Haven't posted anything worthwhile in awhile so...I come bearing fanfiction!
Fandom: House, M.D.
Summary: Chase spends a day with a terminal patient, and appreciates what he has a lot more. Fluffy to the MAX, guys.
Warnings: slash, spoilers for 2x02 “Autopsy”
Author’s Notes: Just my little idea of what might happen if Andie took Chase up on his museum tickets. Nothing icky or pedophilic, I promise. It’s sweet.
Chase frowned. He didn’t give out his number very often, so he was a bit surprised to pick up the phone and not recognize the voice on the other end. “Yes, this is Dr. Chase. Can I ask who’s calling?” Not that he felt threatened. The voice sounded as if it belonged to a seven-year-old girl.
“It’s me—Andie. Do you remember me?”
He blinked. “Um.”
“I guess not.” She sounded flustered. “I’m sorry to have—”
“Wait!” He interrupted. “I remember you. Sorry, I just didn’t expect you to call. How could I forget someone like you?”
He heard a soft giggle on the other end. “I guess I am pretty tricky to forget.” She paused, as if thinking of what to say next.
Chase took advantage of the pause to take a bite of his sandwich. It was rare that he got a chance to go home for his lunch break, and dammit, he was going to take advantage of it and actually eat for once. He swallowed a bite of tuna salad and asked “So, what can I do for you?”
“I had a question. Do you remember those tickets you gave me?”
“Of course I do.”
“Well, um…you gave me two, but my mom can’t go because she has to work. I was wondering—I mean, if you don’t have plans—if maybe you’d like to—”
He decided to spare her the agony of finishing the question. “I’d love to go with you, Andie. Is it this Saturday?”
He could hear the relief in her voice. “Yes. The tickets say 12.30.”
“I’ll clear my schedule and pick you up at noon.” A few more pleasantries were exchanged before he had to end the call, saying that he had to get back to work.
As he gathered his messenger bag and jacket, he made a mental note not to mention this to House.
Andie greeted him with a brilliant smile and a happy—if slightly overenthusiastic—hug. Chase hugged her back, surprising himself at how happy he was that the girl hadn’t lost any of her positive energy, even though time was rapidly slipping away from her. As he met Andie’s mother’s eyes over the top of the bandana-covered head, he could see the sadness and fear in the woman’s eyes.
Detangling himself from Andie, he extended his hand. “Hi. I’m--”
“Dr. Chase. I remember you, don’t worry.” She smiled—if it was forced, it didn’t show on her face—and shook his hand. “Andie’s talked of nothing else since we got back from the hospital.”
“Mom!” Andie said indignantly, blushing.
Chase chuckled. “I’m flattered.” He glanced at his watch. “Well, we ought to get going. The exhibit’s won’t take all that long to look at, but I thought I might take her out for ice cream or something after that. Any specific time you want her back?”
“We usually have dinner around five-thirty or six. You can keep her until then.” She leaned down to hug her daughter, gently kissing her cheek. “I love you, sweetie. Be good.”
Andie hugged her mother back. “Love you too, Mom. See you later.”
As they walked down the driveway to Chase’s car, he looked back. Andie’s mother was watching them from the doorway, her arms folded loosely over her chest. He gave her a smile that he hoped was reassuring, and lifted one hand in a small wave. She returned the gesture with a faint smile of gratitude and echoed his wave, before going back inside.
Andie turned around, following his gaze. “What are you looking at?”
He smiled. “Nothing. Come on.”
It just wasn’t fair; Chase realized as he drove; that the people who were filled with the most life had to die.
As Andie babbled happily about whatever popped into her wickedly devious nine (“Nine and a half;” she had told him firmly) year old mind, Chase couldn’t help but think how the idea that this girl could be dying would never have even occurred to him had he not been her doctor.
Coming to the conclusion that he now knew much more about Orlando Bloom—who was apparently quite a heartthrob in the pre-teen female world—Chase finally decided to interrupt with a question. “Andie?”
“Why exactly do you know all this about this guy?”
She laughed. “Everyone knows it.”
