Pairings: Chase and a cast of Thousands-Five anyway.
Rating: Most definitely NC17
Word count: 9,581
Prompt: 23-Chase's endurance and performance need to be redeemed after Cameron's "If we were getting the sample from you, we'd be done by now" comment. Redeem him in any way you see fit.
"Robbie, a man is nothing in this world without his reputation."
Rowan Chase began every lecture with the same stark assertion. Robert hated it. The heavy sigh. The disappointed gaze from those steely eyes. The stentorian tone, as if Rowan Chase were an old-testament prophet rather than a world-renowned rheumatologist.
Robert hated it, but managed to keep screwing up, which meant he had to sit through the lecture again. After his father was gone, he finally figured it out. Being lectured was better than being ignored.
"Too bad it's not you in there. We'd have the sample by now."
Cameron's remark had stung momentarily, mostly taking Chase by surprise. He wondered why she was even bringing it up. He thought they'd agreed that sleeping together was a mistake and not to be spoken of.
He didn't want to dwell on why he was incapable of turning down an inappropriate request from a needy female. That answer lay fifteen years and half a world away.
He put Cameron's snippiness down to frustration. At the rate things were going, Wilson was going to sleep with House before she did, what with them living together. Of course if you believed the pharm tech Shane, House and Wilson had been a couple for years. When confronted with House's pursuit of Stacy Warner, Shane's response, complete with raised eyebrows and campy arm gesture, was "You call that a woman?" or "House is trying to piss off Cuddy by making a move on her gal pal."
Chase thought that Shane was amusing but unreliable, until his next pilgrimage to pick up House's Vicodin.
"Hey, Quickdraw McGraw. How's the fastest gun in the east?"
Chase flushed with embarrassment. He didn't know the reference but the meaning was clear. Someone must have overheard Cameron's comment. On the other hand, Chase hadn't been particularly chivalrous in the aftermath of their encounter, which could have provoked Cameron to spread the venom herself, although waiting over two months seemed odd, even for Cameron. Either way, Shane knew, and if Shane knew…
Chase barely noticed Shane dropping the pill bottle into his hand. When he got back to Diagnostics, his worst fears were confirmed. Only two things made House smile like that and the case hadn't been solved yet, which meant House was about to get some serious jollies by humiliating someone who couldn't fight back.
Time to face the music. In this case, the music turned out to be Foreman greeting him with a broad grin and "Hello Speedy Gonzales," and House humming what Chase guessed was "The Mexican Hat Dance" while tapping it out with his cane.
The performance and Chase's resulting embarrassment continued until five seconds before Cameron arrived bearing a folder of test results and her usual state of cluelessness. The folder provided two new symptoms for House to put on the whiteboard.
"Riddle me this," he announced, "His fever's up, but his white count is down. He's excreting protein faster than we can put it into him. Any ideas on how we can save his life before he dies of malnutrition?"
Chase wasn't listening. Robbie, a man is nothing in this world without his reputation. He wanted to tell his father's voice to piss off. So what if the hospital rumor mill had him pegged as a bad lay? Except it bothered him deeply, especially when it was so unfair. Never before had he been accused of letting down a sexual partner.
The last time his father had delivered the lecture was Chase's first year of medical school. Freed from the strictures of Seminary and convinced he was going to hell, Robert had gone on a bit of a tear. When his father showed up to deliver the lecture, Chase was suffering from a brute of a hangover. As Rowan launched into the chorus, Robert wondered if the reputation in question was the one that he'd started to acquire in Sydney for showing a good time to anything that moved, or was based on the fact that a female professor had actually approached in a corridor and commented almost casually, "Hey, Chase. I hear you're hung like a bull moose."
Dad had followed up the lecture with an ultimatum involving grades and money; Robert had managed to pull himself together and graduate with honors. The same kind of dedication was now required to redeem his reputation for performance and stamina.
He made a mental list of things to do.
Book some time in the pool at the Princeton gymnasium.
Have another talk with Shane.
To be continued.
"Dr. Chase, were you thinking of contributing to the discussion or did you think you could distract me with your great show of concentration and your pouty lips?"
"When you get out of bed, you're supposed to be awake. What's wrong with the patient? Quickly. I hear you're good at that."
"Systemic amyloidosis," Chase blurted, not sure if it even came close to matching the symptoms.
Chase felt a moment of relief.
"It was even more interesting when Dr. Cameron suggested it about five minutes ago and I humiliated her by pointing out in excruciating detail why it was absurd. As much as I like the sound of my own voice, I get bored too easily to repeat myself. Go get me a sandwich and get your act together. My patient is more important than your current angst-fest."
Chase headed for the door, feeling his face turning pink.
Once clear of House's sightline, he pulled out his cell phone and called the Princeton Gym to book a pool lane.
Morning found him shivering slightly at the edge of the Olympic-length swimming pool before plunging into the cold water as well as his past. The school swimming pool had been a refuge from his needy mother, his indifferent father and their inability to spend any amount of time together without the accusations and the stemware flying.
He found himself winded after barely half a lap. He treaded water, gasping for air. He wanted to give up and go home, but he needed to build up endurance here before he could attempt to disprove Cameron's cutting remark.
After two weeks, he could swim ten laps without stopping and his arms had started to acquire some definition. It was time to visit the lair of the white pharm tech.
"Look who's here. You need more pills for Dr. Dope Fiend?"
"Just thought I'd come down for a chat."
"You want dirt." Shane's grin was that of a dealer with an addict on the hook.
Chase left the pharmacy storeroom with the knowledge that Debbie in accounting had been singing the blues about Dr. Wilson to her best friend Kathy, who just happened to work in the next cubicle over. All the information cost him was a hand job.
Kathy was thirty-four, unmarried and a tease. It took two dinners and a Tom Cruise movie for Chase to make it inside her apartment.
