Hi everyone!

Firstly, thank you all so much for the lovely reviews

you're leaving, they're just fab! Also, as you may

have guessed with the song choice for this chapter,

i was lucky enough to see Robbie Williams so you

can thank him for the tone of this update! I just

thought this song was perfect though :) xxx

'Close your eyes so you don't fear them… they don't need to see you cry.

I can't promise I will heal you… but if you want to, I will try.

I'll sing this somber serenade, the past is done, we've been betrayed… it's true.

Someone said the truth will out… I believe without a doubt in you.'

{Robbie Williams: Eternity}


'Wilson, if you fall on your ass we've both had it. There's a time for independence and gaining strength and all that getting back to normal crap, but I'm afraid now, as in two hours before the Cops are due, is not it.'

Wilson said nothing, hanging his head dejectedly as he held tightly on to the edge of the sink, breathlessly propping himself up against it as he willed his legs to stop shaking, his teeth gritted with the stubborn effort to remain upright.

The razor was sitting uselessly by the plug hole, flung there in tired frustration less than tens seconds ago.

'Look,' said House gently from behind him, leaning heavily on the wall and staring at the top of Wilson's damp, disheveled head in the mirror, 'You've gotten some sleep in overnight, the fever's broken and we've got the nausea mostly under control. But you're still weak, you're still sick. You know you are. I had to practically carry you in here last night and before. Plus you've needed me to help you get washed and dressed, and whilst I might not make a regular habit of shaving, I do know how to do it. The bottom line is I know that your usual look isn't this wild come homeless thing you've got going on, and if you think I'm letting you loose in front of the Cops looking like something a cat threw up then you've got another thing coming.'

Wilson said nothing, his only response being the closing of his eyes as he felt the usual gripe of embarrassment twist through his gut. Did House not think he was already well aware of the fact that he could barely do a thing for himself? That the anti-viral meds had done their job just wonderfully, rendering him barely able to walk in the process of recovering from very little natural sleep, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a fever and mere morsels of food at best?

Did House think he was proud of the fact that he was relying on a man who could barely walk without a cane himself?

He detested himself, and they both knew it.

'Just let me do this and then I'll leave you alone,' sighed House, 'I promise.'

Still nothing.

House rolled his eyes. Humor it was then.

'Look, if you don't let me do this, I'm telling you now – I'll get your hair drier and balls your hair right up. The choice is yours, Jimmy boy.'

Wilson looked up then to tiredly meet House's gaze in the mirror, all the more aware now of the rugged at best look he'd adopted over the past couple of weeks thanks to a complete lack of shaving.

Not quite wild, or homeless, but he was at least as hairy as House.

And he just looked ridiculous stood there with shaving foam all over his face, shaving foam that was going nowhere without House's help.

He sighed, frustrated.

'I fucking hate these meds.'

House smirked, knowing Wilson, at the heart of him, didn't mean a word of that, knowing how eternally grateful both of them were that those meds existed at all. He'd added in a regular anti-emetic to Wilson's meds now, hoping it would keep at least some of the nausea at bay, if not all of it. Add a sleeping pill into the mix, and more fluids if needed, and House was hopeful that a few days from now would see a fed, watered and rested Wilson looking and feeling more like his old self.

Whether that idealistic scenario would actually play out, House wasn't so sure.

In fact, as is well known by every wise man, life just isn't that straightforward, exhibit A being the unshaven Oncologist House was observing before him now.

'Too bad your Attending's making you stay on them then, isn't it? He must be one sadistic son of a bitch.'

'You could say that,' grumbled Wilson, giving in to just flop down on the side of the bath and take a deep breath before raising his head to resignedly present his left cheek to House.

'Go on then. Shave me.'

House couldn't help shaking his head as he stepped forward to take the razor from the sink, smiling to himself as he dutifully sat down next to Wilson and placed his fingertips at the side of his head, using his left thumb to pull the skin of his cheek taut before he got to work, murmuring to Wilson as he concentrated.

'I can't believe it took me threatening the wellbeing of your precious locks to make you agree to this.'

