Wilson smiled, walking up to his friend, who was standing waiting for the elevator.

"How's it going?"

House looked at him, "dandy."

Wilson rolled his eyes, "it's just a friendly question."

House gave him an annoyed look, which made Wilson frown, "what's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong," said House.

"Lose a patient?"

"No."

"Is Foreman going to say that if I ask him?"

"Asshole."

"Uh-huh. Takes one to know one."

The elevator opened, and they both got in.

"You take your bike here? It's raining, I can give you a ride home."

"No."

"Seriously, it wouldn't kill you to take a few less risks… actually quite the opposite…"

"No, I mean, I didn't drive my bike. Didn't drive, as a matter of fact, took the bus."

Wilson blinked, "how-come?"

"Looked at the forecast. Knew it was gonna rain. Car's in the shop."

"You could have asked me for a ride…"

House's expression seemed to darken, as the elevator doors dinged open, "yeah."

Wilson ignored him, "come on, I'll drive you home. We can pick up some Chinese, watch a movie?"

House shook his head, "not really in the mood. I'll take the bus."

Wilson sighed, giving up, "fine, sulk, whatever."

House shook his head, "no… I really just don't feel like hanging tonight. Tired, probably gonna zonk out as soon as I get horizontal."

Wilson nodded—House did look pretty tired, "okay. Sure you don't want a ride home?"

House shook his head, "I'm sure."

Wilson nodded, "see you tomorrow, then."


He just managed to make it to the bus stop bench, before giving in and leaning forward, head between his knees.

Dammit, he needed to get horizontal.

He was going to pass out.

Thankfully, the bus took long enough to come that he'd managed to recover enough to make it up the steps and into the seat.

He missed his stop, sitting with his head down.

A nurse who took the same bus to get home as he did shook his shoulder, asking him if he meant to pass his stop, and he only got off two stops late.

Two stops, two blocks.

He didn't make it.

He made it into the entrance hallway, but the steps had taken too much out of him, and he passed out against the wall.

He woke to April, his old-lady neighbor, shaking him.

"Uhn… okay, I'm awake."

"Gregory? Did you go drinking last night? You don't smell like you did…"

He shook his head, slowly sitting up.

What the hell…

Oh.

"Uh…no…"

She raised her eyebrows, obviously waiting for him to explain.

"I uh… forgot to eat dinner. And…lunch."

"Uh-huh. And breakfast?"

"Probably."

"Right. Well get in your apartment and eat something."

House looked at his watch, "shit!"

He started to scramble to his feet, but April gripped his shoulders, "stop it. You passed out and slept in the hallway outside your apartment. You can be a bit late for work."

"It's not work… let me up."

She sighed, rolling her eyes, but let go.


"You're late."

House nodded, taking off his overshirt, "I know."

"You need to take this seriously."

House sighed, nodding again, as he sat down in the chair, "I am. I'm not an idiot."

"Then you need to be on time."

"I passed out, okay? I woke up in the hallway in front of my apartment ten minutes after I was supposed to be here. I will be on time from now on."

Gracie sighed, nodding, as she hung the drip from the IV pole, "you should really tell someone."

"Yeah, the last time people at work thought I had cancer, they ran around trying to cure me and nearly let our patient die. Not doing that again."

"The last time they thought you had cancer?"

"Long story."

"Did you have it?"

"No. I was trying to get into a clinical trial that happened to be run by an oncologist. They found some paper trails of me getting my bloodwork done, and a record of me calling the oncologist running it, and came to their own stupid conclusions."

"Okay… then I guess it's not medically relevant. But you should still tell someone. They're going to notice, anyway, when your hair starts falling out."

"I'll wear a baseball cap, and I was losing my hair anyway."

"Right. Wear a baseball cap until all the hair grows back. That's not conspicuous at all."

"You know, they sell these things, I think they're called wags… no, that's not right… Wugs? Wegs? Wogs?"

Gracie rolled her eyes, and stuck the needle into his arm, maybe a little less gently than she could have.

House stuck his tongue out at her, and she stuck hers out in reply.

"Wigs! That's it. Your bad haircut reminded me…"

She shook her head, and moved on to the next patient.

Great. He'd been in such a hurry he hadn't brought anything to do.

Dammit.

He's got the weekend off, and he figures he can call Cuddy on Monday, when he'll have been puking for a few days and will sound credibly sick.

And in seven days, the chemo is going to be over, and he'll go back to work looking like he's been ill.

The only thing that won't be explained is the hair, and he already bought a wig that looks like his hair normally does, and even though it's got hair on top where he's starting to go bald, he's tall enough he doubts anyone knows what the top of his head looks like—he's lucky he's not Taub.

And… well, if someone does mention the extra hair, he'll take a lot of crap about it, but… people *do* get hair pieces, and he can say that's what this is.

It's a perfect plan.


It's Sunday night, when there's a knock on his door.

He gets up, and makes it slowly and miserably to the door, opening it on Wilson's concerned face, "Cuddy says you aren't answering her calls, and you apparently haven't paid the bill on your landline."

House frowned, patting down his pockets, then sighing, "I must have left it at the…"

He stopped.

Wilson looked at him, blinking.

"The where?"

House shook his head, "the OTB. Figured you'd get all lectury."

Wilson shook his head, "I really don't care. Gambling at least doesn't enter the bloodstream."

House snorted, and started limping back to the couch.

He seemed slower than usual, and rather exhausted.

"Here. Use my phone, I'll wait."

House shook his head, "not taking any cases… think I'm coming down with something."

Wilson rolled his eyes, "yeah, right."

House blinked at his friend, "seriously. Sick."

"Yes, you've given me every reason to believe you in the past, haven't you?"

House sighed, looking at the floor, "I'm not lying. Now get out. I'm going to bed."

Wilson rolled his eyes, sitting on the couch beside his friend and pressing his hand against the older doctor's forehead, "unless you have a fever, I'm dragging you to work myse--…"

He frowned. House did have a fever.

"Oh…"

He sighed, "okay. You do have a fever."

House nodded.

He seemed to be having trouble keeping his eyes open.

Wilson sighed, and rubbed his friend's arm, briefly, "okay. I'll tell Cuddy you're sick. She won't believe it from you."

House snorted, tiredly.

He really did seem ill, now that Wilson looked at him.

He was pale, and definitely looked tired.

Wilson called Cuddy, and told her House was sick and wasn't coming in.

House suddenly got to his feet, lurching unsteadily to the bathroom.

Wilson followed him, sighing when he saw that his friend was being rather violently sick into the toilet.

He knelt, and held House's shirt out of the way.

"You want me to stay over?"

House shook his head, miserably, "no."

"Okay." to tell the truth, he hadn't particularly wanted to stay up all night watching his friend puke, "I'll stop by tomorrow, at lunch time?"

House nodded, knowing saying no would require an explanation he didn't have.

He barely made it to the bus stop that morning.

Slept on the bus.

Got off a stop late.

Nearly passed out in the elevator.

Did pass out halfway to the chair Gracie had started setting up upon seeing him enter.


The next thing he knew, he was waking up with machines beeping around him.

He pushed the call button, and eventually a nurse showed up, "yes?"

"What happened?"

She picked up his chart, "apparently you passed out in the chemo ward. Dr. Gracie Miller had you admitted."

"What time is it?"

"Two in the afternoon."

House nodded, closing his eyes.

Crap.

He'd missed calling Wilson to say his fever had spiked and he was going to get it checked out so Wilson wouldn't come check on him.

This was going to get complicated.

A sudden wave of nausea hit, and, with no emesis basin available, he ended up puking over the side of the bed.

Great.

Just so friggin great.

He called Wilson, told him he'd had a dehydration crisis because of how much he'd been puking, and had called an ambulance, then passed out.

Wilson, of course, insisted on running over, and House stuck his chart under the mattress, calling Gracie to tell her *not*, under any circumstances, until he called her again, to come anywhere near his room.

As she was the head of oncology at St. Sebastian's, Wilson would be rather likely to recognize her.


Wilson showed up, looking flustered and upset.

House had been lucky he'd worn a baseball cap to chemo, as his hair was falling out in patches, by this point.

Wilson hovered, making House do coordination tests and checking his urine production.

House rolled his eyes at the eight time Wilson made him touch his fingers together, "I'm fine, Wilson!" he snapped, "I just couldn't keep fluids down. Now I'm more hydrated than a hippopotamus."

Wilson blinked at him, "a hippopotamus?"

"Yes. A hippopotamus."

Wilson seemed to think it was funny, rather than pathetic, and somehow it did seem to ease his worries just a bit.

House slept for a while.

When he woke up, Wilson was gone, leaving a note in his place.

Apparently one of his patients had had a 911.

House didn't mind.

It gave him time to puke his guts out in private.

A day later, he was back on the chemo drip.

Gracie wasn't happy about the delay.

House wasn't happy about having to make excuses for longer.

Wilson wasn't happy that House was still in the hospital, but wouldn't let him know what room he'd been moved to.


Three days into the restarted chemo, Foreman called him, with a case.

He knew that, given what the case was, saying no would be worse than coming in exhausted and sick and barely upright.

So he said yes.

Foreman leaned back in his chair, yawning.

House should have been here twenty minutes ago.

He'd sent the kids off to test the patient after giving up and doing a ddx without House.

The door opened, and he opened his eyes.

House.

Foreman frowned.

The man looked like death warmed over.

He was pale, looked slightly nauseous, and was clearly unsteady as he walked.

"What…" he stopped, blinking a few times, "where are the kids…"

Foreman slowly got to his feet, watching the older doctor, who was holding on to a chair to stay upright.

"You took almost an hour to get here. I did a differential with them and they're off testing the patient."

House nodded, swaying, "that's…"

His eyes rolled up, and he collapsed onto the floor.

Foreman sighed, crouching by him, checking his pulse.

It was thready but racing.

He rolled House onto his back, checking his pupil response.

It was normal.

He pulled a chair over, putting House's legs up onto it, so the blood would go to House's head.

That worked, and the older doctor started to move, groaning quietly.

He turned his head to the side, then to the other.

Finally, he opened his eyes, miserably.

"What…?"

"You collapsed. And your, um…"

Foreman held up the hairpiece, or wig, or whatever it was.

"Somehow, I'm guessing this wasn't just you being vain about going bald."

House snatched for it, missed.

"This never happened," he said, angrily, starting to sit up.

Foreman gripped his shoulders, pushing him back down.

"Stop it. You'll hurt yourself."

House glared, "let go."

"Are you dying?"

House blinked for a moment, then sighed.

It was a simple question, asked plainly.

Foreman just wanted to know.

"Probably not."

Foreman let go, and handed him back the wig.

He let House slowly sit up, and moved the chair out of the way, while House tried to get to his feet.

"What is it? It's gotta be acute, a blood disorder…"

"Leukemia. I'm fine. It's mostly just the chemo that's got me passing out."

Foreman nodded, impassively.

"You put it on crooked," he said, as House managed to get to his feet and stay there.

House sighed, and limped out, obviously headed to the bathroom to fix the wig.

Foreman shook his head.

As this was House medical crisis number… he'd lost count. Had to be somewhere in the high twenties, though… he wasn't going to worry too much.

House obviously didn't want Foreman's concern, or anyone else's.

He grimaced, as he heard a crash out in the hallway, and hurried out to find its inevitable source.

He was right.

House had passed out again, wig still on crooked, knocking over a cart of medical equipment on his way down.

Nobody else was there yet, so Foreman straightened the wig.

House deserved at least a little dignity.

People started hurrying out of their offices, and Wilson was among them.

He knelt by House, next to Foreman, "do you know what happened?"

House probably had his reasons for not telling Wilson.

But as Foreman was pretty sure those reasons mostly had to do with avoiding concern, he didn't have too much in the way of qualms about saying, "no. He passed out in the differential room a few minutes ago, wouldn't tell my why, walked out."

He wasn't going to lie to help House cover up cancer.

Wilson leaned over his friend, shaking House, until the older doctor opened his eyes.

"Oww…" he said, quietly.

"House, you passed out! What's going on?!"

House turned his head, still not completely coherent.

The wig flopped off.

Wilson blinked, slowly, and picked it up.

He held it for a moment, then looked down at his friend, "something you wanna tell me?"

House closed his eyes, miserably.

Foreman left, before the argument which was sure to be of massive proportions started.

House finally opened his eyes.

Wilson had apparently signaled everyone else to leave, because they were alone in the hallway.

Foreman had gone, too. Probably didn't want to get caught up in the argument.

House didn't blame him.

"Um…" he said, quietly, "I have leukemia. It's being treated. The treatment's working. Nothing to tell."

Wilson did not look amused.


Dr. Gracie Collins frowned a bit, surprised, when Dr. James Wilson came in.

She was on good terms with the other oncologist, but what he was doing here, right now..

And then she saw House come in, clearly miserable.

That was right. These two were best friends, and, if you listened to gossip, maybe more than that.

"Hi," said Wilson, "don't mind me. I'm just a visitor."

Gracie nodded, amused by the cowed look on House's face.

He had clearly been found out, and not by his own design.


Wilson sighed, as he pulled up in front of his friend's apartment.

House was asleep, in the passenger seat, head resting against the window.

He'd giving up on the wig, saying it itched.

He had a baseball cap on instead.

His stubble had fallen out, too, mostly today.

Wilson wondered how he'd been planning to hide that.

House barely made it to the car from the chemo ward, and Wilson knows he's completely exhausted.

He gets out, and goes around to open House's door.

His friend nearly falls out sideways, but the seatbelt holds him inside the car.

Wilson sighs, and unlatches it, catching his friend before House falls out.

House doesn't even wake up, as Wilson pulls him out, just groans a bit, at the movement.

Wilson doesn't think he can carry the older doctor, but House does look like he's lost a lot of weight, and it'll be easier for both of them if House doesn't have to wake up.

So Wilson puts the arm that isn't holding House up under his friend's knees, and lifts.

Wilson is both glad and scared, to find that he can carry his friend.

Mostly scared.

Because House hasn't weighed this little since the infarction.

House's neighbor is leaving, and they see Wilson and House, and get the spare key from over House's doorframe, opening the door.

Wilson thanks them, and carries House inside.

He tucks his friend into bed, and sits, watching, as House sleeps.

This is bad.

This is really bad.

He goes back out and shuts the car door, and locks it.

He's not going home tonight.

He sits on the bed again, and gently takes the baseball cap off his friend's head.

It's so strange, seeing his friend like this.

He's seen hundreds, probably thousands of people like this.

He'd so desensitized to it, he's sometimes surprised when people do have hair.

But it's incredibly strange, when it's his friend's face he's looking at.


Wilson is only able to drive House, the next day.

There's appointments he can't shuffle around.

He stops by at lunchtime, but House is asleep.

When he comes to pick his friend up at the end of the day, House isn't where he should be.

Wilson goes to the front desk, and asks, and finds out that House had to be admitted…again.

He finds his friend sitting up, though, awake, sitting up, and fidgeting with the EKG leads attached to his chest.

"I had an arrhythmia," he says, before Wilson can ask, "I'm fine. I just have to be monitored."

Wilson nodded, extremely relieved.

One of the drugs House was on was hard on the cardiovascular system. It wasn't surprising that he'd had an arrhythmia, especially given his medical history.

"My book got left in the chemo ward… could you…"

Wilson nodded, happy to have something to do to help his friend.


When he came back, frowning, because nobody seemed to have seen the book in question, and it wasn't there, there were people in House's room.

He pushed his way in, and stopped.

There was a crash cart, and House's hospital robe was pulled open.

There were two red spots on his chest.

He was breathing, and his monitor showed a normal rhythm.

Gracie was by the bed, having apparently been called in.

"What happened?" asked Wilson, weakly.

She looked at him, "he paged a nurse because he was having another arrhythmia. The arrhythmia degenerated into v-fib, we shocked him, he came back. But he waited nearly a minute to call a nurse, according to his EKG, and the monitor was turned off. I'm going to have someone on suicide watch, at least until I get some answers."

Wilson closed his eyes.

"No… it…" he sighed, opening his eyes, "he started futzing with the monitor just before he asked me to get a book that didn't exist. He… didn't want me to see him having an emergency."

Gracie looked less distressed at that explanation.

"That makes sense."

Wilson sighed, as people started to file out.

He walked over, curling his hand around House's limp fingers.

"He's okay," said Gracie, quietly, gripping Wilson's shoulder, "he was only in v-fib for fifteen seconds, and he was oxygenating okay during the arrhythmia. He should wake up any minute now."

Wilson nodded, numbly.

House groaned, and opened his eyes.

"What…oh."

He grimaced, "ooowww… I tell you, there has to be a way to make those paddles hurt less…"

Wilson tried to slap him.

But he couldn't.

He stopped, and immediately started to cry.

House sighed, looking pleadingly at Gracie, who nodded and left.

House squeezed Wilson's hand, "calm down. Just… come on, you're getting the bed all wet… stop crying."

"You almost died."

"I noticed. Stop crying."