Once there he found that Kathy liked to cuddle. Chase spent three hours in bed with a hard-on, holding Kathy while she held forth on her favorite topic. Her theme was Debbie and how she was throwing her life away pining over that louse, Dr. Wilson.
Chase practically limped to his car and quickly relieved himself before driving home. He would have liked to wait, just to prove he could, but driving safety came before statistics.
In the morning, he arranged for Kathy to get a large stuffed koala bear, which would provide approximately the same service she seemed to want from a man.
"Chase, have you traded your usual spicy yet seductive cologne for a bit of eau de chlorine?"
House had gotten too close to Chase, who had tried to squeeze in some extra laps and rushed the shower.
"I've been doing some swimming."
"Since I'm not suffering from cadmium poisoning, I figured that out. The question is why?"
"Exercise," he replied blandly.
"Again with the brilliant grasp of the obvious. Cameron runs off her frustrations on her treadmill to nowhere. Foreman over there pumps iron twice a week and plays the occasional pick-up game of b-ball with his homies in his upscale suburb. You, on the other hand, have been relying on good genes and lucky metabolism. What's changed, I wonder. New girlfriend? New boyfriend?"
Chase's pager went off. Before he could look, House had grabbed it off his belt. He peered at it intently. "It seems Dr. Chase is being summoned to accounting. Curiouser and curiouser."
"Can I go?" he asked curtly.
"Skedaddle. Can't keep the bean-counters waiting. They might try to take it out on my budget. You wouldn't believe how I've been padding the expense report."
House tossed the pager. Chase caught it one-handed. He passed Wilson coming in with a file and a determined look. As always, Wilson barely acknowledged his existence. Chase waited until he was in the hallway before allowing himself a smile at where he was going and who had summoned him there.
Debbie Vicari greeted Chase with a vivacious smile and a pointed glance at the large koala occupying Kathy's cubicle while Kathy took a coffee break.
Chase raised his eyebrows and smiled while Debbie moved closer in the guise of making a suggestion about his 401-K plan. He pretended not to look down her blouse, even though it was impossible to avoid it. She caught him at it and smiled, licking her lower lip.
When the topic of dinner came up, Debbie told him to meet her after work and made sure he was out of the administrative offices before Kathy returned.
When he got back to the office there were new symptoms on the board. Wilson, Foreman and Cameron were debating the merits of various cancers and why it couldn't be any of them.
"Mesothelioma?" Chase suggested, trying to join the conversation unobtrusively.
House pivoted with the speed of a striking snake.
"Home is the hunter. Home from the hill. How was the lovely Debbie?"
"Uh, OK," Chase muttered, realizing that House wasn't looking at him anymore.
"Did she want to audit your portfolio?" House leered, without taking his eyes off Wilson.
Wilson gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes, but didn't look away. Chase didn't bother to answer. Anything he had to say would be superfluous.
House won their battle of the eyes. Wilson sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He left claiming a meeting without looking at his watch.
"Mesothelioma?" Chase repeated.
"Heard you the first time," House replied in his sing-song voice which meant ‘me genius, you idiot'. "Any chance she was exposed to asbestos?"
Cameron flipped through the file. "She's a real estate agent. Maybe one of the homes she was showing?"
"That's a long shot," argued Foreman. "Mesothelioma requires prolonged exposure for all those symptoms. He's just pulling that out of his--"
"Yeah, but it's such a cute one. Foreman, go to her house and see if there's any obviously lethal insulation hanging around anywhere."
It ended up being a typical House case. The patient's husband was a model airplane enthusiast and coincidentally the one doing the cooking. Somehow just enough airplane glue had gotten into the wife's food to create symptoms.
House went to the trouble of visiting the patient and advising her to go to Jenny Craig, not because she needed to lose weight, but to get someone else preparing her meals.
"The husband tried to come at House and ended up with the cane in a very personal location…" Chase finished the story that night over tapas at Tre Piani. Debbie smiled and launched into a story about House that Chase had never heard before, one she must have gotten from Wilson. He held her eyes and still managed to try for the last olive at the same time she did. He got there first and then fed her the olive with his own fingers.
When the waitress brought a dessert menu, Debbie shook her head. Her dangling earrings swung against her neck, drawing Chase's eyes back to her cleavage.
He felt somewhat guilty about the fact that she was working so hard when he was only using her and that getting her into bed wasn't even the final goal.
Guilty, but not guilty enough to stop. Debbie was saying something about a roommate, which Chase took to mean, "Take me to your place." Once there, the path from door to bedroom ran as smoothly as the moving walkway at the Philadelphia Airport.
Debbie's needs were specific and required considerably more energy than being a human-sized cuddly toy. The breathing endurance he'd built up in the pool was crucial. He spent considerable time between Debbie's thighs, making her scream his name. Part of his brain was timing himself like a coach with a stopwatch as she returned the favor. He held on long enough to prove he wasn't "Speedy Gonzales," but not so long as to wear the poor girl out.
After driving her home, he wondered what would happen when her koala showed up at the office.
"Dr. Chase. In my office. Now."
Cuddy stood framed by the doorway of the Diagnostics office fixing Chase with the disapproving glare she usually reserved for House.
"What did you do, Chase? Kill another patient or write Cameron's name on the boys' room wall?"
Chase ignored House as he followed Cuddy's beckoning finger. He didn't mind being pulled away from the differential. The tension between Cameron and Foreman in the wake of Foreman's article was making life in the department extremely uncomfortable.
He suspected that Cuddy was going to ask him for information about House and he'd promised himself never to go down that road again. It was actually a relief when Cuddy started yelling at him.
"What the hell were you thinking? Kathy and Debbie? What kind of place do you think I'm running here?"
