Fandom: House M.D
Characters: Wilson, Chase, House, Cameron, Cuddy
Prompt: 009. Months
Word Count: 6913
Rating: NC-17 (just in case, language and sex references)
Summary: Chase's first year of fellowship that never made it on TV. Chase/Wilson, eventually Chase/House
Author's Notes: ALL RIGHT, I GET THAT MOST OF THIS ISN'T CANON. However, oh well. It is dedicated to my dear friend nightsong77 for sending me the song "Promising", sung by Robert Sean Leonard (i.e Wilson) in the film Chelsea Walls. Would love to put a link to it here, but I don't know where to find it.
Cross your fingers behind your back
It is raining on the morning Robert Chase walks into the Princeton/Plainsboro Teaching Hospital for the first time as an employee, just as it was raining on the day of his interview and on the day he received the curt phone call from Doctor House telling him he’d got the job. If he were a more superstitious man, he might think that this job is doomed, or that God is punishing him, except that he already knows both these things.
All eyes are on him as he dumps his leather jacket in his new locker, slides on the labcoat, and then finds his way to diagnostics. The large, glass room is conspicuously empty, and he stands there for a moment feeling lost and anticlimactic. There’s a whiteboard standing near the window, and on it, in a scrawling, disinterested hand are the words There’s coffee in the second cupboard on the left.
Robert obediently goes and has a look. There is, indeed, coffee. Coffee and several bright red mugs. After a few moments of thought, he turns on the kettle that’s underneath the cupboard, still feeling like he’s being watched. It takes him a moment to realise that it’s just the fact that all the walls are made of glass. It’s like being in a goldfish bowl, or a cage in a zoo.
He stands there for a moment, and then he makes himself a cup of coffee. Robert sits down at the glass table and leafs through one of the huge medical books that he finds on a shelf. The room is too large for just one person, and he doubts that even if Dr House does bother to come here, his abrasive personality still won’t fill up this room of cold glass. So he drinks his coffee and grits his teeth and tells himself that he’s here for the long haul now.
At some point, when he’s sipping the dregs out of his red mug and trying to work out if he wants another one, someone taps at the door and then pushes it open.
“Hey,” he says awkwardly, “Dr Chase?”
“Yeah.” Robert replies, trying to remember the other man’s name. “Dr… Wilson?”
The other man nods. He’s quite tall, with floppy brown hair, and now that the pressing anxiety of the job interview is gone, he allows himself to notice that Dr Wilson is incredibly good-looking. He’s also got a newspaper under his arm.
“Is House not here?” Wilson asks in a tone that reminds Robert of a frustrated parent.
“Uh… no.” he admits.
“He may turn up, he may not.” Wilson sighs. “I presume he’s hiding from Cuddy.”
Robert has only met Lisa Cuddy once, the dark haired, beautiful-but-terrifying head of the hospital, and he doesn’t blame House one bit.
“Is there a patient?” he asks, almost hopefully.
“I doubt it.” Wilson replies with a grim little smile. “You’ll have to get used to being really bored around here.” He tosses the newspaper onto the table for him. “I suggest you get on with the crossword and wait and see.”
Robert waits until Wilson is gone before unfolding the newspaper with his cold hands. He’s never really been particularly fond of crosswords, but hey- he really has got nothing better to do. He finds a biro and looks at number one down.
Later on, when Robert is filling the last few clues in, looking at the world through his blonde fringe because he discovered years ago it’s easier to do that, Dr Wilson comes back.
“Is House *still* not here?” he asks, and now he sounds a little frustrated.
“Were you expecting him to be?” murmurs Robert.
“Not really.” Admits Wilson. “Are you ok with this?”
“With House being-” Wilson gestures vaguely. “With him not being here.”
“I don’t mind.” Robert says, choosing to leave unsaid the uncomfortable feeling he’s got that the walls are watching him, and the even more overwhelming feeling that this is just some kind of joke that will go far too far. “I’m fine.”
“Really?” Wilson looks a little surprised, so Robert pushes down his paranoia and meets the other man’s eyes.
“I’m fine.” He promises again, and tries to ignore the fact that he can’t even lie to himself.