“Well, you’re a guy. You don’t have to.” She gave him a sagely nod. “Don’t worry. I won’t hold your lack of knowledge about the god that is Orlando against you.”
A smile tugged at the ends of Chase’s lips, but he kept his voice serious. “Well. Thank goodness that his legions of fans are so merciful.”
Andie’s solemn expression cracked as she grinned.
Chase watched her with a bemused smile. “Andie, if you get any closer to the glass, you’ll fall through it.”
Face pressed against the clear glass, Andie didn’t seem deterred. “I don’t care.” Her eyes were sparkling as she watched the live butterflies flutter around in an perfect replica of their natural environment. “There’s so many of them.”
“Yeah. That’s why the exhibit’s such a big hit.”
“It’s like a rainbow.”
“With the different colors?”
“Yeah.” She looked up at him. “Did you know that a butterfly’s wings are completely symmetrical?”
He raised his eyebrows. “No, I didn’t. You research this or something?”
Andie grinned. “No. It says it on the little card here.”
She stuck her tongue out at him, then returned her eyes to the glass.
“So;” Andie said as they ate lunch in the museum cafeteria; “do you have a girlfriend?”
Chase nearly choked on his sandwich. He took several gulps of water before replying. “No.”
“Really?” She sipped at her orange soda. “What’s up with that? How does someone as good-looking as you not have some kind of significant other?”
He shrugged. “I had a few short relationships” (one-nighters, really, but Andie didn’t need to know that) “here in the states, but I never really got emotionally involved with any girls.”
“Oh.” She took a bite of her chicken salad sandwich, and Chase relaxed slightly at the reprieve.
Her next question made him choke again.
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
Unfortunately, he was too shocked to answer even after draining his water bottle.
A nine-year-old should not be able to smirk that evilly, he decided. But Andie’s expression currently rivaled the one House took on when he had just heard a particularly juicy piece of gossip. “You do.”
Finding his voice again, he stammered out “I didn’t really expect that from you.”
Andie shrugged. “I don’t think it matters if a boy loves a girl, or a boy loves a boy, or a girl loves a girl. If you love someone, gender doesn’t matter.”
He smiled. For a devious little kid, Andie was certainly a role model to be admired. “I told you that you were mature, right?”
“It bears repeating.” She leaned forward eagerly, resting her chin in her palms. “So, spill. Who is it? Someone outside of work? One of your coworkers?”
Chase got the very distinct feeling that he was blushing.
It didn’t go unnoticed.
“It is one of your coworkers;” she said gleefully. “Is it Dr. Wilson? Dr. Foreman?” Chase shook his head and Andie frowned, thinking. Slowly, a sly smile spread across her face. “Dr. House, maybe?”
Yep. He was blushing.
“That is so cute!” She all but squealed it. Chase cringed.
“Keep it down!”
“Oh, like anyone knows you here anyways.” She giggled. “So, you and Dr. House. That’s so…”
He sighed. “Pathetic? Young intern falling for his older, sarcastic boss?”
“Way to be a pessimist. I was going to say romantic.” She finished her sandwich. “So, are you guys in love?”
“‘Love’ is a…strong word.” He chuckled. “House isn’t much of a ‘love’ person.”
“Everyone’s a ‘love’ person, once they have someone to love.” Andie swung her feet back and forth—they didn’t quite touch the floor. “Do you love him?”
Chase thought about it. “Yes;” he said after a moment. “I do.”
He expected a triumphant grin, or an ‘I-told-you-so’, but instead Andie just glanced at her bright orange watch and said “Do you want to go for a walk?”
“Why do you think people kill themselves?”
They were sitting outside at a small ice cream shop. Andie had been quietly licking at her cone of Cotton Candy ice cream for the past few moments, and her question caught Chase off-guard. “I…I don’t know.” He managed to catch a drop of his own ice cream—chocolate peanut butter—before it dripped onto the table.
“I was just thinking, because…” She took another lick. “I think about all the things that I want to do, and that I’ll never be able to do. But there are people who can do all sorts of things, but just…don’t. They kill themselves just because they don’t like what’s going on in their lives.” A drop of the blue ice cream missed her tongue and dropped to the table. She ignored it. “Why would someone do something like that?”
