I am SO sorry for not completing this fic sooner! I had totally meant to but alas "The Muse" ran away sometime during it and it became a struggle to do so. I haven't had this beta'd as I'm anxious to get it updated/posted/completed so any and all mistakes are mine.
I also apologize for how OC House and/or Wilson have been throughout the fic. I realize that some (or all) of Wilson's reactions may have been unrealistic for the character but I couldn't think of a way to write the story without making him (or House) OC.
So, without further ado, here is the last chapter for this fic. Again, I am SO sorry for keeping all of you waiting. :)
Wilson watched House leave with heavy heart. If ever there was a time when he needed a friend, it had been just now and yet, House had walked away like he couldn't get out of there fast enough. It hurt to know that he meant so little to House when the diagnostician meant so much to him but then again, Wilson found he couldn't be wholly surprised. Though House's actions had often spoke of just how much he cared about Wilson, more often than not, those same actions liked to contradict themselves. Sometimes Wilson just wished House would come right out and say what he was thinking or feeling; he certainly didn't have a problem doing that with anyone else so why was talking to him so hard?
Exhausted by his emotions, the oncologist placed his elbows on his desk, easily cradling his head in his hands. Tears stung his eyes but he refused to let them fall. Now was not the time to get all emotional; he was still at work for God's sake. He had patients to see and rounds to do and a small bit of clinic hours as well; he couldn't afford to have a complete emotional breakdown here and now.
He harshly jerked upright when a knock sounded on his door. After making sure he was presentable enough, he answered, "Come in."
Lisa Cuddy entered looking professional and beautiful. Her hair was pulled back into a neat bun, her clothes were freshly pressed, and her posture was straight and sure. In her gray-blue eyes, though, concern and sympathy burned brightly.
"How are you?" she asked.
"What? No beating around the bush?" Wilson countered with surprise in his voice. He leaned back into his work chair and folded his hands on top of his lap in the relaxed manner he often adapts when someone's in his office. He eyed her with humor in his eyes that he didn't feel; he knew why she was here and there was nothing in the situation that was funny.
"No," Cuddy answered, a slight smile forming on her lips at being caught, "I thought the direct approach would be more appreciated this time."
And he did. It was nice to have someone come out and say exactly what they wanted. While House often gave the impression of being blunt, with his friends (or friend as it were) he would be blunt but only with certain subjects. If the diagnostician actually wanted something – information, money, to inquire after one's well-being – he would beat around the bush, talk about everything else but while he gleaned what he could from your actions rather than your words.
"Well, thank you but I'm fine."
Cuddy's eyes went from concerned to scoffing in a matter of seconds. "You know," she said as she sat down across from his desk, "I'm being blunt and honest with you. The least you could do is return the favor."
Wilson smiled, knowing she was right. But it was in his nature to soothe other people's fears and worries; it was what made him a good oncologist, that and he actually cares about his patients. He once again leaned his elbows onto his desk and rested his head in his hands. Why did he feel so tired all of the sudden?
A small, genteel hand grabbed a hold of his right one, gently pulling it away from his face and laying his arm on top of his desk. His left hand remained upright, still cradling his head, but he looked at Cuddy to find the concern back in her eyes and a willingness to listen if he wanted to talk. And oh, how he did! He needed to talk to someone but for the life of him, he couldn't decide who he could trust and he who he couldn't. Much as he liked Lisa, he didn't consider her a good enough friend to talk about his problems with her; she was more a boss, a colleague, and a partner in House-sitting than she was a confidant to him.
Seeing his walls begin to crumble, Cuddy softly pleaded, "James, talk to me." She squeezed his hand as if to accent her point, making him smile at the show of concern. Letting go of his hand, Cuddy moved over to the couch and gave the cushion next her a soft pat. "Sit."
It wasn't so much a command as a sincere request. Wilson gave her a soft smile and awkwardly got out of his chair. He debated using his crutches to make it the small distance over to his couch but he quickly dismissed it and limped to it instead.
Once on the couch, he breathed a sigh of relief. Not only was the cushion much more comfortable than the hard office chair he owned but the small act of walking with a cast over to his couch had actually worn him out. It was a sad statement that that could tire him out so easily and it made him realize that he needed to get back into some semblance of shape.
"Now," Cuddy prompted once again taking his hand into hers, "tell me everything."
