A/N: As usual, many thanks to Alias424 who betaed this for me. She rocks on levels I can only hope to obtain! One-shot.


Permission to Sin

Everything I've held has hit the wall...

The anger is almost welcome, after everything else. After the tears, after sitting in your darkened office, after you wonder if maybe you deserved this. Sixteen hours later you finally slammed into the anger like a brick wall.

He made you feel weak, useless and just less. Less of a mother, less of a woman, less of a doctor. The word burned into your mind as you sat remembering how cold the water was, stinging but not as cold as his gaze. Less. You were less than him, he was less than you.

The anger is easier to deal with than he is. You don't want to analyze why he said it in the first place, you don't want to give him the benefit of the doubt like you have thousands of times before, and you don't want to question the anger. You just want to wrap yourself in it and wear it like a shield. You don't want to look at him and see the guilt in his eyes. You don't want to see how his hands shake and he's sweating and wearing his regret almost as well as you wear yours.

"I don't want you here." Your voice shakes and he leans too heavily against your doorframe as he stares at you two beats too long. You are a terrible liar.

"Neither do I." His voice is quiet and you feel yourself hit the solid surface of your anger again, and your body shakes as if you have physically slammed into it.

"Go to hell, House." You try to close the door, but he is sticking his cane through the opening and it stops the door, even though you thought you had slammed it hard enough to make the wood splinter. The door bounces back and you stare at it in disgust, like it too has let you down. He can't even look up at you and all you want in this moment is for something to happen – some physical manifestation of your desire to have him gone.

Falling apart and all that I question, is this a dream or is it my lesson?

Nothing happens though, and after a beat you step backwards twice before turning your back on him and striding back through the house. You are angry at him – but you're angry at yourself, too. You should be past this point – he shouldn't still have the power to make you bleed like this. Not anymore. Not for years. Eventually you hear the muffled drag of his footsteps against the carpet and you can't stop shaking in anticipatory anger.

"It's not like I hurt you –" You whirl at his voice, your face so strained, you think you could fall apart at any moment. But not in front of him.

"You want me to lie to you, House?" Your words are iniquitous and he blinks and falls silent. "What do you want? Permission? Excusal? If you want absolution or reassurance – you need to go somewhere else–" Your voice is mounting the words higher and higher until you have a nice tidy pile sitting between you and he finally meets your eyes.

"I didn't know–"

"Does it matter?" You can feel the rage flowing from you now and it's almost a relief. If you can push him far enough, hurt him more – than maybe it would be okay. "Would you not have said it if you knew?"

He looks down at his own hands and you can see he is still shaking, but so are you and you can't quite bring yourself to feel sorry for him. "I would have–" He stops because he hates to lie. Your eyes flash because you know the real answer anyway – knew it before he opened his mouth; even before you asked the question.

Oh, he's under my skin

"Fine." It's one word, hurled like a shattered piece of your soul – sharp and cutting through the air with unnatural speed. "You have my permission. You hurt, I hurt and we can be equally miserable–"

"Somehow I doubt that." He is staring at you with something that feels like accusation and you stare at him for a moment, robbed of speech.

"Really? Because somehow in your mind I deserved that? I deserved to be–"

"You set yourself up for these things!" His anger explodes between you and you have to shut your eyes against it. "If you'd just give me my damn pills–"

Just give me something to get rid of him

"Then we'll both be happy?!" you spit back, and he flinches under your heated gaze. "Or then you could be stoned and forget it all? And what exactly do I take to do that, House? You tell me which drug would erase you from my life, and I'll take it." The words feel wrong in your chest and throat, and you have to swallow the queasy feeling they leave.

His whole frame seems to sink and you want to hate him. You want to hate yourself, but you are having a difficult enough time keeping your wall of anger from crumbling to pieces around you. "Do you want me to apologize?" His voice is bitter and you laugh in the tense silence.

"Why would I want you to lie to me? So I can tell you to forget it and you can go back to being your usual self?" Your anger is becoming a third party in the room and it's draining you as you stare at his slumped frame. You reach for your purse, yanking out a familiar orange bottle with a jerk and you slam it on the table next to him, the sound echoing long after your hand let go. "You want an excuse – permission – take it." Your voice is a hiss in the dark room and he recoils, his eyes fastened on the small bottle.

I've got a reason now to bury this alive-

His eyes meet yours for a moment and you can feel tears threatening to choke you. You shove them back, because you are done with the crying, done with the hope that he is something more than he actually is. All you want now is the anger. The silence stretches between you like fine wire you can cut yourself on repeatedly as you attempt to saw him away from you. Surely you can carve him out, and this feeling with him. He can be your dead muscle and you can deal with the pain and every orange bottle and cold shower can be a reminder of your scars.

"I just wanted to make sure you're–" He sounds almost concerned and you have to remind yourself that you gave up long ago. Long before he ever tried to care – if he was in fact trying at all.

"I'm not. I won't be. Neither will you." You turn away again, because you can feel the foundations of your anger cracking under the strain of his presence. You can hear his breathing behind you, before you hear his footsteps receding into the hall, and the doors clicks shut with a deafening finality.

I don't believe I'll be alright, I don't believe I'll be okay-

The silence is heavy around you and somehow you feel like the perpetrator. You stare down at your hands, expecting to see a bloodied weapon there – a glint of steel and red in the dark night – but your hands are empty, like everything else you own. When you can finally move, it's slow and sluggish – and your eyes land on the glow of orange on the table.

He never apologizes. He never says the words, but the bottle is glowing – illuminated by the light from the kitchen – and it looks like it's saying 'sorry.' You stare until it hurts your eyes – makes them dry and sandpapery. With a sigh you grasp the bottle before moving back into the hall, back toward the dark of your bedroom, and you wrap the blankets around your still-shaking form as you sink onto the mattress.

I don't believe how you've thrown me away.

You can hear his voice – still with you hours later – wrapping around you and burrowing under the blanket you are trying to shield yourself with, under your very skin until it's burned into your muscle and bone.

The anger was almost welcome – but seventeen hours later, wrapped in a cocoon of his words and the debris of your defences – you are not sad to see it seep away. It filled you – and now you feel nothing but the emptiness it left in its wake.

Your hand grips the bottle, staring at the white pills inside. You close your eyes against the image of it in your shaking hand as you try to convince yourself that this is it. You have removed him, and now all that is left to deal with is the residual pain. You are done.

Another little white lie.