House knew before Wilson what was going on, he knew the symptoms and the extra pain were not down to his leg and the infarction, but to a bigger problem, one that had been hiding in the shadows for a long time and was ready to strike at any time. He just wished that he hadn't chosen the time of his life when he was truly happy.

They'd been together for six months, since House had gotten out of rehab, they had realized that the only people for each other were each other. Their first kiss had happened when Wilson took House home following his discharge and from there they had gone to the bedroom and nature had taken its course. It was truly a night etched on House's memory. People at work had just accepted the fact that they were together as if nothing had changed, as if they had seen the truth before either one of them.

House grimaced as the pain radiated through him, sweat was forming on his forehead, Wilson fast asleep next to him, he grunted as he rode out the pain. Trying to move only made it worse and he gripped the bed sheets as the pain got worse.

"Stomach ache again, House?" Wilson asked, sleepily.

"It's fine," House lied.

"Want me to get some pepto bismal?" Wilson said, stretching out and getting out of bed.

"It's fine," House lied again.

"House, you look like shit and it's dark so I hate to imagine what you look like in the light of day. You should really see a doctor about it, it's been three weeks."

"I'M a doctor, I told you, it's fine," House snapped, rolling over and crying out as the pain got worse.

"House, I love you and I hate seeing you in pain, let me make you an appointment at the clinic, please, do it for me?" Wilson pleaded, handing House a vicodin. House swallowed it, whilst silently cursing that it was the cause of the problem and the only solution at the same time.

House rubbed at his back, trying to ease the pain somehow while he waited for the vicodin to kick in.

"Please, House," Wilson asked again. House was in so much pain that he decided that the best thing to do was to come clean, so he agreed to the appointment.

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Wilson had to practically carry House to the clinic, he looked worse than he had the night before and he'd already been sick twice. Something was going on and it worried Wilson that it had been left to go on for so long.

The wait at the clinic wasn't long, but House looked in such bad shape that Wilson decided to look him over himself and in the back of his mind, he couldn't see him leaving the hospital today. There was something wrong with House and Wilson wouldn't let him leave until he knew for sure what it was, if he had to include House's team in that, so be it.

He checked House's vitals and took some blood, sending it to the lab to be tested urgently. Following that, he decided to give House a physical while he tried to think up an excuse to keep him in the hospital, he was dehydrated and had a pale yellow to his complexion, both those were symptoms were enough to have House admitted straight away, but not enough to keep him there longer than to run a bag of saline through.

"Lie back, House, I'm gonna give you a complete work over on the house," he said, trying to keep the worry out of his voice.

"You just want…to touch me up," House choked out. He lay back and winced at the pressure on his back.

Wilson lifted House's shirt and gaped at the amount of weight House had lost, still his stomach looked distended. He pressed down and House gasped.

"That hurt?"

"No, I just like screaming in pain," House snapped.

"You're retaining fluid, we can drain it, ease the pain."

"Don't let me stop you."

"House, is there something you're not telling me, because right now I don't have any idea what to do to help you."

"You can't help me, Jimmy," House whispered.

"You don't know that."

"It's too late for help."

"Just trust me, please, you're scaring me."

"It's the vicodin."

"What is?"

"I'm in liver failure," House admitted. It was as if something had fallen into place in Wilson's head and suddenly he realised what House was saying. House was dying and there was nothing he could do about it.

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House was moved to a private room in the ICU, Wilson had ordered an IV be placed and had prescribed pain medication and anti-emetics to ease House's discomfort. A nurse had placed a catheter so they could monitor his fluid outtake. The fluid collecting in his stomach had yet to be drained because Wilson wanted to do that himself, he was preparing everything for the procedure whilst waiting for the blood results to see the actually extent of the liver damage.

He hadn't had time to take in the severity of House's sickness and what it meant to him because he'd been so busy making sure House was comfortable. It was only when Cuddy stopped him on the way to House's room that he realised what was happening. His lover was dying, because of the cause of House's liver failure there was no way to get him onto the donor list.

"How's he doing?" Cuddy asked.

"He's sleeping, we still waiting on the blood results to see how bad it is," Wilson replied.