Squeeze mine until they crack
At some point in the last couple of weeks, Robert has become Chase. House is still an enigma to him, a man who sits in his office with headphones on and who occasionally pokes his head around the door to tell Chase to stop making the patient die or, even more occasionally, to go home. Chase still can’t get his head around the glass walls and the constant feeling of being *watched*. He wonders if Cuddy has videotapes in her office of him sitting there drinking cup after cup of coffee and doing very little else. It’s like being a Big Brother contestant without the promise of hundreds of thousands of dollars at the end of it. He grits his teeth and gets on with things as best he can, and Dr Wilson brings him the crossword from the New York Times every morning.
Chase comes to look forward to the ten minutes before work every morning when Wilson brings him the paper and Chase makes coffee and they chat for a while about nothing in particular. He’s even starting to convince himself that his crush on Wilson is manageable and that the other man doesn’t take his breath away every time he walks into a room.
And then Wilson’s marriage breaks down. For about two or three days House is painfully cheerful and actually bothers to be in the same room as Chase for the diagnosis, and he comes in with hangovers every morning. Chase (because he’s had too much experience with this sort of thing) silently makes coffee for him, very strong, two sugars, no cream, and then adds soluble aspirins to the mixture to hit that spot that Vicodin won’t. Wilson doesn’t come to diagnostics unless it’s to see House, and on one long, cold afternoon when their patient won’t stop going into cardiac arrest, Chase entertains the idea that the two of them are having an affair until his hands shake and he can’t breathe.
In his lunch hours, he silently pretends that there isn’t a betting pool on when he’ll leave (the last fellow lasted two months and four days, and by careful manipulation he discovers that the smart money’s on two months and eight. House has got $500 on it, and a free consultation, which is like gold dust in House terms), and he pretends that he doesn’t have a letter of resignation all written and saved on his hard drive at home. All he has to do it click print. Really, there’s nothing worth staying here for, he’s been here a month and he’s got nothing in return, except an unrequited obsession with an oncologist, a boss who never seems to do any work, and a permanent paranoia from all those glass walls so extreme that he leaves all the lights on in his apartment every night to try and quash the feeling that someone is following him around.
Four days go by with no Wilson, and Chase feels like he’s cracking, trying to pretend everything’s ok when it really isn’t. The letter of resignation begins to itch in the back of his mind. And then, towards the end of the month, Wilson’s head pokes around the door again.
“Hey.” He says, looking exhausted.
“Hey.” Chase says back, trying not to look too hard at that blank space where the wedding ring used to be.
“I brought you the crossword.” Wilson says sheepishly, and Chase thinks, well, this changes the odds.
I musta known that you were just promising
Chase has been working for House for two months and six days, and his boss wants him to leave.
“Am I really so terrible?” he asks, as House erases the pen from the whiteboard (another patient gone).
“You’re not bad.” The other doctor replies casually. “But I’m standing to make quite a bit of money if you go.”
“That’s not much incentive for me to leave.” Chase points out.
“I’ll give you the winnings, and a glowing recommendation.” Offers House. “I’ll even write a letter of resignation for you.”
“No thanks, I’ve already got one.” Chase responds calmly, and watches House’s eyebrows leap into his hairline. “And do you really think a few hundred dollars will buy me off?”
“It worked with Dr Hart.” Replies House, referring to his last fellow. “I paid her the money and away she went. Although, to be honest, I think she was looking for any excuse.”
“I like it here.” Chase lies, and House frowns.
“Please?” he tries. Chase snorts.
“I’ll think about it.” He tells him.
Chase has been working for House for two months and seven days, and he still hasn’t printed out his letter of resignation. He’s sitting around in the conference room and so is House.
“I don’t need you.” House tells him.
“You don’t need anyone.” Chase points out, taking another mouthful of coffee. “But I like it here.”
“So you keep saying.” House mutters darkly. “I’ll pay you to resign.” Chase considers this, considers how pointless everything is, considers how easy it would be.
“I’ll think about it.” He offers again. House’s eyes narrow.
“Promise.” Chase swears. House looks at him with his head on one side.
“Next time you want to cross your fingers and hide it under a table, pick one that isn’t made of glass.”
Chase has been working for House for two months and eight days, and his letter of resignation is dated, signed and sealed in an envelope. He sits at the table and chews a biro pen and tries to work out what he wants.
“Are you leaving?” asks Wilson, leaning around the door. Chase bites his lip and notices that Wilson has brought him the New York Times again.
“No.” he replies, and wonders when he became so easy that he’d sell his happiness for a newspaper and a ghost of a smile.
