The cancelled flight was House's doing. That was never in any real doubt; she goes to Wilson with the accusation, though, because it's easier that way. Because she has to say something, but she's had enough of House and she knows she'd provoke him. She wouldn't be able to stop herself, and then he'd strike back, and she'd rather not find out how.

Naturally, Wilson is nice, even as he concocts an instant story and sells it for all he's worth. As entertaining as his performance is, she knows she ought to be pissed off. Not merely pissed off, but outraged at both of them: Doctor Dracula and his personal (and far too well-disguised) Renfield.

Yet she finds herself smiling at Wilson as she walks out of his office. Somehow, this is the first time she's known for certain that she likes him.
.

.


.

As the jet lifts her upward, upward, she feels lighter than she has in two years. It's her life and -- for as long as it lasts -- she can damn well do what she pleases.

The ground shrinks below the Boeing's wing, turning eighteen-wheelers into click-beetles and cars into ants, and House into a hidden, limping speck of lint. There are times, she thinks, when the Total Perspective Vortex is a wonderful thing.
.

.


.

As soon as beverage service begins, she pulls cash from her wallet and orders herself a mimosa. It's not the kind of drink she would have gone for back in Princeton, where everything about her was scrutinized by either House or by Eric. She wouldn't be reading the issue of Cosmopolitan left by the seat's previous occupant, either, if she were still at home. She's missed the entertainment value of frivolous things. Holding a perfume-sample page up to her face, she breathes in, happy because none of these people know her and she couldn't care less what they think.

That's when she realizes that she's spent the past two years, every waking moment, believing she had something to prove.

Maybe, she thinks, that's why she and Eric seemed to understand each other so well for a while. She's still not sure what, exactly, he's trying to prove to the world. All she knows is that whatever it is -- that he's the best and the brightest, that he can overthrow House, that he's the master of his destiny -- it's far more important than she is to him. It always will be.

Fuck that shit, she thinks. Life is too damn short.
.

.


.

She's on her third mimosa when she catches herself remembering Wilson's lie and smiling again. He only meant to cover House's ass, but he'd made her happy in that moment, and she hadn't really known why. It was something more than having proof of House's misdeeds.

Now, at thirty-five thousand feet up and two sheets to the wind, she knows. It was twisted and bizarre, but it was love. Not Eric's kind of love, that wanted a splendid reflection of itself; this was something more instinctive, less ostentatious, and a hell of a lot deeper. Wilson had lied to her and she should have been angry, but she wasn't, because his lie was a reminder that this thing did exist. Not with Eric, and she won't find it in Thailand either, but it exists.

For now, that faith is enough to help her fly.

~*~