Coming to Terms with a Facade

Rating: PG- PG13 for language

Pairings and Characters: Amber/Wilson, House, the rest

Warnings: Spoilers for 4x12 Don't Ever Change, pre-slash/House/Wilson friendship

Disclaimer: House and all other related characters are owned by Fox. This story borrows them simply for amusement and for a chance to write. No profits, no commercials. I promise.

Summary: Although House seems to have let go of Wilson and accepted the woman he's dating, Houses' insecurities about himself and his friendship with Wilson continue to drive him to push Wilson till he breaks. The ultimate question remains: will he break because of Amber or because of House?

Chapter 1

House stood at the lobby elevator of Princeton Plainsboro, bouncing his cane in his hand and staring impatiently up at the ceiling. His mind had been whirling with various thoughts since the day before, and it had cost him his sleep, as well the remaining patience he had. As a result, he now stood before this ridiculously slow elevator, demanding immediate results and answers for everything. He had tried every theory about his biggest paradox of a friend, yet none of the theories seemed to fit as best as the most blatantly obvious – but it couldn't be the obvious... it never was.

Wilson was dating Amber because it made him happy... but why? What, specifically, did Wilson define as happiness? Would this happiness truly satisfy Wilson? What about Amber? She would certainly leech the happiness out of Wilson in a day when their relationship turned unfavorable in Amber's eyes. Because House knew that day would come. In that significant fact, House found the way to break into Wilson's defenses and find his answers from the inside-out. With Amber killing half of Wilson, and House harassing and emotionally dismantling Wilson's false sense of happiness, House would have no trouble patiently waiting for the moment of truth: which pressure would ruin Wilson first, and whose side would he turn to as a result?

House sighed and jabbed the "up" button on the elevator again. At least now, he had a plan which would satisfy his needs. As a side-effect, there would be no rest or satisfaction for anyone as long as House remained in this puzzling torment, as was always the case when House was unhappy. His demeanor and behavior had always acted as a trigger for people's interest. But this time, House realized, his little helpers would have to keep their attention on their case. If Wilson snapped because of a third party of pathetic doctors demanding to know what House was up to, House's entire set of gathered data would be completely spoiled. No, he would have to keep them updated personally, that way –

"I don't know how much longer this door will remain open for you, your highness," a familiar voice said, cutting across House's familiar pattern of thought. Wilson stood before him, sporting a blue sweater-vest over a lavender shirt, waiting in the elevator with his hand outstretched across the doorway, holding the door open. House gave a small start, then glared at Wilson as he stepped into the elevator.

"Thank you, jester, that was out of your line of duty." House said, continuing to glare almost menacingly at Wilson. The door then closed quickly behind him, leaving House with the bait on his line, ready to cast.

"How was your date last night, Casanova?" House asked, not looking at Wilson.

"Fine," Wilson replied through gritted teeth. He seemed uncomfortable about the subject, as if he knew where House was going to lead him.

"'Fine?'" House asked in disbelief. "What? No sex? Or did you kiss as miserably as when I first saw you two? If you're gonna work on the physical stuff, I'd start back at the very beginning."

"She kisses fine, House."

"Ah, again with the use of the word, 'fine', which forces me to believe that everything is not 'fine.'"

"Whatever happened to that wonderfully self-sacrificing House I spoke with last night?" Wilson said, sarcastically scanning the elevator. "Surely he would understand that normal people do not want to know every detail of a person's date, from dinner to bed."

"Oh, well," House said, putting on his typical sarcastic air of concern, "I just want to make sure she's making you as happy as you claim..."

"Are you sure you're House?" Wilson replied, matching House's air of sarcasm. "That wonderful one who changed? You look exactly like the House of yesterday, only he had the ability to understand and cope with change. I really liked him, he was almost like having a friend who wasn't concerned about only himself."

