Fandom: House MD
Written for: karaokegal. She wanted Chase/someone angsty hatesex, with the song prompt “I've had many times, I can tell you, times when innocence I'd trade for company.” I had to try to dress him in black at some point as well. I’ve tried my best. [also: fanfic100, 061. Winter]
Summary: Does what it says on the tin (fuck obscure titles). Seven ways of looking at the horrendously screwed-up Wilson/Chase dynamic in the space of Chase’s suspension after “The Mistake”.
Author’s Notes: Down to my last 31 on ff100 now, which is fairly impressive, since on the 23rd of January it’s officially one year since I made the claim. Uh… I hope this fic makes sense. I suspect that it doesn’t in parts.
Chase sleeps in for the first time in what must be months, if not years. Being a doctor hasn’t left a whole lot of time for lying around doing nothing, and even on his supposed days off he’s usually tormented by House calling him back into work to do his clinic duty or cover for him so he can go off with Wilson for hours and do whatever it is that House and Wilson do in that scary little razor-edged world of theirs. But the phone is blissfully silent (he unplugged it last night) and he’s suspended so he can’t possibly go near the hospital. Perhaps he should be sobbing his heart out because he fucked up so badly he may never be forgiven. Perhaps later he will. Right now, he’s just grateful for the lingering silence.
He crashes out of bed around midday, has a shower, watches daytime TV and suddenly remembers why he doesn’t watch daytime TV (and he quickly turns off the set when the soap operas House favours come on. He can’t explain why watching them makes him physically sick, but he can guess it’s got something to do with how stressful House makes his world, and anything that Chase associates with House, from sneakers to TV shows to canes to pills to mugs of a certain shade of red, practically brings him out in nervous hives). The silence is pervading and more than welcome. It makes a nice change to just stop and breathe out.
The knock on his door in the evening catches him by surprise, and he goes to answer it without even thinking. Just as he’s pulling it open, his brain starts screaming but it’s House, you know it’s going to be House, and God, are you in trouble now, so he is genuinely surprised when he pulls the door open to reveal that, actually, it’s Wilson.
“Dr Wilson,” he says, stepping back almost involuntarily, suddenly ashamed of his casual sweatpants and t-shirt when compared to Wilson, still in his crisp shirt and obsessively knotted striped tie. “What are you-”
Wilson shrugs and walks inside, and Chase opens his mouth to ask for explanations and closes it instead. Explanations aren’t important. Reactions and fallouts and suspensions are, but reasons rank low on his list of needs. Instead, he stands awkward by the door for a moment, before pushing it closed and following Wilson. His apartment suddenly seems cold and too stylised, and he wonders if Wilson is passing judgement on his colour scheme, on his choice of coffee table, on the vague photographic prints Chase has had hanging in his apartment for the last three years but has never once looked at.
Wilson slumps himself down on Chase’s couch, looking almost unreal against the black leather, and Chase once again wonders quite how this came to be happening.
“Chase,” Wilson says, then falters, smiles awkwardly, and begins again, “Robert. I never told you that your father was dying, and I’m sorry for that.”
“You knew?” Chase asks. Then again, he wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that Foreman and Cameron and Cuddy and Brenda and everyone knew before he did; a big hush-hush secret club with the motto: Let’s Not Tell Robert That His Father Is Dying.
“He asked me to consult,” Wilson says, smoothing imaginary creases from his slacks.
“Well,” Chase says quietly, “I suppose that explains how House found out.”
He sinks into his armchair, but it was made for style, not for comfort, and it doesn’t ease his tension any.
“Wilson,” he says, “Why are you here?”
Wilson tips his head on one side and studies Chase for a while.
“I wanted to make sure that you were all right,” he says eventually. “The past six months must have been very difficult for you, and-”
His words are practically robotic. Chase doesn’t fall for it for a second.
“You don’t have to lie to me,” he says. Wilson laughs, and the sound is unbelievably ugly, like fingernails raking down Chase’s spine.
“I thought you might like the lie better,” he offers, loosening his tie with his left hand. Chase can’t take his eyes off the glimpse of Wilson’s throat he gets as the other man unbuttons the top button of his shirt, and decides that now, if nothing else, he’s gone completely and utterly insane.
