A/N: Post "Whac-A-Mole". Title from "How to Save a Life" by The Fray.
Wilson calls him that night. He doesn’t say anything for the first two minutes, but House knows it’s him.
He is about to hang up when Wilson finally speaks.
“I don’t think you understand.” The voice is quiet and exhausted, and House catches a hint of pleading.
“Understand what? That you feel betrayed? Spare me.”
“I don’t think you understand how much this… Jesus. I can’t even-”
Normally, House would make a remark about Wilson being Jewish. Tonight is not normal.
Thinking of how disgustingly not normal this is makes House want to throw the phone across the room, and Wilson with it. None of this should be happening.
“If you can’t tell me, I must not really need to know.”
He needs to end this conversation. He needs to not fucking care anymore.
“I don’t care if you need to know! I need to say it!” Wilson is starting to sound desperate now.
“So say it and stop wasting my time.”
“That’s just it! Wasting your time? Is that really all I-” he chokes on the words and tries again, “Is that really all I am, t-to you?”
House can’t see him, but Wilson’s voice is screaming of unshed tears. How did Wilson move from anger to anguish? House can imagine him sitting with his head in his hands. His eyes would be shut tightly against anything other than his personal emotional hell. Turmoil that House has so lovingly provided for him.
Wilson doesn’t even wait for an answer, because he knows that no answer will ever come.
“But that’s not why I c-called.” There is a pause. Wilson is probably wiping frantically at his eyes. “I know you care on some level because you’re feeling guilty but that might just be plain old guilt, I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, I just wanted- I just needed to-”
“Needed to what?” House asks, impatient. This rambling, insecure Wilson is gnawing at his conscience, and it hurts in an unfamiliar way.
Wilson has never cried for him before.
“To tell you something. I- I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, but I wanted to tell you. I know you- I know you don’t c-care, but…” House hears him stumbling over the words, and the sound is so strange that House cringes. “I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me, I don’t, I just want you to know. You’re such a fucking asshole, and I don’t know why I keep… keep thinking about it! Because you don’t care, so I shouldn’t care, but I do, and I don’t want to keep caring like this! I shouldn’t just keep… loving you, like this.”
And there they are. The words that House never expected to hear, and yet he is not at all surprised, somehow, to hear them.
“But I wanted you to know I won’t ever… stop. I should; I want to. But I won’t. I just… can’t. Not that it matters to you. Your guilt would probably feel better if I could stop loving you. But maybe somewhere, it matters, and that’s why I called.”
There is another long pause. House wonders if it does matter, and decides that he can’t bring himself to really find out.
“I’m sorry,” Wilson says softly.
And House isn’t, so he hangs up.