Chase smiled nervously. Cuddy really did frighten him. He wondered if he was expected to defend himself or come up with an answer until he remembered that she'd told her assistant to hold her calls. She had also locked the door to her office. By the time she'd closed the curtains and opened her jacket, Chase had a good idea what was expected of him.
He wasn't sure why she would risk her reputation or dignity on the likes of him, but he was happy to oblige.
While he was discreetly disposing of the condom, he stole a glance and found Cuddy looking as ravished as he felt. She pulled herself to a sitting position, legs hanging off the desk, seemingly unsure which article of clothing to pull up or zip or close first.
Being a practical woman, she settled on the red thong.
"Make sure you get the lipstick off."
He rubbed his lips against the back of his hand. There'd be plenty of teasing from House as it was, but no actual evidence, at least not that kind.
"Favor?" he asked, watching her breasts disappear back into her front-clasp bra.
"Do I owe you one?" she replied, somewhere between amused and defensive, as if she knew this had been both unprofessional and out of character, but was glad she'd done it anyway.
"You tell me."
"What do you want, Chase?"
"Can you get me a rotation out of diagnostics? Just a week or two."
He thought of going into details about the dissatisfaction that was eating into the simple enjoyment of doing his job. Why bother? Cuddy had her own problems. She didn't need to hear that crap. He settled on a single word.
She nodded, rebuttoning her blouse.
"How about NICU? He'll never bother you there. You can start a week from Monday."
She nearly had all of her "Cuddy armor" back in place. The last step was to get her hair into its usual arrangement and re-apply the lipstick that had so recently graced his own lips.
"You're not going to mention this to anybody, are you?"
"Of course not." He'd avoided termination twice against all odds. He wasn't going to jeopardize that for a chat with Shane about how he'd boffed ‘Lucretia Borgia'. "How about you?" He decided to send the koala to her house, instead of the office where anyone could see it.
"Don't be ridiculous," she snapped, making sure her cuffs were buttoned and her seams were straight.
He nodded as if he believed her. No one at PPTH could keep their mouths shut, which was fine with him. One more voice to spread the word.
Chase had enough self-awareness to know that House, Cameron and Foreman functioned as his substitute family. Pity they're just as fucked up as the original model.
For two days he'd watched Cameron display a child's petulance as she attempted to spar with Foreman, who had behaved like an absolute prick. The unhappiness in the diagnostics department was so pervasive that Chase found himself distracted from his goal. He'd blown off his swim that morning. I'll jump back in on Monday. Maybe by then Cuddy would have had time to spread a little gossip.
Chase needed to go home, but he couldn't tear himself away from watching House, dozing obliviously in his chair. It couldn't be good for his leg, even if the pain was currently held in check. He took a step forward.
"Leave him alone."
He turned around to face his challenger.
Dr. Wilson's tie and jacket were not in evidence, leaving his collar unbuttoned and sleeves rolled up to the elbows.
"He needs some rest."
"Because you've been keeping him awake," Chase retorted.
Wilson bit his lower lip and Chase suspected that the older man wanted to hit him. The warm, brown eyes that Debbie had rhapsodized about were now focused on him, but this gaze held something darker than the sparkle of seduction.
"Let's go," Wilson announced, clamping a hand on Chase's shoulder that sent a tremor through his body.
"What have you done to that nice Dr. Wilson?" he taunted, biting down on the word "nice."
Wilson sighed, but apparently banter was reserved for House. He probably saved everything important for House, from interesting cases to the affections that should have gone to his wives, or at least his Debbies.
Once they were in the elevator, Chase leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. Just because he'd been obsessed with sex lately didn't necessarily mean the other man was on the same wavelength. He caught Wilson looking at him and used that moment of eye contact to send his best "Please fuck me" look. Wilson glared, but it took a second and in that second, Chase knew he was right.
"So, where are we going? Exam room, supply closet? I hear there's a nice soft sofa in the oncology lounge and Debbie mentioned something about the Red Roof Inn next to the IHOP."
"Shut up!" Chase flinched but found himself thrilled by Wilson's show of anger.
"Of course, you can't take me home because you're still living with House."
"I'm not," Wilson muttered. "I'm moving out."
The elevator stopped and the door opened before the small space could implode from the tension inside.
Wilson led the way down an empty corridor, stopping in front of the conference room to unlock the door. He stood there, not giving Chase an out-and-out invitation to enter.
"What makes you think I go with men?" Chase asked flirtatiously.
"What makes you think I care?" Wilson's voice held no playfulness whatsoever.
Chase nodded and sauntered in.
He looked around the room. Big table. Comfortable chairs. Coffee maker. Perfect. He immediately understood the symbolism. This was where Wilson had fought to save House's job and nearly lost his own in the process. The ghosts of the Vogler regime and Chase's ignominious behavior still clung to the walls.
As if to prove Chase's theory, Wilson sat down in the chair at the head of the table, which must have been Vogler's during his reign as chairman of the board.
"Why Cuddy?" Wilson asked as though he were taking a patient history, even though he was also undoing his belt.
Chase found it easier to focus on the light sprinkling of hair on Wilson's forearms than to watch him unfasten his pants and then raise himself slightly out of the chair to lower his pants and boxers.
"She asked me. Would have been rude to say ‘no'."
"And Dr. Chase is never rude, is he?" Wilson continued in his conversational tone, although his voice was rising in pitch. "Duplicitous, conniving and sycophantic, but never rude." Chase could no longer avoid looking down at Wilson's spread legs, pale against the dark leather of the chair and his dick, still at half-mast, but already tempting. "So if I tell you to get down on your knees and start sucking, you'll do it. Wouldn't want to be rude."
"You've never liked me, have you?" he asked, kneeling in front of Wilson's chair, thankful he'd at least picked a room with deep pile carpets.
