Pairings: House/Wilson-friendangst Wilson/Chase-friendslash with a twist.
Warnings: Lots of Season one spoilers.
A/N: From a prompt/challenge from k-haldane
Thanks again to my wonderful beta_goddess. Words fail me.
(Sorry it took awhile.)
ETA-August 19, 2011. A few adjustments made to fit my current fanfic standards.
“What’s going on with you and Chase?”
House ambushed Wilson in the cafeteria line, flustering him enough to score yet another free lunch for himself. By the time they arrived at an empty table, Wilson seemed to have regained enough composure to mount something resembling a defense.
“What do you mean ‘what’s going on with me and Chase’?”
“Come on, Wilson, you can do better than that. But don’t bother because I’ve already caught you.”
House knew that his “You are so busted” grin was a fearsome thing. He beamed one at Wilson.
“Where did this capture take place?” Wilson parried, not returning the gaze.
“Third floor. I was at an NA meeting.”
“You finally decided to get help?” Wilson sounded skeptical, but House heard a glimmer of hope which he was more than happy to crush.
“No, I was avoiding clinic duty by drinking free coffee and listening to a bunch of losers talk about their pathetic lives. Not as good as General Hospital, but better than Jerry Springer. As an added bonus, if Cuddy did spot me, her heart would flutter like yours just did and she’d offer me a week off clinic duty. Too bad for me, I had to get out of there before they started the Serenity Prayer.”
“You have something against serenity?”
“I have something against unsolicited hugging. Have you seen some of the people in those meetings? I was planning to hide out in the men’s room until the SLAA meeting started.“
“Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, or as I like to call it, ‘Fuckin A’. Worse coffee, better stories. You should check it out. I hear it’s a great place to meet chicks. Of course you’ve got the whole hospital, including the oncology ward, to troll.”
House’s noticed that his voice had taken on a bitter quality, which he hadn’t intended. Wilson was getting the hurt and angry look. House would never get anything out of him that way.
“I thought we weren’t going to talk about that,” Wilson hissed.
“We’re not,” House agreed, taking a bite out of his Reuben sandwich and pilfering some of Wilson’s fries. “We’re talking about you and the boy wonder from down under and what the two of you were doing when I spotted you in an empty meeting room.”
“Which would be what, exactly?” Wilson wasn’t even bothering to hide his exasperation.
“You were helping Dr. Chase up from a kneeling position.”
“Maybe he was tying a shoelace?”
“Wow!” House exclaimed, making his exaggerated surprise face. “I think we’ve got a new entry in the Lamest Excuse Of All Time sweepstakes. Not quite as lame as ’The dog ate my homework’, but much better than ’I thought she was on the pill’. And it doesn’t even address what you might have been doing alone in there anyway.”
“You don’t have a case right now. I asked Chase for a consult.”
“If you dig yourself in any deeper, you’ll need to brush up on your Mandarin.”
House watched Wilson struggle silently, before seemingly accepting defeat, like a puppy rolling on its back and exposing its belly.
“OK. I admit it. You’re right. After three marriages and a fairly well-known and not completely undeserved reputation as a philanderer, I’ve decided to switch teams. Furthermore, since I’ve already violated medical ethics and common decency with my previous conquests, I’ve also decided to have sex with a male colleague in an unlocked, unshaded room down the hall from the psych ward. Please try and keep it out of the hospital newsletter until my divorce is final.”
House couldn’t resist a grin. The idea of Wilson trying to play him verged on the adorable. Of course, he knew that this so-called puppy would turn around and attack his throat if necessary.
“I guess I’ll just have to ask Chase.”
Wilson lowered his face into his hands in a gesture that House thought looked almost like praying.
They’d flirted with it for months before anything actually happened.
The first time Wilson had thought about it was the Christmas Eve after House had cured Sister Augustine. Wilson had been enjoying potstickers and House in one of his “post successful solution to a case” up moods, when Julie called.
Wilson could practically feel House’s mood darken as soon as he answered his phone.
“Hi, honey. Yeah. I’m almost done here. Tell them I’ll be there soon. Save some latkes for me. I love you.”
“Lap dog,” House growled.
“Because I tell my wife I love her?”