“But you promised!” protests House in the petulant tone of a child, appearing behind Wilson. “You can’t stay, there’ll be no living with Cuddy now!”
Toothy smile, curly style
Her name is Allison Cameron, and she smiles too much. She’s pretty, and she’s an immunologist. That is about as much as Chase has gathered over the first two days of her arrival at PPTH. He doesn’t feel the need to know any more. She’s very cheery, and her presence seems to fill the cold room far better than he and House ever managed it. Chase privately waits for House to make a move on her, but he resents Allison (she isn’t quite Cameron yet, hasn’t been here long enough), because now Wilson doesn’t come to the office in the morning, obviously thinking that Chase no longer needs the company.
Chase and Allison bond together remarkably quickly because House still isn’t around much. Over three months of being alone in the office, Chase had sort of got used to the silence, and let it lie as he chewed the end of his pen, and scratched in yet another crossword. Allison chatters, eager to fill up the deafening quiet, and he finds himself talking back, telling her things he’s never told anyone over here. Things like you know, it’s summer in Australia right now, not winter and I go snowboarding in my free time- I ride goofy and nearly mastered the frontside 980 and Yes, my father was *that* Rowan Chase, and yeah, it’s a lot of pressure… I don’t want to talk about it. He realises all too fast that Allison is the sort of woman who could persuade you to say anything, anything at all, and then he starts clamming up.
By the middle of the month, people start asking him things like “So, are you going home for Christmas?”, and the first chance he gets he signs up to work on Christmas day. House sends him Looks when he finds out that Chase has done this, but he ignores them. It’s none of House’s business if he doesn’t want to go back to Oz just yet and he’s already learnt that House leaps on information like a dog with a bone, and doesn’t let go. Allison signs up to work Christmas too, and House teases them about being teacher’s pets. Chase grits his teeth and Allison just ignores him and Chase supposes that is the moment she becomes Cameron.
So Chase starts buying his own newspapers and fills in the crosswords silently, and Cameron buys candy canes which House mocks and Chase eats without comment, and they become a team in the diagnostics department, at least of a sort.
Wilson comes in on the 24th of December to say goodbye, since it’s Christmas Day tomorrow and despite being Jewish, he’s still taking the day off. Chase wants to look at him and tell him he’s hurt by the total lack of attention he’s paid him all month, but he doesn’t. Instead, he just eats another candy cane and keeps his eyes on the puzzle in front of him, and pens in 13 down (DISILLUSIONED).
“Happy Christmas.” Wilson says.
“You have a great day.” Cameron says with a broad smile and an offer of a candy cane.
“Yeah.” Chase grunts, writing in 15 across (CESSATION). He refuses to look away from the black and white grid, refuses to see Wilson’s slightly hurt, puzzled expression, and even when Wilson looks back at the door, he still refuses to glance up.
“Are you all right?” asks Cameron, and Chase fills in 12 down and 26 across (MISANTHROPIC and ZEOLITE) before telling her it’s none of her business. Snow tumbles past the window and Cameron closes the blinds.
In the backyard all the while
The weather is bitterly cold, and the heating rises and then breaks down almost daily. Chase and Cameron and House save a woman whose immune system was compromised by an overdose of antibiotics, two boys with MRSA, a man with lead poisoning, and a little girl with an allergy to pretty much everything. They lose a man who’s taken too much paracetamol and a teenager with what turns out to be cancer. Chase reckons he’s got everything cracked now, and doesn’t resent House or Cameron as much as he used to.
The faulty central heating means that he spends equal amounts of time both shivering and burning up, and House claims that the cold weather makes his leg seize up, which may or may not be true, but Chase reckons the cure is almost certainly fake (sitting in his office listening to The Who and eating junk food).
In between cases, life is as boring as ever. Cameron starts answering House’s mail for him (“I’m sorry, Dr House is unable to see you because he’s an antisocial son of a bitch, sorry, he’s too busy”), and occasionally points out that he should go down to the hospital clinic, since that is part of his job, and House tells her that he hasn’t set foot in the place in years and has no intention of starting now. Chase doesn’t like the office so goes in there as little as possible, and prefers to stand around in the car park behind the hospital, leather jacket clinging to his skin and snow caught on his eyelashes. It turns out that New Jersey in the winter isn’t the most habitable of places and House laughs at him whenever he staggers in, melting ice in his hair. And Chase keeps going out there and looking at the grey sky and laughing occasionally because his mother’s eyes were that colour, and he couldn’t save her, and he wonders idly if this constantly uncertain existence is her retribution.
