If This Doesn't Kill Me

Summary: …then Wilson will. Why did House confess his love? And how did Wilson react? Contains references to child abuse. SLASHY GOODNESS, based on 97 Seconds, of course.

Disclaimer: Not mine, blah blah.

I wrote this all in one sitting… I'm proud of me. Later revisions took place, naturally, but were minimal. Also, this is my first experiment with present tense. I hope it works.

"Just looking at you hurts. I'm gonna order up some extra pain meds."

"I love you," House says softly.

It's been nearly a year now since Wilson said it- I associate with you through choice, and any relationship that involves choice, you have to see how far you can push before it breaks… And one day our friendship will break, and it will just prove your theory…

A passing comment, really. Wilson had been pissed, and House had probably deserved it. But despite his outward reaction of exasperation and impatience… the idea scares him shitless. He thinks desperately that Wilson doesn't know, that Wilson has no idea- that their relationship is the only thing he can hold onto.

It is also slowly driving him mad. Being friends with James Wilson is driving him mad. Or, rather- being just friends with Wilson.

For some reason, it is Wilson's face that House sees at the exact moment that he slides the knife into the socket. And so, as he passes out from the sheer force of the electric current passing through his body, the last thought to run through House's mind is: If this doesn't kill me, Wilson will. And then he wakes up, and Wilson is calling him an idiot, and yes, this time his friend is reallypissed, and House is afraid.

You did it! his mind screams. You pushed too hard! He'll leave you!

House can't let that happen. He needs Wilson, needs him to stay. And so, out it comes. Bare honesty, driven by fear.

"I love you."

Wilson shrugs, as if to say that's typical. He doesn't even look up from the chart.

House blinks in surprise, heart sinking. For a terrible, horrible moment, he thinks that Wilson doesn't care. Then his knowledge of the conversation catches up with him, and he realizes that Wilson isn't taking him seriously.

"No!" he blurts. "Not because you're giving me drugs!"

"Yeah," Wilson replies, condescendingly.

"I mean it," House insists. "I love you." It's harder to say the second time.

Wilson looks up at him, and to House's astonishment, his friend actually looks hurt. "House… please. Don't play mind games with me. Not now."

"I'mnot. I- Wilson, I-" he can't say it a third time. "I meant it."

Wilson seems to be struggling to keep control. "Right. Sure. Whatever you say."

House looks at him.

Wilson looks back.

After the silence stretches out too long to be comfortable, House speaks. "That's it?"

"Well, what do you want me to say?" his friend asks, shrugging. "I love you too."

This should have made House's heart stop. But there's something about the way that Wilson says it…

Sure enough, he continues, "…you're my best friend."

For a fraction of a second, House thinks that he's going to cry. Completely ridiculous of course, he hasn't cried in years. But for a moment, there, he's eight years old, sobbing for a dead rabbit, and his father is backhanding him and telling him only pussies cry.

House carefully keeps his expression neutral. "You love me as a friend," he states. His voice remains steady, even as a long-suppressed memory stubbornly punches it's way to the surface.

"Are you a pussy?"

"No, sir." His voice breaks. His father raises his hand.


He tries again. "N-no, sir."


"No sir!" he yells, voice strong.

"That's better."

"Of course," Wilson replies, and House shakes off the persistent tendrils of memory.

House has lain awake more nights than he can count and listed all the reasons why his love is not unrequited. Now, he once again convinces himself that they are true. He draws fact and reason around him like a blanket, prepared to win this argument with logic, as he's won so many others.

"So that's why you've been married and divorced three times? That's why you'd rather spend an hour with me than a day with any of your wives? That's why you're on anti-depressants?"

Wilson is looking at him now, telling him without words to please, drop it.

House goes on, softly now. "That's why you look at me sometimes? Like the way you're looking at me now?"

"House…" Wilson does not keep his voice steady, does not even try. "Greg. Please."

"You're looking at me like you want something," House continues. "Like you want it so, so badly, but you're afraid to reach out and take it."

Wilson takes a shaky breath, but says nothing.

"Don't be afraid," House says softly. "Go ahead. Take it."

Wilson looks at him hopelessly for a moment, and House is afraid that he's miscalculated, but then Wilson moves closer, and before House can register what's going on, Wilson is kissing him.

The kiss lasts for a while. There is tongue and saliva and the desperate pull of years of longing. When lack of air dictates the necessity that they pull apart, House finds that his hand is buried in Wilson's hair.

"I love you," Wilson whispers.

House smiles. He doesn't remember ever being this happy. "I know," he replies.

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