"Never," he replied grimly, pushing his hips forward. "I told House he should fire you after Vogler and again after that woman died."
"Yet here I am," Chase gloated, brushing hair out of his eyes before bending to the task at hand. He reached out to get a good grip, only to have his hand batted away.
Chase frowned. He had enough experience to know what made for a good blow job.
"It'll be better…"
"But that's not what I want." Wilson's voice was a caress, but the words stung. "Hands behind your back."
"Suit yourself," Chase muttered, again feeling a thrill, as though seeing this side of James Wilson was a privilege.
With his hands in the position Wilson had demanded, Chase dipped his head to take Wilson into his mouth. He felt the other man's cock harden and lengthen against his tongue and heard a short intake of breath followed by a moan, almost a sob.
Chase smiled around Wilson's growing erection.
"House doesn't like you either." Chase could feel Wilson's anger in the fingertips pressing on the top of his head, in the cock trying to force itself against the back of his throat, as well as in the casual cruelty of the words. "He keeps you around for laughs."
Wilson thrust harder into Chase's mouth, obviously wanting to punish him for real or perceived sins by making him choke, gag or cry.
Chase relaxed his throat muscles, allowing Wilson to go so deeply that Chase could feel crisp hairs scraping his nose. Wilson was practically out of his chair thrusting into Chase's mouth as Chase lapped at his balls. He could see Wilson's nails digging into the arms of the leather chair. He closed his eyes to help him stay relaxed, relishing the sound of hard-won groans.
This would end quickly, he thought, slightly disappointed. He'd never gotten so much attention from Wilson, positive or negative, and it seemed sad to end it this way when he had so much more to offer.
Maybe Wilson thought so too. He pulled back suddenly, leaving Chase with his mouth wide open and hair falling in his face. He shook his head to get a clear view of Wilson taking off his shoes and completely removing the pants and boxers that had been caught around his ankles. Wilson reached down to get something out of a pocket. Chase squinted until he recognized the shape of a lubricant package. Premeditation, as they said on the police shows. Chase smiled. For a second, he though Wilson might smile back, but the moment passed.
"Take off your clothes," Wilson ordered, in a tone that implied he was doing a chore rather than deriving any pleasure from the situation.
We'll see about that.
He did as he was told, making enough of a show to get Wilson to look at some part of him with admiration, if not approval. In return, Chase found himself unable to look away from Wilson's hands applying the lubricant to himself in long, lazy strokes.
"Why Kathy?" he asked, eyeing Chase's erection.
"To get to Debbie," Chase replied with a shrug.
"To get to you." He felt himself getting a bit wobbly at the sight of Wilson's cock, slick and straining upwards.
"And why on earth…?"
"To prove a point."
He managed to look at Wilson's face in time to see a cruel smile twist his lips.
"Sit down, Dr. Chase. I'm afraid this is going to hurt a bit. I certainly hope so. I have a point to prove, too."
Chase turned around and lowered himself into Wilson's lap until he was completely impaled. He wondered if Wilson was disappointed with only the slightest wince. Once Wilson's cock had slid past the initial resistance, there was nothing but pleasure.
"Oh god," he sighed, leaning backwards, his bare back pressing against Wilson's shirt, pretending for a second that this was something real. That was one second more than Wilson could give him.
Without saying a word or letting their bodies separate, Wilson managed to stand up and push Chase against the conference room table.
Chase's mind was overwhelmed by the realization that he was being bent over the table with his legs spread and Wilson was fucking him so hard it almost felt like passion. One hand was working his prick in short, hard strokes while the other one was alternately teasing and torturing his left nipple.
For such a busy man, Wilson still found time to pant out a few more questions.
"How long have you wanted this?"
"I was hard the minute I heard your voice downstairs." Chase didn't have the energy or inclination to lie. He'd have bruises from the table, but he didn't care.
"I don't mean just now."
"The first week I worked for House," he gasped. "Seeing the two of you together. I wanted something like that."
On the next thrust, Wilson held him down over the table, sinking his teeth into the skin on Chase's back and twisting the flesh until Chase screamed out, feeling tears forming.
"You'd fuck a snake to get what you want, wouldn't you?"
The pain of the bite and the pleasure of having Wilson drive in at the perfect angle made him dizzy. He fought to get the words out.
"Is that what I'm doing now?"
"You're going to come and that's going to be the end of this." Wilson's breath was getting shallow.
"What if I make you get off first?"
"Not going to happen."
Wilson stopped wasting breath on speech and put everything into pounding his cock into Chase, hitting the hot spot every time, still working Chase with his hand, determined to push him over the edge.
"Oh. Oh god. Please. Dr. Wilson."
Wilson pushed in all the way and stayed there, giving Chase time to clench his muscles, taking Wilson by surprise.
"What did you . . . ? Oh my god . . . No. NO! Dammit." Chase felt the gush inside of him. "You bastard," Wilson wailed, going limp against Chase's back. Then Chase closed his eyes tightly, and let himself come, spilling into Wilson's hand. Wilson held him tightly, squeezing out every drop before pulling out and lowering him to the carpet.
He lay there enjoying the mixed pleasures of orgasm and victory and the residual pain of the mark Wilson had put on his back. When Chase opened his eyes, Wilson was sitting in Vogler's chair with his clothes on. His eyes were far away, with an expression of weary sorrow.
Chase's fingers ached to touch the strands of hair that had fallen onto Wilson's forehead and stroke the fatigue away from his face, but proving who had the stamina didn't buy him the right to offer comfort.
"You OK?" Wilson asked, sounding like that nice Dr. Wilson. Chase didn't know if he'd get to see the other one again, much as he would have liked to.
Chase nodded with his best 'no big deal' shrug.
"I'm sorry. I don't usually…" He sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"Are you going to tell House about this?"
