38 – Surprise!

Dr. Gregory House stood in front of the elevator doors a few feet away from his office. He just stood there, staring at the doors, tapping his cane against his sneaker. He was waiting for something, his mind working even faster and harder than usual, trying to piece together an unusually frustrating puzzle.

'So... what did Frankie mean about her "notice?"' a voice asked. Greg turned to see Wilson raising an eyebrow at him. Greg ignored his friend and turned his attention back to the elevator.

'What did you do to her, anyway?' Wilson asked knowingly, joining Greg in staring at the elevator doors. Greg opted to continue ignoring the oncologist.

'Well, whatever you did, she's leaving. And you're back to having absolutely no one understand you. Congratulations,' Wilson continued, making Greg roll his eyes.

'Do you have these little psychoanalyses prompted on flash cards or something?' Greg asked, keeping his focus on the doors.

'You haven't even pressed the button,' Wilson said, furrowing his eyebrows for a moment. Wilson glanced over at his friend for a second and then took a step toward the down button. Greg's arm shot out and held his friend back, pulling Wilson back into his previous position. A look of realization spread over Wilson's face.

'You're waiting for her to come back up!' the boyish doctor exclaimed, examining House. Greg continued to tap his cane against his sneaker.

'She's bluffing. She'll come back up,' Greg said, nodding at the door.

'Yeah, because nobody would ever leave you,' Wilson replied sarcastically, glancing over at his friend incredulously.

'No. She's bluffing… She'll come back,' Greg said softly, more to himself than to Wilson. Wilson watched House for a second and furrowed his eyebrows.

'You have to tell yourself that. You have to tell yourself that she's coming back. Otherwise, you haven't just been wrong for once… you've been stupid. And you've probably just made one of the dumbest mistakes of your life,' Wilson said matter-of-factly, watching his friend. Greg looked over at Wilson silently before the oncologist spoke again.

'And you know what, House?' Wilson began, stepping forward and pressing the down button, 'You were wrong. And you know it.'

'I'm really too tired to go through this with you right now,' I said into my cell phone.

'Oh, come on. I can handle your car while you're in Boston!' Johnny protested into my ear.

'Johnny… I'm driving up to Boston. How else would you expect me to drive but in my car?' I asked, leaning my head against my front door as I searched for my house keys.

'Are you sure you don't want to trade?' Johnny asked, sounding vaguely like he had regressed a dozen years or so.

'No way am I driving all the way to Boston in that car of yours. I'm convinced it drives itself around at night and eats people. You're the only one who it won't act up for!' I said, finally fishing out my keys and holding them up triumphantly.

'Alright, fine. Fine. But one more thing…' Johnny said, trailing off as I started to unlock the door.

'What?' I asked, throwing my keys back into my purse as I opened the door.

'Surprise!'

I stared, mouth open, at the room full of people that greeted me. Johnny came up first and gave me a hug.

'Wha... What's all this?' I asked as Johnny let go.

'It's your going away party!' Johnny said, beaming with pride.

'Your idea?' I asked, smiling.

'Of course! Who else would love you this much?' Johnny replied, making me laugh, 'Now… cake!'

'Now dinner.' Mrs. Hickson chided, putting a hand on a pouting Johnny's shoulder. I stifled a laugh as Mrs. Hickson led Johnny away.

'Hey,' Wilson said as he came up, giving me a quick, sideways hug.

'Hey! Glad you came,' I said, smiling up at the mischievous doctor.

'Wouldn't miss it. I'm going to miss you around here,' Wilson said with a smile. Then, his expression sobered a bit, 'I'm not the only one who'll miss you.'

'…Is Greg here?' I asked softly.

'No, he didn't come,' Wilson said, looking at the ground for a second, 'he's not talking about you much.'

'Oh,' I said quietly, looking away.

'Which, of course, means that it's bothering him,' Wilson continued, making me meet his eyes again.

'What?'

'House never talks about the things that are bothering him. Why do you think I'm an expert at psychoanalyzing him? Because that's what you have to do with House if you ever want to get anywhere.'

'Oh, I know…' I said, raising my eyebrows and giving Wilson a quick nod.

'He never talks about you much. That's how I know he likes you… and that he'll miss you,' Wilson said with a small, almost sad smile. I looked up at Wilson silently for a moment.