“Because you clearly didn’t want to spend tonight playing dreidel with the gantze mishpocheh and here you go as soon as Miss Julie yanks your chain. How does it feel to be stuck in your own personal Strindberg play?”
Wilson knew that any response would be insufficient or complete overkill. He put down the plate and got up from the couch, ignoring House’s baleful stare. By the time he got his jacket on, House had gone to the piano. Wilson heard a mournful rendition of Silent Night as he walked out. He didn’t bother saying goodbye.
He meant to go right home, but found himself driving back to the hospital with the mental excuse that he needed time to digest the Chinese food before tackling potato pancakes. Or maybe he needed time to process House’s antipathy toward Julie and how he felt torn between them. He loved his wife, but needed the friendship, even if it made no sense to anyone, himself included. He didn’t want to go home as long as he could still hear Silent Night playing in his head, making him feel guilty and resentful.
After a visit with some of his pediatric patients, Wilson found himself passing the hospital’s chapel just as Chase was coming out. Obviously, the nuns had stirred up something in the young man. His green-blue eyes were cloudy and unfocused.
“Dr. Chase,” he said softly.
“What? Oh. Hello, Dr. Wilson. What are you doing here so late?”
“What were you doing in there?”
“I’m not even sure.”
“You look exhausted. You should go home.”
“Yeah. I’ll do that.”
Wilson wasn’t convinced. Chase clearly needed someone to talk to and Wilson wasn’t ready to go home.
“At least let me buy you some coffee.”
Chase didn’t argue. Wilson led him to the nearly empty cafeteria and bought two cups of the nastiest coffee known to man.
He wanted to reach out to Chase, but had no idea how. He also wanted to know about the connection he seen between Chase and the nun when they were alone in the clean-room. House had been clearly contemptuous of Chase’s status as a “good boy” when he shared some gossip with his usual lack of regard towards anyone’s privacy.
“You were really going to become a priest?” Wilson asked softly.
“House has a big mouth. It’s none of his business. Or yours for that matter.”
“Indulge my Jewish curiosity.”
Chase smiled. A sad, sweet smile that made Wilson notice how swollen Chase's lower lip looked. Maybe he’d been chewing on it.
“I went into seminary right after my mum died. I thought I had the calling.” Chase started chewing on the coffee stirrer.
“You’re a good doctor. That’s a calling too.”
“Did you leave the Church when you left seminary school?”
Chase looked down. Wilson thought it was a toss-up whether he would end up laughing or crying. It turned out to be neither. Just a long sigh.
“The Holy Father hasn’t seen fit to excommunicate me, so I’m a Catholic whether I want to be one or not.”
“It’s not bad. You get a lifetime of free guilt. “
“Hey. We Jews invented guilt. You guys were just smart enough to take out a patent.”
Chase’s troubled face broke into a genuine grin. Wilson smiled back. His inner turmoil had resolved itself. He needed to get home to his wife. Maybe he’d bring a guest. Cynthia and Janie would go nuts for Chase. He looked like a member of whatever boy band was currently gracing their walls.
“Dr. Chase, can I interest you in Chanukah dinner and some dreidel playing with my nieces?”
Chase looked momentarily perplexed, and then shook his head. “I’m going to go home. Rain check?”
“Sure. Maybe Passover.”
He left Chase drinking that awful coffee and went home to Julie. The latkes were cold, but he was grateful to have them and not to be alone.
Chase had survived Jesuits, medical school and residency before taking his fellowship, but it turned out to be his childhood that best prepared him for life with House.
At the first interview, House had flaunted his Vicodin, called Chase both “Junior” and “Limey” and paged Dr. Wilson for a consult.
House and Wilson then proceeded to spend twenty minutes debating who had the best falsetto in pop music. Wilson picked Del Shannon while House voted for Lou Christie. After Wilson left, House popped one of his pills and appeared to suddenly notice Chase.
“Are you still here? Why?”
“I wanted to put in a vote for Barry Gibb.”
House had nodded, almost smiled, and sent him off to deal with Human Resources rather than actually telling him he had the job.
