Angels and Ghosts

by Jules

Synopsis: Based on spoilers for 5.23 "Under Your Skin." Huddy. Amber.

A/N: Please read and review! I am SOOOOOO excited for this episode! :))))))

He's where she knew he would be when he didn't come in to work today. A large, manly body curled over knees, trying to get away from nausea and hallucinations.

She sits on the edge of his couch, waiting for him to acknowledge her presence, her interference, her.

A strangled noise escapes his throat, and he looks at her with sad, haunted eyes.

She makes a note to call the babysitter because she knows she isn't going home tonight.

"I can't," he says, like a pitiful little boy, reaching out to his mother.

And that's when she moves. "Yes, you can," she says. "I'm here now."

Whether it's a truth or a lie, he takes comfort in it, and their hands find each other.

"I'm not going anywhere," she promises. "I'll stay until you fall asleep."

But she falls asleep first on his shoulder, never knowing they're both watching her as she dreams.

You feel her flesh, her sweaty palm against ours.

"Three's a crowd, you know," I say, but you don't want to hear it.

Delicately, I slide my hands around her neck.

"Don't touch her."

"Why? I'm only doing what you want to do." Her pulse is slow, steady. She trusts us for some ungodly reason.

"Not like that. You're going to hurt her," you say knowingly, fearfully.

"Only you can do that, House," I whisper in your ear. I grin. You don't.

"Get out! Get OUT! GET OUT!"

She feels the absence of his hand immediately.

Then the running.

Then the fall.

Just as she rounds the door, she sees what he's about to do, what he's doing.

"No!" She screams.

He feels her breath first.

They've been here before, but this time she's crying.

"House," she cries. "Please."

He gasps and opens his eyes.

Her tears begin to fall and hit his cheeks.

She cradles him and he lets her.

It is quiet. Amber's gone.

He is tired.

She is trembling and warm.

It is daylight.

The floor is hard beneath him, and his head is still in her lap.

Piles of blankets surround them haphazardly. She took every one in his apartment and moved it into the bathroom after he passed out.

"I think it's time," she says, exhausted, her bare toes cramp as they stick out from the blanket.

"Okay," he acquiescence but doesn't move.

"I'll take you myself." Her fingers slide back into his.

"Okay." He takes them and doesn't let go.

Dressed now, her in old clothes and you in new, you stand at the door together.

You look down and you see her. Her concern, her eyes, her hair, her lips, her.

You wonder how much she knows, but you realize, it doesn't matter. She's still here.

"Thank you for staying," you say quietly.

She doesn't say a word. Doesn't move. She almost takes your hand. She hesitates, meets your eyes.

"I'm glad I…" she trails off. You can't stop staring at her. "You want to kiss me, don't you?"

Time stops, and you know I'm watching. You wonder for a split second if she is real, if you are still breathing, and you admit quietly, "I always want to kiss you."

She doesn't move, but waits for you, as she has been waiting for months. You come to her, and it is soft, doubtful, and yet, exactly as you remembered, but slower, probing, and you memorize it before it ends.

Her fingers trace your beard, take your hand again.

She whispers, "The car is waiting downstairs. I'll do all the paperwork. If you want me to stay—"

You swallow hard; she is your angel, not a dream. But you don't believe in Heaven.

"No," you reject her with one word, one more crack in her chipped heart. Her hand drops from your face, and you both know you've said enough.

"House," I call after you. You don't turn around, but stop, knowing our affair isn't over. "It's okay. I'll be here when you get back."

The End