Fandom: House MD
Characters: Wilson/Chase, House, Foreman, Cameron
Prompt: 089. Work
Word Count: 3186
Summary: Wilson just keeps being distracted by Chase
Author's Notes: Because I am insane and also cuz isn't not like the ff100 prompts aren't nearly hard enough (ha ha) I got a dictionary and wrote to my own (completely random) prompts. *sigh*
There’s Vicodin on the floor and Chase is sitting and looking at it, just looking at it. Spilt from those new childproof caps that House hasn’t got the hang of, God knows when it ended up all over the place, white pills all over the floor, and he’s sitting cross-legged on the carpet and looking at them and saying nothing. The blinds are open and the electric lighting glares blindingly, and Chase’s hair is over his face and his shoulders are trembling. There’s nothing Wilson can say so he walks on by with a veneer of not caring clinging to his skin.
“Thank you,” Chase says softly, as Wilson deftly sutures his palms. Sometimes breaking into people’s apartments and workplaces leads to unforeseen problems, if the neat, deep cuts over Chase’s hands are anything to go by.
“How did you get these?” Wilson asks, carefully ignoring other questions such as why didn’t you go to Cameron to get these sorted?
“You, um, really don’t want to know,” Chase replies with a charming smile and a wince. Wilson can guess though, pictures Chase gripping hold of the sharp wire and it biting into his hands. His first wife had a tattoo of barbed wire around her wrist. He wonders if it’s a pattern, dripping through the years, pulling him in to make the same mistakes.
Chase knows that he knew and never calls him up on it. He never asks why didn’t you tell me or screams or cries or anything. He doesn’t say anything, and Wilson bites his lips together and doesn’t mention Rowan, not once. House doesn’t mention him that much either. Not as much as he used to. House’s middle name is practically Below-The-Belt but there are some places you just don’t fucking touch. The guilt eats Wilson up inside like the disease itself, though, and they keep not mentioning it, but it’s in Chase’s eyes every time he so much as glances him. Especially when he stands in the doorway of Wilson’s office in absolute silence, lips bitten together like he’s terrified the words of blame will spill out anyway.
It’s dark outside and House’s patient is coding and Julie is- ooh, not talking to him, nothing fucking new there- and Wilson is on his couch cracking his knuckles and avoiding the conference room because he’s too needy and there are two men in there he wants to see and yet really doesn’t, and there’s a look in Cameron’s eyes that tells him that she knows. Which is surprising, since she normally isn’t the logical one.
“House wants you to come and do a couple of tests for paraneoplastic syndrome,” Chase says, appearing in the doorway, a spectre in a lime green shirt and bags around his eyes.
“It’s two a.m!” Wilson protests. Then sighs and gets up, because House has done this deliberately. He has him at a disadvantage- Wilson can’t say no to Chase.
Chase has a lovebite scarcely hidden by his collar, and Wilson avoids the office all day. House works out why in about three minutes and teases him all day, and he supposes he can’t blame him. He doesn’t have a right to be jealous and possessive (it’s what earned him Divorce Number Two), doesn’t have the right to resent Cameron for getting high and jumping Chase, doesn’t have the right to hate House for the way he can sexually harass Chase and get away with it, doesn’t have the right to wonder who it was sucking on Chase’s neck last night and gave him that very, very distinctive bruise. He doesn’t have the right and it scares him that that doesn’t actually matter to him.
Wilson’s passing the paediatrics ICU because he’s got a patient in there with leukaemia who he should check up on. He’s completely stunned to see Chase in there, on one of the extra shifts he does because they’re always in need of intensivists. Sitting by the bed of a kid and reading to her, that soft, lilting accent so calm, so steady, that it reaches inside Wilson and soothes all the hurt he didn’t even know that he had, just for a second, before Chase sees him watching and flushes, turning the page of Cinderella with a slightly trembling hand. Wilson offers him a smile on his way past, and determinedly does not turn back.
