Disclaimer: If I owned these characters, this fic would never have to be written!

Setting the stage: It's post Season 7 and House has done a short stint in prison, returned to work, and completed his parole. He chose to go back into therapy with Nolan in an effort to deal with his emotional pain. He's also in physical therapy to help with the physical pain. He doesn't expect miracles, he just wants to finally be able to move on with his life. During one of their sessions, Nolan, knowing how hard it is for House to talk about some things, suggested writing in a journal. House of course, is stubborn, but he decides that maybe there's something to it. But instead, he writes a letter to Cuddy. He knows the only way he can begin to change is by being honest, with himself and with her.

Dear Cuddy,

I know I'm the last person you want to hear from but I have so much I want to say to you. After all the things I put you through over the years, I owe you this. I need to do this...for you and for me. Please just at least read it, then you can do with it whatever you want. I just have some things I need to say to you and then I promise you won't hear from me ever again.

I've been seeing Nolan again and one of his crazy ideas was writing in a journal. Some things are just hard for me to talk about so he thought writing about them might help me. As you can imagine I hated the idea but he said it didn't matter what I wrote so long as I did it. I did write a little but it's not what I wanted to write about. What I really wanted to do was write to you and apologize for everything I did to hurt you. Right now though I'm not sure if I'm going to mail it. I guess we'll find out. There are times I think I'm fucked up beyond repair and after what I did to you, I deserve to suffer. I thought that's how it was supposed to play out, the only way I thought any of us would feel better, if I were suffering for the pain I caused you. Nolan, that crazy bastard says I'm wrong. He says that's not how life works, we're not supposed to keep punishing ourselves for our mistakes. We're supposed to learn from them and move on with our lives. Part of this whole healing process is honesty and taking responsibility. While I know this will be painful for you to read, I can't be honest with myself if I can't first be honest with you. This isn't about excuses; this is about me facing the truth and taking responsibility for my actions.

When you were in the hospital, I know that I should have been there to help calm your fears but I was too afraid. I was scared to death that I was going to lose you. I hid from it all, hoping not to feel anything because if I felt it, it would hurt and I couldn't handle that. I couldn't handle the pain. The night before your surgery, I was hiding out at Foreman's apartment. Wilson called and told me the tumors had spread and at that moment I realized you were going to die and it was over. I had to see you but I wanted to numb every feeling I had so I could see you without breaking down. I couldn't face the pain and I didn't want to break down in front of you, I couldn't cry, I couldn't show weakness, I couldn't let my heart be broken by losing you. I couldn't let myself feel what it would be like to lose you, to go through the rest of my life without you. I never realized until that moment just how much I'd depended on you to keep me alive. Wilson was right, I had made your illness all about me. I loved you so much and yet all I could think about was how much it would hurt to live without you. I regret that the one time you needed me, I was too scared to be there without taking a pill to give me the courage. Cuddy, I wish we'd talked about this before, it would've saved us so much grief but I have to tell you know so that you will know the truth. Actually you knew the truth, it's me who could never face it.

After you ended things between us, I lied to myself and said it was just about the Vicodin and convinced myself I was angry because you'd told me you didn't want me to change but in the end you did. It wasn't until later that I accepted the reality that you were right-I was afraid to feel pain-not just mine but the pain of others too. I should've talked to you about my fears but I just couldn't do it. Instead I closed myself off from you when you needed me most. You needed me to put aside my own concerns and be there for you and I couldn't do it like a normal guy. I am sorry I made you feel as if you were going through it alone. I am so sorry that I was afraid to feel your pain, I wish I had been there for you the way you deserved. I am so sorry that I wasn't there when you needed me.

By the time I realized things had to change, I think it was too late. The morning after the surgery on my leg, Wilson helped me out of my hospital bed to go to the bathroom because I couldn't walk. I was so pissed at myself-I never thought I would stoop so low as to take an experimental drug and then wind up cutting tumors out of my own leg. Wilson just looked at me and said something had to change. And I knew he was right. I'd finally decided I'd had enough of the misery and self-loathing and the abuse I'd heaped on me and most of all-you. It hit me that day that I'd pushed things too far. I hurt you beyond repair and I wanted to find a way to make amends and get back to where we were before we got together. Having you in my life, even as my boss, was better than not having you in my life at all. That day after lunch in the hospital, when you held my hand and told me you were sorry, I wanted to hold you and tell you how much I loved you, how much I'd always loved you and how sorry I was for hurting but then you asked me how I felt and at that moment-it hit me that the only thing I could feel was hurt. You broke my heart and I was hurt-and it was worse than any physical pain I've ever felt.

I'd hoped that we we might find a way to have that talk or that fight as you called it. I though our chance would come when Wilson stopped over at my apartment that afternoon. He suggested we go out for a few beers to get our minds off things. On the way out, I picked up your hairbrush and told him I wanted to drop it off to you on the way but it was just an excuse to see you and hopefully be alone with you to talk and sort out the mess. I figured Rachel was still in pre-school and I could send Wilson on his way. But when we arrived at your house, I walked to the front door and that's when I saw it-you with your sister and brother-in-law and that guy. You were smiling at him and you looked happy and something in me just fell apart. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut, ripped out my heart. That's the moment when it hit me that I'd lost you forever. Everything had changed and you were moving on and I was not a part of it.

