A/N: Thanks to everyone for reading my story - I hope everyone is satisfied with this resolution and I look forward to hearing your constructive criticism or commentson everything overall.
Disclaimer (which should've been at the first chapter) All characters and related items of House MD belong to Howard Shore and Fox, not me. I do not intend on using their character for personal profit, just personal enjoyment.
The sun was setting outside, casting a golden shade through Wilson's window as he sat at his desk, his palm resting on his forehead. He hadn't been able to focus on his work all day, and he felt as though he might simply force his head to collide with the desk in order to push out all of his distracting thoughts about Amber and House from that horrible argument which had erupted hours previous.
He sighed as he put his pen down, sliding his hands up and down his face quickly in order to rub away his restlessness. He then allowed his mind to wander briefly, hoping that by focusing on it, everything would choose to slip to the back of his mind.
Had he ever entirely liked Amber? Up until today, it had seemed that way. But in retrospect, now that it was clear that Amber had never truly changed, perhaps his feelings had never changed either. Perhaps Amber had been yet another distraction which had temporarily pulled Wilson away from the truth. Frustration welled up in Wilson at this thought; he was sick of running from himself. His wives had been an escape from his denial, he was sure of it as soon as he'd made that life-altering, initial realization. Why else would he have gone through three unsuccessful marriages within the course of several years?
But no, Amber simply could not be yet another escape route from acceptance. Wilson refused to believe he was that weak, or that he feared the truth about his personal feelings. He was not one of those individuals to run from emotions – he typically embraced them. So why was it suddenly so hard to accept that Amber had been a very weak disguise for another individual – an individual whom he had been running from for several years? Perhaps it was because Wilson had struggled so hard to believe that Amber was the hammer which would utterly destroy the pathetic chain of women Wilson had created in previous years. Amber had seemed like an extremely reliable candidate for that, but at the heart of the matter, Amber was just as pathetically needy as any other woman Wilson had dated (or married, for that matter). As a result, Wilson now realized, Amber was quite the opposite of the hammer: she was the weakest link.
Wilson sighed again and ran a hand through his hair as he attempted to look at his situation in a more positive perspective. At last, he landed on the most uplifting concept: Amber was not the "weakest link", but rather the source of realization. Because of her inability to distract Wilson from his own, true feelings, Amber had seemingly guided him in the direct confrontation of these feelings, allowing him now to stand face to face with them and ultimately accept them.
It's always been about House, hasn't it? Wilson thought to himself. Yes, it always had been – he knew it in his heart and mind, whether he consciously accepted it or not. Wilson shook his head slightly in frustration: he knew he should be absolutely furious at House for his cruel betrayal-like behavior, but at the present moment, he could only feel graciousness for House's strange decision to hire Amber. If he hadn't hired Amber, Wilson would never have discovered that Amber had never changed and therefore, he would never have reached the conclusion made only moments before. It was a delicate chain-reaction all connected at the source: House.
Therefore, only one question remained: what had driven House to hire Amber? Compassion, guilt and other empathetic characteristics were all highly improbable given the fact that Wilson was thinking about House, so he dismissed those fundamental concepts. Revenge was quite probable, but Wilson's desire to dig deeper allowed him to contemplate every possible reason for another half hour as the sun vanished beyond the horizon, covering Wilson's office in the shadows of the early night.
Wilson read the time on his wristwatch: 7:30. His files were still incomplete and he figured that continuing to work on them now would be entirely pointless. He yawned and placed his face in his hands. His office was still bathed in darkness, creating a perfect atmosphere for a quick nap. As Wilson sat at his desk, hands at his face, he felt his eyelids begin to droop and before he knew it, he had dozed off.
It was only half an hour later when the lights to Wilson's office snapped on, pulling him out of his nap with a start. Attempting to wipe his saliva off of his face and hands, Wilson grabbed a tissue and feigned blowing his nose. As he did so, he looked up to see the familiar figure of House standing in his office doorway, wearing his scarf, cabbie hat and a look of deep troubles.
Wilson could only gape curiously at House, who silently closed the door behind him and walked to the front of Wilson's desk.
"Going to move out?" House immediately asked in a quiet tone.
"Is it really your business?" Wilson said groggily.
"Well, technically it is if I'm supposed to give you room and board..."
"I am moving out. I'm not moving in with you again," Wilson heard himself say, although he felt a strange sense of resistance and regret at his words. "You aided and abetted in all of this. Now get out of my office."
"I'm proud of you, Wilson," House said, ignoring Wilson's command. "Pushing away neediness is the first step in growing a backbone."
Wilson rolled his eyes as he picked up his pen to finish a few sentences on his file.
Seeing that Wilson was going to try and ignore him, House continued to speak.
"You should thank me for helping you discover the truth, seeing that it would've taken you a few months longer to figure it out anyway. The difference is that now you'll be saving that money that would've been spent on that fourth wedding ring."
Wilson felt fury rising in him again, and his knuckles turned white as he clenched his fist on the desk. His mind whirred as he struggled to think of a comeback. At last, he felt himself make the connections...
"Why did you do it, House?" Wilson demanded.
"Trust," House said, pacing within the confinements of Wilson's office, but he did not elaborate.
Wilson raised a single eyebrow.
"Now I don't know what to think," he said, speaking his mind entirely. House's answer had only provoked more questions.
"You should," House responded, "whether you realize it or not, you've always trusted me. Why am I here and not out on the street with security guards on either side of me? Because you trust me. You need me whether you like it or not – you need neediness."
"And you needed to do all of that in order to prove this?" Wilson puzzled.