It’s like voyeurism, watching Chase sleep with that blonde hair everywhere. No one should look that beautiful, no one should be allowed to look that vulnerable. Chase shifts a little and his lips open slightly and Wilson looks away swiftly, not entirely sure why. Cameron looks at him for a moment with something that’s borderline understanding in her eyes, and then looks away again. House stumps into the room, takes one glance at his passed-out intensivist and smirks. He picks a thick book off the bookshelf and drops it onto Chase’s lap. Wilson winces in empathy. It’s the hardback edition.
“Did you write this chart or did something just crawl over the page and die?” enquires House, his tone full of false sweetness. Chase flushes, and Wilson sighs.
“It’s traditional for doctors to have terrible handwriting,” he points out.
“You don’t,” House protests, reaching into his pocket and picking out a lime green post-it note, with Property of James Wilson, trespassers will be subject to pain- lots of pain written neatly across it.
“Did you eat my lunch again?” he asks despairingly, while House looks innocent- which doesn’t work- and Chase looks relieved- which does.
People die, and sometimes it breaks his heart. James has a few ex-wives who can attest to the fact that he doesn’t have a heart, but then he unceremoniously tore theirs to shreds, so he can’t blame them. People die all the time, one of the side effects of being in oncology. For every case of remission there are so many others who don’t- can’t- make it. And when he says, for the thousandth time, the speech that begins with “I’m so sorry, but-”, it stings as much as it did the first time. Chase doesn’t have that knack. It’s the one thing about him Wilson doesn’t like. Chase never sounds sorry. Never.
House isn’t the only one who lies on the floor of the office with headphones on and eyes shut, floating on the music. Chase raids House’s vinyl collection a couple of evenings a week when House has gone home and Cameron and Foreman are doing whatever it is that Cameron and Foreman do. Wilson sometimes watches Chase unconsciously tapping out the rhythms on his thigh, smiling much more genuinely than he normally does, now that he thinks no one’s looking and no one’s tormenting him.
“‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’,” House quotes boredly. “However, right now we have no knowledge, so I say one of you should go get some.”
“We took a patient history,” Cameron begins, “And we ran all the tests for toxins we could think of-”
“And you still don’t know what’s wrong, so why are you sitting here?” House is frustrated and snappish, his leg hurts, and part of Wilson wants to cower. Chase is standing strong though, chewing a pencil and looking unflappable, and Wilson has to give him credit for that.
It’s entirely possible that Chase is drowning and none of them have noticed, trapped in this job and this country with House holding onto his wrists and Cameron trying to be completely impersonal since they did the horizontal tango and everything. Or maybe Wilson is reading things into it that haven’t happened, and maybe Chase is stronger than the hair and the pouting imply. Maybe he can withstand the patients crashing and dying under his hands, or maybe he sits in empty corridors and cries. Wilson doesn’t know, and for a few minutes entertains the idea that he could save him, except that he, you know, can’t.
House is being shouted at by another disciplinary committee and Wilson isn’t even sure why any more, can’t remember which of the six patients he went too far with this month chose to complain. It probably doesn’t matter all that much. So he sits in the office with the team and they drink coffee from black mugs and watch the rain pour down outside and say very little.
“Why do we-” begins Foreman, and Chase laughs.
“Because we’re mad,” he replies. “Completely fucking insane.”
Wilson is rather inclined to agree with him.
Foreman called out for takeaway and they’re all sitting there having lunch in the conference room while Cuddy patiently pages House every five minutes. Same old same old. There is no way to eat Chinese food in an even vaguely humane manner, Wilson decides. You can handle the chopsticks and twirl everything neatly, but when it comes to actually trying to eat the noodles you’ve attempted to pick up, you’ve always overestimated the size of your mouth and end up choking and trying not to look too much like you’ve forgotten what chewing is.
It’s kind of erotic watching Chase eat like that though.
There are always far too many people around and it drives Wilson mad. He’s never alone with Chase because there’s Foreman or Cameron or House (who should count as at least four people) or Cuddy or a patient or other people milling about. It’s frustrating but he also realises that that’s probably a good thing, because even if he did get him alone he wouldn’t know what to say. So he lingers in the background and watches Foreman claim he hates House and then act like him a minute later, watches Cameron gain strength and lose it in a matter of minutes, watches Chase and then doesn’t watch him and knows that House knows exactly what he’s thinking. This glass wall thing isn’t healthy.
