Pairing: House/Chase, onesided!House/Cameron, maybe Chase/Wilson if you squint really hard and *want* to see it.
Disclaimer: Not mine, sadly, or i'd be watching them fight over me now. in mud. naked. While Wilson feeds me
Spoilers: Love Hurts (I know, but I'm in England and it's still a little new and shiny)
Summary: Set during "Love Hurts" and one week after part three. Why did House agree to go on that date with Cameron?
Notes: Uh... This took over my life for a weekend. I wrote it for the dialogue.
Warning: Very, very, very long
I'm failing my exams at the moment so all feedback is appreciated. Plus, they are no longer showing House on tv over here any more, so I am very :(
Part One... Part Two... Part Three...
I like your pants around your feet
And I like the dirt that's on your knees
And I like the way you still say please
When you're looking up at me
You're like my favourite damn disease
Sunday mornings. Chase loves them. The way the sun trickles through the blinds of his apartment, and he doesn't have to get up early. And when he does get up, he can make good coffee, the kind you need a cafétiere for, not the crappy instant stuff he drinks all week because he needs the liquid caffeine to cushion his raw nerves. He can drink that decent, rich coffee and sit on his couch in his pyjamas, all curled up, and watch TV programmes designed for stupid people, or catch up with his reading for a few hours. And then he can have a long, warm, wet shower, which somehow removes the aches of the week. Sunday mornings are pure heaven to Chase, and one of the few things that House has managed not to take away from him. Until now.
When his cell phone goes off at ten to six, Chase ignores it. He ignores the caller ID and just turns the whole thing off. When his landline phone starts ringing five minutes later, he ignores it. He buries his head under the pillows and grits his teeth until the sound stops. Whoever it is, he doesn't care. Sunday mornings are his and he is not going to yield to anything or anyone. Not even a bloody hurricane or a tornado or a freak volcanic eruption right under his apartment are going to move him, tear him away from these few hours of bliss that he really, really needs.
He's reckoned without the force of Hurricane House, who does what he wants and wrecks everything in his path.
"Chase. The patient just died." Chase sits up at that.
"What patient?" he asks the answering machine.
"Thought that might get you listening." House says gleefully. "C'mon sleepyhead, out of bed."
"No." Chase snarls.
"Well come on. Don't you want to know why I'm calling you?" House says, still on the answering machine. Chase clenches the bedsheets in his fists to prevent himself getting up and picking up the phone like a good little lapdog.
"I'm not picking up the phone." he hisses. "I won't give you the satisfaction."
"Ok, I'm coming over." House says. That gets Chase. He jumps out of bed, and runs for the phone. But when he picks the handset up all he gets is the dialling tone.
"Shit." he whispers. And then is struck with the idea that he has, in fact, played right into House's hands. Shit.
Chase is taken over by only one thought. He's got to get out of the apartment. Just get some clothes and go. But House would be anticipating that, wouldn't he? Dread grips Chase's stomach and he goes over to the window. The shiny red Corvette is on the pavement outside.
"He knew. The bastard knew." he hisses, and decides that he's not going to answer the buzzer. If House can't get in, then he can't hurt him. Chase, of course, hasn't thought that House is going to ring the buzzer of someone else, and if someone's ringing your doorbell at 6 a.m on a Sunday morning, telling them they need to see someone in your building, you're going to let them in, just so you can go back to bed.
Chase watches House pull open the downstairs door, and then glance up.
"Don't even think about jumping Chase." he shouts up. "I hear it's pretty painful, being scraped off the sidewalk."
And then he walks inside. Chase lets something resembling a scream slide between his gritted teeth. He has almost no options. It's six o'clock on a Sunday morning and House is coming to his apartment. Unbidden, memories surface in his mind, and he runs a self-conscious hand across the bruises on his collarbone, teeth marks from last week. Has it only really been a week since the tension between him and House shattered? It feels like it's been forever that he's been avoiding House's eyes and thinking every second about the two of them fucking in House's apartment and pretending he isn't.
There is no time. There is no time at all. Chase closes his eyes and feels his lips begin to form Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, before he realises he has no time to pray and then ask for what he wants. In the end, he just whispers:
"Save me. Please, just fucking save me."