"You want me to pimp you to my best friend?"
Chase did. Desperately. He just couldn't bring himself to say it out loud.
"Please," he whispered.
"And I'm supposed to do this because…"
"I won," Chase said softly, knowing it sounded like the most ludicrous talk on a playground.
Wilson was clearly capable of leaving him with nothing but the memory of the sound that signaled his victory and the marks he'd left behind.
"Do you even know what you want anymore?" Wilson let out a long breath before pushing himself up and out of the chair with an exhausted grunt.
From there he looked down at Chase's body and seemed to notice the spots going purple contrasted with pale where he'd pushed Chase against the table. The anger was replaced by something else. Concern? Guilt? Maybe Wilson felt something more for Chase than he wanted to admit.
"I hope you know what you're doing. House is…different."
Chase waited until Wilson had gone before he pulled himself off the floor and into the chair, wanting to prolong his last chance for contact with the warmth of Wilson's body. When that was gone, and the leather had gone cool under his skin, he gathered up his clothes and got dressed.
He didn't think that Wilson would appreciate a stuffed koala, but he needed to send some kind of token. Maybe he'd email a koala picture.
Any hope that the bad feelings between Cameron and Foreman might have abated over the weekend were crushed the minute he walked into the office on Monday. The hostility was palpable, stopping his rendition of "Since U Been Gone" in mid-whistle.
Chase sighed. One week until he'd be able to ditch the lot of them for a while. In the meantime, he'd pursue his course of people-pleasing neutrality.
He tried to settle down to his puzzle, but the silence was too distracting. He looked up and found Cameron and Foreman staring at something. Chase followed their eyes out to House's office and beyond to the balcony. As expected, House and Wilson were holding an animated conversation from their respective balconies. Wilson was using his hands to describe a massive tumor or possibly something that might be found on a bull moose.
"What do they have to talk about?" Cameron asked plaintively. "Isn't Wilson still living with him?"
Chase wondered if she realized exactly how much she sounded like a jealous teenager. He understood the feeling. House and Wilson made him feel that way all the time. He just hoped he was better at hiding it.
"I hear Wilson moved out," he commented casually, himself a teenager who needed to prove he had the best gossip this side of Shane in the pharmacy.
He saw a flicker of hope in Cameron's eyes and didn't have the inclination to crush it. He figured that was House's prerogative. He and Wilson had finished their chat and House was summoning his juniors into the office.
By the time they got there, House was leaning against his desk, perusing a trash magazine with a look of great concern. He kept reading, completely ignoring the three pairs of eyes. Foreman cracked first, clearing his throat loudly and rolling his eyes in exasperation.
House looked up from his magazine, the picture of innocence.
"Sooooo. Brad and Angelina. Wilson thinks she's just using him and she's going to end up taking the kid and leaving him looking like a chump. He's such a cynic. I'm a romantic. I think they're just two crazy kids in love. How about you guys?"
House didn't bother waiting for a response. The fellows as a unit didn't indulge House in his non-work ramblings.
"Cameron, I know you think he's a bastard for cheating so he deserves to be the Eddie Fisher of 2006, but I have it on very good authority that Jennifer Aniston is an absolutely horrible person. How about the boys?"
He looked to Chase and Foreman who still refused to play along.
"Fine," he scowled, tossing the magazine over his shoulder without looking where it landed. "Something you folks would rather talk about?"
Foreman proffered the file he'd been holding behind his back. "Forty-four-year-old white male. Presenting with abdominal pain, joint aches, and ascites. Tests show extensive cirrhosis of the liver."
"Alcoholic," Chase found himself saying reflexively.
"Says he barely drinks," Foreman responded, as if he hadn't spent two years learning the essential truth of the human condition. "And there were no other symptoms of alcohol abuse," he continued defensively.
"Hep C?" Cameron suggested.
"Is he gay?" House asked in his pseudo-scandalized voice.
"Yeah," replied Foreman with just a hint of defiance. "He is. And he doesn't do drugs, drink or engage in risky sex practices. He's tested negative for Hep B, Hep C, HIV and liver cancer."
Chase could tell that House was teetering on the edge of actual interest.
"Primary biliary sclerosis," he called out at the same time as Cameron said, "Primary sclerosing cholangitis".
"How many times do I have to tell you guys to answer in the form of a question?"
House squinted while considering the two suggestions, which allowed him to ignore a new round of hostility within his formerly merry band. Alison stared darts at Chase and he threw them right back at her.
House finally emerged from his trance.
"Knock yourself out. Test him for both. Foreman, go cozy up. Maybe he's a dinge-queen and you'll get something useful out of him."
Foreman let out one of those long-suffering sighs that were working Chase's nerves nearly as much as Cameron's whining.
"That's it. Class dismissed. Chop chop." Chase realized that Foreman and Cameron had already left while he was absorbed in thoughts of locking them both in a closet. House was now standing directly in front of him. "Unless you're planning to explain why your book report was late and offer to do an extra-credit assignment to make it up to me."
In the course of one sentence, House's voice had worked itself from snide derision down to something so insinuating it left Chase feeling flushed and unable to speak. To compound the effect, House blatantly gave Chase a slow-burning once-over finishing with a prolonged appraisal of his crotch, then looked up with a hint of a smile on his face and winked.
"Scram," House said, pointing one thumb over his shoulder toward the door. "Go prove that Cameron's wrong. Please."
Chase managed to get his shaky legs working. He'd been humiliated, but he was sure that House would follow through.
Nothing happened. Or too much happened. That afternoon brought Boyd, the young faith healer, and his interaction with Wilson's oncology patient. House looked at Chase with something resembling affection after the case was solved. Chase thought the moment had arrived, but House left alone, looking as if his leg was bothering him immensely.