When their latest patient is discharged, she leaves behind a pair of her panties in a paper bag for Chase. Wilson walks into the conference room to find them all examining this new ‘present’. Cameron is blushing and meticulously washing her coffee cup in the sink. Chase and Foreman are attempting to investigate the underwear without actually touching it.
“It’s PVC,” Foreman suggests, frowning. Wilson feels faintly disturbed.
“Don’t be idiotic,” House tells them, “They’re made of plastic.”
“Oh, God,” murmurs Chase.
“Aren’t they, Jimmy?” House beckons him a little closer. In a stage whisper he adds, “Knows all about patients’ underwear does Jimmy. He’s like the Tom Jones of medicine. Practically bombarded with panties.”
“I don’t have to be your only friend, you know,” Wilson tells him, and House just laughs.
Wilson leans against the vending machine in the hall, searching through his pockets for change as he tries to work out the answer to the eternal question; Coke or Dr Pepper? Turns out it doesn’t matter any more, because he has no change anyway. A sigh escapes him- looks like he’ll have to get a caffeine fix somewhere else, but he can’t physically drink any more coffee- and he turns away.
“Dr Wilson?” He turns around at the sound of the Australian accent and Chase calmly tips a handful of quarters into his palm. “Bring me a Dr Pepper,” he tells him, before heading off down to House’s office. Wilson smirks. Looks like he’s got his answer to that eternal question then. Two Dr Peppers it is.
Tuesday afternoon clinic duty. House tried to get out of it by forging a note with Wilson’s signature on it (“In my medical opinion Dr Gregory House will be unable to do clinic duty because he is allergic to sick people”), which oddly enough, Cuddy didn’t buy. So House did twenty minutes and then swapped with Chase. Wilson patiently gets himself through it because it’s mind numbing but it is at least simple. The screaming in exam two is too interesting to resist, however, and he pokes his head around the door.
“Need a consult?”
“Not really,” Chase replies, smiling slightly as he clicks the bones in a woman’s ankle back into place while she shrieks. There’s a pair of rollerblades on the floor beside the bed, and Wilson walks forwards to hold the woman’s leg in place for Chase.
“Thanks,” the intensivist says, with a smile behind his curtain of hair.
Chase’s wearing of his labcoat is erratic at best. Some days he’ll wear it (“sets off his hair better” House remarks) but on others he won’t wear it at all. Copying House but yet not quite managing the raw, manic anarchy. No one can. Wilson wears his labcoat all the time, if only because he worked damn hard to get it. Besides, if he doesn’t House just teases him about his sweater vests. Today, Chase isn’t wearing his labcoat, and Wilson doesn’t register this much (except that he gets more of an eyeful of a vile yellow shirt). At least not until Chase bends down in the corridor in front of him to re-tie one of his shoes and his slacks pull taut across what must be the world’s most perfect ass.
Wilson walks into the locker room and is wholly unprepared for the sight of Chase stepping out of the shower with water running down his body and a white towel the only thing between Wilson and that pale, soft-looking skin. He clears his throat and tries not to blush or stare too hard at the painfully toned abs or pin Chase to the lockers and kiss him until they’re both soaking.
“Morning, Dr Wilson.” Chase says with a slight smile, and Wilson manages a greeting in return, digging his fingernails into his palm so that he doesn’t reach out and touch or untie that towel which is tied so precariously around Chase’s slim hips. Instead, he keeps walking to his locker, and doesn’t turn around, not even when he hears another locker door clang open and the towel drop to the floor. Not even when there’s a slight pause, like Chase is waiting for something.
It is four a.m and Wilson is sleeping on the sofa in his office because he didn’t feel like going home last night. Never does, actually. The sofa might do his back in and he’s woken up every hour or so by people outside, but it’s a small price to pay. He wakes up this time to Chase looking dead on his feet because he’s been on call for about two and a half days.
