A/N: I am so not sure that this story works. House/Wilson funny, I seem to be okay, but House/Wilson dramatic, I don't know . . . Anyway, I was trying to have a confrontation between an ill, fragile House and a Wilson who is mindful of that fact. Oh, and the idea is to get House at least a little fixed as well. I think this is called biting off more than you can chew. Anyway, please review and let me know what you think.

Disclaimer: Don't Own, etc.

Wilson didn't visit House the first two weeks he was at Mayfield. He knew House would be miserable from detoxing, and he figured that House wouldn't really want to see anyone. After House was feeling better physically, Wilson began making regular visits twice a week.

The first couple of visits were a little awkward, but, after a while, they settled into a routine, just like they had at work and when they socialized.

After Wilson had been visiting about a month, he contacted House's doctor. The doctor confirmed that Wilson was his health care proxy, and Wilson was informed that while House was making good progress physically with detoxing, and with pain management and PT for his leg, things weren't going so smoothly with his mental state. The hallucinations seemed to be persisting despite House stopping the Vicodin use.

Wilson asked what House's doctor thought might still be causing them. The psychiatrist said she had considered that House had schizophrenia, but he met none of the diagnostic criteria except for hallucinations. So, the doctor's preliminary diagnosis was that House was suffering hallucinations associated with severe depression.

She then asked a lot of questions about who Amber and Kutner were, and why or how they were important to House. Wilson answered as best he could, despite the painful memories each of them evoked. She then completely surprised Wilson by asking that the next time he came to visit House to make sure he talked to him about something that mattered to both of them.

Wilson asked what he should talk about. The doctor said the specifics weren't important, as long as the discussion was about something significant in their relationship. Wilson told her that he and House had been, for want of a better word, estranged, after Amber's death, and that they had resumed their friendship, but they had never really talked about anything that happened. He asked if this would be a good thing to discuss.

The doctor was trying to sound neutral, but her voice betrayed her. Even though she didn't say it, she obviously thought this would be useful, or possibly even therapeutic. Wilson decided not to get his hopes up for a positive outcome, but he was still determined to talk to House in a meaningful way.

On his next visit, instead of sitting in the patient lounge, House and Wilson met in a small, private room.

"My shrink says you're going to talk to me about Something Important today," House stated, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Like our previous discussions about monster trucks and WWF were insignificant."

Wilson smiled. "I don't think this is going to be easy for either one of us, but your doctor seems to think it might help, so I'm willing to try."

"Whatever," House replied dismissively. "So, what would you like to chat about?"

"Since you are still hallucinating Amber, how about that?" Wilson asked.

"You really want to talk about your dead girlfriend?" House asked bluntly.

Wilson winced, "It should be about as fun as my last root canal, but, yeah, I think we need to."

"What about her?" House asked. "Are you going to describe what a good lay she was? Please be as explicit as possible."

Wilson knew that House was trying to get him angry. It was a deflection strategy House often used with him, especially when House was desperately trying to avoid something. Apparently, this topic was pretty close to the bone. Wilson braced himself for more abuse and continued.

"Why do you think you are hallucinating her?" Wilson asked.

"First of all, don't try to sound like you are my shrink, because I already have one, and she's a lot hotter than you are," House began, "Second, I have no fucking clue why I am hallucinating her."

Wilson ignored House's comments and continued. "Well, there must be something unresolved about her death for you."

"I said cut out the crappy shrink routine!" House exclaimed. "I have enough people analyzing me all day, Wilson -- I don't need this from you."

"What do you need from me, House?" Wilson asked.

"To be my friend," House answered honestly. "In case you've forgotten, I don't have a lot of those."

Wilson decided that focusing on Amber's death wasn't going to get them anywhere, and it was too painful for both of them to dwell on it if it wasn't going to help House. He knew that the fallout was probably even worse for House than the death itself. Wilson still felt terrible about some of the things he said when he left Princeton-Plainsboro. As he told the psychiatrist, he and House had never discussed them. Well, no time like the present.

"House, I want to talk to you about what I said to you when I left the hospital after Amber died," Wilson began.

"What about it?" House asked warily.

"I'm sorry I hurt you," Wilson said. "I wish I'd never said any of it."

"Really?" House asked. He was afraid that if he allowed Wilson to see how hurt he was, Wilson might pull the rug out from under him again.

"Although, when I said we were never friends, that was right, in a sense," Wilson stated.

Here we go. He's already got one crazy person in his life, he doesn't need two, House thought. He's going to leave again.

"Maybe when we first met, we might have started out as friends," Wilson continued, "But somewhere not very far along the way, you became my family."

House was totally surprised by what Wilson had just said. "Family?" House asked incredulously.

"Yeah," Wilson said. "I needed a brother."

"But you already have two!" House reminded him.

"I was never close to my older brother." Wilson stated. "He's just cold. He's an accountant who designs computer systems for businesses. He doesn't even meet with the clients; other people in his firm do that. He gets the specifications and spends nearly all his time in front of a computer. I don't even know if he loves his wife and daughters. Every time I've seen them together, there are no outward signs of affection at all. Sometimes I think he had a family just because it's expected."

"What about Danny?" House asked.

"I loved the nineteen-year-old Danny who was troubled, but still a person. But that Danny is gone forever. I don't know if I could love the Danny of twenty years later, who is used to living on the streets and can't even have a meaningful conversation with another human being," Wilson replied.

"Haldol will do that to you," House remarked. "It would do that to me, too."

"If they gave it to you, yes," Wilson replied. "But your hallucinations are because of severe depression, not schizophrenia."