Chase worked new year and takes as little time off as possible, because work just wipes his mind pleasurably blank, and he doesn’t want to have any more time to sit around feeling sorry for himself, he does that enough already, and sleeping isn’t that important really, is it? Chase doesn’t see much of Wilson and stops buying the newspaper (he’s crap at crosswords and they annoy the hell out of him). Afternoons become longer and longer and more and more boring, as he drinks cup after cup of bitter coffee and stands in the cold car park and convinces himself he’s being punished.
Their latest patient crashes and Chase can’t intubate in time, so Cameron does it, and Chase snaps off his gloves and walks out. He doesn’t stop on the way, just makes his way out back and stands with his back to the brick wall. It’s cold out here, bitterly so, the chill sinking through his lilac shirt and bringing every inch of his skin out in goosebumps.
Twenty minutes later, and he’s shivering violently. Wilson comes out, Chase’s leather jacket over his arm, and hands it to him.
“It gets cold out here.” He says with a little smile, and Chase mumbles:
“I deserve it.” As he accepts the coat from Wilson’s hands.
I musta known that you were just promising
It appears that Cameron likes Valentine’s Day. House doesn’t, obviously, but he’s quite happy to eat the heart-shaped candy she scatters around, and to write on the whiteboard:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I think the patient has Leishmaniasis
How about you?
Chase feels nothing about it- he honestly doesn’t care whether he’s got someone or not, it’s just another day to get through.
“Her name is Julie.” House whispers loudly into Chase’s ear when Wilson walks past. “He met her a couple of days ago, so the wedding will be next Sunday.”
Wilson whirls around.
“House!” he says exasperatedly. “Just- don’t-”
“What?” House pouts, producing a heart-shaped lollipop seemingly from nowhere and popping it into his mouth. “Don’t you love me any more Jimmy?”
“I haven’t asked her to marry me.” He says. “I’ve only known her a week.”
“Hasn’t stopped you before.” House says wickedly, and then turns to Chase. “I told him to see a therapist about his serial monogamism, but then he married the therapist.”
“Leave me out of this.” Chase replies, walking away. Behind him, House and Wilson are still bickering. Happy bloody Valentine’s day.
Later on, when Chase treats a man whose wife was poisoning him so that she could run away with his best friend, he decides that being in a relationship just isn’t for him right now, and he doesn’t mind if Wilson meets and marries someone else, because it’s not like he could ever have him.
Cameron dry-erases the poem from the whiteboard that afternoon, since the patient is getting better and therefore doesn’t really matter any more. Her fingers linger over the pens for a minute like she wants to write something.
“He won’t appreciate it.” Chase tells her. “Valentine’s day is dead here. Might as well let it rest in peace.”
Cameron smiles and draws a small red heart in the corner of the board, and it looks so lonely to Chase, trapped against the overwhelming odds of whiteness, that he takes pity on it later and draws a black heart beside it (and isn’t that quite telling?).
Even later, House swipes both pictures off the board like they never existed, and writes “Go home” in big letters in the middle instead. Chase obediently grabs his coat and bag and leaves diagnostics. He sees Wilson at reception and manages to give a small smile.
Three days later, he gets into work early, and finds a book of crossword puzzles on the table for him. Chase smiles far too wide as he picks it up, a delighted grin, and he thinks, this is *stupid*, he doesn’t even *like* crosswords.
I promised you and you promised me
Spring arrives in the form of rain, and Chase has been working for House for six months. He’s getting used to it, used to the barbed insults, used to the late nights, used to when being told to jump to reply, simply, ‘how high?’ House still pushes for perfection and Chase and Cameron still can’t give it, and they both know that a lot of the time he doesn’t *actually* need them, and Chase wonders when he became ok with that. He has a different letter of resignation on a floppy disk in his locker, same sentiment but the emotions are altered, because he knows House a little better now, and the reasons he’d want to quit aren’t the obvious ones (i.e you’re cruel, insane, antisocial, inappropriate, and I’M NOT BRITISH!).
