Fandom: House MD
Characters: Chase, Wilson
Prompt: 044. Circle
Word Count: 3050
Summary: A look at Chase and Wilson in the past, and now.
Author's Notes: I wasn't trying to achieve anything with this, and if anyone's out of character or whatever, blame my current personal circumstances. Dedicated to realboatsrock because she told me a plotline a bit like this one.
How do you make it right? Oh, but you try…Is it any wonder I’m tired? Is it any wonder that I feel uptight? Is it any wonder I don’t know what’s right? Oh, these days, after all the misery you made, is it any wonder that I feel afraid? Is it any wonder that I feel betrayed?
There’s a cool, frosty silence at the breakfast table this morning. Robert pushes cornflakes around his bowl with a spoon, glaring at the opaque back of his father’s morning paper. His mother is still unconscious on the sofa where she fell asleep last night, and Robert knows now, somehow, that a final line has been crossed. His father is so angry, although not at him, but then they’ve spoken so little in the last couple of years that Robert doesn’t know him at all. For all he knows, his father is blaming him for the way his mother is. So Robert says nothing, pushing cornflakes around and biting his lips together because there really is nothing he can say.
Laura didn’t come home last night and James chooses to eat his breakfast in silence rather than comment on this. He doesn’t mention that he was still awake when she slid into bed beside him at five o’clock that morning, smelling like cigarettes and another man’s aftershave, and he doesn’t ask where she was. Laura, for her part, doesn’t tell him, shower-wet purple hair twirled up behind her head and her attention focused more on the pancakes she’s making- macadamia nut, and the closest to heaven that mortal food can ever get. She taught James how to make them last week. He can’t help thinking that that signifies something.
Robert keeps an eye on the watch on his right wrist- an expensive guilt present from his father a couple of years ago- and watches the seconds tick closer to when he has to get off to school. He’ll probably be late; someone has to make sure his mother is all right, and he can’t think for one minute Dr Chase will bother. His father, as far as Robert can work out, has never cared about his mother, and his mother drinks and laughs and does everything she can to spite her husband. There’s no love in this house and Robert knows that he can’t hold it all together himself for much longer. Something’s going to have to give.
Laura washes up quickly, leaving James to do his own ironing, toes tapping in her battered converse allstars, not managing to meet his eyes. It’s not guilt, as such- James knows all too well that when he cheats he makes it too obvious, and it’s the same with Laura. They’re almost proud of their infidelity; Laura doesn’t even bother to hide the lovebites any more and if she finds lipstick on James’ collars, he simply smiles and says nothing. He’s got a lawyer lined up and waiting, and really, it’s just a case of waiting to see who’ll demand the divorce first.
Robert kicks a pile of Uncanny X-Men comics out of his way as he enters his bedroom. It’s not like other teenagers’ rooms; apart from a few comics and clothes on the floor, everything is neat and tidy. He doesn’t have a mother to come in and do his laundry and beg him to clean up once in a while, after all. So he puts everything where he can find it again and places the guilt presents from his father in the back of his closet so that he doesn’t have to think about them or the man who handed them over, barely managing to meet his son’s eyes. The fact he was there at breakfast was shocking enough, such a rare event that Robert unconsciously waits for the world to end as he shoves well-chewed pencils and biros into his schoolbag.
Rain is coming down in a light drizzle as James drives Laura to work. She’s failed her driving test four times to date, and the bookstore where she works is on the way to his classes anyway. His wife-and God, they’re both too young to be married, they have to be- picks at her cuticles and chips away at her indigo nail polish, humming along to the radio with her fringe in her eyes. She’s got nice eyes, really really green, and they were what attracted him to her in the first place. James hasn’t really seen them in a while. Sighing, he parks and turns to look at Laura.
“Are you going to tell me his name?” he asks, crossing a line he shouldn’t. Laura looks like she’s been slapped for a moment, and then smiles nastily.
“Why are you assuming there’s only one of him?” she snarls, unbuckling her seatbelt and getting out into the rain.