House leans on the doorframe for a few seconds and tries to work out why he's here. He realises that he has no idea, and with that comforting thought in mind, he raises his hand to knock on the door. Then, instead, he whacks it hard with his cane. When there is no answer from inside, he whacks it again. He's just raising his cane for a third go when Chase pulls the door open. He's all sleep-ruffled, still in pyjamas and his blonde hair all ruffled. House wants to brush one particular lock of hair off Chase's face, but he restrains himself. Chase just stares at him, rabbit-in-the-headlights, anger and fear and something House isn't sure he wants to name all twisted up in those blue eyes.
They stand gazing into each other's eyes for what seems like forever. It would be romantic except that it really isn't, and in the end House realises he's got to take charge.
"Gonna invite me in Chase?" he asks. For a split second, panic slides through him that Chase will say no, and House, for one second, thinks that if Chase says no, then he might, just might, listen. For once. He squashes that thought swiftly and is already pushing past Chase as the other man murmurs his assent.
The apartment is spartan, and yet very very Chase. House doesn't like the idea that he can think of something as being like Chase, other than those kind of vile shirts, because you can't see one of them and not think of him. House sits down on the couch and watches Chase chew his thumb because there's nothing else.
"What are you doing here?" asks Chase. House has no idea how to answer. We need to talk sounds so damn phoney, and it's not true. They don't need to do anything. They could just let this unspoken something between them bubble away and whenever they look at each other, just think of mouths connecting and purply bruises and words that neither of them want to remember, except that they do.
House can't quite bring himself to murmur the lifeline, the I shouldn't have come here thing, because he knows that he does need to be here, and if he was Wilson then everything would be fine by now. But he's not Wilson. He's House. And because he's House, he can't admit to being wrong, or to being weak, or that maybe he should mention to Chase that he's sorry. Except that sorry has never been in his vocabulary.
"Why do you think I'm here?" he replies, watches frustration cross Chase's face. When in doubt, always turn the question you can't answer into a question the other person can't answer instead. House likes having the upper hand and isn't going to relinquish it any time soon.
"Don't play games House." Chase sighs, removing his thumb from his teeth as blood starts to dribble down it. "Tell me why you're here, or get out."
He gets to his feet. Chase is still standing opposite the sofa. House watches his eyes widen in shock but refuses to let himself smile. Instead, he crosses the gap between the two of them, grabs a fist of Chase's irritatingly pretty hair, and then kisses him. Chase won't kiss back for a few moments, and then reluctantly opens his mouth and lets House in. For one almost perfect moment House forgets that he's House, and that he's cruel and nasty and manipulative and he doesn't feel fucking anything. For one almost perfect moment he's just a man, kissing another man and allowing himself to run his fingers through that beautiful, beautiful blonde hair, and it's Sunday morning and the sun is shining and maybe the past five weeks just haven't happened.
Chase wakes up with the sheets tangled around his naked body and stuck to his skin with rapidly drying sweat. According to his alarm clock, it's still Sunday morning. And now he's alone. House is gone. Chase was expecting that, but he can't help screaming into the empty apartment.
But that's always the way with House, isn't it?
I love the places that we go
And I love the people that you know
And I love the way you can't say "No"
Too many long lines in a row
Chase sits in a chair and chews his pen and fills in his crossword and tries to pretend that he hasn't realised that House is watching him.
"What's an nine-letter word for 'hopeless'?" he asks, realising that by mentioning the h-word, he's left himself open for cruel mocking.
"'Desperate'?" House returns idly. "Are you trying to tell me something Chase?"
Chase shuts his eyes and counts to ten.
"No." he whispers.
The dark is almost peaceful. Chase sucks slowly on a lollipop, a long way away from House so that it can't be construed as some kind of sexual gesture. The sugar goes through his system slowly, and Chase realises he needs this moment to get high on sugar and clear his mind. Even if it is only sitting on the floor of a supply closet with all the lights off.
He lets his eyes flutter closed and pulls the lollipop out of his mouth with a loud popping sound. He smiles slightly. This is nice. This is peaceful. This is almost normal. He lets out a long, satisfied sigh. Just ten more minutes. Ten more minutes in the dark Houseless silence and he can go back and face the world.
The door opens.
"Having fun Chase?"
"Go away." he hisses, teeth gritted.
"Oh, right, you want to be left alone to do whatever you're- what are you doing?"
Chase hears the words come out of his mouth before he can stop them.
"I'm sitting here alone in the dark jerking myself off while imagining your scowling face." he snarls. And then remembers that House can be oddly immune to sarcasm when he wants to be.
"Good. Carry on."
The door closes. The lollipop shatters between Chase's teeth.
