Fandom: House MD
Characters: Chase, Wilson, House
Challenge/Prompt: fanfic100, 052. Fire
Genre: Gen (whoops, it's becoming a pattern)
Summary: Vogler story arc with metaphors.
Author’s Notes: A few too many metaphors, but the story does acknowlege it. Season one- I'm going old school. I'm staying season 3 spoiler free for as long as I can take it.
Chase is playing with fire. Wilson watches him with some kind of sick fascination, like the way you want to watch a car crash, unable to look away, feeling sick with himself for not stepping in and doing something about it. House positively encourages Chase, pushing him further and further into the flames, and the oncologist suspects no one can pull Chase out now, he’s too far in, tangled in too many fuses, tying him up, tangling him in this web of wicks, and sooner or later, the flames with reach the end of the tripwires and blow Chase to hell.
Enough with the metaphors. He’s been hanging around House too long, Wilson supposes, House with his lies and his Vicodin and his eyes like ice, like flint, pushing Chase into more and more complicated situations. House set him on fire in the first place, awoke the first few flames, by holding that magnifying glass of curiosity over him, and then refusing to take it away and it was too late, Chase hated him. Wilson recalls with perfect clarity that conversation he had with House when Chase’s father was in town-
“You want to know how two chemicals interact, do you ask them?” House had asked him, eyes gleaming with curiosity, “No, they’re going to lie through their lying little chemical teeth. Throw them in a beaker and apply heat.”
“Even I don’t like you,” Wilson had replied, realising how much this was going to hurt Chase, *seriously* hurt him.
“You know, words can hurt!” House had called after him, as Wilson walked away, and Wilson had thought with furious clarity No, you have no idea. But then again, that was House all over.
Vogler is the perfect outlet for Chase and his new fiery hatred. The perfect opportunity to stab House in the back, hard, only he can’t stop, doesn’t know how to, and Wilson watches Chase burn all his bridges without a single regret, or perhaps with so many regrets that it no longer matters. He just keeps stabbing, changing the daggers occasionally, and House resorts to writing Et tu, Brute? on the whiteboard, and Chase doesn’t get the reference to Julius Caesar until the other doctor throws a copy of the play at his head. The next day he burns another bridge, lights a new fuse, tells House that he has to work with him, he has no choice, adds insufferable smugness to his list of faults.
The flames burn out of control, setting half the hospital on fire, Cameron fleeing from the heat and taking her cooling influence with her. The conflagration continues to get out of hand, as Wilson gets fired (and isn’t that a lovely pun?), House is nearly thrown out, and Chase spectacularly self-combusts in a shower of fireworks as Vogler storms out of the hospital. While everywhere else the flames die down and all is well, in diagnostics they’re left sitting in the bombsite, amid the smoking rubble, trying to put out the remaining fires with what seems to ethanol, since it only makes it worse. Wilson leans back and watches Chase continue to mess about with matches, pushing House and frustrating him with his mere presence.
“I had this girlfriend once,” Chase tells him, sipping at a coffee. “She used to like to be burnt.” And Wilson, silent and thoughtful, realises that’s probably where Chase gets it from, this intrinsic love of going too far and building his own pyres. The next week, Chase comes in with a burn mark on his wrist that his white coat can’t quite hide, and Wilson wonders if that girlfriend ever existed.
Chase sucks on burnt fingers, at least metaphorically, trying to hold everything together. He plasters band-aids over the cracks, and Wilson wants to tell him that it’s too little and too late, except that he suspects Chase already knows.