“I think everyone’s done enough lying to me recently,” he says, trying to keep his tone calm, trying to meet Wilson’s eyes, but there’s still something intimidating, too House-like, about the oncologist and Chase fails miserably, gaze skittering over everything but Wilson’s face.
“All right,” Wilson leans back and sighs. “You are in deep, deep shit, Chase.” The blunt words, still delivered in that calm and sensible tone, drag themselves across Chase’s nerves in a fashion that he doesn’t like. “And you need House to like you.”
“House has never liked me,” Chase says, aware he sounds somewhat petulant and failing to muster up the courage to care. “I don’t know why he’d start now.”
“Because if something doesn’t change pretty damn soon,” Wilson continues, “The moment House gets back the department, he will fire you.”
“I know,” Chase says, but he still doesn’t like hearing it said aloud. That makes it far too real, and he’s been walking a dangerous line for too long. He survived Vogler. He’ll survive this.
“And you’re ok with that?” Wilson asks.
“What choice do I have?” Chase murmurs, and realises his mistake the moment the words spill themselves out from his mouth. He wants to swallow them back in again, but it’s far too late. A predatory and dangerous smile spreads across Wilson’s face and it’s genuinely disturbing to watch.
“I’m sure there are ways House’s mind can be changed,” Wilson says nonchalantly, almost too casually, in a way that makes Chase’s breath catch in his chest, realisation slamming into his head so hard it almost physically hurts. “A few words from the right people and-”
“No,” Chase says quickly. “No, I won’t.”
Wilson is all razor blades under that soft cotton candy exterior, all manipulation under that pathetic front people come around to thinking is the real him.
“I will never be that desperate,” Chase tells him, getting to his feet. Wilson copies his actions, shrugging, following Chase back into his hallway.
“You’d be surprised,” Wilson says, and leans in to whisper in Chase’s ear: I give it three days. Chase shuts the door on him.
(But he’s absolutely right.)
Sleeping with your boss’ best friend for all the wrong reasons is not the most sensible of pastimes, but Chase does it anyway. Perhaps because self-destructing in a delightfully obvious way is really, really fun, perhaps because Wilson has this thing about him that makes him frustratingly addictive, perhaps because Chase would rather hand over his self-respect and sanity to an almost stranger than spend more nights alone.
Perhaps none of it really matters.
Chase wakes up Tuesday morning with a migraine and low-level nausea in his stomach for reasons he can’t even being to remember (surely it’s too early in the week to be drinking himself into a pit of self-pity?), to find that Wilson has already left without so much as a goodbye. If it weren’t for the ache in Chase’s muscles and a few vague memories of kisses that weren’t so much kisses as clashes of half-angry teeth, he wouldn’t even know the oncologist had ever been here at all. That’s the way Wilson operates. Get in, fuck, leave. Chase would stop him if he thought he could live afterwards. House would bash his head in with the cane for hurting ‘his Jimmy’ or maybe he’d just die without these brief periods where they barely touch except in the absolutely necessary places. Chase knows that Wilson is on the brink of a divorce and Chase himself is on the brink of an emotional and nervous breakdown. Not a healthy combination but it sure as hell produces some incredible sparks.
Chase showers and counts his bruises and just wants to go back to work, where everything makes sense. Well, more sense than it makes right now. Admittedly, that wouldn’t be hard, as such- this suspension is leaving him feeling more weak and crazy than he has in a while.
He spends the day eating burnt toast and watching the shopping channels in his pyjamas, reflecting that he could spend this week learning Italian or making useless things out of macramé or grieving his dead father or attempting to find someone he could have a not entirely screwed-up relationship with, but knowing, because he is him, that none of those things will happen. He may not even bother leaving his apartment. He’s got more than enough canned soup to keep him going for a month or more, and to be quite honest, he could use the rest. It seems like forever since the last time everything slowed down.