"C'mon, Wilson. You're the one who always calls this a stupid, screwed-up friendship. But now it's not: there's clear trust. Healthy neediness."
"No, now you're here only because otherwise, I'd be literally, as well as figuratively, alone."
The energy that had begun to glow within House's eyes vanished. Wilson's comment had finally struck home, and it stung. House sighed, and began to speak quietly and dryly.
"Amber once said something to me about you; about wanting love and respect. She said," he spoke slowly, allowing Wilson to hang onto every word, "you gave her that love and respect. But what I think," he paused, seeming to struggle for words, "is that you don't give love and respect: you give trust, fulfill neediness. That's how you show love."
Wilson had never heard House say anything like this at any point in their four year friendship. It intimidated Wilson, but it also stirred that small glimmer of an emotion which he had been running from for all those years...
Wilson thought about what House had said earlier – before Amber had entered the room. House had said something which implied he was hiding something: Wilson had thought he was referring to an affair with Amber and clearly, House had actually been referring to something else. Was it actually within the realm of possibility that House had been referring to his personal feelings?
"You said something yesterday," Wilson began, speaking slowly, "something about a confession you thought I wanted you to make. If it wasn't an affair with Amber... what was it?"
Wilson felt himself take an intake of breath and hold it. His hands were shaking slightly, and despite the coolness of the room, perspiration seemed to develop on his palms and forehead. Could House's answer really mean that much to him?
House seemed to search for an inanimate object to fix his gaze on. He was desperately uncomfortable, but seemed determined to bring himself to answer. Wilson felt the weight of the moment and attempted to stifle his anxiety.
"I need you," was all House could grumble.
Wilson performed a double take.
"You... need me? That's what all of this was about?"
"It's what it's always been about," House said dryly. His throat was raspy and he still maintained a very uncomfortable air as he stood gazing at the edge of Wilson's desk.
"You mean... all those years you..." Wilson tried desperately to piece everything together. Could it really be that their feelings were mutual? After all these years they had finally come full circle.
House could only turn away with uncharacteristic embarrassment as he walked towards the window to gaze out at the moon. Wilson stared at House's back and took in the entire image of House, cane and all. He couldn't remember the physical act of standing up to follow House, but somehow Wilson found himself walking across the room to House's side where he raised his right hand to place it on House's left shoulder.
House jumped slightly at Wilson's touch, and reflexively turned to look at Wilson. Their eyes met, brown to blue, and Wilson saw a deep desire, a strange form of longing behind House's now pale blue eyes. Whoever said that the eyes were the window into one's soul could never have spoken truer than in that precise moment.
Wilson felt House tremble slightly under his hand which continued to rest at House's shoulder as House turned a fraction of a degree to face Wilson directly. House continued to stare briefly into Wilson's calm, understanding face before looking away again.
At last, Wilson knew the moment had arrived.
"Somehow, I always knew..."
He gave House his typical, knowing, sideways look as he spoke, and House immediately snapped up, his eyes wide in dawning comprehension. Wilson gave him a look of deep empathy before he felt his right hand move from its position on House's shoulder up to House's unshaven face. His allowed himself the small joy of slowly moving his fingers up and down House's face, tracing his chin as he continued to look compassionately into House's eyes.
House trembled slightly from the flooding emotions within him combined with the happiness Wilson was serving to him on a beautiful, moon-reflected platter. But he could not bring himself to respond, either verbally or physically. Perhaps a strange sort of fear restrained him, or perhaps it was just the weight of the scene, but House soaked in everything and simply could not give anything back. He closed his eyes briefly in relaxation, focusing only on Wilson's soft fingertips which were routinely moving along the left side of his face.
After a minute or so, House freed his left hand from the grasp of his cane (which fell to the flood with a soft thud) and felt his hand travel upwards to meet with Wilson's right hand. He clenched Wilson's hand tightly, and while continuing to embrace it, brought it down to their sides. He stood there, clasping Wilson's welcoming hand in his own and felt, for the first time in years, as though he were completely at peace.
Wilson let out a quick, loud sigh, signifying that the breath he had been holding since he had asked House that fateful question only minutes before had finally been released. He then broke into a smile and began to laugh quietly, his teeth gleaming in the moonlight. He began to shake slightly with his happiness and adrenaline, continuing to laugh as he shook. House could only return Wilson's nervous smile with a slight laugh. The duo stood there, relishing in the sheer bliss of it all.
After a while, House stopped laughing as he asked, "That's it? No jokes? No sense of irony? No maniacal laugh of gloating?"
"No, House," Wilson said, continuing to laugh periodically. "Just learn to appreciate this. I know I am. I've – I've been waiting for this for four years."
House's blue eyes widened for a moment, but then House gave out a small chuckle as he glanced around for his cane.
Still holding House's hand, Wilson led his partner over to his desk in order to pick up the cane that had fallen there. As he handed the cane to House, they looked at one another one last time. Wilson could feel the tension of the moment, that nearly irresistible pull which had always played tantalizingly at the back of his mind. It continued to pull harder than ever towards House. Wilson knew that as soon as they headed outside of his small office that they would have to face the harsh reality of the world and the chaos that remained unsettled there. But now, here with House, he could only think about the sudden, newfound sense of comprehension and understanding that he had not had only half an hour before. With House, everything made sense.
He allowed House to hold his cane in his left hand, as he always did, and then seized the opportunity to grab House's only free hand. He pulled House to the door, turning the knob and beginning to head out into a fresh, new world, House at his side.
"Dinner?" House asked as they exited the office.