Fandom: House MD
Genre: Gen (vague mentions of het/slash but not much)
Challenge/Prompt: 1character, theme set eta
Copyright: Title taken from a song by The Sundays, don't have a clue what it's called right now though.
Summary: 50 sentences about Chase, containing every fanon and canon cliché it's possible to contain.
Author’s Notes: Quite fun to write though, since I'm not sure I was supposed to do it in second person.
You’ve always felt that your surname was setting you up to fail; it’s like you’ll always be destined to run after the things you want, but you’ll never get them- and all you really want is a level playing field, one where you’re not four steps behind all the time.
You were physically sick after your first autopsy; you and two other students cut up a man who’d left his body to medical science, right through his flesh and his organs to the skeleton that you all are underneath, and for one moment you touched raw mortality before the bile rose in your throat.
You can’t say no to Cameron; perhaps it’s just as well that she was so high when she first kissed you, because otherwise she might remember that you are far too easily manipulated when it comes to those eyes.
Your mother’s hands were cold, always cold, and they tinted your childhood in a way you can scarcely understand even now; spilt gin and tonic dripping off the edge of the table onto the abandoned Mother’s Day card you’d drawn for her and smudging the painstakingly copied roses- and she whispered in your ear “Oh, Robbie, I’m so sorry”, freezing fingers bleeding through your t-shirt.
Breaking into patients’ homes is never something you enjoy doing, because you’re not voyeuristic, no matter what House says, and going through their personal belongings, their boxes where they hide their darkest secrets, makes you feel so, so dirty.
“I say ‘jump’,” House begins, “And you, Dr Chase, say-” “You first,” you return, smirking wickedly, even though you know you’re going to pay for this later.
You were still a child then, growing up too fast, and it took you years to realise that she was too; being thrust into your father’s world had completely confused her and alienated her, and although you’re still angry with her for reacting the way she did (broken alcohol bottles on the kitchen floor while she lay fast asleep on the couch), you no longer blame her.
Too many patients have died today and now you’re on your knees in the chapel with your eyes shut and your hands clenched, playing chicken with yourself to say the first words; our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…
Your labcoat is covered in blood and vomit and saliva and God knows what else; it’s a side-effect of being a doctor, and you sigh as you slide it off, fold it neatly and then carry it downstairs to the hospital incinerator, feeling cold and empty and as ruined as the coat.
A lot of the time your life feels like one of those kaleidoscopes you had as a child; one simple shake and the whole thing resettles into another picture, just as incomprehensible as it was the last time.
House has been complaining all week but you didn’t think him actually capable of this; your wardrobe is suddenly full of plain white shirts and a note pinned to one of them says now you’ll have to wear something other than those hideous primary colours.
In a perfect world there would be no House, no Cameron, no Foreman, no Wilson, no Cuddy, no Stacy, no PPTH, no patients, no early mornings, no glass, and definitely no crystal meth.
You feel too young, too weak, too tired, too confused, too sick, too broken, too overworked, too hungry, too thirsty, too achy and too cold to keep working but you also know that you’ve got no choice, so you swallow yet more too-cool instant coffee and carry on going.
You’ll never be able to compete with what House’s thigh must look like, at least on the outside (you’ve only got about three scars: two on your hand and one on your knee); but on the inside you reckon that the extent of the scar tissue must make it look like you’ve had a dozen infarctions.
“You’re so pretty” is a phrase that you hear all too often; you wish sometimes that God had made you hideously ugly, just so that you wouldn’t have to deal with the assumptions that come from people looking at you and thinking that you have nothing under that beautiful exterior.
House leans against the window of your car, eyes really dilated from whatever combination of drugs and alcohol he’s been taking tonight, and you carefully don’t look at him as you drive him home, because you saw your mother enough times like this- destroyed, hollow, empty, oblivious.
Nuns simultaneously freak you out and make you feel guilty; and yet, when Sister Augustine was facing inevitable death, you couldn’t help but offer the only comfort you could manage; a simple prayer and reaffirmation of her faith.
Everyone seems to think that you miss Australia and want to go back there (except for House, because he seems to think you want to go to Britain), but the truth is that there’s nothing in Australia for you either; you’re lost and don’t have anywhere really, and whoever it was was right when they said that you can’t go home again.
The stained-glass in the window of the chapel casts coloured shadows over you and the discarded labcoat over one of the pews, and you bow your head and whisper one prayer-just one- for Foreman, eyes tight shut, fighting to keep your misery in check before you have to get up and go back to trying to save him.
“You don’t actually have to succeed, Chase,” Cameron snarls uncharacteristically at you because it’s been a long day and she’s all pissed about Foreman’s article, “But you do actually have to goddamn try in the first place, not just be so passive and- and pessimistic all the time!”
Some days you feel like you can’t make a difference and you’re not changing anything, and on days when you don’t feel like this, House is only too happy to remind you.
Her words are clipped short with grief and she gives you a not very detailed account of your father’s illness that you didn’t even know existed; you put the phone down on her eventually, hands shaking, eyes blurring with tears, utterly sick and even more utterly in shock; Kayla never had a chance.
It’s been a while since you were certain your life wasn’t in your control; all that time in the seminary and with a mother who muttered hail marys while her drunken fingers fumbled with the rosary chain had sort of convinced you that, you know, God was in charge of everything… but now you’re rather convinced that you’re in your own personal hell, not some kind of cosmic heavenly design.
