This is what I really wanted to happen…as in I was shouting at the television during this scene, much to the amusement and annoyance of my friend and her mom.

Disclaimer: I want to own it, but that's not the same thing.

I'll See You on the Other Side

In the back of their minds, they both knew it would have come down to this eventually—the staring, the silence, the awkward shifting as the inevitable loomed behind them in the form of an austere, cold building, maybe one of hope. They had to hope, for what else was there? Acceptance? Acceptance that House was spiraling dangerously close to the lip of a chasm, beyond which even Wilson couldn't save him? No. Never.

They sighed to expel their thoughts, but it never sounded right, just a woosh, a confused product of the words' reluctance to travel a little lower. They tried not to cry, and they succeeded.

But they both wanted to, felt like they should; like they should show some sign of this being the last time for weeks, months perhaps, that they would see each other; like they should recognize that once they see this through, things might change forever, an idea so vague that it was terrifying; like they might not ever see this to the end, and, in a way, if this does change things, this could be a goodbye to what they had.

House was starving: he needed Wilson to say something, anything at all, anything to give some sort of tangible interpretation of that gaze laced and choked by strains of an emotional tempest. Tell me it's going to be all right. Tell me again that this is the right thing to do. Tell me you don't think any less of me. Tell me that you care.

And still the silence trudged on, limping on the gravel beneath the hazy sky, and so House decided that, just this once, he should follow its trail. The tip of his cane pushed down into the soft imprint of the vacuum's soles, his own noisily tailing along, almost dragging.

Behind him, Wilson's eyes bore holes into his back searing straight to his heart and lungs and there was blood everywhere. He couldn't breathe save for hitching, suffocating under the gravity of this necessity. He didn't want to do this without him, as much as he knew to the contrary. What was wrong with the ward on the floor below in Princeton?

"House."

Tell me it's going to be all right. Tell me again that this is the right thing to do. Tell me you

"Wait. Just a second."

don't think any less of me. T—

Raising a hand in apology to the waiting psychiatrists, Wilson ambled purposely to where House had frozen and rotated on his axis, toward the sun not obscured by clouds. His hand was in the staple position, grabbing the back of his neck like a life raft, and his brown eyes flashed to the ground before meeting House's blue.

His fingers curled around the cane tighter as he felt Amber impishly smile just behind his ear.

"I—" Without warning, Wilson flung his arms around him, shaking his head, muting himself with hurt, unable to help but desiring that foreign ability more than anything. Tentatively House reciprocated the gesture, but just as his hands fell onto Wilson's back did the other pull back to see his face. "This is a good thing." He was shaking, not only his voice, but him, the self, the soul; the body had not yet begun to quaver. He couldn't worry House now, not now, why ever?

"Your hand is on my face."

They momentarily glanced to Wilson's left hand which had crawled to the cheek covered in stubble, resting there gently and immobile despite the bluntness of House's observation. And that made Wilson almost laugh, but he didn't wish to risk plucking the tears so tenuously secured to the brink of his composure. "House—"

Tell me it's going to be all right. Tell me again, again that this is the right thing to do.

"I know you're going to pull through this."

Tell me you don't think any less of me.

"You don't know: you want to believe I can do this."

"Isn't that enough? To be believed in?"

Searching, House's gaze fell again to his cheek, a question burying itself before it could be seen. "Your hand's still on my face."

When he returned to his friend and their eyes locked, no one said a word, dared crack a joke that Wilson too had an alien hand he couldn't even begin to control. The psychiatrists were getting impatient to take him in, and the two still stood there, losing patience with the way time marched forward, jerking them apart until seconds felt like thousands of miles of the unknown.

Wilson didn't move, nor did House, save for the occasional glance to the hand whose presence grew more obvious and natural as the seconds and miles ticked past. "Wilson, I better go."

Tell me it's going to be all right. Tell me again, again, again that this is the right thing to do. Tell

"Wh—no, just…wait."

me you don't think any less of me. "Wilson—"

The hand pressing carefully into the rough skin, Wilson's face began to close the distance, slowly, very slowly, until their lips met, barely touching but enough to radiate more than there were or will ever be words for.

Tell me again how much you care.

"I know you're going to pull through this," he repeated, finally letting his hand drop and his feet take a few small steps back.

House nodded stiffly and recommenced his trek toward the doctors staring curiously at the delay, the question on the horizon, the possible answer. It was much too soon when these new faces swooped down upon him, herding him into this prison of freedom. But, just in case it was only the former, and because he needed this last image of Wilson to feed his probable loneliness, he took a look back over his shoulder.

Wilson simply stood, hands down by his side, defeated in a way, but still hoping. And if his eyes weren't deceiving him like his head, he could have sworn he saw a minute grin flicker onto his friend's face.

"Yup," Amber sighed, smirking as she bounded in behind them. "You saw it."

Even across the distance that brewed uncertainty in perception, the message was clear.

I love you.