Despite his inner self screaming at him to hold back, Wilson found he could no longer do as it commanded and so unleashed everything he felt over the past month onto Cuddy. He told her about the fear he felt as he was thrown against his car and then pinned there; he told her how helpless he felt when the man forced his body against Wilson's then promise things he didn't want; he told her about his nightly nightmares and House's unwillingness to talk about the attack or Wilson's feelings; and he told her just how much it hurt him that House wouldn't even bother to try.
Cuddy listened attentively to him as he talked, not making a comment throughout the entire thing and for that he was extremely grateful. Only after he was finished did she say anything and then it was only a small bit of advice.
"Talk to House," she suggested evenly and with a knowing look in her eyes. "He may know more than you think."
And with that she left, leaving Wilson to ponder her words for the rest of the work day.
When House arrived to take them both home for the day, Wilson was still debating the wisdom of Cuddy's words. Sure, House often knew more than he was saying but even if that was the case that doesn't change the fact that the diagnostician has always been overly reluctant to even talk about Wilson's feelings. The few times the two friends have actually had a serious discussion, it was usually immediately followed by some sort of crude joke just so things didn't get too serious and Wilson wasn't sure he could handle that sort of defense mechanism in this situation.
"You ready?" House asked, eyeing Wilson a little closely for the oncologist's comfort.
"Yeah," Wilson answered in a tired sigh. The day had been long to say the least and all he really wanted to do right now was go home and get some good sleep. Unfortunately, thanks to his nightmares, getting a decent amount of sleep every night no longer happened.
He slowly started to gather the work he'd need to finish while at home then put them into his briefcase. The trip home was spent in silence as neither man felt the need to speak. When they got home, Wilson automatically put his coat into the hall closet and placed his briefcase onto the floor before he went into the kitchen and stared into the refrigerator and freezer in hopes of finding some clue about what to make for dinner.
"We do have air conditioning, you know?" House quipped, though his voice lacked his usual snark.
"So that's what the setting on the thermostat is," Wilson exclaimed in fake surprise. "I always wondered about that."
House cocked his head to the side, openly staring at Wilson. The eyelids around his cerulean irises twitched as they took in some mystery about Wilson but no other reaction was given. Instead, the diagnostician simply turned on his heel and headed straight for the couch and TV.
Figures, Wilson mentally cursed. If he had to guess, he'd say that House knew something was off about him but he just didn't really want to get into it. Why couldn't I have a boyfriend who didn't mind being emotional?
With a sigh that had nothing to do with the abysmal lack of food in the fridge and everything to do with him wondering if he really did want House to try and change a little, Wilson closed the refrigerator door with a dulled thud. He debated hitting his head on it a few times to try and clear the nightmarish memories inside it but he realized it wouldn't help so he settled for tossing his phone at House, satisfactorily smiling when it hit said man in the head, and said, "Order yourself some dinner. I'm going to go to bed."
House stared at him, curiosity, desire, and annoyance swirling in his eyes. He gave one of his trademark nods of assent and answered, "Okay."
Wilson stayed where he was for a moment, staring at House as though expecting the man to suddenly turn around and decide to follow. When no such thing happened, the oncologist heaved another heavy sigh and started making his way to the bedroom. He stopped briefly to grab his briefcase full of work then he headed into the back of the apartment.
The sound of his metallic crutches making contact with the hardwood floor echoed soundly through the hall as he moved, providing a hypnotic rhythm that allowed his mind to switch onto autopilot and drift into the beyond of his dreams.
As he moved about his bedroom and undressed, Wilson could once again feel the hands of the man wrapping themselves around his arms, spinning him round to face the attacker. He could smell the horrible breath and feel the grime of the other's fingers as they rubbed against his suit jacket. His breaths came out in shudders as he felt the ghost of a hand running down his face in what was supposed to be a caress.
Before he knew what was happening, Wilson was on the bed, curled into a person that smelled like House and crying once again. But it wasn't possible to getting comfort from House since House was currently in the living room, watching God only knows what. So who was this new person that was holding him?
"He grabbed you from behind," House said, his voice rumbling through his chest and into Wilson's ear. "Then he pushed you against the car, not allowing you to see his face. You told him where you kept your wallet and what was inside, hoping he would leave but he didn't. He wanted more."
"How did you?" Wilson asked, barely able to get his mind wrapped around the story that House had just spun as though he was reading from a not so kid friendly book.
"Haven't I ever told you that you talk in your sleep?" House asked innocently.
"That must have slipped your mind," Wilson replied dryly. Though he was somewhat annoyed with House for not telling him that he knew everything, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He now had someone else who could share his nightmares. Someone who understood what had happened and could still assure him that the man wasn't coming back.