Chase shrugged. “People do things…for strange reasons. Maybe they think things can’t get any better, and death is the only way to solve their problems.”
They ate in silence for a moment or two.
“Y’know…I think people do stuff like that because they don’t know how good life really is.”
Chase tilted his head slightly, nodding at her to continue.
“I mean…when you’re dying, everything is so much clearer. You learn to appreciate everything you have and everything around you. That’s why me and my mom never fight.” She caught the next drop before it fell. “When you don’t have a lot of time left, you care about things more. They matter. You don’t just throw things away.” She fell silent for a moment, then said; “I wonder if they regret it, when they realize that they’re going to die.”
“You love Dr. House, right?”
He nodded. “Yes.” He wasn’t hesitant to say it now. She already knew, the damage was done.
“You should tell him.”
“I think he knows anyway.”
“Let him hear it from you.” She finished her ice cream. “You never know when it might be your last chance to tell him.”
He looked at her. She looked back at him, her eyes bright and solemn and far too sad and wise for a nine-year-old girl.
Chase tossed his half-finished ice cream into the nearest trash can and hugged her.
It was almost a quarter of six by the time Chase’s car pulled back into Andie’s driveway. She hopped out of the car, and he walked her to the door.
Andie’s mother opened the door as they went up the front stairs. “Thank you for bringing her home.”
“It’s no problem.” He shoved his hands into his jacket pockets, feeling slightly out of place.
Andie looked at her mother. “Mom, could you give us a sec? I want to tell Dr. Chase something.”
The older woman looked surprised, but nodded. “Sure, baby. Come inside when you’re done, okay? I don’t want you out here by yourself.” She shook Chase’s hand. “Thank you again.” She slipped inside, letting the door close but not lock.
Andie turned to Chase, sighing in relief. “That was awkward.”
He chuckled. “A bit. I never was a big hit with mothers.”
She smiled brightly but turned her eyes to the welcome mat in front of the door, tracing the pattern on it with the toe of her sneaker, suddenly shy. “Um…thanks. For today.”
“I told you, it’s no problem.” Chase smiled. “There aren’t all that many kids who I could go to a museum with and actually enjoy it. I had fun today.”
Andie looked up. “Really?”
“Really.” He bent down to her level. “Thanks for a great day, Andie.”
Her answer was to fling her arms around his neck in a hug. “Thank you;” she whispered into his shoulder. “Thanks for making this perfect.”
He held her, turning his head to kiss her cheek ever-so-gently. “You’re welcome.”
She pulled away after a few more moments, offering him another smile. “It was really nice seeing you, Dr. Chase.” She opened the door and gave him a tiny wave and a blush before ducking inside.
He stood and sighed, trudging down the stairs to his car.
Greg House wasn’t one to outwardly appreciate beauty. Actually, he didn’t really care about it at all, as far as nature was concerned.
But he was bored at the moment, so Saturday evening found him standing next to the window in his living room, watching a pair of Monarch butterflies flit around the shrubs in his front yard.
He heard a key scrape in the front door, and raised his voice slightly. “Welcome back.”
“Thanks;” Chase’s voice, heavily accented due to weariness, answered him. It was tinted with confusion when he next spoke. “Why are you sitting in the dark?”
Chase laughed lightly, picking his way through the room to stand behind House. Gently, he let his arms drape over House’s shoulders. “I love you, you know.”
House turned, looping his own arms around Chase’s waist. “What brought that on? Did the nine-year-old’s lack of sex appeal make you appreciate me more?”
“No. Life in general made me appreciate you more.”
“You are a strange little wombat.” House chastised him, leaning down to catch the younger man’s lips in a kiss.
Chase broke the kiss, looking up at him with a smirk. “But you like me as a strange little wombat.”
House looked as if he was contemplating it, but Chase glared at him and he broke down. “Fine, I like you as a strange little wombat. Happy?”
“Ecstatic;” Chase said brightly, and kissed him again.
House returned the kiss, and just before Chase let his eyes slip closed, he saw a butterfly flutter away from the window.
So, erm…yeah. Fluff. ^^ Comments are love.