'I still can't believe I've agreed to this,' shot back Wilson softly as he stared at the wall, his weary eyes finally twinkling somewhat with both resigned gratitude and amusement, 'I swear to all that's holy, if you go near my eyebrows-'

'You'll what?' snorted House, leaning past Wilson to rinse the razor before getting back to the job in hand, 'File half way through my cane while I'm asleep? Kidnap my guitar? Put my hand in warm water while I'm sleeping so I piss myself like a little girl? Oh wait, hang on, that was you.'

Wilson couldn't help smiling sadly with the memory of that one, surprised at the strength of the mournful pang that tore through him so fiercely for their lives back then.

Frustrating, unpredictable and unbearably lonely as it had been so mundanely normal, boring and comfortingly them

Life in all its anti-climaxing glory, a blur of days so similar that they just merged into the next, years that flew by with a crappy routine of hookers, pain, Vicodin, risk-taking, adultery, failed marriages, lecturing and health-watching that both of them barely wavered from…

God, he missed it.

He missed it so much.

House, as per usual, guessed exactly what his best friend was thinking at that point, dropping the razor and stilling long enough to cause Wilson to eventually turn to him, overwhelmed brown eyes shining with something so much worse than sadness.

'It won't be like this forever,' offered House quietly, his chest tightening with the flash of cautious hope that crossed Wilson's face for a split second before disappearing as quickly as it had come, 'It feels like it'll never end, but it will. I promise you, it will.'

Wilson nodded uncertainly, those dark eyes flooding and spilling over all at once as he stared desperately at House, praying so, so hard that his best friend was right.

He couldn't speak, the only sound that escaped him a strangled sob as he caved in on himself.

He was shitting himself about speaking to the Cops, and they both knew it.

They'd always known it.

'Hey, come on,' whispered House, shuffling closer along the hard bath tub edge to automatically fold Wilson to him, arms wrapped tightly around the younger man as he crumpled willingly against his chest, the shaving foam that remained now smeared all over House's neck and shoulder, 'Don't cry. Please, don't cry.'

House was rocking him, so gently that he barely noticed he was doing it, the sound of Wilson crying so horribly familiar and yet so gut wrenchingly wrong that House didn't know what to feel.




All of them boiled down to the same thing – the man he held so close now didn't deserve this. Life was shitty enough at the best of times, but to have it turn around and do this to his best friend…

It was a betrayal of the highest order, one that had caught them completely unawares and spat them out the other side in a heap of complete despair.

It was a betrayal that neither of them would ever get used to, no matter how many times House analyzed it obsessively from every angle, no matter how many times Wilson tried to do the exact opposite in avoiding any remote thought of that appalling night or its aftermath and failing quite spectacularly with every helpless attempt.

It plagued the Oncologist with every waking breath, despite the fact that he'd barely spoken a word about it since he'd drank himself into oblivion the night after he was raped, and even then that was hardly anything. Even with House's sparse attempts to wheedle anything out of his best friend, Wilson had still remained tight lipped on the actual events of that soul-destroying night, bottling everything up until it caught up with him and unexpectedly burst out of him at moments like this. Moments that were becoming more and more frequent.

And House knew, in less than two hour's time, that he'd be hearing everything. All those missing puzzle pieces that he hadn't pieced together yet for himself, all those seemingly insignificant, yet vital links that joined each vicious blow to the next, taking Wilson from innocently answering his front door to House finding him in a bloodied, discarded heap behind it later on… he'd be hearing everything. In excruciating detail, as equally excruciating, endless questions were finally answered.

Whether Wilson was ready for that, whether he'd ever be ready for that, he just didn't know.

'Tell me what happened, Wilson,' requested House softly, pressing his lips hard into Wilson's freshly washed hair as he squeezed him, 'Before the Cops get here, tell me what happened. I know I can't make it all better, or make it all go away, but I can try. I promise you, I'll try.'

It took a few moments, but he eventually felt Wilson nod into the crook of his neck, the Oncologist tightening the hold he had on House as he tried to stifle the sobs that he just couldn't keep down.