The front door slams behind him, and Robert leans against it to take a deep breath of clean, outside air. The house is decaying from inside out, and he can barely breathe inside any more. He’s fifteen, and he isn’t ready for this. Isn’t ready to be the adult in a household with a woman who is steadily drinking herself into a pit, and a man who never comes home and when he does adds nothing to the atmosphere. But Robert is more suspicious than ever, because when he made like he was going to stay and help his mum out, his father insisted he would. This isn’t normal. This isn’t natural. And Robert is petrified.
James takes afternoon classes off to have lunch with Greg House. They met about a year ago, because House had been blackmailed/lost a bet and as a result had to do a lecture on diagnostic medicine. James already knows that he’s not going to go into diagnostic medicine, but he really enjoyed the lecture and seemed to be the only one not offended by House’s I-hate-the-world-and-what-the-fuck-are-y
Robert doesn’t say one word to his friends at school because they don’t-can’t-understand, and if he’s learnt nothing else from his father, he’s learnt that you should keep your family’s skeletons firmly hidden in the closet. But he worries and chews his pen constantly all day, a nervous habit he picked up years ago. The tension’s been building for weeks, months, maybe even years, and all Robert wants is a normal childhood and to not be there when the tension snaps.
It’s still raining that evening when James gets home. Laura’s already in the apartment, eating sticks of celery and refusing to cook. James isn’t surprised. He isn’t even surprised when they start kissing later- for the first time in about a month- winding his fingers through her lavender hair and pulling her close.
“Do you have a lawyer lined up?” she asks softly, pulling his t-shirt over his head and then leaning forward to capture his mouth again.
“Of course,” he mumbles. “You?”
“Have for three months,” she replies, “Just playing the waiting game.”
James almost laughs as he continues to undress her, because God, he’s always loved her practicality.
Robert dumps his schoolbag and makes his way into the living room. His father is still here, which makes him feel sick and anxious. His mother isn’t there. He thinks she’s probably upstairs, and he feels worse.
“Robert,” his father says softly, “Your mother and I have decided-” You decided, you mean thinks Robert, “-to get a divorce.”
“Ok,” he says.
“I’m leaving tonight.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Just go.” It isn’t what Robert wants to say- he wants to say something along the lines of please daddy, don’t, I can’t look after her, I can’t look after me, but he doesn’t. He simply scowls and watches his father leave, and waits until the front door slams before sobbing helplessly.
He can’t sleep. James looks at the ceiling and gnaws his lower lip and listens to Laura drifting off beside him. She’s got a pair of wings tattooed at the top of her spine, and he looks at those and the lock of purple hair that falls over them. He loved her. He really did. They haven’t spoken, not really, in months. He gets the feeling Laura has nothing left to say to him- at least, nothing she wants him to know.
“Who is he?” he asks again, and Laura rolls over onto her back to look at him.
“Why do you keep thinking there’s only one of him? I know there’s certainly been more than one woman.” It stings, but James ignores it.
“Yes, but who was the guy who was the final straw?” he asks her. Laura looks at the ceiling, and he can’t read her.
“You know,” she replies quietly. “You know you do.”
James has no idea what she’s talking about, and decides right now this is the last time he marries a woman who he doesn’t understand.
Chase’s father died last night and he’s not sure whether he’s passed through the shock yet. He hasn’t slept and House’s eyes are narrowed and Cameron and Foreman seem to be pointedly ignoring his shaking hands. No one knows. He doesn’t mention it. Kayla’s dying and it’s his fault, and he feels sick to his stomach. Orphaned by thirty. It’s not pretty. Maybe he deserves it. Maybe he doesn’t. Chase can’t think straight. He wafts between feeling sick and apathetic and wanting to cry for hours and hours. It’s strange, how many times he’s wished his father would just die; and now he has, and Chase really, really doesn’t know what to think about that.
Julie wants a divorce.