'What am I supposed to do?' I asked with a weak shrug, 'Give in? Stay?'

'I'm an oncologist, not a psychiatrist,' Wilson replied, shrugging as well, 'I don't know what you should do. I just thought you should know: it's not because he doesn't care. And for House… that's something.'

'I know,' I whispered hoarsely, even though I didn't mean to. Wilson smiled at me finally; a smile that said that I'd make the right decision, before we were interrupted by Allison and Chase.

Allison hugged me, and Chase gave me a dashing smile and the both gave me their goodbyes, saying how much they'd miss me.

'You're the only one House tolerated,' Chase had said.

The rest of the night went by slowly, and I heard the same things from most of the people there. We'll miss you, good luck in Boston, if you ever find yourself in back in Princeton look me up. But you could tell not everyone meant it. But the few that did mean it, like Wilson and Allison, made it worthwhile.

By the end of the night I was left alone, packing, with Greg's face and Wilson's words in my head as Johnny slept on the couch. The last thing I folded into my suitcase was Greg's blazer.

I slipped into my denim jacket as I stepped out of the house with my last suitcase in hand. Johnny and Mrs. Hickson were waiting out by the car, and when I approached them, Johnny helped me cram my suitcase into the back of my car.

'Oh, Dear, I'm going to miss you,' Mrs. Hickson said as she stifled some tears and hugged me tightly.

Somehow, through Mrs. Hickson's death grip and some repressed tears of my own, I managed to mutter, 'I'll miss you too, Mrs. Hickson.'

'My house will always be open to you; you know that, don't you?' Mrs. Hickson said after she let go of me. I forced out a nod so I wouldn't start blubbering. Then Johnny grabbed me from behind and lifted me off the ground, making me laugh.

'Call me as soon as you get there,' he said as he put me back down.

'Are you kidding? I'll probably call you on the way there,' I said softly with a sniffle, turning to face him. Johnny smiled at me and hugged me again, not letting go for a while.

'I love ya, sis,' He whispered as he finally eased his grip.

'I love you, too, Johnny,' I smiled, brushing a strand of hair out of Johnny's face.

Johnny held the door open for me as I scrambled into the car. I felt a knot begin to swell in my throat as I started the ignition and backed out of the driveway. As I slowly drove away, I watched Johnny and Mrs. Hickson get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror. But, then, something else came into view, approaching the house. It was a motorcycle.

I slammed on the breaks and watched intently through the rearview mirror as Greg took off his helmet and dismounted his bike. Even from this distance, I could tell that Johnny wasn't exactly thrilled to see him. Greg spoke to Johnny for a while, and I saw Johnny shake his head and point down the street. Greg looked down the street and I watched him through the mirror for what seemed like a long time, but I wasn't sure.

A million thoughts were going through my head: what Wilson had said at the party, what Johnny had told me over the phone in the elevator, and what Greg hadn't said in his office…

Finally, I looked away from the mirror and took a deep breath. I shut my eyes for a moment, trying to clear my head, and then with a strong grip on the steering wheel, I sped off down the street and toward Boston.

A/N: Wow, you guys. It's finished. I have to admit this is the first fic I've ever finished. Ever. I'm not totally sure it still counts if you're doing a sequel, but I'm counting it. I can't tell you how much it's meant to me for you guys to stick through me through ridiculous hiatuses, writer's block, disappearances…

Some of you have even reviewed and told me that this is your favorite fic you've ever read, or that you don't usually like OC or new duckling fics, but that you liked mine, or that you wanted a brother like Johnny. A lot of you have been with this story from the very beginning, and I can't thank you enough.

The thought has crossed my mind a couple times to rewrite the early chapters of this fic, but I decided against it. Healing Wounds has been going on for so long now that it shows how I've developed as a writer, and I really can't bring myself to change a word.

Thanks so much to Rio (who helped a lot with this chapter), Tess, Nerds, and my mom. I'm serious, my mom helped me with a lot of plotlines for this story. XD And all my reviewers. Every time I managed to forget about this story, I'd get a random review telling to move it or lose it, and umm… that's what got this story finished!

Anyway, before I get too ranty and emotional: Thank you all, readers. Please R&R and have a lovely, warm day.

(9-7-09)