Disclaimer: don't own anything, except my need to vent.

Author's note: This fic was triggered by reading the word cathartic in a comment of pgrabia. That's what I need. Catharsis. To clean my soul out. Unbeta'ed for obvious reasons.

Cuddy was woken up at 4am by her cellphone ringing. It took her longer than usual to respond because of the sleeping pill she'd taken. She picked it up. Wilson? Her heart started beating fast. Maybe there had been a mistake in the biopsy and she really had cancer? "Hi."

"Hi. I… I have some terrible news. Sit down, please."

Now Cuddy was sure her cancer was back. She sat down on the bed, shivering.

"Tell me."

"House had a motorcycle accident. He… he passed away, Cuddy. I'm so sorry."

"This doesn't make sense. He was home yesterday evening. He had no reason to go out. It must be a mistake."

"Cuddy… I'm calling from the morgue. The police called me to identify him. Apparently I was still listed as his emergency contact on the driving license. Should I pick you up? Do you want to see him?"

Cuddy breathed hard. Her first thought was of course relief. She wasn't going to die. And she sure as hell didn't want to go and see her dead ex now. But maybe it would help to find out what had happened.

"Can we meet at the hospital, in my office? This way you can tell me about it. I don't… don't feel I'm up to seeing him now."

"Sure. I'll meet you there."

Twenty minutes later they were sitting in front of each other, a large cup of coffee in front of each.

"So, what happened?"

Wilson looked very pale. His voice quivered. "He wasn't wearing a helmet. He tested positive for alcohol and… opiates."

"In other words, he was drunk and stoned on Vicodin." Cuddy was surprised at how bitter she sounded.

Wilson's eyes widened out in surprise. "You… you're not upset? He had been clean for 20 months!"

She sighed. "House was stoned when he came to visit me before the operation. Who knows how long he had already been relapsing."

Wilson got, if possible, even paler. "He wasn't relapsing. His blood test last week was clean." He hid his face in his hands. "God. It's my fault. I put so much pressure to see you that he took a Vicodin to dull his own pain at your condition. So as to be able to be with you. As I, stupid insensitive moron that I am, insisted he should do." Wilson lifted his head. "But yesterday evening he knew you were safe, so why would he need to get stoned again?"

Cuddy had a bitter smile. "Possibly because I broke up with him."

"You did what?"

"When I realized he had needed drugs to be with me, I went to his place and told him it was over. I can't live with a drug addict. I can't love someone who needs drugs to perform what to normal human beings would be an obvious acts of kindness." It still made sense, she thought. And it still broke her heart.

Wilson looked like he couldn't believe his ears. "Sorry, I think I must have misunderstood you. Are you seriously saying that after House threw away 20 months of sobriety for your sake, you dumped him for it? For putting his love for you before his own mental health?"

His tone and what he implied annoyed her. "Look, I was heartbroken too. I spent most of yesterday evening crying on my sister's shoulder. I had believed in our relationship. But House was right, and it didn't work. He was too screwed up. I have a daughter to think of."

Wilson sighed. "But if you needed your sister yesterday, didn't it occur to you that House shouldn't be left alone? Alone with Vicodin? At least you could have called me."

Cuddy went back to her thoughts last evening, to her long conversation with her sister. She had focused on her own grief, on her own suffering. Which of course was natural, and wouldn't have been a problem if House had been able to take care of himself like a grown-up. "It didn't come to my mind."

Wilson put a hand on hers, and spoke in an almost tender tone. "You must feel as guilty as I do now."

She removed her hand, appalled by the strength that touch and tone led to Wilson's damning words. "No, why?"

He stared at her in wonder. "House committed suicide because you left him, and left him alone, after he had sacrificed everything that was most worth to him to his love for you. He had already given up our friendship, and his faith in his own diagnostic abilities, and now even his hard-won sobriety… no wonder he couldn't see a way out beyond the one he chose. He had nothing left to live for. You really can't understand that?"

Cuddy was seriously angry now. She had endured two days of fear of imminent death, had discovered that the man of her dreams was unable to function emotionally like a human being unless high, her dreams for her future lay shattered around her… and now it was her fault? "Look, Wilson, don't try to make your friend into a martyr! He was just another drug addict, and like so many of them, he met an unhappy end. Which was entirely his own damn fault! Did you understand what you said? He needed drugs to be able to comfort his dying girlfriend! He was just a selfish bastard, and I have already wasted too many tears on him!"

She saw a very fast movement, heard a too loud crack, and an unbelievable pain shot through the middle of her face. She felt her own blood dripping on her desk.

Wilson stood up, his face almost as red as the stains on his left-hand knuckles. "Don't bother calling security, I'm leaving. You're lucky I didn't kill you. Thank Rachel for that."

Cuddy still couldn't believe what had happened, but she had an immediate and lively reaction. She felt that her endorphins must be kicking in. "Wilson, you know this is the end of your career, right? You might escape prison as a first-time offender, but you'll end up in a third-level hospital if you can keep your license at all!" Her voice sounded strange and shouting was painful with the broken nose, but she didn't care.

Wilson looked at her with a distorted, evil smile. "Differently from you, I am able to recognize my mistakes. I repeatedly encouraged House to be with you, to give you what you wanted from him, because I thought your relationship would make him happy. I am therefore also guilty of his death. Also differently from you, I will choose my next actions accordingly." He exited the room, then put his head in again. "One of the good effects of which is that I'll never see you again. Bye, Cuddy." The door banged behind him.