Summary: House/Wilson eventual slash. House tells Wilson he doesn't want to see him anymore because he wants to focus on his relationship with Cuddy and being in love with Wilson makes that difficult for him. Wilson's reaction surprises him. A little bit of hurt Wilson but it's more of a scare than anything else.

A/N: This is, of course, a Hilson fic, but it takes us awhile to get there and there will be some Huddy first because unfortunately that's what's canon right now. Set post-season six (or pre-season seven, whichever you prefer ;-) Rated M for some sexuality but it's pretty tame until the end. There will be ten chapters total and I will post one each day.

Disclaimer: I do not own "House M.D." or any of its characters. I do own a pair of slippers that look like monkeys and they keep my feet warm while I write. Oh, and also the first section of the prologue was taken from the season six finale "Help Me."

A Promise He Couldn't Keep

Prologue

She stood in the doorway of his bathroom, staring at him as he sat on the floor.

"I'm stuck, House," she confessed while he watched her. "I keep wanting to move forward, I keep...wanting to move on, but I can't."

He stared at her, his mouth slightly open and his eyes wide with disbelief.

"I'm in my new house with my new fiancé and all I can think about is you. I just...need to know if you and I can work."

She looked so defeated. It was like she was there because she didn't know what else to do, like she'd given up all hope for anything else.

He looked around, unsure. It was so hard—impossible, really—to believe this was happening. Months ago she'd told him no, hours ago she'd told him no, and now here she was, asking him please.

But he didn't even know the answer. "You think I can fix myself?" he asked, eyes locked onto hers, completely serious.

"I don't know," she shrugged. The way she said it...it sounded almost like she didn't care. She wanted to be with him, broken or not.

He broke eye contact for a moment before resuming it and continuing, "because I am the most screwed up person in the world."

"I know," she admitted. "I love you." She looked away for a second and swallowed. "I wish I didn't," she half-smiled. "But I can't help it."

He looked around, tried to get up off the floor, and held out a hand for her to help him up. He stood so close to her, taller than her in her sneakers instead of heels. He stared at her for a moment, leaned forward, and hesitated for just a second before putting his mouth to hers. He held her as they kissed, and then he pulled back to look at her. She was breathing fast.

"How do I know I'm not hallucinating?" he asked.

"Did you take the Vicodin?" she responded with a smile.

He held out his hand to reveal two white pills. "Nope."

"Then I think we're okay." She smiled at him, and he gave a hint of a smile back.

"Yeah," he agreed before leaning forward to kiss her again and threading his fingers through hers.

...

"That was amazing, House," she whispered, grey-blue eyes sparkling in the dim light peeking in from the streetlight outside his window.

He smiled at her, running a finger through her now-tangled dark hair.

"I've waited a long time for this," she continued, staring at him with truly lovestruck eyes.

"I know," he whispered. "Me, too. I do love you, Lisa. I mean that."

"And I love you," she replied, weaving her fingers through his and squeezing his hand. "House...Greg...I want this to be it. I've been in love with you for years, I could never love anyone else the way I love you. I know...it will be hard, and we won't always get along. We'll have to work at it. But I'm willing to do that...for you. I want to try, I want this to be...I want you to be the one I end up with, Greg. Not just temporarily. I've waited for this for so long, I've had to struggle with what I wanted, but I know in my heart that what I want is you and that's not going to change."

He placed a soft kiss to her lips. "This will be it, Lisa," he promised, looking directly into her eyes. "I've loved you for years, and nothing can change those feelings."

She smiled at him, cupped his cheek and kissed him again. He closed his eyes and revelled in the feeling of her lips. As much as a small part of him grieved for what he could now never have, a much larger part rejoiced for what he now did.


Chapter One

Dr. Gregory House stared at his reflection in his girlfriend's bathroom mirror. No—the bathroom mirror. He lived here now, too. After the first week of Cuddy complaining about what a pain it was to have to drive back and forth from her place to House's, he'd just given up and moved in. Not that he was too averse to that; he loved her, after all. That's why he'd pursued her after Mayfield, confided his feelings to her at a dance at a medical conference, tried to break her up with Lucas...