House leans his head back slightly. He's swivelling from side to side in his chair. He's bored as hell. Chase is hiding from him and Foreman is actually treating a patient. Cameron is still at home, or at a new job, sulking. He should really rehire her sometime.
He feels cruel. He should stop this. It used to be that he was pissed off with Chase and he was therefore horrible to him. Now he's not very pissed off with Chase, he just likes playing with him. And fucking him. Never forget that.
House blows out a breath between his teeth and counts to twenty. Nothing interesting happens.
Well, Cuddy can't exactly be pissed. He's in the clinic. Not treating a patient in the clinic, admittedly. But he's still in there.
Greg is half-lying on the bed, with Robert astride him, his vile, vile shirt tangled somewhere around his elbows. The Australian's face is buried in Greg’s neck, teeth biting just enough. Greg slides his hands down Robert's back, grinds himself against Robert's arousal, and tilts his head to pull him into a long, hard kiss.
"I can't do this." Chase gasps, pulling back. House looks at him, wordlessly asking him to elaborate. Chase is trembling and his eyes are full of exhaustion. He licks his wet and bruised lips, obviously trying to articulate something he needs to say.
"House," he says softly, "I'm not a game. I'm not a toy. I'm not just something you can demand sex from because you're-you're bored. I'm not a prostitute and I'm definitely not your whore."
"Then stop fucking acting like it." House hisses. Chase reels backwards. "All this time it's just been you asking me to screw you, begging me to touch you, any kind of touching. I got the wrong idea? You put it there."
Chase is speechless. He's still on top of House, but very carefully disentangles himself and steps back.
"Ok." he says softly, shrugging his shirt back on properly with more dignity than the situation actually demands. "Ok."
The door slams behind him a second later. House looks at the ceiling and shuts his eyes. He won't think about the look on Chase's face. He just fucking won't.
Chase sits on his bed and breathes deeply. Not that long ago he and House were tangled up here, and it felt like it was getting better. Like maybe they could work something out.
Sometimes, Chase gets tired of being wrong.
House knocks on Cameron's door.
And now I know who you are
It wasn't that hard
Just to figure you out
And now I did, you wonder why
If House is expecting Chase to turn up tearstained, having had no sleep, he's disappointed. Chase turns up in a hideous shirt, bright and calm and normal. He greets Cameron calmly, with almost enough real emotion there to fool even House.
House corners him later, while Chase is making himself a coffee. Well, he doesn't corner him exactly. He just sits down at the table and they are alone in the office. He waits.
"So Cameron's back at work because you agreed to go on a date with her." Chase says. There isn't a shred of accusation in his tone. House, in spite of himself, is impressed.
"Yes." House replies. "Are you jealous?"
"You wish." Chase snarls.
"Are you growing a backbone Chase?" he asks mockingly. The Australian smirks.
"I'm not like Cameron." he says.
"What, you don't want to date me?" House mock-pouts. Chase smiles.
"I don't have the idealised view that any of us mean anything to you." he shrugs. "I know we don't. You've fucked me, you're dating Cameron... what are you going to do to Foreman? Marry him?"
"I don't think that's legal." House points out. Chase shrugs.
"It doesn't matter." he says. "We're so interchangeable. I suppose to you one pretty person riding you is much the same as another."
"I never said you were pretty." House manages to say, because Chase has hit home there. The Australian looks uncertain for a split second.
"You didn't need to." he murmurs finally. The door shuts behind him a moment later.
Chase sits alone at the table later on, because Cameron and Foreman are working on the patient and House is off doing Houseish things. Chase chews the pen for a while and then lowers it to the paper.
Cameron, [writes Chase]
He’s going to hurt you. He’s going to take every little thing that’s ever meant anything to you and grind it into little pieces. He’s going to keep you off balance all the time, without any hope of you recovering. Get ready for your whole world to be tilted sideways. Hold on tight- he won’t save you if you start to fall.
He’s going to do his best to capsize anything that goes well. You might think that for five minutes it will all be alright, but he’ll soon rip that nice, warm notion away from you, and then kick you when you’re down to help you remember that you are never going to be safe again.
And when he wants to fuck you? I guess that’s your decision. Just be warned that he hates it if you touch him anywhere above the waist because you’re too intimate. Don’t kiss him if he doesn’t kiss you first, because he feels smothered. Don’t hug. Don’t snuggle. Don’t even think about falling asleep next to him because he won’t be there when you wake up.