Rowan Chase walked out and a year later his wife was dead, and Robert was learning how to tie a tie and act like an adult and he didn’t even cry at the funeral and everyone whispered about how brave he was, how he was a remarkable young man, but Robert hadn’t wanted to be a remarkable young man, he’d just wanted to be him. Chase doesn’t think he’ll ever really forgive his father. Won’t forgive him for letting his wife die. He wonders if his father can see him now, wonders what he thinks of him. Decides he doesn’t care enough.
House might give him the time off for the funeral; then again he might not. Chase doesn’t really want it. He thinks maybe he ought to be there, but there’s nothing he can say. He’s got a lot of anger in him- too much anger- and he can’t help thinking he’ll just be inappropriate. Chase has never liked being tearful in front of others and the breakdown might happen eventually but not yet. Right now, he’s got things to do. So he will concentrate on those and not think about the father he never had and the father he should have had and the father that let him down again and again and again.
“Oh, you saw today’s
“People don’t do things like that. They have decency. They have morals. They have common sense.”
“I think I missed the point of this conversation,” House sighs, leaning further back in his chair.
“Laura Wilson. Purple hair. April 1990. Pretty woman. Had a tattoo of butterflies-”
“-At the top of her right thigh,” House finishes for him. Blinks. Winces. “Ah. Was she your wife? I had no idea.”
“You bastard,” Wilson snarls, “You complete and utter bastard.”
Cameron slips her small hand into Chase’s and gives his fingers a squeeze. He pulls away automatically and she looks hurt.
“Are you all right?” she asks.
“Yeah,” Robert replies, although really, he isn’t. He feels about sixteen again. Looking at a gravestone and feeling so very, very alone. His father didn’t help then either. Chase owes Rowan nothing. But he still feels so very guilty, so very cold, so very lost. He gazes at the tabletop and says nothing but when Cameron’s hand slips into his again he doesn’t pull away.
“It was fifteen years ago, Jimmy, and you only just figured it out? Laura and I definitely gave you too much credit.”
“It was your fault the marriage broke down,”
House tilts his head on one side and looks at
“What, and I’m the only adulterer in here?” he asks bitterly.
“She was my wife,” he whispers, unable to articulate the hurt that his first marriage breaking down when he was twenty-one caused, unable to articulate how horrible it was, how much of a failure he felt.
“I know,” House murmurs, and pauses. “I am sorry, you know.”
Chase wonders if anyone else knows. Cameron and Foreman obviously don’t, because they’d say something if they did, and House would surely not keep silent if he knew. There would be well-placed daddy issue comments or more ones about his mother. His father had lung cancer and
There’s another email in his inbox when
Chase is in the locker room when it breaks. He’s dumping his labcoat and looking for something else when he hears the quiet voice say:
“I’m sorry.” Chase swallows hard and turns around. It’s
“What?” he asks carefully.
“-Won’t mention it until you do.”
Chase swallows again, feeling more shock that they haven’t said anything. And then the tears spill down his cheeks and he starts sobbing for the first time in several days.
Chase falls asleep when he gets in that evening, which is unusual because he hasn’t been able to sleep in what feels like forever. But right now, he feels at peace, the sticky, tired kind of peace you get after crying for too long, the kind where you know it won’t last but it’s still nice while it’s there. So, fully dressed, still angry, still confused, still lost and far too young, Robert Chase curls up on his bed and sleeps for hours and hours, and dreams of nothing at all.
At four a.m,
Title: Hopes And Fears
Fandom: House MD
Prompt: 003. Ends
Word Count: 2004
Summary: 12 different ends to the relationship.
Author's Notes: Set around the "Hopes And Fears" song titles from the album by Keane.
Title: Keeping Me Up All Night
Fandom: House MD
Characters: Chase, Wilson, House
Prompt: 033. Too Much
Word Count: 765
Summary: Set during "All In".
Author's Notes: Wilson in formalwear. Gets me every time... Song is "Keeping Me Up All Night" by Matt Willis.