Wilson is still going out with Julie, and House’s ‘so when are you going to pop the question’ jokes are coming thick and fast. Chase grits his teeth and obscurely wishes he’d stayed in the seminary. His faith in everything is long dead, it wouldn’t matter where he is.
He wears green and yellow to celebrate the warm weather coming, and House mocks his shirts and tells him that he must be colour blind. Chase takes it with reasonable grace, because there really is no other way to do it, and Cuddy snaps at House and then awards him tenure, and they cure a high school epidemic caused by toxic markers (House doesn’t touch his own for a few days). Chase fills in his crossword book with the aid of a dictionary (and inserts new words like ZENITH and VACILLATE into his everyday vocabulary). All in all he feels like his life is kind of organised and ok now.
Chase works late a lot, and he’s in the lab running gels at 3 a.m because the latest patient has a bacterial infection that no one can place. He’s tired and surprisingly freezing and a little empty and he abandoned his tie about half an hour ago. Chase is running purely on caffeine and adrenaline now, but his coffee mug is empty. He sighs and brushes his hair out of his eyes and just keeps going.
At nearly four a.m, Wilson pushes a mug of steaming coffee into his line of vision. Chase picks it up, wrapping his curiously cold hands around the warm cup, and manages a smile.
“Thanks.” He says. “I really needed this.”
“You need some sleep.” Replies Wilson. Chase was expecting that.
“Can’t.” he replies. “Lucy won’t have long to live if I don’t figure this out.”
“Investigating the school.”
“At four in the morning?” Wilson looks a little sceptical.
“We’re dedicated.” Chase shrugs, sipping his coffee.
“And House?” asks Wilson. Chase just looks at him, and Wilson sighs, slipping off his jacket and loosening his tie. “I’ll give you a hand.”
“Don’t you have-” Chase starts, and then cuts himself off at the look on Wilson’s face. “Thank you.” He adds quietly, and prays that his hands stop shaking soon.
Not to admit defeat
Wilson proposes to Julie on the first of April (April Fools’ day, and, as House points out, there ain’t no greater fool than Jimmy), and she accepts. On the second, Wilson cuts Chase off mid bitter ‘congratulations’ by kissing him. On the third, Chase avoids him all day, and on the fourth, finds him and asks him what the hell he thought he was doing (Wilson has no idea). On the fifth, he chucks the crossword book in the bin, but Cameron rescues it, and on the sixth, Wilson comes to find him and kisses him again, harder. On the seventh, Chase has the day off and takes long, cold showers and doesn’t pick up the phone.
On the eighth, he drops a coffee mug when Wilson walks into the office, and on the ninth he rebins the crossword book (House rescues it this time, and spends the afternoon filling it in for lack of anything else to do). On the tenth, Wilson has the day off, so Chase breathes out a little. On the eleventh, Wilson pins him to the wall of the lab, kisses him, and tells him he won’t ask again. On the twelfth, they hide on the fourth floor stairwell and kiss desperately and passionately until they’re both gasping and Chase’s pager goes off. On the thirteenth, Chase immerses himself in his case and claims that he can’t possibly get away.
In the fourteenth, House ignores him, and Chase wants to scream at him “You’re treating me badly because I won’t sleep with your friend?”, but he doesn’t. On the fifteenth, Wilson goes to an all-day seminar on Oncology (what else?). On the sixteenth, Chase leaves a chocolate Easter egg on his desk as a peace offering. On the seventeenth, he finds himself on his knees breathing in a scent that is unmistakably Wilson, and on the eighteenth House starts paying attention to him again (and isn’t that just kind of sick?).
On the nineteenth he tells Wilson that he doesn’t want to do this again, since he’s sick of House knowing every bit of their ‘relationship’. On the twentieth, Chase goes home with Wilson and is fucked into the mattress until he can barely breathe. On the twenty-first he doesn’t look at House, and redrafts his letter of resignation. On the twenty-first, Wilson names the date of the wedding (June fourteenth), and Chase refuses to touch him.
On the twenty-third, Wilson kisses Chase softly, gently, but Chase won’t kiss him back and bitterly tells him to go back to his fiancée. On the twenty-fourth he burns the crossword book in the parking lot, and makes sure Wilson sees him do it, and on the twenty-fifth he’s naked in his shower with Wilson’s hand between his thighs and love bites all over his shoulders (he never learns). On the twenty-sixth Chase stays with their constantly-crashing patient, unable- or unwilling- to leave, and Wilson gives him his space. On the twenty-seventh, Wilson goes out to dinner with Julie, and Chase sits at home all evening with vodka, and lets the phone ring thirty-four times before he pulls it out at the wall.
