Sit. Watch. Imagine.

I sit…

Inhaling the fresh air, Wilson stopped and held his breath for a second, allowing the dawning chill of spring to seep into the deepest recesses of his lungs. Before the life-giving oxygen began to fight for release, James parted his lips, letting the breath escape on an audible exhale that only a few birds cared to acknowledge.

It seemed like only a few months ago that Dr. Wilson had set off around the hospital in search of

House. To no avail, he'd checked the cafeteria; both of their balconies and even the roof hoping to find some sign the Head of Diagnostics had been there.

When all of the man's regular haunts had turned up empty, James had scoured the campus, keeping an eye out for anyone who looked as if his best friend had just harassed them; it was a distinct look, and he'd come to know it well.

After searching a few local bars, he'd found the other man sitting in a jogging park. Somehow, it had made sense to find House sitting on the picnic bench watching other people do something that he couldn't. Something that House had recently had a very small taste of before it had cruelly slipped away.

Easing himself onto the same bench, James leaned back pressing his spine into the edge of the table, imagining that he could feel it cutting into his skin through the heavy layers of sweater and winter jacket. Digging his hands deep into his pockets, the man rested his balled up fists on his stomach.

Half shaded by a barren tree beginning to bud, Wilson closed his eyes sighing inaudibly as a cool breeze whipped around him. It lifted the stray hairs away from his collar and tickled the base of his neck softly.

I watch…

His eyes had gone from being gently closed to being almost clamped shut. House had said he liked watching the joggers. What he hadn't mentioned was that he liked trying to diagnose them in the time it took them to run by.

At the time, it had seemed like a sick past time, but Wilson knew that it wasn't a game rooted in morbidity. For his friend, it was like breathing. It was something that he did unconsciously no matter what was going on.

Save a few twittering birds and the river flowing softly behind him, the park had been empty when he'd arrived. But now, with his eyes closed, Wilson could hear the sound of rubber pounding on cement with startling clarity that caused him turn and stare in the direction of the intrusion.

The chocolate irises of his eyes followed the source of the sound, watching as an older man in tight lime green spandex pants huffed and puffed past him. Smiling to himself, James could only imagine what House would have to say on the subject of sixty-year-old men in obnoxiously colored spandex.

Sitting on the bench watching the man disappear behind a bush, Wilson thought about the idea of 'watching'. For the past year he'd been watching House run himself deeper and deeper into the ground.

He'd sat back on his proverbial picnic bench and watched as House sank deeper into his addiction and heartache. He'd tried to help him, tried to sweep away the twigs and branches but no matter how hard he tried, the other man always seemed to find an even rockier path to tread upon.

House may have come there to try and pick out what would be the deaths of random strangers, but James didn't need to sit in a park to do the same. The only difference being that, while only a passing game for the Head of Diagnostics, this was life for the oncologist. After a jogger rounded the hedge of bushes, their disease was gone, but for James, it wasn't so easy.

Gregory House could round every hedge in the park, and Wilson would still be watching him sink further into his own destruction.

And I imagine…

Shifting his weight back so that the cement table bit into his shoulder blades, Wilson looked down at a tiny greenish-black bug that had landed on the knee of his neatly pressed pants.

He'd come to the park to sit and watch but not to imagine. In truth, he wasn't really sure why he had come out to the picnic bench, but now that he was there, he couldn't help the surge of emotion creeping up his throat.

It wasn't sadness or a feeling of foreboding. Instead, it was a feeling of hope.

Not the lighthearted hope of one who was excited about what their day would bring or what last night's kiss could lead too. It was the hope of a man who had been watching a close friend slowly kill himself in every way imaginable.

For the past few months, Wilson had been hoping for everything that was humanly possible for his friend. An end to his addiction or a way out of his misery. Just… anything.

If House were to ask him his thoughts, he'd declare that the oncologist wasn't 'hoping,' but that he was 'praying' and in essence, wasting his time on something that didn't exist.

While James Wilson was Jewish, he'd didn't put much stock in keeping kosher or lighting menorah candles. Prayers were the farthest thing from his thoughts these days. Instead of folding his hands and praying to God, he'd spent his days acting as House's conscience.

Watching the bug slowly circle his knee, Wilson didn't notice as someone sat behind him on the opposite side of the bench. Had the intruder's soft voice not cut through the cool wind, he may have gone for hours without noticing the other man's presence.

The wind carried a simple question that was laced with amusement, "What are you doing here?"

Smiling softly to himself, as the bug buzzed away, Wilson turned to see his best friend looking at him curiously. "I'm just sitting, watching and… imagining."

Cillian Chase's Chart

- Reviews are love.

- This was originally written for the lj community lj user"houselas " . The theme for the challenge was "hope".

- Katie, thank you so much. You're amazing and this fic would not be what it is without your input. :duck: