Author's Notes: This fic is set during Joy to the World, so spoilers for that episode… obviously. Thank you to my beta, Olly, for her help.

Disclaimer: I don't own the show, so don't sue.

Dissonance
By Duckie Nicks

Wilson finds her shivering and crying on the hospital rooftop, her eyes glassy looking, even in the dull moonlight, as she turns to face him. "Cuddy?" he asks tentatively, equally unsure of why he came up here to find her and why she is here in the freezing cold with no coat on.

She looks back at him, a surely cold hand immediately wiping away tears that she's clearly embarrassed to shed. She clears her throat, her demeanor changing completely in a moment. And he understands intuitively that she's gone from being just Cuddy back to "Dean of Medicine," the title she wears that seems more burden than gift at this point in her life. "Do you need something?" she asks cordially.

He shakes his head, quietly taking steps towards her, her voice so low that it's nearly inaudible in the fierce wind.

To be honest, she looks like she could use a hug – something he would gladly give her. But having dated Amber, having known what it was like to love someone so incredibly strong and proud, Wilson understands that doing that when not asked is a mistake; he would seem patronizing, paternal, and neither of those things are what Cuddy probably needs at the moment. Nor is it something, he thinks, that she'll react well to.

His feet scuffing lightly on the hospital rooftop, reminding him of so many conversations he's had with House, Wilson decides it's worth mentioning him. "House said you solved the case."

She nods her head tight-lipped.

"Did he say something?" he asks, trying to lightly prod her into a revelation he is half-sure will never come.

"No." Her voice is hoarse.

"Because we both know he can be a little… well, completely inappropriate. And immature about anyone else playing with his toys…" He gives her a moment's pause to speak, but she just stands there looking at him blankly. So he adds, "nd if he said something to you, you know it's just him being a child and –"

"He didn't say anything." But her voice still has that flat tone that says he really shouldn't believe her. And he's about to press her for more information while trying hard not to call her a liar when she supplies, "Natalie told me where the baby is."

His brow knitting in confusion, he asks, "It's alive?" The subtle moment of silence, the way her spine stiffens at the question – it's all Wilson needs to hear. "Oh."

"She… asked me to go… get it," Cuddy blurts out with difficulty, sounding both disgusted and sad, angry and bemused at the words.

He cocks his head to the side in sympathy. "Or you could call the cops," he says calmly, slightly confused at how lame the suggestion sounds. Because what he's telling her does seem like the obvious thing for her to do; it's not like there are a lot of people who would think sending a woman who recently lost a baby to retrieve a different dead child is a good idea.

But nevertheless his words sound… completely inadequate.

"I said I would… Get it I mean." And Wilson doesn't need to ask why. As much as he can't really understand her reasons, he's heard from House (and seen for himself) that she's gotten attached to the teenager who will die.

Her arms wrapping around her waist for warmth, he's about to offer her his coat when she says, "I've tried… everything to have a baby." Her voice becoming slightly more hysterical, she confesses, "I had a baby."

It's an admission he was certain, up until this moment, that he would never hear. Since the birth mother changed her mind, Cuddy hasn't said much about the matter. He's tried to broach the subject, tried to gauge how she's coping, but each time, he's been met with a flat denial of anything being wrong.

But now the wound has been lanced open, and she's bleeding freely for him to see on the hospital rooftops in the middle of December. And Wilson hates to think that they are finally having an honest moment together, hates even more that part of him is relieved that he's not the only one in their little group who feels grief, who misses someone else.

But he is both relieved and glad, and that makes him unsure of what to say, makes him afraid that any movement or sound will let her know just how glad he is to no longer feel alone, the sole bearer of loneliness and sadness. So he simply tells her, "You don't have to do this."

She shakes her head. "I do… I… told her I would, and –"

"You're allowed to break your word if it's this upsetting," he insists.

But it's not good enough for her. "She would like… to see her baby before she dies, Wilson. And if… I call the police, that won't happen," she justifies vaguely. "And if I can't do that for her – them – then…" Cuddy shakes her head, loose curls momentarily becoming visible as they sweep across her face before fading back into the inky darkness.

She doesn't finish the thought as she moves back towards the door. Not facing him when he opens his mouth, she doesn't show him any visible reaction when he offers, "I can go with you."

All she says is "No thank you" before disappearing back into the hospital, the "you couldn't possibly understand" unspoken but heard, a lie more biting than the chill of the wind.

He doesn't follow her.

The End