Fandom: House M.D
Characters: Chase, Wilson, House, (Foreman, Cameron)
Prompt: 002. Middles
Word Count: 1313
Summary: Chase and Wilson are trapped in a relationship that's going nowhere.
Author's Notes: Dedicated to justian for handing me the plot bunny. I don't know what I was on when I wrote this, actually. Title inspired by the graphic novel V for Vendetta
Chase can’t remember, and Wilson won’t remember. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, there’s a lot of forgetting going on. House remembers vividly, which is strange because he doesn’t actually have anything to do with it, and he wasn’t even there. He might as well have been. He might as well have sat there in the corner of the room, keeping the minutes, biro scribbling down words they may or may not have said, because it’s too late now.
Chase doesn’t feel trapped. Wilson does. Or maybe it’s the other way around, or maybe they both do, they’re so interchangeable now. But it isn’t really like being trapped, because they can both say ‘no’ and walk away any time. Except that they don’t- perhaps they can’t face being alone, maybe it’s just force of habit- they just keep going, not remembering why they started this. Sometimes, at about three o’clock in the morning when there’s thunder in the sky, and the cars outside rush past, Wilson suspects that they never had a reason, except that that thought is so scary that it can’t possibly be true.
Chase always feels lonely, and Wilson does whatever he can to prevent himself getting that far. Or perhaps Chase is the determined one, on his knees too often, turning to God and then medicine and then other men to save himself from the sucking mouth of devastating emptiness. Wilson could be the one hugging himself with the doors of his office locked and the photograph on his desk of another angry wife who could care less. Maybe what they do behind closed doors is nobody’s business but their own, except that Chase wears his issues like a designer t-shirt with the label sticking out and the price tag still attached so that they can all see just how much they cost him, and Wilson can’t just fire his secretary when she starts gossiping with anything and everyone, as he goes about the business of divorcing yet another failed relationship.
Wilson thinks that Chase reminds him of Cameron, and Chase thinks that Wilson reminds him of House. But Chase is the one emulating House and his cold don’t-touch-me-I’ll-cut-you persona, and Wilson is the one looking helpless and opening his eyes too wide. Really, at this point, it could go either way, since they’re both a mixture of House and Cameron (and isn’t that a mental image to make your head explode?). House and Cameron, at opposite ends of the pathetic scale, both as bad as each other (only one of them cares too much, and the other one only thinks she does), and then there are Chase and Wilson in the middle, dragged both ways, Chase feels like he’s drowning and Wilson rather likes it, but they’re both sinking whatever their emotions are, and there’s a manic gleam in House’s eye.
Wilson thinks that it’s all about the sex, and Chase thinks that it really isn’t that good any more. Then again, Chase is the one always pushing for contact and Wilson is the one feigning headaches and phonecalls and seminars to get out of it (or is that Chase? It doesn’t really matter any more). House is the one sucking lollipops and poking at their apathy in an all-too-obvious manner, until Foreman hands him a file and Chase and Wilson are left shrugging at each other, Chase wondering if it’s technically possible for a man to fake an orgasm, Wilson wondering when his wife gets home, their lips connecting into a kiss that is killing time more than anything else.
House is almost certain that Wilson loves Chase (Jimmy falls in and out of love faster than most people take showers, and that includes those weird water-saving people who go in for all of about three seconds), although he is equally certain that neither of them have realised it, and he’s never going to point this out. Wilson is almost certain that he shouldn’t be using Chase like this, because he’s sure that if you sleep next to someone four nights a week and watch TV with them on a regular basis and you blow off your wedding anniversary dinner to be with them, there really ought to be some kind of emotion involved, and he’s fairly certain there isn’t. Foreman and Cameron are almost certain that Chase is in love with someone, the way he stares into space and blushes and looks tired and sick all the time, but Cameron thinks that it’s a brunette in dermatology, and Foreman thinks that it’s House (the way he’s always so quick to judge other people on their infatuations with House makes Wilson highly suspicious of him, but that’s another story and a possibly invalid point). Chase is almost certain that House and Cameron and Foreman and Wilson shouldn’t be looking at him so much, possibly passing judgement, definitely thinking about him, but all he knows is that Wilson is the most manipulative bastard he’s ever known, and he wonders when, if ever, House figured this out.
Chase eats more, eats less, doesn’t sleep, sleeps in late, has nightmares, has teenage-style wet dreams, is early to work, is late in, does clinic duty, bunks all of it, loses his ties, wears ones of an eye-watering colour, buys cocktails in colours that match his shirts, says “I’m sorry, I don’t drink”, takes burning hot showers, takes freezing cold ones, kills a patient, saves a patient’s life, finds himself on his back, on his knees, on all fours, bites his lip until it bleeds, promises that he’s fine, whispers “I love you”, and in the end can’t remember which of those things he did, and which ones were Wilson. He’s got the feeling it doesn’t actually matter.
Wilson feels that one or other of them should go, because it’s not like there’s duct tape holding them together or anything (there is duct tape holding Chase’s wrists to the headboard of the bed, but that is a completely different matter), and they’re free to go. They’re stuck on a roundabout, going round and round and round, unable to get off, not bothering to ask it slow down, speed up, or stop. Basically, they’re every part of the metaphor it’s possible to be (stuck in a rut, going absolutely nowhere), and it’s so blindingly obvious that neither of them can mention it. Chase feels that there are clowns to the left of him, jokers to the right, and here he is stuck in the middle with Wilson. He’s always hated that song, and besides he’s tired of being trapped between the first flush of lust and the final door slam of defeat, in the middle of… ooh, precisely nothing.
One of them shifts against the cool wooden slats of the headboard, wrists taped to the posts, but he’s already losing interest and identity, and his eyes might be blue but they might be brown and his hair colour was the first thing to go, and he could be Chase or he could be Wilson, but they’re both lonely and lost and obscurely, irrationally angry, and trapped and so desperate to push this forwards or drag it back, so it doesn’t really matter who he is, to be honest.
House remembers how it started, knows who made the first move, knows why it happened, can probably predict the way it will end too. Chase and Wilson both know they could ask him and they might get mocked for a bit, but he will tell them. But neither of them can bring themselves to open their mouths, afraid of that it could mean. So they stay in the pale grey world that isn’t the beginning but isn’t the end, and they both get cabin fever from looking at the same scenery, and “do you want to end this?” dying on their lips.
Little Damn Table