On the twenty-eighth, Wilson apologises to him, and Chase kisses him desperately, and on the twenty-ninth they fuck on the sofa in his apartment and watch late night TV. On the thirtieth, Chase says to him, “But you’re *engaged*”, and Wilson replies, “God, you really have a problem with that, don’t you? Do you want to stop this?” And Chase wishes he had enough courage to say “yes”.
I promised, and you promised me
Cameron is fast becoming the hospital’s Golden Girl, seemingly perfect. Chase thinks that she is weak and cares too much, but then he doesn’t really care enough, so they balance out. Really, he’s too bitter at the moment, dealing with his ill-advised ‘affair’ with Wilson, slowly realising that the older man is so, so manipulative. The reasons in his letter of resignation shift and alter yet again (I can’t work in the same *state* as James Wilson, those eyes get me every time, and it can’t be good for anyone), but he reckons House won’t accept it. The weather gets hotter, and then the air conditioning kicks in, and Chase cuts his hair a little shorter and lets the blonde dye wash out.
Cuddy comes into the office more often, argues with House on a more regular basis, and he avoids her with ease. Chase becomes adept at heading her off and lying to her, and even Cameron gets the knack of telling her that House is: treating a patient/in the lab/doing a consultation/anywhere but here. Neither of them are going to be the one to betray House, and Chase pushes the floppy disk of defeat further towards the back of his locker.
House plays The Rolling Stones loudly in his office and arranges his Vicodin in straight lines on the table, white lines of both relief and addiction, white lines that are so very easy to cross. Chase watches House as he sits there, playing with the pills, cane lying in a patch of sunlight, and he feels very, very, young. Sometimes House sees him looking and scowls, scooping the fills messily into the bottle again, clicking the top shut quickly, biting together his thin lips and acting like he’s fine. Most of the time House doesn’t see, or pretends he doesn’t, and Chase bites his nails and feels fifteen, helpless and trapped and stupid.
Chase goes up onto the roof and looks at the sky, the same blue as his eyes, and he and Cameron flip coins and play rock, paper, scissors to see who has to tell House that maybe he should take a patient now and then. House mocks Chase’s clothes and nationality, and he mocks Cameron’s caring and diagnostics techniques, and practically sexually harasses them both, and they let him. They both know they shouldn’t, but they do anyway.
Even though Wilson is getting closer and closer to Cameron, and she’s endearing herself to everyone, Chase doesn’t care enough. He chews his lips and his nails and pencils and stops talking. Even when Wilson calls him ‘Julie’ in bed he doesn’t say anything, just gets up and leaves Wilson lying there, naked and wide-eyed with guilt, and refuses to turn back at the shout of his name.
“It’s over.” He tells him the next day, and wishes and wishes he’d managed to say that earlier.
It’s comforting, to wear a ring
The hardest thing in life is watching someone you love love someone else, thinks Chase, and then hates himself because that’s the sort of thing Cameron would say. Sunlight filters through the blinds as he pulls them open. It’s a new, sunny day and although he’s been up all night, he does feel slightly more awake just knowing that it’s no longer dark outside. He’s got a massive pressure headache and his fingers feel numb and helpless and his legs are cotton wool. Twenty-odd hours and counting and he’s yet even to have a ten minute nap. If he drinks one more cup of coffee he will be violently sick and although being in sick in a hospital is probably the best place to *be* ill, he just doesn’t need this right now.
Cameron comes in and she looks considerably less exhausted than she does.
“Patient’s responding to treatment.” She tells him, and Chase privately thinks damn. He was hoping that their patient would continue being critical just long enough to get him out of the Wedding of the Century, or at least the Wedding of the Week. He really, really doesn’t want to go. Outwardly, he just says:
Cameron sits down at the table and begins to scribble industriously in a notebook. Chase continues to look out of the window. After a while, Cameron asks him:
“How long do you think House has known Wilson?”
“Why?” enquires Chase suspiciously.
“I’m writing House’s best man speech for him.” She replies. Chase sighs and turns away from the window.
“Do you ever get tired of being such a pushover?” he asks bitterly. Cameron flinches and Chase blames it on lack of sleep, but they both get the feeling he’s lying.
