(A/N: Written for a daily fic prompt on LJ.)

Never tell

Sometimes, when the apartment is still, when there's no music playing, when he's lying in his bed eyes wide to the ceiling, it's cold. Everything's cold.

"Remember, I won't be able to stay tonight, I've got to get to Boston for the oncology conference – gonna be a long drive."

It was impossible to kid himself into believing that Wilson couldn't see that look in his eyes, the split second of fear as Wilson's words hit his ears. And this momentary flash of vulnerability wasn't new to Wilson; he'd seen it many times, questioned it too, but when House didn't want to talk, he didn't talk. Wilson's learnt not to ask, but he hasn't quite mastered the art of hiding his concern – sometimes his gaze lingers just that little bit too long.

House had forgotten Wilson was away; that was nothing unusual, but having shared a bed for so long, he didn't have the chance to psyche himself up for a night alone.

Now, body strewn on top of the covers, an arm stretched over Wilson's empty side of the bed, House can't sleep – and he's not sure that he wants to.

It seems silly that Wilson's touch and the warmth that radiates from his side of the bed every night should be soothing, especially when, as a child, he would do anything to avoid that kind of human contact.

In the beginning, it was awkward – House's mind immediately associated Wilson's hands with something bad – but eventually he came to accept them, to love them, to understand that Wilson's soft skin held no threat, unlike the calloused hands he was so well acquainted with as a boy. Now, the only way he could sleep comfortably was if an arm rested over his torso, holding him, keeping him safe, never letting go.

3:02am. He pictures Wilson asleep in his Boston hotel room, wearing his old Rolling Stones t-shirt. He sighs, listening to each tick of the clock, waiting for Wilson to come home and pull him into a kiss and relay all the boring details of the conference.

He remembers what Wilson did – what he always does – just before leaving for Boston. Wilson squeezed his shoulder and gave him a look that said, you'll be okay. He hates that Wilson seems to know how much it bothers him when he goes away…

But why it bothers him…that he'll never tell.