The Final Days It looked like every other reception room, only someone had gone to great lengths to put out a really beautiful selection of fresh fruits. They had even gotten the right brand of bourbon, not that Wilson was going to let him have any. They sat on opposite sides of the table, not looking at each other, but not needing to either. Thirty some years of friendship gives you that level of comfort.

Suddenly, Wilson got up and fixed a plate. "Here you should eat."

"I'm not hungry," House said softly.

"Didn't ask if you were hungry, I said you should eat something. Lord knows how long it will be before they serve. And you barely touched lunch"

House took the plate and began eating.

The door opened and a cute young thing walked in, "Dr. House, Mr. Jefferies asked me to check and see if there is anything else we do to make you more comfortable." House smiled, What a strange way to ask if he wanted something, sending a cheerleader to ask an old man how she could make him more comfortable but she really did look too innocent for him to embarass. Time to self edit, just like he'd been working on for these past forty years.

Wilson looked irritated at the interuption, guess he was mad. God only knew why.

Screw self editing, this was for Wilson more than for the girl, his momminess was getting on House's nerves. He didn't need it, not today. House put down his plate of fruit. "There is something you could do." he smiled.

The girl just stood there waiting for instruction, "the hem on your skirt is at least four inches too low and I find that annoying." She actually giggled, God he hadn't heard a giggle in ages. She turned as if to go and then she started rolling up the waistband of her skirt, hiking the skirt far above the four inches he had asked for. Then she turned back, smiled at him and left.

"Aren't you past that yet?" Wilson handed him back the plate of fruit.

" Yes, but she isn't, Gave her a House story, what was the harm?" he sounded tired and almost resigned.

"Still worried about keeping your reputation in tact." Wilson was more than aggitated now, he was close to angry.

House was about to say something when there was a knock on the door and the actual Mr. Jefferies walked in. "Dr. House,' he reached out to shake House's hand. "And, of course, Dr. Wilson. It is such an honor to have the two of you here. Now,I have no idea why you decided to accept our invitation, and while I would love to know, I am almost afraid to ask"

He waited a moment, as if House might take the hint and explain himself. It was an awkward moment of silence.

" Well, whatever the reason, I just wanted to let you know that the room sold out over a month ago. It would have been nice if I could have let everyone know what you planned on as the topic for your speech, I'm still not sure how to introduce you.." he trailed off, still living in hope that House was going to talk to him.

Wilson stepped between Mr. Jefferies and his prey, "Just introduce Dr. House, That should be enough."

" Certainly," Jefferies started moving toward the door. He had been warned by enough people that while it was House who had the reputation of being an SOB, Wilson could hold his own, especially where House was concerned. Well, everyone had heard the rumors. Nothing bitchier than a queen.
"The table you asked for is all set up, I'll start the introduction in about twenty minutes." He left with a smile at House and a cold nod to Wilson.

" What table?" House asked.

" It was supposed to be a surprise." Wilson sighed " Everyone is here. Cameron came in from Chicago. Taub is here with wife number four. Chase even flew in from Australia. And, of course, Foreman is here.'

" Of course Foreman is here," House's voice a blend of nostolgia and bitterness. "He has made a career out of talking about me, no way he wouldn't jump at the chance to share the limelight."

"JUst wish Cuddy could have been here. So hard to believe its been five years.' Wilson sighed. He had to say it, House wouldn't and Cuddy deserved to be remembered.

"Was Rachel invited?" House asked

" Yeah, she's here. Going to law school somewhere expensive, I heard." Wilson came up to House and started adjusting his tie.

House was looking longingly at the Bourbon. "One small shot to steady my nerves. I haven't spoken in public in what,, ten years?"

"More like twenty and you know you can't drink with the meds you're on."

"There is a room full of doctors, what the hell do you think will happen that someone out there couldn't handle." House sounded a bit annoyed but not angry. If he got actually angry Wilson was ready to pour him that shot, but just annoyed wasn't enought.

Another knock on the door, and the skirt hiking girl looked in, "Anytime you're ready Dr. House."

"One last time, I can understand you messing with Jefferies, but you still haven't told me," Wilson started as he helped House to his feet. "Why did you agree accept this award. You've refused every other one."

House was very unsteady. He thought about using the wheelchair, but didn't want everyone to see him that way, especially the old team.

"They were going to give it to me one way or another. If I didn't come now they would have done it posthumously and you're going to have enough to deal with." he avoided looking at Wilson, he always did when they discussed his prognosis.

" We have time, you're in remission" Wilson put his arm around House's waist to help steady him House looked at him with more tenderness than even he suspected he could feel. How many hundred of people had Wilson helped accept that diagnosis, the one closest to you is going to die, and yet, he could still deflect the future they both knew was fast approaching. "We should use the chair at least until we get to the edge of the stage. Nobody's going to see you"

House nodded. He was tired and he didn't want Wilson to try and half carry him the ten feet needed to get to their seats.

The hall was full. Jefferies was already at the podium. He looked like the nerd who had just done the home coming queen.

