Greetings, everyone! Long time no post, because I'm a complete idiot and I keep forgetting to post here. x.x Unfortunately, I still don't have Chapter 4 of Care, but I have chapter 1 of a new fic that I've been playing around with for a little while.
Title: Seniority Rights
Fandom: House, M.D.
Pairings: House/Chase, one-sided Cameron/House
Summary: She wanted him, and then she had him, and then she lost him again. But she knew she’d have to give him up—after all, Chase was there first. Cameron P.O.V., House/Chase-centric.
Warnings: slash, one-sided not-actually-happening het
Notes: Alright, don’t go running away because it’s a Cameron P.O.V. It’s House/Chase, I promise. I had an idea of doing a fic about their relationship once Cameron started working at PPTH, and how it changed with her being there. It’s sort of my sympathy piece towards Cameron—how she wants House, but she can never have him because let’s face it: Chase is just prettier. Give it a chance, guys.
When I arrived for my first work day at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, I expected to be greeted by Dr. House himself. Granted, I wasn’t all that psyched about working with someone who only hired me because I “had something to prove”, but he intrigued me. Despite myself, I was excited—it had been a long time since I had had a job with someone as interesting as House.
So when I entered the diagnostics wing of the hospital and walked into the staff lounge, I was a bit miffed to find that the only person there was a young-looking doctor, sitting at the table and doing a crossword puzzle. I tapped lightly on the doorframe. “Hello?”
He sat up straight in his seat, turning to look at me. He was young—mid-twenties, if I’d had to guess, with blond hair and bright, attentive blue eyes. “Oh;” he said, as if surprised. He stood up. “You must be Dr. Cameron.” He had an accent—English, I thought, or maybe Australian. He had obviously been notified that I would be coming, and he smiled, extending his hand towards me. “I’m Robert Chase.”
“Allison Cameron;” I replied, shaking his hand. I remembered, now—Dr. House had mentioned that he already had one doctor working with him, but I hadn’t expected him to be so young. “Is Dr. House here?”
Chase shook his head, sitting back down and pulling the crossword puzzle towards him again. “No, not yet. He usually comes in late.” He grinned at me. “If you came in early hoping to get some pre-work conversation in, it’s not going to work out. He’s never early, rarely on time. I’ve gotten used to it.” Nibbling on the end of his pen, he studied me carefully. “You’re awfully pretty.”
It was almost accusatory. I wasn’t sure how to respond.
He seemed to notice my discomfort and flushed. “I’m sorry, that didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. See, House has this habit of hiring attractive women who don’t have a chance of putting up with him. He just likes to see them squirm, I think.”
I stiffened. “I think I’m qualified to put up with anything he does. If it’s too inappropriate, I’ll charge him with harassment.”
Chase chuckled. “Good luck with that. We’re all used to House, anything he does isn’t done as harassment, it’s done just because that’s the way he is. Generally, people he hires only last about a month. The doctor before you quit about a week ago, she was only here for about two weeks.”
“How long have you been here?” I couldn’t help it. I was curious.
“Oh…” He seemed to think about it. “About six months, I think.” He tucked a few locks of hair behind his ear, grinning again. “You know, at this point I think I deserve a medal. That’s what Wilson says, anyways.”
I blinked, confused. “Wilson?” I hadn’t known that Dr. House had another colleague.
“Dr. Wilson, he’s in oncology. House’s best friend, though I’ve never seen a more dysfunctional friendship.” He glanced down at the puzzle. “Hey—think you could help me here? Five-letter word for irritating and unorthodox.”
“Chase.” Said a voice from the doorway, and I turned to see Dr. House limping into the room. I was surprised to see that he wasn’t wearing a lab coat.
Chase didn’t miss a beat, only penciled it in and grinned at House. “What do you know, it fits. Here’s one you’ll appreciate, nine letters for bitter and miserable.”
“Greg House;” House shot back, then sat down next to Chase. “I see you’ve met Dr. Cameron.”
“Mm-hm.” Chase nodded at me. “I was explaining about your history with female employees.”
“Oh, now, that’s not fair. You can’t tell people what I do before I do it, it takes the fun out of it.” He looked down at the table in front of him, then skeptically up at Chase.
Chase ignored the look for a few moments, then sighed and looked back at him. “What?”
“Oh, get it yourself.”
“But my leg hurts.” House’s tone was almost whiny. I found myself reminded of my best friend’s three-year-old son.
Chase rolled his eyes at his boss. “The guilt trip doesn’t work on me anymore, remember?”
“Hmph.” House leaned back in his seat, sulking. “You sleep with someone once and suddenly they won’t do you any favors anymore.”
