My little theory that I threw in there was the bit about House and Cuddy having a secret relationship none of us really knew about, based on little comments/intriguing interactions/looks throughout the season (interesting how he hallucinated Cuddy in that skimpy outfit). I don't really believe it, but I wouldn't be surprised if we learn about it next season.

The bit about Cuddy being at the bar…that was just a fun plot twist to perk things up. Sorry it took longer to post this than I expected; it took me a while to tweak the ending. I hope it works…

Chapter 9, final chapter

Wilson sat on his knees, as he had so many times before, and waited until his toes were numb. He glanced at the now wilted white rose, "You were right," he said, dragging a finger across the letters of her name. He thought for a moment, recalling her last words.

"It's not his fault."

"How can you say that? If he hadn't been drunk, if he had acted like a responsible adult for once in his life…" Wilson's voice trailed off.

She smiled, her eyes seeing not the seasoned oncologist, but a man whose heart was cloven in two, "He was there with Dr. Cuddy, but she was paged to the hospital." She smiled a knowing smile, "They're dating."

"He would have told me," his eyes watered as realization set in, instantly choosing not to tell Amber as it would only hurt her; this new pain was his own weight to bear. Wilson had paged Cuddy that night. He was on call and had been brought in for an emergency case and he needed Cuddy's approval for a risky procedure. If only he hadn't paged her.

"Would he? Did you tell him about us right away?"

Wilson raised his eyebrows, "No."

She smiled faintly, "He was drunk and couldn't keep his mouth shut on the bus." She looked up at him, sighing weakly, "He used my scarf to tie around my leg before he blacked out."

"I can't think about him right now." Wilson knew the blame did not rest solely on House, in fact he decided that the blame rested only on himself, but he needed someone to be angry at. He needed to blame House for his reckless ways, for his drinking, for his drug addiction, for his incessant need to know the answer. He couldn't focus on House, he needed to focus on her.

"He must really love you."

"House doesn't love anyone."

"He didn't put his life on the line for me, he did it for you; he did everything he could. He does love you."

"I don't love him."

"Yes you do. Don't walk away from him, he needs you now and you're going to need him."

"Amber, I can't. If he hadn't been drinking…" and Wilson silently thought, 'And if I hadn't paged Cuddy…'

"He's given me one more chance to see you," she looked into his eyes, accepting her fate, "I'm not alone. Don't turn your back on him."

She looked up at him, "Hold me." Wilson eased himself into her hospital bed, wrapping his arms around her as gently as possible. He held her, savoring every last moment, listening to her breathing, smelling her hair, remembering the arch of her brow, the shape of her nose. He wondered how she could be so forgiving and why she wasn't angry.

All too soon she sighed, "I'm tired." His heart dropped when she said, "I think it's time to go to sleep."

"Just a little longer."

Remembering her last moments, he placed a bouquet of wildflowers across her grave, saying "God I miss you, Amber. You were right. You were always right. What would I have done if I'd lost you both?" Wilson prepared to admit the truth, to release that bit of information that he'd held onto since that night, that little tidbit that had burned a hole in his stomach.

His voice dropped to a whisper, "I was the one to page Cuddy away. If I hadn't called her, she would have stayed at that bar with House, you would perfectly fine and he would have his voice."

"Wilson will be back soon," she said, still lying on her side next to him. House nodded.

"Should we say anything?"

House stared at her and sighed, not knowing if they should or not. He picked up the pad of paper, writing, "I don't want to lie to him."


He raised one eyebrow and one corner of his mouth turned up in a wry smile, writing, "We have time for a quickie."

She rolled her eyes, "You're incorrigible," she said, getting out of bed. He stuck out his bottom lip, pretending to pout.

He scribbled another message, "Live dangerously, join me 4 a shower?"

"House! He's going to be back any minute, and you're not supposed to engage in any physically demanding activity, remember?"

House raised both eyebrows and conceded, "True, you are physically demanding," making no efforts to hide the fact that he was overtly staring at her chest in between each written word.

"What's gotten in to you today?" She asked. He sported an amused smirk and shrugged his shoulders.

"Get out of bed, get dressed and wipe that smirk off your face," she said, playfully walking towards the living room. She was happy to see a little hint of the old House coming back.

House stood, picked up his cane and in just a few impressive strides, joined Cuddy in the hallway. He leaned his cane against the wall, whipped her around to face him and placing both hands on either side of her face, he pulled her in for a deep and commanding kiss.

Wilson used his key to open the apartment door, stepped inside, and placed the bags down while he closed the door behind him. Lifting the bags up, he glanced down the hallway and caught sight of House and Cuddy mid kiss. Blushing he headed towards the kitchen.

Cuddy smiled sheepishly and pulled out of the kiss, resting her forehead on House's shoulder. He closed his eyes and softly chuckled at being caught, though he was somewhat worried about Wilson's reaction. The pair walked out to the kitchen, cautiously hoping he would accept this new development.

"I'm sorry, I I I…," Wilson stammered.

"Wilson, there's something we'd like to tell you." Cuddy offered Wilson a glass of iced tea, "Maybe we should sit in the living room."

"Sure," Wilson had a distinct feeling that this conversation would be exactly what Amber had mentioned that night. He took a deep breath, ready for what may come. House and Wilson sat on either ends of the couch, leaving a cushion between them. Cuddy sat on the edge of Wilson's new bed, facing them.