Well, the fact that he loved her was part of the reason why. He certainly would never have done those things if he didn't love her. But the main reason why was because the person he was really in love with: his best friend, Dr. James Wilson, would never reciprocate his feelings. House had hoped things might change between the two of them after he confronted his feelings and moved in with his friend, and yes, for awhile they had been growing closer, but all that had fallen apart when Wilson started dating Samantha Carr, his first ex-wife. After trying to break them up (much harder than he'd tried to break Cuddy up with Lucas) and failing, House had decided to give up completely on ever being in a romantic relationship with the oncologist, and he was truly grateful that Lisa had come to his apartment and admitted that she'd been in love with him all along.

It was a good thing. He liked waking up to her beautiful face each morning and making love to her every night. Maybe he wasn't as happy as he'd been when he was seeing Stacy, and maybe he wasn't even as happy as he'd been living in the condo with Wilson pre-Sam, but he was certainly happier than he'd been living alone in his apartment at any stage of his life.

Some people described House as a misanthrope. That was not strictly true. It wasn't that he disliked contact with other people—in fact, he craved it—he just disliked contact with people he didn't really care about. And there was a very small number of people in House's life that he did really care about. Dr. Lisa Cuddy was one of them. So he was glad to be dating her. He looked forward to coming home at the end of the day because she would be there, or if he got home first he knew she was coming and sometimes he even surprised her by cooking dinner. Not often, because cooking often reminded him, with a pang of regret, of the demise of his close friendship with Wilson, but seeing her face whenever he did something nice for her made him feel warm inside.

Lisa stepped into the bathroom, fastening a dangly silver earring to her ear and smiling at House. "You look great," she said. "The babysitter will be here any minute. Are you ready?"

He looked at himself again. He'd debated over shaving, in the end decided not to, and was now starting to rethink his decision. He knew she preferred him clean-shaven, but he preferred the scruff. He knew Wilson did, too, but he tried not to let that influence him. Wilson was not going out with them to see House; his date would be Sam. House rubbed a hand across his chin, still undecided, but at that moment the doorbell rang, and as Lisa flitted out of the bathroom to answer it, he smiled at his reflection in relief. No time to shave now.

.

The women laughed—House wasn't quite sure at what; he'd stopped listening to the conversation awhile ago. His eyes kept scanning the room for something to focus on: the bar, the dance floor, the waiters...but nothing held his attention for more than a second. He didn't want to stare at Lisa, he had no desire whatsoever to set eyes on Sam, and his eyes seemed to flick to Wilson every few seconds, so now he was trying his hardest to go a whole minute without looking at his friend.

He didn't know why it was so awkward. The few times they'd caught each other's eye over the evening they seemed to have nothing to say. House blamed it on the fact that they were each with their girlfriends. He'd never had this problem before. Dinner was finished and he really wanted to go, but Lisa and Sam were still talking over another round of cocktails and he knew it would be awhile.

The women's laughter died down and House spent a second getting his hopes up, turning to Lisa with the intent of communicating his desire to leave through eye contact.

Before he got the opportunity, however, Sam drew attention to herself with a contented sigh. "Oh...I love this song...it's so beautiful."

House didn't even know what song it was; it had to be something recent, but her comment caused Wilson to turn to her.

"Would you like to dance?"

Sam beamed at him in response, and he scooted his chair back to get up. He held a hand out to her and she took it, and House watched them manoeuvre around the tables to the dance floor.

It was less than five seconds before House felt Cuddy's eyes on him and, with an eye-roll, he turned to her.

"Dance with me?" she asked, as though her desire wasn't clear through her pleading eyes and needed an audible request.

He bit back a sigh and got up, leaning his cane against the chair and leading his woman to the dance floor. He put his hands on her waist and she rested hers on the back of his neck as they swayed to the music. She was wearing a silver dress with a matching wrap over her shoulders and down her arms. The colour brightened her eyes and he spent a moment looking into them while they danced. He managed a smile which she returned.

"This is nice, isn't it?" she asked.

House shrugged. "All right."

"It's such a good thing Wilson and Sam have found each other again; I think they really care for each other."

For some reason House's heart was making an angry growling sound instead of the normal thump-thump it was supposed to do. Through years of practice at controlling the emotions he showed to others, he managed to keep his expression neutral. Instead of answering, he stepped closer to Lisa and wrapped his arms tighter around her.

