Description: Wilson's reaction to the situation in episode 5.09, Last Resort. Spoilers! House/Wilson friendship and possibly a hint of pre-slash, if you interpret it that way. One-shot

Disclaimer: House M.D. and its characters are owned by David Shore, Fox and others. No money is being made from this work of fan fiction and no copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Note: My response to Last Resort. Is it completely wrong that I always want to make every episode into something about House/Wilson? There's just so much in their relationship that goes unsaid and unexplored (even if you don't look at it in a slashy way.) Hope you enjoy. Reviews are greatly appreciated.

After the Dust Settles

People didn't generally knock on House's door at two in the morning. He had no problem doing it to other people, but most people he knew had the decency to wait until proper times of the day. He had just gone to bed and really resented having to go all the way back to the front door when the visitor wouldn't go away. His leg was sore as hell from the stressful day he'd just had and whoever was at his door would be lucky to make it away with his life. He pulled the door open and was just about to verbally rip into the intruder, but it wasn't just any intruder.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

He didn't answer, but pushed his way inside. House could smell the liquor on him. He closed the door and watched his friend collapse onto the couch. His eyes were almost as red as his cheeks and House wasn't sure if it was the alcohol or if he'd actually been crying.

"Exactly how much have you been drinking?"

"Not enough." He laughed, but then suddenly looked very serious. His eyebrows knitted together in concentration. "I have'ta talk to you."

"You mean slur? Because I wouldn't really call what you're doing talking."

"Damn it, House! I'm serious."

"Of course you are," he placated, sitting down on the other end of the couch.

"You are so stupid. Why are you so stupid?"

"You're the one who's drunk at my place at two a.m. and I'm the one who's stupid? Tequila really enhances your logic."

"You gave that guy his gun back."

He sighed. This was so not the conversation he wanted to have now. "I said he overpowered me."

Wilson laughed again. "You're such a fucking liar. Don't you think I know when you're lying? Don't you think everyone knows in this case?"

House had the decency to look away and at least pretend to feel ashamed. "I was trying to diagnose the man. That's what I do. He would have died without an answer. I didn't think he was going to use Thirteen like a lab rat."

"He had a gun on you. Why couldn't you just let that one go?"

House thought about what he should say. The urge to just blow Wilson off was there, but Wilson was the only person he could tell the truth.

"I understood him. Doing anything for the answer is something I understood."

He blinked a couple times, obviously slow in processing things. "You've nearly killed yourself for your answers, but you've never hurt anyone else for it."

"No, but you have." The words were out before House could stop them. Since Wilson returned they hadn't spoken of the night Amber died. "I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but don't act like you're above sacrificing people for your cause, Wilson. I know you too well for that. You looked me in the eye and told me to risk my life for Amber's. As long as there was a chance she could live you didn't care who died instead."

Even in his drunken haze the words hit Wilson hard. He stared open-mouthed at House for several seconds. He looked so sick at the memory that House almost felt guilty about saying it.

Finally Wilson found his voice. "I didn't know what else to do."

"Neither did the guy with the gun."

Wilson stared at him a for a minute and then his face distorted into miserable sadness. Oh god, he was going to actually cry. House hated when people cried. He felt awkward and useless. Somehow it was worse with Wilson. Wilson didn't often break down in front of him. If he felt emotion getting the better of him he would excuse himself. But how was he supposed to deal with this now? If House were anyone else he might offer a hug of support, or a shoulder to cry on. But that just wasn't his style. And he and Wilson rarely hugged anyway.

"You don't care if you die. You don't care if you dying affects other people. When I found out what happened… it was like when you electrocuted yourself. I thought I was going to lose you."

House cringed remembering Wilson's strained voice over the speaker phone earlier, after everyone knew what he had done. He had caused Wilson pain.

"This is why I left. If I could run away… and forget you exist, I wouldn't have to watch you kill yourself."

He tried to lighten the mood just a little. "Don't be a moron. I'm not going to kill myself."

"No," Wilson said sadly. "But you will let yourself die. You don't care if you live. Eventually your luck will run out and I will lose another person I love."

Okay, now House knew exactly how drunk Wilson was. Sure, he had no problem telling House that he cares all the time, but usually it was to convince him to stop doing something stupid or dangerous. And he never used "love." Love wasn't something two straight guys talked about, especially in reference to each other. Although House always knew that Wilson did love him on some level.

"I'm not going to die. At least probably not any time soon."

"You could have today," Wilson sniffed.

The tears were welling up in his eyes, threatening to spill. At that moment, House would have rather been back in the room with the gun pointed at him. The truth was, Wilson was right. He could have died. And no, that hadn't particularly bothered him. It bothered him that someone was stupid enough to inconvenience them all with waving a gun around. It bothered him a little that innocent people had suffered. It really bothered him that Thirteen nearly died. Because, when it came right down to it, he did care more about his staff than they would ever understand. House wasn't really sure he understood it himself. He remembered too well the incident when Foreman nearly died after visiting a patient's home and he felt the same when he believed Thirteen was going to die for their diagnosis. But himself? On some level he felt that his death could only be a good thing to the rest of the world; a way of putting things in balance. If karma actually existed he would have been dead long ago.

None of that did him any good with Wilson though.

"Yeah. I could have died."

A couple tears leaked down Wilson's cheek.

"I could have died crossing the street yesterday. Or there could have been a carbon monoxide leak in my apartment. Or maybe the Vicodin will finally kill my liver. I don't know when I'm going to die. Just like you don't know when you're going to die. For all your worrying and your healthy living and your cautious little bubble you live in, you could drop dead tomorrow. There's no point worrying about it now instead of living."

He nodded, sniffing again and trying to hold back the flood of tears. "I don't want you to die."

Without warning he launched himself toward House and threw his arms around his neck. House, caught completely off guard, was pushed backward against the cushions, his arms flailing out to his sides. Wilson's head was on his shoulder and he could already feel the tears soaking through his t-shirt. He honestly didn't know what to do with this. Wilson only let his emotions get this out of control if he was really drunk. And he only got that drunk if something was really bothering him. The last time House had seen this kind of show, it was right after Wilson had been served divorce papers. Knowing that he had caused his best friend pain equal only to divorce made House feel all the more uneasy. And maybe just a little bit guilty.

Not knowing what else to do, and confident that Wilson wouldn't remember any of this in the morning, House put his arms around the distraught man. It was a hesitant move (he couldn't remember the last time he embraced anyone who he wasn't trying to extract sexual favors from,) but his hands found their way to Wilson's back. He was trying to be reassuring, or at least a little bit supportive, but it felt completely foreign and uncomfortable. He wanted nothing more than to tell Wilson to stop behaving like an adolescent girl, but he couldn't. He just felt paralyzed in this helpless position.

And then, for reasons unknown, he muttered two words that very rarely left his mouth with any sort of sincerity. "I'm sorry."

He told himself it was just to help Wilson settle down faster so he would pass out soon. One small voice in the back of his mind however told him it was something else. Maybe it was the knowledge that he had put Wilson through too much already. Maybe it was a part of him trying to do the right thing. Maybe he truly did love Wilson too much to cause him this kind of pain.

If his grip on his best friend got a little bit tighter it was only because he wanted this pathetic show of emotion to be over. And if his eyes watered a little bit, he told himself it was only because Wilson was leaning awkwardly on his bad leg. And besides, it's not like Wilson was going to remember it in the morning.