Title: Forty Yards

Warnings: Spoiler for Season 5 finale

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, and am neither making nor seeking profit from my writing habit.

Note: This stands alone, but was written as a companion piece to A Thing with Feathers.

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"Stop here."

"What?" By the time he asks, his foot's already on the brake.

"Stop."

House doesn't say why. He's staring at the building, and Wilson's afraid to ask. The answer might be, I've changed my mind or I can't do this or I'd rather be dead.

Wilson cuts the engine and waits. The building stares back at them with the patience of a stone.

"Doing this on my own." The words are so quiet that Wilson hardly hears them over the soft hush of rain and the pinging as the engine begins to cool. He looks from the car to the door and he thinks he gets it. A few more strides beneath the open sky, under his own volition; a last scrap of free will before House subjects himself to whatever comes next, within those walls.

They get out, their last exchanges made in silence. House's watch is heavy and warm in Wilson's palm.

If it were up to Wilson he would walk in with House, shoulder to shoulder into battle. But this fight is all House has left, and Wilson won't force him to share it.

He'll be manning the aid station instead, waiting for the wounded to come home.
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~*~