The sunlight fills the hospital and Chase chews his fingernails, wondering if it’s technically unethical, or perhaps illegal, to force a patient to crash just to avoid going to the wedding of your ex-boyfriend who was never a technically a boyfriend to begin with. Lack of sleep makes his eyes itch and his head feel far too heavy for his neck.
House breezes in at some point, with a loose white shirt to show willing over his Led Zeppelin t-shirt.
“Patient’s getting better.” Chase tells him.
“Good.” House says vaguely. “Cameron finished my speech yet?”
“Ask her yourself.” Chase replies, and waits until House is gone before calling Wilson. The phone rings and rings for what seems like a long time before the other man picks up.
“I’m not coming.” He tells him.
“Uh… can *you* think of one good reason why I should be there?” Chase points out. Wilson is silently for so long that Chase thinks he’s put the phone down and walked away.
“No.” he admits. “You don’t have to come.”
Chase bites his lip before the word ‘thanks’ spills out, and he wants to hurt and hurt and hurt.
“Cameron’s writing House’s best man speech for him, House himself can’t be bothered to put on a tux, and half the hospital are placing bets on how long it’ll be before you cheat on her. Have a great day James- all you do is let people down, and no one cares enough about you any more.”
There is a shocked, hurt silence.
“You do.” Wilson says, and slams down the phone. Chase bites his lips together and makes his way back to the office. House is screaming down the phone, probably at Wilson, about being the best man and his speech and something else. He’s threatening not to come to the wedding and making references to all the times Wilson cheated as Chase serenely picks up his coat and walks out into the sunshine.
Over my head, around my finger
Chase put good money on two weeks and four days until Wilson cheated on his wife for the first time. He was seen as being idiotic (most people thought Dr Wilson would have the grace to hold on for three weeks), but in fact, he’s absolutely right.
On the second of July, exactly eighteen days after the wedding, Chase’s back is pressed to Wilson’s door while the Oncologist kisses and kisses him, not really even kisses but just violent connections of their mouths, and it’s more desperate than he wants to admit. Wilson pins his arms above his head and Chase feels the cold metal of that wedding ring against his wrist, and pushes him away.
“Do you have any idea what you’re doing?” he asks.
“Do you?” replies Wilson, mouth swollen, eyes bright.
“Yeah,” Chase replies calmly. “You’re too closeted to come out to yourself, but you keep fucking me because you know I won’t tell anyone, and you get married in the hope of convincing yourself that really, it’s ok.” He pauses. “You’re sick.”
“And you can’t say ‘no’ to me.” Wilson spits, his face twisting in a way Chase has never seen before, “So who is more sick here?”
And Chase wants to walk out. He wants to so badly. But he can’t, and he doesn’t, and they fuck on the floor of Wilson’s office. It’s raw, and violent, and they don’t say anything at all, and this time it really feels like the last time, which is strange because it never did before. He hates being this manipulated, knowing that he can’t say no, doesn’t want to, and they seem to realise simultaneously that this can never happen again.
“What did you bet on?” asks Wilson. Chase doesn’t need to ask him what he means.
“Two weeks, four days.” He says. Wilson winces. Chase feels powerful for a moment, like he could control him, except that thing are so complicated now, and he’s in way over his head.
“I won’t tell anyone.” He promises. Wilson smiles helplessly.
“If you do, I won’t blame you.” He says, and in that moment, Chase hates him. Hates that half an hour ago he was bitter and manipulative, twenty minutes ago he was rough and sweating and vicious, and now he’s back to being the nice one, the put-upon one, the I-don’t-know-why-my-marriages-keep-faili
“Oh, shut up.” He mumbles, straightening his shirt collar and leaving.
For the rest of July Chase writes and rewrites his letter of resignation, buys three new shirts (in orange, electric blue and mauve), chews six pencils to death (“it’s like having a puppy”), is late to work twice, and early eight times. House starts calling him and Cameron ‘Batman and Robin’, until Cameron gets sick of House exclaiming “Good thinking Batman!” every time she opens her mouth. The weather is too hot and Wilson actively avoids the office. Chase starts filling in crosswords again to prevent himself from going mad. He keeps his mouth shut obstinately about the betting pool on Wilson’s infidelity and obediently pays up when Wilson asks out Alyssa from paediatrics after four weeks and two days, because being right is far more important than winning, and he supposes that’s where House and Wilson have gone wrong.