He will tear your heart into shreds and use your emotions against you and fuck you into submission and say whatever he feels he wants to say to you no matter how much it hurts you and at some point he will turn to look at you and smile as if you say ‘why aren’t you enjoying yourself?’
Chase looks at what he’s written and runs a shaking hand over his face.
Because he is king in your little world and there is nothing that you can do about it because if you do, you’ll lose him. Not that you ever had him to begin with. He belongs to no one but he wants to own everyone. You’re nothing more than a notch on a bedpost or a tick on a to-do list. And if you forget that, just for one second, he will be only too happy to remind you.
And I know that you will look at this advice and then you will ignore it because you hope that this time, it will be different. But I think that his heart died a long time ago and all you’re doing is providing him with sex.
And by the time he’s done with you, you’ll be sucked dry. There will be nothing left.
Chase chews his fingernails briefly and then sighs. The words are too bitter, too close to home to give to Cameron. He screws the note up into a ball and dumps it into the wastepaper basket.
He doesn’t see House watch him do it.
The paper is crumpled but Chase’s impassioned hand is perfectly legible. House reads the note even though it’s evident he was never supposed to.
It shouldn’t hurt this much. That’s his first thought. These words are true- written in bitterness and despairing anger, but true- but they shouldn’t sting the way they do as House reads them. People have said a lot of these words before, to his face, but never have they left him breathless. Betrayed. House doesn’t want to think that he cares about how Chase views him, but he’s uncomfortably aware that he does.
Chase has read him like a goddamn book and written a review. And it’s not the sort of review that you could put quotes from on the cover. It’s a review that says a lot of parts have been examined and found wanting. He didn’t realise Chase had read that much-understood that much- about the sex. They always seemed to be so passionate, angry or hurt, that he never really thought at the time. Apparently Chase did.
House allows a few brief emotions to flit across his face although he won’t admit to himself what they are. He folds the letter up again and is about to re-bin it but he can’t. He slides it into his jacket pocket and for a moment, it feels like the words are burning holes through his chest and scorching the cavity where his heart used to be.
And then he remembers that he doesn’t have emotions, pops a couple of Vicodin, and goes off to bitch at the clinic patients.
The dessert is pretty sumptuous, which was useful because they ran out of conversation somewhere during the pasta. House had let Cameron down as gently as he knew how to- which admittedly was not very gentle at all- before they’d even really ordered, which means they both have a couple of superfluous hours to kill.
He realises, even as he winces at the check, that Chase has the upper hand. And the only thing House can do now is ensure he doesn’t find out.
I like the freckles on your chest
And I like the way you like me best
And I like the way you're not impressed
When you put me to the test
Chase went to bed with some sleeping pills and therefore has had a thankfully peaceful night. He gets up early, has coffee, and a long shower in which he only cries about four tears, which is definitely an improvement. And when he gets into work, he is so proud of the fact that although he wants to go up to House and ask So? Does she fuck better than me? Does she? he doesn’t. And he barely grills Cameron at all. She seems fairly happy, but that could mean anything. She is one of those people who can get happy disturbingly swiftly. Unlike Chase, who can mope for days.
However, although Cameron won’t say anything except that they had a nice time (Did you fuck? Did you? Did you?) and she’s not sure whether they’re going to do it again, she gives Chase a file halfway through the morning and asks him to take it to House for her. And that’s quite telling.
The shouting can be heard through the clinic door before Chase even gets there.
“You’re- you’re sick!” The patient appears to be screaming. She’s female, and whatever House has just said to her, she obviously hasn’t liked it.
“Thank you. So are you.” House replies, voice thick that permanent manic irritated cheerfulness he adopts around clinic patients.
“You’ve got cancer.”
And this is why Wilson is the cancer doctor thinks Chase. House does rather have a penchant for delivering bad news in the shittiest way possible. As he listens to the patient starting to sob, Chase knocks on the door and comes in.
“Cameron asked me to bring you this file,” he says. “She doesn’t want to come near you, for some strange reason.”
Oh, and those words taste so good.
“Although I’m sure you take every chance to be near me, don’t you?” House says idly, shooting down Chase’s split-second of triumph.
House doesn’t look at him and flicks through the file thoughtfully. It’s as though he’s waiting for Chase to say something in reply, although he has no idea what. The tension is stretching to breaking point, and Chase has been cracking for the last couple of days anyway.
