Title: Absolution
Characters: James Wilson, Allison Cameron
Word Count: 1,139
Rating: PG
Disclaimer Alas, it ain't mine.
Summary: James Wilson had always been a study of contradictions.
Author's Notes: I found this in the 'archives' and, feeling a desperate need to write for House again, I thought would break it out for people to look at. This is from last season, and at the time I wanted to try my hand at manipulative!Wilson. (I feel deliciously evil for it too.) This scene would take place after House left the hospital in "Merry Little Christmas," but before Wilson went to his apartment later in the evening.

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Absolution

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I see the world on a string
It's hanging from a wire
It gets tangled up and spun around
Like the truth inside a liar
- Our Lady Peace

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"Why are you here, Cameron?"

I was hiding. But he didn't need to know that.

Instead I kept my eyes firmly locked on the desk and muttered a tired, "Go away."

"No."

"I don't want you here."

"I know."

"Then leave."

"I can't."

I turned my full attention to him, looking at him for the first time since leaving Cuddy's office. He was wearing a small lopsided grin, appropriately crooked on his straight face.

James Wilson had always been a study of contradictions.

"You can. You just won't."

"You're right. I won't." He took a step closer, setting down his briefcase and moving away from the door to House's office, towards his desk where I sat.

"I don't want you to be right about me."

I stared at him coldly, unsympathetic. "I'm not going to give you absolution."

He took another step, disregarding my words. "I was only trying to do the right thing."

He never considered the possibility that House wouldn't heed his warning. Didn't believe that House could be found guilty. Never thought he could be sentenced to five years in prison.

Wilson never considered the possibility that we might lose him.

"I don't want to hurt him. I would like to help him, to make him better. To stop him from self-destructing and catching other, innocent, people in the blast." He looked at me helplessly, pleadingly. In another situation it might have warranted some response on my part, some compassion. "I want to fix him."

"You can't fix him," I said harshly, bitterly. "You of all people should know that."

His brow furrowed then, giving me an odd glance, as if the statement surprised him.

"That doesn't mean that I should give up."

"Yes, it does." I raised an eyebrow, attempting to hide anger with amusement. "He could go to prison, Wilson. Could lose five years of his life because you wanted your car back."

"My car?" he sneered, coming closer still, voice rising. "He could go to prison because he forged prescriptions to satisfy his addiction. Because he made the wrong person angry at the wrong time. He could go to prison because I couldn't sit back and watch him hurt everyone around him for pills and pride."

"You couldn't sit back while he hurt you."

He was behind the desk now, staring down at me, eyes flashing dangerously as they locked with mine. I met his gaze, unflinching at his stern, angry expression.

There was a tense silence, ended when he took a breath. "What I did, making the deal. It wasn't just to help myself." He was staring so intently I became convinced that he was trying to see inside my skull, to dissect my thoughts. "He was wrong, Cameron. He did a bad thing."

I didn't break the stare. "He's in pain."

"He's a drug addict, and he doesn't care who he harms so long as he gets his fix. He's brought this upon himself."

"The only reason he's in the position to lose everything left that has any importance is because you betrayed him."

Best friend and worst enemy in one lethal combination. A contradiction that Wilson embodied with a skill so refined that one would have thought that he had trained for it. Is it possible, for a man to be born with a natural ability to forsake those who need him?

He shook his head firmly. "No. He's in this position because of what he's done to the people around him, and yes, admittedly, this list includes me. And you."

I turned away from him then, breaking the eye contact that suddenly seemed so frightening. "He didn't do anything to me."

He grabbed the chair (House's chair) and rotated it so I was forced to face him, locking me in place with one hand on either arm. "Then why can't you see what he's done? Why are you incapable of removing him from a pedestal he doesn't deserve?" His expression softened and his tone gentled as he brushed a strand of my hair out of my eyes. "House has harmed everyone in one way or another, but he has punished you the most."

"How?" My voice was shaky, my tone nervous, uncertain.

He shouldn't have been able to do this to me.

His hand was cold against my skin, but I felt the heat from his body seep into my clothes.

Always a contradiction.

He gave me a look of such pity that it nearly made me weep to see it, tucking the errant strand behind my ear, as if I were a child. "He made you love him."

"I don't love House." The denial seemed to lack the conviction it had possessed with Tritter. The words were smaller, somehow.

"Then why are you angry with me? Because I'm pretending that my motives are pure? Because I gave him up to begin with?" He gave his head a dismissive shake, not waiting for a response. "You're upset because I wasn't blind to his faults, because I'm placing the blame where it belongs. You're mad because I'm destroying the ideal of him that you've created."

I denied it instantly. "That's not true."

He simply raised an eyebrow. "Isn't it?"

Truth had a way of tangling around itself. Facts could be contorted to reinforce whatever you wished to believe, disjointed and mutilated until they fit the definition you chose. At some point you could even convince yourself so thoroughly of the validity of one conceived reality that you became blind to all the others.

And then, if someone called this truth into question, you would feel as if the foundations of your very world had begun to crumble.

No one had ever told me that the stuff worlds were made of were such fragile, cruel things. After all, only something truly malicious could make you depend on it so thoroughly before collapsing under the weight of that dependency.

He straightened, pulling away from me and taking a backwards step. "You're wrong about me." He sent me a small, sad, smile. "You're wrong about yourself."

I looked at him, wide-eyed and more confused than I would ever be willing to admit, although he knew it anyway.

He strode to the door, turning just before he exited. "You haven't changed as much as you think you have, these past years. You've just let your love for him blind you, even to your own actions and beliefs."

His eyes found mine from across the room and I almost shivered from what I saw there.

"You've let him swallow you alive."

He picked up his briefcase from the floor, opening the door and stepping out of the room, looking back as an afterthought and saying, "Merry Christmas, Cameron."