It didn't matter that Wilson would never be in love with him; she was and he had her. He got to hold her each night, kiss her, hear that she loved him and say it in return. Except for her daughter, who fit into a different category and didn't count, he was the most important person in her life, something he could never be to Wilson. Not for more than a few months at a time, anyway. But Lisa loved him forever. She always had and she always would. She was not going to leave him for someone else. They were together. At last, they were together.

He rested his cheek against hers and brushed a finger through her long, soft hair. He closed his eyes and focused on the feeling of her body against his, the warmth radiating from her, and the love he felt from her embrace.

They danced close, holding each other, and continued when the song ended and the next one began.

House was rubbing a hand up and down Lisa's back, feeling the silky satin of her dress and the softness of her skin where the fabric ended. He opened his eyes and pulled back a bit to give her a chaste kiss. Then he let her rest her head on his shoulder again and he leaned his face against hers.

He could see other dancing couples, and even the bar past them, but he wasn't really paying attention to anyone else. Lisa was in his arms and he was simultaneously imagining the things they would do to each other later in the evening and trying not to because she would not be impressed if he got an erection in a public restaurant.

They turned a little bit, with the music, and House noticed Sam and Wilson dancing out of the corner of his eye.

House promptly closed his eyes again and squeezed Lisa against him. He breathed in the scent of her perfume and her flowery shampoo. He didn't open his eyes all the way again, but squinted, gauging to see if Wilson was still in his line of sight.

He was. And he was looking at House over Sam's shoulder.

Without thinking about it House looked back, their eyes locking together from thirty feet away.

And it wasn't awkward like it had been earlier that night. For a second it seemed like everything was the way it had been before, before House had started seeing Cuddy and before Wilson had started seeing Sam. When it was just the two of them, more than just best friends but without crossing the line of...

House didn't even know what they were. Did Wilson? he wondered.

Whatever they were, they'd been less of it since Sam's return, and less so since House had started dating Cuddy.

He tightened his arms around her, refusing to admit he'd almost forgotten she was there. At least he knew what he and Cuddy were. They were together. Lovers. They were living together, practically raising a child together. And since he couldn't have Wilson, this was what he wanted.

Now would be a good time to look away, but he didn't. Wilson didn't either. He looked...apologetic. It occurred to House that maybe he felt bad that they were slipping apart, that even though they couldn't be together together, he still wanted to preserve the friendship. Maybe House still meant something to him after all.

House watched him over Lisa's shoulder, waiting for him to say something with his eyes, give the sort of silent communication they'd always been able to express between each other. He was interrupted, however, by Sam taking Wilson's face in her hands and pulling him in for a kiss.

House forcibly looked away, clearing his throat because the thought of them together made him want to gag.

"Greg, you okay?" Lisa asked, concerned, pulling away a bit to look at him.

He nodded and pulled her close again.

He should not be feeling like this, dammit! He was with Lisa now. He loved her. When he was alone with her there were times when he could go for over an hour without Wilson even crossing his mind. He would rather be alone than with someone he didn't care about, but he wanted to make it work with her. She meant enough to him for him to want to make it work. But how the hell was he supposed to do that when seeing Sam kiss Wilson made him want to set the blonde bitch on fire?

This wasn't good for their relationship. He needed to control the intense feelings of jealousy he got whenever he saw Sam and Wilson in the same room. The best way to do that would be to avoid seeing them in the same room altogether.

House stepped away from Lisa.

"Give me a second," he muttered, giving her a quick peck on the cheek and striding over to Sam and Wilson.

"What's up?" Wilson asked, arms still around Sam.

"I need a word," House said, avoiding Sam's gaze even though she was looking at him.

Wilson nodded understandingly and stepped away from his girlfriend. House nodded toward the door and Wilson followed him.

The restaurant was located on the edge of a large pond and had a deck that looked over the water. House limped over to the wood railing and Wilson stood next to him, watching him, waiting to hear what he wanted to say.

House looked at the water, small waves rippling slightly in the moonlight. He wished he had something to throw in it; that would feel satisfying right now. But all he had was his cell phone and a bottle of ibuprofen and he was not willing to sacrifice either simply to hear a splash.