Chase had tried very hard not to equate his boss with his alcoholic mother. He’d gotten it down to a masterpiece of denial until House and Cuddy made that ridiculous bet. House had won, but not before nearly killing the patient, getting himself decked by the justifiably angry father, and forcing Chase to see him as the addict he really was.
Chase passed House’s office that night and saw him in his chair, gone to the world. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but it wasn’t as disturbing as the one he found a few minutes later: Dr. Wilson standing outside the front entrance of the hospital looking downright shattered. His coat was open, but he seemed oblivious to the cold wind flapping it against his body. Chase knew that Wilson felt the weight of lost patients almost too acutely, but this had to be something else. House had dragged them all into his personal hell, but no one more than his confidant.
“Dr. Wilson, are you all right?”
“Chase. I’m just…It’s been a long day.”
“It’s been a long week,” Chase responded. He saw an expression of nausea cross Wilson’s face.
Chase didn’t know what he could do to help, but Dr. Wilson had always been kind to him. He had to try.
“Call me James. I don’t feel very much like a doctor right now.”
Chase heard his rational side telling him to wish Dr. Wilson a pleasant evening and walk away slowly. Whatever this was, he couldn’t fix it. But the same conviction that had sent him to seminary and then into a medical specialty where he’d be exposed to nearly constant suffering wouldn’t let him go.
“James. You look a bit shaky and it’s bloody cold out here. Why don’t I take you for a bite to eat, OK?”
“OK,” said Wilson softly. Chase thought he heard gratitude. He started for the parking lot with Wilson following almost docilely. This is bad Chase thought. </i>This guy plays verbal ping pong with House and now he can barely speak?</i> Chase hoped he’d be able to help. It wasn’t exactly a prayer, but it would have to do.
The Montgomery Diner on route 206. Chicken noodle soup. Coffee. Tammy, the waitress, who called Chase “Hon” and Wilson “Sweetie”.
Chase watched Wilson eat and drink and even smile at Tammy, but a look in the eyes told him that Dr. James Wilson was still AWOL.
“I grew up in this town called Fair Lawn in northern New Jersey,” Wilson said suddenly. “About seventy percent Jewish. Our football team sucked, but the class musical always kicked ass. Anyway, I went to synagogue and took my Bar Mitzvah lessons because that’s what I was supposed to do.”
Chase nodded, eating, but not really tasting a BLT.
“I was always secretly jealous of the Catholic kids.”
“Most Catholic kids hate to go to confession.”
“I thought it would be cool to just get it done once a week, instead of having to carry it around until Yom Kippur. Such a relief to get rid of all that guilt.”
Chase figured that Wilson wasn’t just talking about the past.
“I’m not a priest,” he stated firmly. “I can’t offer absolution.”
“But you can listen.”
Wilson was systematically destroying a paper napkin by twisting it to pieces until it fell apart. His pain was a tangible thing, filling up the booth.
Chase knew that House would disapprove of any serious discussion between his friend and one of his minions. Tough, he thought. Wilson needed to talk and House was too busy being high on painkillers to care.
“It’s my fault,” Wilson said.
“The bet. The detox. House breaking his hand, getting punched. All of it.”
“Cuddy made the bet.”
“It was my idea. I’ve seen how much he’s been upping the dosage. Hell, I’m the one writing the prescriptions. I thought if he admitted he had a problem, it would make a difference. I convinced Cuddy to stage the whole thing with the pharmacy.”
Chase was stunned. Certain events of the past week started to make more sense. Wilson had been around the diagnostics office a great deal more than usual.
“I never thought it would go that far. I thought twenty-four hours -- forty-eight, tops. Who the hell was I kidding?”
He tried to reach for his coffee, but his hands were shaking. Chase resisted the urge to reach out and steady Wilson’s hands with his own.
“You care about him. You thought you were doing the right thing. Did he admit he has a problem?”
“Addiction, yes. Problem, no.”
“It’s a start.”
“No, it’s a finish. He needs the drugs to do his job because that’s what holds his life together. End of story. I put him through that for nothing and I’m letting Cuddy take the heat for it. Some kind of friend.”
“Better friend than he deserves.”
Wilson shook his head, unwilling or unable to release any part of his self-loathing. “If you were a priest, what would you tell me to do? What’s the penance for something like that?”
