He's barely in the door when he kicks off his shoes, throws off his jacket, and calls for Sarah, who trills softly to him in reply. His own voice is full of sand and gravel.

James Evan Wilson, Idiot First Class, is done with this fool's errand.

For this, Sarah has missed her scheduled insulin shot. For this, Wilson skipped dinner, drove across town, wasted an evening when he could have been comfortably home. And now there will always be that image, burned forever into Wilson's brain, of House's body in unbroken free-fall. He'll never, ever get rid of that moment, because he'd been sure to be there for it, and it didn't even matter. House would have died if he wanted to die. He'd lived because he still ... mostly wanted to live.

Probably thought of all the hookers he couldn't screw and pills he couldn't take once he was dead.

Sarah stretches herself upward, bracing her soft paws against his leg. Easily he scoops her up, but there's only the thinnest comfort there, in her purring breath against his cheek. She needs her injection, which means Wilson needs a drink, because his hands are still shaking so hard that he can't trust himself to handle the needle.

If House wanted to break someone else's heart, well, congratulations to him. The son of a bitch.

From the chair where he threw his jacket, he can hear the muffled ringing of his phone. It's the ringtone he'd assigned to House just yesterday, before this little mission was over.

He sets Sarah gently on the floor, and pours himself a tumbler of Scotch.

The ringing stops.