Halfway through his speech, Wilson realized House was crying. Not physically crying—there was no wetness underneath his eyes, no redness present—but crying nonetheless. He could see it in the tenseness of the shoulders, the slight tremble of the hands as they grasped the doorframe, white knuckled, as if without that tenacious grip he might fall into the sky. Wilson stopped speaking, mid-word almost, and stared dumbfounded. House never cried.

"What?" asked House gruffly, and the tone of breathlessness only confirmed Wilson's observation. "What are you staring at? By all means, please continue. Tell me about my pride, my obstinacy, my masochism. I want you to explain some more about how I pushed her away, how this is all my fault. Tell me how distraught she is, how much I've hurt her. Tell me about how I don't know how to be loved, how I can never accept anyone's help, how I can't…" he trailed off, lost, unsure of where he was going, and still Wilson just stared.

"Speak, god damnit!" House shouted. "Stop staring at me! Say something! Fucking say something already!!" he tried to take a step forward, forgetting, forgetting still after a month of excruciating pain, forgetting about the crutches against the door and the fact that, as much as he wished it, he could not reconstruct missing muscle from pride alone. He forgot all of this, but most importantly he forgot that Wilson would always be there to catch him when he fell. In all their years of friendship, he never could remember this.

Wilson lowered the pair of them to the floor. House had his face contorted in pain and his hands fisted in his hair. Wilson figured that meant that the thigh was too tender for touch, and wisely stayed away. Instead, he grasped House's wrists until they unclenched, and maneuvered his body until it was leaning against the couch. This was when he saw it, finally. Tears; real wet trails upon House's cheeks. The older doctor quickly rubbed his heels against his face to destroy the evidence.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever done," House was mumbling, "I pushed her away, I pushed her away…"

"Why?" asked Wilson quietly. House looked at him fully, the blue almost glowing against red skin and shine of crying. "You don't understand," he said, explaining as if it were the simplest thing in the world. "She had to go. It was a matter of time: if she hadn't left now, she would've left in a few weeks, a few months, whenever…I couldn't do that. I couldn't take the awkward dinners, the avoidance; all that time spent knowing that one day she would leave, and not being able to control when or how. It wouldn't have been fair to her—she needs someone who will treat her nicely, someone who can please her. Not a pathet-…not a cripple. Not someone who fucking breaks down whenever…at the slightest…"

Wilson had no words for this. This pain wasn't a cancer, it wasn't deadly. He did not know how to ameliorate the suffering, because he knew that it was a suffering from which House would eventually recover. None of his usual bullshit condolences would work. No words, he had no words. Instead, he just sat there on the floor, his back against the couch, next to his best friend as the man swallowed rapidly against tears. Maybe he's swallowing reality, thought Wilson, As if it were small enough to fit inside the throat. As if it could be digested, the nutrients extracted and distributed throughout the body; as if anyone would actually want to absorb what it had to offer. He decided then that he didn't believe House, but he guessed that in the grand cosmic scheme of things, that is, life, death, and the universe, it didn't really matter. Everyone lies.