“You’d have to tell him.”
“I can’t do that,” Wilson said, lowering his voice, as if House might be eavesdropping from the next booth over.
“And I won’t. So now we’ll carry it together. At least until your next Day of Atonement. Maybe that will make it light enough for both of us.”
Wilson seemed to consider this while watching cars speeding by in the darkness. “You would have made a good priest,” he said softly.
Chase nodded. He’d thought so too until he found out otherwise.
Wilson ran a hand through his hair. He looked around as though he were coming out of a trance.
“I should be getting home.“
“I’ll drive you back to the hospital.”
Before getting out of Chase’s car, Wilson turned to look at him. “Why didn’t you finish seminary?”
Chase shook his head and tapped his steering wheel. It was Wilson’s night to unburden himself, not his, certainly not about that.
“OK,” Wilson agreed quickly. “Thanks for listening. I appreciate it.”
That night Chase dreamed of Father Matthew, which made him wake up in a cold sweat. On Monday, the team and House pretended that the detox had never happened and James became Dr. Wilson again.
Vogler was gone.
Cameron had returned.
House and Cameron had survived their date.
House wasn’t going to fire Chase. He was pissed, but thought that Chase’s misguided attempt at self-preservation warranted continual abuse rather than termination with extreme prejudice.
Foreman and Cameron seemed to put it down to Chase being a self-serving weasel and not-so-secretly relished his pariah status with House.
Cuddy merely sighed and said, “Look, it was an ugly situation and we all did what we had to do.”
Wilson was having none of it.
He tracked Chase down to a file room in the basement where House had dispatched him to do another ludicrous research project.
“How could you?” Wilson demanded.
Chase stiffly got up from sitting on the floor. House had probably planned the research so that Chase would have to work with the bottom-most file drawer.
“If you’re worried about what you told me…”
“I’m not,” Wilson snapped. “I just need to know how you could do it.”
“What are you going to do? Yell? Mock? Hit me?” Chase’s accent was coming through much stronger than usual. Wilson thought this must be what Chase sounded like as a kid.
“I’m going to stand here until you answer the question.”
“Is this more of your Jewish curiosity?”
“No. This is ’I nearly lost my job, House nearly lost his job and you were playing ball with Vogler.’” Even saying the name put a bad taste in Wilson’s mouth. ”And I need to know how you could do it.”
Wilson wasn’t sure what he expected. Remorse or typical Chase defensiveness maybe. He didn’t expect Chase to sigh mournfully and say simply, “How could I not?” as if it explained everything.
“Make me understand,” he demanded, sitting carefully on a somewhat rickety table.
“This could take a while.”
“I’ve got all day.” He didn’t, actually. This was going to wreak havoc with his schedule and his secretary’s nerves, but he had to know.
“Everyone thinks I’m rich because my father’s the famous Rowan Chase.”
Wilson nodded, knowing -- as Chase didn’t -- that the famous Rowan Chase wasn’t long for this world.
“Well, it’s worse than that. Dad’s family had money before he ever got to Australia. When you’re that rich in Australia, you’ve got servants. Dad hired a West Indian couple when I was born. They were there from the beginning and dad was gone a long time before he actually left. Joseph and Matilda helped my mom take care of me and then they helped me take care of her.”
Wilson wasn’t inclined to feel sorry for the poor little rich boy with servants and an alcoholic mother, but he nodded.
“I watched Mom…I couldn’t help her. All I could do was be a good boy and say my prayers and neither helped. Matilda found her and Joseph had to wake me up to tell me. He was a big man. He looked like a giant to me when I was growing up.” Chase spoke fondly, even though he was clearly holding back tears at the memory. “I started crying and he held me. I felt so safe.”
Chase had sunk back to the floor, leaning his back against the file drawers, with his knees pulled up against him. Wilson could sympathize with little Robbie, but that didn’t answer for the actions of Dr. Robert Chase.
“Dad didn’t want me to leave for seminary school. He accused me of using the Church to hide from my problems. I told him the only problem I wanted to get away from was him.”
“Nice,” Wilson commented.
