A/N: This is the final chapter.
Chapter Four: Don't Need To Say The Words
House was reminded in stark detail why he had hated the idea of going to the awards ceremony as he walked up the red carpet. He had tried his best to look as anonymous as possible, but unfortunately for him, his cane was a bit of a giveaway. House didn't possess the patience or the fake humility to deal with being accosted by a particularly annoying newspaper journalist who had wanted to ask him inane, mindless questions for his article. He was clearly determined to get some profound, tear-jerking quotes from the brave doctor who had to struggle with his own disability while saving the lives of poor, helpless children. House rolled his eyes in disgust and then popped a Vicodin for the shock value. However when he saw he had only delighted the reporter even more, he promptly walked off in the opposite direction during the middle of the interview.
Wilson had been standing several steps away, far enough to hope that people would not think he was actually with House, but near enough to hear most of the conversation and to swoop in to apologise profusely for his friend's bad attitude.
"House!" Wilson whispered harshly as he caught up with him. "You can't get kicked out of here before the ceremony even starts!"
"I need a drink." House replied, ignoring Wilson completely. He knew the torturous boredom would be over in a few hours, but the only way he could get through it was to be inebriated.
House's awful mood only got worse by the time he and Wilson had entered the hall where the ceremony was being held. They were to be seated near the stage and of course there were cameras being set up close by which meant that House would have to be on his best behaviour at all times. They were shown to their seats by a timid looking production assistant. She looked ready to cry after she had answered House's question of where he could get something to drink. The poor terrified woman informed him that there wasn't any alcohol being served as the event was being broadcast with only a minimal time delay. House tried to storm out after letting his opinion be known on that decision, but was prevented from doing so by Wilson telling him what Cuddy would do to him if he left the ceremony early.
House managed to wait for the ceremony to start without causing Wilson any more embarrassment. Luckily for House, his award was to be handed out early on in the ceremony. Eventually it was his turn to collect his award. His face grew warm with embarrassment while the presenter explained why Andie had had chosen to nominate him. After the introduction was over, he walked to the front of the stage, choosing to take the steps instead of the ramp over at the far side of the stage even though it would be more painful and difficult for him. It was the quickest way of getting his award. He wanted the whole ordeal to be over as quickly as possible.
House stood at the podium and looked down at the etched glass statue that had his name engraved on it's base along with 'Doctor of the Year." He suddenly felt like a fraud, standing there in his tuxedo and his new leather shoes which were hurting his feet. He was a good doctor, brilliant even, but he felt as if he didn't deserve the praise. He didn't feel gratitude or pride, things he knew he should feel. He wanted to explain to the audience that it was only the mystery that attracted him to cases, but he knew they wouldn't understand. He shook away his thoughts as he focused on the speech he was about to make.
"First, I guess I must thank Andie. Because of her I have a motorbike." House said, not bothering to elaborate further. Wilson had guessed that it was Andie's influence which had led House to get the motorcycle. Even though he was scared that House would have a terrible accident one day, he knew it made House happy, being able to ride his bike and the freedom it gave him.
"Next, I have to thank Dr. Lisa Cuddy, Dean of Medicine at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. She was the one who hired me and has let me keep my job…several times." The audience laughed, thinking House was just joking, but Wilson knew the truth. Cuddy had risked her reputation for House when she had first hired him, but he had proved her right, he solved the cases no one else could.
"I also should thank my former team, Doctors Chase, Foreman and Cameron who also worked on Andie's case. I'm only going to say this since they aren't here. They were good doctors then, but better doctors now." Wilson rolled his eyes. It was typical of House to praise his fellows now that they no longer worked for him, but Wilson knew House was totally honest, often brutally so. He would never say it if he didn't mean it.
"Finally, thanks to my best friend Wilson…" House's eyes drifted across the audience as he spoke. He spotted Wilson looking up at him from his table. Wilson was smiling with such pride and joy for him. House was suddenly frozen; unable to speak. His mouth went dry as his courage deserted him. House managed to look away, back at the statue that was in his trembling hand. "…he knows why." House mumbled as he turned away from the podium and hurried off the stage as quickly as he could. The audience applauded assuming that House had finished his speech and the music started up again as the next presenter drifted on stage to hand out another award.
Wilson's gaze followed House as he walked down the ramp at the edge of the stage instead of going backstage. It took Wilson a moment to realise that House was actually leaving the room and not heading back to their table. He got up and rushed out of the room, briefly wondering if he would be caught leaving on one of the many television cameras that spanned the room.
Wilson headed for the nearest exit and saw a figure sitting on the steps that led to the parking lot at the back of the building. He sighed, a mixture of relief and annoyance washed over him as he saw a cane perched against the wall.
"House!" Wilson called out as he approached House. "I knew you didn't want to stick around, but you could have told me you were leaving!" He added, tapping House on the shoulder as he continued down the remaining steps. He turned around, puzzled to see House still sitting down, looking down towards his feet.
"Wilson, sit down." House said quietly, finally looking up at him.
"No, come on House!" Wilson exclaimed. "New York is our oyster!"
"Wilson, sit down." House repeated. Wilson eventually complied, joining him on the stairs.
"So?" Wilson coaxed. House studied Wilson's face for a several seconds, trying to work out whether he should say what was on his mind.
"You're not mad at me." House stated, amazement drifting over his features.
"Why should I be? As long as we can get drunk and celebrate your win tonight…"
"… about what I said. What I didn't say in my speech." House interrupted.
"I don't understand...wait, it's okay House. You don't have to say the words." Wilson said gently.
House used the wall to support himself as he struggled to his feet. He then picked up his cane, walked down the steps and turned around, just as Wilson had done moments before. Wilson stayed fixed to the spot, curious to know what House was going to say. House lifted the clear glass statue as if he was standing at the podium again. He made sure to look directly at Wilson this time. He wasn't going to make the same mistake again. He took a deep breath before he spoke.
"Finally, most importantly, I have to thank Wilson. He's been my best friend for a really long time and is here with me tonight. I love him." He breathed out, sighing with relief. "I love you." House added. He nodded, grateful that he had another chance to say the words. He should've said them in front of the audience, on camera, but the only person that really mattered was sitting in front of him. Wilson stood up and joined House at the bottom of the stairs. He realised that he had needed to hear the words just as much as House had needed to say them.
House took a step forward and briefly pressed his lips against Wilson's. He had wanted to kiss him for such a long time, but he had been afraid to do so. Making the speech had given him the courage he needed. House moved away quickly, not giving Wilson time to react.
"Why did you do that?" Wilson asked, more than a little dazed when House stepped back.
"Just wanted to know what it felt like." House responded, trying his best to sound nonchalant.
"What did it feel like?" Wilson's voice was no more than a whisper. House didn't reply. He merely raised his eyebrows as if to challenge Wilson. It was up to him to make the next move. After a few seconds, Wilson made up his mind and leaned across, kissing House passionately. He waited until House responded and kissed him back with just as much intensity. It wasn't the most romantic of surroundings; standing in the parking lot, but neither of them cared. Wilson pulled away from House as he could feel himself quickly losing control. House seemed to understand as he smiled at Wilson.
"Let's go." House said as passed the statue to Wilson. House recalled the way Wilson had pushed him to take Andie's case in the first place, and urged him to keep trying his best to save her life. House knew the award didn't solely belong to him.
"I love you too, House." Wilson replied as he smiled back at him. House reached for Wilson's free hand and intertwined his fingers with Wilson's, feeling warm despite the cool Manhattan evening air swirling around them.