"So they tell me," House muttered. "So, I'm family?"

"Yes," Wilson responded.

"But you still left me," House reminded him. "Why?"

"I was angry," Wilson admitted.

"Because I caused her death," House said sadly.

"No!" Wilson exclaimed in exasperation. "I never thought that! I was angry that you could save all those people who meant nothing to you, but you couldn't save someone I loved. You're The Great Doctor Gregory House, why couldn't you fix her?"

"There was nothing I could have done," House admitted aloud to both Wilson and himself, maybe for the first time.

"I understand that now and I understood that then," Wilson stated, "but sometimes your heart can't accept what your head knows is true. I also know now that I left because I felt guilty."

"Guilty?" House asked, completely surprised. "What did you have to feel guilty about?"

"House, I asked you to kill yourself to try to save her!" Wilson practically shouted. "You must have felt like you meant nothing at all to me. Why did you let me do that to you?"

"I'm not a good person," House responded, "In fact, I'm a pretty crappy person. Anyone who puts up with me for more than five minutes is unusual, and I like to keep them around if I can. You put up with all kinds of shit from me for years and stayed. I wanted to keep you . . . I think it's called irony when the very thing you do to keep someone makes them leave, isn't it?"

Wilson sighed, really feeling for the first time just how much pain he had caused House when he left. He couldn't undo any of that now. "But I came back, didn't I?"

"Because you said I was fun. Most severely depressed people aren't a pile of laughs . . . " the implication of House's words, that Wilson would leave him again because House was no longer capable of being "fun," hung in the air.

"I said that, but that's not really why I came back," Wilson said.

"Well, why did you, then?" House asked.

"I told you," Wilson said, "Because you're my family."

"Family members leave each other all the time," House pointed out.

"I'm not talking about people who are merely biologically related," Wilson said. "I'm talking about real family. People who love you no matter what."

"And you love me, no matter what?" House asked quietly, terrified of the answer.

"Yes. That's why even when you push me away, or I try to go, I just can't stay away for long. I love you, House." Wilson's voice became ragged.

"I love you, too, Wilson," House said, his own voice quavering.

Both men were facing each other, on the verge of tears. Wilson walked toward House, and gently encircled him in his arms. House hesitantly slipped his arms around Wilson.

"Please don't leave again," House begged, his voice choked with emotion.

"I won't," Wilson managed to croak out.

For both men, it became too much and they started to cry. A few tears at first, then deep, painful sobs. Wilson put his hand on the back of House's head, lacing his fingers through his hair, and holding him into his shoulder. House's hand was on Wilson's back, his long fingers rhythmically spreading and clutching, again and again. The pain and love each had held back for years came pouring out, neither of them able to stop, even if they had wanted to.

They were not aware of how long they actually cried. When it was over, Wilson steered House toward a chair, thinking his leg must be really hurting him. If it was, House wasn't complaining.

Wilson stepped out of the room for a moment and asked an orderly if he could bring them some tissues and water.

He went back into the room to find House looking exhausted, with red-rimmed eyes. But, strangely enough, he was also smiling.

"I'm going to have to leave soon," Wilson told him. "We're way past visiting hours."

"I know," House replied.

"You're okay with that?" Wilson asked.

"All I'm going to do is go to bed, Wilson," House responded. "I think I can get myself ready without your helping me into my jammies, tucking me in and kissing me goodnight."

Wilson was happy to see some of the old snark return. "You're sure?" he asked.

"Yes," House answered. "Since I know you're coming back."

Someone knocked at the door. The orderly came with the tissues and water Wilson had requested. He also informed Wilson that he would have to leave soon.

After Wilson and House freshened up, they said their goodbyes. Wilson was escorted to the entrance and House was escorted to his room.

House had missed dinner. Although he was feeling better, he really wasn't very hungry, so it wasn't a problem. He was tired and he planned to go to bed.

After the orderly left and House was alone, Amber appeared.

"Are you ever going to go away?" House asked with exasperation.

"Actually, that's why I'm here," Amber explained, "to tell you I'm not going to be coming back any more."

"Why?" House asked suspiciously. He had tried so hard to get rid of her, and now she was just going to voluntarily up and leave? He wasn't sure he trusted it.

"Remember, I'm the part of your mind that tells you to beat yourself up for your inadequacies, especially all the bad aspects of your relationship with Wilson," she reminded him. "Now that you've cleared the air, and even determined that you love each other," Amber rolled her eyes when she used the word "love," "there isn't much negativity left for me to remind you about. You're going to have to find another reason to feel guilty."

"Oh, there are at least a thousand," House said sarcastically.

"If they don't involve Wilson, I don't care," She said breezily.

"You've had plenty of comments about Cuddy and me," House stated. "Why not hang around for that?" House really didn't want Amber to stay, but he knew if he didn't convince at least a sizable portion of his brain that she had no reason for sticking around, she might come back.

"I think Kutner would be better for that," she replied. "I was going to say see you around, but I'm pretty sure you don't want that, so goodbye." With that, Amber was gone.

Terrific, House thought, knowing that his hallucinations were far from over. So, if I want to get better, all I have to do is have gut-wrenching, excruciatingly emotional discussions with anyone I've ever hurt, and that will fix it. Great.

House got undressed and brushed his teeth. He climbed into bed. He knew he had a long road ahead of him, with a lot of pain to deal with, but he still felt just a little better.

Goodnight, Wilson, he thought as he drifted into the most peaceful sleep he had had in a long while.