Chase shrugged, wrapping his arms tightly around his legs, and lowered his chin to the tops of his knees.
“I loved being in seminary. I studied. I sang in the choir. I wanted to be a priest more than anything.”
“What happened?” Wilson asked with a sense of dread.
“Father Matthew from South Africa. He was the most spiritual man I’d ever met. He worked with Bishop Tutu and he was there when Mandela walked out of prison.”
“Yeah. That too. He was in Perth looking for boys to come and work at missions in the townships. I was ready to go.”
“Did he…?” Wilson couldn’t even form the question.
Chase managed a self-deprecating smile.
“Even I’m not that much of a cliché. It was the other way around. I thought I had a calling to be a disciple and it turned out I was just a randy teenager with a crush on a big black man. I went to his room to tell him that I wanted to go and do the work. He looked at me with these big, sad eyes and told me I was a good boy and God’s child, but that I should never take the vows because I’d destroy myself and probably hurt the Church. I denied the whole thing, so he kissed me. Turned out he was right.”
Wilson felt like he’d walked into a steaming pile of too much information, but he’d asked for it and there was no turning back.
“Vogler?” he said, knowing more or less what was coming.
“He didn’t seem so bad at first. Rich guy. Charming. Here to help the hospital with all that money.”
“A big black man,” Wilson stated, but Chase ignored him.
“I knew House couldn’t protect us. I’d seen him…I knew he was like Mom. So when Vogler asked me to help him… how could I not?” Chase got up again, even more stiffly this time. “Can I go now?”
“Did you finish the research for House?”
“Did you?” Chase asked, “You’re here for him, aren’t you?”
“I told you. It’s not about House.”
“Sure it is.”
They rode up in the elevator in silence. Wilson looked straight ahead, avoiding any temptation to look into Chase’s eyes. He’d seen too much of that tortured soul. He needed to get back to work, back to something he could handle better than his own guilt.
“Do you still pray?” he blurted, before the door opened and Chase scurried away, leaving Wilson with answers but no solutions.
Chase couldn’t move after the class ended.
It had been dramatic enough for the students, who were too thick to realize that House had been talking about himself. For the team, it was devastating. Before, they’d only known the story in abstractions. Infarction. Muscle death. Limp. Vicodin. Now it was as if they’d been there. Chase felt as though he’d actually heard House screaming in agony and seen the betrayal in his eyes when he awoke from the coma.
Cameron had been the first to leave, running somewhere to cry, no doubt. Foreman had gone next, shaking his head slowly and probably thinking he understood House a little better.
Chase wanted to go, but he couldn’t move because Wilson had the seat next to him and was sitting bent over with his head in his hands, showing no sign of standing, much less leaving.
“Dr. Wilson. Are you all right?”
Wilson looked up at him slowly.
“Chase…I… can we talk?”
“You want to confide in Judas?” he snapped and instantly regretted it. Chase was always being told how young he looked, but it was Wilson who struck him as boyish, especially when he was hurt. “Sorry,” he added.
“No. I’m sorry. I have no right to judge anybody. Ever.”
Wilson looked so pale that Chase wanted to check his pulse.
Students were coming in for an evening class. Chase and Wilson were both blocking the row.
Chase stood up and smiled at the students who were waiting for them to move. “Come on, Dr Wilson,” he said firmly. Wilson looked up at him. Chase winced at the sight of Wilson’s bloodshot eyes. “I know a place we can talk.”
That seemed to give Wilson the strength to get up and follow Chase out to the elevators. Chase pushed the button for the third floor, wondering what could be bothering Wilson so much. Clearly something to do with House. What could be worse than the detox bet? It must be something that went back at least five years to the time of the infarction.
Chase knew about Wilson’s reputation as a lady-killer, mostly from House’s endless jokes about the subject. What if it were true? Maybe this had something to do with that woman, House’s ex-girlfriend.
He hoped he was wrong.
The third floor of Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital housed both the psych ward and some meeting rooms set up classroom style. Chase found an empty room and led Wilson inside. They sat together in the front row and Wilson resumed his posture of abject despair.
“For God’s sake, Wilson, what the hell is it?”
Wilson flinched. “Did you notice anything missing from House’s story?” he asked slowly.