“What the hell do you want me to say House?” he screams, against his better judgement. House doesn’t look up. Chase storms out and slams the door, and then leans against it, taking deep breaths. He shouldn’t have done that. He really shouldn’t have done that.
“What’s his problem?” he hears the cancer woman hiccup miserably.
“Oh, don't mind him. His mommy drank herself to death and he's still a little bitter.” House replies with casual causticity. Chase actually gasps at that, one hand going over his mouth. He turns and walks away, with the bile rising in his throat.
Chase is making himself a cup of coffee, and House is sitting at the desk tossing his thinking ball from hand to hand. There’s a frosty, angry silence radiating from the young Australian, and in the end House has to know.
“And why are we so mopey today Chase?” he asks slightly jovially.
“I don’t know House.” Chase replies with equal fake cheerfulness. “Maybe because my mum drank herself to death and I’m still bitter?”
Oh shit. Oh fucking hell. Chase was never supposed to hear that. House would never have said that if he thought Chase could actually hear. House feels uncomfortable for a few seconds and realises there is nothing he can say. The silence echoes, as Chase stirs sugar into his coffee.
“About last night-” House begins, with no idea what he’s going to say. Maybe this is going to be a sort of roundabout apology. He supposes he’ll find out as he goes along.
“Don’t want to hear.” Chase replies shortly. “That’s between you and Cameron, and it’s private.”
“Don’t you use Wilson for this?” Chase snaps, turning around. “Isn’t he the one you go and boast and spill everything even vaguely private at?” House says nothing. “Because that’s what you do, don’t you House? You tick us all off your own private to-do list and then go and tell the world about how weak and pathetic we are.”
“Really?” House is angry now. “I thought I sucked people dry until there was nothing left, fucked them into submission and backed away from anything that could be construed as intimacy.”
The mug shatters on the ground. Chase crumples visibly, and House suddenly wants to take that back. He will tear your heart into shreds and use your emotions against you. It’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy really. But he was never planning on letting Chase know that he’d read that note.
Chase is very white and trembling violently. And suddenly House wouldn’t take those words back for a billion dollars and full use of his leg back.
“Why did you agree to date her?” asks Chase softly, in the voice of a man who knows it doesn’t matter what he does because he’s already dead.
“Well,” House smiles slightly, “You weren’t putting out any more…”
Chase opens his mouth, closes it, and looks at the mug he broke, with black, black coffee staining the carpet.
“I hope that you die alone.” He says quietly, and walks out.
Whoops. It seems to have gone quite far now. A bit too far. Chase won’t look at him, and won’t speak to him. If House were any other man than the man he is, he would sit Chase down and lay it all out plainly. He would explain that he is an ass and if Chase will consent to giving their relati- whatever they have another shot, he won’t be such a fucking fool again. Probably. But unfortunately House is House and would therefore fuck the conversation up by making some reference to Chase’s alcoholic mother or lecherous priests or else he’ll call Chase a whore or something else that will leave him very pissed off because he’s Australian or something and they don’t have senses of humour down there.
Chase stands in his kitchen and breaks everything that will break. Plates, glasses, bottles, jars- anything that will smash, he smashes it. His neighbours must hate him right now, but Chase stopped giving a shit somewhere around his mommy drank herself to death and he's still a little bitter. And then what with you weren’t putting out any more…he may never give a shit again.
A jar of something smashes lands near his feet, sprinkling them with shattered glass. A second later sticky stuff oozes into his toes, and Chase takes a deep breath. He is essentially trapped in a kitchen full of broken glass, with bare feet. His hands are shaking violently and he’s really very drunk.
When he faints, Chase just doesn’t care.
I love the way you pass the check
And I love the good times that you wreck
And I love your lack of self-respect
When you're passed out on the deck
Dominatrix-guy is well again. Cameron is dumped. Ok, she’s a little mopey and she hasn’t given up on him, but for the moment she might leave him alone. Hey, Vogler is still gone. Never a bad thing. What could ruin his day?
The answer to this comes in the form of a white envelope on his desk. House picks it up and eases it open with a fingernail. He sits down in a chair and takes a mouthful of coffee. He nearly spews it across the room as he reads what’s written on the paper.
First Cameron, now Chase. House looks critically at the slightly bloody-looking fingerprints at the edges of the sheet. Whoops.
