Fandom: House MD
Challenge/Prompt: 40_mixed. Can’t be bothered to list prompts.
Rating: PG-13 for violence.
BY THE WAY: Prequel/Companion Piece/Sequel to: Blood Ties and Thicker Than Water
Summary: Cameron’s point of view of Chase’s almost murder and subsequent relationship with House.
Author’s Notes: I needed to make this into a trilogy, I’m just bummed out it took so long to get around to finishing it.
The blood on your hands was so thick and so red that you had to stay on your knees for a few minutes, just staring at it, before you could get up and move again.
It still haunts you from time to time. You suppose that it’s to be expected, but it still scares you. You’ll be sitting in your chair sipping a coffee and suddenly Chase will say something and you’ll look at him but it’s not him that you see. No, you see him as he was then, face pale and eyes closed with eyelashes casting dark shadows onto his cheekbones, blood leaking onto the floor. At the time, you were calm and organised, dropping down beside him, reaching for his weak, thready pulse and screaming for help, and help now. You checked that he was breathing and you told him that it would be all right, even though you knew he couldn’t hear you.
But when they’d wheeled him away, you just stayed there on the floor, unable to follow although you were sure he shouldn’t be alone. You looked at your hands where you’d touched his chest, and they were slick and shiny and bright crimson, and you were shaking so hard you weren’t sure you’d be able to get to your feet ever again.
Chase leans against the wall, blonde hair in his eyes, a smile playing around his mouth, and you look at him and wonder why he hasn’t changed. A crazy man with a knife cut him up and yet he’s the same as he always was. You honestly don’t know if that’s because he’s stronger than you all gave him credit for, or if he’s so apathetic that now nothing, nothing at all, can shift his equilibrium.
You loved House-or thought you did- for such a long time that it ached constantly every time you thought about him. You even considered crushing on Chase for a while, and then you slept with him, and that sort of made you realise that falling for him would be a bad idea. Now you’re not sure how you feel about either of them. Perhaps it’s better that way.
House is watching Chase with care that makes your stomach ache. You knew that it was going to happen, knew it was inevitable from the moment you saw the tears in his eyes that slid down his cheeks when you screamed at him that it was all his fault. No one else knows. Chase doesn’t know, Wilson doesn’t know, and House has carefully wiped his mind blank of those five minutes. But you know. You know that the two of you shouted until your throats were hoarse and then House broke down, and you hugged him and held him upright as tears ran helplessly and silently down his face. Just for a pure and terrifying moment. And then he wiped his cheeks off and told you you were never to mention it again, and then whispered where is he?
You sometimes think that you and Foreman have just become superfluous in the office; oh, House teases you and bullies you and turns on you with a whiteboard marker in his hand and a sinister smile spread across his face, but it’s like the two of you don’t really exist; not when Chase does. And you don’t think that it’s love, because that’s something House is incapable of unless her name is Stacy (a cold chill runs through your skin, even though you swore to yourself that you were over all that), but it’s certainly something important, defining.
You occasionally wonder what it must be like to be around House when he thinks you’re everything. It’s hard enough to meet that gaze when he thinks you’re nothing- surely it’s got to be worse the other way around. But you’re also certain that you’ll never know, so you concentrate more on Chase’s trembling hands and trying to fix what you can, making coffee and trying to provoke smiles when he spends the day staring at the table like he can see things no one else can and no one else will be able to.
And perhaps he isn’t always as all right as he constantly says he is.
There was the confrontation you didn’t want with House, and then you were trying to find out where Chase was, bile in your throat because all you could think about was his bloodstained white coat and his hair everywhere and his eyes open and glassy and you were so sure he was dead (how could he not be? There was so much blood) and you ran into Wilson.
“What’s the matter Allison?” he asked, using your first name because you must have looked awful and the words Chase, stabbed, dying and House and he understood instantly, wrapping his arms around you and you cried like a child into his labcoat. He’s used to it; oncologists have too many terrified patients sobbing at them.
Wilson stroked your hair and later on took care of House, who was also neatly cracking apart, and suddenly you knew exactly why it was that he could never and would never love you.
It could have been you. That’s something that you’ve had a conversation with Foreman about more than once, both of you in a bar sipping cocktails and discussing everything and it came up once when you were out of your heads.
“Could’ve been us,” Foreman remarked. He’s had his near-death experience working for House, but you know what he means. There were three of you up for doing House’s clinic duty, and it was Chase who got the cane pointed at him, the cocking of House’s head that meant go do my job for me. You’ve drawn the short straw. Shorter than any of them knew. Doing clinic duty for House usually means an afternoon of boredom. Not nine stab wounds and ninety-seven stitches.
You imagine yourself bleeding out on the floor of the clinic, lilac shirt ripped, blood dribbling from the corner of your mouth and matting into your hair. You shiver and drop your glass. It shatters. Maybe you all need some therapy. Lots and lots of therapy.
It’s all in the little things.
You’ve got over, mostly, the fact that House will never want you, and that you’re not going to be able to fix him or Chase. But it takes time for you to get over the glances, the brushes, the making of coffee, fingers intertwining momentarily, and you all pretend you don’t know what happens behind the locked doors of House’ office. Scars against scars. Layers of damage. Chipping pieces off each other. It makes more sense than anything else here.
You see them kissing once. There’s a gentleness there you never expected, even though you’ve seen the vulnerable and nervous sides of House that he pretends aren’t there, duct-taping together the cracks and using Vicodin to stop it peeling off. A gentleness that makes you almost feel sick, feel jealous, feel oddly relieved.
Chase’s healing was hard on all of you. Probably not on him. He seemed to shove everything that had happened into the box that houses all his pain and whatever else is swirling around under the surface of Robert Chase. It’s not a good idea, and you know that one day he’ll fall apart into little pieces that you can sweep up into a corner and wait for them to resurrect into a demon made of nothing but misery. He needs therapy and he needs someone more stable than House to hold him together.
You all tried your best but Chase didn’t need any of you, and refused to act like anything had happened, even if he did spend quite a while hanging around close to the door of any room he was in like he thought he was going to need to make a run for it at any moment. Rabbit in the headlights stare and jumping at any and every movement. It tore your heart to watch.
Bitten-down fingernails and wincing at every breath and Chase pretended he was all right and House refused to see that he wasn’t and Foreman probably didn’t even notice but you could see and you were waiting for something to break.
It’s dark and late and Foreman’s offered to buy you a drink after work and you tell him that you’ll meet him in the parking lot in a few minutes when you’ve packed everything up. He smiles and tells you not to take too long and for a moment you wonder exactly what it is that he expects from you and what you expect from him, but then again neither of you exist when House and Chase are together and perhaps it’s better to find someone to keep you warm than stand out in the cold, shivering.
They’re fast asleep in House’s chair. Chase on his lap, face buried in the other man’s shoulder, blonde hair over his face fluttering with every breath. Your stomach twists at House’s protective arm around Chase’s waist but you concentrate on putting a stack of paperwork neatly on House’s desk without disturbing them, and then you carefully pull the blinds closed and snap off the light, biting your lower lip.
… And then you grit your teeth and walk out, fingers lingering too long on the door like dying sunlight or the last vestiges of a dream.