Title: Reparations
Rating: PG
Characters: Wilson, House
Summary: It's House's second day back at work following Rehab--and he has something to share with Wilson.
Genre: Angst, Friendship


House and Wilson glare at each other across Wilson's desk. House stands in an accusatory posture; Wilson sits not-quite-defensively, but he has clasped his hands together.

It's House's second day at work after the travesty that was Christmas Eve, the cosmic joke that was Rehab. His first day back, by unspoken agreement, he and Wilson had successfully avoided one another. But now, House has entered Wilson's office clearly primed for a fight. That much is easy to figure out—but still, Wilson's stunned by House's opening volley.

"You almost killed me."

Wilson sighs. "House. When I left you on the floor, you'd vomited. And all indications were you were gonna vomit some more. The oxy was leaving your system."


Wilson looks at him, genuinely confused. "So how did I almost kill you?"

House takes a deep breath, in an attempt to calm himself. It works; when he begins to speak, his tone is neutral. "I came to you. Asked for a scrip for anti-emetics. Remember that?" He waits until Wilson nods impatiently. "You refused."

Wilson waits, certain that House is going to continue, going to explain. When House remains silent, Wilson says, "I didn't almost kill you; if I'd given you the metoclopramide, that would've been murder. All that oxy would have stayed down." Wilson pauses, and meets House's eyes. "You would've died."

House shakes his head. "No. If you'd given me the scrip, the rest of it wouldn't have happened. I… the withdrawal, the nausea. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. And it was just… I had to control some of it."

Wilson's eyes grow wide; he's beginning to figure out where this is going.

"So I stole the oxy; figured I could take just enough to take the edge off the withdrawal, get the vomiting under control. But by then I… wasn't thinking straight. You know the rest."

House tone has remained calm throughout, but now the hard, accusatory look is back in his eyes—and they're trained directly at Wilson.

Wilson, unaware that he's doing it, stands as his jaw goes slack. He stares back at House as the horror grows in his eyes. When his face goes pale and he wavers on his feet, House instinctively takes a step towards him, hand out. But House stops when Wilson involuntarily takes a faltering step back.

Wilson finds his voice. "I… House, I…. Oh, God," he whispers. His legs give out then; the chair's there to catch him as his head drops to his hands.

House moves to the couch and sits. He's still watching Wilson, but now the anger's drained from his eyes, replaced with puzzled concern; he'd expected an argument, a denial—not this heartsick, guilty man crumpled in front of him. He says nothing, just watches.

Finally, Wilson whispers, "I'm… sorry," and House nods.

When House speaks, his voice is—almost—gentle. "Just thought you should know. Because… patients don't always lie. And doctors aren't always right."

The two sit, in silence, for several minutes, each lost in his own thoughts, his own memories. It's not uncomfortable, exactly; there's simply a mutual air of waiting. What comes next? So Wilson ventures quietly, "Wanna get some lunch?"

Their eyes meet, and in this silent conversation, both acknowledge that there's still work to be done, understanding and forgiveness granted—from both sides. But they've taken the initial step, that very first, incredibly difficult step, and House smiles hesitantly.

"Who's buying?" he asks. Wilson knows that House knows the answer—but that he needs the comfort of the familiar, the past. And Wilson sees the hope in his eyes, vulnerable and almost childlike.

Wilson grins. "Stupid question. I'm buying."

As they leave the office together, Wilson thinks that lunch—the first, Wilson suspects, in a long line of reparative meals provided, of course, by him—is a ridiculously small price to pay.