Then all bloody hell broke loose with the arrival of the laughing policeman. Chase couldn't believe they'd gone through Foreman's illness, near-death and diagnosis within 48 hours. Sex was the farthest thing from his mind.
Chase had prayed for Foreman. Not in the hospital chapel, but sitting at the table in the conference room. He'd prayed to the god he'd believed in when he entered the seminary and sworn off like a bad habit when he left.
He was trying to find a way to ask that god for help when he overheard the argument between House and Wilson. There'd been a tension between them so unpleasant that not even Cameron could find any pleasure in it. If House couldn't be comfortable with Wilson, they were all doomed.
Chase felt like his eight-year-old self listening to his parents fight. They were ostensibly discussing Foreman's case, but it turned out to be about something else.
"I'll bet you can even have unprotected sex with your patients without catching a damn thing. Boy, I wish I had your job."
Could Wilson have really done that? Chase remembered his trip to Grace's apartment. He'd seen men's clothes and known there was a boyfriend. House had made the snap judgment that the boyfriend wouldn't be coming home soon. House knew whose clothes they were without even seeing them. That's why he's a genius and you're not.
Wilson had fucked him, but it meant nothing. The emotion was all there in House's office.
Foreman recovered and returned to work. A semblance of normalcy returned to diagnostics. He nearly reconsidered when Cuddy reminded him about the NICU rotation. She smiled kindly with no hint that she'd bitten the hell out of his shoulder to muffle her screams while they were screwing on top of her desk.
"You really don't have to do this. NICU is well staffed."
"I want to do it."
"Even after everything."
"Especially after everything."
So he went to NICU and confronted the horror of a mother killing her own child. He prayed over the infant's body while asking himself what kind of god allowed these things to happen.
House solved the case, but it didn't matter. The baby was dead, the mother was dying and the father couldn't forgive her. Cameron and Foreman had made their peace. House and Wilson…he didn't know and didn't want to care. All he wanted was to go home and sleep.
With his usual lack of concern for other people's feelings, House picked that moment to start a fight about Chase's paycheck. Chase was in no mood to indulge him. Whether or not he took a vacation or opted to make some extra money was none of the bastard's business. He was almost out the door with his pay stub when House called him back.
"Chase," he said, still standing behind his desk.
"Oh, for god's sake. What now?"
"That's a nice attitude to use on the guy who's about to invite you home."
Chase stared at him blankly until the words and their meaning seeped in.
"Why?" Chase was perplexed. "Why now?"
"The bleeding heart contingent doesn't think you should be alone."
"OK. Maybe I don't want to be alone." House lowered himself into his chair. "Don't get all coy on me, Chase. You've come too far to stop now."
"It doesn't matter anymore."
"Sure it does. Love. Death. Betrayal. Big deal. Sex trumps everything."
"Not for me, House."
"OK," he chirped, seemingly giving up. "But this is it. Now or never." House had dropped his voice back into that low, challenging tone and suddenly Chase realized that it did matter. House had been unspeakably cruel with the comment about the "dead baby's butt". Chase wanted him anyway.
He bit back all the things he was afraid to say and simply nodded his head, wondering why he felt tears forming at the corners of his eyes. Somewhere along the line, getting to House had become more important having the rumor mill sing his praises.
"Go home and take a nap. Eat some Wheaties. Come over around ten. Don't bother to knock."
Chase allowed himself a quick look around House's living room, not quite believing he was actually there. He saw the piano, the guitars on the wall and the couch where Wilson had been in residence until recently, unless he hadn't been sleeping on the couch.
After all this time, all he really knew about House and Wilson was that they were more important to each other than any other relationship in their lives.
"House," he called out, trying to push Wilson out of his mind.
"In here," came the response. Chase followed the voice until he was standing at the doorway of House's bedroom. House himself was on the bed, lying on his back with his hands behind his head. He wore a blue terrycloth robe that came down to his knees. His legs were bare and his hair looked slightly damp. Chase remembered when House had given himself a migraine. He'd gone off on one of his mad quests and returned freshly showered and suited, looking so good he gave Chase one of those pangs he hated admitting to.
"Dr. Chase. How nice of you to make a house call." House grinned at his own witticism. "Unfortunately your sartorial skills are still lagging far behind your medical knowledge."
"Clothes. You're wearing way too many."
House watched with an expression that combined amusement and delight. His eyes moved up and down Chase's body as the garments came off. When he took off his shirt, he knew that House could see the definition he'd acquired on those cold mornings in the pool.
His pants followed quickly. He felt his thighs tensing under House's gaze.
"Turn around," House said in the voice that allowed for no argument. Chase hardened at the sound and obeyed the order. "Show me your ass." When he took of his black silk briefs, he heard something like an appreciative grunt. "Did you wear those for me?"
"I like to be comfortable."
"I've been wanting to grab that for two years. I didn't know it actually came gift-wrapped. Let me see the rest of my present."
He let House take as much time as he needed to see everything, including how aroused he was.
"So that's what you've been hiding in those ugly pants."
House was being his obnoxious self, but there was a gleam in his eye and a hint of interest under the bathrobe.
"How do we do this?" Chase asked, with a general wave, indicating the leg, the pills, and any other eccentricities that he might not be aware of.
"Don't be an oaf and we'll get on fine. Aside from that, it's all about direct stimulation, lots of it. I hear that mouth of yours is good for something besides mangling the English language."
Here we go.
Chase licked his lips and headed for the foot of the bed, assuming he was being directed to get between House's legs.
"Where do you think you're going?" House asked, looking slightly distracted as he used a remote to turn off the overhead light and turn on some music.
"Always a bad idea."
House actually had to point to his lips and pucker before Chase allowed himself to get the message.
"You want me to kiss you?"
He never expected that House would allow, much less demand, such an emotionally intimate act.
