Fandom: House M.D
Characters: Wilson, Chase, House, Foreman
Prompt: 067. Snow
Word Count: 1168
Summary: Slight Wilson/Chase. Chase would have been an alcoholic if he thought it would have worked out cheaper, but somehow it’s much more fun to be an emotional wreck.
Author's Notes: Deception aired in the UK last night, and I realised there wasn't nearly enough Chase or Wilson in it, so I wrote this because, you know, it was snowing a lot in that episode.
Chase is the King of Mistakes, and not just the huge/little ones that lead to the accidental deaths of mothers, just because a butterfly flapped its fatal wings somewhere in Sydney in May, that results in Foreman taking over the department and playing God, and Chase crying into his palms on Wilson’s balcony while both men pretend they are anywhere but where they are. Wilson bites together his lips and says nothing because there’s nothing he can say.
Chase would have been an alcoholic if he thought it would have worked out cheaper, but somehow it’s much more fun to be an emotional wreck. This addiction to mutually unsatisfying relationships is much more potent than anything his mother tried, and at least this way his liver stays in one piece even if his heart is more than a little damaged. He stands on Wilson’s balcony and cries because he’s sure it’s not expected of him, and everyone needs space to break down sometime, and he won’t be identified as missing for at least three minutes of agonising blissful emotional torture.
Wilson says nothing as Chase buries his face in his hands and sobs, because he knows that this time is precious, the minutes to fall apart before House comes and asks if it’s some Australian thing, crying like a girl at the slightest provocation (“What, no nationality jokes?” “They don’t cry in England. You should try it some time.”). Or otherwise Foreman will arrive and try to work out why Chase is acting like this, when, in truth, nothing is actually wrong- as such. Wilson sighs and pictures Chase muttering excuses, shaking blonde hair over his blotchy face, trying to make excuses for behaviour that shouldn’t need an excuse. Chase can’t lie with any kind of conviction, probably because he believes he deserves to get caught, some inherent sense of right and wrong, stemming from his mother drinking herself to death and then ending up on his knees. Only praying can be a little complicated when you don’t actually know what to ask for.
House takes delight in making sure the ground sways so hard no one can stand on it for more than a moment around him. Chase is gradually gathering how to cope when his whole world stuck like this, generally by putting lines through the most indelible but easy-to-hide of his mistakes and not interrupting House when he’s watching The O.C. He doesn’t know yet whether it’s better to keep his mouth shut, or open it more, because neither way seems to work, so the abuse just keeps on coming and Chase can’t be bothered to roll with the punches any more.
It’s difficult to like Chase, but very easy to pity him, and for the first time it occurs to Wilson that those two statements might be related.
He really should have learned by now that he never gets away with anything, so this time should have been no different. Except that this time he’s not the only one paying the price, and having rewarded Foreman into the bargain, it makes the salt added to the wound that little bit more painful (Chase’s soul bleeds but then wounds have been forming for two and half years, so nothing new there then).
Chase doesn’t cry quietly but he doesn’t do loud, howling sobs either. Most of the noise he makes is muffled by his hands being pressed over his face. Snow falls down around them and Wilson silently watches the soft, white ice land on Chase’s heaving shoulders, and Wilson knows he ought to offer his coat to this quivering, helpless Australian, but he doesn’t. He just stands and watches Chase and his insecurities softly try to scream at the world while the world ignores them, and thinks about a hundred lovers who’ve done the same in front of him while he clung, paralysed, to tissues and comforts that he could never offer (so he picked the right career, really, the cancer doctor incapable of saying “I’m sorry”).
He takes a deep breath, trying to stop the helpless tears rolling down his face before someone comes to stare at the bastard of an Aussie who once thought he was untouchable (“How can I work with you?” “You don’t have a choice”) and is now paying that price a dozen times over with money he doesn’t have (it’s not all about those dollars in the bank from his father). Chase bites his lips and breathes in again, realising that he can’t keep doing this, crying while Wilson impassively eats cereal and neither of them say anything. Although there’s something about the way Wilson is a little too comfortable with this that makes Chase wonder how long Wilson has been covering for House and if it’s been worth it.
Two minutes and thirty-seven seconds of unrelenting grief and then Chase stops himself, choking. They say the road to hell is supposedly paved with good intentions, but then Chase never has any, so God knows what’s going on now. He sighs because any minute now House or Foreman are going to arrive, and it does look a little incriminating, all these tears and snow and cereal.
Chase finds himself chewing his lips, not exactly knowing what to say, he almost whispers ‘thank you’ except that if he says anything it will make this moment all too real. It isn’t. He won’t let it be. It’s cold out here and Wilson carefully lays his cereal bowl on the wall, eyes calm and steady, although he won’t look at Chase. Chase clears his throat and runs a shaky hand through his hair, still at a loss for words, knowing that there aren’t any. He shifts and Wilson stands beside him, and they patiently wait for someone to come and shout at him. Chase almost smiles as neither Foreman nor House come, letting the helpless red teartracks fade from his cheeks.
Chase’s lips are cold and quivering, and Wilson knows that this is a terrible, incredibly awful thing to do, but he lets the younger doctor get too close, their faces almost touching, and any second now the gap is going to close and this is such a *bad* idea… (if Chase is the king of mistakes then Wilson has to be the crown prince.) Chase’s lips are brushing Wilson’s just as his pager goes off, and they jump apart like they’ve been electrocuted, and Chase clears his throat and smirks slightly.
“Just an idea.” He says, and then turns and goes. Wilson grits his teeth. Chase is whiny and insecure and quick, so quick to judge and sometimes he can’t get out of the box and some days he can’t get in. He’s too young for all this and he isn’t cut out to play the right games. But Wilson watches the snow settle in that hair and suddenly he doesn’t remember the caveats and the character flaws that run more than skin deep.
Little Damn Table