"How are you doing?"

"I don't know, I can't take it in, he's been like this for weeks and he knew the whole time and he didn't tell me. How am I supposed to come to terms with it when he's been hiding it from me until I couldn't help?"

"I don't know what to say, James, we're all coming to terms with it. I guess he felt that telling you sooner would mean watching him die for longer."

"If I'd know sooner, I could have started him on lactulose, it might have given him longer."

"And maybe you still can, we don't know how bad it is yet." Cuddy put her hand on Wilson's shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze just as Foreman appeared, coming from the lab.

"You need to see these," he said, his face serious. Wilson took the paper from his hand and looked over the results, it was serious, too late for drugs and even too late for a transplant, House would die painfully, but at least it wouldn't be long. Wilson estimated that with the amount of damage done, House had a couple of weeks at the most. Damn him, Damn him for being so stubborn that he couldn't just ask for help sooner.

He looked at neither Cuddy nor Foreman as he headed back on the path to House's room to drain the fluid collecting in his stomach and ease some of the pressure. House was still sleeping after the cocktail of drugs in his system to ease some of his symptoms had hit.

"House, wake up, I need to drain the fluid," Wilson said, shaking House's shoulder gently.

House opened his eyes blearily and gave a small smile when he saw who was in his room. Wilson returned the smile.

"How are you feeling?"

"Pretty shitty."

"We got your blood results, House. It's pretty bad."

"I know."

"Why didn't you tell me sooner? I could have helped."

"It wouldn't have changed the fact that you would basically have had to watch me die a slow and painful death. I knew I couldn't get a transplant, and I also knew you'd try me on different drugs for pain and my liver…"

"And you didn't want to even try it."

"I didn't want to die in pain," House shouted.

Wilson said nothing for a while as he thought about what House was saying. It was true, had he found out sooner he would have stopped prescribing vicodin and tried House on other medications, they might have worked, they might have delayed the inevitable, but ultimately they probably would have prolonged the inevitable.

"I don't want to lose you, Greg," he whispered, tears forming in his eyes as it hit him that his partner, his lover was dying and there was nothing modern medicine could do for him.

"I don't want to leave you either, Jimmy, but we knew this would happen one day."

Wilson moved so he was next to House's bed and leaned over to hug the older man, not long enough to annoy House, but just enough to let him know how much it was hurting him as well.

He stood up, wiped the tears from his face and prepared House for the procedure.

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The last weeks of House's life passed too quickly for any ones liking, he stayed in the hospital for four days and then returned home into Wilson's care. Wilson took some personal time from work and spent every waking moment with his partner, keeping him comfortable, making love to him when he could, grabbing as many memories as he possibly could before he had to say goodbye to the man he loved.

Three weeks after that fateful day in the clinic, House knew that he would not see the sun set. He woke Wilson up gently, but his partner was up in an instant worried that House was in pain. House let him draw up the morphine and slowly inject it, but he fought against the sleep that tried to claim him.

"Jimmy, it's time," he croaked. He barely had the energy to speak, his emaciated body was now yellow with the jaundice that nothing could cure. His back gave him constant pain and with the withdrawal of the vicodin, his leg ached despite the amounts of morphine he'd been on.

"Okay," Wilson said, nodding. Inside his heart was breaking, but he would save the tears for the time that House would not see. "What do you want me to do?"

"Hold me," House whispered, his energy levels failing with every waking moment. He knew it would not be long now. Wilson got out of bed and climbed in on House side, scooping up the frail body of his lover and holding in his arms.

"I love you, Jimmy," House said, the blackness starting to ease into the whites of his eyes.

"I love you too, House." Wilson wanted to scream, don't go, don't leave me, but he also knew what House deserved to die with the dignity his disease had stripped him of.

Wilson lowered his mouth next to House ear and started to whisper to him, telling him to let go, to travel safe, that he would be okay even though the very thought of a second without House scared him to death.

As the sun peaked over the horizon, House drew his last breath, finally free of the chains of his pain, of his life, but although he was gone, a part of his heart lived on inside Wilson and would forever more.