Disclaimer: See Part One
A/N: Couple of swear words, here and there, but not too much.


Wilson is seated at his desk, elbows already deep in paperwork when House bursts through his office door. He knew this would happen, but he still finds himself gaping slightly at the sight. The clock on his computer screen says it is only eight-thirty, which is far too early for this confrontation to be occurring.

House has moved further into the room, and is watching the surprise on the younger man's face, fighting gallantly against a yawn that wants to crack across his own. He had to sneak passed Cuddy to get here, and he knows that it is unusual for him to be here so early, but even with the amount of alcohol he consumed the night before, he couldn't sleep long.

Wilson, having regained control of his jaw, snaps it shut before opening it again in comment.

"I didn't realise you knew this time of morning even existed." And it is exactly how House thought it would be, everything is the same, except where it isn't.

"I was hoping the sight of me would shock those puppies right outta Cuddy's top." He leers and finally settles on standing in front of Wilson's desk looking down.

"See, that would work if you hadn't snuck passed her office." At House's shocked look he continues with a small smile. "She would have followed you here had she seen you, and since my door's still open, and she isn't here, you snuck passed her."

Thwarted at the first hurdle, House pauses before releasing a rush of words in such as uncharacteristic way he winces.

"I went out with the ducklings last night."

Wilson merely smiles again, his eyes rising up for only a moment, before dropping back as he makes a note on a patient's chart. Possible secondary growth.

"I know, I saw you. You looked like you were enjoying yourself. Wait." He pauses in his writing and looks up, his face a picture of false panic. "This isn't the part where you tell me you all got drunk and ended up getting caught in a four-way marriage, is it?"

House can't hold back a snort at that, trust Wilson.

"No, because I'm not you, and proposals don't fall off my tongue as easily as the alphabet."

"Well that's a relief, although Chase and Cameron wouldn't be too bad, Foreman would probably end up killing you within a week though."

House stares at him a moment, wishing there wasn't relief in that statement, because he needs Wilson to wish Foreman would kill him.

"I went out with the ducklings last night." And this time Wilson hears the 'and not you' that House doesn't say out loud.

"Yes, we've been through that." And the crinkle between his brows is calculated and House knows that.

"Without you." And there it is. Wilson finally drops his pen and closes the file, he'll have plenty of time for paperwork later.

"Yes, I had noticed that." House wonders if the amused smile is calculated too, or if Wilson really doesn't feel anything beyond amusement.

"Why aren't you angry?" He's even more angry himself now, because this is almost impossible; Wilson isn't reacting any of the ways he should and he hates anomalies.

"Angry at what?" It's hard hanging onto the casual tone, because all he really wants is to shout out the same question at himself, but he does know the answer and really so does House. He won't let House push this until it breaks, because House needs what's left.

"I went out with the ducklings and not with you." Oh God!

"This is ridiculous; you're talking in circles, House." There's a pressure building behind his eyes and House is rubbing his thigh and he almost hates that their pain still reflects each other's.

"Of course I'm talking in circles; you're not giving me any goddamn answers!" And the cane hits the ground hard enough to shake the window panes, and his breathing is rapid, but Jesus, why the hell won't Wilson react?

"What answers do you want House? That I really am angry with you for making an effort with your team? That I hate you for taking my advice for once in your life?"

He pauses long enough that House thinks, finally, but the smile doesn't falter and he is starting to hate that fucking smile.

"It's not true and you know it. You were happy last night, I'm not going to be angry just because it wasn't with me."

"So you're just going to walk away again. Pretend nothing happened last night. This is all that easy for you?" A spark flares in those brown eyes and he jumps when hands slam down on the desk.

"Don't think for one fucking moment that this is easy! Don't you dare. You have no fucking idea how hard this is." Wilson is standing, hands flat against the desktop, shoulders heaving with each harsh breath, and House thinks, YES! because he is finally getting what he came here for. But then Wilson's shoulders slump and he relaxes into the movement, the spark fading and he's too calm again.

"Damn you House. You always have to push that little bit more don't you? It won't work. I know what you're trying to do and it won't work on me." He does know, and now that he's calmed down he can see that. House wants this to break, but he is more stubborn than House ever gives him credit for, and this friendship is Not. Going. To. Break.

House falls gracelessly onto the couch, his own shoulders slumping forward, chin resting on his cane, voice so low it shouldn't be heard.

"Why can't you hate me?" And isn't that the question; why? Because he loves him, dammit. Because he loves him more than he has ever loved his wives, than he loves his job. But he won't say that, won't give House that ammunition, because that is all it would be.

Instead he says; "I can't hate you." and picks up his lab coat from its hook. House doesn't reply, doesn't ask again and he leaves the door open when he walks out, because House wants him to slam it, to negate his words, and he can't do that either.


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