved with the detached skill of a doctor. House felt thoroughly humiliated, still unable to move from the couch, his pants pulled down to his knees with his best friend probing and prodding at him like he was some sort of alien specimen. He tilted his head back and looked at the ceiling, trying to stop himself from studying the scar on his thigh, the pathetic dead tissue around it. "Wilson, stop it."

"It's ok, I'm nearly done."

"Don't talk to me like a fucking patient! Just stop."

"House, calm down. Now, does this hurt?" Wilson asked in a voice as cool and gentle as his hands. He pressed one finger down hard on House's thigh.

House gritted his teeth through the pain. "Fuck, Wilson just stop now." At the continuation of hands on his leg, he pushed James' shoulders, sending him back crashing into the coffee table.

"Ow! Jesus!" Wilson rubbed the small of his back, where he had collided with the hard edge of the table. "That was a bit of an over-reaction, don't you think?"

"No. James, just leave me in peace."

Wilson raised himself from the floor to sit on the couch. "I can stay for a bit, make sure you're ok, help you out with anything."

"Are you deaf? I told you to get out!"

Wilson took the cane and the Vicodin to House, then went home to his loving wife, clean home and another anxious, sleepless night.