"No, I've been joking about your pretty mouth because I have no desire to find out if your lips taste as good as they look." House's sarcasm was tinged with a sense of longing. "I don't promise I won't bite, but I do promise you'll like it if I do. Now get your ass and the rest of you into this bed and kiss me."
Chase decided he was having an extremely elaborate wet dream. He was lying on a bed next to House, close enough to smell the soap on his skin and the beer on his breath. He propped himself up on one arm, staring at House's face and lips, afraid he might wake up and have the chance fade away forever.
As soon as he made contact, he found House's arms pulling him close and House's mouth trying to consume him, licking along his lips, probing against his teeth, sucking on his tongue. Those hookers who wouldn't kiss him on the mouth were idiots.
House's bathrobe had come open and Chase found himself pressed against his bare body. The facial hair was softer than he had expected, but the body hair rubbing against his chest was rougher. Chase clung to House's shoulders as if he were afraid the dizzying kiss would leave him falling into space without something to hold onto.
Every time he was allowed to breathe, he expected House to indicate that it was time to move on, but each time, House held onto his neck, pulling him down again. Chase's chest was getting rubbed raw and his lips felt swollen. He didn't care.
House had shed the bathrobe. Chase could feel House's erection against his inner thigh, waiting. He wanted to reach down and give House the direct stimulation he needed, but he couldn't break free from House's embrace, nor did he particularly want to.
Now House had moved away from his mouth and was starting to kiss his neck with the same attention to detail. Slithering his tongue along Chase's throat and then blowing a stream of cool air.
Chase had to fight against the rising tide of pleasure with every fiber of his being. He didn't know if House was sincere or devious or some combination that only House and Wilson would ever understand.
To keep from losing control as House's mouth clamped down gently on his left nipple, he focused on the music playing almost subliminally in the background. At first he could make out only the bass line, but he forced his ears to tune in to the lyrics as well.
I wanna love you and treat you right. I want to love you. Every day and every night.
"Reggae?" he managed to gasp as House sucked harder, biting the nipple itself.
House un-busied his mouth to reply.
"Better than Tantric Yoga. No way to rush things with that beat going on." He proved his point by tapping out the rhythm against Chase's sternum. "You're not in a hurry, are you, Chase?"
"No. Absolutely not," he said sounding cockier than he felt.
"Good." He continued with that throaty growl that Cameron would give a year's salary to hear making sexual demands of her. "There is something I'd like you to do for me, right now."
Chase moved carefully down House's body until he heard a frustrated sigh.
Chase was confused again. He reversed his movements.
House placed his hands on Chase's torso, already inflamed from the earlier contact, pushing him upwards and slid himself down the bed with a grimace.
Chase followed House's lead and positioned his hands and legs on either side of House's body, kneeling over him, bringing his pelvis up to House's face so he could…
This can't be happening. House had his hand firmly around the shaft of Chase's cock and was licking the head. Chase couldn't look because if he actually saw what was going on, it would be all over.
The kissing had been shocking enough. But this…Oh god. And even if he thought it would happen, he would never had imagined that House would be so gentle.
Chase concentrated on the slow, steady beat of the music -- I don't want to wait in vain for your love -- and keeping his weight on his hands and knees. His muscles felt the fatigue as well the strain of resisting an impulse to thrust deeply into House's mouth. Chase had two years of petty tyrannies and slights built up. He would have loved to fuck House's face hard in retaliation, but the House who had a million snide comments about his clothes, nationality, medical skills, sexuality or anything he could use to push his buttons, had nothing to do with the mouth that was caressing him, gently moaning against the head of his cock.
When I think of all the times I've wanted to tell him to suck my dick.
House stopped at almost the same time that Chase thought his arms would give out and cause him to collapse on top of House. Instead he eased himself onto the bed, letting his limbs relax.
Now that it was safe to open his eyes again, he looked over and found House looking remarkably smug, as if he'd just solved a particularly vexing case and was about to rub his subordinates' faces in their own stupidity.
He laid a hand on House's stomach, running his fingers through the thick hair growing below the navel. He reached lower and finally got to feel House's cock against his hand. He found himself fighting back tears again. It was as much trust as House might ever put in him. He squeezed gently trying to tell House that he wouldn't hurt him.
Chase didn't want to give House the chance to brush him off. He needed to do this. He knelt between House's legs, taking him into his mouth as gently as House had done. The closeness felt nearly idyllic.
Everything's gonna be all right. Everything's gonna be all right.
He kept the pace steady with no attempt to rush to any conclusion. He was starting to understand what House needed. Maybe he couldn't get it from his working girls. Chase nearly burst with happiness when House actually groaned and raised his hips trying to get his cock deeper into Chase's mouth. He stopped long enough to get House's attention.
"Keep going?" he asked.
House jerked his head in the direction of a dresser drawer on the right side of the bed where Chase found condoms and lubricant. He found that House had eased up onto his left side. Chase pulled himself closer to House's back and allowed himself to kiss the curve of his shoulder.
"Where do you want me?"
"Right there should be just fine." House pushed back against him to make the point.
Chase was torn between never wanting to move from the welcoming warmth of House's back against his chest while his cock was nestled against the cheeks of House's ass and his concern about causing pain.
"Less talk. More fucking."
"Are you sure?"
"That I want you to fuck me? Pretty sure."
"I took 600 mgs and drank two beers before you got here. It'll hurt a little tonight, a lot tomorrow. That's my problem."
He eased himself onto his stomach and spread his legs. Holding a pillow against his chest, he looked at Chase over his shoulder.
"Come on, Koala Boy, this is your big chance."
House managed to make an insult sound like an endearment. Or was it the other way around?