It’s really hard to intubate with House watching you, and your fingers shake harder when he steps up behind you to take over, tutting and pushing you aside, and you run trembling hands through your hair while realising that your concentration is just completely shot.
The next square of almost-melted chocolate splits between your teeth and coats your mouth, but your face and fingers are already thick with the stuff and you close your eyes for a few moments to get the sugar to flow into your system properly, because you’ve lost count of how many hours you’ve been on call now and you need chocolate more than anything else.
From time to time you close your eyes and wonder what it was like when you owned yourself and weren’t at the beck and call of a crippled madman; and then you remember your mother and your father and your religion and realise that you never were in control of your own life.
There’s blood on your fingertips and newsprint too; the black and the red makes you feel dizzy, and you crush your nails into your palms, wishing for peace, wishing for silence, wishing that House would just shut up.
In diagnostics you’re all damaged in one way or another, and while House cheerily thinks about causing more and Cameron thinks about fixing it all and Foreman ignores it entirely, you’re more concerned with trying to prevent any more happening to you, because you seriously can’t afford to crack any further.
A kid has stuck his hands together with superglue, and as you patiently apply the solvent that will eventually dissolve the horrible substance and allow the child to move his fingers, and his mother sobs hysterically that she’s broken him or something, you grit your teeth and reflect that you really, really, really hate clinic duty.
When your mother died, everyone told you how brave you were for coping alone with her illness (always illness, never alcoholism), and for dealing with your father’s absence (always absence, never cowardice), but the truth was you weren’t really all that exceptional because you’d never known anything different.
You live for your days off, when for twenty-four whole hours you don’t have to face sick people and their loved ones, your bad-tempered and confusing colleagues, your cranky and constantly arguing bosses, and the glass walls that everyone stares at you through like you’re some kind of freakshow (it’s entirely possible you are).
Normally you really, really hate working extra shifts in the ER (and wouldn’t if it weren’t for the fact that you have absolutely no money), but today there’s been a bus crash not too far from the hospital and in the ensuing chaos and with blood all over your gloves, you don’t have time to think about anything but the next injured patient.
About a week after you betrayed House to Vogler for the first time, Foreman cornered you and said “It’s you, isn’t it?”, and you acted all offended while inside your resolve crumbled into pieces.
You’ve been working all night and your head aches and you feel weak and lost and so you just sit quietly drinking lots and lots of coffee, while it tastes increasingly bitter in your mouth, and Cameron acts perky and Foreman acts grumpy and you watch the daylight outside the blinds and try to ignore the migraine building up behind your eyes.
They’ll forever be on your conscience: the people you couldn’t save, the ones you lost and let down, and no matter what you do you know that you’ll never be rid of them.
Everyone has their assumptions about you; the young pretty rich boy trapped in daddy’s shadow who doesn’t have the hang of self-preservation (unless it’s at other people’s expense) and who can’t even be pitied for what happened to his mother because he’s just so pathetic; you wish that you had the strength to tell them that they’re completely wrong about you, except that you suspect they might not be.
Sometimes it occurs to you that before Princeton/Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, you actually had a first name.
You had to get out, had to leave in the end, before you killed each other; Katrina loved fire so much that it was only a matter of time before the relationship blew up and sent you both to hell.
From time to time you wonder what it would be like to work somewhere where everyone can’t see what you’re doing all the time and you can occasionally have some privacy; but that kind of place seems almost alien to you, like an alternate universe where everything is upside-down.
Sighing, slamming the door behind you yet again, you wish that you could be like House; lock your emotions far away and hang a big red sign in front of them telling everyone to stay the hell away.
You sometimes wonder why people think that they have to be either with House or against him; you’re sure that there has to be a middle ground somewhere, and even if there isn’t, that doesn’t mean you’ll ever stop searching for it.
You will never, never forget how loud the door was when it slammed behind your father for the last time, leaving you shut in a house with a woman you had no idea how to look after and a feeling of abject terror in your stomach.
You’re the youngest in diagnostics; and from time to time you really feel it, when everyone else is dashing ahead towards the answer and you’re left, trailing behind, feet dragging as you attempt to be even vaguely good enough.
Crying in the shower, drinking yourself to sleep, punching the wall until your knuckles bruise, sleeping with random strangers, biting biros until your teeth ache, digging your fingernails into your thigh so you’ll keep silent, accidentally mis-diagnosing patients; these are all ways in which you do not deal with your father’s death.
It’s always a long week in your world; a day lasts a year, an hour an eternity, always reaching for things you can’t have and trying to prevent yet more collateral damage.
“Nine-year-old bald and dying chicks with big blue eyes; I had no idea that you were so easy, Chase.”
House spends a long time studying your tie before telling you that it looks remarkably like the one Wilson was wearing last week; you simply smile and say nothing because, really, that’s what you always do.
Cuddy asks you if she can have your babies (ok, not exactly like that, she uses phrases like sperm donor and not having to pay child support and please don’t mention this to House) and you reply with a lot of ums and ahs and wonder exactly when it was that the world stopped making sense.
You’re constantly teased for your rich-boy education; but you forgot all the Latin years ago and if the crossword trivia you can barely answer is anything to go by, you’ve forgotten it all by now anyway.
House is listening to David Bowie and you watch him and consider how much he’s altered you; all the things you’ve done and lost since working for him- you’re sure that you used to be a different person before he came along but there’s nothing you can do about that now, so you merely say “Goodnight House”; strains of Oh! You Pretty things follow you down the corridor as you walk away.