"The detail you keep forgetting to focus on is that you fought back," House said, breaking through Wilson's relief with ease. "You keep remembering how much like a victim you felt but the one thing that you conveniently keep forgetting to dwell on is that you fought back and that was the reason why you got away."
"Yeah, that or Chase came."
"Even if Chase had come earlier, he still wouldn't have done anything. The Wombat apparently looks up to you; as long as the man had you in his clutches he wouldn't have done anything that could get you hurt or killed."
"Chase doesn't look up to me. He fears your wrath if something should happen to me and it would be his fault."
House laughed appreciatively. The sound vibrated through Wilson's being, warming his heart. "See? There you go focusing on the wrong thing again."
Wilson laughed at House's comment in spite of himself. It felt good to genuinely laugh; he couldn't remember the last time it had happened.
"So I fought back. That still doesn't erase the rest of what happened," he argued with his partner, stubbornly refusing to give the diagnostician what he wanted.
"That's what drugs and alcohol are for," House replied as though it should have been obvious. "You've already got the drugs part, now you just need the alcohol. There's Scotch in the kitchen, do you want a glass?"
Wilson glared at his friend in response, letting the weight of his glare say everything that he couldn't. He always hated it when House joked about his substance abuse; there was nothing funny about it whatsoever.
For a few minutes, both men sat in absolute silence, each staring at the other. Wilson refused to yield in his glare; he wasn't about to let House off that easy. After what could have been five minutes or twenty, House sighed and pulled away from Wilson. The oncologist half expected him to walk out of the room like he always did so when he simply sat back further onto the bed, Wilson couldn't hide his surprise.
"Did I ever tell you how I felt when I heard about the mugging?" he asked so seriously that Wilson actually had to bite his lip to keep from remarking about how House always had to make things about him.
Now that he thought about it, Wilson didn't actually know how House felt about the whole thing. He always just assumed that House was, of course, glad that Wilson was mostly alright and that was that. Whenever the subject was brought up, there was always such a air of indifference that, despite his best instincts, he actually believed the diagnostician to be indifferent.
House nodded as though that was the answer he was expecting. Once again his eyelids briefly narrowed into minute twitches that he usually did when he was thinking.
"At first, I was relieved that you were alright. Sure you had a broken bone or two but eventually you'd be fine." He paused for a moment then continued, "Then the nightmares started and through the past four weeks I've begun to piece everything together. Earlier while I was in the clinic-"
"You mean while you were sleeping in the clinic," Wilson corrected with a disapproving look.
"That's what I said," House replied as though the two terms were one in the same. He gave a dramatic eye roll, silently complaining about Wilson interrupting him. "Anyways, before I was so rudely interrupted, I was saying that I had a dream while I was in the clinic."
"You're awfully white to be impersonating Martin Luther King JR."
"Will you shut up and let me tell my story? Or I'll never read to you again."
Wilson chuckled and House's gentle mocking and offered his hands in surrender and a smile of apology.
"I dreamed that about coming into work the day after the attack and finding your body frozen and dead under a bush." House visibly shivered and Wilson instinctively cuddled close to him, providing them both the reassurance and comfort that they needed. "It wasn't until then that I realized how truly terrified I am of losing you." He unconsciously wrapped an arm around Wilson's shoulders and pulled him closer. "I don't think I could handle that." He tightened his grip in a restricting hug. "I love you Wilson. I don't think I could be held responsible for my actions if something should happen to you."
Those words warmed Wilson's heart far easier than anything he's ever heard in his life. He couldn't explain why but he knew that House had meant every word he'd just said and that knowledge was the positively best thing Wilson's heard.
"I love you too House," he said gruffly. He felt like a complete idiot but he couldn't help it; he was crying from joy. Wilson swore he could hear House's eyes rolling into the back of his head.
"I just wanted you to know that you're not alone," he said, managing to make the words sound apologetic though he was more than likely embarrassed. He inhaled deeply in the way he does when he wants to start a completely different conversation. "So, dinner, what do you think?"
Wilson laughed, not surprised by the subject. "Um, let's have some?"
"Sounds like a plan," House conceded. He disentangled himself from Wilson and got out of bed, hissing when his thigh complained about the movement. As quickly as his damaged thigh could move, House scurried out of the bedroom, leaving a very happy, very contemplative Wilson behind him.
That night, Wilson slept soundly all through the night with House wrapped securely around him. He knew there were more things he needed to do before he'd be even remotely okay and he knew that it would be a long time before he could walk out of the hospital alone without crippling fear but as long as he had House by his side, he knew he wouldn't be alone.