By accident or design, Bob Marley was singing about redemption as Chase put on the condom and applied generous amounts of lubricant. He cast off all his fears in the face of House's ass spread out before him. Chase knew what he was doing and House seemed to have been around this particular block more than once.
"God yes," he groaned into his pillow as Chase entered, pushing all the way, giving House the direct stimulation exactly where he needed it. Chase grunted, breathing hard, realizing that he had finally found a way to shut his boss up. No more cutting remarks or casual insults. Just enough grunt and groans to let Chase know he was hitting the mark.
He felt the sweat on House's back and licked at a damp shoulder.
All I ever had. Redemption song. These songs of freedom.
Chase found himself losing track of time, reality, his own body. There was nothing but motion and friction, the sound of skin against skin. He had a vague notion that his muscles were cramping, but he had no intention of stopping until House had come. Chase let his teeth graze the nape of House's neck, biting gently and then not so gently.
"Do you know how long I've wanted you, you bastard?" he whispered. "Since the first day I met you." House grunted something into his pillow and spread his legs even wider. "Even when you treated me like absolute shit, I wanted to push you up against a wall and make you scream…"
Suddenly House was screaming something into the pillow. It might have been "Chase" or "James" or some unholy combination, but he was screaming and trembling, spasms going through those long legs, while Chase hung on for dear life. He stayed inside until House had collapsed under him and was lying spent.
Chase pulled out, eager to get his weight off House's leg. After removing the rubber, he lay still, listening to House regain his breathing, then his speech.
"Stamina, endurance and restraint. I like it. Go ahead. I want to watch."
Chase closed his eyes and started stroking himself, squeezing hard to offset the sensitivity. He heard the sound of House's pill bottle, but ignored it, focusing on the music again. You make me feel like a sweepstakes winner.
"Look at me," House demanded. Chase forced himself and found those unbelievable eyes watching him with absolute focus. He thought of House calling him Koala Boy. The combination pushed him back to a place where he could no longer keep his eyes open, as he clutched himself tightly, groaning House's name as he came into his own hand and on House's sheets. Better than Kathy, Debbie, Cuddy and Wilson put together, because it was House he'd wanted all along.
House had turned back onto his left side, flexing the right leg as discreetly as possible. Chase sensed his pain and knew it would take a while for those Vicodin to kick in, if they could put a dent in the pain at all.
Chase knew better than to touch House's leg. He found a spot at the base of the spine and began pressing gently with the tips of his fingers, increasing the pressure when House didn't object.
As he continued to knead muscles, working his way up the spine with backs of his fists, he heard a noise coming from deep in House's throat. It sounded like a long, slow purr. Chase could feel the vibrations in his hands. He was emboldened to ask a forbidden question.
"Why am I here? Why not Wilson?"
"Don't," House snapped dangerously.
Chase didn't know if he meant the touching or the talking so he stopped both. House lay still and silent for nearly a minute until Chase wondered if he was about to be invited to the world outside, before letting out a sigh somewhere between frustration and exasperation. He curved his back against Chase's hand encouraging him to start massaging again.
He moved his hands to House's shoulders, working out the knots he found there. He was rewarded with another round of House's throaty groaning. Greg House purring under my touch like a kitten. Who'd ever believe it.
"Jimmy can't decide if he wants to be my boyfriend or my girlfriend. Ahhh. Right there." Chase had found a particularly bad kink just under House's left clavicle. He focused his attention on working it out.
"So what was this?" he asked. House twitched, either from the question or the continued efforts to bring relief to the tension in his upper back.
House sighed deeply making Chase think he wouldn't bother to answer.
"This was a gift."
Yours or mine? Chase wondered.
The following morning, House made no pretense at discretion. He showed up looking more disheveled than usual, wearing sunglasses in the office and yawning ostentatiously. Chase could barely keep the smirk off his face, although he wasn't doing much better at keeping his eyes open. When he'd tried to leave, thinking House had nodded off and had no further use for him, he found a hand lying heavily on his thigh. "Where do you think you're going?" House had kept him for rounds two and three. Chase had barely gotten home in time to take a shower and grab a few hours of sleep. Not many and not enough.
There was absolutely nothing to do. It was a Saturday and they had no patients, yet they were all there watching House make a spectacle of himself and demanding that Cameron bring him extra-strong coffee.
Foreman looked particularly aggravated by House's antics. "Fine," he announced. "I'll bite. Why are you so tired this morning, Dr. House?" he recited, imitating a kindergarten student.
House didn't answer, but when Cameron brought the coffee, he put an arm around her shoulder and stage-whispered, "It's just as well you kicked Chase to the curb or you'd be dead by now. He kept me up half the night. That boy can go and go and. . . . "
Cameron barely got the coffee cup into House's hands before she ran out, hands covering her nose and mouth. She was clearly appalled and possibly nauseated, but still found time to glare at Chase, Foreman and House, before she disappeared, no doubt headed for a safe place to express her disgust.
"Wonder what's the matter with her?" House wondered aloud in his clueless teenager voice.
He held up his cane and examined it as if looking for a pattern that would explain the mysteries of the universe. With the other hand, he removed a pill bottle from his jacket pocket. He shook it, nodding his head thoughtfully.
"Last man standing. Such a lonely sound. I think I'll go visit the pharmacy. Who's that nice fella down there? Sean? Sam?"
Chase watched House move slowly toward the door and shook his head in sympathy. He felt none too comfortable in his own seat. He planned to sneak a nap in House's chair when he caught Foreman staring at him. He was no mood for any kind of admonishment from Dr. Pompous Jerk.
"What?" he asked defensively.
"What am I, chopped liver?"
He examined Foreman's deep brown eyes and full lips for any hint that a cruel joke was waiting to be sprung; instead he found a frank appraisal and banked fires.
A man is nothing without his reputation.
Chase smiled through his fatigue. He could always afford another stuffed koala.