“It was pretty comprehensive. Volleyball. Snakes. Carmen Electra. Drugs. Muscle death and lies. I think it was all there.”
“What about me? The loyal friend.”
“Oh. Hadn’t thought about it. OK, I’ll bite. Were you here when it happened?”
“I was here. I was one of many doctors who didn’t figure out that it was an infarction. I was also one of the so-called friends who couldn’t stand to see him in pain. I hid out in my office, but I felt like I could still hear him screaming.”
Chase still didn’t understand. “I’m sure it was awful, but House says that nobody else diagnosed the muscle death until he suggested it so…”
“Stacy.” The word came out in a strangled whisper.
“Was there something between the two of you?”
Wilson looked genuinely shocked. “What? No. Much worse than that. The only person who knows this is Stacy and now she’s back…”
Wilson’s voice broke slightly when he said “she’s back.” Then he stopped speaking, but Chase could tell there was something he needed to say. He had no idea how to coax the rest of the words out. House would know of course, but once again, House wasn’t there.
“James,” he said softly, using Wilson’s first name to try and coax the story out. “What happened?”
“Stacy came to see me after Cuddy told her about going in to remove the dead muscle. She knew he’d never agree to it on his own and he’d already asked for the coma. She already knew he’d never forgive her, even if it went well and if it didn’t…” Wilson shook his head slowly. “I told her it was the best chance to save his life and that she should have the surgery done as soon as possible.”
“You gave her your blessing.” Chase felt numb.
“And never told him?”
“I listened to him scream at her, call her names, blame her for his pain. You only think you’ve seen House be abusive. If I had said something, he might have spread the blame around a little bit. As it was, I let him hate Stacy. I even congratulated myself for being there to pick up the pieces after he finally drove her away. Now she’s back here asking House to diagnose her sick husband.”
“She’s got a lot of nerve.”
“She always did. That’s why they were a great couple.”
“You’re afraid she’ll tell House.”
“Not on purpose, but if they start pushing each other’s buttons… and they will. If he finds out that I knew and that I thought it was the right choice…”
“Do you think she saved his life?”
“Yes. And I don’t want him to know that.”
“For his sake or yours?”
Wilson didn’t or couldn’t answer.
Chase felt himself drowning in the other man’s guilt and fear. It had been years since he’d been able to pray for himself, but he found himself dropping to his knees and asking God to help Wilson find comfort. He heard Wilson saying something he couldn’t understand. He saw James with his eyes closed, hands clasped. Maybe he was saying the Hebrew prayers of his childhood, perhaps part of the Yom Kippur ritual. Chase didn’t know.
He returned to his own prayers, including a hope that God would listen, given his own fallen state.
He finished with the Lord’s Prayer and made the sign of the cross before looking again at Wilson, who seemed to have found some measure of relief. Wilson offered a hand to help him up.
“Peace be with you,” said Chase automatically.
“And also with you,” Wilson replied. Chase gave him a quizzical look.
Wilson smiled, a sight that filled Chase with his own sense of relief. “My first big rebellion was to date a Catholic girl. She dragged me to Mass a few times. “
“I’d like to do this again,” Wilson said with a furtive grin, making Chase feel like one of Wilson’s fabled conquests.
“OK,” he agreed, wondering if Wilson would even call him in the morning.
“We can’t tell House. He thinks religion is the opiate of the stupid. He’d be insufferable.”
“Sure. We’ll only pray on the sly. Maybe we can get a hotel room.”
In fact, Chase agreed that House shouldn’t know what they were doing, but Wilson’s fear of derision was only part of it. He found it amusing that Wilson would cheat on House by praying with him, but decided not to make Wilson admit what was really going on.
House stared at the symptoms he had written on the whiteboard.
Alopecia. Jaundice. Eczema. Edema. Blindness.
“She looks like hell, but at least she can’t see herself,” he commented, feeling Cameron’s disapproving glare burn into his back. “Differential diagnosis, people. What is messing up this woman’s hair, skin and eyes while making her ankles swell up like the national debt?”
“Could it be psychosomatic?” Chase asked. “The rash and hair falling out could be stress-related.”