She steadied herself, ready to explain it all, "When you first star…"

House made a big show, waving his arms and sighing at the start of her little speech and he held up the whiteboard for both Wilson and Cuddy to see, "I'm doing the boss."

"Nothing like being blunt, House." Cuddy snapped.

House waved his hand and shook his head before writing, "No wait, I WAS doing the boss. She's withholding sex right now." He paused to erase the small board and began writing again, "She's boycotting mute cripples with cracked skulls." House held his breath, anxiously awaiting Wilson's response.

Wilson looked between House and Cuddy, aware that this was House's gesture of honesty, "Well, if mute misanthropic cripples who hallucinate because of cracked skulls can find love, then there's hope for the rest of the poor saps in this world."

House cocked an eyebrow, half smiling as he wrote, "Nice." He found it difficult to make sarcasm come across in one word sentences but hoped Wilson would pick up on it. Wilson smiled briefly; the sarcasm did not go unnoticed.

"Wilson, there's more to it than that," Cuddy braced herself, "We started seeing each other not long after you and Amber started dating."

Wilson said nothing. He made no outward indication that he was angry, upset, happy or otherwise, so she continued, "And that night, I was there. I was there with House at the bar." She closed her eyes as tears began to form, "If I hadn't left…" she inhaled sharply, trying to keep her sobs at bay, "Every single day I think about how you lost her, and how I nearly lost him, but he's here," she said before losing herself to her own guilty thoughts, hiding her face with her hands. Neither Wilson nor House had realized how much guilt rested on her shoulders.

"Cuddy," Wilson began empathetically, "I was the one who paged you. Don't you see? If I had just waited half an hour before paging you, none of this would have happened. It's my fault."

House slammed his hand down on the coffee table, angry that Wilson was once again blaming himself and now Cuddy too. He thought they'd agreed that none of it was anyone's fault, that it was just a rotten string of uncontrollable circumstances. Both Wilson and Cuddy turned to look at him and he held up the whiteboard.

"And it's MY fault for being at that bar in the first place."

Wilson shook his head, "No House, we went over this. It was not your fault," he turned his attention to Cuddy, "And it's not your fault, don't you dare think that."

House scribbled furiously, "It was not your fault either."

"Yes, it was."

House stared at Wilson sensing there was something being unsaid, when it dawned on him. He closed his eyes briefly in understanding before writing, "You knew."

Wilson placed his elbows on his knees, and his head into his hands, nodding.

"House? I'm not following," Cuddy said, confused.

He scribbled out a hurried message, "He knew we were at the bar together."

"How?" she asked.

Wilson looked to her, "Amber. She said he was drunk and wouldn't shut up. She tried to tell me," Wilson looked up at the ceiling, wishing he had listened to her, "She told me not to walk away from you, that it wasn't your fault, but I was so angry..."

"Wilson, you can't beat yourself up like this," she said before looking to House for some support.

House looked confused, writing, "Why don't I remember telling her?"

"I don't know, maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe the seizure occurred before the memory resurfaced," Wilson looked at House, "I'm so sorry. I should have been there," he closed his eyes again, reliving that night, "If I hadn't paged Cuddy, Amber would still be here and you would be fine." Wilson shook his head, as he could no longer keep his tears in, "And if I hadn't blamed you, hated you...," his breathing became ragged, "I should have been there."

Wilson felt his heart pick up speed, palpitating again. He tried to regulate his breathing, taking deep breaths, waiting for the pounding in his chest to pass. He closed his eyes, and blocked out all other sounds as he tried to calm his heart; suddenly he felt a strong hand on his shoulder. House now sat next to him and again pointed towards his own eyes, trying to get him to focus.

"Dammit Wilson," House rasped, "It's not your fault. Look at me, come on, slow, deep breaths. In, out. That's it." Wilson stared at him in shock and Cuddy walked towards them the instant she heard his voice, her eyes wet with tears.

House continued in his coarse, long unused voice, apparently unaware of his new found ability, "You're killing yourself over this. This is the root of your ulcer and the reason you can't eat. You need to let this go. This isn't your fault. Do you hear me?"

Wilson's heart finally returned to its regular pattern, no longer feeling as though it would beat out of his chest. Now however, he felt his adrenaline building, never so glad in all of his life to hear the voice of his best friend, albeit a strained echo from disuse.

"Hey, do you hear me?" House repeated.

Wilson smiled, "Do you hear yourself?" House shook his head.

"You're talking."

House glanced at Cuddy and back to Wilson, afraid to believe it was true. She moved to the other side of him, sandwiching House between them on the couch, and she picked up his hand encouragingly as he tentatively attempted his first consciously determined word.

"Wilson," he croaked. House closed his eyes and squeezed Cuddy's hand, relief washing over him.

Wilson asked, "Why now?"

Cuddy looked at him through happy tears. She shook her head, not fully understanding it herself, "It was psychosomatic. House always had the ability, but I think," she paused, meeting House's gaze, "You were so worried about Wilson that you finally just let go."

House nodded before turning his attention back to Wilson, "I…I," he tested his voice, not quite trusting it yet, "None of this was your fault."

Wilson squared his shoulders, "This isn't something I will forget and it's not something that will just go away. I'm dealing with it," and with a nod he added, "I'm here and I'm not going anywhere."

House leaned back against the couch, relieved at having his voice back and even more relieved knowing what was at the root of Wilson's self destructiveness; now that he had identified the source, they could manage it.

House looked on at his best friend, again squeezing Cuddy's hand and in a grateful, raspy voice he said, "I know."