Author's Note: The title is respectfully borrowed from an excellent book and a film starring Robin Williams; it is in no way associated with either or the storyline of either. I have recently found myself undeniably captivated by the character of Amber; I went from hating her to adoring her in five episodes flat. This is my first exploration into the fantastic dynamic created by her presence in House and Wilson's life; I am sure many more will come. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, except my creativity.


She always sat in that same spot, in that same seat, with that same necklace cradled in the lovely hollow of her throat. Her eyes were a softer blue than his, but still clear and bright and brilliant; her hair was cornsilk blonde, more natural-looking than Cameron's, prettier than Chase's. When he first met her, he thought her plain and annoying, if a disturbing mirror image of himself with breasts.

When she left him, he thought her beautiful and irreplaceable.

Her smile had once irked him with its know-it-all suggestiveness. But when she smiled at him as he sat beside her on the bus bench, wondering again about heaven and God and all sorts of bedtime stories, he felt his heart breaking with the sly sweetness of the way the corners of her mouth tipped upward, the way her eyes crinkled ever so slightly at the edges.

Before they spoke into the peaceful white silence, he found his mind flashing over the past few months with her. He had been jealous of her relationship with his best friend for more reasons than he could sort through: that she could make Wilson happy when he could not; that Wilson could make her happy when he could not. He had ignored it for the sake of his sanity, but when she had come to him in the bar, in Wilson's place, he had found himself oddly pleased.

There had been electricity in the touch of her fingertips on the skin of the back of his hand—there had been heat in the closeness of their bodies as she helped him from the bar. He had wanted to ask her back to his apartment, or better yet, get himself invited to hers. He had wanted to kiss her while smelling Wilson on her pillowcases. He had wanted to bury himself inside her while she wore that ridiculous sweatshirt of Wilson's. He had wanted to connect with her and, by doing so, forge some impossible connection with his only friend.

But instead there was a bus, and a crash, and a loss. And then another loss.

Wilson was willing to risk his life for hers.

He had hated his friend for that. But secretly, beneath the icy crust that hid his pain, he had been even more willing to risk his life for her; to risk his life for Wilson. Because he loved them both in a way he could never describe, could never admit. The love and the hatred, the desire and the despair swam together into something that choked him, and he had done the only thing he could do. He had surrendered his most cherished possession—his mind—to show the love to which he could never attest.

And then he had found her, in his memory, but it was too late—for everyone.

When he came back to himself, he was with her again. The quiet serenity on her face told him what had happened, even if he refused to believe in what it implied. He had been here before. Final neuron firings of a dying brain—nothing more.

You're dead.

Everybody dies.

Am I dead?

Not yet.

Should be.

Why?

He fought the urge to touch her face, to run his fingers through the golden silk of her hair, to kiss those sweetly smirking lips until they parted beneath his own. His reply seized on familiar anger, instead of unfamiliar desire.

Because life shouldn't be random. Because lonely, misanthropic drug addicts should die in bus crashes, and young do-gooders in love, who get dragged out of their apartment in the middle of the night, should walk away clean.

Self-pity isn't like you.

No, well, I'm branching out from self-loathing and self-destruction. Wilson is going to hate me.

You kind of deserve it.

He's my best friend.

I know. What now?

He gave in to the longings that were surging through him with every connection of blue to blue, every gentle and enticing movement of her lips in a smile or a word or a sigh. He gave in to the desire to stay in peace and potential love, rather than returning to pain and almost certain hate.

I could stay here with you.

He should have known better. She did not love him any more than Wilson did, than Wilson could. She would send him away, the way she should have the night she tried to rescue him from himself. The thought that it could have been Wilson bleeding and dying on a splintered remnant of public transportation crossed his mind, not for the first time. He had no idea which was worse, the reality or the possibility. He shuddered imperceptibly as she spoke again.

Get off the bus.

I can't.

Why not?

Because...because it doesn't hurt here. I don't want to be in pain. I don't want to be miserable. And I don't want him to hate me.

Well, you can't always get what you want.

He left her because she forced him to, with her honesty and her cool logic, with the truth of her love for Wilson and the truth that she did not love him evident on her face, in her words, and in the way she faded into the light with a smile that spoke of the change one man's affection had worked in her life. He knew the power of that love, that affection. He had been the recipient of it for years, and had ignored its transformative nature to his own detriment. Returning to a world filled with its absence nearly made him ill, but she left him no choice. She moved on—into what?—and left him alone, with the man who still loved her and no longer loved him.

In his dreams, however—his dreams that were not filled with Wilson's harsh and angry kisses and punishing hands and sorrowful, betrayed silences—she came to him again and again. She was beautiful, and loving. Sometimes they sat and talked, bare feet swinging below the uncomfortable bus seats; sometimes they sat in silence, staring into the whiteness. Once she kissed him, and he thought he would break from the beauty and the pain. But every time, she left him.

Get off the bus.

And he came back to a world without her, to a world without Wilson, to a world without love or even the possibility of it. The only thing that made it bearable was the knowledge that every time he fell asleep, she might come to him again.

She always sat in that same spot, in that same seat, with that same necklace cradled in the lovely hollow of her throat. And he always said her name with reverence, with love, with regret, while cradling the pendant in his fingers and hearing the haunting melody of the syllables that had come to mean everything to him.

Amber.