Robert sits cross-legged on his living room floor and watches morning TV. His CV is already updated; he did it weeks ago, when he thought he might have to make a quick exit. Back in the days when he wanted House and House was cold and distant to him and the only contact he ever got was his own hand on his cock in the shower. Now he’s had contact with House, and the lovebites are strong on his neck. And House is somehow worse now than he ever was when he was hitting Chase and ignoring him and Chase sat at home and cried pathetically.
A new start is the only way to go. He crept into work early, left a simple note on House’s desk that even he couldn’t misinterpret, and now he’s at home with the good coffee that he should have rightfully drunk on Sunday, had House not ruined it all. Robert sighs. The silence in the apartment is peaceful. The phone starts ringing a split second later. And rings. And rings.
Robert finishes his coffee, has a quick shower, and is already gone by the time House gives up calling and actually comes round.
“Where’s Chase?” asks Wilson. House looks his friend in the eyes.
“I honestly have no idea.” House replies. “He’s apparently quit, but he’s not taking my calls-”
“I wonder why?” Wilson murmurs sarcastically, automatically falling into step with House, as he always does when House is making him skip work to sort out his petty staffing problems.
“-And he’s left his apartment so I can’t get in.”
“So we’re doing more of those interviews?” Wilson asks helplessly. Oh God no. I cannot watch House sit around taking the piss out of every single candidate and then looking at me like it’s my fault he treats his employees like shit.
“Can’t wait for more of your favourite pastime, huh James?” House smirks.
“Yes, the only thing I can think of that would be more fun would be to have my scrotum eaten by giant rats.” Replies Wilson.
This is like hiding from House on a grand scale, Robert realises. Instead of hiding in a supply closet, he’s hiding in a bar practically on the opposite end of the city to the Princeton/Plainsboro teaching hospital. While he’s pretty certain that House isn’t riding the streets in that giant midlife crisis he calls a Corvette, looking for him, he’s still painfully aware that he can’t go anywhere near the hospital, or his apartment. Currently, he’s washing down all that caffeine with some tequila slammers, even though it’s barely midday. He really should eat something.
Robert looks down at his trembling hands, covered in sticking plasters (because his whole apartment is full of broken glass and he has to wear boots all the time to prevent glass getting stuck in his feet), and is painfully aware of the rather nasty cuts on one side of his face where he literally fell into the shattered glass late last night. Actually, when he woke up this morning, he managed to patch himself up quite well, with tweezers and an unflinching attitude to pulling bits of sharp crystalline wine glasses out of his right eyebrow.
Robert tosses down another slammer and reflects although that he must have lost everything by now, he didn’t really have anything left to lose in the first place.
“Couldn’t find any giant rats.” House says, settling himself down opposite Wilson. “Couldn’t find any other rats either. Cuddy must have eaten them all.”
Wilson tries his best to ignore him.
“You’ll have to find someone else to eat your scrotum for you.”
Sometimes House is impossible to ignore. Wilson splutters helplessly.
“Stop.” He says. “I, unlike you, am working. Remember? It’s that thing that everyone but you does when they come here?”
“Not everyone. Sometimes they come here because they are sick, and they need us to make them better.” House says, in the tone of someone explaining something to a small child.
“Speaking of making people better, shouldn’t you be in the clinic right now?” Wilson asks, although he knows he has no hope of sending House back there.
“Cuddy told me to get out of there by the time she received the fourteenth consecutive patient complaint.” House replies without a trace of remorse.
“Fourteen? Must be a record.” Wilson mutters, laying aside the patient file because he’s realised that House is going nowhere.
“I know. I impress myself sometimes.” House leans back in his chair slightly smugly. He taps his cane against his hand and says nothing. Wilson realises he’s got to go into that messy territory that’s going to end in an argument.
“You do bring this on yourself you know.” He says quietly.
“Bring what?” House asks, but his jaw is tensing.
“Your staff wouldn’t keep trying to get away from you if you were a bit… nicer.” Wilson continues, and even he knows that sounds lame.
“What do you want me to do?” asks House, a dangerous edge to his voice, “Give out brownies?” When Wilson closes his eyes with frustration, House continues: “No? What about cookies? Prada bags? Vouchers for pizza parlours? Kisses?”
“I think you’ve been doing quite enough of that.” Wilson cuts him off, his own tone becoming dangerous.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about Wilson.” House says stiffly.
“Really? Then tell me why Chase left.”
“Because he’s a spoilt brat who’s far too used to getting his own way?” suggests House. Wilson grits his teeth.
“Then he’s not the only one.” He says before he can stop himself. House looks at him with ice in those blue eyes.