Chase snorted. “Oh, you wish.”
House ignored him, and turned to me. “Hey, rookie. Go make some coffee. Machine’s in the corner.” He gestured to it with his cane.
I looked helplessly at Chase, who gave me a teasing grin. “Sorry, mate. Newbie makes the coffee.”
Well, what’s one cup of coffee, right? I stood up.
“While you’re at it;” House said mildly, “put on a pot of hot water for Chase. He doesn’t drink coffee, because he’s too prissy for it.”
“And because it’s horrible for you.”
“So you drink leaf-flavored water.”
“Not my fault that you can’t get decent tea in this country.”
“My apologies. I’m sorry if I’ve offended your stuck-up British—”
“Australian.” Ha. I was right.
“Don’t worry about it. I don’t get offended anymore, you know that.”
“Well, if that’s the case, maybe I should bring up that time when you...”
From my place at the coffee machine, I couldn’t help but be slightly amused by the way they bickered. During my interview with House, I got the impression that he wasn’t the most employee-friendly boss to have, and that he wouldn’t be good for conversation. But I couldn’t help but wonder if I was wrong—House seemed to interact with Chase just fine. Then again, Chase had been there for six months. They’d had a lot of time to adjust to each other. The coffee pot beeped, and I reached for a mug, only to feel a tap on my shoulder. When I turned around, Chase was standing there, a teasing smile on his lips.
“Use the red one.” He winked. “It’s his favorite.” He moved past me, picking up another mug and dropping a tea bag into it, reaching for the boiling pot of water I had put on.
I poured the coffee into the red mug, and glanced over at House, who was idly twirling his cane. He glanced up as Chase took a seat next to him. “Dr. House? How do you like your coffee?”
“Two sugar, no milk.” He didn’t look at me, but pulled Chase’s abandoned crossword puzzle towards him. Chase sighed and scooted his chair over to peer over House’s shoulder. “Why do you do these things, anyways?” House asked him as Chase plucked his pen from House’s hand. “You’re horrible at them.”
Chase shrugged, nibbling on the end of his pen. “I just like it when you criticize me. It passes the time.”
House pulled the pen from Chase’s mouth, glaring mockingly at him. “How many times do I have to tell you not to chew on these things? It’s bad for you.” He turned back to the puzzle, steadfastly ignoring the way Chase stuck his tongue out at him.
I resisted the urge to call them both babies as I delivered House’s coffee to him before taking my seat back next to Chase. “So…what are we doing today?”
They both looked at me, surprised. “What do you mean?”
It was my turn to be surprised. “Well, we’re doctors. Generally, we go to work and we take care of patients. It’s sort of our job.”
Chase smiled. “We knew that.” He looked thoughtful. “Let me try to explain this. We’re working in diagnostics here. Basically what that means is that we get the really whacked out cases that no one else can diagnose. Occasionally we’ll get something really weird, but not too often. Most of the time it’s pretty easy around here.”
I frowned. “So until we get a case, all we’re doing is sitting around and doing crossword puzzles?”
“Not exactly. This is a walk-in clinic, after all, and if they’re short we’ll go in and do some work there. House just loves doing that, don’t you?”
House glared at him, then turned back to the puzzle.
Chase shook his head, still smiling. “Plus we’re always short doctors in the ER, so I’ll do a few shifts there every now and then. But basically we just chill around. Don’t let the current dullness fool you, though. I promise that someone will come in any minute now with—”
A young nurse, maybe twenty-four or twenty-five years old, hurried into the room. “Dr. House? We need you in the ER.”
House sighed. “Ooh, goody.” He pushed himself to his feet and limped out the door, following the nurse.
Chase grinned at me. “And so it begins.”
That was my first case at PPTH. If I had thought that House and Chase would be as casual about their work as they were about their interactions with each other, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Despite his still-witty comments about everything, he was completely serious about the way he questioned the patient and her parents. Granted, he wasn’t winning any prizes in compassion, but he wasn’t known for his kindness. Chase remained completely calm and laid-back, generally staying in the background and simply absorbing everything that was happening, until the patient went into cardiac arrest, completely without warning. I’ve never seen someone move so quickly in my life—one moment he was perfectly casual, the next he had slipped into full intensevist mode. He had her stabilized in moments, before I even had a chance to realize what had happened.
We worked on that case until eleven that night, when House finally decided to call it a night. The three of us were sitting in the conference room, poring over notes that Chase and I had taken. House took one look at the way the two of us were starting to wilt over and sighed. “Alright, guys. Pack it up and go home, you’re not going to get anything else done tonight.”
I was more than ready to agree, but Chase protested. “Someone needs to stay overnight with the patient.”