“Yeah. Stress from a disease that’s causing major fluid retention and turning off her optic nerves. How about a duet from Porgy and Bess back there?”
The Mouseketeers started throwing out the usual polysyllabic suggestions, which caused House to start humming “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”
“Hey, Wilson,” he called out at the first glimpse of a familiar figure trying to somewhere else in a hurry. Wilson stopped and came into the diagnostics office with a look of exasperation on his face.
“The things that you’re li-ble to read in the bible, they ain’t necessarily so,” House sang in his deepest voice. He noticed Wilson and Chase trying not to be noticed as they exchanged a look.
“Nice, but you’re too old for American Idol,” Wilson said drily. “Did you need a consult?” He looked over the list on the board. “Looks like the liver. Did you do a biopsy yet?”
“Chase, go do a liver biopsy. Foreman, put her on Lasix and potassium for the edema. Cameron, go put on your sensitive voice and do a history. See what kind of self-abuse she’s willing to admit to.”
The team stood up to carry out their orders.
“One thing first. Earlier today, I observed Wilson and Chase together in a meeting room. They appeared to be, how shall I put it, intimate. When I questioned Dr. Wilson, he denied there was anything going on. When pressed further, he suddenly confessed all and told me that he and Dr. Chase were getting it on, banging a gong on a regular basis.“
House kept Wilson in the crosshairs while using his peripheral vision to observe the team. Cameron and Foreman were exchanging looks that clearly said “What the fuck?” although he suspected Cameron would probably stick to a ladylike “What the heck?” Chase, he noticed, was flaring his nostrils slightly and biting down on that much-abused lower lip.
“House--” Wilson started, trying to shut him up.
“Don’t worry about your reputation. It’s shot anyway.”
“Mostly thanks to you.”
“Hey, it’s free publicity. But in this case I don’t believe you.” He turned to face Chase. ”So, Dr. Chase, what exactly is going on between you and Dr. Wilson?”
“None of your business,” Chase shot back like a petulant twelve-year-old.
“My employee. My friend. That makes it my business.”
House continued to address Wilson, who put up a brave front of nonchalance. “You want me to believe you’re having an affair so I won’t try to find out what you’re really up to.”
“You’re like a playground bully.”
“No, I’m more like a high school girl. If you want me to believe this, you better prove it.”
“Prove it how?” Wilson blurted.
House fixed Wilson with his most insinuating leer. “Go plant one on him. Let’s see a little Kiwi lip action.”
“I’m not from New Zealand,” Chase protested.
“But at least I’m on the right continent. And I wasn’t talking to you.”
He kept staring at Wilson, knowing his friend was about to crack and the truth would finally come out.
“House, I’m not…” he started.
Before he could finish the thought, Chase had crossed to where Wilson was standing and reached up for his neck. He pulled Wilson’s head down and kissed him hard on the lips. While House was absorbing that, he realized that Chase had pushed his tongue forward for a highly visible round of tonsil hockey.
Foreman looked away. Cameron’s eyes and mouth opened to a nearly equal width. House found himself torn between critiquing the performance for authenticity and realizing that the sight of two attractive men making out in his office was a little too exciting.
“Break it up, you two. Get a hotel room or something.” They didn’t stop. Wilson’s hands had risen to entangle themselves in Chase’s hair. “All right. I believe you.” House wished he had torn his own eyes away before he saw Chase give Wilson’s lower lip a slight nibble.
“Fine. Everybody go away. Chase, do whatever it was I told you to do before I told you to do that. Cameron, please close your mouth. You’ll need it to talk to Helen Keller. And Foreman, don’t worry, I don’t think you can catch it from watching. You two,” he pointed the cane at Chase and Wilson, “try not to skip down the halls holding hands or anything.”
Once the kids and Uncle Jimmy were safely out of sight, he made his way to his desk and the Vicodin in the top drawer.
Damn, that was hot, he thought running a hand over his face. </i>Maybe I should check out Queer as Folk. </i>
Not that he believed their act for a fraction of a minute. Those two were definitely up to something. Now that he knew how far they’d go to keep it secret, he intended to have even more fun figuring it out.
With Greg House on the case, they didn’t have a prayer.