House is abrasive, cynical, sometimes even hostile, but every so often, he lets his guard down and shows a vulnerable side. House cares; he just has a funny way of showing it.
1. House is willing to sacrifice Steve McQueen in “Euphoria”
Over the course of season 3, House develops a fondness for a pet rat he names Steve McQueen. That’s why Wilson, and everyone watching at home, were shocked when House exposed Steve McQueen to the same environment he thought was making Foreman seriously ill. Steve manages to survive, but still House was willing to put him on the line to save someone even more important to him.
2. House sees himself in a patient in “Help Me”
When a building collapses on a woman’s leg, House can’t help but see a reflection of his own injury. At first, he tries to protect her from an amputation, understanding her desire to keep her leg. Then when it’s clear the leg can’t be saved without further damage, he convinces her to have the amputation by telling her how the chronic pain in his leg changed him into “a harder person, a worse person.” House knows the best thing he can do is stop someone from turning into another him.
The patient doesn’t survive the surgery, and House breaks down, when he couldn’t save her.
3. House offers to kill Thirteen in “The Dig”
Sometimes House has an odd way of showing he cares. House reconnects with Thirteen after she spends six months in prison. He discovers that she was in prison for euthanizing her brother who was suffering from the degenerative disorder Huntington’s Disease, which Thirteen also has. At that point, knowing Thirteen’s feelings about suffering, life, and death, House offers to kill her when the time comes, adding “I have a baseball bat in the back” of his car.
4. House fires Thirteen in “Charity Case”
House does Thirteen another “cruel to be kind” favor when he fires her. Rather than spending her last healthy years working with House, she’ll be able to spend them in Greece with her girlfriend. House denies that it’s a favor, but Thirteen knows better.
5. House admits he needs Wilson in “Holding On”
We already know what House’s perspective is on quality vs. quantity of life, but when Wilson develops cancer, House keeps pushing Wilson to take the treatment. Over dinner with Wilson, he finally reveals why: he doesn’t know what he’ll do without Wilson. House and Wilson’s relationship was strained at various points throughout the series but ultimately the two need each other.
6. House fakes his own death for Wilson “Everybody Dies”
It would be easy to think that House’s work, or at least the thrill of the puzzles it provides is the most important thing in House’s world, but he throws it all away for his best friend. When House is facing six months in prison and Wilson has less than six months to live, House throws everything away to take one finally road trip with his closest friend.