House raised his eyebrows. “Are you volunteering?”
Chase shrugged. “Sure, I’ll do it. I don’t mind.”
“You worked late last night.”
“It’s alright. I had enough of a break between shifts, and I caught a nap early this morning. I’ll be fine.”
“I could do it;” I offered half-heartedly.
They looked at me. House looked ready to consider it, but Chase shook his head. “No way. You can’t work overnight your first day, that isn’t fair to you.”
“Always the gentleman.” House said dryly, then stood up. “Fine, then. Have it your way. I’ll see you two tomorrow morning.” He headed off to his office, probably to grab his jacket and briefcase.
I went to the closet, putting away my lab coat and reaching for my own jacket. “Are you sure you’re okay with staying? I mean, if you were here late last night, maybe I should stay instead.”
He brushed it off. “Don’t worry about it, I’m used to staying late. My first month here was hell, I was working late on cases and doing extra shifts for the ER. I looked like the walking dead. Doing a couple all-nighters a month is nothing.” Seeing that I wasn’t convinced, he kept going. “Besides, it gives me a chance to keep working on this case. Nothing wrong with getting some extra work in. Who knows, maybe you’ll get in tomorrow morning and I’ll have everything figured out.”
I doubted it, but he wasn’t going to budge. I sighed, and left.
When I got to work the next morning, I found Chase in the patient’s room, checking her vitals and talking to her parents. He greeted me with a tired smile and walked with me back to diagnostics, handing me a folder.
“The diagnosis for Casey.”
“You figured it out?” I was impressed. Apparently Chase was smarter than I had expected.
He nodded, covering a yawn with his hand. “It’s all in there, notes and tests and everything else.” He took off his lab coat and put it in the closet before shouldering his messenger bag. “I’m going home before I pass out. I’ll be back around noontime, okay? Tell House when he gets in.”
I nodded blankly, still a bit confused as to what had just happened.
Chase grinned, wearily patting me on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, mate, you’ll get used to it eventually. It’s tough the first few weeks, but it’ll all smooth out.” He left, nearly crashing into the glass door as he left the room. I cringed—he must have really been tired.
I sat down at the table, opening the folder. Chase’s notes stood out starkly against mine—my fluid script was quite easy to distinguish from his scrawling letters. I wondered absently what House’s handwriting looked like, before actually looking at the notes Chase had taken. Again, I was impressed—he didn’t miss a single detail. It was one of the most complete reports I had ever read.
House’s voice from the doorway surprised me again, but I managed not to jump. “Good morning.”
He didn’t return the greeting, only limped over and took a seat, tugging the folder away from me and scanning it briefly before closing it. “He knows what he’s doing, that one. I’m almost disappointed.”
I frowned. “Why?”
“Makes it harder to pick on him, takes the fun out of it. Good thing he’s pretty, or I’d have nothing to rag on him for.” He sighed.
They said curiosity killed the cat, but I couldn’t resist. “Dr. House—why did you hire Chase?”
House raised his eyebrows at me. “Why? Jealous because someone younger than you is just as good of a doctor, if not better?”
“Of course not!” I ignored the jab at my age. “I’m just saying—you hired me because you said I was attractive. Why hire Chase?”
He shrugged. “His dad made a phone call.”
“Dr. Chase.” I blinked at him blankly, and he rolled his eyes. “Dr. Rowan Chase. Ring any bells?”
Oh. Well, now it rang a damn bell. Dr. Rowan Chase was one of the most famous rheumatologists in the world, mostly for his best-selling book. I owned a copy. “That’s Chase’s dad?”
“No, he was just pretending to be as a personal favor. Yes, that was his dad.” House’s bright blue eyes rested on the file in my hands. I took the hint and passed it to him, and he flipped it open. Silence fell between us as I watched his brow furrow, eyes scanning the scrawling notes and test results. “But he surprised me;” he murmured, more to himself than to me. “He wasn’t as stupid as I thought he would be. More complicated. A puzzle.” He glanced up at me. “One of the few times my first impression of someone was wrong.”
“You might be wrong with me;” I said quietly, meeting his gaze and holding it.
He raised his eyebrows, but a small smile—no, not a smile, a smirk; but it was better than a blank expression—curved his lips. “I might be. I guess it’s up to you to prove whether you’ve got some brains behind that beauty.”
I opened my mouth to retort, but he cut me off. “Shouldn’t you be making coffee?”
I wanted to tell him to make it himself, like Chase had, but I stopped myself. Chase had earned the right to say things like that to House. I hadn’t. Not yet.
I would, though. Eventually.
But for now, I sighed, and got up to make the coffee.
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