Half My Life
Author's Note: I was reading Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love (for which Wilson – I mean, RSL – won a Tony Award :D) and came across an AE Housman poem that broke my poor Hilson heart. Of course, fanfiction ensued. Set post-"You Must Remember This" but ignores the events of "Two Stories" and onward (because all of that "I need you" Huddy nonsense was too much for me to bear).
He would not stay for me, and who can wonder?
He would not stay for me to stand and gaze.
I shook his hand, and tore my heart in sunder,
And went with half my life about my ways.
- AE Housman
The way Wilson sees it, House is giving him an ultimatum.
When he'd said that he needed more time, he'd really meant an eternity. House might think that this is all about Sam, but that's like diagnosing a malignant tumor as a common cold. This isn't about a desperate fling with his ex-wife, this is about love – pure, unadulterated, rip-my-heart-out-and-tear-it-to-shreds unrequited love, and there's no limit to how long it takes to get over that. There are too many unanswered questions, too many regrets, too many what ifs and what could have beens. He's always going to need just a little more time, because House is always going to be just a little more than a best friend.
House is half his life.
He used to think that, in his own way, he'd once been half of House's life, too, but the new attentions of a certain Dean of Medicine have since erased any hopes of that. And when the ultimatum hits, Wilson's not even sure he understands what's at stake.
"I'll give you ten days."
There's a moment, somewhere between getting lost in the way House's blue shirt brings out the color of his eyes and registering what's just gone down, when Wilson almost says it – the forbidden truth, the unthinkable three words that aren't supposed to be said. Not by him; not to this man. It's only one of a thousand times that they've hinged on the tip of his tongue, and only one of a thousand times that he's forced himself to swallow them whole.
He can't even look at House anymore. His eyes stray to the ceiling and the cabinets along the wall, anywhere but at the suffocating brilliant blue that's threatening to drown him. Ten days, or else. Or else, what? How can House possibly punish him for not getting laid in ten days? And why does he even fucking care?
But if there's anything Wilson's learned, it's to stop obsessing over what House may or may not do. So he collects himself, catches his breath. Remembers that it's all just part of the routine.
"Fine," he finally agrees, meeting House's eyes again, but whatever reply is forming in House's brain is interrupted by a throaty meow.
They watch as Sarah devours the mouse, a particularly large grimace on Wilson's face. He wonders if, in some ways, his own life is about to meet the same fate.
"Let's shake on it," House says suddenly.
Wilson, surprised, peels his eyes away from the massacre. "Don't you trust me?"
"Just wanna be sure you'll keep your end of the deal."
"House, I don't even know what your end of the deal is."
But House doesn't answer, and Wilson knows better than to try and pry one out of him. Instead, he takes the outstretched hand in front of him, realizing that their fingers haven't touched since House had gripped them during the infarction.
In his mind, he makes a mental note to remember what they feel like.
Later that night, a tired Wilson lies quietly on the couch, Sarah snuggling contentedly into his chest as he absently weaves his fingers through her fur.
Ten days. He'd decided, after watching House limp out the front door following a phone call from Cuddy, that he could make his own challenge out of this. House is giving him ten days to get back into the dating scene, but it isn't as simple as hitting on hot women in a bar – they both know that. In his own roundabout way, House is giving him ten days to get over whatever miserable crap is bothering him – ten days to be happy again – and that's a goal that Wilson is more than eager to reach.
It's really more of a necessity than anything else. He can't live like this anymore, can't keep fucking up his life because his heart refuses to let go. It's why he's been divorced three times, why he clung so desperately to Amber, why he spontaneously proposed to a woman for whom he couldn't have been more wrong. Ruining a marriage because you're too busy running to House in the middle of the night is easy. Loving a woman because she's quintessentially House is easy. Desperately trying to re-marry your ex-wife because you're trying to make House jealous is easy.
But it's living, really living, that's hard. And if he hasn't been able to get over House in twenty years, how the hell is he supposed to get over him in ten days?
He doesn't know, but he has to try. If House can find love with Cuddy and turn his life around, then Wilson can do the same. Starting tomorrow, the creation of Wilson 2.0 commences.
Exhausted, Wilson closes his eyes, his heavy hand sinking deeper into Sarah's fur. Vaguely, he imagines that the soft warmth against his skin is scruffy brown hair tinged with streaks of grey, and soon the gentle comfort of Sarah's purring lulls him to sleep.