I felt sick to my stomach and walked back to the car and told Wilson to get out. I just wanted to get away. I didn't care how far or how fast I drove, I just wanted out. I was done, tired of the hurt and the misery. When I was driving away though I was hit with this wave of sadness over what I'd lost not just with you but throughout my entire life. All the shit seemed to hit me at once and then the sadness turned to anger in a split second. I blamed my parents, Wilson, Stacy, you, and everyone else for my pain. Then I blamed myself. I became angry at myself for ruining every good thing I ever had in my life. That anger...it was like nothing I'd ever felt, it overwhelmed me and before I knew it, I turned that car around and started speeding back to your house. I don't even know why I did it, I still can't explain exactly what went through my head at the moment. My intention wasn't to hurt anyone. As I drove my car up into your yard it just seemed surreal, like I was on the outside looking in, watching all this happen from afar. After I walked away, I didn't feel anger or sadness...it was much worse...I didn't feel anything, I couldn't feel anything. I was numb. I don't know if it was the Vicodin, the shock, or what, I just remember everything seemed to be in slow motion. When I finally got to my apartment, it hit me. I started to panic realizing what I'd done and I packed what I could and I ran. I took a backpack and boarded a plane for the islands where I spent the next few weeks drinking myself into a stupor, getting high on Vicodin while you and Wilson were left behind to pick up the pieces.

I sat there night after night in that tourist trap alone and getting drunk and high every day, feeling sorry for myself. Then one night I dreamed about you and Rachel. She crawled into my lap and I read her a story just like that night at your house when Rachel had first done that. In that dream, it just felt right. When I woke up I knew what I had to do and so I came home. I had to accept the consequences for my actions. Nobody was going to save me and I didn't want them to. I wanted a quick sentence with no trial because you didn't deserve having your personal life thrown out there for the whole world to see. I called my lawyer, the one who defended me against Tritter, and I told him to take the first deal offered. Despite my request he still managed a plea deal.

The prison therapist tried to get me to talk about my feelings, deal with my emotions. I tried but I didn't know this guy, I didn't trust him. I faked my way through sessions but he probably saw right though it. Even in prison, as I dealt with the consequences of my actions I was still lying to myself and everyone around me. Later, at my parole hearing, I deflected from the truth of what I'd done and told them that when I drove my car into your home, I knew that Rachel was not home. The truth is that while I had hoped on my way to your house, that she was still in school, so we could be alone to talk, I do not think that thought occurred to me later when I committed the act. Actually, I don't know exactly what I was thinking at that moment. I lied because I could not face the reality that when I crashed my car into your house, I could have killed you. All of you.

You're probably thinking I should've served a longer sentence and I'd have to agree but eventually it was my time to go. When I found out I was getting out early, I was scared. Getting out meant going back to old habits and it also meant a new life filled with fear and loneliness. I was afraid of going back to that so I actually tried to sabotage getting out early, after all I had nothing left on the outside. I'd lost the woman I loved, my best friend, my job, my medical license and what little respect I had from anyone who cared about me. I couldn't even tell my own mother what I had done because I knew it would break her heart. I was scared to go back to my old world without all the things that had once held me together-most importantly, you. You were my saviour, you defended me and stood by me when no one else would. I never realized until later that made for a very unhealthy relationship and contributed to how things ended for us.

Not a day goes by when I don't ponder what might've been. Sadly, we went into our relationship with blinders on. We believed it could work despite the fact we both had so much baggage. We just ignored the baggage hoping it wouldn't become an issue but ignoring it just made it worse. We were so scared of being hurt that we didn't go all in. If we had, maybe we could've made it work. There's a reason we avoided a relationship for so long, we both knew what was at stake. We knew and yet we ignored it and look what happened. If only we'd known the kind of pain we would've inflicted on one another and that it would've ended the way it did...

As you know I've always believed people don't change but Nolan seems to think it's bullshit. He says anyone can change, they just have to really want it and work hard at it. He says that it doesn't matter if I fail, I have to keep trying. Since leaving prison, I've been clean and sober and though my leg still hurts like hell at times, Nolan made quitting the Vicodin a condition of taking me back as a patient. I didn't do it just for him though, I did it for me. For the first time in a long time I did something positive in my life just for me. I'm glad I did because even with the pain, I do feel better. Nolan helped me find a good physical therapist, his name is Vince and we've worked hard to find better ways to manage my pain. Most days are good, the pain isn't as bad as it once was but I have to keep up the therapy to keep it that way. Some days though, it just hurts like hell and I have to keep pushing ahead. I don't ever want to go back to the way things used to be. I can't. I just wish I'd done this years ago.

Cuddy, I've hurt you over the years more times than I can count. I've done things to you that I will regret for the rest of my life. I wish I could go back and change everything, but I can't. I will never be able to take back that awful day-what I did to you and Rachel. It forced you to leave your home, your job, your friends, everything you had built and accomplished. I ask myself how I became that man who ran his car into your house. The man you have known and loved half your life was not capable of what I did to you that day and yet I did it. I am so sorry for what I did to you, for how much pain I caused you. I only hope you've been able to move on to the life you deserve and that you and Rachel are happy. I put you through an awful lot of pain over the years, especially after we broke up. I was an arrogant, selfish son of a bitch and there was no excuse. I can only hope someday you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

I suppose it's time to end this letter. I'm still not sure if I am going to send it, but if you're reading it, I guess you know the answer to that. Not that you will ever want to talk to me again but please know that if you ever want to talk about what happened, if you need to yell or scream at me-if it gives you closure, then I am ready for that, I expect it. In case there was ever a doubt, I have always loved you and I never stopped. I even loved Rachel too. She grew on me and I really cared about her. Cuddy, you were right when you said you hoped you made me a better person, you did. I was a better person for having known you and loved you and been loved by you. Thank you for bringing love and happiness to my life when I never thought I would experience it again. I wish I'd done a lot of things different. I realize now that I should have told you and shown you just how much you meant to me when I had the chance. I'm sorry that as always I waited until it was too late.

Always, House