House said no more as he waited patiently, feeling sick with the knowledge that he was about to hear Wilson's account of the unspeakable violation he'd suffered through, staring resolutely at a spot on the wall as he felt Wilson slowly relax into him over the next few minutes, his breathing slowly evening out as they sat there together.

House didn't protest in the slightest when Wilson suddenly reached up to take his left hand and pull it down into his lap, clasping it tightly between both of his as he tried to find it in him to begin somewhere, completely mortified and terrified in equal measure of the consequences this could have.

It wasn't his fault. House had already said, he already knew…

It wasn't his fault.

He sighed shakily.

'He knocked three times.'

House jumped a little at the sudden break in silence, despite the fact that Wilson's shattered voice was barely there, doing not much more than cradling the Oncologist now as he leant against House, exhausted.

'I thought it was the Police, or.. or a neighbor, complaining about you,' revealed Wilson thickly, shaking his head with the utter disbelief at what had been waiting for him on the other side, House's hand a welcome plaything as he messed with it in an almost childlike manner, unable to bring himself to look up to his friend.

He'd died a little more inside at every glancing thought of his rapist, of those eyes, of those hands, of that breath, that voice, and this… well, this was just killing him.

His heart was pounding, his anxiety and panic spilling over into his stricken voice.

'I shouldn't have opened that door, House. I should've just.. just waited for you, or gone to bed, or.. or something. 'Cause when I did he… he had a balaclava and these horrible grey eyes and I knew, House, I knew it would be bad, and I couldn't shut it again, 'cause he was there, he was in, and.. God, he just.. just shoved his knee into my face and I.. I couldn't.. I couldn't stop him.'

He swallowed, breathless.

'I couldn't stop him.'

That last sentence was admitted with such humiliated defeat that House had to take a deep breath in a vague attempt to calm down, white hot anger searing through him for this masked bastard. He was gritting his teeth, he could feel it, his blood pressure rising as quickly as the possessive fury that swirled within his gut tore through him.

He could kill the scum who'd done this to the man whose continued wellbeing, whose life, House cherished more than his own.

Because whilst House wouldn't wish something like this on anyone, least of all anybody he knew, he couldn't deny that he'd see any one of them suffer before he did Wilson. Without a shadow of a doubt.

James Wilson was off limits.

It was as simple as that.

And that appeared to be a fact that Wilson's rapist had yet to learn.


Two hours later and the questions, as predicted earlier, were endless.

Excruciatingly, torturously… endless.

This was so much worse than they'd thought it would be.

That was all House could dazedly think as he sat quietly on the couch right next to Wilson, his horrified stare frozen on a random spot on the floor a meter or so away, the slight ache of his elbows digging insistently into the tops of his thighs as he rested his chin atop his clasped hands an ongoing, necessary ache that utterly failed to distract him from his best friend.

Nothing was going to succeed in distracting him from his best friend.

Because Wilson was trembling as he accounted everything, yet again, from that night, in the obligatory painstaking detail, for the middle-aged, male Cop sat opposite them. He was trembling so hard. House could feel it through their knees that, as per usual, were resting against each other, despite the surprising outward calmness with which he described the life altering events of that night.

Yes, to look at Wilson now – bathed, clean-shaven (eventually), dressed in the usual clean sweatpants and t-shirt – he looked almost normal. To any oblivious onlooker who didn't know, who couldn't hear the unspeakable atrocities coming out of Wilson's mouth, who couldn't hear the absolute despair that wavered through his voice, who couldn't see the hopelessness that drowned the chocolate whorls of those disbelieving eyes, you'd think the pair of them were reporting a scratch that some mindless idiot had decided to key into the younger Doctor's car.

To those wonderfully naïve, happily unknowing onlookers, it was a given that they couldn't imagine the night and day, the past two weeks, that House and Wilson had just suffered through to get them to this point now. This Cop even, understanding, sympathetic and as admittedly good as he was, had no idea what they'd gone through. Because to House, and Wilson too he imagined, it was quite clear that neither he, nor the person in his life who mattered most to him, had been battered into brutal oblivion in their own home before being so violently raped under the very real threat of being murdered right there and then.

He'd quite obviously never found his best friend in the state House had found Wilson in two short weeks ago.