" I have introduced many a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for Medicine , but never have I felt more proud or more humble. As most of you know, Dr. House has not spoken in public, he hasn't even published. in over twenty years, and yet his reputation is stronger than ever. He has restrutured the way advanced diagnositics is taught in every medical school in the county. Were I to list all the awards he has refused, we would be here all night. " He turned and looked at House."Every moment I talk is a moment Dr. House continues his silence. So enough of me, just let me warn you Dr. House, there are more microphones here to catch your every word than there were at the last presidential inaugeration. (polite laughter from the crowd) Ladies and Gentlemen, please let us take advantage of this rare opportunity and honor Dr. Gregory House,"

There was applause and a standing ovation was started. Wilson began to get up, but House pulled him back into his seat, "Not you, you don't stand for me. The rest of them can, not you"

It took him longer than he wanted to walk to the lecturn where the award, some modernistic crystal thing, was waiting for him. Once there, he stopped to look around, There was the table with all his friends or at least what counted as friends for a man who hadn't actually spoken to any of them for over a were smiling, each one looking older than he had hoped they would. He adjusted the microphone in front of him. Looked around again and this time, caught Chase's eye. He smiled, puffed out his cheecks and nodded his head ever so slightly.

"Oh, my god, I don't believe it." Chase shook his head. "the old bastard'

"what?' Cameron turned to him.

"He's gonna screw with them." Chase's smile rivaled that of the cheshire cat.

" He can't" Foreman seemed ready to panic. "This is from Congress, there are senators, big people here."

Chase's smile just got bigger, "Doesn't matter, I know that look. He is getting ready to screw them royally"

Cameron looked up, recognized that slight half smile she had seen so many times during her days with House She seemed as if she were about to cry, "My God, you're right."

That was when House leaned over, lips next to the microphone and said "Thank You"

He turned and started walking back towards Wilson, who seemed to be wavering between laughter and tears.

Silence was followed by a loud yell, Chase was on his feet cheering, Cameron began to clap. Rachel joined in and finally Taub and Foreman. And slowly some in the crowd started appauding

Jefferies looked stunned and angry. House reached Wilson, put the award on the table and said in a low voice, "I'm tired, take me home."

"I'll go get the car." Wilson reached for the stautette "I'll take that"

"Leave it," House ordered. "Just get me out of here" His breathing seemed laboured.

"Sit down, I'll come back for you with the chair" Wilson stared at him for a moment, daring him not to sit down, then he started down the hall

House waited until he was well on his way and then started slowly walking after him.

Epilogue Dr. Taub relocated to Los Angeles after his divorce. He now has a private practice and is a consultant to several movie companies.

Dr. Cameron Director of Emergency Medicine for the Greater Chicago Hospital Alliance. She is married to Dr. Stephen Wright, a cardiologist and they have three children.

Dr. Chase, Head of Surgery Melbourne General Hospital, and member of the Austrailian Diagnositics Board he is married to film producer Anna Cortina, they have two children, a boy Gregory and a girl Lisa

Dr. Foreman, a staple on the lecture circuit where he is considered an expert on Dr. House's methods and history. He has published over 300 papers on cases he worked with Dr. House and is now said to be working on an unauthorized biography

Dr. Lisa Cuddy died of breast cancer at the age of fifty nine. She was Dean of Medicine at Princeton Plainsborough until her death and was instrumental in the establishment of the Eastern Conference Fertility Initiative. She had one child, an adopted daughter, Rachel who is now at Harvard Law School

Dr. James Wilson head of oncology at Princeton Plainsborough. Dr. Wilson is best known for having catalogued all of Dr. House's cases and is considered by many to have co- authored with Dr. House the text book, Advanced Diagnositics which has a Dr. L Huddy listed as the writer, although no record can be found of anyone by that name.

Dr. Gregory House; considered by most to be the finest diagnostician of this century. Dr. House never actually published nor did he lecture, His reputation is based on the over seven hundred papers written by collegues describing his techniques, as well as the investigative work he did for the National Communicable Dieseae Center during the samonella outbreak of 2014

He established the Gregory House Endowment for Mental Health Research long recognized as a leader in the development of testing methods for socio- pathic illnesses Dr. House has been awarded: the Red Cross Lifetime Acheivement Award the French Legion Of Honor-Medical, the British Silver Cross for work on the flu epidemic of 2022, the Pan African Gold Medal, the Brazilian Doctors' Fellowship Award. the Americans With Disabilities Acheivement Award, the Southern Hospital Alliance's Educational Advancement Award, A Certificate of Recognition from the Sisters of the Street Charity, and was a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Medicine. It should be noted that Dr. House refused to accept any of these awards and all were bestowed without his consent.

He was also known for his music, specifically recordings of both piano and guitar blues for which he was awarded a Grammy. He was co-owner of the My Blue Place, a nightclub in New York City where he played every Saturday night for over twenty years. Dr. House was found dead in his home on November 30, 2043 from an apparent accidental overdose It was reported that he had been suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. He was creamated and his ashes were buried in the rose garden behind the estate he had shared for thirty years with his long time companion, Dr. James Wilson