Still, however much he may be envisioning this week as a sort of impromptu holiday, Chase knows better than to think he can change his entire routine. There are still aspects of his life that he can’t change (and probably wouldn’t, even if he could; desperate loneliness makes a lot of other things- like affection, self-worth, and the ability to say ‘no’- superfluous). So he turns off the TV at six p.m, makes himself a cup of tea which he doesn’t drink, and is ready to pull open the door before Wilson has to knock twice.
“Good day?” he asks. Wilson just looks at him.
“What do you care?” he replies.
Part of him hopes that all of Wilson’s cancer patients died today, that the diagnostics department was fired-bombed by all the ex-patients they fucked around with, and that the clinic became full of plague carriers and now most of the staff are dying in an icky fashion. But that’s sadly never going to be possible and he’ll keep on attempting to make conversation, even though it isn’t even slightly necessary, and Wilson will keep on crushing his feeble endeavours to make this something more than it is. Conversation implies that they have something to talk about, implies that they have something in common, implies affection. Wilson hates him (perhaps that’s a little melodramatic? Then again, Chase is actually rather a lot responsible for Wilson getting fired that time, and he’s not exactly gone out of his way to make himself likeable. Chase knows all too well that Wilson spent a fortnight telling House to fire him, and he also knows that Wilson resents the fact that he’s still here, because he’s proof that Wilson can’t always manipulate House into doing what he wants) and Chase feels next to nothing for the other man.
Chase shuts the door behind Wilson in time to be pinned against it and kissed, although the kisses are perhaps the worst part of this whole thing, they’re so soul-destroying and Chase can taste Wilson’s dislike for him and he’s sure Wilson can feel the fuck you too, Wilson on his tongue, the one he can’t quite get into words. And he knows that he ought to stop this, ought to take a step back and go “please continue cheating on your wife with someone else- maybe someone you actually like”. Then again, he’s starting to work out how Wilson’s twisted and fucked-up logic works, and if it means nothing then it’s not happening, as far as Wilson is concerned. Chase can’t help wondering if Julie will see it the same way, but that’s another thing that can never, never be mentioned.
This has never been a good idea, but Chase is in far, far too deep to get out now (and if he’s completely honest with himself, he doesn’t even want to- he’s never really been all that good at self-preservation), so he lets his eyes close as Wilson sinks his teeth into his shoulder, because however complicated this is, it’s got to be better than the alternative. Right?
Running a finger around the rim of the glass of the martini that he’s drinking but isn’t enjoying, Chase tries to work out just why he said ‘yes’ when Wilson asked him to come for a drink. He was quite happy (well, not happy, but he didn’t hate it) lying on the sofa and drowning in self-pity. He’s good at self-pity; it comes naturally to him and doesn’t clash with his hair. But no. Now he’s sitting in a bar and the lights are far too bright and he hates the music that they’re playing and he hates the martini he’s still attempting to drink and he hates Wilson right now too. [Yes, he is fully aware that he sounds like a sulky child.]
An hour ago, he was lying about on his sofa contemplating whether to call for some takeout or not, yawning because doing nothing is fucking exhausting. He was almost in a state of equilibrium. But no, of course. Dr Wilson had to come along and screw that all up, tell Chase that he was taking him out for a drink, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Is this how you got your wives? Chase had thought, but had for once decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea to voice that notion aloud. Instead, he said:
Wilson looked at him with those frustratingly melancholy brown eyes for a moment as though deciding which lie to feed him. Chase didn’t mind.
“Because I don’t owe you an apology,” he said eventually. “Go on, get your coat.”
Chase wishes, now, that he’d just said no and run for his life, but it’s a little too late for that.
“Why don’t you owe me an apology?” he asks, pushing his drink away and deciding that he’ll stop trying to enjoy it- it’s really not worth the effort. Wilson puts his own glass down and regards him for a moment.
“Because I could never have told you that this was coming,” he says steadily. “Doctor-patient confidentiality. I couldn’t tell you that your father was dying. I tried to persuade him to tell you, I even let House put it all together so he’d tell you. It didn’t work and I’m sorry it caught you off-guard like that, but I don’t owe you an apology because it isn’t my fault.” Chase just looks at him. Wilson smirks. “Don’t think I don’t know that you’re blaming me.”