"House… I don't wanna lose you…"

"WILSON, GODDAMMIT, STOP CRYING OR GET OUT!" yelled House, suddenly.

Wilson stopped, stunned out of his tears, and stared at his friend.

House sighed, rubbing his forehead, and spoke, clearly embarrassed, "I hate it when you cry."

Wilson blinked, wiping the tears off his cheeks.

Then he sat on the edge of the bed, leaned over, and hugged his friend.

House waited a few moments, then rolled his eyes, "okay… yeah, I'm not dead. Enough hugging. Let go."

Wilson didn't let go.

House sighed, somewhat resigned to his friend's embrace, "okay… if you're not gonna let go, can you at least ease up a bit? My chest is kind of sore."

Wilson didn't sit up.

House frowned, and put his hand on his friend's back.

Wilson was still breathing…

He felt tears soaking through the thin hospital gown over his shoulder.

Oh.

He sighed, and let his hand rest where it was, on Wilson's back, just bellow his right shoulder blade.

And Wilson wondered why House hadn't told him he was sick…


House had another arrhythmia later that evening, but it didn't cause any problems other than a funny jumpy feeling in his chest.

Gracie came back with the results of the blood test for cardiac enzymes, which were high, meaning there had been some damage from the chemo, which was causing the arrhythmias.

House ended up with a pacemaker, and Wilson finally did have to let go of him while he was getting the surgery to put it in.

Wilson was frantic.

House was actually relieved.

He'd been sure that if the chemo damaged an organ, it would be his liver, in which case he would be screwed.

Sure, he was no longer taking vicodin, but he was still on pain meds, and no transplant committee in their right mind would have given him a liver.

Needing a pacemaker, although a pain in the ass, as it meant he would have to stay away from the MRI, was not particularly high on his list of things-that-would-be-bad-if-they-happened.

Actually, come to think of it, he really is lucky he isn't on the vicodin anymore. One of the side effects of the medications he's on is dizziness, which is probably the only reason he was able to hide nearly passing out half the time for as long as he did.


When he wakes up, Wilson is there again, though thankfully not lying on his sore, sore chest.

Unfortunately, it seems that Wilson decided to tell practically all of PPTH that House was here—though mercifully not his current team.

Cuddy, Cameron, Chase and Foreman are all there, as well as Wilson.

But again, thankfully, he must be on a buttload of morphine.

"Your eyes look like a Hershey bar," he blurts out, then frowns, unsure if that made any sense.

Wilson blinks at him with brown eyes, that are, in fact, pretty close to the color of chocolate.

Then he smiles.

"Uh-huh. Three guesses as to who's on morphine…"

House smiles at him, goofily.

Wilson smiles back, shaking his head in amusement.

There's a knock on the door, and Gracie comes in, looks at everyone, "I'm sorry, but I need to speak to Dr. House alone."

They all pile out, except for Wilson.

Gracie looks at him, then at House.

House shakes his head—he doesn't feel like going to the trouble of kicking Wilson out.

She nods, and hands him a piece of paper, "we'll still have to give you another three to five courses. But this is definitely good news."

He frowns at it.

Then hands it to Wilson, silently.

Wilson looks at it.

And smiles.

The latest bloodwork came back with no signs of cancer.

He turns back to his friend, about to congratulate him, but he's already asleep again.

Wilson smiles, quietly, and he and Gracie leave the room so House can rest.


House groaned, opening his eyes.

He's getting really tired of waking up, these days…

"Hey."

He turned his head, towards where the voice came from.

Wilson was there, smiling at him.

"I'm glad you're okay, House," he said, quietly.

House blinked at him, tiredly.

"Duh."

Wilson rolled his eyes, "just keep your mouth shut, for once. Okay?"

House didn't answer.

Wilson sighed, "well?"

House smirked, "you told me to keep my mouth shut."

Wilson glared at him, "oh, shut up."

House laughed.

Wilson sobered a bit, "um… I get it. Why you didn't tell me. And… thanks. For protecting me."

House glared, "you've got it wrong. I told you. It's just annoying when you cry."

Wilson smiled, laughing a bit tearfully, "whatever you say, House. Whatever you say."

House smirked, "in that case, I say, get me some ice cream."

Wilson rolled his eyes, "don't push it."

"But you said whatever I say!" whined House.

Wilson just shook his head…

….and went to get some ice cream, for both of them.