Nothing's Changed

When will stupid learn, fire's gonna burn.

Curling in gentle tendrils and mingling with the cancerous emotions coursing through the air, the cigarette smoke wound its way towards the open window. Watching the diagnostician, Wilson realized that, despite the utter helpless-ness invading his soul, he still considered the man before him his best friend. If he didn't, he would have walked away then and left House to curl up in his self-pitying misery. But instead, James decided to stay and fight, hoping that something would get through to Greg.

"You're a coward, House. You find fault in everybody because you're afraid to look at yourself." Wilson was used to being House's conscience, being the voice of reason that could make the older man reconsider his actions. Staring at him, he wasn't so sure if he could anymore. James knew Gregory House, and he knew what to expect from him. What he hadn't expected was for the person, whom he trusted and cared for above all others, to turn on him in the end.

"Thanks. I was running short on platitudes. You can leave now."

Staring at the cigarette-smoking man, Wilson realized that he wasn't surprised or shocked by his comment. He'd endured countless taunts from House, but looking into Greg's eyes, James realized that the thing that hurt him the most was not the hatred in his voice. It was the complete lack of emotion in his normally vibrant eyes. Words could lie, but eyes could not.

Not bothering to respond or argue, James could do nothing but sigh in exasperation. The toxins that House had just inhaled were expelled into his face, finishing off the man's insult. Closing his eyes tightly for a moment, Wilson turned slowly and left the room, not bothering to look back. If he had, he may have caught the moment when the remorse he longed to see filled his friends eyes.

Think of consequence,

Wilson could have easily described House as an addiction. He could treat him however he wanted, insult him and blow smoke in his face, but James would always go back to him. Truth be told, he had nothing else. No wife and kids. No real home. No other friends that he really truly cared about. He did have his job, but that couldn't eat Chinese take out with him on Christmas Eve.

He needed House just as much as House needed him.

"I had no business blaming you for any of this. I know you were just trying to help me, protect me. That's what friends do."

The words didn't sound fake or forced. No, they sounded… sincere, and that caught the oncologist off guard. "Is this... an apology?"

"Part of the program. If you don't like it I can stop."

Looking into his bright eyes, for once, Wilson felt like House actually cared about him, actually cared about their friendship. He'd always known, but he'd never really felt it in his bones.

Overcome with a mixture of shock and pleasure, Wilson looked away for a second, trying to absorb what was happening. Content that the past months had been an end to their old friendship, he stared into the cerulean eyes of the man before him. James was ready for a new beginning. "Not at all, it's just so... unfamiliar. Please, keep going."

It was slight yet completely obvious. The grin that curved the corners of House's mouth spilled over into his eyes, lighting up his face. It was the first true smile that Wilson had seen on his friend's face in a very long time.

The apology that followed was short and to the point, but it was enough. James had come to accept the fact that House and emotions did not go hand in hand and so, Wilson was willing to take whatever the man offered. He always would.

then you move when it's your turn.

"Nothing's changed?"

Wide with shock, his eyes searched the man before him, praying that he wasn't serious. The glint in House's eyes confirmed Wilson's worst fears.

"Nothing's changed." Enjoying the look of horror on his friend's face, House watched from behind bars. Wilson shook his head in disgust before turning to walk away. Not taking his eyes off of the oncologist, House waited for the moment of dawning realization.

He'd only taken five steps before coming to a halt and turning back to the tiny cell that was holding his best friend. Not surprised to see House still sitting staring at him, Wilson voiced the thought that had been working its way feverishly through his mind. "The apology, you didn't need to do that to make this work."

James looked through the bars at House, who was sitting with a sadistic little smile on his face. Waiting with baited breath, he wondered whether or not Greg would give him this one small thing.

"Believe what you want."

It was a typical House remark, but his eyes, always so deceptive, glowed with total honesty. Though House denied it, Wilson knew that he'd meant every word of his apology. It wasn't dinner on him, but it was something.

Not bothering to hide the small grin that curved the edges of his mouth, Wilson looked down, letting the truth sink in. Not pressing the point any further, he looked up and met the laughing eyes of the man before him. "Goodnight, House. I'll see ya tomorrow."

With his hands in his pockets and the pains of the past few months eased, James walked away from the cell. Sighing softly, he realized how completely exhausted the past few days had left him.

He didn't need anymore from Gregory House, but House's voice echoing through the hall made the grin on his face split to a smile.

"Goodnight, Wilson."

Earlier in the week, he'd been convinced that he'd lost his best friend. But walking away from the smirking man, he couldn't help but feel as if that end was simply a new beginning.

Cillian Chase's Chart

- This was originally written for the lj communities "houselas" (Theme: Endings) and "alphabetasoup" (T is for Touched).

- All dialouge is from the episode "Words and Deeds".

- The song lyrics are from "Haunt You Everyday" by Weezer. I've found great solace and inspiration in Rivers Cuomo's words and so, I dedicate this to him and my love of his music. Had I not listened to this song at just the right moment, this fic would not exist.

- Katie – I know that I tell you this all the time but you truly are a goddess. Without you, not only would this fic not be what it is but, I would not have made it as far as I did. And guess what…. I (WE) WON:duck: Thank you.

- Reviews are LOVE.