"I don't want to do this anymore," he muttered to Wilson, still gazing over the pond.

"Uh, you're gonna need to be more specific," Wilson said, taking a step closer to House.

"Double-dating," House clarified. "It's not...fun."

"I'm sorry you feel that way," Wilson said shortly. For a second he didn't say anything, and House still wasn't looking at him, but he could feel the other man's eyes on the side of his head. After a moment Wilson continued, "Was there something else? Or did you take me out here just to tell me you don't like double-dating?"

House sighed. He still wished he had something to throw into the water. "Just..." he muttered with a shrug. "Just needed some air."

He could see Wilson nod in his peripheral vision. The younger man made to go back inside, but for some reason he decided to clap House on the shoulder on the way in. House's breath hitched and he flinched at the contact, and Wilson pulled away immediately.

"Don't...do that," he said, looking Wilson in the eye.

"I'm sorry," Wilson said, looking hurt.

"Just..." House muttered, looking away again. "Makes me uncomfortable."

"I'm sorry," Wilson apologised again, also looking away.

House shrugged and, feeling awkward again, followed the oncologist back into the restaurant.

.

"Did you have a good time?" the worn-out looking Princeton student Cuddy used as an evening babysitter asked as they walked in.

"It was lovely," she responded, smiling as she reached for her wallet. "How was Rachel?"

"She was asleep every time I checked on her," the babysitter answered, taking her money. "Well, I'm gonna head out. Goodnight, Dr. Cuddy, Dr. House."

Both doctors watched her head out the door. The latch hadn't even clicked before House had Lisa pressed up against the wall, kissing her fiercely. She wrapped her arms around him, holding him close and kissing him back just as forcefully. Her clutch had been tossed to the floor and she wrapped her right leg around his left. Her hands clutched his hair and she pulled back, breathless.

They moved to the bedroom, shedding blazers and sneakers and wraps and stilettos along the way. House was already shirtless when Lisa tugged impatiently at her dress's zipper, which wouldn't come down. House hurried over to her and yanked it down unceremoniously, nearly tearing the fabric. She hurriedly stepped out of it and threw herself at him, causing him to fall back onto the bed. He unbuckled his belt while she proceeded to mark his clavicle with her teeth, and as soon as his pants and boxers were out of the way he unhooked and pulled off her bra and fondled her. She moaned into his touch, pressing her body as close to his as possible. She remained on top of him while they fucked, allowing him to stare up at her breathtaking body throughout the act. He rolled them over as they finished, her just a second before him, and collapsed on her, panting and exhausted. He smiled into her neck as they came down from the high and gave it a little kiss.

"Mmm, Greg," she sighed, running tired fingers through his hair.

"I love you," he whispered before kissing her neck again. Saying it felt good. The last person he'd said those words to with a romantic connotation was Stacy, and that was years ago, so he'd forgotten how nice, how satisfying it was to say those words to someone he loved, especially knowing she loved him in return. He closed his eyes, utterly relaxed, and wondered if she would let him fall asleep naked on top of her.

After a moment, though, she started to squirm and he grudgingly rolled off her and got up, looking for a pair of pyjama pants or at least his boxers.

Maybe it was because every day was always so busy for her, but Lisa always seemed to fall asleep the moment her head hit the pillow. As an insomniac, he envied her this. He watched her chest, partially covered by the blanket and partially by the tank top she'd pulled on after their lovemaking, rise and fall with each breath she took. He didn't spoon her—he'd never spooned Stacy either—but he threaded fingers through her dark hair, feeling the soft strands fall between his fingers. It was relaxing for him. Not for the first time, it occurred to him that Wilson would have soft hair, too, and House smirked for half a second before frowning and rolling over onto his back. The smirk was because he'd realised this was the first time he'd thought about Wilson since halfway through the car ride home, and the frown because he'd realised how pathetic he was to feel proud of himself for going an hour without thinking about Wilson.

He looked at Lisa, breathing heavily next to him, and kissed her cheek, almost as an apology for still being in love with someone else when he was with her.

But at least he was with her now. He had her, and she was his, and hopefully that wouldn't change.