Don’t give yourself so much credit, Chase thinks, I’m blaming House for this. But that’s not entirely true, is it, because he’s quite happy to hold Wilson responsible too. Something about the man’s entire this honestly has nothing to do with me demeanour gets his back right up.
“If you don’t owe me an apology then I don’t have to forgive you,” is all Chase says, calmly, but with enough of an edge to make Wilson wince (and Chase knows that, because he’s watching for the flinch, and Wilson can’t hide it fast enough).
The world as he knew it is cracked into pieces and he doesn’t want Wilson pointing that out to him. He doesn’t want to spend time with the other doctor, doesn’t want to look at those puppy-dog eyes, doesn’t want to think about a few words that could have been said and saved Kayla’s life and protected her children from losing their mother this early. A few words six months ago and he wouldn’t even have to be sitting here right now in a black shirt that seems to scream his issues for the world to glare at (and House wonders why he wears strange-patterned shirts to work all the time).
Gritting his teeth, Chase gets up to leave, tossing a bill of some kind of monetary value onto the table, sliding his coat on and heading for the door. He’s just about to unlock his car (didn’t finish his drink; he can drive himself home. He’s entirely too sober for this situation anyway) when he hears Wilson coming out after him.
He tries to snarl go away; I don’t need your pity and I really, really don’t like you enough to spend time with you but it doesn’t work. Instead, he kisses him, because after all this, he can never have House, but Wilson is still fair game. Wilson probably wouldn’t mind if he knew; he’s got to be used to being a substitute by now (a substitute for Stacy, for one thing, Chase thinks unkindly, but he refuses to feel guilty; he’s never pretended to be The Nice One). Instead, Wilson’s fingers come up to tangle in his hair, and Chase is reminded, once again, that anything is possible once you become irrevocably desperate.
Although he’s sure that he’s meant to be doing something productive with his time, such as brooding on his sins or perhaps organising his ties according to colour and style, Chase spends the entire day in bed. He’s tired in the way that you only get when you spend a week doing nothing and sleeping too much (and crying too much? Well, maybe, but he’ll never admit it) and so he’s cranky and miserable and his head hurts and nothing is even remotely right and it isn’t fair.
His phone rings many, many times, and Chase ignores it and dozes fitfully which does nothing to alleviate his tiredness or his headache and he doesn’t really give a damn about any of it. His answering machine picks up a few times and he tunes it all out, pressing his aching face into the pillow and biting down on it to resist the urge to scream. Nothing is right and nothing is wrong and he wants this week of suspension to just be gone now. Finished. Perhaps he could grit his teeth and just sleep through the next few days.
At around eight in the evening, when he’s considering getting up if only to look for some kind of food before crawling back into bed again to feast on self-pity and fatigue (and yes, he knows it isn’t healthy, and no, he doesn’t care), he hears the knocking on the door.
“No,” he says softly, so softly that he barely hears it and there’s not enough conviction in the word to do him any good, but he repeats it anyway. The knocking gets louder, gets more prolonged, and Chase isn’t even entirely sure who it is that wants him to open the door and give it all up, but that doesn’t matter. No matter who, no matter what, he won’t give them that last piece of satisfaction, that last piece of himself.
He pulls the blanket over his head and wills himself to think of nothing but silence.
Chase spends the whole day thinking that he’s insane, until at least he opens the door and thinks, hang on, no, this is insanity.
“Can I come in?” Wilson asks.
No! Chase thinks, then forces himself to start breathing. He also decides that saying: but Wilson, we fuck on Thursday afternoons in exam room two for reasons that you’ve never really made clear, what the hell are you doing here? is probably not a good idea either. They should do courses, he decides, for ways to deal with having-casual-sex-with-your-co-workers-i
“Ok,” he says vaguely, stepping back and letting Wilson in.
It’s almost surreal, Wilson sitting there on his couch, fiddling with his cufflinks (and, really, who wears cufflinks anymore?) and avoiding his gaze. Chase may have difficulty reading people half the time and be just plain blind the rest of it, but it doesn’t take him long to read into Wilson’s silence just what’s going on.