“You’re working Wilson.” He says. “I won’t take up any more of your fucking precious time.”
Wilson watches House leave and bangs his head hard on the desk, because that’s what talking to House can feel like sometimes. Banging your head against a desk while it twists your words around you and makes you feel like you’re the one in the wrong.
The sidewalk is gritty against Robert’s face but he can’t quite bring himself to get up. He’s fallen so far these last few weeks he wonders if he can just keep falling down, down into hell. Except that the devil couldn’t be worse than House.
He curls his hand into a fist and feels his glass-ruined knuckles burst their scabs. He’s hit rock bottom. He can’t get lower than this. It can’t get worse than this.
Robert vomits helplessly into the gutter and hears the engine of a certain red Corvette. No. It can’t get worse than this.
House stops the car for a moment and watches Robert throw up in the street. He almost offers to help him, and then Robert looks up. His blonde hair is lank and all over the place, but House can see the scrapes down one side of his face. And he has never seen eyes with more raw hatred in them.
“Having fun?” he asks lightly, and when he gets nothing but a growl in reply, he drives off.
All night he sits at his piano and picks out random melodies and thinks about how he shouldn’t have left him there. If House was anyone else, he might admit to himself that he's made a mistake. But he is House, and he doesn't make mistakes. Not ever. Not ever.
I hate the places that we go
And I hate the people that you know
And I hate the way you can't say "No"
Too many long lines in a row
Robert wakes up in his own bed. He doesn’t actually remember getting home, but although he is still fully dressed, someone has cleaned the vomit off him, and properly treated the cuts on his hands and face. Rather than peeling, dirty band-aids, he’s got proper gauze and, from the feel of it, stitches in his forehead. That’ll scar nicely, he reflects, and gets up slowly. The hangover is sudden and agonising. He staggers slowly towards the kitchen, and is about to turn back because he’s had enough fucking broken glass in his body over the last 24 hours when he realises that the glass is gone. Someone has cleaned it up. Robert takes a couple of asprin, and then goes to have a shower. A post-it note on the shower door, however, stops him. In a vaguely familiar hand-that unfortunately he can’t quite place-are the words: Don’t get the stitches wet. Just get some clean clothes on and there’s some food in the fridge. Eat it.
House is tramping around the hospital corridors shouting at patients and nurses and being generally obnoxious. As far as Wilson can tell, he’s unloaded his clinic duty on to Cameron and Foreman, although he’s fairly sure that Cuddy will notice, if only because there won’t be people coming in to complain every five minutes. He joins House on his walk.
“You ever heard the story of the Good Samaritan?” he asks, painfully aware that he’s pushing it. House ignores him. “In it, the Good Samaritan doesn’t leave another person lying drunk, bleeding and vomiting on the sidewalk.”
“I thought you were Jewish,” House replies, still not looking at Wilson. “And that’s a stupid story too.”
“I thought that you would say something like that.” Wilson sighs.
House is resolutely silent.
“If it means anything, I took him home and cleaned him up.” Wilson whispers. “Someone had to.”
“Thinking of starting a helpline?” he asks, although his tone isn’t entirely mocking. “Listening to people complaining about how miserable they are and how they want to kill themselves? I don’t know how you’ll stand it.”
“I still pick up the phone when you call, don’t I?” Wilson smirks. House bites his lip.
“Is he ok?”
“I cleared up a lot of broken glass from his kitchen.” Wilson says. “I’m gonna hazard a guess that he may not be completely stable.”
He turns and starts to walk away.
“Thanks.” House calls behind him. Wilson manages a smile.
House becomes aware of the fact that Wilson is sitting on his desk. House turns the song off and takes off his headphones.
“What?” he asks.
“Call him.” Wilson says.
“What part of ‘he’s not picking up the phone’ do you not-”
“I thought that was what answering machines were made for?” says Wilson. He picks up the handset and holds it out to House. “What else are you going to do?” As House hesitates, he adds, “Cuddy’s found out you’re bunking clinic duty.”
House dials Chase’s number.
Robert sits on the floor and eats. He doesn’t really notice what he’s eating, but he’s grateful for it anyway. The phone starts ringing and Robert presses his head against his knees.
“Fuck off.” He hisses through his teeth. “Leave me alone.”
“Chase?” It’s House. Of course it’s bloody House. “I know you’re there.”
“Oh, there’s a surprise.” Mutters Robert. “Your powers of deduction are wonderful. You deserve a pay rise.”
