She couldn't.

She couldn't go in there and even talk to him.

She could only watch as his body writhed and twisted, his features contorted with pain.

She couldn't stand it anymore. With only a glance back through the tiny window, she turned away and walked briskly away – past the overly-sympathetic doctors and nurses –past the patients, hiding in shadowy corners from phantoms only they could see – past the waiting room full of worried relatives and grieving friends – through the sturdy oak doors and out of that hellhole.

She couldn't believe that House had ended up in there. House, the genius, the doctor constantly searching for answers, her employee persistently appealing to her for risky tests and operations, the cynic always cracking jokes, the man... the man she had known since college. Sure, most of the time he was arrogant, sardonic, racist, sexist and just about any other "-ist" you could think of - even atheist - but there were times when he could be more sweet and caring than anyone else she had ever met.

She could have stopped this. She knew he had been abusing Vicodin for years now; she should have made him quit earlier. She should have done something, anything. Still, her medical mind reasoned, House had been popping those pills like candy for a long time, some factor had to have changed in order to cause this new side effect. Hallucinations. A serious thing, even in Princeton Plainsboro, where diseases seemed to get stranger each day. Why didn't he tell anyone? He should have at least told her of all people.

She could have helped him. In his hallucination, she had helped him detox. In the real world, she would have done the same thing. He came so close to telling her that night, yet he instead had insulted her baby, one of the few humans she held dear. If only everything had happened like his delusion. She would have helped him detox, sat with him all night if that was what he needed her to do. House was not only her employee, the star of the hospital; he was her friend, and one of her dearest ones at that. Maybe more than that, someday.

She could have been more than that now if his hallucination had really happened. He had actually dreamed of her. Kissing her. Sleeping with her. When he first said this, she was infuriated, but then, as she thought about it more, she warmed up to the idea. House was handsome, could be charming, and when they had kissed only a few months before and even back in medical school, it just felt right. Maybe when he got out of Mayfield they could give it a go, see if they could be something. Maybe she could tell him she loved him, wanted him and only him, regardless of his flaws. But then again...

She couldn't risk their friendship and working relationship.

She couldn't tell him.

She couldn't.