“And you couldn’t just go to House’s,” he says heavily, handing Wilson a mug of coffee and settling himself on the sofa beside him. Too close, too intimate, too personal maybe; but Wilson broke that invisible boundary by turning up here in the first place, so anything goes now.
“No,” Wilson tells him in a tone that implies House has been being a pain in the ass all week and this could be the one thing actually breaks Wilson.
“And you don’t think that when Julie eventually calms down and decides she’d like to find out where her husband stormed off to after their latest argument she’s going to call up House?”
“I’m sure he’ll give her your number,” Wilson says calmly, sipping his coffee. “Hey, this is good.”
Chase knows. It costs more per kilo than any other kind. He suddenly wishes that he’d just gone ahead and given Wilson the instant stuff.
“I don’t want to get myself involved in your problems with your wife, Wilson,” he begins.
Wilson just shrugs. Oh, you are a bastard, Chase thinks, but doesn’t say it aloud. They both know that if Chase didn’t want to get himself involved, he shouldn’t have started sleeping with Wilson in the first place. It’s not even as if it was ever a good idea.
“I could go, if you want,” Wilson offers, putting his mug down on the table, and Chase almost lets him. But he’s still not quite strong enough to do that, and instead he pins Wilson to the couch and kisses him deeply. Hey, at least now he’s got something to do this evening.
This is entirely more penance than pleasure.
And he doesn’t care.
Forgiveness is an essential aspect of working for House, and hey, at this rate, House will never look him in the eye again.
The same can’t be said for his best friend.
James Wilson, Dr James Wilson, best fucking Oncologist in the state and all the surrounding ones too (well, probably) has his teeth embedded in Chase’s shoulder, which will leave such beautiful marks tomorrow.
Chase hates himself for giving into this, for going ahead with it even though he knows it’s an impossibly bad idea and it cannot end well.
But he does need it.
This week has been hell on Earth, guilt and sickness and worry and oh God oh God oh God I’m going to wind up fired, after all that, I’ve finally lost and Chase has spent most of it reflecting that playing Russian Roulette with your career is a really, really, really fucking stupid thing to do, and he should have noticed it before, and he didn’t.
Quite what Wilson is getting out of this is a different matter entirely, but thankfully not one Chase has to think about. He’s quite self-centred enough as it is.
He’s hated being alone to panic (Cameron hates him after the whole meth-fuelled-sex thing they did- not that he can entirely blame her- and Foreman likes him enough not to fire him but a not a whole lot more) but right here, right now, he’s not alone at all. Right here, right now, he doesn’t even have to think about anything but the feel of Wilson’s skin on his, the raking of the other man’s teeth on his neck and shoulders so hard that when he goes back to work on Monday House will know, the way his breath catches in his chest every time Wilson moves and God this is what he needed.
Wilson doesn’t like him. He doesn’t really like Wilson. Or, at least, he learned over a year ago not to try to grab affection from the oncologist where it’s blatantly obvious he’s not going to get any, which is sort of the same thing.
There is no sane reason for this to be happening.
But that honest-to-God doesn’t matter.
Chase would rather be here with Wilson fucking him and thinking of someone- anyone- else, than be lying here completely alone.
A week of raw and bitter silence, and Chase feels sick. He’s got to go back to work tomorrow, face the unending silence and the accusing looks and the consequences of his actions (fuck, does he hate consequences; it’s so much easier without them) and right now he’d take anything over that.
It’s nearly midnight when Wilson comes to find him. Chase doesn’t want to answer the door to him, doesn’t want to let him in. Wilson has a wife and Chase has no one and what they have is barely a relationship but it is supposed to be something and he’s spent this week completely and utterly alone.
“Chase,” Wilson says, “Chase, I’m sorry.”
“You’re not,” Chase mutters back, words tight and strained and he hates how vulnerable he sounds.
I needed you, he thinks, but he has the sense not to say it.
He thinks about sobbing and he knows that Wilson would catch him and maybe even make him breakfast tomorrow morning, but there’s nothing but anger and hurt and hate and panic and instead he tells him to get out in no uncertain terms.
It doesn’t make him feel any better.