“You won’t pick up the phone and you’re never there when I come round, so the simplest thing is that I’m going to talk to you, and you’re going to listen, because you want to, in spite of yourself.
“I’m not going to apologise-”
“There’s a surprise.” Mumbles Robert bitterly.
“-Because you don’t want to hear it, and because I don’t apologise to people. But… I’ve been stupid. I’m a fucking idiot. Happy now? I treat people like shit because I can and I like treating you like shit and don’t pretend that you don’t like it.” House takes a deep breath.
“The thing is…” He sighs. There is an awkward silence and Robert can almost hear the cogs turning desperately in House’s head. “I didn’t sleep with her Robert.”
He runs for the phone, skids, and picks it up. The line is dead. He presses his ear into the handset and listens to the dialling tone for a long time.
“That was romantic.” Wilson says thoughtfully. He almost means it actually. House is trembling slightly.
“Well, I guess I’d better go and get told off by Cuddy.” He shrugs, and gets slowly to his feet. “The interviews start next week.” Wilson wants to tell House to have a little faith, but he doesn’t.
“I look forward to it.” He smirks. “Are you going to prepare the insults in advance, or improvise on the spot?”
That does get a smile from House.
“I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll wing it.”
The glass door shuts. Wilson slides into the chair and presses the heels of his hands against his eyes until he sees stars.
And now I know who you are
It wasn’t that hard
Just to figure you out
And now I did you wonder why
Why not before, you never tried
Gone for good and this is it
It’s about half past midnight and House is considering going from very slightly drunk to incredibly drunk. He’s sprawled on the couch and not really thinking about very much, because Baywatch re-runs are over for the night and the last time he rang up Wilson, about forty five minutes ago, his wife shouted at him.
There’s a knock at the door. House considers for a moment, torn between the fact that he ought to answer it, and the fact it could be an axe-murderer. But curiosity gets the better of him and eventually he limps over and pulls open the door.
Chase is already walking away.
“Hey.” House says.
Chase turns around. And if House allowed himself to get breathless, he would be. Chase doesn’t look like he dressed in the dark for once, wearing in a pale blue shirt that matches his eyes perfectly, and dark blue jeans that are tight without being too obvious. The shirt is open at the top and bottom, revealing teasing hints of a lightly freckled chest. And under the way-too-bright lights in his hallway, his hair glows blonde. House looks at him and wants him, instantly, even though Chase’s hands and right side of his face are mutilated.
“Well, I’m here.” Chase whispers. And there are a thousand meanings under that. House, even though he knows he shouldn’t, says:
“I can’t give you want,” in a tone that clearly states that the conversation is over. Chase smiles.
“You’ve never once asked me what I want.” He replies and takes a step towards House. And another one. His body seems to curve into House’s, perfectly, and his lips are millimetres from his.
“Ok,” House says softly. “What is it that you want?”
“I want a reason why I shouldn’t kick that cane out from your hand and leave you lying on the floor, utterly helpless.” Chase snaps, stepping back.
“You’re starting to sound like Cameron,” House says, and he knows he sounds accusatory.
“Unlike Cameron, I don’t need a good reason.” Chase replies. “I just want one.”
“Or I walk. And there are no more chances. I find myself a new job.”
House pauses. He can think of a thousand things to say about Chase, if only he could articulate them properly, and if he weren’t House. He swallows hard.
You’re the first person I’ve wanted to apologise to in years.
You’re fantastic in the sack.
I could kiss you forever and never get tired of it.
And God, you are so fucking pretty.
House can’t say any of those things.
“You have blue eyes.” He manages to say. And he hopes that that’s enough, because losing Chase right now…
Chase smiles slightly, and steps into House again, brushing his lips against the older man’s. Greg finds one of his hands on Robert’s stomach, feeling the warm skin fluttering under his fingers, and Robert’s arm is curling around him, brushing his neck and Greg ought to feel trapped except that he doesn’t. He opens his mouth under Robert’s, letting him take control for a moment.
Greg lets his trembling hand work its way up Robert’s ribcage, undoing buttons as it goes, and then slides it around to his back, pulling the Australian hard against him, squeezing the taut muscles and sucking Robert’s lower lip. The slight moan this elicits is wonderful.
As Greg manages to close the door and manoeuvre Robert somewhere more comfortable, the thousands of words he ought to say hover in the air. He can’t say them, but somehow that doesn’t really matter anymore.