He had no idea of the near impossibility that was the two Doctor's moving on from that surreal event to live a relatively normal life again.

He couldn't know what it was to literally have to drag your best friend back to the land of the living and attempt to keep him there when he so obviously, so heartbreakingly, didn't want to be.

And, Jesus, it was a blessing that he didn't know. No one should have to go through this. This Cop was doing his job, just as he should be and needed to. This Cop was probably looking at the pair of them now, noting the dark rings of exhaustion that clouded their eyes for example, and guessing that neither of the Doctor's had had a restful night's sleep.

And whilst that assumption would be spot on, House couldn't help but feel irritated at how insignificant a fleeting thought that would be to the Cop. Just a casual observation that would be entirely expected, and yet mean nothing to him. Because whilst that Cop surely knew that lack of sleep wasn't an unusual behavior for victims of crimes so heinous, whilst he knew the theory behind it, he obviously didn't know.

Had he ever known what it was to give up on sleeping himself because his still fevered best friend couldn't? Because every time his best friend did drift off next to him, he screamed himself awake mere minutes later, crying and sweating and shaking and screaming so desperately, screaming for help, screaming for mercy… screaming for him?

Had he ever known what it was to have to give in to his best friend's pleas to inject them with an anti-anxiety drug, knowing all the while that it would do him no good in the long term, that it was a hollow escape, knowing all the while that he loved that best friend far, far too much to deny him anything he wanted?

Had he ever known what it was to hook his best friend up to fluids and IV Tylenol, watching them run slowly through as the hours passed by, swapping the bags when they were finished, praying that they'd be enough to get the shattered man on the receiving end of them at least feeling able to eat something again with the hopeful breaking of the fever?

Had he ever known what it was to truly be his best friend's crutch, his willing anchor under circumstances so acutely devastating that it became so much more than just supporting him?

Because House had come to realize that he was playing God in his best friend's life.

He was playing God, picking up the responsibility for the continuation of Wilson's life when the Oncologist had so willingly given up at 10:11pm on the night that had so totally destroyed him, taking on a role so hugely significant that House knew he had become so much more than Wilson's safety blanket.

He'd become everything to the younger man sat next to him now.


And whilst the thought of it scared him senseless, House knew that he wouldn't have it any other way.

He couldn't have it any other way.

And so it was that endless questions continued, each one so necessarily invasive despite the sensitive spin expertly put upon them by the Cop.

And Wilson was still trembling next to him.

House waited until the Cop stopped to look for another pen before he bumped shoulders lightly with Wilson, taking the now numb Oncologist by slight surprise despite being sat only inches away, his voice barely more than a whisper when he spoke.

'You alright?'

Wilson nodded quickly and looked away again, obviously far from 'alright' and blushing furiously with humiliation at the sickening details of those nine minutes that he'd just divulged to the other two men in the room, from answering the front door that night at 10:02pm to finding himself falling unconscious amidst his own blood and stomach contents and God knows what at 10:11pm.

And even though House had heard it before, he was still just so ashamed. Completely and utterly, unimaginably… ashamed.


I know I can't make it all better, or make it all go away, but I can try. I promise you, I'll try.

Wilson bit his lip, feeling suddenly choked with the recent memory of that uttered pledge. He waited a second before turning to House again, meeting the heartening gaze of those blue eyes he knew so well for a moment before following the Diagnostician in looking down to their adjacent thighs.

His hand lay there between them, open wide and palm facing upwards, clearly willing Wilson to take it if he so wished.

Even if he just wanted to use it as a plaything.

The small sigh that escaped him then was one of such completely unexpected relief that it brought tears to his eyes.

'You're alright,' promised House softly, his chest tightening when he felt Wilson's fingers interlocking tightly with his own, the Oncologist's hand clammy with nerves as he turned back to the Police Officer, clinging to the life line he now had clutched once more in his left hand.

He would be alright.

In the end, he would be alright.

It was a mantra that he ran through over and over again in his head for the rest of the interview, never once letting go of House.

And it was a mantra that would surely become a reality in the end.

Because House was going to make damn sure of it.