“Tell House to let you go home,” he says. Chase laughs bitterly and it sounds wrong, bouncing off the corridor walls.
“Yeah, sure, that’ll go down well.”
“Well call Cuddy or something. He can’t keep you here, it’s completely unrea-”
“It won’t make a difference and I really don’t need you or Cuddy to fight my fucking battles for me!” Chase snarls, uncharacteristic anger over his face before he turns and storms off.
House has hundreds of lines that are really all too easy to cross, whether he blows up in your face or cuts you with razor-sharp sarcasm or just breaks down. Wilson knows about three-quarters of them and he suspects House’s team must know them all by now. Even if Cameron never knows when to stop pushing (or maybe she just doesn’t want to) and Foreman trips his favourite traps on slow afternoons. Chase just waits for someone to trigger them and then cleans up the collateral damage. Some of the time. One afternoon he just leaves House to his Vicodin-induced bitter high, unconcerned about Wilson’s reproachful look.
“I wasn’t born to look after Greg House,” Chase says, “And maybe you should consider the fact that neither were you, James.”
Cuddy occasionally insists that they go to medical dinners, where Foreman amuses himself trying to find someone who’ll hire him who isn’t House before House catches him and threatens to spank him with his cane; Cameron befriends doctors like her; Chase flirts with everyone in sight, and House plays the game “How many people can I offend in the next three hours?”. Wilson normally tries to socialise, but tonight he’s drinking martinis like they’re water, systematically getting drunk and ignoring the medical chit-chat around him.
“Here.” A cup of coffee is slid into his line of vision, strong but milky and steaming. “Drink this. I’ve called you a cab.”
Wilson obeys as Chase perches on a stool beside him and finishes his martini for him, biting the olive off the cocktail stick with almost indecent relish.
House has heaps of photocopies on his glass table. Wilson picks one up. The pictures of Chase copied repeatedly are practically pornographic and definitely compromising enough for any blackmail House wants to orchestrate over the next three months. House looks triumphant and Wilson can’t blame him.
“Where did you get these?”
“Chase’s email. A friend mailed them to him; I just had to click ‘download’.”
“You hacked into his email address?” Wilson asks incredulously.
“Don’t worry; it wasn’t hard,” House replies, deliberately misinterpreting Wilson’s tone, “I mean, once I typed in ‘Wilson is sexy’ as the password-”
“Oh, you really are too gullible,” House sighs, “It’s actually not that fun any more.”
“You really are incredibly dense,” Chase whispers in his ear, fingers running down Wilson’s spine, light from the computer illuminating his face. Wilson’s hand, resting on his knee, clenches, fingernails digging in too hard.
Chase continues to look at the scans they’ve got up on the screen, breath warm against Wilson’s neck (he’s standing way too close for comfort) as his fingers slid under the hem of Wilson’s shirt to touch skin. Just for a moment.
“Well, it’s not cancer,” he says suddenly, stepping back. “Yet another dead end.”
Wilson bites his lips together, painfully aroused, afraid what he’ll say if he moves.
“That has to be the most vile shirt I have ever seen,” Wilson tells Chase. “I think I’m going blind. Please, don’t ever, ever wear it again. Burn it if you have to.”
He might be, and probably is, slightly drunk, lying on his back on the sofa in his office, a heap of ignored medical journals on the floor beside him. It’s late, and he’s still here because there’s nowhere else to go, and he isn’t sure why Chase is here. Maybe that will become clear at some point. Right now, he’s just fixated with the truly hideous zigzag pattern across Chase’s shirt.
“Really?” Chase is starting to look kind of amused, pulling off his tie, slowly unbuttoning the shirt bit by bit, until it’s tumbling off his shoulders and he’s leaning over the couch. Wilson reaches out to help it off, fingers brushing the smooth skin on the undersides of Chase’s arms, feeling Chase come out in goosebumps from the momentary contact.
“Better?” Chase asks, leaning so close his bangs brush Wilson’s face. Wilson smirks.
“Much.” And closes the gap between them.
Other Chase/Wilson ones live in this penthouse here