"Committed suicide. Apparently he was too self-sacrificing. But you're still right – I've seen the error of my ways and have revised my decision about Amber: she's no longer a snake, she's a leech. She'll leech everything from you, and come out with the upper hand. She no longer has to be sly to have her meal – she can attack it outright."

"What exactly do you plan on accomplishing with analyzing and insulting my girlfriend?" Wilson said, confusedly, stepping out of the elevator as it slid open.

"I know you just long to be in her shoes, House," Wilson began, walking slowly and dramatically towards his office, "but you're not going to ruin anything between me and Amber."

"Exactly. She will." House said, triumphantly, although his mind felt stung by Wilson's harsh, initially sarcastic statement. "She'll bend you until you break, and then you'll turn to me for comfort, because that's how it always works. If you're going to accuse anyone of not changing, it should be yourself."

Wilson sighed, searching for the key to his office. As he found the key, he gave House one final look, "Has it ever occurred to you that I'm running to her for comfort from you?"

"No," House said, following closely behind Wilson as he entered his office, "because if that were the case," he gave a sigh as he paused, "you wouldn't keep coming back." He stood at the front of Wilson's desk, staring down the man that had lost him last night's sleep, his patience, and his ability to understand anything anymore. His eyes burned with anger and confusion, and his entire body shook from within. Wilson only looked up at House, reclining lazily in his leather chair, with eyes wide from apprehension and apparent shock.

"Is your insecurity about our friendship really the reason for all of this?" Wilson said, remaining in his relaxed position, still staring apprehensively at House.

"I could ask you the same thing." House replied, his voice hitting its lowest octave, and cracking from his frustration which he could not contain. His eyes still looked blazingly at Wilson's.

Wilson uncharacteristically broke into a malicious laugh, and sat up from his recline so he could return House's glare. "Okay, House, I'll go along with this," he said, raising his hands from the desk to reveal his palms in a surrendering gesture. "But I honestly don't know what you want from me anymore. I – I'm happy with Amber. I've said this a thousand times. If you're not going to be happy for me and support me in my time of good fortune, go ahead, make your life hell by trying to understand what should be so – so blatantly easy to understand! Twist it all you want!"

"Nothing is that easy," House said quietly.

Wilson gave House a look of exasperation. "It's a re-lat-tion-ship, House—"

"Besides, that's not my plan." House decided on the spot to tell Wilson outright. "My plan is to see who dominates your life; which leash are you being held by."

"Yes, because I'm either a slave to your will or hers."

"Now you're catching on," House said in a false-cheery tone. Wilson's face met his palms with a resounding sigh. "When you crack under the strain – as I know you will – it'll either be because of me, or because of her."

"At this point, I think you've won," Wilson's muffled voice carried out from behind his hands.

"Well, whoever snaps you isn't the winner – the winner is the person you end up running to next, because they're the one who can really give you happiness ---"

"Ah, and the security which you believe I lack." Wilson said, anger finally rising in his voice as he pulled his hands away from his face. He stood up, and began to walk around the desk, inching slowly towards House's tired face.

"House," he began, entirely exasperated at this point, "there is a distinct difference between us, and it's not Amber. It's security. Learn to let go."

"I will," House said, still with his tired, low tone, "after I succeed in making you suffer."

"My suffering makes you feel secure?"

"No," House said, finally grabbing the doorknob of Wilson's office and beginning to leave, "what I'll get from all of this is what will make me feel secure."

Wilson looked up, alarmed. His eyes were wide again with apprehension, and his eyebrows had nearly disappeared into his hair. Stuttering and blinking quickly, he tried to ask, "You – y – you don't mean –"

"Answers." House said, slamming the door behind him, leaving Wilson to grasp everything that had just happened. Waves of confusion bowled him over like the tide over rocks, and at last, Wilson stumbled to his chair, and laid his head down on the desk in a heap of despair and bewilderment. He hadn't thought that dating Amber would've brought out the cruelty of House – just his jealousy. But Wilson now realized that those two words were nearly synonymous with each other when it came to House.