I musta known that you were just promising
The weather breaks the barrier of heat that a normal person can stand, and even after living in Australia for most of his life, Chase finds it difficult to cope with. The air conditioning breaks down one day, so Chase, House and Cameron end up skipping work and going to the nearest icecream parlour. Cameron twitches the whole time, like she feels guilty for not working, even though they have no patient (and she only has two scoops of vanilla and one of strawberry, like proper-flavoured icecream isn’t allowed or something). House is self-congratulating and cheerful and smug (and eats the biggest, stickiest, chocolate-smothered thing Chase has ever seen, molten marshmallows running down the sides from an icecream mountain that stands about eight inches above the dish). Chase chooses to say nothing (and eats three kinds of coffee icecream, rum and raisin, and dark chocolate, and then smothers the whole thing in fudge sauce and rainbow sprinkles like a child. The rainbow sprinkles match his shirt, and House points this out loudly).
Chase watches House’s icecream mountain melt bit by bit under the air-conditioning, until eventually House loses patience and loads his spoon with icecream.
“Here.” He says. “Stop visually raping my dessert.”
Cameron makes a snorting noise into her own pudding, and Chase looks from the spoon being held near his mouth to House. This is way too close, way too intimate, a little bit too kinky, and he very carefully sucks off the icecream, licking his lips carefully and wondering why he was expecting the spoon to taste of Vicodin. It’s like House is nothing but that drug, and he doesn’t bleed, he just spills crushed pills.
House feeds him another spoonful of icecream, and Cameron suddenly becomes very interested in her own food, and Chase imagines that he doesn’t feel House’s left foot carefully making its way up his calf.
Somewhere behind him the door opens.
“Cuddy’s looking for you.” Wilson says.
“Hey Jimmy.” House replies cheerfully, and Chase doesn’t turn around, doesn’t say anything, and eats another mouthful of icecream from House’s spoon as he realises he has no idea what he wants any more.
I promised you and you promised me
Not to admit defeat
I promised, and you promised me
Chase completes the final draft of his letter of resignation, prints it out, signs it, folds it into a rectangular white envelope, and hands it to House. House sits in his chair and reads it thoughtfully.
“No.” he says eventually.
“What do you mean, ‘no’?” asks Chase. “It’s a letter of resignation!”
“But I’m not letting you go.” House responds simply, folding the letter and ripping, ripping, ripping. “You owe me another year of fellowship.”
“You wanted me to go easily enough last year.” Points out Chase.
“That’s because I would have made some money out of it.” House responds. “I get nothing if you go now.”
“I don’t want to stay.” Chase tells him. House sighs.
“You’re not just running away because Wilson fucked you a few times, are you?” he says. Chase flushes. “Because he’s fucked pretty much half the hospital and they’re still here. He’s a heartbreaker Chase, and besides, you’re over him.”
Chase considers the statement, and thinks about the purely professional relationship he and Wilson have suddenly developed, barely speaking, barely looking at each other, and yet somehow, it’s ok.
“I want to leave.” He says again, unsure exactly why.
“No you don’t.” House shrugs, like it’s obvious. “You’ve got Stockholm Syndrome.”
Chase opens his mouth to tell House that isn’t true, and finds the other doctor’s lips on his, a kiss that tastes of pills and coffee, graceless and disarming and also faintly enlightening. House draws back.
“Does this mean-” begins Chase breathlessly.
“God no.” House replies, not sounding breathless at all. “I’m just proving a point, and you’re not going anywhere.”
Chase thinks of sunlight and white pills and icecream and that kiss and smiles a little.
“No.” he says in a resigned voice. “I’m not.”
“Good.” House, suddenly business-like again, turns to go. “Go down to reception with Cameron and pick up the new guy.”
“New guy?” Chase asks, following.
“Yeah, I thought I’d get you and Cameron a new playmate. You were looking a little droopy.” House tells him.
“Oh, good.” Chase murmurs vaguely, feeling a little light-headed and not even noticing Wilson as he walks past.
“Go on then,” House says, pushing him forwards. “Go get him.”
“How am I supposed to know who he is?” asks Chase. House shrugs and walks away. Then pauses and tosses a few casual words over his shoulder.
“His name’s Eric Foreman.”
I promised, and you promised me.
Little Damn Table.